Better Fantasy Armor (for GURPS)

Better Fantasy Armor (BFA) is an alternate take on the piece meal armor systems presented in GURPS Low-Tech. It is intended to make armor affordable, wearable, and protective. It gives a nod towards realism, but when it doubt, it leans more toward the heritage of D&D and the like than the strict realism of Low-Tech. It also includes simplified scaling rules that allow tiny races to usefully wear armor.

BFA was originally written as a series of blog posts. This page collects, cleans up, and organizes the rambling thoughts of those posts to make it a more useful reference. To see the original posts, look at the Better Fantasy Armor label.

Basic Concept

A piece of armor is made of a material and covers one or more locations to provide a specified amount of DR. The armor's weight and cost is proportional to the DR and coverage, with different base values depending on the material. In general, lighter armors are more expensive on a per DR basis.

There are a limited number of base armor materials and designs, but these can be modified by additional material types and other qualities to create a very large range of armors.

Armor also has a bulk rating, which represents the thickness of the armor. Better materials are less bulky per point of DR, and smaller races can tolerate less thickness. The interaction of these factors determines how much DR a person can wear before starting to run into DX penalties.

Armor Locations Table

Armor locations in italics are sub-locations of the previous location, and do not need to be purchased separately if the main location is purchased. Sub-locations can also be purchased separately. For example, buying head protection at 8% of the total armor weight includes the skull, face, and neck protection, but a skullcap could be bought for 3% of total armor cost.

LocationCost and 
Weight
Hit LocationNotes
Head8%3-5, 17-18
  Skull(3%)3-4
  Face(3%)5
  Neck(2%)17-18
Torso32%9-11Vitals are hit on a 1 on a d6
  Chest(20%)9-10Vitals are hit on a 1 on a d6
    Vitals((4%))-
  Abdomen(12%)11Vitals are hit on a 1 on a d6
Includes groin
    Groin((2%))11
Arms20%8, 12
  Shoulders(6%)8, 12*Roll 1d; on 1-2 this location is hit
  Upper Arms(4%)8, 12*Roll 1d; on 3 this location is hit
  Elbows(4%)8, 12*Roll 1d; on 4 this location is hit
  Forearms(6%)8, 12*Roll 1d; on 5-6 this location is hit
Hands6%15
Legs24%6-7, 13-14
  Thighs(12%)6-7, 13-14*Roll 1d; on 1-3 this location is hit
  Knees(4%)6-7, 13-14*Roll 1d; on 4 this location is hit
  Shins(8%)6-7, 13-14*Roll 1d; on 5-6 this location is hit
Feet10%16

Simplified Face Sub-Locations

There are 6 sub-locations on the face: jaw, cheek, ears, nose, eyes, and brow. Each one can be separately protected at the cost and weight of 0.5% of the base armor. Eye protection gives No Peripheral Vision. Ear protection gives either Hard of Hearing or removes -2 in penalties to target the armor gaps in the head. If the face is targeted and the target is wearing partial face protection, roll 1d: if the roll is less than the number of protected locations, the armor protects.

Voiders

Voiders are small pieces of flexible armor worn beneath the joints of rigid armor. They're intended to prevent damage from attacks to the chinks of the rigid armor.

The locations that can be protected by voiders are the shoulders, elbows, abdomen, and knees. A voider costs and weighs 1/5th of the cost and weight of a piece of armor of equivalent DR at that location. Because voiders have to be at the inside of the joint, they are effectively bulkier than their small size and nominal bulk would suggest. Increase the effective bulk of the armor by one step for every bulk category of the voider less one.

Voiders are normally attached to clothing, such as an arming doublet or gambeson, that is worn under the rigid armor. However, voiders can just as easily be attached to the rigid armor itself. Voiders can also be worn under flexible armor, though there is normally little point since flexible armor doesn't have chinks.

For easy reference, voiders for all the joints cost and weigh 5% of a suit of armor of equivalent DR.

Armor Material Table

The following table shows armor cost and weight, per point of DR, for a full suit of armor, for each of the basic materials. Armor costa and weight can be adjusted by material and other modifiers below.
Armor TypeLbs/DR$/DRNotes
Textiles
  (Cloth, Silk)
12$100Flexible
-2 DR vs Impaling and Piercing
Hides
  (Leather, Hardened Leather)
13$60Flexible
-2 DR vs Impaling and Piercing
Bone
  (Horn)
14$60
Plants
  (Wood, Straw, Paper, Cane)
14$60Combustible
Scale
  (Lamellar, Brigantine)
10$250-2 DR vs Crushing
Mail6$500Flexible
-2 DR vs Crushing
Plate
  (Segmented Plate)
7$700

Any type of armor can theoretically have any amount of DR, but see the limits on bulk below.

