Armor and shield player guide

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This guide is designed to help new and experienced players understand how armor works and how to create mixed armor setups.

Skillset Placement

Your guild can be armor-primary, armor-secondary, or armor-tertiary. The main consequence of your guild's armor skillset placement is to determine how quickly you learn armor skills. The better your skillset placement, the more field experience you can hold, and the more efficiently that field experience is converted into actual ranks. See Experience for a more detailed discussion.

Additionally, your skillset placement determines your access to skillset-based perks.

Primary Secondary Tertiary
Guilds Paladin Barbarian, Ranger, Trader all others1
arm-worn shields all sizes2 medium2 or small small
arm-worn shield protection penalty lowest average worst
ability to work down hindrance best average worst
armor mixing penalty none3 average worst
can avoid penalty to aiming/loading bows while wearing medium or small shields small shields4 no shield
extra stance points from the Defending skill every 50 ranks every 60 ranks every 70 ranks
more nuanced shield appraisal automatic requires shield ranks requires shield ranks
  1. Although Commoners are treated as having all secondary skillsets for experience drain purposes, they lack the other perks of secondary skillset placements.
  2. You must be at least 4th circle to take advantage of the ability to wear medium or large shields.
  3. Every 10 circles, Paladins gain the ability to negate the mixing penalty for one armor type, so that by 30th circle, they can wear all four armors without a mixing penalty.
  4. Barbarians and Rangers can avoid the penalty by arm-wearing a small shield. Traders cannot avoid this penalty.

Stats That Apply to Both


Wearing armor makes it more difficult for you to move in combat. Hindrance comes in two types:

  • maneuvering hindrance: penalizes all defenses, with evasion being most affected and shield being least affected
  • stealth hindrance: makes it more difficult to engage in stealthy actions such as hiding

Armor has separate maneuvering and stealth hindrance ratings, while shields impose equal maneuvering and stealth hindrance.

As you gain ranks in armor skills, you will experience less hindrance in that type of armor. How much hindrance you can work off depends on your skillset placement and the type of armor.

When you appraise a piece of armor you are wearing, you will see:

  • the base maneuvering and stealth hindrance for that piece
You feel certain that a heavy vardite plate cuirass with a reinforced design appears to impose noticeable (8/15) maneuvering hindrance and significant (10/15) stealth hindrance
  • how much maneuvering and stealth hindrance you are actually experiencing from it (usually lower than the base hindrance due to your skill)
If you were only wearing a heavy vardite plate cuirass with a reinforced design, your maneuvering would be barely hindered (1/14), and your stealth would be fairly hindered (5/14).
  • the total amount of maneuvering and stealth hindrance you are currently experiencing from all of the armor you're wearing.
But considering all the armor and shields you are wearing or carrying, you are currently fairly hindered (5/14), and your stealth is highly hindered (10/14).

Base Hindrance Levels, From Best to Worst:

Order Base Hindrance
0 no
1 insignificant
2 trivial
3 light
4 minor
5 fair
6 mild
7 moderate
8 noticeable
9 high
10 significant
11 great
12 extreme
13 debilitating
14 overwhelming
15 insane

Current Hindrance Levels, From Best to Worst:

Order Current Hindrance
0 unhindered
1 barely hindered
2 minimally hindered
3 insignificantly hindered
4 lightly hindered
5 fairly hindered
6 somewhat hindered
7 moderately hindered
8 rather hindered
9 very hindered
10 highly hindered
11 greatly hindered
12 extremely hindered
13 overwhelmingly hindered
14 insanely hindered

Construction/Durability and Condition

After the protection and hindrance stats, you will see a line like this:

You are certain that the plate cuirass is nearly impervious to damage (17/18)1 and is in pristine condition (100%)2.

Shields and armor become damaged during use. Though they cannot be permanently destroyed or weakened, you will need to periodically repair your equipment to experience peak performance. The first part of that appraisal tells you how durable the armor is. The more durable it is, the longer it takes for the armor to become damaged and need repairs.

