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Idle thoughts on armour


Barak Shathur

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5 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I was assuming that we are talking about the Big Gold Book, which is essentially RQ3 in its core mechanics, plus some niceties from other BRP-games.

If you look at the core of the BGB, it is largely based on Stormbringer, with a lot of the RQ3-isms presented in side-bars as add-ons. For example, if you look at p.20, you will notice that Major Wounds is the default, and there is a MOV characteristic instead of a human-centric movement of 3m; Skill Bonuses, Fatigue, and Hit Points per location are all listed as Options. 

Using the appropriate optional rules, its certainly possible recreate something functionally identical to RQ3, or Cthulhu for that matter, but the core is from a less accessorized version of the rules.

SDLeary

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12 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I was assuming that we are talking about the Big Gold Book, which is essentially RQ3 in its core mechanics, plus some niceties from other BRP-games.

I'm sorry, but BGB is not derived from RQ3, but much more from Stormbringer. There are some things that came from RQ, but the default rules (Major wounds instead of localized damage, variable armor, skill category modifiers, move for example) are SB ones, not RQ3's.

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6 hours ago, SDLeary said:

If you look at the core of the BGB, it is largely based on Stormbringer, with a lot of the RQ3-isms presented in side-bars as add-ons. For example, if you look at p.20, you will notice that Major Wounds is the default, and there is a MOV characteristic instead of a human-centric movement of 3m; Skill Bonuses, Fatigue, and Hit Points per location are all listed as Options. 

Using the appropriate optional rules, its certainly possible recreate something functionally identical to RQ3, or Cthulhu for that matter, but the core is from a less accessorized version of the rules.

SDLeary

You beat me on the line with this answer.

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23 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

RQ3 (which forms the basis of BRP) has a pretty good solution: flexible armour protects at half value against blunt weapons.

It's not that good. Padding is rather effective against blunt weapons. but is flexible.

 

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And then you have impale, which accounts for point attacks. 

But doesn't account for what type of armor you are hitting at all. Plate if much more resistant to being pieced than mail, scale or pretty much any other medieval/ancient armor. So much so that most impaling weapons won't penetrate it. If you really want to be more realistic, most such weapons will bounce off the plate. 

 

Edited by Atgxtg

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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17 hours ago, SDLeary said:

If you look at the core of the BGB, it is largely based on Stormbringer, with a lot of the RQ3-isms presented in side-bars as add-ons.

What's funny is that RQ3 was heavily influenced by Strombringer. Things such as skills being in 1% increments, and category modifiers being on a point per point bases rather than in stat ranges (ie.e 13-16: +5%, 17-20: +10%) originated in Strombringer.

THe BGB might be closer to a Strombringer/Call of Cthulhu hybrid as I think CoC was the first Chaosium RPG to drop category modifiers, although the original BRP booklet also dropped them.

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23 hours ago, SDLeary said:

I think what he is referring to as "Articulated Plate" is what came to be known as Maximillian Armor and/or the higher-end styles of Gothic Plate, ie the classic end-game to "knightly" armor.

Okay, but such "White Armors" (the generic name for late era plate) were really just refinements of the earlier plate armor. And the weight of such armor varied quite a bit, depending on region of origin. Gothic (German) style was light, but Milanese (Italian) style was heavier. Maximillian was a later evolution of the Gothic style, and while light for plate, still weighted about the same as a full mail outfit with "all the trimmings". 

23 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Heavily fitted, overlapping bits of metal. Seriously expensive and something that you would never see a "common" soldier wearing.

You'r forgetting munitions grade plate. Once they were also to press out plate they did start making a cheap stamped out plate for the common soldiers. "Cheap"  being a relative term. It was much cheaper than custom armor, but was still something that cost enough that only professional solider would buy it. But, that became more of a thing. Men who went off on campaign and did well would buy armor and a horse for the next time around, and even get more pay for doing so. 

 

So yeah, once they could stamp forge plate it did become less expensive than mail, as it was less time consuming (something that became an issue after the Black Death significantly reduced the workforce, and upped the pay grade). 

 

 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

It's not that good. Padding is rather effective against blunt weapons. but is flexible.

IIRC, padding was nod divided in RQ3.

1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

What's funny is that RQ3 was heavily influenced by Strombringer. Things such as skills being in 1% increments, and category modifiers being on a point per point bases rather than in stat ranges (ie.e 13-16: +5%, 17-20: +10%) originated in Strombringer.

Correct.

1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

THe BGB might be closer to a Strombringer/Call of Cthulhu hybrid as I think CoC was the first Chaosium RPG to drop category modifiers, although the original BRP booklet also dropped them.

Also correct.

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4 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

It's not that good. Padding is rather effective against blunt weapons. but is flexible.

