Wednesday, June 08, 2011

J.D. cracks the code?

Over at A Paladin In Citadel a classic topic came up: how sucky shields are in D&D compared to their general usefulness in actual pre-gunpowder warfare.  I'm personally a fan of Trollsmyth's Shields Shall Be Splintered! rules, but as a practical matter it is just one more crazy house rule my players can't ever remember.  Some days they need to be reminded of the Big Purple d30 rule even though that sucker is sitting right in the middle of the table the whole durn session.  And I already have enough crazy new stuff to explain to newbies as it is.

But over at A Paladin In Citadel commenter and fellow Tape Leg enthusiast J.D. Higgins came up with a simple solution:
You could always just rearrange the AC table:

Unarmored: AC 9
Leather: AC 8
Chainmail: AC 7
Plate&mail: AC 6
Shield only: AC 5
Leather + Shield: AC 4
Chain + Shield: AC 3
Plate + Shield: AC 2
That looks pretty dang slick to me.  For you modern gamers with new-fangled upside-down armor classes that would be Leather +1, Chain +2, Plate +3 and Shield +4. For my own platemail-free campaign I'd have to goose the numbers, but it would still work. A bonus effective is that small and large shields become super-easy to implement, AC-wise: Buckler +2, Small Shield +3, Shield +4, Ridiculously Oversized Shield +5.

The big downside I can see is that the ACs for countless published NPCs will be wrong.  Any other issues I'm overlooking?