More historically accurate armor


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


15 people marked this as a favorite.

tl;dr- It's no secret that RPGs have historical inaccuracies in armor. But some of them are easy to fix and would lead to more interesting character art. And not just that, but it's even in Paizo's financial interests to do so.

Why should Paizo care?

If I'm being honest, it's probably a bit overstated how many people actually care about things like gambesons being better armor than leather or falchions actually being 1-handed and meant for mounted combat. But I still assert that there are enough people complaining about it that Paizo could generate interest in their system just by being the one RPG to not assume that padded armor is the worst things ever.

Additionally, Paizo's artists and fan artists should appreciate it. Without spoiling too much, my proposed changes introduce some more interesting armor options than just putting most characters in either leather, mail, or plate. These changes also add more interesting design space, such as giving druids a visual equivalent to full plate armor or, dare I say it, letting wizards and sorcerers be proficient in armor.

Historical inaccuracies in the current system

Leather armor actually is attested historically, but there's an important clarification with that. It's specifically boiled leather, sometimes called by its fancy French name, cuir bouilli. The CRB actually gets this one right by mentioning that it's boiled, but I don't think many people realize that. In contrast, what most people probably imagine when they hear the words "leather armor" is worse than padded armor and basically a glorified biker jacket, a step up from being on the skins team. But that's about where the historical accuracy with leather armor ends. Cuir bouilli was actually used for a variety of armor types, being formed into scales and lamellae just like steel was. The leather armor of D&D 3.5 is actually the only major variation not attested, leather plate armor.

Similarly, there actually was armor that would look like studded leather, but that's where the similarities end. Unlike studded leather armor normally being described as a biker jacket with spikes, the studs were actually the rivets holding metal sheets in place to line the inside.

And finally, I'm not convinced that half plate and full plate should be separate armor types. The difference historically is roughly that armorers making half plate just accepted that there would be gaps and patched them with mail, while armorers making full plate would try to avoid having any gaps like that. In other words, full plate was effectively masterwork half plate.

Mechanical problems

Chain shirts and breastplates shouldn't exist. Piecemeal armor normally doesn't exist, outside of a variant rule in Ultimate Equipment. And yet, since D&D 3.5 and inherited from it, chain shirts and breastplates exist as separate armor types from chainmail and plate.

Proposed changes for light armor

Padded armor should be renamed the leather jerkin, and have Max Dex increased to +6. It's so cheap and fragile because you're literally just wearing a heavy jacket into battle. As a result, I would make everyone (possibly except Monks) proficient in them.

Leather armor should be renamed padded armor, or possibly gambeson to avoid preconceptions. Also, because you're literally covering yourself in dozens of layers of fabric (which is surprisingly effective), I would give it +1 TAC and lower Max Dex to +5.

Studded leather doesn't exist, and chain shirts shouldn't exist, so they'll be replaced with the first new armors- leather scale and leather lamellar respectively. The stats are mostly good, but I would make leather scale mildly cheaper at 20 sp and weigh more at 2 Bulk. Also, I would removed the Noisy quality from leather lamellar, since it only really made sense for mail.

Proposed changes for medium armor

Hide... can stay where it is. It seems reasonable for entry-level medium armor, as long as you don't mind looking less civilized.

Scale mail should increase price to 60 sp, TAC to +2, and Bulk to 3 and reduce Max Dex to +3. I would also rename it Steel Scale to distinguish it from Leather Scale.

Chain mail is removed from the medium armor list and will become the entry-level heavy armor.

Breastplate is renamed to Steel Lamellar and has its Check Penalty improved by one (to -3) at the cost of another point of Bulk. It also drops from Clumsy to merely Noisy.

Finally, there are two new types of medium armor meant to fill a similar economic space to heavy armor. Leather Plate, which I would name Cuir Bouilli, costs 125 sp, has +3 AC, +2 TAC, +4 Max Dex, -2 CP, -5 ft speed, 2 Bulk, and the Clumsy property. Visually speaking, this is comparable to old leather armor, but now it's a high-end armor option for druids. Then Brigandine, which looks like studded leather, but is specifically not usable by druids, is mildly more expensive at 150 sp. It has similar stats to Cuir Bouilli, but trades a point of TAC for AC (+4 AC, +1 TAC) and is only Noisy, not Clumsy.

