Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

D&D 5E – Armor Grades


There has been a lot of talk about how Armor Class (AC) is calculated in D&D and how armor could be be handled differently. This post is not about that. Without changing any of the basic D&D rules, the house rule I am proposing here simply adds to (or subtracts from) your armor class depending on the quality of the armor.

This system is simple and easy to remember. This works with all armor. Use the armor in the PHB but change the price and Armor Class (AC) based on the grade of the armor as indicated below. Shields are not available in Excellent or Poor condition.

EXCELLENT
These are created by the best armor smiths in the land. Armor of this grade isn’t always available.
Cost: 4 times the PHB price
Armor Class: +2 bonus to the AC

FINE
This is a the best armor most people will ever see. It is highly prized and often passed down from father to son.
Cost: 2 times the PHB price
Armor Class: +1 bonus to the AC

GOOD
This is the grade of the armor in the PHB.
Cost: PHB price
Armor Class: Use the AC in the PHB

FAIR
A peasant or low CR monster might have such armor. No fighter would use such low grade armor if he could passably get something better.
Cost: 1/2 the PHB price
Armor Class: −1 penalty to the AC

POOR
These may be found discarded or abandoned on a battlefield. They are often rusted, chipped, broken or have pieces missing. They would typically only be used when there is no other option.
Cost: 1/4 the PHB price (or found)
Armor Class: −2 (or greater) penalty to the AC.

DAMAGING ARMOR [Optional Rule]
When you take Slashing, Piercing, Bludgeoning, Acid, Lightning, or Force damage from a critical hit your armor takes a permanent and cumulative −1 penalty to its AC. The damage is applied to your shield unless your opponent had advantage on the attack. In that case, or if you aren’t using a shield, the damage is applied to your other armor. If this penalty drops the armor’s AC to 0, it is destroyed.

The DM might apply the penalty in other situations where the armor might be damaged.

 

 

3 responses to “D&D 5E – Armor Grades

  1. Akavakaku April 23, 2022 at 1:58 am

    It seems like if you use this rule, there’s no need for any plate armor that isn’t Excellent.
    Why buy/sell Good plate (1500 gp) when you could buy/sell Excellent chainmail (300 gp)?
    Why buy/sell Fine plate (3000 gp) when you could buy/sell Excellent splint (800 gp)?
    The alternate options are not only cheaper, but lighter, and Excellent chainmail requires less Strength than plate.

    Not necessarily a problem, but something to be aware of for anyone who’s considering using this.

    Like

    • Ronny April 23, 2022 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks Akavakaku.
      Excellent point. I agree with you. A better way to do the prices might be like this.

      Excellent: PHB price x100
      Fine: PHB price x10
      Good: PHB price
      Fair: 1/2 the PHB price

      What do you think?

      Like

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