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Old 02-17-2018, 09:58 PM   #191
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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Originally Posted by safisher View Post
A lot of tools and knives are case-hardened like this. Differential heating will cause problems in any heat treatment, and alloy steels like 4130 are tricky. (knives are easier than swords because of this.) What's needed is a forge big enough to put the whole pieces in and most forges are not that big. Mine is about a foot square. I could do bigger pieces in my coal forge, but I have less control over my coal forge. (It's a real pain to work with!) So to do this sort fo face-hardening you need a special forge and a special craftsman than can figure out how to face-harden very thin pieces without differential heating and without burning the plates all the way through. Tricky! Flash bainite looks better all the time.
Exactly. Large forges are not common, and the bigger the piece, the harder getting the heat (and carbon supply) even across it will be.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:43 AM   #192
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
This sounds like Masterful Tailoring might be theoretically possible enough to exist as a rules option, but not practical or plausible for the situation in the current case.
...
I do want Vyacheslav to have, in game terms, rolled a critical success when he built Vargas a suit of Gothic plate at the workshop in Kiev around 2011-2013. It explains why Vargas picked him as the armourer he believes in and why he is much more friendly with Vyacheslav than the other members of the team, all with much more marketable skills and higher paid.

...

As the most perfect example of Vyacheslav's talent and the final flowering of his traditional armourer's craft before he switches over to harder alloys and other materials which he cannot work with without developing and learning new methods, which Low-Tech options would it be plausible to apply to it?

I was thinking it wouldn't have any exotic alloys, just the best steel he could forge in a classic forge, and it didn't come with gold, silver or diamond decorations, but was instead subtly beautiful for the elegance of its craftsmanship. It would be made of thick steel, pistol proofed as widely as possible, and the cuirass and massive helmet would be as protective as 'normal' alloys could make it. Not a direct copy of an extant plate harness, but an inspired combination of the best design features Vyacheslav had seen in all historical armour he had ever examined, online or in person.

The armour would have been contracted to be built, in name, by Vyacheslav's employer at the Kiev workshop, someone with a very good reputation in the field, but during regular email exchanges and then Skype talks over the course of the construction process, Vargas would come to see that the vision, commitment, passion and superior artistic talent were all coming from the less senior employee who handled the day-to-day work, and demand that Vyacheslav be officially put in charge of finishing the armour. In effect, the armour would have been his 'masterpiece'.
I would give Fluting definitely and Expert Tailoring definitely, possibly using a cast of Vargas' body, mailing rough pieces for a fitting over Skype, or using one of those printers that takes a scan and prints a foam 'dummy' of Vargas. I would be inclined to say that Masterful Tailoring requires multiple fittings in person, or at least practice working from scans rather than a living moving patron who can tell you where something pinches. The metal quality would be better than LT's Hardened Steel: you could represent that with CEAD, or with just adding say +50% DR instead of +1. I listed some of the real steels which are popular, like 4130 chromoly, in an earlier post, but I can't say what GURPS stats they would have better than "maybe +50% DR over LT, representing DR 70-odd per inch."

Under LT, if we give Plate + Heavy 1 on the Arms (50%) + Legs (100%) + Hands (10%) + Feet (10%: total 170%) they have DR 4+1 before modifying for metal quality and weigh 20.4 lbs before tailoring.

If we give Plate + Heavy 6 on the Head 30% + Neck 5% + Torso 100% (total 135%) they have DR 9+1 before modifying for metal quality, and weigh 43.2 lbs before tailoring.

If he borrowed some ideas from 16th century armour, he could add separate reinforcing plates to the Chest Front, Skull Front, and maybe whichever shoulder is most exposed in tactical combat using the Grand-Guard rule on LT p. 109. Reinforcements for the Chest Front were used in real 16th century field armour: apparently having two spaced layers helped against balls propelled by black powder. I would am for a total weight of no more than 80 lbs before multiplying for tailoring and for his kingly physique, but I don't have time to fiddle around and look for mechanical 'sweet spots' especially since those depend on what you assume the DR per inch is.

And of course, all the pierced and filed decorations, gilt brass or solid silver rivets and mount points for tactical gear or a pimpin' plume, polishing bright as a mirror or bluing as dark as Vargas' soul, linings of blood-red velvet or hand-tanned and stamped leather, and etchings/engravings count towards Styling. Wrapping the straps in velvet and giving them gilt or silver ends can look nice.

At rich-country prices, I would guestimate around 100k USD. At Ukranian wages, maybe 20-50k USD. Of course the prices of one-off special orders by rich patrons are hard to predict! And the extra thickness might well drive up the price, but not by an order of magnitude.

I would probably make the bevor (throat) one of the ones of lames which collapse over one another, so Vargas can lower it for tactical combat, when shouting orders and getting his cheek and his rifle together are important, but raise it for fighting with swords.

