Thursday, September 19, 2019

Random armor thoughts for TBH

Jeremy has been running the Rad Hack off and on, and it's obviously a variant of The Black Hack.

There are some things I like about TBH system and some things I don't. One that I'm not too fond of is how they handle armor. And apparently it's not just me, because apparently lots of TBH variants use different rules for armor. The Rad Hack uses the standard rules. Here they are, taken from this website:


Armor provides protection by reducing all incoming damage. Each type will reduce damage by a limited amount. Armor Points are regained after a character rests. Once the player or monster has used armor to absorb its maximum amount, they are too tired or wounded to make effective use of it again - they then begin taking full damage.
Chain Mail6
Plate & Mail8
Small shield2
Large shield4
Monsters have 1 point of armor for every HD above 1, to figure this out quickly simply -1 from their HD - They can also carry shields. (All to a maximum of 10)

 Now, Rad Hack, being post-apoc mutant weirdness rather than medieval fantasy, uses generic light/medium/heavy armor, which you assume is probably cobbled together from sports gear and S&M bondage gear, like in a Mad Max movie. That's just cosmetic, though. The rules are the same.

So in TBH, armor provides damage reduction, but only once or twice (maybe three or four times if you have really good armor and are fighting low level mooks) per encounter. But then you rest, and the next encounter it's back to its full value again. It works, but the rationalization behind how it works is strange.

Now, the most popular innovation of TBH (and maybe it's not their original innovation but it seems to be one reason why people love the system so much) is the Usage Die. Instead of tracking every arrow, bullet, wand charge, or number of times per day you've used a special ability, they come with a usage die. After you use the item, you roll the die. If it comes up a 1 or 2, it drops to the next lowest die type the next time you use it. And if it's a d4 and it comes up 1 or 2, it's depleted (until you can buy more, rest for a day, put in a new power cell, or whatever makes sense for the resource being depleted).

Now I don't scour all the various hacks of TBH the way Jeremy seems to, but I'm wondering if anyone has set up armor to provide a smaller amount of damage reduction, but on every hit taken, but every time you get hit you need to roll a usage die for it. It might make more sense that way.

I'd probably set it up as every type of armor reduces damage by 2. Or maybe 1/2/3 for the armor types, plus one more if you have a shield. Light armor (gambeson, leather) and shields get a d4 usage die. Medium (chain) gets a d6. Heavy (plate) gets a d8. Once the armor is depleted, you don't get the damage reduction any more. You need to either get it repaired or replaced.

Of course, I'm running a Robot character, who has built in 2 points of armor.  I'd probably be needing a lot more repair than I do now in this system. But I think it makes a bit more sense from an in-game fiction standpoint, uses existing game mechanics, and still provides a good amount of damage reduction.

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