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  • Armor Conversions

    Just curious if anyone has tried the following two changes to how armor works in FAGE.

    1. Make the armor a variable damage reduction based upon a dice roll. For example, the book has armor ratings from 3 to 10. Has anyone made a 3 armor become a 1d4-1 reduction to damage while a 10 armor is a d10 reduction to damage. I have played a few systems that make use of a variable damage reduction system for armor. I thought it might be a good idea for FAGE. It would still make armor worthwhile, but could also allow the occasional dagger still be effective against high armor opponents.

    2. Convert the armor rules from Modern Age into Fantasy Age. This seems to be an interesting way to do armor. Most of the armor in Modern Age has lower ratings and differentiating between impact and ballistic values would seem to help lower damage weapons to be able to still cause some wounds.

    I really like the 3d6 system of AGE. I just think the hit points and armor of opponents seems to be exaggerated. This seems to make combat become a slog and tedious. The problem with just reducing hit points though is that you still are only doing a few points of damage when an opponent has a high armor class. I know that magic weapons and such could help with this, but what about a low magic setting were all magical weapons and armor are more like artifacts than treasure finds?

  • #2
    Re: Armor Conversions

    Iíve tried reducing all Armor Ratings by 3 and adding +1 DEF. Light Leather becomes +1 DEF 0 AR, Heavy Plate becomes +1 DEF 7 AR.

    - C

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    • #3
      Re: Armor Conversions

      I would not mess with AR in the slightest. It throws a lot of other things out of whack.

      1. Pierce Armor -- Pierce Armor and Mighty Blow cost the same SP. Reducing AR just eliminates the need for that stunt.

      2. Penetrating magic -- would be less effective against lower AR and would be potentially a wasted increase against variable AR.

      3. Speed -- compacting AR values just makes heavier armor less appealing because the Speed penalty stacks up too much RAW.

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      • #4
        Re: Armor Conversions

        Originally posted by shonuff View Post
        I would not mess with AR in the slightest. It throws a lot of other things out of whack.

        1. Pierce Armor -- Pierce Armor and Mighty Blow cost the same SP. Reducing AR just eliminates the need for that stunt.

        2. Penetrating magic -- would be less effective against lower AR and would be potentially a wasted increase against variable AR.

        3. Speed -- compacting AR values just makes heavier armor less appealing because the Speed penalty stacks up too much RAW.
        Then how do you deal with the AR values that far outweigh the possible damage of an attack? Without stunt points, a character could be reduced to being useless. I tried to get the hang of the combat early on by running test combats and two first level characters against two orcs took forever. After the orc armor ratings were applied, damage was minimal. I just can't imagine a campaign where typical humanoid enemies would take six rounds or more to defeat. And that was with 2 on 2! I prefer combat to be deadly and resolved in about 4 or 5 rounds whether it be PC or NPC victory.

        I look at something like a dragon and think that I won't ever be able to use it in a game because the whole session would be the fight with its extremely high AR and massive hit points.

        With these kinds of things combat becomes a like a lumberjack. A slog of chipping away at a huge amount of hit points little by little and taking forever. Which is one of the main reasons I do not like D&D or Pathfinder. I would much prefer combat to be more like a chainsaw. I want it to be exciting and within 4 or 5 rounds determined who the victor will be so I can get on with the story.

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        • #5
          Re: Armor Conversions

          Originally posted by username View Post
          Then how do you deal with the AR values that far outweigh the possible damage of an attack? Without stunt points, a character could be reduced to being useless. I tried to get the hang of the combat early on by running test combats and two first level characters against two orcs took forever. After the orc armor ratings were applied, damage was minimal. I just can't imagine a campaign where typical humanoid enemies would take six rounds or more to defeat. And that was with 2 on 2! I prefer combat to be deadly and resolved in about 4 or 5 rounds whether it be PC or NPC victory.

          I look at something like a dragon and think that I won't ever be able to use it in a game because the whole session would be the fight with its extremely high AR and massive hit points.

          With these kinds of things combat becomes a like a lumberjack. A slog of chipping away at a huge amount of hit points little by little and taking forever. Which is one of the main reasons I do not like D&D or Pathfinder. I would much prefer combat to be more like a chainsaw. I want it to be exciting and within 4 or 5 rounds determined who the victor will be so I can get on with the story.
          I upped the dice pool. 3d10 dramatically reduced the issue of auto hit/fail. Stunts still happened frequently, but there wasn't the issue of stunt paralysis.

