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The Netbook of Armor

Glossary of Armor Terms

Armor Cost Armor/Shield Bonus Maximum Dex Bonus Armor Check Penalty Arcane Spell Failure Speed Weight1
(30 ft.) (20 ft.)
Light armor
Kilt, Armored 125 gp +1 +6 5% 30 ft. 20 ft. 10 lb.
Bodysuit, Armored 125 gp +1 +6 5% 30 ft. 20 ft. 8 lb.
Concealed Armor 160 gp +1 +8 5% 30 ft. 20 ft. 10 lb.
Footpad’s Vest 60 gp +1 30 ft. 20 ft. 2 lb.
Shadesuit, Armored 500 gp +1 +6 5% 30 ft. 20 ft. 8 lb.
Padded 5 gp +1 +8 0 5% 30 ft. 20 ft. 10 lb.
Quilted Cloth 100 gp +1 +8 0 10% 30 ft. 20 ft. 15 lb.
Cord 8 gp +2 +4 -2 20% 30 ft. 20 ft. 15 lb.
Hide, Nomadic 10 gp +2 +7 0 10% 30 ft. 20 ft. 15 lb.
Holy Vestments 40 gp +2 +6 5% 30 ft. 20 ft. 15 lb.
Leather 10 gp +2 +6 0 10% 30 ft. 20 ft. 15 lb.
Reversible Bardic Doublet 40 gp +2 +8 -1 10% 30 ft. 20 ft. 10 lb.
Rosewood Armor 50 gp +2 +6 10% 30 ft. 20 ft. 15 lb.
Robe of Yew Leaves 55 gp +2 +8 10% 30 ft. 20 ft. 5 lb.
Bardic Armor 250 gp +3 +6 10% 30 ft. 20 ft. 15 lb.
Bone 20 gp +3 +4 -3 15% 30 ft. 20 ft. 20 lb.
Leaf Armor 500 gp +3 +5 15% 30 ft. 20 ft. 10 lb.
Parade Armor 25 gp +3 +5 -1 15% 30 ft. 20 ft. 20 lb.
Studded leather 25 gp +3 +5 –1 15% 30 ft. 20 ft. 20 lb.
Chitinous Armor 200 gp +3 +4 -1 15% 30 ft. 20 ft. 10 lb.
Wooden 20 gp +3 +3 -1 15% 30 ft. 20 ft. 25 lb.
Leather Coat 250 gp +3 +6 20% 30 ft. 20 ft. 20 lb.
Holy Robes 250 gp +3 +6 -1 10% 30 ft. 20 ft. 15 lb.
Brigandine, wood/horn 80 gp +3 +4 -3 15% 30 ft. 20 ft. 20 lb.
Chain shirt 100 gp +4 +4 –2 20% 30 ft. 20 ft. 25 lb.
Hide shirt 90 gp +4 +4 -3 20% 30 ft. 20 ft. 25 lb.
Medium armor
Chain Cloak 100 gp +2 +6 -1 10% 20 ft. 15 ft. 25 lb.
Hide 15 gp +4 +4 –3 20% 20 ft. 15 ft. 25 lb.
Robe, Armored 55 gp +4 +3 -4 25% 20 ft. 15 ft. 30 lb.
Scale mail, wood/horn 40 gp +4 +3 -3 20% 20 ft. 15 ft. 20 lb.
Robe, Armored 55 gp +4 +3 -4 25% 20 ft. 15 ft. 30 lb.
Armored Coat 50 gp +4 +3 –3 20% 20 ft. 15 ft. 20 lb.
Scale mail 50 gp +5 +3 –4 25% 20 ft. 15 ft. 30 lb.
Robe, Battle 2500 gp +5 +4 -2 15% 20 ft. 15 ft. 15 lb.
Brigandine 100 gp +5 +4 -4 20% 20 ft. 15 ft. 30 lb.
Chainmail 150 gp +6 +2 –5 30% 20 ft. 15 ft. 40 lb.
Breastplate 200 gp +6 +3 –4 25% 20 ft. 15 ft. 30 lb.
Breastplate, Agile 400 gp +6 +3 –4 25% 20 ft. 15 ft. 25 lb.
Dragonscale Armor 18000 gp +11 +3 -4 30% 20 ft. 15 ft. 30 lb.
Heavy armor
Splint mail, wood 100 gp +5 +0 -7 40% 20 ft.'2' 15 ft.'2' 30 lb.
Bronze Plate 900 gp +6 +2 -5 30% 20 ft.'2' 15 ft.'2' 40 lb.
Splint mail 200 gp +7 +0 –7 40% 20 ft.'2' 15 ft.'2' 45 lb.
Banded mail 250 gp +7 +1 –6 35% 20 ft.'2' 15 ft.'2' 35 lb.
Field plate 1,200 gp +7 +1 -5 35% 20 ft.'2' 15 ft.'2' 50 lb.
Half-plate 600 gp +8 +0 –7 40% 20 ft.'2' 15 ft.'2' 50 lb.
Half-plate, Agile 850 gp +8 +0 -7 40% 20 ft.'2' 15 ft.'2' 55 lb.
Full plate 1,500 gp +9 +1 –6 35% 20 ft.'2' 15 ft.'2' 50 lb.
Stoneplate 1,800 gp +9 +1 –6 35% 20 ft.'2' 15 ft.'2' 55 lb.
Buckler 15 gp +1 –1 5% 5 lb.
Klar 12 gp +1 –1 5% 6 lb.
Madu, Leather 30 gp +1 –2 5% 5 lb.
Madu, Steel 40 gp +1 –2 5% 6 lb.
Parasol 150 gp +1 -1 5% 4 lb.
Shield, leather 1 gp +1 -1 2 lb.
Shield, light wooden 3 gp +1 –1 5% 5 lb.
Shield, light wooden (Quickdraw) 53 gp +1 –2 5% 6 lb.
Shield, light steel 9 gp +1 –1 5% 6 lb.
Shield, light steel (Quickdraw) 59 gp +1 –2 5% 7 lb.
Shield, heavy wooden 7 gp +2 –2 15% 10 lb.
Shield, heavy steel 20 gp +2 –2 15% 15 lb.
Shield, dragonscale 11000 gp +3 10 lb.
Shield, tower 30 gp +4'3' +2 –10 50% 45 lb.
Acrobatic Armor, Heavy +20% -2 +2 -5 lb.
Acrobatic Armor, Medium +20% +1 +2 -5 lb.
Armored Sleeves 50 gp +1 -1 5% 30 ft. 20 ft. 10 lb.
Armor spikes +50 gp +10 lb.
Aventail +20 gp +1 5% 1 lb
Emblazoned Shield +150 gp
Form Fit +150 gp Special
Gauntlet, locked 8 gp Special 4 +5 lb.
Padding +50 gp -1 Special +5 lb.
Shield spikes +10 gp +5 lb.
Shield throwing +50 gp
Skirt, Mithril 1,200 gp +2 -1 +8 lb.
Roundels +125 gp +1 -1 -1 +10 lb.
Wizard's Armor +200 gp -2 -10% -5 lb.
Medium Creature x2 x1
Large Creature x4 x2
Huge Creature x8 x4
Leather 2 gp 2 lb.
Chain 5 gp 3 lb.
Clawed 8 gp 3 lb.
Plate 15 gp 5 lb.
Cap 2 gp 1 lb.
Coif 8 gp 1 lb.
Open faced helm 14 gp 2 lb.
Closed faced helm 20 gp 3 lb.
Great Helm 30 gp +1 -1 8 lb.
1 Weight figures are for armor sized to fit Medium characters. Armor fitted for Small characters weighs half as much, and armor fitted for Large characters weighs twice as much.
2 When running in heavy armor, you move only triple your speed, not q­ruple.
3 A tower shield can instead grant you cover. See the description.
4 Hand not free to cast spells.

