Armor should function as Damage Reduction


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


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Armor as damage reduction is obviously the correct choice.it works so much better logically and thematically.

second why cant players dodge or block. the biggest dislike I have with D&D to PF is how passive combat is. it would be so simple, you roll to hit me with bonus, I roll to block with bonuses. higher number wins, either side win more than 10 critical sucessess. defender wins the ties.

and damage reduced by armor.


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ikarinokami wrote:
Armor as damage reduction is obviously the correct choice.

counterargument: it's obviously not.


Secret Wizard wrote:
ikarinokami wrote:
Armor as damage reduction is obviously the correct choice.
counterargument: it's obviously not.

That which is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence et cetera et cetera.

ikarinokami wrote:

Armor as damage reduction is obviously the correct choice.it works so much better logically and thematically.

second why cant players dodge or block. the biggest dislike I have with D&D to PF is how passive combat is. it would be so simple, you roll to hit me with bonus, I roll to block with bonuses. higher number wins, either side win more than 10 critical sucessess. defender wins the ties.

and damage reduced by armor.

On a less flippant note, there are problems with this - armor provides virtual or complete immunity to weak weapon blows, while being relatively ineffectual against hard hitting strikes. Speaking as someone who has played 40k Rogue Trader which has armor as DR and a dodge mechanic, damage reducing armor tends to fall towards turning nominal threats into complete jokes or being fairly ineffective with very little middle ground. I still have fond memories of my rogue trader eating a 40 wound power klaw strike through my 10 armor+toughness and taking my leg off, and later watching a necron wraith slam the power armored jetpacking arch militant into the ground for a life threatening 18 wounds...against 18 soak. From what I have heard about the ultimate combat (or wherever it was) armor as DR alternate rules, those had the exact same problems plus a few more from bolting armor as DR onto a system not designed for it.

As for having an active dodge/block mechanic as standard for all creatures, the short answer is that it slows down gameplay by having twice as many people rolling to resolve an attack, as well as having all sorts of weird edge cases, problems with swinginess, action economy wonkiness, etc depending on how you do it. Armor as AC+static hit numbers isn't perfect either, but at least it is simple.


Armor already provides 100% damage reduction by way of AC. If an attack meets or beats the AC, the damage bypasses the damage reduction.

Another way of looking at it is that AC is "Defense DC", the same way that save DCs are (10+[stuff]) and opposed checks are now a set DC, e.g. Athletics DC is (10+Athletics) or a character's Deception DC is (10+Deception).

PF2 is not designed around an active defense paradigm. A lot of other game systems are, Pathfinder and D&D are not and never really have been.


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Snowblind wrote:


On a less flippant note,

I'm glad to be here to provide an alternative.

ikarinokami wrote:


second why cant players dodge or block. the biggest dislike I have with D&D to PF is how passive combat is. it would be so simple, you roll to hit me with bonus, I roll to block with bonuses. higher number wins, either side win more than 10 critical sucessess. defender wins the ties

I don't think a system like this is for Pathfinder 2E (but I love in Zweihander!)

That being said, all martial classes should have a baseline reaction. I'd even say more – they should have a choice of reactions to suit their playstyle – Attack of Opportunity might work for some, others might want something like Nimble Dodge, others would want something that fits a ranged attacker. But these should be options added IN ADDITION to everything else classes have.

For example, Retributive Strike is pretty good for melee Paladins, but an option for ranged Paladins should be there. Same with Attack of Opportunity for Fighters. Meanwhile, Monks and Rangers need a baseline reaction.


Armor as damage reduction is more intuitive way to think the damage model, but math-wise it always runs into this convex difficulty curve problem where level difference can mean you do zero damage to the high DR subject and you just get feeling of helplessness.

Play Pillars of Eternity series if you want to get first seat experience with armor as dr and all of its problems.


Pillars of Eternity armor "problems" come to gimmickers playing PotD for silly archievment.

That game is one of the BEST examples of GOOD use of armor rules.

The "Pillars of Eternity Armor Problem" is just a problem for minmaxers, for normal play, it functions exactly as it should and is one of the best implementations of armor in any videogame...

Until the waterfall of tears came, they changed the rules for PoE2 and the mechanics sucks.


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I am 100% on board with armor as DR!

Differentiating between being hard to hit, and hard to wound opens up all kinds of possibilities.

For example:

Fighting a big slow ogre? Two handed axes that have a negative modifier to hit, but do extra dmg, are the right call.

Likewise firing off a volley of arrows without taking your time to aim.

Fighting a fast moving foe? might be better to sling that axe and go for the quicker, more accurate (but weaker) short sword, or to spend a action to aim to make sure your arrow actually finds it's mark.

Same goes for the armor you choose to wear:

Going up against a horde of goblins? SOME of those little buggers WILL hit you, so best to bring the full plate.

