Armor and Shields


Armor and Shields

  • Note:
    It can be assumed that all light and medium armors are available via trade anywhere in the Aegean due to the cheap materials. Heavy armor is more valuable and only available to the race that makes them. For example, Greeks can acquire Egyptian style leather armor anywhere, but Egyptians cannot find Heavy Greek Bronze Plate unless they go to Greece.

Also, in terms of armor DR = Damage Resistance and DA = Damage Absorption (DR is what the armor ignores, DA is what the armor takes itself, and everything left is taken as damage by the wearer.)


Armor


Combat Fatigue and Hot Weather:

Historically, Egyptian warriors rarely wore armor heavier than leather bands, simply because of the climate. They became used to evasive tactics and shield use, rather than the heavy bronze corsets favored by the Greeks. You can wear armor in mild weather conditions with no ill effects. Wearing armor or wielding a shield in hot weather while exerting yourself will rapidly exhaust you, making you sluggish, weak and unable to react quickly. Worn armor and readied shields apply their armor check penalty to the Fortitude saving throw that must be made every 10 minutes against the effects of hot weather when engaging in strenuous activity, such as fighting, climbing, running and hard manual work. A character that fails this saving throw takes 1 point of non-lethal damage and each additional ten minutes of strenuous activity deals twice the damage taken during the previous ten minutes, with no save allowed. A character that takes any non-lethal damage from strenuous activity in hot conditions becomes fatigued. A fatigued character cannot run or charge and takes a penalty of –2 to Strength, Dexterity and Shield Defense. Eliminating the non-lethal damage also eliminates the fatigue.


Greek Armor and Shields

Bronze armor is expensive but without it one cannot call oneself a Greek warrior of any stripe at all. One cannot serve as a Hoplite and guard one’s polis unless one can afford the proper equipment.

  • The Hoplite
    Almost all Greek warriors of the historical era are Hoplites. A properly equipped Hoplite, fit to form a phalanx alongside his comrades in arms, needs a bronze corset, a Corinthian helmet, a Hoplite shield and a spear. Many Hoplites also carry a short sword as a backup weapon, in case an enemy comes too close for the spear’s reach. This standardization of equipment is the key to the phalanx’s effectiveness. If one member of the phalanx did not have a suitable shield or a long enough spear, the efficiency of the whole group would be compromised.

A phalanx in the era of Alexander the Great uses a very long spear called a sarissa for the ranks of the phalanx beyond the first. This enables even the warriors in the midst of the phalanx to use their spears against the enemy.




Bronze Plate Corselet (Heavy)
This armor is a stiff, bell-shaped cuirass, made from a breastplate and a back plate. It offers good protection but is cramped and confining to wear. It is the early version of the bronze plate armor that was excavated at Dendra and was in use between the sixth and the fifth centuries BC until the lighter scale girdle supplanted it. Any Hoplite active during this time period is expected to outfit himself with this armor.

  • Construction: Worked bronze plates.
  • Cost: 300 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 60.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 6/2; Slashing 6/3; Bludgeoning 8/1.
  • Coverage Bonus: +8.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -8.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +0.
  • Special: Running speed is reduced in a bronze plate corselet. (See Adventuring.) This is the reason why it was phased out in favour of the bronze scale girdle. Hoplites opted to forego protection in favor of additional maneuverability.

Bronze Scale Girdle (Medium)
The most popular form of Greek armor during the Macedonian era was a composite of bronze shoulder pieces, a girdle of bronze scales sewn on to cloth and a form of kilt made from leather straps. It was the armor of choice for Hoplites, as it combines good protection (should a blow get past the shield) with excellent maneuverability. Alexander the Great himself is shown wearing a suit of armor of this kind.

  • Construction: Bronze scales and plates sewn on to cloth.
  • Cost: 250 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 40.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 5/1; Slashing 5/2; Bludgeoning 6/0.
  • Coverage Bonus: +6.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -5.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +1.

Shaped Bronze Plate (Heavy)
The development of the bronze scale girdle did not entirely do away with the metal plate variety of armor. As metalworking techniques became more sophisticated, the blacksmiths of the ancient world developed a technique of shaping bronze plate to the specific body contours of the person whom was intended to wear it. This is the beginning of the fashioned breastplate that resembles a human body, which reaches its apex with the Roman breastplates of later years. Shaped bronze plate covers the torso and the upper part of the thighs, with a front and a back plate lashed together, as with the earlier bell-shaped cuirass. Shaped bronze plate is made for one wearer only. The Coverage bonus, armor check penalty and maximum Dexterity bonus given below assume that the person using the armor is the person for whom it was designed. If anyone else uses the armor, the Coverage bonus is only +7, the armor check penalty is –8 and the maximum Dexterity bonus is 0.

