Armor, a Retrospective

Below is a compilation of armors from 1e (Player’s Handbook, Unearthed Arcana, Oriental Adventures), 2e (Player’s Handbook, Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics) and 3e (Player’s Handbook, Oriental Adventures). This list isn’t exhaustive, if it wasn’t in one of the sources cited above, it wasn’t included. Armors from Next were not included because it seems like no one (myself included) is satisfied with that list. 3.5e wasn’t included because it wasn’t significantly different from 3e in regards to armor. 4e was, also, not included—this is solely because I do not have any 4e materials to draw from. Nor did I include armor from the original edition (oD&D), or “basic” D&D (BXCMI, etc.), simply because I didn’t feel like it, and didn’t think that it’d impact the comparisons being made.

      From the materials include, some items were intentionally left out: armor pieces from Oriental Adventures (1e), composite armors from Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics, armor extras from the Player’s Handbook (3e), and the “shield-like” armors from Oriental Adventures (3e)

      Note (Part 1): Some of the armor names have been purposefully altered for the sake of sorting them easier. None of these changes should render identifying them more difficult, though.

      Note (Part 2): I left the costs of armors from the 1e Oriental Adventures in “as-is”. Anyone savvy enough to convert their costs to gp will note that their converted costs do not match the costs given in other 1e sources when the same armor is found in other sources (banded mail, chain mail, etc.). It’s for this reason that I left their costs unconverted.

      Note (Part 3): Armors are arranged first by AC Bonus (ACs from earlier editions were converted to this format), secondly alphabetically by name, and thirdly alphabetically by source. ACs from earlier editions were converted to AC Bonuses (any AC bonus apply only when using the called shots and/or hit locations optional rules to target the character’s head, and even then replaces any other AC Bonus from armor (that is, it doesn’t add to the overall AC of the character).

 

Armor

AC Bonus

Cost

Weight

Source

Helmet, Basinet

8 gp

5 lb.

PHB, 2e

Helmet, Cap

4 gp

3 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Helmet, Close-Faced

20 gp

10 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Helmet, Great Helm

30 gp

10 lb.

PHB, 2e

Helmet, Great Helm

80 gp

20 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Helmet, Hanburi

1 tael

OA, 1e

Helmet, Jingasa (War Hat)

1 tael

OA, 1e

Helmet, Kabuto (Great Helm)

5 ch'ien

OA, 1e

Helmet, Leather Helm

1 gp

2 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Helmet, Mail Coif

10 gp

5 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Helmet, Open-Faced

12 gp

7 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Helmet, Small

2 tael

OA, 1e

Shield, Tower

**

30 gp

45 lb.

PHB, 3e

Padded Armor

+1

5 gp

10 lb.

PHB, 3e

Shield, Body

+1

10 gp

15 lb.

PHB, 2e

Shield, Buckler

+1

5 yuan

3 lb.

OA, 1e

Shield, Buckler

+1

1 gp

3 lb.

PHB, 2e

Shield, Buckler

+1

15 gp

5 lb.

PHB, 3e

Shield, Buckler

+1

1 gp

3 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Shield, Buckler

+1

5 gp

3 lb.

UA, 1e

Shield, Large

+1

2 tael

10 lb.

OA, 1e

Shield, Large

+1

15 gp

10 lb.

PHB, 1e

Shield, Medium

+1

30 yuan

5 lb.

OA, 1e

Shield, Medium

+1

7 gp

10 lb.

PHB, 2e

Shield, Medium

+1

7 gp

7 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Shield, Small

+1

10 gp

5 lb.

PHB, 1e

Shield, Small

+1

3 gp

5 lb.

PHB, 2e

Shield, Small

+1

3 gp

5 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Shield, Small, Steel

+1

9 gp

6 lb.

PHB, 3e

Shield, Small, Wooden

+1

1 gp

3 lb.

PHB, 1e

Shield, Small, Wooden

+1

3 gp

5 lb.

PHB, 3e

Cord Armor

+2

15 gp

15 lb.

OA, 3e

Cord Armor

+2

10 gp

15 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Leather Armor

+2

2 tael

15 lb.

OA, 1e

Leather Armor

+2

5 gp

15 lb.

PHB, 1e

Leather Armor

+2

5 gp

15 lb.

PHB, 2e

Leather Armor

+2

10 gp

15 lb.

PHB, 3e

Leather Armor

+2

5 gp

15 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Padded Armor

+2

1 tael

10 lb.

OA, 1e

Padded Armor

+2

4 gp

10 lb.

PHB, 1e

Padded Armor

+2

4 gp

10 lb.

PHB, 2e

Padded Armor

+2

4 gp

10 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Shield, Large

+2

10 gp

15 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Shield, Large, Steel

+2

20 gp

15 lb.

PHB, 3e

Shield, Large, Wooden

+2

7 gp

10 lb.

PHB, 3e

Ashigaru Armor

+3

25 gp

20 lb.

OA, 3e

Bone Armor

+3

20 gp

20 lb.

OA, 3e

Bone/Wood Armor

+3

50 gp

20 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Hide Armor

+3

15 gp

25 lb.

PHB, 3e

Ring Mail

+3

1 ch'ien

25 lb.

OA, 1e

Ring Mail

+3

30 gp

25 lb.

PHB, 1e

Ring Mail

+3

100 gp

30 lb.

PHB, 2e

Ring Mail

+3

40 gp

30 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Scale Armor, Leather

+3

4 tael

20 lb.

OA, 1e

Scale Armor, Leather

+3

35 gp

20 lb.

OA, 3e

Scale Armor, Light

+3

80 gp

25 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Studded Leather Armor

+3

4 tael

20 lb.

OA, 1e

Studded Leather Armor

+3

15 gp

20 lb.

PHB, 1e

Studded Leather Armor

+3

20 gp

25 lb.

PHB, 2e

Studded Leather Armor

+3

25 gp

20 lb.

PHB, 3e

Studded Leather Armor

+3

20 gp

25 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Brigandine

+4

30 gp

40 lb.

OA, 3e

Brigandine

+4

120 gp

35 lb.

PHB, 2e

Brigandine

+4

120 gp

30 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Chain Shirt

+4

100 gp

25 lb.

PHB, 3e

Hide Armor

+4

8 tael

25 lb.

OA, 1e

Hide Armor

+4

15 gp

30 lb.

PHB, 2e

Hide Armor

+4

35 gp

30 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Hide Armor, Dhenuka

+4

30 gp

25 lb.

OA, 3e

Partial Armor

+4

50 gp

30 lb.

OA, 3e

Scale Armor, Metal

+4

2 ch'ien

40 lb.

OA, 1e

Scale Armor, Metal

+4

45 gp

40 lb.

PHB, 1e

Scale Armor, Metal

+4

120 gp

40 lb.

PHB, 2e

Scale Armor, Metal

+4

50 gp

30 lb.

PHB, 3e

Scale Armor, Metal

+4

60 gp

40 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Chain Mail

+5

5 ch'ien

30 lb.

OA, 1e

Chain Mail

+5

75 gp

30 lb.

PHB, 1e

Chain Mail

+5

75 gp

40 lb.

PHB, 2e

Chain Mail

+5

150 gp

40 lb.

PHB, 3e

Chain Mail

+5

75 gp

40 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Chain Mail, Elfin

+5

15 lb.

UA, 1e

Lamellar Armor

+5

150 gp

35 lb.

OA, 3e

Lamellar Armor, Metal

+5

250 gp

35 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Plate, Breastplate

+5

200 gp

30 lb.

PHB, 3e

Banded Mail

+6

5 ch'ien

35 lb.

OA, 1e

Banded Mail

+6

90 gp

35 lb.

PHB, 1e

Banded Mail

+6

200 gp

35 lb.

PHB, 2e

Banded Mail

+6

250 gp

35 lb.

PHB, 3e

Banded Mail

+6

200 gp

35 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Chain Mail, Improved

+6

180 gp

50 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Plate Mail, Bronze

+6

400 gp

45 lb.

PHB, 2e

Plate Mail, Bronze

+6

400 gp

45 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Plate Mail, Bronze

+6

100 gp

45 lb.

UA, 1e

Splint Mail

+6

4 ch'ien

40 lb.

OA, 1e

Splint Mail

+6

80 gp

40 lb.

PHB, 1e

Splint Mail

+6

80 gp

40 lb.

PHB, 2e

Splint Mail

+6

200 gp

45 lb.

PHB, 3e

Splint Mail

+6

80 gp

40 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

O-Yoroi (Great Armor)

+7

20 ch'ien

40 lb.

OA, 1e

O-Yoroi (Great Armor)

+7

1,000 gp

45 lb.

OA, 3e

Plate Mail

+7

400 gp

45 lb.

PHB, 1e

Plate Mail

+7

600 gp

50 lb.

PHB, 2e

Plate Mail

+7

600 gp

50 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Plate, Half-Plate

+7

600 gp

50 lb.

PHB, 3e

Plate, Field

+8

2,000 gp

60 lb.

PHB, 2e

Plate, Field

+8

2,000 gp

60 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Plate, Field

+8

2,000 gp

55 lb.

UA, 1e

Plate, Full

+8

1,500 gp

50 lb.

PHB, 3e

Plate, Full

+9

4,000-10,000 gp

70 lb.

PHB, 2e

Plate, Full

+9

4,000 gp

70 lb.

PO:C&T, 2e

Plate, Full

+9

4,000 gp

65 lb.

UA, 1e

P.S.  I bet my nice formatting dies at the hands of these boards.

 

P.P.S. For those of you that celebrate it, merry Christmas. For those of you that don't, have an extra nice day.

Azzy’s Trivial Trivia, A Blog

 

+1 Fun stuff! Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you too.

 

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

It's interesting to see the various representations of the exact same item, even when it hasn't changed that much over the decades. I am kind of curious about that 20-lb great helm, though.

