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THE CAUSE OF ALL ARGUMENTS
Armor Revision
[12/14/2004] [Drilillithon]

Since reading the well thought out and masterfully updated new 7.0 Rules of Play, I have been thinking about how the Armor rules have stayed fundamentally the same while the rest of Amtgard moves forward into the future. Unfortunately, since I’ve been sitting here Amtgard-less and unconnected during my forced vacation in Iraq, I seemed to have completely missed all discussion and submission dates for the 7.0 Rules, but I’d still like to see what people think.

What follows are a few of my own ideas plus many more that I found out there in articles and forums. I decided to collect them all and write them out in a concise way that could be found in a rulebook. If I stole your idea(s), know that I’m not claiming it as my own and I thank everyone out there. Anyway, the idea here is to present a more modern version of how I think the Armor rules should look. An effort is made to update the rules to suggest more possible armor variants, to clarify how penalties (and bonuses) should be assessed, and to bring armor to a point somewhat near the streamlined nature of modern weapon construction and the 7.0 Rules of Play updates to magic and fighting classes.

Armor Types:

  • Light Armor (1 Point) – Any armor type entirely constructed of a Soft Material
  • Medium Armor (3 Points) – Armor is made of a Hard Material using a Soft material for joints and assembly, or is entirely made of an open Hard Material (has many open spaces (even small ones). Examples are Chain Mail (at least 4 in 1), Coin Armor (or a close variant) or plates that are closely spaced (no more than 1 ½ inches apart) and joined together by a Soft or open Hard material.
  • Heavy Armor (5 Points) – A Hard material is used to make plates which are (a) overlapping and are joined by a Soft or open Hard material, or are (b) closely spaced (no more than ½ inch apart) but sewn between two layers of a Soft material. Includes Lamellar and Brigandine armors. Plates must be at least 3 ½ inches square.
  • True Plate (or equivalent) (6 Points) – A Hard material is used to create overlapping plates. Joints and assembly is also done with a Hard material. Only straps used to hold the armor on the user may be anything less than closed, Hard material. Plate mail is the best example.

Materials:

  • Traditional Soft Materials: Leather, Hide, Heavy Canvas, Quilted Cloth (padding between two layers of cloth), Padded Cloth (Four layers of cloth sewn together). Must be at least 1/16 inch thick.
  • Traditional Hard Materials: Common Renaissance, Medieval or Ancient Metals such as Steel, Iron, Bronze, Brass, and Copper. Must be at least 1/16 inch thick and/or at least 16G.
  • Atypical Soft Materials: Rubber, Plastic (thin and flexible), Wicker, Vine (or flexible vegetative material), Vinyl, and just about anything else, like, I don’t know, origami. All must be at least 1/16 inch thick.
  • Atypical Hard Materials: Ahistorical, precious, semi-precious or especially soft metals (Gold, Silver, Aluminum, Tin, Titanium, Pewter, Lead, Nickel), Wood, Ceramic, Shell, Hard Plastic (non flexible) and Bone. Must be at least 1/16 inch thick and/or at least 16G.

Modifications:

  • Doubling (+2 for Medium Armor, +1 on all others) – Materials are at least 3/16 inches thick or otherwise use twice the required material (i.e. 2 rings for every one if Chain (8 in 2), 2 layers of coins, and so on)
  • Hardening (+1 on Light Armor) – Cuir Bouilli to Leather or adding an open spaced Hard material to the outside of any Light Armor (such as Studs and Rings). Added Hard Materials can be no further than 1.5 inches apart. Cuir Bouilli may be used with other types of Hardening on Leather armor.
  • Plating (+1/+3 on Light Armor) – Addition of overlapping plates, scales, or similar to the outside of Light Armor. +1 if the plating is of a Soft Material; +3 if of Hard Material.
  • Augmentation (+1 to Medium or heavier Armor) – Hard Material (usually metals) used in construction exceeds the 16G standard by at least 2 (metals only), is Riveted or Bolted, or otherwise exceeds normal expectations as to how hard/heavy the material should be (if the armor is simply thicker, see Doubling, above) – Augmented Chain (a Persian or Chinese weave) is a prime example.
  • Gambeson (+1 to Medium or Heavy Armor) – A Gambeson or Arming Coat is worn underneath the armor. Typically consists of a garment of Soft Material covering the torso, arms to the elbows, and the thighs.
  • Atypical Materials (-1 to any Armor) – See above for examples of Atypical Soft and Hard Materials. Note that many Atypical Materials are historically appropriate but were either seldom used or offered inferior protection to more traditional equivalents. Ahistorical atypical materials can be used in a pinch to simulate mystical metals (adamantiume, mithral) or the scales/hide of a mythological beast (oh no! the dreaded Plastic Wyrm!). Remember that historical accuracy is good, but this is a fantasy game and imaginative and well made armors should be allowed regardless of material.
  • Ahistorical/Artificial Appearance (-1 to any Armor) – Any armor can get this if it is truly un-authentic in appearance - Plate armor made well, but is obviously made out of a road sign (the creator left the STOP on the front) is an example. This penalty should not be automatically applied to an authentic looking armor made from an Atypical Material (see the above penalty) or Coin Armor made with modern coins.
  • Poor Workmanship (-1 to -4 to any armor) - The armor is incomplete, is shoddy in appearance, has poor stitching, is held together by shoe string, includes tape or glue, or otherwise is poor in quality or construction.
  • Sub Par (-1 to any armor) – The Armor somehow fails to meet requirements without actually being poor in quality. 18G metal or especially thin materials would fall into this category.
  • Exceptional Craftsmanship (+1 or +2 to any armor) – The reverse of Poor Workmanship, this smith went above and beyond to use fine and elaborate designs, stitching, construction methods and/or materials to create more than just functional armor. This is a work of art.
  • Super Accuracy (+2 or +3 to any armor) - The creator can prove that the armor if of a legitimate historical type and was made only of historically accurate materials made using historical means and the armor itself was also constructed using historical methods and tools. An example would be Plate Mail made with Steel forged by a blacksmith and hand pounded into the correct shape or Coin Armor using authentic medieval, renaissance, or ancient coins. Any material made by modern techniques and any armor made using modern tools or techniques is not qualified for this bonus. This bonus should be nearly impossible to achieve.

Notes:

  • Plates describes an area of material at least 3 ½ inches square.
  • Open/Open Spaced means the material contains many small openings or holes (like rings) or are placed greater than ½ inch but less than 1 ½ inc apart from each other.
  • Unless otherwise notes, materials must be at least 1/16 inch thick to count as Armor.

Note on penalties: It is important not to double or triple penalize armor for the same reason. Plate mail made of Plastic should get the Atypical Material penalty but should not automatically be hit with Ahistorical Appearance and/or Poor Workmanship just for being Plastic. Now, if the Plastic is not reformed to resemble authentic plate but instead is obviously a cut up trash can held together with shoe strings, then penalize away! This works both ways though – anyone trying to pass off manufactured knee pads or a plastic Halloween costume as armor should be slammed with so many penalties that he needs two Barkskins and Armor of Quality just to call Alive. (Kidding, of course no Armor can go below zero points, but you see my point.) In closing, I want to see what people think, so post away. (I already foresee the typical arguments from armor purists – “he mentioned Plastic, he’s a witch! Burn him!”). If people like my presentation, and it’s not too late, maybe the powers that be can still get some of these into the new rules. If not, well, they were fun to write and maybe some shire out there will use them as clarifications.

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