Using these two tables should be pretty simple: choose an armor type, an amount of DR, and coverage, and multiple them together. For instance, a long-sleeved mail hauberk that covers all of the arms and torso (55%) and provides DR7 costs ($400 * 7 * .55) $1540 and weighs (6 * 7 * .55) 23 lbs. A head to toe suit of iron plate that provides DR9 costs ($500 * 9) $4500 and weighs (7 * 9) 63 lbs. A horn helmet that covers the face and skull and provides DR4 costs ($150 * 4 * .08) $48 and weighs (12 * 4 * .08) ~4 lbs.

Armor Bulk

Thicker armor is bulkier armor, and armor that is bulky enough imposes a DX penalty. Larger creatures can tolerate more bulk; smaller creatures can tolerate less bulk. So while a pixie is strong enough to lift enough bronze to make a suit of 2mm thick plate armor, armor that thick wouldn't give him space to bend his elbows (being roughly equivalent to armor that is 12mm thick on a human).

The maximum thickness of armor that a person can wear without a DX penalty depends on their SM, and is shown on the table below. Similarly, a larger creature can wear a thicker layer of armor beneath another piece of armor without having their DX penalized.

SMOuter
Layer
Inner
Layer
Weight/Cost
Multiplier
-6ThinNonex1/100
-4LightNonex1/20
-2MediumNonex1/5
-1MediumNonex1/2
0HeavyNonex1
+1HeavyThinx2
+2JoustingThinx5

So an SM-6 pixie can only wear the thinnest of armors; a normal human can wear Heavy armo without penalty; and a SM+2 Ogre Barbarian isn't penalized by jousting armor and could wear a suit of thin mail under it without suffering penalties.

Each armor type has its own maximum DR for each category of bulk. The DX penalty for wearing armor that is too bulky is -1 per level of bulk: an SM-4 leprechaun wearing jousting plate is at -3 DX.

The bulk penalty only applies to locations that are at least 50% covered by armor, just like the layering penalty.

Armor 
Type
ThinLightMediumHeavyJousting Massive
Textile/Hide123456
Bone/Wood234579
Scale24681113
Mail35791214
Plate357101315

Joints and Heavy Armor

As an optional house rule, anyone who wears the thickest safe armor on their joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, abdomen, and neck) suffers a -1 penalty to DX, which can be mitigated by leaving big gaps in the armor - attacks through the armor chinks in those locations get at +2 bonus. Wearing thick armor on the hands gives the Ham-Fisted 1 and Bad Grip 1 disadvantages.

Armor Modifiers

Armor modifiers can define the armor's workmanship, base material, or some other characteristic of the armor. All workmanship modifiers are mutually exclusive with each other, and all base material modifiers are also mutually exclusive with each other. All other modifiers can be combined with each other except as specifically noted.

Generic

Fine: Fine armor is well-made and only fits the wearer. There is an additional -1 penalty to target armor gaps. Workmanship modifier. +3 CF, -20% to weight.
Very Fine: Very Fine armor is made by master smiths and only fits the wearer. There is an additional -1 penalty to target armor gaps. Workmanship modifier. +14 CF, -30% to weight.
Cheap: Cheap armor is either mass-produced or made by inferior craftsman or from inferior materials. There is a +2 bonus to target armor gaps. Workmanship modifier. -0.4 CF, +25% to weight.
Weak Limbs: Historically, armorers uses thinner pieces on the backs and interiors of the arms and legs, which were harder to hit and needed less protection. Any full suit can have weak limbs, which halve the DR on attacks against the legs and arms from the back. -11% to armor cost and weight.
Weak Back: Historically, armorers also used thinner armor on the back of a breastplate than the front. Any armor with full torso coverage can have a weak back, which halves the DR of the back of the torso. -8% to armor cost and weight.
Reinforced Vitals: The thickest part of any armor is usually over the heart, lungs, and kidneys - basically, the vitals in GURPS terms. Reinforced vitals doubles armor DR against attacks to the vitals. +3% to armor cost and weight.

