Armour Hack.

Armour Hack

Last month I’ve spent a considerable amount of time and thought around the armour rules. It was a good month as I managed to acquire a lot of “hacks” from out there. It’s good to support all our fellow game designers and in the same time expose yourself to new and awesome ideas. I’m not consider myself as a game designer although someday I may put my thoughts in a more concise way, that of a rule book or a book of options and why not a campaign setting for my homebrew campaign.
This post is focused on rules for armour and how the mechanism impacts with the game rules. I won’t explain all the rules but I suppose that everything started with the classic Armour Class. Taking that knowledge as granted let’s move on to the systems:

Black Hack Original: Armour as damage reduction. In this approach the armour points are been used to reduce the overall damage per encounter. Armour points are been depleted filling up after each encounter so our heroes are ready to conform new threats.  

Black Hack Additional things:  Option 1: Armour as classic damage reduction. Expanding through core rules, in this rule armour is reducing the damage at each hit. At the end of the encounter heroes that used the armour in that way must succeed at a UD roll depending on the kind of armour they were using.

Option 2: More Armour: And with this optional rule we boost the previous armour rules by doubling the armour points.

Blue Hack: In this “blue” edition of the core rules, armour is treated again as damage reduction but the level is too gritty and far more realistic. The maximum damage reduction is equal to 5.

Fantastic Heroes: Ablative armour. This, in my opinion, is the more high fantasy approach. Armour acts as a different health pool. The heroes choose if the successful attack will be directed to them or to armour. That gives some flexibility and strategically choices. In this approach UD is been used to check armour wornness but without actually reducing armour quality in terms of die steps but rather by reducing armour points.

Sharp Sword & Sinister spells: Although it’s doesn’t fit 100% to hack family most of the game designing choices is based on “hacks”. In SS&SS armour actually is lowering the damage dices according its type. So we can have a reduction to each damage dice to a maximum of -2d. So according to rule book when a 9 HD monster successfully hits a hero wearing heavy armor, it inflicts 2d8 damage (the normal was 2d10). Shields on the other hand bestows a number of disadvantage to attackers each round according to their size.  

And the obvious question is why am I doing all the analysis?  Because I’ve made a house rule about the armour. I wanted to keep the feeling of lightness and also I don’t enjoy any extar bookkeeping.

Armor Types
Damage Reduction
Usage Die
Chain mail (Max DEX 15)
Plate & Mail (Max DEX 12 and disadvantage to all physical skills)

Shield Types
Disadvantage per round
Usage Die

   In this approach armour is actually reducing monster HD effectiveness. So when a 9HD monster attacks the heroes its damage will be according to the armour that heroes wear. The 9HD normally inflicts d10+d12 per attack so let’s see the actual damage according to armour types:

Armour type/Damage
Gambeson (1) / d10+d12 -1
Leather (1HD) / 2d10
Chain Mail (2HD) / 3d6
Plate & Mail (3HD) / 2d8

Shields are used to bestow a disadvantage to monster attacks. If the heroes decide so at the end of the encounter must roll the usual UD to check if their shields are worn.

Keeping the spirit of Black Hack that heroes make the rolls, I gave this small reference to my gaming table (armour and monster damage table). So now everyone knows what damage will receive in case of a failed STR or DEX check to evade monster’s attacks.


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