The Anarchy of King Stephen
The state of the art in 1100s armor is not the heavy plate that you might associate with knights and chivalry; rather, splinted maille is the heaviest armor available in the human kingdoms.
Armor in the Kingdom of Wessex campaign setting improves a player’s Soak rather than his Defense. Armor check penalties and max DEX bonus still apply.
|Armor Type||Cost||Soak||Check Penalty||Max DEX||Speed||Weight|
|Studded leather armor||25g||3||-1||+5||+0||20|
Soak: The amount of damage subtracted from all discrete physical attacks. Cannot reduce the amount of damage dealt below zero. Certain weapons may have a “penetration” value that allows them to ignore some of the soak value.
Check Penalty: The penalty applied to all Acrobatics, Athletics, Escape Artist and Stealth rolls to wearers of the armor. If the armor is medium or heavy, also applies to Observation rolls (and Perception checks) unless the armor’s helmet isn’t worn; see below.
Max DEX: The maximum amount of DEX that can be applied to a player’s Defense score. The player’s DEX is otherwise unaffected.
Speed: The character’s movement rate is adjusted by this number. Characters in heavy armor only move 3x their speed when taking the Run action instead of 4×.
Weight: The value listed for Weight applies only for armor that is carried; armor that is worn is ignored when determining Encumbrance.
Chain maille: A full-body suit of armor made of interlocking rings. Cheap maille will simply have the rings bent into one another, while more expensive maille will have each ring riveted together. Chain maille covers the torso and arms with panels covering the upper legs, and is typically worn with leather gloves, leather boots and a chain coif.
Dwarf maille: Available only to those who travel to the remote dwarven lands far to the north, dwarf maille is akin to the full plate armor worn by Renaissance knights. It covers the wearer head to toe in articulated metal plates, and includes a sturdy helm.
Maille hauberk: Chain maille that covers only the torso and upper arms. Does not include a helmet or coif.
Leather armor: A suit of armor crafted from leather that has been boiled in wax. The chest pieces are stiff and relatively unyielding, while the greaves and epaulets are more flexible. Leather armor does not include a helmet.
Padded armor: Armor crafted from quilted fabric. It’s better than nothing but provides very little protection, and tends to get fouled easily if not carefully maintained.
Scale maille: A suit of armor made from overlapping plates of metal or leather. It provides similar protection to chain maille but is less flexible, and therefore hinders the wearer more. Includes a coif, gloves and boots.
Splint maille: Also called “plated maille,” this armor is a type of chain maille that has small metal plates embedded within the chain weave. It is sturdier than chain maille but less flexible. It includes a metal helmet, gauntlets and greaves.
Studded leather: Leather armor that has been augmented with studs of metal or bone. It is sturdier than leather armor but somewhat more difficult to move in. It does not include a helmet.
A character who wears a helmet takes a penalty to Observation checks appropriate to his armor type. If the character is wearing light armor, he must select a helmet type appropriate to a heavier set of armor if he wishes to wear one (a chain coif, a metal cap or a great helm).
Enemies have a +4 bonus on their rolls to confirm critical hits against characters who are not wearing helmets.
The art of the shield is well-developed in this time period — most reputable warriors carry shields as two-handed weaponry is very uncommon.
Shields can be made out of metal or wood, at the user’s discretion. A shield takes a standard action to ready, if worn slung over the wearer’s back. A readied shield increases the user’s armor check penalty by 2, but provides a +2 bonus to their Defense score.
If a character has a shield readied, and suffers a blow that would otherwise kill him, he may sacrifice the shield to negate the blow. This act destroys the shield unless it is magical, in which case it is entitled to a Fortitude save to survive the hit (the DC of the save is equal to the incoming damage).
Shields of this time period are akin to Spartan heavy shields or viking round or kite shields; bucklers have not been developed as fencing weapons do not exist.
Why no hide armor/banded mail/plate?
The creatures whose hides are suitable for making hide armor are mostly African — hippos, rhinos and elephants. These creatures are mostly unknown to contemporary Europeans, except through Roman descriptions.
Banded mail isn’t a thing. Seriously, look it up. The term was coined in the 19th century and scholars suspect that it never existed.
Plate armor wasn’t really well-developed during this time period. The Spartan bronze breastplate probably existed but wasn’t well-used in the British isles.
What happened to spell failure chance?
I got rid of it. If you want to be a gish, be a gish. With only ten levels to play with, you are gimping yourself a bit if you spend a level on a non-Sage class in order to get the heavier armor.
Why soak instead of +AC? Doesn’t that mean a dagger wielder will never be able to hurt a heavy armor wearer?
I don’t want to have to track Defense, Flat-footed Defense and Touch Defense for every creature and player. It’s too complicated, so armor (intuitively) reduces damage.
Yeah, it’ll be hard for a dagger wielder to hurt something that’s heavily-armored. He’ll basically have to score a crit, i.e. find a chink in the armor. There’s a reason that, historically, people used heavy weapons when fighting armored knights. You just weren’t going to hurt that knight with a dagger unless you had him on the ground and could deliver a coup de grace.