  • Construction: Worked bronze plate made to the measurements of one person.
  • Cost: 800 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 60.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 6/2; Slashing 6/3; Bludgeoning 8/1.
  • Coverage Bonus: +8.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -5.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +2.

Corinthian Helmet (Heavy)
The Corinthian helmet is an integral part of the armor of a Hoplite. It is instantly recognizable as the helmet most commonly depicted in Greek art, with a high crest of horsehair and a T-shaped opening in the front, with a long nose guard. Corinthian helmets are made from a single sheet of beaten bronze. They offer excellent protection to the head and face. The trade-off is the limitation they place upon vision and hearing.

  • Construction: Beaten bronze.
  • Cost: 100 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 40.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 4/2; Slashing 4/3; Bludgeoning 6/0.
  • Penalty To Perception Checks: -4
  • Special: The great crest that tops a Corinthian helmet was said to be a terrifying sight by commentators of the ancient world. It seems to have been added for intimidation purposes as much as for decoration. This helmet grants+1 circumstance bonus to any Presence check made to intimidate a foe during combat.

Thracian Helmet (Heavy)
The Thracian helmet comes into use during the 5th century BC. Its appearance is based on a woolen or leather cap common in the northern parts of Greece. It consists of a high dome with a short visor to protect the forehead and separate cheek pieces, very similar to the later Roman helmet. The wider gap for the eyes and mouth makes it easier for the wearer to hear and see. The Macedonian army of Alexander made extensive use of this design of helmet.

  • Construction: Worked bronze.
  • Cost: 120 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 30.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 4/2; Slashing 4/3; Bludgeoning 6/0.
  • Penalty To Perception Checks: -2

Boar’s Tooth Helmet (Heavy)
This is a very early variety of helmet, used during the Mycenaean period (16th to the 14th centuries BC) and also spoken of by Homer in The Iliad. It is a typical helmet for heroes of the mythic era to wear. It consists of a leather or felt cap on to which rows of boar tusks are sewn, forming a strong protective layer. As 30 to 40 pairs of tusks are needed to make a single helmet, it is a heavy item to wear.

  • Construction: Tusks sewn on to leather.
  • Cost: 120 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 20.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 3/2; Slashing 3/3; Bludgeoning 4/0.
  • Penalty To Listen Checks: -2.
  • Penalty To Spot Checks: 0.

Hoplite Shield (hoplon) (Heavy)
The hoplon or round shield gives its name to the warrior who bears it in Ancient Greece, the Hoplite. It is a splendid example of the armorer’s craft that altered the nature of battle forever afterwards. A hoplon is made from wood faced with bronze, is convex in form (allowing blows to be more easily deflected) and measures approximately one yard in diameter. Unlike earlier forms of shield, it is borne upon the whole arm rather than held in the hand. It is customary to personalize your hoplon by paying the craftsman to fit metal ornaments to the front. This then serves to identify your heroics on the battlefield, as your helmet hides your face.

  • Construction: Wood frame with bronze facing.
  • Cost: 80 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 30.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 7/3; Slashing 5/6; Bludgeoning 5/10.
  • Coverage Bonus: +5.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -3.

Peltast Shield (pelta) (Medium)
The pelta is the shield of the medium Greek infantryman (the Peltast) just as the hoplon is the shield of the heavy infantryman or Hoplite. A pelta is crescent-shaped, held so that the tips point upwards. As it is only classed as a medium shield rather than a heavy one, the Peltast can run at top speed rather than a reduced speed. Peltasts do not wear body armor (again, for the sake of maneuvering speed) and their shield is their only protection. The Persian Empire borrowed this design from the Greeks when they learned of it.

  • Construction: Wood frame with bronze facing.
  • Cost: 60 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 25.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 7/3; Slashing 5/6; Bludgeoning 5/10.
  • Coverage Bonus: +3.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -1.

Figure-of-Eight Shield (Medium)
This is a very old variety of shield that belongs to the Mycenaean period. In design it is essentially a round shield that has had part of its surface cut away. As blows rarely land on these parts of the shield, the amount of cover the shield offers is not seriously reduced, whereas the weight of the shield is greatly lessened. The result is a trade-off of cover and structural strength for lightness and ease of use. The figure-of-eight shield may have fallen out of favor in Greece because of its lesser effectiveness against missile attacks.

