A detailed look at how armor is depicted and implemented in medieval fantasy role-playing games.
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A detailed look at how armor is depicted and implemented in medieval fantasy role-playing games.
Shadiversity on Patreon:
Awesome shadiversity T-shirts:
Come join the discord server and have a chat:
Two words dragen leather
WotC did create a variant ruleset for D&D 3.5 where armour provides damage reduction as well as armour class, you can find it in Unearthed Arcana (pp. 111-112). Although you might still not be entirely satisfied with the actual numbers used, maybe your DM and/or you can create a house-rule making it more realistic/historically accurate.
Paizo did something similar for First Edition Pathfinder in Ultimate Combat (pp. 191-192).
So basically, just play dwarf fortress?
i guess you would like dsa 4
Glory to 3.5 ⚔️⚔️🗡️🗡️🛡️🛡️
Sees Shad using 3.5 Ah, I see. I guess if you want to make things complex, start with the most obtuse modern D&D.
plate armor as seen in games is more rennasance and early modern era than proper medeival. Now was their plate during 100 years war etc yes, but at the same time the type of plate armor we see in games and movies was more a 15th and 16th century evolution
I don't mean to burst your bubble guys, BUT I am also pretty sure DRAGONS didn't really exist.
I decided I wanted this easier to see (like the fool I likely am), as I posted it as a reply to another comment.
The complaint about Armor Class being a combination of the idea of Agility (ability to dodge an attack) plus Damage Resistance (more like Nullification, in this case as you typically have to meet or beat the AC to deal any damage) can be a fair one.
One alternative would be to give all armors two stats, a +/- to Agility along with Damage Resistance. I would be ok with that in general, except that then you have to account for damage type resistances separately (ie: Plate Mail is overall much more resistant to Piercing Damage than Chain or Leather; Shad brings this up in his now-new video about War Scythes). Further, you could then include distinct weaknesses to said armors as well (like Metal being explicitly more vulnerable to heat than Leather).
That said, it would make the game more complicated, which I think is the opposite of what Wizards is trying to do; by simplifying things, they make it more accessible to more players.
You can always homebrew in more complexity (that's where Pathfinder came from, it was basically a 3.5 homebrew that became its own thing, as I understand it), but that doesn't mean it necessarily should become part of the official material.
Another difficulty, however, is the difference between merely "hitting" an opponent and actually dealing damage. As it is, AC is basically just saying "This is how hard it is to do ANY damage, because I am so agile and/or well-protected". Further, we don't have targeted attacks in D&D. So how are you to say that just because, say, your plate mail should reduce all damage by 4 points, but what if it doesn't HIT that part? Are all your enemies just stupid Lv. 1 AI's and aim for chest blows? Or are they aiming for head-shots to actually kill you (using a weapon with a spike at that, Shad brings that up a few times in several videos)?
Heck, if you read the descriptions of the different armors, they make it clear that they don't even always cover the same parts of the body as each other (in fact, only Full Plate Mail actually includes all the pieces: helmet, chestplate, leggings, boots, arm guards, gauntlets) which makes it rather awkward when you realize that someone with Full Plate mail has equipped magic boots and gauntlets, thus actually replacing part of that single unit of armor. To to mention identifying truthfully which armors have metal (check, one will likely surprise you, it IS vulnerable to Heat Metal!).
Last note, is damage itself. Especially in 5th Edition, they basically flattened stats, to avoid the infinite growth of power that I guess was ridiculous in past editions? (I dunno, I started in 5E, that's what I've read). So damage and HP also got rather flattened. That's not bad or good, it's just a mechanic system for tracking how much "hurt" your character can take before they fall unconscious/dead. (Which, to everyone who wants D&D to be more "realistic"… HAVING TONS OF HP IS REALISTIC!? No, you get slashed by a dragon and take a wound… YOU ARE DEAD. Seriously, you want these games to be more realistic, remove the HP system altogether and implement wound levels! You can have like, 3 light wounds, 2 major, 1 severe, then dead. Or something, I dunno, I, for one, want to play as an epic hero, not a realistic dragon chewtoy.)
In short, it's about simplicity and accessibility. Are there improvements to be had? Yep, just ask Shad! But it's not meant to be "the perfect system", it's one where it is meant to provide the structure for a fun time with your friends. (In fact, as much as I do enjoy the rules as they are, I'm going to see if I can find a good "realistic" armor system that I like. It would have to incorporate evasiveness, damage reduction, armor PARTS (ie: having only half-plate without arm guards would be blatantly less effective), have damage-type resistances/weaknesses (if any are applicable; Heat Metal comes to mind again… technically, cold probably shouldn't be a weakness, due to the protective under layers?), and such.)
