Sometimes, armor is the one thing that keeps a character alive. A leather jacket might help diminish a knife’s attack, and a bulletproof vest might stop a .38 slug from perforating a lung. Whether such protection is archaic or modern, any defense is good defense. What follows is a list of armor a character may potentially own and/or use. For information on what the ratings mean, please refer to the “Armor” section of the World of Darkness Rulebook, found on p. 166.
Bomb Suit Edit
Rating 3/6, Strength 3, Defense –3, Speed –3, Cost •••••
A bomb suit is a huge, clunky vest that covers a subject’s entire upper torso (arms included, if he wants to squeeze them behind the armor). Essentially, it’s one big Kevlar body blanket, interlaid with heavy ceramic plates. These plates function by absorbing an explosion and then breaking. The bomb suit protects against rifle rounds and explosives particularly well, but it’s exceedingly cumbersome. Once the ceramic plates shatter, the suit has to be refitted with plates before it can again become fully functional. Assume that an explosion that does four or more lethal points of damage will shatter the plates in the bomb suit. At this point, the bomb suits downgrades to a particularly cumbersome bulletproof vest with a Rating of 2/3. Bomb squads in major metropolitan areas are well funded enough to afford a number of these heavy suits. Squads in suburban areas may have one, and police precincts in rural areas probably don’t even have a bomb squad.
Bulletproof Vest Edit
Rating 2/3, Strength 1, Defense –1, Speed 0, Cost •••
The average bulletproof vest is black and made of Kevlar. The vest stops bullets, edged weapons and blunt attacks with some efficiency. Like all true bulletproof armor, a bulletproof vest downgrades damage done from Firearms from lethal to bashing. Worn on the upper torso, the majority of bulletproof vests only cover the chest. The wearer’s back is not protected with the average Kevlar vest. In fact, a number of places remain unprotected, and targeted attacks will ignore any defense the vest offers. For bodily fortification beyond the chest region, see “Bulletproof Vest Accessories,” below. A bulletproof vest is not technically a “flak jacket” (see below), though this vest is often mistakenly called such.
Bulletproof Vest Accessories Edit
Rating 1/2, Strength 1, Defense 0, Speed 0, Cost ••
A vest covers only the chest. A number of places on the body are still wholly vulnerable to all manner of damage. Characters can separately purchase individual “pieces” of bulletproof armor for varying body parts, such as groin shields, neck/throat protectors, arm or leg armor, back armor or even helmets. None of these accessories offers precisely the same level of protection that the vest does, but each piece offers its Rating against attacks targeted specifically against the region the piece protects. Assume that each section must be bought separately. All together, this is not the same thing as “Full Riot Gear” (see below).
Chain Mail Edit
Rating 2/1, Strength 3, Defense –2, Speed –2, Cost ••
In the Middle Ages, medicine was woefully inadequate. An open wound was vulnerable to a number of fatal infections. Knights on the battlefield could stand bruises, but cuttings would eventually grow deadly. Chain mail helped to keep a knight safe: he’d still take a number of lumps and bumps and even broken bones, but at least he would be free from fatal infections. Chain mail is a fabric of interlocking metal rings draped over the torso like a shirt. Chain mail doesn’t offer as much protection as plate armor, but is also far less cumbersome. A full suit of chain mail offers its protection to the entire body and not just the torso, but costs •••. These days, chain mail can be purchased through various vanity outlets as accoutrements to fantasy garb or sexual roleplaying. These mail suits or shirts are made from aluminum instead of steel. They are lighter because of this (and feature –1 Defense and –1 Speed instead of those stats listed above), but also suffer less Durability. The Rating on vanity mail is 1/1 instead of 2/1. The vanity mail looks good and costs the same but offers less practical function.
Flak Jacket Edit
Rating 1/2, Strength 1, Defense –1, Speed 0, Cost •
People assume that a bulletproof vest and a flak jacket are the same thing, but they aren’t. Most cops or Marines wouldn’t want to be caught dead wearing flak jackets. Popular during the Vietnam and Korean Wars, flak jackets are now outmoded technology. They were supposed to stop bullets and explosive shrapnel, but failed to do so to the level the military promised. Some flak and low-caliber bullets couldn’t penetrate the vest. The rest punched clean through and into the tender flesh of the unsuspecting soldier. A flak jacket isn’t technically bulletproof. It stops some bullets, but any damage taken over its Rating is still lethal, not bashing. The bullet’s impact isn’t diminished over the entire vest, as is with true bulletproof armor, and the bullet can still cut through the material and into the body. Flak jackets can be purchased at Army/Navy stores, at flea markets or on the Internet.
