What Does Dungeons & Dragons to Do With Armed Self-Defense? [VIDEO]

TTAG reader Marcus watched this video, pondered the question above and discerned the takeaway quote: “It’s the weapon that keeps you safe.” He then remarked “Kind of sounds like a good reason to own a sword, or the most technologically advanced substitute available.” True dat?


  1. avatar Desert Ranger Tycho says:

    It’s all about the weapon? WRONG! It’s about the dice…That’s why my 20 sided dice has all 20’s on it!

  2. avatar GuyFromV says:

    The THAC0 Paradox, on TTAG…awesome.

    1. avatar Mrbadnews says:


      THAC0. Keeps the riff raff out.

      2nd ed 4eva!

  3. avatar Tominator says:

    He was way too correct in his assumptions to get accolades from academia….and Liberals in general. Just say’in…

  4. avatar B Fitts says:

    Switch to Battletech Board Game way more balanced game play, only nerds play D&D haha.

    1. avatar Mrbadnews says:

      …so then engineers play Battletech and Lawyers play Star Fleet battle.

  5. avatar anaxis says:

    I wonder what kind of AC an AR500 trauma-plate provides…. Do OFWG’s require a dexterity saving throw when going up against ghetto-goblins? Does having a beard improve WIS?

    1. avatar GRDRANE says:

      E-mailed this to my old DD friends, haven’t talked in years, literally laughed for 15 mins with each other! Great stuff!!

    2. avatar Boxilar says:

      In D20 Modern, the modern action adventure rpg using D&D rules, a SWAT tactical entry suit provides the same bonus to AC as a suit of full plate mail.

      There are variant rules where certain types of armor provide better protection against certain types of damage. For example, traditional armors are superior against slashing and bludgeoning damage while modern armor protects better against the ballistic damage done by firearms.

  6. avatar Hal Jordon says:

    Hence the superiority of GURPS and Chaosium’s BRP.

    1. avatar Grant in IN says:

      It mostly comes down to personal preference.

    2. avatar HJ says:

      GURPS is pretty much an unplayable mess, and BRP is great, if your combats are between humans and Great Old Ones, since there’s no actual combat.

  7. avatar int19h says:

    D&D has Parry as a skill, which does exactly what the guy is complaining about. And Tumble, another skill, which (among other things) raises AC without having to wear armor. And then you can also have higher AC by virtue of having high Dexterity, which is actually something that is hindered by heavy armor.

    Oh, and Armor Class is not a chance to hit. It’s a chance to hit in a way that does damage.A character with high dexterity and no armor dodges the blows outright; a character with low dexterity and heavy plate armor lets them hit where they glance off. The end result is the same, so the game mechanics represents it in the same way with AC, but it doesn’t mean that it’s physically the same.

  8. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    West End Star Wars. More reflective of reality in that mishaps can and do happen. Usually at the worse time.

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      I played it once in high school. It was fun! I was an X-wing pilot.

    2. avatar Ing says:

      I loved that game! The guy who GMed it for us way back in the day doesn’t have it anymore, and since the rights went to Wizards of the Coast I can’t find it anywhere.

      1. avatar Boxilar says:

        Check out eBay or Amazon. There are still copies out there.

    3. avatar Desert Ranger says:

      “It could be worse…”

      “IT’S WORSE!”

    4. avatar Boxilar says:

      Oh yes. D6 Star Wars. Where fickle fate will allow you to kill the Big Bad Evil Guy with one lucky shot, but will make it damned near impossible to kill the one stormtrooper the just won’t die.

  9. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    Lindy Beige has some pretty funny videos, especially the ones critiquing movies for historical and other inaccuracies. Matt Easton is pretty good at critiquing movie combat as well, and of course is a much better fencer.

  10. avatar Grant in IN says:

    Attack rolls determine if an attack deals damage. He should talk about how weapons are treated as if they deal damage the same way. Early editions had tables for blunt, slash, pierce etc. damage, but these have been dropped.

    1. avatar Grant in IN says:

      Which defenses are used for checks can also defy logic. But this is all what house rules are for.

    2. avatar HJ says:

      Eh, no one really used those rules. Not even in the 2nd Ed Combat Expansion.

    3. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      The tables were on the effectiveness of armor versus piercing, slashing and bludgeoning damage. For instance, plate mail had a +3 to AC vs slashing attacks making it harder to hurt someone in plate. But vs blunt weapons it had no extra benefit. Stuff like leather armor sucked vs piercing damage. We used these rules and it made combat much more fun. Yeah, I’m a nerd.

  11. avatar jsallison says:

    Lost interest in the genre in general when Gygax started trying to professionalize it. 3 poorly printed pamphlets, 3d6 and imagination was all that was needed.

    1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

      Actually it sucked in the mid ’70 as well. We were just a lot younger then.

      1. avatar GuyFromV says:

        By Acererak’s Bones this is a geekly party of adventurers in this tavern.

        1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

          Whoa, pump the brakes, nobody admitted to nothin’.

  12. avatar HJ says:

    It’s almost like the rules for combat in D&D are an abstraction, taking into account a number of variables, such as weapon skill, armor, ease of understanding, and speed of resolution of combat. I suppose we could have two steps- did I hit you, and did I get past your armor? But that’s twice as slow. And then hit points are an abstraction, too, aren’t they? But, they are easy to use and understand. Too bad there aren’t other games that might suit your preference… oh, wait, there are.

