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Project Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
73,986 backers pledged $3,986,929 to help bring this project to life.

Project Eternity Update #29: Fulfillment and the Pros and Cons of Nostalgia and Realism

Armor Design

Design update from Josh Sawyer

Let's talk about armor design. Taken on its own, armor design isn't of eminent importance. It's just one of many subsystems that make up Project Eternity. However, looking at it in detail can expose problems that can be found across our various subsystems: by making something work well in a new system and setting, we can often put it at odds with the nostalgia of the old games (and "realism").

Back in the days of 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, we had all sorts of quasi- or non-historical armor types like banded mail, ring mail, and studded leather. You wore the heaviest armor you could because it typically had the best Armor Class. If plate mail was available, there weren't many reasons to wear splint mail or (horror of horrors) chain.The default rules limited the viability of certain character concepts because most characters of a given class were funneled down a specific equipment path.

3E sort of solved this problem by implementing Maximum Dexterity Bonus, which meant that characters with high Dexterity scores would generally equip whatever armor gave them the maximum bonus to Armor Class without capping the Armor Class bonus they received from Dexterity. There were a few problems with this.

First, while it did help make previously "bad" character concepts (e.g., the lightly armored fighter) more viable, generally there were one or two choices per character build. If you had a high dexterity, you were not going to wear heavy armor. If you had a low Dexterity, you might wear light armor, but only for the higher movement rate it allowed.

Second, there was an equipment dead zone in medium armor -- the Maximum Dexterity Bonus caps and movement penalties of heavy armor without the nice Armor Class bonus. Also, if you were a ranger or barbarian, technically you could wear medium armor, but in practice you would never wear it because it disabled several class abilities.

The third issue is a common one with armor design: the ability to wear heavy armor has value (classes receive it as a benefit and it costs feats to purchase in 3E), but it's presented as something with trade-offs. This in itself is not bad, but as previously mentioned, typically the decision of what type of armor to wear can more-or-less be made at the end of character creation. If your character wears a chain shirt at 1st level, there's a good chance he or she will be wearing a +5 version toward the end of the campaign. This is sort of nice because it means that you can have a consistently viable character concept, but there's not a ton of decision making about armor types after your adventuring career starts.

Finally, there's a way of naming and progressing things in A/D&D. Once you get your "base" armors introduced (for our purposes, we will include plate armor and its 2nd Edition kin, field plate and full plate), upgrades are expressed as +1 versions. It becomes pretty easy to understand once the hierarchical relationship and spread of armor types are established.

What does this mean for Project Eternity? It means designing a new armor system that rectifies deficiencies of older systems while maintaining a familiar feel is tricky. Additionally, the more dissimilar the armor relationships are to those found in A/D&D, the more they will be re-evaluated for verisimilitude (i.e. "realism").

We would like our armor system to accomplish the following goals:

  • Make wearing different types of armor a real choice for the player based on both character build and circumstance. E.g. a swashbuckling lightly-armored fighter will tend to wear one of a variety of light armor types (maybe a gambeson or leather cuirass), but in a circumstance where protection is of utmost importance, the player may still choose to wear heavy armor with a loss in build optimization.
  • Disassociate armor value from class type in favor of different build types. E.g. a wizard can wear heavy armor and be a different type of wizard instead of just "a wizard who is bad".
  • Allow a character to maintain a character concept throughout the game without suffering extreme mechanical penalties. E.g. a character who starts the game in some form of light armor can complete the game in some form of light armor with appropriate gameplay trade-offs compared to wearing heavy armor.

Introduce new or upgraded armor types throughout the game instead of using ++ versions (which in itself would pose problems unless we directly duplicated A/D&D's d20-based attack mechanics).

Even with these three goals, there are a number of problems to solve. One of the biggest questions is how to break up and "advance" armor by type. In AD&D, you had something that looked like this:

Studded Leather
Plate (Tier 2)
Field Plate (Tier 3)
Full Plate (Tier 4)

Players typically couldn't afford plate, field plate, or full plate at character creation, but everything else was often within reach. It's not uncommon to see a hierarchy of armor types like this in many fantasy games, despite some of the questionable elements (did studded leather exist? Is raw hide armor actually better than cuirbolli leather?). You can get plate/field plate/full plate later in the game, but otherwise, you're getting +x versions of the base types at higher "tiers" of character advancement.

We could (as an example) structure some of Project Eternity's armor advancement like this.

Tier 1
Hide Armor
Scale Vest

Tier 2
Gambeson (from Doublet)
Leather Cuirass (from Hide Armor)
Scale Armor (from Scale Vest)
Mail Shirt

Tier 3
Armored Jack (from Gambeson)
Leather Armor (from Leather Cuirass)
Lamellar Armor (from Scale Armor)
Mail Armor (from Mail Shirt)

This could probably accomplish our stated goals (we can assign them whatever stats we'd like, after all), but it does raise some questions for us:

  • Should something like hide armor be supplanted/made obsolete by leather as an "improved version" or does that effectively kill the visual concept of the rough-hewn rawhide-wearing ranger or barbarian?
  • If armor types like hide (or scale, or mail) should remain viable on their own, how should that "upgrade" be expressed to the player? Functional descriptors like "fine scale", "superior hide", etc.? Cultural or material descriptors like "Vailian doublet", "iron feather scale"? Olde tyme numerical descriptors like "scale armor +1", "half-plate +2"?
  • Is it okay for an upgrade from a visual type of armor to maintain its relative position to other armor types even if "realistically" that upgraded armor is now probably superior in protection to other armor types? E.g. an armored jack or brigandine armor is probably more protective than even nice suit of leather armor... but mechanically, we're presenting it as an upgrade of a padded (doublet) armor type.

