Author Topic: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields  (Read 729 times)

Zarathustra217

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Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« on: December 21, 2017, 11:33:16 AM »
As some of you probably already know, we are planning to revise the parry-skill system so that it will now also grant a bonus for shields.

The overarching reason for the change is to make using shields a bit more attractive, balancing it better against high parry two weapon fighters and similar.

However, we've also used it as an opportunity to increase the usefulness of all shield variations, akin to how we in the past made other armour types have a purpose by tweaking their stats. In vanilla NWN, almost every melee warrior would wear full plate armour and carry a tower shield.

But to the numbers...

First of all, we've changed the ACP (armour check penalty) of small shields to 3, large shields to 8 and tower shields to 18 13. We have also increased the base AC of tower shields to 4. (seems like Shield AC is hardcoded in NwN, so Tower Shields will remain at 3AC with 13 ACP - EO)

Second, we've changed the parry system so that the cap is now determined by the total ACP of items worn. The maximum parry score that will be used when calculating parry bonus (not just for shields) will be 30 - ACP.

While holding a shield, you will receive +1 AC per 10 points in parry (effective rank). If you have the soon to be added feat "Shield Parry" you will get +1 AC per 5 points in parry.

Here's some examples of what the consequences of this change will be:

:arrow:Small shield + chain shirt: total ACP 5 (3+2), parry skill score cap at 25. With shield parry, this means up to +5 AC from parry.

:arrow:Large shield + chain shirt: total ACP 10 (8+2), parry skill score cap at 20. With shield parry, this means up to +4 AC from parry.

:arrow:Large shield + half plate: total ACP 15 (8+7), parry skill score cap at 15. With shield parry, this means up to +3 AC from parry.

:arrow:No shield + leather armor: total ACP 0 (0+0), parry skill score cap at 30. Depending on weapon, this means up to +6 AC from parry.


Keep in mind that these numbers are only provisionary and will likely be tweaked in the coming time once we've all been able to familiarize ourselves with it more. And if it turns out to be a complete disaster, we will of course just pull back the entire thing and allow people to have their characters adjust accordingly.

That said, we hope you will all approach this with an open mind and start experimenting some with the opportunities it offers. And afterwards, please return here with your feedback and thoughts so we can make sure to get it right.

Thanks!



« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 04:19:01 PM by EO »

Ruxandra

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 05:07:30 PM »
What type of AC is Parry AC?

If it's Shield, it seems a little more reasonable. The idea of a small shield giving you +11 AC from the shield + parry + Magic Vestment/Varnish seems silly (well, outright absurd).

I'm just a bit more worried this throws things like dex-based warriors/bards/clerics out of whack and upturns certain things (like monks) who have nothing but high AC going for them otherwise.
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aprogressivist

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2017, 03:39:25 AM »
The fact that Towe Shields will be only AC3 base after all is disappointing -- it will mean the maximum AC you can get from a Tower Shield will be 7 (base 3 +4 enh.) -- because anybody at all going the Shield Parry route has absolutely no reason not to use a Large shield instead.

Could the system be changed so that if you're wielding a Tower Shield, you always get at least +1 Parry AC, even if you have zero ranks in Parry? This would effectively simulate the base AC of 4 while still letting Small and Large Shields rule the roost at greater skill investments.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 03:58:19 AM by aprogressivist »

RickDeckard

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 03:50:13 AM »
What would a Full Plate + Tower Shield give you?

aprogressivist

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 03:56:11 AM »
What would a Full Plate + Tower Shield give you?

In the current set-up, nothing, since you need DEX 15 to get Shield Parry and therefore wouldn't be wearing full plate in the first place.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 04:00:04 AM by aprogressivist »

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 08:09:53 AM »
I've played around with the numbers and I feel that the biggest flaw in the current suggestion is dividing by 10 if you don't have DEX 15 (hence Shield Parry). This combined with the heavy ACP up-front cost means that the Parry system is basically only worth investing in if you have DEX 15. Anyone else may as well invest in cross-class Tumble.

I believe Shield Parry should have no DEX pre-requisite. The benefit of high DEX is already present: you don't need to invest in extra feats or equipment to hit the Parry cap.Yes, this allows full plate tower shield users to get more Parry AC, but currently, a heavy investment in Parry while wearing full plate (-8) and a Tower Shield (-13) won't even net as much AC as crossclassed ranks in Tumble.... and all that for at least one extra Feat.

Which brings me to my next point: ACPs.

