[Runequest] [SPAM] Re: ***SPAM*** Armour weight/enc

Bjorn Stolen stolenbjorn at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 3 07:20:27 EST 2009

It's tons of sources on marching routines in Roman Legions and in Greek armies, but when dressing up a relatively fit warrior in RQ3, they don't last long if put to the test; that frutstrates me. In one of my Houserules, FP's are unaffected by armor, but movement, agility (SR) is strongly affected by wearing armor. In another of my Houserules, I've kept the FP-minus-modifiers from armor, but I've added somthing I call "Habit-rating", so that a full plate armor fielded for the first time "weighs" more than the full plate armor you have worn and trained with for several years.


There are several points stated lately that I disagree on... 

-OK, who fought in "medieval" times, and how was their training? 


I'll focus on the periods/cultures I'm good at:

0 - 1000 ad; norway:

Armor found; some helmets, a few mails, loads of huge shields, spears and gladiuses/spatha's
Textiles, allmost exclusively tight fitting woolen garments in the early period, looser woolen garnments in the latter.

Who fought? A small warrior elite, probably seldom exceeding "warband"-size; on occation supplemented with free farmers. At least the farmers would not wear armor for two reasons; A-because they couldn't afford it, B-because they didn't have the time to train with the equipment, and thus would find themselves exhausted pretty fast if fighting with a mail shirt (not to mention mail hose) in combat.


1000 - 1300 ad; northern europe:

-As in the previous period, only the farmers only fight when rebelling, or drafted into temprary armies, and the warrior elite have started increasing the armor; in norwegian manuscripts it's listed what is compulsory minimum armor for a (professional)warrior, and "Textile Panser"+kettlehelmet is minimum armor, and mail is more and more common among the mounted warriors in addition to the "panser". IMHO untrained knights were the exception, not the rule; I depicture the knight vs the drafted peassant in a duel to be somthing like a professional K1-fighter wearing armor against a refugee from Darfur fielding a random farmers-implement and whatever clothing he can wear; the only option the peassant has, is to outnumber the K1-fighter 20 to 1, or to outrun him. Here is where the prolem with the RQ3-rules arise IMO; I find it strange that the Darfurists can retreat for 8 combat-rounds, then stroll in and loot the feinted K1-fighters. (And before you drag in Agincourt, that was later, and I regard the british archers beeing far from conscript peassants, rather seasoned veteran warriors.)


IMHO the RQ3 rules suits the unprofessional soldier; the conscript, or in hot areas like Mesopotamia/medeterrainian climate. I've seen it with moder equipment as well, the norwegian conscript soldiers that are lazy, have bad constitution and no ambition to have an athletic/military career allways complains about the harness, the splint-vest and the helmet, not to mention to keep the rifle in an alert position, when it points towards your sector on patrol, etc. The soldiers that voulenteers for Afghanistan on the other hand makes sure that they are fit to wear their equipment. 


Denemark (not a nation traditionally asosiated with warfare the past 200 years) have spent some 5 years in southern Afghanistan, and have done extensive research on their soldiers. They carry on averidge between 20 and 40 kg, and even when in a combat- situation the pulse is never below 100 strikes pr minute, even when lying down; before starting running. Theese people can still fight and operate without fainting after 8 RQ3 combat rounds. In my oppinion, the people wearing armor have trained for it. I can run for far more than 5 minutes in my armor, and I'm no athlet (I ran 3km test on 14 min 14 seconds last spring.) When a nerd and hobby warrior like me can beat the RQ rules (in temperatures below 20*C), I bet you a skilled trained knight would be able to do it.
As for heat -dissipation, plate armor gives a lot of ventilation, it's the padding below (which wasn't that thick when plate was worn on top) that is the killer. 



> Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 17:45:05 -0800
> From: vikingjarl at gmail.com
> To: runequest at rpgreview.net
> Subject: Re: [Runequest] [SPAM] Re: ***SPAM*** Armour weight/enc
> Exactly, Steve! Which is why exceptions get talked about & remembered 
> because they are exceptions. I also know what peak physical condition it 
> required. Not everybody becomes a SEAL, Recon, Green-weanie, etc. Just a 
> small fraction of a percent. Chris's re-enactor buddy can point to the 
> rare exceptions but as I have experienced they are exceptions. Running 
> in medieval armor is a killer as I can attest. I know the extremes of 
> performance & even the best of us will wear out. Even though I was in 
> shape enough to hump a pack & gear for a couple of days at the jog 
> through the jungles on little rations, a 10 minute run in North Milanese 
> transition plate with a fight at the end of it wiped me out even though 
> I had been on a healthy diet. Perhaps I was not clear in my comparison 
> so I hope this makes it more obvious.
> Steve Perrin wrote:
> > Metal Plate Armor has one characteristic that modern combat gear 
> > doesn't, possibly including modern armor. It doesn't allow any air 
> > onto the body that wasn't already heated up by exertion already. It's 
> > not the weight, it's the circulation. Moslem soldiers in the Crusades 
> > did very fine with light armor. They knew how to build to let some air 
> > circulate. The demo I am referencing was at the 3rd DunDraCon, about 
> > 1978. Metal armor was already pretty common. Most everyone had at 
> > least chain or scale over padding. And that padding is no help to 
> > circulation, either.
> >
> > Sean and his soldier buddies in the early 70s in 'Nam were at the 
> > height of the no armor doctrine in military combat wear. However hot 
> > the air was in the jungle, it was at least circulating past your skin. 
> > In armor, you bake.
> >
> > Steve
> >
> > Sven Lugar wrote:
> >> And Steve that was in the day when SCA armor requirements were "a 
> >> Helm - 18 guage or better steel" period end of sentence - even before 
> >> basketball pads were required. (Yes, the misspelling of gauge is a 
> >> deliberate. I'm copying what was written then.) Boy were we dumb 
> >> then! I still have pictures of Steve & me from then.
> >>
> >> However, I did lead 12 fighters in full transition plate steel armour 
> >> in a 9 minute fast run around the swamp & up the backside of the hill 
> >> (approximately 7/8s of a mile) at Glen Helen park in 1980?? at the 
> >> first Glen Helen War. We smacked so hard into the rear of the Aten 
> >> army & they never saw us coming. We took out most of their army. No 
> >> one It was muggy & in the high 90's & no one dropped from heat or had 
> >> problems keeping up. Of course we weren't on a 14th ce peasants diet 
> >> either. From personal experience I did 2-1/2 tours in very hot & 
> >> humid terrain during the early 70's & we could hustle our buns (often 
> >> at a dog trot back to the extraction point) all day & most of the 
> >> night long for days on end without dropping despite carrying gear, 
> >> weapons & ammo on us. In comparison Armour is lighter & better 
> >> distributed weight wise than modern gear. These are notable 
> >> exceptions to what most folk can take that have gotten remarked upon 
> >> because they were unusual. Steve is quite correct in on how fatiguing 
> >> it can get in a fight.
> >>
> >> My conclusion, yes there are exceptions to any case, but in general 
> >> you'll have a good balanced game sticking by the fatigue rules that 
> >> remain generally accurate.
> >>
> >> Steve Perrin wrote:
> >>> You really don't have to go through such extremes. Just be part of 
> >>> an SCA demo in full armor in an inside venue for 10 minutes. You'll 
> >>> feel like you are in a steam room of a cruiser during the battle of 
> >>> Manila Bay. (The only American casualty during that battle was an 
> >>> engineer who died of heat exhaustion, wearing a t-shirt and bell 
> >>> bottoms)
> >>>
> >>> Been there, done that.
> >>>
> >>> Steve Perrin
> >>>
> >>> David Smart wrote:
> >>>> Actually, I use the same fatigue rules as you do and imposed the 
> >>>> same heat/humidity-based changes on fatigue when one of my player 
> >>>> groups moved into a tropical jungle environment near my world's 
> >>>> equator.
> >>>>
> >>>> If your friend really wants to put his ideas to the test, perhaps 
> >>>> he'll agree to wearing his full armor suit in a wet sauna for 5 
> >>>> solid minutes while jogging in place and raising his live steel 
> >>>> sword and shield over his head every three seconds for the entire 5 
> >>>> minutes...after 1 month of eating a 14th century diet.
> >>>>
> >>>> Personally, I give him about 90 seconds (about 8 RQ rounds).
> >>>>
> >>>> Apologies if I seem a bit snippy but I've found that most 
> >>>> reenactors have very little idea as to what the realities of 
> >>>> medieval life were despite the plethora of research material 
> >>>> available in print and on the Internet.
> >>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
> >>>>
> >>>>
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