[Fantasy Craft] A Visual Guide to the Descriptive Armor Rules using Final Fantasy Characters.

Another day, another subsystem of Fantasy Craft to fiddle with.  Today we take a look at Fantasy Craft’s Descriptive Armor rules.  These are a slightly more complicated, but rather amusing modification to the standard armor rules in d20.  That said, I won’t copy and paste the actual rules, but I will say that they have rules for:

  • Coverage – There’s Partial armor, which usually involves only the torso, and Moderate, which is more of a suit that protects your torso and legs.  There are also Fittings, which protect your extremities.  Gloves, boots and helmets fall under this category.
  • Type – The Partial and Moderate armors are divided to different types, from Leather to Full Plate, each one bestowing a different mix of the standard penalties and benefits against certain types of damage.
  • Customization – This is where it gets fun.  Armor can then be upgraded or customized, with a corresponding increase in cost, changing it’s aesthetic (say to appear more like ordinary clothing) or function (making it fireproof.)

So, how does this system fall into place?  Well, maybe we’ll do better with a visual example.  Enter then, the characters from Final Fantasy Dissidia.

Let’s start off with Tidus, of Final Fantasy X.

Tidus of Final Fantasy X
Tidus of Final Fantasy X

As you can see, Tidus here doesn’t really wear much in terms of armor.  In fact, the only things I can see that might qualify for any form of armor would be the gauntlet, the boots and the leather shoulderpad.  As such he would probably only qualify has having 3 Fittings, which qualify for Light Fittings, granting the following benefits:

  • Damage Reduction (DR) 1
  • -1 Armor Check Penalty, (ACP, a penalty applied to all physical skill checks)
  • -4 Disguise Check Penalty

Let’s just hope that Tidus is a spry fellow, since that really isn’t a lot of protection to go by.

Next up, Sephiroth

Sephiroth, Final Fantasy 7's Mama's Boy Villain
Sephiroth, Final Fantasy 7's Mama's Boy Villain

Sephiroth is a step in the right direction, sorta.  His most obvious piece of armor are the two shoulder pads and the boots.  However his trenchcoat and whatever S&M torso thing he’s wearing under it is also made of leather.  Add leather gloves and he’s certainly got some armor on him.  Let’s take a look at the benefits in total (Moderate Leather Armor + Light Fittings)

  • DR 3
  • Fire Resistance 5
  • -1 Defense Penalty (Penalty applied to Defense Rolls to avoid getting hit)
  • -1 ACP
  • -5 ft. Speed Penalty
  • -4 Disguise Penalty

Not bad.  Sephiroth has much more protection than Tidus, without sacrificing too much of his ability to dodge and weave.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the Warrior of Light:

Warrior of Light from Final Fantasy 1

Well, now that’s certainly more like it.  It’s clear to see here that the Warrior is clad in Moderate Plate Mail.  The helmet, gauntlet, boots and shoulder pads put him squarely in the Heavy Fittings category (4-5 items).  Lastly, he’s also carrying a Metal Shield, which benefits him by giving him a +2 bonus to his Defense Score.  Given that, his total bonuses are:

  • DR 7
  • Blunt Weapon Resistance 2
  • -2 DP (-4 total +2 from the Metal Shield)
  • -4 ACP
  • -10 ft. SpeedPenalty
  • Obvious, cannot be disguised

Here we’ve got the other, extreme end of the spectrum.  The Warrior of light won’t be pulling any fancy acrobatics like Tidus probably could, and he’d have a tough time swimming with that -4 ACP.  He’s also slower too, only able to trudge 20 ft if his movement was the standard 30.  However, it does pay off in sheer Damage Reduction.  Negating 7 entire points of damage on a hit is definitely something worth paying for, and the nature of his armor makes him very difficult to hit with a Called Shot.


Again, Fantasy Craft seems to be the product of remarkable thought.  I like how the Descriptive Armor system works, and how well it lends itself to visuals.  Of course, I’m pretty sure that there are certainly a lot more players that focus on the numbers more than how their character actually looks.


    • Amusingly there is a way to do this.

      – Grab Partial Platemail.
      – Apply the Fitted customization (Reduces ACP and DP due to being customized for a single person)
      – Apply the Lightened customization (Reduces the Movement Penalty)

      The result is a form fitting, lightweight armor that gives damage reduction without as much penalties.

      or alternately,

      You could eschew Armor altogether and decide to pick up the Elusive Feat, that grants Dodge bonuses to your Defense Save in exchange for accuracy.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Stargazer!

      I credit Fantasy Craft for all of this. It’s re-ignited my interest in the fantasy gaming genre, and has given a great ruleset that caters to both my love of good crunchy rules, and good stories.

  1. A scale that goes from “Partial” to “Moderate” is as dumb as Starbucks’ scale that starts at “Tall.” It’s just inelegant naming since it leads you to expect a “Full” category.

    • To be fair, I think they broke it down because the equivalent of Full includes all the fittings to go along with it. Maybe it doesn’t bother me quite as much because English isn’t my first language. As such it didn’t occur to me to look for a “Full” category at all.

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