All forms of armor listed in the Player’s Handbook are available to Athasian characters, though the high price of metal and the extreme heat make metal armor less than desirable on Athas. A suit of field plate armor costs 2,000 gp on Athas, the equivalent of 200,000 gp on other AD&D campaign worlds. Simply put, a sorcerer-king can either purchase several suits of field plate or build a substantial addition to his city wails.

Likewise, the intense heat across Athas’s barren surface makes metal armor a liability. In any daytime combat situation, a character wearing metal armor suffers a +1 penalty to his THAC0 for every round of combat beyond the first. That same character collapses, exhausted from the heat, in a number of rounds equal to his Constitution score.

Fortunately, however, many types of armor can be constructed without metal on Athas, using more readily available materials. All forms of armor afford the same Armor Class rating as in the Player’s Handbook, with the following notations.
Shields: Shields are mostly constructed with layers of leather stretched over a wood or bone frame and hardened. Effective shields can also be constructed of chitinous materials scavenged from dead insectoids. Though made of alternate materials, shields on Athas come in the typical varieties: bucklers and small, medium, or body shields.
Leather armor: Perhaps the most common type of armor used on Athas, leather armor is shaped to the individual wearing it and then hardened.
Padded armor: As described in the Player’s Handbook, this armor is made from heavy cloth and batting. Many Athasian warriors prefer padded armor woven from giant hair.
Hide armor: Hide armor on Athas is usually constructed from mekillot or braxat hide.
Studded leather, ring mail, brigandine, and scale mail armor: These varieties of armor are constructed using pieces of bone or chitin.
Chain, splint, banded, bronze plate, or plate mail, field plate and full plate armor: These types of armor must be made with metal components, making them both expensive and potentially deadly in the day’s heat.

Piecemeal Armor

Characters in a DARK SUN campaign seldom (if ever) wear complete suits of metal armor. There are many reasons for this, but primarily the oppressive heat of the Athasian sun and the scarcity of metal make full suits of armor impractical. It’s not uncommon, at least among heroic sorts, for a character to wear scavenged portions of various suits of armor, however, hence “piecemeal armor.”

Determining the correct Armor Class for someone wearing piecemeal armor can be difficult. Each type of armor piece has a specific AC modifier associated with it. When a piece of armor is worn, that modifier is subtracted from the character’s base Armor Class (usually 10) to determine his actual AC. Thus, a character who is exploring some ancient ruins and finds an old, battered breastplate from a suit of full plate armor would be able to don it, reducing his AC by four places, as indicated on TABLE XXXI, below. The table lists the AC bonus associated with any given piece of armor.

Armor Type Cost Wgt (lb.) Full Suit Breast Plate Two Arms One Arm Two Legs One Leg
Banded mail 200 gp 35 6 3 2 1 1 0
Brigandine 120 cp 35 4 2 1 0 1 0
Bronze plate 400 gp 45 6 3 2 1 1 0
Chain mail 75 gp 40 5 2 2 1 1 0
Field plate 2,000 gp 60 8 4 2 1 2 1
Full plate 4,000-10,000 gp 70 9 4 3 1 2 1
Hide armor 15 cp 30 4 2 1 0 1 0
Leather armor 5 cp 15 2 1 1 0 0 0
Padded armor 4 cp 10 2 1 1 0 0 0
Plate mail 600 gp 50 7 3 2 1 2 1
Ring mail 100 cp 30 3 1 1 0 1 0
Scale mail 120 cp 40 4 2 1 0 1 0
Splint mail 80 gp 40 6 3 2 1 1 0
Studded leather 20 cp 25 3 1 1 0 1 0

Although piecemeal armor is lighter than full suits of armor, it can still be quite heavy and cumbersome. Breastplates weigh one-half the weight of a complete suit of that armor type, and each arm or leg piece weighs one-eighth the weight of the original suit. No more than one piece of armor may be worn to protect a specific region of the body. Thus, it would be impossible for a character to wear two breastplates and claim a double bonus to his Armor Class.

Characters wearing piecemeal metal armor are also subject to the exhausting effects of Athas’s hot climate. A character who has armor covering more than two limbs or is wearing a breastplate is subject to the full effects of the savage heat.

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