The metagame is not the game.

Thanks Azzy. Now, what conclusions can we draw from this? At face value it seems the armor classes are pretty similar throughout the editions. I actually did some similar research before making my armor table for the other thread, and came to the same conclusion. 

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One major shift that the table doesn't show is how 3e limits attribute contributions to AC based on armour type with an eye to stopping AC from going over +8 or +9 (+10 or +11 with a shield) without magical armours. A TSR-era character in full plate could get an ac value far beyond +9 with a high dex or magic items that gave them a high dex, so a guy in full plate could end up with +10 to +13 to their AC without a shield if they managed to get a high dex score (15+). It also compounds the maximum AC potential when you start to look at magic items.

 

I remember when I first looked through 3e how I was glad to see that dex was no longer something everyone always felt they needed. Like so many things in D&D, you never actually need a high stat, but the game often makes me feel like I need it.

I'd love to see the designers take a look at this table, if only for the sake of the 5e PHB having entries such as:

 

Studded Leather: <description of studded leather>. In some settings this entry also represents leather scale, bone armor, and ashigaru armor.
Chainmail: <description of chainmail>. You can also use this entry for lamellar.

 

Etc.

I glad that you guys (you, y'all, yous guys, etc.) are digging this post. Thank you!

 

I started throwing this together because I was dissatisfied by Next's armor table and thought about putting together my own (I'm still working on it, heh). More on that in a bit...

 

kadim wrote:

One major shift that the table doesn't show is how 3e limits attribute contributions to AC based on armour type with an eye to stopping AC from going over +8 or +9 (+10 or +11 with a shield) without magical armours.

 

True, and the seagues into one of the things that I've noticed about the D&D Next armor table...  Mainly that it puts a limit on the maximum AC that your character can have, and the armor’s price is influenced by this limit. Including Dex modifiers, but not the AC bonus from shields, you character (with only starting funds) can have up to an AC of 16. If your character can spend at least 500 gp on armor, you can have up to an AC of 17. If you can spend at least 5,000 gp on armor, you can top out with an AC of 18.

 

Medium armor seems a bit borked by these standards, though, as 5,000 gp in this category only nets you a maximum of 17 AC unlike the other two categories, and you can start with armors that are limited to an AC of 14.

 

Ramzour wrote:
Now, what conclusions can we draw from this?

 

Oh,, that's the question, isn't it?

 

One of the things I noticed when compiling the list was that there were several overlaps between armors from the original 1e Player’s Handbook and armors from later sources. One of the more notable instances is the overlap between banded armor, the ō-yoroi of Oriental Adventures, and the metal lamellar armor from Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics. Ō-yoroi is an older (pre-Sengoku era) type of samurai armor and is an example lamellar armor (which generally falls under the category of okasi-gusoku), and lamellar armor, itself, is already covered by AD&D’s “banded armor”.

 

Another example is studded leather and brigandine (which was added in the 2e Player’s Handbook). Studded leather is likely a confusion with the historical brigandine (which general sandwiched smallish metal plates between two layers of leather and typically used large rivets to hold it together, hence the “studs”). So, we have two armors covering the same thing with the same AC bonus. Go us!

 

Ultimately, this allows for a bit of consolidation so that we can excise these overlaps. I've chosen to consolidate thusly (the price, weights and AC are typically from their original sources and are open to modification):

 

Consolidated Armor Listing

Armor

AC

Price

Weight

Notes

Cord Armor

12

10 gp

15 lb.

 

Leather Armor

12

5 gp

15 lb.

 

Padded Armor

12

4 gp

10 lb.

 

Bone/Wood Armor

13

20 gp

20 lb.

 

Ring Mail

13

30 gp

25 lb.

 

Scale Armor, Light

13

35 gp

20 lb.

Includes leather, paper and wood scale

Studded Leather

13

15 gp

20 lb.

Includes brigandine, okasi-gusoku

Hide Armor

14

35 gp

25 lb.

Includes dhenuka

Scale Armor

14

45 gp

40 lb.

Includes lorica hamata

Chain Mail

15

75 gp

30 lb.

 

Chain Mail, Elven

15

15 lb.

Banded Armor

16

90 gp

35 lb.

Includes lamellar, lorica segmenta, kozane dō gusoku, ō-yoroi

Bronze Half-Plate

16

100 gp

45 lb.

Includes hoplite armor

Splint Armor

16

80 gp

40 lb.

 

Half-Plate

17

600 gp

45 lb.

Includes tosei dō gusoku

Field Plate

18

2,000 gp

55 lb.

 

Full Plate

19

4,000 gp

65 lb.

 

 

When trying to convert this list to Next’s format, I ran into a bit of a snag. It’s difficult justifying Nexts’s these AC limits by price when you have mundane armors covering a broader range of ACs (e.g., light scale being AC 13 and should be a light armor as to gain the full Dex Mod. shouldn’t cost 5,000 gp for any in-game reason aside from availability in some lands, and even then…).

 

Also, there’s absolutely no reason (mechanical or fluff-wise) for Ring Mail to be a heavy armor. Maybe a medium armor (but even then, it gets shafted for no good reason). If the Dex modifier limitation wasn’t ternary (light armors get full Dex mod., medium armors get up to +2, and heavy armors get no Dex mod.), and instead varied by the individual armor, it would be easier to just shove these things into light/medium/heavy brackets and call it a day. …But, alas!

 

Within this ternary method and the AC + Dex modifier limits of 16/17/18 by price, anything with an AC of 13 or less should be light armor, armors with ACs of 14-15 should be medium armor, armors with 16 AC can be either medium or heavy armor, and armors with 17-18 AC should be heavy armor. (And then we add the artificial prices as appropriate, so armors with a total AC of 17 cost at least 500 gp and those with a total AC of 18 cost at least 5,000 gp.) Oh, and deep six that armor with a 19 AC!

 

In my opinion, bronze (of the bronze half-plate) and mithil (of the elven chain mail) should be moved to an exotic materials list (and I’ll be doing that), along with dragon leather, dragon scale, adamantine, etc. Much like Ramzour and Kadim have already done.

 

P.S. — I’ve had to “correct” my spelling of armor several times during the writing of this post as I have a habit of using the British spelling. #firstworldproblems

 

 

I would like if they removed materials such as Dragon and Mithral from standard armour types.

Azzy1974 wrote:
...

Azzy, you bring up a lot of good points. I have a few comments though.

1) I think Heavy Armor SHOULD give you the highest AC, ultimately. At it does. So that's good. I'm fine that it outclasses Light and Medium.

 

2) While the Dex mod limit on armor is good for a few balance reasons, it's not good for much else. The armor rules do not make any assumptions about the Dexterity of any individual armor wearers. So because of that, you might think Ringmail or Hide Armor is outclassed by lighter armors. Remember though, that's ONLY the case when you consider Dex modifiers. You could have a Warrior Ogre with poor Dex wearing Ring Mail, for an AC of 14. Ring Mail is considered crude and cheap armor. That's what an ogre might have access to. However, a suit of Scale Armor (especially one sized for an ogre) might be unobtainable, story-wise. The ogre, then, wears Ring Mail because it's the best armor he can get.

 

3) So what if Exceptional Scale Armor costs 5000gp, whereas normal Chain Mail gives the same AC for 75gp! I like it. Exception Scale Armor (at least in Ramzour's Armor Table) has some nice additional properties, it's lighter, and is much finer armor in general. Plus, the user could add his Dex Modifier in the Scale, but not the Chain.

 

Some people (I'm not saying you) like to ignore equipment price and availability. I think that's seriously flawed thinking. They could say "why would anyone wear ring armor?" The answer is most characters probably won't....but that's not to say the armor doesn't have a good place somewhere else in the world.

 

Why would a character ever spend 5000gp for plate when mithal plate is 6000gp? Well, um, maybe they don't have that extra 1000gp? Maybe there is no mithral armor for sale? Maybe there's no armorsmith to fit it for you? You can't just ignore the economy. Well, you can in your own games, but not in the D&D core system.

 

4) When I crafted Ramzour's Armor Table, I was really close to giving armor individual DexMod limits. I ultimately gave up for simplicity reasons. It heavily complicated the armor table, applied excess constraints, and overall didn't change much in the game. I think Less is More here. 

 

5) I actually really like how the Light, Medium, and Heavy categories overlap. You can get a nice Chain Shirt, or some crude Hide. You can get some nice Scale Armor, or come crude Ring. I think that helps ease the transition between armor proficiency categories.

 

6) I'm looking forward to what you come up with. You, Kadim, and I need to team up to make the ultimate armor table! 

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See for me Next's AC limiting is not new. It started in 3e and it's carried on since. Next is doing it in a particularly overt way, but the idea that you can't get more AC than ~19 without a shield or magic is as old as 3e.

I don't mind that heavy armour is better as armour either. It is better as armour, so it should be so in game.

 

And really, dexterity ceilings do that for me 'cause what it's saying is if a person is naturally quick and good at avoiding things anyway, they'll be able to wear inferior armour to make that difference. I would kind of like to include con though. Maybe str? dunno. Str requirements certainly, but it'd be cool if medium armour gave the character the option of relying on their ability to evade people or their ability to get hit.

kadim wrote:
I don't mind that heavy armour is better as armour either. It is better as armour, so it should be so in game.

 

And really, dexterity ceilings do that for me 'cause what it's saying is if a person is naturally quick and good at avoiding things anyway, they'll be able to wear inferior armour to make that difference. I would kind of like to include con though. Maybe str? dunno. Str requirements certainly, but it'd be cool if medium armour gave the character the option of relying on their ability to evade people or their ability to get hit.

Yeah, I think STR requirement on armor make sense. This is what I had in the other thread.

