Your Thoughts on Wearing Armor

Discussion in 'Games: RPG & Miniatures' started by Keyan_Stele, Jul 3, 2004.

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  1. Keyan_Stele Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2000
    star 2
    I GM for a group of people and generally, my NPC's will have some kind of armor about 40% or 50% of the time, even if it's just a blast vest and helmet.

    The players in the game, however, are loathe to have their characters where any kind of armor. It's somewhat amusing to me, since none of them have a DEX score greater than 17 (+3) and they don't often end up using skills that take the Armor Check Penalty.

    Most of the combat I run could be termed Challenging to Extreme. I rarely make the difficulty only Easy because I want the players to advance in level somewhat, while at the same time I want them to earn it. (I am just a shade short of medium in my XP rewards probably.)

    So anyway--Challenging to Extreme combat situations. Almost everytime one of these battles occurs, at least one player is down somewhere in the -9 to 0 wound points range. Usually a second player has at least taken wound damage also.

    The group has soldiers, and I guess it's just really surprising to me that those ones specifically are loathe to use even just light armor.

    Now, the other 3 in the group don't start with the proficencies, so I can see why they don't take any armor ever (from a rules standpoint), but one is a Jedi who never uses deflect. However, other than the Jedi, I still think some roleplaying situations might occur where characters would be strongly advised to put on at least a helmet and vest (i.e.: Commanding officer: "You are going on a mission with an army unit for heavy infantry incursion. Everyone gets this uniform stuff and 'x' type of armor {light or medium}. Suit up." Players: "No, I'll lose my speed or I will suffer a DEX penalty sometimes and it doesn't improve my defense." Commander: "No?...NO!??!!!?? Now you listen here you maggots...."

    See, that's the thing that gets me. They don't like armor at all because it doesn't provide direct defense rating bonuses. Well, true, but if you are going to actually physically take damage, it might just save your character's life. (And they know they will take damage because my encounters are generally upper end as to how much they tax the players resources/vitality/wounds.) Besides, if you really want to ditch it later, it doesn't take long to remove something like a vest and a helmet. We are not talking full plate mail here.

    Maybe the players are just all-out offensive strategy minded. As in, maybe they have that video game mentality of handling combat.
  2. JebZingo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 1999
    star 1
    Star Wars characters don't wear armor, with the exception of Boba (and Jango) Fett. The writers of the d20SWRPG intentionally made armor less effective (and implemented the concept of Vitality Points) to reflect the film characters' precedent.

    When I think Star Wars, I don't think of all PCs wearing armor. I think you're stuck on general RPG conventions where not having armor was a death wish.

    And if your characters are consistently coming that close to dying, you might want to dial down the challenge factor.
  3. Keyan_Stele Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2000
    star 2
    Clarification: I don't intend for players to lose wound points specifically, but I do intend for them to be challenged and threatened. They are veteran gaming group and they can handle it. That's why I run a majority of challenging and extreme encounters. The d20 2nd ed. core rulebook states on page 255: "An extreme encounter goal, ......, should exhaust up to 50% of the heroes' resources. Heroes who don't act wisely risk serious injury or death." They also run into a fair share of bigger trouble because they have an NPC Jedi/Soldier with them and they won't part company with the guy. They haven't yet figured out that the guy draws trouble like mosquitoes to a bug zapper.

    The driving notion of my point was really intended to be this: Players used to love armor when it gave a defense bonus, now they hate it because it gives DR instead in 2nd edition d20. It's still a valuable defensive effect in my opinion.

    Thus, in summation, my thought is that since the players know and have experience with losing wound points just about every other adventure or so, they might at least consider armor rather than shirk it completely. I'm not saying I absolutely want them to wear armor sun up to sun down every day, but merely that I think it's just foolish to dismiss it out of hand in a galaxy rife with danger. Heck, if I were a player (playing soldier), I would take at least a blast vest and helmet...especially if I were into melee combat and thus didn't have much of a Dex score. Also, I think the shirking of armor in some situations for them has been a metagaming issue.

    As to the movie-style portrayal of adventuring and combat that you paraphrase from WotC sources as intended for the RPG, it's not 100% for me or my gaming group. We all are about 50/50 on that stuff in my group.
  4. Magellan_the_Cat Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 21, 2003
    star 4
    d6 armor isn't that great--automatically interferes with all your dex skills (which is also all your combat skills except brawling).

    Stormtroopers have armor.

    All the troops on the TantavieIV had flack vests & helmets.

    Vader had armor.

    None of the other main characters did though, and very few of the incidental characters.
  5. Shadowen Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 11, 1999
    star 3
    The Rebels on Endor all (except, for some reason, Han--maybe Harrison didn't want to mess up his hair?--and for obvious reasons, Chewie, Artoo, and Threepio) wore helmets.