Acrobatic Armor: Bards often find themselves in dangerous situations and it benefits them greatly to wear some protection against the slings and arrows of outraged enemies. Unfortunately, the bulk of most forms of armor is detrimental to a performer’s ability to tumble, free of physical entanglements. Acrobatic armor is a modification that can be made to any suit of medium or heavy armor. The process cuts away clashing sections and incorporates padding in areas where thicker materials impede movement. Medium armor loses 1 point of armor bonus, while heavy armor loses 2 points. The armor check penalty of the armor is reduced by two points and the wearer receives a +2 competence bonus to Tumble checks. Arcane spell failure and the armor’s maximum Dexterity bonus are


Armored Kilt: When you add an armored kilt to a suit of light armor, the set counts as medium armor. Likewise, a kilt and medium armor counts as heavy armor. Adding an armored kilt to heavy armor has no effect.

Armored Sleeves: Strips of resistant material, usually chain links or exotic hides, can be sewn into the sleeves of any robe to offer protection to the wearer’s arms in much the same way as bracers. Heavier and bulkier than normal sleeves, these do have the drawback of slightly impeding arm movement, though the defense they offer can be quite valuable. Armored sleeves count as a shield for purposes of determining what armor their armor bonus stacks with. Their size and general inflexibility prevents a wearer from using them and another shield at the same time.

Armor Spikes: You can have spikes added to your armor, which allow you to deal extra piercing damage (see Table: Weapons) on a successful grapple attack. The spikes count as a martial weapon. If you are not proficient with them, you take a –4 penalty on grapple checks when you try to use them. You can also make a regular melee attack (or off-hand attack) with the spikes, and they count as a light weapon in this case. (You can’t also make an attack with armor spikes if you have already made an attack with another off-hand weapon, and vice versa.)

An enhancement bonus to a suit of armor does not improve the spikes’ effectiveness, but the spikes can be made into magic weapons in their own right.

Aventail:  This is a short piece of chainmail that hangs loosely from a helmet to add protection to the neck.