Textile

Silk: Armor made from silk is lighter and more resistance to piercing, impaling, and cutting damage. Gives +1 DR vs cu, imp, and pi damage (though textile armor starts with -2 DR vs imp and pi). Material Modifier. +4 CF, -10% to weight.
Spider Silk: Spidersilk is stronger than normal silk, but harder to farm. Gives +1 DR vs cu, imp, and pi damage (though textile armor starts with -2 DR vs imp and pi). Material Modifier. +9 CF, -30% to weight.
Giant Spider Silk: The silk made from the webs of giant spiders is stronger than steel, though still flexible. Gives +1 DR vs cu, imp, and pi damage (though textile armor starts with -2 DR vs imp and pi) and reduce armor thickness by one category. Material Modifier. +29 CF, -50% to weight.
Meditative: Grants the wearer +1 Chi Talent. +3 CF.

Hide

Layered Leather/Hardened Leather: Multiple thin layers of leather are heavier but stronger than a single thicker layer. Alternately, a single thick piece of layer can be hardened by boiling. Either way, these treatments remove the DR penalty against piercing and impaling attacks as well as the Flexible quality. Material Modifier. +0.1 CF, +25% to weight.
Quality Leather: The hides of certain exotic creatures (giraffes, sharks, trigers, reptile men) are stronger than the hides of creatures normally used to make leather, and makes for better armor. Material Modifier. +2 CF, -30% to weight.
Quality Layered/Hardened Leather: Quality leather can be layered or hardened, for armor that is nearly as strong as steel but still organic. Quality layered/hardened leather is not flexible and has no DR penalty. Material Modifier. +3.3 CF, -15% to weight.
Dragonhide: The skin of a dragon's wings can be used to make strong and light weight leather armor without the need for hardening or layering. Dragonhide has no DR penalty, triple DR against fire and heat attacks, and reduces its thickness by one category. Exotic variants do not cost any more but give triple DR against other types of elemental damage - most commonly cold, but acid and lightning resistant versions exist. Material Modifier. +49 CF, -50% to weight.
Elder Dragonhide: The skin of dragon's wings becomes stronger as the dragon ages. Elder Dragonhide has no DR penalty, triple DR against fire and heat attacks, and reduces its thickness by one category. Exotic variants do not cost any more but give triple DR against other types of elemental damage - most commonly cold, but acid and lightning resistant versions exist. Material Modifier. +53 CF, -60% to weight.
Ancient Dragonhide: The skin of an ancient dragon's wings produces a leather that it stronger and lighter than steel. Dragonhide has no DR penalty, triple DR against fire and heat attacks, and reduces its thickness by one category. Exotic variants do not cost any more but give triple DR against other types of elemental damage - most commonly cold, but acid and lightning resistant versions exist. Material Modifier. +57 CF, -70% to weight.

Bone

Horn: Armor made from sculpted animal horns, tusks, or shells is reasonable strong and cheap, but bulky. Remove the semi-ablative quality of bone armor. Material Modifier. +0.5 CF, -20% to weight.
Dragonbone: The bones of a dragon are much stronger than normal animal bones and make excellent armor. Remove the semi-ablative quality of bone armor and reduce the bulk by one category. Dragonbone provides triple DR against fire and heat attacks just like dragonhide. Material Modifier. +29 CF, -50% to weight.
Eleder Dragonbone: As dragons age, their bones becomes even stronger and more valuable for armor. Remove the semi-ablative quality of bone armor and reduce the bulk by one category. Dragonbone provides triple DR against fire and heat attacks just like dragonhide. Material Modifier. +33 CF, -60% to weight.
Ancient Dragonbone: The bones of an ancient dragon are stronger than steel. Remove the semi-ablative quality of bone armor and reduce the bulk by one category. Dragonbone provides triple DR against fire and heat attacks just like dragonhide. Material Modifier. +37 CF, -70% to weight.

Wood

Straw: Straw mat armor is cheap but doesn't provide much protection. Add Flexible to the armor qualities, and increase the bulk by one category. Material Modifier. -0.4 CF.
Paper or Barkcloth: Layered paper is bulky but reasonably strong. Material Modifier. +0.5 CF, -20% to weight.
Cane: Flexible cane rods can be woven into a weak protective garment. Cane armor is heavy, bulky, and tends to come apart quickly under attacks. Add semi-ablative to its qualities. Material Modifier. -0.3 CF, -10% to weight.
Ironwood: Elves, druids, and faeries use this remarkable wood to create armor nearly as light and protective as steel plate, at nearly the same cost. Material Modifier. +9 CF, -40% to weight.

