Friday, 30 November 2012

Oldhammer: UPS: Armour

How to calculate Point values for armour in Oldhammer,  finally! You've all been waiting for this, I'm sure, with baited breath. So without further ado, here goes:

Typical armour profiles:
“tech level” - int required Item Saving move penalty PV published PV*  Effectiveness
4 Shield 6 0 0.5 0.5 1handed weapons only / front attack only
4 Shield 6 00.5 0.5 1handed weapons only / front attack only
5 Flak / leather 6 0 0.5 1
5 Chainmail Armour 6 -0.5 0.5 0.5
4 Metal Breastplate 6 0 1 1
5 Chainmail Armour 6 0 1 1
5 Plate 5 -1 1 1
5 Mesh 5 -0.5 1 1.5
5 Refractor field 5 0 1.5 2
4 Metal Breastplate + shield 5 -0.5 1.5 1.5
5 Full Plate Armour 5 -0.5 1.5 1.5
5 Chainmail Armour + Shield 5 -0.5 1.5 1.5
5 mesh+flak 4 -1 1.5 2
5 carapace 4 -1 1.5 2 cannot use shield or other armour
5 Full Plate Armour + shield 4 -1 2 2
6 conversion field 4 0 3 3area within circle of the attackers strength blinded for 1 turn on a d6 4+ )unless armed with Visors 0.5 pts)
6 powered armour 4 0 6 6
6 powered armour +flak 3 -0.5 6.5 7
4 Armoured mount 2
1 5
6 Torquemada  armour 2 0 16 17.5 always saves on a 6 despite any modifiers
4 Mount 1
1 6
6 stasis field -1 0 25 8 total immunity cannot be used 2 turns in a row

The table combines WH40K RT and WHFB 2E

Calculating the costs of basic armour is very straightforward, and it is basically balancing two things, the defensive save given and the movement penalty caused by the weight of the armour.

  • Every point "to save" +1 PV.
  • Every half inch of movement penalty - 0.5PV
  • Effectiveness:  (i.e. shields only protect the front and stop using 2H weapons) then half points

If there is no movement penalty, the lightweight factor is used to increase the final PV:

Savelightweight factor

And that's the Point Values calculated for your basic armour types. In 40K RT some get rounded up, some down, it's a little bit arbitary. So there is some deviation between the Oldhammer and publish stats. We can live with that.

Needz Moar Roolz:

Intelligence levels

All armour requires a minimum Intelligence of 4, otherwise the creature is just too stupid to use it effectively (the Troll, for example) - however different technologies require higher intelligence. This is based on the points value paid for the armour.

PV costRequired Int

It should be noted that the required Intelligence score is that to use the equipment - not to manufacture it. So whilst it might take the Grand Artificier Grégoire Trozzolo III (Int 11) to forge a suit of Torquemada Armour, it only takes a Termite of 7 intelligence to use it. If a Magickal Grimoire, Operating Manual of High Age Technology, Spellbook, Eldritch Crystal or other such information source can be discovered that explains the proper installation and use of a given piece of equipment, and the user can roll under their Intelligence on 2D6, then they can learn to use the equipment. Such sources of information may be as rare or as common as the level of science-fantasy in the setting allows, the scenario demands, or the Games Master decides.

Natural save

Some monsters have naturally hard skin. "Scaly as a Troglodyte, tough as an Ent", as my old Gaffer used to say whilst pruning the rhubarb. To qualify for a natural save the creature must have a minimum Toughness value of 4 and for every 2 points of Toughness an additional 1 point of save may be bought at a cost of 1PV per point - the natural save is not automatically included in the base PV.

T      Save   PV

For example, a T10 Deth Ogre could be assined a natural save of 6 for +1PV or a natural save of 3 for +4PV.

Movement penalties do not apply to natural saves (nor does the lightweight factor). Natural saves cannot be bought as part of a Hero profile upgrade, it must be an inherent standard feature of the race. For heroes with unnatural mutations such as scaly skin this will be covered in the forthcoming Oldhammerish supplements: Reams of Khaös: The Lists and the Unplanned, and Moar Reams of Khaös: The Graves of Dorkness. (Deluxe limited edition hardback, £99).

X2 Type Armours

X2 Type Armours operate at an order of magnitude above ordinary armour. X2 Type Armour always gives a save despite modifiers on the roll of a certain number (i.e. Torquemada Armour always saves on a 6) these cost:

3.5 * the number of 'always save pips' * the calculated PV for the armour, rounded up.  

X2 Type Armour requires a minimum Intelligence  of 6. This type of armor automatically fails on a roll of 1, so it isn't impossible to cause a hit on it (even if the attacker using improvised weapons which give a +1 to Save).

