How does Armor Work in the Iconic Adventuring System?
Like its medieval counterpart, mundane armor in a fantastical setting offers protection against arrows, as well as a myriad of melee weapons, while providing a certain freedom of movement during a skirmish. While poorer soldiers and mercenaries suffice with gambeson, a quilted breast coat, knights in mail and plate armor prove almost invulnerable, intimidating lesser foes.
As a medievalist and game designer, it was a challenge to bring realistic armor to the tabletop and still maintain game balance. In the role-playing genre, introducing a full suit of historical plate armor into a game would overpower most systems.
Armor in the Iconic Adventuring System is simple, straightforward, and historically accurate. First, armor has layers to improve the quality of protection. Should you begin with gambeson, and later acquire mail, you can wear both to increase your Armor Rank (AR).
Your Armor Rank + Stamina (for most living creatures) is your Health score. If damage exceeds your Health score, you gain a wound card, taking it from the general supply and placing it into the discard pile of your character deck. Otherwise, you lose fatigue mitigated by your Armor Rank (to a minimum of 0). If you lose enough fatigue to force you to reshuffle your character deck, then you gain a wound card. If you do not, nothing happens.
Armor offers another form of protection. In history, certain armors were good at protecting against different types of weapons. While gambeson is good against bludgeoning and slashing weapons, it fell short against piercing weapons (generally speaking). Therefore, if you would gain a wound card from a bludgeoning or slashing weapon while wearing gambeson, you could discard a prepared feat card (if one is available) to instead gain a stress card.
Layered armor also improves this protection. If combined with riveted mail, it would increase your Health score and protect against piercing weapons. Of course, as with historical armor, wearing plate armor will give a sense of invincibility, unless you face a great number of foes.
Armor also offers resistance. Resistance is a mechanic that forces a foe to lose fatigue even if successful. Skirmishing with a foe wearing plate and strike a successful blow, you will lose fatigue. This loss represents the movement and effort needed to penetrate its defenses.
Lastly, good armor is expensive, and like its historical counterpart, a suit of plate armor fits its owner, the person who ordered its creation. Otherwise, looted plate act as munition or scavenged armor; still solid protection, but not as good.
Want to hear more about Iconic? Be on the lookout for our upcoming Kickstarter Campaign and The Fundamentals, a free guide to get acquainted with the system.