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Author Topic: A possible armor rules variant  (Read 3326 times)
newsalor
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Posts: 83


« on: July 31, 2004, 12:27:30 PM »

I was thinking about the armor rules and I am thinking about tweaking them a bit.

Now, it seems to me that the armor rules have been built to counter the very lethal effects of scripted combat. Combats between two unarmored figters are short indeed, but this is another matter. The problem I have with the armor rules is that when a piece of armor gets in the way of the blow that gets past the defences, the blow is either deflected with a loud "bling" or it simply slices through. This disrupts my suspension of disbelief.

This is what I have come up with thus far:

    [*]I'll have hit locations in my system. I'll use some randomiser to determine what got hit. I'll probably borrow this from RQ or Hárn. Thrusting/piercing weapons will be less likely to hit the arms and legs than slashing/blugdeoning weapons. I'll figure this out later. Maybe I'll do it with 2D6. . .
    [*]Each hit location will have armor dice of its own. Too bad if the hit lands at a location that does not have armor.
    [*]Leather armor will have one armor dice, reinforced leather two, chain three and plate four.
    [*]Armor will have a shade. DNs will be handled like with every other abilities. (E.g. DN 4/3/2) Thus I may have B3 hauberg. (Armors with lighter shades than black should be really rare. Grey weapon against a black armor would be +2 DN, I guess. That would be consistent, I think. . . )
    [*]VA is handled just like in the basic rules.
    [*]The armor failure is handled just like in the basic rules.
    [*]You don't need to worry about mixed armor, because each location is handled individually. It just means that some locations have different number of armor dices.
    [*]Each success makes the blow one step less serious. Incidental will be deflected totally, a mark will become an incidental and a superb blow will become a mark. Two successes will make the hit two steps less serious and so on.
    [*]Note that shields still work as they did before.
    [/list:u]

    What does this mean?

    Leather armor will have a 1/3 chance of deflecting an incidental hit with your basic sword (VA=1). However, it will never deflect better hits completely. It also means that it is probable that a plate mail will shield you from the worst effects of a superb hit, but it is improbable that it will deflect it entirely.

    I calculated the chances of getting at least 1, 2 and 3+ successes against different VAs. Remember that it is not possible to comletely deflect a mark or a superb blow with a leather armor or a superb hit with a reinfoced leather. . . You just can't get enought successes. Superb is difficult to evade even with plate.

    Here is the math:


    Quote
    VA=0 (Knife, Primitive Spear)

    Leather:

    1: 1/2 or 50.0%

    Reinforced Leather:

    1: (1/2)^2 x 2 + (1/2)^2 = 3/4 or 75.0%
    2: (1/2)^2 = 1/4 or 25.0%

    Chain:

    1: (1/2)^3 x 3 + (1/2)^3 x 3 + (1/2)^3 = 7/8 or 87.5%
    2: (1/2)^3 x 3 + (1/2)^3 = 4/8 = 1/2 or 50.0%
    3: (1/2)^3 = 1/8 or 12.5%

    Plate:

    1: (1/2)^4 x 4 + (1/2)^4 x 6 + (1/2)^4 x 4 + (1/2)^4 = 15/16 or approximately 93.8%
    2: (1/2)^4 x 6 + (1/2)^4 x 4 + (1/2)^4 = 11/16 = or approximately 68.8%
    3,4: (1/2)^4 x 4 + (1/2)^4 = 5/16 or approximately 31.3%

    VA=1 (Run-of-the-Mill Sword)

    Leather:

    1: 1/3 or approximately 33.3%
     
    Reinforced Leather:

    1: (1/3 x 2/3) x 2 + (1/3 x 1/3) = 5/9 or approximately 55.6%
    2: 1/3 x 1/3 = 1/9 or approximately 11.1%

    Chain:

    1: (1/3 x (2/3)^2) x 3 + ((1/3)^2 x 2/3) x 3 + (1/3)^3 = 19/27 or approximately 70.4%
    2: ((1/3)^2 x 2/3) x 3 + (1/3)^3 = 7/27 or approximately 25.9%
    3: (1/3)^3 = 1/27 or approximately 3.7%

    Plate:

