I just can't get into Armor

I've sat silently by hoping this section of 5e will get changed as drastically as some of the classes have.  I know threads on armor have popped up several times but I would really like to kinda collect allot of people ideas and opinions here.

Are most people actually happy with the 5e approach?

Can someone explain to me what logic they have used to create there chart?  I mean why is money the only factor in getting better AC for example?

I would like to see the Max Dex be different for all the Armors.  Special Materials should be handled like weapons.  Make "Dragon" and "Mithral" something that can be applied to a normal armor.  For example have Scale Armor or Red Dragon Scale armor that provides the same AC bonus plus resistance to fire.  Maybe Elder Red Dragon Scale would add the +1 AC in addition to the fire resistance.  ect.

Don't use Dragon Leather.  Stick to Magical beast hides like the displacer beast and ect. Maybe those too could add special features.

Also Plate Mail AC is 18.  Ok that is what it has always been.  Then with a shield we can finally get to the AC 20 that the classes like Barbarian and Monk get for free.  Another example is that a Dex based fighter can only have AC 18 in a mithral shirt.  Why can't Fighters get the same AC as other classes?  Does this have something to do with Magical Armor?  Did they purposely do this so we can have Plate Mail +2?  but then the barbarian finds a ring of protection?  How are all of these things meant to be in 5e?

What would your alternative be? I get that there should be many different armors, for characters with different Dexterity bonuses (and I'm in total agreement on that), but how else would you scale armor if not by monetary cost?

The metagame is not the game.

Good question.  I knew when I put that line in there that I didn't express my thoughts clearly.   Strangely I just typed a paragraph and then deleted it.  Lets ignore the cost topic and say I understand where they are getting those numbers.

The focus is that I want more armors with a better feel for variety.  It seems we agree that armors should have a wider variety of Max Dex Numbers.  How else can we make the armors feel different?  WoTC has done this with Stealth Disadvantage and -5 speed.  It seems DnDN is trying to really pee things simple but one idea I had was something close to the Armor Check Penalty of the past.  What if some armors still had that concept in the idea of the character not getting to apply their skill dice to certain checks like jumping in plate mail?  Or maybe some armors would only reduce the size of the skill die?

Do you have any answers for my last paragraph in the first post?

I would love to get rid of the max dex bonus and replace it with minimum Str requirenment. So to get max armor you would need to max both str and dex. Just like the barbarian and monk pay to max 2 stats.
One way I toyed with houserules was to set the min str score = AC but only tested it in one microlite20 session so it would need more finetuning.

Im ok waiting for more materials until later books tbh

I agree that special materials should add special properties. I am also ok with granting a +1 AC, but instead of calling it magic calling it 'dragon hide', just sounds more interesting. Mithral and Dragon Hide are magical by their very nature, as long as the bonus doesn't exceed +1.
Also, to suggest that Monk and Barbarian get AC 20 for 'free' is not the case. They would have to devote a lot to two Ability scores, sacrificing other abilities, to get there. Fighters can get AC20 without devoting any Ability resources.
Finally, the Ring of Protection only offers +1AC. All magic armor can grant is +1 AC. Maybe we should not allow these magic bonuses to stack? Therefore a Fighter with +1 Plate and +1 Shield is still only AC21.

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.

By the way...awesome topic title
By the way...awesome topic title



My first thought was, "Shouldn't have rolled Dwarf."

On topic: I don't have quite the same beef as the OP, but I do think the armor chart suffers from the same thing as the weapons chart: some armors are clearly "better" than others.  Once you can afford plate there is never any reason to wear banded (magical bonuses aside).

I'd like to see more trade-offs between different types of armor.

And variants that depend on materials (dragon leather, mithril) shouldn't be their own entries.  Materials should be modifiers that get applied to base armors.  Maybe that's too complex for the "basic" game, but it could be one of those optional/advanced things.

