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I started writing a response to the "armor doesn't cripple and is only a minor point" comment, but I felt I was getting too confrontational and gave up. I'm even willing to assume that all armor in a game is of such superlative construction that one can still sneak and pick pockets while wearing it. If the discussion is about archetypes, even the solely positive effects of wearing armor change who you are, in much the same way openly carrying an assault rifle or pistol does now. Anyone who wears armor openly is saying, "I am willing to get in a fight, and I believe I will win that fight." The brazen willingness to fight changes a character's role outside of combat as much as in.

To the extent thieves are an archetype distinct from fighters, I think it's in large part because a thief believes fights can be avoided. Even if armor doesn't cripple a thief's ability to hide and flee, it certainly cripples its ability to pretend that the thought of provoking violent conflict never crossed its mind.

Of course, this only makes sense in a setting with civilization. In a frontier setting where goblins or worse might attack at any time, anyone not wearing armor is clearly either up to something, or expecting to be protected by someone more capable.

agreed, on all counts. The cleric maybe gets an unfair out there: he can say "it's OK, I'm a doctor," or "I wear armour because my cause is just and I'm basically non-violent except against evil."

I was going to add an addendum that D&D is still obviously a fighter's game: just compare the treatment given to polearms and to thieves' tools for evidence. That's partly, I think, because the default setting of the game is the dungeon - the epitome of an uncivilized, target-rich environment.

or open a chest in plate (like modern bomb-disposal experts
** OK, this may not be fair: Kevlar would probably be classified as a kind of magic leather.

But BDU armor is a lot heavier than Kevlar. In the spirit of this discussion, I checked its weight in GURPS High-Tech (not having d20 Modern close to hand) and it comes to 65 lbs.; as close as I can estimate from the GURPS Basic Set, a complete set of plate mail weighs about 72 lbs.

and it contains ceramic plates held in a tough but flexible webbing, no? I hereby christen it "plate mail." Thanks for the correction.

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