Scale

Cloth armors with some kind of metal reinforcement such as ring mail or penny-plate are examples of cheap scale armor.
Star Scale: Making the scales in scale armor out of a star shape allows them to withstand impact better. Remove the DR penalty against crushing attacks. +0.4 CF, no change to weight.
Brigandine: Advanced scale armor puts the scales inside a cloth or leather framework and tailors and overlaps them more efficiently than standard scale. Remove the DR penalty against crushing attacks. +1.25 CF, -20% to weight.
Dragonscale: The heavy body scales of a dragon are stronger and lighter than steel. Removes the DR penalty against crushing attacks, reduces the bulk of the armor by one category, and provides triple DR against heat and fire attacks just like dragonhide. Material Modifier. +19 CF, -40% to weight.
Elder Dragonscale: As dragons age, their scales become even stronger. Removes the DR penalty against crushing attacks, reduces the bulk of the armor by one category, and provides triple DR against heat and fire attacks just like dragonhide. Material Modifier. +23 CF, -50% to weight.
Ancient Dragonscale: The scales of ancient dragons provide impressive protection for very little weight. Removes the DR penalty against crushing attacks, reduces the bulk of the armor by one category, and provides triple DR against heat and fire attacks just like dragonhide. Material Modifier. +27 CF, -60% to weight.
Adamant (Essential Stone): Lamellar armor made from most types of stone is heavier and more costly than any other type of armor at the same thickness, and thus no one actually wears it. Lamellar armor made from essential stone is lighter that steel for the same protection, and is worn by elite warriors of some mining cultures. Removes the DR penalty against crushing attacks, reduces the bulk of the armor by one category, counts as Hardened (2) against armor piercing attacks, and provides double DR against impaling and piercing attacks. Material Modifier. +14 CF, -35% to weight.

Mail

Banded: Weaving leather bands through the alternate rows of mail makes the armor less flexible and more resistant to crushing damage, in exchange for a notable increase in weight. Remove the -2 DR penalty versus cr and the flexible quality. +0.1 CF, +50% to weight.
Mail and Plates: Mail can be reinforced by small overlapping plates of metal, similar to scale. Reduce the DR penalty versus cr to -1 and remove the flexible quality. +0.2 CF, +25% to weight.
Elven: Advanced elven techniques make mail flexible but still resistant to crushing damage. Remove the DR penalty versus cr. +3 CF.
Mithril: The silver moon metal is nearly as strong as orichalcum, but cannot be forged into large plates, only wire. Reduces the armor bulk by one category. Material Modifier. +29 CF, -20% to weight.

Textile, Hide, or Mail

Athletic: The encumbrance of the armor doesn't penalize Acrobatics, Jumping, Running, or Swimming rolls, nor attacks with Fencing weapons. +5 CF.
Thieves: The encumbrance of the armor doesn't penalize Climbing or Stealth rolls. +3 CF.

Plate

Spiked: As per DF1 p 27. +2 CF.
Segmented Plate: Less advanced metal workers cannot forge large plates, and must carefully construct armor from smaller pieces riveted together. Unlike scale, there is no underlying textile or hide layer. -0.2 CF, +15% to weight.
Dwarven: Dwarven techniques provide articulation of even the thickest armor in exchange for increased weight. Reduces the armor bulk by one category. Incompatible with the Cheap or Segmented Plate modifiers. +1 CF, +5% to weight.
Duplex Plate: Layering plates of hardened metal over similar plates of less brittle metal can dramatically increase resistance to armor piercing weapons, but the process is extremely difficult. Gives Hardened (2) enhancement. Not compatible with Hardened Metal. +8 CF, -10% to weight.
Orichalcum: Essential metal makes excellent armor, but cannot normally be made in large plates and must be combined with the Segmented Plate modifier. Extremely skilled smiths can harden it, add fluting, and tailor it so well that an impenetrable harness weighs little more than heavy clothing. Reduces the armor bulk by one category. Material Modifier. +29 CF, -35% to weight.
Celestial Steel: Armor made from the metal of the gods glows with an inner light and resists the forces of corruption. The glow eliminates darkness in a 3 hex radius (as a Daylight Continual Light Spell). Reduces the armor bulk by one category, and provides its full DR (Cosmic Irresistable) against any attack made by Unholy, Demonic, or Undead powers. Material Modifier. +29 CF, -20% to weight.

