Armor as DR, is it time for it to shine?!


Pathfinder Playtest


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I've been thinking about the proficiency system a bit and it feels weird that Spell DCs and Save bonuses both seem to scale with level + bonuses, but why armor class does not get your level added to it? And if it is added, then what does armor do?

Here is the case for armor-as-DR.

- Your high-dex characters and high-strength characters would both be able to "tank" but would do so in distinct ways.

- The proficiency system does not have an exception for AC.

- The main problem of Armor-as-DR: that you can't balance it against the kraken's 8 tentacles and the T-rex's bite goes away with there no longer being a full attack. Now you can just balance it against everyone having 1-3 attacks.

- Since PF2 is replacing old-style DR/weakness with Resistance-to-X mechanics, you can now have armor that resists bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage to different degrees. So you can have at least 3 armors of each weight that are not strictly better then one another!

Discuss.


Armor bonuses can't be as high as PF1 because it would break the Proficiency system. So I'm thinking we'll have all light armor giving +1 AC, all medium armor giving +2 AC and all heavy armor giving +3 to +4 AC, with some damage resistance or other points of differentiation like you said.


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I would love to see the main differences between armors of a different level be the things they can do, rather than slight differences in their individual AC bonuses. I think it would also be awesome to further differentiate the types of armors by the styles of things they do, so that medium would play differently enough from heavy to make choosing one over the other a meaningful choice, as opposed to just going for whatever your best proficiency is.

I'm not sure that armor as DR is necessarily going to work any better in PF2 than it did in PF1, though. We know that monsters can work differently than from PCs, so there's nothing to stop that Kraken from getting multiple tentacle attacks per Strike action (for example). That being said, if the resistance were percentage based instead of a fixed number it could still work. Something like light armor resists 1 point of damage per 10 taken, medium 2, and heavy 3. (Spitballing these numbers based on the amount of DR from adamantine armor in PF1). So if you're wearing medium armor and get bit by a T-Rex doing 40 points of damage, you resist 8 of it. Similarly, if you're hit by 4 kraken tentacles dealing 10 each you also resist 8 of it.


Leedwashere wrote:

I would love to see the main differences between armors of a different level be the things they can do, rather than slight differences in their individual AC bonuses. I think it would also be awesome to further differentiate the types of armors by the styles of things they do, so that medium would play differently enough from heavy to make choosing one over the other a meaningful choice, as opposed to just going for whatever your best proficiency is.

This always SOUNDS good in theory but turns into a page eating bookkeeping nightmare in practic


Leedwashere wrote:

I would love to see the main differences between armors of a different level be the things they can do, rather than slight differences in their individual AC bonuses. I think it would also be awesome to further differentiate the types of armors by the styles of things they do, so that medium would play differently enough from heavy to make choosing one over the other a meaningful choice, as opposed to just going for whatever your best proficiency is.

I'm not sure that armor as DR is necessarily going to work any better in PF2 than it did in PF1, though. We know that monsters can work differently than from PCs, so there's nothing to stop that Kraken from getting multiple tentacle attacks per Strike action (for example). That being said, if the resistance were percentage based instead of a fixed number it could still work. Something like light armor resists 1 point of damage per 10 taken, medium 2, and heavy 3. (Spitballing these numbers based on the amount of DR from adamantine armor in PF1). So if you're wearing medium armor and get bit by a T-Rex doing 40 points of damage, you resist 8 of it. Similarly, if you're hit by 4 kraken tentacles dealing 10 each you also resist 8 of it.

While I'd be perfectly fine with percentile damage resistance like that, I think that might be more complex than a lot of tables would like. Hm...


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Aren't shields confirmed as giving DR?


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Aren't shields confirmed as giving DR?

Only in the case of using a shield block reaction, and it's not so much DR as the shield takes the damage first.

Liberty's Edge

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Armor as DR is also far less realistic than armor as AC anyway. For the most part, metal armor protects against most attacks, except very specialized ones. Even a simple gambeson, (D&D's "padded armor") is surprisingly effective against attacks. The trick to getting past armor is just that - getting past the armor, not through it. Target the weak spots, the cracks and unarmored sections.

So the AC bonus representing the chance armor has of stopping a blow entirely makes much more sense than it reducing damage by a small amount, thus making all weapons super armor-penetrating ultra-weapons.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It has been confirmed (in one of the most recent playtest videos, the one from Reno, iirc) that both magic weapons and magic armor are game-changing in the way they work differently from non-magical gear.

We know that magic weapons get extra damage dice. What is the special effect of magic armor? We don't know yet, but I predict it could easily be some form of DR, either a fixed value or a die-rolled value.

We also know that a raised shield offers significant DR, so a masterwork shield and a magical shield should do that even more and better.

I suspect that masterwork armor will increase the AC, while magic will add some degree of DR.

I bet we'll know very soon.