Banded Mail: Banded mail consisted of small, overlapping flat metal rings sewn on to leather, linen or velvet. One row would be overlapped on the right edge, the next on the left, the one after on the right again and so on. The material that they were sewn on was gathered into a roll or tuck in between the rows which separated them and made sure the rings stayed flat, it is these bands of material that give rise to the name. Despite the description given in the Player's Handbook, this armor was not backed by mail as it would have added too much to the weight for too little gain. The suit includes gauntlets.

Bardic Armor: Bards everywhere prize these finely-crafted suits of armor. They are typically seen during high-profile events to which a bard has either been invited or is participating in. The composition is primarily hardened leather, outfitted with fine, tooled etchings and adorned

with several semiprecious-to-precious gems.

Barding: The mounted warrior would want to protect his expensive mount wherever possible. To this end, it seemed logical to armor the mount as well as it's rider. Chain barding took the form of a coat the horse would wear, fitting around the base of the neck and hanging down to the horse's hips. An extended coif-like garment protected the neck and head. Padding was usually worn underneath, as was the practice with the rider. Chain barding dates from the availability of chain mail. Most barding followed this pattern, the horse's legs were usually left exposed, although doubtless some horses wore a form of greave on their shins. Plate barding enclosed the horse's body in plates, and had an articulated extension for the neck. The horse's head would often be guarded, but protection did not extend to the jaw and underside of the head, these areas being hard to attack anyway. Scale barding was available in partial or full form, the partial form protecting the head, neck, chest, and front quarters of the beast; and the full version also covering the hindquarters and flanks. It is manufactured in the same way as the scale mail worn by men, and was available from the same time period. Brigandine armor was similar to scale, as was the soldier's version, but generally was available only in half versions. By the time full barding came to be introduced, most cavalry used chain or scale. It was available from the time of brigandine for soldiers. Padded and leather armors also were made in the same way as for men, and were available in half or full versions. The principle advantage of these armors was their low weight, making them more suitable for the lighter war-horse.

Bodysuit, Armored: This garment functions in most ways just like a normal bodysuit, except that it is made of leather and actually provides the wearer with limited armor protection. The armored bodysuit may be worn beneath other armor.

Breastplate: It comes with a helmet and greaves.

Brigandine: This armor is made from small metal plates sewn on to leather backing, much like fish scales. It is similar to scale mail, but this armor was worn from about AD 400, and generally took the form of a sleeveless overcoat. It was found to be superior to mail, especially against missiles, whose growing power it was designed to overcome. The plates were usually made of iron, or sometimes bronze (barbarian tribes did not always have the technology to smelt iron). The main difference between this type and scale mail is that this armor usually took the form of a surcoat, whereas scale mail often included sleeves and leggings as well (and, for ease of movement, the plates were often smaller on scale mail).

Bronze Plate: Taking the form of half-plate armor, bronze plate is much lighter in construction, allowing the fighter greater mobility at the expense of heavy protection.

Buckler: This small metal shield is worn strapped to your forearm. You can use a bow or crossbow without penalty while carrying it. You can also use your shield arm to wield a weapon (whether you are using an off-hand weapon or using your off hand to help wield a two-handed weapon), but you take a –1 penalty on attack rolls while doing so. This penalty stacks with those that may apply for fighting with your off hand and for fighting with two weapons. In any case, if you use a weapon in your off hand, you don’t get the buckler’s AC bonus for the rest of the round.

You can’t bash someone with a buckler.

Chain Cloak (Light Armor): This is a man-sized sheet made of tiny interlocking metal rings, .t beneath two layers of quilt and wrapped in strong dark fabric. The cloak includes a thick collar of the same material, folded around the wearer’s neck and secured by a discreet, yet elegant silver clasp. The cloak can be entirely wrapped around a Medium-sized humanoid body. The chainmail sheet is crafted in such a way as to remain unnoticed by casual observers, although a successful Listen check (DC 15) discovers the clinking mail rings inside the apparently normal cloak.

A chain cloak gives the wearer a +1 armor bonus to his Armor Class. This bonus stacks with other armor bonuses. If the wearer wraps the cloak around his body (treat as performing the total defense action), the armor bonus increases to +2. A character cannot wrap the cloak around his body and use it as a shield (see below) on the same round.

A character with Shield Proficiency and at least one hand free can wrap the chain cloak around his arm, letting it hang in front of him. A chain cloak used in this fashion counts as an improvised shield, giving a +1 shield bonus to the wearer’s Armor Class in addition to its armor bonus. This shield bonus does not stack with other shield bonuses. A character using a chain cloak in this fashion suffers a –2 penalty on all attack rolls for the same round. A chain cloak cannot be used to perform a shield bash attack.

Notes: A chain cloak is not an armor suit per se, so it does not have an associated maximum Dexterity bonus. Instead, wearing a chain cloak reduces the maximum Dexterity bonus imposed from other armor suits by one. If the character wears no armor imposing a maximum Dexterity bonus, assume the chain cloak’s maximum Dexterity bonus to be +6.

Chain Shirt: A chain shirt comes with a steel cap.