Proposed changes for heavy armor

Starting at the bottom, I would remove half plate and turn full plate into a generic Plate armor. As mentioned at the beginning, full plate is just masterwork half plate. I would also improve its Max Dex and CP by 1 each (to +2 and -4), but make it cost 600 sp and be a level 3 item to compensate.

Splint mail is renamed to either plated mail or mail and plate. It actually did exist historically, but those names for the same concept illustrate it better. Basically, you stitch plates of metal onto your mail. Increase Max Dex to +3, but lower CP to -5- worse than plate, actually. It should cost about 400 sp and be a level 2 item.

And finally, chain mail is introduced as a new entry-level heavy armor. It has +5 AC, +1 TAC, +3 Max Dex, -4 CP, -10 ft, 3 Bulk, and the Noisy property. It costs 200 sp and could be made a level 2 item, but that doesn't seem as important.

Proposed changes for shields

First, there should be 3 levels of shield size, which I call buckler, small, and large.

Bucklers give +1 AC and +1 TAC, have no Check Penalty, and weigh L Bulk. As weapons, they're simple weapons with the agile and finesse traits that do 1d3 B damage.

Small shields give +2 AC and +2 TAC, have a Dex Cap of +5 and Check Penalty of -1, and weigh 1 Bulk. As weapons, they're martial weapons with the finesse trait that do 1d4 B damage.

Large shields give +2 AC and +2 TAC, have a Dex Cap of +4 and Check Penalty of -2, and weigh 1 Bulk. As weapons, they're martial weapons that do 1d6 B damage.

From the current proficiencies, alchemists, bards, and rogues pick up buckler proficiency, but only fighters and paladins are proficient in large shields.

Summary

Remove ahistorical and piecemeal armor options. Make bucklers a serious weapon. Add new large/kite shields that are serious defensive and offensive options for TWF fighters. Fill the light armor space with more creative leather armors. Add cuir bouilli and brigandine as high-end medium armor options. Make padded armor the serious choice it was historically. And introduce untreated leather jerkins as the new joke option.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I’m perfectly happy with fantasy game armor existing, and to be honest I don’t really care if armor is “realistic” (not counting s!~& like Boobplate or Bikini Armor) or “historically accurate”. Adventurer’s Armory 2 even gave us neat scarf armor. And Bucklers strapping to the wrist is cool.

Grand Lodge

While I agree with you in principle (I have argued face to face with at least 1 dev about historical accuracy of swords) you are facing an uphill battle.

1st-Tradition is still trump here and most players probably couldn't tell leather lamellar from a coat of plates (which is probably where the idea for studded leather came from when someone didn't know what they were looking at). Changing it would just cause the bulk of players to start complaining and not really accomplish much.

2nd-Game balance. The way these are currently set there is supposed to be an internal balance. It isn't working, but it is supposed to be there.

3rd-If they were going for actual historical accuracy as opposed to what everyone is familiar with from fantasy novels and movies the game would need a complete overhaul and take at least another year for a new version of the playtest to become ready.

Again, I would LOVE to see more historically accurate representations across the board from classes, to equipment. However, the addition of magic immediately calls into question the validity of any version of historical accuracy and we need to accept some departure from our treasured ideals.

Maybe someday, with Pathfinder 3rd Edition we might see some of those 'historically accurate' changes. On second thought, maybe not, since 'historically accurate' also tends to shift slightly over time.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I get your point, especially because true realism would require weapon v armor tables to account for things like mail not being as good at blocking piercing damage. Not to mention the fact that this is trying to collapse centuries of advancement into a single moment in time, where some of the armor types (bucklers and plate) are actually younger than the gun.

But I think the piecemeal argument has merit. A decent amount of the change is really just replacing the piecemeal options (chain shirt and breastplate) and studded leather with more interesting variations of leather armor. For example, that leather plate I called cuir bouilli so druids can also have nice armor. The only real historical correction is making padded leather a serious option that even offers TAC, and having a new untreated jeather jerkin being the joke option instead.

Quote:
And Bucklers strapping to the wrist is cool.

There's nothing that says they can't still strap to your wrist. I just made them an option for rapidly bashing people with like they were in history. Giving them bash damage and a feat to be raised as a reaction just makes them cooler.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
However, the addition of magic immediately calls into question the validity of any version of historical accuracy and we need to accept some departure from our treasured ideals.

