So, I was dozing peacefully. It has been a long day, I am tired, and I have a headache (and maybe some carpal tunnel). Then, some fine gentlemen who belong to another military service (Hint -- Its the one with the shortest name, and it does not rhyme with Gravy) took it upon themselves to start making a lot of noise about an hour ago. I basically live in a collection of 8 metal containers right now. One of them is mine. When someone walks around on the upper level or roof patio, the entire structure shakes, rattles, and rolls. Further more, we're in a combat zone, so when I hear clangs, rattles, or bangs at odd hours of the night, I often find myself out of bed, in my sneakers, helmet on, mag in my M9, and armor in hand halfway to the door so I can dive into the bunker.
Assholes. When you're visiting someone else's house, follow their rules, ok? One of the rules is: Don't make loud noises or wander around upstairs after 2130. I just evicted them from the public spaces that they are allowed to use (correction: were allowed to use. Not anymore, clowns!) so we can get some sleep.
The one positive thing about this incident is that some half-formed armor ideas came to my forefront (likely while I was reaching for my IBA for the THIRD FRICKING TIME).
I think the light armor issue is resolved pretty well for me. Its cheap, its widely available, it doesn't weigh much, and it gives a bonus to mobility by providing protection against OAs/Parting Shots/AoOs. After all, speed penalties usually don't limit mobility -- free attacks against your poor rear AC do.
Heavy armor is easy too. It provides superior protection (fewer hits or damage soak), but its expensive, heavy, and possibly slow. The problem here is that one is tempted to make heavy armor excessively punitive because medium armor is usually lackluster; folks will hop into plate mail as quickly as possible because 20% fewer hits is infinitely better than a little extra move most of the time. This leads the way of relatively obnoxious armor repair costs (Field Plate a la 1E UA anyone?), because a one-time price increase is easily overcome and so on.
So, here's my patch. Instead of making heavy armor suck so much, make medium armor better somehow. Chain Mail was very common anyways, so it should be good.
You can't make medium armor lighter (that's... well, light armor). You can't make it provide better protection (that's plate mail). But you can make it more versatile.
So, here's my idea. Allow medium armor to be more highly enchanted.
Perhaps armor is typically only allowed, say, 1-2 enchantments. And by enchantments, I don't mean vanilla "+1" quantatitive bonuses. I mean flavorful, cool bonuses like "Resists Fire" or "Makes Undead Burn when they Touch It." Medium armor should be allowed 3 or 4.
So, sure, you can opt for plate mail if you want the vanilla boring quantitative advantage. But Medium Armor -- chain mail -- will have a unique advantage of its own. So, here we get a table that looks something like this:
CLOTH (ROBES/VESTMENTS/GAMBESON ALONE)
ENC 0 STONE
COST 0 UNITS
AC +0%, +20% more vs. OAs
ENCHANTMENT SLOTS 2
ENC 1 STONE / COST 1 COIN
COST 1 UNITS
AC +10% (+2 on D20, +1 on D6), +20% more vs. OAs
ENCHANTMENT SLOTS 1
ENC 2 STONES / COST 2 COINS
AC +25% (+5 on D20, +2 on D6)
ENCHANTMENT SLOTS 3
PLATE MAIL ARMOR
ENC 4 STONES / COST 4 COINS
AC +40% (+8 on D20, +3 on D6)
ENCHANTMENT SLOTS 1
SLOW, VULNERABLE TO ARMOR PIERCING WEAPONS
Enchantments could be things like:
- Resistances to a Power Word (Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Necromancy, Quintessence, Natural)
- Mobility for a Power Word (Waterwalking, Flight, etc)
- Inspiring followers/improving morale
All useful, and the customization provided by medium armor will be highly appealing to many players.
After all, what's cooler:
Plate Mail forged by the Dwarves which can help its wearer resist Flames.
A hauberk made of glimmering Elvish chain links which resists the necromantic touch of the undead, inspires lesser fighting men to acts of valor, and allows its wearer to glow with ethereal light that burns lower creatures (demons, undead, etc) once per day?
Both would be quite useful, but I think the chain mail option might actually live up to the hype now.
OD&D HACK VARIANT
For an OD&D hack, the simplest means of implementation, I think, would be to allow armors to store low-level Cleric spells, as those magics are typically restorative and protective -- the ideals associated with armor, generally. So perhaps our suit of "exalted" elvish chain can store Protection from Evil, Light, and Bless.
As a rough rule of thumb, I'd say that leather and plate armor can store as many spell levels as its enhancement bonus x 1. Cloth robes can store x 2. Chain maille x 3.
OPTION: The number of plusses on the armor dictates the maximum level of the spell.
OPTION: At the GM's discretion, appropriate magic user spells can be added to armor.
OPTION: If the armor does not have an enhancement bonus at all (magic plusses), then it can't store anything, except for chain maille, which can store ONE spell level.
This rule, much like magic swords, boosts the versatility of fighter-types in the end game. It also is of minor help to clerical types.
All spells are designated at the time of enchantment and normally cannot be changed.
So, a +2 suit of Chain Mail can store up to 6 spell levels. A +2 suit of Leather can store 2 spell levels.
OD&D Experience Levels
1 day ago