I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Friday, October 01, 2021

Warduke's armor and nostalgia ramblings

With 5.5e coming soon, I was made acutely aware that some of my love for D&D (including 5e) is driven by nostalgia. I have noticed the new products are not for me since Tasha's, at least. 

I still like 5e, but I do not think I'll convert to 5.5e. If I can ever finish it, I'll be playing my minimalist 5e instead.

In addition, I have more 5e books than I need, and I don't think I'm buying new books unless they came up with a good campaign (like Curse of Strahd and Tomb of Annihilation, despite all the flaws of both products). Is The Wild Beyond the Witchlight this book? Not sure, I'll wait for more reviews.

The thing that made me curious about the book is the presence of Warduke. I barely remember anything about him except his cool looks (which haven't been improved in the picture below IMO), but, again, it does hit me in the nostalgia.

This version by Timothy Truman is probably my favorite. The helmet looks better, IMO, and the bare chest gives him a "barbarian" (or gladiator?) look. And the short stat block is awesome... Imagine if all 8th-level fighters could be described in a similar space... the game would be a lot lighter.

But does the armor make sense? Well, by the looks of it, it might have been made from bits and pieces of other sutis of armor. Even the boots are different from one another. Maybe he is indeed a barbarian and a full suit or armor is hard to come by. It counts as "plate mail" anyway.

Would it be useful in a fight? Yes, as long as the armor protects the side of the sword - while the shield protects most of the rest (unfortunately, some artists seem to forget that). This is the reasoning behind some gladiator's armor (although I've also heard that defeat by dismemberment was less enjoyable to the Roman audience...). 

I can imagine not armoring your shield arm to make yourself lighter. It could work for a one on one duel, although in grappling or war you could easily be stabbed in the gut...

Anyway, no version of D&D that I can remember has rules for asymetric armor. Maybe some version of Runequest or its derivatives.

I prefer to keep these thing a bit more abstract. Here is how I do it (in case you haven't read this before): "Let the players choose how they present their armor, as long as it makes sense. Chain mail with breast plate and no helmet? Cool! Shoulder pads to protect you in your right arm, big scary helmet, and bare chest? Nice!"

Just abstract the looks and judge armor by its weight. And quality too - but that adds another dimension. I wrote a book for 5e on this matter - 5e Manual of Arms: Armor & Shields. If you like the subject, check it out! Or take a look at my other posts on armor.


  1. The Dark Sun setting (possibly just the revised box) had rules for piecemeal armor in 2nd Ed AD&D.
    I think that's the only official D&D rules for it.

    1. Nice! It is always Dark Sun with the cool stuff! ;)

  2. Pathfinder 1st Ed (which is very close to 3.5, although, of course, is not official DnD) has rules for piecemeal armour in Ultimate Combat.

    1. Cool! I love PF stuff on weapons and armor, not hard to adapt to 5e.

  3. I grabbed witchlight. It's pretty decent so far. I'll post a review when I'm done reading it. It's the first official adventure I purchased other than the starter set.