As a counterargument, I'm fairly certain it was also a design goal to keep the mundane grounded in our reality. At least in 1e, conventional wisdom is that no one in the real world has ever been above level 5, but there's certainly precedent for a bit more realism, like padded armor not being a joke or leather being a material, not an armor.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Historical accuracy isn't a reason to change the rules.

However, the current rules for armor in general feel boring and have for quite some time.

Shields got changed, and inspiration was drawn from historical/realistic use in creating that change.

I say if they are going to change shields, change the ENTIRE armor system to something more interesting. In terms of mechanics right now, hardly anything would really change if they flat our removed armor entirely and just assigned each class an AC progression and speed hit and made your dex stat reduce that speed hit.

Armor isn't a choice and hasn't really been a choice in previous editions. At most it was simply a gold tax applied to heavy armor characters to keep them from coming online at 1st level while the lighter armor classes could come online at 1st level. As close as it gets to being a choice is finding a system loophole to build a broken character and choosing to use the loophole.

So I think there is cause to change the system more radically than you are suggesting (al la shield changes where AC is half the show), and I think if big changes are called for, then looking at historical use should be a good place to look for inspiration.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

In a museum or in a historical reenactment, sure.

In a game I don't really care all that much.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll toss in a big, broad (if not 100%) agreement with the OP, so long as the OP agrees to work with me to stop the plague of the use of the term "_____ mail".


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Nope, don't mix your historical reality with my fantasy otherworld.

What happened 500 years ago on Earth has zero relevance to what happens on Golarion or Faerun or Greyhawk...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

fantasy armor doesnt bother me.
realistic armor... meh
agree about the padded armor though. it should be as good as leather.

as for the art. no thanks. Ill keep the fanatasy art style. Boobplate doesnt bother me

bikini armors.... well that would depend on the setting...

and golarion might not be the setting for it.... unless you were using it as a costume for a costume party ingame...

besides the jungle areas are not enough to use a bikini armor style....


6 people marked this as a favorite.
dragonhunterq wrote:

Nope, don't mix your historical reality with my fantasy otherworld.

What happened 500 years ago on Earth has zero relevance to what happens on Golarion or Faerun or Greyhawk...

It's already mixed in. That's why the "standard" game doesn't have lazors and cybernetixXx.

We're discussing whether it's better to have a little more verisimilitude, more interesting variety, and words that mean what they actually mean if you look them up (like, let's say, if you're a new player or don't speak English as a first language).

You suggesting you don't want new players in the game being able to understand things quickly, more interesting variety when you play, and clarity?


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I would love to see changes like the ones the opportunity stated, while we're at it, can we change the long sword to arming sword and basted sword to long sword?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

And rapier perhaps to smallsword?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You lost me at chain shirts and breastplates on their own didn't exist.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Typically, armor was piecemeal - articulated plate is a late renaissance invention. And it would have been layered — quilt overlaid with chain overlaid with steel. You wouldn't just put on a steel breastplate or a chain shirt with nothing underneath it to cushion blows. I suppose one could argue that PF, D&D and similar games just kind of abstract the whole thing. It does break verisimilitude for some, myself included. But then so does the whole concept of armor reducing chance to hit, not to mention "hit points".


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm all for less historical, less accurate armors. Boobplate, chainmail bikini's, the whole 9 yards IMO. The more fantastical the better.

If I never hear about gambeson and smallswords again, I'd be happy as even 'experts' tend to disagree on what the 'correct' term is. Is it a padded jack or arming doublet or gambeson? Is it a small sword or court sword or dueling sword?

I have better things to argue about than historical naming accuracy of equipment when there are mechanical issues to deal with.


Hill Giant wrote:
You lost me at chain shirts and breastplates on their own didn't exist.

I didn't mean to imply they didn't exist. My issue with them is that they sound like piecemeal armor options that made their way into a non-piecemeal system. And true enough, they vanished as distinct options when Paizo released a variant piecemeal armor system.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't need stuff to be accurate. The current slate of equipment is "realistic enough" to draw me in.

The game doesn't take place in Europe anyways. Its on an alien planet called Golarion - so let it be different.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The breastplate thing is a separate issue. To me, it and chain shirt sound like options from a piecemeal armor system that found their way into a non-piecemeal system. As an example of what I mean, in Ultimate Combat's piecemeal system, they're replaced by footnotes saying that wearing just the torso portion of plate/mail is called breastplate/chain shirt.

