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TheWorldSmith

"Skin-Armour" and the dislike for it?

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I've seen this a lot over the forums, and I don't really understand the problem with it. Could somebody explain? As far as I'm aware, Wounds are not literal, meaning that they're not giant glowing areas that the NPCs have to hit which (when enough of them are hit) leave you dead after a glorious combat.

 

Rather, that they are a sense of battle-fatigue, much like HP in D&D and other systems - that they're hardly "Skin-Armour" and more a test of your sustained endurance to shrug off your wounds and ignore them.

 

Is that not the general consensus? If not, why not? Is there a problem mechanically or with the balance? From what I've seen, in a limited fashion I'll admit, it seems like people just hate the idea of "Skin-Armour"... Although that's not an idea my group shares at all with how it operates? And I'd hope other groups don't, honestly.

Edited by TheWorldSmith

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I'm typing on the train, apologies for the brief reply but here is why I don't like skin armor:

1. It adds to the maths involved in a system which is already overly long and generally too instrusive on the narrative.

Simply deducting PEN from the total defensive bonus is a lot easier than subtracting pen from the defensive bonus provided by armor but not toughness.

2. I don't care how much your character has worked out. When you start bouncing bolter shells off your gloriously developed but naked pectoral muscles, I have a real problem with it. A bit hyperbolic but you get my drift.

So yeah, it's a simple change to say pen reduces the total defensive bonus. It makes toughness orientated characters slightly less good but that's entirely the point. It doesn't make upgrading your toughness worthless either, just less of an obvious choice.

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2. I don't care how much your character has worked out. When you start bouncing bolter shells off your gloriously developed but naked pectoral muscles, I have a real problem with it. A bit hyperbolic but you get my drift.

 

I would say that that is a problem with an unreliable damage system, not a type of defence the character has. :)

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My understanding is that some people dislike how TB acts as just standard damage reduction. It also ties back in with the older Warhammer Fantasy RPGs where "naked dwarf syndrome" was a bugbear that popped up from time to time. Dwarf slayers could conceivably get a high enough TB that they have better DR than a character with average TB and basic armour.

 

As Gregor pointed out, it doesn't quite make sense how a tough character can get pinged by bullets and suffer no damage but that is the problem with any unreliable dice system. I've always interpreted it that a blow that dealt no damage after DR (armour or TB) was merely a glancing blow and didn't strike any vital parts. That's a bit of a hand wave that kinda ignores the basic function of TB as DR but RPGs have always had to bend reality for their HP/Wound/Damage systems to make some sort of logical and mechanical sense.

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2. I don't care how much your character has worked out. When you start bouncing bolter shells off your gloriously developed but naked pectoral muscles, I have a real problem with it. A bit hyperbolic but you get my drift.

 

I would say that that is a problem with an unreliable damage system, not a type of defence the character has. :)

You're not wrong, but it is a real problem nonetheless. Having PEN effect TB as well as Armour is a very simple fix that adds a bit of immersion whilst fixing the problem somewhat without making TB useless, just less outrageously broken.

Also, "naked dwarf syndrome", I like that! It describes the issue well.

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2. I don't care how much your character has worked out. When you start bouncing bolter shells off your gloriously developed but naked pectoral muscles, I have a real problem with it. A bit hyperbolic but you get my drift.

 

The glorious Adeptus Custodes would like to disagree with you.

 

If you watch "If the Emperor had a Text to Speech Device" you'll understand that.

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Thendoctor, as much as I can appreciate the " gloriously oiled muscles" of the adeptus custodes, I have always felt that tb being a flat damage resistance is kinda ridiculous! Especially when that tb is being given as much credit as a Kevlar vest! My solution is simple: I don't use it. If I were to rework the system than tb would factor into your base wounds but it would NOT be damage resistance!

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I don't use it. If I were to rework the system than tb would factor into your base wounds but it would NOT be damage resistance!

 

Be careful there, last time I suggested that I got called an idiot and told I couldn't run a game that was super deadly already like that.

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The notion of "skin armor" is a consequence of people treating an attack roll and a damage roll as two sequential but separate events in the game's narrative, rather than a single event with a two-step system for determining the outcome. 

 

Nobody's actually deflecting bolts with their oiled pecs - if the shot hits but does minimal/no damage, it wasn't a clear hit, no matter what the attack roll tells you.

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The notion of "skin armor" is a consequence of people treating an attack roll and a damage roll as two sequential but separate events in the game's narrative, rather than a single event with a two-step system for determining the outcome. 

 

Nobody's actually deflecting bolts with their oiled pecs - if the shot hits but does minimal/no damage, it wasn't a clear hit, no matter what the attack roll tells you.

 

Yuss! Perfect! That's how we see it too. I think it's called "glancing" in the tabletop?

Edited by TheWorldSmith

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Hmm, if that were true, damage based on DoS on the to hit roll wouldn't be a thing. As it happens it is, even if the rule is easy to miss and poorly implemented.

