FKR Armor: Increasing the tension

Norbert wrote this here about how to do 2d6 opposed in combat, like Middle-Earth Adventures and Adventure Hour! and still have armor give a chance to deflect a blow rather than just add more hits.

This kind of armor increase tension for players, not knowing exactly how many hits they or the enemy can take. This forces a judgement call: do we retreat or do we continue?

Norbert’s combat method from the article is this:

  • You roll 2d6 vs. my 2d6. Higher roll hits.
  • The combatant who got hit rolls 1d6 and tries to roll under or equal to his armor class. If he does, the hit got deflected or softened by the armor, and he does not lose a hit. If the roll is over, the armor didn’t stop the hit.
  • Light armor deflects on a 6, heavy on a 5 or 6.

But Into the Odd has taught me that one roll is better. It’s always faster and easier for players (not you, one enlightened reader) to follow. Collapse the process and make it juicy.

Norbert gave this suggestion for doing so:

  • You roll 2d6 vs. my 2d6. Higher roll hits.
  • The two dice have different colors, one being designated as the armor die. The combatant who got hit checks the armor die to see if the blow was deflected or softened.
  • Light armor deflects on a 6, heavy on a 5 or 6.

Then Norbert listed ANOTHER method, this one for OD&D and using hit points rather than hits:

  • You roll 2d6 vs. my 2d6. Higher roll hits.
  • The two dice have different colors, one being designated as the damage die. The combatant who rolled higher deals that much damage to their opponent.

I like this a lot. It falls in line with traditional DND thought about hit points, while still collapsing the process to one roll.

SO, after much thought and deliberation (AKA one evening of watching fireworks), here’s one from me that combines these listed methods:

  • You roll 2d6 vs. my 2d6. Higher roll hits.
  • The combatant who rolled higher deals their highest die in damage to their opponent.
  • The combatant who got hit subtracts their lower die from the damage if wearing light armor or the higher die if wearing heavy armor.
  • Helmets add hit points, shields can be splintered.

Hit points, not hits, which makes it more tense (one of the primary goals of this exercise). There is a distinction in armor types and how they add to your defenses. There are no mechanical downsides for wearing heavy armor or armor at all for that matter except as it makes sense diegetically (take a shot) which might not jive for some people.

I’m all for adding penalties to heavy armor. Perhaps there could be some benefit to not wearing armor at all?

But please no spellcasting penalties. That blows.

Now someone create a method of healing hit points that I find satisfying.

5 thoughts on “FKR Armor: Increasing the tension

  1. “There are no mechanical downsides for wearing heavy armor or armor at all for that matter except as it makes sense diegetically”

    Realistic consequences of wearing armour are usually just ignored.

    The big one is plate armour: in reality, you can’t even put on a full plate harness by yourself, you need assistance, and quite a bit of time, and while you can wear it for long periods of time and even – if necessary – sleep in it, it’s uncomfortable and exhausting, and gets you freezing in cold weather and hot in warm weather.

    It’s also loud. The comic is right on this. Forget about surprising anyone if someone in your party has plate armour.

    And of course it’s heavy. How much other gear can you carry when you already have more than 20kg of metal on you? How exhausted are you?

    Another bit that usually gets ignored is that protective gear (either armour, shield, or parrying dagger) also makes much easier (for the wearer/user) to attack without risking a counter.

    On the other hand, splintering a shield may be not so easy. Lots of historical shields were extremely durable (think of scuti, rotelle, targhe, bucklers, targes, heater shields…, many of which were made of steel). What was probably a lot easier was sticking arrows in the wooden ones, rendering them extremely unwieldy.

    Just my thoughts.

    If you’re interested in how medieval weaponry worked, I strongly recommend you to check youtube channels like “Modern History TV”, “scholagladiatoria”, “Tod’s Workshop”, and “Roland Warzecha”.


    1. Excellent thoughts. So for heavy armor:
      -difficult to don/doff without assistance
      -makes sleeping uncomfortable
      -makes sneaking difficult
      -when you push yourself, you’re even more Fatigued (swimming, climbing, etc)

      Shields, I still don’t know about. Thanks for the references. I got a buddy in Armored Combat League who loves all sorts of stuff like this. 🙂

  2. I like this framework a lot but how would you incorporate ranged attacks since this seems more for melee contests

    1. Great point. I would either:

      -Abstract combat. Melee fighters occupy the same “space” as ranged fighters; when a ranged attack fails, the swordsman deals a blow. Works for a tight dungeon, but once you zoom out a bit to the farther ranges of the outdoors, eh. Would work AMAZING in a samurai game, swordsman zipping all around the battlefield. Now that I think about it, this would be PERFECT for Star Wars in both settings of Jedi vs. stormtroopers or laser guns vs. laser guns.

      -Ranged attacker loses ammo on a failed roll but takes no damage. This is my preferred method. Ammo is abstracted to 3 uses and each failed attack roll lowers the attacker’s ammo by 1. Then obviously, you cannot shoot with 0 ammo. Limits ranged attackers without having to change the entire framework.

    2. From Norbert, FKR sensei:

      “…in my games, common sense is king. So even when you have one combatant on one side, and the opponent is far away and needs to use a ranged weapon, we’re rolling opposed 2d6. When the fighter is successful and the shooter isn’t, he obviously could avoid the shot (and I’ll give bonuses for modern weapons in realistic games). Obviously, the fighter DID NOT hit the shooter, even if his dice were higher. It doesn’t make sense in the world. And it mirrors why ranged weapons were so revolutionary when they were introduced.

      (Of course, going from ranged combat to melee or infight, things look different, and you have to make sure the dice results or bonuses represent that)

      When the shooter is successful and the fighter isn’t, the fighter got hit.

      Usually, when there is a tie, both fighters hit. In our example, however, I’d simply have the players reroll.”

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