Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beware the Used Armor Salesman

Image from Wikipedia
The difference between life and death for a low level warrior can turn out to be the difference between chainmail and platemail. The problem for the novice adventurer, of course, is a lack of funds. Platemail is expensive. In order to earn enough coin to buy it, a warrior has to stick his neck out enough that he might lose it.

Another option might be used, cut-rate armor. Plenty of warriors kick the bucket every year, and plenty of suits of old armor are dragged out of dungeons every day (well, presumably), so clearly used armor is widely available, and just as presumably, that armor is going to be cheaper than a new suit.

Any purchaser of a used car, though, knows well the dangers. Maybe that suit of platemail you just bought cheap is a lemon – maybe it is way more trouble than it is worth.

The following tables are a way to determine just what is wrong with that cheap suit of armor a character just bought.

Every used suit of armor comes with 1d4-1 defects. In this system, a used suit of armor sells for a base 10% discount, +10% per defect. This represents the lowest price the salesman will accept. Naturally, they’re going to try to get more than that. I’ll let you handle the haggling yourself.

Leather-Based Armors (leather, studded leather, ring mail, scale mail)
1. Loose studs – studs, bolts or scales on the armor are loose; every hit you suffer in combat has a 1 in 6 chance of reducing the armor bonus by 1 as several pieces fall off.
2. Loose fit – the armor rides down with wear, imposing a -1 penalty to Reflex saves (or saves vs. rays and dragon breath) and reducing movement by 5 feet
3. Poor workmanship – armor bonus is one lower than normal
4. Squeaky – armor squeaks in a cool environment (like most dungeons), imposing a -2 penalty to move silently checks (or a -10% penalty, depending on the system you use)
5. Stench – the armor just don’t smell right, especially once it’s been on for a while and warmed up – imposes a 1 point penalty to surprise foes (or a 2 point penalty if those foes have sensitive noses)
6. Tight fit – the more you wear it, the more is chafes, imposing a -1 penalty to hit in combat and reducing movement by 5 feet
7. Weak buckle – every time you’re in a fight there is a 1 in 6 chance per round that it snaps or falls apart, imposing a -1 penalty to the armor’s armor class bonus and a -1 penalty to hit
8. Cursed – suit is -1 cursed armor

Mail Armors (mail shirt, chainmail)
1. Jingle – armor jingles and rattles, imposing a -2 penalty to move silently checks (or a -10% penalty, depending on the system you use)
2. Loose fit – the armor rides down with wear, imposing a -1 penalty to Reflex saves (or saves vs. rays and dragon breath) and reducing movement by 5 feet
3. Loose rivets – every hit you suffer in combat has a 1 in 6 chance of reducing the armor bonus by 1 as several links fall off.
4. Poor workmanship – armor bonus is one lower than normal
5. Tight fit – the armor just doesn’t let you breath, imposing a -1 penalty to hit in combat and reducing movement by 5 feet
6. Weak backing – any hit with a weapon that deals more than 3 points of damage causes links to break and stick in your flesh
7. Weak buckle – every time you’re in a fight there is a 1 in 6 chance per round that it snaps or falls apart, imposing a -1 penalty to the armor’s armor class bonus and a -1 penalty to hit
8. Cursed – suit is -1 cursed armor

Plate Armors (banded mail, splint mail, platemail, plate armor)
1. Creaks – armor creaks and groans, imposing a -2 penalty to move silently checks (or a -10% penalty, depending on the system you use)
2. Loose fit – the armor rides down with wear, imposing a -1 penalty to Reflex saves (or saves vs. rays and dragon breath) and reducing movement by 5 feet
3. Loose rivets – every hit you suffer in combat has a 1 in 6 chance of reducing the armor bonus by 1 as several links fall off.
4. Poor workmanship – armor bonus is one lower than normal
5. Tight fit – the armor just doesn’t let you breath, imposing a -1 penalty to hit in combat and reducing movement by 5 feet
6. Weak buckle – every time you’re in a fight there is a 1 in 6 chance per round that it snaps or falls apart, imposing a -1 penalty to the armor’s armor class bonus and a -1 penalty to hit
7. Visor – the visor on the helm has a tendency to slam shut; whenever you attempt a task check or saving throw outside of combat there is a 1 in 6 chance that this happens, imposing a -1 penalty to the roll
8. Cursed – suit is -1 cursed armor

5 comments:

  1. Great work, and a fantastic idea.

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  2. That is great. Cheap adventurers are universal and this is an awesome way to mix some fun for the DM in.

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  3. Genius, as ever. Thanks for this!

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  4. Armour is haunted: continuous low-level doom chatter stops you hearing what's going on, -1 to rolls to avoid surprise.
    Armour is possessed/Gith Machine: tries to pursue its own agenda with you in it - either WIS vs WIS battle or STR vs STR to do what you want to do.
    Armour is vampiric: cannot be taken off, drains 1hp from you per day unless you feed it blood from another (intelligent) source.

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