Fighting a giant with a club that can crush steel as easily as bone? maybe leave the full plate at home, and try and be as nimble as possible!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I don't think that this layer (heh) of complication adds anything that won't end with somebody finding a way to exploit the system in a way that will result in flame and tears.


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As someone who has tried this in a lot of different ways during the last 20 years, I am confident telling you it is not worth the effort.


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Gorbacz wrote:
I don't think that this layer (heh) of complication adds anything that won't end with somebody finding a way to exploit the system in a way that will result in flame and tears.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
As someone who has tried this in a lot of different ways during the last 20 years, I am confident telling you it is not worth the effort.

You might be able to get it to work...if you completely threw out the conventional d20 model and took a radically different approach, and built it from the ground up to work with armor as DR (and dodge mechanics, or whatever else floats your boat), and got someone who is highly competent with the math to tune the system exactly to the point where the various armor/weapon options balance against each other. Then it might work.

That isn't happening. Pretty much guaranteed. They aren't throwing out multiple entire subsystems and creating a completely different game so PF2E can have armor as DR when armor as AC is sufficient if not better.


If you wan't to be precise, it should do both.

And differently with various weapons.

I.E. maces/hammers care little about your AC becuase they trasfer kinetic energy through the armor and brake bones under it.
They were designed to beat plate armor.

On the other hand, swords, rapier, daggers, etc... do not have much kinetic energy and they depend on actually cutting you to make damage.

And no sword will penetrate any decent armor.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
As someone who has tried this in a lot of different ways during the last 20 years, I am confident telling you it is not worth the effort.

I had great success running a Fallout themed game (using omega world D20 rules from an old issue of dragon) with my own homebrew variant of vitality/wnds system, with 3 tiers of "hits" Def(AC), def +5, def +10


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There is also the soft DR solution (not that I'm recommending it, but just tossing it out there for conversation).

Armor as Temporary HP, it would need to scale more (ether many tiers of upgrades or level scaling of some variety) Having 16 HP and 10 AP, attacks wear down your armor first. After a fight it can be patched up, repaired, or magically mended.

a few table top games use this, but I suppose a vague example of this is in Divinity: Original sin 2


It's my preference too and a more simulationist approach, but I don't think it would work so well with the +1/level for everything paradigm.


@snowblind well, yes, you are right. I mean within the d20 rules, including variants like 4e and 5e. I have played gane systems with armor as damage mitigation before, but they work under different assumptions. No levels is one of the common points between those games. DR can work in games where the PC do not drastically increase hp, so you know damage (and armor) is stable. Cyberpunk 2020,for example. Much harder to do in a game where a lvl 1 character has 15hp and do 1d8+1 and a lvl 15 char has 200 hp and does 2d6 + 47. A full plate that is meaningful at lvl 15 completely breaks the game at 1


Snowblind wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
I don't think that this layer (heh) of complication adds anything that won't end with somebody finding a way to exploit the system in a way that will result in flame and tears.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
As someone who has tried this in a lot of different ways during the last 20 years, I am confident telling you it is not worth the effort.

You might be able to get it to work...if you completely threw out the conventional d20 model and took a radically different approach, and built it from the ground up to work with armor as DR (and dodge mechanics, or whatever else floats your boat), and got someone who is highly competent with the math to tune the system exactly to the point where the various armor/weapon options balance against each other. Then it might work.

That isn't happening. Pretty much guaranteed. They aren't throwing out multiple entire subsystems and creating a completely different game so PF2E can have armor as DR when armor as AC is sufficient if not better.

I 100% acknowledge the tangential nature of my post, though I do think system changes along these lines would have constituted a more interesting direction than the one taken, and would have been much better received by my simulationist ilk at least. Whether or not we make up the bulk of the player base or not remains to be seen, though I have a hunch my kind will end up old(er) and bitter(er) throwing dice at our keyboards, and excoriating the kids for just not getting how they wrong they are...


I've been contemplating having magical armor give physical resistance equal to its bonus. Magic weapons make you hit more and do more damage, why shouldn't magic armor make you get hit less and take less damage?


RafaelBraga wrote:

Pillars of Eternity armor "problems" come to gimmickers playing PotD for silly archievment.

That game is one of the BEST examples of GOOD use of armor rules.

The "Pillars of Eternity Armor Problem" is just a problem for minmaxers, for normal play, it functions exactly as it should and is one of the best implementations of armor in any videogame...

Until the waterfall of tears came, they changed the rules for PoE2 and the mechanics sucks.

Here is how I felt about it:

First of all, I found that trying to micromanage the armor of the party for each encounter was total garbage. It takes a lot of time to fine tune so you get minimal benefit of better damage reduction against fire. Total pace killer.

