D&D 5E Realistic/Historic armor for D&D (Homebrew)

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
so I'm not really a huge fan of 5e, but i got into a discussion the other night with someone on discord about realistic armor, they sent a video about a guy refuting another guy i watch on youtube's argument that armor should not be based on AC but instead damage resistance. i kinda think "why not both?" so here you go

also here's a google doc's version with commenting enabled Realistic armor D&D 5e

Armor and armor class

Touch ac and full armor class
This system re-introduces the concept of touch ac as a form of armor class that exists outside a characters bonus from armor, when an attack is made, it is made against touch ac plus full armor class, if the attack fails to pass touch ac, then it deals no damage, if it exceeds touch ac but not full armor class, then armor protection applies, if an attack exceeds full armor class (which is always does on a roll where the die lands on 20) then the weapon deals damage without armor protection.
Full armor class is in addition to touch ac, to calculate full armor class, add it on top of touch ac.
Some armors have the glancing quality, this quality gives them some touch ac making it a bit of a holdover from how D&D normally handles ac from armor but to a lesser degree. Glancing represents a plate armor’s ability to deflect a blow that would still hit a character not wearing that armor.

Bonuses to armor class
The full armor class bonus from armor is high, because it represents how much of a wearer’s body this armor covers, which is often 85% or more, very hard to hit around without great skill. This naturally high bonus to full armor class means that some outside bonuses to armor class could be too much, thus as a dm you must decide whether some bonuses to ac stack with full armor class or only apply to touch ac. As a rule all bonuses to armor class that normally apply to an armored character in 5e should still apply to an armored character’s touch ac.

Armor protection
Armor protection is a form of reduction in damage that armor grants the wearer which protects the wearer from all forms of hitpoint damage unless an attack roll is made to exceed the wearer’s full armor class. Armor protection reduces damage from all sources based by a set value given on the table, when armor protection applies, reduce total damage by that amount before applying damage reduction or resistance.



Historical armors
ArmorCostFull armor classArmor protectionStrengthStealthWeight
Light armor.
Touch ac: 10+dex
Leather50gp+193 (-1 against bludgeoning)10lb
Gambeson100gp+195 (-3 against bludgeoning)10lb
Medium armor
Touch ac: 10+dex (max 2)
Hide150gp+196 (-2 against bludgeoning)20lb
Scale300gp+18 (-2 vs piercing)6 + metal (-2 vs bludgeoning, halve metal bonus vs bludgeoning)Disadvantage30lb
Chainmail500gp+19 (-2 vs piercing)8 + metal (-2 vs bludgeoning, half metal bonus vs piercing, no metal bonus vs bludgeoning)Disadvantage30lb
Heavy armor
Touch ac: 10
Banded plate750gp+15 +2 touch ac10 + metalStr 13Disadvantage35lb
Lamellar1000gp+16 +2 touch ac (-2 vs piercing)10 + metal (3/4 metal bonus vs bludgeoning (round down))Str 15Disadvantage45lb
Field plate1500gp+14 +4 touch ac12 + metalStr 15Disadvantage45lb
Metals
Bronze-200gp2Str 11 or +1+5lb
Mild steel+0gp4
Medium steel+500gp8
High steel+1500gp16
Gambeson: thick layers of fine linen quilted into a tough pattern thick enough to catch arrows and blades, gambeson is soft and offers only a minor cushion against blunt force trauma. Gambeson was often used as armor worn beneath metal armors.




Banded plate: also known as roman lorica segmentata this armor is a series of thick but simple lames of metal riveted and jointed together to form large thick plates with decent flexibility.

Lamellar: hundreds of thick plates ranging from the 2 to 4 inches in diameter are laced intricately together with brightly colored cordage producing flexible and sturdy armor.



Fantasy armors
ArmorCostFull armor classArmor protectionStrengthStealthWeight
Light
Touch ac: 10+dex
Studded leather60gp+194 (-2 vs bludgeoning, -1 vs piercing)15lb
Medium armor
Touch ac: 10+dex (max 2)
Chain shirt100gp+10 (-2 vs piercing)8 + metal (-2 vs bludgeoning, half metal bonus vs piercing, no metal bonus vs bludgeoning)Disadvantage20lb
Breastplate400gp+10 +2 touch ac12 + metal20lb
Half Plate750gp+13 +2 touch ac12 + metalDisadvantage35lb
Heavy armor
Touch ac: 10
Ring armor200gp+198 + metal (as hide armor vs bludgeoning and piercing damage)Disadvantage35lb
Splint250gp+18 (-4 vs piercing)10 + metalStr 15Disadvantage45lb
Magic armor: magic armor grants a bonus to touch ac and increases armor protection by its enhancement bonus.




