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Letting PCs wear multiple sets of armor.

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After talking about with my group at some length to come up with a way to avoid the layering issue I proposed the following after looking at the numbers a bit:

 

Since the full suit heavier armors (padded, laminate, heavy) all sit at 2 soak, and there isn't anything that seems to rise above that, I offered the notion that when it comes to armor, the character may have a base max soak of 2.   What this allows is, either the player chooses one of the full suits, or can have a couple of the low 1 soak armors layered.  It seemed to play out fairly well if you look at the armors we have been given thus far.  Sure there are the exceptions, but for the most part, what wanted to be achieved is still very reasonable; heavy clothing + nomad greatcoat / mountaineer armor + greatcoat or heavy clothing, etc

 

There are a couple unreasonable combinations, but we aren't going for that at all.

 

I think the main reason we talked about it, and have agreed to this is that some of the characters just don't feel like it's "reasonable" for their character to have to up to some suit of armor in order to increase their soak, especially if they only have 1 brawn, and are primarily a support character.  This way it allows those squishy guys to improve their soak just a little and still feel like their character "makes sense". 

 

I know there are some that feel like the "rules are rules and if they don't want a squishy character don't make one", or that there is something wrong with our games or something..but at the end of the day, allowing a player to have 1 extra point of soak and still like the concept of their character seems to me as GM a pretty fair compromise. 

 

Plus I think when you have things like the catch vest, or the nomad coat, you ARE creating mix and match style armor...but that's just me.

 

 

edit:  As for the talk of heavy clothing being some sort of heavy, bulky layered clothing that is somehow a burden if you add anything to it:  I don't recall which episode it was of the Order66 podcast, one of the earlier ones I believe, but one of the game designers (Jay or Sam) had mentioned that Han Solo was essentially wearing heavy clothing in Star Wars....now think about that..  Did his outfit look layered and "heavy" to you?   Even in the description of heavy clothing, it makes it sound like pretty much just normal clothing.  It doesn't lend to this idea of "2 pairs of jeans" or bulky layers of leather or heavy canvas or something lol...   Just saying   =P

 

There aren't a plethora of combinations right now really that make it very confusing, but as more sourcebooks come out, there will be.  We just figured we'd get ahead of it now given the stuff that has been released so far in the last 2 splat books.

Edited by djext1

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I think the main reason we talked about it, and have agreed to this is that some of the characters just don't feel like it's "reasonable" for their character to have to up to some suit of armor in order to increase their soak, especially if they only have 1 brawn, and are primarily a support character.  This way it allows those squishy guys to improve their soak just a little and still feel like their character "makes sense". 

 

I know there are some that feel like the "rules are rules and if they don't want a squishy character don't make one", or that there is something wrong with our games or something..but at the end of the day, allowing a player to have 1 extra point of soak and still like the concept of their character seems to me as GM a pretty fair compromise. 

 

Plus I think when you have things like the catch vest, or the nomad coat, you ARE creating mix and match style armor...but that's just me.

 

This.

 

And, as far as "rules are rules", RAW says soak stacks (CRB p.207).

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I just killed 20 stormtroopers. 

 

I think I should be able to wear their armour.

 

That's 20 x 2 soak, or 40 points!

 

Whoo hoo, come at me, Star Destroyers and ATATs!  Do your worst!  :)

An AT-PT could still drop a character with 40 Soak with one hit (two successes = 60 damage, and if they get two Advantages Linked kicks in). The gulf between vehicles and characters is just that big. On the battlefields of this game, there is no place for infantry if even the lightest vehicle can deploy.

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I think djext1 nailed it.  I am intrigued by the soak cap limit-y combo mix-n-max thing because I see it as possessing the spirit of this system, ie. little boosts with balance to enhance the character w/o munchkin-ing them.

 

What it does, is allow a player to come up with a truly customized appearance which also has a small mechanical effect.  This is balanced by the encumbrance ratings, which would of course create a balancing effect to reaching their "soak limit."  If a GM wanted, they could even impose a +1 ENC penalty per additional armour layer worn (as per a previous suggestion in this thread).

 

It certainly sounds like it works for that group, and I will even suggest it to mine.  Enjoy!

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The thing with layering armor is this: Armor only works at it's optimal efficiency when it fits properly so, for example, layering laminate plates on heavy clothing isn't going to protect as well as wearing Laminate Armor. Plus you wouldn't be able to fully plate heavy clothing anyway, at best you'd be able to add a few plates here and there leaving much of the body only protected by the heavy clothing underneath. This should be kept in mind when layering any armor unless specifically mentioned otherwise in the RAW. I imagine there will will be rules for this in later supplements for very specific types of armor (such as the armored chest-plate for an AT-AT commander).

