Friday, June 26, 2009

4e Hybrid Classes: Alternate Armor Proficiency System

With the update for the hybrid classes, they changed the way that classes got their armor proficiencies, making it so that hybrid classes may be nerfed in the armor department. I thought this was a little disappointing, so I created my own system for determining a hybrid character's armor proficiency. The way it currently works is that you use whatever both classes have, unless you spend a feat that could be used to get another class feature. The way this sytem works, you could end up with a Fighter/wizard that can only use cloth. I think it could be better.

The basic premise is: If they simply cut starting HP, leveling HP, and number of healing surges in half, why not do it for armor proficiency? Each armor type is given a number, and whatever the highest available to the base class, you half that number and add it to the other base class (round down, if necessary) , giving you the hybrid class's proficiency.

1- Cloth armor (half: .5)
2- Leather armor (half: 1)
3- Hide armor (half: 1.5)
4- Chainmail armor (half: 2)
5- Scale armor (half: 2.5)
6- Plate armor (half: 3)

With this system, a paladin/fighter hybrid would have the same proficiencies as the regular system, but a paladin/wizard would have up to hide armor instead of just cloth. A fighter/ranger would have chainmail instead of just hide.

This system could also work with shields:

0- No shield (half: 0)
1- Light shield (half: .5)
2- Heavy shield (half: 1)

This way, if you have a class that normally has a heavy shield then you still are able to use light shields. Other than that, it doesn't have much of an effect.

Well, it's a slight improvement from the current system... Right? leave a comment if you like this idea, if you see some sort of flaw in it, or if you just have something to say about it.


Ripper said...

Why not use the actual AC values? I say this because the heavy armor should be significantly better than the light armor, as you cant add your ability mod to the heavy stuff. So for chainmail(half 3), scale (3.5) and Plate (4).

MacGuffin said...

After reading your comment, I experimented with your idea. The numbering system (mine) tends to favor hide armor with the other armor types being fairly close, in a bell curve. When going by armor class, the system favors hide substantially more than the others, and actually raises the chance of getting only cloth armor.

these numbers have not been compared to the classes yet, but my current system seems to average out better.

Ken Marable said...

Looks good to me! Simple and straightforward - I'm definitely going to start using it.

Some of the issues of classes with built in AC bonuses usually have a "as long as you wear light armor" or similar limitation. And with limited class abilities, I don't see any point in limiting armor proficiencies beyond it not being a really simple mechanic. All the current system really accomplishes is making certain combinations really poor choices because you wind up being lousy at your role (like defenders with only cloth armor).

Thank you for this! In hindsight it's pretty obvious and intuitive, but you codify it very clearly. Let's hope it's clear and simple enough that WotC puts it or something similar into PHB3!

PeterM said...

Currently, the system is balanced by making you burn a feat to gain armor profs. So you want to play a fighter/wizard with high con that thunderblasts everyone he doesn't like? Great. Burn a feat to multiclass like everyone else, (by getting fighter armor prof, which gives you scale+heavy shield) or don't, and wear cloth armor. It's kinda like how 3.5 balanced warforged by making them burn a feat at level 1.

Philo Pharynx said...

The hybrid system does chew up feats. But that makes it balanced with multiclassing. By removing this, then you give more of an advantage to hybrid characters. A fighter/wizard spends on feat to get a slew of armor proficiencies? Sounds good to me.

Also, remember that a fighter/wizard will probably have a good int score and may decide to just go for light armor.