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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:13 am 
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I'm in two minds about this. The way I see it now, is that when you get a high level wound on an armoured character it means that you found a chink in the armour or hit an opening.
Using this rule, it could mean that a well armoured character would be near invincible unless facing an enemy with a bludgeoning weapon; no more swords on the battlefield*.

Personally, I feel that the optional rules for AVs against different types of attack in TFoB is enough [p.13].

Of course, I'm interested to see what values etc. you have in mind. :)

higgins wrote:
P.S.
I thought I'd rather not use the Wound Cap acronym in the table. :mrgreen:

What's wrong with "WLC"? ;)


*This, of course, assumes that you know you're going up against an armoured opponent.


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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:11 am 
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Solitas wrote:
The way I see it now, is that when you get a high level wound on an armoured character it means that you found a chink in the armour or hit an opening.

When I first began to perceive armour penetration as a problem, the chink-theory also occurred to me as solution. But as I thought and learned more, I found that it just doesn’t stand up.

1) Many armours don’t have chinks or openings.

Take for instance maille over quilt, as worn by a late 12th century knight. This armour is completely homogenous – no weak spots, no uncovered spots. It covers everything it covers, chink-less. If you want to inflict a torso wound, there’s no way to work around this knight’s armour; you have to go through it.

And this holds true for many, if not most, non-rigid armours.

2) Existing chinks or openings don’t mesh with the wound tables.

Rigid armours are articulated and thus have chinks to allow for movement. But TRoS uses wound table that tell you exactly just where the wound was inflicted. And more often than not, those in the know about armour will find that there is no chink anywhere near the indicated wound. Examples for this, among others are wounds to thigh or shin or upper arms (not the joints) – no chink there.

3) Historical accounts contradict the chink-theory.

If you review the incident at Agincourt I’ve summarized above it shows that there were no chinks the British archers could have exploited – not even in virtually immobilized foes at their mercy. They had to go through eyeslits and pried-open visors.

So I guess that TRoS’ combat system is simply to concrete to allow for the chink-theory. It seems fine for more abstract ones, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:37 pm 
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Excellent points, Michael! It sums up all the points much better than I could have done it! :)

Solitas wrote:
no more swords on the battlefield
That indeed does bring up an interesting point, but one that I'm not qualified to answer I'm afraid. Perhaps Ian, Michael or Simon can elaborate on the issue on the use of sword vs. armour in a battlefield. All I can add is that warhammers, maces and flails are much more unwieldy than the sword. Because of their mass, they tire the arm much more quickly. Also, they are basically useless for proper parrying for their unwieldiness. Despite all that, they were still used, so, there must have been some benefit. And my guess is that this benefit was their effectiveness against armoured opponents. If the sword would still have been effective, why would anyone have opted for a clunky arm-tiring weapon that was useless in defense?

Solitas wrote:
Personally, I feel that the optional rules for AVs against different types of attack in TFoB is enough [p.13].
But this is basically what we're talking about. Yet rather than modifiers to look up from the book, we'd rather use separate ratings... and for added realism, the wound caps.

I've compiled TFoB stuff into this new kind of table, and I've also upped the .rtf for download so that anyone who wishes to modify the table won't have to make it from scratch.

Image

However, TFoB goes contrary to just about any of my undestanding of how the armour works. Leather gets bonuses for thrusting attacks and is weaker against cutting? This video here shows completely the contrary. Same thing with plate. It get bonuses versus bashing attacks... about the only type of attacks that should be effective versus plate armour.

So, let's take it one step at a time and try to give the armour some kind of AVs that make sense and then move on to the wound caps? Tackling one task at a time seems to me the right way to go. I'm open to other suggestions though.

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:05 pm 
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The unarmoured opponent thing really bugs me. In a sense it is exacerbated by the TRoS wound system -- where you roll enough successes as an attacker to score a level 1 wound (which can mean rolling a lot of successes) but only 4 more successes to get a level 5 wound, no matter what armour is being worn.

Does it make sense to say that at a certain level of Proficiency if you are successful in hitting an unarmoured opponent (that is, your manoeuvre was more successful than theirs) that there is a minimum wound level. In essence, the opposite of the wound cap?

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:15 pm 
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higgins wrote:
Perhaps Ian, Michael or Simon can elaborate on the issue on the use of sword vs. armour in a battlefield.

I am unable to give a single decisive reason – only a number of minor ones:

1) Swords were the weapons with the highest prestige and an ancient tradition – themost noble of weapons. This must have carried some weight.

