upping medieval armor

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Artking3
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upping medieval armor

#1 Postby Artking3 » Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:38 pm

I wonder if anyone has read the armor rules in the Shaintar Player's Guide and applied it to their fantasy settings.

In core SW, medieval armor is:
+1 Leather
+2 Chain (aka mail)
+3 Plate

Pretty servicable, but does not allow much variation. And with the new weapon damage rules (dice instead of straight +), does not seem as protective.

Shaintar uses a more protective armor value:
+1 Leather
+2 Scale
+3 Mail
+4 Plate and Chain
+5 Plate

I find this allows a greater varietion of armor, and makes plate as protective as it is supposed to be. But I wonder if it unbalances the game making armor that much stronger than the core rules. I do like the greater varietion and explains why in some historical settings, officers use a certain type of armor while grunts use another, while in game terms there is no difference in the armor types.

Shaintar also uses a Called Shot Penalty for armor, which I find useful and which I considering for my game.

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#2 Postby Eisenmann » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:56 pm

I'm curious what some of the SW gurus have to say about this as well. I'm contemplating a historical game with Savage Worlds and like what I see in Shaintar but I don't want to ratchet up the game unnecessarily considering the style that I'm going after.

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#3 Postby Averjoe » Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:35 pm

I'm curious about this too.

I've just started a fantasy campaign and noticed the lack of variation in the armor. I had considered just grouping them like Leather, padded, studded, being +1; scale, splint, chain, being +2 and half plate, full plate, being +3. However, I didn't really like that idea so I was still bouncing it around in my head. (There's a lot of room in there. ;op )

So, I hope someone can suggest something good that won't unbalance the game.

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#4 Postby Wendigo1870 » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:48 am

A few months ago I saw 'Perfect Weapon', where they compared brigandine armor to plate armor for defense. This would all be a huge difference when compared not only to SW, but to all RPG's in general. Basically, almost nothing could penetrate the Plate Armor, while even the 'lowly' brigandine armor still offered a fair amount of protection.

In SW, this would almost be a +10 for Plate and a +5 (at least) for Brigandine! But what fun would that be, playing like that? (Well, much fun, if you're going for realism: called shots required to hit unprotected spots between the joints, ...)

Also compare prices to realism: A plate armor back then costs as much as a Sports Car (as does a horse, which you probably needed to get around in such heavy armor). So that would be $ 15K to $ 300K (= sports car price), instead of only about $ 1050 for all plate parts. At these prices (x2 for a horse (real price) (x3 if the horse has barding)), only those Filthy Rich Nobles would be able to afford this (which was also the case in history).

Anyway, I'm just saying RPG's aren't about realism. The closest 'realistic' rpg-system would probably be 'The Riddle of Steel', or so I'm told. Check it out.
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Re: upping medieval armor

#5 Postby Bewildered Badger » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:04 am

Artking3 wrote:
Shaintar uses a more protective armor value:
+1 Leather
+2 Scale
+3 Mail
+4 Plate and Chain
+5 Plate




Interesting. I suppose one could also make the case that mail armour would be less effective against arrows, which historically could punch right through.

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Re: upping medieval armor

#6 Postby Daosus » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:07 am

Bewildered Badger wrote:
Artking3 wrote:
Shaintar uses a more protective armor value:
+1 Leather
+2 Scale
+3 Mail
+4 Plate and Chain
+5 Plate




Interesting. I suppose one could also make the case that mail armour would be less effective against arrows, which historically could punch right through.


I hate to be the "realism police," but most armor can stop arrows shot from a distance. Heck, there are stories of Crusading men at arms wearing only a padded jack walking around like pincushions. Mail armor is extremely effective against arrows from a distance as well. Note that I'm saying "from a distance" a lot, because most arrow fire is arched. When you get close enough for direct arrow fire (about 30 yards), arrows get much more lethal. But, at that range, the archer only gets to fire once, and only the front rank of the formation gets to fire, so overall, it's not a huge deal.

The reason most people think arrows penetrate armor very well is because of the stories of Agincourt and Crecy. There, the British used bodkin arrows -- essentially just the point of the arrow with no blades on the side. That kind of arrow head is very good at penetrating most kinds of armor, but horrible at causing debilitating wounds. Still better than not penetrating, obviously, but a bodkin won't drop someone in 10 seconds like a broadhead will. That's the reason most armies still used broadheads -- arrow fire was used mostly to skirmish, harrass and disrupt. A prepared enemy (that is, with shields up) is mostly impervious to arrows anyway, so I guess the ancients figured that they'd take the off chance of a kill instead of hoping to punch through armor.