Vargas might be able to get Fine Mail for the gaps if his people ordered it early enough and understood that they need to pay more than the list price to make it worth the worker's time, or bought some original pieces and chopped them up. There are only a handful of people making mail like that who have studied how the original pieces were tailored, and their customers can't afford a fair price for the hours involved. Otherwise, modern riveted mail would usually count as Light Mail, often with -1 DR or -1 DX if it comes straight from India/Pakistan. I never played with welded 'shark mail/butcher's mail' to see how it performs.

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Vyacheslav would have finished his masterpiece at the end of 2013. No matter the craftsmanship and the best hardening possible with traditional forging, Vyacheslav couldn't have promised that steel used would be completely proof against rifle fire, however, not even the thick breastplate. Experiments with the same alloy, hardened to as similar levels by Caló Renteria and his assistants, would have shown that high-powered rifle rounds would penetrate that thickness of steel, though they might not always penetrate a backing of ballistic fabric afterwards. The thinner armour elsewhere, however, would probably not be thick enough to stop any rifle round and even with ballistic fabric backing, would probably inadequate protection from typical threats.

Which is why Vargas continued his project despite having gotten the GURPS equivalent of Very Fine plate armour and, when circumstances altered in Mexico between 2014-2015, and Vargas found himself moving to a new place, with more power and autonomy, if technically slightly less revenue, convinced Vyacheslav to move there and see if he could not improve on his masterpiece armour using the best modern tools, methods and materials.
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I guess I want Vargas and Vyacheslav to be friends, as far as Vargas is capable of friendship, and give Vyacheslav reasons to love Vargas for his open-handedness, charm, shared hobbies, demonstrated trust and genuine, if untutored and unsystematic, appreciation of his craftsmanship and the artistry of a traditional armourer. I think it makes for a far better dynamic if Vyacheslav loves his charismatic, domineering and mercurial patrón almost as much as he hates the horrible, despicable things he comes to learn Vargas does.

Especially if Vyacheslav is romantic enough to be considering a range of dangerous actions to rescue his Dulcinea even before maybe encountering PCs, and, in imaging a cinematic mano-a-mano confrontation between the wicked patrón fallen from his pedestal and his rebellious subject filled with justified wrath, thinks that having studied historical swordsmanship much more intensively than Vargas will somehow matter in a real fight to the death with a hardened killer who uses machine guns for actual combat. Always good to give players the possibility of potential allies who bring almost as much trouble as aid.
Eighteen months feels like the sweet spot between "I have all the armour books I ever wanted and a computer-controlled oven for heat treatment! There was a naked women in my bed when I arrived! And il jefe said I have cojones and gave me a sword with a gilt pommel- the blade is so-so, but a golden pommel!" and "Maria, they eat babies! Conan never ate a baby. My girl says that she is scared and she wants to go, but we cannot get out ..."

Making really good plate armour, the kind that makes you feel like a god, requires a weird mix of aesthetic sensibility and hard-headed practical engineering and craftsmanship, and a rapport with the client.

With his contacts, Vargas might have some original Frazetta paintings still in Saddam's gilt frames around the hacienda, across from the shelf of first edition hentai rebound in that special leather that the maids don't like to touch.

If Vargas has been emailing and Skyping with Ukraine, there are almost certainly copies somewhere within the American intelligence apparatus, but whether Onyx Rain has access would be up to the GM. You could have something where they know those files exist, but another agency has locked them for a drugs or human trafficking investigation and does not want to admit that it is just armour pron not a SINISTER FOREIGN THREAT.

There are a couple of comments on fitting armour for special clients, and the relationship between armourers and clients, in PBS "Resurrecting Richard III' http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/resu...-episode/1934/

and some things about what a high-end reproduction project is like on the Nova "Secrets of the Shining Knight" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient...ng-knight.html

Chris Gilman's "Talents I have Seen" could also be helpful https://diligentdwarves.blogspot.co....obert-mac.html

Now off to make things with my hands, or hike in the fresh air.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:51 AM   #193
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Default Re: Expert Tailoring, Fluting and Masterful Tailoring at TL8

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I've said before that we I think the fundamental problem with GURPS armor designed for hand weapons, rather than on the vehicle scale, is that it's likely that comparatively thin armor still provides good protection at lower DR ranges against hand weapons. Take a typical glossy newstand magazine (Popular Science, etc.) and hold it up with one hand and stab it or slash it with a knife with the other. It ought to give say DR2-3. Versus a .22 it's no DR. Same thing with a typical leather jacket, where you'd be hard pressed to cut through it a knife. The difference between a light leather jacket and heavy one is 1 DR? As it is, the whole things a wash based on the two scales.
I agree that GURPS model for muscle-powered weapons vs. armour and its model of bullets vs. armour are out of sync; one is based on SJ talking to his SCA buddies in the 1980s ("telling blow!"), and one is based on peope like Doug Cole using ballistics tests and back-of-the-envelope calculations. Damage, especially swung damage, increases faster than the lifting capacity of ST suggests.

