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Expanded Armor Types
I've been analyzing Labyrinth Lord from the opposite direction these days, meaning I'm looking at what I can house rule from BX into LL to make it more to my tastes rather than the other way around. There are enough things I like about each system that house ruling from one direction vs. the other doesn't seem to matter much to me, and LL does have the draw of being more easily accessible to potential players (in that they can pretty easily obtain a book if they wanted).

So there are two big areas in LL that diverge from BX that bother me: spells and equipment. When I say equipment, really I mean armor. Let's face it, that's the first thing anyone looks at when deciding how to spend their starting money. What armor can I afford. BX is pretty easy in this regard. You have 3d6 gp to start, and you have three choices: leather, chain mail, and plate mail. As plate only costs 60 gp in BX, you have to roll pretty badly to not be able to afford it, though if you're also considering a lot of other gear you might want to make the trade off of less armor for more other weapons and gear.

LL, I suspect adhered more closely to the SRD in regards to armor. There are a lot of varieties. While LL does increase starting money to 3d8 gp, there's still no way a starting player could afford the 600gp plate mail. This sort of makes armor into a level progression item, just like hp or attack bonus. As you go up in level, you start to get more money, and now you can afford the fancy armor. If you want more options as you level, I suppose this is desirable. Personally, my tastes tend in the other direction, but I can see the argument for this.

However, after writing my hireling generator, I noticed something else pretty elegant about the three armor system. In BX the base unarmored AC is 9. The three armor types go down by two from there, with leather at AC 7, chain at AC 5, and plate at AC 3. If you add in a shield, you get the full range of ACs from 9 down to 2. Of course, magic items and Dexterity can further tune it from there, but there's somethign really nice about there being one specific armor combination for each AC value.

With the expanded armor, I don't see much gain. Sure, I guess you could probably find a way to get one of the even ACs and still have both hands free. But you also have weirdo things like leather and padded armor offering the same AC, but padded both costs and weighs less. Why would anoyone ever buy leather?

Looking over the rest of the equipment list, while LL is more expansive, the prices are comparable. I think a simple house rule to get BX style armor would simply be:

Starting money is 3d6 gp. Only three types of armor exist: plate mail costs 60gp, chain mail 40gp, and leather 20gp. Shields are still available at 10 gp. All other equipment costs are per the LL book.

I think I'll likely use that. I prefer the simplicity, and the fact that armor type is just a personal preference and not a system of advancement. Why make it more complicated?
December 9th, 2009 - 09:38 am | Comments (2) | PERMALINK

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