In D&D objects have hitpoints values, but when I equip a suit of full platemail it doesn't grant me protection in the form of its own hitpoints before any actual damage is applied to me. Have any D&D designers said why armor is designed this way?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se! Take a look at the tour; it's a useful introduction to the site. Questions of the form “why does the game work the way it does” tend to not work here—they collect a bunch of opinions instead of answers supported by research—so they're generally closed. I've changed this to ask if there is any designer statement about it, and if so, what they've said. Alternatively, if what you really want is people to discuss and speculate on this topic, you may just want a discussion forum instead. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 20:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I doubt the designers of D&D 3.X weighed in on this specifically, it's possible designers of other editions have, as the Armor Class concept has remained largely unchanged since the mid-70s. This might make a better gaming lore question so as to cover all D&D editions. (One of the few questions I've seen that might benefit from an expanded mandate.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 21:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, is there a comparison you can draw between the way that D&D 3.X handles armor and the way another game handles armor in the way the question describes? (That is, the Palladium Books house system tracks armor damage, as do some RPG-war game hybrids (I'm thinking classic Car Wars here), but offhand I don't know of any modern RPG systems that do.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 21:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ To the people voting to close: This question is a lot like this one. While the question as asked will almost certainly never have a real answer, since the querent is specifically asking for developer commentary, the question is answerable without getting into opinion. "Why is it like this" is opinion-based, "What have the developers said about their design" is not. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 22:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Would it bother you if there isn't a design reason? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 0:55

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure this answer is exactly what you were expecting, but the question has got none yet. So I'll take a risk to make use of your exact wording "any D&D" (though you may have meant "any designers").

From AD&D 2E DMG:

Damaging Equipment

For the most part, specific damage isn't applied to equipment under the AD&D rules. This doesn't mean that equipment is never damaged or broken. Instead, it is assumed that whatever normal wear and tear an item may suffer (such as dents in a suit of plate mail) are repaired during moments (or days, or months) of inactivity.

The fighter spends time in camp sharpening his weapons, patching the rips in his chain mail, and hammering out the dents in his breastplate. The thief repairs the padding that muffles the clinks of his metal buckles. The mage sews patches onto his clothes. All characters have ample time to make repairs. It's not very interesting to role-play, so it is assumed all characters maintain their equipment.

Thus at least designers of the previous edition explained it explicitly. They didn't think it was interesting. The concept of damaging objects has been taken to the 3e with only few changes (it was expanded with sunder combat action and object hardnes but the core concept remained the same). So we can assume that designers of D&D 3e either shared this view or just have taken the concept as is.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I’ve recognize those paragraphs, and I never played 2e. They may very well also appear in the 3e and/or 3.5e DMGs. Though someone could have just quoted in a discussion about 3.x, perhaps. So +1 either way, but if you have some time to look through the 3e or 3.5e DMGs the answer would be even better. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 16:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I've reviewed relevant sections of PHB 3.5 (armor, sunder, smashing an object) and DMG 3.5 (damage) and found nothing. Though it can be somewhere else. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ols
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 16:52

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