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D&D 3E
Opinion requested 
1st-Jan-2005 08:46 pm
I stab a high level fighter with my sword: I don't quite "hit". If it had been a touch attack, it would have hit so intuitively..."Clang!". He was saved by his armour.

Next attack, I hit but some DR property of the armour saves him. "Clang".

Next attack I get a couple of points through DR, but many of a fighter's hit points reflect their skill in avoiding blows. So...."Clang?"

How easy should it be for a player to distinguish between these scenarios? Our DM is lenient is revealing that a firey sword has done no damage, but should the CHARACTERS be able to deduce fire immunity from that, given that its only(?) the die roll of the PLAYER that distinguishes two types of "Clang"? Is it likely that someone can meaningfully distinguish between the ways they are failing to affect their enemy? Is their any in-game distinction between DR and high AC, short of pathological trial-by-ordeal with a thousand pinpricks?
1st-Jan-2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
I'd say that as a DM you could make a distinction.

You can't get past the armor's AC: "You swing but can't quite get through his armor"

You can't get through the armor's DR: "Your attack bounces off his armor."

You hit him for just a couple of points of damage "You manage to knick his arm."

I'm not a huge fan of the HP system, but I tend to look at it as an ability to shrug off blows (to ignore that they hit you) not to avoid the attack. The difference between the first two is subtle, and the DM could choose whether he wanted to make the distinction. Assuming it isn't a flaming type of special effect, I would see no huge difference between DR and high AC. With the flaming affect: "The flames from your blade swirl around him, but with no obvious effect" or "He ignores the fire from your blade" or better yet "You slash his arm, but his flesh remains unsinged." When in doubt, have the player make some kind of spot of knowledge check to see if they notice or can figure out exactly how the the damage isn't effecting them. But really, if it doesn't matter how they miss the guy, do you really need to specify it? And if you does matter, it should be easy to explain.
1st-Jan-2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
I'd say that, yes, you can tell the difference between AC and DR. In the case of a barbarian, for instance, you could tell that you've penetrated the armour but still failed to pierce the skin. In the case of a creature with a high natural armour ("your hit bounces off its scales") and also DR ("your hit bounces off its scales").

It would be best to always couch information about hitting but not penetrating DR in terms of what the characters see, but bear in mind that the characters are generally experienced at this kind of thing; they've seen many skilled attacks made with weapons and they'll know when a blow is a solid connection but still fails to hurt and when it glances off scales instead of bouncing off the hide. Bear in mind, also, that some forms of DR may be that wounds from certain types of weapons simply heal immediately; this is certainly how I tend to view the alignment DR of outsiders. This is a matter of roleplaying taste, but basically skilled adventurers will recognise these things.
1st-Jan-2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
I agree that AC and DR are (usually) visibly different. I usually use "bounces off" or "connects, but does no damage" for AC.

For DR, like you with alignment-based DR, I would add something like a colored flash or spark, indicating there is something special there.

With element resistance, I usually say, "It doesn't seem to affect it as much as you would have guessed." For immunity (or resistance where the entire thing is absorbed), I would say, "The monster doesn't seem affected by the fire/cold/etc."

With straight DR (like DR 3/-), I say that it appears the damage is "absorbed".

Like highbulp, I think of HP as a buffer where you take damage, but it doesn't slow you down.
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