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Armor Degradation

In General on March 4, 2010 at 9:00 am

This is a topic I think we should see in more games, including fantasy. If someone punches a hole in armor, is it still effective? Can you repair it? How effective is the damaged armor?

Sn-42 Body Armor

Image via Wikipedia

Well, first, does your game use armor class or soak? If you have armor points that soak damage, this will be much easier to implement. If armor class, it’s going to take more bookkeeping.

For games with armor points that soak damage, every time a hole is punched in the armor, subtract an armor point. In my game this means that every time the bad guys do enough damage to do even one point to a player, the armor is degraded by one point because kevlar is less effective at continuing to soak damage the more often it’s hit. Punch holes in it and you’re going to start having real problems.

If you use armor class, you might degrade the AC rating by 1 every time 5 or 10 hits. Since armor class doesn’t directly soak damage and affects the chance to hit a given target, this one is harder to determine effectively and you’ll have to play around with the numbers a bit to find the best balance.

Can the armor be repaired

If it’s steel or leather or some other natural material, likely. If it’s kevlar, not so much. Kevlar can be patched with fiberglass in some cases when applied to a hard surface but kevlar armor is not repairable and will simply degrade over time. The same will likely be true of other modern materials such as the much-anticipated spider-silk fabrics. Read the rest of this entry »