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D&D needs more armors

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
D&D needs more armors.

D&D is a fantasy game. There is no real need to constrain the defensive protection of its warriors to the standards of the real world.

D&D could use armors of:

More materials. D&D already went down the leather, cloth, and steel rabbit holes. Might as well go down the wood, bone, bronze and other hard materials for armors.

More layers and thicknesses. Again. Already done the breastplate, half plate, full plate route. Heavier padded cloth and different hides make sense. Why is every nonmagical animal's hide the same protection? What about partial plate or leather?

More smithing techniques.
Why would all these fantasy races be limited to the armorcrafting techniques of real life Earth? Maybe ancient dwarves made coats of steel strips out of leftover pieces in the forge. Or an armor made of sewed together cutlery or knifes.

Let's get a little crazy.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
D&D needs more armors.

D&D is a fantasy game. There is no real need to constrain the defensive protection of its warriors to the standards of the real world.

D&D could use armors of:

More materials. D&D already went down the leather, cloth, and steel rabbit holes. Might as well go down the wood, bone, bronze and other hard materials for armors.

More layers and thicknesses. Again. Already done the breastplate, half plate, full plate route. Heavier padded cloth and different hides make sense. Why is every nonmagical animal's hide the same protection? What about partial plate or leather?

More smithing techniques.
Why would all these fantasy races be limited to the armorcrafting techniques of real life Earth? Maybe ancient dwarves made coats of steel strips out of leftover pieces in the forge. Or an armor made of sewed together cutlery or knifes.

Let's get a little crazy.

2E combat and tactics.
 

These things have existed at other times and places in D&D's history.

Dark Sun in 2e covered the kinds of armor that might be more common on a world where metal is very rare, like bone.

The 3e Arms and Equipment Guide covered armor made out of stone and magically hardened leaves.

3e had a variety of forms of plate, from a breastplate alone (which counted as medium armor) to half plate and full plate (2e had the same distinction, calling it plate mail, field plate, and full plate).

The relatively simple list of armor types is specific to 5e, not to D&D.
 

One design problem I've noticed with "more weapons" or "more armor" designs is that their use is really limited by class in 5e. In the game I play in, only two out of the six characters- the fighter and the barbarian- even use weapons, and our general strategy with armor is "what's the highest AC I can get?"

To increase the versatility of armor, I think it would be interesting to increase the uses of armor.

Right now armor is only used to boost AC and punish some skills. What are some other meaningful ways that armor could impact gameplay?

Armor as a spellbook or living scroll?

Heavy armors made of different materials to impact carrying capacity / druidic restrictions?

Armor that grants bonuses on some rolls, such as Athletics or Concentration checks?

Armor that grants bonuses to saving throws?

Armor that allows different modes of movement (climb, swim, etc)?

These are just some ideas.
 

Puddles

Explorer
Seems like a great thing to write some homebrew rules for your own campaign. If I was doing it, I would try to keep the bonuses as small as possible to fit in with the bounded accuracy of 5e.

Off the top of my head, having armour types that gives you a bonus of +1 AC against 1 of the 13 damage types would be a small bonus that still has a lot of design space between regular armour and magical armour.

Armour made from mundane materials could give you +1 AC against 1 of the mundane damage types (piercing, slashing, bludgeoning), and armour made from more esoteric means could give you +1 AC against 1 of the special types of damage (acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, necrotic, poison, psychic, radiant, and thunder).

For example:

Silk Padded Half Plate
Armour (Half Plate), Uncommon Item, 900gp
This steel cuirass has been lined with layers of black-tarantula silk beneath and is able to stop an arrow or crossbow bolt from piercing it. While wearing this armour, you gain a +1 bonus to AC against weapons with the piercing damage type.

Dwarven Forge Plate
Armour (Plate), Uncommon Item, 1,700gp
This master-crafted suite of armour was made by the Dwarves of Stormgard and is said to hold the fires of the great forges within its steel still. While wearing this armour, you gain a +1 bonus to AC against weapons with the fire damage type.

Actually I might come up with a load of these to put into my world! :D
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
These things have existed at other times and places in D&D's history.

Dark Sun in 2e covered the kinds of armor that might be more common on a world where metal is very rare, like bone.

The 3e Arms and Equipment Guide covered armor made out of stone and magically hardened leaves.

3e had a variety of forms of plate, from a breastplate alone (which counted as medium armor) to half plate and full plate (2e had the same distinction, calling it plate mail, field plate, and full plate).

The relatively simple list of armor types is specific to 5e, not to D&D.

5e and 4e. 4e had a buttload of armor types but they all were magical.

2e and 3e had more variety however they attempted to stick to reality too much.
 

Thinking about this further, what if instead of adding more armor types, you focused on armor materials?

Light Armor Materials

Web Armor

This armor is woven from the webs of giant spiders. It is exceptionally light, but vulnerable to fire.
Effects:
  • +10 gp
  • Change weight to 2 lb.
  • This armor does not grant disadvantage to Stealth checks.
  • A character wearing Web Armor gains advantage on rolls to escape from a spider's web attack or the effects of the Web spell.
  • When a character wearing this armor takes Fire damage, the armor loses one point of its AC bonus. When this bonus is reduced to 0, the armor is destroyed.

Alchemist's Armor
Stitched to this armor are a multitude of pockets, bottle-holders, and tubing. Alchemists use this armor to better access their materials.
Effects:
  • +200 gp
  • +5 lb weight
  • When wearing this armor, drinking a potion is a bonus action.

Aquatic Armor
This light armor is stitched from the fur, hide, and exoskeletons of sea life. Built into its structure are flippers and fins to aid underwater movement.
Effects:
  • +100 gp
  • +15 lb weight
  • When wearing the armor, characters gain a swim speed equal to 1/2 their movement +5 feet.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
To increase the versatility of armor, I think it would be interesting to increase the uses of armor.

Right now armor is only used to boost AC and punish some skills. What are some other meaningful ways that armor could impact gameplay?
Two reasons PCs don't demand more armor:
1) armor never breaks, or loses its protective qualities.
2) as stated, the main benefit is AC. Why change from armor of one AC to another with the same AC?

Well, if armor wears down, then PCs will have to be forging their own armor, or buying what's around.

Alternative armors can differ in more than AC. Its appearance can get you faction benefits or penalties. Some armor is intimidating. Some armor keeps you from getting hit by your allies, since you look like they do. Some armor gets you into the Inner Sanctum. Baby Seal armor gives you an aura of odor repulsion. And evil.

Food for thought:
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I'm of the opposite approach. D&D has way too many armors. How many people over the years actually had PCs in banded or ring mail? The only reason to wear armor is for the AC, so that's the only real factor that matters. Just have armor categories, each with one common armor type, and leave it at that. if someone really wants to have "armor made from the tree of the rare ironwood, dipped in the blood of a demon, and held together by the exceedingly rare fart spider's webbing" then let them. No need to have it in a book.
 

Zsong

Explorer
I would love more historical armors, but it’s hard to do when armor ranges from ac 11 to ac 18. And bounded accuracy is kinda built into that.
 

Drazen

Arch-Villain
Well, dwarves and such creatures are forgers right?
It would seem to me that dwarves would strive constantly to create and experiment with new materials. Since they are forgers.
So as we continue throughout histroy in d&d worlds, creatures are bound to do more experiment and create new things. As well discover some things too
Things i would imagine being made:
  • Titanium Armor
  • Creating Diamond Armor (NOT minecraft)
  • Crystal Armor
  • Chromium Armor
  • Tungsten Armor

And so one.....
 

I wouldn't mind some new and interesting materials to make armor out of besides mithral and adamantine, but I like the simple list of armors in 5e. Considering the way armor is written up, there's only so much utility you can get out of adding more armors. How many more ways can you write up the cost, armor bonus, disadvantage, cost, strength requirements, and dex limits without either making something redundant, too good, or worthless?
 

aco175

Legend
I would still try to keep it simple. Have new materials add +1 to existing AC for that material. For example- super leather (rhino, dragon, whatever) makes AC11 leather AC12. Maybe even just keep the base AC and grant something else like elven chain or mithral.
 

I second the assertion that the complexity of the ruleset doesn't warrant the inclusion of additional armor types. If you try to add something new, it will most likely end up being better than or worse than or redundant to something that already exists, and thus not actually add any meaningful choices. If you want to add meaningful choices, you would need additional parameters, such as performance against different damage types.
Food for thought:
A while back, it occurred to me that D&D already basically works this way, and it would be extremely simple to adapt the Final Fantasy model of armor progression into a campaign. After all, what really is Silver armor, but Iron armor +1?
 


Stormonu

Legend
It would be fun to see more armor materials and types show up in the game, but the current version doesn't reward it and would likely turn it into unnecessary bookkeeping and cross-referencing. I do think we actually got lucky that the designers didn't get their wish of just creating Light armor, Medium armor and Heavy armor and what it looked like was RP fluff.

If it could be done without getting obscene, I'd like to see types or tags added to armor. Like weapons have the slashing, piercing, bludgeoning, finesse & versatile tags, I'd like to see tags adopted that grant some sort of bonus (+1 AC? Damage reduction?) vs. specific types or situations. Like above, perhaps a silk-lined armor (Silk tag?) grants some protection vs. piercing, whereas Plate or Chain may actually become tags that have their own effects.

Other tags might (and should) affect the other pillars - the Noisy tag would indicate disadvantage on Stealth. A Quiet tag might grant advantage on Stealth. A Distributed tag might allow the armor to be slept in or not inflict disadvantage on Athletic checks. A Bulky tag might inflict disadvantage on Acrobatics. Roomy might give advantage on Sleight of Hand when hiding something in it. Tight the opposite. The Winter tag could give advantage on Survival checks or saves against cold damage or traveling in arctic conditions (good for Rime of the Frost Maiden, for example). It doesn't have to be supernatural, though it certainly opens up design space for supernatural tags or abilities.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
D&D needs less armors. Once affordable, usage will always be contained to the best in class. I'd rather have something like 13th Age where there's just the category (and it's by class - heavy armor is better AC for a paladin than a cleric), and then the player reskins it.

Anything special can be dealt with as an item. No need to have a matrix of THIS armor type time THAT material multipled again by SOME type of magic. Just a category and then if it's special for whatever reason.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Two reasons PCs don't demand more armor:
1) armor never breaks, or loses its protective qualities.
I like the idea of ablative armor (in theory). But who really wants to track the reduction of armor value?

Also, armor isn't that expensive. So you get some at 1st, around 3-4th you have enough to upgrade; and then you are done unless you find magic armor...

But maybe some sort of ablative armor, like armor made from Cloud giant cloud or something?
 

D&D needs less armors. Once affordable, usage will always be contained to the best in class.
Though that is true in 5e, that does not need to be true. Yes, in 5e once you get Studded Leather as a Rogue, there is no longer any reason to have Leather Armor, and the same thing applies to Chain Mail with Plate Armor, and Scale Mail with Half-Plate.

However, that is only due to the fact that 5e's armor system is dumbed down and simplified to the point where any choice besides the obviously optimal one is a wrong choice. If the system were to be changed to there being a type of light armor that was more expensive than Studded Leather, possibly 100 gp, which would give you an AC of 13 + your Dexterity modifier, with a maximum bonus of +4, then in certain circumstances it would be better to take Studded Leather than this hypothetical armor.

And, that's just one example they could do similar things for a variety of new light and medium armors (possibly a heavy armor that is 17 + Dex mod., maximum of +1), and other similar ways of keeping armor simple while also having the choice matter.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Though that is true in 5e, that does not need to be true. Yes, in 5e once you get Studded Leather as a Rogue, there is no longer any reason to have Leather Armor, and the same thing applies to Chain Mail with Plate Armor, and Scale Mail with Half-Plate.

However, that is only due to the fact that 5e's armor system is dumbed down and simplified to the point where any choice besides the obviously optimal one is a wrong choice. If the system were to be changed to there being a type of light armor that was more expensive than Studded Leather, possibly 100 gp, which would give you an AC of 13 + your Dexterity modifier, with a maximum bonus of +4, then in certain circumstances it would be better to take Studded Leather than this hypothetical armor.

And, that's just one example they could do similar things for a variety of new light and medium armors (possibly a heavy armor that is 17 + Dex mod., maximum of +1), and other similar ways of keeping armor simple while also having the choice matter.

They just need something like 3E. A bit more variety in the armor. Heavy armor with +1 or 2 dex allowed sure why not?

Medium armor +3 dex allowed same thing.

Light armor AC 11-13, Medium 14-16, 17-19 heavy.

Modified by dex. 5E armor basically crap. I suppose you could put in +3 chainmail instead of +1 full plate but that's a high level thing because of the +3 part.
 

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