Armor Alternatives (5e Other)

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Armor Alternatives[edit]

There are hundreds of types of real-world armor across many time periods and cultures.

There are only so many combinations of statistics for a piece of D&D armor: the AC (ranging from 11 to 18); whether it's light, medium or heavy; Strength requirement; and if it affects Stealth.

The armors in the PHB cover most of these combinations. Most non-modern armors can use an existing armor by merely changing the name. There are only a few gaps:

  • Light armor, AC 12, Stealth disadvantage
  • Medium armor, AC 12, Stealth disadvantage
  • Medium armor, AC 13, Stealth disadvantage
  • Medium armor, AC 15
  • Heavy armor, AC 15, Stealth disadvantage (with Str 13 requirement, or without)
  • It's unlikely that heavy armor would not have Stealth disadvantage.

It's important to note that a piece of armor equipment represents an entire suit or ensemble or armor: you only wear one armor. (There are homebrew rules for piecemeal or partial armor.)

Tweaking Weight and Cost[edit]

If you are using an alternative listed below, you might alter the weight and cost. While the above statistics might be the same for similar armors, weight and cost might be different if they are from different eras or cultures.

For example, a jack of plate weighs slightly less than a chain shirt. We can reduce the weight by 10% and increase the cost by 10%. Thus it weighs 18 lbs. and costs 55 gp.


Padded (Armor)[edit]

The main functional distinction between padded and leather armor is that it is difficult to keep quiet in this form of armor. It could include any form of piecemeal armor or cloth protection that provides some protection, but makes audible noise when moving.

Leather (Armor)[edit]

Piecemeal armor
Small forms of what would otherwise be part of a larger set of armor, such as an iron helmet or protective gauntlets. Generally anything that would include adequate torso protection would be worthy of breastplate statistics.

Studded Leather (Armor)[edit]

Hide (Armor)[edit]

Most forms form of crude, cheap armor that is too heavy to be considered "light" could be represented with hide statistics.

Damaged armor
What was originally heavier and more expensive armor that has been sundered by magic or ripped to pieces by a monster, but could still be worn to provide some protection.

Chain Shirt (Armor)[edit]

Any hard armor that is comfortable to wear (for example, by only covering the torso) could be represented with these statistics.

A garment, generally heavy cloth, canvas or leather, lined with small oblong steel plates riveted to the fabric. A high-quality and more expensive brigandine covering torso, waist and hips can be considered equivalent to Breastplate WP
Jack of plate
A type of armor made up of small iron plates sewn between layers of felt and canvas.WP

Scale Mail (Armor)[edit]


Japanese armor made from scales of iron and leather, connected by rivets and cord.WP
Lamellar armor
Used across many cultures, this armor is made from small rectangular plates of iron, bronze, or similar material laced into rows.WP
Lorica segmentata
An ancient Roman form of armor, it consisted of metal strips fastened to internal leather straps to cover the torso and hips.WP

Breastplate (Armor)[edit]

The statistics of a breastplate can generally be used to mimic any heavier form of armor that has had heavier or noisier components removed, but kept torso and head protection intact.

Half Plate (Armor)[edit]

Four Mirrors
Also known simply as mirror armor, this cuirass of eastern design was often paired with other gear that gave it protection comparable to half plate. WP

Ring Mail (Armor)[edit]

These statistics can generally be used to represent any kind of cheap but relatively ineffective heavy armor.

Stone mail
A crude form of full-body armor shaped from worked stone, possibly with the aid of magic like the stone shape spell.

Chain Mail (Armor)[edit]

Banded mail
Banded mail is made up of overlapping strips of metal, fastened to a leather backing. It generally lacks the thickness and cover of full-body splint armor, but is functionally similar.WP

Splint (Armor)[edit]

Splint armor itself is an early form of armor, but the D&D statistics can also cover the variety of "transitional armors": full-body segmented metal armors that were in use before full plate armor was developed. As we can't have AC 170.5 ½, splint is the closest match.

Coat of plates
Japanese armor made from plates of iron and leather, connected by rivets and cord.WP

Plate (Armor)[edit]

In 5e, plate armor is intended to be the best of the best. If you're wearing this, you're akin to a walking tank. Anything exceeding plate armor should generally be a magic item.WP

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