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Why are you wearing that?

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So your a noble adventurer who must be ready to defend the innocent at any time. Or your a sneaky rat who wants to be ready if you decide to cause trouble. For the most part you assume your in your armor, and carrying your weapons. Which in the dungeon makes sence. But is there anywhere you assume your not armed and or armored? Is there a longsword in your bathtub? Do you wear platemail to the royal ball?

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My characters wear armor when they're expecting a fight. Otherwise, not. Which means while traveling (unless they're *expecting* trouble), sleeping, visiting the local market or inn, and certainly while attending functions with upper class folk, they're not wearing armor. Armor, especially heavy armor, is hot and sweaty and tiring to wear. Worthwhile if battle is imminent, but otherwise not. It also announces that you're ready for (or possibly looking to start) trouble, which can very often send the wrong message to the people you meet.

 

They'll generally be armed (though, again, probably not in the presence of the King or other royalty unless I'm a trusted vassal). 

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Ideally, there is enough trust between the GM and Players that going unarmored to social affairs and even walking down the street is something that is not viewed with suspicion. Sadly, despite an almost limitless number of examples where the protagonists are attacked but manage to survive, rpg players tend to get all bent out of shape when a GM does that to them. Part of the problem is that the fantasy genre is generally viewed as lethal, so instead of the bad guys coming in with attacks meant to subdue, detain or delay, they come in fully armed with swords, axes, knives, and the occasional fully automatic Wand of Infernal Missiles. 

 

As a GM, I'd like to see the verisimilitude of the PCs wearing setting appropriate attire. As a practical GM, I too often see players that have been burned by over-zealous GMs in the past. The consensus being that the GM WILL take advantage of that situation to inflict harm upon the characters. Sad part is that they probably have a right to the paranoia because all too often, the module text indicates that there will be an attack at Lord Faulkroy's estate, rather than the drama coming from having to deal with a hated enemy without getting to smack him or a tense trade negotiation or distracting people of importance while the thief steals the sensitive <insert McGuffin> from the <restricted location>. Gygax, for all the good he did in helping to found an industry, also did a lot of harm by focusing on the dice rolls and stats. It is a legacy that pervades the industry expectations to this day.

 

So to answer the question, my characters (rare that I was a PC instead of a GM) would wear appropriate attire and equip themselves the same depending on the situation. I know that in some games, that placed an expiration date on them, but I just couldn't justify plate armor at the Royal Ball (unless that was a condition of the invitation). 

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Basically I use the setting and social norms drive the players towards appropriate behavior.  If they wander around with armor/weapons - the city guard will assume the PC is looking for a fight.  They will be confronted and generally be disarmed.  The PCs will also find out that shop/inn/taverns don't take kindly to heavily armed people coming into their establishments.  Usually there are parts of town where weapons and armor are strictly forbidden and people entering are searched.

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Um, most people rich enough to be PCs should be able to pretty much go armed to most places. Most laws that prevented the PCs from walking around armed would also prevent the locals from walking around armed. And the locals want to be able to walk around armed, since there probably aren't any actual police.

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Why even ask?  My default assumption in a game, whether running or playing, is that if a place is dangerous enough for the PCs to be attacked, they're able to wear their armor.  If it's not dangerous enough for them to be attacked, then they're not wearing their armor.  I always wondered when GMs would ask "are you wearing your armor?"  Because that's usually code for "I'm about to screw you over."

 

If I'm going down to the store to buy groceries, I don't expect to have to put on full plate armor or carry a spear.  Same thing with going to the royal ball.  But some town I've never been to before, where the whole reason I'm going there is because of reports of strange creatures coming out of the woods at night and eating peasants?  Yeah, I'm gonna be armored.  It's basically Schrodinger's Plate Mail.

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The why ask is why ask. Every time a pc goes out the door the gm is not going to ask what are you wearing. So if something happens the question becomes just how armed and armored are you? If your going to a safe market in a safe town and some offended rich guy orders his bodyguard to attack you. Are you unarmed, have just a knife you keep around for emergencies, or pull out the 'holy broadsword of smite all? And if the later and the gm says you brought the broadsword to buy figs, and the player says yes. Well he never said he didn't have it.