 

Regardless there is already a way to "layer" armor to gain a bonus to Defence and Soak, and that is Jury Rigging, Superior'ifying (forgive my word-smithing), and Modding. Any of which can be re-skinned to represent the effective adding or layering on of extra plates or whatever to gain a benefit.

 

So for me a PC has a choice: they can Jury Rigg and/or Mod their armor and call it adding a "layer" and gain the benefits these things normally provide, or they can temporarily thrown on another "layer" of armor but they will have to pay the full extra ENC and gain only half (round down) the benefit of the layered armor. I think this allows for PCs to hastily grab some extra protection in the heat of the moment but not game the system by Munchkining layer after layer of protection*. Basically if you want anything other than a temporary benefit to your armor you have to go through the system in place in the RAW for improving your equipment.

 

 

* also consider the next question bound to come from the Player's: Can I mod the extra layer to reduce/add ________?

Edited by FuriousGreg

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I think you made a good call for your group, and I'm happy to hear that they sound like a reasonable and fun bunch of players.
 

edit:  As for the talk of heavy clothing being some sort of heavy, bulky layered clothing that is somehow a burden if you add anything to it:  I don't recall which episode it was of the Order66 podcast, one of the earlier ones I believe, but one of the game designers (Jay or Sam) had mentioned that Han Solo was essentially wearing heavy clothing in Star Wars....now think about that..  Did his outfit look layered and "heavy" to you?   Even in the description of heavy clothing, it makes it sound like pretty much just normal clothing.  It doesn't lend to this idea of "2 pairs of jeans" or bulky layers of leather or heavy canvas or something lol...   Just saying   =P

 

And lo and behold! Once the Corellian sourcebook came out, they gave us the Catch Vest, a relatively light type of clothing/armor that sits between Heavy Clothing and Padded Armor in terms of Soak.

 

Even ignoring the decent stats, the Catch Vest and Nomad Greatcoat were immediately snatched up by my players because they "felt like Star Wars".

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I wouldn't allow it.  Too much like a video game.  Superior customization imo represents adding layers to an existing set of armor.  Now I allow players to add the superior option themselves as opposed to just using it as a money sink, but I have departed a great deal from the existing modding system in the game anyway.  You couple that with talents like jury rigging and armor master and taken all together I think they represent adding extra layers imo.

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Personally, I'd check FAQ's and see if its covered, there.

Failing that, I'd house rule that, if you are going to have multiple layers of armor, then you are going to start taking some penalties besides encumbrance.  On some tasks requiring endurance (say a foot pursuit), you may see one or more difficulty dice upgraded from purple to red.  Also, depending on the environment, you might start to accrue strain just by wearing the stuff.  (I've got some body armor, and let me tell you, that stuff is not the most flexible thing in the world, and it doesn't 'breathe' worth a tinkers ****)  If a player really makes a rules-lawyer issue about it, I would probably give them the OK, but they are going to pay the piper.

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"Different sources of soak stack" "Multiple applications of the same source do not stack" CRB p.207

Armor is one source of soak. You can only wear one set of armor. Other sources can provide more soak, like subdermal plating with cybernetics, Enduring and Armor Master from talents, racial ability ie. droids.

Edited by 2P51

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"Different sources of soak stack" "Multiple applications of the same source do not stack"  CRB p.207

 

Armor is one source of stack.  You can only wear one set of armor.  Other sources can provide more soak, like subdermal plating with cybernetics, Enduring and Armor Master from talents, racial ability ie. droids.

Ah, that makes sense. And, yeah, that rule could be better written.

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Doesn't Suns of Fortune have some type of Jacket with soak?  Can that be worn to stack with armor?

 

While I am against the stacking of armor, if the rules allow it in a specific case, then I wouldn't mind too much.

 

Wearing a trench coat over your laminate might look silly, but I find it far less silly to wear some type of soak coat with something small, something that wouldn't exceed like 1 soak.  Armored clothing and a soak jacket, to me, does sound kind of reasonable.

Edited by CrunchyDemon

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SoF does have a jacket.  While I agree with the common sense that wearing a vest with something else or a coat etc from a strictly technical perspective is possible, the rules are clear, X amount of soak can only be derived from one individual source.  I think part of the issue is the idea of armor and soak in the game is a little more literary than literal.  The game doesn't get into specific hit locations and such.  It uses a more open and vague combat system.  If the game made people roll for individual hits in parts of the body then multiple applications of armor would be appropriate, but given the game just lets you wear a vest and gain total benefit of armor without worrying about being shot in the face or the ding ding, it seems like a fair trade.

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Doesn't Suns of Fortune have some type of Jacket with soak?  Can that be worn to stack with armor?