 

But doesn't account for what type of armor you are hitting at all. Plate if much more resistant to being pieced than mail, scale or pretty much any other medieval/ancient armor. So much so that most impaling weapons won't penetrate it. If you really want to be more realistic, most such weapons will bounce off the plate. 

 

On your first point, I would have to disagree. It is a good solution for this level of abstraction. It doesn’t encumber the system with extra data points, like separate armour values for different types of weapons, or slow down play. And padding on its own isn’t all that effective against a heavy smashing weapon that concentrates force on a small point, like a mace or a warhammer. It’s under heavier, more rigid armour that spreads out the impact that it really comes into its own. 

Regarding plate, sure, not much would penetrate it head on but a point is more likely to find a weak spot or a gap in the armour than other weapons, so the impale works a decent representation of this.

Again, playability is a big factor here. Harnmaster is perhaps more realistic, but the armour system with all the layering, five different armour values (more in HM1) and 26 hit locations (more if you divide up the face too) will give you grey hairs (unless you have them already 😄)

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5 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Regarding plate, sure, not much would penetrate it head on but a point is more likely to find a weak spot or a gap in the armour than other weapons, so the impale works a decent representation of this.

In most BRP flavors, that would be a Critical.

For reasons I don't have an answer to though, it was called an Impale in Stormbringer, and the normal BRP Special/Impale was called a Critical.

As far as padding not helping vs bludgeoning weapons, I agree with you. I'm not even sure the large outer-armor style Gambesons would really be good against them. But when combined with something else they could be very useful.

SDLeary

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7 hours ago, SDLeary said:

In most BRP flavors, that would be a Critical.

For reasons I don't have an answer to though, it was called an Impale in Stormbringer, and the normal BRP Special/Impale was called a Critical.

The ONE thing I think was a mistake in Elric! was that weird change in terminology / definitions - In SB1-4 the only critical successes were 1/10th of skill... In Call of Cthulu 1-5 "impales" were 1/5th of skill... Having a specific special effect for impaling weapons has long been a thing in BRP / RQ derived games, but can be handled by rules exceptions for that category of weapon, rather than revising success category calculations and or naming conventions that at least some of the player base will know from other games...

AIR I lobbied Ben quite hard to revise those in MW to be in line with the BGB terminology - I was thus really annoyed that the printed version and first PDF kept the Elric! / SB5 versions, despite Ben having agreed to revise them. The Revised PDF corrects them, thankfully.

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As far as padding not helping vs bludgeoning weapons, I agree with you. I'm not even sure the large outer-armor style Gambesons would really be good against them. But when combined with something else they could be very useful.

It is one of those, how much detail do you want to havequestions?

 When I was steel weapon re-enacting, a friend made a double canvas layered rag stuffed "padded jack" armour. So entirely composed of cloth, not even stiff leather facing material. It was in use for ~ 5 years, admittedly in re-enactment combats (not full melees, rebated steel weapons etc). I borrowed it several times and it was the most effective armour I ever used. Better coverage than most of the plate harness I ever got near (it was long skirted so in one piece did what otherwise required multiple pieces - back, breast, plaquette and tassets) and nearly as good as well padded plate in dealing with either point attacks or blunt trauma. I doubt it would have lasted against real sharpened weapons particularly well, but at least initially I suspect its performance would have been pretty good - given its construction effectively presented multiple cross-laminated and tightly interlocked compressible fibre layers, I think it would have impeded sharp thrusts and spread force from real weapons pretty well, but would have degraded quickly. It was also bloody heavy and a nightmare in remotely warm weather as it appeared to trap ALL heat inside... 😄

So the question is, does one care enough about evoking these details in game play? If one does, then one needs a more nuanced approach than RQ3's; for me, RQ3's approach captures "enough" of the feel of hand to hand combat as I have read about it and approximated in my HEMA / re-enactment days for me to be happy with it.

Cheers,

Nick

Edited by NickMiddleton
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@NickMiddleton

Oh, I’m sure they worked really well in SCA and HEMA against edged (even rebated) and rattan weapons. I don’t think they would serve as well against a proper mace (stone or metal balls, or flanged) though.

Id love to see one of the channels on YouTube take this one up. Un-fired clay torso with a full length gambeson over the top to see just how well it does.

SDLeary

 

Edited by SDLeary
Bad bad autocorrect!
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18 hours ago, Kloster said:

IIRC, padding was nod divided in RQ3.

How could you divide one point?

THe thing is, paddng should be worth far more than 1 point against blunt trauma. 

18 hours ago, Kloster said:

Correct.

Also correct.

Yea, I got two in a row! I hope I win the new car!

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3 hours ago, NickMiddleton said:

The ONE thing I think was a mistake in Elric! was that weird change in terminology / definitions

That extended even to the name of the game. It had been called Stormbringer for over a decade. The name change just confused things a bit. It's not like there were Elric fans who didn't recognize Strombringer. It would be like if they changed the name of Pendragon to Excalibur.

