Crazy powerful magic "armor" - help?

I’ll give some context if it helps (consider it entirely optional!), but I’ll start with the request.

I’m presently thinking this special magic “armor” (a supremely well enchanted dancer’s outfit) should have a ex 3 protection on all locations (maybe ex 4 on the chest, maybe not - it is purely magical enchantment, so I’m not sure why it should have the extra dice, since there’s no additional physical protection.) However, it has the major advantage that it cannot break - rolling 1’s never results in damage.

I figured 3 dice was nice and middling, but combined with an inability to break makes it extraordinarily powerful.


We are in a very long and involved process of transferring over our 7-year-long D&D/Pathfinder campaign (extremely modified rules) to a Burning Wheel framework. Burning Wheel needs some changes to fit - we have to make a custom magic system to fit the world, which is coming along amazingly well. We’ve been playing Burning Wheel fairly RAW for months, getting the hang of it, putting our main game on hold while we prepare ourselves for the transition.

We’re just getting to the point of making character sheets with some level of actual seriousness. My character is a sorcerer who loves to dance, and one of the finest magical craftsmen that has ever lived has made a custom outfit for her to wear.

In Pathfinder, it has +4 armor enchantment, is self repairing (continual “Make Whole” effect), has Endure Elements, and a continual self cleaning effect (based on prestidigitation). The repairing, cleaning, and endure elements effects are easy - we just keep them. But the armor bonus is a bit fuzzier. All of our characters have powerful enchantments for protection (dodge bonuses, rings of protection, shield bonuses, the works…), so this question is also trying to give some level of framework for the rest of the characters, too.


Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it!

Given the assumptions of D&D/Pathfinder on the abundance of magic and its virtual necessity, I’d just translate all those enchantments as superior quality. But the difference between SQ and unbreakable is actually small if you’re not rolling tons and tons of dice, so what you suggest would work out okay.

+3/4 Dice is huge.

I would take into account the numerical differences between a die in BW and a die in a D20 system. It seems like you are taking the numbers as is and just moving them (+4=3-4). That said, you may want it to be huge. D20 fantasy is often high-powered, and as such 3-4 dice might be appropriate if that degree of strength is what you have in mind.

An item with no penalties and 3 armor everywhere would be fine, but +3D armor everywhere is complete insanity. I hope I interpreted correctly that this is just “regular” unbreakable armor.

The standard way to handle this would be higher shade armor, really. G3 armor cannot be damaged by non-gray or white weapons and has a higher chance to block damage to boot.

The Dancer Garb could be enchanted to provide some Trait Transferences like Natural Armor (unbreakable), and Fastidious (always clean). With both of those your magical armor would never break and always be clean and tidy. Therefore it would never need mending.
Regarding protection versus armor enhancements. I suggest that protections increase the obstacle to hit the wearer, while armor is treated exactly like it’s BWG counterpart, Master Work becomes Superior Quality and the top of the line would be the Dwarven Plate Mail with Mask and Shield (everything else should pale by comparison).
Glad to see your group is making progress on this, I hope it works out like you all wanted. :blush:

You did - I’m not sure where the +3D idea came from. It’s just a silk outfit, there’s no armor inherent in the garment whatsoever.

I think making it gray shaded makes sense. That said, we’ve decided to get rid of the shaded damage thing - it just doesn’t mesh with our perspectives. The statistical improvement seems significant enough. (That is, grey-shaded armor can still be damaged by black shaded weapons, there is no grey/white shade PTGS)

I like those ideas, makes it more Burning Wheel ish.

Progress is coming along swimmingly! It’s hard work, and this transition is more involved than I’d have imagined all those months ago, but it looks great so far. Everyone loves Burning Wheel and agrees that it’s a superior system for this campaign’s story. (We were worried that someone might not be down for the change!)

Honestly, working on the character sheet is downright refreshing. Since we’re doing a transfer to a more rules-light (rules-gentle? Rules-not-strangling?) system, we’re pushing to find the essence of our characters. I don’t need all the class features, the spells I’m supposed to get every level, the type of spells that Pathfinder says I should have. What should my character have, that matches her history? We have a custom magic system (that’s doing great in playtesting so far!), and that transition has made the characters make ever so much more sense.

