Friday, January 05, 2007

Armor and Equipment Penalties

I mentioned in my initial post about skills, and again when talking about weapons and equipment, that it is foolish to let players run in full plate armor while slinging spells of greater power at whatever happens to be standing next to them. At the same time, artificially limiting the equipment users can use means they are limited to static classes.

What can be done, then, to allow as much freedom to players as possible, while still limiting the type of equipment they can effectively use? The answer is simply to make the equipment self-balancing. For example, heavy plate gloves would decrease the speed of spell casting, from the decreased flexibility of the fingers inside the gloves. Armor would scale in efficiency depending on the strenght and stamina of the user, so a character that is weak physically would move slower when wearing a full plate armor.

Other examples include metal armor decreasing the capacity for players to move silently, inflexible leggings and boots would decrease a character's movement speed, while a heavy weapon would decrease the capacity to cast spells, as it is harder to put it away while casting spells.

Other effects could be found as well, that are not directly related to classes. For example, a wool shirt would give some resistance to cold-based attacks, while increasing the effects of dehydratation when walking in warm areas like a desert. Potions that are set to the belt for quicker use could be destroyed by a well-placed attack, while scrolls in a similar location could be burned by a fire spell.

All-in-all, this would allow the players to make choices that have real impacts on their characters. I'm not saying this system is perfect, but it would certainly be a step forward from either allowing players to use whatever they want, or limiting them according to their class.

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