But that gets us into how few stories portray blow-by-blow fights where armour works, and GURPS does not have mechanics to represent all the ways that being pounded on is not fun other than damage. So like some other areas of GURPS, it could do with a redesign from the ground up, but that would affect other parts of the system and require a team of experts to volunteer a silly number of hours. You and Dan and Doug and David Pulver sometimes do that but I am too busy.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:22 AM   #194
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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I think that HMB/IMCF/BOTN have ideas about 'historical authenticity,' but like in the SCA that phrase means something special to them, and there are always people trying to pull in pop culture ideas. And I would expect a pretty high density of fans of fantasy and pulp adventure. [...] So I am sure that the Ukranian medieval battles world has an end which is about metal music, drinking vodka between fights, and being Cossacks and barbarian princesses.
I guess fighting with live steel might be impractical if clad only in a light steppe raider outfit, even if there is a cuirass of good steel. Are there some genuine Cossack panoplies that would meet at least barely acceptable safety standards for coverage?

What might be other reenaction periods and local styles of fairly full coverage armour that might be popular in the Ukraine and suitable for armoured combat?

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One of the pictures I pulled up checking [...] someone at the Euromaidan in camoflage jacket and a Stahlhelm plastered with double-lightning-bolt SS, a Kalashnikov crossed with a MP40, and a Cyrilic label saying something about Putin and Hitler. So there is definitely some mixing of symbols! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:E...3-23_13-08.JPG
Yay, Neo-Nazis!

There seem to be more of them around these last years than I remember noticing a decade or two ago, especially among the kind of young, rootless, economically unsuccessful, discontented and troubled men of Eastern European origin that I sometimes meet at work. Mostly they hate Muslims, not Jews, but otherwise, pretty much classic Nazi party line, search and replace 'Germany' with their home country.

Vyacheslav probably isn't prone to active ethnic hatred and I imagine his hobbies and passion have made him more broad-minded than not, as he'd have found true lovers of craftsmanship and reenaction among people from all over. He still might hold some reflexive prejudice for ethnic groups he has little personal experience with and maybe use some less than acceptable (to the mainstream cultural arbiters in the modern Western world) language, from his upbringing and/or his sources of news, but I see him as good-natured enough to quickly ignore such views in practice if he meets a kindred spirit.

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The timeline is not crazy, and mid-to-late 20s seems about the right age for "really good at what he does" but not "settled down with a wife and children or a good day job."

I would guess a few years working for that shop in Kyiv[...]
And then the Crimea thing kind of interfered with his life in 2014 and Vyacheslav found himself very prepared to consider relocation to Mexico in August-September 2015, even if it was pretty obviously a crazy thing to do.

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Ok, it looks like your tentative ideas and my tentative ideas work well together here. And of course, for someone with Obsession or Workaholic, leaving work is not easy.
Very true.

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[...] he might have heard of Ugo Serrano who is involved in the film, fetish, armouring/armoured combat, and wild-party world in California http://ugoserrano.net/bio/.
Interesting character. Beyond just Armoury, that kind of decoration is either Jeweller or an Artist specialty, right?

Cute girl in the steamgirl.com getup. Which is unfortunately a really expensive subscription-based service, as otherwise it seems like it would be useful for NPC or PC 'casting' photos for games set in various different settings or time periods.

Apropos of nothing (beyond noticing that Ugo Serrando is originally from Quito, Ecuador), my cousin in New York is marrying an Ecuadoran girl. Civil ceremony now, but they might have a 'proper' wedding next year, either in Quito or somewhere in Peru where her mother's people are from. Would be interesting to go.

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That sounds plausible, especially for someone from south-eastern Ukraine who grew up in a port.
Very good.

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Yeah, I don't remember what GURPS calls blindness to low-level social clues (Clueless?), but that might be appropriate.
Clueless is pretty severe, but Oblivious, which is functionally more-or-less a lower level version of the same, seems like a great fit.

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Maybe his quirk could be "susceptible to flattery" instead of "sensitive to social slights"? That might work better for someone with a basically cheerful disposition who knows that he is a great armourer and that is what matters. Vargas' 'social secretary' or 'handler' could assign a couple of thugs and a handful of party girls to tell Vyacheslay how awesome he is and steer him away from Vargas when il Jefe is in a bad mood.
I like 'Suspectible to Flattery' as a Quirk for him.

