View Full Version : A better armor table

2006-11-23, 10:37 AM
The existing armor table has an issue. One piece of the armor in each armor category is significantly better than the rest.

contains an alternative armor table for use!

The only armor dominated is Hide -- Studded Leather is strictly better.

Full Plate is simply better than half plate. Heck, full plate has the same weight as half plate!

The only reason to wear half plate is the price -- and in D&D, that quickly fades away. The cost of enchantment grows to dominate the cost of the base armor.

The same is true elsewhere -- plate BP is slightly more expensive, but way better than chainmail.

And then we have relatively cheap materials (like mithral) which turn a chain shirt into "as good as +2 leather armor".

+5 leather armor is worth ~25,000 gp
+4 mithral shirt is worth ~17,000 gp, and is strictly better gear unless you are a druid.

Are there any decent alternative armor charts?

2006-11-23, 06:51 PM
At lower levels more significantly, the cost comes into play. Someone's more likely to buy studded leather than a chain shirt because a chain shirt is so much more expensive. Same with say, half plate against fullplate, which is over 1000 gp.

As for higher levels, if you can afford better armor you're going to get it, right? Might as well, adventurers deserve only the best for thier effort.

2006-11-23, 08:00 PM
But, it gets rid of complexity.

After a certain point, Leather on a Rogue is stupid -- just wear Mithril Chain Shirt. It is (effectively) Leather+2 for 1000 gp (half the cost of a +1 enchantment), and can be further enchanted.

Sure, there is the cost difference -- but that quickly fades. There are at most a handful of viable armor pieces that aren't dominated by others.

Here is the d20 SRD armor table:
Here is the Runic SRD armor table:

Know of many others?

I've glanced at the true20 srd -- it seems to be cost based (ie, more expensive gear is simply better, to an unlimited extent).

It had the concept of four three different stats for armor:
Max Dex, Bulk skill penalty/encumberance, Defence (deflect) chance, Mitigation (damage absorbtion).

So armor had 4 parameters. In theory, you could make a number of different sets of armor, none of which seriously dominated each other.

In SRD d20, you have:

Padded: +1 AC +8 Dex Bonus 0 A.Penalty 5% arcane failure
Mithril Chain Shirt: +4 AC +6 dex bonus 0 A.Penalty 10% arcane failure. Light.
A. Chain Short: +4 AC +4 dex bonus -2 A.Penalty 20% arcane failure. 1/- DR. Light
Mithril BP: +5 AC +5 dex bonus -2 A.Penalty 15% arcane failure. Light.

A. BP: +5 AC +3 dex bonus -4 A.Penalty 25% arcane failure. 2/- DR. Medium
Mithril FullPlate: +8 AC +3 dex bonus -4 A.Penalty 25% arcane failure. Medium

A. Full Plate: +8 AC +1 dex bonus -6 A.Penalty 35% A.Failure. 3/- DR. Heavy

Only a fool, or someone who can't buy the raw materials, makes pretty much any other kind of magical armor. Because enchanting costs more than the material upgrade the above materials cost.

I'd like to have more depth to armor selection. :)

Know of any other interesting approaches?

2006-11-24, 03:25 PM
Some armour being better than other armour if you can afford it is wholly the idea, I think. A heavy flail is straight-up better than a greatclub, too.

2006-11-24, 04:18 PM
Well, it varies. A lot. If all materials are readily available.... (I.e., you have Ye Olde Shoppe of Magjickque Ltd. readily available)

Assuming you never, ever, sacrifice Touch AC....

If you've got a Dex bonus over +8, you're best off going with Bracers of Armor.

At Dex +8 or +7, you want enchanted Padded armor.

At Dex +6, a Mithral Chain Shirt is about ideal

At Dex +5 or +4, a Mithral Breastplate.

At Dex +2 and +3, you have to check; do you have any abilities that don't work in medium armor? If so, go with the Mithral Breastplate; otherwise, Mithral Fullplate.