Chainmail: This armor evolved through many stages, from the mail shirt with elbow-length sleeves worn by the typical Saxon warrior through to the full mail suit enclosing all of a knight bar the face that survived up until the eventual supremacy of plate. For those unsure as to the construction and nature of chain mail, it is made of interwoven metal rings. Each link was made by twisting metal wire around a dowel, and then it was cut using a chisel to form a series of open-ended rings. They were made to overlap and once they were interlinked, the ends were hammered closed and sealed with a punch. Each ring in a suit of mail generally is linked to four others. An undergarment is always worn as mail is chafing to wear, but it does not require a backing, unlike banded mail. Later on, the undergarment would be heavily padded to cushion bludgeoning blows.

Firstly, we have the chain mail armor used at about the time of the Norman Conquest. This, in the case of the Saxons, was a mail shirt, of about the same proportions as a modern T-shirt. It was worn over a heavy woollen shirt that reached down to the knees, and this would have been more to prevent chafing than to cushion blows. The Saxon warrior usually combined it with a round shield. The Norman soldiers wore a more advanced costume, consisting of a mail hauberk with short sleeves open to the elbow, reaching down to knee level at front and back. This hauberk would not be made of interlinked rings, but of separate rings sewn on to a linen or leather backing, a hybrid of banded and chain mail. At the centre of the front and back it was slit by vents reaching up to the waist, for ease of use while on horseback. It was combined with a helmet (at this point, basically an upturned metal bowl with a nasal protecting bar) and a kite shield. The helmet would often be worn over a chain coif.

This equipment went basically unchanged until the 12th Century AD. Until then, it merely expanded to cover other areas of the body. The sleeves were extended to the wrist, and mittens added. These were made like child's mittens, with a bag for the thumb and a larger one for the fingers. Obviously, manual dexterity was greatly hindered, but the ability to hold and use a sword remained unhindered. The palm would be made of cloth or leather rather than mail so that it would flex more easily, and the mittens were designed so that they could be detached and hung from the wrists when not in use. Leg protection would take the form of either mail hose or mail greaves strapped on round the calf. By this point, the hood, shirt and arm protection was integrated into one piece, and a surcoat would be worn over the whole.

The suit includes gauntlets.

Chitinous Armor:  Crafted from the specially-treated shells of giant spiders, boulder beetles and various oversized insects, this armor provides decent physical protection to its  wearer, but excellent protection against missile attacks thanks to its naturally rounded shape and smooth exterior. Its armor bonus is doubled against ranged attacks.

Concealed Armor: Concealed armor is worked into a normal suit of clothes, generally a long sleeved shirt and trousers or a full-length dress. Cunningly incorporated sections of padding and resistant cloth strips are woven into a protective shell around the wearer’s body, without betraying their existence to the casual observer. While the suit only offers the same protection as padded armor, it is always considered masterwork armor and can be further enchanted as the wearer desires. The Spot check to see concealed armor for what it is has a of DC 25 and must be purposefully made – a passing glance is insufficient to detect concealed armor.

Cord Armor:  Cord is woven from tree bark and other durable plant fibres, tightly knotted and plaited into a thick, durable fabric. Like chainmail, cord armor is sometimes combined with heavier metal plates and is usually accompanied by a silk under-dress that protects the wearer from the course nature of the material. Cord is popular among halflings, elves and druids.

Dragonscale Armor: This is the most prized possession of any fighter lucky or rich enough to gain possession of such a suit. Similar to scale mail but using the smaller scales of a great dragon, this armor guarantees a fighter with the best protection possible and yet limits little of his speed and mobility due to its great flexibility. In addition, the wearer also gains energy resistance 10 against all attacks related to the breath weapon of the dragon from which the suit was made – armor made from the scales of a red dragon, for instance, would grant energy resistance against all fire-based attacks. Dragonscale is extremely rare and many fighters are willing to risk the dangers of actually seeking a dragon out in order to gain such armor.

Emblazoned Shield: Clerics may have their holy symbol imbedded into the surface of their shield. This allows them to display their symbol without requiring them to drop or sling their shield, reducing their exposure to damage during hostile encounters. Note that the price listed for this does not include the price of the shield itself. Any size shield, other than a buckler, may be emblazoned.

Field Plate: Field plate is the battlefield version of full plate armor. It was used in the late middle ages, and by the time of it's adoption mail had become obsolescent, being used in this armor only for the mail fauld or codpiece. Some designs covered every inch of the wearer in metal plate, while others paid attention to the front of the body, leaving the backs of the legs exposed or sheathed in mail. The neck was fully protected, and the gorget locked with the bascinet in such a way as to fully protect the throat and prevent the visor from accidentally opening. Many suits of this type did not enclose the entire torso with a breastplate, often using two or three plates to achieve the same purpose. From the 15th Century onwards, this often was not the case.

Armor of this type was made for it's wearer alone. It was not as hard to move in as many suspect, and a trained man could move quite normally.

Footpad’s Vest: This simple leather vest provides minimal protection, yet it is an invaluable tool for any rogue who faces the prospect of arrest and imprisonment. A set of thieves’ tools is sewn into the vest, requiring a Search check (DC 25) to detect them. A rogue may use a full-round action to tear open the vest and retrieve the tools. The footpad’s vest may be

worn in conjunction with any other light armor.