I think that 'handler' duties for El Jefe are not official, but are unavoidably shared between several senior lieutenants. Probably the head of security and counterintelligence, a polished Colombian with a professional intelligence background (can't look up his name now without losing text, is the most accomplished in the relevant skills, but no doubt men Vargas likes and trust more have greater success.

Edit: Conflated two characters; there is actually one polished Colombian named Miguel Angel Zamora (de la Cruz), ‘El Diestro’ (“The Skilful”), who reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in Colombian Army, commanding a battalion of counterinsurgency troops in Cali and used to be an officer in AFEUR, and another foreign expert who is the head of counterintelligence, Gabriel Inocencio Mora (Olancho), ‘El Calificador’ (“The Qualifier” [Inquisitor who judges heresy]). Mora is from Honduras and used to be a military intelligence officer and later served in the Honduran Dirección Nacional de la Policía Preventiva, which is their organised crime division.

In terms of military staff work, Mora is functionally the J-2 (Intelligence) for the CT cartel, but has less influence than he would wish, as Vargas finds him boringly cautious and has no personal rapport with him. Zamora is the J-3 (Operations and Plans) for their paramilitary operations, as well as serving as the effective second-in-command and the person Vargas worries most about having ambitions to eventually suceed him.

Sargento Primero Guillermo Machado, the 'J-7' (Military Education and Training), in charge of the training camps and ongoing professional development in small unit tactics and direct action, is probably Vargas' most trusted subordinate, largely because he lacks all ambition to be more than the most senior NCO type.

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I would give someone a bonus to their self-control rolls against Bad Temper to avoid offending their boss the violent psychopath.
Enough to never fail a SC roll in 18 months? With Vargas making impossible demands as part of their baseline relationship and, very probably, at least occasionally failing a SC roll of his own and subjecting even Vyacheslav to his Bully Disadvantage?

And it's not as if Vargas' household sicarios are all calm, disciplined professionals. Most are, to be sure, because the former military trainers and unit leaders Vargas employs still believe in professionalism, but among his favourites there are definitely some talented killers with decidedly less regimented backgrounds. These might escalate an argument with Bad Temper on both sides to a knife in vital organ a lot faster than anyone who didn't grow up in a street gang or a mountain clan with generations of desperado ancestors might appreciate.

If Vyacheslav had Bad Temper, he'd probably be either dead or involved in a deadly vendetta already. And his armoured sparring with sicarios would lead to resentments and bruised egos more than amusement, a measure of respect, mutual tolerance for eccentricities on both sides and some camraderie.

I think I'd like to avoid Bad Temper, have him be generally accepted among the sicarios, even if considered a bit odd. Vyacheslav might instead have a quirk related to being passionate about his work and working out frustration by beating steel, either in the forge or while sparring with live steel.

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Obsession (build better armour!) would be fine too. My books are in the old country, but I don't remember whether it gives a reaction penalty like Workaholic.
My books are just in the living room, but the bottle of 94 proof bourbon I consumed last night seems to have left me with a deep and abiding aura of lethargy, so I shan't look it up right now. Even if Obsession doesn't include a reaction penalty, I could just use the Odious Personal Habit or Reputation rules to add a reaction penalty, perhaps limited in cost if it applies only to co-workers with a more casual attitude toward work and people in his life who resent always being less important to him than his craft.

Edit: I looked it up and Obsession doesn't include a Reaction penalty by default, but adding one to it using Delusion or Odious Personal Habit is indeed suggested.

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Some of the party girls could have been assigned to help Vyacheslav with his Spanish and cheer him up [...], and then one evening over irregular verbs and tequila his favourite started hinting about how Vargas and his sicarios break new girls in. So that could work with your idea that he wants to save his favourite girl, and maybe cut a bloody path through the narco hordes.
Perfect. And he might be bad enough with languages (and she clever enough) that her Ukrainian is starting to become better than his Spanish, on any subject not having to do with armour in some way.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:12 AM   #195
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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I would give Fluting definitely and Expert Tailoring definitely, possibly using a cast of Vargas' body, mailing rough pieces for a fitting over Skype, or using one of those printers that takes a scan and prints a foam 'dummy' of Vargas. I would be inclined to say that Masterful Tailoring requires multiple fittings in person, or at least practice working from scans rather than a living moving patron who can tell you where something pinches.
Very good.

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The metal quality would be better than LT's Hardened Steel: you could represent that with CEAD, or with just adding say +50% DR instead of +1. I listed some of the real steels which are popular, like 4130 chromoly, in an earlier post, but I can't say what GURPS stats they would have better than "maybe +50% DR over LT, representing DR 70-odd per inch."
+50% over TL3 or TL4 steel in LT and the 'LTAD' would already outperform all TL7 and lower steel alloys given in the 'CEAD' and be competative with TL8 'Ultra-Strength Steel'.

