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Chuck and Mike have thrown a few good comments my way that I’ve been pondering a bit since my last Starting Over… article, so I thought I’d address them before moving on…
A couple of things came to light, including:
Fair enough on both parts. Since we’re going for light, quick, and playable, we want something straightforward to use and evidently the whole Quality of Success vs. Quality of Failure argument doesn’t hold much water (or holds water, but seems to be full of holes like a sieve)…
So to answer both questions a bit, it comes down to something like the old Armor Class idea for D&D. Not only does the armor have a certain value, but the PC‘s ability to move and dodge out of the way comes into play as well.
Chuck, you mentioned a static defense of something like (Attribute + Skill)/2.
How about if I counter the argument and say that it’s (Body + Armor’s Absorption Rate)/2. For example, a Chain suit has an AR of 6, vs. Leather armor has an AR of 3. Armor in the MARPG system is broken into a couple of broad categories – how much damage can it absorb from a single blow before you go through to hit points (HP) and how many total points of damage the armor can take before it’s useless.
If a character with a Body of 8 is wearing Chain, it would deflect (8 + 6) / 2 = 7 points of damage by default. If the same character is wearing Leather, it would deflect (8 + 3) / 2 = 5.5 = 6 (always round up) points of damage.
That doesn’t seem right, does it?
Though a character with less Body would get hurt more quickly, even in Chain. Let’s take a character with a Body of 4. In Chain, he’d deflect (4 + 6) / 2 = 5 points and in Leather he’d deflect (4 + 3) / 2 = 3.5 = 4 points. Obviously the wimpier character would die more quickly.
The question then becomes a matter of where does the damage go… If the armor, say Chain, can absorb 48 points of damage 6 points at a time, an opponent swinging a mean axe doing 10 points a swing will do 6 points to armor each hit and 4 points to Hit Points. Ouch. It gets worse for the poor slob in Leather (absorption rate of 3) with the lower Body score. It would be 3 points going to armor and the remaining 7 going to HP. He wouldn’t be long for this world.
Should combat be this vicious? I tend to think yes. It makes characters think twice about getting into combat without preparation and backup.
And characters can also actively parry with a weapon or shield to avoid damage all together. For example, if our buff Chain-mail wearing character has a long sword and a shield, he can attack with the long sword and parry with the shield doing an opposed roll.
Ok, this is starting to sound better. Active vs. Passive Defense. Coolio.