Just to recap... I wanted to make sure that characters who wanted to avoid armor were viable without having to provide them with gimmicks to compensate for the decision. To do this, armor couldn't simply increase defense nor could it provide straight DR--both of those make it a dominant strategy. So I made armor *reduce* defense and provide DR. This way, it presents a tradeoff across the levels of play that make it better than no armor (you did invest resources in it, after all) but not so much better that characters are obliged to wear it. Here is the diagram of how this works out. The diagram is explained thoroughly in the links above.
Light armor reduces defense by 2 but provides 3 DR to begin. Medium and Heavy armor reduce defense by 3 but provide 5 DR to begin. Each type of armor can improve at each tier (5, 10) to provide an additional DR. Heavy and Medium can also improve at level 15 (possible pushing that back to 13). The following tables show how armor performs as if it were a +X bonus to defense. In other words, at 1st level, Light armor is like a feat that increases defense by +0.8. The first table shows armor against the basic monster. The second table shows armor against the biggest-baddest possible monster of that level. It is unlikely you'll have too many "biggest-baddest" models unless your GM is a jerk.
You may have noticed that Medium and Heavy armor are bunched. I decided to keep the DR the same and simply have Heavy provide more benefits. So far, in addition to better magical properties, Heavy's main advantage is that it lets you keep more of your wound threshold when you go to Bloodied. That, again, is sort of a big deal.
The problem is that now I need to distinguish armors within categories. So I turn to you for ideas. Here's what I got so far:
- Make armors vulnerable to damage types (bludgeon, pierce, slash) so that DR is reduced against its type (i.e. Chainmail would be -1 to pierce).
- The typical stuff (weight, price, how long it takes to don, not made of metal, etc)
- Reduce movement class (MC)
- Provide an actual power?
- Restrict magic item properties to certain types (i.e. Power X applies only to Leather and Hide)