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    Default [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    So as a history major focused on Medieval and Classical European military history the D&D armor table bugs me a little bit. For example, there is no such thing as Studded Leather or Banded Mail, a Chain shirt is the same thing as chain mail in most cases, and I think what the creators thought was Studded Leather is actually called a Brigandine. Also, the way the armors currently work there is no reason to wear anything other than a "chain shirt", breastplate, or full plate. So heres my attempt to fix some of these issues.

    {table=head]
    Armor
    |
    AC Bonus
    |
    Max Dex Bonus
    |
    Check Penalty|DR/magic
    |
    Cost
    |
    Weight

    Light|||||||

    Gambeson|+1|8|0|0|5|5

    Leather|+2|6|0|0|10|10

    Leather Scale|+3|5|-1|1|20|15

    Brigandine|+4|4|-2|2|50|20

    Medium|||||||

    Hide|+3|5|-3|2|15|20

    Scale|+4|4|-3|2|50|25

    Lamellar|+5|3|-4|3|100|25

    Chain Mail|+5|3|-4|3|150|30

    Heavy|||||||

    Breastplate|+6|2|-5|4|200|30

    Plated Mail|+6|2|-5|4|250|40

    Splint Plate|+8|0|-6|5|300|50

    Full Plate|+8|1|-6|5|600|45

    Shields|||||||

    Buckler|+1|-|0|-|10|5

    Shield, Light Wooden|+2|-|-1|-|3|5

    Shield, Light Metal|+2|-|-1|-|9|6

    Shield, Heavy Wooden|+3|-|-2|-|7|10

    Shield, Heavy Metal|+3|-|-2|-|15|15

    Shield, Tower|+4|2|-10|-|30|30

    Extras |||||||

    Helmet|+1|-|-1|-|10|5

    Dueling Cloak|-|-|-|-|15|1

    Armor Spikes|-|-|-|-|20|+5

    Shield Spikes|-|-|-|-|10|+2

    Gauntlet, Locked|-|-|-|-|8|2[/table]

    There are no proficiencies for Helmets and Dueling Cloaks. The Dueling Cloak must be held in one hand and provides a +2 bonus to Feint Bluff Checks. Light and Heavy Shields provide a +2 bonus to Bull Rush checks. Everything else works the same as the listed in the SRD.

    Magical Armor provides the DR/- with the same numerical damage reduction as a normal suit of armor of that type. (ie: +1 Full Plate provides DR 5/-)

    EDIT: Fixed the table
    EDIT #2: Fixed the table again
    Last edited by Book Wyrm; 2009-12-09 at 12:06 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Studded leather most definitely evolved from brigandine and you should probably add in cuirbouilli which is a stiff, boiled leather perhaps to act in studded leather's place and brigandine will replace chain shirt which will merge with chainmail.

    There actually is a difference between D&D's chain shirt and chainmail. The "mail" part implies additional metal armor like greaves, pauldrons, and gauntlets. A chain shirt is simply chainmail minus the armor part. Also there is such a thing as banded mail; while the name itself is historically debated, any armor that's made of metal reinforced by bands made from a sturdy material like wood, bone, or leather is banded mail.

    Now, what 3E should have carried over from AD&D is bonuses based on the weapon an enemy is using. Slashing weapons are well rounded but weak against armors that distribute weight evenly like leather, scale, and splint. Piercing weapons are strong against armor with gaps and chinks like plate and most mails. Blunt weapons have no strength or weakness since most of the damage is caused by pure force; a blow from a hammer might not physically harm someone in platemail but it'll likely knock the wind out of them.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Gambeson
    Spoiler
    Show


    Leather Scale
    Spoiler
    Show


    Brigandine
    Spoiler
    Show





    Lamllelar
    Spoiler
    Show


    Plated Mail
    Spoiler
    Show


    Splint Plate
    Spoiler
    Show


    Helmet
    Spoiler
    Show



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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Helmets are stated to be included with armor in the SRD, so having it as a piece of equipment is odd. The Dueling Cloak is entirely worthless. Your listed Full Plate (and all the other armors) are dirt cheap and weigh hundreds of pounds. There is no listing for the DR of armor anywhere.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Your weights and costs are both seriously out of whack; really, 600 lbs for full plate? Is it made out of lead or something?

    EDIT: I think I found the problem. You should have a DR column (or somesuch) between check penalty and cost.