Form Fit:  Armor with this modification has to be tailored to the character’s dimensions and crafted by a masterful Armorsmith. Form-fit armor is created in order to allow a character to put the armor on and wear it with the minimum amount of effort and fuss. This modification can only be applied to masterwork quality armor, though this modification must be made during the initial forging. Armor with this alteration has its armor check penalty reduced by –1, in addition to the armor check modifier for the armor being masterwork. Form-fit armor also cuts donning time in half (rounded up).

Full Plate: The suit includes gauntlets, heavy leather boots, a visored helmet, and a thick layer of padding that is worn underneath the armor. Each suit of full plate must be individually fitted to its owner by a master armorsmith, although a captured suit can be resized to fit a new owner at a cost of 200 to 800 (2d4x100) gold pieces.

This armor is the very impressive and ornate armor used after the 15th Century. Designers now often paid more attention to aesthetics than to efficient design, and this is when fluting and spiky, elongated detailing became popular. The rounded, fluted Maximilian design is particularly famous, perhaps less so than the even more ornate Italian armors of the 16th Century, covered as they were with embossed figures and designs.

Tournament armor is also included in this type. In the 15th and 16th Centuries, the wearing of armor was increasingly for ritual and the joust than for combat, and the designs reflect this. The shoulder plate of the left arm was extended to cover most of the chest, and the elbow was locked in position. The gauntlet included a mount for a shield. These extra pieces were often designed so they could be added to existing armor, thus adapting a "battlefield" suit for the joust. Also popular in tournament was foot combat, and new types of armor evolved for this as well. They often afforded more mobility than armor for mounted warriors, as in many tournaments grappling and wrestling were allowed (and often proved fatal to those who engaged in it, later tournaments erected barriers between opponents). The bascinet was made to be screwed on to the gorget as it was found that the conventional straps had a tendency to snap. A globular visor with heavy ribbing was popular. Some German designs incorporated a metal skirt, conical in shape, reaching almost to the knees.

In the 17th Century, this type of armor fell into decline and ceased to be used on the battlefield. Gunpowder weapons could penetrate more thickness of armor than a man could carry, and armor was used more and more for ceremony and parades. Armor of this period is even more baroque, but much less effective than it's predecessors.

Gauntlet: Gauntlets are long gloves that extend over the wrist and up to the lower third of the forearm. Chain mail gauntlets take the form of mittens, extending to the wrist and being made of a large bag for the fingers and a smaller one for the thumb. They are commonly hung by a leather thong to a mail shirt, so that the wearer can use his hands unencumbered without losing them. Leather gauntlets are similar to those worn by falconers, being made of thick leather (but not hardened as with the armor, as this would hamper dexterity). They may be made in mitten or glove form, and extend the full length of the normal gauntlet. Plate mail gauntlets cover the back of the hand and tops of the fingers with plates, leaving the undersides to conventional leather.  It also has a conical piece of metal to protect the wrist.

Gauntlets, Clawed: These armored gloves end in long, sharpened spikes designed to aid in climbing. When used in conjunction with a Climb check, the gauntlets grant a +1 circumstance bonus. In addition, most rogues sharpen the spikes’ edges, making them effective slashing weapons.

Gauntlet, Locked: This armored gauntlet has small chains and braces that allow the wearer to attach a weapon to the gauntlet so that it cannot be dropped easily. It provides a +10 bonus on any roll made to keep from being disarmed in combat. Removing a weapon from a locked gauntlet or attaching a weapon to a locked gauntlet is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

The price given is for a single locked gauntlet. The weight given applies only if you’re wearing a breastplate, light armor, or no armor. Otherwise, the locked gauntlet replaces a gauntlet you already have as part of the armor.

While the gauntlet is locked, you can’t use the hand wearing it for casting spells or employing skills. (You can still cast spells with somatic components, provided that your other hand is free.)

Like a normal gauntlet, a locked gauntlet lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with an unarmed strike.

Half-Plate: The suit includes gauntlets.

Helms: The Roman helmet was made of metal, and included a brim, cheek guards, and a neck guard. The earlier Greek design was an elongated bronze dome with a 'T' in the front, with two 'o' shapes replacing the bars of the 'T'. Saxons merely wore a leather cap, but the Normans wore an upturned metal bowl with nose guard. Viking warriors used a similar design, but with metal encircling the eye sockets and often with mail hanging from the front to enclose the mouth and nose. This latter cannot have been very effective, as it was not backed by the body but hung in space.

With the full mail suit came other helmets. The flat-topped great helm was a metal cylinder with a flat top (hence the name), with a slit for the eyes and strengthening bars to protect the nose and eye areas from caving in. The round-topped kettle hat, a hemisphere with a brim, was also used in this period, as was the round helmet or skull cap (simply an upturned metal bowl) and the flat-topped helm, looking like an inverted saucepan minus handle. These were available with and without nasal bar.

