Armor as Damage Reduction (Again I'm Sure)

Currently FrankenFourth uses armor as damage resistance, but lately I've been wondering if people would prefer using the D&D system of armor just making you harder to "hit".

I’m running this as a poll over on G+, so if you wanna vote on it head on over here (though even leaving a comment here would still be useful).

Things to know before you decide/comment:

  • Damage resistance (currently) ranges from 1-5. Leather is 1, scale is 3, plate is 5. Masterwork and magical armor could up this, but the most armor a character has had is like 7, and that's only when I let Abjuration talents stack with armor (I don't anymore because with multiclassing it could get really crazy).
  • Armor piercing is a thing. Typically ranges from 1-3. If you get hit with an AP attack, you reduce your armor by that amount before applying damage.
  • Attacks that just ignore armor are also a thing (for stuff like poisonous gases).
  • If you get hit, minimum damage is 1. So, you can't just slap on plate and wade into a kobold warren and just ignore everything. Thinking some monsters could have a "mob" damage bonus, so a bunch of goblins ganging up on you could still be pretty brutal (or 4E gnolls and their pack attack schtick).
  • Most characters and monsters are pretty easy to hit: you've got a Reflex Defense that starts at 10, and is modified by your Dexterity, shields, and other class things. Generally you're looking at a range of 9-14. What makes things like dragons hard to kill is a combination of armor, hp, and the fact that they can deal a bunch of damage and prolly tear you apart, first.
  • Attack bonuses are mostly based on your stat, at least at the start of the game. A 1st-level fighter with Strength +3 will have +4 to hit (+3 from Strength, +1 from class), and they get +1 to hit every 5 levels. Wizards are in a similar boat, but only get bonuses to magic attacks.
  • Characters can also get damage bonuses. For example, fighters get +1 damage with weapons every 4 levels. Wizards and clerics are different in that some abilities auto-scale (like Magic Missile), but they can spend more Mana and or rank up talents.
  • HP values aren't much changed from 3rd and 5th Edition. A run of the mill bandit has something like 7 hp with 1 or 2 armor. So, a fighter with a one-handed weapon still might be able to take one out in a single hit, while a wizard would need a few whacks to get the job done (with a melee attack at any rate: they can probably take one out in a single hit if they're using an actual blasty spell).

Things I've noticed using this system:

Since the Defense numbers are pretty low, a wizard can feasibly contribute to a fight without resorting to magic (whether or not they have magic). In the Age of Worms campaign, Humal has been able to hurt and kill things with his staff, and in a one-shot the elf wizard was able to use a bow to take out various bandits.

(I like this, not that I expect wizards to start wading into melee because their hp is low and they usually aren't wearing much if any armor. Plus, they can't do much against critters with high armor ratings.)

It takes a bit longer to calculate damage because you're doing another step or two (depending on whether the attack has armor piercing or ignores armor completely).

So with all that in mind, I'm curious what others think, especially those who play Dungeons & Dragons and Dungeons & Dragons hacks/clones. Would you wanna see armor as Damage Resistance? Go back to Armor Class? DR with optional rules for AC in the back? AC with optional rules for DR in the back?

I'm also curious as to why. Would this be too much of a change for you? Too complicated? Just not like change? Is there something about armor-as-damage-resistance I'm overlooking?

If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

Hot on the heels of The Blackguard, The Troll is out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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