These are the sort of things we have been discussing and I have been thinking about. And while it is just one subsystem in Project Eternity, we will likely face many similar considerations as we approach the design of weapons, classes, spells, and other aspects of gameplay. I'm sure a lot of you have opinions on what you'd like to see, so please let us know on our forums!

Our next design update will be in two weeks and will focus on lore and story elements. Thanks for reading!

Fulfillment System

Fulfillment update from Darren Monahan

We’ve received a number of questions via our Support e-mail address and social networks about fulfillment, and I wanted to talk a little bit about what we’re currently working on!

First off, I wanted to announce that we’re developing a fulfillment site, which we’re hoping to have online in the next month or two (I was hoping to have it up sooner, but my first baby is coming into the world in the next few days, eeep!). Everyone who backed the project on Kickstarter and/or PayPal will be e-mailed details that will give you credit on that site. After logging in, you will be able to:

  • Confirm the tier of choice that you wanted. A few of you donated on Kickstarter, and then topped up via PayPal, so you’ll be able to select the exact tier you wanted.
  • Confirm any add-ons you wanted that weren’t easy to specify on Kickstarter or via PayPal.
  • Upgrade your pledge to another tier, or add on for, ummm, add-ons. :)
  • Update your e-mail address at any time.
  • Update your shipping address at any time. (Shipping address only needed for physical goods – we don’t need that info for digital orders.)
  • Indicate any specific details associated with your tier (T-shirt sizes, name in the credits, etc.)
  • If you live outside of the USA, it will also verify that you’ve added enough shipping.

We’ll keep you guys updated in future, ummm, updates, on how progress is coming along!

Here’s an update to our FAQ on some of the questions we’ve been receiving recently:

Q: I donated on PayPal and besides a receipt from PayPal I haven’t gotten confirmation from Obsidian directly.
A: Not a problem. When the fulfillment site goes live, we’ll be merging the Kickstarter and PayPal data together into our own system, and from there we’ll be sending out project updates. For now, as long as you received a PayPal receipt, we’ll have you on file.

Q: I need to change my e-mail address before you send out details on the Fulfillment site. What do I do?
A: Send us an e-mail at with your old and new addresses (please e-mail from your old address if you can) and we’ll update our records before the fulfillment site e-mails go out.

Q: How do I add shipping? I missed being able to during the Kickstarter phase!
A: You can handle that in one of several ways:

You can hang tight for now and wait until our fulfillment system is online, or,

If you’d prefer to get it out of the way, you can visit our Shipping page and add it now (Amazon Payments and PayPal supported.)

Q: When will I get my backer badge on the forums?
A: That’ll come online with the fulfillment system.

If you have any other questions, feel free to visit our forums or drop us a line at!

For more news about Project Eternity and Obsidian, follow us on:
Twitter, Facebook, and our YouTube channel

FORUMS: Join the discussion on Update #29 on our forums!


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    1. Missing avatar

      Jostein Johnsen on December 11, 2012

      Like those questions a lot. Always have that problem with rpgs - you either just pick things for how cool they look, and because the numbers seem high, even though you don't really know what they mean (White Knight Chronicles/Mass Effect). Or else it's purely a mechanical choice that's done for you on beforehand according to the ruleset.

      But I think it's a paradox of some sort that sometimes even very simple systems aren't actually limited by the ruleset itself, but by the lack of variety of armor types and classes you're given. In D&D for example, I always just used some number to indicate what the actual armor was worth in the simplistic mechanics the game offered. That number didn't actually represent the object when you found it, right..? It had narrative stats, I guess.

      But in a video game, you can't do that. So very good questions you're asking here.

      (Btw, would pay good money to see a project milestone presentation to a table of publisher folks - held by sober, clear and intelligent Sawyer, in zombie getup.)

    2. barbarian_bros on November 8, 2012

      I always thought the D&D TAC0 system was unrealistic and archaic (after all in the RPG systems history it's a fossile from mid 70's)
      Technically it works as an automatic dodging : the heavier the armor is, the higher the chances to avoid being hit.
      It's totally unrealistic...
      As PE will have Stamina and Health damages, I hope the system would be more realistic :
      If you are hit by a mace in your helmet : the heavier the armor is, the lower Health damage you take, but you should loose stamina, and at least be stunned.

      Basically an heavier armor should reduce your dodging ability (so rising up the chances to be hit), and reduce damages.
      So to wear an heavy full plates armor requires :
      -To be very strong with High amount of life and stamina (so you could stand the loss of stamina long enough to win the combat).
      -To be very quick and swift (high agility/dodge) so the high malus given by heavier armors is balanced by your very high agility and you avoid most hits, and the armor prevent you to be crushed when hit.

      Please don't only consider D&D system as your basis for PE armor rules... there are very nice ideas in other 'generic' systems (Steve Jackson's GURPS or Chaosium's BASIC RPG...) or game specific sytems.

      You are not tied to the D&D rules, so don't tied yourselves to their bad parts.