Construction Levels, From Worst to Best:

Order Construction
1 extremely weak and easily damaged
2 very delicate and easily damaged
3 quite fragile and easily damaged
4 rather flimsy and easily damaged
5 particularly weak against damage
6 somewhat unsound against damage
7 appreciably susceptible to damage
8 marginally vulnerable to damage
9 of average construction
10 a bit safeguarded against damage
11 rather reinforced against damage
12 quite guarded against damage
13 highly protected against damage
14 very strong against damage
15 extremely resistant to damage
16 unusually resilient to damage
17 nearly impervious to damage
18 practically invulnerable to damage

The second part of that line tells you how much damage the armor has taken. When it gets below 80%, you will start to experience diminished performance:
Equipment Damage Levels, From Best to Worst:

Health Description
100% in pristine condition
91-99% practically in mint condition
81-90% in good condition
71-80% rather scuffed up
61-70% some minor scratches
51-60% a few dents and dings
41-50% several unsightly notches
31-40% heavily scratched and notched
21-30% badly damaged
0-20% battered and practically destroyed


Shields come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. In general, larger shields offer more protection but at the expense of greater weight and hindrance. (All shields have equal maneuvering and stealth hindrance.)

Additionally, not all sizes are equally suited for all attacks.

Size Melee Missile
small 100% 80%
medium 98% 90%
large 96% 100%

Shield Protection

When you appraise a shield, you will see a line like this:

You are certain that the shield offers good (12/26)1 to incredible (23/26)2 protection.

The first value is the "basic defense" (or minimum defense or low-end protection). This is a guaranteed minimum level of protection afforded to all adventurers, regardless of how skilled they are in using shields.

The second value is the "full defense" (or maximum defense or high-end protection). In order to take advantage of the shield's full defense, you need to have skill in shield usage. The higher the full defense rating, the more ranks are required to take full advantage of it.

Shield Protection Levels, From Worst to Best ("expanded scale" only visible to Paladins and skilled users):

Order Expanded
Order Standard
0 no 0 no
1 extremely terrible 1 extremely terrible
2 terrible
3 dismal 2 dismal
4 very poor
5 poor 3 poor
6 rather low
7 low 4 low
8 fair 5 fair
9 better than fair
10 moderate 6 moderate
11 moderately good
12 good 7 good
13 very good
14 high 8 high
15 very high
16 great 9 great
17 very great
18 exceptional 10 exceptional
19 very exceptional
20 impressive 11 impressive
21 very impressive
22 amazing 12 amazing
23 incredible
24 tremendous 13 tremendous
25 unbelievable
26 god-like 14 god-like

Wearing Shields

Depending on your guild and the size of the shield (see above), you may not actually need to hold it in the hand in order to use it. You may be able to ADJUST it so that it's worn on the arm.

Advantages of Arm-worn Shields

  • frees up the hands to allow use of two-handed weapons, including crossbows and bows
  • As long as you're in shield stance, you are ready to block any surprise attack.

Drawbacks of Arm-worn Shields

  • 20% decrease in protection (as opposed to holding it)
  • offensive and defensive penalty while using two-handed melee weapons with worn shields
  • penalty to aiming and loading bows (see above for exceptions)

Choosing a Shield

You should begin your training with a small shield. Depending on your budget, you will be able to choose from among a store-bought shield, a crafted leather shield, or a crafted metal shield. Player-made crafted shields will cost at least several platinum coins, so if you are just starting out pick up a reinforced cougar-hide targe from Bukor's Leatherworks (Knife Clan) until you can afford to upgrade.

At lower skill levels, try to maximize worn basic defense while minimizing hindrance. Most of the time you will be wearing a shield on your arm, so it's a good idea to compare the worn defense (not the higher held defense) between shields. Crafted metal small shields tend to offer higher basic defense at the cost of higher hindrance when compared to crafted leather small shields. If stealth matters, look for a lower hindrance leather shield. For those on a tight budget, consider acquiring boar-skin leather from wild boars or covellite from mining and finding a tailor or armorsmith to create your shield for a small fee.

At higher skill levels, most players favor crafted leather small shields because they offer similar or greater worn full defense to metal shields while having lower hindrance and weight.

