Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Old School Armor Class Systems Comparison (Tables)

I read with interest that there was going to be a minor change to armor class in the revised and just released Labyrinth Lord rules. What started out as some simple comparison calculations spiraled into a desire to compare armor class across the spectrum of the Old School systems I play and am interested in... I'm sure others have done something similar or exactly the same, but thought I'd post some PDFs of my calculations and tables here. I don't consider math a strong point of mine, so wouldn't be surprised if my calculations are off somewhere. I'm thinking about charting this somehow to make it a little easier for my brain to make sense of (what can I say, I'm a lefty)...

Old School Armor Systems Comparison Tables
(includes B/X, LL (old and new), OSRIC/AD&D, and S&W)

OSRIC/AD&D Armor Cost vs. Starting Money by Class


Anonymous said...

That is HILARIOUS. Well, hilarious in the sense that I was doing the EXACT same thing today on lunch but got interrupted.

Now I don't have to finish tomorrow. LOL.

I'm not yet convinced that I think leather being AC 8 is right, but it certainly makes everything fit together better.

Dan of Earth said...

I think leather w/no shield in 1e is actually 8.

ze bulette said...

@Lord Kilgore: That's pretty funny and somehow not surprising - Glad to know it saved at least one person some time!

@Dan: Thanks, and great catch, I’ve updated the tables accordingly, I blame these old eyes...

The old LL AC stats seem somewhat problematic with Scale and Studded Leather being the same class but Studded being much less expensive.

The revised stats have shifted this problem onto Padded and Leather, where the differences are not as great, but still the question arises, "Why bother spending the extra money when X does the same job?"

To deal with this in the revised rules, I'd propose a house rule that makes Padded armor useless after a certain amount of damage (but how much?) inflicted by edged weapons or monster tooth/claw/etc.

Still, a part of me hates to see AC 7 leather go to 8 for some reason. I know that there exists a few other minor differences between B/X and LL, such as the use of spells by 1st level Clerics in LL for example (which I support for sheer survivability purposes!)... The very existence of Scale in LL (when it doesn't exist in B/X) seems to be the cause of this problem. I understand including it for additional flavor, esp. considering the upcoming AEC, but I wonder if there's another way to keep it and not change the armor class rating of leather.

Maybe another way would have been just to raise the price of studded leather to make it closer to scale - but matching their prices seems unrealistic (sorry, non-simulationist!), and not matching them raises the same question, "Why bother spending the extra money when X does the same job?" At lower AC, it would seem to follow that it matters more, and so best to avoid, unless another (house?) rule of some kind could be invented to create a disincentive.

Of course, my eyes are practically bleeding from looking at all these numbers, so I must confess that I may be missing something. One can begin to understand the attraction for the even more minimal (er, "lighter") rules sets at times like these! Still, I really can’t say I have a better solution at this time, and I’m pretty committed to LL and looking forward to AEC.

Dan of Earth said...

"The revised stats have shifted this problem onto Padded and Leather, where the differences are not as great, but still the question arises, 'Why bother spending the extra money when X does the same job?'"

The same is true for 1e, but I think to some extent it is weird to need to justify price and utility. Why should something that is cheaper or more expensive reflect its usefulness in game relative to price? What we are really talking about in one sense is which materials are more costly or costly in terms of labor.

With padded armor though I could see creating some house rules to make it less desirable than leather. Use the optional item saving throw system and impose more penalties to reflect greater susceptibility to flames or acid. Also, padded armor is cloth, more bulky and absorbent, and could impose some sort of penalty when a character is drowning or trying to swim. All of this adds complexity, so it's a trade off. In real life padded armor is less durable, less expensive, would wear out faster, etc. so lower class or poorer people would wear it. I'd hesitate to create special rules for when it wears out, what maintenance it needs, etc. unless you create rules like that for all armor in general.

ze bulette said...

Yep, it’s definitely the same with 1e, I didn’t mean to single out LL, it just came up because of this revision. I’ve been helping a player create a whole new party following a near TPK, and so specifically I’ve been looking at starting money, cost of armor, and protection afforded for 1st level survivability purposes - from that point of view it doesn’t seem weird at all.

I’m warming to the idea of it because as I said I do think it was wise to move same protection/different costs up to the higher armor classes where the cost difference is negligible. Honestly, I think I’m just being a bit of a fundy with any problem I have of leather not matching the AC in B/X! In the end this is a very minor point - and after all, with house rules (I’d actually thought the exact same thing you suggest re: water and padded armor for example), and the fact that as DM I can adjust pricing (or even availability) of armor however I please, this really is just another case of a hobbyist poring over the minutia of witten rules. I take comfort in the fact that I’m not alone in this and reckon we’ve been doing it for the last 30+ years... :-)

Jeff Rients said...

You can only compare AC and price when all armors are available. Any particular source may only have certain armors for sale. If the guy who made all the leather armor for the barony died the last time the plague went through, padded and scale may be the only armors available.

ze bulette said...

A valid point of view when you're comparing the AC and costs in play, but the original intent here was a comparison of the systems themselves and rules as written - I get where you're coming from though, see my previous comment here re: AC pricing adjustment and availability house rules.

Anonymous said...

Also note that there are really many other types of armor available. Different gauges of wire used for chainmail could have you wearing something that looks like chainmail but is equivalent in all ways to leather, except it costs a lot more :P

Here's mine.

+0: Unarmored
+1: Padded / Winter Clothes / Furs
+2: Boiled Leather / Studded Leather
+3: Ringmail
+4: Scale / Chainmail
+5: Splint / Banded
+6: Platemail

Wearing a solid metal helm gives +1
Wielding a shield gives +1

Total AC is the penalty for people to hit you on d20.

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