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I deliberately tried to geek out as much as possible on this for your amusement

An article in the October 2011 issue of Scientific American that recently made it to the top of the bathroom reading pile had a short article that suggests that describes a defeat of 20,000+ heavily armored French soldiers by a much smaller band of English troops led by Henry V and suggests that "suits of armor might not be all that great for fighting".

Researchers at the University of Leed placed armor-clad volunteers on a treadmill and monitored their oxygen consumption. The armor commonly used in the 15th century weighed anywhere from 30 to 50 kilograms, spread from head to hand to toe. Because of the distributed mass, volunteers had to summon great effort to swing steel-plated legs through each stride. In addition, breastplates forced quick, shallow breaths. The researchers found that the suits of armor doubled volunteers' metabolic requirements, compared with an increase of only about 70 percent for the same amount of weight carried in a backpack.

Kind of a "duh!", maybe, and the article doesn't compare the negatives of tiring easily to the fact that you've got heavy steel between yourself and your opponent's sword. I thought about the implications for D&D (first edition AD&D, natch), if any, and i realized that the game already has built in rules covering the "distributed mass" issue. In addition to the penalty for the armor's weight, armor types also have a maximum movement associated with them, which reflects the restricted movement even beyond the basic heaviness. So wearing a 450cn platemail suit will slow you down more than, say, carrying a bag with 450 gold coins.

However, the tightness of the breastplate suggests there ought to be some sort of Constitution check that increases in difficulty with each round of battle and, if failed, adds a penalty to the characters To Hit and Damage.

Ever notice i never read any articles that would make my players' lives easier? DMing is a lonely job.

By fnord12 | February 25, 2012, 1:19 PM | D&D | Comments (4)| Link

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