    1 (1/3 x (2/3)^3) x 4 + ((1/3)^2 x (2/3)^2) x 6 + ((1/3)^3 x 2/3) x 4 + (1/3)^4 = 65/81 or approximately 80.2%
    2 ((1/3)^2 x (2/3)^2) x 6 + ((1/3)^3 x 2/3) x 4 + (1/3)^4 = 33/81 = 11/27 or approximately 40.7%
    3,4 ((1/3)^3 x 2/3) x 4 + (1/3)^4 = 9/81 = 1/9 or approximately 11.1%

    VA=2 (Run-of-the-Mill Mace, Superior Sword)

    Leather:

    1: 1/6 or approximately 16.7%

    Reinforced Leather:

    1: (1/6 x 5/6) x 2 + (1/6 x 1/6) = 11/36 or approximately 30.6%
    2: 1/6 x 1/6 = 1/36 or approximately 2.8%

    Chain:

    1: (1/6 x (5/6)^2) x 3 + ((1/6)^2 x 5/6) x 3 + (1/6)^3 = 91/216 or approximately 42.1%
    2: ((1/6)^2 x 5/6) x 3 + (1/6)^3 = 16/216 = 2/27 or approximately 7.4%
    3: (1/6)^3 = 1/216 or approximately 0.5%

    Plate:

    1 (1/6 x (5/6)^3) x 4 + ((1/6)^2 x (5/6)^2) x 6 + ((1/6)^3 x 5/6) x 4 + (1/6)^4 = 671/1296 or approximately 51.8%
    2 ((1/6)^2 x (5/6)^2) x 6 + ((1/6)^3 x 5/6) x 4 + (1/6)^4 = 33/81 = 171/1296 or approximately 13.2%
    3,4 ((1/6)^3 x 5/6) x 4 + (1/6)^4 = 9/81 = 21/1296 or approximately 0.7%

    VA=3 (Superior Great Mace)

    Normal Armor just doesn't cut it against a sledgehammer. That's the beauty of magical armor!

    EDIT: Maybe VA=3 against a black armor would work better if if would be handled like VA=0 or VA=1, but with +1 "Ob"? I'll have to think about this one. . .


    I think that this system manages to avoid the problems I mentioned above or a least it handles the tough spots that I perceived better than the basic system. It also makes skilled swordmen more fearsome.

    What do you think? Am I on the right track? Do you think that this system is too cumbersome?
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    Olli Kantola
    Durgil
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    Posts: 306


    « Reply #1 on: August 01, 2004, 06:30:12 AM »

    Hi newsalor,
    an alternative armour system has been suggested here.  To keep the Burning Wheel feel, the DN's remain the same and the number of dice changes based on the armour type.  I believe that with regard to hit locations, abzu and the rest of the NYC gang are leaning toward every swing being a called shot.  Also, weapon VA's increase the armour's OB.

    Personally, I'm thinking about using something very similar to The Riddle of Steel for determining hit locations, and the Protective Values from HârnMaster Gold.  Instead of the linear method of adding up the values of each layer, I'm also going to use the Euclidean method where you take the square root of the sum of the squares of each layer's protective values.
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    Tony Hamilton

    newsalor
    Member

    Posts: 83


    « Reply #2 on: August 01, 2004, 07:01:20 AM »

    Hi Durgil,

    Thanks for the link. I still don't think that the basic issues that I have with the current armor system have been solved. Armor is still AC in Burning Wheel.

    Just like in D&D, it is harder to hit someone, who is wearing armor. :(

    What did you think about the propabilities and such? Does the system sound reasonable? Though verisimilitude is not important to me in many games, when I play a sim game, I expect it.
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    Olli Kantola
    Durgil
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    Posts: 306


    « Reply #3 on: August 01, 2004, 07:51:41 AM »

    Quote from: newsalor
    What did you think about the propabilities and such? Does the system sound reasonable? Though verisimilitude is not important to me in many games, when I play a sim game, I expect it.

    I see your point, and I like the idea.  It is sort of like giving armour an anti-IMS system.  The numbers too look good to me.  The math itself I'd have to take a closer look at; I have the books to show how to calculate the numbers, I just don't have it in my head.  I do think that armour should have an open-ended roll, which will slightly raise the probabilities.
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    Tony Hamilton

    Luke
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    « Reply #4 on: August 01, 2004, 08:08:44 AM »

    AC? I never thought of it like that.  I guess I just disagree. Personally, I think BW armor similulates its real world counterparts very well.

    Anyway, it's funny you should mention this now. The new armor and shields chapter is written. Just finished it last night.  It's based on the thread that Durgil linked to.