    3. Missing avatar

      Daniel Siegmann on November 6, 2012

      Higher tiers of hide armor should just be the hides of tougher creatures. High tier hide armors would be made from dragons or demons or such.

      In general I like the idea of using materials and quality to differentiate the tiers. Essentially this replaces the pluses - instead of Mail Armor +2 you'd have Fine Steel Mail, for example. This not only allows upgrading armor while keeping to a theme, it is descriptive instead of just being a number.

    4. Vincent Prescious Altieri on November 5, 2012

      Not sure about all this tiered stuff but please add Frodo's mithril chain as a usable armor. It should only be able to be equipped by hobbits who bear the ring of eternity. It should also be able to stop a troll from thrusting a sword or spear into said chest.

    5. Missing avatar

      deleted on November 3, 2012

      The author of this comment has been deleted.

    6. Missing avatar

      EMarcotte on November 3, 2012

      Here is an idea I used in the past in a small game I coded to make obsolete armors still relevant later in the game:

      The game had both base items + randomly given bonuses (egos, as in Angband), but instead of both base items and egos both getting stronger as the player progressed, the sum of their strengths was used instead. It would be clearer using an example:
      Let's say the game have 3 armors: leather -> chain -> plate
      And 3 egos: nothing -> fire resistance -> fire immunity
      Then, in the early game, you would only get leather armor, with no ego.
      In the mid-game, you would get both fire resistant leather, and chain without ego.
      Finally, in the late-game, you would get fire immune leather, fire resistant chain, and plate without ego.

      This led to a game where the early base items are still around late in the game, and where the player needed to balance between the best armor (the plate) or the one with the best magical bonus (the leather). Using your example of the hide-wearing barbarian, its armor progression could be:
      - No armor
      - Hide armor
      - Blood-soaked hide armor (same armor bonus as the hide armor, but a small attack bonus on top of that)
      - Surprisingly-warm hide armor (same armor bonus again, but cold resistance as a bonus)
      - Not-covering-enough hide armor (same armor bonus, enemies have to roll to save against disgust)
      - Nemean-lion hide armor (much larger armor bonus, slight attack bonus)
      - Barbarian-brand hide armor (same armor bonus as the basic hide armor, huge attack bonus)
      and so on...
      (And, for added variety for variety sake, all of these could share the same graphical assets.)

    7. Missing avatar

      BCU_ on November 2, 2012

      Would adding costume slots or an option to show/ hide armour on a character be viable?

    8. Missing avatar

      Eetu Mansikkamäki on November 2, 2012

      I still think some sort of requirements would make sense. Like would your scrawny mage actually be able to walk around wearing a heavy suit of armor? Sure that would probably depend on the individual, so if there are actual stats then those could be the restriction. Take stat like Strength for instance, since it usually defines the physical strength of your character I think it would make sense that to wear a full set of some heavy armor you would actually have to be x strong. I mean I can't really see a nerd like me who's in relatively poor physical shape being all that comfortable walking around in a full suit of armor. And to me being a mage would usually mean that you focus on mental exercises (studying spells from dusty tomes and practice flinging fireballs and such) instead of physical training, so it would be highly likely that they couldn't wear a set of heavy armor as effortlessy as for instance a fighter who at least at some point has mostly if not fully concentrated on physical training of some sort.

      Of course the prospect of playing a battlemage donning a set of full plate and burning the enemies to cinders with your mind does sound intriguing. Now that I think of it I can't name a game off the top of my head which would've had a battlemage like that as a _viable_ option. Some games do give you an option to play a battlemage but usually the tradeoffs on the magic side of things are so high that you can barely call yourself a mage anymore.

      I'm all in for breaking conventions in that sense, though, as long as it makes sense. As long as it's made believable.

      I can't really decide whether I actually like Michael Melnikoff's suggestion or not. I'd like to like it but on the other hand it's probably pretty hard to make it right so that it doesn't limit your options too much. So could be a pretty risky move. On the paper it sounds nice, but the outcome could easily turn from a nifty idea to a complete failure if not implemented properly?

    9. Bryy Miller on November 2, 2012

      As I sit here, watching SyFy's Snakehead Terror and sipping hot coco as Hurricane Sandy passes by, I will say that I heartily await seeing the cost breakdown update.

    10. Missing avatar

      Michael on November 1, 2012

      One thing you could do is to lock/unlock abilities based on which armor type you have on. A mage with all heavy armor might not be able to use some abilities or have reduced mobility or whatever, but they'd have exclusive spells they could ONLY cast with heavy armor on.

      Then the tradeoffs aren't merely statistical, but strategic.

    11. Missing avatar

      Sebastian Mesa on November 1, 2012

      I agree with those who feel that restricting armor by class is needless. I think Project Eternity would benefit from more customizability, not less, but I do feel that each class should have their own distinct look. Which brings me to my probably not-so-practical idea regarding armor and armor progression: Why not have the armor styles (the look and 'feel' of them) be dependent on the class of the character wearing them? E.g. the barbarian wearing plate has a fur trimmed collar and bones and crazy tribal designs on the metal, while the sorceror gets a creepy face plate and clawed gauntlets and what-have-yous. That way the progression is class specific, and you don't have to worry about replacing your hide armor with some plate-mail, because now your barbarian won't look as savage and awesome.

      Just a thought!

