I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Friday, April 20, 2018


The latest post might have been a bit confusing.

This is easier, I hope. Well, if you want a different idea - even simpler - then let me draw that for you.

If you want crunch... read on!

First, get rid of 5e's armor tables.
Now you have this:

- A number of encumbrance slots equal to your Strength. If you fill HALF of these, you're half-encumbered. Fill all, and you're encumbered. Less than half means you're unencumbered.
- Armor takes a variable number of encumbrance slots (1 slot for AC 11, 2 slots for AC 12, 5 slots for AC 15, etc).
- Light armor is AC 12, medium 13-15, and heavy 16-18.
- Cost is 10 gp times AC bonus, squared. AC 14 costs 160 gp, for example, and AC 18, 640 GP (yes, it is cheaper, but you need Str 18 to make the most of it). You can get cheap armor for one quarter of the price, but you suffer a -1 penalty to AC.
- AC 15 or higher gives you disadvantage in stealth.
- Dexterity gives you a variable bonus to AC.
- Armor proficiency works as usual.

The bonus is:

* Start with column A.
* If you're using armor, and your armor's AC is greater than your Str, move one column to the right.
* If you're half-encumbered (i.e., half of your encumbrance slots are filled), move one column to the right. If you're encumbered, move two columns to the right instead, and speed drops by 10ft.
* If you're using medium amor, move one column to the right. If you're using heavy amor, move two columns to the right instead.

(The table below is the "smoother" version from last post; remember, column C is the ability modifier you're used to. Notice that there is no column "F"; if you move one column to the right of E, you cannot get a bonus from Dex, but you can still get a penalty).


Some examples:

Unfettered build (AC 17):
No armor, Str 8, Dex 20, unencumbered - use column A, get AC 17. With only 8 encumbrance slots, this PC must travel light at all times to keep the high AC. Light armor would raise your AC to 18; if you're carrying a shield and weapon too, you'd lose the unencumbered status, but raise AC to 20.

Traditional thief (AC 19):
Light armor (AC 12), Str 12, Dex 20, unencumbered - use column A, get AC 19.

Brutish rogue (AC 17):
Medium armor (AC 14), Str 14, Dex 16 - use column C, get AC 17. If you manage to stay unencumbered - not an easy thing to do - your AC is 18.

Heavy and fast (AC 20):
Heavy armor (AC 18), Str 18, Dex 14 - use column D, and you get AC 20. Notice that with 18 encumbrance slots, and 8 of those being filled by armor, is practically impossible for this build to be unencumbered. What this build can do is use a shield - and get to AC 22!

But... I don't like these ABCDE tables!

You can have a similar result by just giving +1 AC to anyone who is unencumbered, provided their DEX is 10 or higher, and -1 to anyone whose strength is smaller than their armor's AC.

What's the point?

As always, we want to give people good reasons to have BOTH Str and Dex. Notice that most of these builds require both, which is suboptimal by RAW, but they get a small AC boost in this system. In practice, PCs will rarely be unencumbered.

Side effects may include:

* Duels! In duels, BOTH sides are more likely to be unencumbered, which makes the fight lasts for a bit longer... perfect!
* Giving a reason to have odd ability scores.
* Making encumbrance more meaningful.
* Making each point of Str/Dex count.
* Making each armor unique (you might be better off with AC 13 than 14, for example, but it all depends on your stats). You might have different sets of armor for dueling, exploring, traveling, etc.

Adverse effects:
* Dex becomes even more useful.
* Barbarians/monks might need fine tuning. Paladins in plate may suffer a little if they have Str 16 or less and low Dex.
* ACs might become higher all around - although the difference is seldom greater than +1 or +2.


  1. Again, I really like the way this is shaping up, nice and round.

    Thanks for sharing!


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