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> Form-Fitting Body Armor: Is it balanced?
Tyro
post Dec 22 2008, 01:14 AM
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See title.
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Shinobi Killfist
post Dec 22 2008, 01:19 AM
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its a no brainer so it depends on what you mean by balanced.

Lets assume a 4body, FF level 3, and armored jacket. You roll 18 dice vs bullets, and can knock down 6DV to 0 on average. If you want ordinary dudes with heavy pistols to be a threat, no its not balanced. If you are frequently unleashing 9+dv attacks on the party, then yeah I'd say its balanced.
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Glyph
post Dec 22 2008, 02:33 AM
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The character in that example would have -2 to Agility and Reaction due to encumbrance, and someone firing a heavy pistol gets -1 AP. And will often get more than a single net hit. And "on average" means that if the dice don't like you that night, you'll be hurting. So the guy with the heavy pistol isn't something that can be ignored, and that's not even getting into opponents with heavier or burst-fire weapons.

I think FFBA and PPP were put in there as a very deliberate boost to armor, since both were literally made to stack with other armor.

I think they are both balanced - they make characters tougher, but not invincible. My character in Origins had FFBA, and she was still hurting plenty at the end of that run.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Dec 22 2008, 02:55 AM
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What's bad is the general rule that armor doesn't stack.
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Clyde
post Dec 22 2008, 03:19 AM
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FFBA is not balanced. There is no reason not to wear it, every character of every build benefits from it. Quite clearly the problem is not that Armor does not stack, it's that FFBA stacks with no penalties whatsoever.

Absent that ridiculousness, FFBA could be useful for certain situations where armor must be very low profile and you couldn't wear that armor jacket.

PPP has the same problem, imo.
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Glyph
post Dec 22 2008, 03:31 AM
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That's like saying smartlinks are not balanced, because every character with a gun will use one.

And it stacks with reduced penalties, not none. PPP stacks normally, similarly to how helmets and shields work.

Absent its ability to stack, FFBA wouldn't be that useful - an armor vest, at 6/4, would offer both better and more discrete protection.


I kind of agree with Rotbart, actually. It's like they tried to solve all of the previous issues they had with armor stacking by making it not work at all. And for some things (such as an armored jacket worn over an urban explorer jumpsuit), it doesn't make sense that you wouldn't get some kind of benefit from it.
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Dragnar
post Dec 22 2008, 05:53 AM
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Fixing a broken rule by introducing another broken rule is not a good way, even though catalyst is fond of it what's with their wierd "never directly change anything in the core book, change it all you want, but not as a general rule change, but by introducing some wierd 'exeptions' " way.
The general rule should be let armor stack with penalties, and reduce those penalties for FFBA, not make only FFBA stack in the first place. Game mechanically the current way is the exact same thing than generally allowing stacking (as every remotely experienced player will have found FFBA by now), but the authors steadfast refusal of changing a written rule sentence directly and instead 'amending' it by nixing it indirectly, bloats the rules needlessly and acts as a honeypit for inexperienced players who'll have literally half the armor than their comrades thanks to missing one single piece of equipment.
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Falconer
post Dec 22 2008, 06:13 AM
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I don't understand where the 18 dice figure comes from (4 ffba, 8 jacket, 4body == 16 dice, and you need a body of 5 to wear that w/o penalty, 6 if you add a 2/2 helmet or PPP pads to get you to 18).

Also I suggest the OP read the description of the various FFBA's as well.
There's no good way to hide that you're wearing level 3 FFBA. It's a full body condom getup.
Level 2 and 1 are reasonably concealable.

I guess the baseline here would be... is 9/5 armor w/ a 4 body requirement for someone wearing FFBA2 and an armored vest. Or 9/7 total armor w/ the jumpsuit.
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Red_Cap
post Dec 22 2008, 06:23 AM
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Just dump craploads of skill points into Dodge. Then you don't need to worry about armor (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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imperialus
post Dec 22 2008, 06:34 AM
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QUOTE (Red_Cap @ Dec 21 2008, 11:23 PM) *
Just dump craploads of skill points into Dodge. Then you don't need to worry about armor (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


but you also don't get to act... I fail to see the net gain in this.
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Cain
post Dec 22 2008, 06:40 AM
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QUOTE (Clyde @ Dec 21 2008, 07:19 PM) *
FFBA is not balanced. There is no reason not to wear it, every character of every build benefits from it. Quite clearly the problem is not that Armor does not stack, it's that FFBA stacks with no penalties whatsoever.