The classic great helm continued into the 14th Century before it's replacement. It was heavy and rested upon the shoulders. It did not change functionality from it's first days, merely adding features such as ventilation holes and different shapes. In the second half of the 14th Century a new type of helmet emerged, the bascinet (for that is how it is spelt). Initially, it was worn over a mail coif, but this soon evolved into mail attached to the rim of the helmet. It was at first similar to the Norman design, but extended over the ears and the back of the head. The only exposed area was the face, and this was remedied with the development of the visor. Initially, these were merely slightly rounded plates with eye slits, but the evolved into rounded shapes with ventilation holes, and pointed, beaked variants as well. At first, in the days of the visorless bascinet, the great helm would be worn over the top but when the bascinet developed it's own visor this practice was abandoned. Early visors were hinged at the top, but later designs hinged on both sides, complete with pivot and removable hinge pin so that the bascinet could be worn open without the visor falling shut. Helmets of good quality remained this way until the 16th Century.

In the 15th Century, the popular bascinet came to lose the mail extensions and these were replaced with plate. At the back, the helmet now came down further and extended over the back armor, offering complete protection for the back of the neck. It was now attached to the breast and back plates by means of straps and buckles. The barbut was another type of helmet developed in this century, looking very much like early Greek designs. It covered the head, the back of the neck and the cheeks, leaving an opening for the face. As this style developed, the holes got smaller and smaller, and more fitted to the shape of the mouth and eyes they exposed. By 1500, this type was no longer in use, having been replaced by the sallet. Early models of this helmet were similar to the barbut but were more rounded and fitted much closer around the neck. Later sallets consisted of a rounded skull-piece, roughly hemispherical, that tapered towards the back to form a neck guard, which could be simple or laminated in construction. The sallet covered the face to just below the nose, and included an eye-slit. Some sallets were fitted with visors, failing that, a bevor was fitted to protect the lower face. German designs had more pointed neck guards, but Italian sallets were more similar to the barbut in design and appearance. In the last part of the 15th Century the armet appeared as well as these types. It had a skull-piece and a long vertical ridge at the rear to protect the neck. Hinged cheek pieces could be strapped together when the helmet was worn, much like the Roman helmet save that the Roman hinges were located between the tops of the ears and the eyes, and the hinges of the armet were placed below and behind the earlobes. A raiseable visor was fitted to protect the joins and straps at the front. For additional protection a metal wrapper was sometimes attached as well, and to protect the straps of the wrapper itself a circular plate, the rondel, was also fitted.

The 16th Century saw the emergence of the close-helmet, a design similar to the armet but lacking the hinged cheek-guards. A gorget plate at the base of the helmet was attached to the gorget of the breastplate. Initially this design had a low comb or crest, which grew in size until it reached the heights of the Italian combed morion in use about 1590. After this, the comb shrank again, along with the visor which became less exaggerated. Another design of helmet in this period was the burgonet, with an open face and a central comb. The face would be guarded by bars, but most of the face would be visible, as opposed to earlier designs in which there were only eye-slits. Developed from this design was the morion, the distinctive helmet of the Spanish Conquistador. Italian morions usually featured a comb, Spanish designs were plainer and had a simple domed top. This design would be continued until the 17th Century, with simple helmets covering only the top of the head and the back of the neck, sometimes incorporating cheek-guards.

Hide: This armor is prepared by stiffening the hide of a thick-skinned animal, such as an elephant. It was experimented with as an alternative to chain mail, but was much stiffer and thus was rarely used. It was made into plates, rather like plate mail, but with hide replacing the metal. These plates would be sewn together to make a whole or partial suit. Hide armor was invented in the Dark Ages and has been ever since.

Hide, Nomadic: This form of armor was simply the cured hides of tough-skinned animals, such as elephants, rhinoceroses or bears (depending on the creatures that lived in the area). As the name implies, it was made by nomadic tribes who had neither time nor facilities nor inclination to make any more sophisticated armor. It could also be manufactured from multiple layers of the hides of less tough-skinned animals (such as deer or cows).

Holy Robes: As an alternative means of protection, many clerics fabricate their own form of armor. These robes are crafted from durable wool and blessed with holy water by the temple priests for a fortnight before they are given to a cleric for use. It is believed that the deities of the temples bless these robes to protect their followers.

Holy Vestments: Clerical holy vestments are blessed to withstand attacks, protecting their wearers from harm. Often made from silk and wool, these robes are both comfortable and easy to move in. The symbol of the patron deity is often embroidered upon the centre of the chest of the robes in the chosen colors.

Leather: This armor was invented in the Dark Ages also, by those looking to improved chain mail. It was boiled first to soften it for molding, and when it cooled it set hard. It was commonly worn over chain mail to provide protection against the piercing weapons against which chain mail was inefficient. It is made of plates, like hide armor, but it is not hard enough to make sophisticated joints as are found in field plate, so it is sewn together. Mail often guards the joints.

