Friday, June 21, 2013

Advanced Loin-Girding

As a corollary to my doing away with weapon restrictions in old-style D&D, I'd like to suggest limiting plate armor to the fighter and dwarf classes. I know I'm not the first to think of this, but I quite like the idea. It has a few advantages, I think:

It gives a couple of classes that sometimes feel lackluster a bit of a leg up. Some will disagree that they need it, which is fair enough, but if you're using my aforementioned house rules on weapons, they open up the use of magic swords to non-fighters, which means you might want to give the grunts a bit of their edge back.

It puts an elegant Armor Class scheme for the "core four" into place, as pointed out by Brendan S:
  • Magic-user, no armor, AC 9
  • Thief, light armor, AC 7
  • Cleric, medium armor, AC 5
  • Fighter, heavy armor, AC 3
It makes the armored spellcaster classes (the elf and cleric) slightly less powerful, which suits me fine.

It avoids the "halfling hovertank" bug/feature that cropped up in the NYC Red Box B/X D&D campaign I played in (and, by extension, Labyrinth Lord). By the book in B/X, halflings can wear any armor and still receive their AC bonus versus larger opponents, which makes an agile halfling almost unhittable when engaged with typical dungeon denizens.

It makes fighters (and dwarves) look different from the other classes, which I think is nifty. If it's in plate armor and over four and a half feet tall, it's a fighter.

And if somebody complains that chain doesn't look as cool, do a Google image search for some Angus McBride artwork.


  1. Plus, the mental image of halflings in plate armor has never sat right with me.

    1. It doesn't work for me either. Chain, sure, but plate? No.

      I guess you can argue that I'm just thinking that way because of Tolkien, but screw it, B/X and Labyrinth Lord halflings are Tolkien as hell. Besides, this campaign I'm working on has a "Balron" in a dwarven mine, for the love of Pete, so now's not the time for me to overthrow Tolkienian precedent.