Scale or Plate

Fluting: Carefully designed fluting, ribs, bosses, and vertical ribs can strengthen key components of armor, making it effectively stronger. For dragonparts, using the parts of elder dragons produces a similar effect. +4 CF, -10% weight.

Scale, Mail, or Plate

Copper: Metal armor can be made from copper, which is an inferior metal for the purpose. No one does this if they have access to iron or more exotic alternatives. Material Modifier. +3 CF, +20% weight. Low-Tech suggests +0 CF for copper, but doing so means that copper scale is 1/3rd the cost of copper by weight, which doesn't seem right.
Bronze: Metal armor can also be made from bronze, which is as good a choice as iron. Material Modifier. +3 CF. Assume in DF settings that tin is plentiful. In historical games set outside Britain, bronze should probably be +9 or +14 CF.
Hardened Metal: Any metal armor can be made from hardened metal, produced from master mages, dwarven smiths, or gnomish factories. Not compatible with Duplex Plate. +4 CF, -10% weight.

Meteoric Iron: Armor made from sky-metal is resistant to magic. No spell can affect it, and counts as cosmic DR against spells normally ignore armor (such as a wizard's Mystic Bolt or Deathtouch) if the spell has to pass through the armor (ie, a meteoric iron helmet won't prevent a Deathtouch to the unarmored hand, but it will act as armor against a Mystic Bolt targeted at the face). Material Modifier. +19 CF.
Soulsteel: Armors made from the tortured souls of the damned are disturbing, but are a cheap and effective armor for the champions of the unholy. Provides the wearer with Resistance to Holy Powers +8 and Frightens Animals. Material Modifier. +3 CF, -20% to weight.

Sample Armors

By intent, it should pretty easy to put together armor combinations using Better Fantasy Armor. Here are some samples to get people started.

Hand and Foot Gear

Wooden Shoes: DR1 Wood Feet. $6, 1.4 lbs.
Leather Sandals: DR1 Leather Feet. $6, 1.3 lbs.
Knee-High Boots: DR2 Leather Feet and Shins with the Fine modifier. $88, 3.7 lbs.
Sharkskin Over-the-Knee Boots: DR2 Leather Feet, Knees, and Shins with the Quality leather modifier. $78, 4 lbs.
Thigh High Boots: DR2 Leather Feet, DR1 Leather Legs; both with Fine and Quality leather modifier. $156, 2.9 lbs.
Leather gloves: DR1 Leather Hands with the Fine Modifier. $14, 0.6 lbs.
Heavy Leather Gauntlets: DR2 Leather Hands and Forearms with the Fine modifier. $56, 2.5 lbs.
Historical Plate Gloves: DR4 Plate Hands. $168, 1.7 lbs.
Historical Plate Sollerets: DR4 Plate Feet. $280, 3 lbs.

Head Gear

Primitive Helmet: DR4 Horn Face and Skull. $21, 2.7 lbs.
Corinthian Helmet: DR8 Plate Head with Segmented Plate and Bronze modifiers. $1702, 5.2 lbs.
Iron Corinthian Helmet: DR8 Plate Head with Segmented Plate modifiers. $425, 5.2 lbs.
Samurai Helmet: DR8 Scale Face and Skull. $120, 4.8 lbs.
Historical Plate Fullhelm: DR9 Face and Skull. $378, 3.8 lbs.
Historical Plate Gorget: DR4 Plate Neck. $56, 0.5 lbs.

Voiders

Leather reinforcement: Leather strips intended to be worn beneath scale armor. DR2 leather elbow and shoulder voiders that increase armor bulk by one step. $2.2, 0.5 lbs.

Arming Doublet: Shirt and hose reinforced with mail at the joints. Full coverage DR3 mail voiders that do not increase armor bulk. $75, 1 lb.
Heroic Arming Double: Shirt and hose reinforced with strong mithril mail at the joints. Full coverage DR5 very fine, mithril mail voiders that do not increase armor bulk. $5500, 0.75 lbs.
Ultimate Arming Double: Shirt and hose reinforced with strong mithril mail at the joints. Full coverage DR5 very fine, hardened, mithril mail voiders that do not increase armor bulk. $6375, 0.8 lbs.

