Rethinking Heavy Plate Armor

I’ve been pondering heavy plate armor (LMM p. 78).

This video does a decent job of breaking down the nuance that full plate armor is pretty amazing but not totally impervious to damage. The types of injuries you sustain are different.

For context in TB, we have:

  • Plate armor absorbs one point of damage and is damaged on a 1d6 roll of 1 or 2 (1-3 against maces and warhammers).

  • Heavy plate armor absorbs one point of damage per hit and is damaged on a 1d6 roll of 1.

  • Then, we have a shield, which is actually a conflict weapon that absorbs one point of damage once.

I’m wondering if plate armor might serve different purposes in games than absorbing damage. Perhaps it reduces the chance of being hit instead. I get that TB combines these into one test vs the separate hit and damage rolls. But it seems like the modifier belongs on the first part of the equation rather than the result.

So what if heavy plate armor was a weapon like a shield that subtracted successes from an attack or feint? What I like about this is that you would consciously use your armor to tank hits. So the tactics change up a little.

Kill, Capture and Drive Off Weapon

Heavy Plate Armor: +1D A; +2D D; -1D F; -1D M
Special: Reduces the opponent’s Attack of Feint by -2s. Limits injuries to bruises, cuts, or broken bones for healing factors.
Damage: Damaged on a 1d6 roll of 1.


I really like the direction you want to take the armor, and it’s cool to have it as a different option. However, it seems pretty powerful and raises a few balancing questions.

  • Are you intending for the armor to be stronger than the original effect? -2s seems like it guarantees to be doubly effective, no?
  • Can you use other armor that mitigates damage? Obviously leather or chain doesn’t make sense, but what about an arming jacket? If yes, do effects stack?
  • Are you required to use a weapon with it? Or could my warrior with brawling and armorer just run around with free hands because his armor gives him extra attack dice?

Definitely a cool idea though, and something I would love to playtest.

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Yeah, it probably is too powerful. Perhaps removing the +1D attack bonus would be a start. The sweet spot is that it should be a good choice between taking its advantages vs something else.

Yeah, I think the full heavy plate, although not completely impervious to damage, is still absolutely incredible. In the LMM, there is a fictional component that limits who can even get this in the first place. It has to be tailored and fitted, and that takes fictional requirements too. But once someone had this, they could dominate the field. I’m not aiming to capture that realism, but just to touch upon it. If we take away two damage, anything beyond that seems fair.

No, it would be the full monty with no other armor. It would be understood this was all the pieces in a complete suit.

It is the conflict weapon. It is not a literal weapon, like a sword, but it is the conflict weapon that is being equipped at the beginning of the turn. I love the fact that a shield is a conflict weapon that is equipped. It is one of the most brilliant pieces of game design. At first when I read that many years ago, I didn’t grok how a shield could be a “weapon.” But then I realized what a “conflict weapon” really is in TB. In the fiction of the action, I would imagine the player would describe how the armor gave the advantage for this beat of the conflict—with the understanding that they are still swinging their sword the rest of the time.

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