While playing with Blood & Treasure’s second edition, I was thinking about armor and it occurred to me that you could characterize the armor table as follows (with AAC standing for Ascending Armor Class, and DAC standing for Descending Armor Class):
Leather = AAC 12 / DAC 8
mixture of leather and metal, but mostly leather (like brigandine) = AAC 13/ DAC 7
mixture of leather and metal, but mostly metal (like jazeraint) = AAC 14 / DAC 6
Metal mesh = AAC 15 / DAC 5
mixture of mesh and solid, but mostly mesh (like mirror armor) = AAC 16 / DAC 4
mixture of mesh and solid, but mostly solid (like plate & mail) = AAC 17/ DAC 3
Solid metal = AAC 18 / DAC 2
The values above are for a full or almost full suit of armor – from shoulders to lower arms and torso down to knees. For half-armor – shoulders to upper arm, maybe covering upper legs – you deduct a point from the Armor Class value. You could probably take it further, and drop the bonus by 2 for “quarter-armor” for those punk barbarians out there who like to accessorize with armor without really committing to it.
A shield still gives the normal 1 point bump (or in Blood & Treasure, a 1 point bump for bucklers, and a 2 point bump for larger shields).
The point of this would be to make it easy to figure out what protective value different types of armor should have – not just real armor that doesn’t show up on the old leather-mail-plate table, but also illustrations of fantasy heroes and heroines in the fantastic armor artists often dress them.
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