 

Light Armor: No Strength requirement

Medium Armor: No Strength requirement

Heavy Armor: Requires Strength 14. Masterwork lowers the requirement to STR 13. 

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A lot of things making sense are not implemented, such as heavier armor reducing AC but increasing damage reduction. The heavier the armor the lower the AC and the heavier the armor the higher the DR.

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This armor table is a work in progress - part of the conversation in the thread about armor by Ramzour.

 

The goal is to make Standard armor rules as clear and as systematic as possible. Meanwhile Advanced armor lists more options that can break these rules - but still as clearly as possible.

 

The Advanced options strives cover all the options in the D&D traditions. These armors organize into Light, Medium, and Heavy armor categories.

 

The tables currently work with the assumption that Nonarmor is AC 10. However it is strongly recommended to set Nonarmor as AC 10, to better simulate how dangerous unarmored combat is, and to better distinguish between various Light armors, whose AC is necessarily less than Chain.

 

Currently, the table ignores prices because they are unreliable for ensuring balance and distract from awareness of the problems that strictly better armors can cause. But later, the prices will be added for the sake of adventure setting flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

STANDARD ARMOR

 

Standard Armor

Standard Armor

AC

Max Dex

Speed

Stealth

Quality

Nonarmor

10

Light

Padded

12

Light

Standard

Leather

13

Medium

Standard

Chain

14

Medium

Disadvantage

Standard

Scale

15

Medium

Disadvantage

Standard

Full Chain

16

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadvantage

Standard

Full Scale

17

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadvantage

Standard

 

• Armor comes with a Plate helmet or Chain hood. Removing this metal head protection reduces the AC −1.

• Padded armor is worn under other armors. Removing this Padded armor reduces the AC −1.

• Torso armor is a tunic or breastplate, including protection for shoulders, upper thighs, and codpiece.

• A breastplate is front and back pieces (cuirass), or is fastened at front like a vest (jack).

• A tunic is shortsleeved and groin-length, a jacket is longsleeved. A robe is elbow-length and knee-length, or longer.

• Full armor additionally covers arms and legs, including gauntlets and reinforced boots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADVANCED ARMOR (LIGHT AND MEDIUM)

Show

ADVANCED ARMOR (LIGHT AND MEDIUM)

Standard

Armor

Advanced

Armor

Special

Armor

AC

Max Dex

Speed

Stealth

Noisy

Quality

Nonarmor

 

 

10

Light

Padded

Padded

Padded Tunic (Gambeson)

Padded Jacket (Arming Doublet)

Padded Cap (Arming Cap, Coif)

(Paddings of cloth, leather, horse hair, etc

quilted between fabrics of leather or canvas)

 

12

Light

Standard

 

Full Padded

Padded Robe with Hood or Cap

Padded Jacket with Hood or Cap, plus Pants

 

12

Light

Standard

 

Leather Banded

Hard Leather Banded Breastplate

Roman Lorica Segmentata Corii

(Hard boiled leather bands

across torso,

fastened to leather straps,

with comfortable fit)

 

13

Light

Superior

 

Leather Plate

Hard Leather Plate Breastplate

Roman Lorica Muscolata Corii

(Solid pieces of

layered hard boiled leather,

shaped while wet, drying stiff,

front and back

to fasten at the side,

or the front is split

to fasten as a vest,

with comfortable fit)

 

13

Light

Superior

 

 

Wyrmling Plate

Wyrmling Leather Plate

14

Light

Special

 

 

Mithral Chain

Elven Chain

14

Light

Special

 

Cord

(Fabric of twined fibers

in macreme knots)

 

12

Medium

Inferior

 

Wood

Wood Scale or Lamellar

 

13

Medium

Disadv

Inferior

 

Bone

Bone Scale or Lamellar

(Bone, horn, ivory)

 

13

Medium

Disadv

Inferior

Leather

Leather

Hard Leather Scale

(Hard boiled leather scales,

fastened on a fabric tunic,

visible like fish scales or tiles)

 

13

Medium

Standard

 

Studded

Studded Leather Brigandine

Studded Hard Leather Scale

(Hard boiled leather scales, riveted

between fabrics of leather or canvas,

with studs of rivets visible,

often decorative)

 

13

Medium

Standard

 

Leather Lamellar

Hard Leather Lamellar

(Hard boiled leather scale ‘lamellae’,

fastened to each other

- not on a fabric backing -

usually rectangular like tiles)

 

13

Medium

Standard

 

Hide

Fur Hide Tunic

(Tunic of fur from tough-hide beast,

like bear,

possibly with animal head as hood;

reindeer tunic of Sami Finnr,

claimed to be about as effective

as Chain tunic)

 

13

Medium

Standard

Chain

Chain

Chainmail/Mail/Maille

Chain Tunic

Chain Shirt

Byrnie

Roman Lorica Hamata

(Fabric of a metal mesh

of interlocking rings)

 

14

Medium

Disadv

Standard

 

 

Studded Wyrmling

Studded Wyrmilng Leather Brigandine

14

Medium

Special

Scale

Scale

Roman Lorica Squamata

(Scales fastened to a fabric tunic,

visible as fish scales or tiles)

 

15

Medium

Disadv

Standard

 

Brigandine

Studded Brigandine

Studded Scale

(Scales riveted between fabrics,

with studs of rivets visible,

often decorative)

 

15

Medium

Disadv

Standard

 

Lamellar

Scale Lamellar

Japanese Zokane Do-Maru

(Scales fastened to each other,

rather than to a fabric,

tightly for snug fit;

examples exist in most cultures)

 

15

Medium

Disadv

Standard

 

Banded

Roman Lorica Segmentata

(A band is a long horizontal scale,

often wrapping around

half the torso girth,

sewn on fabric of leather or canvas,

worn by straps connecting

bands for tight fit)

 

15

Medium

Disadv

Standard

 

Chain-Lamellar

(Confusingly Splinted Mail, Splintmail)

(Confusingly Plated Mail, Platemail)

Persian Behter

Russian Bechter

(Small scale ‘lamellae’

interlocking to each other by rings,

and to sections of Chain mesh)

 

15

Medium

Disadv

Standard

 

Chain-Plate

Plate-Chain / Plated Mail / Platemail

Persian Jawshan

Byzantine

Russian Yushman

Japanese Karuta Tatami-Dos

(Large plates linked to each other

by chain rings and to sections

of Chain mesh)

 

15

Medium

Disadv

Standard

 

Lamellar-Plate

(Lamellar armor that incorporates

large plates; plates and scale lamellae

fastened to each other)

 

15

Medium

Disadv

Standard

 

 

Dragon Scale

16

Medium

Disadv

Special

 

 

Mithril Plate

Elven Plate

16

Medium

Special

 

 

Full Mithril Chain

Full Elven Chain

16

Medium

Special

 

 

 

Note: Scale and Lamellar are the same thing, and D&D listings of ‘Scale' can allow the player to choose either one. But here, they list separately for variety of flavor. The only difference is: One has the small metal scale ‘lamellae’ attached to a fabric, such as a tunic. The other has the small metal scale lamellae attached to each other. Both are worn over Padded armor and come with a Plate Helmet. They have the same AC values and properties.

ADVANCED ARMOR (HEAVY)

Show

 

Standard

Armor

Advanced

Armor

Special

Armor

AC

Max Dex

Speed

Stealth

Noisy

Quality

Nonarmor

Nonarmor

(Nude or in typical clothing,

from loincloths to heavy robes)

 

10

Light

 

Full False Ring

(Nonhistorical scale-like armor,

rings sewn on fabric, including limbs,

strictly inferior to Chain armor)

 

14

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Inferior

 

Full Hide

 

15

Heavy

−5 feet

Inferior

 

Plate

Plate Breastplate (Cuirass)

Half Plate

Muscled Breastplate

Roman Lorica Muscolata

(Large shaped metal plate,

covering half the girth of the torso,

worn by leather straps,

plus protection for shoulders and pelvis)

 

16

Heavy

Disadv

Superior

 

 

Adamantine Plate

Dwarven Plate

16

Heavy

Disadv

Special

Full Chain

Full Chain

Chain Robe (Hauberk) with Hood or Coif

Tunic and Leggings (Byrnie and Chausses)

 

16

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Standard

Full Scale

Full Scale

Full Splint

Full Scale and Splint

Normally, Scale breastplate and Splint limbs:

Scale is usually unsuimable for free-wielding limbs,

while Splint unsuitable for twisting torso.

(A splint is a long vertical scale,

such as across shin or forearm, sewn on fabric)

 

17

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Standard

 

Full Lamellar

 

17

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Standard

 

Full Chain and Scale

Mail and Scale

Scale Breastplate over Full Chain

 

17

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Standard

 

Full Chain and Plate

Mail and Plate

Plate Breastplate over Full Chain

 

17

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Standard

 

Full Chain-Lamellar

 

17

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Standard

 

Full Lamellar-Plate

Japanese O-Yoroi

(Scales ‘lamellae’ affixed to each other and to large plates)

 

17

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Standard

 

Full Banded

(Roman Lorica Segentata,

with Manica half-girth bands,

down outer half of each arm,

worn by leather straps,

plus Belatus skirt, studded over groin,

plus shin guard greaves)

 

17

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Standard

 

Full False Banded

(Roman Lorica Segmentata but with

nonhistorical tight-fitting Manica-like bands,

fully around each arm and leg,

and inaccurately speedy)

 

17

Heavy

Disadv

Superior

 

Field Plate

(Full Plate but without Chain joints,

comparatively vulnerable but comfortable)

 

17

Heavy

Disadv

Superior

 

 

Full Mithril Scale

Full Mithril Splint

17

Heavy

Special

 

Full Plate

(Large shaped plates, riveted bands,

with chain joints, and worn by leather straps)

Helm (Head)

Gorget (Neck)

Cuirass or Breastplate (Torso)

Pauldron (Shoulder)

Rerebrace (Upperarm)

Couter (Elbow)

Vambrace (Forearm)

Gauntlet (Hand)

Fauld (Hip)

Cuisse (Thigh)

Poleyn (Knee)

Greave (Shin)

Sabaton (Foot)

 

18

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Superior

 

 

Full Dragon Scale

18

Heavy

Special

 

 

Full Mithril Plate

Full Elven Plate

18

Heavy

Special

 

 

Full Adamantine Plate

Full Dwarven Plate

19

Heavy

−5 feet

Disadv

Special

 

 

The tables above list Scale/Lamellar as slightly better than Chain. But it seems they are really about equal in combat worth.