Adamantine and mithral: these 2 magical armors can only be made with high steel metal properties, thus should not be introduced into your game until the level you believe players should be able to afford that quality of armor.

Shields: the ac bonus from shields applies to touch ac


Natural armor bonus
The natural ac of creatures also changes in realistic armor for D&D 5e and behaves much like normal armor. All natural armor counts as light armor for determining touch ac. The full armor class of a creature with natural armor requires some thought on a dm’s part about what a creatures natural armor represents, is it thick skin or hide? Is it scales? Or is it thick boney plates?
Hide completely covers a creature even more than leather armor can, granting it a +20 full armor class, scales are slightly less covering as weapons can slip under the surface granting a +19 (to represent glancing, reduce scale’s full armor protection by 1 per size category above medium while give it 1 touch ac per each reduction) full armor class, lastly thick plates have joints where exposed flesh is often only inches from the surface or completely exposed granting only a +14 full armor class +4 touch ac.


Natural armor protection
The natural armor protection can be found by taking a monsters original ac from the monster manual and subtracting 10 and the monster’s bonus from dex. Alternatively take the creature’s cr subtract 10 and the monster’s bonus from dex. The highest result should be used for the creature’s natural armor protection.

creatures with armor protection from scales have +2, creatures with armor protection from plates have +4, if scales or plates are made of metal they gain the bonus from metal like manufactured armors.

size: creatures size categories contribute to their armor protection as their hides, scales, and plates are thicker. large creatures have +1 to armor protection, huge creatures have +2 to armor protection, and gargantuan creatures have +4 to armor protection. Creatures larger than gargantuan have +8 to armor protection


Weapons

Weapon properties

Niche picker: when used in melee these weapons have a +2 bonus to attack rolls vs metal armors and plate natural armor. The weapons with this property include daggers, short swords, and rapiers

Half-swording: weapons with this property can be wielded 2 handed in the half-sword position as a bonus action, while in the half sword position the damage they deal is 1d6 piercing and grants +2 to attack rolls vs metal armors and plate natural armor. Another bonus action is required to stop half-swording Weapons with this property include javelins, spears, greatswords, halberds, and longswords


Special weapons

Dagger: a dagger’s niche picker bonus to attack is doubled when used while grappling the target of your attack.

Javelin: a javalin’s half-swording bonus to attack is doubled when used while grappling the target of your attack

Longsword: a longsword’s half-swording bonus to attack is doubled when used while grappling the target of your attack

Armor piercing arrows/bolts: designed specifically to pierce armor these arrows gain a +2 bonus to hit vs leather, gambeson, hide, scale, chainmail, lamallar, and chain shirt. weapons using armor piercing arrows use a damage die that deals 2 less damage, for example a longbow would deal 1d6 damage with armor piercing arrows. Armor piercing ammo costs as much as regular arrows/bolts and have the same weight.


Combat

Opportunity attack
when an opportunity attack may be made is changed from "when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach" to "when a hostile creature that you threaten moves from a square that you threaten" in all other ways opportunity attacks are unchanged.


Conditions

Overwhelmed
when a character or creature is threatened in melee by 2 or more opponents, it is considered overwhelmed. an overwhelmed creature takes a -1 penalty to its touch ac for every 2 opponents that threaten them. for example if 3 characters threaten a creature with melee attacks then that creature takes a -1 penalty to their touch ac, if another character joins in threatening the creature then their touch ac is reduced by another point. the overwhelmed condition represents a characters inability to account for so many potential threats at one time.

being in the middle of a swarm enemy (even if such enemies do not yet exist in 5e) would count as being threatened by 2 enemies for the purposes of a character's distraction by multiple threats.

it is suggested that the overwhelmed condition not be used alongside the optional rule of flanking
 
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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I'd say that if someone was interested in expanding the armor system in 5e to feel more historical or realistic it should include hit locations and different armors covering different parts of the body.

The fact that helmets are just magic-item-slots in DnD should surely be addressed as well.
 

I honestly think that this is less realistic than the regular 5e AC. If you look at the effect of historical armor it doesn't "reduce damage". It either blocks a disabling blow, or it doesn't. "Half damage" isn't a thing in real combat.
 

