Author Topic: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?  (Read 98137 times)

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Mixster

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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #100 on: January 12, 2011, 04:20:16 PM »
Quote
Also, anything less than Heavy Fort is worthless.

Why do you think that?

I like medium fort at a +3 bonus; a +1 (who would ever get more) heavy fort armour is around 16k gold, but still stops 75% of all criticals.

I find that quite useful. Yes Heavy fort is better, but it also costs 20k more, which it will take two levels more to get.
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #101 on: January 12, 2011, 04:27:18 PM »
AC's weakness is that it is irrelevant to most any form of attack other than archery and beat you with a stick.

the issue is that by mid to upper levels your opponents normally either have attacks that don't require attack rolls, are touch attacks which just made most of your AC go away anyway, or are huge melee monsters that require devoting most of your resources to getting AC high enough for them to have a chance at missing. That is on top of the fact that if you devote too much to defense you are no longer enough of a threat to the enemy for the to just ignore you until they have dealt with the other characters that are a threat.
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weenog

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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #102 on: January 12, 2011, 04:32:10 PM »
I thought AC was fairly good against the tear you apart with icky filthy giant claws attack form, too, if you had enough of it.  Isn't that the favorite trick of druids who want to do damage personally but aren't wasteful enough to blast, as well as plenty of monsters?

I understand that just being hard to kill is still pointless if it cost you being able to kill things back convincingly.  I don't think making yourself harder to kill with AC necessarily does that.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 04:34:44 PM by weenog »
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archangel.arcanis

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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #103 on: January 12, 2011, 04:47:13 PM »
AC works until about mid levels where the rip your face off monsters have inflated HD (thus high BaB), and inflated strength (adding to attack and damage). So now to keep your AC high enough to provide a reasonable chance of them failing to hit you have to spend so many resources you can no longer reasonably pose a threat. At that point it is best to go glass cannon and kill them first.
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #104 on: January 12, 2011, 04:55:10 PM »
So trading away some AC (which you can get back, except it's irrelevant anyway so you needn't bother) for some damage reduction makes you take more damage, not less.

And I suppose if you do recover the sacrificed AC, so you have the AC and the damage reduction, you're taking more damage twice, once for AC that doesn't matter and once for damage reduction that doesn't matter.

Interesting.

Except that you don't actually do that at all, because you either have an AC of x and a DR of x - 5, or you have an AC of x - 5 and a DR of x. You can replace 5 with any other number you like, it does not change the fact anything with a 1:1 PA does the same damage, anything that PAs harder does more damage, and anything that is not a physical attack does the same damage. Therefore, you take the same or more damage in absolutely every single situation.

Next you will inform me that math is hard.

As for the value of AC, no it is not because of weenog's fail. It is because you can pop a 50% miss chance on the cheap, which has the same end effect as an AC good enough to only be hit on an 11 or better. But is much cheaper. So if you can't get yourself to the point where enemies hit even less often, you're better off ignoring it entirely, getting some miss chances, having the same or better defenses, and lots of spare cash.

Quote
Also, anything less than Heavy Fort is worthless.

Why do you think that?

I like medium fort at a +3 bonus; a +1 (who would ever get more) heavy fort armour is around 16k gold, but still stops 75% of all criticals.

I find that quite useful. Yes Heavy fort is better, but it also costs 20k more, which it will take two levels more to get.

Moderate Fort, you mean?

And aside from the fact you are getting it to stop luck from shafting you, not to make it do so less often and therefore sub 100% defeats the point? If the DM does not allow upgrading, Moderate Fort is wasted cash. If he does, the level at which you get Moderate Fort isn't that much closer than Heavy Fort, so there's still little point. The only D&D related context Moderate Fort is useful in is DDO, for Warforged characters. Mostly because they houseruled that 75% to stack with innate 25%. Therefore, you get the mandatory immunity 4 levels sooner, and also have more options as to how you get it. A common caster item has Moderate Fort as an incidental benefit, for example. So that's slot savings. But RAW, when discussing tabletop D&D? Forget it.
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #105 on: January 12, 2011, 11:03:47 PM »
I happen to be a fan of mithril mechanus gear, combined with Savnok's Tooth, and Energize armor. It's not scary effective, but for two feats you add +11 deflection, on a psywar/gish/lockdown build it ain't bad. Not a lot of mobility loss, either. Can't say I've used much heavy armor otherwise, except on the odd low-level cleric here and there.


