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Thread: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

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    Keeper of Secrets Icarus's Avatar
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    Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    A couple of years ago I was playing around with some ideas for the d20 system (5th edition) and I wrote a system where proficiency with armor and weapons was ability score-based instead of class based. This was for a game with only three generic classes (just like Dragon Age) and low magic. Of course, those of you who played Dragon Age: Origins know that any class can use any armor/shield/weapon, as long as you have the minimum ability score.

    In my d20 game, it went like this:
    ~ You need a minimum in STR and/or DEX to use a weapon without penalties.
    ~ Melee weapons require STR, ranged weapons require DEX
    ~ If the weapon has the Finesse quality, it requires DEX (primary) and STR (secondary)
    ~ A few weapons require both STR and DEX, but the 'secondary' ability has a requisite 4 points lower than the primary.
    ~ Requisite abilities:
    ~~~ d4 weapons: Ability Score 9 or more
    ~~~ d6 weapons: Ability Score 11 or more
    ~~~ d8/d10 weapons: Ability Score 13 or more
    ~~~ 2d6/d12 weapons: Ability Score 15 or more
    Example: a dagger (d4) needs Str 5 and Dex 9, a longsword (d8/d10) needs Str 13, a shortbow needs Dex 11 and so on.
    For armor, I simply put a Str requisite for all of them (from Str 9 to padded leather to Str 15 for plate).

    So, I was thinking. For a more "DA:O" feeling, what would you guys think about this same rule for the Dragon Age: RPG? How would you do it? Here's my take on it. I'd love to hear yours.

    DA:RGP Str/Dex required ability none (-): fist, gauntlet, improvised weapon, etc.
    DA:RPG Str/Dex required ability 0: any weapon below 1d6 damage
    DA:RPG Str/Dex required ability 1: any 1d6 weapon
    DA:RPG Str/Dex required ability 2: any 2d6 weapon
    DA:RPG Str/Dex required ability 3: any 3d6 weapon
    DA:RPG Str/Dex required ability +0: weapons with a +1 or +2 bonus to damage.
    DA:RPG Str/Dex required ability +1: weapons with a +3 bonus to damage.
    "Finesse" weapons require Dex and Str (at -2 requisite).
    Example: a longsword (2d6 damage) requires Str 2, a shortsword (1d6+2 damage) or a dagger (1d6+1 damage) require Dex 1 and Str -1, a two-handed sword (3d6 damage) requires Str 3, a crossbow (2d6+1 damage) requires Dex 2 and Str 0 and so on.

    Oh, just to warn you. In the game, more powerful weapons and armor actually require HIGHER (not lower) stats... So the same would happen here.

    I know this is really raw. Ideas?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Re: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    This sounds like a lot of extra stuff - just to end up with a system that doesn't really change the current situation, that is: weapon requirements are irrelevant. No Warrior is going to start the game below STR 3. By level 4 he'll most likely have STR 5. Or, if he really wants fast CON increase for more hp, the STR of 5 will have to wait until lvl 6. What it means is that the only people affected by the new rules would be NPCs that (at least for basic mooks) tend to be built in a way suggesting that 3 signifies quite a lot of strength.

    Similarly to Warriors and STR considerations, once again: rogues are extremely unlikely to ever fail at meeting the requirement... well, maybe some archers could have a problem with some super-crossbows. But then again - do we REALLY want to disadvantage crossbow users further? The weapon already has a BIG problem of requiring an actiion to reload (even with Talent), limiting combat options... seeing how realistically crossbow is also the weapon that doesn't rely on STR for stopping power (unlike real life bows)....


    Basically, I really don't think it's worth it - the changes probably wouldn't even be noticed in most cases.

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    Keeper of Secrets Icarus's Avatar
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    Re: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    Quote Originally Posted by eliastion View Post
    This sounds like a lot of extra stuff (...) Basically, I really don't think it's worth it - the changes probably wouldn't even be noticed in most cases.
    Thanks for the reply.

    Ok, but did you notice the idea of allowing any weapon/armor through any class?

    But if it's to be done, how would you do it?

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    Re: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    Any class already can use any Armor.

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    Re: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    Quote Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
    Thanks for the reply.

    Ok, but did you notice the idea of allowing any weapon/armor through any class?

    But if it's to be done, how would you do it?
    But the changes you described in no way address the class-related restrictions. DAGE does NOT restrict weapons (or armor) to classes. Weapon groups and Talents are restricted (effectively making some weapons unavailable through making them terribly ineffective) - but not the equipment itself.
    Either way, you have not introduced anything affecting the restrictions in question. No new mechanics letting classes (other than warrior) pick up additional weapon groups. Neither did you explicitly propose dropping the whole DAGE weapon group mechanics (with or without some kind of compensation for warriors). The same holds true for related Talents - you didn't make weapon+shield or armor Talents available to other classes. Perhaps you wanted to, but the rules you described don't do that, all the class restrictions are just as strong (or as weak) as ever.
    Last edited by eliastion; 08-12-2017 at 08:26 AM.

