As far as I know, Tolkien's works featured no armor heavier than chain mail, in general, and this is also what the rules reflect in The One Ring RPG. The movie adaptations, however, depict--apparently going "against the canon", yet rather believably and attractively, design-wise :)--more advanced forms of armor, up to a kind of half-plate for standard units and unique full plate for elites. (Mind you, the designers took great care not to turn LotR into something explicitly medieval-looking, fortunately.)

Are there (semi-)official rules for advanced armor like half-plate in/"around" The One Ring? If so, where? (If not, how would you import them into the RPG, if at all?)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why not simply add a d6 for protection and a commiserate penalty in encumbrance and/or dexterity, or their equivalent? \$\endgroup\$
    – user2102
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 21:42

3 Answers 3


How do you want to play the game? Canon or ... movie adaptation ... or a clever mix? My answer is: go where your players will lead the story and develop their PCs, and as GM you find you need to challenge the PCs.

I concur that the TOR designers were very diligent about JRRT's world, as they should have been. Their deep study of JRRT's writings outside of the published work comes though in the final product.

I have read the trilogy and the Hobbit as recently as last year and I would be hard pressed to tell you what armor was or was not portrayed in the books. I would also say most readers would be hard pressed to tell you JRRT's world design. Moreover, I believe most players, though maybe not yours, are going to be influenced by the visuals of the movies than the minds-eye.

I suspect that most players, and your biggest challenge as GM, will be explaining JRRT canon to player(s) wondering why their dual sword wielding, half breed goblin, that forsook his warren to join Gondor's Citadel Guards, can't have his custom fitted half plate. :)

My recommendation is to follow the advice of @joshua-drake and refine as needed. It's tempting to get "into the weeds" of canon, however I would err on the side of "fun" instead.


I would say that it could be done, but the encumbrance should be crippling enough to point out the flaws in a small adventuring band carrying around armor-unless the party has a wagon, you'll have to carry that in a pack or wear it and it would be incredibly exhausting, and there should be a noticeable impact on combat performance that involves movement.

There's a reason Tolkien didn't include plate armor in any of the descriptions, and it's because people who could use it were on custom bred warhorses that were heavier than the steeds of Rohan and would be pretty much sitting ducks elsewhere.


There are heavier armours than the 5D of a hauberk... but they are not for PC's. Specifically, the armor of a cold drake is 6d. (Troll-scale is only 3D to 4D, for comparison.)

The best armor I can find described in the novels is "brazen plates" (Ch 4 of The Two Towers):

Sam, eager to see more, went now and joined the guards. He scrambled a little way up into one of the larger of the bay-trees. For a moment he caught a glimpse of swarthy men in red running down the slope some way off with green-clad warriors leaping after them, hewing them down as they fled. Arrows were thick in the air. Then suddenly straight over the rim of their sheltering bank, a man fell, crashing through the slender trees, nearly on top of them. He came to rest in the fern a few feet away, face downward, green arrow-feathers sticking from his neck below a golden collar. His scarlet robes were tattered, his corslet of overlapping brazen plates was rent and hewn, his black plaits of hair braided with gold were drenched with blood.

Sounds like bronze plate to me. Probably of the Wiesby or Lamellar modes.

It's easily enough extrapolated to add this as "field plate" (24 Enc, 6d). Doing so means you'll be weary right quick, and that's fine. It's a trade off - losing a significant portion of your chances to hit, in exchange for being almost immune to being wounded.

Lesser forms of plate may be worth adding, as well, but should overlap mail, not be increased levels. Those would be breast & back, and partial plate... and they should, in all likelihood, be Enc 8, Protection 2D and Enc 16, protection 4D armors.


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