That's for Mithral. Adamantium has it's own, seperate progression, but in general, better AC is better than DR/-. Pick up Gauntlets of Dexterity before Adamantium Fullplate.

On the other hand, if Ye Olde Shoppe of Magjickque is not available, you take whatever you can get.....

2006-11-24, 06:36 PM
In a low-, maybe midmagic campaign where most magic items are found as treasure and few, if none, magic item shops or enchanters are available, you can customize the treasure that the armors with the best enchantments are only (or mostly) those of the "lower" kinds (leather, scale mail, splint mail and so on).

This makes even kind of sense, if you consider chain shirt, breastplate and full plate as the "most advanced" and "newest" versions of each category and the "lower" ones are just older armor designs, mostly used in the past.

If you go back in history, there won't be any full plates after a certain point (even in reality, they came up in the late middle ages or so. Might not be true for breastplate or chain shirt, though) - but traditionally, the magic users in the distant past are just *better*, more powerful and so awesome that they can make cities fly, safely lock away insanely powerful monsters, create major artifacts and so on.
Certanly they could also put enchantments on armors that modern wizards can only dream of. Too bad that there were no breastplates at that time, the newly invented banded mail was the best heavy armor and studded leather just became the latest fashion for rangers. :smallsmile:

You know, that hidden rule for magic items...the best items are always the oldest, too. In case of armors, that could mean that they are also awesome - but not modern. :smalltongue:

Might not work in high-magic, where the PCs can easily trade the old armors for shiny new ones, with similar enchantments, or make their own stuff.

2006-11-24, 08:55 PM
A simple solution, is to increase the weight of Full Plate armor. It would be heavier than Half Plate anyway, and push the price higher. Full Plate should be roughly twice and heavy as Half Plate.

2006-11-24, 09:19 PM
Another simple solution would be to follow the near-formula alread present in the armors a little more strictly:

Armor Bonus + Max Dex = 8.

So Fullplate loses it's +1 Max Dex, Halfplate gains +1 Max Dex, Banded and Splint both go up to +2 Dex, the Breastplate remains unchanged, chainmail goes to +3 Dex (same as the Breastplate), scale goes to +4 Dex, Hide to +5, the Leather, Studded Leather, and Chain Shirt remain the same, while Padded armor's maximum Dexterity bonus drops to +7, rather than +8.

2006-11-27, 10:42 PM
I've come up with an alternative armor table.

This armor is DR based armor -- it reduces damage done.

Crits will bypass armor, in exchange for a reduction in the damage multiplier of 1x. (ie, longswords become 19x1, rapiers 18x1, scyths 20x3, etc).

So... start with d20 SRD armor. Next, add +1 to the max dex modifier for every piece of armor.

Padded|1 DR|0 DEF|-1 ATK|-2 PTS
Leather|3 DR|-1 DEF|-1 ATK|-1 PTS
Studded|5 DR|-1 DEF|-2 ATK|0 PTS
Chain Shirt|5 DR|-3 DEF|+0 ATK|1 PTS
Hide|5 DR|-3 DEF|-1 ATK|-2 PTS
Scale|7 DR|-1 DEF|-3 ATK|-1 PTS
Chainmail|8 DR|-4 DEF|-1 ATK|0 PTS
Breastplate|6 DR|-2 DEF|-1 ATK|2 PTS
Splint|9 DR|-2 DEF|-3 ATK|0 PTS
Banded|9 DR|-3 DEF|-2 ATK|1 PTS
Half-plate|11 DR|-3 DEF|-3 ATK|1 PTS
Full plate|12 DR|-4 DEF|-2 ATK|4 PTS [/table]

DEF means "Change Defence" -- ie, traditional AC. Armor in this system makes you easier to hit.

ATK means "Change your to-hit". Armor in this system makes you miss more.

DR is DR. It reduces damage caused by melee weapons. Crits bypass this DR -- so someone in full plate can still be killed by a longsword, but it is damn hard.

