Sunday, April 13, 2014

Armor Stats

OK - In Legend Quest, armor blocks damage, not attacks. In order to do damage, you have to hit the target and then do enough damage to get past their armor (called the Damage Absorption Rating - DAR). So how does it work? I have had the argument with many folks that armor isn’t strong enough. This is because it takes skill levels to wear armor, otherwise it slows you down, making you easier to hit. But let’s work through the math:

Standard soldier is walking around in chain mail. The DAR is 3, 2 vs. piercing weapons. Well, let’s put him up against a standard bow - a regular weapon for bandits and other enemies a standard soldier might face. A bow does 1-10 damage, so average 5.5. So chain mail blocks 2 out of an average 5.5 or 36%. That’s not so bad. Assuming our soldier had 36 Life’s Blood (higher than average but normal for a soldier), then with chain mail he could survive 10 average arrow hits, while his unarmored friend could only survive 6, dying on the seventh. I think that’s pretty important.

Just for grins, let’s consider the chain mail soldier against a claymore swinging barbarian. OK - claymore (two-handed sword) does 2-20 damage. The chain mail blocks 3. So average of 11 damage or 8 to the soldier. Here the armored soldier dies on the 5th attack, where the unarmored guy sees heaven on the 4th. One more attack. Is that a big deal? Maybe, but my point really is that modest armor (and chain mail is modest compared to the heavier stuff) is great for moderate combatants, but high level adventurers either need to invest in some heavy armor or rely on something other than their chain mail to protect them. Still - Our average soldier may not be able to stand up to a high level adventurer with a magical sword, but was he supposed to?

OK - admission time: The original intent was that even though the chain mail blocks 2 points of damage, that for example, if a bow did 3 points of damage to a target wearing chain mail, it is unlikely that the arrow actually made it through the mail. Instead of piercing the mail and drawing blood, it most likely left a small bruise under the mail, but never actually touched the skin. Now when using poisons, we typically say you must “breech” the armor in order to cause poison damage, so that third point will carry poison through, but this is more of an ease of gaming issue. I plan to add an optional rule (if I ever actually publish them) by which for poison to carry through, you would need to do double the DAR in order to have the poison be effective for exactly this reason. As an optional rule, it will slow down the game while the player and GM determine what damage was done to the armor and the person and if the damage was in fact double the DAR, etc. Optional rules = more math!


  1. I got to thinking after reading your article and tried to think like you would for a moment to reason all of this through; its great; the way you want to deal with armor and damage and make it straightforward and logical.
    But then it hit me...a BE thought --- a poison dart or arrow plunging through, say, leather armour with padding beneath; all under a chain shirt; okay, so, the dart would lose its poison if it went through leather, or 99% of it anyway. So in this way, it would be very hard to aim at any exposed flesh and hit the dart into the skin without going through leather, which, when thick and tough, would wipe the dart clean. The exception would be a specially designed dart or bolt with indented pits for more poison, but even then I think most would be lot on impact with the armor through the shock of hitting it, or the wiping effect of a dense leather and thick lambswool padding.

    So, does that make sense; excepting a critical hit, a leather foundation in your armour layers negates the effectiveness of poison by dart, arrow, spear or even blade; and trying to "get by" and strike between joints or exposed skin would generate some pretty negatives modifiers I would think...but what do you think about it--- where would your numbers be in this case?

  2. You are definitely thinking along the right path - especially with arrows specifically designed to hold poison. I normally assume that they wear fabric under their chain mail, not leather, but the effect would be similar. Not sure I agree with 99% lost, but definitely an issue. Big surprise - I typically figure out what the poisons are like, and most of them are more tar-like, because of the issues that you mention. In the end - It comes down to called shots - another optional rule that adds more math. Also - poison is slow to apply and really only works for folks who attack like snipers or assassins. Thanks for continuing to check in with us!

    1. Yes, I get your meaning; called shots would be better for an assassin or sniper. Thanks for weighing in; My GM and I are including more LQ in our house game system, and have been focusing on chases; skill use / ability / good roleplaying and idea modifiers, because my character usually talks her way out of situations or ends up running. DnD / PFRPG makes this difficult. Also the classless system is very appropriate for my rogue / mage / fighter / extra? type of character, who I made weak in power but make up for with intelligent roleplaying and problem solving. I check in every day to see if you've posted; this is the best, most versatile and certainly the most engaging RPG blog; and I think I'm safe to say this here *checks behind back* that Pathfinder has turned into exactly what it was meant to end; hundreds of titles and releases and fluff...but nothing in the way of the insights offered both in LQ and this blog. My GM and I have played the same world (our own) and stopped opening books for 15 years now...except to scour supplements, let the fluff sink in and regurgitate in our own style.
      Details can be simple. You understand this; and they are incredibly helpful when playing for the long haul, especially in a two person gaming environment - its very collaborative. I feel like that sort of gaming is being replaced by "video games in your head" that I see in WotC and PFRPG.

      Than ks for blogging and interacting and encouraging. Cheers.

  3. I like the "video games in your head"! I see it similarly - can't anyone just attack anymore without using some specialized "power"? As always - I will blame games that are just combat systems, but you knew I'd go there.