. If you look at the effect of historical armor it doesn't "reduce damage". It either blocks a disabling blow, or it doesn't.
D&D doesn't get into disabling blows until you're out of hps. But armor notoriously, say, prevents penetration by some deadly bit of metal, leaving you a nasty bruise instead of a fatal wound.
In D&D, might be modeled as a better death save or something, I suppose...?
"Half damage" isn't a thing in real combat.
Sure is in D&D, tho.

But, yeah, 'realistically' armor would provide both sorts of protection, it'd reduce the severity of some blows, and completely deflect others - like in, oh, GURPS.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Some interesting choices regarding what went on the historical armors table and what went on the fantasy armors table. Is scale supposed to be Lorica plumata? I kind of understand putting half-plate in fantasy armors since a knight wearing only parts of a plate harness would be an oddity past the 14th century. But wouldn’t breastplates and haubergeons (chain shirts) be among the historical armor?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I honestly think that this is less realistic than the regular 5e AC. If you look at the effect of historical armor it doesn't "reduce damage". It either blocks a disabling blow, or it doesn't. "Half damage" isn't a thing in real combat.
I don’t know, given that HP in D&D is more like an abstract measurement of stamina than a measure of how many “disabling blows” one can take, I think armor as damage reduction makes sense. Armor functions both to prevent you from being cut or impaled, and to distribute percussive force, and any hit you take will wear you down somewhat, but the better your armor is at dispersing that force, the less of a problem it’ll be.

This is all far too complex for my taste, but I see what the OP is going for.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I honestly think that this is less realistic than the regular 5e AC. If you look at the effect of historical armor it doesn't "reduce damage". It either blocks a disabling blow, or it doesn't. "Half damage" isn't a thing in real combat.

I don’t know how accurate this is. You still feel many blows through armor. Even some serious ones (like bruised or cracked ribs). But the same blows unarmored would result in broken bones or crushed skulls. Armor also means the arrow/bolt only pierced an inch into you, as opposed to 10 inches. So it definitely reduced the severity of damage taken. Not just all or nothing.
 

Touch ac and full armor class
This system re-introduces the concept of touch ac as a form of armor class that exists outside a characters bonus from armor, when an attack is made, it is made against touch ac plus full armor class, if the attack fails to pass touch ac, then it deals no damage, if it exceeds touch ac but not full armor class, then armor protection applies, if an attack exceeds full armor class (which is always does on a roll where the die lands on 20) then the weapon deals damage without armor protection.
I get what you're going for, but I'm not sure that it makes sense, given the way that Strength increases your accuracy. If we're trying to be "realistic" about this, then an ogre swinging a tree trunk shouldn't have any chance of getting between the gaps of your plate armor. Likewise for The Tarrasque.

It reminds me a lot of the Gargantuan Toad, back in 3E days, whose many hit dice afforded it a terrific bonus to Reflex saves. The mechanics just don't work together.
 


If this is your take on armor and 5E, then I think you totally miss the point of 5E. Realism is not the point, fun and playable are.

And then if you are going to try this take on 5E, then what are HP to you? How are you going to justify HP is not meat with this "realism-based" approach?

Step back, ask yourself why, and if 5E isn't the system for you, then find one that is.
 

D&D doesn't get into disabling blows until you're out of hps. But armor notoriously, say, prevents penetration by some deadly bit of metal, leaving you a nasty bruise instead of a fatal wound.
In D&D, might be modeled as a better death save or something, I suppose...? Sure is in D&D, tho.

But, yeah, 'realistically' armor would provide both sorts of protection, it'd reduce the severity of some blows, and completely deflect others - like in, oh, GURPS.

I feel like you need to think about this a LOT harder. If a "deadly bit of metal" penetrated your armour in D&D you are on 0 HP and making Death Saves. I can see you're getting there, but you wrote up a giant table that illustrates basically no understanding of what's going on in 5E (or really any-E) combat in D&D, with regards to what AC is, what HP are, and so on. Also, there are some really wacky ideas in the table itself. I mean, for starters, if you've hit in D&D, it doesn't mean you "avoided the armour", it means you whacked them hard enough or just the right place or whatever, that you lowered their HP. So the whole "DR" thing is a bit weird. But it's double-weird when your values are hilariously high - you have chainmail with a DR of 8. So a normal person with a longsword is literally unable to damage someone in chainmail except on a nat-20. You even have it having the same DR vs piercing (just a really hilariously slightly lower AC) and bludgeoning, which is just laughable even if we accept the basic concept. IRL people in chainmail regularly had to stop fighting because they got bludgeoned so hard that they were just a mass of bruises and cracked ribs - and chain regularly got penetrated by weapons which literally never can penetrate it under your rules. If we went with your concept of HP, we'd still want chainmail to have a DR of maybe 4 - breaking that doesn't mean you've "bypassed it" (that's the AC check), it just means you're hitting hard enough to leave bruises and degrade the enemy's ability to fight anyway.

And if we're being realistic, then we need armour to impose Disadvantage on more checks, not just Stealth. Acrobatics for sure - Athletics too in some cases (and no, one guy being able to do a backflip in plate or whatever as a stunt doesn't mean it shouldn't impose Disadvantage - I'm sure someone is quite good at sneaking in plate IRL too - but both of them would have a much easier time out of it).

Really though, maybe have a look at Cyberpunk 2020 or something. It has a pretty good system for what you seem to be wanting to do, which could be adapted to medieval combat.
 

If this is your take on armor and 5E, then I think you totally miss the point of 5E. Realism is not the point, fun and playable are.
To many people, realism is fun, at least in small doses. It isn't fun when the system mechanics force narrative results that vary significantly from what we expect to happen, and everyone has different tolerances for what they find acceptable or not.

So the OP finds armor-as-pure-avoidance to be over the line? Personally, I find Dex-to-damage to be too far. The real point of 5E is that we aren't beholden to what's printed in the book. If we know what we need to change in order for the game to be more fun to us, then we are empowered to do so.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Not to pick on the OP, but we as gamers do love to keep trying to make D&D into something it’s not. From trying to make it realistic, to optimization, to super gritty, to a different genre, we always seem to try to make it into a game that another system does better. I wonder why that is? If we have choice X over there that works better, why don’t we play that instead of trying to make D&D into that system?
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Not to pick on the OP, but we as gamers do love to keep trying to make D&D into something it’s not. From trying to make it realistic, to optimization, to super gritty, to a different genre, we always seem to try to make it into a game that another system does better. I wonder why that is? If we have choice X over there that works better, why don’t we play that instead of trying to make D&D into that system?

It's like the RPG equivalent of "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."
 

Not to pick on the OP, but we as gamers do love to keep trying to make D&D into something it’s not. From trying to make it realistic, to optimization, to super gritty, to a different genre, we always seem to try to make it into a game that another system does better. I wonder why that is? If we have choice X over there that works better, why don’t we play that instead of trying to make D&D into that system?
Good question.
Maybe because it's easier to get social buy-in for "D&D with some home brew rules" than it is to say "obscure game system Y" or even "My own system".

After all, RPGs are social games and require social buy-in by at least the group sitting at the (virtual) table.
 

we always seem to try to make D&D into a game that another system does better. I wonder why that is? If we have choice X over there that works better, why don’t we play that instead of trying to make D&D into that system?
Well, part of it is that you really have more like, choices B through X out there, and the challenge is pulling together a group that's each found /the same one/, and while X might arguably be the best one (though don't let fans of G or N hear you say that, they will /freak/), there are 6 editions of it, and 1-3, 4-5, and 6 are /really/ different, to the point that you can't have fans of different editions in the same room without trouble...
...and in the process of trying to do that, you will very easily find a dozen people who've played D&D enough they can easily start a game up.
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
thats a lot of replys

i think i will respond in order and hopefully ill get my responses out before to many new replies pop up


I'd say that if someone was interested in expanding the armor system in 5e to feel more historical or realistic it should include hit locations and different armors covering different parts of the body.

The fact that helmets are just magic-item-slots in DnD should surely be addressed as well.

your right, this is still a pretty abstracted system and something utilizing called shots, multiple layers of armor, partial armors, ect would probably work well to, but i wanted something that relatively easily slots right into 5e that can fit into just as much space as i have it right now. i was actually surprised how little i had to change and how little space it fits into. i thought about mentioning helms as something that adds like +1 to your full ac if you have on, though armors tend to have helms default in game, i think that abstraction is fine though because why wouldn't you be aiming for the face all the time when fighting an armored helm-less opponent? so the rest of the armor's ac shouldn't apply much for that, sure there should be an attack penalty to only target a head, but i think its going to be considerably less than the full armor class is.

what you might do is penalize perception while wearing armor, that would help balance against non-armored characters a bit, but not significantly, it also might lead to situations where pcs don't wear armor in situations they don't expect a fight but want to see and hear well.