2) Not everybody 15th century knights or heavily-armoured men-at-arms faced in battle would be as well protected as they were themselves. Regular infantry of the time would wear coats of plate or just thickly-padded aketons. Swords would be quite formidabe against the latter and the former would only protect the torso and upper thighs, with the limbs being more lightly armoured.

3) When going into battle on foot, knights were known to often leave off their visors and/or remove their gorgets, because they narrowed down vision and obstructed breathing – some knights who didn’t do so are known to have fainted from the combination of exertion and obstructed breathing. Without a visor or gorget, the face would have been presented a viable target even for swords.

4) Half-swording would imo be more effective. Rules-wise, I would put plate’s wound cap at a flat 2, with weapons modifying that. A regular sword would get no modifier, a half-sworded one +1, for a cap of 3. Now, with wound level 3, we’re beginning to talk serious harm…

5) Something that’s not reflected in any armour rules I know is that the plate of plate armour wasn’t of the same thickness everywhere; if you have the opportunity to visit a collection like the Viennese Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, where the armours aren’t behind glass and can be viewed up close, you can see this for yourself with the naked eye. Helmets were thickest (4 mm of hardened steel being by no means a rarity), chestpieces (protecting the vitals) were almost as thick, back armour thinner and extremity armour thinnest. It was a compromise between weight and protection – armourers put the the heavy-duty plates there where wounds would be most devastating, and lighter plates elsewhere.

In effect, this means that swords would have stood no chance whatsoever against the torso and head armour, but might just strike even plate-armoured limbs with enough forde to break bones in spite of the armour. And a broken arm or leg on the battle field means that you are at least out of the action…

higgins wrote:
However, TFoB goes contrary to just about any of my undestanding of how the armour works. Leather gets bonuses for thrusting attacks and is weaker against cutting? This video here shows completely the contrary. Same thing with plate. It get bonuses versus bashing attacks... about the only type of attacks that should be effective versus plate armour.

That’s why I have chucked the values from TFoB almost right away. :lol:

Ian.Plumb wrote:
Does it make sense to say that at a certain level of Proficiency if you are successful in hitting an unarmoured opponent (that is, your manoeuvre was more successful than theirs) that there is a minimum wound level. In essence, the opposite of the wound cap?

Do I understand you correctly – provided an attack is successful and not defended against successfully, and also provided that the attacker has a minimum level of Proficiency, you advocate a minimum wound level even if the armour would normally stop all the damage?

If so, how do you justify that? TRoS combat is concrete, not abstract, so what do you see this representing?

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:27 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
5) Something that’s not reflected in any armour rules I know is that the plate of plate armour wasn’t of the same thickness everywhere;
As I get it, you mean the different pieces had different thicknesses, not that the thickness varied largely within a single piece? I wonder whether that was produced mainly because of the cost issue or mainly because of the weight issue.

Grettir wrote:
Ian.Plumb wrote:
Does it make sense to say that at a certain level of Proficiency if you are successful in hitting an unarmoured opponent (that is, your manoeuvre was more successful than theirs) that there is a minimum wound level. In essence, the opposite of the wound cap?
Do I understand you correctly – provided an attack is successful and not defended against successfully, and also provided that the attacker has a minimum level of Proficiency, you advocate a minimum wound level even if the armour would normally stop all the damage?
Ian is speaking of unarmoured opponents, but otherwise I think you got what he meant. In essence, most of us already use this rule -- called naked dwarf rule -- where it's said that TO alone can't reduce a wound level below 1. However, I also don't see what benefit would we gain if we'd base the naked dwarf cap on the offenders proficiency level.

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:03 am 
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You make intriguing points. :)
I'm still unsure about this, about how much realism should be added, but that's more about my playing style. I tend to lean somewhat towards cinematically realistic combat. (Yes, I know. An oxymoron. :P)

I'll keep thinking about it though, and my first thought: Instead of capping the wound level, armour requires more successes for each wound level?

Re naked dwarf, the way I interpret toughness is that some people just soak more damage than others. There have been reports of people taking six .22 bullets in the chest and not slowing down, and other have died of one.


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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:04 am 
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higgins wrote:
As I get it, you mean the different pieces had different thicknesses, not that the thickness varied largely within a single piece?

Mostly the former, but sometimes even the latter. I distinctly remember viewing a 13th century great helmet from Styria (impressive piece with a crest of gilded bull’s horns) where the front plates were clearly much thicker than the back plates.

higgins wrote:
I wonder whether that was produced mainly because of the cost issue or mainly because of the weight issue.