I think -3 is a good spot for Small Shields. But I don't think the interval between each category should be -5 -- in the long run this gives large and tower shields no niche apart from newbie fodder. Yes, I realise that -5 ACP basically equals 1 AC in the system; but heavier shields should remain slightly mechanically more efficient-- they are heavier, after all. So my suggestion is that the intervals between categories are -4 ACP. This would put Small Shields on -3, Large Shields on -7 and Tower Shields on -11.

This would make Parry AC from Shields slightly more useable to use in the Tower Shield / Full Plate get up (potentially +2 Parry AC) but a lot more expensive in terms of Feats and Skills than simply dumping 20 cross class ranks into Tumble for +2 Dodge.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 08:13:50 AM by aprogressivist »

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2017, 09:51:51 AM »
I've dicked around with it on my fighter and I'm finding it pretty much seems to be the nail in the coffin of the "heavily armored fighter" tank. It's just to unoptimized to run full-plate + tower shield fighter in comparison to either a two hand fighter or a dex fighter.

aprogressivist

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2017, 10:23:55 AM »
I've dicked around with it on my fighter and I'm finding it pretty much seems to be the nail in the coffin of the "heavily armored fighter" tank. It's just to unoptimized to run full-plate + tower shield fighter in comparison to either a two hand fighter or a dex fighter.

The issue is that the system requires the Shield user to first "buy back" his shield's ACP, which effectively negates any early bonus. If I'm wielding a two-hander, I just need to overcome my armour ACP.

So if I'm a two weapon wielder, I can start seeing parry A.C. by the time I have Parry 9 plus Improved Parry, which might be as early as level 6.

Conversely anyone trying to overcome the ACP modifier for a Large shield probably won't see much return on investment before 7 more levels. (Never mind investing in a Tower Shield.)

And: that still costs an extra Feat.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 10:32:20 AM by aprogressivist »

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2017, 10:45:45 AM »
Perhaps another suggestion:

Have it so that your Ranks in Parry contribute to a minimum. If you have 10 Ranks in Parry then you have at least +1 Parry AC, regardless of ACP; if you have 20  Ranks in Parry, you have at least +2 Parry AC, regarded of ACP.

This at least makes Parry as competitive as cross class Tumble for heavy armour & shield users,  while still allowing the Elf who goes the full DEX fighter route to get +5 Parry AC on his small shield.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 11:36:45 AM by aprogressivist »

Zarathustra217

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2017, 01:00:54 PM »
Thank you for the feedback and suggestions.

Regarding changing the ACP progression between shields, the issue with a progression of less than "5" is that it would make the larger shields gradually more attractive for the most dexterous types (which seems counter-intuitive). But even with the 5 point difference, the larger shields do have the advantage of higher AC flat-footed.

More in general - the current idea is to aim for parry mainly being a skill that dexterous people focus and spend their skill points on. The less dodgy will not benefit much from it, but in turn have the advantage of being able to spend those skill points on other things, e.g. tumble.

Compare a 15 dex fighter with half plate + large shield (1) to a 12 dex fighter with full plate + tower shield (2).

1: +7 AC from half plate, +2 from large shield, +2 from dex, up to +3 from parry = +14 AC, +9 flat footed.

2: +8 AC from full plate, +3 from tower shield, +1 from dex, and in this example, no parry = +12 AC, +11 flat footed.

For this (1) will have spend something like 20 skill points in parry and one feat (shield parry), and would still need some buff, item or improved parry to hit the +3 AC.

If (2) spend those 20 free skill points on tumble, they'll get two more AC and match (1), but with much higher AC flat footed,

That said, I still am not completely satisfied with the current numbers and mechanisms yet either, so keep the suggestions coming. We also have to mind that it should be fairly simple and intuitive though.



aprogressivist

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2017, 02:21:21 PM »
Argh, forum ate my longer post. :(  Quickly before bed:

The ACP progression of 4 won't affect final numbers, it will however create niches where Large/Tower shields are situationally better.

E.g. if ACPs are as I suggested previously, then at +12 Parry, you'll get +1 Parry AC for both Small (+9 Parry after modifier) and Large (+5 Parry after modifier) Shields.  However all limits I believe remain the same -- only small shield and chainshirt can get +5 Parry AC; no Large/Tower shield limits change, they're just a little easier to reach.

This is IMO more interesting than a situation where the only reason to take a larger shield is for flat-footed AC. That doesn't really justify the extra weight, IMO.

