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Armour for a battle mage

Discussion in 'Research' started by TheRedPrince, May 20, 2014.

  1. TheRedPrince

    TheRedPrince Minstrel

    My MC in my WIP is a battle mage. Are there any suggestions for what a character like this might wear? Ideally having a balance between manuverability and protection. I feel I should note that my MC is a rarity, they aren't many mages that train with weapons (like less than 20) one of the aspects of the story being that he ends up forming the first order of battlemages. I've tried looking at stuff on the net and the thing I think would make most sense would have him wear splintmail but I have a feeling I could be wrong.
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I'm old school and don't think Mages should wear metal armour, but that's my problem and not yours.:p
    As long as the armour you want him to wear makes sense to you and within the story, then you can pick any style you want made of any material you want. I like the idea of paper [Papier-mâché] armour made from lacquered scales sewn to a leather backing....
  3. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    I'm tempted to say, almost as much as any warrior. Moving in full armor takes a lot of training-- but it's simple weight and endurance training, and wouldn't cut into his study time as much as learning weapons too. (Or if he learned both, the armor might not make much difference in his already crowded schedule.)

    If you want him using a bit less than the maximum, you can say the fullest armor slows down magical gestures too much, or the old classic that iron does interfere with forming spells a little. Or just that he'd like a suit of full plate but he's not rich enough. Also, his armor might be stronger than it looks if he's able to put some strengthening spells on it or deflection spells around himself.

    Beyond that, the real question is what level of armor your world has, and how your mage fits into that. Good places to start are at Medieval Armor: A Primer for Writers and especially The Why of Weapons: The Great Sword of War to understand how weapons actually work on armor.
    Scribble likes this.
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Believe it or not, armors aren't really balanced the way they look in games. For instance, plate armor was tougher, lighter, more maneuverable, and even cheaper than mail. It was higher tech. It was steel plates, carefully fitted to the body. Instead of the mail's moderate resistance fighting your every movement, in plate, you've got no resistance where there plates are designed to move.

    The wizard would wear some variation of the armor everyone else is wearing. It's tech. There's the "new stuff" and the old stuff. If the wizard wants a lighter armor, he would tell that to his blacksmith, and receive a suit of armor with minor differences that otherwise looks like everyone else's.


    For example, he might say something like, "When I cast a spell I need to raise my arms up a little higher, so I need smaller plates in the pauldrons for a full range of movement, and y'know, just skip anything on my forearms..."
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
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  5. Snowpoint

    Snowpoint Sage

    What kind of spells are being cast in battle? How are they cast?

    Simple answer: Leather. If this is the first Order of battle-mages, it is because no one has invested in them, because they haven't proven themselves to be profitable yet. So, they don't have money yet for better armor.

    What makes they so great at combat? WHY haven't they been used in Combat for centuries if they are so good? (what weaknesses, shortcomings, must they overcome?)
  6. Alexander

    Alexander Acolyte

    Lamellar armor would be a good choice. It's made of interlocking small rectangles of armor brought together with string or other binding agents into horizontal rows. It's been used all over the world (primarily in Asia and Eastern Europe), and from what I can tell about it (I have no firsthand experience) it is pretty light and defensive. It dealt more with slashing weapons, it would seem, than from piercing ones. From what I've heard, it is also easy to maintain, which would be could for a battlemage that might not have experience in repairing complex armaments.
  7. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

    It would depend on the mages' culture. If their society is used to skimpy clothing due to a hot climate, maybe they wouldn't wear much armor at all.
  8. the21bluedudes

    the21bluedudes Acolyte

    I know this is stolen from skulduggery pleasant but you could always use half armor, the mages in the story use gauntlets so their hand gestures become less limited. The gauntlet itself reaches the elbows and is enchanted to be stronger (hopefully that eliminates the need to learn how to move is heavy armor)

    Silk was used by Genghis Khan, silk is surprisingly strong stuff and its a component in Kevlar. If prepared the right way it can stop an arrow. The only problem with that was only rich warriors could afford so much silk so the normal people had to use either leather or a mix of cloth and silk.
  9. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    In my current WIP I have an arcane smith - a wizard who basically enchants armour and weapons etc. He wields a greatsword and wears a brigandine (coat with chain in it.) I decided that heavy armour is only for knights - and there are none in my story. So he needed to be able to move nimbly and because of his gift he could enchant the armour to be more defensive.

