Armor

Copyright Chris Tozer © 2019

Edited by Terence Wynne for The Guild Companion

"Certain spells and items have the ability to protect as Armor without any maneuver penalties. While this is nice for the players, it also represent a problem because the attack tables operate from the principle that heavy Armor makes one easier to hit, but harder to wound."

Non-Encumbering Armor

Certain spells and items have the ability to protect as Armor without any maneuver penalties. While this is nice for the players, it also represent a problem because the attack tables operate from the principle that heavy Armor makes one easier to hit, but harder to wound.

Martial Arts make it even worse because the Sweeps and Throws Attack Table is really good against the higher Armor Types; being thrown to the ground while encased in metal hurts. However, if the person being hit or thrown is wearing something that protects as a heavy armor, but encumbers a lot less, this no longer makes sense.

Handling this is rather simple: Look up both columns on the attack table and pick the one that yields the least damage.

Example: Ferdina the Bard is wearing a special silk Armor that protects as leather Armor (AT 12), but encumbers as skin (AT 1).

One day, as Ferdina walks down the street a thug assaults her with a club, for a total attack roll of 84. Looking at the Club attack table for AT 12, this would normally have yielded 4 Hits, but looking at AT 1 it yields 0 (zero) hits: So, the result of the attack is 0 (zero) hits for lucky Ferdina.

Non-Encumbering Armor & Adrenal Defense

Adrenal Defense can be used in non-encumbering armor. This applies to any Armor that has Maximum and Minimum Maneuver Penalties of 0 (zero) without the use of Maneuvering in Armor.

Armor Enhancements & Add-ons

Arms Companion

In The “Optional Armor Rules” in Arms Companion on page 36 there are additional rules for enhancing existing Armor Types (adding studs to leather, adding additional metal plates to leather armor etc.).

Some of these suggested rules are already covered in this document (for example the double chain links are covered by Full Bar Link/Theta Chainmail in this document).

Players are encouraged to check these rules and discuss with their GM any additional enhancements they may want for their characters.

The Guild Companion

Chain Armor has been in constant development over the ages and is a result of balancing protectiveness with ease of movement. One of the developments was the addition of plate pieces to chain armor, to enhance protection.

In the article “The Art of Fighting Section 8: Armor”, by John Sondrup, there are suggested rules for including additional items of armor with chainmail armor. Some of these include spalders, kneeguards, elbow guards, and lamellar sleeves.

Again, players are encouraged to check these suggestions and discuss with their GM any additional enhancements they may want for their characters.

Equip Full Plate Armor By Yourself?

No. Or possibly yes-ish. You can get a lot of it done by yourself, if you really must and are not particular. But the arm harness is tied to the shoulder with laces, and there’s no way to tie a knot on your shoulder by yourself.

Leg armor is fairly easy to do by yourself. Not all breastplates can be put on by yourself (they often buckle behind you), but a cuirass that is secured at the side and shoulders could theoretically be fastened by the wearer. And you can throw on gloves and forearm armor by yourself without too much trouble.

Upper arm and shoulder armor, though? Forget it.

Assuming you have a breastplate that had straps on the shoulders and the side you could very likely be able to armor (most of) yourself. Even if you can dress yourself in your own set of plate, or half plate armor, it’s a bad idea to do it yourself for two reasons.

One is that it takes a lot longer than having help. Two, and far more important, is that all those straps and buckles and laces need to be adjusted very particularly for your armor to fit well. And finicky adjustments, especially to straps and buckles and laces that are holding heavy pieces of kit, are all but impossible to do yourself.

As a result, armor that you put on without help is not likely to fit as well as armor you put on with help. That is really significant. Armor’s fit isn’t solely about the shape of the plates. It’s also about getting the straps and buckles and laces just so to ensure those nicely shaped pieces actually sit on the body exactly where they’re supposed to.

Get those adjustments right and the armor restricts movement very little. Put it on yourself and things are going to be scraping and pinching and chafing and binding in ways they aren’t supposed to, which will materially adversely affect your ability to fight in the armor.

As a rule, assume around 40% of all plate/half plate armor can be buckled at the side and therefore all or certainly most of this suit of armor can be put on, albeit more slowly, by the wearer.

Armor Found When Adventuring

Characters may have unfitted Armor fitted by paying 10% of the value of the armor, plus the cost of any additional required material. Additional material is required when the armor to be fitted is smaller than the person it is being fitted to.

