On our last episode, The Specktre asked SO MANY QUESTIONS that I decided to turn the answers into a post of their own.
So armor provides both the “HP” and the “AC” then?
Armour, in and of itself, is merely ablation – hit points. Most modern armours have deflection fields built-in, however, and bulkier armour is able to support (and protect) bulkier field generators, which are more powerful. The armour itself isn’t inherently capable of deflection; a suit without a generator would still provide hit points, but not AC.
would it be possible for this deflective field to be separate from ablative armor?
Compact deflective fields are entirely possible, but incredibly expensive. Fields embedded in wrist-mounts are common – bracers of deflection – and come in various power levels (and costs). Their cost denies them to the average citizen, however, and even most militaries will not front the cost of armouring their artillerists with such devices. Successful and experienced independent contractors, however, will frequently build, purchase, or “acquire” such equipment in time.
(DnD has magic items that grant AC without physical armour – bracers of armour, rings of protection, and the like. That’s what these devices replicate.)
Your writing makes me think of the shields in Mass Effect and Halo, which I assume is being borrowed from Dune. So my question is do shields in your setting have a natural damage reduction, or “AC” bonus against range, or is it a penalty against melee?
Were one to use the Holtzmann shields as depicted in Dune, conventional firearms would be rendered entirely powerless; the Holtzmann field grows stronger as higher energy is imparted upon them, and stops bullets dead in their tracks. They also renders lasers functionally useless, as the interaction of their respective energies causes a quantum feedback that results in a nuclear explosion, annihilating both the shielded and the gunner. Blades are used for combat in Dune not because they are the most effective weapons, but because they are the only effective weapons. Only objects moving at (relatively) low speeds can pass through a Holtzmann shield.
Since this does not mirror the mechanics of DnD, I rejected using the Holtzmann shield altogether.
Instead, our deflective fields work equally well against bullets, lasers, blasters, or hand-held weaponry. If their power output is not exceeded or their protective coverage not somehow bypassed (a mechanic simplified as an “attack roll” against “deflection class”), the attack is thwarted altogether – stopped or (more often) turned aside before any damage can be inflicted upon the armour of the target. The attack has “missed”.
When an attack roll exceeds deflection class, the deflection field has failed – either it has insufficient power to stop the attack or it was otherwise circumvented by the attacker. The attack has “hit”, and a damage roll is made to determine how ablation is expended to protect the target.
This is where our system to thwart the primacy of firearms and other ranged weapons comes into play; ablative plates are simply many times more effective against bullets, lasers, and blaster bolts, thus rendering these otherwise highly destructive weapons far less damaging, lowering their destructive capability to something far more on par with knives, swords and the like. Bullets aren’t trumped by deflection fields, but by ablation points.