Tuesday, December 8, 2015


If I'm going with Defenses: Take 2, I need to further define two more aspects related to defense. Armor and hit points. Let's start with armor.

First off, most editions of D&D, and FH&W, have way more armors than I care about having. I'm not going to go over each type of armor in the book. Instead, I'm going to talk about the ones I actually plan on using.

Note; because armor doesn't make you harder to hit, and there's no real evidence that properly fitted armor requires any special training to wear, any class can wear armor. As long as they are willing to suffer the consequences. Improperly fitted armor, however, doubles the skill penalty (but not the swimming penalty).

Brief description about the armors (mostly pulled from wikipedia):


Padded armor (also known as a gambeson or padded jack) is a defensive jacket produced with a sewing technique called quilting. Usually constructed of linen or wool, the stuffing varied, and could be, for example, scrap cloth or horse hair.


Leather armor (also known as lamellar) is a type of body armor made from small rectangular plates (scales or lamellae) of leather laced into horizontal rows. This is the most common armor for regular infantry, brigands, and the lower classes who are part of an army.


Mail is a type of armor consisting of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh. This is the most common armor used by the armored fighting types. It's a good balance between protection and ease of use.

Plate & Mail

Plate and mail is a type of mail with embedded plates. This can also work for mail with a metal breast plate and such.


Plate armor is (as far as my game is concerned) is a full suit of armored plate, as pictured above, but may be more or less ornate as the wearer can afford.

Those armors would look like this, mechanically:

DR is the amount damage is reduced by, but you always take at least 1 point of damage. The Skill Penalty column would apply to most movement based checks. The number in parenthesis is the penalty to swimming. The number in the Spell Failure column is the number the Magic-user has to roll (or higher) in order to successfully cast while in the armor. If the magic-user rolls under the number, the spell fizzles and is lost until re-memorized.

This would mean that most small, one handed weapons would only be doing 1 damage a hit against someone in plate as they deal 1d6 damage. So....without a Strength bonus someone in plate (or monster with equivalent toughness) would be terrifying. I dunno...this table might make armor more effective than I want and would probably slow combat down way to much.

I figure I have two options:

  1. Up the damage of everything by a die (d6 becomes d8). Side effect is that if you're not wearing any armor, the world is gonna HURT. Not necessarily bad, but might be a little unfair to the d6 and d4 hit die classes. Maybe not. They're not really supposed to be in combat anyways and upping the damage better reflects that you DO NOT want to get hit with weapons. I dunno.
  2. Remove Padded Armor and drop the DR down a step so the table would look more like this:

This version means I don't have to change any damage dice, combat stays pretty much the same as normal. Plate armor still will only allow 1 point of damage from d6 weapons, but now if you're using an unbalanced weapon (axes or maces), you have a chance of doing 2 points. "Normal" or "medium" sized weapons (long swords, battle axes, etc) do d8 damage.

Hrmmm....I think option one better reflects reality (although for that, I'd probably have to up the damage two steps - d6 becomes d10 - but I don't think I could get away with that and have the game be fun for my players), but I don't know if it would make the game more enjoyable. It really punishes wizards who have little health, little combat training, and if they wear armor, they have a much harder time casting their spells.

Option 2 is probably the way to go as it keeps everything balanced the way it has been, but it allows the fightery types a little extra staying power. I'd be interested in thoughts on this. 

That covers everything except shields that I care to use. Shields are pretty simple for me, but remember, shields add to your DEFENSE not to your ARMOR:

There are two types of shields as far as mechanical benefits/hindrances. There's the shields that are held via a single handle in the center of the shield, with the hand usually protected by a metal boss (the viking circle shield for example). These are quicker to equip, but can be disarmed. The other type are the shields that are strapped to the forearm (as in the kite or heater shields). These take longer to equip, but cannot be disarmed under normal circumstances. Other than that, the real world differences between them are balanced out as far as game mechanics matter.

Doing anything more than slow swimming or treading water in very calm water (which may still require a swim check if wearing armor) is impossible with a shield equipped)

I'm in the process of testing out the damage reduction rules in my current campaign, so, as everything I put up on the site, it's subject to change if it doesn't further the game in a meaningful way. It should be alright though.

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