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Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6245 Posts


Question of the Week

New weekly feature try out - The question of the week.

So which do you prefer in an RPG? Armour is used to heighten the defence to which opponents attack against or Armour as "Soak" or subtracted from the damage after the hit has been made?

Discuss....


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 08:44:56.

Pit F(r)iend
Welcome Waggin'
Karma: 115/3
1245 Posts


Hmm.

For me, it depends on the style of combat involved. Certainly in a "Space Marine" RPG wherein all deployed weapons could inflict crippling or lethal damage, the "Soak" school of thought makes more sense, especially if the damage reduction value itself reduces with successive hits to reflect damage to the armour itself. Otherwise, say in a more traditional high-fantasy game, the first one (and the one I'm much more familiar with) makes sense to use.


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 09:15:52.

Pit F(r)iend
Welcome Waggin'
Karma: 115/3
1245 Posts


. . .and then

Regardless of choice, both Soak and um (Not-Soak?) need the appropriate scheme of adjustments and other considerations to balance the gameplay. Again, going back to the well, I'm talking about Check Penalties, Max Dex/Agility Bonus and the like. If armour was only a number, you'd have Thieves wearing full plate, dogs and cats living together. . .mass hysteria.


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 09:23:23.

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 347/54
6186 Posts


well

I'm most used to the D&D/D20 style of armor making it harder to hit you. Realistically, soak makes way more sense.

If I'm wearing heavy armor, I'll get hit MORE often, but odds are, a high percentage of the blows will just slide off.


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 09:39:47.

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 448/28
7347 Posts


Gotta go with soak...

...because, as both Olan and Big Red have said, it just makes more sense. Armor doesn't make you harder to hit... that's just not how it works!!!


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 10:28:39.

Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6245 Posts


soak

I was first introduced to the concept of soak in Ars Magica. I liked the idea but it was not well done in that game. Now I am designing a short tabletop adventure for the Titansgrave/Fantasy AGE system and the concept is built into the combat. Yes, armour does not make you less likely to be hit, but does making it harder to hurt you.


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 11:03:35.

Impulse
Resident
Karma: 12/1
494 Posts


..

It's really a toss up for me. I like armour class because it's nice and easy to describe when you hit or miss but soak can be more involving for the players. In vampire the masquerade, attacker rolls attack, if it hits then the defender rolls soak dice. In my opinion, the players are more active with soak so I like that aspect more


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 11:32:10.

Schnozzle
Ma' Nozzle
Karma: 36/0
653 Posts


...

The way I like to play armor is closer to the D&D version with a slight modification. Really it's just a narrative difference, but I prefer as follows:

If you roll under base AC (usually 10), it's a complete miss and the attacker's fault for missing.

If you roll above 10 but less than touch AC, the enemy has dodged the attack.

If you roll above touch but below AC, your attack strikes the armor and does no damage.




Posted on 2016-04-08 at 11:51:43.

Shield Wolf
Alpha Beard
Karma: 49/2
1066 Posts


AC

I like to think that the "soak" mechanic is built into the standard AC of d20 systems, just more behind the scenes. I know that generally it is translated as a higher AC makes you harder to hit, but I think it's more that the higher AC from heavy armor reflects the fact that while you may still have been hit, it simply was not hard enough to hurt you. Whether that be the armor soaking up the damage, a glancing blow, or even just a hard miss.

Obviously with light armor and a high Dex mod it is easy to imagine the Rogue, Ranger, Monk, whatever, as simply dodging, sidestepping, or just plain lucky. But I picture the full plate clad Fighter or Paladin as more just shrugging off the hits thanks to being wrapped in steel, or even just deflecting the blow with a shield or parry with their weapon.

Unearthed Arcana did present alternate rules wherein armor provided DR rather than static AC, so while you were getting hit, the heavier armor simply meant the armor ate part of the damage before it impacted you. I'll have to pull the book off the shelf and take a look for more specifics.


So checking the book it seems the armor bonus for most armor was lowered, while adding DR to the character. Padded Armor for instance offers 1 AC and no DR, it just isn't going to soak up damage like a nice cured leather of piece of steel. Full plate, by contrast, offers 4 AC and DR 4/-. The DR is not changed by enchantments to the armor, shields do not add DR, and there are even rules for how much DR would be provided by Natural Armor. It even goes so far as to point out how at low levels this is a huge advantage to the player, as medium armor alone can typically negate the average damage of a low level foe such as a Goblin, but gradually the advantage swings to monsters, as their damage output increases the 2-4 points of DR means little in the face of a Stone Giant's club for instance, and with lower AC the Giant is more likely to hit you.


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 12:05:11.
Edited on 2016-04-08 at 12:19:07 by Shield Wolf

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 347/54
6186 Posts


heh

That makes great sense, Schnozzle.


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 12:14:45.

Shield Wolf
Alpha Beard
Karma: 49/2
1066 Posts


another alternative...

Unearthed Arcana also presents an alternate armor rule known as Damage Conversion, wherein the armor bonus instead converts that much lethal damage into non-lethal damage. So a Fighter in Full plate, which iirc is +8 AC, when taking say 12 points of lethal damage would instead take 8 points of non-lethal damage and 4 points of lethal damage. Large amounts of non-lethal damage then could end up leading to said fighter falling unconscious, which more realistically represent how exhausting it must be to fight, and take a beating, while wrapped entirely in heavy steel.


Posted on 2016-04-08 at 12:25:31.

Sibelius Eos Owm
A Midsummer Knight
Karma: 59/5
1376 Posts


Ambi

I could go either way depending on the system. I definitely subscribe to the philosophy that Full Plate AC does not make you harder to hit, just harder for any hit to hurt. Kyrie, the paladin in my ongoing (semi-hiatus) Kingmaker game regularly gets hit like a train and just grits through the blow. Of course, she usually has a decent deflection modifier going with it, so she is harder to hit also.

Of course, on that note, I also run hit points as an abstraction, so that also strongly affects my descriptions of combat. When you have 110 hit points and are struck by a summoned comet for 38, the reason why you're still standing where a lower level adventurer would be a pair of smoking boots is not so much because you're too strong for comets to hurt anymore, but you have the experience, training, and endurance to avoid taking the blow head-on.


Posted on 2016-04-09 at 22:59:56.

Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6245 Posts


note

Question of the week will become a regular feature on the inn (mondays will be the Target date), adjoined with the Facebook group of Friends of Red Dragon Inn. So if you have a question you'd like posted - send it to me either by pm, email or facebook messenger.



Posted on 2016-04-13 at 11:37:27.

Schnozzle
Ma' Nozzle
Karma: 36/0
653 Posts


...

I just want to say, this particular question was very helpful to me. I realized the answer I gave was the ideal I held but I rarely stuck to it, and I've affected a positive change in my style because of it.


Posted on 2016-04-13 at 13:14:06.

Coatlcua
Newbie
Karma: 0/0
2 Posts


Soak

My first RPG was Edge of the Empire, so for some reason soak has a place in my heart.


Posted on 2017-11-14 at 08:49:53.

   
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