As most of you know, Ornessar is a warrior, and I sometimes get weird looks when roleplaying fights, because people do not know how armour works. I had a conversation with several people about ''what is god-modding'' and what is not, so I decided to make things more clear. Let's get started. (TL;DR and ELI5 explanation in the bottom of the thread)
First of all, let us look at an example of heavy armour. In my opinion, the best (and easiest-to-understand) example would be a full plate armour from the medieval years.
Right, gushing aside, take a look at the armour. Basic, unavoidable fact: You cannot cut through plate. Properly-made plate is shaped, tempered, and hardened for maximum protection. It is specifically designed to ward off broad cutting edges. The curved surfaces will force most blows to simply glance off, and even assuming they do bite in, the steel is strong enough to resist most blows. Trust me on this: You are not getting through plate with a sword, not in the usual way.
You can also, I trust, identify the places where the armour isn't. There's just no beating plate. It's the closest you can get to 'invincible' in the Medieval Period. So - don't try and defeat plate. Instead, here's a little tip from the swordmasters of the time: Meet strength with weakness and weakness with strength. Go for the gaps.
The universal weaknesses of plate armour are the visor, the armpits, the elbow, and the 'seat area' where the body touches the saddle - the back of the thigh, the back of the knee, and the groin.
Now, remember what I said about the sword? I said not in the usual way. Holding your sword as you'd normally know it is good for inflicting blunt trauma and blunting the edge. Instead, what you do is grip the sword with one hand on the hilt and one around halfway down the blade. This is called half-swording, and basically turns your sword into a short spear.
Another great way for someone to harm/kill someone wearing heavy-armour is with a halberd and with a mace.
Halberds, thanks to their sturdiness, sharpness, and multi-faceting, they can be used to harm the opponent in many ways, but you need to be skilled.
Maces, in the other hand, are much better. The flanges serve the same purpose as the armour-piercing heads I mentioned earlier, biting into plate to deliver force. The beauty of the mace lies in its sheer simplicity; unlike swords or pollaxes, you won't need to memorise secret verses that make you look like someone who can't decide between oxen, plows, or roofs. You just hit the other person with it until he drops.
To harm the wearer with a bow, there's a twist. If you're far away, say 60, or 50, or 40 metres, your arrow is more likely to hit the armour and bounce off without damaging the opponent. To kill him, an archer must be around 20 metres close, and be armed with a longbow.
Chain-mail is considered some form of medium-armour.
Someone wearing chain-mail cannot be easily harmed by weapons with dull edges. To harm a foe that uses chain-mail, you often need to use a sword with a very sharp point in the top, a halberd, an axe with a pointy-tip, or an arrow. Although, all of those techniques require skill. The easiest way to harm them, is by using a weapon that will put a lot of ''force'' on them. Some of those weapons are maces and hammers.
Chain-armour will not react the same way as plate-armour, though. By hitting a person wearing plate-armour with a mace, you damage them internally, before the armour breaks. Hitting a chain-armour wearer will often harm them both externally and internally, or even make their armour itself damage them.
Because physics! Specifically impulse and change in momentum: F • ∆t = m • ∆v
Doesn't matter what you are wearing, if you cannot dissipate the force from a heavy blow, your insides will turn into mush and you die from internal bleeding.
In first Lord of the Rings film, Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo gets viciously stabbed by a cave troll. But luckily he was saved by wearing impregnable armour. Right?
Imagine the force of the stabbing from the cave troll is equivalent to the force of being hit by a speeding train concentrated into one point, so
Luckily for Frodo, plot armour is much stronger than mithril. 😜
: You cannot harm heavy armour with a sword, unless you use your sword like a spear and aim for weak points. You better use a mace or a halberd. To harm chain-armour, you need sharp weapons or maces/hammers.
I haven't been online for quite some time now, but wow, this is incredibly valuable. I've had a fascination with medieval era military tactics though I admit I don't know as much as I'd like to. The bit about finally making the matter clear on heavy armor was particularly helpful, and also thanks to this I pretty much have Cale's fighting technique packed down.
Thank you for this excellent treatise on armor. The Dwarves in Tolkien's works wore mail, and, as they are my main role play race in the game, I've done some looking into that over the past year or so. Contrary to what we see in the game world, plate was not featured in the rare Dwarven battle scenes from the books.