 

Chain offers better body coverage and is more flexible in combat.

Scale offers better impact resistance and is more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

 

Seems a wash.

 

If anything, Chain gets a fatigue penalty and Scale gets a Dex check penalty. (Both are noisy and get the Stealth check penalty.)

 

 

 

Note. wearing a Scale breastplate (brigandine) over Chain is worthwhile, and common. It is the best of both worlds - almost as good as plate - but very bulky.

 

 

 

 

kadim wrote:

I don't mind that heavy armour is better as armour either. It is better as armour, so it should be so in game.

 

And really, dexterity ceilings do that for me 'cause what it's saying is if a person is naturally quick and good at avoiding things anyway, they'll be able to wear inferior armour to make that difference. I would kind of like to include con though. Maybe str? dunno. Str requirements certainly, but it'd be cool if medium armour gave the character the option of relying on their ability to evade people or their ability to get hit.

 

I would like armor to work like this:

 

Light Armor: AC = 11 + Dex mod (max +5), requires Str 11+ or you suffer disadvantage to all Str and Dex rolls

Medium Armor: AC = 13 + Dex mod (max +3), requires Str 13+ or you suffer disadvantage to all Str and Dex rolls

Heavy Armor: AC = 15 + Dex mod (max +1), requires Str 15+ or you suffer disadvantage to all Str and Dex rolls

 

I think the 500gp and 5000gp armor is stupid...

IMO Alert

--------

That's some severe requirments to wear any one type of armor.

 

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

kill_the_wiz_first wrote:

IMO Alert

--------

That's some severe requirments to wear any one type of armor.

 

That is the point. If you are a 10 strength wizard, don't wear armor. If you are a warrior with only a 13 strength, don't wear plate (heavy armor), go for chainmail instead.

Ramzour wrote:
1) I think Heavy Armor SHOULD give you the highest AC, ultimately. At it does. So that's good. I'm fine that it outclasses Light and Medium.

 

kadim wrote:
I don't mind that heavy armour is better as armour either. It is better as armour, so it should be so in game.

 

Huh? The thing is, though, as per the D&D Next armor table heavy armor isn't better than light armor—they're equal. Only medium armor is really lacking.

 

Ramzour wrote:
2) While the Dex mod limit on armor is good for a few balance reasons, it's not good for much else. The armor rules do not make any assumptions about the Dexterity of any individual armor wearers. So because of that, you might think Ringmail or Hide Armor is outclassed by lighter armors. Remember though, that's ONLY the case when you consider Dex modifiers. You could have a Warrior Ogre with poor Dex wearing Ring Mail, for an AC of 14. Ring Mail is considered crude and cheap armor. That's what an ogre might have access to. However, a suit of Scale Armor (especially one sized for an ogre) might be unobtainable, story-wise. The ogre, then, wears Ring Mail because it's the best armor he can get.

 

kadim wrote:
And really, dexterity ceilings do that for me 'cause what it's saying is if a person is naturally quick and good at avoiding things anyway, they'll be able to wear inferior armour to make that difference. I would kind of like to include con though. Maybe str? dunno. Str requirements certainly, but it'd be cool if medium armour gave the character the option of relying on their ability to evade people or their ability to get hit.

 

 

kadim wrote:
See for me Next's AC limiting is not new. It started in 3e and it's carried on since. Next is doing it in a particularly overt way, but the idea that you can't get more AC than ~19 without a shield or magic is as old as 3e.

 

I have no issue with the Dex ceiling, just how Next implements it (3e's implementation was better that Next's ternary method, but Next sacrifices to the God  of Simplicity ). I dislike, especially, how it is tied to price: Right now, the default maximum AC (including the Dex ceiling) is 16 for starting characters, 17 for characters that spend 500 gp on armor, and 18 for characters that spend 5,000 gp.

 

Armor Type

Price

Armor Class (AC)

Speed

Stealth

Weight

Light Armor

 

 

 

   

Padded Armor

5 gp

11 + Dex modifier

Disadvantage

5 lb.

Leather Armor

10 gp

11 + Dex modifier

8 lb.

Dragon Leather

500 gp

12 + Dex modifier

15 lb.

Mithral Shirt

5,000 gp

13 + Dex modifier

10 lb.

Medium Armor

 

 

 

   

Hide Armor

10 gp

12 + Dex modifier (max 2)

10 lb.

Studded Leather

25 gp

13 + Dex modifier (max 2)

13 lb.

Scale Mail

50 gp

14 + Dex modifier (max 2)

Disadvantage

45 lb.

Studded Dragon Leather

500 gp

14 + Dex modifier (max 2)

20 lb.

Dragon Scale

500 gp

15 + Dex modifier (max 2)

Disadvantage

50 lb.

Mithral Scale

5,000 gp

15 + Dex modifier (max 2)

25 lb.

Heavy Armor

 

 

 

   

Ring Mail

30 gp

14

–5 feet

Disadvantage

22 lb.

Chain Mail

75 gp

16

–5 feet

Disadvantage

55 lb.

Splint

500 gp

17

–5 feet

Disadvantage

50 lb.

Banded

750 gp

17

Disadvantage

55 lb.

Plate

5,000 gp

18

–5 feet

Disadvantage

65 lb.

Mithral Plate

6,000 gp

18

Disadvantage

40 lb.

Shield

 

 

 

   

Buckler

5 gp

+1

4 lb.

Shield

10 gp

+2

8 lb.

 

Max AC 14 (with Dex ceiling) is in red

Max AC (with Dex ceiling) 15 is in orange

Max AC (with Dex ceiling) 16 is in black    5

Max AC (with Dex ceiling) 17 is in green (hope you got 500 gp)

Max AC (with Dex ceiling) 18 is in blue (better have 5,000 gp)

 

Ramzour wrote:
3) So what if Exceptional Scale Armor costs 5000gp, whereas normal Chain Mail gives the same AC for 75gp! I like it. Exception Scale Armor (at least in Ramzour's Armor Table) has some nice additional properties, it's lighter, and is much finer armor in general. Plus, the user could add his Dex Modifier in the Scale, but not the Chain.

 

It's not an issue of exotic materials costing more, they're not the only armors that get the 500 gp and 5,000 gp treatment. Also, as per the default Next rules, the eceptional armours aren't all that exceptional. That, and right now the only thing they're accomplishing is taking up the design space that could be better filled by more mundane armors.

 

Some people (I'm not saying you) like to ignore equipment price and availability. I think that's seriously flawed thinking. They could say "why would anyone wear ring armor?" The answer is most characters probably won't....but that's not to say the armor doesn't have a good place somewhere else in the world.

 

All that's good and all, but there are a few design choices (e.g., ring mail being a heavy armor) that make no sense at all from  either a mechanical or fluff perspective. All these flawed design choices do is to artificially make certain armors subpar without any good reason, or simply make one go "WTH?".

 

Ramzour wrote:
5) I actually really like how the Light, Medium, and Heavy categories overlap. You can get a nice Chain Shirt, or some crude Hide. You can get some nice Scale Armor, or come crude Ring. I think that helps ease the transition between armor proficiency categories.

 

The problem, though, is that with the Dex ceiling that these odd overlaps don't actually do anything good for the game at all. Add to that the fact that some of the category placements are just bizarre from a fluff perspective as well, it just comes across as bad for player choice (as it provides false choices), nonsensical, and bad from an overall design standpoint.

Imsolost wrote:

 

kill_the_wiz_first wrote:

IMO Alert

--------

That's some severe requirments to wear any one type of armor.

 

 

That is the point. If you are a 10 strength wizard, don't wear armor. If you are a warrior with only a 13 strength, don't wear plate (heavy armor), go for chainmail instead.

 

Aye, understandable. I, also, have wrote up some houserules similar to this as well but much lower requirements and different set of rules if the requirements are not met.

 

All armor has a Str Req. with the exception of cloth (no armor, of course). Leather has 7 to plate having 11. If not met no adverse effects are applied but bonus will be applied if a few other conditions are met. The rule I have currently is if your strength requirment is met and has a benificial modifier that amount of the Strength modifier may be applied to the AC up to the Dexterity modifier. Therefore Heavy armor wearers can have good Dexterity modifiers applied because they are so strong they are agile in the heavy armor.

 

Edit: above rule is applicable to only Med and Heavy. Light armors work (dex bonus) just as described in the playtest.

 

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

Imsolost wrote:

 

kill_the_wiz_first wrote:

IMO Alert

--------

That's some severe requirments to wear any one type of armor.

 

 

That is the point. If you are a 10 strength wizard, don't wear armor. If you are a warrior with only a 13 strength, don't wear plate (heavy armor), go for chainmail instead.

The issue with requirements (which is why I never did put them into my own game, as much as I like the idea) is heavy armour in game is the grand equaliser. If you've got resources but you're just inept, heavy armour will keep you safe. Light and medium armours require the user to be more talented at defending themselves to match heavy armour's defense ability. And the disconnect is armours aren't really like that: ALL of them require you to have some understanding of how to use them and how to avoid getting hit in the first place.