Also, please consider the idea of having some sort of minimum function. However you cut it, it feels rather badly done by that my 2H weapon fighter can invest 23 ranks and two Feats to get +5AC and 50% more damage while my Tower Shield fighter could invest 23 ranks and three Feats (assuming he can even afford Shield Parry) to get a measly +2AC. That's clearly not good; but IMO the only way to fix it is with some manner of minimum function.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 02:30:51 PM by aprogressivist »

Zarathustra217

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2017, 04:31:32 PM »
ACP progression of 4 will change the final numbers - e.g. Tower shield with ACP 11 could get up to +2 parry combined with full plate (total acp 19) vs only up to +1 if it is 13.

And regarding your last point - that you benefit more from parry depending on what you have equipped is pretty essential here - it's what allows it to open up for more varieties by making them feasible. Parry is not meant to benefit the guy wearing a massive shield as much as one who doesn't.

On the other hand, if you look at the actual numbers, the one with the massive shield will still ultimately have the higher AC since the shield itself with enchantment or with a spell gives +5 or more AC, as well as bonuses to saves or other effects.

/Add:

And another point that people mostly forget is that if you don't focus on dexterity, you get more ability points to spend on constitution or strength.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 04:37:20 PM by Zarathustra217 »

aprogressivist

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2017, 11:56:48 PM »
ACP progression of 4 will change the final numbers - e.g. Tower shield with ACP 11 could get up to +2 parry combined with full plate (total acp 19) vs only up to +1 if it is 13.

But nobody is going to wear full plate while Shield Parry has a pre-req of 15 DEX.

Quote
And regarding your last point - that you benefit more from parry depending on what you have equipped is pretty essential here - it's what allows it to open up for more varieties by making them feasible. Parry is not meant to benefit the guy wearing a massive shield as much as one who doesn't.

The point is that right now it doesn't benefit the guy in the massive shield AT ALL. We're talking +5 to the DEX build vs. +0 for most Tower Shield builds unless you're wasting Feats.

That's why I'm arguing for a minimum. +5 for the DEX fighter vs +2 for Tower Shields at least gives Tower Shields some progression. Right now there is basically none, making Tower Shields a poor choice at higher levels.

Note that the point of comparing it to Tumble was not to suggest that Tumble is a hard fork strategy, but to illustrate how bad an investment your current suggestion is for Tower Shield users.

In reality, this change won't be about DEX fighters vs STR fighters with Tower Shields. It will be about DEX rogue multi classes or rangers vs STR two-handers vs builds that can't afford to invest in Parry and therefore settle for a mere Tower Shield.

Right now, the point is that investing in Parry for a Tower Shield is so bad that it's not even an option.  That make them very weak at later levels.

Quote
On the other hand, if you look at the actual numbers, the one with the massive shield will still ultimately have the higher AC since the shield itself with enchantment or with a spell gives +5 or more AC, as well as bonuses to saves or other effects.

OK. Though you can only buff Shields up to a +4 enhancement, and that only with a level 16+ cleric or greater varnish (which, it bears mentioning, you guys have made rarer in the past few years). No shield is getting a +5 enhancement, and certainly not more. Shields with extra effects are limited to rare drops or enchantment. Overall a Tower Shield user is limited to around 7AC (3+4) from his shield maximum -- but that's really around 6AC (3+3) for everyone who isn't a level 16+ cleric.

So that's 6-7 AC for the Tower Shield vs 9-10 AC for the Small Shield build vs 5 AC and 150% damage for the two-hander build.

These numbers are weak for Tower Shields. I mean, even EO agreed that Tower Shields were too weak, which is why he initially proposed raising their base AC by 1.

Since that's not possible let's please at least allow some reasonable return on investment on Parry for Tower Shields -- or accept the fact that they're underpowered and that's just too bad.

Quote
/Add:

And another point that people mostly forget is that if you don't focus on dexterity, you get more ability points to spend on constitution or strength

Everyone understands that, I'm confident... the issue isn't just comparing DEX vs. STR builds. It's also comparing STR tower shield vs STR two-handers. Nobody is arguing that STR two-handers are in a bad place.
 
 
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 12:17:15 AM by aprogressivist »

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2017, 12:11:28 AM »
Quote
So that's 6-7 AC for the Tower Shield vs 9-10 AC for the Small Shield build vs 5 AC and 150% damage for the two-hander build.

I don't want to jump into the discussion but if we're comparing Strength builds, that two-hander build would likely not hit 5 Parry AC with the changes to how Parry AC is calculated. Since it caps at 30 Parry - ACP, anything above a Chainmail (5AC/4 Dex) will cap your Parry AC at 4.

aprogressivist

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2017, 12:18:59 AM »
Misunderstood Zara a bit...

