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Body Armor as Hit Points

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In the context of some video games, sometimes body armor just provides a bonus to the owner's maximum Hit Points. Rather than add any kind of specific protection to certain attacks, a character wearing body armor will just gradually have it chipped away whenever they are hit, in the same manner as their usual hit points. If enough damage is sustained, the extra body armor may simply vanish.

It is not usually visible on a character, and acquiring it puts the object to use instantaneously, so the player character is never seen discarding it. This trope is, obviously, not particularly realistic. Ironically, it became popular with many "realistic" shooters because putting on body armor seemed a more plausible way of improving a character's hit points than having them grab a first aid kit and immediately gain the benefits from using one in the middle of a firefight. Generally necessary for the sake of game mechanics, although this is less true today than it was ten years ago.

A variation of this which generally is considered to make more sense is Full-body Deflector Shields As Hit Points. After all, energy which specifically covers your entire person and uses energy to protect should be able to help protect you from anything as long as its energy supply is sufficient, right?

Possibly a bit of Truth in Television (or videogames rather). While theoretically modern ceramic body armor can only eat X or Y number of hits before the plates have completely disintegrated, in practice it depends on angle, shot spacing, round type, velocity, ceramic armor type, backing, and so many other factors that in some cases one can't even rely on the basic rating.

Compare Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp", Clothing Damage. Using this system rather than making armour a separate stat that Armor Piercing Attacks can circumvent may help avert Armor Is Useless. note  Do NOT confuse with Stat Overflow, as usually armor and health are two separated stats, and one protects the other rather than acting as extra health.

Video Game examples:

