Kamazhi's "Detailed as Hell" Armory!

Wyrmrest Accord
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Don't forget fist weapons. Katars, claws, ulaks...
People, please don't forget that this is someone who's kind enough to take free time out of his own day (a holiday, no less) to type up extremely good descriptions of what he knows about medieval weaponry for our benefit.

Kamazhi, you are an awesome human being.
Thanks, Barnaby! But I encourage as many requests as possible, don't worry! Sorry for the slow reply on Greatswords, gonna try and step things up a little bit.
Great thread, glad to see this pop up since the last thread sadly died down. Any chance you could fit an in-depth overview of Axes to the priority list? Dual-weilding and etc etc etc
Yeah, sure! I'll add Fist weapons and do some specific axes. Got a preference? Ie, tomahawks, bearded axes, etc?

Also, the advanced plate section will be up today. I'll have a lot more time to work on this now that I'm finally 90!
WHEW THIS ONE TOOK SOME WORK, but I'm happy I finally did it. This one's especially for you, Barnaby. I hope it covers everything you wanted to know; if not, please ask and I'll answer whatever I missed.

Next come shotels, then kukris.


XV: Plate Armor

Okay, so this is going to be the first of what I'm going to call 'advanced' articles, where I get really into the nitty-gritty of a single weapon or armor piece. I kinda did this for scimitars already, but I want to flesh that one out later, on the level of what this'll be like.

Also, from now on I’m going to start using picture references when relevant, so, be ready for that.

Now, I already covered the basics of plate armor in my 'Heavy Armor Basics' section, so here I want to focus on things a bit more in-depth, such as individual plate types, the logistics of equipping and repairing plate, and the purpose and function of each piece. If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading the Heavy Armor Basics section before looking into this one if you're seeking information about plate armor.

Like any armor, plate comes in a lot of forms suited to many different functions, which we'll be getting into. First though, here’s a great graph that covers the name of the smaller armor pieces and buckles that don't really need explanation.


Now, moving on to the details.


As our heads are essentially the most important parts of our body, no expense was spared in finding good protection for them during medieval warfare. There's a few types of helms out there, and it's a bit more complex of a choice than is usually portrayed.

Cervelliere http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Maciejowski_Bible_Navin.gif

First off, you have the "cervelliere", or skull cap, which is usually worn beneath a helmet. It's a simple, tight-fitting metal cap designed to offer extra protection along the forehead, or another line of defense in case the helmet is removed/knocked off. From there, you have a few options on which kinds of helm you favor.

Great Helms: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nuJHFGTaIVQ/ThYv0jJZOwI/AAAAAAAAAmU/5cW_1yJoklg/s400/crusaders_great_helm_400.jpg

These helmets are famous as the choice of crusaders and templar in fantasy, but that actually isn’t really true. While built to deflect crushing blows and offer great protection to the head, these helms were actually pretty much only used in mounted exchanges of lances between knights, being far too hot, heavy, and restrictive on breathing for general use. Still, being able to absorb a lance blow is no mean feat.

Armet: http://www.ageofarmour.com/images/armet04sidewarpper.jpg

These are the stereotypical ‘knight’ helmet, and for good reason. Their slanted, ridged design offers good protection against blades and some degree against blunt attacks, making them well-suited to infantry warfare without being too restrictive on visibility or movement.

Sallet: http://tinyurl.com/cjbor4s

The sallet is an open-face helm designed to protect the upper head against blows. Often, these would be worn in combination with a Bevor (see Neck section) in order to provide more protection and allow some degree of alternating between a full or partial cover.

There are many, MANY types of helmets out there, stemming from all cultures and practical necessities, but typically they all tend to at least partially share designs like these.
XV: Plate armor (continued)


Necks are pretty important too, as it turns out. Breathing and arteries and what not.

Aventail: http://www.windrosearmoury.com/zc/images/armour_images/h-190.jpg

Aventails are basically just chainmail meshes worn along the neck to protect it from thrusting and slashing blows. Though they won’t do much against crushing attacks, they’re lightweight and inexpensive.

Gorget: http://www.ageofarmour.com/images/gorget.jpg

Gorgets are the heavier style of neck armor favored by knights. These steel collars provide great protection to the whole collar at the cost of mobility, as their stiff design makes it difficult to turn one’s head while wearing one.

Bevor: http://www.windrosearmoury.com/zc/images/armour_images/n40-I.jpg

Often worn in combination with Sallets to provide a combined protection of the whole head, these are a little less restrictive than Gorget while providing similar protection.


Body armor! Perhaps more than any other part of a plate set, the function of armor is determined by what is worn on the torso. There’s countless variations of breastplates and the sort, so I’m going to try and cover the main types.

