The Window
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In certain settings, ranging from fantasy to science fiction, the type of armor a character wears can seriously change his combat effectiveness. If he's wrapped in scale mail then he's likely to come out unscathed from a barrage of light arrow fire. If he's wearing a magnetic repulsor belt (whatever that might be), he could shrug off bullets. It's also possible to armor a vehicle or a building, a possibility which just might be important to the story at some point.

Most Storytellers who use the Window manage armor narratively. Characters wearing heavy armor won't be asked for health rolls as often. Characters attacking foes with superior armor have to make contest rolls by wider margins to be a threat, etc... However, if you want a more structured way to manage this sometimes important consideration, you can use the rules below.

Like all else in the Window, armor is something that must be assessed in specific relation to the story if it's going to work. Only use it if it truly adds something to your stories. If it only serves to add one more layer of dice rolls to combat, then get rid of it.

How it Works

Following the First Precept, define the type of armor your character is wearing in terms of the Window armor ladder below. Understand that these adjectives are relative to the "typical" type of weaponry in your particular story: "excellent" armor in a fantasy setting might only be "mediocre" in a modern setting.

When your character is in battle, this armor die can be used as a substitute for health rolls. If your character is hit and the Storyteller asks for a Health roll, roll the armor die instead. Only if you miss the armor roll do you have to make a real health roll.

If the armor roll fails and the attack is such that the armor itself could be damaged, the Storyteller could ask for an additional armor roll to see if the armor drops in quality. This works just like health rolls -- if you fail the roll the armor drops a rung on the ladder, representing its failing ability to protect your character. (Whether to ask for such rolls should be apparent in context of the scene.)

If need be, the Storyteller can also define armor to have different levels of protection against different kinds of attacks. For example, a suit of chainmail might have good protective qualities vs. physical attacks (D12) but be virtually worthless (D30) against magic. This is up to the Storyteller and the world she is using.

The Window Armor Ladder

Godlike Armor (D4)

In a fantasy setting this might be protection from on-high. In a sci-fi anthology this would be some unbelievable super technology. A character in godlike armor is essentially immune to damage. Only an attack on an equally amazing level would be capable of getting through.

Incredible Armor (D6)

This is likely either highly magical or extremely ultra tech. A character wearing this kind of armor is invulnerable to normal attacks and most special attacks as well. Armor of this kind is inaccessible to all but the fewest fortunate souls.

Excellent Armor (D8)

This is the highest sort of armor a normal person could acquire, and it is only available to those with very impressive contacts and/or wealth. In fantasy settings this might include well-crafted, magical platemail, the kind reserved for kings. A character wearing such armor would be able to survive well against the majority of normal attacks.

High Grade Armor (D10)

This is the type of armor which would be given to elite troops or owned by nobles. In a fantasy setting this translates into full-plate or exquisitely crafted chainmail. Armor of this kind will keep its wearer alive against many physical threats, though it is not impregnable.

Good Armor (D12)

This is the sort of armor worn by most professional warriors. In a fantasy setting this is typically equivalent to a suit of chain or scalemail with bracers and perhaps a shield. Good armor provides solid protection, but it can certainly be bypassed by skill or force.

Mediocre Armor (D20)

Armor of this rung is generally the much less expensive version of "good" armor. This might be studded leather or a full suit of lighter leather in a fantasy world. Though it is definitely better than nothing, this armor provides little more than shock absorbence; it typically won't turn blows or be much use against missile weapons.

Poor Armor (D30)

This is the sort of thing worn by street thugs and athletes. It might provide protection in specific situations, but for the most part it will do little more than keep your elbows from getting scraped. In a fantasy setting this is perhaps equivalent to leather breeches and a pair of leather bracers.

As you can imagine, managing armor for every character can be more record keeping than its worth. Since some actors handle this level of complexity better than others, it is recommend that you playtest this rule with your whole troupe before putting it into effect.