          Damage was d10 based, as well. So even with a dagger, there was a chance of doing damage without stunts against heavy armor. Whereas RAW, even a long sword had a decent chance of doing nothing; however a 0 STR long sword 2d10 averages 1 damage against heavy plate.

          So, while stunts are less prevalent, they're also less necessary. A 2H sword with Mighty and Lethal Blow would do 6d10+X, an average of 12 more than with d6s.

          This was balanced with AR focuses (after Defense focuses), which kept some of the balance between Mighty Blow and Pierce Armor. And it allowed for greater build diversification.

          I didn't touch AR or HP, and ended up with a much stronger system imo.

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          • #6
            Re: Armor Conversions

            Here are some rules I use when tweaking game mechanics.

            1 HP = +2 Damage (per-turn)
            I held this assumption for quite a long time until recently. You would think it is one to one except that every attack has a roll. If you say the base attack chance is 50% (TN 11 which has simpler mental math than TN 10 at 62.5%) then a single point of damage will only reduce HP by 0.5.

            1 AR = 1 HP = +2 Damage (per_turn)
            1 AR prevents 1 HP worth of damage. +2 Damage reduces HP by one. With this you can value heavy plate (+10AR in the FAGE rulebook) as an item with +20 damage. By all existing talents and specializations, nothing has that much value. The magic items rules at the end of the rule book have flavour modifiers that +3 armor is a legendary perk.

            Base HP divided by (base damage times base hit) is the number of rounds of combat
            Let's assume base HP for characters is 25 HP. Base damage is 2d6 (7 damage average, min STR 0) and base hit is 50% (TN11). 25 / (7*0.5) = 7.14. That means on average combat in AGE starts at about 7 rounds (on average)

            Lowest value for an ability score is -4
            This equates to the zero or nothing threshold. FAGE some times puts a "-" when an ability doesn't mean anything. -3 is the lowest in the beastiary. Might as well put a number on it.

            Define your ideal combat pace in rounds
            You said that you want 4 or 5 rounds. I personally am settling on the number 4. We will use this in the next example.

            Threat level is a number that helps scale adversary threat
            Let's take the last two points and make a cool equation. The idea is the CON is a driver of the amount of HP. Threat level is another driver of the difficulty of an adversary. A high threat level monster needs a lot of people to take down. Let's say you know the HP of the adversary (180HP for the FAGE dragon). It has 8 CON. I want HP to equal threat level times (CON + 4). The +4 accounts for the ability floor defined earlier. -2 CON is still some CON. Solving for threat level you get 180/(8+4) = 180/12 = 15. A weaker dragon with CON of 1 still has a threat level of 15 (because dragon) but the HP will be 15*(1+4) = 75.

            Factoring AR with base HP
            Using base rounds value of 4, 1 AR for an entire fight prevents up to 4 HP. Therefore in our dragon example the 9 AR would be equivalent to 9*4 = 36 extra HP on top of 180. 216 HP at 8 CON is a threat level of 18.

            Base HP is Base Rounds * Base Damage * Base Hit
            2d6 seems like the base damage in FAGE but what is the base HP then. Picking base rounds at 4, with base hit at 50% then Base HP = rounds * damage * hit = 4 * 7 * 0.5 = 14 HP

            Base Threat is Base HP / Base Rounds
            For the previous example its 14/(0+4) = 3.5.

            Using threat level to balance fights
            Let's say you have that dragon at threat level 18. You would need (roughly) 18 / 3.5 = 5.14 basic players to have an even change at defeating that dragon. At least in terms of HP needed. At the damage level you need to match the 2d6+8. At base damage of 2d6 (15) you need 15/7 = 2.14 people worth of damage.

            Obviously there are a lot of extra details, but this is a solid framework to start theoretically balancing combat encounters. I am getting a lot of good results with these customizations. You can take adversaries out of the books and just recalculate their HP according to your preferred rounds and just use the damage base of 2d6.
            [URL="http://herdingdice.tumblr.com/"]Herding Dice[/URL] - A tumblr where I put things about Adventure Game Engine design.

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            • #7
              Re: Armor Conversions

              While personally I find the problem easier to solve from the Health side of the equation, the simple fact is that most Armour Ratings could serve to drop by a point or two to help speed gameplay.

