Clash's post about front loading, particularly the part about armor-as-damage-reduction, got me thinking. First it got me thinking that maybe my ignorance is my only strength, since it has never occured to me that armor doesn't make you harder to hit. Well, armor only exists in D&D as far as my experience goes, so what do I care. Never mind that. It also got me thinking of how that front loading might be made more back-loady by having armor grant hit points, leaving your AC at 9.
Following Delta's mechanic (d20+fighter level+AC>=20=WIN), a first-level non-fighter hits AC 9 on 11+ or 50% of the time. In OD&D average weapon damage is 3.5, so for 100 swings an unarmored combatant would, after waiting patiently to be swung at all afternoon, take 175 points of damage. I guess they used to call the damage hit points, but that will just confuse today's readers and I prefer to do that through garbled writing.
So, moving up the scale of armors, leather will protect you from 10% more blows, resulting in 140 damage on average--as savings of 35 hp. For chain the savings is 70, for plate 105. How's my math? That would make normal shields worth 17 or 18 hp, which pleases me as a convenient way for them to be rather quickly destroyed.
Now what do we do with these imaginary 100 blows? Is that a useful number? How many hit points should the armor provide over its life and the life of an adventurer? How about arbitrarily saying the armor is destroyed after 100 blows? Make it one hundred and one, as that's more folklorish.
Wait a minute, nobody's going to count 101 blows! They will of course be represented by the hit points. Whew. I almost missed that one.
Then again, nobody on the Mutant Earth is wearing any armor yet, and when they do it will probably be force fields, so I don't have a good (that is, requiring no extra work) way to try this idea out, not this week anyway. I'll put it in the hopper.