Back flipping dwarves in full plate


Rules Discussion


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One of my players observed this weekend that, on account of his strength allowing him to ignore armor penalties, he could swim and backflip better than anyone else in the party (even the spry goblin monk) despite his short stubby limbs and full plate.

Is there anything we're overlooking or is this just the new reality that P2E players are going to have to get used to?

We call him The Iron Boulder now, on account of the way he flips about everywhere he goes (which looks less like flipping and more like rolling). XD

Grand Lodge

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Strong characters are supposed to be really strong. Wizards are busy altering reality because their Intelligence is really high. I don't think it's a stretch that someone with 16-18 Strength can do strong-person-things. Bonus points if the character is spending their Skill Increases in Athletics to actually be really good at Athletics.


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Is it a class thing? If so, it's like the "peculiar rules" threat in which someone noted a level 20 character with +30 skill can't disarm certain traps that a level 1 rogue can.

Liberty's Edge

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Backflipping sounds like Acrobatics, rather than Athletics (which merely determines the distance you can jump), and I doubt his Dex is great.

But yes, being Str 18 makes you very good at all Athletics stuff even if you're in Full Plate.


Ravingdork wrote:

One of my players observed this weekend that, on account of his strength allowing him to ignore armor penalties, he could swim and backflip better than anyone else in the party (even the spry goblin monk) despite his short stubby limbs and full plate.

Is there anything we're overlooking or is this just the new reality that P2E players are going to have to get used to?

We call him The Iron Boulder now, on account of the way he flips about everywhere he goes (which looks less like flipping and more like rolling). XD

Feature of the new system, not a bug. Note that the spry goblin monk has more class feats available to improve jumping, if they want to even the odds.


I imagined that dwarves would have an easier time backflipping. Their shorter legs means they need less clearance space for the rotation.


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heliodorus04 wrote:
Is it a class thing?

Looks like a general rule thing.

heliodorus04 wrote:
If so, it's like the "peculiar rules" thread in which someone noted a level 20 character with +30 skill can't disarm certain traps that a level 1 rogue can.

Also me. XD


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People can backflip in full plate just fine IRL, should google it!


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ChibiNyan wrote:
People can backflip in full plate just fine IRL, should google it!

Oh yeah. Think I saw that vid several years back.


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Yeah, to be honest TTRPG's really undersell how effective plate armor is against even bullets and oversell how difficult it is to move in or to use. Plate armor was extremely OP IRL, and it only wasn't ubiquitous because of the absurd cost of creating it.

That's not to say that TTRPG's should be restrained by reality, but plate armor not cancelling out the advantages of having a high STR is kind of the point. If you've got a high STR, you shouldn't have the worst Athletics check.

So long you've got them Popeye arms I say you've earned the right to do backflips in full plate if you can manage the Acrobatics check. A bit of thin metal ain't gonna be what stops you, it's probably going to be your low DEX score.


What Helmic said. Couldn't have explained it better.


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All I can say is about heckin time. It was absurd that if you wanted to wear heavy armor you immediately became an anchor around the party's neck, and also the comedic relief whenever you try to actually use your big muscles for anything.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
People can backflip in full plate just fine IRL, should google it!

You can also swim in heavy armour, as can be seen in some Youtube videos. It's probably easier in plate than chain, which is also true of moving around generally. I'd certainly rather run an obstacle course in well-made plate armour than a chain hauberk - and have done so years ago as a reenactor.


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ChibiNyan, Helmic, Bluenose and others wrote:
The awesome yet underrepresented reality of RL full plate armor

The fact no one in the history of Big D and its derivative RPGs ever managed to fix the "Big Stupid Plate Armor Issue" is a huge disappointment...

Sovereign Court

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Lucas Yew wrote:
ChibiNyan, Helmic, Bluenose and others wrote:
The awesome yet underrepresented reality of RL full plate armor
The fact no one in the history of Big D and its derivative RPGs ever managed to fix the "Big Stupid Plate Armor Issue" is a huge disappointment...

