Armour and Weapons

For Pathfinder


Medium and Heavy Armour

The PHB rules make heavy (and especially medium) armour substantially inferior to Light, in that the penalties soon outweigh the benefits. So:


Medium and Heavy armour come with a big helmet that includes a visor. Most adventurers will keep the visor up, as it's uncomfortable, inconvenient and restricts vision, hearing and speech. But it can be closed for better protection in the thick of battle.
Opening or closing a visor is treated as drawing a weapon, ie it's a non-AoO ME action that can be combined with a Move if the wearer has +1 BAB and Proficiency in that armour. A closed helm has the following effects: Masterwork helms (as included with any masterwork armour) reduce the Spot and Listen penalties by 2 and ASF by 5%.
Any closed helm disallows drinking a potion, blowing a horn, using a breath weapon, using Bardic Music, turning undead or casting spells with verbal components (and any other facial activities the DM sees fit to disallow). Conversely, the DM may apply the Listen and Spot penalties as saving throw bonuses against sonic or gaze attacks.

Heavy armour can be fitted with a Medium helmet if so desired. There is a 2 lb weight and 5 gp cost saving.
Medium or Heavy armour can be worn without any proper helmet. There is a 2 lb weight and 5 gp cost saving over a Medium helmet, or 4 lb and 10gp over a Heavy.
I assume that some Light armour comes with a coif or simple pot helmet, but this has no game effect. There is no AC advantage to wearing an oversize helmet, as opponents will attack the less-armoured body.

D&D includes some magic helmets already (eg the Helm of Brilliance, Helm of Teleportation). The DM should determine what sort of Helm (pot, medium, heavy) these are. Likewise, wearing a full helm might disallow the wearing of a magic hat (or make it more difficult to operate the visor).

New Armour Types


Robes are long flowing garments designed for wizards and those wishing to look important. Robes are a bit bulky but don't impede arcane spellcasting. It is easy to hide small items in the folds of clothing.
Thick winter clothing gives the same effects.
Does not require armour proficiency.
Cost 20 gp, +1 AC, Dex+4, ACP -2, ASF 0%, 10 lb

This seems balanced, and gives a little encouragement to players to stay in genre. It gives low-level wizards a slightly greater chance of survival.


A Jerkin is a stout leather jacket.
Light, cost 6 gp, AC+1, Dex+7, ACP 0, ASF 5%, 8 lb

As things stand, there's no difference between wearing a tough pair of jeans and a stout jacket, and running around stark naked. I don't pretend that it would turn a blow from a mace, but it'll stop a whip, small teeth or a swipe from a dagger.

Thick Hide

Thick Hide is like Hide, but thicker. It requires very tough material such as rhino hide.
Medium, cost 40 gp, AC+4, Dex+2, ACP-5, ASF 30%, 35 lb

This gives druids a choice.

Heavy Hide

Heavy Hide is even heavier. It is often made of exotic material such as dragon scale, though this will add to the cost (and perhaps add special properties).
Heavy, cost 80 gp, AC+5, Dex+0, ACP-6, ASF 40%, 45 lb

Tank druid, anyone? Bear in mind that most druids will not be proficient in heavy armour.



The Argrak is an orcish Bastard Scimitar. It requires Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Str 13+, BAB+1) to use one-handed. It is a member of the Heavy Blades weapon group.
Martial 2H/Exotic 1H, 35 gp, 1d6(s) or 1d8(m) damage, 18-20x2, 6 lbs Slashing.
Orcs and half-orcs have Familiarity with it. Most orcish Argraks are serrated and very dirty.

It fills a technical gap (big scimitar) and gives the poor orcs something menacing to wave about.


One can use Weapon Finesse with a quarterstaff.


Rather like a Bastard Sword, the number of hands required to use a spear depends on the user's proficiency.
The Longspear is 2H/Simple, or 1H/Exotic (min Str 13, Dex 13, BAB+1).
The (normal) Spear is 2H/Simple, or 1H/Martial. It can be wielded as a Martial double weapon, the blunt end doing 1d6 (x2) blunt like a staff.
The Shortspear is 1H/Simple. Feats don't help.

This seems necessary to allow the (historical) use of long spear and shield.


