Armor

Armor As Damage Reduction

In the abstract d20 combat system, a character’s armor defends him by reducing the chance that an attack will deal damage. That system simplifies the realities of battle in order to streamline combat resolution. An attack that fails due to a character’s armor or natural armor doesn’t really fail to connect, but rather fails to connect with enough force to deal any damage. (That’s why touch attacks ignore a character’s armor and natural armor—the touch attack only needs to connect to deliver its effect, and need not actually breach the target’s armor.)

However, with this system, armor bonuses are reduced, but they also grant DR/piercing and convert a certain amount of the remaining damage into nonlethal damage.

Armor Damage Reduction Values

Table: Armor and Damage Reduction

Armor

Armor Bonus1

Unconverted Damage Type

Damage Reduction

  1. Add any enhancement bonus to this value.

Light armor

Leather

+1

Piercing

none

Padded

+1

Piercing

1/slashing

Studded leather

+2

Bludgeoning

1/piercing

Chain shirt

+2

Slashing

2/bludgeoning

Medium armor

Hide

+2

Piercing

1/slashing

Scale mail

+2

Bludgeoning

2/piercing

Chainmail

+3

Slashing

3/bludgeoning

Breastplate

+3

Bludgeoning

3/piercing

Heavy armor

Splint mail

+4

Bludgeoning

3/piercing

Banded mail

+4

Bludgeoning

3/piercing

Half-plate

+4

Bludgeoning

4/piercing

Full plate

+5

Bludgeoning

4/piercing

In this system, armor offers three benefits against attacks: a minor bonus to AC, which functions just like the armor bonus in the standard d20 rules but is usually lower in value; a damage conversion of an amount of lethal damage equal to double the armor’s base AC bonus (not including enhancement bonus) into non-lethal damage; and damage reduction against certain attacks. See Table: Armor and Damage Reduction for the armor bonus and DR values for common armor types. (All other armor statistics, such as maximum Dexterity bonus, armor check penalty, and arcane spell failure chance, are unchanged.) As a rule of thumb, soft material armors that can be made with darkleaf cloth, like leather or padded armor, provide DR/slashing and convert their AC bonus in non-piercing lethal damage into nonlethal damage, and ignore their AC bonus in non-piercing nonlethal damage, while hard material armors that are made with stone or metal, like stoneplate or scale mail, provide DR/piercing and convert their AC bonus in non-bludgeoning lethal damage into nonlethal damage, and ignore their AC bonus in non-bludgeoning nonlethal damage. Ring-based armors, like chain shirts or chainmail armor, provide DR/bludgeoning and convert their AC bonus in non-slashing lethal damage into nonlethal damage, and ignore their AC bonus in non-piercing nonlethal damage

For armors not covered on Table: Armor and Damage Reduction, you can determine the new armor values and damage reduction based on the standard armor bonus. To determine the armor’s damage reduction, divide the armor’s normal armor bonus by 2 (rounding down). To determine the armor’s new armor bonus, subtract the DR from the normal armor bonus. For example, studded leather has a normal armor bonus of +3. That gives it a DR of 1/piercing (half of 3, rounded down) and a new armor bonus of +2 (3 minus 1).

Damage Conversion

Armor also converts an amount of the damage that a character takes into nonlethal damage equal to the armor’s total AC bonus, including enhancement bonuses. If the damage dealt is already nonlethal damage, the damage is reduced by an amount of damage equal to his armor’s AC bonus. Unless the entirety of the damage is converted to nonlethal damage, critical hits still deal the normal amount of wound point damage; however, if the entirety of the damage is converted to nonlethal and the attack crits, then the character only takes 1 point of wound damage, as normal for nonlethal critical hits. As usual, if this nonlethal damage would deal more vitality points than the creature has left, any excess damage is ignored. Bludgeoning damage is unaffected by this damage conversion.

Magic Armor

An armor’s enhancement bonus (if any) increases its armor bonus to AC and attacks need to be magical and piercing to penetrate the armor’s DR, but the enhancement bonus has no effect on the amount of damage the armor reduces. A +3 chain shirt, for example, adds +5 to AC, grants damage reduction 2/magic and piercing, and converts 5 points of slashing and/or piercing damage into nonlethal damage.

Stacking Damage Reduction

The damage reduction granted by this system is applied first to any damage taken before any other damage reduction. In this manner, it effectively stacks with other forms of DR. Damage conversion is applied after all DR calculations, converting however much of the remaining damage into nonlethal as it would normally.

Shields

Shields function as laid out in Combat Facing, granting their shield bonus and cover bonus to AC against attacks coming from the direction that is protected by the shield’s facing. Unlike with armor, a shield’s effectiveness is measured wholly by its ability to keep an attack from connecting with your body, so they do not grant DR/piercing, nor do they convert non-Bludgeoning damage into non-lethal damage.

Natural Armor

A creature’s natural armor also provides a modicum of damage reduction. Divide the monster’s natural armor bonus (not including any enhancement bonus) by 5 to determine the monster’s damage reduction. The same value is subtracted from the monster’s natural armor bonus to find the monster’s new AC. These calculations are summarized in Table: Natural Armor and Damage Reduction. Natural armor does not convert any damage into nonlethal damage; it can, however, be overcome by attacks that deal both bludgeoning and piercing, or bludgeoning and magic damage, or piercing and magic damage.

Table: Natural Armor and Damage Reduction

Natural Armor Bonus

Damage Reduction

Subtract from Natural Armor

0-4

none

0

5-9

1/B&P, Magic&P, Magic&B

1

10-14

2/B&P, Magic&P, Magic&B

2

15-19

3/B&P, Magic&P, Magic&B

3

20-24

4/B&P, Magic&P, Magic&B

4

25-29

5/B&P, Magic&P, Magic&B

5

30-34

6/B&P, Magic&P, Magic&B

6

35-39

7/B&P, Magic&P, Magic&B

7

40-44

8/B&P, Magic&P, Magic&B

8

Table: Defense Bonus

Level

D Tier

C Tier

B Tier

A Tier

1st

+2

+3

+4

+6

2nd

+2

+3

+4

+6

3rd

+3

+4

+5

+7

4th

+3

+4

+5

+7

5th

+3

+4

+5

+7

6th

+4

+5

+6

+8

7th

+4

+5

+6

+8

8th

+4

+5

+6

+8

9th

+5

+6

+7

+9

10th

+5

+6

+7

+9

11th

+5

+6

+7

+9

12th

+6

+7

+8

+10

13th

+6

+7

+8

+10

14th

+6

+7

+8

+10

15th

+7

+8

+9

+11

16th

+7

+8

+9

+11

17th

+7

+8

+9

+11

18th

+8

+9

+10

+12

19th

+8

+9

+10

+12

20th

+8

+9

+10

+12

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