The character uses the maneuvering penalties associated with fitted armor. Armor that is found as part of treasure or taken from defeated foes is considered to be unfitted armor, and as such it carries much higher maneuver penalties. Even if characters of similar height and build exchange pieces of armor, the Armor is automatically treated as unfitted armor.

As a rule of thumb, assuming that the captured/found armor is of the same race as the person who has now claimed it (i.e. a human sized chain hauberk is really not going to be much use for a dwarf) there are the following percentage chances that captured/found armor will fit its new owner:

Cloth, Skin, Hide Armor Types (AT1 – AT4) 40%
Soft Leather Armor Types (AT5 – AT8) 35%
Rigid Leather Armor Types (AT9 – AT12) 30%
Chain or Metal Scale Armor Types (AT13 – AT16) 30%
Plate Metal Armor Types (AT17 – AT18) 20%
Half Plate (AT19) 6%
Metal Lamellar Armor & Leggings or Lamellar Coat (AT19a) 7%
Full Banded Armor & Leggings (AT19b) 7%
Full Plate (AT20) 5%
Full Metal Lamellar Armor (AT20a) 7%
Advanced Full Plate (AT20b) 3%
Modern Body Armor Types (ATI – ATIV) 30%

As mentioned previously generally the higher AT’s, particularly full plate and advanced full plate, are highly customized for a specific, individual wearer. The chance of finding a suit of armor such as this that just happens to “fit like a glove” is very, very low.

Donning & Doffing Armor:

Plate armor, was put on starting at the feet and working up the chest, then from the hands up to the head. Each piece was tied to the gambeson to help distribute the weight better.

A knight would start by taking off his gantlets to give his hands better dexterity. He'd then remove or lift his visor to get access to his chin strap and remove the helmet, followed by the arm armors and the pauldrons and gorget. Now comes the part that will be hard for him, getting off his breast plate. All styles of European armor had buckles that held the various parts of the breastplate together. Some, like the chest strap of a milanese cuirass were easily accessible. The ones on the back of your shoulders and sides weren't so much. But your averagely flexible man should be able to do it.

Once those buckles are undone (up to ten I think was the most) the breastplate lifts away and lets you get at your legs, where it's not much worse than taking off chaps and boots.

The reason a wife, a squire or other soldiers helped a man put his armor on was, that it was easier for someone else to get the buckles open, or the armor tightly fitted which improved protection.

Taking on and off armor takes time and should be factored into a GMs game.