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2017, 12:32:22 AM »
I don't want to jump into the discussion but if we're comparing Strength builds, that two-hander build would likely not hit 5 Parry AC with the changes to how Parry AC is calculated. Since it caps at 30 Parry - ACP, anything above a Chainmail (5AC/4 Dex) will cap your Parry AC at 4.

OK, so the AC cap on heavy armour two handers will effectively be +4 parry AC. I think that's good and it somewhat mitigates the issue for Tower Shields. But not completely. I still feel that Tower Shields are about one point too weak then overall. I feel that puts us in broad agreement.

How about this: if a character has Improved Parry but their ACP reduces their Parry to less than zero, then they still get +1 Parry AC. In short Improved Parry acts as a minimum of +1 Parry AC .

This will allow most shield users to benefit from +1 Parry AC for the modest investment of Improved Parry.

This gives the feat broader utility while not making Parry AC so much of a niche.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 12:35:53 AM by aprogressivist »

ViktorYouFool

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2017, 02:22:09 AM »
Going to throw this out here. If the idea is to balance things out while diversifying character builds a bit. Why not switch the skill entirely? Make bonus AC for shields key off of Discipline, bonus AC from weapons key off of Parry. Make it so that you can only benefit from one at a time, whichever provides the higher bonus.

Since Discipline is not affected by Armor Check Penalty, if you're wearing heavy armor you're naturally better off going that route. On the other hand, as there is a lot of gear in the game providing discipline, you could also make the actual amounts higher. 1/10 instead of 1/5 or whatever.
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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2017, 11:45:00 AM »
Maybe I'm missing something here but from what I've seen from looking at three builds (full plate and tower shield, dual-wielding, chain shirt and shield) with how rules are right now, these builds all fall roughly within the same AC (1-2 difference). And it could be argued that tower shield and full plate dude comes out ahead because he doesn't have to use any skills or feats to get there. The obvious loser here is the dual-wielding guy who needs to have 19-20 dex, four feats, tumble and parry invested.

Why are we considering changes/a new system at all?
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 11:51:07 AM by BahamutZ3RO »
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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2017, 12:23:58 PM »
Oh, I think I get it!
Instead of there being a penalty or it ignoring the parry bonus when you hold a shield the revision would have them kind of stack, right?
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ViktorYouFool

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2017, 02:41:00 PM »
Maybe I'm missing something here but from what I've seen from looking at three builds (full plate and tower shield, dual-wielding, chain shirt and shield) with how rules are right now, these builds all fall roughly within the same AC (1-2 difference). And it could be argued that tower shield and full plate dude comes out ahead because he doesn't have to use any skills or feats to get there. The obvious loser here is the dual-wielding guy who needs to have 19-20 dex, four feats, tumble and parry invested.

Why are we considering changes/a new system at all?
Technically, there's also now the single-weapon guys to consider now that the single weapon feats will be implemented, but they are in the same camp as the dual-weilding guy.

Also worth considering is that a lot of this could be solved on the equipment level. If tower shields provide more defensive buffs than large shields, there's already an incentive there, particularly compared to the single weapon or dual-wielding guys.
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Ercvadasz

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2017, 05:36:50 PM »
Well, okay I just did the math and for me chain shirt with large shield is the best route i would say. Not only will it offer me the highest bonus, but also it will allow me to get another feat which you can never have too much of. (most likely exotic weapons for bastard sword or katana:D)

The 19 dex even for rangers and rogues is quite a harsh prereq. (-> would say elves and half elves and some sub races)
The other option the single weapon wielding seems nice however I have two questions regarding this. If my char has a candle, torch, book or something that is NOT considered as a weapon, will the bonus still apply or not? (Or practice baton for instance!)

Also...one thing if I know correctly currently if your character is using a single 1 handed weapon you still get TWD bonuses to your parry. Will now the TWD bonus and the Duelist bonus be mutually exclusive if for instance a char has both, and only the greater one will apply?

Oh also for Two handed weapon users, so if someone runs around in a chain shirt and uses a Two hander they still receive with improved parry 5 ac from parry right?

Either way Shield parry CS+Large shield still tops everything. 4 ac from parry +2 shield and 4 from magic vestment (or 3 since those varnishes are NOT that hard to aquire!)

