In most OSR games, the only reasons not to wear Plate if you can are
1- you're too poor
1a- You're not that poor but the GM has made plate mega expensive or knight-exclusive or something in an attempt to delay the inevitable upgrade
2- you know for a FACT you'll have to go swimming, stealthing, fancy partying, or sleeping
3- your class or STR doesn't let you wear it
Personally I'd like armor choice to be a less clear-cut decision for dungeon delving. If realism is getting in your face, you can also think as these categories as just 'light, medium, or heavy' armors.
- Unarmored- The fastest, quietest option. Also it makes you look less threatening, which can be a good thing or a bad thing when it comes to how you'll be treated if you get caught.
- Leather- You can be stealthy, you can swim, you can even sleep in leather armor. You can climb ropes at a decent pace. I watched some youtube videos and the 'realistic' option here should really be a padded gambeson, which turns out can be quite ornate and stylish.
I mean if you prefer the light armor option to be some sort of leather-clad dominatrix cowboy thing that's cool too
- Chain- You are penalized for climbing, jumping, swimming and sneaking, but they aren't totally impossible. Chain can be donned or doffed without help or having to ruin the armor.
When I googled chain mail I got a lot of 'naked nipples under outer chainmail rings' images so if anyone tells you you have to have under 15 AC to be sexy they're WRONG
- Plate- though obviously the best for heated combat, it is the worst for flexible dungeoneering. Speedy climbing, any swimming, sneaking, running long distances- all no-go. You can take 1 round to cut yourself out of 1d3 points of AC, possibly lowering your armor level, in the events that you really need to be more lightweight. You generally need assistance to take it on and off though. Also, I reckon fantasy platemail is 'unrealistically' heavy and encumbering because realistically it would NEED to be to stand a chance against stuff like giants and dragons, cuz 'realistically' plate IRL that people have proved you can cartwheel in was made to defend against humans and maybe humans on horses, not half the garbage in the monster manual.
And you can still be cute in heavy plate mail without compromising defense
Personally, I don't think it does, and I think the desire to limit weapon and armor choice stems from a desire to uphold a certain cliche image of wizards being academics in silly hats without any strong in-universe justification for why it should be so. Kinda like how thieves get pigeonholed into being dagger-wielding black-leather gymnast-ninja. And with all the items like Rings of Protection, it seems to me like 'wizards having sucky AC' isn't even a strong and fundamental facet of early D&D, so I say let thieves and wizards clank around in heavy armor if they want, and maybe it will spur your imagination to make situations that care about more factors than how high everyone's AC is.
|Bulletproof armor worn by Ned Kelly, notorious australian outlaw. Sounds plenty thiefly to me.|