I suspect that weight would have played the bigger role, but maybe to some degree also cost. By the 14th and 15th century, the cost of the raw material high-grade steel was not as high anymore; what was really costly about plate armour was not the price of the metal but rather the cost of the labour required to shape it. And I imagine that shaping a thicker plate of metal on the anvil takes only little more time than shaping a thinner one.

higgins wrote:
In essence, most of us already use this rule -- called naked dwarf rule -- where it's said that TO alone can't reduce a wound level below 1.

Oh, I see. I’ve never used Naked Dwarf, as I’ve solved the problem by only ever using half ST and TO for damage calculation purposes.

higgins wrote:
However, I also don't see what benefit would we gain if we'd base the naked dwarf cap on the offenders proficiency level.

Well, with unarmoured opponents I see some use in this approach. Maybe Ian would like to elaborate?

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:13 am 
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Solitas wrote:
I'm still unsure about this, about how much realism should be added, but that's more about my playing style.

In a way, I sympathize. My personal opinion on this, though, is that TRoS combat is already aiming for and exhibiting such a high level of concrete realism that it doesn’t mesh well with swords and the like actually cutting through several millimeters of steel.

Solitas wrote:
I'll keep thinking about it though, and my first thought: Instead of capping the wound level, armour requires more successes for each wound level?

Requiring more successes for wounds is basically what was my initial instinct a few years ago – a damage divisor. While I still think that this would be an excellent mechanic, also greatly reducing the coarse granularity of damage progression, it is unfortunately a little bit unwieldy in use. :(

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:04 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Does it make sense to say that at a certain level of Proficiency if you are successful in hitting an unarmoured opponent (that is, your manoeuvre was more successful than theirs) that there is a minimum wound level. In essence, the opposite of the wound cap?


Grettir wrote:
Do I understand you correctly – provided an attack is successful and not defended against successfully, and also provided that the attacker has a minimum level of Proficiency, you advocate a minimum wound level even if the armour would normally stop all the damage?

If so, how do you justify that? TRoS combat is concrete, not abstract, so what do you see this representing?


If a warrior (Proficiency 3+) with a sword successfully strikes (more successes on the offensive manoeuvre than were achieved by the defensive manoeuvre, before additions/subtractions for ST/TO are made) an unarmoured (bare skin) human opponent then it seems to me that a level 1 wound is the least likely result. The offensive manoeuvre being successful within the context of the opponent being unarmoured makes the description of the level 1 wounds incongruous with the circumstances.

With that in mind I was wondering whether it makes sense to have a mechanic that slews results in both directions?

Let's say that the wound tables now contained 7 wound levels. A level 1 wound from Core is the same as a level 1 wound on the new table. A level 5 wound from Core is a level 7 wound on the new table. The results in between now cover results 2 through 6 on the new table, allowing more granularity on those intermediate results.

Now simply adding more results to the table without adjusting any other numbers in the combat system would simply mean it was harder to get an outright kill wound. I'm not proposing that.

What I am proposing is an alternative to capping that works in both directions.

Only 5 wound levels apply at any one time -- so we don't have to adjust any other numbers in the system -- even though the wound tables contain 7 results. In the case where the defender wears plate armour and the attacker wields a sword then results 1 - 5 are in play. Damage is therefore slewed towards the lower end of the scale and the instant kill is no longer possible. In the case where the defender is unarmoured results 3 - 7 are in play. Most results end the fight and even the lowest wound is quite significant.

I think this approach could be more flexible and be easier to change in-play.

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:31 am 
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Grettir wrote:
higgins wrote:
In essence, most of us already use this rule -- called naked dwarf rule -- where it's said that TO alone can't reduce a wound level below 1.
Oh, I see. I’ve never used Naked Dwarf, as I’ve solved the problem by only ever using half ST and TO for damage calculation purposes.
Ah, I thought you used Naked Dwarf on top of that.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
If a warrior (Proficiency 3+) with a sword successfully strikes (more successes on the offensive manoeuvre than were achieved by the defensive manoeuvre, before additions/subtractions for ST/TO are made) an unarmoured (bare skin) human opponent then it seems to me that a level 1 wound is the least likely result.
I still don't see why the very same MoS from a warrior (Proficiency 3+) and a maid (Proficiency 0) should be treated differently. I don't object a minimum wound level, but it should be the same across the board, not given a specific treatment when certain conditions are met.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
Let's say that the wound tables now contained 7 wound levels. A level 1 wound from Core is the same as a level 1 wound on the new table. A level 5 wound from Core is a level 7 wound on the new table.