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Under LT, if we give Plate + Heavy 1 on the Arms (50%) + Legs (100%) + Hands (10%) + Feet (10%: total 170%) they have DR 4+1 before modifying for metal quality and weigh 20.4 lbs before tailoring.
Sounds good.

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If we give Plate + Heavy 6 on the Head 30% + Neck 5% + Torso 100% (total 135%) they have DR 9+1 before modifying for metal quality, and weigh 43.2 lbs before tailoring.
Dan Howard usually has the Abdomen armoured with 'Segmented Plate' and giving less DR than the cuirass for the Chest hit location. I'll grant that the published LT and 'CEAD' stats for 'Segmented Plate' are closer to cheap Roman lorica segmenta than 16th century articulated plate, even if over a part of the body harder to armour with fully rigid plate, but I agree, in principle, on less DR there than the Chest.

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If he borrowed some ideas from 16th century armour, he could add separate reinforcing plates to the Chest Front, Skull Front, and maybe whichever shoulder is most exposed in tactical combat using the Grand-Guard rule on LT p. 109. Reinforcements for the Chest Front were used in real 16th century field armour: apparently having two spaced layers helped against balls propelled by black powder.
Excellent.

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I would am for a total weight of no more than 80 lbs before multiplying for tailoring and for his kingly physique, but I don't have time to fiddle around and look for mechanical 'sweet spots' especially since those depend on what you assume the DR per inch is.
Back of the envelope calculations gave me a base weight of 85 lbs. for an 'Ultra-Strength Steel' plate armour I was pretty happy with as the ultimate 'Black Knight' armour. Goes up to 125 lbs. adjusted for Vargas' physique and I hadn't applied any modifiers for tailoring or fluting yet.

The classic masterpiece from 2013 should be lighter, as I imagine that without personal experience, no one would believe that Vargas actually has inhuman ST for his weight and can actually wear 120+ lbs. of armour as easily as a strong and fit normal man can wear 60 lbs.

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And of course, all the pierced and filed decorations, gilt brass or solid silver rivets and mount points for tactical gear or a pimpin' plume, polishing bright as a mirror or bluing as dark as Vargas' soul, linings of blood-red velvet or hand-tanned and stamped leather, and etchings/engravings count towards Styling. Wrapping the straps in velvet and giving them gilt or silver ends can look nice.
Black and blood-red sounds nice. A touch of black leather and silver might work, too.

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At rich-country prices, I would guestimate around 100k USD. At Ukranian wages, maybe 20-50k USD. Of course the prices of one-off special orders by rich patrons are hard to predict! And the extra thickness might well drive up the price, but not by an order of magnitude.
Well within budget for the early attempts, at any rate. And the Kiev workshop might not have profited, but perhaps only barely managed to break even, as the task dragged on, the specifications grew more exacting as Vargas learned more about possibilities (probably from Vyacheslav) and Vyacheslav stopped regarding the project as just a part of his job and it became a labour of love and artistic expression.

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I would probably make the bevor (throat) one of the ones of lames which collapse over one another, so Vargas can lower it for tactical combat, when shouting orders and getting his cheek and his rifle together are important, but raise it for fighting with swords.
That's pretty cool. Would it allow the same DR as the armour around it or is it inevitably a weakpoint compared to a thick breastplate and the strong parts of the helmet?

And what about a visor that can be raised and lowered? What thickness can you make that? As thick as the rest of the helmet or inevitably thinner/less protective?

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Vargas might be able to get Fine Mail for the gaps if his people ordered it early enough and understood that they need to pay more than the list price to make it worth the worker's time, or bought some original pieces and chopped them up. There are only a handful of people making mail like that who have studied how the original pieces were tailored, and their customers can't afford a fair price for the hours involved. Otherwise, modern riveted mail would usually count as Light Mail, often with -1 DR or -1 DX if it comes straight from India/Pakistan. I never played with welded 'shark mail/butcher's mail' to see how it performs.
As I imagine at least a year and maybe two passed between the first discussions with the workshop in Kiev and Vyacheslav finishing his masterpiece, I'm sure the finished armour has very good mail for the gaps. Vyacheslav wouldn't have accepted his perfect creation marred with inferior work.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:16 AM   #196
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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Eighteen months feels like the sweet spot between "I have all the armour books I ever wanted and a computer-controlled oven for heat treatment! There was a naked women in my bed when I arrived! And il jefe said I have cojones and gave me a sword with a gilt pommel- the blade is so-so, but a golden pommel!" and "Maria, they eat babies! Conan never ate a baby. My girl says that she is scared and she wants to go, but we cannot get out ..."
Yep, Vyacheslav having arrived in August 2015 and having been involved from the start in designing the workshop at the hacienda feels right. It's February 2017 in play, so 18 months and maybe some days have passed since he moved to Mexico by the time the PCs might encounter him.