 

So we have three things that are at odds: first, D&D's attribute system and how it works. Classes are set up to really only need one attribute. That's good because it leaves the character free to expand on their ability set in their own way without being mechanically punished for it. Second, people's understanding of how armour works and how avoiding damage works. Third, the binary pass/fail attack rolls D&D uses.

 

Armour needs to discourage MAD in D&D. It's unrealistic for D&D to do so 'cause most things require more than one attribute, really, but because of how the pass/fail check systems work it's important to make a player feel like they can make their character something besides a warrior or a scholar. Players want a bit of flexibility, and it generally leads to a better game when they've got that flexibility in their attributes. Requirements run counter to that, and so does having one stat universally add to armour unless that stat happens to be how all combatants define their combat stuff - which would stink.

 

Armour needs to model something like what people think armour should be. That doesn't mean real life, 'cause most folks don't actually know what armour is like in real life apart from what they look like in a display case. It means that it needs to reflect people's understanding of bulky clothes and the discomfort and immobility that people associate with it. Requirements actually help this along because people feel like someone who isn't used to the weight will probably suck at dealing with all this weight on them, but strength is not the only attribute that could satisfy that need. Constitution could because it's as much about how uncomfortable it is to stay in armour for long periods of time as it is about the physical weight of the stuff - which doesn't feel quite as bad as it does to lift a suit 'cause the weight is distributed pretty evenly across the body (except for chain).

 

Armour needs to provide variety in the face of a system that has no variety. In D&D, you either hit or you miss. The roll is pass/fail, but armour is more complicated than that. HP abstraction helps with that, and that abstraction extends to attack rolls as well, but it's still a problem when you're trying to model armour in such a way that people feel like it's working properly. Things like dex contributions help to turn that binary roll into something that is more complex because you're partly protected and you're partly quick on your feet. Again, I think con could work here as well 'cause you could partly be tough as nails as well. Str might work too, but I think con would work better. Int could even play a role if you can anticipate an enemy and have the wits to react properly. But really, requirements don't reinforce that complexity. Attribute contributions do.

 

 

All in all, requirements only help model something like what people think armour should be, but attribute contributions to AC actually do that as well: the armour could give you that 18 AC, but only if you're strong enough to use it properly (str mod of +2) or tough enough to take it on the chin the rest of the time (con mod of +2). Requirements actually run against D&D's MAD problem and don't help at all with D&D's binary attack roll system.

 

So instead of a requirement, I think it might be worth considering str or con contributions to heavy armour. What if heavy armour gave the same base AC as medium armour, but added strength up to a value of ~19? Or con?

Here is a summary of all the armors in the Original Post. In addition to 2e and 3e, I also added 4e for comparison.

 

Notice how ‘Leather’ armor is the same thing as soft leather ‘Padded’ armor.

 

 

 

Advanced Armor

AC

4e

AC

3e

AC

2e

LIGHT ARMOR

Nonarmor

Unarmored

Cloth

10

10

10

Padded (Leather Chain)

= Soft Fabric Leather

Padded

Leather

Cord

12

12

12

Leather Scale

= Hard Boiled Leather

Studded

Studded Leather

Leather-Scale

Light-Scale

Wood

Bone

13

13

Leather Plate

(None Listed)

MEDIUM ARMOR

Full Hide

Hide

13

13

14

Chain

Torso:

Chain Shirt

14

Scale

Torso:

Brigandine

Partial-Armor

14

14

Plate

Torso:

Breastplate

15

HEAVY ARMOR

Full Ring

14

Full Chain

Chain

Mail

Chainmail

16

15

15

Full Scale

Lamellar

15

15

Full Scale

Scale

Scale-Mail

Splint-Mail

17

16

16

Full Leather and Plate

Banded (plates on leather with chain)

Bronze Plate Mail (plates on leather with scales)

16

16

Full Plate-Chain

Plate-Mail

Half-Plate

17

17

Full Plate-Scale

O-Yoroi (Plate-Lamellar)

17

17

Full Field Plate

Field Plate

¾-Plate

18

Full Chain and Plate

Chain and Plate

18

Full Plate

18

18

19

 

 

Overall, in the aggregate, the D&D tradition is surprisingly consistant and realistic.

Imsolost wrote:

Light Armor: AC = 11 + Dex mod (max +5), requires Str 11+ or you suffer disadvantage to all Str and Dex rolls

So half of all people in the world are incapable of wearing any armor whatsoever without becoming comic relief?

Ramzour wrote:

Why would a character ever spend 5000gp for plate when mithal plate is 6000gp? Well, um, maybe they don't have that extra 1000gp? Maybe there is no mithral armor for sale? Maybe there's no armorsmith to fit it for you? You can't just ignore the economy. Well, you can in your own games, but not in the D&D core system.

 

Shouldn't the availability be reflected in the cost? That's why diamonds are valuable, after all (at least in theory).

The metagame is not the game.

Azzy1974 wrote:
Ramzour wrote:
1) I think Heavy Armor SHOULD give you the highest AC, ultimately. At it does. So that's good. I'm fine that it outclasses Light and Medium.
kadim wrote:
I don't mind that heavy armour is better as armour either. It is better as armour, so it should be so in game.

Huh? The thing is, though, as per the D&D Next armor table heavy armor isn't better than light armor—they're equal. Only medium armor is really lacking.

Heavy armor IS better than Leather Armor. You can't assume that everyone in Leather Armor has Dex 20. That's unrealistic.

 

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
I dislike, especially, how it is tied to price: Right now, the default maximum AC (including the Dex ceiling) is 16 for starting characters, 17 for characters that spend 500 gp on armor, and 18 for characters that spend 5,000 gp.

Why wouldn't better equipment cost more money? Seems extremely reasonable to me.

 

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
Some people (I'm not saying you) like to ignore equipment price and availability. I think that's seriously flawed thinking. They could say "why would anyone wear ring armor?" The answer is most characters probably won't....but that's not to say the armor doesn't have a good place somewhere else in the world.

All that's good and all, but there are a few design choices (e.g., ring mail being a heavy armor) that make no sense at all from  either a mechanical or fluff perspective. All these flawed design choices do is to artificially make certain armors subpar without any good reason, or simply make one go "WTH?".

Ring Armor is Heavy Armor because it is considered to be heavier and bulkier than Studded Leather. It has a higher AC to reflect that. It is also much less flexible and thus prohibits DexMod. For creatures without a Dex Modifier Ring Armor is the best armor for that price.

 

I'm not sure what is confusing about that, honestly. Some armor and weapons aren't universally "good", but all have their uses. It's pretty obvious that since Ring Mail sits at the bottom of the Heavy Armor list that there are better armors in the Heavy category. After all, SOME armor has to be on the bottom.

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
Ramzour wrote:
5) I actually really like how the Light, Medium, and Heavy categories overlap. You can get a nice Chain Shirt, or some crude Hide. You can get some nice Scale Armor, or come crude Ring. I think that helps ease the transition between armor proficiency categories.

The problem, though, is that with the Dex ceiling that these odd overlaps don't actually do anything good for the game at all. Add to that the fact that some of the category placements are just bizarre from a fluff perspective as well, it just comes across as bad for player choice (as it provides false choices), nonsensical, and bad from an overall design standpoint.

I don't understand what is non-sensical about certain armors being inferior. Ring Armor is about as equally protective as Scale Armor, but is much less flexible. It's so unflexible, actually, that it is considered a "Heavy Armor" based on its bulk, protective quality, and its flexibility. Better armors in the table aren't just "thicker" and therefore higher AC. There are other considerations as well.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

My improvements to the Ranger: A Better Beast Master Ranger.

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

Saelorn wrote:
Ramzour wrote:

Why would a character ever spend 5000gp for plate when mithal plate is 6000gp? Well, um, maybe they don't have that extra 1000gp? Maybe there is no mithral armor for sale? Maybe there's no armorsmith to fit it for you? You can't just ignore the economy. Well, you can in your own games, but not in the D&D core system.

Shouldn't the availability be reflected in the cost? That's why diamonds are valuable, after all (at least in theory).

Who said it's not? The rules simply state the relative price of the armor to other armors. The DM is free to say the cost includes materials, shopkeep overhead, armorsmith's commission, market availability, and custom tailoring, if he wants.

 

In fact, the description of Mithral Plate in the Equipment document hints at this. It says "Dwarves sometimes gift this armor to their most trusted allies." I think that makes it pretty obvious that Mithral Plate Armor is a highly revered piece of equipment. There's not likely to be a suit of it in every shop. The rules insinuate that it's rare but don't explicitly say so. That's a smart move, actually, because it gives the DM freedom to use Mithral Plate armor however he wants in his game. He can say "sorry, the armorsmith doesn't have a suit because it's so rare". Or he could say "yup, there's a suit of it here if you've got the gold for it." And everything in between.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

My improvements to the Ranger: A Better Beast Master Ranger.

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

Here is an other pass at the armors in the D&D traditions.

 

Bold is the suggested AC values or 5e.

