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 Post subject: [d20, D&D 3.5] Armour as Damage Reduction
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:38 pm 
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Here's relatively big idea - please have a look and let me know what you think.
I'm not confident I have assigned the protection types of the armour very well - my common sense approach may be wrong to someone with more hands-on or academic experience in fighting - so please make counter suggestions!


The normal d20 game (D&D, d20 modern, etc) deals with the idea that armour makes you harder to damage by effectively increasing the difficulty of scoring a good hit on an armoured target: armour simply increases the number needed to hit. It's a bit simple, and doesn't take into account the many different weapons and armour combinations that exist.

The OGLproduct Unearthed Arcana included rules for treating armour as damage reduction (DR) - wearing armour gives you some bonus to defence, but also reduces the amount of damage you take. Typically, the armour bonus of the armour (from padded armour's +1 to plate mail's +9) is evenly split between AC bonus and DR. Characters get hit more often, but they take a little less damamge each time.

Now, one of the early ideas that disappeared between editions of D&D was that different weapons had advantages over different armour types. Chain mail affords less protection against a mace than it does against a sword, because it flexes with the blunt blow, for example.
This is especially relevant to modern armours - a kevlar vest that can stop or reduce the penetration of a bullet is next to uselss against knives.
I thought it might be interesting to work on a system that deals with this, using the Armour is Damage Reduction variant from Unearthed Arcana. Damage in D&D and d20 systems is already classified according to the type of weapon or magic you are using, so it only remains to decide which armour deals with what kind of damage best.

I came up with this list of protection types.
  • acid (abbr: Ad) - Material resistant to acids, alkalis, etc, e.g.: hazmat suit
  • ballistic (abbr: Ba) - A mesh or gel or other high-speed impact spreading material, e.g.: flak vest
  • bludgeoning (abbr: Bl) - Padding, often with a tough outer material, e.g.: sports armour
  • energy (abbr: En) - Insulation against fire or cold damage, e.g. fire-fighter's suit
  • piercing (abbr: Pr) - Tough protection, resilient to low energy sharp penetration, e.g.: chain links
  • slashing (abbr: Sl) - Tough material resistent to cuts, e.g.: chain links
  • Add 1/2 DR against damage of the listed protection types (minimum 1).

My proposal is to match these up with the existing armour in d20 games, and give a bonus to the DR against that type of attack.
The d20 modern game gives characters a defence bonus each level ("defense" in their US English).

I'll use that system (also presented as a variant rule in Unearthed Arcana) to let characters get better at not being hit as they get more experienced. With that in mind, I've lowered the defence bonuses granted by armour in the table below.























ArmourDefenceDRprotection type
None00none
Padded01/-2/- vs Bl
Leather01/-2/- vs Sl
Studded leather11/-2/- vs Sl
Chain shirt12/-3/- vs Sl
Hide11/-2/- vs Bl
Scale mail12/-3/- vs Sl
Chainmail22/-3/- vs Sl
Breastplate22/-3/- vs Sl
Splint mail23/-4/- vs Sl
Banded mail23/-4/- vs Sl
Half-plate33/-4/- vs Sl
Full plate34/-6/- vs Sl
Leather jacket01/-2/- vs Sl
Light undercover shirt01/-2/- vs Ba
Pull-up pouch vest01/-2/- vs Ba
Undercover vest11/-2/- vs Ba
Concealable vest12/-3/- vs Ba
Light-duty vest22/-3/- vs Ba
Tactical vest23/-4/- vs Ba
Special response vest33/-4/- vs Ba + Bl
Forced entry unit44/-6/- vs Ba + Bl


Layering armour
Light armour and medium can be worn in layers. The DR stacks. Use the outer layer's protection type & Defence. Increase the weight type by one step from the heavier armour (light to medium, medium to heavy, etc). Check penalties stack.

Armour piercing rounds
Ammunition can be made to cut through armour more efficiently.
This is achieved at the expense of some damage. Use next lower die type for damage. Change ballistic damage to piercing. Ammunition that is already piercing reduces DR of armour by low average of (new, reduced) die type.
Crafting armour piercing ammunition takes a DC20 check, and materials costing 10gp (or +1 purchase DC) per damage die more than usual.

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Last edited by Altair-the-Vexed on Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:13 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [d20, D&D 3.5] Armour as Damage Reduction
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:56 pm 
I'm confused by your wording - Chain shirt offers DR 2 vs. everything and DR 3 vs. slashing, or DR1 vs. everything and DR2 vs. slashing?


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 Post subject: Re: [d20, D&D 3.5] Armour as Damage Reduction
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:48 am 
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Daremonai wrote:
I'm confused by your wording - Chain shirt offers DR 2 vs. everything and DR 3 vs. slashing, or DR1 vs. everything and DR2 vs. slashing?

Chain shirt is 1/- vs most attacks, but 2/- vs slashing weapons.

If this forum could handle tables, I'd add in a column to show the best protection along side the ordinary protection...

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 Post subject: Re: [d20, D&D 3.5] Armour as Damage Reduction
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:06 am 
Fair enough. I'll need a bit of time to work through the numbers, but in the meantime:

If a chain shirt offers DR1/- and DR2/Slashing, what does a chain shirt +n offer?


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 Post subject: Re: [d20, D&D 3.5] Armour as Damage Reduction
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:12 am 
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Altair-the-Vexed wrote:
If this forum could handle tables, I'd add in a column to show the best protection along side the ordinary protection...


Who says it can't...

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 Post subject: Re: [d20, D&D 3.5] Armour as Damage Reduction
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:56 am 
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Daremonai wrote:
If a chain shirt offers DR1/- and DR2/Slashing, what does a chain shirt +n offer?

Enhanced armour grants +n to AC (or Defence in other d20 versions).

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