  • Construction: Wood frame with leather covering.
  • Cost: 20 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 15.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 4/2; Slashing 4/6; Bludgeoning 4/10.
  • Coverage Bonus: +4.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -1.
  • Special: The figure-of-eight shield has only a +2 coverage bonus against missile attacks such as slings and arrows. It offers its ordinary coverage bonus against attacks from thrown weapons such as javelins.

Dipylon (Hourglass) Shield (Medium)
This is the shield most associated with heroes of ancient Greece such as Achilles and Ajax. It dates from the Geometric period of circa 8 BC. It is very probably a later version or redevelopment of the figure-of-eight shield (see above) but shaped deliberately into an hourglass form rather than resembling a round shield that has been customized. It was the immediate precursor of the hoplon, which replaced it around 700 BC. The dipylon shield is stronger than the figure-of-eight variant, owing to its bronze fittings but has the same lesser protection against missile attacks. It is much easier to ward off a swung blow with a diplylon shield than it is to ward off an incoming arrow.

  • Construction: Wood frame with bronze facing.
  • Cost: 50 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 30.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 6/2; Slashing 5/6; Bludgeoning 5/10.
  • Coverage Bonus: +4.
  • Armour Check Penalty: -2.
  • Special: The dipylon shield has only a +2 coverage bonus against missile attacks such as slings and arrows. It offers its ordinary coverage bonus against attacks from thrown weapons such as javelins.

Bronze Shield (Heavy)
Shields made entirely from bronze did exist but were extremely rare. In an Ancients game, solid bronze shields are likely to be from sets of ceremonial armor or designed to be ornamental rather than practical. Solid
bronze is not as efficient at stopping blows as one might expect and wood with a leather covering can in fact do the job more efficiently, as contemporary scientific tests have demonstrated.

  • Construction: Worked bronze plate.
  • Cost: 500 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 50.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 8/3; Slashing 8/6; Bludgeoning 8/10.
  • Coverage Bonus: +5.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -5.
  • Special: Though they can be carried like any other item, solid bronze shields are painfully heavy to wield. A character can only wield a bronze shield for ten minutes per point of Strength ability modifier. After this point, he must make a Fortitude saving throw against DC 15 every passing minute or suffer one point of non-lethal damage due to fatigue. A character that suffers any non-lethal damage in this way becomes fatigued. A fatigued character cannot run or charge and takes a penalty of –2 to Strength, Dexterity and Shield Defense. Eliminating the non-lethal damage also eliminates the fatigue.

Egyptian Armor and Shields


Egyptians fighting on foot very rarely wear armor, preferring to use shields alone. The blazing Egyptian sun makes armor impractical for a foot soldier, who is always on the move. Egyptians who fight in chariots do not move around nearly as much and are thus more likely to wear armor, but even in this case it is likely to be simple banded leather or scale at the very heaviest. Egyptians do not wear heavier than scale armor. The Pharaoh and select noble warriors wear a richer version of scale armor that offers better protection.


Man-sized Egyptian Shield (Heavy)
This cumbersome shield is a relic of the early days of Egypt, before the Egyptians had come into conflict with the Asiatic peoples. It is the height of the wielder’s whole body and resembles a primitive version of the modern day riot shield. It is very efficient at defending against arrows, which were the primary offensive weapon in that time. Against hand-to-hand weapons, it is far less efficient. Tall shields fell gradually into disuse during the second millennium. Smaller shields that were easier to handle against melee attacks proved a better choice for defending against swords and battleaxes.

  • Construction: Wood frame with leather covering.
  • Cost: 20 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 30.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 7/3; Slashing 5/6; Bludgeoning 5/10.
  • Coverage Bonus: +10.
  • Armour Check Penalty: -5.
  • Special: A man-sized Egyptian shield gives a –8 penalty to Shield Defense checks against melee attacks, as it is extremely hard to move around. It also imposes a –4 penalty on Spot checks, as the character’s field of vision is limited. A character using a man-sized shield can move at only half his usual speed and cannot run nor charge. You cannot use a man-sized shield to defend another person than yourself.

Standard Egyptian Shield (Medium)
The shield most commonly used by the Egyptians for hand-to-hand combat is rectangular with a rounded top, like an archway, as shown on many frescoes and papyri. This shield is the one used by Egyptian shieldbearers riding in chariots, with which they defend the archers who ride alongside them.

  • Construction: Wood frame with leather covering.
  • Cost: 15 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 20.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 7/3; Slashing 5/6; Bludgeoning 5/10.
  • Coverage Bonus: +4.
  • Armour Check Penalty: -2.