Hauberk: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6f/Hauberk_circa_1250AD.jpg

The standard ‘mail shirt’. These were often worn beneath breastplates that didn’t protect the back, providing valuable protection against thrusting and slashing wounds while not weighing too much or restricting much mobility. In a more general sense, any mail used to cover areas not protected by plate is known as a ‘Gousset’.

Cuirass: http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/1844/715381-cuirass_large.gif

This is the main breastplate of an armor set. Typically, a cuirass covers only the chest, but sometimes the term’s used to describe a breastplate that covers the whole back. These provide incredibly proficient protection from just about any kind of attack save from extremely heavy blunt trauma (such as warhammers).

Plackart: http://www.greenbriarstudio.com/Armour/Plackart.JPG

Belly plate. As I implied before, plate was more than just a chestpiece, leggings and so on. Often, the chest and belly pieces would be separate so that the latter could be removed for increased mobility if needed.

Fauld and Culet: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/92/Ren%C3%A9_d%27Anjou_Livre_des_tournois_France_Provence_XVe_si%C3%A8cle.jpg

Faulds are bands of metal designed to protect the waist and hips. Often, they’re somewhat flexible, albeit not as much as mail, but are invaluable for protecting against lower slashes that would cleave through unarmored flesh. Culets are similar bands, but to protect the small of the back and butt. Heh, butt.

Doublet: http://www.taubenfeld.bravepages.com/images/PurpleDoubletFront.jpg

A doublet is the padded cloth worn beneath armor in order to keep it from chafing against the wearer, as well as giving limited protection to blunt impacts that pierced the plate by absorbing them.
I now have the urge to buy Chivalry:Medieval Warfare
XV: Plate armor (continued)


Arm plate is actually rather interesting. Because arms need to be extremely mobile in combat, armorers had a challenge before them: how do you protect the limbs as best as possible without restricting that much? The answer was segmentation.

Cowter: http://users.wpi.edu/~jforgeng/CollectionIQP/images/935.i.jpg

Simple, curved metal plates designed to cover the elbows.

Spaulders: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/dd/SpaulderForwardSmall.jpg/220px-SpaulderForwardSmall.jpg

Contrary to a lot of naming habits, spaulders and pauldrons are not interchangeable. A spaulder is an armored band that covers the shoulders. Meanwhile…

Pauldrons: http://www.ageofarmour.com/instock/pauldrons1.jpg

…Pauldrons are larger plates that cover not only the shoulders, but the underarm and even some of the chest. If you want pure shoulder armor, that’s a spaulder. Typically, you can tell the difference by the fact that pauldrons protect the armpit.

Rerebraces and Vambraces: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4071/4250555782_91cbfae168.jpg

Rerebraces are the armor that cover from the upper elbow to the shoulder. Vambraces are the armor of the forearm leading up to the elbow. In conjunction with the Cowter, they provide the majority of armor to the length of the arm.

Gauntlets: http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcShNPv4QhEV8jG0hdQYTJRroe3nv5O_pWwUBknhz0TaDMoxWuAsHPTb-P9JNA

Gauntlets are perhaps the most complex piece of armor on the body. Because of the dexterity needed for one’s hands, gauntlets need to be both protective and extremely flexible. Often, this was done by creating multiple, shingled small bands of plate over the fingers and joints, allowing them to bend while remaining covered by plating. Nonetheless, this wasn’t perfect, and there was always the danger of having a small blade jabbed between these plates.


Like arm plate, leg armor is by necessity very segmented and articulated to ensure mobility.

Greaves: http://www.ageofarmour.com/instock/greaves1.jpg

These are the main armor of the leg, worn upon the lower legs. Greaves protect the shin and calves.

Cuisses: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/35/Cuisses.jpg/220px-Cuisses.jpg

Cuisses are the armor that protect the thighs. Sometimes, they’ll be simple plates, at other times almost more like a plated skirt. Either design falls under this nomenclature.

Sabatons: http://www.redshield-1391.org/armor/legs_sabatons/sabaton05.jpg

Armored shoes! Contrary to a lot of imagery, there weren’t often plate ‘boots’ that went up to the shin or knees. Usually, the sabatons and greaves were two separate pieces In order to preserve mobility of the ankles. Typically sabatons are more heavily armored than gauntlets, since they don’t need to be quite as dextrous, with banded plating on the top of the foot and full plating on the toes.