PTS is a balancing column. DR is worth 2 PTS, DEF is worth 3 pts, and ATK is worth 4 pts. It has no impact on actual gameplay -- it was just how I balanced it.

This system is intended to work with a +DEF by level table.

Here is one that might work:

Defense Bonus Progressions Table

Worst: Wiz, Sorc, NPC classes
Poor: Cleric, Druid, Rogue, Bard
Good: Monk, Ranger, Barbarian
Best: Fighter, Paladin

Other non-base SRD classes can use a similar table.

To-hit rolls should be 15+DEF+Dex.

Flat-footed rolls should be 10+DEF.

For multiclassers:
Multiple classes on the same table just add together on that table.
Multiple classes on different tables:
* Start with the highest BASE AC.
* Add in the "increment" for each class level.

So a L 5 figher, L 5 barbarian, L 5 sorcerer, L 5 rogue would have:
2 base (from figher Best DEF table).
+3 DEF (Fighter L 5)
+2 DEF (Barb L 5)
+2 DEF (Rog L 5)
+1 DEF (Sorc L 5)
10 DEF

(And 15 BaB)

In comparison, a L 20 fighter has 14 DEF and 20 BaB.

Math: I tweaked the table so that starting at L 1, higher-DEF classes have at least 1 more DEF than lower-DEF classes.

Worst gets about 1/3 DEF progression. Poor gets 2/5. Good gets 1/2. Best gets 3/5. (33%, 40%, 50%, 60%).

(Armor originall posted
I stole and fixed the DEF table from that location as well).

2006-11-28, 11:06 AM
I find it difficult to word this without it sounding like an attack. I honestly don't like your system. I prefer the RAW presented for armor.

2006-11-28, 11:40 AM
Can you think of any improvements?

Are the ATK / DEF penalties too high?

Can you think of an alternative way to balance armor? Ideally I need 3 parameters that matter I can tweak in order to make some armor better than others.

I guess I could have positive DEF on armor and negative ATK?

2006-11-28, 12:11 PM
What about it don't you like?

Here is another attempt. In this system, armor grants both DEF and DR.

It costs you some ability to hit and some ability to do damage.

Fields not mentioned are left unchanged. PTS is, once again, a balancing column.

As a plus, this system doesn't require nearly as large a change to d20.

{table="head"]Name|DR|DEF|ATK|DAM|Max Dex|Dex+DEF/DR|PTS
Padded|1 DR|1 DEF|-1 ATK|-1 DAM|8 DEX|9/1|-2 PTS
Leather|2 DR|2 DEF|-1 ATK|-0 DAM|6 DEX|8/2|7 PTS
Studded|3 DR|3 DEF|-1 ATK|-1 DAM|5 DEX|8/3|8 PTS
Chain Shirt|5 DR|1 DEF|-1 ATK|-0 DAM|5 DEX|6/5|9 PTS
Hide|4 DR|3 DEF|-2 ATK|-1 DAM|3 DEX|6/4|6 PTS
Scale|6 DR|4 DEF|-2 ATK|-1 DAM|3 DEX|7/6|13 PTS
Chainmail|5 DR|5 DEF|-2 ATK|-1 DAM|3 DEX|8/5|14 PTS
Breastplate|7 DR|2 DEF|-1 ATK|-1 DAM|4 DEX|6/7|13 PTS
Splint|7 DR|5 DEF|-2 ATK|-2 DAM|1 DEX|6/7|15 PTS
Banded|6 DR|6 DEF|-1 ATK|-2 DAM|2 DEX|8/6|20 PTS
Half-plate|9 DR|6 DEF|-3 ATK|-2 DAM|1 DEX|7/9|18 PTS
Full plate|10 DR|7 DEF|-2 ATK|-3 DAM|2 DEX|9/10|24 PTS [/table]

Note that I also made heavier armor better than lighter armor overall.

