Rules Modification: "Unarmored Avoidance"


Homebrew


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So, a random idea I had: every heroic class gets a baseline armor bonus derived from their class, to represent their intrinsic ability to duck and dodge attacks. This bonus is either equal to half their level ( the weak version ), or to their BAB ( the strong version ). As its an armor bonus, it has no effect when wearing armor, unless you happen to be wearing armor considerably short of your level.

The main effect, thus, is to make heroic characters less utterly fragile in cases where they are deprived of their armor, while still leaving a strong incentive to wear armor ( having half your +AC is still better than having none, but its a far away from having all of it ).

Thoughts? Consequences?


The weak version - why not, the bonus is super low, no balance issues, you still want to buy armor, why not?

The strong version - hey, as a solarian or soldier, I can kinda sorta ignore buying armor. As anyone else - see above, but maybe sometimes I don't need to buy armor.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Even with the strong version, note that light armor averages an AC bonus about equal to its level. That means armor will be significantly better than "avoidance" even for 3/4 BAB classes.

For Full BAB classes. . . well, the main one not wearing heavy armor is the Solarian, which is why I posed this idea for discussion. The issue, I suppose, is whether the money saved from skipping armor ( or only buying a really super low end armor for the life support and QoL features ) is enough to break things.


worked in Star Wars SAGA edition, so I don't see why it wouldn't work here, other than the previously mentioned money to put elsewhere. Soldiers & Solarians may still buy heavy armor as it's still a good degree more protective than just their level, but classes that don't rely on Defense or can't get it high enough anyways may must opt out of armor, but then they are missing out on some life support (as mentioned) and the possibility of armor mods, so maybe an even trade?


Armor uses a significant portion of WBL...while you would lose a lot of benefits that armor provides, the biggest being environmental protections, I'm not sure it's counter balanced by the "gain" in wealth. The main problem being I don't know how easy it is to gain those sorts of benefits from other items.

The weaker version definitely doesn't pose a problem IMO.

The strong version might convince solarions and soldiers to go without armor to gain benefits in other places.

This would need better examination.

Also space suits.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm. Now I'm thinking the potential problem would not be Solarians, it would be Soldiers. Specifically, ranged-specialty Soldiers who sacrifice armor to make themselves glass cannons, with consistently superior ranged guns and stat focus purely on dexterity, etc. The idea being, you don't need armor if you are "always" quite a distance away, behind cover, and not getting hit anyway.

It would run into the problem of not exceeding Level +2 in equipment, but I'm imagining "always use best possible weapon, plus all possible add-ons which improve ranged accuracy". Might still be an issue unless the enemy constantly ambushes you ( even indoors, this kind of build could still easily always be behind cover ).

Sovereign Court

What if you wear really cheap armor that happens to have lots of upgrade slots? Do you still get the better AC bonus based on your level?

Also, considering the "monsters constantly hit even in the best armor" complaints that go around, how relevant is a weak AC bonus really?


Claxon wrote:
while you would lose a lot of benefits that armor provides, the biggest being environmental protections

Life Bubble is accessible to both Mystics and Technomancers.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Also, considering the "monsters constantly hit even in the best armor" complaints that go around, how relevant is a weak AC bonus really?

I second this. Your "naked" armor will either be useless, or on par with Light Armors. There isn't much room between nearly always hit and always hit.

Also, clothes being Light Armors (Second Skin for example), I have hard time imagining your characters going around completely naked.

What I would do is considering that the light armors your characters are wearing are composed of 2 parts: The clothes part and the armored part. Removing the armored part would remove something like 2 or 3 points of AC, but the armor would look like everyday clothes (even if closer examination would suggest they are quite protective for clothes).

Metaphysician wrote:
Hmm. Now I'm thinking the potential problem would not be Solarians, it would be Soldiers. Specifically, ranged-specialty Soldiers who sacrifice armor to make themselves glass cannons, with consistently superior ranged guns and stat focus purely on dexterity, etc. The idea being, you don't need armor if you are "always" quite a distance away, behind cover, and not getting hit anyway.

Range Soldiers who stay far away from the action are a problem... for their party. Soldiers not only have superior damage but also superior survivability. If your soldier doesn't go in close range, he loses half of its use. Better play a Technomancer if you don't want to take blows, you'll have the same impact in combat, and a far higher one out of combat.


