Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Of Armor and Weapons

I've wanted for some time to create a stronger difference between unarmored/unarmed characters and their armored/armed foes. A +1 difference between the character wearing leather armor vs. no armor, or the character wielding a dagger vs. no weapon at all, has been too thin in previous incarnations of the game. I've come up with a solution I quite like, but I need to play test this to see how much of a killer this is (because I KNOW it's going to be a killer)...

With no (or insufficient) armor/weapons ability ratings, you default to D6 instead of D12 for damage or soak rolls. This means that your poor magician who has neither armor nor weapons abilities is walking around soaking D6 damage, and dealing D6+1 with that dagger he picked up and swings around (although he has no idea what he's doing), while the town guard with only armor +1 and weapons +1 gets to soak D12+1 wounds with his serviceable suit of leather armor and deals D12+1 wounds with his club. He lays the physical beat down on the magician.

I don't want to increase the complexity of the game too much for no good reason, but I also want to make sure I don't have magicians walking around in Cavarian Plate Mail +6 simply because D6+6 to soak is much better than D6 unmodified. Here are two solutions...

First of all, I could add a might requirement for armor; you must have both the armor rating and the might rating of the suit in order to wear it. This becomes somewhat problematic and limiting at higher levels, and it also bogs the game down a bit.

Secondly, I could add an armor spell for magicians (and their rogue friends) that effectively replicates leather armor +1; you cast the spell, and get to roll D12+1 to soak the next consecutive strikes that hit you, up to your rating. With arcane bolt +5, you would soak D12+1 vs. 5 consecutive strikes after casting your mage's armor spell.

I'm hesitant to have a 'no armor for magicians' rule, although I could see this as a limitation (granting 2 CPs) that most magicians would willingly pick up; your order precludes you from wearing armor.

A simple fix for this also is to say that any armor or weapon rated +3 or more beyond your ability cannot possibly be used by you... so with armor +1, you can wear leather +1 (soaking D12+1), studded +2 (soaking D6+2), chain +3 (soaking D6+3), but scale +4 or greater is beyond your ability to even try; it's too heavy, too bulky, and too awkward for you right now to continue to do the other things you do well. This steps out the abilities a little bit, is easy enough to remember, and feels more intuitive.