Full Riot Gear Edit
Rating 3/4, Strength 2, Defense –2, Speed –1, Cost •••
Full riot gear protects almost all of the human body, even hands and feet. Moreover, this gear offers stronger protection than normal Kevlar armor. This armor is soft and flexible on the outside (using Kevlar), but hard on the inside (using armor plating made of metal or rigid polyethylene fibers). Riot gear also comes with any number of accoutrements: shell and bullet holders, built-in holsters, a half-dozen pockets, badge displays, radio holsters, even microphone tabs by the head and neck. The disadvantages of riot gear are that it’s heavy and cumbersome: characters wearing it will have their movements hindered (as reflected in higher Defense and Speed penalties). For a higher price (Cost ••••), a character can find riot gear that protects against armor-piercing weapons, as well. This gear offers the same statistics as normal riot gear, except that this riot gear offers equal protection against weapons with Armor Piercing (armor-piercing rounds, rapiers, screwdrivers). Riot gear cannot be purchased on the open market. While savvy buyers might be able to find a vendor through the Internet or on the black market, such armor is generally available only through government or police channels.
Leather Armor Edit
Rating 1/0, Strength 2, Defense –1, Speed 0, Cost •
Leather armor is a cheap and less effective alternative to chain or plate armor. Most leather armor consists of a tough leather shirt or leggings dipped in wax and hardened (a process called courboulli). Leather armor offers the same protection as reinforced clothing, such as a heavy jacket. Historically, knights without a liege or who served a destitute master wore the armor because they could afford nothing better. Some squires and peasants who were expected to fight were allowed to bear leather armor into battle. Today, a character can purchase this armor over the Internet or at Renaissance festivals. Some vanity outlets sell a stronger version of leather armor. This armor consists of leather scales or leather strips riveted over one another, making the armor tougher. Such riveted leather, sometimes called lamellar, costs ••, but offers a Rating of 2/0 against attacks.
Lorica Segmentata Edit
Rating 2/2, Strength 3, Defense –2, Speed –2, Cost ••••
Legionaries of the Roman Empire wore this complex, fitted armor, which consisted of a number of segmented metal plates overlapping one another at various points. Creation of lorica segmentata (literally, “segmented armor”) was considered an art, and only the legionaries were allowed to wear it. It’s worth noting that the vampires of the Lancea Sanctum still make use of this armor, as ceremonial garb and in actual combat. Their prophet, the nigh-mythical Longinus, purportedly wore this type of armor as he thrust the spear into the Messiah’s side. Many Sanctified vampires even smear blood upon their armor to imitate how their founder’s own lorica must’ve looked.
Plate Armor Edit
Rating 3/2, Strength 4, Defense –2, Speed –3, Cost ••••
From the 13th to the 15th centuries, the finest knights and warriors wore plate armor. It weighed down the knight and his horse, but was still functional because it was fitted to the knight’s body specifications. Helmet, cuirass, leggings, breastplate — all were made exclusively for an individual warrior. These days, few wear plate armor except in combat simulations. Some eldritch creatures still cleave to the rigors of antiquated combat, and, therefore, still bear plate armor into ritual melee. If plate armor is not fitted to the wearer (say, if a character simply picks up a set of plate armor from a museum or collection and tries to use the armor in battle), the character suffers a –3 Defense penalty and a –4 Speed penalty instead of the Traits above, though the armor still provides the Rating and Strength requirements listed.
Reinforced Clothing Edit
Rating 1/0, Strength 1, Defense 0, Speed 0, Cost •
Clothing won’t stop much in the way of an attack, but if a leather jacket helps stop a switchblade or a heavy ski jacket weakens a gut punch, so be it. The Storyteller must decide what counts as reinforced clothing and what doesn’t. A good rule of thumb is that any kind of layered or heavy clothing will do the trick. A T-shirt won’t protect against squat, but a long overcoat or construction vest might help cushion a blow.
Sports Equipment Edit
Rating 2/0, Strength 2, Defense –1, Speed –1, Cost •
Sports equipment is meant to take a beating. Kneepads help when falling, helmets reduce some of the damage when getting tackled or smacked with a hockey stick and shoulder pads absorb further impact. Characters looking for cheap armour could do worse than go shopping at a local sporting goods store (or a high school’s sports closet). Better to go into a fight with a hockey mask and shoulder pads than with nothing at all.