Hmm that is interesting. I suppose the DR would have to be related to the base ac provided by the armor or at least that would make sense. would be kind of weird for +1 leather and +1 full plate to give the same amount of dr.


JRutterbush wrote:

Armor as DR is also far less realistic than armor as AC anyway. For the most part, metal armor protects against most attacks, except very specialized ones. Even a simple gambeson, (D&D's "padded armor") is surprisingly effective against attacks. The trick to getting past armor is just that - getting past the armor, not through it. Target the weak spots, the cracks and unarmored sections.

So the AC bonus representing the chance armor has of stopping a blow entirely makes much more sense than it reducing damage by a small amount, thus making all weapons super armor-penetrating ultra-weapons.

Well, even if technically stopped a powerful enough blow is still going to deliver blunt force trauma that can cause damage, to a much lesser degree than otherwise.

That and past 10+ even fighters seem to become superhumanly powerful warriors that it is not inconceivable that they'd manage to cause serious damage, even through armor


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If combat stays more or less the same as in PF 1.0, armor as DR becomes super deadly for player characters at higher levels, when you get auto-hit with 50+ damage attacks and the DR is just not enough to keep you alive. At least that was our experience when we tried out the alternative system Paizo put forward in Ultimate Combat.


Yep, that was one of my “Please this”s. But, “Armor as DR” is something that the system needs to be geared for from the beginning. It would seem like the way to handle that is to make it proportionate. For example, light armor reduces by 10%, medium armor reduces by 25%, and heavy armor reduces by 50%, or whatever gradation you like. Which would make the effectiveness of armor the same no matter what level you’re at. DR 5/- becomes a joke the higher up you go, but DR 25% is always as effective as it ever was.

Though to be completely honest, I’d strongly prefer armor be as unnecessary as possible. I.e., if a character can be considered 100% protected while decked out with full plate and a shield, ideally, he would still be able to protect himself 90-95% as well in plain street clothes, this value going up, of course for Monk-like characters.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
magnuskn wrote:
If combat stays more or less the same as in PF 1.0, armor as DR becomes super deadly for player characters at higher levels, when you get auto-hit with 50+ damage attacks and the DR is just not enough to keep you alive. At least that was our experience when we tried out the alternative system Paizo put forward in Ultimate Combat.

I don't think that's much of a worry, since AC will probably be level based as armor proficiency is a thing and all proficiencies are supposed to be the same.


Wheldrake wrote:

It has been confirmed (in one of the most recent playtest videos, the one from Reno, iirc) that both magic weapons and magic armor are game-changing in the way they work differently from non-magical gear.

We know that magic weapons get extra damage dice. What is the special effect of magic armor? We don't know yet, but I predict it could easily be some form of DR, either a fixed value or a die-rolled value.

We also know that a raised shield offers significant DR, so a masterwork shield and a magical shield should do that even more and better.

I suspect that masterwork armor will increase the AC, while magic will add some degree of DR.

I bet we'll know very soon.

This could work. 10% damage resistance per "plus" of the armor, perhaps? That way it scales with level and is always useful.

They could even combine that with, say, giving Medium armor 10% and Heavy armor 20% resistance intrinsically. That way, heavy armor is always more protective than light armor of the same tier, helping make up for the Dex bonus of light armor and all the abilities that favor light armor.

Alternately, they could just bake Fortification into the system instead of having it be its own separate ability you have to pay for. So, +3 armor always has a 30% chance of negating any critical hit, or 50% if it is +3 heavy armor.


They will never use percentages.
DM: "The minotaur gores you for... (rolls) 13 damage."
Player: "I've got a +1 breastplate, that's 35% reduction."
At that point, the calculator comes out. Not nice.


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I would love an 'armor as dr' type system to be the norm - but mainly to get rid of the Str vs. Dex issues that have long plagued d20 systems.

In my mind, all weapons should have Dex impact accuracy (the ability to 'hit' the target), and Str impact damage (which will impact what 'gets through' the armor).

Conversely, Dex will affect the ability to 'dodge' (affecting the DC to hit you), while str will affect the armor you can wear effectively.


Armor as DR is a nice idea for a ruleset that operates with a computer.
The computer is happy to instantly handle any percentages and fractions for you.

But for system that is meant to work with counting fingers and dice counts, I would not bring them to the mix.


Armor as DR, as currently implemented, doesn't use any fractions - it's just DR. no computers necessary. The most 'math intensive' part is having to subtract with fingers as well. This is something the new system is already doing with the shied mechanic.


I dunno. You get enough DR going and you become invincible. I'd be wary of stacking DR from armor and shield (even if shield takes your third attack each round).


John Lynch 106 wrote:
I dunno. You get enough DR going and you become invincible. I'd be wary of stacking DR from armor and shield (even if shield takes your third attack each round).