Having this damage reduction would BE UNFAIR FOR EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T A PALADIN OR FIGHTER
Well, armour made of different pieces is more flexible and maneuvarable, as you mentioned with brigandines.
Also haulbergs look better than this knight armour you're showing.
I like the system but the numbers are to high
Interestingly enough, there is armour damage reduction in modern DnD 5e, in the form of the Heavy Armour Master feat
"You can use your armor to deflect strikes that would kill others. You gain the following benefits:
Increase your Strength score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
While you are wearing heavy armor, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage that you take from nonmagical weapons is reduced by 3."
Armour that is classed as heavy armor includes
and does not include
Made from tough but flexible leather, studded leather is reinforced with close-set rivets or spike
You guys go ahead and all use plate armor. I'll just be skulking around with my heat metal spell, heheheh
I realised with riveted armour the rivets don’t do anything to help protect you
It’s because rivets can hold more layers together than thread can
It’s not to deflect blades
It’s because it’s thick
In all honesty I realised this from ac unity so hell but it makes sense
But you forgot two other types of armor, Shield and Dexterity which is mainly chance to hit. DnD rules is to make the games simple, but not too simple, like look how boring 5e is.
Hey Shad, I don't know if you'll see this, but you should check Gurp 4th edition and the low tech expenssion.
1. armor is damage reduction, it doesn't change it chance
2. textile armor is represented better.
3. you can layer armor (having a gambison under a chanmail)
4. flexible armor (textile, chainmail, ect.) as blunt trauma. for every 3 damage absorbed, you get 1 damage, or something like that.
5. you have hit location system!!
Guess what? In 5e, padded is as good as leather.
+3 is a bit much, I think the preëxisting scale of +1 for both is better. You need to fit a lot of different armours in there. Clothing is not mentioned because it is assumed in the basic AC of 10.
Warmachine hordes and iron kingdoms has these systems but you know what they have bigger numbers to attack and deal damage you roll your atk vs def and then weapon damage vs armour if your succesful of hitting def and you use 2d6 to add to each
hiting numbers are like 5 to 9 damage is like 7 to 16 def is like 11 to 20 and armour is like 14 to 25 just as a guide i know some have more or less than those values but you get the point. for the numbers you are suggesting you would have to scale stat modifiers up because of the dice rolling and add an extra manic also you completely forgot the immunity and resistance mechanic that the game has as well the fact that lkight and medium armours scale with your dex…..
GURPS has armour also work this way, damage reduction (of course you also have no levels there, and HP is low and you don't get to increase it pretty much never)
Coming back to this video, you know what armor needs more recognition?
There’s barely any movie/show/game, whether it be fantasy or historical, that really shows lamellar. No one really talks about it, let alone ever heard about it. And when they have heard about it, they always think it was only used by Eastern people(Middle East and Asian Countries).
Literally no one know that many European people back then used lamellar(of course depending on the time period, and sometimes before plate armor was a thing). The Byzantines used it, the Russian Bogatyrs used it, Rich Vikings used it, etc.
Eh, it's just done for simplicity. If it was being fully realistic, yeah you would need damage reduction based on type of armor and type of attack, then you would also need called shots to be effective and then the defender should also probably have a roll against to not present the opening that the attacker was going for., potential penalties for subsequent attacks for some situations. You would also need a damage value on different sections on the armor itself and penalties for damaged sections. Cuts into padded/leather making subsequent attacks to the same are more effective. If you manage to bludgeon plate at a flexible joint might give penalties to movement if it were dented and now binds. Questions like would a bludgeon to a knee or something provide any protection from breaking or dislocating that joint?
and all of that ignores all the other non-realistic aspect of fantasy like you've covered in other videos. Like say dungeon layout, Medieval OSHA for fire code violations would like to know these locations.
There's a certain point just have to allow for the BS be it in games or entertainment IF you're enjoying yourself, and if it's worth suspending disbelief over.