If you've got a Body of 3, and are wearing an armored vest, FFBA is not going to help you a whole lot. In fact, it'll hinder you.
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Glyph
post Dec 22 2008, 06:42 AM
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Yeah, you're better off dumping craploads of power points into Combat Sense. It's still no cure-all, though, because wide bursts will still mess up your day.
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Morrigana
post Dec 22 2008, 06:51 AM
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QUOTE (Red_Cap @ Dec 22 2008, 12:23 AM) *
Just dump craploads of skill points into Dodge. Then you don't need to worry about armor (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


I see your Dodge and raise you a Force 8 Stunball and a light pistol.
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Glyph
post Dec 22 2008, 06:58 AM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 22 2008, 12:40 AM) *
If you've got a Body of 3, and are wearing an armored vest, FFBA is not going to help you a whole lot. In fact, it'll hinder you.

But in that case, you are deliberately gimping yourself with a sub-optimal armor choice (at least, protection-wise - the vest might be the optimal choice for a formal meet where obvious armor is a no-no). You could combine a Synergist business line long coat, PPP (discrete protection version) forearm guards and shin guards, and a FFBA half-body suit for total protection of 8/5, treated as 6/4 for encumbrance purposes.

FFBA is so good because it stacks with other armor and is treated as half of its rating for encumbrance purposes. There might be times where you feel like saying "The heck with all of this figuring and fussing, I'm just going to wear an armored jacket and that's that." But that doesn't change the fact that FFBA and PPP both offer a potential edge when it comes to armoring a character up.


I agree with Dragnar that it's annoying when, instead of changing a rule, they make a special piece of gear that acts as an exception to the rules. I would have liked either a change to the basic armor stacking rules, or a few more options than FFBA and PPP, both of which are "must-haves" in the same way that smartlinks are to most characters.


I don't think they are unbalancing, though. A few more points of armor give PCs some help, but don't make them invincible. My aforementioned character had Body: 4, a lined coat, and a half suit of FFBA, for a total soak dice of 14 before factoring in AP. It helped keep her alive, but she didn't walk away unscathed, either.
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Thadeus Bearpaw
post Dec 22 2008, 07:22 AM
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QUOTE (Tyro @ Dec 21 2008, 07:14 PM) *
See title.


There's been a lot of argument on the forum about how PPP and form-fitting armor as well as other methods of jumping up your soak rolls are fundamentally broken. I've found two ways that fix this in my game, I believe that they're RAW but RAW around here seems to be at the conveniance of the poster, so I'll just say I made this shit up (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) .

So there are two things, Form-fitting armor is a pretty discreet armor, PPP less so but still pertty discreet, now when you start putting on armored vest and the like you're putting on signifigantly flashier armor, if you work a bunch of that stuff in conjunction people are going to start wondering what your deal is and thusly call the cops or what have you.

Obviously the ostentatiousness of armor isn't usually enough to warrant police intervention in the same way a gauss rifle might be, so to that end I use the armor degredation rules and have it apply to all components of a shot party's armor at the same time. That will pretty much shred PPP system, and the time and cost of replacing armors is enough of a pain in the ass that players are more prone to go with armors that have a lump sum score, at least that's how it has been happening so far.

I realize this is purely anecdotal, I'm not giving a complex statistical analysis on the decision making heuristics of players when they probabilities of success and percieve hassle change as such. I don't think anyone else is going to give a similar mathmatically expressed statistical model. This worked great for my games, the big heavy soak rollers are still getting pwned on a semi-regularbasis and armor degredation is becoming enough of a pain in the ass wherein they'd rather be clever about combat than roll in guns blazing.
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Muspellsheimr
post Dec 22 2008, 07:22 AM
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I have mixed feelings about this one - I think it should be balanced as written, but is not. I am inclined to agree that the problem is with the core armor stacking rules.
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Tyro
post Dec 22 2008, 07:41 AM
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QUOTE (Falconer @ Dec 21 2008, 10:13 PM) *
<snip>
Also I suggest the OP read the description of the various FFBA's as well.
There's no good way to hide that you're wearing level 3 FFBA. It's a full body condom getup.
Level 2 and 1 are reasonably concealable.
<snip>

It "comes with" gloves, booties and a hood. You can easily wear clothing over it, or just style it so it looks like some sort of weird fashion statement. You don't have to wear the gloves; you can always just stick them in your pocket or something, and gloves aren't that uncommon; I doubt the FFBA gloves really stand out. You don't have to wear the hood, or perhaps you could roll it into the collar of the shirt or jacket you're wearing over it. It's *designed* to be hidden under clothing or other armor.

Outside of Bellevue etc, you'd have to flaunt your differences to really stand out.