Looks like they approximately did this time :)


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Thanks for your input everyone! :D


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Backflipping sounds like Acrobatics, rather than Athletics (which merely determines the distance you can jump), and I doubt his Dex is great.

But yes, being Str 18 makes you very good at all Athletics stuff even if you're in Full Plate.

Flipping is kind of... acrobatic athletics.

You need to be very athletic to get the jump high enough, and acrobatic enough to complete the rotation correctly.

But since the game doesn't combine skills, I'd say athletics is the better fit in this case. :)


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Neo2151 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Backflipping sounds like Acrobatics, rather than Athletics (which merely determines the distance you can jump), and I doubt his Dex is great.

But yes, being Str 18 makes you very good at all Athletics stuff even if you're in Full Plate.

Flipping is kind of... acrobatic athletics.

You need to be very athletic to get the jump high enough, and acrobatic enough to complete the rotation correctly.

But since the game doesn't combine skills, I'd say athletics is the better fit in this case. :)

I'm over here staring into space wondering if an olympic gymnast is an acrobat or an athlete.


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WatersLethe wrote:
Neo2151 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Backflipping sounds like Acrobatics, rather than Athletics (which merely determines the distance you can jump), and I doubt his Dex is great.

But yes, being Str 18 makes you very good at all Athletics stuff even if you're in Full Plate.

Flipping is kind of... acrobatic athletics.

You need to be very athletic to get the jump high enough, and acrobatic enough to complete the rotation correctly.

But since the game doesn't combine skills, I'd say athletics is the better fit in this case. :)

I'm over here staring into space wondering if an olympic gymnast is an acrobat or an athlete.

I've got your back. First, the linguistic take:

"Acrobat" means "someone who performs feats of gymnastics", so an olympic gymnast is a type of athlete that performs acrobatics.

But that's not what we come to these forums for, is it? Now, the Pathfinder take:

The naive take on STR vs DEX is muscles vs. coordination (e.g. hand-eye). However, I think it's more accurate to think of DEX as a composite of dexterity (which is about fine motor control) and agility (which is about fast-twitch muscle mass and sensory response time), as most of the skills that key off it require a good amount of what we think of as strength, not just coordination. For example, Tumbling Through probably involves some handsprings -- those things are impossible to do unless you can do handstand pushups.

So I take STR to be "steady" or "unidirectional" strength, like what's needed to bend bars, lift things, jump far, and swing a greatsword. Whereas the strength component of DEX is "fast" or "rapid response" strength, such as is needed to do handsprings...

...so an olympic gymnast is 100% an acrobat, in Pathfinder terms. Although they might /also/ be an athlete.


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The only really bothersome one I think is "being strong means you can swim in full plate just as well as you could if you weren't wearing it." But at the same time drowning isn't fun and fun is more important than realism.


Remember when Full Plate made you more vulnerable to electrical attacks? Total physics fail.

Good times.


Neo2151 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Backflipping sounds like Acrobatics, rather than Athletics (which merely determines the distance you can jump), and I doubt his Dex is great.

But yes, being Str 18 makes you very good at all Athletics stuff even if you're in Full Plate.

Flipping is kind of... acrobatic athletics.

You need to be very athletic to get the jump high enough, and acrobatic enough to complete the rotation correctly.

But since the game doesn't combine skills, I'd say athletics is the better fit in this case. :)

If doing a flip, the almost definition of an "acrobatic maneuver" in real life falls under athletics in your game, I'm starting to wonder what you even think falls into acrobatics at all.


Aservan wrote:

Remember when Full Plate made you more vulnerable to electrical attacks? Total physics fail.

Good times.

Shocking Grasp still has a bonus against metal armor. It's Hollywood logic :)


Later, I'll see if I can post a link to the Tower of London Museum employee doing a back flip while wearing an actual suit of Medieval plate armor.

(Ie., if you're strong and explosive enough to do a back flip, it doesn't take that much more to do it wearing a properly fitted suit of plate mail. They really don't weigh as much as people think, and the weight is spread very effectively over the body.)

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