(...)

Only 5 wound levels apply at any one time -- so we don't have to adjust any other numbers in the system -- even though the wound tables contain 7 results. In the case where the defender wears plate armour and the attacker wields a sword then results 1 - 5 are in play. Damage is therefore slewed towards the lower end of the scale and the instant kill is no longer possible. In the case where the defender is unarmoured results 3 - 7 are in play. Most results end the fight and even the lowest wound is quite significant.
That's quite an interesting one, but I'd be hesitant to completely remove the possibility of getting a grazing wound while unarmoured and also removing the possibility of instant death while wearing armour.

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:11 am 
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I have a question about armour, I understand that edge of a sword doesn't cut through steel. Hence, halfswording techniques, but what about long hafted weapons. Surely one of the advantages apart from reach was the leverage of the haft especially on the downward stroke, which would multiply the force of impact considerably. I'm thinking poleaxes.

The Dacian Falx caused inumerable trouble for helmets, but I suppose it was the point that did it.

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:20 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
If a warrior (Proficiency 3+) with a sword successfully strikes (more successes on the offensive manoeuvre than were achieved by the defensive manoeuvre, before additions/subtractions for ST/TO are made) an unarmoured (bare skin) human opponent then it seems to me that a level 1 wound is the least likely result. The offensive manoeuvre being successful within the context of the opponent being unarmoured makes the description of the level 1 wounds incongruous with the circumstances.

Ah, I see; certainly interesting against against unarmoured opponents.

higgins wrote:
That's quite an interesting one, but I'd be hesitant to completely remove the possibility of getting a grazing wound while unarmoured and also removing the possibility of instant death while wearing armour.

I’d agree that it is “realistic” that grazing hits can be achieved, but then I always like to see players get bang for their bucks, that is, real benefits for their successes.

I could see Ian’s proposal work beautifully if it is keyed to an attacker of advanced Proficiency and if a wound that would have been minor anyway can still be reduced to wound level 0.

Valthalion wrote:
I have a question about armour, I understand that edge of a sword doesn't cut through steel. Hence, halfswording techniques, but what about long hafted weapons. Surely one of the advantages apart from reach was the leverage of the haft especially on the downward stroke, which would multiply the force of impact considerably. I'm thinking poleaxes.

I imagine that even hafted weapons, apart maybe from poleaxes, halberd-blades and the like, would still not have been able to outright cut through steel plate. They would, however, have transmitted a lot of force through the armour and to the body underneath it – much more than the sword would have been able to transmit. That’s why I would give such weapon the ability to increase wound cap of opposing armour by 1 or 2.

Valthalion wrote:
The Dacian Falx caused inumerable trouble for helmets, but I suppose it was the point that did it.

No, absolutely not. The falx caused the Romans to structural strengthen their helmets by raised crossbands – such crossbands would have done nothing to strengthen them against stabs, only against crushing blows.

But Roman helmets were not as thick as medieval ones (they needed not be, as the Romans’ enemies before the Dacians used no two-handed swung weapons) and were often even made of bronze – because of the visual attractiveness of the nice golden sheen of polished bronze.

Don’t forget that armour evolves with the need for protection. Romans needed to protect from arrows, javelins, sling stones, spears, and short and long one-handed swords. No heavy-duty armour-crackers here: the falx was the first one they faced, and it immediately led to an evolution of the helmet – and also of the body armour.

The arms and legs of legionnaires were unarmoured from at least the knee or elbow down – and the falx seems to have inflicted grievous chopping wounds to the weapon arm. Roman armourers reacted by providing some kind of laminated metal sleeve to protect the weapon arm, adapted from the gladiators’ leather manica. After the defeat of the Dacians, the manica seems to have fallen out of use (for lack of need), until it resurfaces in the context of the wars against the Sasanids.

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:05 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
If a warrior (Proficiency 3+) with a sword successfully strikes (more successes on the offensive manoeuvre than were achieved by the defensive manoeuvre, before additions/subtractions for ST/TO are made) an unarmoured (bare skin) human opponent then it seems to me that a level 1 wound is the least likely result. The offensive manoeuvre being successful within the context of the opponent being unarmoured makes the description of the level 1 wounds incongruous with the circumstances.


Grettir wrote:
Ah, I see; certainly interesting against unarmoured opponents.


The wound table descriptions are entirely based around the weapon. To some extent this creates the "chink in the armour" rationale -- if your cutting weapon strike to the thorax creates a minor wound, how it got through the steel breastplate has to be explained somehow.

