Researching Adventurers! and Armor

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had some financial issues, but I managed to pick up a number of the Adventurers! supplements/setting expansions and read them. I’ve enjoyed them, particularly their willingness to write new systems to fit the setting in question. However, I finally found some stuff I’m not real crazy about.

Armor and shields.

In A!, combat is handled as opposed rolls of 2d6 plus derived bonuses. Attack bonus is based on either Strength or Agility, and Defense is based on either Armor or Agility. Armor heavier than light armor has either option, but penalties based on weight. (See below.) If you roll doubles on your defense roll, your shield activates and you get to ignore one point of damage.

Further, depending on the weight of the armor, you can ignore a measure of damage. Damage absorption is handled kind of like armor in Warhammer minis games: roll a certain number or higher to reduce the damage by a certain amount. The armor chart gives stats as follows (AR means “Armor Rating”):

  • Light Armor     DEF Agl     AR: 5
  • Medium Armor     DEF 3/Agl-1     AR: 4
  • Heavy Armor     DEF 4/Agl-2     AR: 3-4: -1, 5-6: -2

So, armor both keeps you from getting hit as well as mitigating damage, and a shield is a very passive defense. The thing is, damage from an attack is determined from the attack roll, based on half the excess over the defense roll (rounded down) plus 1.

For example, an attacker with a +3 ATT rolls a total of 11, and the defender in medium armor rolls a total of 8, which means the attacker succeeds by three, so the damage is 2. If the defender had been wearing light or no armor, his defense roll might have been higher and prevented more damage. The defender now gets (basically) an armor save, and with medium armor, he can reduce the damage one point. If he had heavy armor, he could potentially reduce the damage to zero. Also, if he got lucky and rolled doubles on his defense roll (a one in six proposition, which isn’t really bad), his shield would activate, which also would prevent one damage.

(In fact, as I look at this, I’m realizing just how oddball this system is in this regard, as all light armor gets you is a very feeble armor save.)

I don’t like this much at all. The armor affects how much damage results from the single attack roll twice (once by affecting the attack roll difference, once by affecting the damage), and a shield is only moderately useful and totally passive. While in history, the armor mechanics make a certain sense, the shield rules aren’t very realistic or heroic. All the rolling, it seems to me, would totally bog down play.

Now, there are a couple of ways damage can be increased, such as critical hits (boxcars, which nets one additional point of damage), penetrating weapons (which work like shields, giving one additional point of damage on doubles), and great weapons (plus 1 damage and -1 AR), but these don’t really generate that much extra damage (2, as the two weapon specific rules are mutually exclusive). Now, you don’t have a crazy lot of hit points to begin with, usually in the ballpark of 7 at character creation, but the mechanics seem to favor the defender, a lot.

I think I need to take this on a test run before I make a final judgement, but these mechanics seem broken to me, and something I’m going to have to tinker with to correct.

Anyway, it’s Labor Day and I have other things to do today, like enjoying the holiday.



About docryder

I'm an experienced table top gamer with an open mind to new game systems. I'm looking to explore ideas I've got. Some are pretty meta, some are pretty mundane. Welcome to my world.

Posted on September 6, 2016, in Metagaming, Personal History. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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