    Lando's security force looked like they might have worn padded vests or something under their shirts; either that or the guys who played them all had exceptional builds and posture.

    Naval troopers and the like wore helmets.

    That's all I can think of outside of what's already been mentioned.

  6. Keyan_Stele Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2000
    star 2
    Well what I'm basically hearing is that people don't bother with armor in most of their games either basically because it's not seen in the movies. From the sounds of it, maybe WotC should just get rid of the junk since it's so useless and non-movie like?

    But what about in the roleplaying games you participate in? Gamemasters, what about your NPC's? Does anyone out there use it at all? Does anyone have experiences from using it where it really screwed them over and/or helped them?

    Therefore I don't need to hear more responses in the same vein. Is there any variety out there?

    Again, IMO, the presence of armor alone allows most soldier and thug type NPC's to be slightly more challenging to the players in combat (unless everyone were to have lightsabers). Players are always like, "Why won't these guys go down after two or three hits?" Well it's generally from the damage reduction.
    In fact, the presence or armor on NPC's almost changes the ratings of encounters by bumping them up one level. If I run some baddies at the players in one encounter without armor, I know that if I were to run the same baddies at them in the near future and gave the baddies some light armor, it would increase the difficulty. It doesn't matter so much later in the game (higher player levels). Also, by throwing on medium or heavy armor, the NPC's almost end up at a disadvantage to the players from the speed loss, but I hardly see the stuff as useless.
  7. Shadowen Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 11, 1999
    star 3
    If I were to play a soldier, I would play with at least light armor. Heh. I might even try and get on friendly terms with a high-level NPC tech specialist, so I could get some personalized mastercraft stormtrooper armor from him.
  8. Magellan_the_Cat Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 21, 2003
    star 4
    Well, in d6, armor restrict8ions are a bit nastier than d20 (sorry, my cat is helpuing me type).

    The net result is that people liked flak vests & helmets, and scout trooper armor, but didn't want anything bulkier because of the Dex penalty.

    Now, there was a case when we were up against 3 bounty hunters and some security guards. The guards got taken out in a round (except for the 2 that ran away). The battle got broken up into several rooms. One of the bounty hunters was JodoCast (weak version of Boba Fett, former fan of his). Two bounty hunters were trashed, but the rest of the party was down, so the guy facing JodoCast threw a grenade at him and ran out of the room. He dragged the rest of us away & saved our objective, only to find out later there was no need to rush, because the grenade knocked Jodocast out cold. "What? You mean I could have had a suit of Mandalorian armor?" "Yup" "D'OH!!!!"

    D20 system is based on how much damage you can take. D6 system is based on "Don't get hit." So, as I see it, there's no reason not to put on armor for d20.
  9. Blithe Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2003
    star 4
    Armor can be viable, it just all depends.

    If I was a gun-slinging Soldier who was always in the thick if things, I'd probably atleast opt for some Light armor. As I'm always taking hits as opposed to those other gutless wonders...

    Now one of my PC's is playing a Gungan Soldier who thinks he can't afford the Dex sacrifice for the armor. He relies on his speed and maneuverability that comes with a Gungan to not get hit at all.

    Besides, he has one of the Gungan shields, so armor isn't really a concern. ;)

    But WotC hasn't made armor a viable option, there is no real urgency in having the stuff. IMO

    But you never know when wearing that stolen Stormtrooper armor can save your lif. ;)
  10. JediBendu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 13, 1999
    star 3
    Armour in the Star Wars universe shouldn't be a big deal. You'll note that Luke refers to the Storm Trooper armour as "the uniform". That's all it is, a uniform.

    No amount of armour saves a single stormie from a hit from a blaster. It might be good fighting teddy bears, but it is mainly there for intimidation value, an environment suit, to create a sense that you are dealing with the impartial face of the empire and also to protect from near misses, shrapnel and the like.

    Fett wears armour to carry the gadgets and to create an impressive mien.

    Vader wears armour to keep himn alive and to protect his life support system from random knocks. It also looks cool.

    Alliance trooper blast vests just are for knocks and scrapes, more to stop to being knocked out if you trip and knock your head. It will protect you from random accidents, but not a blaster.
  11. Keyan_Stele Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2000
    star 2
    Ah, well we better get on the line to WotC and tell them to drastically reduce the damage reduction values of their armor ratings since it's all just for show anyway.

    A regular Blaster Pistol does 3d6 damage. Most people (players) are going to have 10 CON minimum. That means, to be completely blasted out of existence in one critical hit while at full wounds would be impossible because you can only take 3-18 damage (and you are not dead dead until -10). You might fall, and you might have only a round until you die if you fail a save, but armor or not, you usually won't die from one critical hit from a typical attack (now from non-typical attacks or higher level stuff, that changes, but let's keep it simple for now). Had you worn armor and failed your saving through, instead of dropping to -10 and dying, you might have an extra round or two to try another saving throw or receive aid.