    12. Missing avatar

      DigitalOsmosis on November 1, 2012

      Of course Mages shouldn't be allowed to use heavy armor! Everyone knows that in the real world, studying magic doesn't allow time for the proper training to... err... let me try again.

      I mean, everyone knows that logically, the armor would interfere with manipulating supernatural powers to affect the world through force of will because... umm, hold on here.

      I mean, in my preferred edition of Dungeons and Dragons wizards can't use heavy plate without buying like, three feats worth of proficiency!

    13. Missing avatar

      frandelas on November 1, 2012

      Please just whatever you do, please DON`T ALLOW A MAGE TO WEAR HEAVY ARMOR, that's just ridiculous.
      Also, the 3.5E armor system I find it was really good, but wouldn't have a problem with other as long as it makes sense. Finally, I don't think this issue is so important so please don't waste too much time on this. There are more important things to deal with like history, combat gameplay, quests and exploring the world, choices, etc.

    14. Missing avatar

      Ian Rocha on November 1, 2012

      As a note, my tabletop RPG of choice (Exalted) handles this dilemma by introducing Fatigue and Mobility penalties. In the William cassey's example of Plate and Boiled Leather armors, the former would have high fatigue but low mobility penalties, while the latter would have low fatigue but high mobility.

    15. Nicholas Russell on October 31, 2012

      Congrats Darren Monahan on your first kid!

    16. Missing avatar

      William cassey on October 31, 2012

      Damn mobile internet.

      Anyway I think you should see if you can get mike loades to act as a consultant regarding arms and armour and there advantages and disadvantages.

    17. Missing avatar

      William cassey on October 31, 2012

      Why have light,medium and Heavy?
      It's a kinda bogus system anyway as while boiled leather armour is pretty light in comparison to mail for example, it restricts movement and agility way more than mail due to the lack of flexibility.
      Most extreme example I can think of is that a man in a suit of well made full plate is still capable of performing cartwheels and remains pretty agile.… no cartwheels but I never get bored of that clip.

      basicly a new system is need maybe a simple positive and negative style thing maybe along the lines that while plate does not affect agility in a massive way, it does still weigh 80 pounds and as such applies a penalty to endurance that means it's not possible to spam the equivalent of special moves, and it is harder to perform fine delicate control tasks such as lock picking etc.

      Whereas scale mail provides

    18. Missing avatar

      Ross Whalen on October 31, 2012

      @Eetu Mansikkamäki
      I get what you're saying, I've thought the same things as well. I think the most important thing to remember in this case is that realism is always a good place to start, but never a good place to end for a game. A real adventure would be 99% walking and 1% abject terror followed by likely death. Not fun! So instead, we have to look at how the system and limitations serve the game. Designers don't include weight limits because they're realistic, they do it to force the player to make a choice. Do I spend time hauling lots of crap around so I can use it in emergencies/sell it off later? Or do I take an extra 10 healing potions? What makes the most sense for me and my playing style? That sort of choice is captivating for a lot of people. I know for me, I agonize over my inventory to an insane degree!

      Not all games force you to make this choice, though. For example, the Gothic series let you keep literally everything you ever picked up, with no weight restrictions. For that game, it didn't really matter, since there was a very limited set of equipment to choose from, and acquiring it was very difficult (like 10 hours or more of play just to change armor!). For the BG series and other prior Obsidian titles, loot has more value. It's all about game balancing and forcing the player to adjust to the mechanics of the gameplay, not servicing realism. "Realism" is just used to help ground the game world in something familiar and believable, and also to make the world creation process easier...

      As to missing out on cool weapons you find later, I guess that's a design decision they'll have to make. Sometimes it's nice when games reward you for pursuing a specialty to the end, but it's also nice to be able to try out new things, especially when you're new to the system. I guess my advice would be to not front-load the skill selection too much (especially at character creation a la BG2) to allow people to experience the game world a bit and experiment with different things before making their specialization decisions. That's harder to do with a class-based system, but not impossible.
      PS - Your English is fine! Bravo for learning more than 1 language, most of us in the US don't manage that!

    19. Socrates Vicente on October 31, 2012

      Hmmm... Are those Monocle magazines in the background? :)

    20. Missing avatar

      Eetu Mansikkamäki on October 31, 2012

      @Ross Whalen,

      I'm from Finland actually and I can tell you it's not all that fun to have a long name when you have to for example write down your name and email for some list or something and you want to use a "official-like" email address, the space reserved just isn't big enough! I mean try writing: Eetu Mansikkamäki, eetu.mansikkamaki@[insertemailproviderhere].com in the (usually) small space reserved for such things... ._.

      I'm more or less aware of the fact that some forms of "loadouts" have been used in the past, but I still stand by my previous comments about how carrying multiple weapons (or being otherwise encumbered) would negatively affect your fighting. I mean Roman legionnaires (as far as I know) usually went into battle with the spear at hand and would usually discard it quite early in the fight and switch to swords? I can be completely wrong though, as I'm not much of a history buff and I have to admit most of my ideas of such things probably come from movies and stuff. I mean if they'd go into the fight sword at hand and a long spear in your back it would definitely affect your fighting. Not sure if that's something that should be taken into account in a game but I think my point was that when you justify anything with realism it has to be done carefully, or the things might just get annoying to the player. I was trying to come up with a nice example but course I can't think of one off the top of my head. Something like your character is a wizard/mage/sorcerer/whatever capable of burning enemies to cinders and stopping time or whatnot but can only carry a loaf of bread and a pouch of ingredients. Poor example, I know, but hopefully you got my point. Of course this is a fantasy game and in most cases that means that there is no such thing as realism, but still if justifying something with realism it has to be done carefully. And more likely it has to be actually explained somehow why this particular "realistic constraint" is in place even though there's nothing realistic about forest dwarves (Disclaimer: If whoever reads this happens to be a forest dwarf, no offence intended).

