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Body armor comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, providing varying degrees of coverage and varying heaviness of materials.
Three feats cover proficiency in the use of armor: Armor Proficiency (light), Armor Proficiency (medium), and Armor Proficiency (heavy).
Armor is described by a number of statistics, as shown on Table: Armor.
Type: Armor comes in four types: archaic, impromptu, concealable, and tactical.
Archaic armor is old-fashioned armor, such as medieval chainmail and plate mail.
Impromptu armor includes items that provide protection even though they weren’t designed for that purpose, such as leather biker’s jackets and football pads.
Concealable armor is modern body armor designed to fit underneath regular clothing. It can be worn for extended periods of time without fatiguing the wearer.
Tactical armor is modern body armor that fits over clothing and can’t be easily concealed. Its weight and bulk make it impractical to wear all the time, and it’s generally only donned when a specific dangerous confrontation is likely. Because it’s worn over clothing in tactical situations, tactical armor often has pockets, clips, and velcro attachment points for carrying weapons, grenades, ammunition, flashlights, first aid kits, and other items.
Equipment Bonus: The protective value of the armor. This bonus adds to the wearer’s Defense.
Nonproficient Bonus: The maximum amount of the armor’s equipment bonus that can be applied to the wearer’s Defense if the wearer is using armor with which he or she isn’t proficient (doesn’t have the appropriate feat).
Maximum Dex Bonus: This number is the maximum Dexterity bonus to Defense that this type of armor allows. Heavier armor limits mobility, reducing a character’s ability to avoid attacks.
Even if A character’s Dexterity bonus drops to +0 because of armor, the character are not considered to have lost his or her Dexterity bonus.
Armor Penalty: The heavier or bulkier the armor, the more it affects certain skills. This penalty applies to checks involving the following skills: Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, and Tumble.
Speed (30 ft.): Medium and heavy armor slows a character down. The number in this column is the character’s speed while in armor, assuming his or her base speed is 30 feet (the normal speed for most human beings).
Weight: This column gives the armor’s weight.
Purchase DC: This is the purchase DC for a Wealth check to acquire the armor. This number reflects the base price and doesn’t include any modifier for purchasing the armor on the black market.
Restriction: The restriction rating for the armor, if any, and the appropriate black market purchase DC modifier. Remember to apply this modifier to the purchase DC when making a Wealth check to acquire the armor on the black market.
|Armor||Type||Equipment Bonus||Nonprof. Bonus||Maximum Dex Bonus||Armor Penalty||Arcane
|Speed (30 ft.)||Weight||Purchase DC||Restriction|
|Fire resistant suit||Tactical||–||–||+5||–4||40%||30||10 lb.||13||—|
|Leather jacket||Impromptu||+1||+1||+8||–0||?||30||4 lb.||10||—|
|Leather armor||Archaic||+2||+1||+6||–0||?||30||15 lb.||12||—|
|Light undercover shirt||Concealable||+2||+1||+7||–0||?||30||2 lb.||13||Lic (+1)|
|NBC suit||Tactical||–||–||+5||–4||40%||30||10 lb.||15||Res (+2)|
|Pull-up pouch vest||Concealable||+2||+1||+6||–1||?||30||2 lb.||13||Lic (+1)|
|Studded leather||Archaic||+3||+1||+5||–1||15%||30||20 lb.||13||—|
|Undercover vest||Concealable||+3||+1||+5||–2||?||30||3 lb.||14||Lic (+1)|
|Concealable vest||Concealable||+4||+2||+4||–3||?||25||4 lb.||15||Lic (+1)|
|Chainmail shirt||Archaic||+5||+2||+2||–5||?||20||40 lb.||18||—|
|Light-duty vest||Tactical||+5||+2||+3||–4||?||25||8 lb.||16||Lic (+1)|
|Scale mail||Archaic||+4||+2||+3||–4||25%||20||30 lb.||16||—|
|Tactical vest||Tactical||+6||+2||+2||–5||?||25||10 lb.||17||Lic (+1)|
|Banded mail||Archaic||+6||+3||+1||–6||35%||20||35 lb.||19||—|
|Forced entry unit||Tactical||+9||+3||+0||–8||?||20||20 lb.||19||Lic (+1)|
|Plate mail||Archaic||+8||+3||+1||–6||?||20||50 lb.||23||—|
|Special response vest||Tactical||+7||+3||+1||–6||?||20||15 lb.||18||Lic (+1)|
|Splint mail||Archaic||+6||+3||+0||–7||40%||20||45 lb.||18||—|
|Shield, small||Shield||+1||+0||—||–1||5%||—||6 lb.||5||—|
|Shield, large||Shield||+2||+1||—||–2||15%||—||15 lb.||7||—|
|Shield, riot||Shield||+3||+1||—||–1||30%||—||6 lb.||10||Res (+2)|
For the character who doesn’t want to be bogged down by more cumbersome armor types, a leather garment or some sort of concealable armor is just the ticket.
Fire Resistant Suit
This bulky, silver-coated suit provides fire resistance 10, but does not protect against any other type of damage. It is used primarily by fire fighters.
This armor is represented by a heavy leather biker’s jacket. A number of other impromptu armors, such as a football pads and a baseball catcher’s pads, offer similar protection and game statistics.
This archaic armor consists of a breastplate made of thick, lacquered leather, along with softer leather coverings for other parts of the body.
Light Undercover Shirt
Designed for deep undercover work in which it’s critical that the wearer not appear to be armed or armored, this garment consists of a T-shirt with a band of light protective material sewn in around the lower torso.