Partial Suits

Heavy Layered Cloth Collared Jack and Leggings: DR4 Layered Cloth Arms, Legs, Torso, Neck with a Weak Back and Reinforced Vitals. $304, 36.5 lbs.
Quality Light Robe: DR2 Cloth Arms, Thighs, Knees, Torso, Neck, and Skull with the Silk and Fine modifiers. $1168, 12.8 lbs.
Light Mail Hooded Hauberk: DR5 Mail Arms, Thighs, Torso, Neck, and Skull with Cheap modifier. $1005, 25 lbs.
Heavy Lamellar Corselet, Thigh Guards, and Arm Guards: DR8 Scale Shoulders, Upper Arms, Elbows, Thighs, Knees, Torso, and Neck with Weak Back and Weak Limbs. $970, 38.8 lbs.
Heavy Linen Skirt: DR4 Abdomen and Thighs. $96, 11.5 lbs.
Bronze Cuirass, Front Greaves, and Arm Guards: DR8 Plate Chest, Front Fore Arms, Front Upper Arms, Shoulders, Shins Knees with the Bronze and Segmented Plate modifiers. $9150, 27.7 lbs.
Iron Cuirass, Front Greaves, and Arm Guards: DR8 Plate Chest, Front Fore Arms, Front Upper Arms, Shoulders, Shins Knees with the Bronze and Segmented Plate modifiers. $2287.5, 27.7 lbs.
Historical Plate Cuirass, Vambraces, and Greaves: DR9 Plate Arms, Legs, and Torso, with Weak Back, Weak Limbs, and Front Vitals Reinforcement. $3780, 37.8 lbs.
Skimpy Dress: DR1 Giant Spider Silk Groin and front Chest. $360, 0.8 lbs. Can be worn under other armor at no penalty by SM0+ wearers.

Panolopy

Primitive Armor: Reasonable armor for TL0 primitives or poor levies. Heavy Layered Cloth Collared Jack and Leggings ($304, 36.5 lbs), Primitive Helmet ($21, 2.7 lbs), Knee High Boots ($88, 3.7 lbs), and Heavy Leather Gauntlets ($56, 2.5 lbs). Gives DR4* to the head (including neck), front torso, arms, and legs, except the shins and forearms have DR6*. The back torso, hands, and feet have DR2*. Front vitals have DR8*, and back vitals have DR6*. $469, 45.4 lbs.
Beginning Wizard/Martial Artist Armor: Affordable armor for starting delvers who value speed over DR. Quality Light Robe ($1168, 12.8 lbs), Knee High Boots ($88, 3.7 lbs), and Leather Gloves ($14, 0.6 lbs). Gives DR2* all over except for the face (no DR) and the hands (DR1*). $1270, 17.1 lbs.
Beginning Delver Medium Armor: Suitable armor for a secondary combatant such as a cleric. Light Mail Hooded Hauberk ($1005, 25 lbs), Sharkskin Over-the-Knee Boots ($78, 4 lbs), and Leather Gloves ($14, 0.6 lbs). Gives DR5* to the arms, thighs, torso, and head except the face. Gives DR2* to the feet, and DR1* to the hands. $1097, 29.6 lbs.
Beginning Delver Heavy Armor: Basic armor for a mystic knight, knight, or holy warrior. Heavy Lamellar Corselet et al ($970, 38.8 lbs), Samurai Helmet ($120, 4.8 lbs), Knee High Boots ($88, 3.7 lbs), and Heavy Leather Gauntlets ($56, 2.5 lbs). Gives DR8 to the neck, face, skull, front of the torso, front of the arms to the elbows, and front legs to the knees. Gives DR4 to the back of the torso, back of the arms to the elbows, and back of the legs to the knees. Gives DR2 (flexible) on the forearms, hands, shins, and feet. $1234, 49.8 lbs.
Historical Hoplite Armor: Greek Hoplites would have worn something approaching this in 3rd to 4th century BC, along with a large aspis shield. Bronze Cuirass et all ($9150, 27.7 lbs), Heavy Linen Skirt ($96, 11.5 lbs), Corinthian Helmet ($1702, 5.2 lbs), Leather Sandals ($6, 1.3 lbs). Gives DR8 on the head, chest, shoulders, knees, and shins, as well as the front of the forearms and upper arms. Gives DR4 on the abdomen and thighs, and DR1 on the feet. $10954, 45.7 lbs.
Ahistorical Hoplite Armor: Greek hoplites with access to more iron and better iron working technology might have worn something like this. It's also appropriate for a rich starting delver. Iron Cuirass et all ($2287, 27.7 lbs), Heavy Linen Skirt ($96, 11.5 lbs), Iron Corinthian Helmet ($425, 5.2 lbs), and thigh high boots ($156, 2.9 lbs). Gives DR8 on the head, chest, shoulders, knees, and shins, as well as the front of the forearms and upper arms. Gives DR1* on the back of the shins and the knees. Gives DR5 on the back of the thighs. Gives DR4 on the abdomen and front of the  thighs, and DR2* on the feet. $2965, 47.3 lbs.
Historical White Plate Harness: This represents gothic or maximillan full plate armor. Historical Plate Cuirass, Vambraces, Greaves ($3780, 37.8 lbs), gorget ($56, 0.5 lbs), fullhelm ($378, 3.8 lbs), gloves ($168, 1.7 lbs), and sollerets ($280, 3 lbs). Gives DR18 to the front vitals; DR9 to the face, skull, and front of the arms, legs, and torso, face, and skull; and DR4 to the hands, feet, neck, and back of the torso and limbs. $4662, 46.2 lbs.
Pixie Ultimate Plate Harness: Starting armor for a pixie delver who is well aware of her vulnerability to explosions. DR5 Plate with Hardened, Fluted, Segmented Plate, and Oricalchum modifiers, sized for SM-6. Costs and weighs 100% of the base armor (DR5 plate is $3500 and 35 lbs), modified by a net +36.8 CF, -40% to weight, and then reduced to 1/100th of cost and weight for size modifiers. Provides DR5 all of the body and counts as thin armor so a pixie can wear it without a DX penalty. $1323, 0.2 lbs. (The same suit would cost $132,300 and weigh 21 lbs if sized for a human.)
Sorceress Outfit: The standard get-up for a female evil spellcaster, with modest protection in the face of danger but plenty of exposed skin. Skimpy Dress ($360, 0.8 lbs), Thigh High Boots ($156, 2.9 lbs), and Heavy Leather Gauntlets ($56, 2.5 lbs). Provides DR2* to the hands, forearms, and feet, and DR1* to the groin, front chest, and legs. $572, 6.2 lbs.

