29 July 2021

Armoring A Non-Standard Shape


GURPS is handy sometimes, you can figure out almost anything.

But you HAVE to figure it out.

Shorthair in AD&D 2e(r) used banded mail.

The main problem with banded mail is that it's not a real armor any more.  The historians have changed their minds about what banded means and... well.

What I was thinking of is what Low Tech calls segmented plate.

The next problem is a lion's body is not the same size as a person.  There are examples for barding, but a lion isn't listed.  So I fudged and made it 2/3 (or so) the increase in cost/weight as for a horse.  That adds up close enough to double the price/weight for a human as makes no never mind so I just doubled the human numbers.

Wemic are naturally -0 TL (stone age) and normal fantasy is TL 3.  Many staples of normal fantasy armor are GURPS TL 4 because you can't make big plates of steel until you upgrade your iron smelting processes.

This presents a serious problem for buying armor with a TL 0 character in a TL 3 world.

First is starting wealth.  $250.  Then there's the doubling of every TL difference between you and the stuff you're buying.

Iron armor from a TL 2 source will be 4x as expensive.  TL1 bronze armor will be 8x!

The suit I put together is medium segmented plate for the human torso and arms, lion chest, shoulders and upper forelegs; then light scale for the lion abdomen and thighs.

TL2 iron is $3,508 and 104 lb at TL 2.  At TL1 you have to spend $7,016 and TL 0 $14,032.

The same suit in bronze is TL 1, but bronze is 4x the cost of iron, so it's $14,032 at TL 1 and $28,032 at TL 0.

If you stick with the TL 0, you will need more than 56 times your starting wealth just to buy the iron armor and even more to get bronze (50 to 100 points in wealth in armor alone).

The simple way to do it is to buy off your low TL to get up to TL 2 and just pay the $3,508.  TL2 also ups the starting wealth to $750.  More money cheaper stuff?  Sign me up!  And buying off the low TL only costs 10 points.  Even so, I'm dropping 30 points in wealth to get a starting wealth of $15,000!

It even fits the character concept well.  He converted to a human religion and left his tribe to become educated as a cleric of Torm the True.  They exiled him for his conversion, in fact.


  1. So your Wemic comes from a TL0 culture. So, leather and stuffs like that are available.

    But... is your Wemic in contact with a TL3 culture? Kind of a Lion-Barbarian (Conan style) going into a TL3 'advanced civilization?' If so, wouldn't he be buying TL3 stuff as if he was a TL3 person, much like some third world barely civilized person today can go to a first-world nation and buy a Rolex or an up-armored vehicle?

    And, if so, that Wemie TL0 can buy TL3 armor and cloth and stuff at TL3 prices, then wouldn't the TL0 hard currency (gems, metals, furs, magic goop stuff) be roughly the same price as the same stuff at TL3? Gold being gold, silver being silver, copper is copper, gems are gems, magic goop stuff obtained from weird place is magic goop stuff (hurtloam and stuff like that) and so forth.

    So, well, much like the Mongols entered Tibet and got access to 'modern' steel and iron, so should your Wemic if he is in a TL3 society (as a neo-barb from a TL0 society) be able to purchase or obtain TL3 at TL3 prices.

    Of course, your Wemic could also find existing stuff, horse barding or other critter armor, and get it modified to fit, no? I mean, lamellar armor for horses could easily be modified to fit your beast, not knowing what lamellar translates as in GURPS.

    Still, if he's in a TL3 society, and he's got 'hard currency' that translates weight for weight for 'modern' currency, short of a small bit from the money-changers, he should be good.

    Or not. Maybe, since I don't GURP, I don't know what I'm talking about.


    1. Thag not make rules!

      But remember the prices aren't in real currency, they're in GURPS $.

      The doubling for each TL more advanced than your home one is a proxy for its scarcity, and increased relative value in your home culture.

      The GURPS $ works on the purchase price parity principle.

      In practice, the TL price doubling is only applied at character creation, that prevents the players from getting free points from the Low TL disad.

      Shorthair the Outcast was exiled from his TL0 tribe for converting to Torm the True and his devotion to his new God led to being educated to TL2 standards, thus he'd only have to pay double for the wider culture's TL3 items.

      I'll let you in on a dirty TL secret for Fantasy worlds. TL2 gets you access to nearly everything you need to be effective. Almost all non-plate iron armor is TL2. The primary weapons are TL2 and earlier.

      So being TL2 isn't that big of a disadvantage in a TL3 society as far as weapons and armor are concerned.

    2. Also, Shorthair's TL0 tribe is chalcolithic, they know how to make native copper tools.

      For reference, except for horses, the American plains Indian is TL0 and mesolithic, the Aztecs were TL1 without the bronze.


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