I honestly think that this is less realistic than the regular 5e AC. If you look at the effect of historical armor it doesn't "reduce damage". It either blocks a disabling blow, or it doesn't. "Half damage" isn't a thing in real combat.

i wouldn't call the blows in D&D's hp system disabling, especially in 5e. as for ac, my system actually has very high ac's you can barely hit a character wearing armor at low levels without hitting the armor instead so it requires high skill to eventually get around armor. any material you can cut through or cut around is going to reduce damage. a perfect strike against someone wearing any armor is going to fall into a nitch, but an imperfect but still relatively good strike will either puncture the armor (20 strength, buffing spells, and magic weapons will do that to you) or glance off of the armor but still have enough energy to fall into a niche and do reduced damage. quality of the armor and type of armor has an effect on this. also flexible armor like chain and leather are simply going to give to the blow and not absorb kinetic energy, it might be more realistic to reduce damage to bludgeoning from all attacks while wearing chain mail, but i think this is good because SOME attacks will still penetrate chain mail, especially something like a lance or bodkin arrow.

bodkin arrows, that's something i men't to add at the bottom and forgot to.


Some interesting choices regarding what went on the historical armors table and what went on the fantasy armors table. Is scale supposed to be Lorica plumata? I kind of understand putting half-plate in fantasy armors since a knight wearing only parts of a plate harness would be an oddity past the 14th century. But wouldn’t breastplates and haubergeons (chain shirts) be among the historical armor?

hauberks tend to be a bit more than a shirt, and it tends to be part of a larger set of armor. i never really thought of chain shirts in D&D as hauberks especially with it weighing 20lb to 5e's 45lb chainmail. 20lb is closer to what most full bodied chainmails would weigh depending on the gauge of the rings and the lacing pattern. breastplates arn't necessarily fantasy as much as what context would you fight with a breastplate alone? now something like a breastplate over chainmail might work, but i didn't want to include complex armors like that, and 5e's breastplate describes unarmored on arms and limbs. scale mail is actually better represented by roman Lorica squamata, also the song dynasty had a form of scale called mountain scale.


I get what you're going for, but I'm not sure that it makes sense, given the way that Strength increases your accuracy. If we're trying to be "realistic" about this, then an ogre swinging a tree trunk shouldn't have any chance of getting between the gaps of your plate armor. Likewise for The Tarrasque.

It reminds me a lot of the Gargantuan Toad, back in 3E days, whose many hit dice afforded it a terrific bonus to Reflex saves. The mechanics just don't work together.

doesn't size penalty exist in 5e? perhaps not, you make a good point that large blunt weapons probably shouldn't be able to get around armor, but maybe they can land in thinner places of the armor, given that plate armor (and even well made chainmail and scale) is thinner both in the back of the armor and at the sides, often thinner on the arms and legs, it can be thought that the strength bonus simply allows the creature to power through areas of weaker armor to do more damage, not to mention that extra strength is also powering through in damage as well, and finally it can be hitting armor joints which provide zero resistant to the damage in ways that smaller weapons with less momentum wouldn't be able to generate (such as directly down onto the spine or directly perpendicular to the shoulders) and that size actually gives them the ability to get a better angle on those less protected points with a bludgeoning attack. as for slashing and piercing i think they would work normally as a thin edge is a thin edge no matter how thick it gets past that edge.

on the medium sized scale scale for how strength increases your accuracy it lets you swing faster and account for that touch ac rather than the full armor class because that full armor class rides on top of that touch ac (for the most part) so you swing fast to take advantage of a dropped guard and sink into an open spot faster, the full armor class is still there, but the reaction of the target is less relative to you, and your taking advantage of it so long as you can still hit around that 85-95% body coverage of armor.


If this is your take on armor and 5E, then I think you totally miss the point of 5E. Realism is not the point, fun and playable are.

And then if you are going to try this take on 5E, then what are HP to you? How are you going to justify HP is not meat with this "realism-based" approach?