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Re: upping medieval armor

#7 Postby Clint » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:38 am

Artking3 wrote:I wonder if anyone has read the armor rules in the Shaintar Player's Guide and applied it to their fantasy settings.


I think the question would be whether the intent is to also import the weapons from there as well.

As I just noted in another thread, SW isn't a "universal" system and things designed for one setting don't automatically work in another. With Shaintar, you have increased armor values... but you also have increased weapon capability. One melee weapon goes to Str+d12 innately, and not all of the changes are directly to damage. There is a two-handed sword available without the -1 to Parry; that's a not insignificant limitation dropped from a major damage weapon.

Basically, how it all interacts needs to be considered. Another example would be the worse Called Shot penalties due to Armor, will there also be Edges to offset those penalties.

And that's not the only option if more variance in armor is desired. The book has some examples of armor varied based on the attack type. The three core medieval armors could still stay the same with other versions based on different damage effects. Something like...

Padded - +0/+1 vs. blunt
Leather - +1
Studded - +1/+2 vs. blunt
Chain - +2
Scale - +2/+3 vs. blunt
Plate - +3

That's just an easy example; any combination or variation could be worked in there.

Another way to add in variance would be to just break down leather and chain into location-based armors similar to plate.

Leather jerkin (torso) - 7 lbs.
Leather arms & bracers (arms) - 3 lbs.
Leather cuisse & greaves - 5 lbs.
Chain vest (torso) - 12
Chain sleeves (arms) - 5
Chain chauses (legs) - 8

Mixing and matching those gives I think 250-some variations of armor.

Anyway, there are different ways; it's just whatever works.
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#8 Postby supercOntra » Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:48 pm

Yes, plate armor (full plate) was almost impossible to penetrate but was also heavy as *****. Also it didn't protect fully against blunt weapons. A common tactic was to what in fact was bludgeoning them with the sword until they fell down, from exaustion and the hits and then insert a dagger into their throat.
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#9 Postby Artking3 » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:23 pm

supercOntra wrote:Yes, plate armor (full plate) was almost impossible to penetrate but was also heavy as *****. Also it didn't protect fully against blunt weapons. A common tactic was to what in fact was bludgeoning them with the sword until they fell down, from exaustion and the hits and then insert a dagger into their throat.


Sounds like a hits which resulted in Shaken, enough Shaken results to result in a Wounds, enough Wounds to Incapacitate, and a dagger for a Finishing Move. Plate armor with a +5 would still allow that. I think I will use the Shaintar armor values and rules for my fantasy world, going by all the feedback and looking at other systems a bit.

I may also add an edge to reduce Called Shot penalties, if necessary. But I think with bonuses from Marksman, Trademark Weapon, Expert, and other edges, it might not be necessary.

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#10 Postby Eisenmann » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:49 pm

This is the discussion I was looking for. I realize that the bits in Savage Worlds have to be balanced out. And I realize that Savage Worlds isn't heck bent on realism either but I'd like to tend toward it where I can. I've run Riddle of Steel. It's a good game but I want to run Savage Worlds. No reason not to.

Thanks guys for the explanations and expanding on them a bit helping me, a busy GM, get to the nitty gritty.

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#11 Postby Wendigo1870 » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:56 pm

supercOntra wrote:Yes, plate armor (full plate) was almost impossible to penetrate but was also heavy as *****. Also it didn't protect fully against blunt weapons. A common tactic was to what in fact was bludgeoning them with the sword until they fell down, from exaustion and the hits and then insert a dagger into their throat.
You need either a lot of people (SW gang-up bonus), or very experienced fighters (high fghting => high Parry) to pull this off. In real life, the plate-armor guy was pretty confident in his protection (mostly justified too), so he could take much more risks than opponents armored in 'only' leather/brigandine/... armor. The other guy has to fight much more protective (full defense?) to avoid getting hit by the rough attacks from the plate-guy (wild attacks).
Rant moment: This is also an important thing that gets ignored almost constantly: in movies, RPG's, ... Mooks are almost suicidal in behavior, but in general people want to survive! Unless superior training dulls that aspect of people (something rather uncommon in lower rank soldiers, let alone bandits, ...), they'd rather avoid getting hit than risking a potentially deadly blow. Which would make almost all the guys attacking the plate-armor guy go on full defense, while the plate-guy's probably a superior trained fighter who's pretty confident in his own survival.
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#12 Postby supercOntra » Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:01 am

I sort of like the low protection ratings in armor since it makes your average Conan the Barbarian guy survivable. Games with high armor ratings tend to push the player towards having to put on a lot of armor in order to survive. This way armor is good but not an absolute necessity.
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#13 Postby Eisenmann » Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:04 am

supercOntra wrote:I sort of like the low protection ratings in armor since it makes your average Conan the Barbarian guy survivable. Games with high armor ratings tend to push the player towards having to put on a lot of armor in order to survive. This way armor is good but not an absolute necessity.


