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Fixed or Variable Armour Points?


Fixed or Variable AP  

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  1. 1. Do you prefer fixed or Variable Armour Points?

    • Fixed AP
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    • Variable AP
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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

But there are some problems with variable armor. For one thing, it might be a bit too variable. I think a bell curve probably would work better than a single die. Otherwise it kinda makes armor too weak in BRP. That is you wind up with plate armor having about a 50% chance of stopping a broadsword on a normal success, and pricatically no chance against a special success or better.

It would depend upon the type of armor I would think. If by armor you are referring to varying pieces, or a chain hauberk and helmet with other bits, or just a cuirass, then I think the current method of single die works beautifully. If, on the other hand you are talking about something along the lines of the full Dendara Panoply, or a full Late Medieval Harness, then I would go with multiple dice, as the design has specifically minimized exposed areas, and even a blow that glances or rides a plate is probably going to be stopped more completely.

 

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Another problem with variable AP is with cover and/or vehicles. If somebody is hiding behind a rock wall, the wall should stop an arrow or pistol round virtually all the time. 

If cover applies a percentage penalty to hit, yes. The other way to accomplish this is no penalty and to apply the barrier as variable armor. This of course would get us back to problems about types of penetration, etc. But for a low rule core system, this could work.

SDLeary

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This is not a "rule" but how that rule is parameterised. Variable armour can work perfectly with all other parts of the BGB rules, it is just that Jason or whoever compiled the armour tables must have

Oooo... <wince>  That fence just crit'ed you right in the "Vitals"...

And the neck is one point where it is difficult to obtain total protection, so watch out!

19 hours ago, SDLeary said:

It would depend upon the type of armor I would think. If by armor you are referring to varying pieces, or a chain hauberk and helmet with other bits, or just a cuirass, then I think the current method of single die works beautifully. If, on the other hand you are talking about something along the lines of the full Dendara Panoply, or a full Late Medieval Harness, then I would go with multiple dice, as the design has specifically minimized exposed areas, and even a blow that glances or rides a plate is probably going to be stopped more completely.

I don't think it would depend on the type of armor so much as the degree of coverage. Mail armor provides very good protection against blades. The thick is in getting the opponent to hit the mail rather than an exposed area. Even when someone has only partial coverage protection would be more along the lines of a yes/no thing, and not so much a wide variable. The opponet either hits the armor or he doesn't.

19 hours ago, SDLeary said:

 

If cover applies a percentage penalty to hit, yes. The other way to accomplish this is no penalty and to apply the barrier as variable armor. This of course would get us back to problems about types of penetration, etc. But for a low rule core system, this could work.

SDLeary

Don';'t get me wrong, it will work. It's precisely how Pendragon works (although Pendragon also increases the protection, damage done, and hit points, so the end result isn't exactly the same). And it did work for Strombringer, although in that RPG normal armor gets eclipsed by demonic items. I'm just not so fond of it for BRP because of the high chance of getting next no no protection from a full suit. But, if full suits used a bell curve, I'd be happier with it. For example, if full plate w/helm went from 1D10+2 to 2D6, I'd be satisfied. 

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16 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I don't think it would depend on the type of armor so much as the degree of coverage. Mail armor provides very good protection against blades. The thick is in getting the opponent to hit the mail rather than an exposed area. Even when someone has only partial coverage protection would be more along the lines of a yes/no thing, and not so much a wide variable. The opponet either hits the armor or he doesn't.

Yes, full suits are different. Anytime that you have a well fitting suit of protection, I would also minimize potential damage, but would probably vary more based on material.

SDLeary

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Don';'t get me wrong, it will work. It's precisely how Pendragon works (although Pendragon also increases the protection, damage done, and hit points, so the end result isn't exactly the same). And it did work for Strombringer, although in that RPG normal armor gets eclipsed by demonic items. I'm just not so fond of it for BRP because of the high chance of getting next no no protection from a full suit. But, if full suits used a bell curve, I'd be happier with it. For example, if full plate w/helm went from 1D10+2 to 2D6, I'd be satisfied. 

Back to damage dice again, like the gunshot thread. The above change is certainly a very simple one to implement. My only problem with mucking around with published damage dice for armour or weapons is an administrative one. Players and referee will refer to published tables and rulebooks for some stat, then have to make a mental adjustment or see a supplemental table. However there are fewer armour stats than weapons, so the problem is minimised there.

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On 03/01/2017 at 11:54 PM, Atgxtg said:

I prefer fixed armor values when using hit locations. IMO, variable armor values work better with general hit points. 