Round Wooden Shield (Medium)
These shields were not indigenous to Egypt and were brought into the country by the so-called Sea Peoples, who fought as mercenaries against the enemies of the Pharaoh. They were however used in preference to the standard Egyptian shield by some troops.

  • Construction: Wood frame with leather covering.
  • Cost: 15 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 15.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 7/3; Slashing 5/6; Bludgeoning 5/10.
  • Coverage Bonus: +3.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -1.

Egyptian Leather Armor (Light)
The leather armor worn by charioteers and their ilk was extremely simple. It was little more than two broad leather straps, crossing over the torso in a harness arrangement. It offered little protection but allowed freedom of movement and did not encumber the wearer very much. The legs were left completely unprotected, because the wearer would usually have been in a chariot, the sides of which provide hard cover as if the occupant were standing behind a wall.

  • Construction: Leather straps.
  • Cost: 15 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 25.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 2/2; Slashing 1/3; Bludgeoning 3/0.
  • Coverage Bonus: +3.
  • Armor Check Penalty: 0.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +6.

Egyptian Scale Armor (Medium)
The much rarer scale armor sometimes worn by the ancient Egyptians was a modification of the leather harness, in which little metal scales were sewn across the leather in order to provide an extra layer of protection. The armor’s Damage Resistance is thus increased without affecting its Damage Absorption. As with the basic form of Egyptian leather armor, the legs are unprotected.

  • Construction: Leather straps with bronze scales.
  • Cost: 40 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 25.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 3/2; Slashing 3/3; Bludgeoning 4/0.
  • Coverage Bonus: +3.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -1.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +6.

Egyptian Royal Armor (Medium)
The finest armor available in Egyptian lands is that which the Pharaoh himself would wear when riding his chariot into battle. It is fashioned in the same manner as Egyptian leather armor, with a layer of inlaid semi-precious stones covering the leather. This has the effect of toughening the armor, as the stones are usually harder than the tips and edges of the weapons that slam into them.

  • Construction: Leather straps inlaid with semi-precious stones.
  • Cost: 800 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 25.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 5/2; Slashing 5/3; Bludgeoning 4/1.
  • Coverage Bonus: +3.
  • Armour Check Penalty: -2.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +6.

Egyptian Leather Helmet (Light)
The standard issue Egyptian helmet looks like a leather cap, from the top of which emerge cords with pendants at the end. Most Egyptian troops do not bother with helmets at all, but those who do wear these.

  • Construction: Shaped leather with dependent cords.
  • Cost: 10 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 10.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 0/2; Slashing 0/3; Bludgeoning 4/0.
  • Penalty To Listen Checks: -1.
  • Penalty To Spot Checks: 0.

Egyptian Metal Helmet (Heavy)
The helmets worn by Egyptian nobles and by the Pharaoh are smooth swept-back head coverings, slightly longer than the head of the wearer. That worn by Pharaoh is fitted with the royal Uraeus serpent.

  • Construction: Bronze.
  • Cost: 20 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 25.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 4/2; Slashing 4/3; Bludgeoning 6/0.
  • Penalty To Listen Checks: -2.
  • Penalty To Spot Checks: 0.

Miscellaneous Armor and Shields

This section covers the varieties of armor and shields that grew up in regions other than Greece and Egypt.



Assyrian Helmet
These simple helmets are standard issue for all Assyrian warriors, irrespective of the weapon they use or their position on the field. The helmet is a conical cap of metal, layered over with woven leather cords.

  • Construction: Layers of woven cord over metal.
  • Cost: 25 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 15.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 1/2; Slashing 1/3; Bludgeoning 4/0.
  • Penalty To Listen Checks: -2.
  • Penalty To Spot Checks: 0.

Assyrian Wicker Shield (Light)
This is a round shield of woven wicker, good for fending off hacks and bashes but less useful against arrows and similar piercing attacks, as its woven substance slows a projectile down but offers no solid barrier. The impact of a slashing or bludgeoning attack is however spread across the shield, which disperses it quite efficiently. The great advantage of this shield is that it is very cheap and easy to make. It is the customary shield of Assyrian foot troops, who wear no additional armor. It stands up very well to hand-to-hand combat against opponents with simple weapons such as clubs and axes. This variety of shield is commonly used to defend archers, particularly when the archer is in a chariot. A dedicated shield bearer, without a weapon of his own, uses the shield to fend off attacks against the archer.

