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dulcamara

Variable armor point values - yay or nay?

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Nay for me as well.

It might be worthwhile when using partial armour (which doesn't cover a whole location) but even then being random doesn't make much sense to me.

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I actually kinda like the random armor bit as you can't take anything for granted. It will slow down combat that much more though, unless you are really into rolling dice early and often. :)

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I understand the concept behind having a random value (ie: finding a chink in the armour etc), but I feel that having a static AP value works best. Especially if you're using Hit Locations, as you don't have alot of points in each location, so a static AP value for protection is a BIG HELP, and balances out the ENC it costs the character.

I used random AP when we first tried Stormbringer, which never felt right to us as we had been playing RQ previously. A few years later when I ran another Young Kingdoms scenario we just used the AH RQ3 game mechanics (except Magic), and played the Stormbringer setting. It seemed to work better for us.

So I ditched random AP values years ago, and play the static AP as in AH RQ3 (and in BRP BGB). You'll find a few adherents to random AP, but most players prefer the static AP system.

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I prefer fixed AP and hit locations. I might use them without hit locations, but they'd have to be much les random than I remember from Stormbringer 1st edition.

I've grown tired of Hit Locations, and because of that, I like the variable APs. You never know if a strike is going to land full-on on your chainmail shirt, or graze the hem and stab you in the leg where you've only got leather or cloth armor.

I tend to prefer the combination of variable AP and Major Wounds instead of hit locations, now.

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I actually kinda like the random armor bit as you can't take anything for granted. It will slow down combat that much more though, unless you are really into rolling dice early and often. :)

Meh. BRP combat goes so fast, adding another die roll really isn't that big a deal. Especially if you're not using things like Strike Ranks.

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I have never tried them. Grown up with using Hit Locations and Fixed AP so that is what we are using.

But if I decide to ditch the Hit Location system I would probably use Random AP since I think it adds and interesting twist to combat.

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In your experience is this worthwhile or does it just add another unnecessary roll to combat?
I have played BRP in pretty much every incarnation since RQI and I've run many campaigns with variable armour and many with fixed...

Both work. In general fixed AP and hit locations gives a grittier feel and variable AP and major wounds a less gritty one. My SF monograph (Outpost 19) used fixed AP and hit locations for that reason: my heroic S&S campaign last summer used variable AP and major wounds...

For me, along with switching between THP=SIZ+CON and THP=(SIZ+CON)/2, it's one of the easiest ways of adjusting the feel of a BRP game.

Cheers,

Nick

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I like the idea of random armour as a shortcut to hit locations but I don't plan on using it for the same reason I never used the daft damage staging rules in Shadowrun; it just adds an extra step to combat and I like to try and keep things fast moving.

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It all depends.

Variable armor point values were designed for BRP games that did not use Hit Locations. They are not really intended to work together.

So, if you use Hit Locations, don't use variable armor point values.

If you do not use Hit Locations, then I would use variable armor point values to "simulate" Hit Locations.

That said, I use them all the time in Stormbringer as it adds to the chaotic feel. Enchanted lawful armor gets a fixed value to represent the consistency of Law (same with enchanted lawful weapons having a fixed damage bonus).

Ian

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I'll pile on to the "I use them when I don't use hit locations" crowd. I'd like less variability in full suits of armor. Say 1d6+6 for plate with helm rather than 1d10+2. Bigger ranges for 'half armor' (say 1d10-1 for half plate).

You can use random armor with hit locations. Example: a mail byrnie only covers the wearer down to the elbows. Random armor could represent this kind of covrage. I personally wouldn't do it. For Narl's Viking's game we've lowered AP on the arms for wearing a byrnie. You could also use a die mechanic such as "even numbered hits strike the unarmored portion of the arm".

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I'm sure I'm just repeating what everyone else has said, but basically what we're trying to do is simulate the fact that armour doesn't cover the body evenly. Hit locations do this by allowing for different armour values over different body parts, random armour points do the same thing but less "graphically" - i.e. you have to use your imagination as to where you're hit and why that area has the particular AP rolled.

Either way, it's just the usual case of striking a balance between realism and playability. I take playability to mean more than simplicity (otherwise everything could be reduced to one die roll), the level of abstraction also has to be limited to the point where the imagination doesn't do all the work. That's why I generally prefer hit locations and fixed AP over no hit locations and random AP, but not by much - probably a 60/40 spread. If I don't use hit locations, I always use random AP. I like filbanto's idea of tying the randomness of the roll to the variety of armour types worn. I wouldn't use random AP and hit locations - a more detailed hit location table (using a D100) would serve the same purpose without adding another roll. I've often played with a second layer of hit locations, very rarely used - this enables you to determine whether you managed to hit your opponent in the eye, for example, but you'd only roll it if it was really important to know for sure. It worked okay on practice, because it needed to be applied very rarely.

Like many long-time BRP/RQ players, I've tried every conceivable combination and houserule for armour over the years. In the end, it comes down to a personal choice over how much realism you want and how much book keeping you're willing to put up with. The two tend to be in direct proportion.

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I'd probably use them in a game where I wasn't using hit locations myself. Once I've gotten rid of the hit location roll, a roll for armor instead isn't going to bother me.

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I came in to the BRP family with Stormbringer. When I picked up RQ3 I found static AP to be odd. I enjoyed rolling both weapon damage and armor protection. It felt right and it's one of the things that drew me to BRP.

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I'd say NAY.

You already have variable weapon damage...which can represent whether or not you strike armor...or need a special or critical to get past it...YMMV

F

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Definitely a yay from me. I've always dropped hit locations (I think they are especially annoying with creatures that havemore than 4 limbs) and use the stormbringer random armour and major wounds effects table. I find this system to be much quicker in actual play than hit locations and armour/hps per location.

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I love random AP (and major wounds). It's a much more exciting & pulpy feel to combat and that fits better with how my group and I play.

I agree completely, I far far prefer it and it tends to make each combat action go much faster.

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It doesn't slow it down. I imaging that it's quicker than tracking hit locations.

Having used both systems extensively I can vouch for that, no hit locs and random armour is a lot faster in actual play.

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I do not really see the 'need' for them, it does not add realism (and my games strive for realism and atmosphere, i find realism aids in immersion) so even though i run low combat games, the extra time spent on this rule just feels like a waste of effort :)

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