    Now let's look at average damage instead of max damage. Average from a blaster pistol is about 10 points. Again, you be down to a partial action (if you make your save), but you'd be pretty ineffective at that point. Now, had you been wearing light armor to provide even 1 point of DR, you'd still be semi-operational with only the fatigued penalties (assuming you make a save).

    Let's switch up to a blaster rifle instead. The same character might take a max of 24 points of damage on a successful crit. That's 5 points more than they can safely take. However, with a light set of armor at DR of 3, only a 23 or 24 pts. of wound damage roll could finish the guy off in one hit. Also, armor with DR of 2 or 3 would keep you concious from an average damage roll of 12 or 13 when you would otherwise be out cold.

    The only things that start to get out of hand on damage are the heavier powered stuff or the master craft stuff (lightsabers ignore DR generally, so we don't need to discuss them). And then it makes sense that armor is less and less of a factor against stronger weapons like E-webs or Thermal Detonators or Starship/Vehicle weapons. So in general, armor is going to save a character most of the time from the freak damaging critical hits from AVERAGE attackers that players are often so scared of receiving. Let's face it, no player wants their character to be put out of the show by a generic NPC such as a level one Thug or something. Some players can handle a character death with more grace than others, but no one really WANTS to be dropped in such a non-heroic way. But under the rules, the potential for it is there.

    I can already see the flames ...
  12. Shadowen Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 11, 1999
    star 3
    While in the movies, stormtroopers are pussies who get killed or at least knocked out by midget teddy bears, in the game, a low-level one would only be knocked down to -1 from a max-damage hit (no need to say critical, as they have no vitality points) from a standard blaster pistol.
  13. Zedd-Vega Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 13, 2003
    star 5
    A character I most commonly play is a Jedi turned Bounty Hunter.

    I play in the d20 games and either start at the Jedi Guardian (In the Rise of the Empire or NJO Eras) or Scout (Rebellion Era). If he is a scout, he eventually becomes attuned to the force and becomes a Jedi Guardian.

    I'm a combat oriented guy, and with a lightsaber at your side, you're pretty much a close combat machine (With the right feats of course). But the problem with most close combat encounters, Armor may be essential with the exception of wound points. Armor to me is good because I don't worry too much about losing my dex bonus because I'm not firing off a blaster, I'm hacking with a lightsaber.

    Being a bounty hunter also may require the use of armor, so I save my credits, buy some medium battle armor after gaining the feats needed to use it properly, and go about my merry way.

    So for me, I hate ranged combat, and prefer close combat.

    My motto is: "Come over here and fight me like a man." After standing proudly in my protective armor charging into battle with an ignited lightsaber.
  14. trobon22 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2004
    When you watch Episode IV the rebel troopers dont even have blast vests... they have regualr vests with blast helmets. Plus the heros nearly never wear armor. The new WotC version actualy makes armor better than the old one just to let everyone know. Although most people may have missed it the old version stated that you could only use the defense bonus from armor or your class not both. Therefore by making armor act differently they made it better for players. I personaly dont wear it... I play someone with nice dex and go at it from there. If I play a jedi I rely on lightsaber defense feats.
  15. Tremaniac Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2002
    star 3
    Thanks to a house rule that allows armor to stop damage on Vitality hits, armor for my group is a pretty good idea. Still, only the soldiers, and one fringer bothered to invest. The two jedi of the group either don't bother with it, or can't get something specifically for them (one is a Slussi, the tail makes body suits difficult). Although I know one jedi secretly salivates over the thought of Jedi Armor. Not that I'd ever let him get his grubby hands on it, but it's nice to let them dream.
  16. Cheveyo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    I GM a pair of Jedi in the NJO era. Their Dex is high enough now at 12th level to negate any benefit gained by armor. In fact, at this point, they would actually suffer a penalty.

    Suffice to say, armor doesn't come into play in our games.

    It's all about the agility. It also makes it more exciting when they do get hit.

    And oh yes... they do get hit. muwahahaha... er.. ahem... sorry. ;)

  17. Shadowen Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 11, 1999
    star 3
    "Although most people may have missed it the old version stated that you could only use the defense bonus from armor or your class not both."

    Yes, a trick they nicked from the Wheel of Time d20 game (or vice-versa?). And while it's good for game balance, logically speaking it's retarded, IMHO. (As is, in some ways, the class bonus to defense. What, they learn to dodge better? Isn't that called "Dexterity bonus"?)
  18. psychokillermike Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2002
    star 1
    I GM for 8 people,not always at the same time. I have noticed that the members of my group that do wear armor are the ones that are really bad at melee combat,with one exception. I myself like armor if it goes along with the characters style.
  19. Keyan_Stele Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2000
    star 2
    I'm a bit tired of the references to the movies and how none of the good guys are never in armor, etc., etc.
    Sure it's a somewhat cogent reference, but I have two big problems with it.