  • Construction: Interwoven wicker strands.
  • Cost: 5 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 10
  • DR/DA: Piercing 3/1; Slashing 5/3; Bludgeoning 10/2.
  • Coverage Bonus: +5.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -2.
  • Special: Any piercing damage that exceeds a wicker shield’s DR/DA is applied to the person the shield is protecting. In this way it is possible for arrows and similar projectiles to pass straight through the shield and into the person on the other side. The wielder is still entitled to a Coverage check for his armor, if he is wearing any.

Assyrian Scale Armour (Heavy)
An unusual design of armor, this garment resembles a long leather cape or overcoat that is sewn with metal (bronze) scales. It reaches all the way to the ankles. This was not customarily used by foot troops as it restricted their movements too much. The users of this armor are the Assyrian archers who need both hands to hold their bows and therefore cannot defend themselves with a shield. Although the armor counts as heavy, thus restricting the running speed of the wearer, it is not so restrictive of movement that it greatly impedes the archers’ aim.

  • Construction: Leather with bronze scales.
  • Cost: 150 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 30.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 3/2; Slashing 3/3; Bludgeoning 4/0.
  • Coverage Bonus: +8.
  • Armour Check Penalty: -4.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +2.

Persian Iron Scale Armour (Medium)
Described by Herodotus as ‘looking like the scales of fish’, this armor is that worn by the heavier Persian and Mede infantry. It is composed of a multi-colored garment with cloth sleeves, on to whose front and back an array of tough iron scales are sewn. The most important of the Persian warriors, such as the Ten Thousand Immortals, have gold-plated scales.

  • Construction: Cloth or leather with iron scales.
  • Cost: 200 silver drachmas. (Gold plated version 2,000 silver drachmas.)
  • Hit Points: 50.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 4/2; Slashing 4/3; Bludgeoning 5/0.
  • Coverage Bonus: +6.
  • Armour Check Penalty: -3.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +2.

Scythian Quilted Cloth Armour (Light)
This armor was ideal for skirmishing in under Bronze Age conditions. It allowed protection against clubs and allowed great freedom of movement. In later eras, it became the garment that metal armor was worn over, rather than being seen as armor in its own right.

  • Construction: Quilted linen cloth.
  • Cost: 6 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 10.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 2/1; Slashing 1/3; Bludgeoning 4/0.
  • Coverage Bonus: +8.
  • Armour Check Penalty: -2.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +8.

Nubian Shield (Light)
This is the typical shield used by the elite Nubian warriors who fought under Pharaoh. Structurally it resembles the standard Egyptian shield but is smaller and rounder. In keeping with Nubian tactics, it is suited more to hand-to-hand combat than to defense against ranged attacks.

  • Construction: Wood frame with leather covering.
  • Cost: 8 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 15.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 7/3; Slashing 5/6; Bludgeoning 5/10.
  • Coverage Bonus: +2.
  • Armour Check Penalty: 0.

Spara Shield (Medium)
This is the characteristic shield of the Persian front ranks of infantry. It is about shoulder height, tall and rectangular in shape and made of light materials. The spara has a unique feature among shields. A prop on the rear side means that it can be stood up on its own and sheltered behind as portable cover. This is especially useful for defending archers. A defensive barrier can be erected in minutes. Setting up a spara shield as a freestanding barrier is a full-round action.

  • Construction: Cane and wood.
  • Cost: 8 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 12.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 3/1; Slashing 5/3; Bludgeoning 10/2.
  • Coverage Bonus: +8.
  • Armour Check Penalty: -3.

Iron Corselet (Heavy)
This armor is included for those Games Masters who wish to set a historical campaign right at the latter end of the era covered by Ancients, when the Roman power is beginning to come to the fore. An iron corselet is the forerunner of the armor that would be worn by the Roman legionaries.

  • Construction: Worked iron plates.
  • Cost: 900 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 80.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 8/2; Slashing 8/3; Bludgeoning 12/1.
  • Coverage Bonus: +8.
  • Armor Check Penalty: -8.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +0.

Hide Armour (Medium)
This is extremely crude armor made from ragged skins stitched together. None but the most primitive tribes and the most savage monsters, such as the Cyclops, use it.

  • Construction: Tough hides sewn together or worn as a cape.
  • Cost: 3 silver drachmas.
  • Hit Points: 20.
  • DR/DA: Piercing 2/2; Slashing 1/3; Bludgeoning 3/0.
  • Coverage Bonus: +8.
  • Armour Check Penalty: -8.
  • Maximum Dexterity Bonus: +0.








Armor and Shields

Age of Heroes WolfLord