For a skilled Paladin (150+ ranks of shield), a large metal shield is the most popular option (although some high-level Paladins say that a small diamond-hide shield outperforms a large vardite pavise shield at melee). Most other guilds prefer small leather shields, even those that are capable of wearing medium shields. Characters that rely heavily on stealth and evasion tend to prefer the smallest, least hindering shields.

Why don't more people use small metal shields?

Although small metal shields often have a good basic defense rating, they tend to be more hindering than their leather counterparts. However, there are some exceptions, such as the metal sipar, which can get down to 1/15 hindrance in lumium.

Why don't more people use medium shields?

Medium shields are not a popular choice. This is because most people either want to minimize hindrance, so they go with small shields, or they want to maximize protection, so they go with large shields. (Additionally, most guilds are only capable of wearing small shields.) Medium shields fall between the two, a niche for which there isn't much demand.

Why don't more people use large leather shields?

While large leather shields may be lighter and less hindering than their metal counterparts, they tend to have lower full defense ratings. Most people who use large shields are Paladins who want to maximize protection. Hindrance is less of an issue to them, because they rely on defenses (namely shield) that aren't as sensitive to hindrance. They don't usually want to reduce hindrance at the expense of protection.

Player-Made Shield Templates

When considering which type of player-made shield you want, the larger templates offer more protection but are usually more hindering and heavier. You can get an idea of the relative size of different templates by looking at the volume of material required to make them.

Leather Shields (Tailoring)

Size Template Volume Standard* Weight Standard* Hindrance Worn Basic Worn Full
small ordinary shield 8 32 03-light 02-terrible 07-low
small small shield 8 32 02-trivial 02-terrible 07-low
small targe 10 40 04-minor 02-terrible 08-fair
small target shield 12 48 02-trivial 01-e.terrible 07-low
medium buckler 12 48 ?? ?? ??
medium medium shield 16 64 ?? ?? ??
medium oval shield 20 80 ?? ?? ??
large kite shield 24 96 ?? ?? ??

* Note: Standard leather refers to goblin-skin leather with no modifications

Metal Shields (Armorsmithing)

Size Template Volume Standard* Weight Standard* Hindrance Worn Basic Worn Full
small target shield/round sipar/triangular sipar 14 70 02-trivial 04-v.poor 08-fair
small ordinary shield/targe/ceremonial shield 16 80 04-minor 05-poor 09-b.t.fair
medium medium shield 20 100 05-fair ?? ??
medium medium buckler/circular buckler/curved shield 20 100 ?? ?? ??
medium oval shield/skirmisher's shield/jousting shield 25 125 06-mild ?? ??
large kite shield/warrior's shield/aegis 30 150 08-noticeable ?? ??
large tower shield/battle shield/heater shield/war shield 40 200 10-significant ?? ??

* Note: Standard metal refers to 100% high-carbon steel with no modifications

Body Armor

DragonRealms differs from many other games in that any guild can wear any type of armor. As mentioned above, your guild's skillset placement simply determines how quickly you learn armor skills and how effectively you can reduce hindrance by training armor.

Body armor comes in four types: light, chain, brigandine, and plate. Modern light armor is less hindering than chain, which is less hindering than brigandine, which is less hindering than plate.

Light armor consists of cloth, leather, and bone armor. (Bone is a catch-all for any light armor that is not made of cloth or leather.) This is the lightest, least hindering armor. Light armor offers lower protection than the other types of armor, but it's also lighter and less hindering. This is one of the most popular armor types, especially among characters that rely heavily on stealth and evasion.

Chain armor or mail is made of small metal rings linked together to form a mesh. Most armor-tertiary guilds who don't opt for light armor use chain armor.

Brigandine is made of overlapping metal scales, bands, or small plates. It is not commonly used as a primary armor for the same reason that medium shields are not popular: that most people either want to minimize hindrance, so they go with light or chain armor, or they want to maximize protection, so they go with plate armor. Brigandine falls between the two, a niche for which there isn't much demand.

Plate armor is made of articulated metal plates. The heaviest and most hindering armor, plate is the primary armor of choice for Paladins. Plate is not a popular choice for armor-tertiary guilds due to its extreme hindrance.

