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House Rules for Body Armor


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Below are the house rules that I am using for body armor in my Dark Champions campaign. This campaign strives for more realism than cinematic effects. I am posting this as an FYI for whoever might be interested. I have an extensive collection of body armor that I have worked up based on what is available out there in the real world. Most of what I have conjectured is based upon TV (Discovery Channel, Military Channel, TLC, etc.) and web resources that I have found.



Modern body armor is very effective at stopping what it was designed to stop. What it is designed to stop is bullets and shrapnel. As an added benefit it is pretty effective against most projectiles. However, there are certain things that body armor is not very effective against. Following is a list of the house rules that address this subject. These rulings are based on the best data (often controversial) that I have been able to find. If more reliable data become available these rules will be subject to change.


• Falling damage: Body armor provides no protection from falling damage.


• Blunt trauma: The thickness of fabric body armor provides some benefit against blunt trauma, but not much. Any non-rigid body armor only provides a quarter of its normal defense (round normally) against things such as clubs, fists, rocks, etc. Rigid armor (i.e. trauma plates) allows the armor to provide full protection against these attack forms in the areas covered by the plates.


• Cutting attacks: Non-rigid body armor is made from fabrics that are difficult to cut, but it is easer to cut through them than to shoot through them. Non-rigid armor provides only half its normal defense against cutting attacks.


• Knives are very peculiar when it comes to fabric body armor. A thrown knife will rarely penetrate but a thrust knife, with the momentum of the attacker’s body weight behind it, will often punch through. Therefore, any body armor provides normal defense against thrown knives (this includes shuriken and other thrown bladed weapons), but it provides only 1 point of defense against knife thrusts in melee combat. Again rigid plates will provide full defense.


• Arrows and crossbow bolts provide a quandary. I haven’t been able to find any data on how well they fare against fabric body armors. I have decided that I will view this situation as a sort of mid-ground between thrown knives and hand-thrust weapons. All non-rigid body armors provide half their normal defense against arrows and crossbow bolts.


These shortcomings of body armor provide no additional limitation. It is all considered a part of the Real Armor limitation.

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