Expanded Armor (3.5e Variant Rule)
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Armor in core D&D is a fairly simple affair. Each core armor shares the following five variables and the following five variables only: weight class, AC bonus, maximum Dexterity bonus, armor check penalty, and arcane spell failure chance. While these constructions are certainly helpful and perfectly fine, it does create an obvious meta where stats-conscious individuals will gravitate to only a small number of different choices: there will be only full plate for the big boys, only breastplate for the slightly smaller boys, and only chain shirts for the welterweights. Once you gain a few levels and money start rolling in, why have leather armor when you can have a mithral chain shirt? Add twilight armorSpC to that, and you have pretty much the only armor that arcane spellcasters can (and will) readily use. It has gotten to the point that you obviously simply buy protective stats instead of armor.
Honestly, there is nothing wrong with that. It's not just the melee fighter's desire to be properly protected in a fight; it's downright necessary for his survival. However, having a greater number of viable options to choose from for every potential type of character encourages a variety that goes more than skin-deep. Wearing a specific kind of armor should have more meaning than simply boosting your AC. Therefore we have Expanded Armor, an extensive wardrobe of protective gear that offers more than just the basic stats.
This article has been largely inspired by such franchises as Dark Souls.
Expanded armors grant the same basic statistics as ordinary armors, but come with several benefits that increases the wearer's effectiveness in certain areas. Some heavier armors will ablate certain types of damage or offer some other form of special protection, while others will ward against climate extremes or grant certain benefits in and out of combat. Many expanded armors work as masterwork skill tools for one or more skills. Most of the added benefits are comparatively minor, but will serve to make the armor more useful for specialized professions and classes.
Though some expanded armors may produce effects that are magical in nature, they are considered as mundane armor for the purpose of construction and crafting. Many of the non-mundane benefits are the results of either faith, circumstance, an alchemical effect, or even exposure to certain phenomena along an extended period of time. Expanded armors can be enhanced as ordinary armors.
All expanded armors are inherently masterwork quality. All masterwork costs as well as the decreased armor check penalty have already been subsumed in the basic statictics of the armor.
The base market price of an expanded armor is between 200 and 5,000 gp.
Make your own Expanded Armor
The Expended Armor Wardrobe
|Armor||Armor Type||Cost||Armor Bonus|| Maximum
| Armor Check
| Arcane Spell
|Abomination Skin||Medium||5300 gp||+4||+3||-3||20%||30 lb.|
|Armor of Thorns||Medium||3800 gp||+4||+3||-3||25%||40 lb.|
|Armor of the Seldarine||Light||2800 gp||+3||+7||0||5%||10 lb.|
|Battlecaster's Robes||Medium||6500 gp||+4||+2||-6||0%||35 lb.|
|Beasthunter's Hide||Medium||800 gp||+5||+1||-5||30%||40 lb.|
|Black Knight Armor||Heavy||7500 gp||+9||+0||-6||40%||60 lb.|
|Black Rogue Armor||Light||1300 gp||+2||+7||0||5%||12 lb.|
|Cleric Armor||Heavy||1000 gp||+7||+0||-6||40%||50 lb.|
|Court Sorcerer's Robes||Light||1400 gp||+1||+8||0||0%||4 lb.|
|Dao Seeker's Robe||Light||2500 gp||+1||+6||0||10%||5 lb.|
|Desert Nomad's Garb||Light||300 gp||+2||+5||-2||15%||10 lb.|
|Diver Plate||Heavy||3300 gp||+10||+0*||-10*||70%||200 lb.|
|Dragon Armor||Heavy||7000 gp||+8||+2||-4||25%||50 lb.|
|Dredmoor Armor||Medium||5000 gp||+5||+3||-2||20%||25 lb.|
|Easterner's Armor||Medium||1200 gp||+5||+2||-3||25%||30 lb.|
|Ego Plate||Light||5500 gp||+5||+3||-2||20%||30 lb.|
|Excavator's Outfit||Light||1400 gp||+3||+4||-3||15%||20 lb.|
|Fluted Plate||Heavy||1900 gp||+8||+1||-6||35%||50 lb.|
|Golem Armor||Heavy||8500 gp||+10||+0||-12||65%||120 lb.|
|Graverobber's Rags||Light||500 gp||+1||+6||-1||0%||6 lb.|
|Havel's Armor||Heavy||9000 gp||+11||+0||-14||80%||140 lb.|
|Hoplite Armor||Light||750 gp||+4||+4||-3||25%||30 lb.|
|Knight-Errant's Armor||Medium||1800 gp||+6||+2||-3||20%||40 lb.|
|Martial Arts Dougi||Light||300 gp||+1||+9||0||0%||4 lb.|
|Mirror Plate||Heavy||5200 gp||+5||+1||-5||35%||45 lb.|
|Northlander Armor||Medium||550 gp||+5||+2||-4||25%||30 lb.|
|Paladin's Plate||Heavy||2250 gp||+9||+0||-7||40%||55 lb.|
|Performer's Regalia||Light||1500 gp||+3||+7||-1||10%||4 lb.|
|Phalanx Breaker Plate Armor||Heavy||6300 gp||+7||+0||-7||50%||60 lb.|
|Pontiff's Robe||Light||4200 gp||+2||+4||-2||5%||10 lb.|
|Red Templar Armor||Heavy||2100 gp||+8||+1||-5||35%||50 lb.|
|Steam-Powered Armor||Heavy||8000 gp||+10||+0||-10*||70%||160 lb.|
|Swamp Witch's Garb||Light||1100 gp||+2||+5||-1||0%||8 lb.|
|Track Suit||Light||250 gp||0||—||0||0%||5 lb.|
|Wanderer's Outfit||Light||2300 gp||+3||+6||0||10%||15 lb.|
|Weardskäl||Heavy||6800 gp||+9||+0||-10||60%||100 lb.|
Expanded Armor in the World
Unlike regular types of armor, expanded armors are generally made for an express purpose. Some expanded armors belong to long-forgotten orders who interwove minor charms within the underchain to protect against demons. Others may be emblazoned with the holy symbol of a deity, allowing simple cloth or mundane steel to be endowed with a slight divine blessing. Though some armors may harness some simple magic within, the methods of forging and crafting are mundane and able to be replicated by blacksmiths and craftspeople of certain skill.
Crafting an expanded armor requires two distinct Craft skills; usually armorsmithing, combined with a secondary crafting skill that is specific to the armor in question, such as hideworking, leatherworking, metalworking, natural materials and fibres, or even sculpting or alchemy. It is possible and even likely for two different craftsmen to collaborate on the creation of a top-rate armor.
Expanded armor cannot be made of a specific material; the materials involved in its creation are already determined and can be considered part of the armor's statistics. Adding the properties of another material to an expanded armor, such as making an adamantine black knight armor, requires the material composite quality to be added.