    Besides, I assumed TTAG was more of a Twilight 2000 crowd. Or a Price of Freedom crowd, depending on the corner you hide in.

  13. avatar William says:

    My God what a bunch of nerds!

  14. avatar Brent says:

    Seems legit… he has a Dalek.

    1. avatar Desert Ranger says:


  15. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    I played almost entirely 2nd edition D&D until late middle school. It really is a mess wothout a lot of house rules. I played Palladium games, which is even worse so we changed it to Mekton rules(mostly played Robotech). I then discovered Mekton, which lead into Cyberpunk 2020. Now that was fun! You didn’t get dodge rolls, just difficulty to hit. Armor absorbed damage and depleted over time. Cover and concealment was mandatory to last more than one game. Gun fights were dangerous no matter how bad ass you were. It did have issues, but even a twerp with a handgun could end your roided out, grizzled Solo’s life with a good shot to the face. I also got into Mekton Zeta when it came out. It’s a little more super heroish, but was a lot of fun too. Yes, I’m a nerd.

    Lindybeige is a lot of fun to watch. He has interesting videos on a lot of subjects.

    1. avatar anaxis says:

      I played a lot of Rifts later on, after AD&D lost my interest.

  16. avatar Ing says:

    Eh…the D&D system sucks. It’s complex in all the wrong ways and rudimentary where it should have the most systematic detail. After I discovered MERP/Rolemaster back in high school, there was no going back to the usual crappy d20 systems.

    The Rolemaster system has its own problems (for one thing, it’s pretty “crunchy”; a lot of numbers and variables to account for, and you have to take shortcuts sometimes to keep combat from getting bogged down), but combat is actually dangerous, and skill and tactics actually matter. Forget to parry or make yourself an easy target or just get unlucky, and you can get killed by an opponent no matter how tough your character is; doesn’t matter how many HP you’ve accumulated, death (even instant death) is always on the table.

  17. avatar Dave says:

    This guy should play RuneQuest (RQ6 being the best IMHO); your skill at parrying attacks keeps you safe from being hit, and you armor helps stop damage from getting through to you.

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      As a game master it didn’t take me long to figure out that there were some stupid things about D&D, and combat was one of them. Adding defensive use of a weapon to armor class was one of the first things I did. But I also did away with the lockstep level system of improvement with weapons and let players decide where to spend weapons skills points each time they advanced. This required extra charts, but it made the game more fun because of the realism.

      At the bottom, a player started out ignorant of weapons skills. The first skill level to be achieved, which was a great improvement over ignorance, was “Incompetent”, which pretty much meant you knew enough you wouldn’t hurt yourself with the weapon, but weren’t likely to hurt an enemy either. In the weapons manual I wrote, the description of this skill level began, “It is not difficult to become incompetent.”

      1. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunniess says:

        War Hammer was the best. Plus you could be a troll slayer.

  18. avatar Mike Crognale says:

    Or you could just play World of Warcraft.

  19. avatar Desert Ranger says:

    Thanks RF for the walk down memory lane. It was Shadowrun that taught me the value of shooting straight, conserving ammo and NEVER, EVER MAKING A DEAL WITH A DRAGON!

  20. avatar Rick says:

    no RPG type combat system works properly with guns.

    they all have your character mobile and surviving after taking a hit from a rifle round.

    realistically, a 7.62 gets past your dex and ac, and you’re down. no magic healing potions either 😛

    which makes for a boring game LOL

    1. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

      That’s always been more an issue of not properly spec’ing the firearm as far as probability to hit as well as damage.

      BTW, RuneQuest – especially with hit locations – would do well with firearms. I believe the rule extensions on the Rolemaster system did, as well. I seem to remember getting hit by firearms while playing Space Master was something you did not want to happen.

  21. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    Ok, this is an argument that has been around more than 35 years. I was complaining about this in the late 70’s. While I would agree – and have argued for years – that you weapon should have an influence on your effective AC, you need to understand, as others have pointed out, just what AC actually is.

    As flawed as the D&D combat system is, though, it’s still better than Tunnels & Trolls, where you’d have to bring enough d6 to open a small casino or Rolemaster where it could take 20 minutes just to chase down the correct charts for a battle. I’ll agree with others in that the old RuneQuest/BRP system from Chaosium was probably the best combat system created (just what you’d expect from SCA guys). It’s a shame they dropped the hit locations, but even in RQ, I thought they were considered an advanced option. My main problems with RuneQuest was that the overall system seemed more friendly to worlds like Lankhmar or Melnibone and that as good as the combat system was, it could get laggy.

    For all it’s flaws, the AD&D combat system did do what it was supposed to do and that was to facilitate the adventure effectively. And of course, the adventure is the reason for the game.

    Now if he really wanted to complain about something in D&D, he should complain about the magic system. That did not facilitate the adventure. As a GM, it was always a pain to have to design campaigns around magic users’ limitations – even at higher levels. And it seems like the more they’ve tried to fix it, the more unwieldy it has become.

    Ok… all this makes me want to see if I can dig out the old system I had developed called YARPG (for Yet Another RolePlaying Game). It was d100 based, the combat system took into account the defensive use of weapons and most important, the magic system was based loosely on Lyndon Hardy’s Master of the Five Magics.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      If it’s got guns, we’ll review it.

  22. avatar Sean says:

    You must review it- then spin off TTARPG!
    thanks all for taking me back to my awkward teenage years….now where did I put that d100?

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