    {table=head]
    Armor
    |
    AC Bonus
    |
    Max Dex Bonus
    |
    Check Penalty
    |
    DR
    |
    Cost
    |
    Weight

    Light|||||||

    Gambeson|+1|8|0|0|5|5

    Leather|+2|6|0|0|10|10

    Leather Scale|+3|5|-1|1|20|15

    Brigandine|+4|4|-2|2|50|20

    Medium|||||||

    Hide|+3|5|-3|2|15|20

    Scale|+4|4|-3|2|50|25

    Lamellar|+5|3|-4|3|100|25

    Chain Mail|+5|3|-4|3|150|30

    Heavy|||||||

    Breastplate|+6|2|-5|4|200|30

    Plated Mail|+6|2|-5|4|250|40

    Splint Plate|+8|0|-6|5|300|50

    Full Plate|+8|1|-6|5|600|45

    Shields|||||||

    Buckler|+1|-|0|-|10|5

    Shield, Light Wooden|+2|-|-1|-|3|5

    Shield, Light Metal|+2|-|-1|-|9|6

    Shield, Heavy Wooden|+3|-|-2|-|7|10

    Shield, Heavy Metal|+3|-|-2|-|15|15

    Shield, Tower|+4|2|-10|-|30|30

    Extras |||||||

    Helmet|+1|-|-1|-|10|5

    Dueling Cloak|-|-|-|-|15|1

    Armor Spikes|-|-|-|-|20|+5

    Shield Spikes|-|-|-|-|10|+2

    Gauntlet, Locked|-|-|-|-|8|2[/table]
    Last edited by Siosilvar; 2009-12-08 at 11:49 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Now it makes sense!

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    I have never seen or heard of actual studded leather outside of a role playing context.

    "Cuirbouilli" is leather armor according to the PHB. Its not in the SRD, but the actual PHB describes leather armor as "stiffened by boiling in oil."

    And since D&D doesn't care how much of your body is covered by armor, I fail to see a difference between the a "chainshirt" and "chainmail." I actually contemplated renaming Chain Mail "Hauberk" but I thought that would be too confusing.

    And what your calling Banded Mail is arguably lamellar armor or plated mail, so I went with those two more specific terms instead of the debatable and inconsistent "banded mail."

    I agree with your last idea, but thought it would get too complicated and the fact that it would render most slashing weapons useless against anything above Leather Scale. (Since axes and swords are both slashing, in game they would have to act the same even though IRL they work completely differently)

    EDIT: Fixed the table (again). The current system is very inconsistent with helmets (the chain shirt had one, but chainmail didn't). I changed it so the helmet is another extra item you can add to any armor (which is IMHO realistic) that increases AC at the small deterrent of a -1 check penalty. So the fighter will have one, but the rogue might not. Then again, a masterwork helmet would apparently have no check penalty.

    How could I make the dueling cloak better? Did you see the part where it gives +2 to Feints?
    Last edited by Book Wyrm; 2009-12-09 at 12:04 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Studded leather would be regular leather armor with steel studs or rivets in it. http://www.theinnerbailey.com/armorgothicbrn01.jpg Something to that affect (found it on google in less then 30 seconds). Chain shirt vs chain mail. When they say chain SHIRT, they mean it. It's the size of a t-shirt. So naturally a full chain MAIL, as in covers the entire body, long sleeves, down to the knees or lower, plus the accompanying bits such as shin plates, shoulder pads, helmet, and gauntlets, would most certainly provide better protection at greater weight. Banded mail is actually more akin to the japanese armor, where it was leather with steel bands (hence, banded) and small steel plates, held togethor by more leather. Brigandine was much the same, but it was usually leather with steel strips inside of it, similar to modern kevlar vests, but metallic.
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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    If you look at the webpage where that pic of the studded leather is from its listed under "Gothic / Fantasy Studded Leather Armor"

    http://theinnerbailey.com/armor.htm

    So, again, I've never seen any historical evidence for studded leather armor. Its my theory that the creators of D&D saw only the outside of a brigandine and had no idea what it actually was.

    Japanese armor is lamellar armor. Its made of lacquered metal plates held together by silk.