SuperBidi wrote:


Range Soldiers who stay far away from the action are a problem... for their party. Soldiers not only have superior damage but also superior survivability. If your soldier doesn't go in close range, he loses half of its use. Better play a Technomancer if you don't want to take blows, you'll have the same impact in combat, and a far higher one out of combat.

LOL what?


SuperBidi wrote:
Claxon wrote:
while you would lose a lot of benefits that armor provides, the biggest being environmental protections

Life Bubble is accessible to both Mystics and Technomancers.

Sure, and they have to spend a spell known slot on it and they have much fewer spells per level in Starfinder compared to Pathfinder and not every party has magic. Since most of what magic can do can be accomplished via tech.

My Starfidner party had 0 casters through the first 2 books of the AP, until a new player joined us with a Mystic.

In any event, I guess you point is that the biggest armor provides besides AC is environmental protections, and you're just listing additional methods to get it.

So I don't know why I'm arguing.


Claxon wrote:
Sure, and they have to spend a spell known slot on it and they have much fewer spells per level in Starfinder compared to Pathfinder and not every party has magic. Since most of what magic can do can be accomplished via tech.

Life Bubble is a level 1 spell, lasting for days and affecting everyone in your party. If you have someone fighting with no armor, clearly, it's a no brainer as soon as you get to level 4.

If you don't have a caster, well, you have to find a technological way to solve this issue, which is... armor ;)

Pantshandshake wrote:
LOL what?

Interesting comment. But could you give a bit more details?


Pantshandshake wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:


Range Soldiers who stay far away from the action are a problem... for their party. Soldiers not only have superior damage but also superior survivability. If your soldier doesn't go in close range, he loses half of its use. Better play a Technomancer if you don't want to take blows, you'll have the same impact in combat, and a far higher one out of combat.
LOL what?

this is a legit problem; long range combatants/snipers. It looks fine on paper, but in play it means that somebody (or several) party members are getting double/triple teamed, since Downtown Judy Brown is nowhere near the actual combat, can't be seen, etc... Sure they're safe from harm, but the rest of the party quickly pays for the lack of a "meat shield" soaking up hits. This is a bigger problem in fantasy games where melee is more pronounced, but I've seen the same problem in Starfinder as well. One character hovers at the extreme end of the battlefield, taking pot shots, while the rest of the group gets surrounded and ganked.


yukongil wrote:
this is a legit problem; long range combatants/snipers. It looks fine on paper, but in play it means that somebody (or several) party members are getting double/triple teamed, since Downtown Judy Brown is nowhere near the actual combat, can't be seen, etc... Sure they're safe from harm, but the rest of the party quickly pays for the lack of a "meat shield" soaking up hits. This is a bigger problem in fantasy games where melee is more pronounced, but I've seen the same problem in Starfinder as well. One character hovers at the extreme end of the battlefield, taking pot shots, while the rest of the group gets surrounded and ganked.

That. And even more:

- Being far away from the combat makes it easy for enemies to have cover from you, as you can't move to get around the cover.
- A single smoke grenade and you are out of combat for the time it will take you to come.
- Enemies can also decide to shoot from a distance, so now you add range increment to cover.
- Allies have harder time affecting you with their abilities, either to buff you, remove harmful effects or just save your life if it happens that you take a lot of damage.
- If you are ever surrounded, you can still draw a Doshko and break some teeth, most other classes are plain bad in melee.
- You have a lot of survivability, so, even among your party, you are the one who can take the biggest amount of heat before dropping.
- And, last but not least, noone likes to try to survive in the middle of monsters with his Mystic/Technomancer/Envoy, while the party Soldier is just full attacking each rounds, far away from action.

To sum up, range Soldiers who stay far away from the action are a problem for their party.


Yeah, unfortunately "sniping" just doesn't work with a cooperative gaming style.

It sounds nice in theory, but either the sniper isn't taking advantage of their range, and will lose on damage input because of only one shot per round, or they leave the party essentially one man down for soaking hits.

Also, it requires you to know where the enemy is and be able to target them from a distance. Inside of buildings it doesn't work well. When you're ambushed it doesn't work well. When the party stumbles upon the enemy without really knowing their location it doesn't work well.

Unless you're sniper just stays in radio contact 500ft behind the team.

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