Weapon Type vs Armor Type

General topics, including off-topic discussion, goes here.
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 8801
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:05 am

Gah.

Look at the table. The top line gives armor classes from 2 to 10. The attack matrices (in the DMG) run from AC 10 to -10. There's a reason for that. The table you reference began its life in the Chainmail rules, where there were no "+1" or "+2" magical armors, and the numbers referred to types of armor, not to numeric ratings of protection.

In 0e's Monsters and Treasure (2nd book of the 3LBBs), the description of magic armor begins thus:
Armor proper subtracts its bonus from the hit dice of the opponents of its wearer. If the shield's bonus is greater than that of the armor there is a one-third chance that the blow will be caught by the shield, thus giving the additional subtraction.
Note that this is using the Chainmail combat system, not the "alternate" combat system which we all know and love (because the alternate system officially became the default system in 1E, but was unofficially the default for anyone who came to the game without playing Chainmail first). Translated, this means that the original system did not apply the bonus for magic to the armor class, but rather to the attack roll (as a penalty). In the earliest games, armor class was not meant to be a numeric value of "protection" but to describe the type of armor in briefest terms. However, it did not escape DMs or players at the time that you absolutely could add the bonus to the AC as if it were that sort of protection value; those with less history in the game may have thought that's how it was supposed to work. Those were also the people who did not understand (as I did not, back then) that it was armor type and not value that was being used in that confusing table.

Greyhawk actually introduced the table more or less as you've shown it from the PHB, but since that game started at AC 9 and still had AC 7 leather, AC 5 chainmail, and AC 3 platemail, there were some changes between them. 2E kept the concept but dinked with the table somewhat; most significantly, it changed the armor types to names rather than numbers, to avoid exactly the confusion you're expressing above.
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
User avatar
Bumblepig
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:16 am
Location: Herndon, VA

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:28 am

That table is daunting, and I'm positive it's one of the many things I cheerfully ignored as an elementary school-aged DM "back in the day".

However, I'm always a little awestruck at Gary Gygax's attention to detail. I just love that he broke pole arms down into the various subtypes, many of which had such exotic sounding names.

For playability, that table Library Lass posted is probably better for those who do want a tad more combat realism.
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 8801
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:48 am

I lived through the latter part of the Edition Wars on Dragonsfoot... been exposed to a lot of people who know the classic games way better than I do. I actually went over there to verify my understanding of the table before posting. They've had many, many discussions on the topic.
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
daryen
Posts: 347
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:25 pm

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:27 am

See, I didn't have any of that context. I just had 1e. Yes, I obviously had hints of the other stuff behind it, but for actual rules in my possession, I just had 1e. So, seeing that chart made me think, "This makes no sense. Why would the modifier be the same whether they are using a shield or not, or it is a monster with tough armor. Let's ignore it and have fun." Heck, even now, *mumble* years later, I'd still toss it before trying to figure out a rational application of it.
User avatar
Traveller
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:06 pm
Location: Haifa, Israel

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:42 am

DMG page 28 specifically says "armour type" and not class...
"
Weapon Types, 'To Hit' Adjustment Note
==========================
If you allow.... be certain to remember that these adjustments are for weapons versus specific types of armor, not necessary against actual armor class. In most cases monsters wearing armor wil not have any weapon type adjustment..."
daryen
Posts: 347
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:25 pm

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:05 pm

Missed that paragraph. Still very vague, though.

So, taking it at face value, does that mean AC 5 means chainmail only? How do shields fit in? AC9 can only be achieve with a shield-only defense. So, is chainmail plus shield use the AC 5 modifier, the AC 5 + AC 9 modifier, or the AC 4 modifier?

Even with that retcon in the DMG, it is still an ambiguous mess.
User avatar
SmootRK
Posts: 3872
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:03 am
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Contact:

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:15 pm

weapon vs armor types is a mess

what would work a little cleaner and IMO much better would be some general armor types vs some general weapon types (really rough thoughts below):

Armor type
plate: +vs bludgeon. -vs piercing. no adjust vs slash.
chain/scale: no adjust vs bludgeon. - vs piercing. + vs slashing.
leather/hide:

The list could be expanded with more weapon/armor types, and further adjustments for more weapon types.
Is it really the end, not some crazy dream?

Find Me:
https://mewe.com/i/robertsmoot
See my shirt designs:
https://www.teepublic.com/user/smoot-life
Seven
Posts: 435
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:17 am

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:21 pm

In Chainmail magic shield had only a 33% chance of working.
Seven
Posts: 435
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:17 am

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:33 pm

Also, in Chainmail, a shield was better than a leather armor.
Seven
Posts: 435
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:17 am

Re: Weapon Type vs Armor Type

Post Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:41 pm

daryen wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:05 pm
So, taking it at face value, does that mean AC 5 means chainmail only? How do shields fit in? AC9 can only be achieve with a shield-only defense. So, is chainmail plus shield use the AC 5 modifier, the AC 5 + AC 9 modifier, or the AC 4 modifier?
It seems to go like this:
10 No Armor
9 No Armor and Shield
8 Leather or Padded Armor
7 Studded Armor or Leather or Padded Armor and Shield
6 Ring Armor or Studded Armor and Shield
5 Mail Armor or Ring Armor and Shield
4 Banded or Splinted Armor or Mail Armor and Shield
3 Plate Mail Armor or Banded or Splinted Armor and Shield
2 Plate Mail Armor and Shield

Never bothered with this or speed factor.
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 26 guests