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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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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
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.
Except that you addressed one point while ignoring the context that it was in. Which is that when you start wanting to introduce magic and materials and such you end up with a huge number of armors.

And your example of making it more fiddly (introducing a new max dex besides +2) makes it even more of a pain. How does introducing an armor that in exceedingly limited circumstances it is better improve the game, lower the barrier of play to new players, make sure that players actually can use and enjoy new magic items instead of them being potentially a bad choice, and just improve fun for everyone, not just those with the system mastery to compare multiple dimensions of change across the equipment list to figure out what's best right now. In an edition that's worked hard to get off the gear windmill.
 

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Except that you addressed one point while ignoring the context that it was in. Which is that when you start wanting to introduce magic and materials and such you end up with a huge number of armors.
I ignored the context because I was not a fan of that suggestions and wanted to address that one key part that could fix the problem. There are different types of heavy armor, medium, and light armor, they're not just variations of the same armor with different materials.
And your example of making it more fiddly (introducing a new max dex besides +2) makes it even more of a pain.
Even more of a pain than the Medium Armor Master feat? Adding this "complexity" is no more of a pain than the current armor system.
How does introducing an armor that in exceedingly limited circumstances it is better:
1. improve the game
2. lower the barrier of play to new players
3. make sure that players actually can use and enjoy new magic items instead of them being potentially a bad choice
4. and just improve fun for everyone, not just those with the system mastery to compare multiple dimensions of change across the equipment list to figure out what's best right now
1. It improves the game because it makes player choice important, instead of just a "duh, I have to take this armor because it is the good armor and only good armor of this category."
2. I'm not trying to lower the bar from the current complexity of the game's armor system, this would match its current "complexity." Thus, it is no more of a barrier than the current armor system.
3. I didn't get rid of +X armors, Armors of Resistance, and other magic armors. This doesn't make the issue of a DM giving the polearm master a flametongue greatsword any more of an issue than it was before.
4. There are currently 3 types of light armor, 5 types of medium armor, and 4 types of heavy armor. One armor from each type is completely useless and will never see use by any character (padded, hide, ring mail), and the following armors quickly become useless once the characters get enough gold to buy them (leather, chain shirt, scale mail, chainmail, splint). So, with the current 12 armor types, two thirds of them are automatically useless and will never be seen in a campaign once they have enough gold to buy any armor they want, unless the DM gimps the party by destroying/taking away their armor. In my opinion and experience, it is more fun to have character choices for what your armor does than it is to just have a "duh, I need this one."

It is not more complex than the current system, and encourages character creativity and decision. If they just doubled the current amount of armors in the game (to 24), and made all of them viable choices for certain characters even if they have enough money to afford Plate, Half-Plate, or Studded Leather, that would not overcomplicate the current Armor System, and would make it intuitive and important.
 

One way would be to do away with any magic armour giving an AC bonus, and instead have AC bonus come only from the type of armour. Magic armour would instead grant other properties rather than simple bonuses.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
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?
True enough. The problem with advancing armors by AC in 5e, if that's Minigiant's edition, is that there's not much room to work before the designers' intent breaks. So we'll have to get creative when implementing Wizard and Sorceror armor...

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...
Players already track HP. Tie the two together? How about this: take an amount of damage equal to your armor's AC bonus, and it loses one point of AC after the battle. Do some smithing to restore the lost point(s).

Paper armor looks pretty good when your plate suit has been reduced to 11 AC.
 



True enough. The problem with advancing armors by AC in 5e, if that's Minigiant's edition, is that there's not much room to work before the designers' intent breaks. So we'll have to get creative when implementing Wizard and Sorceror armor...
Unless you really want level 1 goblins to still hit you when you're level 20, it's as easy as handing out +7 weapons to level-appropriate enemies around the final town (where you buy the +7 armor).
 

cbwjm

Hero
I do have dark elven spider silk robes which grant 11+ dex AC and can be worn without any armour proficiency required.

Most of the time, a change in material is only that so half plate bone armour has the same stats as regular half plate. Other materials act like the various dragon scale armour and provide an additional bonus like resistance. A particularly fine material might grant a +1 bonus to AC like the Bestine steel of the Mandalorian.
 



Ace

Adventurer
I'd like some AC13 light armor but that might be a bit cheesy.

Otherwise its easy enough to reskin existing armor as something else, Halfplate becomes Chitin or whatever. After all stats are balance, flavor is not.
 

Horwath

Hero
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.
what variety in 3.5?

in 3,5e you had 2 armors:

Chain shirt and heavy plate(Races of Stone).
That is it for mundane armors.