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    Re: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    Quote Originally Posted by eliastion View Post
    But the changes you described in no way address the class-related restrictions. DAGE does NOT restrict weapons (or armor) to classes. Weapon groups and Talents are restricted (effectively making some weapons unavailable) - but not the equipment itself.
    Either way, you have not introduced anything affecting the restrictions in question. No new mechanics letting classes (other than warrior) pick up additional weapon groups. Neither did you explicitly propose dropping the whole DAGE weapon group mechanics (with or without some kind of compensation for warriors). The same holds true for related Talents - you didn't make weapon+shield or armor Talents available to other classes. Perhaps you wanted to, but the rules you described don't do that, all the class restrictions are just as strong (or as weak) as ever.
    I think the implication was that weapon groups would be done away with in exchange for the increased requirements. Maybe.

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    Re: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    Quote Originally Posted by shonuff View Post
    I think the implication was that weapon groups would be done away with in exchange for the increased requirements. Maybe.
    Well, that would certainly be too big of a change to make it implicitly... And does that apply to Talent restrictions too?

    If you want to do something like that, you certainly need to explicitly state it. Especially considering what it does to class balance. Imagine a melee Rogue (most certainly having STR 2) and then goes around backstabbing people with a 2-handed maul... Not to mention that a melee-oriented Rogue could just focus on STR to begin with. And if Talents are also freed from class restriction - imagine that rogue backstabbing people with 2-handed maul while sporting master in 2-hander Talent.

    Now, I have a picture in my mind - a high level STR 5 Assassin-Duelist Rogue with 2-handed maul trying to backstab someone and rolling 4 SP, thus getting
    - #1 backstab for penetrating 5d6+8 (pierce armor improved by Duelist's Master + mighty blow - both for 1 CP each because rogues are good at piercing armor and 2-hander style improves mighty blow)
    - #2 backstab for 4d6+8 (due to perforate for 2 SP)
    The Rogue in question also re-rolls any of the above if the damage rolls happens to go badly (with that many dice it's very unlikely to get two poor rolls since the more dice you have, the less randomness in the overal result).

    That's one lore-friendly duelist-assassin

    PS: The calculations, of course, don't account for any magic or special gear that could further improve the performance.
    Last edited by eliastion; 08-12-2017 at 09:18 AM.

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    Keeper of Secrets Icarus's Avatar
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    Re: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    Quote Originally Posted by shonuff View Post
    I think the implication was that weapon groups would be done away with in exchange for the increased requirements. Maybe.
    Exactly. If you use this variant, you don't get penalties for using weapons you don't have the group.

    Talents wouldn't be freed from class requirements, just as in the game.

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    Re: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    Quote Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
    Exactly. If you use this variant, you don't get penalties for using weapons you don't have the group.

    Talents wouldn't be freed from class requirements, just as in the game.
    These are things you should've explicitly stated.

    This version does, indeed, change things - for the worse, though. The requirements (depending on the values you assign to them) basically have two options:
    1. You exclude most people who SHOULD be able to use certain weapons (average NPC soldiers, especially these encountered at lower character levels, wouldn't have more than 3 STR)
    2. Every PC remotely interested in melee combat is going to be able to use pretty much any weapon (even melee rogues don't go below STR 4 after a couple levels).
    What you get is rogues backstabbing people with 2-handed weapons or at the very least: with the biggest sword they can hold in one hand to still benefit from some Talents available for them (dual wielding or single weapon).

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    Re: Ability score-based armor and weapon groups

    Quote Originally Posted by eliastion View Post
    Well, that would certainly be too big of a change to make it implicitly... And does that apply to Talent restrictions too?

    If you want to do something like that, you certainly need to explicitly state it. Especially considering what it does to class balance. Imagine a melee Rogue (most certainly having STR 2) and then goes around backstabbing people with a 2-handed maul... Not to mention that a melee-oriented Rogue could just focus on STR to begin with. And if Talents are also freed from class restriction - imagine that rogue backstabbing people with 2-handed maul while sporting master in 2-hander Talent.

    Now, I have a picture in my mind - a high level STR 5 Assassin-Duelist Rogue with 2-handed maul trying to backstab someone and rolling 4 SP, thus getting
    - #1 backstab for penetrating 5d6+8 (pierce armor improved by Duelist's Master + mighty blow - both for 1 CP each because rogues are good at piercing armor and 2-hander style improves mighty blow)
    - #2 backstab for 4d6+8 (due to perforate for 2 SP)
    The Rogue in question also re-rolls any of the above if the damage rolls happens to go badly (with that many dice it's very unlikely to get two poor rolls since the more dice you have, the less randomness in the overal result).

    That's one lore-friendly duelist-assassin

    PS: The calculations, of course, don't account for any magic or special gear that could further improve the performance.
    I'm not arguing for it, mainly because of the same reasons you suggest. However, the one point where I would disagree is the master level of the 2H talent... the more dice you're throwing, the closer to the average you're probably going to be, so that level of the talent would have less value.

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