    First, the game rules merely emulate the movies, they do not capture them precisely. I can list a great many rules that don't mesh with what we see in the films. If you've played enough or have GM'ed, you probably know quite a few yourself. I'm not saying that this invalidates references to what we see in the movies, but it does allow a bit of waggle room for disagreement.

    Second, I do not know any soldier in today's world in combat or any swat police officer that would not want body armor of some kind (flak jackets if you will) and their helmets when going into a fight of some kind. They know they are not wearing invulnerability suits, but the kevlar gives them a chance to survive some hits. Emphasis on some. Yes, SW is not real life, but combat situations do occur in real life. Thus, it is pointless to ignore things we know about combat for real when trying to extrapolate a system of play for a futuristic film. Of course, we can just speculate, with no grounds for support, that blasters are far stronger than guns and their blasts ignore armor completely. But if that were the case, armor shouldn't have any DR in the SW rules and thus would literally be decoration at that point.

    I'm not saying every SW hero or even just every SW soldier has to wear powered battle armor or a heavy piece of armor or some kind. My example indicated that things of the lighter variety would be adequate for many players to just not get blown away by a lucky max damage crit. from a nobody NPC. The main point is that armor is not a pile of scrap always to be ignored which is what my players have called it.
  20. trobon22 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2004
    Although the rules do not go along fully with the movies most players like to be like in the movies. Since this is Star Wars I suggest that you make a house rule that will make people not wearing armor basicly the same... perhaps even go past all D20 armor rules and make it not actualy do anything.

    As for your reference to the real world... this is not the real world. This is heroic fantasy. your heros are not supposed to be compared to real world soldiers or cops. one of the heroic points is that the players can do better without armor than others can with it.

    Personaly in RPGs I don't wear armor, or much anyway. In any game that I DO wear armor all I wear is a lined cloak or trench coat, style and protection.
  21. xoliver Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2001
    star 2
    The WotC SWRPG ostensibly aims to emulate the Star Wars films (and secondarily the EU), but in practice it often defaults to D&D-derived RPG conventions instead. In the case of armour, watching the movies I don't believe it makes characters more survivable -- its role is as costume, to signify things about the wearer. You say "just for show", but this is a far more important function. Arguments to "today's world" are irrelevant: this is myth, not documentary. It's made of dreamstuff, not flesh and kevlar.

    On the other hand, your players sound like powergaming jerks.
  22. Magellan_the_Cat Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 21, 2003
    star 4
    What would your reaction be to someone walking arround visiblly wearing chainmail, weapons, kevlar vest, and body armor. Do you think he might draw attention? Gee, do you think that Imperial forces might be very suspicious of such an individual, even if he wasn't carrying visible weapons? Kinda makes covert operations impossible.
  23. JediBendu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 13, 1999
    star 3
    "First, the game rules merely emulate the movies, they do not capture them precisely. I can list a great many rules that don't mesh with what we see in the films. If you've played enough or have GM'ed, you probably know quite a few yourself. I'm not saying that this invalidates references to what we see in the movies, but it does allow a bit of waggle room for disagreement. "

    So that's where we should be altering the rules which do not serve the universe. Game rules are there to simulate the world that the characters exist in. If the game rules create a divergent set of truths (e.g. they say that slingshots are the most powerful weapon) then the game will diverge from the source material (e.g. characters will sensibly carry slingshots rather than blasters)

    "Second, I do not know any soldier in today's world in combat or any swat police officer that would not want body armor of some kind (flak jackets if you will) and their helmets when going into a fight of some kind... snip... But if that were the case, armor shouldn't have any DR in the SW rules and thus would literally be decoration at that point. "

    Bullets are stopped by kevlar. Show me a single blaster hit deflected by armour in the movies. Armour should serve to help avoid shrapnel and environmental hazards.

    "My example indicated that things of the lighter variety would be adequate for many players to just not get blown away by a lucky max damage crit. from a nobody NPC."

    But armour should be the very reverse of that... it should stop damage from a low powered near miss that sprays you with melted plascrete... not a full on blaster hit.

    "The main point is that armor is not a pile of scrap always to be ignored which is what my players have called it. "

    It's not in the system. It's very useful in system... which leads to players wearing it... which then takes them away from the Star Wars feel and universe... which means that the system is wrong.
  24. Gokuku Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2003
    star 2
    I hate wearing amorcause it gets in the way and even though I'm a bounty hunter I still hate wearing amor...Even though I do have natural armor.
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