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With his contacts, Vargas might have some original Frazetta paintings still in Saddam's gilt frames around the hacienda, across from the shelf of first edition hentai rebound in that special leather that the maids don't like to touch.
Sounds great. I'll suggest these as flavour at the hacienda or another site where Vargas spends time.

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If Vargas has been emailing and Skyping with Ukraine, there are almost certainly copies somewhere within the American intelligence apparatus, but whether Onyx Rain has access would be up to the GM.
Yeah, in my capacity as Assistant GM, I shall be suggesting to the actual GM with the final say that the PCs ought to have access to photos, voiceprints and videos of not only Vargas (who is very familiar to some of them), but also of several known associates, which they might use to help track him down with various technological means and also by old-fashioned investigative work, i.e. relying on the local informants US law enforcement has in the area.

Vargas is reliably reported to be somewhere in his Juarez Valley territory, but he presumably keeps it a closely guarded secret where he is at any given time. He's bound to control several nice properties in addition to the hacienda where Vyacheslav lives (because the workshop is there) and his chief of counterintelligence is a talented professional, so it ought to be fairly difficult to establish from records and intercepts alone where exactly, within that fairly large area, Vargas has his homes, safehouses and important facilities.

Informants and rumours probably give several 'probable' locations, but not his day-by-day schedule or any practical way to contact Vargas directly, without having to go trough layers of his organisation.

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You could have something where they know those files exist, but another agency has locked them for a drugs or human trafficking investigation and does not want to admit that it is just armour pron not a SINISTER FOREIGN THREAT.
Human trafficking would probably involve U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (ICE/HSI). As might drugs, frankly, as the DEA established the EL Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) specifically to share intelligence among these agencies on drug and human trafficking cases.

Two PCs are subject matter experts on Mexican/Latin American DTOs in general and Vargas' Caballero Templarios cartel, one a senior field agent in the ICE/HSI and one an analyst and technical intelligence specialist in the CBP. Both work in El Paso, with (newly minted) Special Agent Danny O'Toole, lately of the CBP Office of Intelligence and Investigative Liaison, specifically assigned to the Vargas desk at EPIC, with access to everything the DEA, CBP, ICE and, in theory, at least, every other US law enforcement agency, has on him.

The military provides intelligence support for anti-drug operations at El Paso too, in the form of a Joint Task force with law enforcement there. Special Agent Ilana Rubio (the PC from ICE/HSI) used to work there when she was a young HUMINT specialist in the US Army and she still has good contacts there (and with the DEA, her first federal agency after the Army).

Of course, the players suspect, probably accurately, that there are other factions within the US government than Onyx Rain and that some of these, most probably a conspiracy within the DoD and/or the CIA might know a lot more about Project Jade Serenity, Dr. Edward Vanderbert and Raul Vargas than they are officially admitting, let alone sharing intelligence on.

But while the conspirators probably have their own ways of keeping tabs on persons of interest, they probably wouldn't have the power to block law enforcement agencies with a legitimate open investigation from access to communication intercepts from suspects that originate from computer programs and analysts at agencies not necessarily read in on Project Jade Serenity or Onyx Rain, let alone involved in any conspiracies connected to them. Not without showing their hand, at least.

Vargas is, obviously, a sinister foreign threat. Last session, the PCs discovered something which seems to be a clue that the Caballero Templarios might be importing some of the precursor chemicals which you'd need to make one of the primary performance-enhancing drugs tested at Project Jade Serenity, back in 1998-2000.

One PC, Dr. Michael Anderson, was part of the medical researchers who worked on Project Jade Serenity back then and he believes that Vargas might be trying to replicate the effects, perhaps develop the process further and avoid the still inexplicable long period of time which passed between the experiments and really measurable effects. In other words, maybe Vargas is trying to manufacture his own supersoldiers.

Vargas and Dr. Edward Vanderbert, the driving force behind the experimental drug trials and the secretive inventor behind most of the drugs, had a preexisting relationship back in 1998-2000. Nobody is sure how they knew each other, but they clearly did.

And Dr. Edward Vanderbert did go missing just as Project Jade Serenity was closed down as an embarrassing failure after Vargas' escape and desertion. Maybe the good Dr. Vanderbert eventually decided that working with national governments wasn't for him and what he really needed were other customers with the requisite deep pockets, but a more lax attitude towards things like 'oversight', 'laws' and 'medical ethics'.

And even if Dr. Vanderbert is not in Mexico, but actually working with China, Russia or some less obvious potential future source of the villains of future 'Seasons' of Jade Serenity, he might have sold some of his secret formulas to an eager buyer who has personal experience of their functionality.

And maybe either scenario would explain why Vargas 'only' has a $50,000,000 household budget, because he's committed the bulk of his resources elsewhere...

