How should incomplete suits of armor be handled?

Let's face it.

Many D&D characters are imagined without a complete suit of armor.
Helmets? Pfft. 1/2 of fighters don't wear 'em?
Armored sleeves? How's the wrenches and barmaids supposed to see the guns?

Then you have Johnny Massive-belt-buckle. Or Suzie Straps on Straps.
And the infamous chainmail arrangement that shall not be named.

Then you have groups that allow for sundering armor on hits and misses.

So how should imcomplete armor be handled for groups that want more mechanical accuracy?

Should breastplates, sleeveless armor, and helmless armor have their own ACs?
Should there just be a -1 penalty to AC for incomplete set? (Or cummunalative penatly for each missing piece?)
What about a non AC penalty like melee attacks have advantage or deal more damage against incomplete armor?
Or should the reverse be true and you get bonuses for a complete set of armor?


Your thoughts.

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The AC model in D&D is already very abstract. An incomplete armor (like a chain shirt or breastplates) just has a lower AC bonus. When you "hit", you managed to break through the armor, or find a weakness/unprotected area to score a hit, etc...

Back when I was playing other games, the simplicity of the D&D system is one of the main reasons I liked D&D more than every other game out there. For my needs, incomplete armors with variable AC bonuses are good enough.

I don't really care if they go for hit locations with different AC ratings. I probably won't use them.

I woud just give a -1 penalty for one missing piece, then -2 for more than that; unless the armor is more than half removed at that point, in which case I would treat the half (or less) armor the same as a shield (+2 to base AC), in regard to AC.
How about not trying to simulate to that level of detail?  There's not enough granularity in the system to cope with individual bits of armour producing +1 AC each.

Just say, mechanically, what your character is using, and describe the flavour according to how you view the character.  He normally wears full plate and a greathelm, you desribe hits and misses against his AC differently than if he normally wears a mohawk and nothing else.
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One thing I liked about helmets in Baldur's Gate was that they served a simple purpose: you weren't crit-able. Now I realize not every crit HAS to be a head shot, but for simplicity, I wouldn't mind seeing a helmet as an optional peice of gear, like this:

Helmet: You are immune to critical hits while wearing a helmet. You have disadvantage on all perception checks. It takes an action to don or remove a helmet.

Since it costs and action to don, it isn't always practical to just carry around to avoid the penalty, since it will cost an action at the start of combat to put on (sometimes you have that action to spare, more often you won't).

As for partial armor, I'd rather not have to deal with that directly, although using a rule like -2 AC for partial suits seems fair and simple.

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So how should imcomplete armor be handled for groups that want more mechanical accuracy?

It would be an option for those who want it. It's for those players who play gladiators with exposed bodyparts and want the opening to matter when they smack the orc's helmet off.

Incomplete Armor would not be in the core system.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Historically, complete suits of armor were unheard of until the late middle ages where they would make a Plate Harness.

Harness being a medieval word for a full suit of armour.

Most commonly, you would just have a Mail Byrnie (Chain shirt) or a Mail Hauberk (Chainmail) ... sometimes a Mail Habergeon (somewhere in between)

At some point, they started to add plate armour to mail armour, starting with greaves, pauldrons and such.

This would be the most common armour worn:

Leather Jerkin = leather armour
Brigandine = studded leather
Scale corslet (corslet is a word meaning half-armour or torso-armour, you would rarely see scale armour anywhere else on the body) = scale armor
Mail Byrnie =  chain shirt
Mail Habergeon
Mail Hauberk = chainmail
Back and Breast = breastplate
Plate Harness = plate armour (or full-plate)

There is no such thing as Banded armour (maybe its meant to represent the Lorica Segmentata from the roman era?)
Splinted armour was used in armour pieces such as bracers (but not as 'body' armour)
There is also Lamellar armour but this should be reserved for an 'Oriental Setting'

You could then add Helmets and 'armor' pieces such as greaves, bracers and such as a abstract 'Reinforcement Bonus'.

In the end its probably best to keep it abstract to a degree because trying to be accurate with armour pieces is a headache especially considering tat historically mix-matching and layering armour on top of one another was also common.
Personally, I would rather they only use light, medium, heavy for armor and leave it up to the player to decide/describe their armor.

