FKR: Active armor

Classic Warhammer FRP illo by the master himself, John Blanche

Okay, I’ll admit it, that headline is somewhat misleading. It should read, more exactly, “active armor rolls” because that’s what this short post is about.

In my Landshut rules, I usually handwave damage and armor: “So you’re swinging that huge zweihänder at that goblin in a loincloth, and you hit it. <insert SPLASH! sfx here>”

Player characters get more hits for heavier armor.

But what if you want to make armor more important? I can see that in old school Warhammer games, for instance, and of course at OD&D tables, as well. My solution is introducing an armor roll.

Armor typically comes in two variations: light, with an armor class of 1, and heavy, with an armor class of 2. Maybe, MAYBE, there are other types of armor out there that offer armor class 3, but so far, I haven’t seen them.

So, a fight with armor rolls will work like this:

  • You roll 2d6 vs. my 2d6. Higher roll hits.
  • The combatant who got hit rolls 1d6 and tries to roll under or equal to his armor class. If he does, the hit got deflected or softened by the armor, and he does not lose a hit. If the roll is over, the armor didn’t stop the hit.

A clean, simple solution, and one that MIGHT increase tension and fun at the table.

5 thoughts on “FKR: Active armor

  1. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of multiple rolls to resolve a single action or situation, especially if all the added roll does is increasing the chance of nothing happening. (That’s also why I prefer this style of concurrent attack rolls, with the winning side delivering damage, as opposed of the classic “attack vs defence, then the other side goes”. It’s also a better representation of how a duel feels in reality, in my opinion. Source: I practice HEMA).

    If I’m better armoured, not only it’s more difficult to hit me effectively, but it’s also easier for me to attack without risking a counter.

    All in all, in my opinion a humble flat bonus for the more armoured side would be simpler, faster, and just as effective at representing the advantage of armour.

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    1. Oh yeah, I see where you’re coming from! I prefer playing that way myself. When we playtested that thing, yes, we had a couple of whiffs that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, but it was still okay – in my opinion.

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  2. Like your blog and FKR material a lot. I also like the idea of armor saves or rolls, too. What do you think about resolving the armor roll in the initial opposed roll? In this case, rolling low represents a strong defense and rolling high represents a strong offence. Main downside I see is that rolling double 1’s would normally feel like a really bad roll, but in this case it means your armor (or defense) is really good.

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    1. Thanks, Tony! I was thinking about that, too… if I decided to use that method, I’d roll 2d6 of different colors, one of them being the armor die. Then, I’d probably say that for light armor to work, the armor die has to roll a 6, and for heavy armor to work, it has to be a 5 or 6. That way, I’d keep the “higher is better” philosophy intact 😉

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