Tuesday, June 14, 2011

straight from the shower

Sometimes I get ideas while taking my morning shower. Here's what popped into my head today.
  • A day or two ago some blogger proposed using your raw Dex score as your Ascending Armor Class.  Please leave a link in the comments if you know who I am talking about.  What if we combined that with Damage Reduction armor that lowers your Dex?  Maybe Leather is -1 Dex/-1d4 damage per hit, Chain -3 Dex/-1d6 damage, Plate -5 Dex/-1d8 damage.  Shield users would maybe get a Deflection Save, like a d6 roll. 1 = no damage, 2 = half damage, 3+ no help.
  • I wonder if all the best parts of the cool alt-classes in Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed/Arcana Evolved could be rewritten as simple templates applicable to basic D&D classes (like my Paladin and Druid)?  You just lay Warmain over the fighter class, Witches and Runethanes over magic-user, etc.
  • If I recall correctly in the Elric stories some demons have gemstones in their hearts. What if that was the source of all gems?  Maybe the world is the heart of a cosmic-scale demon.  Or maybe gemstone mines dig into the corpses of fossilized demons.


  1. Anonymous9:25 AM

    No idea where the first idea comes from. An interesting idea but kind of fiddly. Also too many rolls for my taste -- roll to hit & for tamage, roll for armor and/or shield ... that's four rolls per attack! It would really screw low-Dex characters too, especially those with a Dex of 7 or less.

    Maybe fighters (only! not rogues, fighter subclasses, etc.) could just sub Dex for AC when unarmored and either using a shield or a parrying weapon...

  2. "Or maybe gemstone mines dig into the corpses of fossilized demons."

    Dude, that's not just awesome, that's a freakin' 3 book cycle right there!

    Word verif: "cringr", Prince Adam's puddy'tat.

  3. Anonymous9:37 AM

    When I had that idea, I used armor type to cap the dexterity (e.g. Plate limits dex to 12), not reduce it, so as not to make a bad situation worse for low dex characters.

    Also, the higher the Dex the less armor you were inclined to wear in most situations. Thus encouraging the chainmail bikini.

  4. http://apaladinincitadel.blogspot.com/2011/06/dexterity-as-armor-class.html

  5. Tedankhamen9:39 AM

    Here's the blog, Paladin in the Citadel. Note my idea is just about the same as yours.


  6. About dexterity as armor class, this is not it, but it is an interesting coincidence: yesterday the translation of Epees & Sorcellerie came out, and in those rules Dex = AC unless AC is higher. It's not exactly D&D; here, attributes are generated by rolling 2d6. If you wear no armor, your AC = your Dex. Leather is AC 8, Chainmail AC 10, and Plate mail AC 12.

    So, if you're a nimble Gray Mouser type, and your Dex is 11, don't bother wearing armor unless it's plate. Even then you may not want to wear it, because your AC, in part, determines your difficulty for movement-related challenges (climbing, jumping, running), and the higher it is the more difficult the test. Very cute!

    Discussion and links here: http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2011/06/epees-sorcellerie-in-english.html

  7. 1. Interesting, but why roll for the damage reduction? I realize that realistically, armor will not always provide the same a mount of protection, but a certain level of abstraction is necessary for practicality's sake. Granted, you roll for weapon damage, but then you don't roll for your armor's adjustment to your AC. I don't see how an extra randomizer piled on top to the existing one adds much value.

    2. I keep meaning to write a blog post about my theory of character classes in older versions of D&D, but I don't think this is a terrible idea. As it is, character classes are extremely broad archetypes. I am not in favor of creating a bunch of classes that are incongruouosly narrow archetypes (or not really archetypes at all!), but I think there's value in being able to adjust the general archetype to a specific expression of that archetype. I think I would be strongly in favor of extremely few available classes with a large number of "templates" to lay over them.

    3. This is an interesting and flavorful setting detail, but doesn't necessarily seem like it would adjust gameplay very much.

  8. I have investigated armor quite a bit as I'm in the midst of my own project to create a fantasy RPG more in the vein of old-school games, and what I concluded is that DR is a bad idea for armor. Armor was a lot more likely to simply stop blows than remove a little of the damage. If you're doing DR the armor shouldn't contribute to AC at all and the DR should be high enough that few blows do damage.

  9. What if the summoning process or entry into the prime material plane for a demon requires a gemstone of significant size and value (based on the power level of the demon) - which then becomes their "anchor" to the prime material plane - or in simple terms - their heart?

  10. I started "retro-engineering" Arcana Unearthed, but didn't get very far. Might have to revist.

    I think a "retro-clone" of AU - assuming you can get permission - that takes Cook's notion of building his own D&D from the ground up and is done in the fashion of rebuilding AD&D from the ground up - could be fun.

  11. You know, I remember that in the Silver Chair, one character explains the hard, cold things we dig up near the surface are dead gems. That deep in the earth, living rubies, diamonds, etc., have a warmth and life to them that we don’t see.

    What if the gems in the demon hearts are the living gems, and the empty husks of rubies, emeralds, etc., we find are just the fossilized, dead shells of the same?

  12. For the last few years I've decided that mithril can come from only one place: the mountain where a dwarf god died. IN fact, the mountain is a sort of built on top of and around the god's corpse, and the source of the mithril is the god's fossilized bones, which is why dwarves get all weird and semi-religious about it.

    Which is a long way of saying I totally dig fossilization as a source of neat stuff.

  13. ReaperWolf1:00 PM

    I absolutely love how Dragon Warriors (currently available from Serpent King Games) handles armor penetration and weapon damage. You have a defense rating which has to be equaled or exceeded to be hit. If you are hit, your attacker rolls a penetration die (depending upon weapon) and if this equals or exceeds your armor rating, you take a set amount of damage, again determined by weapon. So some weapons have great penetration but low damage, or low penetration and great damage. Encourages characters to carry a variety of weapons.

  14. I love the gems thing, Jeff. Makes sense that gems would be crushed to activate certain spells!

  15. > Thus encouraging the chainmail bikini.

    A very laudable goal. I never liked dex adding to AC, encourages power creep and means little reason not to wear armor. I have high dex give AC and character takes best AC dex or armor, they do not stack.

  16. Anonymous4:59 PM

    I like the gem thing, too -
    and the implications of your Mr. T. day picture...
    "pitty that demon!"