Edit: also think of other rules such as the weapon trait Accurate. The attack roll is not binary with results being simply hit or miss. It seems that whether a hit is glancing or not is actually decided by both the bit and wound rolls which is incredibly clunky.

Regardless, I feel a point is being missed here. Regardless of immersion, skin armour as a gameplay system is incredibly over powered when a fit character with TB bounces bullets as well as carapace armour. Combine the two (entirely possible with an early character) and you have yourself a character who can weather a storm of autogun fire with barely a scratch. The lethality of DH2 is often over stated (starting characters are far more powerful than DH1), The whole skin armour issue worsens the problem.

Edited by Gregor Eisenhorn

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I don't use it. If I were to rework the system than tb would factor into your base wounds but it would NOT be damage resistance!

 

Be careful there, last time I suggested that I got called an idiot and told I couldn't run a game that was super deadly already like that.

I've been called many names but I have suggested it before. I've actually had some pretty interesting discussion with Lynata on the subject.

The argument about random damage puzzles me though. Why would you want to increase the chances of a harmless glance by roughly 30%? I'm not sure how that's even relevant to the discussion! The problem is that even wearing light flak armor, you have a very real chance of shrugging off the average damage of an assault rifle with little more than a light bruise! Sorry, I don't buy it! But that's me! Your mileage may vary!

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The notion of "skin armor" is a consequence of people treating an attack roll and a damage roll as two sequential but separate events in the game's narrative, rather than a single event with a two-step system for determining the outcome. 

 

Nobody's actually deflecting bolts with their oiled pecs - if the shot hits but does minimal/no damage, it wasn't a clear hit, no matter what the attack roll tells you.

 

"Skin armour" comes about because TB mechanically works the same way as armour. I agree that narratively it makes sense for low damaging rolls to be glances or close shaves but unfortunately some elements of the game don't support that interpretation. If you suffer even 1 point of damage after DR, you have suffered a wound of some kind which can be healed. If you don't suffer any damage after DR, you are perfectly fine.

 

Armour as DR makes sense and there are fairly common sense ways to deal with it. As for TB as DR, there is no way to counteract or reduce the effectiveness of TB. You simply have to roll higher damage or get a bigger weapon. TB provides an innate barrier that always applies, no matter if you're being stabbed, incinerated, chopped, shot, or exploded. Particularly random weapons like frag grenades can be completely countered by the TB of a naked person which doesn't seem to make sense when you consider the narrative situation.

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The notion of "skin armor" is a consequence of people treating an attack roll and a damage roll as two sequential but separate events in the game's narrative, rather than a single event with a two-step system for determining the outcome. 

 

Nobody's actually deflecting bolts with their oiled pecs - if the shot hits but does minimal/no damage, it wasn't a clear hit, no matter what the attack roll tells you.

 

"Skin armour" comes about because TB mechanically works the same way as armour. I agree that narratively it makes sense for low damaging rolls to be glances or close shaves but unfortunately some elements of the game don't support that interpretation. If you suffer even 1 point of damage after DR, you have suffered a wound of some kind which can be healed. If you don't suffer any damage after DR, you are perfectly fine.

 

Armour as DR makes sense and there are fairly common sense ways to deal with it. As for TB as DR, there is no way to counteract or reduce the effectiveness of TB. You simply have to roll higher damage or get a bigger weapon. TB provides an innate barrier that always applies, no matter if you're being stabbed, incinerated, chopped, shot, or exploded. Particularly random weapons like frag grenades can be completely countered by the TB of a naked person which doesn't seem to make sense when you consider the narrative situation.

 

 

Thanks, this  is very eloquently put and is what I was trying to say.

Edited by Gregor Eisenhorn

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I just allow Armor Penetration to ignore mundane Toughness bonus (but not the benefits of Unnatural Toughness, which is what Felling is for).  Sure, some people tell me I'm being ridiculous and making the game even more of a rocket-tag situation, but it works for my group quite well.  

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Could always keep the toughness effect as it is now, but cap the amount of Toughness bonus to the Armour protection amount.

 

E.g:

Somebody has 3 TB and wears Heavy Leather. When he gets shot at, his armour + Toughness will reduce the damage by 2 (Heavy Leather gives 1 AP, thus TB is capped at 1. 1+1 = 2 damage point reduction).

 

Should the same person wear Imperial Guard Flak Armour, then it would be 4 AP + 3TB = 7 damage point reduction.

 

Wearing no armour thus also means no reduction through Toughness Bonus. No "Skin Armour", if that really bothers you. :P

 

If a person gets shot at in Kevlar armour, even when the bullet doesn't penetrate the armour, the energy from the projectile still has a significant impact on the body. So "Toughness" is applicable here.

 

This is how I picture it anyway in general in case of armoured individuals, even without this change to the rule. In other cases I'd just think about circumstantial stuff happening that prevents any direct damage, like taking a flesh wound/scar, narrowingly escaping the projectile or getting a burn mark in case of energy weapons.

Edited by Gridash

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Hmm, if that were true, damage based on DoS on the to hit roll wouldn't be a thing. As it happens it is, even if the rule is easy to miss and poorly implemented.