PTS values:
DR: 2 pts each
DEF: 3 pts each
ATK: 4 pts each
DAM: 3 pts each

Heavy armor restricts your movement, making it harder to hit.
Heavy armor requires strength, making you do less damage.
Heavy armor deflects blows, making you harder to hit.
Heavy armor prevents acrobatics, making high dexterity matter less.
Heavy armor gets in the way of damage, giving you DR.

2006-11-28, 12:24 PM
Personally I just don't see what's "bad" about one piece of armor being the best armor in its category. The new table adds a bunch of complexity to the system of keeping track of armor (as well as the combat system), to fix something that I don't think needs fixing. So in general I don't like the idea.

But, if you find that it makes more sense to you, I'd say go for it. I would have a couple questions though. Is dexterity coming in to play at all? What will a Mithral Breastplate's stats be? A Mithral Chain Shirt?

And the biggest problem I see with this system: the Monk. I don't know what the number-crunching would look like, but this system seems like it would benefit an unarmored fighter quite a bit. If the monk's Dex and Wisdom count towards AC, they'll be hitting almost as often as the fighters (thanks to the fighters' armor penalty to attacks), and dodging hits much more often than the fighters (thanks to the fighter's armor penalty to AC). Disarming - one of the things Monks already do very well - will be much easier, too, given the penalty to attacks. I know that monks are generally considered under-powered, but this could possibly push them up to Cleric-y power levels (at least in melee combat).

EDIT: Ah, writing while you posted the last thing. So Dex would count.

2006-11-28, 12:53 PM
Strange materials...

Well, let's start off with 3 kinds of Mastercraft.

Human Mastercraft: +1 ATK, 1 less Armor Check
(4 PTS)
Dwarf Mastercraft: +2 DR, 10% greater Arcane Failure
(4 PTS)
Elf Mastercraft: +1 DEF, 1 less Armor Check, 5% less Arcane Failure
(3 PTS)

And some enchanted metals:
(proposal: Mitrhil/Adamantium requires magic to forge)

Enchanted Mithril:
+1 ATK, +1 DAM, +1 DEF, 1 higher DEX, 2 less Armor Check, 10% less Arcane Spell Failure
(10 PTS)
Medium and Heavy mithril armor grants +5' base movement per round (up to unarmored speed). It is still considered Medium and/or Heavy for other purposes.

Light Mithril armor has an extra 2 less Armor Check (for a total of 4 less Armor Check).

Enchanted Adamantium:
+3 DR, +1 DEF, +1 DAM, 1 less Armor Check
(12 PTS)
Enchanted Steel:
+2 DR, +1 ATK, +1 DAM, 1 less Armor Check
(11 PTS)

That is for (Mastercraft Metal +1 armor). Each +1 past that adds +1 DEF +1 DR.

So now you have a huge matrix of mundane armor (all of the above, mastercrafted in 3 different ways), plus a matrix of magical armor (steel, adamantium and mithril).

Some samples using the second set of armor, and the above magical/masterwork rules:

Full Plate: 10 DR 7 DEF -2 ATK -3 DAM 2 DEX

D. M. Full Plate: 12 DR 7 DEF -2 ATK -3 DAM 2 DEX -6 Check
E. M. Full Plate: 10 DR 8 DEF -2 ATK -3 DAM 2 DEX -5 Check
H. M. Full Plate: 10 DR 7 DEF -1 ATK -3 DAM 2 DEX -5 Check

A. Full Plate +1: 13 DR 8 DEF -2 ATK -2 DAM 2 DEX -5 Check
M. Full Plate +1: 10 DR 8 DEF -1 ATK -2 DAM 3 DEX -4 Check, 5' faster
S. Full Plate +1: 12 DR 7 DEF -1 ATK -2 DAM 2 DEX -5 Check

A. Full Plate +5: 17 DR 12 DEF -2 ATK -2 DAM 2 DEX -5 Check
M. Full Plate +5: 14 DR 12 DEF -1 ATK -2 DAM 3 DEX -4 Check, 5' faster
S. Full Plate +5: 16 DR 11 DEF -1 ATK -2 DAM 2 DEX -5 Check