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Old 11-21-2017, 02:31 PM   #1
Jinumon
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

Hey Y'all,

I'm currently running a Fantasy game and am making use of the excellent Low-Tech Armor Design article from Pyramid 3/52 by David L Pulver. There is a character who (for cultural/religious reasons) wears only cloth armor and wants to make use of Silk and Spider Silk. I am aware of the options in Low-Tech, p. 104, but would prefer to stat them as materials rather than as a modifier. Does anyone here have any idea as to how they might be expressed in those terms?

Thanks again, y'all,

Jinumon
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:49 PM   #2
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

Silk would be TL 0, WM 0.85, Cost $160, DR/in 8, Max DR 4, Notes CF*, Construction fabric.

Spider silk would be TL 0, WM 0.85, Cost $800, DR/in 8, Max DR 4, Notes CF**, Construction fabric.

* +1 DR versus cutting and impaling attacks, reduces effectiveness of barbs per Low-Tech p 104.
** +2 DR versus cutting and impaling attacks, reduces effectiveness of barbs per Low-Tech p 104.

This was a pretty simple conversion: silk armor costs 20x as much, but weighs the same, as cloth armor as the same DR. Spider silk armor is 5x as expensive but the same weight as cloth.

If you want a little more precision, you could say that every half inch of silk (round fractions up) gives +1 DR versus cutting and impaling attacks, and spidersilk has twice the bonus.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:04 PM   #3
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

Spider silk is stronger than Kevlar, so it should be equivalent to Reflex Armor in Ultratech. Of course, that would make it superior to any Low-Tech Armor in existence.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:07 PM   #4
Say, it isn't that bad!
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Default Re: [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Spider silk is stronger than Kevlar, so it should be equivalent to Reflex Armor in Ultratech. Of course, that would make it superior to any Low-Tech Armor in existence.
It's also a lot more stretchy.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:33 PM   #5
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
Silk would be TL 0, WM 0.85, Cost $160, DR/in 8, Max DR 4, Notes CF*, Construction fabric.
I would not make silk TL0. It's made from the chrysalises of vast numbers of silkworms, which are fed on mulberry leaves and then dumped into boiling water to extract the fibers. That's an agricultural operation, and one aimed at producing a product for a market, and it really needs metal kettles, not to mention enough division of labor to support a specialized craft. That all sounds like at least TL1.
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:20 PM   #6
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

Production of spider dragline silk (not all spider silk is equal) on a scale sufficient to do much of interest is probably TL 9.
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Old 11-23-2017, 02:37 AM   #7
Jinumon
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

Here's what I ended up going with:

Silk
WM: 0.57
Cost: $160
DR/inch: 6
Max DR: 6
Notes: CF*
Construction: fabric

Spider Silk
WM: 0.43
Cost: $800
DR/inch: 8
Max DR: 8
Notes: CF*
Construction: fabric

*The full DR only applies against cutting and impaling damage. Divide DR (and DR/in) against other damage types by 1.5 (silk) or 2 (spider silk). Negates the effects of barbed weapons. Eliminates the -2 in penalties to HT rolls for infection due to dirt in the wound.

Basically cloth armor that is 50% or 100% better at stopping cuts and stabs for 20 and 100 times the cost. As for how realistic it is for the TL, Golden Orb Spider silk was collected from Madagascar and used to make a gown (link). Meaning it might have been possible for primitive people to manage it, though it'll take forever-and-a-half (hence the +99 CF). Additionally, I've already established that "Mage-Breeding" (basically genetic engineering with magic) is a thing in this setting, so mages can breed spiders who produce unnaturally large amounts of web and harvest it with the assistance of magic or magic devices. Is all good.

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Old 11-23-2017, 04:03 AM   #8
Celti
 
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Location: USA, Arizona, Phoenix
Default Re: [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

For my own slight rework of the Armor Design rules, I use:

Silk: WM 0.85; CM $160; DR/in 4; Max DR 4. Notes: ×2 DR versus piercing* and cutting damage. Combustible. Negates the effects of barbed weapons.

Spider silk at low TLs is realistically hardly better than silkworm silk, and much more expensive. To get the truly impressive defensive characteristics that the material is capable of, you need to be able to spin much longer lengths of fibres than a medieval society will generally be capable of. For maximum performance, of course, there's arachnoweave.

[*]: My rules allow "piercing" to be swapped with "impaling" with a construction type modifier.
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Last edited by Celti; 11-23-2017 at 04:04 AM. Reason: Forgot the footnote.
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Old 11-23-2017, 04:34 AM   #9
Tomsdad
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Brighton
Default Re: [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinumon View Post
.... Additionally, I've already established that "Mage-Breeding" (basically genetic engineering with magic) is a thing in this setting, so mages can breed spiders who produce unnaturally large amounts of web and harvest it with the assistance of magic or magic devices. Is all good.

Jinumon
Good idea

also how about a control spider spell that allows you to have large numbers spiders working together to actually create usable spider silk cloth directly.
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:46 AM   #10
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: [LT] Armor Design: Silk and Spider Silk

Spider silk produced by magically engineered and controlled spiders is going to be at least as good as TL 9's arachnoweave (from Cutting Edge Armor Design, Pyramid #3/85), where the genetic engineering bit is only so that usable quantities of the stuff are produced (probably as extra proteins in goat milk, then spun by spinneret machines).

You may want to avoid going to that extent, however, as it will mean your "I only wear cloth armor" guy can be better armored than your typical knight. For my fantasy campaign, I intend to do things a bit differently, with typical giant spider silk being much worse than real spider silk, and only the most dangerous (and impossible to cultivate, as they are sapient and evil) giant spiders, the iktomi, produce the good stuff.

For that, raw silk actually has the same base protection as cloth armor, but is much more effective against cut, pi, and imp. Against cut, it functionally has half again the edge protection - DR 2 silk armor changes cut to cr out to 5 damage, rather than only out to 4. Against impaling, it gives the same edge protection as most armor enjoys against cutting (so out to 4 damage, converts to cr; note it still suffers the -2 to imp if it isn't layered, so the above assumes layered silk). Piercing is similar, but with the caveat that in my houserules, if piercing gets converted to crushing, it does far less damage - 1/4 for pi-, 1/3 for pi, 1/2.5 for pi+, and 1/2 for pi++. It also negates barbed, poisons, etc as described in Low Tech. Simply giving it the blanket +1 DR suggested in Low Tech is, of course, much easier.

"Normal" spider silk has WM 0.6, DR/in 12, and MaxDR 6. It has the same special qualities as silk, above, and also needn't be layered to negate textile's default -2 DR against imp. Note this means it gives comparable protection as iron against most threats (and actually better than iron against cut, pi, and imp) by weight, although it has much lower MaxDR.

Iktomi spider silk is arachnoweave, which I'm not comfortable reproducing the stats of here (see the relevant Pyramid article). It also has the same benefit against imp as silk, above (the fact it gets x4 DR against cut/pi overrides the complicated bits from above). Note that even against crushing this makes it better than orichalcum, although again it can't be made as thick (although maximum thickness iktomi silk is actually better than maximum thickness orichalcum against cut/pi).
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