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The why ask is why ask. Every time a pc goes out the door the gm is not going to ask what are you wearing. So if something happens the question becomes just how armed and armored are you? If your going to a safe market in a safe town and some offended rich guy orders his bodyguard to attack you. Are you unarmed, have just a knife you keep around for emergencies, or pull out the 'holy broadsword of smite all? And if the later and the gm says you brought the broadsword to buy figs, and the player says yes. Well he never said he didn't have it.

 

What's the bodyguard carrying around?  If he's got a weapon of some kind, I have zero problem with the player carrying his own weapon.

 

A lot of GMs use towns as an excuse to try and take the players' stuff away and yet still try to kill them.  This creates a lot of distrust between players and GMs.  The entire point of the scenario seems to be "I want to attack the players with something and I don't want them to have any of their gear."  That's not cool unless the players have some way to fight back.

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GM: The rich man grins and the bodyguard advances, swinging this long sword towards you unarmored form. What do you do?

 

PC: Hmm, I think the 18-pounder carronade, loaded with cannister is the appropriate response to this kind of GM dickery. I whip it out of my bag of holding and fire. Screw the bodyguard, the rich guy, the marketplace, and this general area of the town too. If the rest of the townsfolk give me any trouble, remember that I have a whole ships worth of looted cannons in here.

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You fool!  You leave the carronade inside the bag of holding, facing out of the opening, so that you can wield it one-handed!

 

 

Anyway the Excalibur movie proved it's possible to have sex in full armor.  Therefore there is no reason to take the armor off, ever, except possibly deep water.

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For my little-used homebrew fantasy world, I assume that the PCs aren't the only adventurers in the world, and that therefore towns have worked out a way to accommodate the, uh, quirks of the adventuring types. Typically this means that there's a group of businesses outside the city walls, or otherwise outside the town proper, where it's considered perfectly normal to show up at the pub for a beer wearing full plate and carrying a greatsword that has black runes floating off of it.

 

See, adventurers mean trouble, but they also mean money, so it pays to create a space where you can simultaneously take their money and keep them away from the decent folk. You'd probably also find runners there who would happily do errands inside the city walls for a few silver pieces.

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For my little-used homebrew fantasy world, I assume that the PCs aren't the only adventurers in the world, and that therefore towns have worked out a way to accommodate the, uh, quirks of the adventuring types. Typically this means that there's a group of businesses outside the city walls, or otherwise outside the town proper, where it's considered perfectly normal to show up at the pub for a beer wearing full plate and carrying a greatsword that has black runes floating off of it.

 

See, adventurers mean trouble, but they also mean money, so it pays to create a space where you can simultaneously take their money and keep them away from the decent folk. You'd probably also find runners there who would happily do errands inside the city walls for a few silver pieces.

 

This explains why adventurers always meet in the inn. It's THE inn. The only one where they can freely enter wearing all their armor and carrying their weapons.

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PCs who insist on wearing their armor everywhere is kind of a personal pet peeve of mine. Not just because it's so blatantly ahistorical, but because it turns every encounter into a potential slug fest. Fortunately I have players who are mainly interested in telling a good story, even if that means occasionally being at a disadvantage, and trust me to do the same.

 

So sure, if the players want to walk around town fully armored, they can do that. But NPCs will not react as if that's normal; they will treat it as the aggressive in-your-face looking-for-trouble move it is, and that will color all your interactions. You can sometimes play the "I'm so-and-so's bodyguard" card, but again people will tend to react to you as a hired thug rather than a person of importance.

 

It also depends on the norms of the particular city/region. In the borderlands, wearing armor might be more normal, whereas in more civilized cities it might be less common, or banned outright.

 

Besides, it also means the characters that paid for their IIF magical defenses got something for their points/gold.

 

As for weapons, I generally assume that wearing a sword around town is usually ok. But if you're bristling with a dozen different weapons like some dungeon crawlers are wont to do, you're going to get some odd reactions.

 

Again, it all comes down to trust that the GM isn't going to take advantage of the situation to try and screw them over.

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So sure, if the players want to walk around town fully armored, they can do that. But NPCs will not react as if that's normal; they will treat it as the aggressive in-your-face looking-for-trouble move it is, and that will color all your interactions.