I mentioned them here, because removing those options leaves more room for the interesting things like different types of leather armor or adding actual brigandine.


The system would probably be better if armor was broken up into coverage/material but I think that's going to be more effort than it's worth. Armor is mostly a means of getting up to +7 to your AC through some combination of dex and armor and reducing strength/dex based skills by any armor bonus above 1. It could be much more free form.

You really aught to be able to perform a shield block with your armor though, shields fell into disuse as armor quality improved, and we'd want to reflect that in some way through the game rules.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Alex Cunningham wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:

Nope, don't mix your historical reality with my fantasy otherworld.

What happened 500 years ago on Earth has zero relevance to what happens on Golarion or Faerun or Greyhawk...

It's already mixed in. That's why the "standard" game doesn't have lazors and cybernetixXx.

We're discussing whether it's better to have a little more verisimilitude, more interesting variety, and words that mean what they actually mean if you look them up (like, let's say, if you're a new player or don't speak English as a first language).

You suggesting you don't want new players in the game being able to understand things quickly, more interesting variety when you play, and clarity?

Fantasy otherworld - not sci fi other planet (ignoring for the moment that technically there is already lasers and cybernetics in Numeria.)

The 'official' nomenclature is hardly a bastion of agreement and clarity. Depending on who you ask and what specific period of history and where in the world you are referring too...

And it's clear enough - chain shirt gives you these stats, half plate those stats. Simple.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
N-Sphere wrote:
Historical accuracy isn't a reason to change the rules.

I don't agree with this.

The rest of your post, though? Perfection.

Also, to the people saying that they "don't care" about realistic armor... Then why not change to something accurate, allowing people that do care to be happy, while you continue enjoying your blissful ignorance?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Aiken Frost wrote:
N-Sphere wrote:
Historical accuracy isn't a reason to change the rules.

I don't agree with this.

The rest of your post, though? Perfection.

Also, to the people saying that they "don't care" about realistic armor... Then why not change to something accurate, allowing people that do care to be happy, wile you continue enjoying your blissful ignorance?

For a start it's something else that I'd have to unlearn and relearn. That would make me unhappy. Do you want your happy to be at the expense of my happy...

:P


6 people marked this as a favorite.
dragonhunterq wrote:

For a start it's something else that I'd have to unlearn and relearn. That would make me unhappy. Do you want your happy to be at the expense of my happy...

:P

I mean. You already need to relearn all the armors, considering that the entire game changed. Having different names for most of them would actually help you, by breaking your preconceptions inherited from the previous edition. ;-)


Aiken Frost wrote:
Also, to the people saying that they "don't care" about realistic armor... Then why not change to something accurate, allowing people that do care to be happy, while you continue enjoying your blissful ignorance?

It becomes then a question of which term is most accurate. Who gets to pick which term? which time period do we look for a correct term? Which country? Which language? What happens if we get what some think is a correct term but you think it's not correct?

See the thing is, there isn't ONE single agreed upon term for any of these things so why pretend there is? What is gained by a debate over padded jack or arming doublet or gambeson as correct when we can just call it what we've always called it: padded armor.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
dragonhunterq wrote:


The 'official' nomenclature is hardly a bastion of agreement and clarity. Depending on who you ask and what specific period of history and where in the world you are referring too...

This just isn't true.

There are a handful of expert historians and curators who have simply and clearly defined most of the important vocabulary in English (and other languages). Of the dozens of museums and hundreds of even-a-little-bit-scholarly publications from the last 50 years, you won't see the term "chainmail". You'll see "mail". Please take a cursory glance at literally anything put out by the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Royal Armouries.

And claiming "authority figure has some small inconsistencies in edge cases so we shouldn't trust anything at ALL from that authority" suggests a lack of mental flexibility that might put at risk your ability to, you know, play games.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
RazarTuk wrote:


Quote:
And Bucklers strapping to the wrist is cool.
There's nothing that says they can't still strap to your wrist. I just made them an option for rapidly bashing people with like they were in history. Giving them bash damage and a feat to be raised as a reaction just makes them cooler.

I agree with almost all of your points on armor, though you are wrong about breastplates- they did exist and were used frequently by Cuirassiers as firearms became available. But I disagree completely about bucklers. We can't insist on too much reality in fantasy games, but being a real life sword and buckler fighter, the whole "it straps to your wrist" thing, and not being able to punch with a buckler, drives me nuts.

