13 May 2013

Critical Hits Revisited

I really like the crit system I have for Spells and Steel - getting a crit means you've gotten an advantage in close combat that will let you do something nifty, like disarm, throw, or hold the enemy.

But I'm moving away from the idea of Fortitude checks at the moment, and away from armour as damage reduction.

With that in mind, I think I'm leaning towards exploding damage dice in addition to the existing system.

A roll of 6 on your damage die means you get to roll another damage die - keep rolling as long as you get 6's!

Your first roll goes to the foe's Armour HP, and the second and subsequent rolls go to the foe's normal HP.

10 May 2013

Idea: Armour HP

Instead of reducing damage or making you harder to hit, what if armour had its own HP?

Any non-critical hits would first be taken from the armour's HP. Crits do two dice of damage - one to armour, one to the character's HP. I've been thinking recently about having two kinds of crits - one for 20's on d20, and one for 6's on damage dice, so this would be for rolling max damage. More on this in a later post...

Just like a character, the armour would be able to be "healed" - but in the case of armour, it would require time and tools.

This would give an advantage to the lighter armours - as the armour gets heavier, so does the repair kit! At the high end, you're not going to be making much in the way of repairs to your plate without a set of hammers and an anvil - hardly typical adventuring gear!

Thinking out loud here, but let's toss some numbers together:

Armour as HP

Armour HP
Repair time (max HP without proper tools)
Tools Required
Max HP with lighter tools
3 hours
Scissor, needles, thimble, strong thread
3 hours
Sharp knife, scissors, heavy needles, awl, thimble, strong thread
24 hours
As Cloth, plus:
Wire, wooden core, wire cutters, pliers
(Optional - mechanical wire winder, specialised pliers and snips, premade rings and rivets)
Plate and Chain
48 hours
All of the above, plus:
Several hammers, heavy snips, steel plate, files, anvil
(Optional: spare plates, straps, buckles, etc., planishing stakes, dishing stump)


Without proper tools, you can't repair the armour.

If you have the proper tools for a lighter armour (i.e. have Cloth tools but Chain armour), you can repair the armour to the level shown in the last column.

If you have the optional tools, knock 25% off the time.

All of these times are for field repairs - expedient, but probably not pretty.

Unbalanced Weapons

Unbalanced weapons would always do 1 point to the character's HP, even on non-critical hits.


I thought of this after re-reading this post on Untimately:

8 May 2013

The 0-Level Man-at-arms

For some reason, D&D has gotten it into its head that men-at-arms would be 0-level. This trope dates back pretty far, and is taken as canon by many.

Let's examine this for a minute, though.

The historical term "man-at-arms" was used to denote a professional cavalryman in full armour. Knights would be an example of a man-at-arms, but many men-at-arms were not knights. In D&D, however, the term tends to be used to refer to any professional soldier, regardless of equipment.

In either case, though, the term refers to a professional.

The idea that a professional solder has the same odds of hitting in combat as an untrained peasant is, frankly, laughable. This professional, in fact, has lower odds of hitting in combat than your fresh-faced 1st-Level Fighter with 0 XP.

In an older edition like BECMI (my old stand-by), a professional soldier with training and experience should probably be around level 3 - greater odds of hitting, and much more survivable than an untrained peasant.

On average, a peasant (AC 9, 1-6 HP, Attack +0) will take around 5 rounds to kill a Level 3 fighter (AC 9, 3-18 HP, Attack +3). The Level 3 fighter will only take around 1 or 2 rounds to kill the peasant. The difference swells, obviously, if you give the man-at-arms armour.

Conclusions? City watchmen, mook guards, anyone with no real training - 0-level or Fighter 1.

Serious men-at-arms, with training and experience? Probably Fighter 3-5.