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Old 12-11-2019, 07:56 AM   #11
ravenfish
 
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
The Loadouts book used historical armours, not fictional ones. If you want to use segmented armour in your campaign, go ahead.
I think his question is why plate for small areas is so much more expensive than segmented, when it can wind up being a smaller piece of metal than one of the "segments" on a bigger body part (the answer, I presume, being more precise shaping and so forth).
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:01 AM   #12
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
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.
Interesting. I had assumed the fact bronze can be readily cast would make it easier to work with. Would you say in terms of difficulty of working with it that the ability to cast it vs the problems you mention works out to be overall easier, harder, or roughly the same (but with Familiarity penalties or similar)?

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Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
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)?
Something not well-represented in GURPS (because it's difficult to represent) is that weight on the limbs feels heavier than weight on the torso. As a result, you really want limb armor to be as light as possible to avoid exhaustion. Going from the lightest construction (plate) to one of the heaviest (linen), multiplying weight by 2.5, is probably a Bad Idea. I suspect with that kind of weight, the hoplites would likely not bother wearing the leg armor.

And while front-only armor sounds like a good idea, I doubt it works out very well in practice with leg armor. Most fighting stances I'm familiar with (which are for unarmed combat, admittedly, but maintaining balance shouldn't change too much when you've got a spear or whatever) don't involve both feet pointed forward at all times, and legs are thin enough that a decent-length swung weapon can probably reach behind the leg a bit so that even front-facing legs would be vulnerable. Actually getting 100% protection from the front for the lower legs may well require armor the reaches all the way around.

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Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
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.
It appears to cover the entire lower leg with a single plate (two plates if it's hinged, but I don't think hoplite greaves typically were) that's around half the weight of Torso armor. That's a pretty good-sized plate, and it has less room for error when it comes to fitting compared to smaller plates. Still, the idea of basing price on the size plate(s) involved has some merit, but there are two factors to consider - the price of the plate (which increases based on absolute size) and the price of the fitting (which increases based on the relative size to the protected location). Such a system would, naturally, be rather complex to work out. I've tried my hand at it back when I was trying to create a Damage Overhaul (which I ultimately abandoned, but may come back to try and make a simpler version); it can be doable taking the approach of the Pyramid Armor Design articles. Looking at my data from there, Plate armor for the lower legs would require plates of ~SM -4 (it's half the weight of full Torso armor, which if possible would require a plate of SM +0; if it were one piece this would be SM -2, but being two pieces - due to covering two legs - makes it SM -4). I have SM -4 plates being around 45% of the cost of normal plate, but the need for a closer fit multiplies this by 1.5, for around 65% cost.
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:11 AM   #13
CarrionPeacock
 
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

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Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
I think his question is why plate for small areas is so much more expensive than segmented, when it can wind up being a smaller piece of metal than one of the "segments" on a bigger body part (the answer, I presume, being more precise shaping and so forth).
Exactly my point. Your presumption is actually helpful. Looking at LT again and page 113 mentions armors are already close fitted to the owner, which likely accounts for the "son can't use father's greaves" part.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Something not well-represented in GURPS (because it's difficult to represent) is that weight on the limbs feels heavier than weight on the torso. As a result, you really want limb armor to be as light as possible to avoid exhaustion. Going from the lightest construction (plate) to one of the heaviest (linen), multiplying weight by 2.5, is probably a Bad Idea. I suspect with that kind of weight, the hoplites would likely not bother wearing the leg armor.

And while front-only armor sounds like a good idea, I doubt it works out very well in practice with leg armor. Most fighting stances I'm familiar with (which are for unarmed combat, admittedly, but maintaining balance shouldn't change too much when you've got a spear or whatever) don't involve both feet pointed forward at all times, and legs are thin enough that a decent-length swung weapon can probably reach behind the leg a bit so that even front-facing legs would be vulnerable. Actually getting 100% protection from the front for the lower legs may well require armor the reaches all the way around.
I had not thought of that, thanks for the explanation.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:46 AM   #14
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post

And while front-only armor sounds like a good idea, I doubt it works out very well in practice with leg armor. Most fighting stances I'm familiar with (which are for unarmed combat,t.
Classical hoplites and their greaves may not have much to do with one-on-one combat or even swung weapons. The first reason to get greaves is so that your guys in the front rank don't get crippling leg wounds from massed archery and disrupt the formation as it tries to move forward.

I suppose some joker who thinks he's being clever could try and thrust low instead of high with his spear but in formation fiighting he's probably just sticking his spear butt into some part of a second or third rank fellow.

So your swung weapon scenario would only come to pass is single or broken formation combat. Not a high priority. Also there are questions of what weapon would be used for such ahypothtical swung attack. If you were butt-stroking with a spear you have to have switched to a two-handed grip and thrown your shield away. Not good form in the era.

If you've lost your spear some way hoplites usually did have a sword for back-up. However, if said back up is a Spartan "Lakonian" type it only has a 14 inch blade and wouldn't be anyone's choice for swinging at the leg. It was very likely to be intended still for formation combat with the user in the "press" with friends very tightly on each side of him and the enemy within range where he could "step closer" as the old instruction for use of that type of blade says to.

If the hoplite had a Khopis that is a slashing weapon but good form is usually taken to be swinging high and diagonal over your own shield. Swinging low still tends to be formation disrupting.

Some hoplites at various times and places did use a simple straight sword that was longer than the Lakonian. Some of them may even have been just long enough to be Gurps broadswords rather than shortswords.
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Old 12-11-2019, 01:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
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.
Like he said. Brass and bronze are "hot short," meaning that they are likely to crack when worked near the metal's melting point.

Furthermore, brass and bronze can only be hardened by cold-working - i.e., hammering the item while the material is cold to compress the material's atomic matrix.

By contrast, steel can be hardened by annealing - heating followed by controlled cooling often by quenching the item in water or some other liquid (e.g., oil). While the smith must spend extra money to buy fuel to anneal steel, it actually saves time as compared to work-hardening the steel.

That said, tin, arsenic, and copper have lower melt points than iron, making brass and bronze slightly easier to produce. Bronze and brass also have much greater fluidity than iron or steel when melted, so they lend themselves better to casting. (Cast iron is tricky to work with because it's notorious for being hot short.)

While I don't have any historical evidence at hand, it wouldn't surprise me if some bronze or brass armor pieces weren't cast - at least in rough form - and then hammered into final form. The drawback of such a process is that there is a limit as to how thin the brass or bronze can be, meaning that the armor might be heavier than it should be.

This is particularly critical for helmets (excessive weight can cause headaches and neck strain) and greaves and sollerets (any excess weight on the lower legs or feet has a disproportionately slowing effect on movement and can mess with a fighter's mobility if he's not used to the extra mass on his feet and legs).
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Old 12-11-2019, 02:57 PM   #16
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

Annealing softens the metal, it doesn't harden it. It is necessary to remove any work-hardening so that the smith can continue to work it. Iron is annealed by heating it up and allowing it to cool slowly. Bronze is annealed by heating it up and quenching it in water.

Bronze can be worked just as thinly as iron. The typical thickness of the plates in scale armour was around 0.5mm. Greek bronze greaves were typically less than 1mm thick.

In any case, the CF is based purely on the material. Bronze costs four times more than iron. Any differences in construction have their own separate CFs.
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
In any case, the CF is based purely on the material. Bronze costs four times more than iron. Any differences in construction have their own separate CFs.
If bronze really does cost no more than four times as much as iron, then multiplying the entire cost (including labor) by four will clearly produce an erroneous result (unless the labor requirements are, by an astonishing coincidence, also roughly four times as expensive for all types of armor), and the result will be more erroneous for armor types that require (and therefore have a cost based on) more labor or more skilled labor- which brings us right back to the start of this thread.

EDIT: My assumption that bronze is, in some ways, easier to work (although doubtless more troublesome in others) are based on this: working with iron, the difficulty in forming it into large plates was such that armor based on such did not become common until the late middle ages (and, if I am understanding correctly, tended to require a higher grade of iron/steel than was needed for mail, scale, etc.), in contrast to classical-age and earlier bronze cuirasses. If this was caused by factors other than the practical difficulties of working iron, I would be interested to hear them.
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:14 PM   #18
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

Today, the primary cost of an item is the labour. In the past, the cost of materials made up the majority of the price.

Mail required the highest grade of iron. Plate can be made from less refined iron. Iron plate was always possible; we have examples dating to the Hellenistic period. Anyone who can make a one-piece iron helmet can easily make a breastplate. Mail was a far superior armour until fully articulated plate suits were developed.
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

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Today, the primary cost of an item is the labour. In the past, the cost of materials made up the majority of the price.
Even assuming that this generalization holds true for this particular working (which, from what you have said earlier, requires considerable amounts of skilled labor), I would point out that a majority isn't a totality- if the price were 70% parts and 30% labor, a fourfold increase in the cost of materials would lead to only a three (point one) fold increase in final price. (If it were 99% parts and 1% labor, the difficulties you bring up about personally fitting greaves would have been irrelevant- just use your grandfather's greaves as the source of the bronze, and have a new pair made cheaply).

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
Mail required the highest grade of iron. Plate can be made from less refined iron. Iron plate was always possible. We have examples dating to the Hellenistic period. Anyone who can make a one-piece iron helmet can easily make a breastplate. Mail was a far superior armour until fully articulated plate suits were developed.
So, bringing this back to GURPS, should iron plate cuirasses, greaves, etc. be considered TL 2 rather than TL4 as Low Tech states (it explicitly calls out such parts as being available earlier when made of bronze)?
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

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I'll take your word for it, but would still like to know the reasons for the late emergence of iron plate armor.
Blast furnaces and trip hammer mills enabled plate to be produced more quickly and cheaply than mail.

Edit: This might prove edifying: https://myarmoury.com/feature_mail.html
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