How does mithril mechanus gear qualify for the feat deflective armor?  Wouldn't it be considered medium armor and thus not qualify?

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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #106 on: January 12, 2011, 11:05:25 PM »
I happen to be a fan of mithril mechanus gear, combined with Savnok's Tooth, and Energize armor. It's not scary effective, but for two feats you add +11 deflection, on a psywar/gish/lockdown build it ain't bad. Not a lot of mobility loss, either. Can't say I've used much heavy armor otherwise, except on the odd low-level cleric here and there.


How does mithril mechanus gear qualify for the feat deflective armor?  Wouldn't it be considered medium armor and thus not qualify?
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #107 on: January 12, 2011, 11:15:40 PM »
AC works until about mid levels where the rip your face off monsters have inflated HD (thus high BaB), and inflated strength (adding to attack and damage). So now to keep your AC high enough to provide a reasonable chance of them failing to hit you have to spend so many resources you can no longer reasonably pose a threat. At that point it is best to go glass cannon and kill them first.
This is actually not very accurate at all.

Inflated HD, yes.  Inflated BAB, not so much.  Most types (including the most prominent rip-your-face-off types: animal, construct, elemental, giant, and vermin) give 3/4 BAB progression, so the wind up about on-par with a Fighter in that regard.  The types with full BAB like Dragons, Outsiders, Magical Beasts, and Monstrous Humanoids are more of a mixed bag.  Dragons in general have deflated CR, so let's not compare them; they're strong at what they do pretty much regardless of what it is.  The other three are more mixed bags.  You can check the summoning guides yourself for outsiders.  They tend to have HD pretty close to what their CR is with few outliers, including the bruisers.

Further, given that Power Attack is around, your goal isn't just to make them miss their top-BAB attack.  There are other ways that it mitigates damage in that the brutes can't just max-power attack you down, they have to hold back so their hit mod remains adequate.  Further, if there's even the slightest chance that the first attack can miss, then the 3rd and 4th attacks have a very high chance of missing, and each of those iterative attacks cause exactly the same amount of damage.  Making the last one miss is just as good as making the first one miss.

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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #108 on: January 13, 2011, 01:50:32 AM »
Further, given that Power Attack is around, your goal isn't just to make them miss their top-BAB attack.  There are other ways that it mitigates damage in that the brutes can't just max-power attack you down, they have to hold back so their hit mod remains adequate.  Further, if there's even the slightest chance that the first attack can miss, then the 3rd and 4th attacks have a very high chance of missing, and each of those iterative attacks cause exactly the same amount of damage.  Making the last one miss is just as good as making the first one miss.
Most bruisers use natural weapons, so the max penalty on any attack is -5 (and more often -2).  Armor Class has to be much higher to remain relevant at stopping, say, 50% of attacks.
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #109 on: January 13, 2011, 02:13:10 AM »
AC works until about mid levels where the rip your face off monsters have inflated HD (thus high BaB), and inflated strength (adding to attack and damage). So now to keep your AC high enough to provide a reasonable chance of them failing to hit you have to spend so many resources you can no longer reasonably pose a threat. At that point it is best to go glass cannon and kill them first.
This is actually not very accurate at all.

Inflated HD, yes.  Inflated BAB, not so much.  Most types (including the most prominent rip-your-face-off types: animal, construct, elemental, giant, and vermin) give 3/4 BAB progression, so the wind up about on-par with a Fighter in that regard.  The types with full BAB like Dragons, Outsiders, Magical Beasts, and Monstrous Humanoids are more of a mixed bag.  Dragons in general have deflated CR, so let's not compare them; they're strong at what they do pretty much regardless of what it is.  The other three are more mixed bags.  You can check the summoning guides yourself for outsiders.  They tend to have HD pretty close to what their CR is with few outliers, including the bruisers.

Further, given that Power Attack is around, your goal isn't just to make them miss their top-BAB attack.  There are other ways that it mitigates damage in that the brutes can't just max-power attack you down, they have to hold back so their hit mod remains adequate.  Further, if there's even the slightest chance that the first attack can miss, then the 3rd and 4th attacks have a very high chance of missing, and each of those iterative attacks cause exactly the same amount of damage.  Making the last one miss is just as good as making the first one miss.
You ignored the fact that many of them are rather strong and as Snakeman pointed out most use natural weapons. A quick glance at just cr 8-9 animals from the SRD shows they have attacks in the neighborhood of +20
Constructs are all over the map for attack bonus, though Kolyarut's attack is a touch attack in addition to their spell likes.
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #110 on: January 13, 2011, 04:14:22 AM »
Further, given that Power Attack is around, your goal isn't just to make them miss their top-BAB attack.  There are other ways that it mitigates damage in that the brutes can't just max-power attack you down, they have to hold back so their hit mod remains adequate.  Further, if there's even the slightest chance that the first attack can miss, then the 3rd and 4th attacks have a very high chance of missing, and each of those iterative attacks cause exactly the same amount of damage.  Making the last one miss is just as good as making the first one miss.
Most bruisers use natural weapons, so the max penalty on any attack is -5 (and more often -2).  Armor Class has to be much higher to remain relevant at stopping, say, 50% of attacks.
So actually, conceptually speaking, DR IS better than AC as a defense.
DR that's too low still has an impact.

Thought experiment:
What happens if you convert all worn armors(any Armor bonuses from magic and enhancement bonuses to Armor is also converted) to DR 2/- per point of AC system-wide?
What if you do the same to Nat AC?
What if you then make spells that deal physical damage explicitly subject to DR?
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #111 on: January 13, 2011, 04:20:58 AM »
What if you then make spells that deal physical damage explicitly subject to DR?
Honestly, there really aren't enough of them to make much of a difference one way or another, balance-wise.
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #112 on: January 13, 2011, 04:26:21 AM »
You ignored the fact that many of them are rather strong and as Snakeman pointed out most use natural weapons. A quick glance at just cr 8-9 animals from the SRD shows they have attacks in the neighborhood of +20
Constructs are all over the map for attack bonus, though Kolyarut's attack is a touch attack in addition to their spell likes.
+6 armor, +4 shield, +3 natural (barkskin), +1-2 deflection (ring or Prot: Evil).  That's AC at around 25 already, and these are things that most people should be able to get access to for extended periods of time, even at level 6.  Then Dex and such comes into play.  It's not hard to break AC 30 at these levels, especially with a specialized defensive build.

weenog

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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #113 on: January 13, 2011, 05:39:43 AM »
I think if you convert natural armor to DR /- and then double it, you'll probably wind up with a lot more martial types getting swallowed whole on purpose hoping they can sell their DM on the idea that a thick hide or whatever doesn't apply on the inside.

You'd probably also make that feat that turns your power attack into energy damage more attractive.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 05:41:37 AM by weenog »
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #114 on: January 13, 2011, 10:59:14 AM »
Further, given that Power Attack is around, your goal isn't just to make them miss their top-BAB attack.  There are other ways that it mitigates damage in that the brutes can't just max-power attack you down, they have to hold back so their hit mod remains adequate.  Further, if there's even the slightest chance that the first attack can miss, then the 3rd and 4th attacks have a very high chance of missing, and each of those iterative attacks cause exactly the same amount of damage.  Making the last one miss is just as good as making the first one miss.
Most bruisers use natural weapons, so the max penalty on any attack is -5 (and more often -2).  Armor Class has to be much higher to remain relevant at stopping, say, 50% of attacks.
So actually, conceptually speaking, DR IS better than AC as a defense.
DR that's too low still has an impact.

