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-   -   [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=166637)

CarrionPeacock 12-10-2019 07:07 AM

[LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
Because bronze plates are very expensive, there are loadouts that a good chunk of its cost comes from the greaves alone. Is that really right?

67% of Late Hoplite's cost is from greaves alone, and it costs about 58 times more than the torso armor.
Polybian Principe/Triarius has 48% of its cost come from the greaves, while it costs two thirds more than the torso armor.

This feels weird to me. What I learned from the LT book is that large plates are much more difficult to make than small ones, with cost increasing non-linearly. Wouldn't then using the price scheme of segmented plate make more sense than the full plate?
Also, I'm not a history buff so I might be mistaken but looking at representations of hoplites on internet it seems their greaves protects only the front. Is this accurate? If so, even if not using segmented plate instead of plate the cost could be reduced by half.

Varyon 12-10-2019 08:42 AM

Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
GURPS typically overcharges for plate for gamist reasons (plate is game-mechanically better than mail, but historically had a lower pricetag), and I believe undercharges for cloth armor for the same. Also, the CF system doesn't really work that well for bronze - a relatively flat addition to cost based on weight would be more appropriate, and this "error" is particularly pronounced for the more expensive armor types, like plate. Finally, bronze was a type of material that had wild fluctuations in price (largely based on the price of tin), making the GURPS one-price-fits-all approach not work that well for it. The above "errors" were most likely chosen because they work better for gaming than, but when you put it all together, you do indeed end up with greaves as the most expensive armor pieces, by far, for a late hoplite.

Of course, the greaves and helmet are also the most substantial armor for the late hoplite, and considering greaves are heavier, it makes a good deal of sense for them to be the most expensive armor pieces. The rest of the body is largely protected by the shield (and those of neighbors, in a phalanx). The principe is in a similar boat, of course, although he has much more substantial torso armor (there, the price "error" between mail and plate, as well as the arguably-excessive multiplier for bronze plate, conspire to make the greaves more expensive).

As for greave design, they were clearly more of a plate than a segmented plate design, and looking at pictures online appear to cover the lower legs from the front as well as the back. The back of the knee isn't protected, but that's probably covered by Armor Gaps (although you could shave off a bit of weight and cost by leaving the back of the knee completely unprotected).

ravenfish 12-10-2019 09:42 AM

Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
I suspect that bronze plate, in particular, is overpriced- part of the reason that plate is priced so high is that, compared to other iron/steel armor at TL4, it requires the absolute best quality steel and a master craftsman, whereas (if my understanding is correct), bronze plate was not all that much more demanding compared to bronze armor assembled from smaller pieces.

EDIT: When one compares GURPS sets for a hoplite's equipment to the material wealth it says a man of hoplite status should have, there is a clear mismatch, but where the error lies is a matter to be worked out by people with more knowledge than I have.

DanHoward 12-10-2019 01:46 PM

Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
It took an entire family to equip a hoplite, not one person. Unless one was from one of the elite families, it required the combined wealth of father, grandfather, uncles, and brothers to field a hoplite in bronze armour. The adoption of organic armours lowered the cost of entry significantly but nothing could be done about the greaves and helmet. A lot of these greaves were carefully tailored to fit the wearer - the plate could be sprung open and slipped onto the leg with no need for straps and buckles to hold them in place. They were not something that could be passed down from father to son.

Greaves, in general, were very difficult to make because it is hard to come up with a way to keep them in place while running or fighting. The best method is to articulate them to the rest of the leg armour but that requires plate armour that covers the entire leg, which has its own challenges. In many cultures, greaves were only worn by cavalry because they don't have to march in the things. A lot of Roman infantry had discarded them by the time of Marius but the Loadout keeps them. You can leave them out of the Imperial Legionary Loadout and still remain historically accurate. You can also change Roman armour from bronze to brass, which is a little cheaper but has similar mechanical properties. Perhaps +2CF rather than +3CF.

ravenfish 12-10-2019 07:18 PM

Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
But is the +3CF for bronze plate justified? A good portion (i.e., presumably a higher portion than in relatively-easy-to-make armor like scale or segmented) of the base cost of plate armor is "labor" rather than "parts" (not to mention the mark-up in price for having to use high-quality steel when making large plates rather than the decent-quality iron one can get away with in most armor), and, even if I were willing to grant that crafting bronze plate armor is no easier than equivalent steel, I categorically refuse to believe that it is significantly harder or more labor intensive.

