03 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Rules Variant 10 - Part 2 Armor

This is the second part of the tenth Rules Variant, 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.

Following the first part of the Hindrance rules variant (introduced here), this part introduces modified armor and shields. The armors and shields available were rebalanced and reclassified to better reflect how Hindrance changes access to heavy armor and the effect this has on balance.

The biggest change is reclassifying blood pebble and living crystal as implanted armor, rather than traditional armor. This category also includes crystal skin (Iopos, p. 215). A character can only have one set of implanted armor and it cannot be forged. However, implanted armor can stack with all other armor. Implanted armor can be concealed, perhaps with a little effort, but it will make it into situation where armor is frowned upon. Obsidiman natural armor is considered implanted armor with Hindrance 1. It's a small balancing factor given the number of benefits they receive.

Next, espagra cloak is now an armor veneer. This includes cloaks, tabards, robes, etc; anything you wear over your armor, but isn't technically armor (anymore). Just like implanted armor, you can only wear one armor veneer and it cannot be forged, but it does stack with all other armor. As well similar to implanted armor, armor veneers can typically be worn into situations where armor would otherwise be frowned upon. A downside is if you encounter something that can destroy armor, your veneer may not be long for this world.

Allowing some shields to be used with missile weapons (bucklers and ferndask) while not others (everything that isn't a buckler or ferndask) and having that information in the description was often overlooked or misinterpreted. To simplify things: shields are incompatible with all missile weapons. Since all shields have Hindrance, this doesn't have a net impact to the total protection available. Shields also have a new modifier: Shield Bash. This provides a bonus to the Shield Bash test (not the associated Attack test using Melee Weapons), making larger shields a little better at bashing opponents. Quite a bit better if you hit them with a rock. It was a big rock.

Brief details for new armor and shields are provided below. Some are reclassified versions of previous entries to simplify descriptions and condense unnecessary entries.

Special thanks to Brett Bowen for helping with this project.

Blood Charms - Implanted Armor
TypePhysical ArmorMystic ArmorHindranceBlood Magic Damage
Blood Pebble1113
Crystal Skin4213
Living Crystal2226

Crystal Skin: See Iopos: Lair of Deceit, p. 215.

Common Magic Items - Armor Veneer
TypePhysical ArmorMystic ArmorHindranceCostWeight
Cloak, Espagra10120010
Cloak, Wyvern20250020

Cloak, Wyvern: Similar to an espagra cloak, but made from much heavier wyvern skin. The scales are typically less brilliant than espagra scales, but more expensive varities can be equally impressive. These are generally considered acceptable in polite company, though some groups may take a dim eye to them in the same way as wyvern skin armor.

TypePhysical ArmorMystic ArmorHindranceCostWeight
Brithan Hide51316035
Chain Mail70418040
Crystal Chain534170060
Crystal Juggernaut86830,000110
Crystal Plate76712,00090
Crystal Ringlet43350045
Crystal Scale666450075
Hide, Light3111015
Padded Cloth20025
Reinforced Leather5024020
Ring Mail60311030
Stone Disk6045560
Stone Net7059080
Thundra Beast Hide61460040
Trim Wood5035530
Wood Tile6049040
Wyvern Skin715200050

Bark: See The Adept's Journey: Mystic Paths, p. 362.

Brithan Hide: Similar to typical hide armor, but made from thicker brithan hide. It also smells of earth, musk and victory.

Crystal Chain: 
Living armor. A close cousin to crystal ringlet, but with finer links that provide better protection at the cost of some mobility.

Crystal Juggernaut: 
Living armor. If you read the description of crystal plate and thought, "Yeah, that's good and all, but I want more." And by more, it was pretty much more of everything. You found what you're looking for. If you hold real still, you could be mistaken for a crystal statue and not moving is the preferred mode of doing things while wearing crystal juggernaut for most people. Also why virtually no one tries to wear crystal juggernaut. That and the cost, which is like six orichalcum boxes. That's a unit of measure.

Crystal Scale: Living armor. Made with small overlapping crystal disks, though some are designed to look like dragon scales or some other animal. Because otherwise it tends to look more like a fish, which is pretty cool in its own right, what with the light catching the crystals just so and shimmering, but some people want a more badass look and dragons are about as badass as it gets. There's always Verjigorm, but using that as an inspiration for your armor - even for purely aesthetic reasons - isn't likely to get you the right kind of friends. No, even then they aren't the right kind of friends.

Crystalweave: See The Adept's Journey: Mystic Paths, p. 362.

Hide, Light: It's like hide armor, but made from lighter hides. Less tiger and more house cat. Except don't do that with your house cat. What's really imporant here is the hide isn't heavily treated, so it still retains some of the properties that give it Mystic Armor. Otherwise, this is just leather armor.

Juggernaut: Most people would call this an immobilizing amount of armor, but you aren't most people. You saw that huge pile of metal and only thought, "It will be mine." Now you stride across the battle field laughing at their puny attempts to damage you. Nothing is going to stand in your way! A veritable mountain who walks! Just, you know, watch out for snakes.

Oathshar: See Iopos: Lair of Deceit, p. 214.

Reinforced Leather: This was hardened leather, but that's a weird distinction to make since any leather you're turning into armor is hardened in some way. So this one now has additional reinforcement, including the once popular studded leather. Maybe it's still popular. I haven't played D&D in a long time.

Scale: Like crystal scale but made of metal and lower on the cool factor, but still cool for those of use who grew up reading the Dragonlance novels and seeing Caramon wearing it.

Thundra Beast Hide: Similar to typical hide armor, but made of much heavier thundra beast hide. So it smells strongly. Like a wet, hair dinosaur on fire. Or hurlg that went bad (which implies it was ever good). You're going to attract flies and lots of curious dogs.

TypePhysical DefenseMystic DefenseHindranceShield BashCostWeight
Crystal, Small1120505
Crystal, Medium224115015
Crystal, Large325245030

Crystal, Small: Living armor. This is a crystal buckler with a more generic name so categorizing it is easier for everyone. Hopefully this opens up some options on what they look like, even if the crystal raiders are voted most likely to use them in the setting (PCs are hardly typical in their preferences).

Crystal, Medium: Living armor. This is a crystal radier shield with a generic name so categorizing it is easier for everyone.

Crystal, Large: Living armor. Sized like a body shield, but made from crystal. Most popular with Namegivers who rhyme with "obsidimen" due to the massive hindrance. But sometimes you just need to hide behind your big crystal shield and yell, "I see you!" as you bash people in the face with it.

Large: Would a body shield by any other name protect as well? Turns out, yes, exactly as well. Also with a bonus to bashing.

Medium: The weird and arbitrary difference between footman's and rider's shields is gone. Now they're both medium shields and you can have it look mostly like whatever you want, as long as it can still be practically described as a shield and not "art project."

Small: Buckler was a little too specific and had some baggage to jettison (being able to be used with a missile weapon, that's gone now). It's still a shield, still small, you can even call it a buckler. No one cares.

Stone: See The Adept's Journey: Mystic Paths, p. 363.


  1. Hello, thanks for this works.

    What appen with the blood magic damages of the cristals armors ? are they removed ?

  2. I'm not certain I understand. If the implanted armor is removed, the Blood Magic Damage can be healed, as with all other blood charms. Does that answer the question?