Ultimate Armors

These are non-relic armors made of the heaviest armor by the best smiths, magically lightened to be non-encumbering despite formidable defensive properties. Reasonably, all of these would have an additional DR+1 to DR+5 from Fortify enchantments, but that's a straightforward addition that anyone can make.

All of these are full suits, covering all locations with a uniform DR coverage. For people using the optional Joints and Heavy armor rule, assume they're using big gaps (so +2 to hit armor chinks) and lining the vulnerable bits with ultimate arming doublets.

Ultimate Undersuits

Any of these suits can be worn any of the other suits, depending on the wearer's preference for additional DR versus cost and weight concerns. They're sized for SM0 delvers unless otherwise stated.

Cloth Undersuit: Suitable for any delver that wants a little extra protection. DR1 Very Fine, Athletic, Thieves, Giant Spider Silk Cloth Suit with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Can be worn under any other armor without increasing bulk or giving layering penalties and adds DR1* (-1 vs pi/imp, +1 vs cut). $16552, 2.2 lbs.
Mail Undersuit: Suitable for delvers that can handle a little extra weight and a lot of extra cost for a some extra protection. Not good for delvers who have vows against wearing metal armor. DR3 Very Fine, Elven, Mithril Mail Suit with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Can be worn under any other armor without increasing bulk or giving layering penalties and adds DR3*. $90325, 4.75 lbs.
Oversized Dragonhide Undersuit: Suitable for barbarians who want a little extra armor and protection against environmental attacks. SM+1 DR2 Very Fine, Ancient Dragonhide Suit with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Can be worn under any other armor by SM+1 delvers without increasing bulk or giving layering penalties and adds DR2* (DR6 versus fire/heat). $43500, 6.5 lbs.

