Monday, January 27, 2014

Heavy Armor in D&D Next

Just finished reading Mike Mearl's Legends & Lore article. I must say I'm a bit troubled by the new modifications regarding character speed and heavy armor. He says "allowing characters with sufficient Strength scores to ignore the speed penalties for heavy armor." Then he goes on to explain why it makes sense and puts forward a couple of reason.

I have to say it makes no sense to me. Now, I must confess I'm not following D&D Next development as I used to, but if encumbrance is still related to STR as it is in Pathfinder then I have an issue. Actually two.

I don't see strength related to speed. Sure it helps, but you also need endurance. As any marathoner can vouch for. The D&D attribute that is closest to endurance is constitution. You need good lungs and a strong and healthy cardiovascular system to pump all the oxygen required by those 18 STR muscles. A high constitution would be required to move heavy armor during combat without a speed penalty. Except maybe for short sprints in which oxygen in the muscles would suffice.

The second issue I see is more game design related. A high STR score gives a character a higher carry capacity (I'm assuming this is similar to previous D&Ds, correct me if I'm wrong). A high STR score also gives a combat bonus. On top of this it is also going to give a movement bonus? It makes more sense to me to move this rule to require high constitution and thus require two high values to get a character that can easily CARRY heavy armor AND MOVE QUICKLY in it. Otherwise a single value such as a 17 STR grants too many benefits, IMHO.

Thoughts? Do you think they're using STR too many times or is there something I missed that would make the game more balanced?

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