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Old 06-02-2017, 08:31 PM   #1
Klark
 
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Default [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

Should Light/Diaphanous style body armor (p. UT175) be subject to the same rules for laying armor that more traditional pieces of protective gear follow? Both Light and Diaphonous styles explicitly mention being easily worn under clothing, and the examples given--underwear, t-shirts, lingerie, etc.--imply we're looking at exceptionally thin armor.

The crux of the issue is that, RAW, any article of clothing that grants DR is armor, and layering armor means DX penalties; it is not tied to weight or thickness. A 1mm-thick stretchy, flexible, and light ultra-tech t-shirt grants DR, so wearing actual armor over it restricts movement significantly. On the flip side, a low-tech gambeson is quite thick but grants DR 0, so layering it is kosher (and in fact is required to have properly-fitting armor).

The current rules for layering work fine in low-tech and modern games; for clothing to offer protection, it has to be pretty thick, so adding additional layers of armor is a quick way to become a clumsy mess. However, once we get to the point of UT's ultra-light ultra-strong materials, tying the penalty to DR alone begins having some issues.

I searched the forums for similar questions, but most people seemed to be asking if they could layer two tacsuits under clamshell or things like that.
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

I would probably say that realistically under a certain weight/thickness, a piece of armored clothing won't restrict your movement that much when layered.

I've seen people layer two t-shirts without affecting their movement, but adding a third layer on top of that begins to restrict them. In this case, I'd say that if the innermost layer is diaphanous (not really sure about 'light'), it does not count towards the layering penalties. (Of course, realistically, it won't protect all that well anyway...)

but YMMV, of course.
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Old 06-03-2017, 03:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

Here's what I've been doing, and it's working nicely enough so far. There are assorted "armor design" articles in Pyramid that include "maximum DR" values, which represent the maximum practical amount of armor. If you have half that value for flexible armor, it counts as "clothing," which means you can have up to twice that DR without causing any sort of problem. Ergo, it seems reasonable that you can wear two layers of such DR without a problem. If you wore two layers of maximum DR, though, that exceeds the normal maximum and at that point, I would argue for layering penalties.

This seems to fit how composite armor layers work, such as a vest with ballistic inserts. The vest is typically half maximum DR, and the inserts tend to be less than what a full hardsuit would offer as well, and nobody minds that you insert ("layer") one set of DR atop the other, but that's because of the thickness.

This also neatly explains what happens if you make "super-heavy" armor that exceeds the maximum DR: you get layering penalties, or -1 DX from dealing with overly thick armor.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

I've been treating Diaphonaous/Giant Spider silk as half a layer, and dropping fractions for DX penalties purposes. But I actually like Mailanka's solution better now that I have read it.

I do use all three of Mr. Pluver's armor design articles instead of base Low-Tech/High-Tech/Ultra-Tech. Still, with the exception of High-Tech armors, you could follow Mailanka's guidance with the usual armor design rules too.

The solution to "3 T-shirts are restricting" is to charge the +0.2CF to make outer layers garnitures (Low-tech p.109). Basically, tailor the outside T-Shirts to account for your increased size. Still limit things by total max DR though.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

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Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
Here's what I've been doing, and it's working nicely enough so far.
This is such a great idea, I think it killed the thread. I'm totally stealing it.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

Realistically, part of the problem with layering armor is the layers may slip or stick in situations where you don't want them doing that; get out your needle and thread and sew the layers together and things will magically get better. Diaphanous materials don't help with that.

One thing that does help is loose tolerances on one of the layers, but armor usually doesn't have loose tolerances (clothing is often loose).
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

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Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
I've seen people layer two t-shirts without affecting their movement, but adding a third layer on top of that begins to restrict them.
If the third layer were a size larger, I bet it would restrict less (much like a jacket is large compared to the t-shirt, button-down, and sweater you might wear under it).

Speaking of t-shirts, this thread reminds me of the old layering enchanted fortify t-shirts trick.
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Old 06-07-2017, 03:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

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Originally Posted by Culture20 View Post
If the third layer were a size larger, I bet it would restrict less (much like a jacket is large compared to the t-shirt, button-down, and sweater you might wear under it).

Speaking of t-shirts, this thread reminds me of the old layering enchanted fortify t-shirts trick.
I'd read about the abuse of that in 3e, and was wondering if it's still fairly abusable in 4e. T-shirts don't have any DR, but the first casting of Fortify adds DR 1. Layering two tees both with Fortify 4 gets you DR 8....

Mind, I'd probably rule that that particular type armor has at most DR 1* per layer vs crushing damage. o/`
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

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Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
This seems to fit how composite armor layers work, such as a vest with ballistic inserts. The vest is typically half maximum DR, and the inserts tend to be less than what a full hardsuit would offer as well, and nobody minds that you insert ("layer") one set of DR atop the other, but that's because of the thickness.
IME contemporary military body armor (especially the MTV) ought to inflict a -1 DX penalty.
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Old 06-09-2017, 04:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: [UT] Layering Light/Diaphanous Body Armor

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Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
I'd read about the abuse of that in 3e, and was wondering if it's still fairly abusable in 4e. T-shirts don't have any DR, but the first casting of Fortify adds DR 1. Layering two tees both with Fortify 4 gets you DR 8....

Mind, I'd probably rule that that particular type armor has at most DR 1* per layer vs crushing damage. o/`
There are two schools of thought. Kromm posted that only the strongest enchantment should work with any layered armor, because: magic. Others noted that if the GM wants to allow layered fortifies, the T-shirt trick balances due to penetrations (5 per layer) canceling the enchantments. Not great versus a shotgun or group of enemies. Essentially ablative DR.
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