    Regarding your soak rules: Why can't quilted armor stop a punch or a thrown rock completely? Plated mail often protected its user completely from dozens of blows. Using these soak rules, skilled and bare-fisted children could pummel a knight into submission with a series of superb blows.

    I don't think that's quite what you're looking for in this design.


    As far as hit locations go, I can take em or leave em. Personally, myself and my players don't like em. If want to use 'em, go ahead.


    Quote
    I'm also going to use the Euclidean method where you take the square root of the sum of the squares of each layer's protective values.


    Tony, I hope you realize that while this may scratch your itch, something like can't be included in a system meant to encourage quick play and a appeal to a broad range of players.

    thanks guys!
    -L
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    Durgil
    Member

    Posts: 306


    « Reply #5 on: August 01, 2004, 08:58:12 AM »

    Quote from: abzu
    Tony, I hope you realize that while this may scratch your itch, something like can't be included in a system meant to encourage quick play and a appeal to a broad range of players.

    Once I get the time to look for players and start a game, I'll worry about playability, but I'm glad you understand my neuroses :-).
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    Tony Hamilton

    newsalor
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    Posts: 83


    « Reply #6 on: August 01, 2004, 10:03:13 AM »

    Quote from: abzu
    AC? I never thought of it like that.  I guess I just disagree. Personally, I think BW armor similulates its real world counterparts very well.


    You are entitled to disagree of course. :)

    However, from a mechanical point of view the armor rules do just the same thing as AC in D&D. That is, they decrease the chances of hitting an opponent.

    Quote from: abzu
    Regarding your soak rules: Why can't quilted armor stop a punch or a thrown rock completely?


    It can and it does. It's just that it won't ever stop a really good shot.

    Think of it like this: If I were to hit you with a club and you were wearing quilted armor and if you were just standing still there, I would propably get a good hit on you or something. Now, would the only two results that were likely to come out of this experiement be that (1.) you'd be hurt pretty badly or that (2.) my weapon would be completely deflected from your impressive quilted armor?

    I think not. I think that there would be a middle road there, where your armor would help you to some extent, but you would still get hurt.

    Quote from: abzu
    Plated mail often protected its user completely from dozens of blows.


    Maybe I'll have to re-think the bit about armor breaking up. It would seem to break up too fast. Open-ended rolls could help out in this respect too, though the math is a bit harder. . . I'll have to check this out.

    I'd have to say that I'm a bit sceptic about what you are saying. If if in at least half the cases, plate mail would protect its wearer from every blow in a series of 24 solid hits, then the chance of deflecting an individual blow would have to be approximately 97.2%! Is plate mail really that good!?!

    No matter how hard I would hit a knight in shiny armor, as he would be flexing his muscles under all that steel, I would only have on a meager chance to harm him with my sword. Craps. That does explain why knights were so brave, though. ;)

    EDIT: I just calculated that this would be a very unlikely occurance even with the original system . With seven dice of plate mail, the chances of deflecting the first blow woul be 94.1%. Even if we would not take the degradation of armor into account, surviving 24 blows unscathed would be only 23.5% likely. If I were to take the chances of armor braking up, the chances would fall drastically.

    Quote
    The chances of armor degrading or scoring at least on "1".

    7 dice: 72.1%
    6 dice: 66.5%
    5 dice: 59.8%
    4 dice: 51.8%
    3 dice: 42.1%
    2 dice: 30.6%
    1 dice: 16.7%

    Chances of scoring at least one "1" is equal 1-(5/6)^D, where D is the number of dice thrown.


    So actually, if the normal rules are used, the plate mail is likely to have been completely destroyed after "dozens" of blows.

    Quote from: abzu
    Using these soak rules, skilled and bare-fisted children could pummel a knight into submission with a series of superb blows.


    Where in earth would you find children capable of scoring superb blows? Now I'm not sure what's the add of a bare fist, since I could not find it in the rulebook, but let's assume 2. That would mean that the kids would need a weaponskill of 5, if the knight would not resist them too much and the difficulty would be Ob 1. Even with weaponskill of 5, an individual child would only have a meager chance to score a superb hit. (0.5^5=3.1%) If our wonderchild would manage to score his superb hit, then the armor could still deflect it completely in 31.3% of the cases. That means that the child has roughly a one in a hundred chance of getting completely past the knights armor.

    But hey, he's Karate Kid!

