Monday, July 6, 2009

Protecting your noggin from enemy floggin

One thing I noticed in early games is that helmets did jack. This to me is ridiculous, helmets are important when axes go flying about. Still, when arrow fire is incoming I'd probably choose a breastplate or shield over a helmet. So in Piecemeal, Helmets have a simple but useful protective feature.

The type of helmet you have determines how easy it is to score a critical hit on you. The better the helmet the less likely someone is to score a critical hit. In piecemeal, without a helmet you suffer a critical hit on a natural roll of 18 or more (with some other criteria about how solid of a hit you score, other methods of critical hits etc). A leather cap would up this to 19, a skull cap or a mail coif to 20, open faced helms to 21 and a full helm to 22. Now, you can't roll above a 20, so the extra protective features only come into play if the enemy has some benefit to scoring criticals (like being on high ground, or a high luck attribute, magic).

The downside however (people do remove their helmets, even in combat) is that you suffer an equal but opposite penalty to all awareness checks you must make (or spot or perception checks if you are porting this to another system). So -1 for a leather cap, -2 for a skull cap or mail coif, -3 open helmets and -4 for full helms.

Why is this good:

1.) It creates a valid use for helmets. They have solid mechanical benefit beyond "flair".
2.) Helmets are not mandatory, in fact its a careful choice. This is a strong element I try and add throughout Piecemeal, that things become a choice to make rather than a problem to solve. The reduced critical hits versus situational awareness.


  1. I believe 1e AD&D had a simple rule for those without helmets. Something along the lines of, if you get hit there's a 50% chance of a head shot and death. I'm a bit hazy on the details.

  2. That seems a bit harsh, makes it not really much of a choice, more of a "you NEED to wear a helmet"