Slings can be used with basic skill (as a Simple weapon) as RAW.
When considered a Martial weapon, slings are treated as bows regarding rate of fire and feats such as Rapid Shot and Manyshot. Reloading is a free (two-handed) action. Ammo Drop makes it one-handed.
Sling stones found at random are treated as Improvised. It takes a while to find stones of the right size and shape to make accurate missiles (and they are as RAW sling stones, with -1 to hit and doing less damage than bullets).

It's quite possible to launch multiple missiles in 6 seconds with a sling, given enough practice.


In the PHB, there is only one size of Heavy crossbow, only one size of Light and one size of Hand crossbow (there are two sizes of Repeater, so that's OK). This means that strong characters automatically gravitate towards pull bows.
There are two functional differences between the two: the "heavy" is slower to load and it does more damage.
So consider the PHB heavy crossbow to be winched and the light crossbow to be pulled by belt hook and stirrup. Stronger characters can operate a heavier bow with a given mechanism. Thus the defining difference is the rewind mechanism, and we can rename the existing crossbows on this basis.
A crossbow can be rewound by a weaker character than it is suited for, but it takes longer.
In this table, "Move Equivalent", "Full Round" and "2 Rounds" show the minimum strength required to reload the crossbow in that time.

Name Cost Weight Range Damage Move-Equivalent Full Round 2 Rounds
Stirrup Crossbow
(PHB Light Crossbow)
35 gp 4 lb 80 ft. 1d8 19-20/x2 7 3 -
Heavy Stirrup Crossbow 45 gp 7 lb 120 ft. 1d10 19-20/x2 15 10 -
Mighty Stirrup Crossbow 80 gp 11 lb 150 ft. 2d6 19-20/x2 21 16 -
Winch Crossbow
(PHB Heavy Crossbow)
50 gp 8 lb 120 ft. 1d10 19-20/x2 14 8 3
Heavy Winch Crossbow
80 gp 12 lb 150 ft. 2d6 19-20/x2 21 16 11
Mighty Winch Crossbow
(Heavy Arbalest)
120 gp 16 lb 180 ft. 2d8 19-20/x2 28 22 14
Hand Crossbow 100 gp 2 lb 30 ft 1d4 7 3 -
Mighty Hand Crossbow 250 gp 4 lb 40 ft 1d6 15 10 -

I figure that any bigger Hand or Repeating crossbow would require metallurgy beyond normal D&D levels.
If you're paying attention, you'll have spotted that all the above apply to Medium-size weapons. Decrease the Str thresholds by 3 for Small, and increase them by 5 for each step above Medium.

Masterwork and craft items

The PHB rules on masterwork pricing are simplistic and unbalanced. They're also rather limited. So I have different prices for Masterwork, and introduce "Sharp" and "Craft" weapons.

A Masterwork melee weapon costs 20 times as much as normal, plus 50 gp. Effects: +1 to hit, -1 to fumble.
For example, a masterwork dagger costs 20x2+50 = 90gp (not 302gp), and a masterwork greatsword costs 20x50+50 = 1050gp (not 350gp).

A Sharp Masterwork weapon costs twice as much as a normal Masterwork weapon. This can apply only to edged or pointed weapons.
Effects: +1 to damage, and as Masterwork. If the weapon is damaged, the damage bonus is lost until it is sharpened again.

Masterwork arrows and bullets cost 7 gp (as the book): +1 to hit.

A Masterwork shield costs 10 times as much, plus 20 gp.
Effects: -1 to penalties, -5% arcane failure, -20% weight.

Masterwork armour costs twice as much, plus 20 gp, and requires fitting.
Effects: -1 to penalties, -5% arcane failure, -10% weight.

A Masterwork missile weapon (including mighty bows) costs 3 times as much as normal, plus 50 gp.
Effects: +1 to hit, +20% range.

Bear in mind that this will have some effect on the costs of magic weapons and armour, though it's fairly minor.

Craft items are non-magical +1, and have all masterwork benefits. Prices are typically three times Masterwork, where available.

House Rules New Spells Level 0 Domain Spells Armour and Weapons New Feats Fumbles Monsters
Aaargh home Last Revised 9/2/15