    Not that I normally endorse Wikipedia as an accurate source, but just go there and search banded mail and then search lamellar armor.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Shouldn't the DR be over a specific type of damage, like breastplate over piercing, chain-mail over bludgeoning and leather over slashing... maybe. Actually, I am not exactly sure what slashing would be good at overcoming, but I feel it makes more sense than piercing or bludgeoning.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Gotta admit though, theoretically speaking studded leather would work. Would certainly be better then standard leather (the studs/rivets providing steel for a weapon hot strike sometimes) and it would be heavier because of it. I actually like the system as is, without re-writing it just to fit NAMES better. Does a breastplate, by any other name, not provide +4 ac by SRD?
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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    I agree that the ultimate realistic armor would have DR for various types of damage, but when I actually tried to implement it things don't work out.

    For example: Both axes and swords are slashing weapons in D&D terms. In real life a sword slash is nigh useless against mail or plate armor. An axe on the other hand can can crush bones through mail and even some plate (big enough ax/ hard enough swing)

    So how do you render that in game mechanics? Either you get really specific and give each armor bonuses or weakness versus specific weapons, or you go more general and end up with inconsistencies like the above mentioned example.

    So I split the difference and just tried to make armor feel better by offering more protection against non-magical attacks. (or magic if wearing magical armor, don't ask me how that works, its just there for balance; remember kids: "magic and physics kills catgirls")

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Sorry for the double post, but:

    So those tiny little metal studs or rivets are going to protect you from an axe blow?

    In reality if a blow ever actually hit one of those studs it would just deflect the blow onto the leather armor, providing no benefit.

    And, if the rose isn't a rose, calling it a rose doesn't make it smell any better.

    Oh, and according to the SRD a breastplate provides a +5 bonus.
    Last edited by Book Wyrm; 2009-12-09 at 12:41 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    I like this, and agree with removing studded leather for armors that actually existed. The only point at which the studs become worthwhile is where you're pretty much walking around with a suit of metal studs and only nominal amounts of leather. Adding on DR only makes it better.
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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    I just found two previously published examples of "dueling cloaks"

    Theres the Gnome Battle Cloak which provides +1 AC is treated as a shield and grants +4 to disarm attempts

    Then theres the Dueling Cloak published in a Dragon magazine article which also gives +1 to AC, requires light armor proficiency, and gives a +2 to disarm but counts as a light weapon (which nets to a -2).

    So how about I change it to +1 AC, +2 to Feint, +4 to Disarm as a light weapon, requires light armor proficiency, and requires the full use of your off hand.

    Makes the buckler feel pretty useless...

    I might also change the helmet to require light armor proficiency.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Hide the same as Leather Scale (but with a worse armor check)
    Scale is the same as Brigandine (but with a worse armor check)
    Chain Mail is the same as Lamellar (but with a higher price/weight)
    Plated Mail is the same as Breastplate (but with a higher price/weight)

    Splint Plate is worse than full plate in just about every way but price, which makes sense if you're outfitting NPCs...

    So why would someone choose the inferior armors?
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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    And since D&D doesn't care how much of your body is covered by armor, I fail to see a difference between the a "chainshirt" and "chainmail." I actually contemplated renaming Chain Mail "Hauberk" but I thought that would be too confusing.
    The difference is that chain shirt is light armor and chainmail is medium armor. A chain shirt is chain mail... minus the mail.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    I actually made Hide better since it provides a higher max dex bonus and it has a slightly larger damage reduction than leather scale.

    And know that I look at it Scale is pretty crappy and Splint Plate should probably have a max dex of 1. The breastplate might also get changed, maybe +5 with a max dex of +3. Like the original, but now heavy armor with better DR than mail or lamellar.

    Other than that, beyond level 2 price and weight start becoming less and less of issues. (price particularly and weight somewhat less so until you get yourself a cheap cheap handy haversack).

    So in that respect the choice is more aesthetic. I wanted to keep the armors relatively close mechanically while still maintaining some sort of realism. Mail is heavier and the Brigandine was a very common, very widely used piece of armor all the way into the Elizabethan era. They have dug up the remains of brigandines in Jamestown.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Ahh. The wargaming obsession with varieties of arms-and-armor.

    How we missed thee.

    A casual Wikipedia search for "splint mail" confirmed my suspicions that it is much more primitive than the metalwork that goes into whatever goes into the "full plate" that we typically associate with knights. Essentially, it's little plates of metal linked together. Some of the poorer examples look to be little more than bits of metal sown into chainmail.

    Somehow that doesn't strike me as effective as the larger of pieces of metal that were forged to be a coherent piece from the get-go. Contrast with: "plate armor"

    Hence, I also suspect that making it nearly identical to full plate to be a bit much. (Also . . . wheee. +1 to AC from dexterity. What a world-shattering difference.)

