Wearable Gear

A fair amount of the gear that an Adventurer will equip themselves with before setting out are items that are worn on the body. This includes armor to protect against attacks, but also includes various items of clothing worn under or over that armor. It includes weapons readily accessible when needed, and perhaps a shield carried or strapped to an arm. It also includes items such as rings, bracelets, and necklaces, magical or otherwise. Cloaks may be worn as a fashion statement, or to protect against the elements; they may also provide magical benefits.

The thing that sets wearable gear apart from the rest of an Adventurer's kit, though, is that there is a limit to how much can be worn at one time. Over the course of an adventuring career, a character may amass a collection of wearable gear, and especially In the case of magical items, a player may have to decide which items to wear, which to carry in their backpack, and which to leave behind for a given adventure.   rmor and Shields are pieces of gear that a character can equip in order to reduce damage incurred during combat. Armor and shields specifically make it harder for a character to incur Injuries while battling an opponent by absorbing some of the incoming damage - at least for as long as they remain intact.


Anyone familiar with world military history, other fantasy RPGs, or both, will know that there are many different types of armor, ranging from stitched animal skins to quilted gambesons to the full plate of a jousting knight.

In Laurels & Loot, however, all armor styles fall into one of three categories: Light, Medium, and Heavy. It is the category that determines the performance of the armor; players are free to style their armor as they see fit.

Light Armor refers to protection offered by hides, cured leather, or heavy - possibly layered or quilted - cloth. It is armor designed to be flexible and lightweight while offering limited protection from combat injuries. Light armor can be worn by any character without the need for any special training. It does not require any customization to fit an individual; character size (e.g. Small, Medium) is the only consideration when determining if armor will fit.
Medium Armor introduces the protection of metal, but attempts to retain as much of the flexibility of light armor as possible. It involves affixing strips, bands, studs, or "scales" of metal to a leather base in order to make it more resistant to slashing or piercing weapon attacks. Simple chain mail worn over a padded or quilted underlayer is also considered Medium Armor. Medium Armor offers greater protection, but it is heavier (thus impacting Carry Capacity) and it imposes a penalty on attempts to be silent and stealthy. Like Light Armor, Medium Armor can be worn by any character with no special training required, and fit depends only on character size.
Heavy Armor involves large plates of metal - usually iron or steel, but possibly something more exotic - that have been custom shaped and fit for a particular individual. Leather and chainmail protect the necessary flex points for joints along arms and legs. Heavy armor offers maximum protection, but there are several costs associated with it. Its bulkiness and weight can impact Carry Capacity significantly; it also limits dexterity. the ability to move with stealth, and even limits perception to a degree. Though any character may use Heavy Armor, the penalties associated with it can be significantly reduced if the character has the Heavy Armor Acquired Specialty.


As with Armor, shields have taken many designs in our real world's history and throughout the history of fantasy RPGs. For Laurels & Loot, two parameters determine a shield's effectiveness: Size and Material of Construction. Shields can be Small or Large, and can be "soft" or "hard":

Small Shields can be wielded with one hand, leaving the other hand free to wield a weapon or make the Gestures required for spellcasting. They are designed to provide "active defense", being maneuvered to ward off incoming attacks targeting their owners directly.

Large Shields can be wielded with a single hand, but they are bulky. While this bulk reduces a character's ability to carry more gear, if offers the opportunity to provide some protection against Area of Effect attacks that emanate from a point source.

Soft Shields are shields made of stretched hide or leather or other organic material such as layered cloth stretched over a wooden frame. Alternatively they may be made entirely of wood. They tend to be inexpensive, but not very durable.

Hard Shields involve the inclusion of significant amounts of hard metal such as iron or steel. They may be exclusively made of such materials (except perhaps for handles and straps), or the metal may offer significant reinforcement to softer (organic) materials. (A simple metal band around the edges of a wooden shield would NOT be sufficient, but iron crossbanding across the face of the shield would be enough to count as a Hard shield.