I’m so excited to begin playing! We probably won’t be able to play post-transition till maybe Sept, but still, it’s coming along!

We’d be interested in seeing your magic system, I think!

I’d also be cautious about using rules-light. BW isn’t rules-light. It’s crunchy, but in some places that games like Pathfinder aren’t. Then again, Fight is about as crunchy as you can make combat.

That’s why I was iffy on what to call it. It can be crunchy in certain ways, but it really feels like the rules don’t get in your way half as much as they do with Pathfinder. That said, we haven’t really tried out the Fight! rules - the first time we played, we tried them, and had no idea what we were doing. Almost drove the group away from Burning Wheel entirely. I’m planning on introducing those rules in a very careful way.

I’d be happy to share the magic system! It’s essentially done, but it feels very Alpha at the moment - I’d like to refine it a bit more. I also need to make it more concise - it’s 17 pages right now! I hope, when I share it, that other people enjoy it, too. We’re loving the system so far.

The Magic Burner has an excellent example of magic armor on pages 210 - 211. “Silk Armor” which counts as superior quality chainmail for all locations except the head, no clumsy weight penalties for Stealthy or Swimming, only a +1Ob to Missile and Throwing Weapons with full sleeves (no penalty for half sleeves), and only a +1Ob Speed penalty for full leggings (again, no penalty for half leggings).
It cost 60 Resource Points in Character Burning, and is an Obstacle 7 Resource Test to purchase in game (in case on is available, that is). One could always be found in play as treasure or taken off an opponent.

There are other worthwhile ideas in the Magical Artifact section of the Magic Burner (pages 192 - 216).

Black-shaded, 3D armor that never breaks ain’t crazy powerful, honestly. Sounds fine as is.

I did some translations of D&D magic items a while back, and I had ring of protection and bracers of defense that operated similarly.

I was thinking ex meant extra, because exp is exponent to my knowledge.

Yeah, disregard that first post. Ramblings of a madman.

You could just drop the shades but continue the loop I suppose. Basically each shade has 16 exponents on it, so G1 = B17 and W1 = B33.
If anything, this would probably make it harder to deal with the formerly lighter shaded beings as their new stat exponents would be much higher, thus raising their attributes, placing their superficial wounds far beyond the abilities of mortal men (he just took a B13 from my heavy crossbow, unfortunately his superficial wounds start at B14).
Of course, you could just start adding up points of damage done as if they were simply hit points without wound tolerances but then every single point of damage counts against you (my wizard laughs at anything less than a B4 as that’s his Superficial Wound exponent, anything less than that has no real effect. So someone with average power and a club isn’t much of a threat as a club is an add 2 weapon that only gives a +2 dice to power damage its I/M/S becomes B3/B6/B9 so with average skill (B4) they need one success to deal a B3 (likely, but not effective), three successes to deliver a B6 (unlikely, but still only a superficial, I take a +1 obstacle), and five successes to deal a B9 (takes luck and Martha to do a severe wound to my mage).
If we were doing things the hit point way, my mage wouldn’t have lived throughout his first adventure instead of coming through it without the need of a healers aid.

You could also maintain the wound tolerances but compare them to your current hit point total so that once you’ve taken 1/2 Forte + 1 damage you suffer a +1 Obstacle to your actions, Forte +1 damage and you replace the +1 Ob with a functional -1D penalty, which becomes -2D at 1 1/2 Forte +1 damage, -3D at 2 Forte +1 damage, -4D at 2 1/2 Forte +1 damage, with mortal wound being the loss of all hit points.
This would let you keep treatment and recovery the same.
You could even allow those weapons that are currently grey or white be considered to be like a silver bullet or sword doing normal damage against those who don’t require such things to hurt them and increasing the damage done to those who are vulnerable to them so a silver sword would grant a Power +3 damage against anyone, and a Power +19 (16+3) against anyone vulnerable to silver weapons (this assumes the hit point scale instead of p.t.g.s).
You could just treat the lighter shade weapons as requirements to hurt the tougher opponents like kryptonite to superman, without the silver weapons your not going to stop the wolf man.

There are lots of choices you could make. Luke and company made theirs when they put BWG together, and it works pretty well.
May you have as much fun with yours!