 

While I am against the stacking of armor, if the rules allow it in a specific case, then I wouldn't mind too much.

 

Wearing a trench coat over your laminate might look silly, but I find it far less silly to wear some type of soak coat with something small, something that wouldn't exceed like 1 soak.  Armored clothing and a soak jacket, to me, does sound kind of reasonable.

 

I posted this elsewhere as well, but I will let my PCs wear more than one type of armour... say a jacket or a flak vest over an existing type of armour.... however, they can only benefit from one at a time, presumably the best value available. The actual soak or defense values wouldn't stack, but they'd use the best available. While this works, encumbrance-wise this will get unwieldy fast, plus while there is some benefits, it won't be as good (or cheap) as some single-armor options.

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This is a fair point particularly in regards to the tracker vest.  The rules say multiple sources don't stack.  It doesn't say you can't wear more than one item, particularly in the case of the vest which gives you an encumbrance boost.

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I allow it only if the armor grants different bonuses.  I do not let the bonuses stack, but allow the highest of the sets.  This really only happens in cases like the environmental outfits and the web belt armors.  In those cases, the character enjoys the soak from one and the environmental protection from the other.  

 

In any case, I combine the total encumbrance before reducing the standard 3.

 

I think this is the best solution in terms of simplicity and balance.  If players want to layer armors, I have no issues with them doing it for a certain look or style and getting some mild benefit out of it.

 

Heavy Clothing with a Catch Vest?  Sure, that's arguably Han Solo's getup.  (Soak 1, Soak 2 vs energy weapons unless a called shot is made anywhere but the torso, effective Enc 0)

 

Laminate Armor under a Greatcoat?  Why not?  That's not far off from Obi-Wan's Clone Wars look (even if his are supposed to be robes/Heavy Clothing over Laminate).  (Soak 2, not as good as having a thermal system installed but better than nothing in the cold, effective Enc 2, looks swank to some)

 

A Tracker Vest over Mountaineer Armor?  Sounds like some kind of ultimate outdoorsman setup.  Works for me.  (Deflection 1, Soak 1, +2 Encumbrance Capacity, +2 Boost dice to some Athletics checks, effective Enc 0)

 

Heck, even a Personal Deflector worn with a set of the Battlement Powered Armor sounds pretty close to the kind of maximum protection you'd see with Spacetrooper Armor (and after factoring in weapons, attachments, and mods, is probably pretty close to the cost of a TIE Fighter).  (Deflection 2, Soak 3, effective Enc 3)

 

I think the key points to keep the system balanced are not letting soak/defense values stack, and only applying the Encumbrance armor bonus once.

 

Mechanically, yes, this means you could combine Armored Clothing and Padded Armor and get the same baseline protection as Heavy Battle Armor (deflection 1, soak 2) for a third of the cost.  But this also ends up being bulkier (enc 5 vs 4) and costing a lot of hard points (1 hp vs 4).  You could even argue that HBA more or less *is* a combination of the two based on descriptions - but engineered together from the ground up.  This feels about right to me.

Edited by Haggard

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There might be an issue with this "stacking" idea that might be important to consider.  My main concern for this would be Hard Points and Armor Enhancements.

 

Since I only have the CRB, I'm pretty sure that none of the listed Armor Enhancements if stacked together would create a serious problem.  However, I could be wrong about that, and more to the point, there could be something in the other books, that when stacked together in particular ways, could create some serious problems for the balance of the character, which would require further rule discussion.

 

Has anyone actually done any play-testing with these ideas?  I'm interested in doing something like this when I run my campaign this Summer.  Something that always made me scratch my head about this game is it seemed to me that the more powerful your character became, the harder the badguys it would have to face, the easier you would die, since Soak and Defense doesn't really scale in relation to the increase in Damage Potential.

 

I'm all for house-rules.  But I'm also of the mindset that any house-rule that actually creates more problems for other rules in the game, is not a very good house rule.  I say that because when I played SAGA Edition, I found myself having to make a lot of house-rules for a lot of things that simply didn't work correctly within the system.  And those house-rules always ended up causing me more trouble than they were worth to the point where I practically had to redesign the whole game.  Except, I still needed a house-rule for the problems the game inherently had.

 

My point is... if the game works fine with using just one Armor... then okay.  Sure, it's a little bit "gamey" but if it works, then it works.  However, if stacking also works and doesn't create too much a fuss in regards to Hard Points and Enhancements... then... cool.  But, I'm not so sure it's that simple...

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Limit it to one set and be done with it. Really, armor isn't that huge a deal anyway in EotE or AoR. Getting behind a good chunk of cover can be just as good or better than most armor you can buy. 

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