Yesterday saw a moment of truth in 16-Bit Adventures. I had a vague suspicion that the math of DMG vs DEF was a time consuming and that it would break down in a few places. I was not prepared for the fact that it lead to LV5 monsters being largely ineffective vs low armor PCs and, in the case of Redcaps, incapable of doing any damage at all to the Fighter with their Goblin Punch.
Even a crit did 0 which was very bad for the monster since LV5 Fighters have Retaliate which gives them a free attack when they are critted by a physical attack.
The root of the problem is that offense needs to keep ahead of defense but more specifically the worst physical attacks need to keep pace with the best defenses otherwise you get these issues with monsters dealing 0. Its one thing if the physical attack of a caster monster is ineffective against a fighter with maxed defense, but these were standard monsters who only had physical attacks. Attacks that were meant to be dangerous.
Now I will admit that changing the math could have fixed that, but it would do so by inflating the numbers even more to the point where we would see great axes dealing +50 or more damage than staves by level 10. With defense factored in that would mean a staff has no net bonus and a great ax is more like +50 total. That would work but it requires doing more arithmetic than I am comfortable forcing people to do. I'd prefer most of the math to just be addition with subtractions being something special.
The simple solution was to simply remove DEF and M.Def from the equation. It makes it so the DMG and M.Dmg numbers can stay smaller and let's HP take up the sole role of saying how tough a character is. Like I said, simple, but not entirely satisfying.
To make it satisfying my idea was to move DEF/M.Def into the attack roll in a similar manner to how EVA works. If you roll equal or under EVA you miss, so its an easy matter to add a small step there: if you roll equal or under DEF you deal half damage.
Now the ATK or M.ATK roll determines if the hit deals 0, half, full or critical damage just by comparing the result showing on the die.
As a bonus this is more like how the video games parse attack vs defense. They work as a ratio with a randomizer that is altogether too much work for me to do at the game table but this method gives a decent approximation of the results with a minimum of effort.
The last thing that's needed as some way to make relative level matter more and for that I will again use the solution I have for EVA. If the attacker and defender are more than 1 level apart the higher level one gets +1 to EVA, DEF & M.Def and the lower level one gets -1 to those.
16-Bit Adventures Version 2
Look for the PDF mid-week. There's a lot of reformatting to be done.