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Old 01-02-2017, 07:42 PM   #11
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Trouble with Armor and Worldbuilding

Finding advanced armor in ancient ruins is hardly difficult to justify - they're from an advanced, fallen civilization. Heck, we only just recently figured out how to actually make Damascus steel again, and that stuff was TL 2 (Fantasy Tech calls it azalum and has it as TL 2^, but that's because it makes it cinematically awesome).


For the rest, we've got the problem that you want Plate, Brigandine, and Transitional Armor to all exist side by side. Well... that's really not too big of a problem. From what I understand, Transitional Armor is mostly just Plate that is restricted to smaller pieces (and note Instant Armor has plenty of Plate that is available in iron/steel at TL 2-3). Proper Plate requires more than (traditionally closely-guarded) knowledge - it also requires the skill, resources, and tools for creating much larger plates than is typically done. As such are in short supply, most soldiers have to make due with the inferior Transitional Armor, which also has the advantage of costing less than proper plate. Another option would be to say that armorers can't typically manage proper Plate thicker than DR 4, so if you want greater protection you need to go with Transitional Armor. An alternative method is to state that proper Plate cannot be made with iron/steel with the setting's technology, so all such armor has to be made from bronze, which of course is incredibly expensive.

The issue is having Transitional Armor and Brigandine exist side-by-side - while some of Transitional Armor is really just Plate in certain locations, some of it is instead either Segmented Plate or a Coat of Plates, both of which are inferior to Brigandine. Now, unless I'm mistaken, strapping the metal plates inside of the garment rather than outside leaves the armorer with much less room for error on getting the measurements right, at least to get things to fit together well enough for Brigandine's weight reduction. While that doesn't necessarily require great amounts of resources, it does require a degree of skill that might be rather hard to come by, which would justify its rarity and higher cost. If desired, instead of making Brigandine x2 to price for being +1 TL, consider instead making it +50%. So, for Torso armor (and possibly upper arm/leg armor) and DR 3, you can go with Transitional (Segmented, $600, 12* lb), Brigandine ($1350**, 10 lb), or Plate ($2000, 8 lb), which gives you a decent spread that justifies a variety of armor being encountered on the battlefield.

*See here. Note Dan Howard's the guy who wrote the armor part of Low Tech, so you can probably consider that post to have some authority.

**Personally, I'd likely round down to $1200 (+33%) or up to $1500 (+67%). Of course, as $1300 is literally right between the cost for Segmented and Plate, using that might be an option as well.
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:02 PM   #12
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Default Re: Trouble with Armor and Worldbuilding

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Originally Posted by TheOneTrueClockWorK View Post
My game uses the Low-Tech armor rules. I really like the look of plate armor and brigandine, which are both TL4. I can easily work these into the game by saying that the region has TL4 armor. However, I also really like transitional armor, which is also more TL3, and I'd like both styles of armor to exist in the world, in the same region, in a way that makes sense.
Well, "transitional armour" usually means 1330-1410 or so. That period had all the things which GURPS calls TL 4 armour, with a couple of minor details (not everywhere could produce one-piece breastplates, plate armour for the neck was very scarce, and backplates were still assembled out of smaller pieces). So just define the common types of kit available in your world, make anything else hard and slow to make, and don't worry much about TL. Tech Level is a tool for when you are not really interested in the details and just want to eyeball things. If you can narrow your setting down to "like $continent in $century but with $trope" its probably more trouble than help.

Our fourteenth century had significantly different armour worn in northern Germany, England, and southern Iberia and the only monsters in the way were human! High-tech manufacturing spreads slowly, especially between civilizations and climate regions.
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Last edited by Polydamas; 01-02-2017 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Added second paragraph
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Trouble with Armor and Worldbuilding

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Well, "transitional armour" usually means 1330-1410 or so. That period had all the things which GURPS calls TL 4 armour, with a couple of minor details (not everywhere could produce one-piece breastplates, plate armour for the neck was very scarce, and backplates were still assembled out of smaller pieces). So just define the common types of kit available in your world, make anything else hard and slow to make, and don't worry much about TL. Tech Level is a tool for when you are not really interested in the details and just want to eyeball things. If you can narrow your setting down to "like $continent in $century but with $trope" its probably more trouble than help.

