Houserules: Edge (3/4: AR vs DR)

So, on this third post about Edge houserules, let’s start with Attack Rating vs Defense Rating. If AR-DR is 4+, or DR-AR is 4+, the bigger side gets a point of Edge. 11 AR vs 8 DR? Nobody gets anything. 12 vs 8? Edge to attacker. 2 vs 12? Edge to defender.

When people argue Armor does nothing in SR6, this is what they talk about: In more extreme cases, the extra armor won’t matter for this equation (if I already beat you by 4, extra DR won’t help me, if you have extremely high AR usually more armor won’t help me). But at the same time, it also has extremely little impact in the middle: If the enemy’s AR is 3 above my DR, they can drop 6 AR on their firing mode without giving me any advantage. Oh, and if the enemy Takes Aim with a Scope, suddenly your high DR solely blocks enemy Edge but you get zero benefits.

At the same time, if we look at a crazy Tank in SR5, it was quite easy for a character to take on average 7 damage less than others. Which means that an attack that does 3 damage against said Tank, will do 10 damage against a Face. To threaten the tough players, you had to risk one-shotting the others. If too big a benefit is given to high DR/AR ratings, we reintroduce this problem. So this is definitely something to avoid. And, as many who altered this mechanic noticed, it plays a big part in the new Edge system, so just cutting out the Edge is a bad idea.

Mathwise, by the way, it’s possible to basically have anywhere from 2 to 20 AR thanks to weapon mods and grunt groups, while default DRs of 5~8 can become closer towards 20 if you really try. (Let’s not touch on Cyberarmor-tanks for a second.) Don’t forget Cover can add anywhere from +1 to +4 to DR, as well.

So, all this means a houserule should fit 4 criteria.

  1. AR/DR differences should still grant Edge
  2. We want some form of gradual benefits, within limits to not encourage DR/AR-hoarding
  3. Benefits shouldn’t be at the level of reintroducing oneshotting with big differences
  4. Imaging Scope needs a form of nerf

My own proposal is as follows:

  • Steps of 3 difference, not 4
  • First step grants Edge
  • Second and third step grant +1/-1 soak die
  • Imaging Scope’s benefit reduces the Defender’s benefits with 1 step, and only does so at Medium+ Ranges

Steps of 3 are meant to make AR/DR-difference matter quicker, so you don’t get the extra benefits only in really big cases. The second and third benefit are smaller-scaled, so that it’s not an absolute must to get as high as possible. AR 8 vs DR 17+ means 9/3 = 3 steps, defender gets +1 Edge and +2 soak dice.

With more than 1 level, suddenly we can nerf Imaging Scope. Plus a Scope won’t help you in close quarters, it’s really meant for long-distance situations.

Now, the reason we’re impacting the soak dice, rather than the attack/evade dice: This way the AR-DR comparison doesn’t impact the hitchance directly, instead it impacts the damage taken. Means it feels more like the Armor is helping you avoid damage, which makes more sense than that it helps you evade.

Of course plenty of alternatives are possible, such as:

  • Imaging Scope reduces DR with 3 if DR>AR, aka you don’t lose 1 step of benefits if your DR is high enough
  • Steps of 2 difference, so AR-DR game gets to its benefits much faster.
  • Bonus on attack/dodge, reflecting that poor/excellent armor makes it easier/harder to land a dangerous hit on you
  • Full soak point instead of just a soak die, making the AR-DR benefits far more lethal
  • Extra points of Edge instead, which bypass the ‘2 Edge gained per Action’ limit, but not the ‘2 Edge kept per turn’ limit
  • Introducing special AR/DR-modifying circumstances for special situations (a sandstorm may add 2 Cover-levels, while still capping at 4 levels, for example)
  • No step-limit, meaning AR/DR armsraces are encouraged and Tank builds become much harder to injure again

Now I disagree with some of these of course, as you can tell from the justifications I posted above for the rules I wrote down as my version. However, let’s face it: My preference is not everyone’s preference. You should go with what feels right at your table. Just make sure everyone understands that if the mechanics feel too much or too little, it’s okay for the rules to alter after a few sessions to try them out. (Don’t spring ‘I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further’ on your players. Darth Vader was the bad guy, GMs are not.)

Oh, and you will want to write down your grunts and players their default step-ranges, if the math proves frustrating. If you have a simple chart, you can just go ’16 AR is orange, so you get 1 Edge and they lose a soak die, go roll’. Might help with the bookkeeping.

Now I still want to discuss a few Edge-related qualities and such, and a few alternatives to houserules from my previous post, but let’s touch on those another time.