I can appreciate that type of game as well. But mentioned upstream, a game that leans a bit more toward realism needs to have enough options to not only make the game feel that way but it needs enough to keep the game interesting.

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#14 Postby Strickland5 » Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:59 am

supercOntra wrote:I sort of like the low protection ratings in armor since it makes your average Conan the Barbarian guy survivable. ...[snip]
:eek: But Conan wears armor!!!!
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#15 Postby supercOntra » Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:09 am

Chainmail tank-tops don't count ;)
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#16 Postby Savage Yinn » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:18 am

Conan does wear lots of armour, just not as illustrated on the covers of the books or in the comics.

I think the values of +1/+2/+3 are acceptable as I'm sure that it will only be a short time before the pesky adventurers get hold of magical armour.

Full Plate with a magical bonus of +4 is going to be very tough as a +7 and amazingly tough as a +9.
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#17 Postby Clint » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:40 am

Savage Yinn wrote:Full Plate with a magical bonus of +4 is going to be very tough as a +7 and amazingly tough as a +9.


I'd probably up those adjectives to "extremely" and "obscenely." ;)

I know +1/+2/+3 doesn't seem like much, but they are pretty darn effective in SW. Since damage is based on 4 point increments, think of it like each +1 is a 25% chance of reducing the damage by one level. A Shaken to nothing, a wound to a Shaken, two wounds to one, and so on.

Each point of Armor adjusts the base for that increment across the board, so every potential result is reduced in occurence by each +1 of Armor.

I mean, wearing plate (+3) is then like a 75% chance of Soaking a free wound off every incoming attack (barring AE, shots to bypass, and so on of course).
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#18 Postby AFDia » Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:38 pm

The problem with the plate it the weight. Would many players accept a -1 enc penalty for +1 more armor (in comparison the the "lightweight" +2 armor)? At least for the players in my fantasy setting, the answer is no. ;)

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#19 Postby quigs » Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:11 am

In my Savaged Birthright campaign, I did a couple things that worked extremely well.

I split up armor into +1/+2/+3/+4 for leather type armors, hide and mail armors, splint and banded mail armors (combining plates with mail), and finally full plate respectively (full plate is 70 lbs by the way). I have many variations including ring mail, brigandine, half-plate, back and breast, etc, as well as different helmets and the mail coif.

In addition to these armor values, I borrowed the bypass armor rule from Shaintar, and gave each armor either a -2 or -4 penalty to bypass. You can find all the rules for that in the Shaintar book though.

I also statted up some new weapons using the old Player's Option: Combat and Tactics AD&D book. I just used the existing weapons as a reference, and added a few more like the mace, morning star, a heavy lance, claymore, main-gauche, cutlass, broadsword, etc. Some of the weapons use damage values similar to the katana, where a +1 or -1 is added to the normal damage die. I also went through and made note of weapons that were good at parrying, and piercing certain types of armor.

I figured if I'm going to have a level of armor that is one higher than the norm, some of the weapons I'm adding should have a slightly higher damage potential to balance it out, or have an AP value.

All this was done mainly because Birthright's many cultures use many different types of armor and weaponry.

That being said, a knight in full plate with a medium shield, lance, warhorse, and great helm is going to be damn hard to take down by yourself, but he is going to have at least a -1 encumberance penalty, even with the brawny edge, to reflect that fighting in that kind of armour is damn hard to do.

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#20 Postby Wendigo1870 » Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:11 am

AFDia wrote:The problem with the plate it the weight. Would many players accept a -1 enc penalty for +1 more armor (in comparison the the "lightweight" +2 armor)? At least for the players in my fantasy setting, the answer is no. ;)

Most people able to wear Plate 'comfortably' would also have the 'Brawny' Edge :wink: , which would probably give enough additional weight limit so it doesn't give encumbrance penalties.
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