Armor and the Really Wild West
Posted by Owen K.C. Stephens
The original blog entry for the Really Wild West has super-simplified armor rules, which were enough to cover the campaign when it was just a couple of blog posts for running weird west in Starfinder. Now that the setting hack has grown to more than 20,000 words of content, it’s appropriate to expand on those–slightly–to cover iconic exceptions to the general trend of Old West heroes not wearing much in the way of armor.
These rules can also easily apply to GammaFinder and (with a change of tone and material from leather to kevlar) FreedomFinder.
Armor and AC
No one much wears armor in the Really Wild West. Instead every PC gains a bonus to EAC equal to your level, and a bonus to KAC equal to your level +2. If you are proficient with heavy armor, you get an additional +1 bonus to EAC and KAC, and if you are proficient with powered armor, you get an *additional* +1 bonus to EAC and KAC.
You can wear armor, it’s just uncommon. Ned Kelly famously covered himself in meal sheathing, a few gunslingers are known to have put a metal plate or two under their longcoats, and some cultures have adapted older armor techniques to the world of 1891 with varying degrees of success. From a game mechanics point of view, all armor of any use falls into one of four categories – light, high light, heavy, and spot heavy.
Item Item Level Cost EAC KAC Max Dex Armor Check Movement Bulk
Light Armor 1 100 credits +0 +1 +5 -1 -0 ft. L
High Light Armor 2 1,000 credits +1 +1 +6 -0 -0 ft. L
Heavy Armor 1 150 credits +2 +2 +4 -3 -5 ft. 4
Heavy Spot Armor 1 100 credits +0 +1 +5 -1 -0 ft. 2
Light armor is normally cloth or leather-based, with heavy leather dusters combined with chaps and gloves, double-layer canvas coveralls, and blacksmith aprons and gloves as good examples. Alternatively light armor can be made of bone, wood, laminated strips of cloth or hide or similar materials. Light armor is generally obvious, requiring bulky clothing to be concealed at all and it cannot be concealed from a dedicated search. It’s possible to instead have something like a very small area of high light armor (such as a vest with a fine chainmail front), which can be easily concealed as high light armor is, but the cost doubles.
High Light Armor
High armor is much rarer than light or heavy armor, and is most common among rich duelists, veteran mercenaries, and high-society explorers. It is more likely to be made of coats of spider-silk, inner linings of fine chain, enchanted natural materials, or cunningly designed plates of gravity-defying cavorite. Unlike light armor, high light armor can be concealed (impossible to notice casually, and requiring a DC 10 = 1.5x item level to notice with a careful examination).
This is the Ned Kelly option (though it may be more professionally designed), heavy metal plates protecting a good chunk of the body. It cannot be concealed.
Heavy Spot Armor
Heavy spot armor is generally a thick plate placed over vitals (such as a boilerplate chestpiece), or areas that are easily used to block and defense (such as vambraces and greaves). Though it’s not as protective as full heavy armor, it allows someone with heavy armor proficiency add just a bit of extra protection. It can be concealed from casual observation (DC 10 = 1.5x item level to notice) but not careful examination.
Powered armor essentially does not exist in the Really Wild West, at least not as a commercial option. Any powered armor is going to be the exclusive domain of characters who access it through class features or similar avenues. Standard Starfinder powered armor can be accessed in this way, but regardless of what the powered armor normally grants, it’s AC bonuses and Max Dexterity bonus to AC are calculated as light armor, high light armor, heavy armor, or spot heavy armor.
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About Owen K.C. StephensOwen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at https://www.patreon.com/OwenKCStephens
Posted on May 7, 2020, in Anachronistic Adventurers, Microsetting, Starfinder Development and tagged Equipment, Game Design, gaming, Geekery, PC Options, Really Wild West, Starfinder. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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