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Game Items that protect from damage.

Armor is game items that protect characters or avatars from various forms of damage. They can be armor similar to that in the real world or be fictive concepts such as magical defenses or high-tech force fields.


Often being combat-oriented, many Roleplaying Games have detailed rules for armor, e.g. Dungeons and Dragons, GURPS, and Hârnmaster, as well as the Dragon Age, Neverwinter Nights, and Elder Scrolls series. The Fallout series contain a multitude of armors (and clothing) that not only offer players protection but also bonuses to skills and attributes. They do however deteriorate with use, as do the armors in The Elder Scrolls series, Entropia Universe, and World of Warcraft.

The armor in the Doom and Quake series are abstracted to a number which is decreased by attacks and improved by finding new Armor or armor shards.

Minecraft allows players to craft their own armor out of a variety of material, including leather, iron, and diamond gems.

Using the pattern

The two main design choices for Armor is how it much each piece of Armor should protect from Damage and which Avatars and Characters can use each piece. A fundamental choice is however if Armor should be a Resource and then typically available as Pick-Ups, or Game Items and then be Equipment. Depending on if they are Resources or Game Items, the design choices associated with these patterns should also be consulted when designing Armor. While Armor can be Game Items in their own right, they can also effects provided by Installations or Vehicles.

While some games limit use of Armor to specific classes, often more or less the same as Functional Roles, others make the useful only to specific Characters (e.g. Dragon Age II). Related to this is how many pieces of Armor may be used, it is common to use a Equipment Slot system so that only one piece of a particular type of Armor (e.g. helmet, breastplate, etc.) can be equipped at the same time, or that there are rules for layering armor (e.g. GURPS and Hârnmaster).

Like for most Equipment, there are several options for Armor. One is to assign a weight to them as a way to affect carrying capabilities, another is to make them be affected by Deterioration. For providing Trade-Offs or Balancing Effects, Armor can modulating Skills or Attributes by giving Decreased Abilities. Determining if Upgrades should be available is another option, and if they are if these should make use of a Sockets system. For games using Sets, it is common to have Sets of Armor or possible combinations of Weapons and Armor. Another option is to let Damage affect Armor (besides Health typically). This combination creates a form of indirect Energy Penalties since losing all Armor doesn't lead to Life Penalties but makes it more likely.

Common ways of letting players get access to Armor is as part of Loot, through Trading, or as Pick-Ups (when they are a Resource). For games with Endgame phases, otherwise not available Armor may be Loot from Endgame Quests to provide means for players to improve even if they have reached the last development stages (typically Character Levels).

Diegetic Aspects

It is quite common to change the visual appearance of Avatars if they are equipped with Armor, both to indicate this status to the players controlling them and those players encountering them.

Interface Aspects

In games where Armor is to be used as part of Live Action Roleplaying, they may need to not only look like real Armor but also provide some protection.


Armor is a way to modulate how Combat takes place through protecting the Health of Avatars or Characters. While for the one using the Armor this is most likely seen as an Improved Ability regarding Combat, it can by others be seen as a way of giving them Decreased Abilities in afflicting Damage.

When Armor exists as Game Items, they need to be Equipment so that players can choose which Armor to use.


Can Instantiate

Decreased Abilities, Equipment, Game Items, Improved Abilities, Resources, Sets

with Damage

Energy Penalties

with Decreased Abilities

Balancing Effects, Trade-Offs

Can Modulate

Avatars, Characters, Combat, Damage, Health

with Decreased Abilities

Attributes, Skills

Can Be Instantiated By

Installations, Vehicles

Can Be Modulated By

Decreased Abilities, Deterioration, Endgame Quests, Equipment Slots, Live Action Roleplaying, Loot, Pick-Ups, Trading, Upgrades

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created for this wiki by Staffan Björk.