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There are two types of hindrance: maneuvering hindrance and stealth hindrance. Both types can be estimated by appraising a piece of armor.

Maneuvering Hindrance

Maneuvering hindrance is the degree to which armor interferes with the ability to move (and therefore evade attacks). Heavier types of armor are generally more hindering. It's also harder to maneuver when more than one class of armor is worn (e.g., plate and chain).

Maneuvering hindrance can be reduced by training armor. How much you can reduce this hindrance depends on your guild and the type of armor.

Stealth Hindrance

Stealth hindrance is the degree to which armor interferes with your ability to hide, stalk, and perform other stealthy actions. The degree of stealth hindrance depends on the type and coverage of armor. (Plate armor is more difficult to hide in than leather; similarly, a hauberk is more hindering than a pair of gloves.) A shield's stealth hindrance increases with the size of the shield.

Stealth hindrance can be worked off with armor ranks, and the more stealthy Guilds do get a bonus to working it down.

Thieves and Rangers have passive stealth bonuses, and therefore, they normally have less stealth hindrance than other guilds.

Hindrance Values

Hindrance Levels, From Best to Worst:

Order Base Hindrance Current Hindrance
0 no unhindered
1 insignificant barely
2 trivial minimally
3 light insignificantly
4 minor lightly
5 fair fairly
6 mild somewhat
7 moderate moderately
8 noticeable rather
9 high very
10 significant highly
11 great greatly
12 extreme extremely
13 debilitating overwhelmingly
14 overwhelming insanely
15 insane