A druid in heavy armor might have armor made from the bark of an ironwood tree woven together with magically grown vines. Perhaps the armor is constantly sprouting and needs to be manicured like a bonsai tree.

A Earth Genasi in heavy armor may be "unarmored" but have rocky protusions covering his skin making it as hard to penetrate as steel.

A rogue in light armor could wear a simple leather tunic.

A barbarian in light armor could wear only a loincloth and those awesome gladiator armguards that cover only a single arm.

It gives the player much more freedom to create a fitting character concept when armor isn't restricted by historical (in)accuracy.
I woud just give a -1 penalty for one missing piece, then -2 for more than that; unless the armor is more than half removed at that point, in which case I would treat the half (or less) armor the same as a shield (+2 to base AC), in regard to AC.



That might work. Might sense for people like Albel Nox or Star Ocean 3 who wre leather armor with one shoulder plate and  one full plated sleeve with clawed gauntlet.

He's wearing leather armor with a bastard sowrd and a spiked shield.
OR
scale armor with a -2 penalty and weilding a bastard sword.
Historically, complete suits of armor were unheard of until the late middle ages where they would make a Plate Harness..



That is another thing. Yeah.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Just let the aesthetics handle it. Fluff it up bro!
My two copper.
The current armour chart/description section could have a section of what else that level of armour represents. 

Scale Mail (or Breastplate): 14 + Dex Modifier (max 2), Disadvantage

Splint Mail (or Partial Plate): 17, -5 feet, Disadvantage

Note: chosen as examples, not for any historical accuracy. The purpose is not to define every possible combination of armour ever worn, but just to give players and DMs some guidelins as to what their "minds eye" vision of the characters armour mechanically represents.


As for helmets, I think they should be like shields, an optional piece of equipment. Adds +1 to your AC but gives you disadvantage on Perception checks.
I like to let my players pick an armor type from the table, and then decide which individual body parts it covers without mechanical consequences.  The rules don't bother with hit locations or specific injuries, and they include the mechanical effects of wearing armor.


If our game group ever includes a player who really wants to roleplay through the cautionary tale of a character who suffers terrible consequences for eschewing protective headgear or buying armor that doesn't cover her navel, we can narrate it without drafting additional rules.  
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I feel like the intersection between "people who want to model the effects of incomplete or odd arrangements of armor" and "people who envision characters as normally wearing incomplete or odd arrangements of armor as an aesthetic choice" is pretty small. The sort of fantasy that allows sometong to go around wearing highly aesthetics-based armor choices isn't typically the sort of fantasy that punishes them for it, unless the character is specifically supposed to be a fool or it's some kind of cynical subversion. So I think what we really need to worry about is armor that's broken or lost or whatever.

Personally, if I'm doing it, I'd probably just eyeball a -AC penalty and leave it at that. Armor is already extraordinarily abstracted in its game effects; I don't really feel the need to make a broken-armor system more nuanced than the actual armor system already is.
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I'd like to see rules for helms in the game.     2e had helm rules for vision and hearing.   In addition, it protected the user from spells and effects that targeted the eyes.  Optional rules for hit locations would be welcome.  Of course, in 2e you could take a called shot against someones head and if they were not wearing any protection it would be against an armored AC.

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No Head Protection




If a character chooses to wear no head protection at all, he suffers no Vision or Hearing check penalties.


However, the character has one hindrance, if you're using the optional hit location rules from the Combat Rules chapter.


If a character is wearing no head protection, an attacker can make a Called Shot against his head and thereby ignore the character's AC benefits from armor. (All bonuses from shields, high Dexterity scores, and magical items still count, however.) Since this is a very difficult shot (a total –8 to attack rolls, remember), this doesn't do the attacker much good, unless the victim is otherwise heavily armored.


Example: Halway the archer has two possible targets, Territor and Bosque, two brutal guards. Territor is wearing leather armor and no headgear; this puts him at AC 8, and with his Dexterity bonus he's AC 6. Bosque is wearing full plate +2, no headgear, and body shield; this puts him at AC –2.


Halway, after all modifiers for range, his Dexterity, and other factors, is THAC0 16. (He's a 6th-level warrior, with a Dexterity of 16, and is firing at Medium Range.)