Tassets: http://tinyurl.com/bp2um8r

Similar to faulds, these are bands of armor designed to protect the upper thighs that the Cuisses might not cover.
XV: Plate armor (continued)


That’s a pretty thorough rundown of what makes up a plate armor. Now onto preparation and equipping. There’s a popular misconception that plate is some incredible trial to wear and get into, with a squire needed to aid, but that’s not really the case. Though it is faster if you have someone help, you can easily put on a suit of plate yourself.

First, you put on the underarmor; the doublet is the very lowest layer. Then, you equip the gousset; the chainmail that will go under the plate. This is usually as simple as pulling on a hauberk like a shirt, and tugging other pieces on like stockings.

Next, you put on your leg plates and sabatons. Greaves and chausses are attached by buckles that attach behind the back of the leg, not entirely unlike modern kneepads. Sabatons are worn like normal shoes.

After this, you’ll slide your neck armor on; typically, this is as easy as just pulling it on over your head.

Now for the chest armor. Cuirasses, like leg armor, are typically attached with buckles on the sides or back. If your cuirass has a separate back plate, you may need someone else to help you equip it, but often those who wear back plating tend to keep it attached to the cuirass so that it can all be put on at once by sliding it over the head (before the neck armor is equipped) and then fastening the buckles to tighten it. After your chest armor is situated, you’ll equip your spaulders or pauldrons, which is done by buckling them around the arm or upper back, depending on the design.

Typically, added armor like faulds is already attached to the breastplate, and doesn’t need to be equipped separately.

Finally, you put on your gauntlets and helmet by simply pulling them on, and you’re done. Usually the whole process takes around four to five minutes if you’re well-practiced, three or so with someone helping you.

As I mentioned in the basics armor, plate isn’t as heavy as it’s often expected to be, at around forty to fifty pounds for a full suit on an average-sized human. Though one is still quite mobile in plate, some pieces are more restrictive than others. Pauldrons in particular tend to be very limiting on one’s ability to lift their arms, though the protection they grant is invaluable. Spaulders offer less protection, but more movement. Meanwhile, gorgets and some helmets can make turning the head somewhat difficult, not to mention limiting visual range in the latter’s case, which cannot be underestimated.


Though of course there were professional armorers around to craft and repair plate suits, it’s a good skill to know how to field repair your own gear. Fortunately, plate is one of the easiest types to maintain and repair, so this isn’t too difficult. I don’t have enough armoring knowledge to get into the fine details, but I can help cover basic repairs.

Typically, due to its durable nature, you’ll only get two real kinds of damage to your plate: dents and punctures. Dents are caused by blunt impacts that don’t penetrate the plate, and are easily fixed. By applying focused pressure to the inside of the plate where it’s dented, it can be pushed back out. Deeper dents may require an armorer’s hammer to do this.

Punctures are a little more complicated. Typically, when a suit of armor is punctured, the area will be heated and the surrounding plate molded over the spot to cover it. The problem with this, of course, is that it thins the whole area, so this is a temporary solution.


Like a good weapon, a suit of plate is highly dependent on the wearer’s preferences. It’s up to the one who will be wearing it to determine what kind of weight, protection, and mobility is important to them, and the wonderful thing about plate is that it provides options for just about anyone.
added Firelances on my last post >< I hope you include it C:

edit: I forgot one! The famed Byzantine Fire!!!!!!!!
Here's the shotel entry. I hope this format appeals; I tried to separate it into relevant categories, and hope I covered everything sought. If this format is liked, I plan to use it for all future entries, so please let me know!

XVI: Shotel

Picture: http://www.sharpblades.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/shotels1.jpg

Length: 24"-40"

Weight: 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 lbs

General Description: The shotel is a one-handed, heavily curved sword originating in Ethiopia. Originally designed after Eastern scimitars, these weapons eventually developed an even deeper curve to the point that they resemble a sickle or semi-circle in shape in response to heavy shield usage and cavalry warfare. Though this makes them unable to thrust or stab effectively, they are wonderful for hooking around shields and stabbing opponents in the lungs or other vulnerable places. Often paired with a shield or occasionally a dagger, the upper edge of a shotel is typically unsharpened, allowing it to brace against the wielder's shield for better blocking strength. Often used by cavalry, these blades are lightweight and well-suited to mobile combat, being easy to dismount enemy riders with by sweeping the blade across them while riding by.

Strengths: As mentioned before, the shotel is excellent for circumventing enemy defenses like shields. Their ability to hook against a wielder's shield also makes them well-suited for blocking, giving them an easy way to brace themselves. Like most curved swords, shotel are lightweight and well-suited to mounted combat, making them an excellent choice for cavalry riders.

