02 November 2018

On Armor as Damage Reduction in DnD


I'm a medieval weapon nerd. I used to regularly do HEMA and can technically instruct folks in longsword, pollaxe, dagger, and ringen, in and out of harness. But I'm out of practice and as I learned more I realized that trying to make D&D model it 'perfectly' was chasing the dragon. Especially in light of the range of interpretations and focuses within HEMA alone. Once you add in decades of warped popular expectations, larpers, and the SCA, everybody has different opinions on what is "correct."

Combat isn't like diplomancing or seductifying. We don't have much firsthand experience with medieval combat, even those of us who do shit like hit each other with things in armor. Every form of medieval "combat" practiced today is to more and less degrees an approximation.
Anyways, halfswording is actually what started dragging me back into D&D armor as AC is A-Ok with me. You're trying to stab someone in gaps with a 3ft needle because armor, bizarrely, makes it hard to batter through in a "I would like you to die" way.

At one time I thought about both making armor as dr and including a feat similar to weapon finesse that allowed you to ignore the dr with piercing weapons with the downside of having to beat full AC.
I said to myself "this is too much. You're adding dr, then adding a way to ignore dr so you still have to track both ac and dr." This was 2006-7 3.5 era. I did use the armor as partial dr rules from Unearthed Arcana, and watched the PCs mow through NPCs at first level. Which is great if that is what you want.

It looks like I also tried armor as DR again in 2014, but it must have been fruitless or I would remember it.

The combat round is long enough, even 6 seconds is a long time in a fight, and the system is so coarse that folding the protectiveness of armor with increasing hit points and ability score modifiers together as armor class works out. This isn't a roll for each discrete blow, parry, and riposte, even if many folks describe it thusly, system.
If you don't like the way D&D does things either change it or change games, but fucking shut up about how D&D 'should' do things.


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