You must have atleast 2 weapons of different damage types at all times at ready because you need to switch it up everytime you target a new enemy. Sure, this might feel intuitive that the skeleton is easily bashed apart with a mace but hard to kill with bullets, but eventually this felt like fiddling and worst of all, it made equipment super non-personalized. Eder switching between Saber and a Hammer was a non-issue, but forcing ranged characters (because all bows and guns do piercing damage) to switch to melee weapons and join the fray felt bad. In a video game you can brush off the feelings of the digital characters, but I could never imagine selling this in a roleplaying game. "Oh, that enemy is immune to your bow! I hope you bought a cheap quarterstaff to come close and smack it with!"


I'm playing in a Pathfinder game right now with homebrewed Armour as DR and Active Defense (dodge/parry based on dex/str) for melee attacks. (The GM has also ecouraged us to be descriptive in what we do).

You get a number of penalty-free defense rolls per round equal to the number of attacks you can do. I think the penalty after that is a cumulative -2 (I'm not a melee fighter). The DR is equal to the AC bonus plus the magic bonus, and is DR/magic unless it is magic armor then it is DR/Adamantine. We went back to using CMB/CMD instead of attack/defense rolls for combat to let things specialize in them and it not just being str/dex.

The active rolls are a lot more work for the GM who is running the enemy combatants but he enjoys the system (he also likes the ripose the Swashbuckler does). Ranged attacks hit a "passive AC" which is 10+dex, no defense unless you have deflect arrows or some supernatural skill to react to very fast small things (this is to represent ranged weapons beinga big danger IRL).

The system is fun but I'm not playing the standard system now to compare it. It has been working pretty well but we've only gone from level 5 to level 7. As well it is a homebrew setting and the encounters are customized (but the GM says you have to do that anyways and finds encounter Challenge Rating to be unhelpful as parties vary too much). We've tweaked stuff like multiple hits being bad by giving the wizard archer Clustered Shot (only take off DR once) for free.

TLDR: It is more work and slows down combat but is more active and descriptive (the GM's goal in implementing it). It has been working for my group but the GM will need to do more work. You will probably have to tweak it and we have only used it for levels 5 to 7.


I would say this isn't necessary because it would open a big ol can of worms instead of fixing something and this is coming from a guy who would very like to see this implemented correctly but I believe it would take to much work and change the system to much to warrant a change.


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that armor will be better in some instances than others isn't a flaw in my opinion, its just how armor is supposed to work. a flak jacket is great against a midnight special, terrible against a .50.

it also is very simple to implement and in my opinion increases immersion because it's logical.

I also disagree that an active system would be inherently more complicated or tedius given that at most you would only be making at most 3 attacks per round. As someone mentioned combat becomes much for engaging and much more simulation-esue which not only increases overall player immersion but serves to differentiate this game from both PF1 and 5E which is good thing in my opinion. currently the game seems to straddling this weird in between 4e and 5e.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ikarinokami wrote:
it also is very simple to implement

How?


For a PF1 game, I'm having the players roll defensively. Basically, they take 10 off of their AC and roll against the Attack DC (10 + the attack modifier). We'll be giving it a shot here in the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck.


ikarinokami wrote:
that armor will be better in some instances than others isn't a flaw in my opinion, its just how armor is supposed to work. a flak jacket is great against a midnight special, terrible against a .50.

I've played games with rules like this, and it usually just means that vast numbers of weapons become worthless. Like, you could pick up the rapid-fire light SMG, but if you ever come upon an enemy with armor, you're helpless. Why would you risk that when there are other weapons like the .50 that are good against everyone?


Joshua James Jordan wrote:
For a PF1 game, I'm having the players roll defensively. Basically, they take 10 off of their AC and roll against the Attack DC (10 + the attack modifier). We'll be giving it a shot here in the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck.

Your players might need more than luck. With Critical hits universally being good, and Critical misses not mattering very much, the swingy-ness of Defenses means your character is in deep trouble when you roll badly on defense, but you don't really get anything from rolling well on defense. You might need to introduce a critical failure element that affects monsters and players equally or else the party is going to have more instances where they get the snot beat out of them and have to rest more often.

Your system will massively incentivize ranged combat and playing as defensively as possible, so as to reduce the number of defensive rolls you need to make.


Unicore wrote:
Joshua James Jordan wrote:
For a PF1 game, I'm having the players roll defensively. Basically, they take 10 off of their AC and roll against the Attack DC (10 + the attack modifier). We'll be giving it a shot here in the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck.

Your players might need more than luck. With Critical hits universally being good, and Critical misses not mattering very much, the swingy-ness of Defenses means your character is in deep trouble when you roll badly on defense, but you don't really get anything from rolling well on defense. You might need to introduce a critical failure element that affects monsters and players equally or else the party is going to have more instances where they get the snot beat out of them and have to rest more often.

