Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

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PiXeL01
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Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

Post by PiXeL01 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:35 am

While this might qualify as a stupid question I was wondering why shields cannot be improved through Forging skills.
Is it because they are pure Defense items, making buffing that statistic too easy or is there something deeper behind it?

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The Undying
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Re: Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

Post by The Undying » Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:57 pm

You answered your own question. ;) the change to defense for shields means that you really don't want to allow those to be improved. Combine that with the fact that armor can now be improved MUCH MORE than in previous editions

PiXeL01
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Re: Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

Post by PiXeL01 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:23 am

Would allowing a Weaponsmith to shave off a single initiative penalty on shields be considered on balancing?

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Tanthalas
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Re: Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

Post by Tanthalas » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:43 pm

PiXeL01 wrote:Would allowing a Weaponsmith to shave off a single initiative penalty on shields be considered on balancing?
I don't think it would be unbalancing, but it would be kind of a weird and fiddly rule. Obviously it is your Earthdawn, so you do you. If I had a player who really wanted to be able to work with shields I would probably be looking at something similar to a Talent Knack for that. Talent Knacks haven't been released for this edition yet, but in ages past they were special abilities Adepts could take once they had a Talent at a certain Rank.

You would probably want to do something like:
Forge Shield
Requirements: Forge Armor Rank 4(?)

This knack allows the user to make shields better through forging. They can increase the physical defense, lower the initiative penalty, or provide a bonus to the Shield Bash talent. A Shield can only be forged a maximum of half the user's Forge Armor Rank (rounded down).
I don't know, something like that. That way it has real rules and people feel like it fits in the setting and they could get use out of it. It also means that your bad guys can do it and everything plays fair. It should be noted however, that a knack like this would still make shields pretty good. Its hard to balance it alongside large sized weapons. But maybe you could introduce another knack to offset it. Overall power would go up, but if that is the game you want to play I don't really see an issue with it.
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Slimcreeper
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Re: Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

Post by Slimcreeper » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:57 pm

Another option might be to forge the shield as a weapon rather than armor.

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The Undying
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Re: Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

Post by The Undying » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:22 pm

I'd advise care on this. There is some ground that is Talent, some that is items, and some that is magic (thread item). Initiative reduction isn't something I'd personally be uncomfortable allowing through a long term crafting. That's really a Talent, thread item, and blood magic domain. Knacks (again, in my opinion) should extend on the existing functions of a Talent without bleeding into the domain of other mechanics.

I guess what I'm saying is that there are likely already ways to do what you want to do (shield improvement) in system that don't warp mechanics. Thread item shield can be used to "improve" a shield. A custom blood charm installable into a shield or something could do it.

Remember that there are consequences to changes. They may seem small at the time but then get out of hand. When they do, you end up having to add more custom, potentially arbitrary, rules to wind back or reign in the first rule change. For example, if Forge Armor can suddenly augment shields by improving defense, how are you going to handle the sudden additional 5-9 physical/mystic defense your characters are toting?

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Tanthalas
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Re: Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

Post by Tanthalas » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:32 pm

I like Undrying's idea of an install-able Blood Magic charm as well. It could be two pieces, one that needs to be taken into the Namegiver who wants to use it and another that needs to be placed on the shield. Installing it on the shield could require a Craftsman roll (the Weaponsmith Free Talent) so it could fulfill the flavor and mechanics of what you are looking for.
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Panda
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Shield and Forge Armor: Design Insight

Post by Panda » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:11 pm

Greetings,

The various points here have been touched on in some capacity, but I want to bring them together to show the whole and provide some insight as to why things are the way they are.

Early in the design process, we decided Forge Armor and Forge Weapon should be useful for all their ranks. Which means having significantly higher potential bonuses than 3E provided. Immediately, this meant shields weren't going to be able to be affected by Forge Armor. There are two reasons: math and opportunity cost.

The math is simple. If offense only has one avenue for such improvement and defense can have two, this overtly benefits defense.

For opportunity cost, it is a question of what you do with your off hand. There are three options (second weapon, shield, or two-handed weapon) and they all need to be roughly equal. A second weapon is clearly the most powerful, affording an additional attack, but this also requires a talent (another opportunity cost) and continual investment (in the talent and weapon improvements). Thus, the choice between a shield and a two-handed weapon should be roughly equal, leaving it to more a decision of what is appropriate for the character and their role. Now, it's not perfect - for example, a windling benefits more from a shield than a larger weapon - but in most instances, it's pretty good.

Putting these together, allowing a shield to be improved heavily weighs the costs in favor of using a shield.

Which answers the follow-up question: no, reducing the initiative penalty on a shield is not balanced.

If some other artifice to reduce the initiative penalty on a shield is introduced (outside of a thread shield), it should be evaluated in terms of what benefit to provide characters who made a different choice? Is there a blood charm that increases the damage of a two-handed weapon? What of characters wielding two weapons? These may be avenues to pursue and add some interesting blood charms to your game. "Officially", blood charms aren't typically a way to provide permanent numerical increases, but offer a temporary boost of some kind at a cost. This isn't always the case, but is the general guideline.

It is your game and you should play it however works best for you and your group. Nothing here is ever intended to dictate how you do you, just to provide some perspective on how we got to where we are and possibly some things to consider.

Hopefully this is helpful. Please let me know if there are any questions, or if there is anything further I can do.

Best regards,

Morgan

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The Undying
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Re: Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

Post by The Undying » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:59 pm

Yeah sorry if my intent was unclear. The blood charm idea would've been something reusable or disposable. Something like a desperate blow/spell, but for initiative. It's just a bit harder for a shield - what part actually digs into the flesh in order to power the effect, esp given that shields get equipped and unequipped constantly?

Panda
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Re: Shield and Forge Armor, why not?

Post by Panda » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:15 pm

Ah, thank you for clarifying. In that case, I my suggestion is to use an initiative booster as the base, and include the limitation it can only be used to reduce Initiative Penalties due to armor and shields. Penalties are reduced by 2 for each Strain, to a minimum of 0. This is a better exchange than an initiative booster, but also has a ceiling. Alternatively, the Strain cost can remain the same, and instead reduce the blood magic damage. As well you can go with the concept of specifically installing one piece on the character and the other on the affected item.

Having a one-off for Initiative seems rough when it is just eliminating penalties. Though having one that gives a sizable bonus could have merit. The reason being Initiative is a little far removed from seeing a direct impact.

All said, that's an interesting thought experiment and entirely relevant to some guidelines in the enchanting section for designing your own patterns.

Awesome and thank you again.

Best regards,

Morgan

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