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Old 06-11-2016, 03:03 PM   #31
Polydamas
 
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

Also, there is a shortage of research on the comparative effectiveness on different types of armour, and when such research is carried out it might not give results which would create a GURPS campaign with the variety of armour which was seen historically. For lots of questions which gamers ask, "what is realistic?" is a question about which there are opinions not clear, evidence-based answers.

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Originally Posted by safisher View Post
One of the fundamental problems in RPGs in general is that damage is generally treated in an unrealistic way. We all know that in D&D the Hit Point is silly -- the house cat and all that. But even in GURPS damage is not scaled very well in regards to how armor is treated. This certainly because DR and it's metrics were pinned down in later books.
Another is that games rarely address some of the most important factors in armour choice: Does it look cool? Does it make me feel awesome? Is it comfortable and maintainable? Damage Resistance or Armour Class and weight always have game effects, whereas there is rarely a way to represent "you can wear that, but it makes you feel weird and the girls laugh about it" or "that kind of armour is great protection, but wearing it for a month hurts more than wearing this kind."
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Old 06-11-2016, 06:51 PM   #32
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Also, there is a shortage of research on the comparative effectiveness on different types of armour, and when such research is carried out it might not give results which would create a GURPS campaign with the variety of armour which was seen historically. For lots of questions which gamers ask, "what is realistic?" is a question about which there are opinions not clear, evidence-based answers.
There is virtually none of this. I can find you the very technical papers used to appraise some DR in GURPS HT, but nevertheless, you have to fudge. Perhaps you have one test but it has limited information, perhaps the tests aren't comparable with others. Perhaps the break points just feel wrong. And so on.

There is also, an active element of chauvinism among some RPG players and writers, who may prejudice certain types of information over others, or misinterpret information, or (and this is the constant danger) simply mishandle the conversion from real world to game system. This is why playtesting is so important, and why it's so important to realize that consensus really does help bring about a better end product. Know-it-alls and maverick experts seldom produce good rules. It's hard to do this job in a vacuum.

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Another is that games rarely address some of the most important factors in armour choice: Does it look cool? Does it make me feel awesome? Is it comfortable and maintainable? Damage Resistance or Armour Class and weight always have game effects, whereas there is rarely a way to represent "you can wear that, but it makes you feel weird and the girls laugh about it" or "that kind of armour is great protection, but wearing it for a month hurts more than wearing this kind."
The soft issues like this, which most gamers tend to ignore, are really the key ones in actual history.
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Old 06-12-2016, 03:56 AM   #33
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

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There is also, an active element of chauvinism among some RPG players and writers, who may prejudice certain types of information over others, or misinterpret information, or (and this is the constant danger) simply mishandle the conversion from real world to game system. This is why playtesting is so important, and why it's so important to realize that consensus really does help bring about a better end product. Know-it-alls and maverick experts seldom produce good rules. It's hard to do this job in a vacuum.
Although lets be careful about the pot calling the kettle black ... I have said elsewhere that giving modern body armour which only covers part of a hit location both a 100% chance of intercepting attacks to it, and the reduced weight and increased concealability and wearability which are the purpose of that incomplete coverage, is a not a choice which I would have made for GURPS. TANSTAAFL, and GURPS games are likely to involve combat which is far from the assumptions about likely threats and angles of attack which the designers of 20th century body armour made.

Edit: I figure that authors are doing the best that they can with the evidence and resources available to them and within the limits of a house style which prevents them from citing sources or discussing how they think something works, what other views exist, and what choices they had to make to represent that reality in GURPS. Academic rigour tends to cost more than games companies can afford, and many of these problems are hard.

I would like to see more RPG products which focus on asking how something works, showing their work and giving a good-enough-for-gaming answer, like the old "omniscient eye" column in Pyramid 2, and gaming stores which had more gamer-friendly nonfiction and less splatbooks. But it seems that books of monsters and hundreds of slightly different variations of D&D are what sells (to the extent that anything in the RPG industry sells enough to keep a storefront open, and the industry does not depend on comic books and CCGs and Atlantean Swords and tee shirts to fund the odd aisle of product).
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Last edited by Polydamas; 06-12-2016 at 11:37 AM. Reason: Afterthought
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Old 06-12-2016, 05:37 PM   #34
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

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Although lets be careful about the pot calling the kettle black
I'm not throwing stones. I'm making a general observation.

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... I have said elsewhere that giving modern body armour which only covers part of a hit location both a 100% chance of intercepting attacks to it, and the reduced weight and increased concealability and wearability which are the purpose of that incomplete coverage, is a not a choice which I would have made for GURPS.
Oh, I know. There is vocal minority here which complains about that. I stand by my decision. I was required to stick with Basic Set, not change it. I was not allowed to design an armor system. HT was only to be a "catalog." I did include the d6 rule for armor coverage; I did not make it a requirement. No playtesters complained, as I recalled. Some of the work in Pyramid has been very helpful to fill in the gaps, as I assumed other work would do. <shrug>

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I figure that authors are doing the best that they can with the evidence and resources available to them and within the limits of a house style which prevents them from citing sources or discussing how they think something works, what other views exist, and what choices they had to make to represent that reality in GURPS. Academic rigour tends to cost more than games companies can afford, and many of these problems are hard.
This is it. However, games companies can basically afford nothing. Authors must chose on their own how much to research and test before they write rules. Sometimes authors are good at this, sometimes they are not. Some write better rules than others, etc.
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:17 AM   #35
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

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Originally Posted by safisher View Post
One of the fundamental problems in RPGs in general is that damage is generally treated in an unrealistic way. We all know that in D&D the Hit Point is silly -- the house cat and all that. But even in GURPS damage is not scaled very well in regards to how armor is treated. This certainly because DR and it's metrics were pinned down in later books.
Yep this is certainly true, and is true for the effect on wounding past armour as well. GURPS is better than most but ultimately is designed to be a fun game to play not a wound simulator.

