Monday, March 28, 2011

Armor Types

I've made mention of light, medium, and heavy armor before in particular to weapons' characteristics and even way back when I discussed skills. Let's put a formal definition in place.

You can quickly see the break down between light, medium, and heavy armors. The gaps in the table are there for simplicity and clear delineation between armor class types (such as for armor penetration). Dexterity modifies for AC as well, up to a maximum of -3 while wearing light armor, -2 while wearing scale or lighter, and -1 while wearing any armor heavier than that. The dexterity bonus to AC represents both a deft hand and an agile body; a portion of the dexterity bonus should be applicable even in heavy armor as a representation of superior weapon and/or shield parrying skills rather than simply being fleet of foot.

Quick descriptions: leather represents any armor made from hides, cloth, or other types of padding. Scale is metal components sewn or backed onto padding material. A chain hauberk is the typical representation of mail. Plate mail utilizes a series of plates with mail used to cover the joints between them. Full plate characterizes a high quality steel (not iron) coat of plates with mail backing.

EDIT: The way the chart above looks, it appears that a shield imparts a total AC of -1. In actuality, it just reduces AC by 1 point. Everyone familiar with D&D should understand that, but I wanted to make it clear.


  1. Aside from some numeric tweaking (which may be more my OCD than an actual indication of historic accuracy), I like the easy distinctions you've made.

    Is there room on the blank lines? E.g., thin hide (AC 8) or heavy mail (AC 3)? Or is that starting to get away from the simplicity the chart represents?

  2. I've been pondering that as well. One problem does creep up at the point between armor types. For example, would an AC 3 armor be medium or heavy? If heavy, it is 'less useful' when it comes to armor penetration and skill checks as compared to if it were medium armor. This wouldn't be much of a problem at AC 8 though, mostly AC 6 and 3.

    On resolution would be to have 2 armor types at AC 6 and 3, with one being the lighter category and one the heavier category. Then the primary difference would be price. So the medium armor version at AC 3 is better than the heavy armor version at AC 3, but would be differentiated by price.

    So there is room if you add a wrinkle in there somewhere. Or maybe leave those spaces for magic armor or exotic materials, like mithril mail could be AC 3 and medium or troll hide armor could be AC 6 and light.