If he shoots at Territor, AC 6, he needs only a (16–6) 10 or better to hit him. If he shoots at Territor's unprotected head, the shot becomes much harder; he's shooting at AC 8 (AC 10, –2 for Territor's Dexterity), and so would normlly need a (16–8) 8; but with the –8 to attack rolls for a head shot, he's back to a roll of 16 or better. It's easier for him to hit Territor with a normal, non-specific shot.


If he shoots at Bosque, AC –2, he needs to roll an (16–{–2}) 18 or better to hit him. If he shoots at Bosque's unprotected head, the shot becomes somewhat easier; he's shooting at AC 9 (AC 10, modified by Bosque's shield), and so would normally need a (16–9) 7; with the –8 to attack rolls for a head shot, he's up to a roll of 15 or better. This makes it slightly easier to hit Bosque, and may give him the special effects of the head location shot if he succeeds, so that's the shot he attempts.


The lower (better) a target's AC is, the better an option it is to try a head shot, if his head is unprotected and the rest of his body is armored. Characters interested in this option should calculate the math of both shots and compare the results, if they know all the relative ACs and modifiers; if they don't, they should ask the DM, in general terms, if it's even worth their time to try such a shot.


The Cap




The Cap is a padded, leather or even steel skullcap which is about the size of and worn much like a close-fitting cap, beret or hat. It gives the wearer no penalty for Vision Checks, and a –1 penalty with Hearing Checks (as it partially covers the ears). It's often worn in conjunction with padded, leather, hide, studded leather, and other lightweight armors.


The Coif




The Coif is a padded chain mail hood; it fits fairly snugly around the neck and over all the head except the face from chin to forehead. Like the Cap, it gives the wearer no penalty for Vision Checks and only a –1 penalty with Hearing Checks. It's usually worn with chain mail.


Often, a heavily-armored knight will wear a chain mail coif and wear a Great Helm over it. The only benefit this confers is that such a knight can remove his Great Helm, the better to see and hear around him, and still have some head protection. As a disadvantage, it adds a little weight to the knight's equipment, but it does not decrease his Vision and Hearing checks any further than just wearing the Great Helm.


The Open-Face Helmet




The Open-Faced Helmet, made of reinforced leather, or of metal, covers the back, sides and top of the face, leaving most of the face open. It gives the wearer a –1 penalty with Vision Checks, and a –2 penalty with Hearing Checks (it completely covers the ears, usually with small holes or grating over the ears so that the wearer can hear at all).


Examples include the Corinthian helmets of ancient Greece. In a medieval campaign, open-faced helmets are often worn by military officers and soldiers who can afford the protection.


The Closed-Face Helmet




The Closed-Face Helmet is made of metal and is much like the Open-Faced Helmet . . . except that there is armor plate, often in the form of a visor which may be opened, in front of the face. It gives the wearer a –2 penalty with Vision Checks, and a –3 penalty with Hearing Checks.


Examples include the basinet mentioned in the Player's Handbook, the galea and myrrmillo mentioned for the gladiators (above), and many other combat helmets. Many knights and other mounted warriors wear helmets of this type.


If the wearer of a Closed-Face Helmet is also wearing plate mail or field plate armor, he gets a +1 to saving throws vs. dragon breath, and to spells such as burning hands, pyrotechnics, fire ball, flaming sphere, wall of fire, delayed blast fireball, incendiary cloud, and meteor swarm, and other fire-based spells and magical effects (as determined by the DM).


If someone uses a Lasso, Chain, or Bolas in an effort to snare a rider's head, and that rider is wearing a Closed-Face Helmet, the victim gets to roll 1d6. On a 4–6, the attack is handled normally, but on a 1–3, the attack is treated just as a normal lasso or chain dismount; the attacker doesn't do the extra damage that the head-lasso attack normally allows.


The Great Helm




The Great Helm is a massive helm which covers the entire head, from the top of the head to the top of the shoulders, leaving slits open for the eyes and holes open for breathing; it has no removable visor. It gives the wearer a –3 penalty with Vision Checks, and a –4 penalty with Hearing Checks.