    EDIT: As it turns out, "full plate" is actually "plate armor." Whereas brigandine and lamellar armor are all categories of "splint mail." Which Wikipedia appears to prefer to call "plated mail."
    Last edited by LurkerInPlayground; 2009-12-09 at 01:58 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    My other argument against the chain shirt has to do with the creators having no working knowledge of real life armor and trying to poorly replicate fictional armor.

    I think the chain shirt is a reference to Bilbo/Frodo's mithral chain shirt in the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings. Its described as "...small shirt of mail. It was close-woven of many rings, as supple almost as linen, cold as ice, and harder than steel"

    So the geniuses at WotC decided to make a light chain mail armor, while construing Tolkien's intention that the shirt was "small shirt" because it was hobbit sized and light because it was made of mithril.

    In real life, the smallest mail shirts are often called hauberks or haubergeons. The hauberk is correctly termed a "shirt", but extended to protect the thighs and had long sleeves. the Haubergeon differed only in its shorter sleeves. So while it could be argued that it is not full length mail or doesn't include chausses to cover the legs, there really is very little difference.

    Its still mail armor, and I think its best to categorized armor by types and effectiveness, not how much it covers since you can't target someones legs in D&D.
    Last edited by Book Wyrm; 2009-12-09 at 01:59 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Well sure.

    The long sword of D&D should probably be more accurately termed a "war sword" or an "arming sword."

    The actual long sword is actually identical to the "bastard" sword. Also known as the hand-and-half sword.

    It's not the first time D&D messes up the naming.
    Last edited by LurkerInPlayground; 2009-12-09 at 02:06 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    @ LurkerInPlayground: refer to my pictures (3rd post) to clarify my nomenclature. What I named Splint Plate is best described as transitional armor between mail and "full" plate, but transitional armor just doesn't sound good.

    Also, while I'm not one of those so called wargamers or simulationist, I do believe in having some veracity in a game that is described as "medieval fantasy."

    And heres my guilty confession, I was going to tackle the weapons table next.
    Last edited by Book Wyrm; 2009-12-09 at 02:09 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Quote Originally Posted by Book Wyrm View Post
    @ LurkerInPlayground: refer to my pictures (3rd post) to clarify my nomenclature. What I named Splint Plate is best described as transitional armor between mail and "full" plate, but transitional armor just doesn't sound good.

    Also, while I'm not one of those so called wargamers or simulationist, I do believe in having some veracity in a game that is described as "medieval fantasy."

    And heres my guilty confession, I was going to tackle the weapons table next.
    Even by your given picture, it still seems to fit into my "little more than bits of metal woven into chainmail" idea. As far as "transitional armor" goes, I don't see much distinction between what you've defined as splint and plated armor. Unless there's a full-on breastplate beneath that teal bit of felt, I fail to see how it's "transitory" in any but the loosest sense. It only looks intimidating because it includes more protection on the limbs and head (but this is a sensible decision anyway).

    Particularly telling is that Wikpedia actually disambiguates "split mail" into "plated mail" and includes lamellar and brigandine armor as categories of "plated mail." So "plated mail" is a sufficiently diverse category of armors.

    In any case, war gaming is at the heart of D&D's origins. So it's really a central part of D&D's genealogy if you ask me. Although that isn't to say that D&D hasn't become divorced from those war gaming assumptions.
    Last edited by LurkerInPlayground; 2009-12-09 at 02:21 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    I guess Transitional armor needs a better description then. Because it is most definitely not plated mail or splint mail.

    Transitional armor is largely standard mail that includes a brigandine worn over the mail and starts to incorporate either splints of metal or full on metal plates to protect the extremities. So yeah, that teal thing is sort of a breastplate. Its the evolution of armor away from just mail towards almost all plate.

    You've also sort of hit on two other points. One, Wikipedia is not the most reliable source. I like Wikipedia and referenced it (the pics mostly), but its not always absolutely correct.

    And two, medieval arms and armor nomenclature is controversial at best and straight up confusing at worst. Polearms are one particularly shady area, as well as armor. Swords are the best documented and categorized thanks largely to the likes of Ewart Oakeshott.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    First of all, I'd like to point out that this is a fantasy game. Reality means nothing when you're slinging fireballs. Stop fretting so much about armor not matching the real world's examples and just have fun with it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Book Wyrm View Post
    I agree that the ultimate realistic armor would have DR for various types of damage, but when I actually tried to implement it things don't work out.