Penultimate Suits

These suits are as good as they get for the materials used, but legendary or mythic delvers can probably get access to better materials (ie, mithril mail or ancient dragon scale).
Druid Ironwood Armor: A good upgrade for a rich but not filthy rich druid or faerie who can handle somewhat heavy armor but has to use organic materials or at least can't touch iron or steel. DR7 Very Fine Ironwood Suit with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Gives DR7. $20585, 21.6 lbs. For even cheaper armor, dropping the Lighten to 25% makes this a very affordable $10635 and 32.4 lbs.
Light Dragonhide: A good upgrade for a weak or mobile delver who wants something better than leather but can't afford orichalcum or mithril. DR5 Very Fine, Athletic, Thieves', Ancient Dragonhide with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Gives DR5* and the weight does not count for encumbrance for Fencing weapons, Stealth, Acrobatics, Climbing, etc. $35830, 7.2 lbs or $25880, 10.8 lbs with Lighten 25%.

Ultimate Suits

The suits are amazingly expensive, but are about the best armor available.
Martial Artist's Robes: In some ways, this is closer to penultimate armor in protectiveness, but this is the best armor that provides the Meditative quality bonus to Chi Talent. DR5 Very Fine, Athletic, Meditative, Thieves, Giant Spider Silk Cloth Suit with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Gives DR5* (-1 vs pi/imp, +1 vs cut), +1 to Chi Talent, and the weight does not count for encumbrance for Fencing weapons, Stealth, Acrobatics, Climbing, etc. $44650, 11 lbs.
Lightweight Orichalcum Harness: Lightweight armor for weak people who don't expect to be the focus of attacks but still need protection against explosions, shrapnel, and surprise attacks. DR7 Very Fine, Fluted, Hardened, Orichalcum Segmented Plate with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Gives DR7 and is provides ~75 FP as a power item. $276511, 11 lbs.
Oversized Dragonscale Harness: Serious armor for a large delver who disdains civilization and likes wearing the body of his foes as armor. If the environmental protection is for cold and the armor is worn with a fire protecting dragonhide undersuit, the combined protection makes the wearer nearly invulnerable to elemental damage. SM+1 DR11 Very Fine, Ancient Dragonhide Suit with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Gives DR11 (33 versus fire/heat). $308365, 36.4 lbs.
Mobile Warrior Armor: Powerful armor for somewhat strong delvers who fence or sneak but still want to be very protected. DR12 Very Fine, Athletic, Thieves, Elven, Hardened, Mithril Mail Suit with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Gives DR12* and and the weight does not count for encumbrance for Fencing weapons, Stealth, Acrobatics, Climbing, etc. $350200, 19 lbs.
Fae Harness: An upgrade of the lightweight orichalcum harness for warriors who can't wear steel or holy items. DR13 Very Fine, Fluted, Hardened, Orichalcum Segmented Plate with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Gives DR13 and is provides ~80 FP as a power item. $504950, 20 lbs.
Magehunter Harness: Armor for a strong warrior who wants to avoid magic spells affecting himself or his armor. DR13 Very Fine, Dwarven, Fluted, Hardened Plate Suit with Reinforced Vitals. Gives DR13 (Cosmic: Impenetrable versus magic) and cannot be directly affected by magic. $410865, 56.9 lbs.
Celestial Steel: Probably the ultimate armor for anyone who can afford the cost and the encumbrance. DR15 Very Fine, Dwarven, Fluted, Hardened, Celestial Steel Suit with Reinforced Vitals and Lighten 50%. Gives DR15 (Cosmic: Impenetrable by undead, demonic, or unholy powers) and glows as a daylight Continual Light spell. $594325, 32.8 lbs.

GCA File

The current GCA file for Better Fantasy Armors is always available at the Motoslave GCA Repository at this link.

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I JUST did something like this myself. I wish I had seen this first. I used:

    Locations: All 1.000

    Head 0.090
    Skull 0.050
    Face (& Eyes) 0.040
    Neck 0.020
    Torso 0.320
    Chest 0.180
    - Vitals (1/6) 0.020
    Abdomen 0.120
    - Vitals (1/6) 0.020
    Groin 0.020
    Arms 0.200
    Shoulders 0.050
    Upper Arms 0.050
    Elbows 0.020
    Forearms 0.080
    Hands 0.030
    Legs 0.300
    Thighs 0.150
    Knees 0.030
    Shins 0.120
    Feet 0.040

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    Replies
    1. I've written a couple of variants: Easier Armor Design (http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com/2016/04/easier-armor-design.html) is better suited for games with guns, and I revised the coverage table (http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com/2016/12/better-fantasy-armor-easier-armor.html) to better match the rule of 9s.

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