The 'Jack' - Linen Armour for Historical and Fantasy Role Playing

ChalkLine

Rogue Conformist
Validated User
#21
Wouldn't that be the worst attack with a pretty bad weapon for fighting someone in any kind of armor?
A sword is a very good weapon due to its utility. A single cut to the most common target, the shoulder and neck, in a downward oblique cut will drop most people not wearing plate. At some point armour makes the attacker start choosing different attacks which makes things a lot harder, D&D's system actually models that well, and those seconds you spend trying to find a gap in the defense might make you too late to strike before you are cut down yourself. Even though the man wearing the jack is well defended against sword cuts his face is probably still open to attack. Even helmets with visors commonly had to have the visors raised in fighting as the need for awareness was critical.
Heavy-bladed swords such as the falchion or later dussage (from which the cutlass comes from) could still break collar bones and disable the shoulder I think and it's possible a normal sword's cut could do the same.

The most common battlefield weapon at the time was the poll axe and the halberd. These would kill people inside 'plate' armour. Possibly the best suit of armour of the period housed the Duke of Burgundy and he was hacked to death by a halberd(s) at the Battle of Nancy after being dragged from his horse.

On a tangent I think it brings home just how hard you were to kill when wearing white harness (plate). If you could stay mobile you were effectively invulnerable to a single handed sword or axe. Sword users would grip the blade as well as the grip to turn the sword into a short two-handed spear and try and stab the user in the joints. Even so, these joints were protected by chain and it took a lot of stabbing to get through, no easy task when the other guy is trying to stab you back.
 

Gussick

Registered User
Validated User
#22
Wearing a cloth body armour with steel leg plate harness seems actively perverse. Is there pictorial evidence for this? Who would do this? "I'm portraying a mercenary who stole a thing and is a super quirky individual" always seems like thin rationalising at best.
The "bridge fight" illustration is what springs to my mind, though of course this could be an example of heavy padded garments going *over* mail. Some of these pictures are discussed here:

http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.8426.html
 

ChalkLine

Rogue Conformist
Validated User
#23
. . .
Wearing a cloth body armour with steel leg plate harness seems actively perverse. Is there pictorial evidence for this? Who would do this? "I'm portraying a mercenary who stole a thing and is a super quirky individual" always seems like thin rationalising at best.
It is also to be understood that a reasonably wealthy man-at-arms in the mid 15th century had a fair bit of armour he took with him on campaign.

A jack for patrolling, maybe a brigandine on a seigework where a sudden onset was possible, full white harness for pitched combat.
Similarly he'd have a variety of helmets available to him. A wide-brimmed kettle hat normally worn which is easily up-armoured by adding a bevor. An open faced sallet as well as a visored sallet, both take the bevor mentioned earlier.
These pieces of armour allow the man-at-arms to armour himself as required for the situation.

Similarly he would have a suite of weapons for a similar rationale. This is why I really like Mythras' 'fighting styles'.
 

Gussick

Registered User
Validated User
#24
IIRC there were also examples of secret linen armor. I'm remembering a museum's very stylish 15th century jerkin or similar garment that was densely layered linen. It makes me wonder if this kind of thing was a reason for the prevalence of "ice pick" dagger styles.
 

SDLeary

Myrddin Emrys
Validated User
#25
I'm doing an on again/off again rewrite of the Mythras combat system and it'll feature in that

yeah, my own experiences in white harness will also feature in that. I find that the problem with it isn't fatigue as much as heat build up, but that would be difficult to model without getting way too 'Battlemech' :)
Yes, but doesn't heat build up cause increased fatigue-like effects? :)

SDLeary
 

SDLeary

Myrddin Emrys
Validated User
#26
It makes me wonder if this kind of thing was a reason for the prevalence of "ice pick" dagger styles.
Those were actually to dispatch the Tin Cans. Use pole weapons to knock him off his horse or off his feet, jump on top of them to immobilize, then shove the "ice pick" through the visor or up into an arm pit, or to any other opening available.

SDLeary
 

Sosthenes

Oiled Greek Wrestler
Validated User
#27
A sword is a very good weapon due to its utility. A single cut to the most common target, the shoulder and neck, in a downward oblique cut will drop most people not wearing plate.
That's a pretty bold statement. Pretty much any armor that's more than a leather jacket will mean that you won't penetrate into flesh with a sword cut (against a non-fixed target), so you're saying that what's left of the force alone, by a pretty lightweight weapon, would incapacitate the average fighter?
(Let's skip the "availability" or the reason why one wouldn't just thrust for the sake of this argument)

Generally, we're throwing together lots of different kinds of armor here. From really stiff jacks that made you less maneuverable than equivalent chain mail to simple stuffed garments. Protection and maneuerability would vary widely. Never mind that framing it as an either/or with metal armor is often a moot point, as the combination of layered cloth and mail was probably the most common.

And honestly, "lighter" than an "equivalent" metal armor? Are we talking period-equivalent, i.e. common for soldiers, or about protective value?
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
#28
I've often people say that cloth or leather armor that gave equivalent protection to metal would be heavier than the metal armor. So I'd imagine it's fairly heavy, still not as good, and given what clothing costs were, not that cheap either -- if the average person owned 2 or 3 shirts, imagine something that's basically 30 shirts compressed together.
 

Sosthenes

Oiled Greek Wrestler
Validated User
#29
Never mind that this is still quite some labor cost, and that was getting higher and higher late in the medieval period (making mail more expensive than plate).

If we're talking about the same source, then the 30 layers of linen comes from the equipment mandated for the French militia archers. Who didn't have to pay for their own equipment, it had to be provided by their communities. And let's just say that was only one reason why they generally were despised. Not the most effective and famous bunch of soldiers ever to walk the earth.

One thing that's a big advantage for this type of front-laced garment is that with one piece you can cover most of your upper body and that it's still somewhat flexible. This is a big advantage for regular infantry, as you don't have to carry and don a multitude of armor elements.
 

Dagor

Registered User
Validated User
#30
For sneaky types, linen is quieter than leather. Hardened leather scrapes and makes thuds when you use it. I don't know why it was associated with the sneaky classes to begin with.
I suspect, though of course can't confirm, that the game writers weren't even thinking of hardened leather at all. Given the fairly minute amounts of protection (A)D&D allows padded and leather "armor" to provide (and that depending on edition possibly with "studded leather" and "hide" left to go), I suspect they were more spitballing the possible effects of simply wearing thicker-than-usual suits of clothing made of the respective materials.
 
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