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    Collectible Card Game 
  • In Hearthstone, armor functions as a second life bar. All damage dealt to your hero is first dealt to your armor total before your actual health. Unlike health, armor doesn't have a cap, meaning you can have hundreds of armor protecting your standard 30 hit points. Most classes don't have access to many armor cards however, limiting it mostly to a signature mechanic of the Warrior and a side mechanic for Druids.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Doom:
    • The 1993 original was the Trope Codifier for first-person shooters. Body armor comes in 2 varieties, with green security armor having 100 points and absorbing one-third of all damage, while blue "megaarmor" comes with 200 points and absorbs one-half of all damage. There are also "armor bonuses" that give you a single point of armor per pickup, giving you the effects of green armor if you don't have any already, and otherwise allowing you to repair armor without having to replace it entirely and bring green armor past 100 points. This adds some tactical thinking to a game "famous" nowadays for not really requiring tactical thinking, where grabbing a full green armor pickup will overall be less efficient than sticking with blue armor brought down to around 75% and relying on piddling amounts of armor bonuses to keep it active until you either run out completely or find another blue vest.
    • Doom³ only has one type of armor, coming in full vests that now give you and max out at 125 points, and "armor shards" to repair 5 points per pickup. It supposedly absorbs 30% of damage in singleplayernote  but lets a surprising amount of damage through - on Marine difficulty, where the damage is normalized, getting hit enough to bring a full 125 armor down to just above 100 is enough to also drop your health from 100 to below 50.
    • Played straight with Doom (2016), where the Slayer's armor negates all health loss until you run out of it. However, armor in this game maxes out at 50 (or 150 when fully upgraded) as opposed to 200, unless you grab a megahealth powerup.
  • Breathless has a numerical counter for "Health" and "Shields", and a high shield score can cushion projectile hits inflicted on your health. In fact, the shield meter tends to absorb majority of damage to the point where the shield level can be below 20 points but your health is at 80%.
  • Corridor 7: Alien Invasion, being a Doom knockoff released in 1995, has collectible armor (depicted as spacesuits on a rack) serving as a second health bar. While it absorbs damage, your health still depletes slightly when hit with armor - in fact there's a separate meter for Health and Armor, and different pickups to restore either.
  • Hellforces grants two different lifebars for the player protagonist, Steve. A red Life Meter for his health, and a second, grey bar for his current armor, where collecting vests and body armor can offset some of the damage he receives.
  • Many James Bond FPS games. GoldenEye (1997) set the standard for having body armor effectively serve as a second health bar — which is a good thing, since there's no way to recover damage to your basic HP meter in most of them too. NightFire plays with this to a degree: your armor only protects you from bullets. Long falls injure you directly, regardless of armor. Later games when the property went to Activision would shift to Regenerating Health as per their basis on the Call of Duty engine, though the "Classic" modes in the GoldenEye remake and 007 Legends go back to the 1997 game's system as a Call-Back.
  • Perfect Dark uses "realistic" personal shields.
    • Perfect Dark Zero uses a combination of regenerating health and static armor. Armor mitigates the effect of being shot, although it will still undergo Critical Existence Failure and stop working. It's also useless against melee, in return for most damage of that type being "shock damage" that can be walked off. This actually makes sense, as kevlar vests in real life are designed to absorb bullet impact, and are useless against knife stabs or simple blunt force.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon has an entire system for determining each weapon's armor-piercing capabilities, with standouts across the board being the HV Penetrator (with the highest penetration among normal weapons) and the VK-12 shotgun (with the lowest penetration, though dealing so much damage that it's just as good simply through brute force). The second game plays this almost entirely straight, however, with only the successor to the Penetrator and ghosts being able to damage you through armor, after which the third game removed armor entirely to focus on full Regenerating Health.
  • Instinct grants you armor that offsets most of the damage you can take. Case in point, with your armor at full a shotgun hit only deals 2% of damage!
  • Rainbow Six series:
    • Played with in the early games. Without heavy armor, the player character can go down in as little as one bullet, so body armor more or less takes over for hit points.
    • The Vegas sub-series more or less uses this too, despite the shift to Regenerating Health, as wearing heavier armor allows you to take a bit more damage before dying, at the cost of slower movement and, in Vegas 2, less stamina for sprinting.
    • Siege goes for a more standard aversion with separate health and armor counters, the latter of which absorbs damage from the former, and which can't be replenished mid-round. Each of the three different classes of armor absorb different percentages of damage at the expense of speed; light armor absorbs no extra damage but incurs no speed penalty, while medium armor absorbs 10% for a slight speed penalty and heavy armor absorbs 20% for a more noticeable speed penalty. The defending operator Rook can also place a bag of armor plates for teammates to upgrade their armor with another 20% damage reduction without incurring extra speed penalties, as well as guaranteeing the operator in question will only be downed rather than killed upon having their health depleted. There is one caveat, however, that as it has from the beginning of the series applies to all damage calculations - headshots are always fatal.
  • Halo, using the recharging Deflector Shields version of this on top of a static health bar. By Halo 2 they more or less combined the shields with health (explained as the introduction of "automated biofoam injectors" in the Master Chief's newer armor that automatically heal him while his shields are up) - you do still have a separate health bar, as can be seen by the surprising amount of punishment the Chief can survive when his shields go down, but it's not visible since it heals up the instant your shields begin recharging - though games that don't have you play as a SPARTAN (Halo 3: ODST) or are set before the introduction of the armor in 2 (Halo: Reach) go back to the old mechanics.
  • Half-Life and the infamous HEV suit, which is something of a combination of, well, a hazardous environment suit and body armor - minor things like steam, electrified water and the like will just chip away the power, but bullets will still take off HP. Part of its infamy comes from the second game, where there are several hazards that you'd expect a hazard suit to protect you from, but which instead directly damage your health without sapping any of your armor.
  • Unreal: The games zig-zag this depending on the armor type, with different armor giving different amounts of damage absorption.
    • Unreal's armor doesn't have a set percentage of damage absorption, but rather only lets one out of every X number of damage points through, so the actual protection percentage fluctuates based on the attack - the Assault Vest and Kevlar Suit deal with regular damage, absorbing respectively 9 out of every 10 points and 4 out of every 5, while the Toxin and Asbestos Suit only absorb 1 out of every 2 points for respectively toxic and burning damage types.