Using these definitions, there are potentially four types of shields available. Small Soft, Small Hard, and Large Hard shields are relatively common. Large Soft shields are rarer, as this combination results in shields that aren't very durable.

It is possible to have shields made of exotic materials such as tortoise shell or dragon scale, these are treated as special items. Gamemasters should decide on properties of these using the four basic types of shields as guidelines.

Armor and Shield Stats

There are several statistics associated with each type of armor or shield:

  • Worn Encumbrance indicates how many slots of Carry Capacity the armor occupies when it is being worn or wielded by a character.

  • Carried Encumbrance indicates how many slots of Carry Capacity the armor occupies if it is being carried around rather than being worn. (For shields, this would refer to a shield strapped on a character's back - or backpack - rather than being held in hand.

  • Defense Points (or DP) indicate how much Injury damage the armor deflects away from each combat strike

  • Durability is a measure of how much damage the armor can absorb rather than deflect before losing its ability to protect the wearer.

  • Stealth Penalty is subtracted from any DEX skill check associated with an attempt to move silently and unobserved.

  • Base Cost is a reference value for a "typical" set of armor or shield. Actual costs will likely be higher and can take many things into account, including availabiility of materials, attitude of the seller, and desired embellishments or other customization requested by the buyer.

  • Base Repair Cost is used to determine the cost to repair a single point of damage to armor or a shield. It is given as a percentage that should be applied to the actual (rather than base) cost of the item. Thus, a highly customized set of armor will cost more to repair than a "plain" set.

  • Table ?? provides the statistics for all Armor and Shield types:

    Injury Mitigation and Durability

    Whenever it is determined that an incoming attack is capable of causing Injury Point damage, the following method is used to determine the effects of that damage:

  • If the target is wielding a Shield, reduce the indicated damage by the total of the shield's Defense Points plus any magical bonuses. Then apply remaining damage against the Shield's Durability until either Durability drops to zero or the Injury Damageg is expended.

  • If unexpended damage remains, and thte target is wearing Armor, now subtract the total of the Armor's Defense Points plus any magical bonuses from the remaining Damage. Then apply damage against the Durability of the Armor.

  • If there is still residual Injury Damage after shield (if any) and armor (if any) have been reduced to zero durability, that residual damage represeents Injuries incurred by the target.

  • An Example of Armor in Combat
    Sir Cedric has set out to deal with a Hill Giant terrorizing the village. He has 14 Injury Points and is wearing his fully intact plate (Heavy) armor. Sir Cedric finds the giant and combat ensues. After a few rounds of trading blows, the giant's strength is beginning to wear Sir Cedric down - he has lost all of his Stamina Points, and now will begin sustaining real Injuries from the giant's heavy blows.

    The first attack does 6 points of damage. Cedric's armor deflects 3, and absorbs the remaining 3. So far, so good! The next blow, however, is mightier, and does 8 points of damage. As before, 3 are deflected. The remaining 5 are absorbed by the armor.

    The next attack is mightier still; it does 12 points of damage. Cedric's armor again deflects 3, but only has enough remaining durability to deflect 7 of what's left. This means that 2 points of damage make it through the armor's protection and Cedric incurs 2 Injury Points. Furthermore, his armor will no longer be able to protect him should he remain in the fight. Fortunately, Cedric ends the fight with a mighty Smiting blow of his greatsword before he can receive further injury. He's not happy about the upcoming repair bill to get his armor back in shape, though!

    Repairing Armor and Shields

    Armor or shields that have absorbed damage can be repaired even if their Durability has been reduced to zero, but certain prerequisites exist in order to be able to effect repairs. A character can repair their own armor in the field provided they have the appropriate Acquired Specialties and possess the correct tools:

  • Repairing Light Armor or a Soft Shield (Large or Small) requires the appropriate Acquired Specialty: Clothcraft, Leathercraft, or Woodcraft, depending on the description and nature of the item being repaired. Furthermore the player must have the proper tools associated with that craft: Sewing Kit for cloth, Leatherworker's Tools, or Woodworker's Tools.