Armor Protection and Absorption

Armor protects against six different types of damage:

  • Physical: puncture, slice, impact
  • Elemental: fire, cold, electrical

For each type of damage, there are two defense ratings:

  • Protection: An armor's protection reduces incoming damage by a flat amount, making it ideal for dealing with light hits. While it may not reduce damage by as much as absorption (the other stat), protection tends to be the stat that reduces damage to 0.
Protection is heavily modified by a skill contest of your armor factor versus the attacker's offensive factor. (Armor factor is armor skill and a few other modifiers. Offensive factor is weapon skill and some other modifiers.) With low armor skill (compared to the attacker), your armor loses all of its protection.
  • Absorption: An armor's absorption reduces damage by a percentage, making it ideal for mitigating large hits. However, absorption generally won't reduce damage to 0. (That's what protection does.) In player-made armor, absorption generally correlates with the density of the material used.
Unlike protection, absorption is not severely penalized by lack of armor skill. It is only modified slightly by a skill contest of your armor factor versus the attacker's offensive factor.

Armor Protection Levels, From Worst to Best:

Order Protection
0 no
1 poor
2 low
3 fair
4 moderate
5 good
6 very good
7 high
8 very high
9 great
10 very great
11 extreme
12 exceptional
13 incredible
14 amazing
15 unbelievable

Armor Absorption Levels, From Worst to Best:

Order Absorption
0 no
1 very poor
2 poor
3 low
4 somewhat fair
5 fair
6 moderate
7 good
8 very good
9 high
10 very high
11 great
12 very great
13 extreme
14 exceptional
15 incredible
16 amazing
17 unbelievable

Choosing Body Armor

Although strictly speaking, you will get the best performance by choosing one type of armor and sticking with it, the majority of players prefer to train multiple armors to earn extra TDPs for raising stats. At low levels, the TDPs gained from ranks is quite small, but it grows substantially over time. An additional advantage of training multiple armors is the added flexibility you have down the road. If you manage to come across a really good piece of armor for a skill you don't train, it could take a very long time to back train the ranks to use it at level.

All other things being equal, the armor experience gained per attack defended is split is solely based on % area covered and is not affected by the individual hindrance of the piece.

TDPs From Armor Ranks

Ranks 1 Armor 2 Armors 3 Armors 4 Armors
50 6 12 18 24
100 25 50 75 100
150 56 112 168 224
200 100 200 300 400
250 156 312 468 624
500 626 1,252 1,878 2,504
750 1,408 2,816 4,224 5,632
1,000 2,502 5,004 7,506 10,008
1,250 3,909 7,818 11,727 15,636
1,500 5,628 11,256 16,884 22,512
1,750 7,660 15,320 22,980 30,640

Drawbacks of Mixing Armor

  • Mixed armor penalty to hindrance for every additional armor type worn at the same time. (In other words, your total hindrance will be greater than the sum of the hindrance from each piece of armor.)
As mentioned earlier, every 10 circles Paladins gain the ability to negate the mixing penalty for one armor type so that by 30th circle they can wear all four armors without a mixing penalty.
  • Even without the mixing penalty, the more of your body that is covered by heavier armors the more hindered you will be. This is felt most keenly by armor-tertiary guilds and those who rely heavily on stealth and evasion.
  • Paladins who prefer to wear plate are sacrificing protection for parts of the body covered by the lighter armors.

Coverage Areas

When wearing armor, the experience that you get -- and the hindrance that you experience -- is based on the amount of the body covered by that armor. For example, if you were wearing full plate with brigandine accessories, 79% of your armor experience would go to plate armor, and the remaining 21% of your armor experience would go to brigandine. Moreover, 79% of your total hindrance would be attributed to your plate armor, whereas 21% of your hindrance would be attributed to your brigandine armor. (You can check your total hindrance by APPRAISING a piece of armor you are wearing.)

The experience/hindrance percentages were initially calculated by the player of Codiax[1]. Ataelos derived the values below through extensive research.

