Mechanical Design

Armor: Dungeons & Dragons System Reference Document

Fantasy gaming worlds are a vast tapestry made up of many different cultures, each with its own technology level. For this reason, adventurers have access to a variety of armor types, ranging from leather armor to chain mail to costly plate armor, with several other kinds of armor in between. The Armor and Shields table collects the most commonly available types of armor found in the game and separates them into three categories: light armor, medium armor, and heavy armor. Many warriors supplement their armor with a shield.

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The Armor table shows the cost, weight, and other properties of the common types of armor worn in fantasy gaming worlds.

Armor Proficiency

Armor Proficiency. Anyone can put on a suit of armor or strap a shield to an arm. Only those proficient in the armor's use know how to wear it effectively, however. Your class gives you proficiency with certain types of armor. If you wear armor that you lack proficiency with, you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you can't cast spells.

Armor Class (AC)

Armor Class (AC). Armor protects its wearer from attacks. The armor (and shield) you wear determines your base Armor Class.

Heavy Armor Problems

Heavy Armor. Heavier armor interferes with the wearer's ability to move quickly, stealthily, and freely. If the Armor table shows "Str 13" or "Str 15" in the Strength column for an armor type, the armor reduces the wearer's speed by 10 feet unless the wearer has a Strength score equal to or higher than the listed score.

Stealth

Stealth. If the Armor table shows "Disadvantage" in the Stealth column, the wearer has disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

Light Armor Options

Made from supple and thin materials, light armor favors agile adventurers since it offers some protection without sacrificing mobility. If you wear light armor, you add your Dexterity modifier to the base number from your armor type to determine your Armor Class.

Padded

Padded. Padded armor consists of quilted layers of cloth and batting.

Leather

Leather. The breastplate and shoulder protectors of this armor are made of leather that has been stiffened by being boiled in oil. The rest of the armor is made of softer and more flexible materials.

Studded Leather

Studded Leather. Made from tough but flexible leather, studded leather is reinforced with close-set rivets or spikes.

Medium Armor Options

Medium armor offers more protection than light armor, but it also impairs movement more. If you wear medium armor, you add your Dexterity modifier, to a maximum of +2, to the base number from your armor type to determine your Armor Class.

Hide

Hide. This crude armor consists of thick furs and pelts. It is commonly worn by barbarian tribes, evil humanoids, and other folk who lack access to the tools and materials needed to create better armor.

Chain Shirt

Chain Shirt. Made of interlocking metal rings, a chain shirt is worn between layers of clothing or leather. This armor offers modest protection to the wearer's upper body and allows the sound of the rings rubbing against one another to be muffled by outer layers.

Scale Male

Scale Mail. This armor consists of a coat and leggings (and perhaps a separate skirt) of leather covered with overlapping pieces of metal, much like the scales of a fish. The suit includes gauntlets.

Breastplate

Breastplate. This armor consists of a fitted metal chest piece worn with supple leather. Although it leaves the legs and arms relatively unprotected, this armor provides good protection for the wearer's vital organs while leaving the wearer relatively unencumbered.

Half Plate

Half Plate. Half plate consists of shaped metal plates that cover most of the wearer's body. It does not include leg protection beyond simple greaves that are attached with leather straps.

Heavy Armor Options

Of all the armor categories, heavy armor offers the best protection. These suits of armor cover the entire body and are designed to stop a wide range of attacks. Only proficient warriors can manage their weight and bulk. Heavy armor doesn't let you add your Dexterity modifier to your Armor Class, but it also doesn't penalize you if your Dexterity modifier is negative.

Ring Mail

Ring Mail. This armor is leather armor with heavy rings sewn into it. The rings help reinforce the armor against blows from swords and axes. Ring mail is inferior to chain mail, and it's usually worn only by those who can't afford better armor.

Chain Mail

Chain Mail. Made of interlocking metal rings, chain mail includes a layer of quilted fabric worn underneath the mail to prevent chafing and to cushion the impact of blows. The suit includes gauntlets.

Splint

Splint. This armor is made of narrow vertical strips of metal riveted to a backing of leather that is worn over cloth padding. Flexible chain mail protects the joints.

Plate

Plate. Plate consists of shaped, interlocking metal plates to cover the entire body. A suit of plate includes gauntlets, heavy leather boots, a visored helmet, and thick layers of padding underneath the armor. Buckles and straps distribute the weight over the body.

Shields

A shield is made from wood or metal and is carried in one hand. Wielding a shield increases your Armor Class by 2. You can benefit from only one shield at a time.

Armor [table pg 63]

Armor Cost Armor Class (AC) Strength Stealth Weight
Light Armor
Padded
5 gp 11 + Dex modifier β€” Disadvantage 8 lb.
Leather
10 gp 11 + Dex modifier β€” β€” 10 lb.
Studded leather
45 gp 12 + Dex modifier β€” β€” 13 lb.
MEDIUM ARMOR
Hide
10 gp 12 + Dex modifier (max 2) β€” β€” 12 lb.
Chain shirt
50 gp 13 + Dex modifier (max 2) β€” β€” 20 lb.
Scale mail
50 gp 14 + Dex modifier (max 2) β€” Disadvantage 45 lb.
Breastplate
400 gp 14 + Dex modifier (max 2) β€” β€” 20 lb.
Half plate
750 gp 15 + Dex modifier (max 2) β€” Disadvantage 40 lb.
HEAVY ARMOR
Ring mail
30 gp 14 β€” Disadvantage 40 lb.
Chain mail
75 gp 16 Str 13 Disadvantage 55 lb.
Splint
200 gp 17 Str 15 Disadvantage 60 lb.
Plate
1500 gp 18 Str 15 Disadvantage 65 lb.
SHIELD
Shield
10 gp +2 β€” β€” 6 lb.

Getting Into and Out of Armor

The time it takes to don or doff a type of armor or a shield is shown in the Donning and Doffing Armor table.

Don

Don. This is the time it takes to put on the item. You benefit from its AC only if you take the full time to don it.

Doff

Doff. This is the time it takes to take off the item. If you have help removing armor, reduce this time by half.

Donning and Doffing Armor [table pg 64]





















Written by
Jayden King

Professional Storyteller - Dungeon Master, Writer, and Actor Black ✊🏾 Queer πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ

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