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It is one of those, how much detail do you want to havequestions?

Exactly. That comes down to the setting and style of play. And there are others that do going into that sort of detail , such as the aforementioned Harn. It wouldn't be hard for someone to port Harn's armor and damage tables over to RQ/BRP, maybe even streamline it down to just the three armor values (Blunt/Edged/Piercing). If they really wanted to do that. It all comes down to how far you want to go with it, and if the results are worth the trade offs.  

 

I'm actually a bit suprised that Pendragon, which is a simplified version of RQ, acutally goes into more detail regarding weapon vs. armor types. In fact, it's the main way the game differentiates between weapons. 

Edited by Atgxtg

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15 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

On your first point, I would have to disagree. It is a good solution for this level of abstraction.

It's an okay solution. But your arguments that full mail plus coat of plates protects as well as plate and is signdicantly heavier just doesn't hold up. Plate does protect better, and the weight is about the same. 

Just consider the evolution. If it were about weight and cost, then for over a century plate was a failure. The whole evolution of armor with more and more plate being added to and replacing mail was becuase plate provided superior protection. 

15 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

It doesn’t encumber the system with extra data points, like separate armour values for different types of weapons, or slow down play. And padding on its own isn’t all that effective against a heavy smashing weapon that concentrates force on a small point, like a mace or a warhammer. It’s under heavier, more rigid armour that spreads out the impact that it really comes into its own. 

Sorry but I disagree. The whole point of a warhammer was to concentrate the are of impace so as to be able to penetrate plate. Padding is probably the best or second best armor to wear against blunt trauma. 

 

15 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Regarding plate, sure, not much would penetrate it head on but a point is more likely to find a weak spot or a gap in the armour than other weapons, so the impale works a decent representation of this.

Exacept that the impale chance has nothing to do with the armor worn. Thus your just as likely to have an arrow find a gap in plate as it is to piece mail, or even padding. Arrows are far more effective against plate in RQ than they were histoically.

 

15 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Again, playability is a big factor here.

Yes, and comes down to where you want to draw the line, and also why. I for one, might bother with that sort of thing if it matter to the campaign (much like it does in Pendragon), but wouldn't if I were running a modrn or sci-fi game, where the differences between medeival armors is moot. 

15 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Harnmaster is perhaps more realistic, but the armour system with all the layering, five different armour values (more in HM1) and 26 hit locations (more if you divide up the face too) will give you grey hairs (unless you have them already 😄)

So that's where they grey hairs came from! Seriously, I think that is really a matter of choice. Lots of people like and play Harn, and there are certainly more complex RPGs out there. In my experience Harn Combat and armor is probably a bit simpler that RQ, with everything condensed down to one or two sheets, with crticals being easy to work out, and everything worked into the combat matrix.. The grey hairs probably came when figuring out the price and weight. 

 

But again, the orginal debate was over the effectiveness, cost and weight of plate vs. mail plus coat of plates. As far as I kinow you really haven't provided any info that supports your statement. Now I'll condeed as far a price goes, at least once they could stamp out plate, but not the rest. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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19 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Exactly. That comes down to the setting and style of play. And there are others that do going into that sort of detail , such as the aforementioned Harn. It wouldn't be hard for someone to port Harn's armor and damage tables over to RQ/BRP, maybe even streamline it down to just the three armor values (Blunt/Edged/Piercing). If they really wanted to do that. It all comes down to how far you want to go with it, and if the results are worth the trade offs.  

It could also be possible to consider that armor that protects from either piercing or slashing damage in fact changes part of it into blunt damage.

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9 minutes ago, Mugen said:

It could also be possible to consider that armor that protects from either piercing or slashing damage in fact changes part of it into blunt damage.

Yes it could, although that might be tricky to imprlent in RQ/BRP, as it normally doesn't differentiate between types of damage, except in some variants that have different types of specials. And with the way those specials work, I'm not sure if it would adapt well. 

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It's an okay solution. But your arguments that full mail plus coat of plates protects as well as plate and is signdicantly heavier just doesn't hold up. Plate does protect better, and the weight is about the same. 

Just consider the evolution. If it were about weight and cost, then for over a century plate was a failure. The whole evolution of armor with more and more plate being added to and replacing mail was becuase plate provided superior protection. 

You've got me confused with someone else. I never claimed any such thing, nor would I.

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Sorry but I disagree. The whole point of a warhammer was to concentrate the are of impace so as to be able to penetrate plate. Padding is probably the best or second best armor to wear against blunt trauma. 

Sorry, but you'll never convince me that e.g the pourpoint of Charled de Blois (or the gambesons depicted in the Maciejowski bible) would do much against a solid blow from a warhammer. If by gambeson you mean that really stiff layered material that the youtube crossbow guy used to test bolts and arrows on, maybe you have a point (no pun intended), But that's more like a linothorax and not what most people mean by padding. That stuff would not qualify as "flexible armour" as per RuneQuest or BRP.