      Oh and something I forgot to mention until getting to the end and then coming back, all my points are trying to consider a wider variety of viewpoints (user-centric design bla bla bla), I myself am quite happy with limiting factors and stuff if they're somehow explained. Doesn't have to be something big, but something for us lore-geeks that like to see that it's not just some random constraint justified with realism, but actually a part of... how things work in the world? :D

      Also regarding the "get better by using" is a neat mechanic, but it has to be well balanced. For one you can't get any huge advantages from being highly skilled in some weapon because it would restrict you in the future. Like if you've used some type of weapon most of the game and then find a cool weapon of other type and want to use it but don't because you're not proficient using such a weapon and even if the weapon itself was better you would perform worse because you haven't used such weapons before. Ok realism here again, but some might find it annoying or restricting to have to take the time to get proficient with that type of weapon to actually be as effective as with the worse weapon that you were already proficient with. Also the system of certain types of weapons being effective against certain type of enemies slightly reduces the former, but even then it has to be balanced well enough to actually make sure that you aren't better off just always using a sword (or something similar which could be like effective against majority of enemies) and eventually be better at bashing any types of enemies with that sword of yours instead of using a weapon that would be effective against an enemy but you aren't that proficient with.

      I'm not sure if I'm even making any sense anymore as my english isn't one of Finland's main languages and I'm not all that comfortable with my proficiency in it and it's getting late and I'm getting tired so my mind's just racing from idea to idea and this probably ended up being a mess and for some reason I usually end up writing walls of text...

      But still one more point:
      @Ross & Jeff
      I'm quite a hoarder myself as well and sometimes get annoyed by tiny inventories, but since it's a high fantasy setting, I don't see why we couldn't be allowed some things like Jeff mentioned to increase our carrying capacity, but I think there could or should be some constraints to those exactly like Jeff mentioned like not being able to use in combat. While exploring however you could use your 'Magic Pants of Hoarding' to pick up all the assorted items you may come upon.

      I feel like I forgot something but this comment is probably way too long already for most people to read through and is likely already fractured enough by me going back and forth and probably making a mess of things, so I'll just end this here and wish good night to everyone who that might apply to.

    21. Missing avatar

      Jeff Hutchinson on October 31, 2012

      Or of course… make/buy/find a bag of holding or 5. To carry more stuff. Or even have something like a daern's instant fortress Or a spell that lets open a dimensional door to something like mordenkainen's magnificent mansion. Some way that you can store your items in but of course cannot use the items in combat.

      Don’t get me wrong I like limited Inventory… but I also like to find or get ways to carry more loot. Or I like ways to carry more loot back to my house/keep.

    22. Missing avatar

      Ross Whalen on October 31, 2012

      @ Eetu Mansikkamäki (what a fascinating name! where from?)
      Excellent question! I suppose when I said "multiple loadouts" I was really thinking of weapon combinations, as I imagine a fully armed warrior would typically travel with several possibilities. Roman legionnaires would usually go into battle with a sword (gladius or spatha), shield, war spear, and possibly several throwing spears (pilum -sing.), but their use would depend on the enemy and the current combat situation. In this case, since it's a game that focuses on 1-on-1 or small group combat, the considerations would be different, but I would expect the player might use a different tactic when attacking a skirmisher (longsword vs. light armor), then moving on to a heavily armored knight (mace or axe vs. plate), etc.
      It would certainly be impractical to change armor in the middle of a fight (I would consider it too "gamey"), which implies that you would want to think ahead about what your group would outfit themselves in beforehand. Some of the PE FAQ's mention information gathering skills; I would imagine these might be helpful in deciding what to use on a quest. For instance, if you are going to raid an enemy mercenary band's HQ, and you hear they favor heavy armor and large swords, you would be in a position to outfit yourself accordingly before going into battle.
      As to inventory "realism", I'm definitely in favor of restricting what players can bring along, even though I myself like to hoard everything. However, I find that even though I usually keep everything I find, I usually only use 1 or 2 items and forget about the rest. I would hope that Obsidian includes a mechanism by which a player can become more skilled with a particular weapon/armor set, and thus derive extra benefits by using them repeatedly, rather than having warriors "be skilled in the use of all weapons". Trust me, they're different! It's very hard to be good at them all! :)
      This would encourage players to define and refine their play style. The limiting factor in all this, though, is making sure that each weapon and armor class has intrinsic value/a specific tactical purpose, as a lot of people below mention.

    23. Missing avatar

      Ross Whalen on October 31, 2012

      One more thought on armor weight and inventory:
      - Lots of inventory systems use a weight limit to force players to decide what spare items they can carry with them on adventures (which sometimes include whole other sets of armor). I've noticed that most systems also assume that weight is the same, regardless of whether it is an item that is being used or not. As anyone who has ever worn armor (or just gone backpacking!) can tell you, there is a big difference between WEARING something heavy, and CARRYING something heavy. Wouldn't that mean that armor (even heavy armor) would feel like less of a burden when being actively worn, distributing weight across the body, rather than carried? Is that something we could implement in game?