Weaknesses: Due to their unusual design, shotel are somewhat awkward to wield. Their complete lack of thrusting capability and lack of a solid pommel makes them ill-suited to dealing with heavily armored opponents, with little way to penetrate plate or even thicker chain.

Suggested use: Shotel are built for lightly armored, highly mobile combat, and it shows. They are best used by cavalry riders or as a primary weapon paired with a shield against unarmored or lightly armored targets. If one wishes to favor a shotel, pairing it with a thick dagger is an excellent choice; this allows the wielder to hook a foe and pull them close, allowing the shorter, stronger blade to punch through the enemy's armor and deal the fatal blow.
Bump. Gawd, how long before sticky?
11/26/2012 11:21 AMPosted by Mebahiah
Bump. Gawd, how long before sticky?

Haha, it'd be very convenient! I'm extremely grateful to anyone who votes for a sticky, and will try to keep the thread active in the meantime. I've got a lot more free time since I hit 90, so updates will be more frequent.

Speaking which of, Kukris should be up today.
This is awesome. What a nice surprise! You've done such a great job and if I may hint to Blizz.



going to request sticky for this :)

edit for redundancy
Thank you Kamazhi! I read the entire thing and did my best to absorb!
XVII: Khukuri (western term: Kukri)

Picture: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Kukri.jpg

Bonus video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7dS8YWqymo This is a video from Cold Steel, a weapons dealer. They test weapons against all kinds of objects, and are pretty good at knowing how to wield them. This is useful for if you'd like to see what the khukuri's capable of cutting and where it specializes.

Length: 16"-18"

Weight: 1-2 lbs

General Description: The khukuri - known as the kukri in the west - is a curved knife infamous for both utility and effectiveness in combat. Made up of a short hilt and forward-pointing blade, the khukuri is designed as a chopping weapon. Requiring a great degree of knowledge to craft, the khukuri is a traditional weapon of the Nepalese, made to serve as both a CQC weapon and tool. Khukuri are crafted with a hardened edge and soft spine, allowing them to remain sharp but also absorb impacts. The handle, usually crafted of bone, wood or metal, is short and thick, designed for a single-handed grip.

Strengths: Khukuri are incredibly effective weapons. Their relatively high weight and curved design makes them excellent chopping weapons, capable of severing muscle and bone with ease. In addition to this, they're actually very adept for thrusting in CQC, with their curved blade matching the wrist's natural position, meaning it's easy to rapidly punch out with the blade without having to bend the wrist like most knives. Thanks to their ability to absorb impacts, they're excellent for blocking and parrying when necessary. In addition to their immense combat prowess, the khukuri is an excellent tool for utility purposes; it can chop wood, dig effectively, cut meat and vegetables, skin animals, open tins of preserved food, and, thanks to the high weight and solid pommel, even serve as an improvised hammer.

Weaknesses: The khukuri is a remarkably well-designed weapon. The only real weakness is has is being rather large and heavy for a combat knife, but thanks to its' curved design it still excels in very close quarters. Still, it's not a weapon for those who want agility above all else. If anything, the greatest difficulty in regards to owning a khukuri is that they're difficult to craft, due to their sharp edge and soft spine.

Suggested use: Khukuri are best used by themselves or, if in conjunction with another weapon, as a high-powered, short-ranged support weapon. They should be used with chops and slashes of the upper edge in mind first, with thrusts made when there is little space or a short opening. If wielded in tandem with a free hand, the wielder should always make the effort to grab or strike the foe to make them more vulnerable to a fatal blow from the blade.
omg Kamazhi you IZ IN SAMUWAI ARMOH.
As an avid yet casual weapons and armor researcher I really really appreciate this. Most people that I've RP fought with have assumed that a sword is a cutting weapon against my heavily armored Warrior, and I've had to teach them that a sword is more of a crushing weapon than anything when going up against anyone in more than perhaps boiled leather. They also assume that their character can absorb every hit thrown at them with their shield without their arm breaking from the sheer force that someone can put into swinging a zweihander.

I do have a question though. My character, out of paranoia, more or less lives in his plate armor as much as he can without having to take it off. Obviously he wears a a mail shirt, cloth doublet and other padding so that he's not a walking callus and drinks lots of water to not die from heat-stroke. How mobile would he be? I RP him as being able to do just about most things, but I assume that's a wrong thing to be going for, but I also RP him as wearing as flexible of plate armor as you can get without sacrificing too much in the area of safety/security.

I also have a history comment. The word bulletproof was spawned from when early musketeers/gunpowder users would fire at knights and the bullets wouldn't be able to puncture the plate armor of the knight, which is also why gunpowder didn't overtake the bow/crossbow right away (besides being inaccurate compared to the bow/crossbow.)

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