    However, it is far more likely that even if the child hits, his hit will be downgraded to a mark or a incidental. Now, unless this kid is as strong as a grown man, he won't do any serious damage. Heck, if he has Pow 2, then his "superb hit" will be a B3.

    If I were the knight, I would not be too worried.

    Then again, it may not be unreasonable that a child who is a very skilled martial artist, could hurt a slow, armored opponent slightly with a flying kick or something like that.

    Quote from: durgil
    I do think that armour should have an open-ended roll, which will slightly raise the probabilities.


    I agree. I'll check out how this effects the propabilities.

    Thanks for you suggestions and comments guys. Keep them coming. =) I'll continue to work on this.

    I like Burning Wheel very much and the armor rules have been the only ones that I have had problems thus far.
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    Olli Kantola
    Luke
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    « Reply #7 on: August 01, 2004, 01:01:12 PM »

    It seems I misread your post. I thought you had armor reducing successes. You have it reducing damage stages.

    Well then, given your response (which is correct), I would add that YES it is possible for a leather jerkin to deflect the entirety of a blow—especially in regards to a knife or club.


    And actually, armor in BW does not make it more difficult to be hit. Hitting a target is based on the attacker's skill modified by movement, wounds and the defender's action. Once all that has been calculated, then armor comes into effect. A very different scenario than d20.

    -L[/i]
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    newsalor
    Member

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    « Reply #8 on: August 01, 2004, 01:58:23 PM »

    Quote from: abzu
    And actually, armor in BW does not make it more difficult to be hit. Hitting a target is based on the attacker's skill modified by movement, wounds and the defender's action. Once all that has been calculated, then armor comes into effect. A very different scenario than d20.


    With all your respect, I beg to differ. I guess that it's a matter of perspective really. Here is what I think.

    What happens in D&D is this:

    1. Armor, Dexterity and modifiers are calculated and we get AC.
    2. Attacker rolls d20 + his own modifiers. If beats AC, he succeeds.
    3. If the strike would have hit, but armor and shield saved the character, the armor saved the defender. It is said that this can be used in the way combat is described.
    4. Roll for damage. Effects are described.

    From that we get a propability of striking a successful blow. Let's say 10%. Without the armor it would have been 50%.

    What happens in Burning Wheel is this:

    1. Difficulties are determined from movement, contitions etc.
    2. Attacker and defender roll. Damage is determined based on the number of successes.
    3. Defender rolls for armor. If he succeeds, armor saves the defender.
    4. Record the damage. Effects are described.

    Here too, we get the propability if striking a successful blow. Let's say that the attacked had 50% chance of rolling a success in his roll. (2.) Now, his armor completely deflects 80% of all successes. The propability if striking a successfull blow is still 10%.

    Now, in principle, the only thing that is different between those two approaches is the number of dices thrown and the order that things are handled. Althought, it is more difficult to see the propabilities with several D6s in the mix, they still are there.

    If we compare either of the above to RuneQuest for example, we can see the difference.

    1. Attacker rolls to hit, defender to block/dodge. Successes are compared and as a result we get a normal hit, a special hit or a critical hit. (Does this remind you of anything? ;)
    2. Damage is rolled. Hit location is rolled too unless it was a called shot.
    3. Armor in reduces the damage. (For example, a normal hit with a scimitar does D6+2 damage and a chain mail would reduce 5 points AFAIK)
    4. The damage is deducted from the hitpoints of that location and general hit points. Effects are described.

    It that example, armor reduces the damage. You could say that it only effects the propabilities, but it's not that simple. Why is that? Well, a special hit would do 2D6+2 damage. . . Armor still helps. It reduces damage. It does not make scoring a successfull blow harder.

    Now, I'm not saying that the way BW handles things is as bad as the way D&D does it. (From a simulationist point of view.) I really like the BW combat system. I'm just looking for a fix for this one thing that bothers me.
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    Olli Kantola
    Luke
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    « Reply #9 on: August 01, 2004, 06:50:35 PM »

    while i think your interpretation is just as subjective as mine, it's your game now and you can do whatever you like with it.

    good luck!
    -Luke
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    taepoong
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    « Reply #10 on: August 02, 2004, 07:35:12 AM »

    Quote from: newsalor
    However, from a mechanical point of view the armor rules do just the same thing as AC in D&D. That is, they decrease the chances of hitting an opponent.