I punched a guy in the face with my buckler in Vegas in a tournament last August, and knocked him out on his feet. And he was wearing a heavy face mask. Its a darn fine weapon, but thats beside the point.

The error began with Gary Gygax. He introduced the buckler to D&D with the "spiked buckler" in the 1ed AD&D Unearthed Arcana; a spiked light shield that strapped to your wrist. One thing he got right was that you could punch with the spike. Gygax first learned of it in a badly worded, fuzzy-pictured antiquities catalog (probably with an erroneous description poorly translated from Italian or German), and he thought it strapped to your arm. It actually "buckles" to your sword belt or scabbard for ease of carry, and you grip it by a single handle in the center boss when you fight with it.

Then with D&D 3.0, the designers made the intuitive leap that you can't punch with a shield that straps to your arm (duh). They were right, but instead of changing the unrealistic, physically impossible part where it straps to your wrist, they took away the ACCURATE part where you could punch with a buckler (thats why they were spiked!).

D'OH!!!

Disallowing punching with it (what the buckler is intended to do!), and claiming that it "buckles to your wrist", are the stupidest sacred cows in fantasy gaming. Moreso because they are A. based on a mistake Gygax made, and B. are impossible according to physics.

I used to think bucklers strapping to your arm were cool too, back in my Living Greyhawk days. 8 years ago I started doing historical combat, and learned about arms and armor. I still didnt mind the wrist-strapping part, until I learned that strapping a buckler to your wrist and using it as a shield is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. It wont stay vertical, at all, ever. No contrivance of genius Gnomish engineers can make it work.

Now, the caveat is that you CAN hold items in your buckler hand while you grip a REAL buckler. That part of the rules is fine. I've fought with a buckler while holding a dagger in my buckler hand. There are historical accounts of this. If I were a wizard, I could easily use a wand or metamagic rod in my buckler hand, or hold onto my bonded staff with my buckler hand while my other hand grabs material components and does somatics.

Sure, there is magic in Pathfinder, which is also physically impossible. So why hate on bucklers? Well, bucklers arent magic. They are mundane shields that wouldn't work as written in D&D and Pathfinder. So if you care that your 8 Strength elf wizard can't carry a 300 lb treasure chest out of a 3 levels-deep dungeon and back to his horse at his full movement speed, you should also care that arm-strapping bucklers are wrong. I dare you to find one one someone has built on Youtube or anywhere else in the internet/ world, that actually works as intended.

If you don't feel that physics and reality should at all matter in our fantasy games, and things like encumbramce, armor check penalties, etc. have no place in your game, then please disregard the above.

Liberty's Edge

Darge wrote:
I would love to see changes like the ones the opportunity stated, while we're at it, can we change the long sword to arming sword and basted sword to long sword?

Can I get an A-MEN, brother Darg?


I've long come to accept that Armour Check Penalty and Max Dex are way overblown, and much harsher penalties than real armour had, which was designed to be easy to move in, because you had to march and fight in the stuff.

The point of these heavy armours are to fill a fantasy about slow but impervious fortress-like characters, and to provide a mechanical balance because seeing people wear a variety of armour is interesting.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Armor in games doesn't need to be and shouldn't be realistic.

It doesn't improve game play and doesn't make things easier to understand.

Even the names/description aren't important.

There is no need for this.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Claxon wrote:

Armor in games doesn't need to be and shouldn't be realistic.

It doesn't improve game play and doesn't make things easier to understand.

Even the names/description aren't important.

There is no need for this.

That's one view. I disagree.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I think this debate would be improved if people separated their views in at least two axes, gameplay and immersion.

From a gameplay perspective I believe the diversity provided by piecemeal armors, cover/material system, setting specific itens (from Egyptian bronze khopesh to goblin dogslicer, etc), could do great for the game as it is, if done right.

From a immersion point of view I really enjoy picturing medieval weaponry and armory side by side with fantasy or sci fi equipment, all bringing cultural bases to the world-creation process.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I really don't see the point in arguing for historically correct armors and names, if we are playing in a fantasy setting with dragons and plenty of weird races.

Honestly, I would not even mind the (unisex) chainmail bikinis.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I really don't see the point in arguing for historically correct armors and names, if we are playing in a fantasy setting with dragons and plenty of weird races.