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
There are a couple of comments on fitting armour for special clients, and the relationship between armourers and clients, in PBS "Resurrecting Richard III' http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/resu...-episode/1934/

and some things about what a high-end reproduction project is like on the Nova "Secrets of the Shining Knight" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient...ng-knight.html

Chris Gilman's "Talents I have Seen" could also be helpful https://diligentdwarves.blogspot.co....obert-mac.html
Thanks, I'll take a look.

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Now off to make things with my hands, or hike in the fresh air.
Enjoy!

Where in Central Europe are you hiking? Austria somewhere?
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:49 PM   #197
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Default Re: Expert Tailoring, Fluting and Masterful Tailoring at TL8

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It's hard to know the exact benchmarks for FB to the others, but I'd say that would be close enough.
Fair enough.

There's quite a large gap between the TL7 'Steel, very hard' and TL8 'Ultra-Strength Steel', enough so that a more natural progression might also include a grade of TL8 steel alloy with a WM of 0.4 and DR/inch about 100-105 (50% better than RHA by thickness, ca 30% better by weight).

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The main thing with FB is ease of use and cheap price. Bainite is not new.
Okay.

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From what little I know about FB, sure.
Nice. If that works with any kind of armour piece, it seems to me that they could get a full suit of TL8 'Ultra-Strength Steel' and it wouldn't even be that much trouble to make more.

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I've said before that we I think the fundamental problem with GURPS armor designed for hand weapons, rather than on the vehicle scale, is that it's likely that comparatively thin armor still provides good protection at lower DR ranges against hand weapons. Take a typical glossy newstand magazine (Popular Science, etc.) and hold it up with one hand and stab it or slash it with a knife with the other. It ought to give say DR2-3. Versus a .22 it's no DR. Same thing with a typical leather jacket, where you'd be hard pressed to cut through it a knife. The difference between a light leather jacket and heavy one is 1 DR? As it is, the whole things a wash based on the two scales.
I use a more severe variant of the 'Edge Protection' rules that eventually appeared in Low-Tech for my games (most light balanced swung or slicing weapons get AD (0.5), slightly heavier, but still balanced weapons like hatchets or machetes get AD(2/3) and then use the 'Edge Protection' rules for the original DR and unbalanced cutting weapons use the Edge Protection rule as written).

So leather that gives DR 0 (+1 DR against cutting) can indeed protect as DR 2 against that knife, but still have DR 0 against a .22 LR round. It wouldn't protect against a full power thrust with a knife either, but I think that's not all that unrealistic.

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There's no reason to not give everyone the same thing, once you've set up the process.
I was thinking that if working with the extremely hard steel and making complex shapes demanded a process that was significantly slower, more difficult to do and more demanding of time and skill from the technicians actually perfoming it, they might have been unwilling to do it for everybody.

If there were months of painstaking work on making every plate fit perfectly into the whole and ensuring that the the joints were fully articulated, performed with handheld power tools or some kind of machine meant for extreme precision, I can see going with less hard steels and/or a simplified design for the pieces knocked out for sale to sicarios.

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I'd say it's a TL7 steel veyr hard.
Okay, thanks.

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I've argued before that I think these are wrong. There's never been enough tests to confirm that hard TL4 steel even exists. Based on some tests it's very shoddy by comparison to modern steels. But I degress.
Fair enough. For my purposes in this game, at least, it's enough that these exist as possibilities for armourers making replicas of TL4 armours at TL8, regardless of historical accuracy at real TL4.

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I'd like to know what grades the benchmark for the TL7 and TL8 steels are, but all we can do is guess.
Ballistic testing gives a pretty good idea of how the DR (against piercing only, it is true) for weight and thickness stacks up against the grades of steel alloys given in the armour design articles.

I've found that for 'AR500' steel by several manufacturers (TL7 'Steel, very hard' with up to 50% better performance against piercing), 'Flash® 500' (TL8 'Ultra-Strength Steel') and 'AR600' (better than TL8 'Ultra-Strength Steel', but not available as complex armour, only as 'Solid') from Flash Bainite and a variety of less protective steel in less scientific testing. I expect I could also find data on the various alloys that give DR similar to RHA steel and maybe up to 20% better DR by weight and/or thickness.
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:12 PM   #198
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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If you're willing to dig into armour technology beyond the simplified GURPS model, it may be worth considering "cemented" steel. This is somewhat similar to what the flash Banit process is doing, but also involves adding carbon to the outer face of the armour.

This can produce a surface that is very hard indeed, and can only be worked by grinding, so you do it after shaping the armour. The downside is that the very hard face is somewhat brittle, which may mean you end up with a split DR, higher vs piercing than cutting or crushing.

