Plot Armor (also known as Magic Bullet Shield, as seen in map scripts) is an informal term referring to a character's unusual ability to survive, due to their importance to the story.
In the Call of Duty series, this can be seen when certain NPCs shrug off gun fire, grenade blasts, nerve gas and other normally fatal attacks. Commanding officers directly in charge of the player character tend to maintain plot armor throughout the game, while other plot-critical characters may lose their "armor" once their role has been fulfilled. Although certain important NPCs are invincible, if they get shot enough times they will often fall down as if they died but will get up after a few seconds.
Characters without plot armor can die from any fatal event, including accidental death at the hands of the player.
If the player deliberately fires upon such NPCs, play will cease with the normal "Friendly fire will not be tolerated!" message. However, enemies can fire all they want, to no effect. Thus, the player can use friendlies with plot armor to draw fire from enemies, especially at higher difficulty levels.
In addition to friendly NPC's with plot armor, certain enemies throughout the series may have plot armor if their actions are significant to the plot.
- At one point during "Ste. Mere-Eglise- Day", Martin's squad is pinned down by Tiger tanks. Sgt. Moody is still visible to the enemy despite taking cover, and is repeatedly shot at by the second tank's machine gun.
- During the Brecourt, Crossroads, Noville, and Kharkov II, one part the player will be assigned the target to protect Sgt. Moody or Sgt. Antonov, during this time their plot armor will be removed, and they can be killed, resulting in a game over.
- After protecting Sgt. Moddy in Brecourt, Pvt. Elder will also lose his plot armor and can be killed like any other NPC.
- During "Pavlov's House" Sgt. Pavlov has plot armor until the final defense stage of the mission. He loses his plot armor, but still has more health than the other Russian NPCs.
- Cpt. Foley can be killed in the expansion pack "united offensive" but this is considered non-canon as he later comes returns to lead Baker company, retaining his plot armor.
- Oleg Puskov is invincible until he is scripted to die by sniper fire during "The Flag Must Fall".
- In the British campaign, Bob Starkey has plot armor.
- In the American Campaign, Benny Church has plot armor.
- All of the American soldiers NPC's in "Into the Heartland" have plot armor.
Adherence to CO/Main Character rule.
- In the American Campaign, Randall has full plot armor. Other characters, such as Braeburn and McCloskey have plot armor until "The Battle for Hill 400".
- In the mission "Retaking Lost Ground", the German soldiers carrying Panzerschrecks cannot be killed until they destroy the Crusader tanks.
- In the mission "The Battle of Pointe du Hoc", there are some German soldiers that cannot be killed.
- In the mission "The Tiger", the titular tank cannot be destroyed, even by firing a Panzerschreck (through cheat code) at it.
Adherence to CO/Main Character rule.
- Andy Allen survives the German defensing and makes his way clearing the town along with Roger and rest of the 3rd squad,until he loses his plot armor near the end when German reinforcement arrive,killing him and almost get Roger killed by mortar.
- In the mission Baptism By Fire, the Italian with panzershreck in the tower cannot be killed until he destroys the half-track.
- In the mission Desert Fox, the last Tiger tank cannot be destroyed until reinforcements arrive.
- Bloomfield cannot be killed until his plot armor loses in the final mission,as well as Victor Denley that lost his plot armor in Farewell to Friends.
- Saunders and Blackburn cannot be killed when clearing the beachhead,until both are scripted to die by mortar at Gela beach. Also, on the same level, Rutherford can't be killed until the point where they storm outside of one bunker. At this point he's scripted to die at the hands of an Italian soldier.
Adherence to CO/Main Character rule.
- In the level, Falaise Road, the randomly generated Canadians that come over the wall have plot armor.
- Richter has plot armor until the end of the level where he is killed.
- In Mayenne Bridge, a German in a house has plot armor until he finishes shooting away the railing that blocks the player's way.
- Vasquez, Griggs and Gaz have plot armor until their scripted deaths (Vasquez dies in "Shock and Awe", and Griggs and Gaz are killed in "Game Over").
- Captain Price has plot armor throughout the game (except, naturally, when the player assumes his role during the flashback missions).
- Massey has plot armor until the player clears the initial target building in "Charlie Don't Surf".
- In "Sins Of The Father", Sergeant Kamarov lacks his usual plot armor, as he can be killed during the second firefight at the guard post. This is possibly explained by the use of other character models, as the characters had disguised themselves as the Ultranationalists they had killed during the first assault on the guard post. Despite this, Kamarov is scripted to appear towards the end of "Game Over".
- Nikolai has plot armor through his appearances in-game in Blackout, Hunted and Death From Above.