Step back, ask yourself why, and if 5E isn't the system for you, then find one that is.

its not my take on armor and 5e, its my take on armor using 5e as a base in order to apply a concept. realism shouldn't be the point of any game, but fun and realism arn't enemies, they are simply different. if you dont think you'd have fun playing the game this way then i didn't come up with this homebrew for you, i did though, come up with it for people who would have fun with it, and i don't think its insurmountably complex compared to the way 5e handles armor, i mean i could fit it all into one single post here.

and it has its advantages, when you apply this system to natural armor, you begin to have monsters which on the higher end of the scale are almost impervious to low level characters, and for the meta of the game this means that technically higher level characters are irreplaceable in order to handle these powerful threats, no standing army of thousands of bowmen can take down the ancient red dragon with its 12 armor protection, even with +4 to damage they can not overcome it with longbows and its magnificent 28 ac means even with +4 ability +2 proficiency and +2 fighter style archer to hit, only a rolling a 20 can actually overcome that armor protection.


Not to pick on the OP, but we as gamers do love to keep trying to make D&D into something it’s not. From trying to make it realistic, to optimization, to super gritty, to a different genre, we always seem to try to make it into a game that another system does better. I wonder why that is? If we have choice X over there that works better, why don’t we play that instead of trying to make D&D into that system?

there's a few reasons one could imagine running a particular edition of D&D or any game with homebrew, we don't all have the money to go out and buy games in order to find the perfect one that satisfies everything we want, and also sometimes we find what we want in a game changes over time. further more it may be fun to us to try and see how an idea we have fits into a system if we have a mind for designing, why did the people who make D&D not just release the same game over again without any changes to it? sure there's economic reason, it is a business after all, but at the same time i think they enjoy what they are doing even if i may disagree with what they do (and surely none have done exactly this with the game). i cant answer why we can not stop trying to change the game from how its presented, but i can answer why we do change the game as it is written.

also like D&D's lore and its the game i've grown up with, that could also be a good reason, for me atleast.
 

when you apply this system to natural armor, you begin to have monsters which on the higher end of the scale are almost impervious to low level characters
Which is all valid if that's what you want. Of course you could just add immunity to "slashing,piercing, bludgeoning damage from non-magical weapons" And the RAW you still have the feeling that a high level party can't walk into a city and the thousand guards are unable to provide any meaningful threat.

Of course both approaches/feels are totally fine. I will say when I read your OP I immediately asked myself, why not just use 3.5e? But, play want you want. If this is it, go for it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
hauberks tend to be a bit more than a shirt, and it tends to be part of a larger set of armor. i never really thought of chain shirts in D&D as hauberks especially with it weighing 20lb to 5e's 45lb chainmail. 20lb is closer to what most full bodied chainmails would weigh depending on the gauge of the rings and the lacing pattern.
Haubergeon not hauberk. As plate armor technology improved into the 16th century and and more of the legs were being covered in plate, hauberks got shorter until eventually shrinking to what was often called haubergeon, which is pretty close to a mail shirt. Granted, it wouldn’t be worn on its own, so if that’s what you meant was fantastical, that makes sense to me.

breastplates arn't necessarily fantasy as much as what context would you fight with a breastplate alone? now something like a breastplate over chainmail might work, but i didn't want to include complex armors like that, and 5e's breastplate describes unarmored on arms and limbs.
I assumed it would be over a buff coat, like 17th century cavalry wore.

scale mail is actually better represented by roman Lorica squamata, also the song dynasty had a form of scale called mountain scale.
Ok, gotcha. Makes sense!
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
Which is all valid if that's what you want. Of course you could just add immunity to "slashing,piercing, bludgeoning damage from non-magical weapons" And the RAW you still have the feeling that a high level party can't walk into a city and the thousand guards are unable to provide any meaningful threat.

Of course both approaches/feels are totally fine. I will say when I read your OP I immediately asked myself, why not just use 3.5e? But, play want you want. If this is it, go for it.

i do use 3.5e though that game doesn't have realistic armor either, id actually argue that 5e does realistic armor better than any other edition (ok maybe not older than 3rd but i dont know those games very well) because of bounded accuracy, this means that the effect of armors ac is always going to apply to characters attack bonus and damage is going to be manageable enough to have a static armor protection system that will still be effective against most builds by 20th level. 3e can get a bit crazy with the numbers you might have heard.

5e was designed so that high level characters cant walk into a city and a the thousand guards will be able to provide a meaningful threat, your right, and as far as i can tell you can still always hit without armor protection applied by rolling a 20, and a thousand guards can roll a lot of 20's not to mention certain weapons get around the bet armor in the system i created and especially so at close ranges.


I assumed it would be over a buff coat, like 17th century cavalry wore.

unfortunately the description in the srd for breastplates specifically states completely unarmered besides the breastplate (though i always assume a helmet because benefit of the doubt)
 

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