Pillars of eternity did this quite right, they had defense stat (same as AC in DND, but not governed by armor type) and DR. Each armor also had specific DR against specific types of damage, felt quite realistic 🙂 Problem with that was of course balance, because my super heavy slow swinging tank warrior with like 15 DR still felt like a wet noodle when fighting bigger monsters with 50+damage per hit lol, so it was lot of time just better to ditch the armor for more dps…
Games are complicated maaaan…
I'm a couple years late watching this video. Shad, if you're looking for a system that utilizes damage reduction for armor (including different reduction values vs damage types for some armors), no classes and no levels, try GURPS by Steve Jackson Games.
There is exact that system. Armor has damage reduction value and has twice less against up to two weapon types it is vulnerable to. It is old russian mobile jar game called HTBG.
Check out AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) 2nd Edition, and there is a lot more variety in the weapons and armors, but, and this is being said from someone who has no experience when it comes to historical representations of weapons and armor, you may or may not find that it's descriptions and illustrations to be much more historically accurate.
Something friends and I have been "Home-brewing" since we started learning "Starfinder" (pathfinder in space) is to make all 3 categories of armor have their own versions of +1 all the way to +9 and all of them have 6 different armors
light: starts at +1 but can ONLY go up to +6
Medium starts at +2 but can only go to +7
heavy: starts at a Min of +3 and go up to +9
Light weapons have more properties or up to 3 minor magic benefits. On the opposite, heavy has NO special properties and can only have 1 magical benefit
-for example light armor can grant protection against elements, or makes you even more stealthy, grant bonus to climbing, swimming, running, etc.
-On the opposite, heavy armor gives so much armor it doesn't have as many benefits or can only have a simple magic stuff (an example: armor has the spell LIGHT but only shines in a cone in front)
16:00 correct me if I'm wrong but this is the system Warhammer fantasy has as toughness, tbh I prefer Warhammer fantasy as blocking and dodging are actually usable and not dog shit like in dungeons and dragons where you waste a turn only for the DM to have the enemy not bother attacking you what so ever.
16:12: Thank you! I played D&D just a bit and I never got over the fact that armor reduces the hit chance instead of reducing incoming damage. Effectively, wearing armor is the same as being agile in D&D, and having mainly played The Dark Eye, this bugs me to no end.
6e better change how armor works
These videos have been so helpful for helping me design my own rpg
Hey, I’ll wear shackles and chains if they raise my defense more than an armor that would normally work better
Okay so first of all, that is DnD 3rd edition and it sucks. Third edition was a direct result of 2nd edition and the need to keep publishing new material to stay in business and they did that by spoon feeding people role playing to the murder hobo.
1st Edition leather armor was only a breast plate as described it was a single piece of hardened (boiled) leather. However it may have been a two piece affair.
leather Armor is shaped cuir bouli (leather hardened by immersion in boiling oil) cuirass and shoulder pieces and softer shirt and leggings.
In the second edition:
Description: Leather armor, despite the popular misconception, is not soft and supple like the leather used to make a ranger's boots or a druid's robe. That kind of leather offers no better protection than common clothing. Leather armor is actually strong and stiff, having been hardened in boiling oil and then stretched over a wooden or stone model of a man's or woman's chest. The resulting breastplate and shoulder guards are combined with a tunic or kirtle and, in colder climes, leggings of wool or soft leather.
There was a picture in the arms and equipment guide that showed only a simple breastplate, one piece solid front and back buckled at the sides.
The word Cuirass comes from the French, cuirasse, and the Latin coriaceus, root cuir which means leather, and which specifically refers to a leather breast plate in two pieces (front and back). This is simple proof that leather armor was 'abundant.'
Now the idea of "studded leather" may be a fantasy creation, but it does not, in any way preclude the idea of using multiple layers of soft leather riveted together (instead of quilted), much like the brigandine, in a pattern similar to the quilting of linen armors (textiles).
However this is the description in the DMG 1st edition:
Studded Leather is leather armor to which have been fastened metal studding as additional protection, usually including an outer coat of fairly close-set studs (small plates). This sounds like Brigandine to me.
Since this would, like textile armor, need more than one layer, and needles would have a hard time with multiple layers of leather, there is no reason why this could not be riveted together like a pair of Levi's.
Go to any "leather bar" and you will see full on cow leather studded with metal fastenings that would be better than simple leather or even textile armor, against slashing blows. There is a reason why bikers wear leather jackets. And if you had ever laid down a bike you would know the purpose of a leather motorcycle jacket.
Leather would have been more prevalent in pre-iron age societies than bronze which needed tin or zinc to alloy it.
And of course you have the leather armors form Asia in the form of lamellar armor.
