The armor is made of some fine kind of leather, it is thick, but durable. There are still faint traces of a clenched fist, painted long ago on the breast. The design is quite old, but who cares if it is useful.
The armour is a completely forgotten relic, of a religion known to only a few scholars now. Gone are the days, when tribal conflicts were resolved by a simple duel. The tribes have selected their champions. Two warriors, each wearing the Armour, fiercely battled, until only one man left standing. The wondrous powers of this armour kept both the winner, and the loser in shape, sure thing. Unfortunately for the loser, he was moments later sacrificed to the terrible gods of war, that hunger for the living, and would not be appeased by a mere corpse.
The tribes are gone, the priests forgotten, only the armour stays as the last proof of their civilisation. On the inside are faded incriptions that few could decipher now (and fewer would notice…). Two armours exist, but the other one may be anywhere.
Since its creation it had many owners, most of them survived the theft and may be seeking it even to this day.
Sometimes the wearer does not recognize the power until the moment of ‘death’. The mischievous DM may not reveal it for a time, to confuse the player. But any character active in combat will soon find out…
The armor converts any real damage caused by melee weapons into subdual damage. The character feels hurt as in real combat, and feels the pain, so after loosing all hit points, he merely passes out, but does not die. The character is also ‘protected’ from kicks and hits.
If a character should ‘die’ in this way (= is knocked out), a Fake Death effect is projected on his body, until he regains his consciousness.
Certain attacks of monsters, like being hit by a tail or claws, will again cause only subdual damage, or will be half real - at the DM’s discretion. This may be also true for certain martial arts. Other damage, from missile weapons, or monster bite or claw attacks is always counted as ‘real’ damage.
The character, if in ordinary man-to-man combat, does not die of his wounds, even if he should. The wounds itself do never bleed (unless real damage is caused), or bleed only slightly. It should be noted, that despite the pain and the slight shock of not dieing, the ‘wounds’ - bruises and cuts - heal much faster than real wounds would. The character may start to feel reckless and too bold. But as mentioned above, the armor does not protect from all kinds of damage, and once you are K.O. or really dead, someone may take your possesions, incuding the armor. The armor changed owners several times this way. On the other hand, a ‘corpse’ that came alive again scared more than a few would-be-robbers.