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JasRonq

Armourless fighting

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In regards to my single player RPG: I want to allow the player to choose between wearing armour or not wearing it. They should be balanced and valid choices. Originally I was thinking that if you wear armour, the range of motion restrictions and weight would slow you down such that you can absorb blows but you can't dodge them as easily as without armour. The damage avoidance and damage absorption is then balanced against each other can the player is left free to choose. A problem has occurred to me that needs addressing. What about arrows? They fly too fast to be dodged without magic to slow them down. (Dodging in my game is manual and not just a stat based % chance and so relies on player reaction times) But if you need magic to deal with those, then not wearing armour can only be a magic wielding character possibility, which I don't want. Even with balancing it with armour being pierced by arrows too that just makes both choices vulnerable to arrows... Any ideas for a mechanic to avoid this issue without the player having to constantly cast a slow missiles spell?

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How about slowing down the arrows just enough so that player can barely dodge them if s/he's quick about it? I remember Oblivion doing just that (you can strafe to avoid incoming projectiles) and it worked fine. Maybe not the most realistic solution, but no more far-fetched than, say, bullet time. Well, maybe you can introduce arrow time? :)

Also, from what I understand, the movement restrictions from wearing heavy armor are extremely overrated in modern games and media. Look into reports of modern reconstructions for details if you're interested. Apparently, it's possible to do cartwheels while wearing plate.

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Coming from a realism viewpoint, I would think if you were facing an opponent who is utilizing a bow (or similar device to shoot arrows) you would most likely want to be wearing armour. The alternative would be to use the increased agility obtained from not wearing armour to move quickly from cover to cover.

To make this work you could have the enemy spend a larger amount of time acquiring their target (so they don't just hit you as soon as you become visible), or that they waste energy if they just keep the bow's string held back (more realistic considering the strength it took to pull some long-bows).

Either that or you could slow down the arrows as a previous poster mentioned. It's an easier method to implement if not that realistic. In the real-world, the ability of arrows/bullets to penetrate armour became to great and a soldier would have required incredibly heavy armour to avoid damage. Given that the armour was quite expensive, it was easier to send soldiers out without it especially because you'd get similar results.

In the end, remember all you have to do is make the player "think" something is realistic, it doesn't have to be a perfect simulation.

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Something about wearing armour not being as restrictive as people think.. yes, I am aware of that and have seen vids on youtube of it. The reason for the way I have described i is mostly wanting to allow the freedom to not wear armour while not penalizing the player. To do that I need to find some way to balance the two. Got a better way to balance the two options besides agility?

I think dodging the arrow with unrealistically slow flight speeds is probably the best way to achieve balance while not being to obtrusive to realism.

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I don't think you can really make arrows work without some sort of cover mechanic, and environments suitable for flanking.

In the open at moderate range, no amount of agility or amour will save you from a crack archer - even a mid-size bow can punch through steel plate, and even an unencumbered man can't close fast enough to take the archer down.

The equalizer is generally numbers: because of the difference in training time/cost, you can afford to foot tens of foot soldiers for every archer. You can train a man to stand in line-of-battle and hack his opponent apart with a sword/axe in half a day, but for an archer to be effective he needs years of training.

Combine superior numbers of melee fighters with frequent cover and no choke points for the archer to exploit, and you have the makings of a fair fight.

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Armour never does anything for people in movies, but we still love and watch them.

Poor Stormtroopers wearing all that armour only to die from one laser blast!

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Hi,

A few historical precisions regarding armor and arrows during Middle Age in Europa.

During Middle Age, bowmen had two kinds of arrows:
- large blades for soft targets (to make large wounds).
- thick spearhead blade for armor piercing.
Later these arrows disappeared with the arbalete which had more impact and could pierce armor.

Though, noble men were trained to wear armor plate of mean weight of 80-90 kg (about 20 kg for the helmet only - 14th to 15th century), they could not do cartwheels. When an exhausted knight had falled down, he could not stand back up on his own: he needed help.
Some robbers could kill a fallen knight with a needle knife by just inserting the balde between two plates: the knight could not defend himself(this kind of knife was also called a Misericorde).

Before the 14th century, chainmail was used.

My 2 cents.
Red.

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Considering that's quite to the contrary of sources I've read thus far, Red, do you have a source to reference for this? I find it hard to imagine a man intending to swing a sword about, half-sword, and grapple his foe is going to wear 90kg of armour. More to the point even than that, if such armour is only for those on horses, I find it insane to suggest that they would waste so much metal protecting a man sitting on a horse's back when a horse's legs, especially under such a load, could be broken leaving such a man laying on the ground like an over turned turtle. No the entire image, no matter the situation or reason, looks to ridiculous.
The truth about plate armour.
James, Lawrence (2003). Warrior Race: A History of the British at War. St. Martin's Press. pp. 119. ISBN 0312307373. for the sentence about it weighing 20kg.

"They call it "transitional mail" which was the heaviest of all the armors at about 60 lbs. It's a combination of both chain and plate mail." Quote from the bottom of the page here. Commentary by L.A. Long



Swiftcoder, what do you suggest when it is the player who is against the archer and has no pals at his back (or doesn't wish to risk being the unlucky man to take the shot)?

[Edited by - JasRonq on March 4, 2010 3:33:57 AM]

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@JasRonQ:

Do your sources mention the time period they tried to recreate ? Armor style and change did vary during the centuries in Europa:

- Antiquity: made of felt, leather and/or bronze (depends on the period and the area - roman armor, macedonian armor, ...)
- High Middle Age (8th to 11th century): Metal pieces (bronze or iron) sewed on thick fabric reinforced by leather. They are light: you can cartweel your heart's content with this (6 gp to you my lord and that's a bargain).
- 12th to 13th century: chainmail was all the rage then. It resisted to arrows, lances and swords but did not protect againts maces, flails or other morningstars (yeah, yeah, but imagine the time spent to make all those rings: 8 gp is a good price, I tell you).
- 14th to 15th century: transition from chainmail to the full plate armor. Plate armor was definitely used during the 15th century. With the advent of black powder in the 16th century, plate mail armor was abandoned.

Note that there are different breeds of horses. Knights in full plate armor used heavier breeds (more akin to the percheron). The legs of these horses won't break with such a 'light' weight.

I have a few books on military history (references are at home I you are interested, I will look into it - I do not know if they have an equivalent in England - one good source for a start is the Medieval Encyclopedia of Mr Viollet le Duc). There are also recent reconstitutions that have been broadcasted on TV on different time periods (mostly on ARTE channel). These vary between mildly interesting (building a trebuchet to break a wall - no period context) to highly interesting and detailed.

Ok, enough talking: what can I do for you sir knight ? I have a nice piece of armor enchanted by the great Merlin himself: 2000 gp ! It is a pity such a low price for this kind of quality, eh ?

Ghostly yours,
Red.

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Quote:
Original post by JasRonq
I want to allow the player to choose between wearing armour or not wearing it. They should be balanced and valid choices. Originally I was thinking that if you wear armour, the range of motion restrictions and weight would slow you down such that you can absorb blows but you can't dodge them as easily as without armour. The damage avoidance and damage absorption is then balanced against each other can the player is left free to choose.


Don't overbalance things, or decisions become unimportant. All too often I find the decision to wear armour or not in RPG games is little more than a cosmetic choice - often the advantages and penalties are too small to be of any real significance.

What if you left arrows as they are? Sure, unarmoured characters might get murdered if they charge blindly into melee with an archer. That is the price they pay for being stupid.

Armour is expensive, somewhat encumbering, and requires maintenance. But it gives you protection. If you choose to forgo that protection, then you will have to adapt your playstyle accordingly. No more bumrushing archers across open ground: you'll now have to use cover, stealth, misdirection, magic, or archery to get the drop on your enemies.

Of course there will be times when you're caught in the open and using tricks like stealth etc. will be difficult or even impossible. Tweaking the archer's accuracy characteristics could go some way towards limiting their damage. It may be that if you're far enough away, and moving quickly enough, they can't shoot accurately enough to take you out.

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