Thought experiment:
What happens if you convert all worn armors(any Armor bonuses from magic and enhancement bonuses to Armor is also converted) to DR 2/- per point of AC system-wide?
What if you do the same to Nat AC?
What if you then make spells that deal physical damage explicitly subject to DR?
You make Dragons untouchable by martial characters.
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #115 on: January 13, 2011, 11:24:59 AM »
You ignored the fact that many of them are rather strong and as Snakeman pointed out most use natural weapons. A quick glance at just cr 8-9 animals from the SRD shows they have attacks in the neighborhood of +20
Constructs are all over the map for attack bonus, though Kolyarut's attack is a touch attack in addition to their spell likes.
+6 armor, +4 shield, +3 natural (barkskin), +1-2 deflection (ring or Prot: Evil).  That's AC at around 25 already, and these are things that most people should be able to get access to for extended periods of time, even at level 6.  Then Dex and such comes into play.  It's not hard to break AC 30 at these levels, especially with a specialized defensive build.
You have just made my point. No it isn't hard to do it but you still have to devote a lot of resources to it. And that is just to defend against Monster beatsticks and does nothing to help against those who rely on touch attacks or spells.
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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #116 on: January 13, 2011, 01:31:22 PM »
You ignored the fact that many of them are rather strong and as Snakeman pointed out most use natural weapons. A quick glance at just cr 8-9 animals from the SRD shows they have attacks in the neighborhood of +20
Constructs are all over the map for attack bonus, though Kolyarut's attack is a touch attack in addition to their spell likes.
+6 armor, +4 shield, +3 natural (barkskin), +1-2 deflection (ring or Prot: Evil).  That's AC at around 25 already, and these are things that most people should be able to get access to for extended periods of time, even at level 6.  Then Dex and such comes into play.  It's not hard to break AC 30 at these levels, especially with a specialized defensive build.
You have just made my point. No it isn't hard to do it but you still have to devote a lot of resources to it. And that is just to defend against Monster beatsticks and does nothing to help against those who rely on touch attacks or spells.

Dunno if it's that hard... lets take a lowly tier 5 melee fighter like the paladin... let him cast luminous armor (effectively +4 ac against melee, incl. touch attacks) and law devotion, which is a decent feat for pally's also offensively, and you're already at 32... that's not even a 'specialized' build, just cost 1 spell (duration 1hour/lvl) and 1 feat that is beneficial in other ways then just +AC.

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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #117 on: January 13, 2011, 01:46:16 PM »
I think that's the biggest issue here.  Yeah other defenses are better than AC, but that doesn't mean that AC is horrible.  It just needs to scale a little better.  And casters should have to rely more on positioning (I'm not talking about flying) for defense.

I never bother using Power Attack on monsters because it either winds up killing your players or not doing any damage.

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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #118 on: January 13, 2011, 03:42:03 PM »
You ignored the fact that many of them are rather strong and as Snakeman pointed out most use natural weapons. A quick glance at just cr 8-9 animals from the SRD shows they have attacks in the neighborhood of +20
Constructs are all over the map for attack bonus, though Kolyarut's attack is a touch attack in addition to their spell likes.
+6 armor, +4 shield, +3 natural (barkskin), +1-2 deflection (ring or Prot: Evil).  That's AC at around 25 already, and these are things that most people should be able to get access to for extended periods of time, even at level 6.  Then Dex and such comes into play.  It's not hard to break AC 30 at these levels, especially with a specialized defensive build.
You have just made my point. No it isn't hard to do it but you still have to devote a lot of resources to it. And that is just to defend against Monster beatsticks and does nothing to help against those who rely on touch attacks or spells.
No, a defensive build is going to have something in the neighborhood of 35+, and that's mostly in terms of defensive magic items, anyway, not feats.  You could put it all together on a Dungeoncrasher Fighter 6, especially if there's a Druid in the party for a Barkskin buff.

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Re: What is the point of medium and heavy armor?
« Reply #119 on: January 13, 2011, 03:44:47 PM »
The problem with AC is that a +1 to attack renders a +1 to AC useless (and let's not talk about nat 20s), whereas two 20% miss chances and a 50% miss chance require so much more to overcome.
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