Once upon a time, there was pretty realistic armor floating around in the fantasy realm – the stuff you would expect out of folks who did a little research at the local library. And then the 1980’s arrived on the scene …
In the spirit of ridiculous, barbarian-style armor, I present the following scheme:
Armor is for cowards, and nobody likes or respects a coward – not buxom serving wenches, not grizzled men-at-arms, not squirrely thieves, not fat merchants and certainly not the local lord with a quest that needs fulfilling.
In old school parlance, being unlikable = low charisma.
In a barbarian milieu, armor = cowardice.
The barbarian uses piecemeal armor. Each fledgling barbarian hero can decide, at character creation, to buy as many pieces of armor as they like – well, up to 8 anyways. Each piece costs 25 gp, improves one’s Armor Class by 1 and reduces their charisma score by 1. A barbarian cannot allow their charisma to fall below 3, so starting out with low charisma puts a solid ceiling on how much armor you get to wear as a barbarian. This doesn’t sound fair? By Crom, barbarians don’t whine about life not being fair – go be paladin you lousy #$%#%.
For each piece of armor you order, you roll on the following table – after all, only a real poser would actually go out and buy mismatched, piecemeal armor – barbarians pick it up off the bodies of the slain.
Note: Bits and straps of leather don’t count here – just metal. Leather up all you want.
1. Helm (5% chance of wicked horns – if you have horns, you keep your point of charisma)
2. Sabatons (if this is your only piece of armor you lose an extra point of charisma – what kind of dork walks around with nothing but metal shoes)
3. Breastplate or shirt or mail or scales (+2 AC and -2 charisma)
4. Arm (right or left, your choice sport)
5. Leg (right or left, you choice sport)
|Always protect yer fightin’ leg!|
6. Shield (why does a shield dock your barbarian street cred? Because you should be wielding a honking big two-handed sword or axe, jerkwad)
7. Shoulder guards (if your charisma is still 15 or higher, you can add a cape; otherwise it would just make you look like a stupid poser)
8. Gauntlet (5% chance of being spiked, which grants +1 bonus to damage each time you score a hit in combat)
9. Mail Loincloth (add mail brassiere if female, unless you want to kick it amazon style)
10. Disc Armor (not as dorky as a breastplate, but still shows a lack of self-confidence, which is like a taped up pair of eyeglasses to a barbarian)
You can scrounge other pieces as you adventure, but note – adding a piece still means losing charisma, which means fewer retainers, lower reaction checks and probably some kind of penalty to carousing.
|Don’t worry Conan, we can forgive the horned helmet … just not the acting|