    • UT99 onward switched to actual percentages, with its thigh pads and III's helmet protecting from 50% damage (and, in the latter case, making you immune to a single headshot) and armor vests absorbing 75% of damage taken.
    • UT99's first Bonus Pack also includes a "Defense" relic that can be added to games, which provides another 60% damage absorption over anything that armor doesn't absorb.
    • Despite the total amount of armor points being abstracted as one number, all the different armor types stack separately (except the Kevlar, Toxin and Asbestos Suits in Unreal, which are mutually exclusive), thus requiring new pickups for all your armor types to fully replenish it - Unreal and UT allow for a combined 150 armor points (50 from the respective different Suits and Thigh Pads, and 100 from the Assault and Armor Vests), while UT3 allows a combined 100 (20 from a helmet, 30 from thigh pads, and 50 from armor).
    • Then there's the Shield Belt from the Tournament games and Unreal, which absorbs all damage taken until it's knocked out.
    • In Unreal and UT3, shields stack separately on top of regular armor, adding another 100 points on top of your armor (with the former also including a single Power Shield that gives you 200 shields), while in UT it replaces regular armor entirely and can be recharged by picking up other armor pickups.
    • Played straight in Unreal Tournament 2003, which completely abstracts armour as a floaty yellow shield icon when not equipped, and otherwise as a number that will go down instead of your health when you're hit. The Shield Gun's namesake Secondary Fire has a variation, where damage up to 100 points will be completely negated by the shield (anything above that, like a fully-charged BioRifle shot, will damage you as normal), except for falling damage which is only slightly cushioned (how this even works is best not discussed).
    • Unreal II: The Awakening has an interesting aversion, where the level of your shields affects their effectiveness. At full shields they absorb 100% of any damage you take, but below 90% or so you start taking partial damage to your health with the shields only absorbing a percentage of total damage, which gets lower and lower as your shields drop (e.g. at 50% shield strength, your shields absorb less than half of the damage of a hit). It's not uncommon, assuming you grab no health or armor pickups over the course of a level, to die with your shields still at 33% or more.
    • Unreal Tournament 2004 plays this in a different manner than 2003. Although the HUD only has a single armor counter which maxes out at 150 shields, like in the other games the regular shield and super shield actually stack separately and apply different amounts of protection. The super shield absorbs damage first, taking away 75% damage dealt to you, then once it's gone the regular shield kicks in for 50% damage reduction until it's done too. Where this gets weird is that while the super shield's stack goes up to the full 150 (requiring two super shield packs and/or a Booster adrenaline combo to fill), the regular shield's stack only goes up to 50 (meaning only one shield pack is needed, but a super shield pack is still necessary to get full armor), and picking up a regular shield will block off or even overwrite the last 50 points in the super shield's stack. The upshot to this is that if you have one of both shield types, this trope is played straight and you get a full 100% damage absorption as long as the combined total is above 100 points - conversely, when the super shield is depleted, a glitch causes any of the damage over that which knocked it out to apply directly to your health before the regular shield will kick in for further attacks.
  • The Borderlands series has Regenerating Shield, Static Health with "Deflector Shields As Hit Points" variation, some of which also increase max health as well (though others decrease it to make up for higher shield strength). There are some differences between health points and shield points besides shield regenerating, like different elemental multipliers (shock is better against shields, corrode and incendiary are better against flesh).
  • Armor in Dystopia has a certain hit point value and takes damage in place of some of your health, but it works differently. It takes double-damage from explosive weapons and half-damage from everything else. It also cannot be regenerated like health.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade's tutorial tries to claim that this trope is not in effect, on top of Arbitrary Gun Power, where the health demonstration shows you taking 75% damage from a dinky pistol shot, then 50% health and 50% armor damage from a second shot after healing up and grabbing armor; in the actual game, though, this is played perfectly straight, where falling damage (in the few places it's applicable) or getting run over by a vehicle (on the rare occasions the AI is programmed to be able to do it) are the only ways to damage you through armor, and every other possible damage type - bullets, flames, explosions, electricity and even poisonous clouds of Tiberium gas - has to eat through your armor before it can damage your health. This even applies to vehicles, and is played even straighter for them since there aren't any damage sources that cut through their armor bar to damage their "health" directly. It's also played in an interesting manner for the Mammoth Tank, which has sort of an inversion of Regenerating Shield, Static Health - its armor points can't be replenished on its own, but once it starts taking damage to its health bar, they will slowly regenerate, tying in with the Mammoth Tank's ability to self-repair up to 50% of its health in the original game.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein does this with armored enemies, with pieces of their armor falling off as you shoot at them, including the final boss. This is in contrast to the player's armor, which universally absorbs two-thirds of all damage, with the pickups (armored helmet or flak jacket) only differentiated by how much armor they add to the player's total (helmets give 25 and a jacket 75, with a max of 100).
  • First-Person melee game Pirates Vikings and Knights has both a health bar and an armor bar, which varies depending on what class you've chosen, with the Heavy Knight having the most, and the shirtless Berserker having the least. The armor mitigates a percentage of damage taken, and can be replenished by finding armor pickups scattered across the map.
  • Overwatch zig-zags this trope: while armor is treated as a type of health in most cases (able to be recovered by healing items/abilities and whatnot), it does offer minor Damage Reduction while active to the tune of 3 damage per attack (or half of the attack's damage if it does less than 6). Most Tank heroes (with Roadhog and Zarya being the sole exceptions) as well as Bastion (a DPS hero) and Brigitte (a Support hero) come with armor as part of their default health bar. Brigitte can also grant allies temporary armor through her Armor Pack ability and her Ultimate, while Torbjorn can give himself temporary armor through his Overdrive ability.
  • In the Asymmetric Multiplayer game Evolve, the monster has two bars of hit points, one of which is armour, the other of which is its actual health. They are differentiated in that health does not replenish once lost and can only be increased whenever the monster "evolves", while armour can be regained through eating/regenerates by itself over time and does not get boosted when the monster evolves.