But there are some problems with variable armor. For one thing, it might be a bit too variable. I think a bell curve probably would work better than a single die. Otherwise it kinda makes armor too weak in BRP. That is you wind up with plate armor having about a 50% chance of stopping a broadsword on a normal success, and pricatically no chance against a special success or better.

Another problem with variable AP is with cover and/or vehicles. If somebody is hiding behind a rock wall, the wall should stop an arrow or pistol round virtually all the time.

Note, however, that the conjunction of a flat weapon damage and a flat armor distribution makes a trapezoidal distribution.

Deviation is higher than with only one die, though...

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On 1/4/2017 at 6:37 PM, Questbird said:

Back to damage dice again, like the gunshot thread. The above change is certainly a very simple one to implement. My only problem with mucking around with published damage dice for armour or weapons is an administrative one. Players and referee will refer to published tables and rulebooks for some stat, then have to make a mental adjustment or see a supplemental table. However there are fewer armour stats than weapons, so the problem is minimised there.

I can certainly feel for that- both as a GM and as a player. One thing about variable armor though is that it does make the game more lethal. In RQ, if you are wearing full plate you know you've got 8 points of protection and that is going to turn most blades,or at least tone then down a bit. In Stormbringer, if you are wearing full plate, worth 1D10+2 protection, you're not so sure if it will stop an attack. And those "3"s on the soak roll probably end up hurting you a lot more than those "12s" help you. 

 

Hmm, come to thing of it, the thing about the variable armor ratiings in BRP is that they come from Stormbringer (RQ2 era), and preceded the fixed armor table, which came from RQ3. So nor only does the variably AP scroes vary, but the also average less protection than their fixed counterparts. . 

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23 hours ago, jagerfury said:

I like variable so I don't have the added hit location roll on every combat hit. Funny I say that because I use a Hit Location roll for my USR Sword & Sorcery game :)'

I have a silly question. 

Why does having a roll for hit location cause consternation, but a roll for variable armor not?

Is it just because it is the attacker rolling rather than the defender?

SDLeary

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1 minute ago, SDLeary said:

I have a silly question. 

Why does having a roll for hit location cause consternation, but a roll for variable armor not?

Is it just because it is the attacker rolling rather than the defender?

SDLeary

If you have hit locations, you also have to keep track of exactly what armour covers where. So instead of just saying, 'My Steppes warrior has barbarian wood and rings armour', you have to specify that he's got leather sleeves, wood breastplate, leather boots, wicker helmet etc. So the complexity gets added elsewhere in the game. The variable dice roll for armour substitutes for 'you hit the weak wicker bit behind the knee'.

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12 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I can certainly feel for that- both as a GM and as a player. One thing about variable armor though is that it does make the game more lethal. In RQ, if you are wearing full plate you know you've got 8 points of protection and that is going to turn most blades,or at least tone then down a bit. In Stormbringer, if you are wearing full plate, worth 1D10+2 protection, you're not so sure if it will stop an attack. And those "3"s on the soak roll probably end up hurting you a lot more than those "12s" help you. 

Hmm, come to thing of it, the thing about the variable armor ratiings in BRP is that they come from Stormbringer (RQ2 era), and preceded the fixed armor table, which came from RQ3. So nor only does the variably AP scroes vary, but the also average less protection than their fixed counterparts. . 

Stormbringer was always intended to be a high lethality game. However I do think a bit more of a bell curve for armour rolls is a better idea.

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2 hours ago, Questbird said:

If you have hit locations, you also have to keep track of exactly what armour covers where. So instead of just saying, 'My Steppes warrior has barbarian wood and rings armour', you have to specify that he's got leather sleeves, wood breastplate, leather boots, wicker helmet etc. So the complexity gets added elsewhere in the game. The variable dice roll for armour substitutes for 'you hit the weak wicker bit behind the knee'.

No no no, that I have. The issue expressed was one of having to roll an extra die for hit location.

In either option an additional die has to be rolled. Either by the attacker (hit location) or the defender (variable die if not using hit locations). Both sides have expressed issues with rolling the extra die.

I've never seen hit locations as a problem, because if I want to speed things up, I roll the d20 for locations at the same time I roll the % for the To Hit roll. And I have also never seen the issue of rolling the armor die in BRP versions that require it ( though I do prefer locations and fixed).

SDLeary

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10 hours ago, Questbird said:

Stormbringer was always intended to be a high lethality game. However I do think a bit more of a bell curve for armour rolls is a better idea.

Yeah, somewhat. I don't believe it was intend to be any more lethal than RQ, except where sorcery was involved. The thing is, SB, along with variable armor evolved from RQ2, where the AP ratings were lower (6 point plate) as well as the damage bonuses (average db was +0, instead of +1d4, since average SIZ was 10-11 not 13). Now, by porting the variable AP scores over from RQ2 into BRP, which uses RQ3 type AP and db scores, the armor ends up a bit underpowered. It's yet another example of how the various rules that have been pulled together into BRP were not designed to work together. 

 

Hmm, ya know, we could do up a variable AP method that incoproates both full suits of armor and piecemeal armor. We could just total up the AP for all the hit locations and use the average to determine the AP die roll. Full example, full 8 point plate over all 7 locations would total 56 points of AP and should give an average protection score of 8, for an die roll of  2D6+1. 

Something like:1(1D3-1) (2) (1D3), 3(1D3+1) , 4(2D3), 5(2D4), 6 (2D4+1),7 (2D6), 8 (2D6+1)

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49 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah, somewhat. I don't believe it was intend to be any more lethal than RQ, except where sorcery was involved. The thing is, SB, along with variable armor evolved from RQ2, where the AP ratings were lower (6 point plate) as well as the damage bonuses (average db was +0, instead of +1d4, since average SIZ was 10-11 not 13). Now, by porting the variable AP scores over from RQ2 into BRP, which uses RQ3 type AP and db scores, the armor ends up a bit underpowered. It's yet another example of how the various rules that have been pulled together into BRP were not designed to work together.

This is not a "rule" but how that rule is parameterised. Variable armour can work perfectly with all other parts of the BGB rules, it is just that Jason or whoever compiled the armour tables must have forgotten a "consistency check" between average die roll and fixed values. Easy to fix with some aimed changes in the table.

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Hmm, ya know, we could do up a variable AP method that incoproates both full suits of armor and piecemeal armor. We could just total up the AP for all the hit locations and use the average to determine the AP die roll. Full example, full 8 point plate over all 7 locations would total 56 points of AP and should give an average protection score of 8, for an die roll of  2D6+1. 

Something like:1(1D3-1) (2) (1D3), 3(1D3+1) , 4(2D3), 5(2D4), 6 (2D4+1),7 (2D6), 8 (2D6+1)

I would find this method extremely unsatisfactory and producing useless complication in play. Basically, here you are taking a flat value that is an abstraction of a whole array of factors and adding a die roll that has the only objective of having that number as its average.

First of all, full suits are a game construct. Among historical armours, the vast majority was made of mixed components - often even within the same location. Averaging the protection number among locations, when that same number is probably the result of an average itself, would add very little to plausibility.

Secondly, there is a lot of study behind the numbers applied. Even in the 1980 edition of RQ, Steve Perrin & friends highlighted that the protection of helms is not relative to their resistance (they are all made of bronze plate), but to the area they cover. Essentially, the value is calculated by crossing the resistance of bronze plate with the chance that the hit lands on it. A similar consideration should be applied to rolled armour, nailing down the following elements:

a. what are the hardest parts of the armour, and what is the chance of hitting them; in 90% of the cases, it is the helmet;

b. what are the weakest parts of the armour, and what is the chance of hitting them; in most cases, there are unarmoured parts;

c. what are the parts of the armour that are prevalent, and whether they leave any gap in the body parts that they cover.

Only when you have all these elements should you try to create a curve that you can later abstract with a die roll. A roll of 2d4 and a roll of 2d6-2 both have the same average, but they represent two different types of armour. And they tell you much more about your armour than a flat "5 AP".

Furthermore, there is no reason to go for mathematical simplicity when the calculation is done entirely in the "campaign design" part of your game. What you must ensure is that you "keep it simple" when rolling in game, not that you consider fewer elements when you are in the stage of deciding which dice to roll.

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I think Hit Locations are almost essential for games like RuneQuest. It's a must-have roll in my combat scenes, unless playing a 'modern' setting like Call of Cthulhu.

I would not mind Armour having a variable dice roll, but at the end of the day a static value may be easier in play.

I do like the Shield rules from Cthulhu 7E Thru The Ages where a successful Shield use is a full block, but if the attacker beats the defender's Parry success level then the Shield has a variable dice roll for calculating damage reduction.

I could easily have static AP for worn armour, and a variable dice roll for using Shields.

Whichever way the next RuneQuest goes, it needs to keep Hit Locations. They are one of the pivotal reasons why the combat scenes feels so tactile. 