Ideally weapon, manoeuvre, and armour would be part of the context for the wound description.

higgins wrote:
That's quite an interesting one, but I'd be hesitant to completely remove the possibility of getting a grazing wound while unarmoured and also removing the possibility of instant death while wearing armour.


Grettir wrote:
I’d agree that it is “realistic” that grazing hits can be achieved, but then I always like to see players get bang for their bucks, that is, real benefits for their successes.

I could see Ian’s proposal work beautifully if it is keyed to an attacker of advanced Proficiency and if a wound that would have been minor anyway can still be reduced to wound level 0.


There are several things that I like about this solution.

From a mathematical perspective I don't like capping because it slews all the results towards one particular result. If we cap at 3 then 3 becomes the most likely result (as the system is designed to produce results from 0 through 5 but we're saying that a 4 and a 5 are now a three -- 0, 1 , 2, 3, 3, 3). For this reason I do not like Naked Dwarf -- results are slewed towards level 1 wounds. This solution preserves the variety of 0 through 5 while catering to specific circumstances that raise or lower the possible damage.

Secondly, the one mechanism handles both extremes. Whether the context makes high damage more likely, or low damage more likely, this approach caters for it without modifying the mechanics.

Finally, I like the idea of catering to specific weapons. A troll rips a sapling tree out of the ground and starts swinging it around. The referee rules that most strikes will be minor (the branches and leaves are striking) but some will be catastrophic (the trunk connects). Therefore the wound table is set at 1, 2, 3, 6, 7. Non-linear results are possible (which I like).

I also like the idea, in a grim and gritty fantasy environment where magical weapons are rare, of tailoring the wound table with the unique properties of the magical weapon. A player with a magical weapon has their own wound table -- I think that would be cool.

In the end though the bulk of contexts would remain as per Core -- 0 through 5, with 1 being minor and 5 being lethal. Only when this table produces illogical results would there be a need to shift the damage up or down.

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 Post subject: Re: Better armour?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:08 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
higgins wrote:
That's quite an interesting one, but I'd be hesitant to completely remove the possibility of getting a grazing wound while unarmoured and also removing the possibility of instant death while wearing armour.
I’d agree that it is “realistic” that grazing hits can be achieved, but then I always like to see players get bang for their bucks, that is, real benefits for their successes.
Sure, I get that, but since we're aiming for the system to be unified, I think it would not mesh well to allow only very minimal results for 1 success in skills... yet in combat, this MoS 1 would get a boost of two wound levels just because the victim was unarmoured. Also, there HAS to be a possibility of grazing wounds... what Ian is basically suggesting that unarmoured combatant should have an absolute minimum wound level of 2 (in 7-step wounds, 3rd level wound would be equivalent to a 2nd level wound in a 5-step system). I want my lucky grazes in my combat system, dammit. :)

Grettir wrote:
I could see Ian’s proposal work beautifully if it is keyed to an attacker of advanced Proficiency and if a wound that would have been minor anyway can still be reduced to wound level 0.
Can you bring an example of exactly what you mean?

Ian.Plumb wrote:
From a mathematical perspective I don't like capping because it slews all the results towards one particular result. If we cap at 3 then 3 becomes the most likely result (as the system is designed to produce results from 0 through 5 but we're saying that a 4 and a 5 are now a three -- 0, 1 , 2, 3, 3, 3). For this reason I do not like Naked Dwarf -- results are slewed towards level 1 wounds. This solution preserves the variety of 0 through 5 while catering to specific circumstances that raise or lower the possible damage.
I don't think that the desire for more realistic armour should definitely need to mesh with an elegant mathematical spread of all possible results. As you put very well yourself:

Ian.Plumb wrote:
If all the players understand that swinging a sword against a plate-armoured opponent is quite futile -- even if their CP is 30 and their opponent's is 10 -- then they will adjust their in-combat tactics appropriately.
With the cap removed, this effect (which I think is VERY cool) would basically evaporate. In other words, current "armour penetrating" rules would stay as they are, except with level 5 wounds and the upper end of level 4 wounds being impossible to achieve.

I also disagree with your reasoning on the "slewing" of Naked Dwarf. TROS allows for a high TO character literally to shrug off blows with no damage whatsoever. Naked Dwarf only comes to effect when the unarmoured character would be receiving a level 0 wound due his high TO. So, Naked Dwarf is "slewed" towards level 1 wounds precisely as much as TROS is "slewed" towards level 0 wounds.

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