Area Exp/Hind Cloth Leather Bone Chain Brigandine Plate
head/eyes/neck 15% cowl cowl balaclava balaclava sallet/armet/great helm
head/eyes 10% bascinet/visored helm/closed helm
head/neck 13% hood helm helm helm helm
head 8% cap cap cap cap cap dome helm/morion/barbute
eyes 2% mask mask mask mask mask mask
neck/chest/back 35% mantle mantle mantle mantle mantle
neck 5% aventail aventail aventail aventail aventail aventail
torso/arms/legs 79% hauberk leathers hauberk hauberk hauberk full plate/fluted plate
torso/arms 53% shirt coat coat shirt shirt half plate
torso/legs 65% robe robe robe robe robe field plate
torso 39% tabard jerkin tabard lorica lorica cuirass
chest/back 30% vest vest vest vest vest
chest 15% breastplate
abdomen 9% tasset tasset tasset tasset tasset fauld
back 15% backplate
arms/hands 20% sleeves sleeves sleeves sleeves sleeves sleeves
arms 14% vambraces vambraces vambraces vambraces vambraces vambraces
hands 6% gloves gloves gloves gloves gloves gauntlets
legs 26% pants greaves greaves greaves greaves greaves

You can use this chart to created mixed armor setups that divide experience as evenly as possible. For example, if you wanted to train chain armor and light armor, you might try a chain robe (torso/legs), and a leather cowl (head/eyes/neck) and sleeves (arms/hands). When choosing where to put which types of armor, it is often advisable to put the most protection on your vital areas (head, neck, chest, abdomen, and back).

For those who are considering whether to buy one large piece of armor or several small pieces of the same type (for example, a ring hauberk versus a ring lorica + ring vambraces + ring greaves), it takes the same amount of material. Here are the advantages of each approach:

Advantages of Larger Pieces of Armor

  • reduced item count (as few as three for a full suit of armor)
  • reduced time required to repair your armor (fewer pieces)
  • reduced roundtime for removing all armor in combat (since you are reducing the number of pieces to remove)
  • If you are trying to alter a complete suit of armor, it requires fewer sessions (as well as sometimes being easier to design).
  • When looking at your worn items, your description will not be as cluttered (assuming you don't have any items that conceal armor).
  • Combining coverage areas means you are less likely to take up limited inventory slots used by other types of items. (For example, aventails use a neck slot, which is commonly used by items with special mechanics. Masks use the only nose slot. Backplates use a shirt with armor slot. Tassets and faulds use a waist slot.)

Advantages of Smaller Pieces of Armor

  • reduced weight
  • reduced hindrance
  • Smaller pieces of armor are easier to craft, requiring less skill to get the most out of rare materials.
  • If you later decide to mix armor, it is less expensive to have a few accessories made than to pay for a whole new setup.

Player-Made Armor Templates

As with shields, you will eventually want to upgrade to player-made armor when you can afford it.

Light Armor

Player-made light armor comes in three material types, which each have three different styles. Each style requires the same amount of material to make and (all other things being equal) will be pretty similar in total stats. Light armor styles differ in which kinds of damage they favor (offer better protection against) or disfavor (offer less protection against).

Cloth Armor (Tailoring)

Style Favors Disfavors
Quilted puncture
Padded slice
Insulated impact puncture

Leather Armor (Tailoring)

Style Favors Disfavors
Rugged puncture
Thick impact
Coarse slice

Bone Armor (Carving)

Style Favors Disfavors
Segmented N/A N/A
Notched slice impact
Ribbed impact puncture/slice

Metal Armor

Player-made metal armor comes in three types, which each have three different styles. Unlike light armor, the three styles of each metal armor are effectively three tiers of protection. For each type of armor, there is a light, a medium, and a heavy style.

Heavier styles:

  • offer superior protection (absorption is based on metal density and unchanged across styles)
  • are more hindering
  • weigh more
  • require more metal to make

Metal Armor (Armorsmithing)

Type Light Medium Heavy
Chain ring chain mail
Brigandine scale brigandine lamellar
Plate light plate plate heavy plate
Plate (head) dome helm morion barbute
Plate (head/eyes) bascinet visored helm closed helm
Plate (head/eyes/neck) sallet armet great helm
  • Armor-tertiary and armor-secondary guilds usually prefer the light styles of metal armor, especially if they rely heavily on evasion.
  • Paladins (armor-primary) prefer the heavy styles, although sometimes you see novices with low strength and stamina using the light styles.
Commonly Used Materials

Metal armor material cliff notes:

  • If you want cheap and light, buy covellite.
  • If you want minimum hindrance, buy minimum density lumium.
  • If you want great all-around protection, buy maximum density high carbon steel.
  • If you want better physical protection than steel, buy maximum density damite.
  • If you have a fortune to blow, consult with an armorsmith about the rarest metals.

