Friday, April 1, 2011


A is for Armor, our first installment of Deepest Sea A-Z, part of the A-Z blogging challenge, and an explanation of my Deepest Sea world.

(Image grabbed from Wikipedia)

Part of any combative role playing game is armor, particularly when melee combat is common.  In D&D, this is Armor Class, which traditionally has the odd characteristic of getting smaller as it gets better.  For example, a set of mail armor and a shield rates an AC4, where as leather armor is an AC8.  It is harder to "hit" someone in AC4 armor (for damage), which is represented by needing a higher roll on a d20.

Here is the basic traditional D&D information from the Labyrinth Lord Advanced Companion:

Armor                 Cost           Armor Class Weight
Banded mail         85 gp         4                   35 lb. (Laminar)
Chain mail            70 gp         5                   30 lb. (Mail)
Helmet                 10 gp         -                     5 lb.
Horse barding     150 gp        5                   60 lb.
Leather                  6 gp         8                   15 lb. (boiled leather)
Padded                 4 gp          8                   10 lb. (Gambeson)
Plate mail           450 gp         3                   50 lb. (plate armor)
Scale mail            50 gp         6                   40 lb.(scale armor)
Shield                  10 gp         1 less*           10 lb.
Splint mail            75 gp        4                    45 lb. (plated mail)
Studded leather   30 gp         7                    20 lb. (Brigandine)
Unarmored           0 gp         9                      nil
*Using a shield reduces armor class by 1.

All of that is nice, but not totally appropriate for the Deepest Sea, since the setting is more restricted than a general generic Late-Medieval Northern Europe.  The Deepest Sea campaign is sort of a quasi-Dark Ages type era, and some armors simply do not exist yet. For example, the Nords and similar kingdoms use mail hauberks over quilted gambesons, at least when they can afford armor at all.  The Imperial Elves, would have laminar or plated mail, where as Orcs wear mail or brigandine.

In addition to limiting the list of armors, I will be using the house rule Shields Shall Be Splintered, which gives a further reason to carry a shield.  After all, everyone did until they wore enough armor to make it unnecessary.

Here is my reformatted list:
Armor                     Cost         Armor Class         Weight

Gambeson (cloth)   10d                  8                      10
Leather (soft)          25d                 8                      15
Boiled Leather        80d                 7                      25
Brigandine             100d                7                      40
Scale Armor          700d                6                      60
Mail                     1200d               5                      50
Plated Mail          1700d               4                       60
Laminar               3000d               4                       40
Helm                     100d               -                         3
Great Helm            200d               -                        7
Shield (small)           40d               -1                      5
Shield (large)           70d               -1                     10

Here is a good picture of what a well equipped soldier would look like [probably from Chénez]:

(image at left  taken from Bing Image search)

So what about in your games? Do you take the D&D armor table as written, or do you have modifications?  Are items restricted by location, or just by cost?  Let me know.
Tomorrow: More Deepest Sea A-Z.


Timothy S. Brannan said...

I usually only just tweak the armor rules. I do let wizards wear leather and elfin chain.

Following your blog now for the A-Z Challenge.

The Other Side

netherwerks said...

We have always modified the armor tables from the get-go. There's just too many cool and different types of armor to mess about with, like the old Palladium Book on Arms & Armor that you can a bit about over at Swords & Dorkery. Plus there's always those weird, exotic armors made from strange hides, etc. We might cover some that sort of thing for the letter E, later this month.

Lasgunpacker said...

Thanks for the insight. As someone with asperations to a classic game, I am not sure about adding more items, but different weights and costs might be a good way to go.

Also, I think I forgot to mention that prices are in pennies, and are based on the Magestic Wilderlands Price List. (and obviously prices vary by location etc etc)