Monthly Archives: March 2012

Musings on Armor

I’m not entirely satisfied with how Armor works in Dragons at Dawn.


Here’s how it works: you have an Armor Class, which gets bigger the more armor you have. If you take a hit, roll an Armor Save, rolling 2d6 under your Armor Class. Success negates all the damage. Dragons at Dawn characters are fragile, with few hit points, so a high AC is the main way of ensuring survivability.


The problem with that is that it’s boring. You have rounds where literally nothing happens: there is a roll to hit, and a roll to save, so that’s 2 chances for the attack to fizzle. It’s more interesting if each round sees some change to the game-state, some momentum or wearing down of the participants.


Some other Armor Systems:


In typical D&D, armor makes you harder to hit, applying a penalty to the attack roll. This is reduced handling time, (I hit AC 5…) but requires determining what ‘baseline’ AC is. Is it no armor? Is it light armor and attacking an unarmored foe essentially gives a bonus?


In some systems, armor subtracts from damage (Dungeon World, for one). Of course, this can mean that a static armor can make swarms of small threats negligible (which I certainly don’t want), and be irrelevant against larger attacks (which again, is not interesting.)


Burning Wheel also has an Armor roll type system, but there is a chance of Armor degrading. (Fighting characters with Superior Quality armor can be extremely frustrating, since it results in very slow combats.) Note that D at D has an option for Armor degrading on certain rolls.


Often seen in die pool systems, is the Soak roll, where degree of success subtracts from damage taken. A high enough soak roll can reduce all the damage.


How does this come back to Dragons at Dawn? The solution is probably to roll Armor Class into the to-hit roll (and I wonder if Gary and his crew did this for the exact same reason), or making the margin of success of the Armor Save have more effect: a really low roll is no damage, a moderate roll is half damage, a narrow roll is quarter damage, and armor saves in general roll on better numbers to compensate.

Tierra Nueva: The Calendario

I’m currently running a sandbox game using a hack of the Dragons at Dawn rules.  The setting is Spanish colonisation of the new world, and coming into contact with strange peoples.  The colonists are a combination of Spaniards and Romans.

The Calendario

The Calendario consists of ten months, each 35 days. The 15th, or Ides of each Month is the Full Moon, and is cause for celebration. The people of Tierra Vieja love their holidays.

Months of the Year:

Primero (late winter), Segundo (start of spring), Triembre, Quatembre (start of summer), Cinquentre, Seisembre, Setiembre (start of fall), Octembre, Noviembre (start of winter), and Deciembre.

Days of the Week:

Domingo (King’s Day, the first day of each week), Lunes (Luna’s Day), Martes (Mars’s Day), Miercoles (Mercury’s Day), Jueves (Jupiter’s Day), Viernes (Venus’s Day), Sabado (Day of Rest. It is forbidden to labor or engage in trade on Sabado.)

Major Holidays:

Primero 1: Festival of Janus To celebrate the new year, everyone compliments each other and exchanges small token gifts.

Primero 3: Martes Grande A day of feasting, drinking, and parading about in masks and costume.

Primero 4-Segundo 6: Cuarenta A period of abstaining from certain meats, alcohol, and sex.

Primero 15: Ides of Primero, Feast of Kings A day to celebrate Jupiter, one’s lords and the nobility. Since it is in the middle of Cuarenta there is not any actual feasting. Instead giant bonfires are built and giant exaggerated wooden puppets of the nobility are paraded about and then thrown into the fire.

Segundo 7: The Bacchanal A spectacular feast celebrating the end of the Cuarenta.

Segundo 15: Ides of Segundo, Feast of the Lovers To honor Venus, young lovers are encouraged to make merry, and prospective suitors duel jealous brothers.

Triembre 15: Ides of Triembre, Festival of the Serpents A day of drinking, and going through the countryside hunting snakes with staffs. Whoever bludgeons the most snakes to death wins a prize, traditionally a giant gourd.

Triembre 18: Spring Equinox, the Promenade A parade is thrown in honor of young couples, who dress up in finery. Onlookers toss flower petals.

Quatembre 1: Feast of Fools A day of pranks and revelry. Lords sponsor insult contests, rewarding those with the sharpest tongues.

Quatembre 15: Ides of Quatembre, Festival of the Pole To honor Vesta, young women celebrate spring by dancing and tying ribbons around a pole in village square.

Cinquentre 5: Cinco del Cinco The anniversary of the victory of Men against the Elven fortress at Areanal. Youths often celebrate by throwing eggs at the dwellings of Elven neighbors.

Cinquentre 15: Ides of Cinquentre, Feast of the Forge In honor of Vulcan and Minerva, male and female craftsmen compare their work. Whichever gender wins earns a feast, with the losers serving. Tradition states that there must be a neutral judge, which in large cities is a eunuch or hermaphrodite, but smaller communities rely on demihuman judges.

Cinquentre 35: Summer Solstice, Feast of the Sun On the longest day of the year, it is good luck to wake early and see the sunrise. Women attempt to gather seventy seven and a half different herbs before the sun sets, and men build a great bonfire and attempt to jump over it once night falls. Effigies of bruja are burned.

Seisembre 15: Ides of Seisembre, Feast of Storms Offerings are made to Neptune, asking him to calm the seas and allow sailors to return home safe. Seabirds are caged and let loose at noon.

Setiembre 1-7: Ludas Grandes As summer comes to a close, to honor Mars, great tournaments and challenges are held, and games of chance are played.

Setiembre 15: Ides of Setiembre, Festival of the Goose In this festival to show one’s strength, prospective challengers attempt to decapitate a goose with their bear hands, while hanging from a rope tied across a river or lake and being dunked into the water. Winner keeps the goose.

Octembre 15: Ides of Octembre, Feast of Wolves The gates of cities are thrown open and captured wolves are let loose at the center of town and allowed to run rampant. It is bad luck to kill a wolf during the Feast of Wolves, but any remaining in the city after a day are considered a prized hunt. This festival is holy to Diana.

Octembre 18: Fall Equinox, Harvestide A great feast to honor the harvest and the godess Ceres.

Noviembre 1: Dia De Los Muertos, Feast of the Dead and a time to honor Pluto. Shrines to cherished relatives are laid out with offerings. Since the dead walk the earth on this day, the living disguise themselves to ward off evil spirits.

Noviembre 9: Armistice Day Celebration of the end of the war between Elves and Man.

Noviembre 15: Ides of Noviembre, Festival of Ferrets Ferrets and weasels are considered lucky animals and holy to Mercury, and on this day extravagant Ferret Races are held.

Deciembre 15: Ides of Deciembre, Feast of Saturn In this great festival, a large feast is provided, houses are decorated for the season, and friends and family exchange gifts.

Deciembre 35: Winter Solstice, Feast of Mithras In which the return of the sun is celebrated, and a bull is sacrificed.