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Encumbrance and Armor Use

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I found Nethergate's documentation for the effects of armor encumbrance and Armor Use skill to be misleading (as of v1.0.2 for Windows). After some experimentation, I figured out the correct numbers.



C1. Some armors give a penalty to hit, in increments of -5% (up to -35% for Chain Mail).

C2. Each level of Armor Use cancels -5% of penalty.


Using these numbers in my party spreadsheet caused consistent discrepancies, compared to the actual %hit chances printed during combat. So I did some testing.



A1. Define a new concept of "encumbrance level". Convert every written "-5%" to 1 enc level. So a helmet ("-5%") really means 1 enc, and chain mail ("-35%") really means 7 enc.

A2. Define a new concept of "penalty level". Convert enc level to penalty level 1-for-1, except that you must add 1 "bonus" penalty level(haha) at enc levels 3, 5, 7, and 10. (In other words, 3 enc = 4 pen, 5 enc = 7 pen, 7 enc = 10 pen, and 10 enc = 14 pen. 11 enc is the max possible that I know of, using chain mail + large shield + helmet.)

A3. Each level of Armor Use cancels 1 penalty level.

A4. Each penalty level gives -6% to hit (not -5%).

A5. Every 7 penalty levels also gives -1 AP! (rounded down)


Hence, if you wear leather armor (2 enc), a metal shield (2 enc), and a helmet (1 enc), you have 5 enc = 7 pen.

- With Armor Use 0, you have -42% to hit, and only 3 AP.

- With Armor Use 1, you have -36% to hit, but at least you get the full 4 AP.

- With Armor Use 7+, you have no penalty to hit.


A Celt sword guy maxes out at 5 pen, for a large shield (3 enc) + helmet (1 enc), so he could reasonably need Armor Use 5. A spear guy only needs Armor Use 1 to cancel a helmet, which you'd get automatically from having DEX 4. A Roman (including Numerius in a Celt party) could go as high as 15 pen for the full 11 enc, so you'd need Armor Use 15 to be unpenalized, or at least Armor Use 9 to get all 4 AP.


Penalty levels are probably -6% to give you incentive to train Armor Use, instead of just dumping more levels into Melee Weapons or Spears.

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Some very nice detective work there. But...


11 enc is the max possible that I know of, using chain mail + large shield + helmet.)
If I recall correctly, it's actually possible to get 12, with the illusory shield from under Goagh-Nar (that has 4 encumbrance, doesn't it?) Not that that's all that significant in terms of gameplay impact, of course, since you can't keep it for long anyway.
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I wrote the "11 enc" before I visited Goagh-Nar. Then I found a pair of Mauling Gauntlets (1 enc) in a chest in the basement.



- Chain Mail (7 enc)

- helmet (1 enc)

- Glorious Shield (4 enc -- I'll take others' word for it)

- Mauling Gauntlets (1 enc)

and you'd get 13 enc. If the progression holds, 13 enc should be another penalty level (seems like it's every 2.5 enc, rounded up), so 13 enc =?= 18 pen.

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