The Great Helm provides the following other benefits:


The wearer of a Great Helm gets a +2 saving throw vs. wizard spells such as hypnotism, light cast on his eyes, blindness, hypnotic pattern, suggestion, fire charm, rainbow pattern, and some other mind-controlling spells . . . but not charm person, charm monster, or domination.


If the wearer of a Great Helm is also wearing plate mail or field plate armor, he gets a +2 to saving throws vs. dragon breath, and to spells such asburning hands, pyrotechnics, fire ball, flaming sphere, wall of fire, delayed blast fireball, incendiary cloud, and meteor swarm, and other fire-based spells and magical effects (as determined by the DM). If, instead of plate mail or field plate, he is wearing full plate, the bonus is a +3 to saving throws.


If someone uses a Lasso, Chain, or Bolas in an effort to snare a rider's head, and that rider is wearing a Great Helm, the attack is automatically treated just as a normal attack. With lasso or chain, it's a normal lasso or chain dismount, and the attacker doesn't do the extra damage that the head-lasso attack normally allows. With Bolas, the attack does normal damage, but no strangulation damage.


In the Campaign . . .



If you use these rules in a campaign, you add some color and distinction between the types of armor that your PCs will be wearing. On the other hand, once again, it's an added level of complexity which the game doesn't have to have. Use these rules only if the added complexity doesn't bother you, and if the special functions of the different types of helmets appeal to you.





At the very least, I'll be creating my own set of rules to make weapons and armor a bit more realistic.    I might even pull out the 2e rules for this.  











Bonus to AC Per Type of Piece: 




















































































































































Armor 
Full 
Breast- 
Two 
One 
Two 
One 
Type 
Suit 
Plate 
Arms 
Arm 
Legs 
Leg 
Banded Mail 






Brigandine 






Bronze plate 






Chain mail 






Field Plate 






Full plate 






Hide armor 






Leather armor 






Padded armor 






Plate mail 






Ring mail 






Scale mail 






Splint mail 






Studded leather 








It's pure flavor and description.
It's pure flavor and description.


Pretty much, I once had a Warlock in Darksun that was clad in nothing but lightly plated leather pants, which was the 'equivalent' of Leather armour.  Man, she was fun.
Historically



Stop.
We're talking about fictional fantasy worlds that have no relationship to anything in real world history.
'Historically' is utterly irrelevant.
I say that a partial suit of armor should be one category lighter, like how "breastplate" was medium while "plate" and "full plate" were heavy in 3E.

Also, I do vote for a simple armor system. Have Light, Medium, and Heavy armors, then a +1 flaw you can take on each to get the upgraded +1 AC for disadvantage on skills (reinforced light), and less speed on medium.

Or something. 

Poe's Law is alive and well.

When scantily clad in partial armour,  a character (of either gender) may add their charisma bonus to their AC.
Detailed armor descriptions are the perfect thing for a splatbook, in my opinion.  Leave the general, "hide armor" sort of things as incredibly vague and ill-defined at the system level, with it up to the player to determine the exact appearance.  Then, have a section where it can go into detail, even having more fine-grained effects among individual suits.
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Detailed armor descriptions are the perfect thing for a splatbook, in my opinion.  Leave the general, "hide armor" sort of things as incredibly vague and ill-defined at the system level, with it up to the player to determine the exact appearance.  Then, have a section where it can go into detail, even having more fine-grained effects among individual suits.



I don't usually agree with you, but this I do. Hmm, I guess that means I don't usually. ~laughs~

Well, we're both afloat on the same rough (playtest) gaming waters(5th ed), except one of us is on a destroyer (is it you or is it me?) and the other is on a viking ship (see previous) usually.

I would prefer a method of extreme generalization for armor types and leave the level-of-detail to the gaming group. I'm glad they got rid of Displacer Beast... now to get rid of Dragon-anything armor. Seriously, that's the material it's made ofa could be a whole subsection, option, etc found elsewhere instead of clouding the table. Dragon armor gets a +1 or whatever they [the devs] feel fit for the material presence in an Armor Type.

 

I just said something and you just read it. Sorry about that.

Historically



Stop.
We're talking about fictional fantasy worlds that have no relationship to anything in real world history.
'Historically' is utterly irrelevant.


Stop.

Nonsense.

