Armour Soak


Been reading through Blood & Snow again because I want to incorporate the armour soak mechanic into my core game, but then I can’t understand why clothes give you 10 armour and say a bone vest gives just +2… shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Surely clothes perhaps just start at 2, they are just rags and furs, then if you find or make a bone vest it would give you much more protection like +6.


A naked person or someone only with clothes has 10 ARMOR. Bone Vest gives +2 on top of it, so ARMOR becomes 12.


But this is not AC, it’s a soak mechanic, so why would a naked person start with ARMOUR 10 to soak damage? Then when they put on extra bone armour, it just gives them +2 AP. That doesn’t make sense to me.

I like the idea of adventurers searching through dungeon delves for some sweet armour to help protect them, as they battle the denizens of evil, their armour is being damaged or destroyed, only to be repaired when they get back to town.

I’d view armour points almost like temporary HP that stack, ie: you could have a set of leather armour +3AP, a metal breastplate +3AP, a helmet +1AP and a shield +1AP, giving the player a total of 8AP to be used to soak up damage.

Plus you can weave it into the narrative, like if the fighter uses his shield AP and breastplate AP to soak damage, “The fighter lifts up his ancestral oaken shield to meet the blow of the dragon’s mighty spiked tail, as it comes sweeping down, the tail crashing through his shield, splintering it into a wooden shards and imbedding itself into his metal breastplate with a sickening crunch” oh no, that doesn’t look good for the fighter, but anyway…

That’s far more interesting then just my ranger wears leather armour, rolls over 14AC to hit. Your thoughts?


It’s because it’s so cold in blood and snow. That 10 armor is all leather armor (from hides) and then layers of furs to keep warm. Anything beyond that is almost superfluous in terms of armor.

In any event, have you played it? I can tell you, the game design works just fine. There’s very little need to monkey with it.


No we’ve never actually run a game if blood & snow, I just like some of the mechanics and was looking to bring them across to our table.


The other piece that is not said is that, unlike other settings, everything in Blood and Snow is a grind. One piece of amor is super valuable. Finding two pieces is crazy. Three is almost unheard of. That world is brutal and unforgiving, and resources are super scarce. It’s super low fantasy. If your clothes take a hit, you will freeze to death. Of course, you don’t have to run it that way. You can run it like high fantasy where armor is plentiful, but I think you’ll be missing out on the true beauty of that setting.


Most important rule of ICRPG … “Play the game how you want, it’s your table, but the play the game as written BEFORE you decide to make any changes. Many of your answers will be found during actual gameplay.” That was some of the best advice Hankerin gave me in the beginning…

As for ARMOR, it is not just toughness or ability to take a hit. It also includes the ability to dodge attacks, or counter/block them with martial moves absorbing direct hits or deflecting indirect ones… hence the base AC 10 for “naked” characters.

+2 Bone Vest, just adds to your base score of 10. Adds a little defensive ability to lessen the damage from a blow. Same as a breastplate or shield.

ARMOR is not defined by “the ability to stop or absorb damage”. It’s more like “the ability to act/react defensively.” I hope that helps.

Game On!


With respect, unless I’ve totally misunderstood it, ARMOUR in Blood & Snow is precisely the ability to stop or absorb damage… isn’t it?!

Perhaps I’ll just stick to using AC as normal.


You are correct. In B&S it is used as a damage soak mechanic.

My comments were more for ICRPG in general.

Game On!


I don’t have Blood and Snow so I am unfamiliar with the specific soak rules, but if you like the idea of armor and weapons being damaged and needing repair, you might consider checking out the Durability and Repair rules in Five Torches Deep. I also take “supply” rules from FTD, which are genius IMO. (Edit: But do keep in mind that tracking item durability/repair is more book keeping that has to be done…)

FWIW, I don’t like the idea of armor points stacking like you described above because of the potential for the “walking tank” effect. 8AP to soak up damage means (under the “vanilla” ICRPG damage dice rules) that no single attack short of “Ultimate” has any chance of scoring damage, and then only part of the time depending upon the “base” damage plus “ultimate” die rolls.