Your system will massively incentivize ranged combat and playing as defensively as possible, so as to reduce the number of defensive rolls you need to make.

The math is basically the same, just reversed (standard 10 going to attack instead of AC). What matters is if it's more fun for them to roll more often or not. I probably didn't explain it very well.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
As someone who has tried this in a lot of different ways during the last 20 years, I am confident telling you it is not worth the effort.

I agree.


Joshua James Jordan wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Joshua James Jordan wrote:
For a PF1 game, I'm having the players roll defensively. Basically, they take 10 off of their AC and roll against the Attack DC (10 + the attack modifier). We'll be giving it a shot here in the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck.

Your players might need more than luck. With Critical hits universally being good, and Critical misses not mattering very much, the swingy-ness of Defenses means your character is in deep trouble when you roll badly on defense, but you don't really get anything from rolling well on defense. You might need to introduce a critical failure element that affects monsters and players equally or else the party is going to have more instances where they get the snot beat out of them and have to rest more often.

Your system will massively incentivize ranged combat and playing as defensively as possible, so as to reduce the number of defensive rolls you need to make.

The math is basically the same, just reversed (standard 10 going to attack instead of AC). What matters is if it's more fun for them to roll more often or not. I probably didn't explain it very well.

Maybe so. I can say from experience that players and monsters playing by the same rules isn't always as fair as it seems like it should be. Although it doesn't feel this way in story, the reality is that most monsters make far less active rolls in their (often short) life time than players. Getting more critical hits against scrub monsters is ok, but not really in the same ball park as scrub monsters getting more critical hits against PCs. Your system also increases the amount of critical fumbles for both categories, but those don't really affect much, so the net effective result of your system will be more critical hits for monsters and players.

I am curious if, after 10 defensive rolls, if your players will not be asking for a take 10 option on defense that they can use when fighting anyone who's bonus to attack is less then their AC bonus.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

As many have said its an interesting Idea and it can work well to have a defensive roll.
Anima beyond fantasy uses a attack vs defense roll (doge or block) to do it, it causes rounds to go longer, but this also decides the amount of damage things do, better armer effectively raising your defense roll. The game uses d100 to handle the wide range of options.

The whole system has to be geared more towards that type of damaging to be effective. Similarly Damage soak in the form of armor doesnt seem to fit as well with realistic outcomes or the feel of pathfinder/DnD.


I very much agree that armor as DR is a much more satisfying approach to physical protection, But I don't think the path towards an elegant solution is very clear, at least not under a d20 system, and not in a game such as pathfinder who's core math doesn't exactly allow for DR to be generally effective.

As stated by other posters, DR in its current form tends to make light blows very effective, and everything else tends to relatively cut straight through it. The relative rarity of DR for players makes it something that is harder to design around when designing threats to level against players. You cant really assume people will haveit. It also becomes hard to design monsters/traps that BOTH threaten PC's with DR but also don't outright kill those without, that is unless DR is a relatively slight advantage. Whether that is necessarily a bad thing or not is up for debate.

On another note: A game that I think handles Armor as DR Fantastically is Shadowrun(A near future Cyberpunk sci-fantasy RPG). That said it definitely pays a price in complexity for what it achieves. A price that is mitigated by player familiarity, but price nonetheless. First off it is not a D20 System, success and degrees of success is determined by building pools of d6's from relevant stats, rolling said pool and looking for 5's & 6's (Successes) (too many 1's is bad, but let's not dive toooo deep here)

An action as simple as shooting someone/thing is as involved as this:

Attempt to Hit -->
Target attempts to dodge --> If hit, how well placed was the blow? (net difference between the quality of the attack and dodge) -->
How much damage does the target take? ( Depends on Their inherent toughness (body) and how good their armor is, Also, Does the weapon they were hit with have some degree of armor piercing? be sure to figure that in! Okay! now that we know how much raw damage they are potentially facing, Is that amount of damage enough to cause them serious bodily harm? or is it just stun? compare the amount of damage to their armor minus the armor piercing of what they were attacked with? is the damage more? if so they take physical damage! if not then they take Stun damage? wait... whats the difference between those? Oh yeah, everyone has 2 separate health bars...... hmm this is a lot.... Now, do this process every time someone shoots someone. Can it be very satisfying? Yes! is it for everyone? Probably not.

Also Sorry to Shadowrun fans for some definite misquoting of rules, I am less familiar with them than I have been in the past.


What about a damage saving throw with armor being a bonus.

This could be with armor ranging from +1 to + 12 Plus enhancements

This just off the top of my head

So the details can easily be worked.

Critcal success no damage
success 1/4 damage
failure 1/2 damage
Critical failure full damage

DC = 10 + damage/2

I have not extended these numbers out.
TAC would be used to hit.

critical hits do more damage and more likely to penetrate.

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