Armor vs. the Resist roll

I had the realization I might be doing Armor wrong. I have been allowing a Resistance roll on top of Armor usage. My thought was based on the idea that you can reduce Harm further by using Heavy Armor, per the example on page 33. However, Resistance allows consequences to be reduced by any degree the GM deems appropriate.

So… how should I rule this? Is Armor just a safe way to resist harm without risking Stress, or does it exist alongside potential Resistance rolls to mitigate further?


You can tick Armor and then still resist the reduced injury if you want.

What I like to do when I run is let Armor reduce an injury by two steps, because it’s such a limited resource and it costs load. Then resisting (regardless of Armor usage) reduces by one step.

Copperhead County (now in early access v6!) does a neat thing where it ties wearing armor back into the fictional positioning. You don’t have armor checkboxes - armor just lets you reduce an injury more if you resist it, and/or it affects the initial wound. That way you can say, like, you’ve got a stab vest on and you get knifed and so maybe it’s only a minor injury before any resistance, but if you got shot the vest wouldn’t stop a thing. But that’s drifting a bit, sorry!


Checking armor lets you reduce or avoid a consequence (could even be something other than harm if it makes sense in the fiction). If the DM decides that the armor merely reduces the harm, you can check armor again (heavy armor) to reduce it further.
You can roll to resist harm after you checked armor to reduce it. You can also resist first and check armor afterwards to reduce further. Anything goes except resisting the same harm more than once, I guess.

I am not aware of a rule that says how many levels of harm you reduce by checking armor or by resisting respectively. I’m pretty sure the book says that it’s up to the GM and it’s a way to set how gritty you want your game to be. I think it should usually be 1-2 levels down each time. Some sources of harm make more sense to be reduced by armor than others. Sometimes you might want to rule that armor cannot reduce a given source of harm at all.

Yeah, the Load was another thing that made me consider allowing both. 2 Load is a hefty price to pay for something that doesn’t allow for additional mitigation, and amounts to “you got moderately lucky on a die roll”. Plus, to me the Resistance roll is a product of the character’s innate capability (sort of an after-the-fact application of extra effort to lessen a bad fate), and just because you are wearing armor doesn’t mean you aren’t doing your best to dodge gunfire or what-have-you.


Rules-as-written, it doesn’t appear you can do both — “If you have a type of armor that applies to the situation, you can mark an armor box to reduce or avoid a consequence, instead of rolling to resist.” (emphasis mine)

Alternatively, you could read as “instead of one instance of rolling to resist” i.e. it’s trying to say “you don’t need to resist to use armor, you can do it instead”.

1 Like

In cases where my players face skilled NPCs where i’ll generally go, “okay, but that only sounds like a partial resist against this guy”, i will usually let them spend more. If they really want to spend a resistance roll and 4 load on getting rid of a single instance of harm, i feel like that’s probably fair enough.

Yes, I think the text is written ambiguously, mostly intentionally to allow players flexibility. I read it that section allowing you can to both use armour and roll to resist the same consequence.

The example on p32 example has one consequence (Level 3 Harm), which the player resists, which reduces it to Level 2 Harm. The example on p33 can be read as following on from the previous page, so the same consequence is reduced further using armour. But again, this is ambiguous.

Whenever I see John Harper or other designers run Blades or Forged in the Dark, they always allow the use of both at the same time.

1 Like

Thanks :slight_smile: