Trying his best to keep quiet, a hulking suit of dark crimson armor tip-toes his way over to an unsuspecting orc, his great axe held high over his helmet. As a confused goblin looks around a dark room, a small, feminine, uninhabited set of silver armor reaches out to snap its neck. Leaving his companions behind, a medium-sized set of golden armor effortlessly walks through a cloud of toxic fumes spewed from fungi on the walls of a large cavern.
Animated suits of armor, or simply ‘anarmors’, are created to serve a specific purpose under their creator. When their creator dies, they are often left to lie dormant, waiting for the right moment to spring back into action. They find their place in vaults, towers, gardens, dungeons; anywhere a sentry or guard might be.
Animated armors are full sets of armor that can move and speak on their own, their various pieces of plating seemingly unburdened by gravity. While they have no physical presence inside them, they function just like a person in a full suit of armor. They can be molded or cast to fit a certain race, being anything from small enough to comfortably fit a gnome to large enough to completely cover an orc. Their weight and size, as well as their design and material, are up to their creator. While metal is most often used, anarmors composed entirely of stone or animal skins are not uncommon. Magic is often used to bring the armor to life and keep it from falling apart.
Though they may not have any sensory organs whatsoever, magic ensures that they can perceive what is around them. They can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste just as well as a human can. They can speak as well, magic guiding their artificial consciousness. Their armor acts as their skin, and any damage inflicted upon their plating is taken as damage to what would be their physical form. Should they sustain enough damage, the spell holding their parts together will dissipate, leaving them to fall apart completely.
Amazingly, healing potions and spells can bring them back together, even if it’s only one piece at a time. At low health, animated armors often find that whole limbs will disconnect from their bodies. Fortunately, the gaps between plating have no physical presence; if a certain anarmor is designed with a horizontal gap separating its torso from its waist, slashing through it without touching the plating will cause no damage whatsoever. Only striking the armor will cause physical harm to an animated armor.
To hide the fact that they are living suits of armor as opposed to a warrior wearing a suit of armor, anarmors will use cloaks, scarves, or bandages to cover the gaps between their plating. Some are fortunate enough to have been created with arcane lights that are fixed in the space inside their helmets. These projections are meant to resemble eyes, and shift and move according to what expression the anarmor is making. Though they serve no function other than making it look like they have eyes, these lights are often enough to keep the average joe from getting too suspicious.
Normal suits of armor usually last as long as their material does, the elements hazing it until it eventually rusts over and crumbles to pieces. With animated armors, however, the game changes. If magic is used to bring a suit of armor to life, another spell is usually cast on the armor to make it more durable. The stronger the spell, the longer the armor lasts. A typical anarmor can lie dormant for 700 years before losing its magic. The maximum life span of an animated armor is unknown, as a powerful enough spell could potentially keep one alive forever, but none have been known to keep their magic for more than 1,500 years.
Unlike other creatures blessed with long life, anarmors don’t actively pursue goals outside of what they were created to do; if a particular animated armor was created to protect a castle, it will stay in the castle, silently waiting for an intruder. That said, they can leave their posts or occupations if they wish, but most are not given a good enough reason to, remaining dormant until someone finds them. Unless they are doing their job constantly, they will become as still as a statue, waking only when a certain stimuli triggers a response.
When they do awake, animated armors often find that they are in a world far different than the one they know. To them, time has passed by without them, leaving them lost in a strange and mysterious future. A time gap as small as fifty years can be enough to confuse an anarmor, but if they are intelligent enough, they will catch on to present-time customs fairly quickly, Still, some refuse to change their ways, speaking in forgotten tongues or using overly-wordy and poetic speech.
Reawakening and Rebirth
Anarmors usually fall dormant at the post given to them by their creator, waiting for something to bring them back into consciousness. If their creator happens to die before or after they enter this state, their purpose will no longer be explicitly defined. When they regain consciousness, most anarmors stick to their prior orders, carrying out their tasks without complaint. But some, rather than do a task that is now impossible, pointless, or both, defy their creator’s magical programming and seek out a new purpose. Others forget their purpose altogether, wandering around aimlessly until someone decides to claim them. Many times, an adventurer will stumble upon a long-forgotten animated armor and convince it to join them on their travels. Others are reactivated only to find that the thing they were meant to protect has been destroyed somehow, and seek vengeance. In this way, anarmors can be anything from loyal companions and protectors to destructive avengers and mercenaries.
Ghosts in Armor
Generally, people see animated armors as threats. The thought of a walking, talking suit of armor terrifies them, though not to the same capacity as a tiefling. They are often likened to ghosts in armor, and many villages have their own tales of menacing suits of armor that move of their own volition. Because of this, anarmors that waltz into unsuspecting towns are usually avoided completely, the only words spoken of them being whispers. Those who know better than this see wandering anarmors as potential companions, workers, or servants. Some are ambitious or crazy enough to try and capture them by force, often to no avail. Taverns and whorehouses usually look the other way, since being intangible except for one’s armor doesn’t give the ladies or the barkeeps much to work with.
That said, an anarmor will usually try to avoid being discovered, unless a quirk in their personality programming says otherwise. They’ll use cloaks, scarves, and bandages to cover the gaps in their armor and blend in. They’ll stay away from crowded places, speaking only when spoken to and never causing too much of a scene. Some spend their time in taverns, never ordering any food or drink, hoping that the patrons will be too drunk to notice how empty they are on the inside. On the rare occasion that an animated armor is welcomed or even worshipped by the people of a village, some merely serve the community as a guard or sentry, while others take a more commanding role, like a war chief or even a deity.
Animated Armor Names
An animated armor’s name is usually bestowed by its creator. Sometimes, however, they forget their names. When this happens, a name can be given to them by a new owner or partner, or they can come up with a name themselves. When an anarmor comes up with a name for itself, it’s usually something simple, something they see around them or remember from their past. Really, any name will do, whether it’s based on their function, their appearance, or their surroundings. Some are based in the creator’s native tongue, whatever that may be.
Animated Armor Traits
A suit of armor that is given life through magic and is assigned a task. Oftentimes they are left behind by their creators, left to lie dormant for hundreds of years only to wake up and seek out a new purpose.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Since animated armors are essentially timeless, age is only a factor in terms of appearance, not maturity. However, unless their “host” is magical, they may eventually perish from age if not properly taken care of.
Alignment. Animated armors generally hold to the will of their creator, and are usually lawful good or lawful neutral as a result. Still, anything’s possible. If pushed far enough, an armor can be evil.
Size. Anything from small to large, though you generally don’t see anything above an orc in size.
Speed. Medium armor base speed is 30, but depending on the size of the armor, this can change.
Constructed. You are a suit of armor. Typically made of metal, but unorthodox materials are not unheard of. You count as a Construct instead of humanoid. You are immune to disease. You do not need to eat or breathe, and any food you do attempt to eat falls through your head into the bottom of your armor. Instead of sleeping, you enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. You do not dream in this state; you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
False Appearance. While you remain motionless, you are indistinguishable from a normal suit of armor.
Blindsight. Blindsight 60ft. (blind beyond this radius)
Armor Slam. As a suit of armor, you are capable of pulling your considerable weight into a full body slam. As an action, you can deal 1d10 + your Constitution modifier bludgeoning damage to a target creature or object. This can be done a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier(Minimum of 1). You regain all uses after a long rest.
Change of Body. You can transfer your consciousness into another suit of armor. To do so, you require 1 hour of time and the desired suit of armor. This change may alter your subrace accordingly, based on the armor type of what you are transferring into. At your DM’s discretion, this ability can be forced by a magic user with the appropriate knowledge using an Arcana check against a DC 20, so long as you are restrained and unconscious for the duration.
Languages. You can speak, read and write in Common, as well as in the language of your creator.
Subrace. The armor your soul inhabits determines certain traits about you. The classifications are Light, Medium and Heavy. If you transfer into an armor set using Change of Body, your subrace will change accordingly. The AC can differ based on what specific armor you inhabit, but you will also take a -2 AC if you are not proficient in the armor type you are.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Quickened Step. Your movement speed is increased to 35.
Like A Sponge. Should you become fully immersed in water, your movement speed will be halved. However, with this loss in speed comes complete resistance to fire effects. This does not stack with your passive damage resistance. This lasts until you can find a hot, dry place to dry off. (Note: Spells can be used to dry you off as well)
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity and Strength score increases by 1.
Flexibility. You may focus on offense or defense in medium armor. If you choose to go defensive, you may take the Dodge action as a bonus action a number of times equal to your Dexterity modifier, resetting on a long rest. If you take offensive, you may roll an extra 1d6 to an attack a number of times equal to your Strength modifier, this resetting on a long rest.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Steel Skin. You are especially durable. On being hit by an effect you can see, you can reduce the damage by 1d10+CON. You may use this ability once, regaining it on a short or long rest, or use it multiple times. For each time after the first, your AC will be reduced by 1 for every 10 damage you take, being restored to the maximum on a long rest, spent repairing your armor.
Heavy Metal. Your movement speed is decreased to 25, but you count as Large for the purposes of resisting shoves.
Natural Pugilist. Your whole body is cold metal. When you make an unarmed strike, you are capable dealing 1d6+Strength bludgeoning damage.
Height and Weight
An animator armor’s height is based on the race it was designed to be worn by. Its weight corresponds the armor on which its subrace is based.