5.1 Donning & Doffing Armor Times
Description Armor Type Donning time Doffing time
Skin/Underwear AT1 1 Rounds
10 Seconds
0.5 Rounds
5 Seconds
Very Light Clothes AT1 2 Rounds
20 Seconds
1.5 Rounds
15 Seconds
Robes AT2 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Normal Clothing AT2a 9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
5 Rounds
50 Seconds
Heavy Clothing/Furs AT2b 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Natural Light Hide AT3 - -
Light Hide Armor AT3a 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Arming Doublet/Padded Armor AT3b 9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Arming Doublet/Padded Armor & Leggings AT3c 12 Rounds
2 Minutes
5 Rounds
50 Seconds
Natural Heavy Hide AT4 - -
Heavy Hide Armor AT4a 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Quilted Armor/Gambeson AT4b 9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Quilted Armor/Gambeson & Leggings AT4c 12 Rounds
2 Minutes
5 Rounds
50 Seconds
Leather Jerkin AT5 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Leather Jerkin & Leggings AT5a 12 Rounds
2 Minutes
5 Rounds
50 Seconds
Leather coat AT6 3 Rounds
30 Seconds
1.5 Rounds
15 Seconds
Leather Coat & Leggings OR Full Leather Coat AT6a 12 Rounds
2 Minutes
5 Rounds
50 Seconds
Reinforced Leather Coat AT7 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Reinforced Leather Coat & Reinforced Leggings AT7a 12 Rounds
2 Minutes
5 Rounds
50 Seconds
Reinforced Full-Length Leather Coat AT8 3 Rounds
30 Seconds
1.5 Rounds
15 Seconds
Rigid Leather Breastplate OR Banded Leather Breastplate AT9 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
3 Rounds
30 Seconds
Lamellar Leather Armor Breastplate AT9a 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
3 Rounds
30 Seconds
Scale Leather Armor Breastplate AT9b 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
3 Rounds
30 Seconds
Leather Brigandine Breastplate AT9c 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
3 Rounds
30 Seconds
Rigid Leather Breastplate OR Banded Leather Breastplate & Arm & Leg Greaves AT10 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Rigid Leather Breastplate OR Banded Leather Breastplate & Leg Greaves AT10a 12 Rounds
2 Minutes
5 Rounds
50 Seconds
Lamellar Leather Armor Breastplate & Arm & Leg Greaves AT10b 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Scale Leather Armor Breastplate & Arm & Leg Greaves AT10c 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Leather Brigandine Breastplate & Arm & Leg Greaves AT10d 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Natural Half-Hide Plate AT11 - -
Ring Armor AT11a 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
12 Rounds
2 Minutes
Scale Leather Armor with Chain AT11b 24 Rounds
4 Minutes
12 Rounds
2 Minutes
Natural Full-Hide Plate AT12 - -
Full Suit Leather Lamellar Armor AT12a 24 Rounds
4 Minutes
12 Rounds
2 Minutes
Full Suit Leather Brigandine Armor AT12b 24 Rounds
4 Minutes
12 Rounds
2 Minutes
Chainmail Shirt AT13 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
\
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Scalemail Metal Shirt AT13a 6 Rounds
1 Minute
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Splintmail Metal Breastplate AT13b 12 Rounds
2 Minutes
5 Rounds
50 Seconds
Bar Link/Theta Mail Shirt AT13c 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Chainmail Shirt & Arm & Leg Greaves AT14 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Chain Shirt & Leggings AT14a 12 Rounds
2 Minutes
4 Rounds
40 Seconds
Scalemail Shirt & Arm & Leg Greaves AT14b 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Scalemail Shirt & Leggings AT14c 12 Rounds
2 Minutes
4 Rounds
40 Seconds
Splintmail Metal Shirt & Arm & Leg Greaves AT14d 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Bar Link/Theta Mail Shirt & Arm & Leg Greaves AT14e 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Full Chainmail AT15 24 Rounds
4 Minutes
15 Rounds
2.5 Minutes
Full Scalemail AT15a 24 Rounds
4 Minutes
15 Rounds
2.5 Minutes
Full Bar Link/Theta Chainmail At15c 24 Rounds
4 Minutes
15 Rounds
2.5 Minutes
Natural Chain or Scalemail Armor AT16 - -
Chainmail Hauberk AT16a 30 Rounds
5 Minutes
18 Rounds
3 Minutes
Metal Scalemail Hauberk AT16a 30 Rounds
5 Minutes
18 Rounds
3 Minutes
Chainmail with Plates AT16b 30 Rounds
5 Minutes
18 Rounds
3 Minutes
Plate Metal Breastplate AT17 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
3 Rounds
30 Seconds
Metal Brigandine Breastplate AT17a 9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Metal Lamellar Breastplate At17b 9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Metal Banded Breastplate AT17c 9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
2 Rounds
20 Seconds
Jack of Plate AT17d 5 Rounds
50 Seconds
3 Rounds
30 Seconds
Plate Metal Breastplate & Arm & Leg Greaves AT18 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Brigandine Breastplate & Arm & Leg Greaves AT18a 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Metal Lamellar Breastplate & Arm & Leg Greaves AT18b 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Metal Banded Breastplate & Arm & Leg Greaves At18c 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Metal Breastplate & Leggings AT18d 18 Rounds
3 Minutes
9 Rounds
1.5 Minutes
Half Plate* AT19 60 Rounds
10 Minutes
43 Rounds
7 Minutes
Metal Lamellar Armor & Leggings or Lamellar Coat AT19a 40 Rounds
6.5 Minutes
24 Rounds
4 Minutes
Full Banded Armor & Leggings AT19b 40 Rounds
6.5 Minutes
24 Rounds
4 Minutes
Full Plate* AT20 84 Rounds
14 Minutes
43 Rounds
7 Minutes
Full Metal Lamellar Armor* AT20a 84 Rounds
14 Minutes
43 Rounds
7 Minutes
Advanced Full Plate* AT20b 102 Rounds
17 Minutes
60 Rounds
10 Minutes

*These timings assume assistance from someone helping the person into and out of their armor. If no helper exists double the amount of time to doff and don this armor.

As mentioned above as rule, assume around 40% of all plate/half plate armor can be buckled at the side and therefore all or certainly most of this suit of armor can be put on, albeit more slowly, by the wearer. Should there be no one to assist donning armor that cannot be equipped by oneself then it is assumed the combatant has only managed to equip part of his armor and a penalty of -40 to his Defensive Bonus is applied.