For a direct comparison of metal qualities, see forging materials.

  • Steel: This is the standard material for metal armor. It is a significant improvement over storebought armor. Affordable.
  • Covellite: Slightly less protection than steel, but significantly lighter, less hindering and much better durability. Affordable.
  • Lumium: Almost the protection of steel, but can be made lighter and less hindering because it has lower density. Pretty affordable, about twice as expensive as steel, has twice the durability of steel, with better elemental and thermal protection.
  • Damite: Superior to steel in protection, but heavier and more hindering. Expensive, about fifty times more expensive than lumium.
  • Kadepa: Similar to damite (though with slightly less absorption, and better cold/fire defense). About twice as expensive as damite.
  • Audrualm: Higher absorption and better cold/fire defense at the same weight and hindrance as lumium. Three to five times the cost of damite.
  • Silversteel: Slightly lower elemental, but the same physical protection as audrualm. Practically invulnerable to damage. Six to eight times the cost of damite.
  • Icesteel: Highest elemental protection, but the physical protection is slightly less than steel. Hard to find in large quantities, and about ten times the cost of damite.
  • Vardite: Same physical protection as tyrium, with higher electrical defense and slightly less cold/fire defense. It is pretty hard to find in large quantities. About ten times the cost of damite.
  • Tyrium: Makes very rounded metal armor with the best physical and consistent elemental protection. Finding it in quantities needed for armor is practically impossible; it is almost always used for weapons instead. At least thirty times the cost of damite.

Armor Enhancements

Player-made shields and armor (except bone armor) can also be enhanced in the following ways:

  • tempering/sealing: improves construction/durability (this should always be done)
  • lightening/trimming: decreases weight by 10% (without affecting protection or hindrance)
  • reinforcing: increases protection, hindrance, and weight
There may be a bug with reinforcing shields. No one I know has ever seen the shield's protection increase, but the weight and hindrance still increase. So at this time, I would not recommend reinforcing your shield. --ISHARON (talk) 17:12, 4 September 2015 (CDT)

You can reinforce or lighten but not both, as they are mutually exclusive processes. These enhancements are permanent, so choose wisely.

When looking at player-made armor, enhancements may show up in the following ways. (You can also RUB the armor with a cleaning cloth to see which enhancements have been done.)

Armor Enhancements

Type Tempering Lightening Reinforcing
Leather Shield sealed/sealed with protective wax lightened/with fitted seams reinforced/with a reinforced design
Metal Shield tempered/with a tempered face lightened/with a trimmed face reinforced/with a reinforced design
Cloth Armor sealed/sealed with protective wax lightened/with fitted seams reinforced/with a reinforced design
Leather Armor sealed/sealed with protective wax lightened/with fitted seams reinforced/with a reinforced design
Bone Armor N/A N/A N/A
Chain Armor tempered/crafted from tempered links lightened/with trimmed links reinforced/with a reinforced design
Brigandine tempered/crafted from tempered scales/bands lightened/with trimmed scales/bands reinforced/with a reinforced design
Plate Armor tempered/crafted from tempered plates lightened/with trimmed plates reinforced/with a reinforced design

Shopping Guide


You can either browse Elanthipedia's shops, or you can use the query pages to find something more specific. The query pages allow you to specify types, minimum or maximum stats, etc. When using the queries, you may want to exclude festival, quest, and auction merchandise by scrolling down to where it says "Rare?" and choosing "only not." (Be aware that the queries may not retrieve items that were added to Elanthipedia after the server move of May 2014.)

Remember, Crossing's grizzled old war veteran will also trade you for your starter armor if you don't desire leather.


You can either go directly to the crafter and order something to your specifications, or you can browse the player-owned shops in the market plazas.