              The setting I'm designing just cuts out the plate tiers. The maximum AR you can have is AR 7 with mail, with the available options going leather<gambeson<scale<mail. Armour Training is changed (first level is leather and gambeson, second is scale and mail), but the setting is also using a freeform character building method that opens the talent to all.

              Pierce Armour is still a really good Stunt, it's just something you need to look out for. Against anybody not in scale or mail it's better to just use Mighty Blow, and my encounter design throws all ARs at the party at all levels. Big Monsters might still have up to 10AR, but that's to deincentivise players from fighting them directly (at least until they've been weakened or a weakness has been discovered), it's intentional that any direct combat is a slog compared to the faster paced combat against human enemies.

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              • #8
                Re: Armor Conversions

                The Fantasy Age Companion and Modern Age have a few suggestions on combating this issue:

                Decrease the amount of Health NPCs have and how much the PCs gain (make every level only increase Health by Constitution; Gritty Modern Age games have your characters never increase their Health beyond level 1)

                Add 1d6 to all damage rolls

                All creatures add two abilities to damage now (melee adds Strength+Perception to damage, ranged adds Perception+Dexterity)

                Decrease the cost of damage boosting stunts (although this one is offered cautiously, as it can tip scales quickly)

                Add a flat value to all damage rolls (Modern Age adds +2 to all damage rolls for campaigns in Pulpy and Cinematic modes)

                Use Minion Ratings to make enemies easier to take down but otherwise keep their stats unchanged.

                For my home game I am considering adding a simple flat damage bonus based on level (add half your character level to damage)
                If you like the Dragon Age RPG, please consider listening to my podcast:[URL="https://wondersofthedaspodcast.wordpress.com/"] The Wonders of Thedas[/URL]! We discuss classes, backgrounds, GMing techniques, specializations, play styles, and much more!
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                • #9
                  Re: Armor Conversions

                  Originally posted by Kot the Protector View Post
                  Decrease the amount of Health NPCs have and how much the PCs gain (make every level only increase Health by Constitution; Gritty Modern Age games have your characters never increase their Health beyond level 1)
                  If you're playing Dragon Age or other setting with the Heal spell - you might also consider decreasing mana gain in a similar fashion. I've done this in our DA game and it's paying off with the two mages being a little more conservative in who they heal and when (instead of one healing another party member every turn).

                  HP bloat is not just the maximum number of HP going into a battle - it's also about the rate of recovery. Changing armour values is going to change DPS by a few points per action at most... which can be completely negated by the make spending 3MP for 3-18HP per turn (avg. 10hp). If your team can spam that every turn with little to no worries, or the opposition can, it can really drag out the battle.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Armor Conversions

                    A few notes:

                    I would not add 1d6 to all damage, just because that will mess with your scaling. IMO, whatever method you choose has to scale with weapon size.

                    As for MP, I wouldn't reduce it. Mages are mages because they want to cast spells. Upper level spells are expensive, while lower level ones are obsolete. And health recovery is problematic without magic -- the Chiurgy talent heals much more as a minor action (with no real cost). D-AGE has other MP issues, which may transfer over to FAGE: Spell Bloom. Once someone picks that up, you might as well just top off HP/MP after every encounter.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Armor Conversions

                      I would also recommend making use of the subsystems like Hazards, Traps and Poisons, have the enemy NPCs drink some boosting potions when they see trouble coming, or add some parts of the encounter that change as the rounds tick by (wind picking up, elevators adjusting height differences) to keep things exciting and unpredictable.

                      Having two groups of people in a square room will turn into a slugfest almost every time.
                      If you like the Dragon Age RPG, please consider listening to my podcast:[URL="https://wondersofthedaspodcast.wordpress.com/"] The Wonders of Thedas[/URL]! We discuss classes, backgrounds, GMing techniques, specializations, play styles, and much more!
                      You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or [URL="https://soundcloud.com/wondersofthedas"]Soundlcoud[/URL]!

                      If you have a question about the Dragon Age RPG, have custom content you'd like to share with the world, or any other contribution, send a message to [email]wondersofthedaspodcast@gmail.com[/email], or through our [URL="https://www.facebook.com/wondersofthedaspodcast/"]Facebook[/URL], [URL="https://twitter.com/wothedaspodcast"]Twitter[/URL], [URL="https://plus.google.com/u/0/117394385983855213618"]Google+[/URL], or [URL="http://wonderofthedaspodcast.tumblr.com/"]Tumblr [/URL]accounts!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Armor Conversions

                        Penetrating damage is another useful thing to remember.

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