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On 1/15/2017 at 9:50 AM, RosenMcStern said:

This is not a "rule" but how that rule is parameterised. Variable armour can work perfectly with all other parts of the BGB rules, it is just that Jason or whoever compiled the armour tables must have forgotten a "consistency check" between average die roll and fixed values. Easy to fix with some aimed changes in the table.

What consistency check? The thing about BRP, good and bad, is that it cobbles together various rules and alternate rules pulled from various Chaosium RPGs, none of which were designed to be used with each other. 

 

Like I said before the variable armor rules came from Strombringer, and it was release back in the RQ2 era. Back then plate armor was worth 6 points of protection, and the average SIZ for a character was 10-11, and thus the average damage bonus was +0. So under those rules having full plate potect 1D10+2 isn't bad. In fact, it makes variable armor  at 7.5 points of protection, somewhat better than the 6 points it was worth in RQ2. But that also made sense considering that the plate is RQ was for a Bronze Age world (Glorantha) while the plate in Strombringer was for a Medieval world (The Young Kingdoms). 

On 1/15/2017 at 9:50 AM, RosenMcStern said:

I would find this method extremely unsatisfactory and producing useless complication in play. Basically, here you are taking a flat value that is an abstraction of a whole array of factors and adding a die roll that has the only objective of having that number as its average.

First of all, full suits are a game construct. Among historical armours, the vast majority was made of mixed components - often even within the same location. Averaging the protection number among locations, when that same number is probably the result of an average itself, would add very little to plausibility.

Yup. Historical suits of armor  were a mix of various types of armor, due to limitations in coverage, protection against certain types of attack, skill of the armor, weight permiitted, cost, materials available and so forth. 

On 1/15/2017 at 9:50 AM, RosenMcStern said:

Secondly, there is a lot of study behind the numbers applied. Even in the 1980 edition of RQ, Steve Perrin & friends highlighted that the protection of helms is not relative to their resistance (they are all made of bronze plate), but to the area they cover. Essentially, the value is calculated by crossing the resistance of bronze plate with the chance that the hit lands on it. A similar consideration should be applied to rolled armour, nailing down the following elements:

a. what are the hardest parts of the armour, and what is the chance of hitting them; in 90% of the cases, it is the helmet;

b. what are the weakest parts of the armour, and what is the chance of hitting them; in most cases, there are unarmoured parts;

c. what are the parts of the armour that are prevalent, and whether they leave any gap in the body parts that they cover.

Only when you have all these elements should you try to create a curve that you can later abstract with a die roll. A roll of 2d4 and a roll of 2d6-2 both have the same average, but they represent two different types of armour. And they tell you much more about your armour than a flat "5 AP".

We'd never have all those elements. Nor did they consider all those elements when designing RQ. For instance, RQ2 used mostly bronze age armor, with arm protection mostly due to "vambraces". Now, if we were to factor in your ABCs above, vambraces wouldn't be worth all those much, since they don't cover very much.

While yes, there is a difference between 2d4 and 2d6-2 the question is are there armors that would fit those parameters in BRP? If there is is would probably be more a matter of coverage than material. I could see 2d6-2 being something like a breastplate, perhaps with armored sleeves of some sort. Very ogg protection when the chest is struck, but with lots of exposed areas. 

On 1/15/2017 at 9:50 AM, RosenMcStern said:

Furthermore, there is no reason to go for mathematical simplicity when the calculation is done entirely in the "campaign design" part of your game. What you must ensure is that you "keep it simple" when rolling in game, not that you consider fewer elements when you are in the stage of deciding which dice to roll.

I agree. At least up to a point. All RPGs simplify things for playability. And all ignore of marginalize certain things even in the design process. For instance, we end up with one armor rating that is used against any and every type of weapon. 

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I personally use fixed armor values and general HP. I allow my players to make a difficult attack to target unarmored areas (if the opponent isn't wearing a helmet) to totally negate the AV or areas where the armor is weaker (if the opponent is fully armored) to reduce the AV by half. 

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10 hours ago, KPhan2121 said:

I personally use fixed armor values and general HP. I allow my players to make a difficult attack to target unarmored areas (if the opponent isn't wearing a helmet) to totally negate the AV or areas where the armor is weaker (if the opponent is fully armored) to reduce the AV by half. 

Very Pendragon-ish.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Variable armour doesn't make sense if you have variable weapon damage. Why else would weapons have a range of damage possibilities if not that they hit more vulnerable spots. 

Choose one or the other, I prefer the attacker finds the weak spot with his roll rather than the defender rolls to see if the attacker hits his weak spot, but that's just me.

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