Leather Coat: This is a full-body leather overcoat, including a short cape over the shoulders and a high collar covering all the wearer’s neck up to the lower face. The suit includes a felt or leather cap and a pair of gloves. The coat features a great quantity of belts, pockets, buttons and buckles.

Designed for characters expecting both combat and a long journey, leather coats combine the best in light armor technology with fashionable weather protection attire. They are preferred by elite soldiers, overland couriers and secret agents. A leather coat offers excellent protection, while causing little or no penalties to the user’s movement. Leather coats are a relatively new fashion item, more common with every passing season.

In addition to armor bonuses, a character wearing a leather coat receives a +2 circumstance bonus on Fortitude saves and Survival checks made against the effects of stormy or cold weather.

Padded Armor: This is a very simple type of armor, consisting simply of thick, quilted garments that were next to useless against an arrow but could deflect a glancing sword blow. It was said to have had most of the advantages of mail but little of it's weight. It was, however, the equivalent of wearing about ten thermal undergarments at once and it was stiflingly hot to wear. A thinner form evolved to become the backing for mail and plate suits, providing cushioning from the shock of blows. It was invented during the Dark Ages, but it is simple to make and there is no reason why a fantasy society with Ancient technology could not conceive of and manufacture it. Quilted armor was often used as leg and horse protection while a mail hauberk was worn.

Padding: By inserting padded cloth between a suit of armor’s joints or adding strips of cloth beneath the metallic edges of armor scales or links, a skilled armorsmith can decrease the jingling and metallic clanks that betray an armored rogue attempting to sneak his way past an enemy. Padding can be added to any medium or heavy armor. It increases the armor’s check penalty for all skills except Move Silently by –2. Armor padding grants a +2 circumstance bonus to all Move Silently checks.

Plate Mail: This is not the all-enclosing field or full plate armor, but rather the plate-mail hybrids that started to emerge in the early 14th Century. In the beginning, this armor merely consisted of plates on the knees, elbows and shoulders over a mail suit, then it evolved to consist of a full mail suit with additional plates to protect the shins (and later the thighs), arms and sometimes a breastplate in addition. A surcoat would be worn over the top. Overlapping plates would be fitted to the top of the chainmail socks. Generally, this armor only faced the front and the back of the knight's legs and body were trusted to mail, as were the insides of the arms. Plate came to cover more and more of the body, until the mail underneath began to disappear, eventually covering only the groin. After a while that too disappeared.

Reversible Bardic Doublet: This doublet is a close-fitting jacket, with or without sleeves, that appears to be an ordinary piece of clothing. However, it has several plates of hardened leather sewn between two separate layers of the fabric. These plates are sewn to the inside in such a way that the doublet still moves inconspicuously. These doublets can be reversed, usually with different colors on each side. This is a fashionable and protective piece for any bard.

Robe, armored:  This mundane-looking garment appears as the typical robe worn by a wizard, priest or other scholar. Small, metal plates and thick leather padding sewn into the inner side of the robe provide protection without drawing undue attention to the wearer. Unfortunately, armored robes are both bulky and heavy, limited the wearer’s agility and speed.

Robe, battle: Another garment for battle-minded wizards, the elven version of the armored robe is not designed for stealth, but for the protection of a war wizard. Resilient fabric made from gossamer thread intertwines with mithril wire and small, iron plates, providing very good protection with few obstacles for spellcasting. There are versions of battle robes tailored as dresses and gowns, worn by elf ladies who go into battle as part of their noble duties.

Robe of Yew Leaves: Druids have long fashioned their own armor from the bounties of nature. This unique set of armor is no exception. Fashioned from the treated leaves of the yew tree and reinforced with thin strips of tanned leather, this armor is both functional and often quite beautiful.

Roundels: Consisting of a series of discs attached to the vulnerable joints of metal armor, roundels provide a greater level of protection at the expense of extra weight. Roundels may be combined with any medium or heavy armor, with the exception of full plate.

Scale Mail: This is brigandine armor (see above), extended down to the knees and worn with additional leggings. It thusly affords more protection. It was introduced in the Dark Ages, in fact, it was a favourite with the barbarian horsemen who attacked the Roman Empire in the 4th Century. The scales were small in size, and sewn on to a leather or padded backing. It was more efficient than chain mail, particularly at stopping missiles. The suit includes gauntlets.

Scale Mail, Wood or Horn: This is simply scale mail made out of wooden or animal horn scales rather than metal. It would have been used in areas where metal was very rare or the technology was not possessed to mine or work it, and so would have predated metal versions (had it actually been used extensively).

Shadesuit, Armored: The armored shadesuit is, like the armored bodysuit, merely an armored version of the base item. The material of the armored shadesuit is leather, granting the wearer a +1 bonus to armor class. The armored shadesuit may be worn beneath other armor.

Shield, dragonscale:  Often considered rarer than full dragonscale armor, the dragonscale shield is made from a single huge scale, only to be found upon the death of the mightiest of wyrms. Providing excellent protection, the dragonscale shield also remains light and easy to use, despite being the size of any other large shield. In addition, to the armor bonus, the dragonscale shield will also bestow its wielder with energy resistance 5 to any attacks related to the breath weapon of the dragon the scale was gleaned from – see dragonscale armor for more details.

