One thing you miss out on in a Bloody Versus is the way your armor can get royally trashed in a Fight! (can you tell I often sit in the GM seat? How many people does this really bother from the player side?).
The Bloody Versus rules give out advantage dice for armor and shields to the defensive portion of a bloody versus. What if we make those actual armor and shield dice (roll the dice seperately, or use a different color) and count any die that comes up a “1” for armor/shield damage? Let the player pick where it is lost from.
Granted, the effect will be small… but does it break anything I’m not seeing?
I see a few major issues from a narrative perspective. Fight! is supposed to be for important conflicts, and getting a shield trashed in one of these, or having one’s mail cut to pieces is reasonable. Bloody Versus is for relatively minor stuff, and getting one’s armor trashed as one tries to bypass a few guards escaping from a bar is somewhat underwhelming. It doesn’t fit the fiction.
I see your point, but there’s always the possibility of failure anyway. Getting stabbed in the gut and captured by those same guards is somehow more fitting than having one dent your shield as you get away? If the guards are truly pitiful and no threat in the narrative, don’t roll.
The thought originally came out of a conversation seeing minor narrative issues from the other direction. Allow me to subvert your example by adding to it Consider a scuffle with guards at a bar, followed by another run-in with guards on the streets after you fail a Streetwise roll to find the guy who sold you out. You make it to his hideout, and fight past the thugs at the door before finally making it to the only conflict worth full Fight! mechanics (parallel this with fighting your way across a battlefield to the enemy champion, or battling your way up to the top of the wizard’s tower through his minions). Somehow, though having been through the gauntlet on the way there, your armor is in pristine condition! Granted, this could be handled any number of different ways (straight versus with armor damage as the failure result?), but I think the “narrative” argument cuts both directions (though any group or individual will likely put more weight on one side or the other).
To address a second point, I don’t think you are going to see shields or armor utterly trashed with this. Looking at the number of defensive advantage dice granted, you’ll only ever roll one for a shield, and at most 4 for armor. Treat it as a normal armor roll where only one “1” counts, and you make it even less likely.
I feel like I’m being argumentative… that’s not the intent! Just trying to raise a counterpoint; thank you for the feedback!
I agree with Knaight in that I don’t feel that the rule is fully in line with the feel of the rules. The rules as written are already make armor seem less durable than they would be in real life as it’s pretty unlikely that a full plate armor won’t break in some way after a single hit in Fight! and throwing in armor damage in Bloody Versus as well seems like it will make the game more about gear management than the feel I get from the RAW.
Armor is significantly less useful in Bloody Versus because it only gives you a slight boost to your attempt not to get hit, while in Fight! a great set of armor makes you incredibly hard to take down because it actually protects you from harm on top of your defense. In Bloody Versus you also roll your armor bonus dice regardless if you are hit or not so the risk of armor damage isn’t lowered nearly as much as the usefulness of the armor. So armor gets worse and I personally don’t see the reason behind it as anything that will enrich the game, nor really make it any more realistic.
As for the comment about the armor being in pristine condition after a series of battles, nothing says that the armor hasn’t gotten some wear and tear, it just isn’t actually broken. I’m reminded by a documentary where the narrator is trying how durable a helmet of 14:th century make was by hitting it with swords and he could barely scratch it. The person inside would break long before the helmet did.
And just as the post above this isn’t meant to be just argumentative, I’m just giving another view on it for discussion.
If I thought armor damage was an interesting or likely outcome of a particular Bloody Versus, I’d roll a Die of Fate after the test. On a 1, your armor is damaged. Assign the damage as appropriate to the circumstances (I’d probably go with 1d damage to two locations of the player’s choice, as a baseline, but if the fight was lengthy or nasty high-VA weapons were involved, or if there was some other reason to do it differently, I would).