- In "Safehouse", the Loyalist assisting the SAS has plot armor, since he is scripted to be present at Al Asad's interrogation.
- Also in "Safehouse," the two Ultranationalist guards protecting Al-Asad cannot be killed until Captain Price breaches the room.
- In "Heat", Barton and Arem cannot be killed.
- In "Crew Expendable", Wallcroft, Griffen and the final trooper are invincible.
- MacMillan can be killed in "All Ghillied Up" if the player blows their cover, but he gains plot armor in "One Shot One Kill". After his scripted injury where the player has to carry him the rest of the level, he is completely immune to grenades and the like; enemy attacks somehow leave him unharmed.
- In "Game Over" the Hind that pursues the player cannot be destroyed, until it is shot down by a Loyalist Mi-28 Havoc at the end of the level.
- In the mission Safehouse, Al-Asad and his bodyguard have plot armor. The guard loses his plot armor when Captain Price opens the door and shoots him, while Al-Asad's plot armor is removed when the interrogation begins.
- In the DS version of the game, during the mission "On Approach", an OpFor soldier can't be killed until he has fired his RPG-7.
- Sgt. Reznov and Pvt. Chernov both have plot armor, until Chernov's scripted death during "Heart of the Reich". However, if player points his weapon at Chernov after being burned, his name will still appear.
- Tom Sullivan has plot armor until his scripted death in Little Resistance.
- The Japanese soldier that stabs Sullivan cannot die until he has done so.
- The radioman who starts out with the player's squad in Hard Landing has plot armor since he radios command once the airfield is captured. He may die in the counterattack.
- Pvt. Polonsky and Sgt. Roebuck both have plot armor. During Breaking Point, depending on the player's actions, one of them loses his plot armor and dies (another scripted death), while the other keeps his plot armor.
- When Sergeant Daletski is under MG fire in Vendetta, he just falls down and gets back up when he is shot.
- The German flamethrower who burns Chernov cannot be killed until he does so.
- Both Russian soldiers who are ordered to break open the farm doors by Reznov in Their Land, Their Blood have plot armor and cannot be killed by gunfire nor grenades until they stand on each side of the farm door and are blown off by a King Tiger's shell inside the farmhouse.
- During the events of "No Russian", Makarov and Viktor not only have plot armor, but are also capable of shooting through any obstacle when necessary, with the exception of the bulletproof elevators. If shot many times by the player, Makarov and the rest of the group will shoot and kill the player, calling one a traitor. When the player betrays them, Viktor loses his plot armor and can die. However, Makarov keeps his and will kill the player eventually. This is the only time in the game and the second time in the series (the first being Imran Zakhaev in the previous game) where the player faces enemies with plot armor.
- NPCs from the TF141 including Captain Price (the only plot armored NPC to live through the Modern Warfare series), Ghost (until his scripted death - Ghost is the only one of the three main TF141 NPCs that is scripted to die in the campaign), and "Soap" MacTavish (until the player takes control of him in "The Enemy of My Enemy" to the end) are equipped with plot armor. In "Takedown", Royce is invincible until Meat dies; in "Loose Ends", Ozone and Scarecrow are invincible until the DSM is connected. Furthermore, in the latter mission, the player cannot destroy the Mi-8 helicopter, but the troops who rope out can be killed while in mid-air.
- NPCs from the Rangers including Sergeant Foley and Corporal Dunn (these two are the only plot armored Rangers to survive the entire campaign) also have plot armor. Pvt. Wells, in "Wolverines!", is invincible until Foley carries Raptor to Burger Town. After escorting Foley, he will stay at the Burger Town parking lot, but he will most probably die if he is not protected enough.
- Pvt. McCord has plot armor in "Second Sun", as there is scripted dialog from at least one of the Rangers. Sandler is kill-able at any point, and a randomly generated Ranger is scripted to die.
- In this entry to the series, friendly NPCs are able to detect and react when the player shoots past them, and will give the usual "friendly fire" warning. Prior to this, NPCs only responded when they were actually shot by accident.
- General Shepherd's helicopter in "Endgame" is invincible due to Price being scripted to destroy it. The general himself cannot be killed because he is scripted to be struck by Soap's knife at the climax of the level. However, the player can still knife him by standing behind the barrel on his right.
- Private Morgan has plot armor until the player puts a smoke screen around the BTR in "Wolverines!".
- Bowman, Reznov, Sergei, Dimitri Petrenko and his squad-mates, Dragovich, Kravchenko, Steiner (the latter three in Project Nova), Swift, Harris and Clarke have plot armor until their canonical death.
- Woods, Hudson, Weaver, Brooks and Carlos have plot armor that lasts throughout the game.