You got some extra with mithril/adamantium verstions of those 2 armors and extra for mithril breastplate.
Every medium armor in 3.5e was a waste of printing ink.
 

Horwath

Hero
one way for armors to make a difference is to have innate damage reduction vs. some damage types.

Padded/leather/hide could be thick and have DR vs blunt damage.

chain armors could have DV vs slashing

plate could have DR vs slashing and piercing.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Well here are a few questions.

Why are we okay with having multiple weapons with no or little mechanical differences but are troubled or hesitant to do the same with armor?

If the mundane damage types (bludgeoning, piercing, slashing) only matter when adding adding variants, named items, or modules to the game, couldn't this be the thought pattern for armors?

What if there were a simple variant rule for materials and armor? There could be multiple "top rank" armors but the armors would have different materials.

Fore example Studded Leather, Thick Padded, and Gladiator Plate could be the top light armor. All three offer AC equal to 12+Dex Modifier. However they are made of Leather, Cloth, and Steel respectively.

As an reaction or when taking the Dodge action (in 5e), a character proficient in their armor can give themselves resistance to a few damage type until the end of their next turn. In other editions, you'd get similar resistances by doing something.

The different material types would give warriors a choice of armor beside the gold cost.

Do you choose leather armor to dodge fire and lightning or wear metal to resist slashing and piercing? Or is resisting sonic/thunder and bludgeoning your jam and you choose cloth armor?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
If D&D were to go a little more complex and fantasical, I wold go

  • Light
    • Padded​
    • Gladiator/Partial Leather​
    • Cord​
    • Leather​
    • Studded Leather
    • Gladiator/Partial Plate
    • Leaf Scale
    • Thick Padded/Linothorax/Gambeson
  • Medium
    • Hide​
    • Chain Shirt​
    • Jack of Plates​
    • Light Bronze​
    • Scale Mail​
    • Gem
    • Banded Shirt
    • Brigandine
    • Breastplate
    • Bone Shirt
    • Half Plate
    • Monster Hide
    • Wood
  • Heavy
    • Ring​
    • Copper​
    • Chain​
    • Splint​
    • Banded​
    • Ironwood
    • Heavy Bronze
    • Monster Bone
    • Monster Scale
    • (Full) Plate
    • Stone
Bold are armors of the same same top tier in their category. Different editions would use different rules.
Bone armor would resist slashing and fire.
Bronze Armor would resist slashing and acid
Cloth armors would resist bludgeoning and sonic/thunder.
Leather armors would resist fire and lightning.
Hide armors would resist fire and cold.
Stone armors would resist slashing and lightning.
Steel armor would resist slashing and piercing.
Wood armors would resist bludgeoning and lightning.
 

Voadam

Legend
I liked the array of 4e magic armor types, lots of flavor and style, small bonuses, pretty much separated from AC but on theme.

I hate having to upgrade armor to stay/become competitive/optimized. Pathfinder 1e fighter is particularly bad in this regard with armor abilities coming online at different levels that might or might not work with your stats. B/X D&D was great with a level 1 fighter being able to start with plate mail. 5e is decent in this regard but you still generally start out with chainmail then upgrade in a few levels to plate then some kind of magic plate. I generally prefer to have one character visual costume image and stick with it rather than a continually changing one for armor.
 

Who has played Horizon: Zero Dawn? In it, you actively dodge attacks, but different sorts of armor soak different types of damage at various rates.

So here's what we do: four classes of armor - light, medium, heavy, shield. Light imposes no penalty for wearing it; aside from maybe social drawback. Medium slows you down unless you have Str 12. Heavy slows you down unless you have Str 16. Shields require you have a hand available.

Light provides two defensive benefits, medium provides five, and heavy provides nine. Shields also provide two.

A benefit might be +1 AC, or resistance to one type of damage, or some sort of nifty trick.

Now that we have that baseline, we throw out all concepts of physical medieval reality and come up with bonkers armor. For example:

Armor made of glowing magical energy
A swarm of beetles
You're literally wearing someone else's body
You phase parts of yourself out as you're attacked
A shield that's actually an extradimensional space that can swallow attacks and spit them out
Wooden bark filled with the spirit of a dryad that casts protective spells on you
A pharaoh's mask that blasts aside attacks with holy power
A bracelet that turns your body into stone
Boots that help you sprint to dodge attacks
A Jekyll-Hyde concoction that you drink to turn you into a brute that can absorb injuries

All this could fall under the category of armor.
 

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