 

 

 

 

 



Advanced Armor

AC

AC

4e

AC

3e

AC

2e

LIGHT ARMOR

Nonarmor

Unarmored

Cloth

10

10

10

10

Padded (‘Leather Chain’)

= Soft Fabric Leather

Padded

Leather

Cord

12

12

12

12

Leather Scale

= Hard Boiled Leather Scales

Studded

Studded Leather

Leather-Scale

Light-Scale

Wood

Bone

12

13

13

Leather Plate

= Solid Hard Boiled Leather Plate

(None Listed)

13

MEDIUM ARMOR

Full Hide (Torso and Limbs) - Inferior

Hide

13

13

13

14

Chain (Torso)

Chain Shirt

14

14

Scale (Torso)

Brigandine

Partial-Armor

14

14

14

Plate (Torso)

Breastplate

15

15

HEAVY ARMOR

Ring (Torso and Limbs) - Inferior

Ring Mail

15

14

Chain (Torso and Limbs)

Chain

Mail

Chainmail

16

16

15

15

Scale (Torso and Limbs)

Lamellar

16

15

15

Scale (Torso and Limbs)

Scale

Scale-Mail

Splint-Mail

16

17

16

16

Plate (Torso and Limbs) - Inferior

= Plate-Leather

Banded (plates on leather)

Bronze Plate Mail (plates on leather)

16

16

16

Plate (Torso and Limbs)

= Plate-Chain

Plate-Mail

Half-Plate

17

17

17

Plate (Torso and Limbs)

= Plate-Scale

O-Yoroi (Plate-Lamellar)

17

17

17

Plate (Torso and Limbs)

= Full Chain under Plate Breastplate

Chain and Plate

17

18

Plate (Torso and Limbs)

Field Plate

Three-Quarter Plate

17

18

Plate (Torso and Limbs) - Superior

Full Plate

18

18

18

19

Ramzour wrote:

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
Ramzour wrote:
1) I think Heavy Armor SHOULD give you the highest AC, ultimately. At it does. So that's good. I'm fine that it outclasses Light and Medium.
kadim wrote:
I don't mind that heavy armour is better as armour either. It is better as armour, so it should be so in game.

Huh? The thing is, though, as per the D&D Next armor table heavy armor isn't better than light armor—they're equal. Only medium armor is really lacking.

Heavy armor IS better than Leather Armor. You can't assume that everyone in Leather Armor has Dex 20. That's unrealistic.

 

No, but I can assume that the typical PC that purposely uses leather armour will likely have a 20 Dex, even if not initially then with level increases, and feel that the rules should be designed with that in mind. This also seems to be what the actual designers are doing for the most part.

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
I dislike, especially, how it is tied to price: Right now, the default maximum AC (including the Dex ceiling) is 16 for starting characters, 17 for characters that spend 500 gp on armor, and 18 for characters that spend 5,000 gp.

Why wouldn't better equipment cost more money? Seems extremely reasonable to me.

 

That's not my argument (of course better equipment should be more expensive). However, tying specific total AC levels to specific price points is not only artificial, it creates its own wealth by level structure that's been abandoned elsehere in the game. This could be much better executed.

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
Some people (I'm not saying you) like to ignore equipment price and availability. I think that's seriously flawed thinking. They could say "why would anyone wear ring armor?" The answer is most characters probably won't....but that's not to say the armor doesn't have a good place somewhere else in the world.

All that's good and all, but there are a few design choices (e.g., ring mail being a heavy armor) that make no sense at all from  either a mechanical or fluff perspective. All these flawed design choices do is to artificially make certain armors subpar without any good reason, or simply make one go "WTH?".

Ring Armor is Heavy Armor because it is considered to be heavier and bulkier than Studded Leather. It has a higher AC to reflect that. It is also much less flexible and thus prohibits DexMod. For creatures without a Dex Modifier Ring Armor is the best armor for that price.

 

That argument falls apart quickly... Scale, dragon scale and mithril scale are all heavier and bulkier than studded leather, but they aren't heavy armors. There's no reason that it would be less flexible, also—unlike studded leather which has small plates rivetted to it, ring mail has flexible chain attached to it. and, again, it should be a lot more flexible that scale. It makes no sense that ring mail is categorized as a heavy armor.

 

A starting character would be better served spend an extra 20 gp for scale (and no speed penalty) or an extra 25 go for chain mail (and a +2 higher AC). As it stands, ring mail is a bad choice for any PC that has more than an 11 Dex and isn't severly more cash-stapped than a starting character.

 

I'm not sure what is confusing about that, honestly. Some armor and weapons aren't universally "good", but all have their uses. It's pretty obvious that since Ring Mail sits at the bottom of the Heavy Armor list that there are better armors in the Heavy category. After all, SOME armor has to be on the bottom.

 

Just because it sits on the botton of a category doesn't mean that it has to categorically suck. It doesn't have to be "universally good", it just has to not universally suck. The only time that ring mail isn't a very bad choice for a PC is in a very specific corner case (as noted above). And it's not like any of the armors presented in Next have to be that categorrically bad, it's simply a poor design choice. It works better as a medium armor—it's not too good as one, but it doesn't  come of as a bad choice, either.

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
Ramzour wrote:
5) I actually really like how the Light, Medium, and Heavy categories overlap. You can get a nice Chain Shirt, or some crude Hide. You can get some nice Scale Armor, or come crude Ring. I think that helps ease the transition between armor proficiency categories.

The problem, though, is that with the Dex ceiling that these odd overlaps don't actually do anything good for the game at all. Add to that the fact that some of the category placements are just bizarre from a fluff perspective as well, it just comes across as bad for player choice (as it provides false choices), nonsensical, and bad from an overall design standpoint.

I don't understand what is non-sensical about certain armors being inferior. Ring Armor is about as equally protective as Scale Armor, but is much less flexible. It's so unflexible, actually, that it is considered a "Heavy Armor" based on its bulk, protective quality, and its flexibility. Better armors in the table aren't just "thicker" and therefore higher AC. There are other considerations as well.

 

Because when armors are that inferior (especially when there's no need for them to be!), it becomes a false choice. It might as well not even be in the game. It adds nothing. I'm sorry, but, again, your defense of ring mail as a heavy armor doesn't pass muster when there are less flexible and bulkier armors that are considered medium. Like I said before, it's placement as a heavy armor doesn't make sense from a fluff perspective and it doesn't make sense from a mechanical perspective, either. It should be a medium armor.

 

Instead of having attributes applied to armor such as AC + dex, I feel the armors should be appiled to attributes instead.

 

For every point your armor exceeds your strength you lose a point of movement. Why should a strength 10 character and strength 18 character both have the same -5 to movement when wearing heavy armor? One would think that the weaker character would be slowed even more.

 

For ever point your armor exceeds your dexterity you take that amount as a penalty on stealth checks, moving silently, etc... No matter what a clumsy character is wearing, they're still clumsy and should be more so when wearing an excessive amount of armor. 

 

Then all you need to have is a single set of armors with a list of what special materials do.

Ramzour wrote:

 

Heavy armor IS better than Leather Armor. You can't assume that everyone in Leather Armor has Dex 20. That's unrealistic.

 

Ring Armor is Heavy Armor because it is considered to be heavier and bulkier than Studded Leather. It has a higher AC to reflect that. It is also much less flexible and thus prohibits DexMod. For creatures without a Dex Modifier Ring Armor is the best armor for that price.

 

I'm not sure what is confusing about that, honestly. Some armor and weapons aren't universally "good", but all have their uses. It's pretty obvious that since Ring Mail sits at the bottom of the Heavy Armor list that there are better armors in the Heavy category. After all, SOME armor has to be on the bottom.

 

I don't understand what is non-sensical about certain armors being inferior. Ring Armor is about as equally protective as Scale Armor, but is much less flexible. It's so unflexible, actually, that it is considered a "Heavy Armor" based on its bulk, protective quality, and its flexibility. Better armors in the table aren't just "thicker" and therefore higher AC. There are other considerations as well.

 

I agree.  Many low level characters may only have 16 or 17 in their stats and those that want feats to realise a character concept won't be spending slots on stats. 

 

Also armours are not designed or intended solely for use by PCs.  Everybody uses the same table and some humanoids will favour particular types of armour depennding on sophistication and metal-working skills.  There are also many adventures where PCs lose their gear and have to make do temporarily.  In all my years, the only PC I ever saw wearing ring mail was Caramon and the first thing any player did, was change up for better armour. 

 

Finally, without a magic mart, and the ability to swap around enchanntments like jackets, you might find yourself a suit of less than optimal magic armour with a cool ability.  The type of armour and enchantment will depend on the nature of the magic and for whom it was made originally.

pauln6 wrote:
Ramzour wrote:

Heavy armor IS better than Leather Armor. You can't assume that everyone in Leather Armor has Dex 20. That's unrealistic.

 

Ring Armor is Heavy Armor because it is considered to be heavier and bulkier than Studded Leather. It has a higher AC to reflect that. It is also much less flexible and thus prohibits DexMod. For creatures without a Dex Modifier Ring Armor is the best armor for that price.

 

I'm not sure what is confusing about that, honestly. Some armor and weapons aren't universally "good", but all have their uses. It's pretty obvious that since Ring Mail sits at the bottom of the Heavy Armor list that there are better armors in the Heavy category. After all, SOME armor has to be on the bottom.

 

I don't understand what is non-sensical about certain armors being inferior. Ring Armor is about as equally protective as Scale Armor, but is much less flexible. It's so unflexible, actually, that it is considered a "Heavy Armor" based on its bulk, protective quality, and its flexibility. Better armors in the table aren't just "thicker" and therefore higher AC. There are other considerations as well.

I agree.  Many low level characters may only have 16 or 17 in their stats and those that want feats to realise a character concept won't be spending slots on stats. 

 

Also armours are not designed or intended solely for use by PCs.  Everybody uses the same table and some humanoids will favour particular types of armour depennding on sophistication and metal-working skills.  There are also many adventures where PCs lose their gear and have to make do temporarily.  In all my years, the only PC I ever saw wearing ring mail was Caramon and the first thing any player did, was change up for better armour. 

 

Finally, without a magic mart, and the ability to swap around enchanntments like jackets, you might find yourself a suit of less than optimal magic armour with a cool ability.  The type of armour and enchantment will depend on the nature of the magic and for whom it was made originally.

I think DMs should start handing out suits of Magical Ring Armor with Fire Resistance and Spell Resistance....just to make the Ring-Haters out there mad. It's the rings! The rings are magical! You can't enchant a plate of metal, what are you kidding me? It HAS to be a ring!