Finally, the term leatherneck, for a Marine, comes from the stiff leather standing collar (stock) and jacket worn by Marines (whether this is stronger than or similar to the Buff coat I do not know) to defend against saber blows in the age of sail.
The blue coat worn by US Marines reflects this standing collar.
"Banded mail" is the Lorica Segmentata of the Roman legionaries. And I use it because it is the best armor a first level fighter can afford.
I think segmented leather armor could have some use. I would instead of making fully separated segments just make them overlaping pieces studded/nailed/whatever together, so there are no significant gaps in between, and the overlaping would give an extra layer of protection. ¿Why do this instead of just two pieces of leather? Because you are using less hide by overlaping pieces of a slightly bigger piece of hide than using two full pieces. Of course it would get thinner in the neck area but neck only mail protection did exist, and would be less heavy than a full mail.
D&D 5th & 3.5 E treat AC, Armor Class roughly the same; inferring a change to Hit something
I like the sound of incorporating the ideas in video
But thats why is "FANTASY" :B
You guys dont know what is fantasy? like wtf…
Is not like Sci-Fi that you need to make it "Believable"
the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are IMPOSSIBLE or IMPROBABLE."
That's why fantasy is fun for a lot of people! it doesn't follow the real world rules!
considering how armour works in 5E
I think crits are supposed to mirror getting past the armour
while a hit not getting past the AC mirrors the defender being able to parry or deflect or dodge make them hit a part of the armour that makes the blow simply glance off.
while getting past the AC but not critting is landing a solid on the armour, transferring force into the creature
I've seen a mod where someone redid the mechanics for Baldur's Gate to give armors damage reduction rather than chance to dodge.
Definitely roll a 3.5 Duskblade op af
3.5….. 2nd edition is my favorite. Sorry. I'm old enough to remember THAC0.
Good old 3rd edition. We are all angry at studded leather but im personally offended by lack of skill associated with rope in 5th edition. Rope was my most important tool easly. Need to climb? Use a rope. Dont let mages waste their spells for no reason. Broken bridge? Try using rope. Need to pull someone of the pit? Rope. Captured enemies, wild horses, lost cattle? Bind them like a ham! Cant lift pillar to clean entry? Want to make a trap? Trebuche broken? Breaking in the building? Breaking out of towe? Dont even ask mariner if rope is important
D&D functions on a COMBINATION of damage reduction and likelihood of getting hit. Or at least it's supposed to. That was the idea was the idea when it was first conceived and adapted from the 'Chainmail' historical tabletop miniatures game. They would weight the pros and cons of each armor, how nimble was someone in the armor, how well the armor would protect them if they were hit, etc. and they came up with a 10 point value system based on that. Consider the Halfling, which is small and quick. It is nimble and difficult to hit, so it has a better AC then other monsters/pc's/npc's. Then look at dragons, which have a near impenetrable hide, but are HUGE targets. Their AC is also quite high, despite not being very strike-avoidant. This is further evidenced by the increase of an AC when taking cover. Hiding behind a sturdy section of wall? Depending on how covered you are, you get an increase between 2 and 4 points.
Now, granted their rating system was done using the prevalent knowledge and theories of armor which was available in the 1970's, and the designers would do well to reevaluate their system incorporating the updated information from researchers and scholars.
Runequest uses armor as damage reducer but the game tries to emulate brone age culture.
a brigandene is all seperate plates technically and you love it 😛
Great video, and I LOVE you mentioning clothes cuz a simple cotton shirt is actl wonderful protection against what you might call "natural" attacks like biting and scratching, spcl from certain fantasy chestnuts like zombies or skeletons. Double stitch it and they wont even be able to tear it easily!
Saw a thing ages ago where a guy was wearing leather "armor," and someone called him out on it. Interaction went as follows:
G2(Call-Out dude): The hell is that?
G1(Leather guy): What?
G2: That armor.
G1: You mean my clothes?
G2: Oh. Thought that was supposed to be leather armor.
G1: No. It covers my chainmail, because I like not blinding my friends when they look at me. Mythril. Stuff's shiny, man.
DnD, I always played as the fight is happening, but a hit is only when damage occured. Meaning lower numbers where successful parry's, dodges, blocks. Also when a hit is made the damage can range minimal to maximum.
Plate is a 20, a basic person would almost never be able to harm them.
Wait. I know a roleplaying system that does armor exactly like this!!
COGENT. THE ONE SHAD MADE.
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