The canonical process for this is Krupp Cemented armour. It was devised for warships, and may not be practical for human armour, but failed ideas at least add detail.
It's entirely possible that something like that was among the attempts made by Carlos 'Caló' Renteria and his crew of machinists pulled from vehicle armouring duties in 2011-2014, before they acquired the machines they needed for the flash bainite process.

In terms of GURPS stats, this sounds like one of the ways to get similar performance to the various alloys of high hardness ballistic steel that perform better against piercing and cutting attacks than other threats.

I'd probably call functioning armour from it WM 0.3; DR/inch 120-135 with DR against anything other than piercing and cutting reduced by 1.5, so that it would have effectively WM 0.45; DR/inch 80-90 against other attacks, making it comparable, if possibly slightly inferior to TL7 'Steel, very hard' against any other attacks than piercing and cutting.

Earlier examples of battleship armour with very high hardness might be WM 0.4; DR/inch 90 against piercing and cutting, with the same divisor, for WM 0.6 and DR/inch 60 for other threats. Or just WM 0.3; DR/inch 120, with the DR against other threats halved, for the same WM 0.6; DR/inch 60.

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The extremely hard face is backed by the flexible back, though, and as the back part doesn't have to worry about hardness as much, can be tempered for optimal springiness and toughness. It might get a DR reduction vs. crushing because thin pieces like body armour don't give much metal to work with, but vs cutting the very hard face should work very well.

My main concern with face-hardened armour for body armour is that it'll be quite hard to effectively do to thin pieces, and as there's little research on such applications just how deep to infuse the carbon and how hard to temper the face will be entirely novel territory for the armourers. Also, face-hardening all those intricate parts of a plate harness would be a right pain, and has to be done after they are shaped.
Yes, I imagine that face hardening every piece is quite a lot of trouble, not to mention probably requiring a lot of skill few people have.

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A lot of tools and knives are case-hardened like this. Differential heating will cause problems in any heat treatment, and alloy steels like 4130 are tricky. (knives are easier than swords because of this.) What's needed is a forge big enough to put the whole pieces in and most forges are not that big. Mine is about a foot square. I could do bigger pieces in my coal forge, but I have less control over my coal forge. (It's a real pain to work with!) So to do this sort fo face-hardening you need a special forge and a special craftsman than can figure out how to face-harden very thin pieces without differential heating and without burning the plates all the way through. Tricky! Flash bainite looks better all the time.
Indeed.

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
Exactly. Large forges are not common, and the bigger the piece, the harder getting the heat (and carbon supply) even across it will be.
So is it easier to do with small pieces of limb armour of around 1.5 mm thickness than with a 6.6 mm thick breastplate? Or do these smaller pieces impose their own difficulties?
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:16 PM   #199
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Default Re: [Cutting-Edge Armor Design] Real World SCA-legal Armour and Ballistics Armour

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So is it easier to do with small pieces of limb armour of around 1.5 mm thickness than with a 6.6 mm thick breastplate? Or do these smaller pieces impose their own difficulties?
A small piece is easier to heat evenly, and doesn't need as big a furnace. However, the thinner the piece is, the harder it is to get the differential (front vs back) hardening right. Also, the harder it would be to get the high-carbon layer the correct depth (because a slight error means a lot more when 0.1mm too much or little is 7% of the piece's thickness rather than 1.5%).

So yes, smaller, thinner pieces have their own challenges.
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:38 PM   #200
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Default Re: Expert Tailoring, Fluting and Masterful Tailoring at TL8

[QUOTE=Icelander;2159560 Nice. If that works with any kind of armour piece, it seems to me that they could get a full suit of TL8 'Ultra-Strength Steel' and it wouldn't even be that much trouble to make more.[/QUOTE]

Agreed.

Quote:
I use a more severe variant of the 'Edge Protection' rules
On general principle, I despise EP as too finicky. I don't want to do all the math -- that's the point of the DR in the first place. Ease of use! Second, re: DR, I don't hold that "cutting armor" was as hard as some make it out to be. In real life, if you hold up an fully armored arm and I whack it with a two- handed sword or axe I'll stand a good chance of breaking or dislocating your arm without strictly "cutting it." The cutting damage and bleeding might still exist, depending on the damage to your armor -- and there will likely be some! It depends on what a "point of damage" is.

Quote:
If there were months of painstaking work
If one guy did it buy hand laboriously in the old method in might take that long, but with all the labor saving methods of modern technology we are discussing, and a staff of basically unskilled people overseen by experts I'd surprised if it would take a week.


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Ballistic testing gives a pretty good idea of how the DR (against piercing only, it is true) for weight and thickness stacks up against the grades of steel alloys given in the armour design articles.
I used in HT, where possible, two checks -- one was actual proof tests against known weapons, and the second, the measurement of the armor. I think any such work should use both. The problem is measuring against a standard sword or axe stroke...
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