Varyon 12-10-2019 09:32 PM

Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ravenfish (Post 2299461)
But is the +3CF for bronze plate justified? A good portion (i.e., presumably a higher portion than in relatively-easy-to-make armor like scale or segmented) of the base cost of plate armor is "labor" rather than "parts" (not to mention the mark-up in price for having to use high-quality steel when making large plates rather than the decent-quality iron one can get away with in most armor), and, even if I were willing to grant that crafting bronze plate armor is no easier than equivalent steel, I categorically refuse to believe that it is significantly harder or more labor intensive.

On plate, which is $125/lb, the +3 CF calls for bronze to cost around $375/lb, which seems pretty excessive. On scale, which is around $20/lb, the +3 CF calls for bronze to cost around $60/lb. That's a rather massive discrepancy. With GURPS' default of $62.50/lb for copper, the former calls for tin to cost around $3200/lb (assuming ~10% tin content) which is... quite high. The latter calls for tin to be a bit cheaper than copper. A simple +$n/lb works better. How much n is would depend on the price of bronze, and the cost of iron. Using the LTC3 Classical Mediterranean price point of $18/lb for copper and $122/lb for tin (so $28.40/lb for bronze with 10% tin), and $7/lb for the iron, making armor out of bronze would be roughly +$20/lb. If bronze instead cost $77/lb (something like the default $62.50 for copper and then $207.5/lb for tin), that would instead make it +$70/lb. Ideally, the costs for all items would be separated into materials and labor, and each could be adjusted up and down depending on various factors. Using bronze would increase material costs but possibly reduce labor costs (bronze is apparently easier to work with), making armor Tailored or a weapon Balanced would have no impact on material cost but would boost labor cost, making Hardened Steel armor or a Fine weapon would boost both material cost (they call for higher-quality starting materials) and labor cost (they are harder to make), and so forth. Such a system would be... difficult to work out, and probably more crunchy than GURPS 4e's design goals would allow for. I tried my hand a bit at making one, but never really made something satisfactory. An interesting thing I noted was that, with armor made from extremely expensive materials (spider silk, various flavors of fantastic metals, etc), the various weight-reducing enhancements - tailoring, fluting, etc - could actually cause the armor to cost less.

DanHoward 12-10-2019 11:24 PM

Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
Bronze is not easier to work with. Iron can be worked hot, bronze cannot. If iron tears, it can be forge-welded, if bronze tears, the entire jobs needs to be scrapped.

AlexanderHowl 12-11-2019 05:40 AM

Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
Yes, the reason for the price difference seems to be the difficulty of forging the pieces. Scale is comprised of hundreds of small scales and, if one messes up, it is much easier to replace. Plate is made from a few large plates and, if one messes up, it is much harder to replace. In my opinion, bronze plate should probably suffer a -2 to skill to forge because of the necessary care, which would for the price discrepancy (as a smith would need to take 4x as much time to negate the penalty).

CarrionPeacock 12-11-2019 06:58 AM

Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
If the hoplites were cutting corners to save money, why didn't they replace the greaves with linen as well, or keep the better bronze corselet while replacing graves with linen shinguards (or trousers)?

I can accept working with bronze is as hard as iron, but I'm not convinced why it's not using segmented plate instead of plate. As I understand, Plate cost is due to the difficulty to make large plates like that of a breastplate with iron, while segmented plate is a "compromise" design by using multiple smaller plates, that's however with torso in mind. Shins are much smaller than torso and each segment of a lorica segmentata seems large enough to cover it. That would reduce the cost to $1,320.

Also, if greaves were such a close fit as to be unable to be passed from a father to a son, shouldn't it be equivalent to a Expert/Masterful Tailoring? That would further increase the cost...

DanHoward 12-11-2019 07:43 AM

Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves
 
The Loadouts book used historical armours, not fictional ones. If you want to use segmented armour in your campaign, go ahead.


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