Edit: also think of other rules such as the weapon trait Accurate. The attack roll is not binary with results being simply hit or miss. It seems that whether a hit is glancing or not is actually decided by both the bit and wound rolls which is incredibly clunky.

Regardless, I feel a point is being missed here. Regardless of immersion, skin armour as a gameplay system is incredibly over powered when a fit character with TB bounces bullets as well as carapace armour. Combine the two (entirely possible with an early character) and you have yourself a character who can weather a storm of autogun fire with barely a scratch. The lethality of DH2 is often over stated (starting characters are far more powerful than DH1), The whole skin armour issue worsens the problem.

Regarding the first point, DoS as minimum damage value, Accurate or any other rule you'd care to cite don't change the simple fact that the ultimate gauge of your attack's effectiveness is how many points of damage it deals after all calculations. Everything that comes before is but a factor for this final calculation.

 

Regarding the other point, I find 40k's degree of lethality perfect for the kinds of games I'm running with the system, so I disagree that there's any "problem" with the system in that regard.

 

 

The notion of "skin armor" is a consequence of people treating an attack roll and a damage roll as two sequential but separate events in the game's narrative, rather than a single event with a two-step system for determining the outcome. 

 

Nobody's actually deflecting bolts with their oiled pecs - if the shot hits but does minimal/no damage, it wasn't a clear hit, no matter what the attack roll tells you.

 

"Skin armour" comes about because TB mechanically works the same way as armour. I agree that narratively it makes sense for low damaging rolls to be glances or close shaves but unfortunately some elements of the game don't support that interpretation. If you suffer even 1 point of damage after DR, you have suffered a wound of some kind which can be healed. If you don't suffer any damage after DR, you are perfectly fine.

 

Armour as DR makes sense and there are fairly common sense ways to deal with it. As for TB as DR, there is no way to counteract or reduce the effectiveness of TB. You simply have to roll higher damage or get a bigger weapon. TB provides an innate barrier that always applies, no matter if you're being stabbed, incinerated, chopped, shot, or exploded. Particularly random weapons like frag grenades can be completely countered by the TB of a naked person which doesn't seem to make sense when you consider the narrative situation.

Regarding the first point, this is something of a known issue with the game's abstraction - I remember this argument being brought up in the days of WFRP 2e, and I'm betting it was around even earlier, as this aspect of the system has barely changed since first introduced in WFRP 1e.

 

Stil, consider this: a significant number of critical effects at one point of critical damage speak of "grazing" or "glancing blows". Logically, it follows that any attack that doesn't deal critical damage (or trigger Righteous Fury) cannot be described as more damaging than that.

 

Regarding the second point... I'm sorry, but I've never understood the need for realism in a setting containing space wizards, undead Egyptian robots and things yet sillier. The combat system is perfect for recreating the kind of combat encounters your usual 80's action hero would partake in - which is perfect given 40k's range of inspirations. Tough guys survive stuff that kills less tough guys, that's the gist of it.

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Its a matter of pulp verses realism > if you want a "virtualized" RPG experience may I suggest picking up the Traveler RPG and a calculator LOL...

 

In this vein Fantasy Flight went with a Pulp approach

 

That means - don't be soo literal in your interpretations of the math > if bolter round hits and human is still "up" its up to GM to describe the how and why of said attack...

 

Honestly then "Helpless" would equal > pow bang your dead = no rolls neccessary

Edited by MorbidDon

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Personally, I've often viewed it as the "heroic scale" aspect 40k likes, so much. Also, it's nice to know you'll have that extra bit of defense, at the beginning, when you start fighting Orks who don't die, or Nids that can tear you in half; sort of help make the character last longer than the build time was, barring stupid choices. Different situations would have different people react differently to the same trauma, like getting impaled by a bayonet, or jumping on the grenade for your friends, and some still live through these events, even wearing the refrigerator boxes IG get, or less, if you are Catachan. I'm not sure all of these can be waived with random damage, or max health, especially the latter, as one rarely has much health (20+ is often high for important, non Astartes/monstrous NPCs). I don't have any first hand experience with it, so I'm mostly just talking, but it seems like a good way to make the really durable things, that basically have armored skin (Orks), weather the storm better. Or, you could just let Pen go through it; I probably would.

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Consider the "damage roll" a determining factor of the hit - not just the WS / BS Tests...

 

All together the dice tell you a story > its a concept FFG tried to give us with their funky WHFRP Edition...

 

There are vids on how to interpret those dice in that game > the concept is sound for a game that relies more on math and symbols

 

There was a really good video on the subject but I can find it now - while at work LOL

 

So try this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu6OgZNGheU

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Aye, ultimately, having glorious pecs able to bounce damage as well as some armour is an issue. I still keep it in to not break the balance the game was built around, but I find it overpowered so its toned down by having PEN affect it.

 

Regardless of our opinions however, I think we can all agree it's up to the GM to decide how they want to run their game.

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