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Ramzour wrote:

 

pauln6 wrote:
Ramzour wrote:

Heavy armor IS better than Leather Armor. You can't assume that everyone in Leather Armor has Dex 20. That's unrealistic.

 

Ring Armor is Heavy Armor because it is considered to be heavier and bulkier than Studded Leather. It has a higher AC to reflect that. It is also much less flexible and thus prohibits DexMod. For creatures without a Dex Modifier Ring Armor is the best armor for that price.

 

I'm not sure what is confusing about that, honestly. Some armor and weapons aren't universally "good", but all have their uses. It's pretty obvious that since Ring Mail sits at the bottom of the Heavy Armor list that there are better armors in the Heavy category. After all, SOME armor has to be on the bottom.

 

I don't understand what is non-sensical about certain armors being inferior. Ring Armor is about as equally protective as Scale Armor, but is much less flexible. It's so unflexible, actually, that it is considered a "Heavy Armor" based on its bulk, protective quality, and its flexibility. Better armors in the table aren't just "thicker" and therefore higher AC. There are other considerations as well.

I agree.  Many low level characters may only have 16 or 17 in their stats and those that want feats to realise a character concept won't be spending slots on stats. 

 

Also armours are not designed or intended solely for use by PCs.  Everybody uses the same table and some humanoids will favour particular types of armour depennding on sophistication and metal-working skills.  There are also many adventures where PCs lose their gear and have to make do temporarily.  In all my years, the only PC I ever saw wearing ring mail was Caramon and the first thing any player did, was change up for better armour. 

 

Finally, without a magic mart, and the ability to swap around enchanntments like jackets, you might find yourself a suit of less than optimal magic armour with a cool ability.  The type of armour and enchantment will depend on the nature of the magic and for whom it was made originally.

I think DMs should start handing out suits of Magical Ring Armor with Fire Resistance and Spell Resistance....just to make the Ring-Haters out there mad. It's the rings! The rings are magical! You can't enchant a plate of metal, what are you kidding me? It HAS to be a ring!

 

Mmmmmm rings...... mmmmmmmm

I don't think ring mail should be heavy armour either. It's difficult to classify it though because ring mail in history is mostly nonexistent. Some rare examples from Asia is about all we have. Contemporary armourers and larpers and such have made ring mail based on those rare examples and how we think it might have been made (we just don't know), and those examples resemble chain a lot closer than plate. And then there's this comment from the 2e arms and equipment guide:

 

Ring mail has the same role in early-period campaigns as chain mail has in later ones. In later campaigns, it is more expensive to buy than chain mail, provides worse protection (AC 7), and suffers all the maintenance problems of padded and studded leather armour. Few human groups, other than town militias and bandit gangs, use ring mail to any significant degree.

 

So really, ring mail is more closely related to  what D&D calls studded leather and what history calls brigandine, which places it firmly in the realm of medium armour. Probably not light armour, or it's just a variant of studded leather (if you're feeling really harsh about it) in which case it belongs in the same entry line as studded leather.

Azzy1974 wrote:
No, but I can assume that the typical PC that purposely uses leather armour will likely have a 20 Dex, even if not initially then with level increases, and feel that the rules should be designed with that in mind. This also seems to be what the actual designers are doing for the most part.

Thing is though, is that you CANT assume characters that wear Leather armor will have 20 Dex. Bards might want to raise their Charisma and Intelligence, for instance, instead of their Dex. Rangers or Rogues might prefer Strength. Doesn't even have to be PCs. What about Goblins? What about NPC thugs? Not every character is going to be min/maxed with 20 Dexterity.

 

The normal maximum that Dexterity contributes to AC is +5. That is used to establish a ceiling of AC values overall, but nothing more. It does not invalidate other types of armor simply because you COULD get your Dexterity to 20.

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
Azzy1974 wrote:
I dislike, especially, how it is tied to price: Right now, the default maximum AC (including the Dex ceiling) is 16 for starting characters, 17 for characters that spend 500 gp on armor, and 18 for characters that spend 5,000 gp.

Why wouldn't better equipment cost more money? Seems extremely reasonable to me.

That's not my argument (of course better equipment should be more expensive). However, tying specific total AC levels to specific price points is not only artificial, it creates its own wealth by level structure that's been abandoned elsehere in the game. This could be much better executed.

Well, considering that characters are going to want to spend their gold to improve their characters, armor seems like a really obvious thing to spend gold on. It's not any "wealth by level" because you could use the "cheaper" armors for your entire career. The "cheaper" armors are very viable. At most you're shy 1-2 AC. But if you WANT to optimize your character for defense, then you might choose to spend your hard earned gold on better armor. No one is forcing you to buy them, though, and the system math doesn't presume to require them.

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
Azzy1974 wrote:
Some people (I'm not saying you) like to ignore equipment price and availability. I think that's seriously flawed thinking. They could say "why would anyone wear ring armor?" The answer is most characters probably won't....but that's not to say the armor doesn't have a good place somewhere else in the world.

All that's good and all, but there are a few design choices (e.g., ring mail being a heavy armor) that make no sense at all from  either a mechanical or fluff perspective. All these flawed design choices do is to artificially make certain armors subpar without any good reason, or simply make one go "WTH?".

Ring Armor is Heavy Armor because it is considered to be heavier and bulkier than Studded Leather. It has a higher AC to reflect that. It is also much less flexible and thus prohibits DexMod. For creatures without a Dex Modifier Ring Armor is the best armor for that price.

That argument falls apart quickly... Scale, dragon scale and mithril scale are all heavier and bulkier than studded leather, but they aren't heavy armors. There's no reason that it would be less flexible, also—unlike studded leather which has small plates rivetted to it, ring mail has flexible chain attached to it. and, again, it should be a lot more flexible that scale. It makes no sense that ring mail is categorized as a heavy armor.

 

A starting character would be better served spend an extra 20 gp for scale (and no speed penalty) or an extra 25 go for chain mail (and a +2 higher AC). As it stands, ring mail is a bad choice for any PC that has more than an 11 Dex and isn't severly more cash-stapped than a starting character.

I said that Ring Armor is heavier than Studded Leather Armor because Ring Armor *IS* Studded Leather that has been reinforced with rings instead of studs. Just like Banded Mail is a successor to Chain Mail.

 

Also, you can argue all you want that Ring Armor should be more flexible to Studded Leather but the game mechanics say otherwise. The definition of Ring Armor is that it's Leather Armor that has been reinforced with Rings. It's hard, just like Leather Armor. Studded Leather, however, specifically says that it's flexible, unlike most Leather Armors.

 

Lastly, the Armor Table doesn't say "Armor choices for Player Characters". In fact, it specifically says that the armors included in the table represent armors from many different cultures, each with its own technology level. What if metal armors were very hard to acquire in a particular region? There are a million reasons why you might wear any specific armor.

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
I'm not sure what is confusing about that, honestly. Some armor and weapons aren't universally "good", but all have their uses. It's pretty obvious that since Ring Mail sits at the bottom of the Heavy Armor list that there are better armors in the Heavy category. After all, SOME armor has to be on the bottom.

Just because it sits on the botton of a category doesn't mean that it has to categorically suck. It doesn't have to be "universally good", it just has to not universally suck. The only time that ring mail isn't a very bad choice for a PC is in a very specific corner case (as noted above). And it's not like any of the armors presented in Next have to be that categorrically bad, it's simply a poor design choice. It works better as a medium armor—it's not too good as one, but it doesn't  come of as a bad choice, either.

It doesn't categorically suck. In fact, I've given you several examples where Ring Armor is the best armor for the situation. I mean, no PC is likely to choose Padded Armor either, but I'm glad it's there.

 

 

Azzy1974 wrote:
Azzy1974 wrote:
Ramzour wrote:
5) I actually really like how the Light, Medium, and Heavy categories overlap. You can get a nice Chain Shirt, or some crude Hide. You can get some nice Scale Armor, or come crude Ring. I think that helps ease the transition between armor proficiency categories.

The problem, though, is that with the Dex ceiling that these odd overlaps don't actually do anything good for the game at all. Add to that the fact that some of the category placements are just bizarre from a fluff perspective as well, it just comes across as bad for player choice (as it provides false choices), nonsensical, and bad from an overall design standpoint.

I don't understand what is non-sensical about certain armors being inferior. Ring Armor is about as equally protective as Scale Armor, but is much less flexible. It's so unflexible, actually, that it is considered a "Heavy Armor" based on its bulk, protective quality, and its flexibility. Better armors in the table aren't just "thicker" and therefore higher AC. There are other considerations as well.

Because when armors are that inferior (especially when there's no need for them to be!), it becomes a false choice. It might as well not even be in the game. It adds nothing. I'm sorry, but, again, your defense of ring mail as a heavy armor doesn't pass muster when there are less flexible and bulkier armors that are considered medium. Like I said before, it's placement as a heavy armor doesn't make sense from a fluff perspective and it doesn't make sense from a mechanical perspective, either. It should be a medium armor.

What's the point of the Sickle when the Dagger is "clearly superior"? Why have the Staff when everyone except for the Mage can use Spears? Why have both the Battleaxe and the Longsword when their stats are identical?

 

The answer to all of these questions is this: Because the game is about more than numbers.

 

Because flavor and choice is important in a roleplaying game.

Because not every character action is about min/maxing their characters.

Because these arms and armor are historical both in real life and in the game's history.

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kadim wrote:
I don't think ring mail should be heavy armour either. It's difficult to classify it though because ring mail in history is mostly nonexistent. Some rare examples from Asia is about all we have. Contemporary armourers and larpers and such have made ring mail based on those rare examples and how we think it might have been made (we just don't know), and those examples resemble chain a lot closer than plate. And then there's this comment from the 2e arms and equipment guide:

 

Ring mail has the same role in early-period campaigns as chain mail has in later ones. In later campaigns, it is more expensive to buy than chain mail, provides worse protection (AC 7), and suffers all the maintenance problems of padded and studded leather armour. Few human groups, other than town militias and bandit gangs, use ring mail to any significant degree.