I generally agree with most of the other posters - the problem isn't with FFBA per se, it's with the outright ban on armor stacking. If anyone has a good set of house rules to fix this, I'd love to hear them.
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Glyph
post Dec 22 2008, 08:22 AM
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You could use the old SR3 rules - add the highest rating to one-half of the next-highest rating. Limit stacking to two items of armor (not counting piecemeal armor such as PPP), generally a coat or jacket over clothing/underwear armor. FFBA and PPP are still better, but they are, after all, designed to be used in conjunction with other armor. They would remain the optimal choice, but you would see things like a troll wearing an armored jacket over combat biker armor. It would actually raise the power level, especially for troll tanks, but it would bring some measure of consistency back to the rules. FFBA would still be better, but at least it wouldn't be breaking the rules of the game universe as much.
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Fortune
post Dec 22 2008, 08:22 AM
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I wouldn't give the Armor's full rating if a character's chooses not to wear all the accessories.
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Mäx
post Dec 22 2008, 08:28 AM
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QUOTE (Tyro @ Dec 22 2008, 09:41 AM) *
I generally agree with most of the other posters - the problem isn't with FFBA per se, it's with the outright ban on armor stacking. If anyone has a good set of house rules to fix this, I'd love to hear them.

Just let all armor tack, problem solved.
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Tyro
post Dec 22 2008, 09:01 AM
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QUOTE (Glyph @ Dec 22 2008, 12:22 AM) *
You could use the old SR3 rules - add the highest rating to one-half of the next-highest rating. Limit stacking to two items of armor (not counting piecemeal armor such as PPP), generally a coat or jacket over clothing/underwear armor. FFBA and PPP are still better, but they are, after all, designed to be used in conjunction with other armor. They would remain the optimal choice, but you would see things like a troll wearing an armored jacket over combat biker armor. It would actually raise the power level, especially for troll tanks, but it would bring some measure of consistency back to the rules. FFBA would still be better, but at least it wouldn't be breaking the rules of the game universe as much.

How would you handle Encumbrance? Keep it as-is?

QUOTE (Fortune @ Dec 22 2008, 12:22 AM) *
I wouldn't give the Armor's full rating if a character's chooses not to wear all the accessories.

Neither would I. I meant you could do that for situations in which full armor is not viable (I don't wear my helmet in public either, unless I'm in Redmond). It wouldn't take long to pull on the gloves and hood, and you could do it on the run.

Also, what about ruthenium polymer? Just an idea... If you have the polymer coating, set your gloves to mimic the look of your hands (and maybe your hood the back and sides of your head, and your lower face if it includes a bandanna). It won't fool up-close examinations or touch, but it might make wearing them more socially acceptable. Or you could just make the whole thing look more party-appropriate, or make it match the suit you're wearing over it for formal meets. And so on.

My 2 cents.
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AngelisStorm
post Dec 22 2008, 09:22 AM
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My solution to stacking armor is this:

To bypass armor, I don't use the armor rating, I use the actual coverage of the armor. So the armored trench coat has a higher penalty to bypass than the armored jacket does.

Ta da. Throw in more common called shots, and your set. "I think he's only wearing an armored vest Bob. Shoot him in the arm and check." It gives a bonus to characters stacking armor, without having to worry about upping dice pools.
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Dragnar
post Dec 22 2008, 10:42 AM
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I use the SR3 way of adding the highest value to half of the second-highest value, just like Glyph, but count each armor value as full for encumbrance purposes. That makes tank chars a bit more powerful in general situations, but heavy weapons still shred them, so it isn't game breaking in the least.
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Kurious
post Dec 22 2008, 06:34 PM
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I find the FFBA to be a good addition, and actually prefer there be an 'exception' to the armor stacking rule, then say- nixing the rule altogether.

Reason being, Trolls with 12+ body can begin to wear obscene amounts of armor if you willy-nilly allow all to stack.

FFBA and PPP armor offers a small boost to your armor; and helps out the low body people who can get dropped by a semi-accurate hold out pistol round most, while still giving that giant troll added armor as well.
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Oenone
post Dec 22 2008, 06:46 PM
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QUOTE (Tyro @ Dec 22 2008, 09:01 AM) *
Also, what about ruthenium polymer? Just an idea... If you have the polymer coating, set your gloves to mimic the look of your hands (and maybe your hood the back and sides of your head, and your lower face if it includes a bandanna). It won't fool up-close examinations or touch, but it might make wearing them more social acceptable. Or you could just make the whole thing look more party-appropriate, or make it match the suit you're wearing over it for formal meets. And so on.


Sadly by RAW you can't apply RP upgrade to the FFBA. Or most kinds of armour for that matter, it's only a select few suit style sets you can fit it too. Ones which cover the entire body.

Edit - In regard to the thread topic, I don't personally find it broken from a GM point of view. But then I play with a house rule to allow characters to pay additional nuyen to have suits tailored to change the ratio for body to max armour before they take penalties if they're only wearing that one set of armour.
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