  • PAYDAY 2 plays this straight. Even standing in a cloud of tear gas will damage your armor before it starts eating into your health. Hell, armor will even absorb damage from a one-story fall (used to be a specific skill, now a regular part of gameplay as of the skill rebalance with the 100th update), though if you fall too far you do get incapacitated and need to be helped up. On top of that, with the exception of taking a bullet from a Sniper, any damage over that which causes your armor to break and would otherwise be applied to your health underneath will be completely negated. Some perk decks play around with this, such as the Anarchist deck converting most of your health into even more armor, and the Kingpin using a unique injector that lets you refill your health from any damage you take to your armor while it's in effect. The Stoic, however, is a particularly amusing inversion, since using that perk deck applies a flat 75% damage reduction... but one of the deck's upgrades literally converts all your armor into more health.
    • This is played even more straight with the Bulldozer special enemy. As enemy units do not have separated armor and health point values, the Bulldozer's heavy armor is represented by giving them an extremely high health value as compared to other enemies but also having them take five times as much damage when hit with a headshot to represent shooting them in an unarmored spot (though players must first shoot off their protective visor to score those headshots).
  • PAYDAY 3 subverts this for SWAT units and specials, who have separate health and armor poolsnote . Damage taken will fully apply to a unit's armor pool, whilst damage to health is calculated based on the armor's hardness (which ranges from 1.0 for Cloakersnote  to 4.0 for Bulldozers) and the weapon's penetration (which acts as a penalty to hardness). If the weapon's penetration fails to reduce hardness below 1.0, it will deal no damage to a unit's health until armor is depleted.
  • Body armor in the Killing Floor games is a meter that you fill by paying the trader or picking up a kevlar vest. So long as you have any, a certain percentage of damage will be taken from armor instead of health. Because that percentage is usually above 50% and both have a default maximum of 100, it's uncommon for players to die before their armor is taken down to zero. Said percentage varies differently in each game:
    • In the first game, armor absorbs 77% of all damage dealt with a few exceptions: Bloat bile and ambient fires are completely absorbed by armor, Husk fireballs have 99% of their damage absorbed, and long falls or Siren screams bypass armor entirely. A special ability of the Field Medic is to absorb 100% of all damage dealt to him to his armor.
    • Killing Floor 2 goes for a different system where armor decreases in effectiveness as it's damaged; anywhere above 75 points, all damage sources (save, again, long falls, Siren screams, and the Matriarch's sonic attack) have 75% of their damage absorbed by the armor, decreasing to 65% absorption from 74 to 51 armor points, then 55% absorption when armor drops to 50 points or lower until it's gone. There are again abilities to make armor absorb all damage, this time as a selectable skill for the SWAT perk and a passive bonus for the Survivalist.
  • Postal 2 comes pretty close, with armor absorbing 80% of all damage coming your way while worn, with the only difference in the two pickups being how durable they are (regular kevlar vests as worn by SWAT give 100 armor maximum, silicon-carbide vests like the National Guard wear give 200). This more or less accidentally makes it look less useful than it appears, if only because the damage absorption and the number of people dishing out damage in your general direction means that it doesn't last very long, and though armor can be directly purchased in some instances and more rarely looted from people you kill (assuming you don't chew through that armor in the process of shooting them to death), it's ultimately much harder to replenish armor than it is to just scarf down some food to heal yourself.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 plays this straight, though slightly differently depending on the mode. The Ballistic Vests pointstreak in multiplayer adds a flat 50 points to your Regenerating Health, with the caveat that once you've been brought down below the extra health it applies, it's gone until you grab another vest. Special Ops Survival instead has an actual separate counter for body armor, which provides 250 points worth of protection but has to be repaired or replaced by purchasing a new vest from the equipment armory between waves; until that armor is gone, none of the damage you take will go to your actual health.
    • Call of Duty Warzone adds an Armor Plate mechanic that also plays this straight: up to three armor plates can be slipped into your vest, which will act more or less as a straight upgrade to your health. Long falls and any sort of gas attack will damage you directly, but otherwise, shooting someone with armor to death absolutely requires you to chew through that armor. There's even one upgrade that lets users get the same protection as three plates while only using two. They're also available in the multiplayer of Black Ops Cold War and Vanguard, and in a single campaign level of Modern Warfare II, where they work identically.
  • Played straight in the non-mod version of UNLOVED, where you can find armoured vests and armour shards that absorb damage in place of your HP. Oddly, a single vest doesn't count as a "full" set of armour, merely a larger armour bonus than a shard. Certain equippable trinkets can increase the absorption of armour, as well as increase the maximum you can carry. The only damage that can pass through armour is the HP sacrifice you have to make to the Blood Machines to end the level and the "Face of Death" attack of the Witch.
  • Played straight in Apex Legends: all body armor you find simply adds between 50-100 extra HP in "shields", depending on the tier of armor. However, shields differ slightly from standard health in that they're restored using a separate item (batteries instead of med kits) and recharge faster (meaning that it's actually more beneficial to recover armor over health in the middle of a firefight).
  • In WRATH: Aeon of Ruin, there's the traditional retro FPS armor that only reduces the amount of health you lose when attacked, but there also exists dark armor, which is a separate value from normal armor; it must be depleted before normal armor (if you have it equipped) is affected by damage, and it also protects you from damage completely.
  • Serious Sam plays this mostly straight, featuring medieval armor pieces for the player to use against the highly technologically advanced aliens you fight. The armor absorbs 2/3 of all damage dealt to the player, which is remarkably effective considering the bullets, laser beams and rockets that are used on the player. Most armor collectibles include only torso pieces as well, except for the occasional helmet which you can naturally pick up as many times as you want until you have the same armor coverage as a full torso of plate mail. Later games in the series use modern Kevlar vests and helmets as armor collectibles instead, which the player can still collect multiple times until they reach the armor maximum. Unfortunately, the third person character model for Sam does not include any collected armor pieces, so we will never know whether he stacks the helmets on top of each other into a towering pillar on his head or if he straps the extras across his torso in a bulletproof collage.
  • Appropriately for a James Bond pastiche, No One Lives Forever uses this in the same manner as the N64 GoldenEye - health cannot be replenished mid-mission, but you can find body armor pickups that take over for almost all damage, with only a scant few damage sources (including just falling a long way) able to injure you through any armor.
  • Red Steel: Picking up body armor will give the player a second life bar. This life bar does not regenerate.