    However in the Lady's Man my champion was a paladin, and he wore the full plate (golden) spelled to add not just defensive potential but also some offensive and other magics. My thinking is that only someone trained in the heavy armour and swords etc, should wear that sort of stuff, and a wizard would generally not be out training in battle. He should be studying his magic, which is why wizards would generally be less robust than soldiers.

    However, I've never been a great fan of wizards wearing just wizard robes with no protection. It seems just too vulnerable and if you're going into war that's the last thing you want to be. They want something that will hopefully at least protect them from a stray arrow assuming they aren't getting into the melee. Something they can pull on easily and which won't weigh them down or limit their vision or movement. So chain and leather in their various forms seem your best bets.

    Cheers, Greg.
  10. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    A few nitpicks:

    One word of that is off: armor was iron, not steel. Steel in larger and more complex forms than a blade was impossibly expensive-- a pity, because steel plates might have done a lot better at stopping the full shock of a blow.

    Skullduggery Pleasant is great fun, but I don't remember if they called those gauntlets or not. Sounds more like something that stops at the wrist to leave the fingers free: vambraces.

    Completely agree here. In the wilds or the battlefield, a robe is ludicrous: halfway to "No capes!" hazards and at real risk of tangling the legs too, plus it simply advertises which target the enemy needs to go after first. (Look at supervillain masterminds: a lot of them wear capes, robes, and worse just to show off that they don't expect to go punching out giant robots like the heroes do.) Of course if the robe is a holy order uniform, a mark of the Dread Wizards' Guild Nobody In Town Would Mess With, or basically sewn out of power-enhancing runes, it starts to look a little saner.

    (Or there's the Dresden Files explanation: wizards scramble central heating, and robes are warm.)

    It comes down to the nature of your world's combat magic, training times needed, and what armor is available. The D&D wizard who can't walk in even light armor is more typecasting than world-building, while the more protection spells the wizard has, the happier he'll be. But it's only if he's got arcane defenses that armor interferes with, that are actually as good as the armor, that he might think of doing without at least some protection.
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  11. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    I would offer a thought.

    If the mage uses electricity, he might not want to wear armor that might draw energy back into the caster or accidently grounding the spell into nothing.
    Maybe a coat of plates(metal plates covered by leather or cloth.) to prevent accidental grounding or getting a taste of the magic meant for someone else.
    Of course, rarely does anyone care about flowing dry ancient robes and a mage that casts fire. But one good spark....
  12. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    Good point.

    Although, if electricity is a working attack spell for more than five wizards in the whole war, anyone would think twice about wearing metal armor. Or else knights would insist on getting specialized shockproofing runes for their armor, or their own support wizard in the back just to deflect lightning bolts. (Or five standard-bearers with lightning rods.)
  13. Trick

    Trick Auror

    I only skimmed the responses so this may have already been suggested: He's a battle mage right? seems like a primary focus for his type would be bodily protection in battle and magic being his strong suit means he'd probably employ that if he could. He could wear robes that harden to steel strength and rubber absorption whenever they are struck but you could throw in weaknesses; like only having it work against metal weapons or something similar...
  14. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    Was just thinking about the lightning and metal armour, and it occurred to me that as long as it was full armour and grounded, the man would be completely defended against the strike. The armour should work as a sort of faraday cage - the same sort of thing that the stage performers who play with high voltage and also high voltage line repairmen use. Basically the static electricity hits the metal, and is carried safely away from the body to the ground by it, since it will travel the path of least resistance. However if you were just wearing a cuirass things might not go so well, since at somewhere along the waist the electricity would jump from the metal to the guys legs and then on to the ground.

    Cheers, Greg.
  15. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    A point. So the more common lightning spells were, the less willing soldiers would be to wear partial metal armor-- they'd want to add heavy metal greaves and such to stay safe. The right protection runes (for those who can get them) might make that more feasible, even if the world isn't up to full plate-armor leggings yet.

    Hmm, the same thing applies to weapons. A sword would pull the bolt right into your hand and kill you if you weren't protected, but an axe--or better yet a spear--might catch the bolt with its metal head and be more likely to use up its power frying the wooden haft instead of you.

    Or the best-protected weapons might catch and hold that electricity to discharge it on what they hit... :cool:

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