If you are going to have armor absorb damage, you have to find a mechanic to limit it, or not allow it to stack linearly, else you can really unbalance a game.


Ah, don’t let other people bully you into not exploring options! I also enjoy thinking outside the box, and it gets hard to get excited when people tell you to do it some way or another that is not trying something new!

In my ICRPG game, which was Warp Shell: Last Flight of the Red Sword, I inserted armor soak into the game but did not reduce it as the players took hits. In short, our tank was a player who had a good start on armor and rolled really good loot to enhance that.

While the player boasted that it could not ve damaged, it didn’t stop me, the GM, to get the Reptoids to grapple, trip or do other kinds of combat maneuvers in her. She could have died a couple of times and had a hilarious encounter with herself as a mutated enemy and they both (re)discovered that they could not be damaged. 't’was fun!

And, eventually, if you want, you can always do as ICRPG was meant to be played and have some monster or enemy that reduces armor to dust for a little reset. :grin:


The limiting factor in Blood and Snow is that armor is hard to find. Even small amounts of damage add up quickly. I am not certain I have played in a more dangerous setting, so no worries about “balance.”


I see it this way : The “clothes” with 10 armour is all of your basic kit. Maybe it’s thick coats of fur, maybe it’s a chainmail bikini. In either case, it can absorb 10 damage. Armour you come across just adds more to your basic kit. And if you doubt the stopping power of linen, definitely do a quick search on youtube; Shadiversity and ThegnThrand demonstrate on camera just how powerful a basic wool gambeson is. It can stop (yes, stop) an arrow shot from a 130# warbow. What plate can stop is laughable.

130# Test from ThegnThrand : This was a quick test from ThegnThrand and uses packing pads and canvas instead of an actual gambeson. At about 22 minutes, you’ll see he shoots four arrows. 1 does not penetrate, 1 is deflected, 1 penetrates the object by 2" and the last is a basic graze. That’s the stopping power of “basic clothes.”


Correct, but if you transplant this to a setting where armor is plentiful and easy to find…


Agreed. If you are using soak, and ablative hit points are plentiful (the essence of soak), you will have a hard time challenging players as a DM.


I am running a B&S shortly and i am still not 100% sure what soak means.
if i have 12 Armour and take 6 damage from an attack will the Armour be reduced to 6 and so on until its gone? or is the meaning of soak, only a damage over 12 makes some damage to the HP?

can someone clarify? thanks.

One other question mildly related is about the supply play in Blood and Snow. in the rules it is written that one suply will give 1 HP. is that only up to the starting value of HP or can it go over in B&S?


Armor Soak is simply ablative hit points. So, if you have 10 HP and 12 armor, it’s like having 22 hit points. When you take 6 damage, assign between armor or HP. Just know if you assign to armor, you may have to sac that gear.

One supply heals 1 hit point. It’s like getting a 1 hit point heal when you drink some hot broth.


Ok. im just lazy today, my mind is tired so i couldn’t read all the responses.

The Armor 10 for wearing clothes is not what it looks like. Just like in D&D, just wearing clothes is armor class 10 not because of any quality of the clothes, the clothes add nothing. The 10? Basic human survival to not get hit. A person simply trying to not be hit is AC 10. You put clothes on a Ballistics Gel Model of a human body and it has no Armor Class. You simply walk up and hit it. A real person will try to not be hit.

Am i answering this question or not? im just tired…can’t formulate thoughts well.

Of course, i am thinking in regular rpg terms, Blood and Snow might be different. Please let me know if it is.


You did very well, thanks. Now go get some rest!


got my second Covid Vaccine shot friday, slept all of saturday. Gamed 5 hours sunday. Mentally blasted.

Disclaimer: all post responses by me today should be ignored. I possibly have brain damage. My wife and daughter say it is a mathematical certainty.