    For example: Both axes and swords are slashing weapons in D&D terms. In real life a sword slash is nigh useless against mail or plate armor. An axe on the other hand can can crush bones through mail and even some plate (big enough ax/ hard enough swing)

    So how do you render that in game mechanics? Either you get really specific and give each armor bonuses or weakness versus specific weapons, or you go more general and end up with inconsistencies like the above mentioned example.

    So I split the difference and just tried to make armor feel better by offering more protection against non-magical attacks. (or magic if wearing magical armor, don't ask me how that works, its just there for balance; remember kids: "magic and physics kills catgirls")
    A possible idea would be giving all armor a damage reduction value and then giving weapons a penetration value, which makes the weapon ignore a certain amount on DR on armor. For example, an axe may have a penetration 3 going against a Plate's DR 5/- while the longsword may only have penetration 1. Against an axe, the armor's effective DR is 2/-. Against the longsword, it's effective DR is 4/-.

    Of course, if you were to do that, the entire weapon and armor tables would have to be re-looked at and re-balanced. I wouldn't mind giving weapons another criteria to differentiate them anyway, though. There are way too many "strictly better" options with 3.5 weapons.
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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    I really like the idea of weapons with penetration. The pick would be a much deadlier weapon if it penetrated armor DR.

    I think the reason I dislike the current armor and weapon systems is because it makes me feel like the guys over at WotC really don't know what their doing. When they can't spend enough time to look up what these things really are, did, and weighed I lose faith in their abilities as game designers.

    Then again, these are the same people who made the Wizard, CoDzilla, Incantatrix, and Planar Shepard, so...
    Last edited by Book Wyrm; 2009-12-09 at 02:59 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    The armor system is probably because no mundane item in the game is nearly as cool as magic items. It's the same reason they don't stat out what a flint and steel does as explicitly as they stat out a rod of wonder; the magic item is a lot cooler and most people already have a vague idea of what the mundane item does.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    I'm not really too keen on having every single type of armour that was used in something like a 1200 year period statted up and usable in game.

    Games like OSRIC at least noted that certain armours could potentially be seen as anachronistic.

    Studded leather is really intended to represent metal-reinforced leather armours in general - like 'banded mail', it's a descriptive name rather than actually being intended to reflect what the armour was called. I ended up with something resembling this when I tried it:

    - Soft leather, quilted or fur armours. AC +1 or +2

    - Hardened leather or wood armours. AC +2, +3 (extended), or +4 (full)

    - Metal-reinforced leather or leather scale armours. AC +3, +4 (extended), or +6 (full)

    - Chain armours. AC +5, +6 (extended), or +8 (full)

    - Plate. AC +6, +8 (extended), or +10 (full)

    That should reflect most historical and fantasy armour types (armoured lingerie excluded), and a medieval arms expert could have fun deciding what different armours from around the world would look like in those terms.

    Also, were helmets really that restrictive? I'm not sure I really see a helmet justifying an ACP of -1 on its own.

    Also, for future reference, The Hobbit actually noted repeatedly that the mithril shirt was sized for an elvish prince. I'm pretty sure it was modified somewhere between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2009-12-09 at 05:55 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Quote Originally Posted by lesser_minion View Post
    I'm not really too keen on having every single type of armour that was used in something like a 1200 year period statted up and usable in game.

    Games like OSRIC at least noted that certain armours could potentially be seen as anachronistic.

    Studded leather is really intended to represent metal-reinforced leather armours in general - like 'banded mail', it's a descriptive name rather than actually being intended to reflect what the armour was called.
    I agree, I think they work well enough as a class armour.

    Although the idea of damage type damage reduction is kind of appealing, especially since ive been thinking of trying out a kind of Magic Enhancement heirachy where higher magic enhancement bonuses overcome more forms of damage reduction

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    Default Re: [3.5] More Accurate Armor

    Quote Originally Posted by lesser_minion View Post
    Also, for future reference, The Hobbit actually noted repeatedly that the mithril shirt was sized for an elvish prince. I'm pretty sure it was modified somewhere between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
    Lord of the Rings has the same thing "Here's a pretty hobbit skin to wrap an elven princeling in"

    It was sized for a child- at least, someone smaller than adult size- and fits the hobbit because of that.
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