01 May 2019

Earthdawn 4E: Expanded Equipment 02 - Piecemeal Armor

This is the second 4E Expanded Equipment, part of an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

The goal of the series is to import equipment found in previous editions and maybe introduce some new offerings. This particular entry updates the piecemeal armor mechanics from in 1E (Denizens of Barsaive vol. 2).

In my humble opinion, the biggest problem with the previous piecemeal armor mechanics is a sufficiently dedicated player can create armor better than options found as whole sets. (I was personally a fan of small pieces of crystal ringlet, ring mail, and any three of: fernweave, hardened leather, hide, leather, padded cloth, and padded leather, creating PA 6, MA 1, and Initiative Penalty 0 - clearly an abuse of the mechanics.) With that in mind, the mechanics were reworked to prevent piecemeal sets being better than complete sets. Piecemeal armor is interesting and a character choice, but there's a reason people wear complete armor sets designed to work together rather than something cobbled together.

Here are the mechanics:
  • Characters can have up to five (5) points of piecemeal armor.
  • Piecemeal armor comes in three sizes and they cost the corresponding number of points: large (3), medium (2), and small (1). Large pieces cover at least half the body, medium pieces less than half, and small pieces less than 20%.
  • Characters cannot equip more than one size of a particular type, but smaller sizes combine to form larger sizes equal to the number of points, though cannot be more than large, no matter how many points. For example, two small pieces of the same armor make a medium piece of armor, a medium and a small piece of the same armor make a large piece of armor, or two medium pieces of the same armor make a large piece of armor.
  • Implanted armor (e.g., blood pebble and living crystal) are never available as piecemeal armor.
  • Leather includes espagra cloak, hardened leather, hide armor, leather, obsidiman skin, padded cloth, and padded leather. They’re just all one category because there’s no mechanical difference from the choice.
  • Each category lists the Physical Armor/Mystic Armor/Initiative Penalty.

Piecemeal armor is not sold by reputable armorers, though some adventurers, mercenaries, and other fiscally concerned “violent” types may sell “used” armor pieces where the whole set of armor isn’t suitable for reasons. In such cases, large pieces of armor cost approximately 50% of a whole set, medium are 30%, and small are 20%. Weight is approximately the same.

My apologies if this doesn't look so pretty; tables, Blogger, and I are not friends.

    Name Large (3) Medium (2) Small (1)
Chain Mail 4/0/2 2/0/1 1/0/1
Crystal Plate 4/4/4 2/2/2 1/1/1
Crystal Ringlet 2/2/1 1/1/0 1/1/1
Fernweave 1/2/0 1/1/0 0/1/0
Leather 2/0/0 1/0/0 0/0/0
Plate Armor 5/0/3 3/0/2 2/0/2
Ring Mail 3/0/1 1/0/0 1/0/1
Wyvern Skin 4/0/2 3/0/2 1/0/1

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