I like the idea that my players think, "Hey, we just killed a dragon...we should skin it and see if we can find somebody who can make armor.  Um...anybody know how to skin your dragon?"  (in 3D!) 
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
On topic: I don't have quite the same beef as the OP, but I do think the armor chart suffers from the same thing as the weapons chart: some armors are clearly "better" than others.  Once you can afford plate there is never any reason to wear banded (magical bonuses aside).

Yeah, and?
It's not really a problem until we get some armor that somehow costs more for less benefit.  A simple 'more gold = more AC' isn't really a big deal.

I don't have a problem with some sorts of armor being strictly worse than others if money is no object.  Mind you, that might only be because I've never had a player express regret that he doesn't have cause to wear banded armor now that he can afford plate, but I would imagine that I could respond in a way that would please that player.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
I really really really dislike how armor is handled in 5e. I loathe the way armor only increases via money instead of via player skill. I go into some ideas for what I would prefer here.
I really really really dislike how armor is handled in 5e. I loathe the way armor only increases via money instead of via player skill. I go into some ideas for what I would prefer here.

So... Armor as cosmetic repaint on three AC options?

What exactly do you mean by "skill"?  Some numbers written on a paper, or some method of "roleplaying" armor?

I really really really dislike how armor is handled in 5e. I loathe the way armor only increases via money instead of via player skill. I go into some ideas for what I would prefer here.

So... Armor as cosmetic repaint on three AC options?


I want armor to be somewhat cosmetic to allow the player freeform creativity on how they want their armor to function. There would of course be examples of specific armor such as leather, chainmail, and plate.

I also want heavy armor to be more beneficial than light armor and for PCs to have more options to have a decent AC (aka remove the Dexterity monopoly on AC).

What exactly do you mean by "skill"?  Some numbers written on a paper, or some method of "roleplaying" armor?



Instead of simply having a weapon attack bonus, I think PCs should have a combat bonus. This would be a scaling bonus to attack rolls and AC based on level to represent a combatants experience in combat at both making and avoiding attacks.
Money is not the only factor. In some cases, armor with lower AC has lower movement or speed penalties.

Regardless, I do like affordable armor for populating the world. Expensive mundane armor provides a source of non-magical investment. And keeps high end armor presence to more believable level.

In 5e, there is a clear balance between light and heavy armor. Light AC is not capped at 18 in the given example. A shield can increase AC to 20. Two-Weapon Defense can increase AC to 19. Currently light and heavy caps are the same.
On topic: I don't have quite the same beef as the OP, but I do think the armor chart suffers from the same thing as the weapons chart: some armors are clearly "better" than others.  Once you can afford plate there is never any reason to wear banded (magical bonuses aside).

Yeah, and?
It's not really a problem until we get some armor that somehow costs more for less benefit.  A simple 'more gold = more AC' isn't really a big deal.




Think you are missing the point. Elfcrusher is seeking a non linear system rather than x is better than y is better than z but costs more money. If x=y=z but in different ways there would actually be a choice not just all level 10 with access to heavy always wears full plate.
 ADND had some interestinf ideas with differentiating AC vs different weapon types. Plate might be weak against piercing (x bows, dagger to the arm pit, pick axe to the chest) where as scale could be weak against bludgeoning as the scales move with the blow etc. If they all had the same ish base cost and AC but different strength and weakneses there would be a choice, now there is no choice we all wear the same gear....just like in WoW, borring!
Between speed penalty, stealth disadvantage, and donning speed, I like to argue that heavy armor is weaker than medium and light.
I like the different defenses against different damage types solution, but you need to make the difference both wide enough to care about and also small enough that the solution isn't to carry around a golf-bag with a mace and a rapier and a battle axe.

The metagame is not the game.

I think it might be itneresting to have medium and heavy armor benefit from resistance:

Medium armor has resistance to piercing.
Heavy armor has resistance to slashing and piercing.
Large + size creatures have resistance to bludgeoning.