 

So really, ring mail is more closely related to  what D&D calls studded leather and what history calls brigandine, which places it firmly in the realm of medium armour. Probably not light armour, or it's just a variant of studded leather (if you're feeling really harsh about it) in which case it belongs in the same entry line as studded leather.

Studs can be Rings, I suppose. Round studs with big holes in the middle.

 

From what I read in GAME history, Ring Armor has been around for a while and has traditionally been on the "heavier" side. Given how Ring Armor has been described in D&D Next, it makes sense to me that it could be Heavy Armor. I'm just defending the RAW here.

 

I'm also not opposed to it being reclassified as Medium Armor with a separate entry (though it would cloud up the armor list). Or even if it was a flavor variation of Studded Leather Armor. I don't particularly care how it ends up as long as it makes sense within the game. But who knows, that all could change after they re-tune the Equipment Chapter. If the game says it's heavy and bulky, or flexible and lightweight, then fine. 

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Ramzour wrote:
From what I read in GAME history, Ring Armor has been around for a while and has traditionally been on the "heavier" side. Given how Ring Armor has been described in D&D Next, it makes sense to me that it could be Heavy Armor. I'm just defending the RAW here.

 

I'm also not opposed to it being reclassified as Medium Armor with a separate entry (though it would cloud up the armor list). Or even if it was a flavor variation of Studded Leather Armor. I don't particularly care how it ends up as long as it makes sense within the game. But who knows, that all could change after they re-tune the Equipment Chapter. If the game says it's heavy and bulky, or flexible and lightweight, then fine. 

Well according to the game history in this tread, ring mail is significantly worse than chain mail and much closer to studded leather with its +3 AC bonus (compared with brigandine's +4, chain mail's +5 and studded leather's +3). What source are you drawing from? If there's an error here based on that source it's worth integrating it into the table so we can see all angles.

 

As for how heavy or light it is, fact is all armours are heavy and bulky. Chain has the distinction of being very flexible (compared to other armour). Studded leather isn't this thin leather jacket with metal rivets in it, it's your long johns, then a heavy undersuit, then the leather jacket with the rivets in it. I would never describe studded leather as "flexible and lightweight," even if it is more flexible than a bar of steel and lighter than a suit of metal plates.

 

Making ring mail medium armour would actually upgrade it in a way, 'cause then it'd follow the conventions of medium armour. Maybe it'd be AC 13 (+2 dex), but even that raises its potential.

kadim wrote:
Ramzour wrote:
From what I read in GAME history, Ring Armor has been around for a while and has traditionally been on the "heavier" side. Given how Ring Armor has been described in D&D Next, it makes sense to me that it could be Heavy Armor. I'm just defending the RAW here.

 

I'm also not opposed to it being reclassified as Medium Armor with a separate entry (though it would cloud up the armor list). Or even if it was a flavor variation of Studded Leather Armor. I don't particularly care how it ends up as long as it makes sense within the game. But who knows, that all could change after they re-tune the Equipment Chapter. If the game says it's heavy and bulky, or flexible and lightweight, then fine. 

Well according to the game history in this tread, ring mail is significantly worse than chain mail and much closer to studded leather with its +3 AC bonus (compared with brigandine's +4, chain mail's +5 and studded leather's +3). What source are you drawing from? If there's an error here based on that source it's worth integrating it into the table so we can see all angles.

 

As for how heavy or light it is, fact is all armours are heavy and bulky. Chain has the distinction of being very flexible (compared to other armour). Studded leather isn't this thin leather jacket with metal rivets in it, it's your long johns, then a heavy undersuit, then the leather jacket with the rivets in it. I would never describe studded leather as "flexible and lightweight," even if it is more flexible than a bar of steel and lighter than a suit of metal plates.

 

Making ring mail medium armour would actually upgrade it in a way, 'cause then it'd follow the conventions of medium armour. Maybe it'd be AC 13 (+2 dex), but even that raises its potential.

1) Ring Armor has usually been around AC 13 or 14, if you read through the old books. In D&DNext, it's at AC 14, so its stats haven't changed much, historically. It has also traditionally been heavier than Studded Leather, as it is now. 

 

2) Having worn chain armor, I can tell you that its flexibility is a bit of an overstatement. Its bulk and rigid metal links make it much less flexible than one would think. A suit of it definitely deserves to be heavy armor.

 

3) When I said "flexible and lightweight", I was talking about armors in general. If the rules say a suit of armor is heavy and bulky, then it makes sense for it to be Heavy. If the rules say the opposite, we'd expect the armor to be in a lighter armor category.

 

4) Studded Leather is flexible because it says so in the armor's description. It doesn't have a boiled hard leather plates. It's lightweight compared to metal armors. 

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The next table isn't all that different from any other D&D armour table, that's true -  apart from the exotic materials being baked into the list. I can't say I particularly care what happens to ring mail, specifically but if someone put a gun to my head and forced me to care, I'd say it's medium armour, and probably on the low end of medium armour.

 

Part of the reason ring mail looks so much more effective than other armours on the next list is people tend to read it in rank order, and it's not really like that. The one really incongruous thing in the next table with regard to ring mail is its placement relative to scale mail, but scale mail is strictly superior to ring mail in next because if you do have an aptitude for avoiding blows, scale mail allows you to take advantage of that where ring mail doesn't. So actually in that way the rank order is the same, even if the placement on the list is not.

 

I think PCs and DM controlled elements should really use different assumptions. For example, I would assume that no PC would ever pick light armour by choice unless they've got a 16 dex or more. They'd probably never pick medium armour by choice unless they've got a 12 dex at least and they'd not pick heavy armour unless they've got a dex of 11 or less. I would not make those assumptions for DM controlled people, but I would probably make them for a proper NPC.

 

Here's a thought experiment. Using the assumptions above, here's a table of the Next armour list by minimum AC:

Min AC

NPC/PC

General Populace

11

 

Padded, Leather

12

 

Hide, Dragon Leather

13

Hide, Padded, Leather

Mithral Shirt, Studded

14

Studded, Dragon Leather, Ring Mail

Ring Mail, Scale Mail, Studded Dragon Leather

15

Mithral Shirt, Scale Mail, Studded Dragon Leather

Dragon Scale, Mithral Scale

16

Dragon Scale, Mithral Scale, Chain Mail

Chain Mail

17

Splint, Banded

Splint, Banded

18

Plate, Mithral Plate

Plate, Mithral Plate

 

And here's one by max AC assuming the general populace will never have a dex mod of more than +2 and the PC will always max their dex to suit their armour choice:

Max AC

NPC/PC

General Populace

18

Plate, Mithral Plate, Mithral Shirt

Plate, Mithral Plate

17

Splint, Banded, Dragon Scale, Mithral Scale, Dragon Leather

Splint, Banded, Dragon Scale, Mithral Scale

16

Chain Mail, Studded Dragon Leather, Scale Mail, Padded, Leather

Chain Mail, Studded Dragon Leather, Scale Mail

15

Studded Leather

Studded Leather, Mithral Shirt

14

Ring Mail, Hide

Ring Mail, Hide, Dragon Leather

13

 

Padded, Leather

 

 

The thing that strikes me immediately about these tables is the general populace have a broader AC range and the armours are more evenly distributed across that AC range. For the genral populace, light armour immediately stands out as inferior, but heavy armours do not stand out as superior until the very high end. For PCs and NPCs, the heavy armour remains the high end with one light suit (mithral shirt) being the exception, but medium armour ends up looking hands down the most efficient way to get a high AC from the perspective of both min and max.

 

The biggest problem of Next's armour table - exotic materials - becomes apparent with studded dragon leather offering the same max AC as mundane scale mail and chain mail, which I think jars a lot of folks.

 

Anyway, we can't make the same assumptions for the campaign setting that we do for the PCs, and I think we can assume that the PCs will push their AC as far as they believe they have to. Even a bard that wants more cha or feats will probably find ways of boosting their defense without armour if they choose not to get their dex to a 16. If they don't get it that far they'll probably be looking for ways to get medium armour, and assuming there's a feat for it that would be more efficient than spending bumps on dex.

 

 

 

Ramzour wrote:
and the system math doesn't presume to require them.

For me, this is the crux of the whole discussion, as we don't know if this statement is true. If it is true, then most complaints against the Armor table will cease (I have more, but that's a different argument). However, we don't know for certain.

 

Armor is the only way we've seen to spend wealth to improve your character. It's presented in the Equipment section, which is a player based section, so players will assume they can get access to it (unless the DM chooses otherwise, because they are the DM). Magic items are a way to improve your character where the system math specificily presumes you don't have them, however they are fully in the DMs domain. This disparity questions the validity of the quoted statement, but by no means does it refute it entierly

.

If the system math does presume to require the better armors at higher level, then it forces the DM to either allow the armors and to provide enough wealth to purchase them (or give them in treasure). If I want to run a game where the PCs barely have enough coin to scrape by on, then I have to either give the armor away (and Plate doesn't work for this) or change my premise. This change is a big problem for people who looked at the current notiion of removing "wealth by level" as a great thing.

Several of my players have Dex 16 and still use Studded Leather. Sure Scale Armor is one AC point higher, but it gives a Stealth Disadvantage. 

 

Also, your conclusion was exactly what I was saying earlier. There are creatures with non-optimized stats that will use various armors. You can't say, "well all creatures that wear leather will eventually have DEX 20." That's silly. There are tons of reasons why anyone would choose a particular armor. Economy. Stats. Availability. That's why it's good to have an armor table full of options.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

My improvements to the Ranger: A Better Beast Master Ranger.

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

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