Edited by Barak Shathur
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Exacept that the impale chance has nothing to do with the armor worn. Thus your just as likely to have an arrow find a gap in plate as it is to piece mail, or even padding. Arrows are far more effective against plate in RQ than they were histoically.

I have always felt uncomfortable with arrows doing impale damage. It makes more sense with a heavy weapon such as a spear or sword (or even a dagger) that would destroy more on its way through a body, but an arrow having such a narrow point doesn't seem to be in the same class IMO. It's a weakness of the system.

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1 hour ago, Barak Shathur said:

I have always felt uncomfortable with arrows doing impale damage. It makes more sense with a heavy weapon such as a spear or sword (or even a dagger) that would destroy more on its way through a body, but an arrow having such a narrow point doesn't seem to be in the same class IMO. It's a weakness of the system.

Even if I agree with your basic assumption (an arrow point is much narrower than a sword blade), I am sure (and I hope) you've never been impaled by something as thin as a broken foil. I have been (this is why I have stopped fencing some 30 years ago), and I can ensure this does a lot of damage. Contrary to Vladimir Smirnov, I had the chance to have it stuck in a not too dangerous part of my belly. I thought all previous to 1982 blades had been removed and discovered the hard way this was not the case, and never touched a (steel) sword since.

I have also practiced archery, and a competition arrow is much wider than a foil, although it can pierce several millimeters of steel (I am thinking to a car door I've seen pierced). A hunting arrow is even wider, producing centimeters wide wounds. If it impales it's target, the hit area is destroyed or badly damaged.

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2 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

 

You've got me confused with someone else. I never claimed any such thing, nor would I.

Your right, I did, and you didn't. Sorry. 

I guess that ends my streak, guess I don't win the new car after all. Maybe I'll get the home version of the game?

2 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Sorry, but you'll never convince me that e.g the pourpoint of Charled de Blois (or the gambesons depicted in the Maciejowski bible) would do much against a solid blow from a warhammer.

Okay, then I guess I never convince you. But they will do much better at sokaing up the impact of a warhammer than mail, leather or pretty much anything that isn't plate. 

2 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

If by gambeson you mean that really stiff layered material that the youtube crossbow guy used to test bolts and arrows on, maybe you have a point (no pun intended), But that's more like a linothorax and not what most people mean by padding. That stuff would not qualify as "flexible armour" as per RuneQuest or BRP.

By gamebeson I mean an arming doublet or aketon. Basically several layers of quited or stuffed cloth that is worn under other armors as a foundation. With most armor it is really what stops the force of the blow from doing damage. Mail and scales mostly keep the sharp edged from cutting, and the padding does the rest.  In fact, a gambeson without mail is better at stopping a sword than mail without a gambeson.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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1 hour ago, Barak Shathur said:

I have always felt uncomfortable with arrows doing impale damage. It makes more sense with a heavy weapon such as a spear or sword (or even a dagger) that would destroy more on its way through a body, but an arrow having such a narrow point doesn't seem to be in the same class IMO.

I think the solution here is to do like they do with some other impaling weapons (halbard and rapier for instance) and adjust arrow impaling damage from double damage to maybe +1d4 or some such. 

The Usagi Yojimbo RPG (2nd edtion) had stab and impale criticals, with the stab usually being less effective. Spears and swords could impale  wile arrows couldn't. If we reduced most archaic missile weapons to +1d4 instead of double damage they would probably work out better.

1 hour ago, Barak Shathur said:

 

 

It's a weakness of the system.

I think part of the trouble is that the impale happens "before" armor, rather than after. Thus you wind up with "impaling" attacks that can still bounce off armor, or light weapons regularly finding gaps in the armor. The "before the armor" approach is okay for ancient cultures, where there tended to be big gaps in coverage, but it's not so hot with medieval armor.

I wonder how doubling the damage after the armor would work?

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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28 minutes ago, Kloster said:

If it impales it's target, the hit area is destroyed or badly damaged.

Yeah, but it probably wouldn't impale a target who was well armored. Arrow damage, is so high that an impale result is usally going to get past any worn armor. It makes shields so important in m ost versions of BRP. Now in real life I suspect we'd be safer in full plate than behind a roundshield, but in BRP not so much.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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42 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Now in real life I suspect we'd be safer in full plate than behind a roundshield, but in BRP not so much.

Yes, because the protection would be penetrated, whatever, but the shield is at least 10 cm away from you, which means the arrow has to penetrate at least 15 cm to do heavy damage, as the plate almost touches your body, and 3 cm are sufficient to do damage.

For the BRP aspect, I'm sure I don't want that level of complexity in any RPG.

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