    Miscellaneous Games 
  • Chaos Heat gives you Bulletproof Vest as pickups, which adds to your health bar.
  • These are added to the energy gauge to represent extensions of it in the NES game Arkistas Ring.
  • In Glider PRO, aluminum foil lets your glider take a certain undisplayed number of hits from moving things and bumping the sides of obstacles. Without it, you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • In The Lost Vikings there's a shield item that works by giving the character who uses it an extra fourth hit point on top of the three per level they usually get.

    Platform Games 
  • Demon's Crest gives Firebrand the Legendary Gargoyle morph, which effectively doubles his life gauge. In a more traditional example, the "Armor" talisman halves damage he takes. These two effects stack when used together.
  • In Dragon Unit your health is represented by the armor you're wearing, from holding a shield to shieldless but with armor and finally down to a simple leather tunic. Get hit again at this stage and you lose a life.
  • This is how armors work in Legend of Kay. You even get an extra Life Meter (for the armor) next to your normal one.
  • In Jak 3: Wastelander and Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, you start with eight hit points, or "half a circle". Each armor upgrade gives you two extra points, filling up the "circle".
  • In the arcade version of ESWAT, you lose pieces of your Powered Armor when you take a hit.
  • In Ghosts 'n Goblins and its sequels, Arthur's only means of protection is the suit of armor he's wearing. Take one hit and he's reduced to his undies. Take another, well you lose the only armor keeping him together, and he's a pile of bones.
  • Similar to Ghosts 'n Goblins, fellow Capcom game Black Tiger also has a hero who will die on the next hit once his armor breaks and he's left with just a loincloth. Luckily you get a new suit of armor after finishing a level and you can also buy new suits of armor.
  • 20XX features both armor and HP, the difference being that armor pickups can increase your armor bar indefinitely whereas health pickups can only heal you up to your maximum HP. The Power-Up that turns health pickups into armor pickups is a Game-Breaker indeed.
  • Power Blade has an armor power-up that the player character Nova can pick up. The Armor gives him a stronger attack and rewards him with three extra hit points on top of his Life Meter. When all three hit points are depleted, the armor disappears and you go back to your normal form. The armor can be replenished by finding another armor power-up, however.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Starcraft:
    • Terran Marines are sometimes considered to be a case of Armor Is Useless, as they have a paltry 45 HP and 0 base armor despite their Powered Armor. However, closer inspection shows it's this trope which is in effect, as unarmored civilians have significantly lower HP. Furthermore, Starcraft II added the Combat Shield upgrade for Marines, which does not grant them any armor, but gives them an extra 10 HP.
    • The Protoss have the "Deflector Shields" version.
    • In Wings Of Liberty, the Vanadium Plating laboratory upgrade makes units gain 5% more HP for every armor upgrade they get.
  • In Rise of Legends the Cuotl have the deflector shield version, explained by the Sufficiently Advanced Technology of Ancient Astronauts.
  • Armor upgrades in Dawn of War increase hit points rather than damage resistance. This is because the game engine relies on armor type to determine damage taken.
  • In Star Ruler there are several types of armor, all of which behave as a specialized health bar that has some sort of benefit over your ships natural hull integrity, such as regeneration for nanomachine armor, a resistance to small projectiles/energy weapons on ablative armor, a resistance to (relatively) larger projectiles and explosives on reactive armor, and a lot of hitpoints and a low cost to more advanced armors on solid metal plates. Only two weapons can bypass armor reliably to hit enemy shits subsystems and hulls. Also, one can throw on as much armor as they would like, with no concern as to running out of room, as armor only increases the weight of a ship.
    • This game also follows the regenerating deflector shields as health variant, with a minor twist. Shields have a hardness attribute, this goes down as the shields take hits, and when this hardness goes low enough, the ships shields can simply be bypassed without totally stripping them. This makes nano armor invariably popular (while forgoing shields entirely, or using nano armor in combination with fast regenerating shields) as it is much harder to bypass than shields.
  • League of Legends features the Cloth Armor and Chain Vest items which avert this trope and reduce damage from physical attacks. However, the Warmog's Armor and the now-defunct Leviathan are breastplates that give a huge chunk of hitpoints.