Although technically not armor, this oversized suit does protect the wearer from nuclear (radiation), biological, and chemical hazards. When worn and completely sealed, it grants a +10 equipment bonus on Fortitude saves against radiation, disease, chemicals, or poisons (airborne or contact only). An NBC suit comes with an internal air supply that lasts for one hour. The suit takes 5 minutes to don with someone’s aid or 10 minutes without. If an NBC suit takes 4 points of damage from ballistic, slashing, or piercing weapons, the benefits it provides are negated. If the suit has been exposed to some hazard, it must be cleaned and neutralized, taking 1 hour and requiring special chemicals (purchase DC 15) and high-pressure water hoses.
Padded armor features layers of cloth and batting. Armor used for training attack dogs and extremely heavy winter clothing fall under this classification of armor.
Pull-Up Pouch Vest
This garment, consisting of a torso apron of light protective material held up by a loop around the neck, can be stored in an innocuous fanny pack. Deploying the apron is a move action. This garment provides no equipment bonus (and has no armor penalty or maximum Dexterity bonus) when undeployed.
This armor is made from tough but flexible leather (not hardened leather as with normal leather armor) reinforced with close-set metal rivets. Some heavily studded motorcycle gear can be considered studded leather.
Covering a larger area of the torso, this vest provides better protection than the light undercover shirt—but it’s also more easily noticed. It’s best used when the armor should remain unseen but the wearer doesn’t expect to face much scrutiny, granting a +2 bonus on Spot checks to notice the armor.
Most medium armor (except for the archaic chainmail shirt) is not terribly heavy, but nonetheless provides a significant amount of protection—at the expense of some speed.
A breastplate covers your front and your back. It comes with a helmet and greaves (plates to cover your lower legs). A light suit or skirt of studded leather beneath the breastplate protects your limbs without overly restricting movement.
Standard issue in many police forces, this vest provides maximum protection in a garment that can be worn all day long under regular clothing. While it may go unnoticed by a quick glance, it is usually visible to anyone looking closely for it, granting a +4 bonus on Spot checks to notice the armor.
This medieval-era armor is a long shirt made of interlocking metal rings, with a layer of padding underneath. It’s heavy, making it uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
This armor is prepared from multiple layers of leather and animal hides. It is stiff and hard to move in. Shadow creatures and other primitive individuals that are unconcerned about appearance or hygiene commonly wear hide armor.
Similar to splint armor, lamellar consists of small, overlapping plates of metal sewn together or stitched to a backing of leather or cloth.
A lightweight tactical vest designed for extended use by riot police and forces on alert for potential attack, this armor sacrifices a degree of protection for a modicum of comfort—at least compared to other tactical body armors.
This is a coat and leggings (and perhaps a separate skirt) of leather covered with overlapping pieces of metal, much like the scales of a fish. It includes gauntlets.
The standard body armor for police tactical units, this vest provides full-torso protection in the toughest flexible protective materials available.
For the best protection money can buy, go with heavy armor, but watch out for the armor penalty.
This armor is made of overlapping strips of metal sewn to a backing of leather and chainmail. The strips cover vulnerable areas, while the chain and leather protect the joints and provide freedom of movement. Straps and buckles distribute the weight evenly. A suit of this armor includes gauntlets.
Forced Entry Unit
The most powerful protection available is built into this suit, which consists of a heavy torso jacket with ceramic plates over the chest and back, neck and groin guards, arm protection, and a helmet. Heavy and cumbersome, this armor is generally only donned by tactical officers heading into a dangerous assault.
This armor is a combination of chainmail with metal plates (breastplate, epaulettes, elbow guards, gauntlets, tasses, and greaves) covering vital areas. Buckles and straps hold the whole suit together and distribute the weight, but the armor still hangs more loosely than full plate. It includes gauntlets.
O-yoroi, also called great armor, is a full suit of armor formed from small metal plates tied together with colored leather lacings and lacquered to seal them from moisture. The full suit consists of a corselet (do-maru, covering the stomach, chest, shoulders, and back), large rectangular shoulder pieces (sode), an apron of large plates to cover the thighs and knees (haidate), a great helmet with a face mask (kabuto), and shin guards made of metal splints (sune-ate). Wearing great armor is a badge of honor for bushi of the samurai caste of Japan, and they frown on anyone else wearing such a suit.
This medieval-era armor consists of metal plates that cover the entire body. It’s heavy and cumbersome compared to most modern armor, but it does provide a great deal of protection.
Special Response Vest
Built like the tactical vest, but incorporating groin and neck protection as well as a ceramic plate over the chest, this armor provides additional protection in battles against heavily armed opponents.
This armor is made of narrow vertical strips of metal riveted to a backing of leather that is worn over cloth padding. Flexible chainmail protects the joints. It includes gauntlets.
This small metal shield is strapped to your forearm. You can use a pistol, longarm, or melee weapon without penalty. You can also use an off-hand weapon, but you but suffer a –1 penalty on attack rolls because of the extra weight on your arm. This penalty stacks with those for fighting with your offhand and for fighting with two weapons. In any case, if you use a weapon in your off-hand, you don’t get the buckler’s shield bonus for the rest of the round.
You strap a shield to your forearm and grip it with your hand.
Small Shield: A small shield’s light weight lets you carry other items in that hand (although you cannot use weapons).
Large Shield: A large shield is too heavy for you to use your shield hand for anything else.
Wooden or Steel: Wooden and steel shields offer the same protection, although they respond differently to special attacks.
Impromptu: This includes “picked up” shields like garbage can lids or stop signs. They are bulky, unwieldy, and tend to fall apart after a few hits (hardness 5, 3 hp).
Riot: A riot shield is a large shield made of tough, transparent plastic, providing cover without hindering sight.
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