Our fourteenth century had significantly different armour worn in northern Germany, England, and southern Iberia and the only monsters in the way were human! High-tech manufacturing spreads slowly, especially between civilizations and climate regions.
Actually, once the printing press (achievable with TL2 materials) is available the knowledge of High-tech manufacturing spreads quite quickly. Magic (especially common magic) changes things drastically. Warcraft is one of the most extreme examples as you have TL3-7 all coexisting.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:50 AM   #14
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Actually, once the printing press (achievable with TL2 materials) is available the knowledge of High-tech manufacturing spreads quite quickly.
No, because artisans kept their secrets to themselves, and could not necessarily read the prestigious foreign languages in which the handful of handbooks were written. Projects like the Encyclopédie don't appear before the 18th century and I don't know of any evidence that they had much impact on the spread of European technology to the Muslim world, India, or China. As far as I can tell, the usual methods were importing foreign workers and having them train and organize the locals, or importing foreign objects and trying to imitate them.

We know that the South German cities slowly learned to compete with and then surpass the Italian ones for cheap mass-produced plate, and we know that print had nothing to do with it, because no books ever described how plate armour was made in more detail than you could get by wandering through a few shops. The same with some textile industries.

When Europeans wanted to learn to make porcelain, they did not send someone to buy a Chinese book on the subject with pocket change (books were cheaper in China than Europe in the 18th century) because none of them could have read it and the porcelain manufacturers did not describe their trade secrets in writing.

Even worse, I don't know of any early handbook which describes the division of labour, organization of all stages in the production process, agreement to standardize different tools and products, etc. which were key to even late medieval high-tech industry like weaving. (Guild regulations get very detailed). Sorting those issues out was necessary if a town wanted to compete on cost, and not just offer different products.
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:51 PM   #15
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Actually, once the printing press (achievable with TL2 materials)
Dubious. Effective production of movable type requires fairly advanced metallurgy and casting methods (Gutenberg was forced to invent new technologies for both, but had the advantage of a high technological base).
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:30 PM   #16
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Default Re: Trouble with Armor and Worldbuilding

I seem to vaguely remember Rome having a sudden TL jump by studying old ruins. One of those ninja turtle artists had a hard time convincing workers that his florentine domes would stay up until he went up there and started building it himself.

I think its entirely plausible there's an armor renaissance going on. Some armorers are set in their ways, others dont have the equipment, information or both, but a great many simply don't believe the new techniques are real. Any examples shown must be parlor tricks. "Sure its stronger but it must have taken months to make a piece that can beat my brigandeen! Youre just trying to steal my customers!"

Further still, the new armors attract emboldened brigands who've heard ill rumors, thinking they'll pierce through like paper. So customers shy from its lethal attention grabbing characteristics. This rumor isnt self correcting because those same brigands usually die pretty hard.
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Old 01-04-2017, 01:04 AM   #17
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Default Re: Trouble with Armor and Worldbuilding

It isn't unusual in fantasy to have a group or groups having varying tech levels. For example, Elves are often more advanced in the ways of magic (due to inherent magical abilities, long lives spans, etc.). Maybe its a carefully guarded secret, passed on only within the group and uses advanced enough techniques or magic that the other groups simply can't figure it out on their own.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:58 AM   #18
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Default Re: Trouble with Armor and Worldbuilding

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Dubious. Effective production of movable type requires fairly advanced metallurgy and casting methods (Gutenberg was forced to invent new technologies for both, but had the advantage of a high technological base).
As James Burke described it the process was well within the TL2 Rome had: Design a reusable mold (bronze statues), carve the letter in a soft copper bar (around since the Greeks), and pour molten lead in the mold (Romans used lead for the pipes). Nothing in that list was beyond the ability of the TL2 Romans.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:22 AM   #19
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Default Re: Trouble with Armor and Worldbuilding

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
No, because artisans kept their secrets to themselves, and could not necessarily read the prestigious foreign languages in which the handful of handbooks were written. Projects like the Encyclopédie don't appear before the 18th century and I don't know of any evidence that they had much impact on the spread of European technology to the Muslim world, India, or China.
Several things here

The first known Encyclopedia was Natural History and dates from c77 CE. It consisted of 37 chapters spread over 10 books.

Latin had been standardized 75 BCE and when the Western Roman empire fell apart it became the defacto international language of what had been the Western Roman empire.

Because the Muslim world, India, and China didn't have this common language cultural exchange between their cultures and the old Western Roman Empire was limited.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:36 AM   #20
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Default Re: Trouble with Armor and Worldbuilding

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As James Burke described it the process was well within the TL2 Rome had: Design a reusable mold (bronze statues), carve the letter in a soft copper bar (around since the Greeks), and pour molten lead in the mold (Romans used lead for the pipes). Nothing in that list was beyond the ability of the TL2 Romans.
James Burke is a journalist, not an engineer. Pure-ish lead is a bad type metal: it shrinks too fast as it cools to take a sharp impression, and wears and spreads too fast in use. Guttenberg developed a lead-tin-antimony alloy, after a lot of effort. I'd question the Romans' ability to develop that technology without knowing it was possible in advance.
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