Shield, Leather, Heavy or Light: Leather shields are light and very flexible but provide only limited protection against attack. The leather is supported across a wooden framework and stiffened using processes similar to those used in the creation of hide armor. The leather shield’s armor bonus only applies to bludgeoning weapons, as piercing and slashing attacks will rip straight through the material.

Shield, Heavy, Wooden or Steel: You strap a shield to your forearm and grip it with your hand. A heavy shield is so heavy that you can’t use your shield hand for anything else.

Wooden or Steel: Wooden and steel shields offer the same basic protection, though they respond differently to special attacks.

Shield Bash Attacks: You can bash an opponent with a heavy shield, using it as an off-hand weapon. See Table: Weapons for the damage dealt by a shield bash. Used this way, a heavy shield is a martial bludgeoning weapon. For the purpose of penalties on attack rolls, treat a heavy shield as a one-handed weapon. If you use your shield as a weapon, you lose its AC bonus until your next action (usually until the next round). An enhancement bonus on a shield does not improve the effectiveness of a shield bash made with it, but the shield can be made into a magic weapon in its own right.

Shield, Light, Wooden or Steel: You strap a shield to your forearm and grip it with your hand. A light shield’s weight lets you carry other items in that hand, although you cannot use weapons with it.

Wooden or Steel: Wooden and steel shields offer the same basic protection, though they respond differently to special attacks.

Shield Bash Attacks: You can bash an opponent with a light shield, using it as an off-hand weapon. See Table: Weapons for the damage dealt by a shield bash. Used this way, a light shield is a martial bludgeoning weapon. For the purpose of penalties on attack rolls, treat a light shield as a light weapon. If you use your shield as a weapon, you lose its AC bonus until your next action (usually until the next round). An enhancement bonus on a shield does not improve the effectiveness of a shield bash made with it, but the shield can be made into a magic weapon in its own right.

Shield, Tower: This massive wooden shield is nearly as tall as you are. In most situations, it provides the indicated shield bonus to your AC. However, you can instead use it as total cover, though you must give up your attacks to do so. The shield does not, however, provide cover against targeted spells; a spellcaster can cast a spell on you by targeting the shield you are holding. You cannot bash with a tower shield, nor can you use your shield hand for anything else.

When employing a tower shield in combat, you take a –2 penalty on attack rolls because of the shield’s encumbrance.

Shield Spikes: When added to your shield, these spikes turn it into a martial piercing weapon that increases the damage dealt by a shield bash as if the shield were designed for a creature one size category larger than you. You can’t put spikes on a buckler or a tower shield. Otherwise, attacking with a spiked shield is like making a shield bash attack (see above).

An enhancement bonus on a spiked shield does not improve the effectiveness of a shield bash made with it, but a spiked shield can be made into a magic weapon in its own right.

Skirt, Mithril: This skirt of interlocking mithril rings straps to the wearer’s waist and reaches no lower than the knees, giving additional protection to any armor worn. It fits easily over any armor except full plate and, though it adds weight to the character, it does not interfere with spellcasting. A mithril skirt gives a +1 armor bonus to a mount’s AC.

Splint Mail: This is another armor that may well be merely another flight of fantasy. If it did exist, it was made of vertical metal strips riveted to a leather or padded undergarment. It is inflexible and alternative protection had to be found for the joints, apparently chain mail being the popular choice. I have been unable to find much information on this armor, as (strangely) it is absent from the history books I researched. The suit includes gauntlets.

Splint Mail, wood: Wood splint can appear to be splint mail at first glance. The armor is made of narrow strips of wood (usually painted black) backed onto leather with thick cord that is worn over cloth padding. Unlike many other suits of armor, wood splint is worn with heavy leather gloves, rather than gauntlets. Though the armor appears of poor design and offers very little protection for its weight and cumbersome nature, druids often use wood splint because a single casting of ironwood immediately gives their armor all the properties of real splint mail.

Studded Leather: This armor consisted of leather (not hardened as with plain leather armor), closely set with rivets. A decent amount of protection was thus gained, without the heat and weight premium of mail and the inflexibility of plate. In some cases, the armor developed until it was almost like scale or brigandine. Mail neck protection was generally worn as well. This armor has been used since the Middle Ages.

Wizard’s Armor: An enhancement that may be added to an existing type of armor rather than a class of protective gear of its own, wizard’s armor is created by taking a typical armor design and modifying it to allow for greater freedom of movement. An existing suit of armor may not be modified in this manner. Instead, wizard’s armor must be created from scratch. To calculate the cost and effectiveness of wizard’s armor, select a base armor type, such as chainmail, and determine the cost and characteristics of a masterwork version. Then, increase the cost by 200 gp, decrease its armor bonus by 2, drop its weight by 5 pounds and reduce its arcane spell failure by 10%. A suit of wizard’s armor is considered to be the same armor type as its original armor. For example, wizard’s chainmail counts as medium armor.