  • In Darkest Dungeon, upgrading the armor of heroes mainly adds to their hit points.
  • The Shield status in Dicey Dungeons basically acts as a second life bar, the difference being that there is no maximum Shield amount and losing Shield does not increase the limit break bar, unlike with the actual HP bar. Also, the Poison status ignores Shield and directly affects HP.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Alpha Protocol has armor that grants endurance, which is like health that regenerates.
  • In the computer game Autoduel, your vehicle's driver has 3 Hit Points at full health. Body armor can also be bought (or replaced, if damaged) at truck stops, which grants another 3 hit points. Driver health isn't affected until all 3 hit points from body armor are gone. (If 6 HP sounds puny, keep in mind that the damage scale is designed around armed, (usually) heavily armored vehicles shooting the crap out of each other.)
    • This is carried over from the original Tabletop RPG Car Wars. Body armour would give 3 extra damage points (improved versions, 6). As a side note on damage scale, what seems to be an ordinary M60-size machine gun does a base 1d6 damage.
    • As a humorous side-note, in the Tabletop RPG, you fall unconscious after taking 2 damage points and die after 3. A .44 magnum revolver inflicts 2 damage points. Therefore, if you take the rules literally, as long as you're not wearing armor, you cannot commit suicide with a .44 magnum, even if you put the barrel in your mouth and pull the trigger.
  • The Mobile Phone Game Battleloot Adventure has armor increase your max HP instead of your defense stat.
  • Cube Colossus: Your Life Meter is called Shields.
  • In Dark Devotion, your armor acts like an extra life bar. Each pip in the armor bar blocks one attack, and enemies cannot damage your health until your armor is fully depleted. Damaged armor can be repaired with the Pieces of Armor consumable item.
  • Deus Ex uses the trope and justifies it in universe. The body armor actively uses energy to deflect weapon fire. Once it runs out of power, it no longer provides any protection. The armor slowly depletes just by wearing it, getting hit makes it deplete faster.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: Characters have two sets of Armor Points for physical and magical armor; damage sources of either type need to exhaust those armor points before they can affect the character's Hit Points. Each type of armor also protects against specific Status Effects while any points remain. Protective equipment, character abilities, and temporary consumables and spells can all add to a character's armor points, and their total is refreshed at the end of combat.
  • Granblue Fantasy zigzags with this: Visually, Shields are displayed as a second life-bar in the interface, but are, in the engine, a damage prevention effect ("Prevent the next X amount of damage"), and can be bypassed by some effects (such as plain damage and damage that can't be prevented); this also causes issues with Life Drain style effects.
  • Iji: After 100 Armor Points are lost, you lose 1 of your Hit Points.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails series, most enemies come with a layer of armor, once the bar has been fully reduced, the enemies become weakened and attacks they receive become Critical Hits.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The game plays the trope straight, with a third layer devoted to biotic barriers or shields. Most boss-type units in Mass Effect 2 have at least armor or shields. On Insanity difficulty, all enemies have armor or shields, and boss-type units have shields/biotic barriers, armor and finally health. However, huge or purely mechanical enemies only have armor, not health. Once their armor is depleted, it's assumed the last shot hit something vital and killed/destroyed them.
    • In Mass Effect 3, armor is implemented as an alternate form of health for enemies (either armor or health, never both). Armor reduces damage per shot by a set amount, and while some powers are more effective against armor than health, armored enemies are immune to certain abilities even if their shield/barrier is depleted.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, the Barrier chips act like this. Each Barrier has a set amount of health, so if you have a 200 Barrier, 20 attacks with 10 damage will break it, but so will the attack with 200 damage. The only way to restore it is it get another barrier. The subversion lies in the sister set, the "Aura" chips. They can only be destroyed by an attack that is equal to or more powerful than their HP.
  • In Parasite Eve 2, armor modifies your maximum HP and allows you to carry more usable items into battle.
  • In RuneScape, this trope was completely averted before the Evolution of Combat update. Before the update, there was no way to raise a players hitpoints above the maximum, and armour only served to reduce the probability of taking damage at all. A player wearing strong armour would be more likely to 'dodge' attacks and take no damage from them, but weren't more durable against attacks that would always hit.
  • Since Shin Megami Tensei IV and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse lack defense stats, torso armor in these games is defined by how much bonus HP it provides (alongside changing elemental affinities).
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Deflector Shields roughly fit this (armour is the standard D20-style where it makes you harder to hit); there's a maximum damage quantity they can take, although they also have a time limit and a maximum they can absorb from any one attack.
  • In Unleash the Light, Armor Packs absorb extra damage by temporarily adding to the user's HP. They're the first ones to break when an enemy attacks them.
  • The Xenoblade Chronicles games have Damage Immunity from 1 and Armor Veil from 3 which absorb based on a set amount of the character's max HP.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum also does this. Despite being called "armor upgrades", each one simply adds another segment to your health bar without actually reducing the damage you take.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Your character's Flak Jacket in Syphon Filter.
  • Oni uses the Deflector Shields version with the Forcefield item absorbing attacks from guns.
  • James Bond, yet again.
  • Mostly played straight in The Division 2. Characters do have a health bar, however before health gets damaged, attacks chip away at the player's armor instead. Characters typically have much, much more armor than health, and the game's "healing" abilities (including Armor Packs, which are this game's healing kits) all repair armor, and the UI dramatically warns the player when their armor gets low rather than their health. The player's health pool is little more than an emergency cushion to provide a buffer while they find cover to repair their armor.
  • The Dark Forces Saga uses a personal Deflector Shield that works like this throughout. It blocks Energy Weapons but not physical damage.
  • Splatoon and Splatoon 2 feature armor pickups that can be used in their single-player campaigns. If the player takes damage that would otherwise be fatal (or reduce them to their Last Chance Hit Point, from the second game onwards), it will instead destroy their armor and leave them otherwise unharmed. The original Splatoon allows you to stack up to three sets of armor at once, although Splatoon 2 lowers this to two.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has no defense stat. Instead, armor just increases HP. Since an increase of 5 HP per level is considered extremely high, it's vital to make sure you have quality armor.
  • Legends of Kingdom Rush has armor and hitpoints. Physical attacks will damage armor, and once that is depleted the damage carries over to hitpoints, while magic and true damage (like poison, burn, and bleeding) will damage hitpoints directly. A number of tank characters have regenerating armor but no regenerating HP.
  • The first Master of Orion game had just generic hitpoints and shields, determined by ship size/armor tech and shield tech, respectively. The sequel changed the hitpoints into separate armor, hull integrity and system status levels, making ship design strategy more complex and interesting.
  • In Sword of the Stars all armor techs add to the health of your ships, but they also dramatically increase the chance of physical weapons simply ricocheting off the hull with no damage. Weapons in the 'Polarized Plasmatics' tree are dangerous because they negate that bonus.
  • X-COM
    • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, armour adds hit points to your troopers, and a trooper is not considered "wounded" — requiring recovery time in the infirmary after returning to HQ — as long as they weren't damaged "beyond" the armor's hit point bonus. This also applies to HP-enhancing items like the Nano-Fiber Vest or Chitin Plating.
    • XCOM 2 has three types of armor:
      • Standard body armor is Body Armor as Hit Points - Better armor gives you more hit points, which act like any other hit points.
      • Armor Points are Damage Reduction: Any incoming damage is reduced by the number of armor points, to a minimum of one. Some attacks can pierce (ignore) or shred (remove) armor points, with certain weapons and AP Rounds doing the former while explosives, heavier classes of firearms and the Shredder skill of Grenadiers doing the latter.
      • Shielding adds single-use hit points above the normal hit points. Soldiers are not considered wounded unless all the shield hit points have been removed, either through direct damage or removing the source of the shielding, although they can be bypassed by Bluescreen rounds.
  • In the Disgaea series, some armors and accessories will give you extra hit points in addition to boosting your other stat ratings.
  • The hybrid turn-based strategy/real-time tactics/roleplaying game, King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame adds this specifically to the hero/commander units, including your Knights of The Round Table. When they get armour, they only get a bonus to hit points (though usually a huge amount). However the armour stat (which heroes lack) for normal units, provides damage reduction. This is done, to make non-elite normal units a somewhat viable threat to heroes.
  • In Super Robot Wars Advance, Shields are basically an extra health bar stacked on top of a robot's normal HP, and enemy attacks have to get through them first before they can start dealing real damage. This is the only SRW game to do this; normally Shields just reduce damage and have a chance of activation based off of the pilot's Shield Defense skill.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto: All of the Playstation 2-era games use this trope the same way: body armor hit points are indistinguishable from regular hit points insomuch as game mechanics are concerned, but in Grand Theft Auto IV, only being shot or caught in an explosion will take off armor; damage taken from falling, getting run over, getting punched in the face and so on bypasses it. San Andreas and Liberty City Stories also bypassed armor damage from drowning and falling. In the original game, body armour allows the player to take up to three bullets, but is useless against explosions or fire.
  • In Spore, adding armor to the animal increases the hitpoints, though the increases don't stack.
  • In EVE Online, spaceships have hitpoints split into three types: Shields, Armor and Structure which take damage in that order. Ships can equip modules to extend the hitpoints of all three.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, armor adds to your health bar. However, over time armor gets damaged and when "broken" you can't regain the health it provides until you get repairs done.
  • In [PROTOTYPE]. Alex has two defensive powers, a shield and armour. The shield on his arm absorbs hit points until it breaks, whereas the full-bodied armour simply reduces the damage done to him while slowing him down.
  • In the classic computer game Auto Duel, your character has 3 hit points and can buy body armor at any truck stop, which provides another 3 hit points. Unlike your body, though, the armor can't be fixed once it's shot up, so once it's sustained the full 3 points of damage, you'll need to buy new armor. (Oh, and if you're thinking that 3 hit points is a puny number, keep in mind that the game is designed around the concept of vehicles blowing the crap out of each other.)

Other examples:

    Comic Books 
  • In Empowered the titular protagonist wears a skin-tight super-suit which degrades as it protects her from attacks, and becomes useless once it has torn up completely.

  • In the Lone Wolf series of game novels by Joe Dever, any piece of armor you found would add to your endurance points. Largely because combat skill and endurance points were the only stats you actually had.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ablative armor in GURPS acts almost exactly like normal hitpoints (the exceptions being against attacks with armor penetration modifiers).
  • Rifts's Mega-Damage system basically replaces your normal SDC/Hit Points with the armor's MDC, given that even light Mega-Damage to a normal human will usually kill them outright.
  • In Palladium Fantasy: and Palladium's other SDC books, on the other hand, Armor has an Armor Rating and an SDC count. Any strike roll that goes over the A.R. does damage directly to the character, anything under the A.R. damages the armor itself.
  • BattleTech armor is universally like this; it literally adds extra hit point boxes to a given unit's location 'outside' the internal structure proper, which are usually not actually any tougher but have to be eliminated before any actual structure damage can be inflicted. A little farther than that, armor also protects the internal components and systems of the mech. As long as the armor stil holds, you can only damage the systems of a mech with a Critical Hit.
  • Tunnels & Trolls, having been made in 1975, is the Trope Maker; armor, when donned, provides a boost in Hit Points that, once gone, is gone for good. Averted with shields, though, which shave a chunk off the damage of any connecting attack as long as they are equipped.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones first edition armor has hit points that have to be reduced to zero before you take damage. Unless the enemy takes a single shot to hit something not covered by armor or is using Armor-Piercing ammo, which deals ammo damage to both the armor and the wearer.
    • 2nd edition instead opts for armor increasing the wearer's Endure score.
  • Arkham Horror 3rd edition: Armour, Protective Charms, and allies all have their own Stamina and Sanity scores, which a player can choose to absorb some or all of an attack in their character's place. Actual body armour also has a point of Damage Reduction.

  • This is a standard mechanic in Russian style LARP games. They tend to be combat heavy and feature a lot of unsafe medieval weapon action, and need very simplistic and easily trackable mechanics of combat. So the standard rule is "No armor = 1-2 hpnote , light armor = 3 hp, medium armor = 4 hp, heavy armor = 5 hp". Said armor is usually a quite historically faithful reproduction of medieval body armor.
  • We get a film example in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Nick Fury's Cool Car can somehow measure the integrity of its bulletproof windows as a percentage.
  • Commonly used in various version of Star Trek, in which the Enemy of the Week (Klingons, Romulans, Borg) start hammering away at the Enterprise, and as each blast rattles the ship a crew member would say "Shields holding at X percent". Usually after a few hits, the Chief Engineer will announce, "Captain, the shields can't take much more of this!"
  • Shardplate in The Stormlight Archive cracks as it takes damage, with individual pieces shattering if subjected to a lot of punishment. Luckily, it also regrows if provided with Mana. This is made explicit in duels, which are usually fought until a specific number of pieces have shattered.

Alternative Title(s): Body Armour As Hit Points, Armor As Hit Points