The cost of plate now makes sense

I was reading Moldvay Basic this morning and I made a correlation that explained something. I had never understood why plate mail was so cheap (60gp) in B/X (and then BECMI and most of the clones) that a fighter will generally have it by second level with the normal treasure/creatures XP ratio and may have it as a starting character.

Here are the prices of armor in B/X:

Armor Cost
Leather 20gp
Chain 40gp
Platemail 60gp
Shield 10gp

Which, when combined with AC gives us the following chart:

Description AC Cost Cost per -1 from AC 9
Clothing only 9 0gp 0gp
Shield only 8 10gp 10gp
Leather 7 20gp 10gp
Leather and shield 6 30gp 10gp
Chain 5 40gp 10gp
Chain and shield 4 50gp 10gp
Platemail 3 60gp 10gp
Platemail and shield 2 70gp 10gp

The result is a nice, linear cost per gain in AC. This leaves me the option of finding true historical costs or creating my own mapping. Perhaps basing it on the square of the gain:

Description AC Cost Cost per -1 from AC 9
Clothing only 9 0gp 0gp
Shield only 8 10gp 10gp
Leather 7 20gp 10gp
Leather and shield 6 30gp 10gp
Chain 5 80gp 20gp
Chain and shield 4 90gp 18gp
Platemail 3 180gp 30gp
Platemail and shield 2 190gp 27gp

Combined with my idea of awarding one XP per SP (and also reducing found treasure to 1/10 of the books list) that would mean a fighter would probably get platemail sometime between 3 and 4th level, which is consistent with my objectives.

3 thoughts on “The cost of plate now makes sense

  1. Interesting observation – although I think you might have a typo in the first chart regarding the price of platemail up there. 20gp? Oh, and on the second table – the ACs.

    – Ark

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