Switching weapons should also require more than a free action so that choosing the right weapon actually takes some effort. At the very least it would make combat a little more interesting.
Instead of simply having a weapon attack bonus, I think PCs should have a combat bonus. This would be a scaling bonus to attack rolls and AC based on level to represent a combatants experience in combat at both making and avoiding attacks.

So, AC-by-class, with the actual armor itself being essentially cosmetic?

Yes, please.

I think it might be itneresting to have medium and heavy armor benefit from resistance:

Medium armor has resistance to piercing.
Heavy armor has resistance to slashing and piercing.
Large + size creatures have resistance to bludgeoning.

Switching weapons should also require more than a free action so that choosing the right weapon actually takes some effort. At the very least it would make combat a little more interesting.



I like this but I would suggest that medium has resistance to slashing.
Between speed penalty, stealth disadvantage, and donning speed, I like to argue that heavy armor is weaker than medium and light.



This, definitely. I've seen it from the beginning of the playtest and brought it up a few times, but it seems to be frozen now. I guess heavy armor just gets the short end of the stick in 5e.
I also dislike how armor is handled in 5E, as it is similar to 4E. In both, the special materials (like dragonhide or mithral) are expected as a function of leveling up and getting more gold. The flavor is intertwined with the mechanics in a way that's not easy to tease out.

If all leather users are expected to be wearing dragonhide leather at some point, doesn't that seem odd? What happens when you meet the good gold dragon who sees you wearing his cousin's skin as a suit? "Mithral" is also something heavily associated with elven culture, and I don't see the classic D&D adamantine anywhere.

I'd rather do it the 3E way. Keep the base armor list short (padded, leather, hide, studded leather, scale, ring, chain, splint, banded, plate) and add a special "masterwork" materials list (mithral, dragon, adamantine, etc.). Enchantment bonuses go from +1 to +5 regardless of the material.

If I'm playing Dark Sun, I don't want dragon scale shirts to be a thing. If I'm playing in some world where mithral is extra valuable (or stronger), I don't have to modify the base armor list to reflect that. Modularity, man!
Keendk - Thanks.  And I like the idea of min Str to an extent

Lawolf/Saelorn - I've thought of the resistance idea myself.  I wanted to see if anyone else liked the idea but as pointed out we don't want to carry golf bags around.  Still I've often wondered about a d20 modern 2nd edition.  I can't help thinking of a bullet proof vest that can't slow down a piercing weapon.  In some cases I think these concepts would be nice to see even if they only showed in a module.

WahSword - I've seen many feel heavy is weaker.  You spend the extra money and for what?  I would be happy if there were heavy armors that gave AC 19 or 20 but then had other penalties attached.  Granted some argue it's balanced because the heavy armor user doesn't need a good dex.  with the next module this might be even more interesting the way they are about to do feats and +1 ability options.

Veggie-sama - I simply agree.

Thanks for the feedback and ideas everyone!!
Many of you don't know me but I used to be on these boards A LOT.  moreso on the Real Adventures threads.  Anyways I used to know all the codes on here and now I can't even figure out why the darn BOLD won't shut off Embarassed
I love the idea of a required strength.  

I also think armor materials should be modifiers to to a simple list of armors.

My perfect armor chart would look something like this:



  • Armors  (same as current stats):


    • Light


      • Padded

      • Leather

      • Chain Shirt


    • Medium


      • Hide

      • Studded

      • Scale


    • Heavy 


      • Ring    (str 10)

      • Chain  (str 10)

      • Splint  (str 13)

      • Banded   (str 15)

      • Plate   (str 17)



  • Materials


    • Basic - No change in stats

    • Magical Beast - allows higher dex mod   (only leathers)

    • Dragon Scale - increases AC, raises str req  (leathers & metals)

    • Mithril - No speed reduction, lowers str req, lower weight  (only metals)



Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
As a side note, I think having a STR requirement for heavy armors would do a lot for helping seperate Clerics from Paladins.  Clerics don't usually dive into STR, but it's a primary stat for Paladins.  Clerics would still have access to Heavy Armors, but they would make use of the Ring, Chain, & Splint instead of Plate.
Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
I seriously doubt any of these ideas are making it in to the finnished game, so bookmarking this page so I can use them for my houserules that will be implented on day one of release

 The reason for the bold is that you copy pasted my name so it uses that font from then on, confused the hell out of me first time it happened to me the first time as well.

