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 at the same tech level
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 or before the armor can no longer be concealed.
There is a collection of Sample Armors, both stuff that people actually wear in the game, and "D&D style" armors that are mostly conceptual. There is also a Armor Design Spreadsheet, which does the math for humanoid and quadraped armors.
Armor Locations TableEdit
This is the armor table for humans and other bipeds with proportions similar to humans. Non-humanoids and other exotics use a different 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.
|Location||Cost and Weight||Hit Location||Notes|
|Torso||36%||9-11||Vitals are hit on a 1 on a d6|
|Chest||(12%)||9-10||Vitals are hit on a 1 on a d6|
|Abdomen||(12%)||10||Vitals are hit on a 1 on a d6|
|Pelvis||(12%)||11|| Vitals are hit on a 1 on a d6|
|Shoulders||(4%)||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||(4%)||8, 12*||Roll 1d; on 5-6 this location is hit|
|Thighs||(16%)||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|
Simplified Face Sub-LocationsEdit
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 are small pieces of flexible armor worn beneath the joints of low-tech 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 TableEdit
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 cost and weight can be adjusted by material and other modifiers below.
|Armor Type||Lbs/DR||$/DR||Notes||Max Thin DR||Max Light DR||Max Medium DR||Max Heavy DR||Max Jousting DR||Max Massive DR|
(Leather, Hardened Leather)
|18||$60|| Flexible |
-1 DR vs Impaling or Piercing
(Wood, Straw, Paper, Cane)
|10||$250||-1 DR vs Crushing||2||4||5||9||11||13|
-2 DR vs Crushing
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. Make sure that the DR is less than the maximum heavy amount for SM0 wearers and see below for the limits for larger or smaller people. 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.
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). Thinner armor is also easier to conceal under or as clothing.
The maximum thickness of armor that a person can conceal and/or 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. The weight and cost of any armor layer is also dependent on the size of the wearer.
Armor which is no thicker than the maximum concealable thickness can be be disguised as clothing at no penalty to Holdout. Each increased thickness imposes a cumulative -3 penalty, and thinner armor gives a +2 bonus. Non-flexible armor has an additional -4 penalty to Holdout, regardless of thickness.
|SM||Outer Layer||Inner Layer||Max Concealable||Weight/Cost Multiplier|
So an SM-6 pixie can only wear the thinnest of armors; a normal human can wear Heavy armor 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.
Joints and Heavy ArmorEdit
Anyone who wears the thickest safe armor on their joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, pelvis, 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.
Generic armor has big chinks.
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.
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. -9% 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. Gives doubles armor DR against attacks to the vitals. +5% to armor cost and weight.
Concealed: Concealed armor has an overlay that looks like clothing and is tailored to be less obvious. It comes in levels, up to +3, and gives a bonus to Holdout skill to hide the armor while worn. +1 CF per +1 bonus.
Layered Cloth and TextilesEdit
Some of the earliest armors even designed are made by weaving fabric and then stitching, gluing, or riveting multiple layers together.
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. Material Modifier. 500% of base cost, -10% to weight.
Spider Silk: Spidersilk is stronger than normal silk, but harder to farm. Gives +1 DR vs cu, imp, and pi damage. Material Modifier. 1000% of base cost, -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 and reduce armor thickness by one category. Material Modifier. 3000% of base, -50% to weight.
Leather and HideEdit
Tanned and cured animal hide makes for cheap but heavy armor.
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. 110% of base cost, +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. 300% of base cost, -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. 330% of base cost, -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. 5000% of base cost, -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. 5500% of base cost, -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. 6000% of base cost, -70% to weight.
Bone can be carved into small plates and fashioned into armor. Bone armor is heavy and bulky and loses protective value as absorbed damage chips away at the 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. 150% of base cost, -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. 3000% of base cost, -50% to weight.
Elder 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. 3500% of base cost, -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. 4000% of base cost, -70% to weight.
Wood can be carved into small plates and fashioned into armor. Wood is combustible and may burn if ignited.
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. 60% of base cost.
Paper or Barkcloth: Layered paper is bulky but reasonably strong. Material Modifier. 160% of base cost, -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. 70% of base cost, -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. 1000% of base cost, -40% to weight.
Old Growth Ironwood: Ironwood grows harder as it ages, and carefully harvested sections of ancient trees are even stronger than steel. Reduce the bulk by one category. Material Modifier. 2000% of base cost, -50% to weight.
Scale is made from small plates of metal that overlap each other and are riveted to a cloth or leather backing garment. Lamellar removes the backing garment and has the plates strung together. There's no real difference in the cost or weight between the two approaches.
Cloth armors with some kind of metal reinforcement such as ring mail, penny-plate, or flattened tin cans 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. 2000% of base cost, -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. 2500% of base cost, -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. 3000% of base cost, -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. 1500% of base cost, -35% to weight.
Rings of metal can be interlaced together to create a flexible armor.
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.
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. 3000% of base cost, -20% to weight.
Long, solid pieces of metal can be crafted into a harness with covered joints that is fairly impregnable to damage. Before TL4 and the invention of sliding rivets, the joints have to leave big gaps that give a +2 to target armor chinks.
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.
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 or wire suitable for mail and must be combined with the Segmented Plate modifier when used in plate. Extremely skilled smiths can harden it, add fluting, and tailor it so well that a nigh-impenetrable harness weighs little more than heavy clothing. Reduces the armor bulk by one category. Material Modifier. 3000% of base cost, -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, gives +DR/3 to HT rolls to resist disease or poison, the same bonus to Will rolls to resist mind control, and provides its full DR (Cosmic Irresistable) against magic as though it were Meteoric Iron, though it does not provide Magic Resistance. Material Modifier. 3000% of base cost, -20% to weight.
Wire Grid: This is an open framework of metal wire, like a baseball catcher's mask, that only gives full DR against cutting and crushing attacks. All other attacks have a 50% chance of bypassing the DR, and area effect attacks do so automatically! The only advantage is that the gaps allow airflow, hearing, and vision, so some people use wire grids for helmet. -0.5 CF, -50% to weight.
Fine Mesh: This is a fine mesh of wire, like a modern fencer's mask. The small gaps in the mesh make the armor translucent if is Thin, but worsen darkness penalty of -2 or more by -1 if worn over the eyes and give a -1 to Hearing if worn over the ears. Thicker meshes give a cumulative -2 to all Vision and Hearing rolls per increased bulk category. +0.5 CF.
Scale or PlateEdit
Fluting: Carefully designed fluting, ribs, bosses, and vertical ribs can strengthen key components of armor, making it effectively stronger. +4 CF, -10% weight.
Scale, Mail, or PlateEdit
Hardened Metal: Any metal armor can be made from hardened metal, produced by master smiths. At TL5+, this represent industrial hardening processes such as Krupp steel. 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, nor can it be enchanted. It provides 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). It also provides Magic Resistance equal to armor DR under the same conditions. Material Modifier. 2000% to base cost.
Orichalcum Alloy: Steel can be alloyed with small amounts of essential metal, which isn't as effective as pure essential metal but the alloy can be made in larger plates or formed into strong wire for mail. Medium bulk or thicker armor made of orichalcum alloy can have +1 DR at the same bulk. Material Modifier. 1000% to base cost, -10% to weight.
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 Magic Resistance and Cosmic DR versus magic equal to half the armor DR in the same way as Meteoric Iron, and Frightens Animals. Material Modifier. 400% of base cost, -20% to weight.