Why the heck shouldn't I be able to run a purely historically-inspired campaign if I want to?

Also, I think it's more than a little disingenuous to say that the fictional fantasy worlds we game in have no relationship to anything in real world history, because it's obvious that many (most?) really are heavily inspired by real-world ancient/medieval/early modern history.  The analogues are easy enough to see most of the time.  Some, like Game of Thrones' Westeros are transparent indeed.  History is by no means "utterly irrelevant" here.

On topic:

I like the current armour list well enough, but I'd prefer to see the "weird" armour types (dragon leather, mithril things) excised and replaced with other types from earlier editions.  In particular, seeing "chain(mail) shirt," "brigandine," and "breastplate" there would satisfy my need to see some partial armour types included.  I think each of those could stand in for one of the oddball armour types currently sucking up space in my armour list.

Also, let's do away with hide armour altogether, please.  Druids may wear leather and that should be good enough; nobody plays a Druid to be a well-armoured character.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

This is really way more complicated than it's worth.

Remember that's a big thing you have to look at in design. Something might be a cool idea, but is what you gain in complexity worth what you lose in simplicity? I would argue this is not :P 
My two copper.
get rid of wierd materials as basic armor and make dragonskin and displacer skin as options to modify armor.

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

nobody plays a Druid to be a well-armoured character.




Well, not nobody. My 3.5 druid had dragonscale full plate + tower shield and was a beast. I usually had an AC at least 12 points higher than the fighter in wildshape before buffs.
What 3.5 Druid didn't wear wild armor (you know the armor that melded with your skin when you changed shape granting you an armor bonus but no penalties. I dodn't even think the druid needed to be proficient in the armor to get this benefit)
Just let the aesthetics handle it. Fluff it up bro!


+1
Light Armor AC12
partial light AC11, hidden

Medium Armor AC 14, +2 DEX bonus max
partial med AC 13, +3 DEX max

Heavy Armor AC17, no DEX bonus
partial heavy AC15, +1 DEX bonus max


one could argue that being proficient in armor use is where the bonus lies, by limiting my DEX bonus I add AC could be more skill in positioning. 

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

Materials could grant save bonuses. Green Dragon scale adds skill die to poison saves. Adamantine armor adds skill die STR saves.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

So how should imcomplete armor be handled for groups that want more mechanical accuracy?

Well, if they want realism, armor would reduce damage, and partial armor would still reduce damage pretty well - if it was fairly rational partial armor covering vital areas.

If we want to keep it traditionally D&D, OTOH, there's a rule for taking off your helmet in the 1e DMG:   Your head is AC 10, and 1 in 6 attacks from unintelligent enemies target your head - 3 in 6 if the attacker has a clue.  Ouch.

One option would be to go for a lot less detail, and just say that each point of AC from armor is so much encumbrance, and such and such a stealth penalty, and let players describe +4 AC worth of armor as they like - whether that's full-coverage hardened leather, a maile hauberk or plate curaise.




 

 

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Historically



Stop.
We're talking about fictional fantasy worlds that have no relationship to anything in real world history.
'Historically' is utterly irrelevant.


Stop.

Nonsense.

Why the heck shouldn't I be able to run a purely historically-inspired campaign if I want to?



Because Mechanically D&D doesn't work that way?  It assumes magical healing for one.  It assumes that mystical creatures of varying levels of strangeness and associated powers exist, and that if you REALLY want to play a historical re-enactment game there are better systems for armour in other games?
I'd treat an incomplete suit of armor as the worst of its category. Done.

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If, for some reason, you want to granular about piecemeal armor, that 2E Table does get the job done pretty damn well.


Why the heck shouldn't I be able to run a purely historically-inspired campaign if I want to?


Because Mechanically D&D doesn't work that way?  It assumes magical healing for one.

But, it's also had workable non-magical healing of various kinds.  (currently HD & Healer's kits, before that, healing surges, Second Wind, Inspiring Word, Heal skill, and sad old rest & time).

It assumes that mystical creatures of varying levels of strangeness and associated powers exist

But you don't have to use them.  It has plenty of non-magical humanoids and beasts.



But, yeah, WhiteHarness, /inspired/ is the key word.  D&D is pretty far from historical simulation, even when stripped of magic.

 

 

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