I would start even earlier with the str req and make it =AC  so a light ac 13 armor requires 13 str. Then we wont see the str 8 dex 20 rogue who can barely lift his dagger dance around like a ninja in 40 pounds of chainshirt for a full adventuring day. Or the str 8 wis 20 warpriest who can meryli move 25' in full plate whilst smiling and singing spells. And the paladin would indeed finally have the upper hand!
 I would probably rule that while mounted you use the higher of yours or the mounts Str bonus.
 Also it would break the superior dex stats dominance over all other stats.

I like your material ideas Darren. Did you have any specific numbers in mind for the marerial bonus/negatives? 
I would start even earlier with the str req and make it =AC  so a light ac 13 armor requires 13 str. Then we wont see the str 8 dex 20 rogue who can barely lift his dagger dance around like a ninja in 40 pounds of chainshirt for a full adventuring day.

Fortunately, you'll never have to see that anyway, since a chainshirt (mithral shirt) weighs only 10 lbs, a dagger weighs 1 lb, and someone with Strength 8 is defined by the ability to carry 80 lbs without encumbrance.

On a more reasonable note, Strength 8 is within one standard deviation of perfectly average - certainly not a weakling, by any stretch of the imagination.

The metagame is not the game.

I want talking abou the mystical fearymaterial I was talking a norm...what the! There is no chainshirts made out of ordinary metal??
Ok...looking at 3.5 srd a normal chain shirt is 25 so I was off by 15 pounds, humble apologies.
 Still it is a way to make str less of a dump stat
Hah, in 3E, a chain shirt is 25 lbs and a dagger is 1/2 lb. A 3E rogue with Strength 8 has a light encumbrance limit of 26 lbs, so.... no belt pouch for you!

It sounds like that's almost a problem that would take care of itself, if they just brought encumbrance limits back to within reason. 

The metagame is not the game.

Rarely has any group of mine actually tracked encumbrance and item weights. Most of the time it's more trouble than it's worth. However, I do like DarrenHollywood's suggestion of limiting heavy armors by Strength score.

Armor is typically the heaviest object someone has to carry around, so we might as well go straight from Strength => Armor, rather than Strength => Weight Limit and Armor => Armor Weight. Less steps, same basic result.
I agree with everyone who is saying that seeing the armor chart as a ladder of advancement is dissapointing.  Give us some modularity to create great pieces and use that same modularity to define some unique and legendary pieces of armor.

On specific numbers for those materials, I would try to use what I can from their chart so...


  • Magical Beast Hide/Leathers - +1 dex modifier max, No Stealth Disadvantage

  • Dragon Scale - AC + 2, STR req + 2 (minimum of 10)

  • Mithril - No speed reduction, STR req - 2

  • Adamantine - ?

Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
I agree with everyone who is saying that seeing the armor chart as a ladder of advancement is dissapointing.  Give us some modularity to create great pieces and use that same modularity to define some unique and legendary pieces of armor.

On specific numbers for those materials, I would try to use what I can from their chart so...


  • Magical Beast Hide/Leathers - +1 dex modifier max, No Stealth Disadvantage

  • Dragon Scale - AC + 2, STR req + 2 (minimum of 10)

  • Mithril - No speed reduction, STR req - 2

  • Adamantine - ?





Maybe:

Adamantine: +4 AC, Advantage vs offensive Spells, STR req +3, Stealth Disadvantage, Speed Reduction

what do you think?
I really want armor to be super simple and easily customizable.

Light Armor = 11 + Dex or Wis Mod

Heavy Armor = 13 + lower of Str or Con mod

Armor made from special materials can be just that, special. No need for special materials to increase AC or be an assumed part of armor progression.

I would much rather a class have their AC increase due to combat skill and level than wealth.

P.S. what if your game world has no mithril, no displacer beasts, no dragons?
P.S. what if your game world has no mithril, no displacer beasts, no dragons?

Then you're not playing in "the default D&D setting," and it is expected that whoever designed that world will have also designed replacements for these progressive armors. As with any setting, whenever you remove something from the core game, you're expected to either replace it or embrace its absence.

The metagame is not the game.

If armor gets modulation, then so should weapons. This can of worms can be saved for later. Sometimes less is more.

I feel very strongly that fantastic materials should be kept separate from standard types of armor.  What happens when a world setting doesn't have dragons or they're exceedingly rare?  What if a home brewed campaign is a magical quasi historical world where mithral and adamantine simply don't exist?  I've played in both types of games, so I'm not pulling these examples out of thin air.


It seems trivial until you're designing or playing in a campaign that treads off the beaten path.  If you want to limit or strip out an exotic material that's expected for making certain types of armor, it offsets game balance or invites creating additional house rules to keep track of.


One of the early goals of D&D was modularity.  So far it's made a few much appreciated appearances as Optional rules.  Modularity has touched magic items by putting their frequency of appearance more directly in the DM's hands.  I think the same thing should be done with exotic armor materials.  If a player looks at the armor list and expects he can save up his gold coins and automatically buy that something made of dragon bits or mithral it no longer feels like a reward.  I want fantastic armor materials to be a part of the game but personally I'd like getting a hold of them to be special, like getting a magic sword, rather than an implicit expectation.

If armor gets modulation, then so should weapons. This can of worms can be saved for later. Sometimes less is more.


The problem is that they are already using various materials for armors, but it's in a way that is completely not modular.  If we had those various materials in a separate chart with rules and pricing information it would let the Players/DM determine the best way to use them.  They could be cut from a campaign, purchased at the players whim, or be extremely rare and flavor for magic items.

I hope that weapons do have various materials.  Even if it's mostly flavor I think it's something worth considering.
Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
I really really really dislike how armor is handled in 5e. I loathe the way armor only increases via money instead of via player skill. I go into some ideas for what I would prefer here.



But that's how D&D has ALWAYS handled armour.  It goes back to it's wargame roots.  And no one has ever wanted to actualy change it enough so that skill actually matters.
I get the feeling that Armor isn't supposed to get that much better over time. A point or two over twenty levels. And this applies equally to Fighters, Monks, Wizards whatever.

For instance. As the Fighter levels he can afford better armor. He needs to level to get that cash, and the better the piece of armor he selects the less it allows his dex to modify his AC.

Non-Armor classes simply wait for their dexterity to increase.  

If you don't wear armor and don't increase your dex....stay away from combat. 

I undertand the desire for modularity in armor, but haven't seen a good argument for its beings necessary, useful for gameplay or mechanics, or enjoyable for players. It sounds too modular, where the fun part about equipment is that it is basically static (minus magic) after level 7 or so. 
But that's how D&D has ALWAYS handled armour.  It goes back to it's wargame roots.  And no one has ever wanted to actualy change it enough so that skill actually matters.

Well, 4E gave you the half-level bonus, so skill was at least as important as cash for high-level characters. A high-level fighter without armor would be untouchable to a low-level monster, in a way that wasn't true of any other edition. Other than that, there's usually been a module to handle that sort of thing; Unearthed Arcana (3.5) had a class-based defense bonus variant, for example.

I wouldn't say that nobody wanted to change it, so much as it's been closely linked with the D&D experience and people are afraid to change it (at least, in the default rules).

The metagame is not the game.

I like a str req for heavy armor, but doesn't it make heavy armor strictly worse?

I'd like to see a str req replace the current "downsides" of heavy armor.
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