  • Repairing Medium Armor potentially requires both Leathercraft and Metalcraft specialties to complete repairs, along with both Leatherworkers' and Metalworkers' Tools. It is not necessary, though for the same individual to have mastered both specialties - two characters can work together to effect repairs. It is presumed that damage is 50% leather-related, and 50% metal-related. Chainmail is the exception; it requires only Metalcraft and Metalworker's Tools, as all the damage is presumed to be metal-related.

  • Repairing Heavy Armor or any Hard Shield requires the Metalcraft Specialty and Metalworker's Tools, and under most circumstances, must be conducted while in a Safe Environment where a proper forge is either available or can be constructed.

  • Repairing damaged equipment takes more than just skill and tools - it requires dedicated time as well. For adventuring characters, this will often handled as a downtime activity between sessions, but there will be times when characters will wish to repair their armor or shields while still far from home. In these cases, the following rules for the rate at which armor can be repaired should be used:

  • In a crude wilderness/dungeon camp, 1 point of Durability can be restored per hour spent in the effort. Only Light Armor, Medium Armor, and Soft Shields can be repaired in such an environment. (See the MetalMend Nature Spell for an exception to this.)

  • If in a Safe Environment, 2 points of Durability can be restored per hour of effort. This environment could be an inn, or village, or even a wilderness camp if some character has the ability to make it "safe". If Heavy Armor or Hard Shields are to be repaired, access to a forge (as well as the appropriate tools) is necessary, and it would take four hours to construct one if none is available.

  • If the character performing repairs has access to a complete workshop of the appropriate type, 4 points per day can be restored.

  • Characters repairing their own gear incur material costs equal to one half the item's stated per-point repair cost, unless using the magical spells (Fibermend or Metalmend) to effect the repairs.

    Alternatively, characters can choose to have professionals repair their gear. Most villages will have should have at least one metalworker, one leatherworker, and one clothworker capable of doing basic repair work - unless technological or cultural norms prevent it. These professionals can repair up to 5 points per day. The full stated per-point repair cost is charged when having professionals do the work.

    Magically Enhanced Armor and Shields

    Armor and Shields can be magically enhanced to provide additional protection by the application of certain Protection Runes. Three such runes provide generic additional protection, adding to the Defense Points of the item to deflect incoming damage:

  • The Lesser Protection Rune deflects one additional Injury point from every incoming attack on the wearer or wielder of the armor or shield in question.

  • The Minor Protection Rune deflects two additional Injury Points.

  • The Major Protection Rune deflects three additional Injury Points.

  • Note the order in which these bonuses are applied in the section above. (Unlike other systems, the magical "plusses" of armor and shield are not combined before figuring out the effects of damage!)

    Many other runes also exist to provide other protections or effects besides the generic effects of these three. A Fire Resistance Rune, for example, deflects even more damage if the incoming attack is Fire-based. Other magical effects besides damage protection are also possible.

    Applying a magical Rune to armor or a shield requires the Acquired Specialty appropriate to the material from which the gear is made (see Repair rules), but it also requires that the actual Rune be known by the craftsperson. Costs associated with this will depend on both the craftsperson and the rune itself.


    The Laurels and Loot Rule System is published by Bob O'Brien
    It is available to all in accordance with the Creative Commons (Attribution) license
    (Creative Commons 4.0 International License)

    Laurels and Loot Rules are derived in part from the following sources:
    Knave 2.0 TTRPG System Rules published by Ben Milton
    in compliance with
    (Creative Commons 4.0 International License)

    The banners on these pages was composed with art attributed to:
    b0red from Pixabay (treasure chest image)
    Gordon Johnson from Pixabay (laurels image)

    The side panels are composed with art attributed to:
    Evelyn Chai from Pixabay (dungeon passage)


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