                                            Shield Parry                Agrippa's Fundamental Guards                                 Greater Two Weapon Defense
number of feats required               1                                         3                                                                             3
prerequisites:                         Dex 15                       Dex 16+, Int 14+, BAB +11 (and feats)                       Dex 19 (and feats)
possible max AC:                    10(with mv)                   9 (only with Leather Armour!)                                9 (only with Leather Armour)
additional bonus:                    shield property?           offhand non weapon item bonus?                              offhand weapon property, and damage (and/or active parry skill!)

For me still the most usefull seems to be shield parry.
Greater TWD gives you more attacks, however you will still have that -2 AB for each attack. Also would need to have those fitting weapons for those hands, and not to mention helps a lot if you are an elf, a half elf or a subrace with dex bonus at start. <- any chars not of these races that are rogues, rangers and possibly bards, should just either go Agrippa, or Shield Parry. In which regard Shield Parry is already more usefull and less demanding.
On the server there are very few off hand items that make it worth to use Agrippa not to mention the 3 feats you need to waste, and the two attributes that are above average requirement, or could also say dex could be considered quite high as a prereq. (Not to mention if you already have 16 dex why not shield parry?:D)

So my final judgement is still shield parry tops all.

And Agrippa is the weakest option.

Agrippa currently has the same prerequisite to top your AC as TWD. Basicly the Leather Armour. Technically it offers the same AC bonus, however only if you use Leather Armour, which means that you are better off using TWD then.
So i would suggest to give Aggripa's route a bit of extra slack. Like for instance if you take this route the armour you are wearing has lower ACP considered for the 30 parry.

Here is what i mean in an example:

Bonetti's Defense beside the +1 AC it also negates 0 point of ACP from the armour you are wearing that is counted from the 30 parry.

Thibault's Geometry: beside the +2 ac it also negates 1 point of ACP from the armour you are wearing so now you can use studded leather armour to get the max parry AC bonus.

Agrippa's Fundamental Guards: beside the +3 ac it also negates 2 points of ACP from the armour you are wearing, allowing you to use it in chainshirts to gain the max parry AC bonus.

Since for Agrippa the prereq is 16 dex would make sense since Chain Shirt offers +4 ac from dex bonus.




« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 05:54:59 PM by Ercvadasz »
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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2017, 05:50:42 PM »
I use a non shield item and parry doesn't apply, so I assume that shield parry would not apply.

Unfortunately, my PC doesn't have 15 dex to test this out.

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Re: Upcoming revision of the parry system to include shields
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2017, 07:31:21 PM »
I was doing some math. If we assume maximum parry, the shield parry feat, and optimal dexterity, the ACs with mundane gear work out as follows:

Full plate, with our without shield, is 23 AC.
Half-plate+ any shield is 24AC.
Half plate without a shield is 23AC.
Chainmail with anything is 24AC.
Chain shirt alone is 24AC.
Chain shirt with any shield is 25AC.
Studded leather alone is 24AC.
Studded leather with shield is 25AC.
Leather is 25AC with or without shield.
Padded is 24, with or without shield. This would be 25, but you'd need Cats Grace to get to a +8 mod.

If you go either two-weapon, or Agrippa, you can get an additional +3AC on top of this, which is about on par with a high-end shield, from what I understand. I don't know if an enchanted shield gets to +3AC or +4 at the top end of the scale.

The first thing worthy of note is that two-handers don't fair all that poorly by this reckoning, at least not while using mundane gear. A dude in full plate with a greatsword has the same AC as a dude with full plate and a tower-shield. On the other hand, in all cases when you add in end-game gear, the shield dudes will pull ahead of the two-handers due to the defensive bonuses (and additional enchantment AC) on shields.

Going the shield route has the advantage of requiring the least feats. You only need one feat to grab shield Parry, but you still need 15 dex, which would put you in at least half-plate for 24AC. On the other hand, it also is the most gear intensive. You'll be behind in AC from the others until you have the fanciest shield, but said shield will probably also have other bonuses.

The most expensive route is two-weapon fighting, requiring the highest dexterity (19) and a whopping six feats to get the maximum benefit, but it winds up with more mundane AC than the shield users and about on par with the end-game shield users, with the benefit of providing an extra two attacks.

Agrippa seems to be the middle-choice, but it's sort of the weakest for it. You have a greater dex investment than the shield guy, and substantially greater feat requirements (Four, as opposed to one). But you'll ultimately wind up with less AC than the shield guy and less damage output than the two-weapon guy and be one equipment slot less than either, which has intrinsic benefits of its own regardless of what you put in the off-hand.

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