Made from Genuine Teflonium

Many campaign settings contain a rare and wondrous material, Mithril, Adamantium, Pyrexil, Technetium or Teflonium. The basic rule for these materials is:
  • +1 save for their type
  • incur no movement penalties 
  • cost 50 times the PV of their equivalent normal items

Teflonium armour gives us some balance issues regarding expenditure to effectiveness. Power Armour looks incredibly cheap for its similar save and move when compared to a suit of Teflonium Plate and Shield. These issues can only really be addressed by world-building and judging the relative availability of materials. If one finds themselves in the unfortunate situation where they need to balance a unit of Teflonium armoured Wood Sprites against some Torquemada Armoured Kafflyk Spayce Nastzees, then I suggest both pay the lower price, and the excess PVs handed back to the player to be distributed elsewhere.

The Infinite Invulnerability Armour

Armour that would give invulnerability (i.e. saves on a 1+) and have no movement penalty will normally cost 50 points. Such armour, is of course plainly ridiculous, game-breaking, munchkin-riddlled idiocy, rendering the unit or character unkillable. Therefore they must be severely limited in some dramatic and entertaining  or otherwise strategically crippling manner - such as only useable in the first round of combat and disable the user from doing anything during that round (i.e. the Stasis Field [WH40KRT]) or having a 50% chance of transforming it's wearer into a GM controlled Greater Schpawn ov Khaös. (See RoK:LaU p.666) These detrimental effects subsequently halve the PV of an IIA to 25. Note, that Infinite Invulnerability armors still suffer save modifiers.

Ultimate Armour: Infinite Invulnerablility Teflonium Forged Torquemada Armour

Before you ask, a suit of of Teflonium Forged Torquemada armour would cost in the region of 2450 points, and it's wearer could still die of a pointy stick thrown at it by a gobbo. This is why people in the grim dark future do not wear helmets all the time, because a life without risk of death is pointless, no fun in a gaming environment.  If you wanted to add an  IIA-style force-field to that, then rest assured the ful PV will be matched by the forces of Khaös who come to reclaim the artefact as soon as it is used in combat.

Female Warrior in Infinite Invulnerablility
Teflonium Forged Torquemada Armour

Yes, I've started drawing She-ra Steampunk
WH40k Judge Dredd fan art with 8-bit accoutrements.

Spell-like effects

We've already discussed some spell-like effects with regards to Infinite Invulnerability armours. However some armours may have strange or detrimental effects. Such as the Conversion field [WH40K:RT] which blinds all those around it. Again, like all other effectiveness issues, these typically halve the points cost of any armour, and the effects may be negated with some additional equipment purchase (i.e. obligitary steampunk goggles at a cost of 0.5PV per model)

Beneficial spell like effects should be costed separately (as spells, runes, khaötic mutations or whathaveyou). The possibilities of magic items are wide ranging and varied and will be dealt with extensively in the forthcoming supplement Oldhammer: Reams of Cups and Saucery - an innovative beverage based magic system and tea-party mini-game that brings to life the awesome power of magic in the Oldhammer world (limited edition hardback £99, due December 2025).

Stacking Armour

Some armour is easily stackable. Chainmail armour can be combined with a metal breastplate and shield, for example. Or powered armour can be overlaid with leather (it's the 80's - even cyborg terminators sent from the future look better with a leather jacket on). Full PVs are paid for each piece of additional armour, with an additional movement penalty of 0.5" for stacking the armour (even if the armour itself has no movement penalties).

Armour of purely magical, ethereal or field-generator type can usually be added without movement penalty but no more than 2 of this type can be mixed (safely).

The Fear Factory

Finally, IIRC, correctly high tech weaponry causes Fear in those unaccustomed to it. So if the "tech level" of the armour is more than 2 points above the intelligence of an enemy within 6", it should cause Fear in that unit, unless otherwise immune.


Even a cursory comparison between Rogue Trader and WFB 2E shows that Powered armour is literally Full Plate without the movement penalty, and in that regard, it scales very nicely as medieval space armour. In a gritty pseudo-medieval setting, we can expect armour to slow you down, and super fast armour to be very expensive, wheras in a grimdark science fantasy we can expect super fast armour to be quite easily available to a certain Tech Level.

The only thing that messes up the scale is Mithril (Teflonium) - which in terms of a Tolkienesque setting makes perfect sense for its cost reflecting narrative scarcity, but if we want to expand out the system to encompass all types of fantasy / science fantasy, or rationalise our PVs into a purely tactically aligned system -  we have a bit of a hiccup. Potentially we could use Teflonium as a system-wide signifier for scarcity, so potentially anything could be made of Teflonium if the setting has some ultra-rare resource - in a stone age style game, bronze weapons could be effected by a Teflonium Modifier. But this begins to encompass situational modifiers which could be better handled by a full economics system.

The Natural Save section is based on examination of profiles of creatures like Trolls, Troglodytes and Treemen in 2nd Edition Warhammer, but to my knowledge the toughness/save/cost formula has never been explicitly published before, it is obvious that this is how the statlines were calculated.


  1. My brain isn't in the mood to closely examine the numbers.... but massive applause for the overall demeanor and intent. It really put me in the proper mood.

  2. Very well done on such a comprehensive look at armour in all its forms!

    I particularly like the intelligence levels required and the fear advanced forms of armour can cause in primitives - I want to go and buy a mighty fortress, populate it with fantasy Orcs and attack it with Dreadnoughts and Robots now!