    24. Missing avatar

      Eetu Mansikkamäki on October 31, 2012

      @Ross Whalen,
      I like your idea, but you talk about adding realism by implementing proper parrying, but you also suggest "a number of possible loadouts ready, and would react to any enemies and equip themselves with the appropriate counter-weapons before wading into battle.", which to me sounds like having multiple armor/weapon sets available which doesn't sound too realistic to me.

      How did you vision this thing working in that respect?

      Like Switch mentioned in a later post that realistically there were constraints like cost, availability and such which restricted people from actually even owning a proper set of armor or a proper weapon, much less multiple sets of armor for different situations. Not to mention the capacity required to carry around multiple weapons or, even more so, armors (although I just noticed you spoke only of weapons, but still). Maybe weapons would work up to some extent like having a sword and a dagger and perhaps even an axe with you but carrying around all that extra weight, even if possible, would still come with some penalties to at least stamina and mobility.

      I don't usually take part into comments that much, but your comment was just too juicy to pass up on a potentially constructive conversation. Let's just hope I can remember to keep an eye on the comments for a potential reply :D

    25. Missing avatar

      Switch on October 31, 2012

      Nice update indeed :)

      About armor, reality should always be the reference. After all, RPGs are trying to simulate it.
      So why in real history some people were wearing a plate armor, while some others simple padded clothes ?
      - money: yes it was expensive to buy a chain mail shirt. And not because it is a +1 advanced tier heavy armor.
      - availability: creating an advanced plate armor requires lot of time/skills/tools/raw materials which may not be available.
      - situation: knights were wearing extremely heavy "tournament" armors for jousting, but often lighter chain mail for war. And probably something else if they had to fight on a boat. So one should not have to chose a path, a type of armor for its character, but a type of armor depending on the situation, which can change very quickly

      My 2 cents point of view.

    26. Missing avatar

      Andrew Snyder on October 31, 2012

      I always liked the armor system in Rolemaster- heavier armor types actually made you easier to hit for small amounts of damage but protected you from more sever hits and critical damage. Each weapon had its own hit table against 20 different armor classes. A real pain for pen and paper, but I here computers are good at that kind of thing.

    27. Missing avatar

      Jeff Hutchinson on October 31, 2012

      I agree with Ross as well...

    28. Missing avatar

      Ross Whalen on October 31, 2012

      Although not directly related to armor, one thing that always bothered me was the relative lack of parrying in games. Some have it explicitly (NWN2, Witcher 1+2), while it is somewhat implied in others (combat animations of KOTOR), but most times combat is simply a matter of attacking the other fellow and hoping you do more damage faster, or have more healing on your side, so you can outlast him. I would love to see a different, more realistic, take on combat, which emphasizes the difficulty of connecting a powerful blow against a moving, parrying opponent. That way, a lightly armored fighter who is skilled in parrying can avoid damage entirely, and attacking a heavily armored opponent requires both defeating his possible parry and any armor he wears. It also opens up a wide variety of possibilities for the weapons to specialize beyond "x" amount of damage per hit, as some weapons are far superior for defense than others (longsword vs axe for example). This would move combat beyond the boring "attack target, hit until dead, heal as necessary" formula, and would make the fight more tactical and exciting by punctuating it with relatively fewer, but more dangerous, hits. The idea is that a smart player would want to have a number of possible loadouts ready, and would react to any enemies and equip themselves with the appropriate counter-weapons before wading into battle.

    29. Missing avatar

      Jeff Hutchinson on October 31, 2012

      I think Armor should have (DR)Damage reduction and lower your speed the heavier it is. Plus weapons and armor should go with (SF) Speed Factor for initiative and/or how many actions you get in a turn.
      And your Dex/Agility should give you your AC. If you are quick and mobile you should have a high AC or Dodge bonus and not get hit much. But when you do. It should hurt. A guy with heavy armor is slow and will be hit all the time. But his Amor should protect him and give him (DR). Same with weapons. Small weapon like a dagger should be fast and get a few hints in before the guy with the big Great sword.

      Examples of Armor (this is just a example)

      Padded (DR) 1/- (SF) -1
      Leather (DR) 2/- (SF) -2
      Hide (DR) 3/- (SF) -3
      Chain Shirt (DR) 4/- (SF) -4

      Scale mail (DR) 5/- (SF) -5
      Chain Mail (DR) 6/- (SF) -6
      Breast Plate (DR) 7/- (SF) -7

      Banded Mail (DR) 8/- (SF) -8
      Half-Plate (DR) 9/- (SF) -9
      Full Plate (DR) 10/- (SF) -10

      Example of Weapons (this is just a example)

      Unarmed (SF) 0
      Dagger (SF) -1
      Short sword (SF) -2

      Scimitar (SF) -3
      Long sword (SF) -4
      Battle Axe (SF) -5

      Great Sword (SF) -6
      Great Axe (SF) -7
      War hammer (SF) -8

      On table top this can get complicated pretty fast. But should work great in a PC game. I would love to see Speed factors and Damage Reduction for Armor and Weapons brought back.

