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Sunday, January 11, 2015

WTF Didn't I Think of This - Thank God I Had a F@cking Helmet On!

In the category of WTF Didn't I Think of This, we have +Joe D 's most awesome houserule for his Blood Island OSR rules hack / setting -
Thank God I Had a F@cking Helmet On:  If you are wearing a helmet and take a melee hit in combat (not including missiles/arrows unless large, like a boulder, nor does it apply to critical damage, backstab damage, magical damage, or damage from small weapons like daggers) that would reduce you to zero hp or less, hence dead, you can instead declare that the helmet took the brunt of the damage and you are at 1 hp, with the helmet irrevocably destroyed, whether it was magical or not. In addition you are unconscious for 10 minutes plus 1-100 minutes, and cannot be awakened before that time unless healed magically in some way.
That is a reason to wear a damn helmut.

Well done Joe. Well done.

19 comments:

  1. I adjusted it a bit---like so---

    Thank God I Had a Fucking Helmet On: If you are wearing a helmet and take a melee or missile weapon hit in combat (it does not apply to critical damage, backstab damage, or magical damage) that would reduce you to zero hp or less, hence dead, you can instead declare that the helmet took all the damage and you are at 1 hp, with the helmet irrevocably destroyed, whether it was magical or not. In addition you are but unconscious for 10 minutes plus 1-100 minutes, and cannot be awakened before that time unless healed magically in some way.

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  2. Goes well with the shield breaking rule.

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  3. I was just thinking of the shield rule. The two together might be enough to keep pesky 1st levels from dying so often

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  4. I like it! For my games, I'll give the helmet a saving throw.

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  5. the other two related rules are these:

    Shields Shall Break: If you have a shield and take a melee hit in combat (not including missiles/arrows unless large, like a boulder, nor does it apply to critical damage, backstab damage, magical damage, or damage from small weapons like daggers) that would reduce you to zero hp or less, hence dead, you can instead declare that the shield took all the damage and you are at 1 hp, with the shield irrevocably destroyed, whether it was magical or not.

    Armor Shall Break: If you have armor and take a melee hit in combat (not including missiles/arrows unless large, like a boulder, nor does it apply to critical damage, backstab damage, magical damage, or damage from small weapons like daggers) that would reduce you to zero hp or less, hence dead, you can instead declare that the armor took all the damage and you are at one hp, with the armor now one class worse (i.e. plate is now no better than chain, chain no better than leather, and leather would be destroyed) and the armor is unrepairable to restore it to the way it was, whether it was magical or not. You can use this to absorb multiple hits in a round and survive. For example--if three melee attacks come in a round, and a wearer has plate on, and all three hit and would have reduced a pc to zero hp, you could go through and “break” all three armor types, one per hit, and survive with 1 hp. You are now armorless, though its tattered remains may hang on you uselessly. If you took 4 hits in the same round and had a shield you would be shieldless and at 1 hp. If you took 5 hits, you're dead, as you are now at zero hp or less, unless you had a helmet on (see below).

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  6. I would make the suggestion that the helmet declaration happens before the damage roll. You always have to decide if you want to risk taking the damage so you can keep fighting or take the safer route and be KO. Otherwise you could never just walk up and stab a guy.

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  7. I'm torn, on the one hand rules like this create cheap single use get-out-of-jail magic items, on the other hand it handles fiddly bits of armor while allowing me to use a simple flat AC system....

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  8. I'd make them declare before the damage roll BUT give the helmet a saving throw - item save, not the PC's save

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  9. The old 1e rule was reason enough to keep a can on your bean:

    _It is assumed that an appropriate type of head armoring will be added to
    the suit of armor in order to allow uniform protection of the wearer.
    Wearing of a "greot helm" odds the appropriate weight and restricts
    vision to the front 60" only, but it gives the head AC 1. If a helmet is not
    worn, 1 blow in 6 will strike at the AC 10 head, unless the opponent is
    intelligent, in which case 1 blow in 2 will be aimed at the AC 10 head (d6,
    1-3 = head blow)._

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    1. but that means 1e needs a called shot rule, as your can't call shots in AD&D, as the armor system is abstract.

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    2. Not at all, Eric.
      That's why the odds of the head being a target are provided. No called shots necessary. Just the usual random determination of target that really only applies to magic-users if the get into melee and whomever was listening at doors when the fight started.

      I use similar logic if a party is fighting a carrion crawler in the open: some shots hit head, others hit body, each if which has a different AC. Players don't get to choose what they're trying to hit.

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  10. Yeah , Nate is actually citing the DMG, the rule is there. Also, keep in mind that some 1st ed monsters (such as the Chimera) have ACs that differ across their body.

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    1. I remember the rule - we just never used it ;)

      If a helm is ac 1, does that mean that 50% of all blows are aimed at the head at AC 1 if the helm is worn?

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  11. My experience with the Shields Shall be Splintered rule over the course of a 4 or 5 month campaign wasn't overly positive. It definitely became a Get Out of Jail Free card that got played far too often for my tastes. Players wisely carried multiple shields, but I didn't like the results in play.

    The fact that this rule leaves the character KO'ed is better, but the DMG rule isn't bad either.

    Of late, I've had good luck with using DCC-like crit tables and a death and dismemberment table not too different from that in ACKS. In both of those systems, helmet-usage limits some of the nastier results.

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  12. I had to drop the Shield rule. For one I had a player that wanted three back up shields and that's just stupid. But between the rule and copious hirelings, there was ever really much danger.

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  13. The shield rule does seem to be one that PCs outgrow. Only when they found magic shields did the shields stop being splintered. I like that the helmet only helps if you'd otherwise be dead. I had a house rule where helmets could cancel a critical hit instead (foe re-rolls though). Maybe next time I'll have shields break if used to cancel a critical and helmets break as in Joe D's rule. Helps explain those crazy Errol Otus Magic-users in helmets too.

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