    To make this statement have merit, I think you need to state that BW armor rules decrease the chances of wounding an opponent. Technically, a BW armored knight standing still could be hit by a blind, one-armed, palsied idiot, which is far from the case using D20 AC!

    Um... that's all I have to say, as the rest of your point has some merit.
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    Abzu yelled at me and called my old sig "silly."
    rafial
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    « Reply #11 on: August 02, 2004, 12:04:13 PM »

    From a stand point of pure game mechanics, newsalor does have a point.  Is there really any difference between "not hitting" and "hitting but causing no damage" from a game standpoint?

    On the gripping hand, from a color standpoint, there is a different feel to it, and you are much more likely to notice the BW armor saving your ass, and narrate the blow glancing off your armor than you would be to notice that the blow missed by N in d20, where N <= your armor bonus.

    However, here's a few mitigating factors about the BW system compared to d20 that I think make it work well as a game, as opposed to a gridingly detailed simulation of physical impact and injury (may I suggest Phoenix Command? ;)

    A "hit but no damage" can have a game mechanical effect... loss of armor.

    VA does a good job of solving the "your leather armor completely blocked my giant maul" problem.  If I recall my numbers correctly, in the classic armor system, leather is DN 6, so something with even VA1 completely ignores leather.

    BW encourages a common sense approach to play, such that in the proffered scenario where you are wacking on a completely unresisting but armored target, it would be totally justified to rule that you are aiming your strike to bypass armor.    After all, Luke hasn't given us the rules for environmentally sealed powered battledress yet.

    Those are in the annual, right?
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    newsalor
    Member

    Posts: 83


    « Reply #12 on: August 02, 2004, 02:13:30 PM »

    Quote from: taepoong
    To make this statement have merit, I think you need to state that BW armor rules decrease the chances of wounding an opponent. Technically, a BW armored knight standing still could be hit by a blind, one-armed, palsied idiot, which is far from the case using D20 AC!


    AFAIK it is said in the D&D rules, that if the hit would have been successfull without the armor, then the armor deflected it. An armored D&D Fighter standing still could be hit by a blind, one-armed, palsied idiot. The difference is that in D&D it is not considered as important if it was the armor that saved the fighter.

    I won't go to the 256 other reasons that utterly shatters any dream in D&D, that BW doesn't share with it.

    But, yes, you are right. I already rephrased it several times. Landing a successful blow etc.

    Quote from: rafiel
    On the gripping hand, from a color standpoint, there is a different feel to it, and you are much more likely to notice the BW armor saving your ass, and narrate the blow glancing off your armor than you would be to notice that the blow missed by N in d20, where N <= your armor bonus.


    You are right. BW does underline that it was the armor that saved the character. In D&D that's not important.

    Anyway, I just brought up D&D to illustrate a point. The fact that there are similarities does not bother me. What does bother me is that armor either completely protects you or fails completely.
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    Olli Kantola
    Luke
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    « Reply #13 on: August 02, 2004, 02:23:10 PM »

    Quote
    environmentally sealed powered battledress yet.

    Those are in the annual, right?


    Yes, and the rules for double specialization.

    Don't forget that a "hit with no damage" in Burning Wheel can be many things -- a Push, a Charge, a Get Inside, a Lock, all of which don't have anything to do with armor.

    Of course, this stuff could be in DnD. I wouldn't know, though. Haven't picked up the new books. (As in, since ADnD.)

    -L
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    rafial
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    « Reply #14 on: August 02, 2004, 10:10:09 PM »

    Quote from: abzu

    Yes, and the rules for double specialization.


    double secret specialization?!  Joy.

    Quote

    Don't forget that a "hit with no damage" in Burning Wheel can be many things -- a Push, a Charge, a Get Inside, a Lock, all of which don't have anything to do with armor.


    Yeah, but those aren't being argued here.  Those are attempts to inflict some "non-damage" game mechanical effect on your opponent.

    At issue is the difference between (or lack of difference between) "I tried to smack you with my pointy stick, and I hit, but my pointy stick bounced off your armor" vs. "I tried to smack you with my pointy stick and you leaned out of the way".

    What's being asserted is that from a game mechanical stand point, those two outcomes are identical in both D&D and BW (modulo the possibilty of losing a point of armor in BW)

    Newsalor would desperately like to add a third possibility "I tried to smack you with my pointy stick, and I hit, but because of your armor it was only sorta ouchy instead of really ouchy."

    I can't say that I myself am particularly distraught at the lack of option number three.
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