    30. Missing avatar

      Ross Whalen on October 31, 2012

      I'm thrilled to hear that you're considering taking a departure from the established D&D method. I think PE gives you an opportunity to really break some new ground mechanics-wise, and I'm excited to see what you come up with. A few comments:
      - Using historical pieces as your baseline doesn't diminish from the fantasy setting. Someone below mentioned using materials as a tier divider, which introduces the possibility of adding non-historical materials, which should allow for a certain flexibility in leveling. There are so many historical pieces available, many of which have yet to see common use in popular culture (like Sallets, Fluted Gothic Plate, Gorgets, Besagews and Rondels) which could be used as add-ons or upgrades or ways of distinguishing items sets from each other without resorting to "+1" nomenclature. Even if the underlying mechanic is similar, it gives a very different feel for the player.
      - I love that you're trying to make every armor class viable. I hate that game designers spend so much time creating a raft of possibilities, only to have players funnel their efforts into getting 2 or 3 min-maxed loadouts. Please consider damage reduction as a mechanic, as instead of the all-or-nothing result of hit-or-miss damage (from armor class) it allows a player to judge whether accepting a few hits is worth more even protection overall. This is also more realistic, as heavy armor would often be subjected to repeated blows before being penetrated. This allows allows for specialized skills in defeating armor with certain weapons (spears finally make sense!), and would mean a lightly armored fighter with a piercing weapon (like an estoc) or polearm would have a chance against a heavily armored foe.
      PS - Love the heavily armored battle-mage idea. Cheers!

    31. Jhonrock on October 31, 2012

      Is this a fantasy role playing game or a medieval warfare simulation? I don't care that much about realism in this game, i just want something fun to play. I want magic, i want fantasy, i want dragons and trolls, elfs and dwarfs.....

    32. Missing avatar

      John Hartung on October 31, 2012

      My advice is to focus on subjective comparisons. Is +2 to "handle animal" better than +3 to "hit chance"? No way, but if you're trying to figure out a horse, then it's totally better. I should only say, "This equipment is better in every way than my current equipment" if I haven't replaced my current equipment in ages.

      Also, try to think about equipment penalties only in extreme armors, like full plate or armor that exposes bare flesh. Nothing is worse than being excited for some new loot only to find out that you're somehow incompatible with it. It's a big letdown and it takes all the wind out of the sails; suddenly everything you get after that is, "Oh, and how will this loot screw me?" and then you go back to Borderlands, where it doesn't.

      Finally, it's important to pretend that you're not giving the player extra class-relevant equipment, but also to bump up the drop rate of class-relevant equipment slightly so that the player feels lucky.

    33. Chris Cunningham on October 31, 2012

      I'm a big fan of the idea of leaving out "+1 leather" entirely and having all enhancements to the basic armour type be in the form of buffs other than AC (except for perhaps in the heaviest classes). This means that clothies will always hurting for AC compared to guys in full plate, but can compensate for that in other ways (increased dodge, chameleonic abilities, perhaps rapid healing). For characters looking for anything other than maximum protection at all costs, armour selection should not be a numbers game.

    34. Missing avatar

      HBB on October 31, 2012

      I think a decent way of handling the tiers of armor can come from a technological stand point. If you make leather armor for a while and some one comes up with a better tanning solution to make it harder to penetrate or a way to make it more flexible, then the higher tier versions could not only have better armor rating, but they could have, well, better "other" statistics. Like for movement, or for easy of use in the requirements department, or could sacrifice some of these things to be a stone wall of not getting critted on. Special abilities could in some form come from how the armor is crafted, rather than just how it's enchanted.

    35. The Fox That Is White on October 31, 2012

      Probably the main concern I have on armor is color palettes I really appreciated in games like Baldurs Gate 1+2 along with Icewind Dale 1+2 where you could select major and minor colors for the armor you were wearing. Probably the worst offense I saw armor color wise was the half plate in Neverwinter Nights that out of all the colors in the entire RGB spectrum the picked the color yellow, *As my stoic fighter grips onto his greatsword in hand he plunges fearlessly onto the battlefield in bright yellow armor unaware of how blinding the color is to his enemies.*

    36. Glenn Morris on October 31, 2012

      "Please add for international shipping" means you don't have to pay for shipping within the U.S., correct? Feels like a dumb question but I just twisted the meaning of that in my mind to "please pay for shipping"... "the shipping is international".

    37. Missing avatar

      Marco Torre on October 31, 2012

      guys you rock. Really, you rock.

    38. Richard Luijten on October 31, 2012

      P.s. I suddenly thought of this;
      PLEASE don't include item deterioration. Having crafting and forging in the game is bad enough, having to think about repairs and stuff would make things even worse.

    39. Richard Luijten on October 31, 2012

      I like this Matt Blackie guy and would like to subscribe to his newsletter.
      However I do not agree with him and, as far as I can tell, many others about wanting 'realism' in this game. I don't care if the World Map is not logically possible, or that some armor exists together that logically should be decades apart. I want my game to be as cool and interesting as possible. This is a fantasy RPG, not an historical documentary. The setting offers so many possibilities to do awesome and diverse stuff that it would be a sin to let reality hold you back. It would turn any game into an uninteresting simulator.

    40. Jazz on October 31, 2012

      +1 for the use of gambeson!!! Now just make it better than leather armour armour and we're sorted. ;)

      Congratulations on the baby thing too, I hear those things are quite popular.