 

 

Yeah its like a police officer going eveywhere in full riot gear at all times.  That's not normal and its going to dismay people you interact with.

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If they're in civilisation I expect them to act civilised and leave battle weapons and armour at home. A sidearm is acceptable normally.

 

if they're on the border of settled lands, in bandit country, or out in the back of beyond with no lawmen to look after them then I expect they dress appropriately.

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Restrictions you can place on people wearing armour and carrying heavy weapons are social, legal and practical.

 

For breaching social norms, I like to demonstrate to players that what they're doing is unusual - they're the only ones on the street so equipped. Parents hustle their children away. Shopkeepers pull their shutters closed.

 

If you want game penalties breaching social norms, impose a penalty for interactions with NPCs when improperly equipped. If it's a matter of legality, PCs will simply attract undue attention from authorities.

 

In practical terms, it may be difficult to recover from long-term endurance while heavily armed and armoured. If the weight is sufficient, it may not be possible to recover lost short-term END (see the optional rule for END loss and encumrbance on 6E2 p46).

 

What's typical 'civilian' equipment? Pretty much everyone will have a knife (eg, Katherine Hepburn's line in The Lion in Winter: "Of course he has a knife. We all have knives. It's the 12th century and we're barbarians."). Very light armour - soft leather, cloth - may be acceptable, particularly if it's designed to look like normal clothing. Even thicker hide armour, though that may mark someone as uncouth. A dagger in the belt may be acceptable, but fighting daggers are markedly different from knives. A walking stick or staff is acceptable, but a knowledgabkle person will spot the difference between a walking staff and a strong, aged ash-wood quarterstaff.

 

Concealed weapons, even concealed armour, will be acceptable, though are likely to provoke an adverse reaction or undue attention if noticed. There was a market in disguised armour, such as thin mail sewn into a tunic. Remember that (in the TV series), Catelyn Stark's first inkling that something is wrong at the Red Wedding is when she notices Lord Bolton's mail under his sleeve.

Nobles are allowed, even expected to carry their swords (not that it wasn't common for an unarmoured noble to wear the sword strapped around the waist - they generally carried the sheathed blade in their hand, with the belt wrapped around the scabbard).

 

It may be that strangers are expected to disarm (everything but their eating knife) when meeting the local lord or lady. The castle is sure to have more heavily armoured guards.

It's acceptable to be more heavily equipped if one has a reason - such as employment as a guard, or leaving or entering town, before one has a chance to disarm at wherever one is staying.

These restrictions apply as much to NPCs as to PCs. It should not be common to see heavy arms and armour around town - which means if you do see it, there's a reason.

Finally, assuming the characters are standard heroic, and the GM accepts most people aren't that good, an NPC rogue attacking a PC with a shortsword, wearing light armour, shouldn't present too much challenge to a PC fighter with a knife.

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For my little-used homebrew fantasy world, I assume that the PCs aren't the only adventurers in the world, and that therefore towns have worked out a way to accommodate the, uh, quirks of the adventuring types. Typically this means that there's a group of businesses outside the city walls, or otherwise outside the town proper, where it's considered perfectly normal to show up at the pub for a beer wearing full plate and carrying a greatsword that has black runes floating off of it.

 

See, adventurers mean trouble, but they also mean money, so it pays to create a space where you can simultaneously take their money and keep them away from the decent folk. You'd probably also find runners there who would happily do errands inside the city walls for a few silver pieces.

 

This has disturbing parallels with cities that adjoin U.S. military bases.  These tend to sprout a lot of tourist traps, cheap barbershops, and... certain types of clubs and massage establishments.

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This has disturbing parallels with cities that adjoin U.S. military bases. These tend to sprout a lot of tourist traps, cheap barbershops, and... certain types of clubs and massage establishments.

Don’t forget pawn shops, used car dealerships, and cheap Chinese buffets.

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How many people are employed in the Adventuring Industry exactly?

 

I can't really see that many people are involved to have an industry springing up to service it; its not exactly like mining or soldiering is it?

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If a "Dungeon" is discovered you won't have hundreds of suicidal maniacs turning up to have a crack at it would you? Or do you run a game where a Dodge City springs up around a hole with monsters in it?

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