- Woods briefly loses his plot armor when Alex Mason is hit by a mortar at the top of a enemy infested hill in "S.O.G.", until he is saved from the NVA soldier.
- Hudson does not have plot armor while he is playable.
- Reznov's plot armor is a subversion, as his character is a hallucination in the mind of Alex Mason, excluding "Vorkuta" (where he is alive) and "Project Nova" (where he is playable).
- The Viet Cong who stabs and kills Swift cannot be killed until he does so.
- The Spetsnaz soldier who destroys the walkway in WMD (which causes the death of Harris) cannot be killed until he performs this action.
- The U.S. Marine in Crash Site, has plot armor until Mason destroys multiple NVA soldiers and MG turrets, where he is killed.
- The Spetsnaz Operative in Payback cannot be killed when the player pulls out the gun from the VC Bookie's holster. He can only be killed when Mason and Woods see him trying to escape out the wooden door.
- All the marines in Rebirth have plot armor during the tank ride, and the two operatives accompaning the player during the Nova Gas fight are also invincible. The plot armor is removed after leaving the Nova Cloud.
- Sandman, Truck, Grinch and John "Soap" MacTavish have plot armor in every level that they appear in until their scripted deaths.
- John Price has plot armor throughout the game, except the infiltration part in "Stronghold" and, of course, while he is playable in "Dust to Dust".
- In "Mind the Gap", Wallcroft and Griffin have plot armor, but Griffin is scripted to die at the end of the first part of the level.
- In "Turbulence", Commander Leonid Pudovkin and Sergeant Anton Fedorov have plot armor until their scripted deaths.
- In "Goalpost", Rhino 1 and 2 have plot armor, being capable of shrugging off T-90 shots, though Rhino 2 is destroyed while the player is inside it. Carter, the minigunner of Rhino 2 also has plot armor until his death. The gunner and driver of Rhino 2 that accompany the player after the tank is destroyed have plot armor that lasts throughout the mission.
- Nikolai also has plot armor, being capable of shrugging off shots in "Persona Non Grata" and "Return to Sender", though he doesn't participate in combat.
- Sabre and Faucon in "Bag and Drag" have plot armor that lasts until the player enters the van near the end of the mission.
- Volk and Gator in "Iron Lady" have full plot armor.
- During the "No Russian" flashback in "Blood Brothers", Vladimir Makarov and his men have plot armor.
- In "Scorched Earth", Granite Team has plot armor until their scripted deaths. The 3 Leopard 2 tanks also have plot armor until the building crashes on them.
- Yuri is capable of shrugging off shots while he has control of Nikolai's chopper's remote turret in Return To Sender. He also has plot armor in "Dust to Dust" until Makarov kills him.
- In the level Black Tuesday, Team Anvil has plot armor that lasts throughout the mission.
- Bravo 9's SAS operatives have plot armor in the beginning part of the mission.
- Makarov has plot armor through the game until his death.
- The Mi-8 helicopter that transports Juggernauts to a map in Survival cannot be destroyed. However, it is possible to kill the latter and have him fall to the ground.
- Similar to 'Game Over', 'Endgame' and the above example, the enemy copter which drops more troops on the field in 'Flood the Market' is invincible to attack, but the Russian personnel themselves can be killed while roping out. This will cause an effect where they drop to the ground. The player can see a similar effect in 'Loose Ends'.
- The GIGN driver in 'Server Crash' is equipped with plot armor; this also applies for the 'Over Reactor', 'Hit and Run', 'Little Bros' and 'Smack Town' pilots.
- Frank Woods, Jason Hudson, Crosby, Samuels, Manuel Noriega, Jonas Savimbi, Mullah Rahman and the ISI Leader all have plot armour that is not lost at any point in the game.
- Mike Harper, Tommy Briggs, Javier Salazar, Raul Menendez, Alex Mason, Farid, Jones, Anderson, Tian Zhao and Chloe "Karma" Lynch all have plot armour when in third person until their optional deaths. If they are saved by the player's actions, their plot armour returns later in the game, excluding Jones, Menendez and Mason, who do not appear in combat in any other missions after their plot armour is taken away. Farid's plot armour returns after killing Harper, but he later loses it in Odysseus upon his death.
- David Mason, Frank Woods, Farid and Alex Mason have Plot Armor if they are accessing something with the Access Kit, as they cannot shoot back or dodge enemy fire. Enemies will also ignore them during this period.
- Officers Janneson and Barnes have Plot Armor during Cordis Die, this plot armor is never lost throughout the game.
- DeFalco has plot armor during the scene where he makes his initial entrance in Fallen Angel, but the player cannot damage him anyway, as weapons are locked.
- In Strike Force missions, aircraft deploying troops (VTOLs and Black Hawks) cannot be destroyed in any way.