    41. Johannes 'Waldgeist' Rebhan on October 31, 2012

      Don't overestimate the importance of adhering to the old D&D system. Yes many people have played D&D games and the table top, but they also played many different other RPG systems and games. Free yourself from the corset of the american-fantasy d&d cliches. The designers of D&D were not really historians, nor were they really creative in their approach to armor design, values and mechanics. Most of the things they established make no real sense, nor are they very interesting. The same goes for many mechanics and categories they designed.

      By now most of the former kids who played D&D or D&D games have grown up. If the had an interest in fantasy or medieval times, they've read about the real materials, maybe even own a sword or two or worn a piece of real armor in their lives.

      You're not making this game for the children who played D&D and who think Eragon is a good book. You're making the game for the grown up fantasy fan, who touched many gaming systems and worlds, who has read Robert E. Howard's stories, Lord of the Rings and many other fantasy classics, that are much more complex than most of the D&D core background stories and adventures.

    42. Missing avatar

      Mikhael Blackthorne on October 31, 2012

      The only way to make the choice of equipment interesting is to include a multitude of features to armor for players to consider when figuring out the right piece of armor for a character. As you mention in DnD you usually had one thing to look at (AC) making the choice very obvious.

      There can be, either as a bonus or penalty,
      AC, evasion chance, damage reduction, weight, hit chance, stamina/mana, upkeep costs, skill usage, resistances/immunity, magical effects, synergies between equipment, attributes, npc reaction.

      The more armors that make use of an assortment of features the better. Then what people will look for is the armor that most enhances the most important aspect of their character. A leather armor that enhances stealth and can cast invisibility for a few rounds while enhancing rogue skills might be your thief character's favorite unless he expects direct open combat when he dons full plate enchanted to be as light as a feather. Then when he accepts the quest to hunt a red dragon he puts together a set of armor granting him extreme fire resistance. I don't personally like tiers or strict hierarchies. Better if weaker armor is phased out a bit more gradually.

      While this may enrage some people there is also the (somewhat extreme) option of making armor more a question of style. As a DM I've allowed characters that can mechanically wear full plate to say they are wearing something like scale or chain while mechanically treating them as if they are wearing full plate. The way many games allow you to wear a helm and reap the magical benefits while not seeing it on your character. Something similar could be done for armor. Especially with the crafting system. Players could create a suit of chain with the same benefits and costs of full plate. I suppose that's more about hiding the issue though.

    43. Missing avatar

      William Judd on October 31, 2012

      One comment I have - how will female armor be depicted? In many games it is an incredibly cut down affair that favours showing off flesh over actual protection. I'd very much like to see less difference in armor between male and female wearers, as was the case historically - a suit of armor for a given woman might be smaller than that of a given male and be fitted slightly differently, but it would have very much the same shape.

    44. metzger on October 31, 2012

      There's something odd about this video, but can't point my finger at it..

    45. Lupin Chevalier on October 31, 2012

      I am personaly very happy to see a discussion like this. Thanks for sharing your design ideas, and I look forward to see how it results in the final product.

      Honestly I am very jealous to not be able to uproot and slip off to come work for Obsidian and be a part of this, especially with this kind of interesting design concept and ideas being discussed.

    46. Missing avatar

      Alex on October 31, 2012

      You all do know how "real medievil combat" worked right. One or two direct hits aaaaaand you're gone. Not real fun for a 2D-Isometric-Party-RPG so no matter what the guys at Obsidian will design it will never be "realistic" or some fights could end real quick. PE is a game which is supposed to be fun first, and not a real medieval + some fantasy simulator. And it is fun to get progressively better. In your stats and your equipment. If they mess this one up not many ppl who haven't pledged will buy this game or any follow-up games.

    47. Missing avatar

      Eugen on October 31, 2012

      From my experience with RPGs I would say that is need to keep the old idea that "wizard in heavy armor is a bad wizard". When I choose to play as rogue or wizard I am supposed to take in count the fact that I need to be fast and lightweight (in terms that armor do not need to interfere with my abilities). A wizard must concentrate to cast a spell, now he is also wearing a heavy armor that must have a big fatigue penalty, this is pretty unnatural for me. Which type of armor one can wear makes the specific play style, to be all-in-one is more a modern RPG feel for the reason to play a god-like tank wizard/rogue. Even so that's depends on what most of the players want about this topic, but anyway would be good to have at least an option to enable "hardcore" "old-school" armor settings...

    48. Jason Watts on October 31, 2012

      I honestly dont care if studded leather or splint mail ever truly existed in the real world, the various armor types are deeply ingrained into the D&D (and IE games) mythos, keep them. I also would prefer a + system on armor too, give the items cool special abilities or unique names, but at the core let it be known that it is chain mail +4 (for example)

    49. Mike Metzler
      on October 31, 2012

      The material the armor is made of is also a pretty natural way to establish different tiers, something like bronze > iron > steel > mithril

    50. Silver on October 31, 2012

      Good to see things moving forward without any major hiccups. Looking forward to the fullfillment website. You've probably seen inXile's Wasteland 2 version - something like that would work for me at least.

      Josh - Nice Halloween face paint! I think you would have been convincing as Joker from the new Batman movies too.

      Darren - Congratulations!