2017-04-21 Armor Pieces

A long time ago, I ran an M20 game in fantasy Japan. The weapon rules are available in English. The armor rules are available in German. This blog post is supposed to fix this.


Shields are hardly ever used. But you can use a tessen to defend yourself for AC +1 if you don’t attack this round.

Medium or Heavy Armour

If you care about how heavily armoured an opponent is, use the following:

Type AC
light armour AC +1 to +2
medium armour AC +3 to +4
heavy armour AC +5 and up

Simple Armor

Ashigaru are common soldiers and militia men. Their armour provides AC +3 and costs 25 gp.

Shinobi are assassins and spies. Their light armour allows them to move silently and hide in shadows. It provides AC +2 and costs 15 gp.


Warriors use various pieces of armour. Japanese armour consists of various pieces. Having a full set is rare. Armour is usually kept in a wooden box.

Armour AC Price
Dō (chest) +2 20
Kote (sleeves and gauntlets) +1 20
Suneate (shin guards) +1 20
Kusazuri (thigh, requires dō) and haidate (upper legs) +1 20
Sode (shoulder, requires dō) +1 20
Nodowa (throat and neck, requires sode) +1 20
Wakibiki (armpit, requires sode) +1 20
Kabuto (helmet) +1 20
Mempo (face mask, requires kabuto) +1 20

A full set grants AC +10 and costs 180 gp.

Low AC Games

If you prefer low AC games, and you use a Death & Dismemberment table, I have a solution for you.

Armour Effect
Dō (chest) AC +2
Kote (sleeves and gauntlets) arms cannot be cut off
Suneate (shin guards) legs cannot be cut off
Kusazuri (thigh, requires dō) and haidate (upper legs) AC +1
Sode (shoulder, requires dō) AC +1
Nodowa (throat and neck, requires sode) head cannot be cut off
Wakibiki (armpit, requires sode) AC +1
Kabuto (helmet) no fainting
Mempo (face mask, requires kabuto) no loss of eyes or teeth

The best armour now provides just AC +5. Remember: no shields! But you’re still hard to kill because you are now immune to many injuries.

Best case, using the table from Halberds and Helmets:

2 decapitation /avoided/
3 fatal wound 💀
4 severed limb /avoided/
5 broken bone
6 ⅔ of painful losses /avoided/ (nose, eye, ear, teeth)
7–8 knock out /avoided/, just stunned
9 stun avoided, just knocked down
10 knocked down
11 no effect
12 adrenaline surge

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