To me it's twofold. We're focusing on options like studded leather which make no sense, and in doing so, leaving out some of the actual historical options which are frequently weirder and cooler. I'll jump over to firearms and the Fantasy Gun Control trope for an example. TV Tropes actually has a really good analysis of it, but I posit an extra cause- people assume firearms means guns. Firearms is just a fancy word for guns, and since those are post-Medieval, they feel out of place in Standard Fantasy Pseudo-Medieval Europe. Meanwhile, the Middle Ages actually saw concepts like strapping a rocket to an arrow so it flies farther and explodes, strapping a firecracker to the end of a spear as a makeshift flamethrower, or the hand cannon- a personal-sized cannon you could hold under your arm that shot grape shot like a shotgun.

Or with armor, brigandine. Rather than just being metal studs and operating on the rule of cool, it was the equivalent of wearing a bulletproof Kevlar vest under civilian clothes.

Sometimes, the actual historical options are cooler than the staples of the industry.

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
RazarTuk wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I really don't see the point in arguing for historically correct armors and names, if we are playing in a fantasy setting with dragons and plenty of weird races.

Or with armor, brigandine. Rather than just being metal studs and operating on the rule of cool, it was the equivalent of wearing a bulletproof Kevlar vest under civilian clothes.

Sometimes, the actual historical options are cooler than the staples of the industry.

Visby (and other) Brigandine armor is WAAAY cooler than stupid (oops-studded) leather, even if you ignore that studded leather never existed and couldnt exist.

Studded leather is the second worst fantasy armor Sacred Cow after the arm-straped buckler, because (like the buckler) it was based on a mistake, and it wouldn't work, period.

The above named Sacred Cows arent just irritating because they are misnamed, like with the reversal of Longsword and Bastard Sword (nevermind the absence of arming sword or the use of Chain in Chainmail). THey are epic/ tragic fails based on errors/ misunderstandings, and they defy the laws of physics.

All those studs would ruin the protection from leather armor. Why? 1. puncturing the leather in multiple places weakens it, reducing greatly how much hardened leather can withstand cuts & blows. 2. the studs would catch weapon points and hold them in place, as well as channeling cuts directly into the leather, in both cases preventing the leather from deflecting/ turning the blow. A bludgeoning weapon would drive the studs through the leather armor and into the wearer, basically adding piercing damage. The purpose of armor is to distribute/ disburse energy. Studs would focus cutting, piercing, AND bludgeoning attacks.

Note: for those who didnt know, Chainmail is called Maile. "Chainmail" is the incorrect name coined by museum curators and medieval revivalists in Victorian England. Confession: I still use "chainmail" even when talking about real armor- this mistake doesn't matter.


Ed Reppert wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Armor in games doesn't need to be and shouldn't be realistic.

It doesn't improve game play and doesn't make things easier to understand.

Even the names/description aren't important.

There is no need for this.

That's one view. I disagree.

Claxon isn't alone as I disagree with your disagreement... :P


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Fair enough.

If we didn't call it chainmail we couldn't have books with alliterative titles like Chicks in Chainmail. :-)


Chicks In Maille is a book my shelf deserves. 'Chicks in Chain' would preserve the alliteration without the gross inaccuracy. Since Mail/Maille can also be called Chain.

The issue is that saying "Chainmail" is a redundant compound word steming from the misuse of the term "mail" as meaning "armor" rather than "chain" (thus why scale mail and splint mail are so misnamed as well).


I can tell you that the Midnight Lord certainly approves of Chicks in Chain.

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I do like my butted-plate armor...

For those unfamiliar, it's a type of brigandine, with larger plates next to each other and riveted or sewn in place instead of overlapping. Sandwich them between 2 layers of leather and it looks pretty good.

Brigandine and its variants could use a lot more showing in RPG's actually.

As to stand-alone breastplates... it's what comes to mind when I think of conquistador's (along with a morion, of course)


Cantriped wrote:
The issue is that saying "Chainmail" is a redundant compound word steming from the misuse of the term "mail" as meaning "armor" rather than "chain" (thus why scale mail and splint mail are so misnamed as well).

It might technically be an inaccuracy, but it feels like a reasonable one. It's like how the Byzantines actually called themselves Romans, but as modern historians, it's nice having a separate word for them. Was chain mail technically called mail at the time? Yes. But given all the other armor types involving mail, it's nice to have a way to distinguish it.


Chainmail is a perfectly fine trinonym.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Player Rules / Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells / More historically accurate armor All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells