The rules are currently in force for our campaign of Castle White Rock.
[Armour Hit Points] - We have used an old 'Sage Advice' with regards to Armour Hit points. Armour has 10 hps per AC, and a Hardness of 10 for metal armour, and 5 for non metal.
E.g.: A chain Shirt would have a hardness of 10, and 50 hps. Magical armour adds one hardness and toughness per +1, so the above chain shirt, if +2, would have 12 Hardness and 52 hit points.
Apparently Hitpoints where not included in 3rd edition rules as the writers did not want armour to be sundered, but this left questions as to regards whether a suit of armour would survive a critical failure saving roll against a fireball or lightning bolt for example. With a campaign that has oozes as every other encounter, these rules are greatly needed.
If a suit of armour is damaged, its effective AC is reduced by the amount of damage it has taken divided by 10, rounded up.
Magical armour that has been damaged in any way has been allowed to be repaired by using one 'special' sheet of metal (for simplicities sake) that we purchased from the Smithy at Palfrey's keep along with a single casting of the Fabricate spell.
Despite Druids (and other shape-shifting classes) having an excellent knowledge and extensive training regarding topics of nature and animals, they are unlikely to know every single creature that ever existed. Therefore these rules have been created to add an element of research, much like a Wizard resources new spells. The term creature used in this text is a generic descriptive word for all shapeshifting types such as Animal, Humaniod, Giant etc.
Researching a creature takes time, and requires the use of a city that has a library, Herbalist or Apocathary shops, Furriers etc. A scribe is also used (Paid 3sp/day as per DMs guide) during this research time to make notes and drawings to help collate the research, helping with chronicling habitats, strengths and weaknesses, descriptions, etc. The research time of an animal (or other monster type) that you have never encountered is measured in weeks based on its HD, or level adjustment (one week plus one week per point of level adjustment) whichever is the greater.
Example: Tenpast has some time back in the city, and so decides to spend some time on researching the Deep Gnome form. This takes a total of 4 weeks (level adjustment is +3, so time is one week base plus 3 weeks for the level adjustment) and costs 10gp for the cost of a scribe during this period.
The time spent researching is not as stringent as that of researching magical items or spells however. The Druid can engage in other activities (not other forms of research though), fight and cast spells with no problems. If the Druid suspends his research for any reason he may return as normal – however the Scribe will require a bonus 10gp in wages and an extra week is added to the research time.
A Wildshaping class also does not have to research every creature type it wishes to assume the form of. Assuming a normal environment, for example a campaign that does not centre around a vast desert or winter environment the Wildshape class is allowed all animals listed in the Monster Manual I Appendix 1: Animals with no research.
At certain points in a Wildshaping class career, s/he also gains a ‘free’ research creature*, which is based on the new types of shapes available to them (5th Animal, 11th Tiny, 12th Dire) this also applies to other shapeshifting classes such as the Shifter (1st Humaniod etc). This reflects the fact that your new level has given you access to this shape so during the training you should be able to become a form based on the type that has been granted to you. The research that comes from the knowledge of a new level can only be applied to a creature that is equal to or less than the new level being obtained.
Example: Tenpast becomes a 5th Druid and Gains the Wildshape ability. As part of this knowledge, he gains access to all the normal animal lists, and one free animal type that is not subject to research time. Tenpast chooses the Fleshraker Dinosaur. Later Tenpast becomes a 1st level Shifter, and gains access to the Humaniod shape. He chooses the Lizardfolk as his free research.
After more adventures, Tenpast levels again. He continues with the Shifter class and gains Monsterous Humaniod as his new form. He is unable to take the War Troll form as his free research, as this is a 12HD creature and he is able to take forms of 7HD (5th Druid/2nd Shifter) or less. He instead learns the ways of the Kua-toa.
A Druid is able to bypass the research time completely if he has encountered the creature - he assumed to have gained knowledge enough from either speaking or trading with a non hostile creature or has likely engaged in combat with the creature if hostile to ignore any research time required.
* This 'free' creature is subject to DM's approval - there are some creatures that are just too rare, and another creature is more likely to be used as part of the training instead.