These things seem to be much more restrained in this edition, so I don't know that anything will get numbers to that level. But a strong man in plate really shouldn't have much to feat from a weak man with bare hands, in general.

Try not to look at these proposals with how they would be working in 1e - this is something that would be built into the game from scratch, not something thrown on top of an already developed system.


Envall wrote:

Armor as DR is a nice idea for a ruleset that operates with a computer.

The computer is happy to instantly handle any percentages and fractions for you.

But for system that is meant to work with counting fingers and dice counts, I would not bring them to the mix.

Armour as DR has worked in Runequest since 1978, without needing a computer to keep track of anything. Like others have said, if the system is designed for Armour as DR from the outset (instead of bolted on as optional rules) then it's not hard to use.


while I like this idea in theory, would it not also still have to impact AC as well? The new critical mechanics will be pretty strange if all characters and monsters have pretty much the same AC. It seems like the new system is not designed to be able to easily handle armors giving resistance to certain damage types instead of AC bonuses. Not to mention you'd have to specify which types of weapons each armor gives resistance to, which would be a lot of charts to keep track of.
For a grittier game, this makes a lot of sense, but for a high fantasy game this seems like it might be a little more note keeping than is necessary.


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Bluenose wrote:
Envall wrote:

Armor as DR is a nice idea for a ruleset that operates with a computer.

The computer is happy to instantly handle any percentages and fractions for you.

But for system that is meant to work with counting fingers and dice counts, I would not bring them to the mix.

Armour as DR has worked in Runequest since 1978, without needing a computer to keep track of anything. Like others have said, if the system is designed for Armour as DR from the outset (instead of bolted on as optional rules) then it's not hard to use.

There are lots of systems that use armor as DR. Cyberpunk, GURPS, and Ars Magica; just to name a few. So, as has been said it is a valid concept when the game is designed around it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

From what we have seen in the playtest sessions, bsic armor only affects AC and hence to hit targets.

But magical armor? We haven't seen that yet. It's supposed to be "game-changing" and the most game-changing idea I can imagine about it would not be increased AC, it would be DR on top of the basic AC value of the armor itself, which might also be modified by the quality of crafting.

This still begs the question of how armor proficiency might work. I guess we'll have to wait and see.


It seems to me like the system (as much as we know about it) may have a type of "armor as DR" baked in.

In 1E, you can assume crit rate of a monster (5% if needs a 20) but 2E's crits are just if you beat a PC's AC by 10.
This means that a PC's AC is more important than it was before in figuring out how much damage a monster is going to do, on average.
Rather than having random damage spikes, I wonder if the idea will be more "balance for the crit" (assume crits) -- this would mean that a side effect of having a "tank-level" AC is actually taking less damage when you are hit, since you will be crit much less often than your more-squishy party members.
Also means a lot more balancing to get the numbers right.
Similar to the "4-stages-of-success" discussion...
A lower AC will be much-more-likely to be a crit (so is even worse to get hit) - so those characters who are less likely to survive a hit will be also taking more damage from said hit.


JRutterbush wrote:

Armor as DR is also far less realistic than armor as AC anyway. For the most part, metal armor protects against most attacks, except very specialized ones. Even a simple gambeson, (D&D's "padded armor") is surprisingly effective against attacks. The trick to getting past armor is just that - getting past the armor, not through it. Target the weak spots, the cracks and unarmored sections.

So the AC bonus representing the chance armor has of stopping a blow entirely makes much more sense than it reducing damage by a small amount, thus making all weapons super armor-penetrating ultra-weapons.

I disagree and think that damage resistance is much more realistic, generally speaking.

That being said I agree that there should be a way to circumvent the armour completely and hit an unarmoured spot. However, if you do hit an armoured spot it should reduce the damage possibly even completely negate it by absorption and/or deflection. To be really realistic armour should get damaged from some hits(not all though).

I also agree with your last point, which is why how the damage scales makes damage resistance as a game mechanic in this game not ideal. In other games in can work just not in this system.

A mix between the two could possibly work, but it's not something I would be fighting for.

Anyways, so I sort of disagree with you on some stuff. Not worth an argument though. :)


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CraziFuzzy wrote:

I would love an 'armor as dr' type system to be the norm - but mainly to get rid of the Str vs. Dex issues that have long plagued d20 systems.

In my mind, all weapons should have Dex impact accuracy (the ability to 'hit' the target), and Str impact damage (which will impact what 'gets through' the armor).

Conversely, Dex will affect the ability to 'dodge' (affecting the DC to hit you), while str will affect the armor you can wear effectively.

Except for the fact that defense works off of either Agility or Dexterity, you have just about exactly described the basic combat system of Anima Beyond Fantasy. And while it absolutely is numbers intensive, the fact that it’s so intuitive in concept is why I love it. The fact that you seem to be an example of convergent design evolution just confirms for me why it was genius and why P2E ideally would follow suit (even though realistically, they probably won’t).

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