It makes absolutely no sense to me that a chainmail gives the same protection against a sword and a hammer, for example. A chainmail is awesome against cutting weapons but almost useless against bludgeoning ones.

Actually, medieval armors were made mostly to fight swords.

I remember in AD&D there was an alternate system to change armor protection according to the type of damage.

Do you guys know if there is any alternate system in Pathfinder that corrects this blunt distortion and adds more realism to the game?

If there is I am curious how would dexterity fit in the equation. Because it was vital for fighters with good dodging skills to turn incoming deadly blows into softer ones and actually survive.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Possibly related \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you looking for rules published or officially recognized by Paizo, are 3rd party publishers acceptable, and/or are house-rule options acceptable? \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 2:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ The AD&D Players Handbook did have the optional weapon vs. particular AC adjustment rules. HârnMaster also has a similar concept - all armor has 3 values, against Slashing, Piercing and Blunt. I don't know of any implementaion for PF or D&D 30./3.5, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – LAK
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ 3rd party or house rules are acceptable, minnmass. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 1:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I remember those rules, LAK. They were great! I think about creating a system for my games. I have already many improvements in the storyteller and pathfinder rules by myself for my groups. I like realism and dont like to restrain players. I take care of everything. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 1:09

2 Answers 2


Official rules, no. House rules, undoubtedly. But I suggest you consider what it would feel like to get hit in the ribs with a sword, even if chain mail kept it from cutting your skin.

In answer to your posed question, Paizo avoided this level of detail in all of their official rules, probably because they judged (correctly, I would wager) that the vast majority of players don't want the complexity of such rules. It's a near certainty that house rules for this do exist, and in fact there is another answer proving that there is at least one.

I have no such house rules to offer, but I would ask you this in an effort to save you from the time and effort of implementing these kinds of rules: is there that much of a difference between getting hit in the ribs with a mace and getting hit in the ribs with a steel longsword when the sword's blade is blunted by your armor? Either way, there is significant kinetic energy imparted to your skin, skeleton, and vitals. In fact, the sword, which may be just as heavy as a blunt weapon, focuses that energy into a smaller surface area, really increasing its damage. In short, a sword that fails to cut is still a heavy, hard-swung bludgeoning weapon. Armor doesn't really protect you from damage if a blow lands firmly; it's there for glancing blows or blows that land just soft enough not to hurt through armor. In fact, chainmail was fairly useless unless padded armor was worn beneath it, for this exact reason. Since most creatures who wear armor are just as susceptible to bludgeoning damage as slashing damage, why complicate things?

And then there's piercing damage, which can be caused by anything from a stabbing motion by a human arm to a device that requires a windlass to crank into position. Heavy crossbows in real life could shoot through chain mail, the body of the wearer, and through the chainmail again coming out the other side. Bows, not so much, especially when shot indirectly. Rapiers could be stopped by leather. Do you really want to factor all those variables into your combat? Maybe you do, and more power to you, but beware--realism in RPG combat is a rabbit hole and unless your players share your thirst for realism they're not going to follow you down it.


These are my proposed unofficial modifications to armor AC.

GM call for where an armor falls on these tiers, but every armor is rated Good, Moderate, or Poor against any given damage type.

  • If the armor is good, it grants +2 AC against the damage type.
  • If the armor is moderate, it functions as normal against the damage type.
  • If the armor is poor, it takes a -2 penalty to AC against the damage type.

I didn't make the numbers super big, but it's enough to make a difference in what weapons you decide to carry and why. In addition, weapons specificaly designed to fight armor should treat it as one category worse, to a minimum of poor.


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