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If using bleeding rules, a one hit point cutting attack causes bleeding, which can kill you. With HT 10, this probably won't happen, but a few failures and successes, and a critical failure can put you in bad shape in a few minutes.
If you use the Severe Bleeding rules in Martial Arts, a single one hit point cutting attack to the neck is HT-2 every 30 seconds. An average knife slash to the throat in this case can be fatal, even if the target is wearing proper armor.
In other words, in GURPS, a one point wound is severe! It's a potentially life threatening situation, regardless, considering the HT rolls for infection. There are no inconsequential combat wounds in GURPS.
I'd say there are too many variables within the system to say a one point wound is severe, as you point out not all one point wounds are equal. A one point bleeding wound to a vein/artery in the neck with the MA realistic injury rules is rather more concerning than a 1 point crushing wound that's not bleeding.

This variation in immediate and possible long term effects is one of the things that GURPS get's right IMO.

If nothing else while all one point wounds could conceivably be life threatening (if you use the specific rules and have the right combination of rolls). A first aid roll can have them disappear pretty quickly as well. Of course depending on where they are that might not be true!

Also an average knife slash to an armoured neck? It's going to depend on what's average. A long knife in ST10 hands will be doing 1d-1 cut so an average of 2.5 damage. Most neck armour will happily protect against that without even needing edge protection (and it's the bleeding on that location which is the potential killer).

However as I footnoted in my post, what counts as "inconsequential" is it's own discussion.


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Every attack is potentially deadly, and the armor rules, no matter how correct the mm measurements and pounds per square feet folks try to get it, fail to consider the outcomes of the intersection between defense and wounding and fatality.
I certainly agree that every attack has the potential to be life threatening, but a realistic treatment of armour (and a whole lot of other factors) will impact on those chances. IME it's that intersection and balance that the folks are after.

Take that knife slash example. Against an unarmoured neck and it gets nasty pretty quickly even though the initial attack isn't huge damage. But put some armour on that neck and the risk drops markedly.

Ultimately there's a reason why the high value targets namely skull and vitals were armoured first if possible. Neck's a bit of a fringe one, armouring it is harder than those two but getting hit there is also harder.

Last edited by Tomsdad; 06-13-2016 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:26 AM   #36
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

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I'm not throwing stones. I'm making a general observation.
Fair enough, but doing that in a thread about a specific rule by a specific author in a specific book is easy to read as meaning something more specific ...

I don't think that any two people given the same shelf of books and rules engines would come up with exactly the same armour rules, but I think that the ones in Low Tech (corrected by Dan's errata) do a good job of consistency with the rest of the system and with reality.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:03 PM   #37
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

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Fair enough, but doing that in a thread about a specific rule by a specific author in a specific book is easy to read as meaning something more specific ...
I don't think the general comments about the difficulty of matching everyone's expectations are out of line. It's certainly nothing compared to your comments directed at me in this thread.

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I don't think that any two people given the same shelf of books and rules engines would come up with exactly the same armour rules, but I think that the ones in Low Tech (corrected by Dan's errata) do a good job of consistency with the rest of the system and with reality.
Oh, I agree. Dan's rules are a good and welcome improvement. With the exception of the edge-protection rule, which I've explained my complaints about before, the vanilla rules work fairly well. I don't believe the benchmarks on the upper and lower ends are correct in some cases, but the middle is the middle and it works for the most part. Some of the rules (maintenance, targeting of armor articulation) were written at my suggestion, so obviously I like them best. ;)
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:23 PM   #38
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

The reason why the edge protection rules were implemented was because realistically it is virtually impossible to cut through armour with a sword - even leather and cloth. It works well with swords but causes problems with other weapons, such as axes.
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:15 PM   #39
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

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The reason why the edge protection rules were implemented was because realistically it is virtually impossible to cut through armour with a sword - even leather and cloth. It works well with swords but causes problems with other weapons, such as axes.
Yeah, I remember that discussion.
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Old 06-14-2016, 04:06 AM   #40
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Default Re: Low-Tech Armor - Proposal for some modifications

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The reason why the edge protection rules were implemented was because realistically it is virtually impossible to cut through armour with a sword - even leather and cloth. It works well with swords but causes problems with other weapons, such as axes.
Out of interest what's the issue with axes and edge protection?

Last edited by Tomsdad; 06-14-2016 at 04:58 AM. Reason: if I'm only going to write one sentence, best make it a clear one!
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