Friday, May 28, 2010

The Helm

A full re-write on this is pending. Talysman, thanks. There are tons of flaws do to my haste to get my thoughts down. I know what I want to do, I just have to make it, make sense.

Reading the Beyond the Black Gate blog I got to thinking about how the helm offended my OCD senses when I was younger. I had forgotten about it until now, but once again, I am obsessing on it.

For the record, I almost exclusively use Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox (though I am leaning towards possibly switching to Swords & Wizardry: Core rules, but that is for another post) and occasionally refer to Mentzer Basic (BECMI or RC). Any other rules systems mentioned here will more than likely be tagged as such. I also prefer the Ascending Armor Class but usually try to mention both when the subject is approached, for those that prefer Descending Armor Class.

Now, about helmets. Based on replies at the afore mentioned blog, I have decided to mash a couple of the ideas together. I should give credit to each author I suppose, but there are quite a few of them, so I will just say, "Go read the linked blog. It has tons of good info."

Damn, ADD kicking in again! So, here is what I intend to try for my next game:
  • Not wearing a helm for the appropriate suit of arms is a +1 [-1] penalty to that Armor Class (Referred to as AC from here on out). So wearing a helm (the default) gives you the listed AC. Note: There is NO penalty for not wearing a helm when 'Unarmored'. Unarmored is not an AC as far as I am concerned and it retains its 9 [10] and wearing one when 'Unarmored' does not improve your AC.
  • Since wearing a helm is the default, Surprise, Initiative, Hear Noise, etc. is 4in12 (the old school 2in6 taken up to a d12 for Background Skills and such, which I hope to post one day). This is reduced to 3in12, possibly 2in12, when not wearing a helm.
  • Great Helms will provide an additional -1 [+1] to AC as do shields, but this type of helm will also add a +1 to the Xin12 formula for Surprise, Initiative, Hear Noise, etc.
  • When attacking; on a modified To Hit roll of 19+, the attacker may call the head of a helmed opponent as their target, and on a modified To Hit roll of 17+ the attacker may call the head of an un-helmed opponent as their target.
  • Hitting a helmed head does regular damage, but the target must make a Saving Throw with a +2. Failing the Saving Throw causes the defender to be dazed in addition to the damage and will be at -1 for their next round.
  • Hitting an un-helmed head does full damage (no roll required), and the target must make a Saving Throw or be knocked unconscious for 1d6 rounds. (Considering having a -1 dazed effect even if Saving Throw is passed.)
These are just initial ideas and I would love to hear feed back before I playtest them. Please, thoughts?



  1. You might want to check the surprise/Hear Noise penalties and bonuses. If I understand you correctly, taking off a helm lowers your chance to hear a noise or be surprised (down to 3 in 12,) while wearing a great helm increases your chance (to 5 in 12.)

  2. You are partially correct. I chose, in my haste to get my thoughts down, to lump the conventional 2in6 rules all in one. Surprise should go down, but Hear Noise, Detect Traps, Stone Construction and the like should go up as you are more aware of your surroundings. I should go with a -1 for initiative with a Great Helm perhaps... All in all, I just need to re-write the post. It makes no sense. Thanks for pointing this out. Nice to know someone at least read it. = )


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