Fake Leather Armour?

Has anyone had any experience (good or bad) with alternatives to leather* for light or (and I know I’m being really hopeful here) medium armour? I need to arm a couple of League archers and although I know the sensible option is cloth for light armour, I like to keep my options open to make my life difficult.

*no, actual leather is not an option, I’m a pain in the butt

The lighter end of the metallic or faux-metallic armour?

Splint mail on heavy linen?
Resin plate?
Butchers maille if you can find it (aluminium scale, looks pretty good but max of medium armour, very light)
Neoprene ringmail is likely to be light armour (that is, big metal rings, small neoprene rings connecting them, very light, stretchy, and thin.
(Fake) Furs?

I’ve seen all these in use, if not all at Empire.

I wear the butchers mail, and have found it pretty good. A friend wears a suit of articulated resin plate, which also looks the part. Both are lightwieght and medium armour (because only actual steel/iron mail/plate classes as heavy).

Would a Linothrax count as medium? Could be a cool project to make. There is also Vegetan leather with is made from plantfibers. Really good stuff and works just as well.

So my only concern with mail (which I personally prefer), is that it is specifically stated as off brief for the League in the Wiki. We may be able to borrow one set for a new player for E2, but I’m wary about investing in something that isn’t quite right (Also I am a masochist and prefer to make my own kit, and while I can technically weave mail I’ve never made anything that big but I’m stupid enough to try). Resin plate might be an option though, and I can’t convince myself that I should be making it, so that’s a bonus- thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look into it!

So I think any cloth would still count as light. It would definitely be fun to make though!

I’ll have to take another look for vegetan- everything I found was leather tanned with vegetables, rather than a plant based faux leather, so I think I’m looking in the wrong places :slight_smile:

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I think this is bad brief writing on PD’s part IMHO. I understand the desire to differentiate the nations and to stop it becoming a sea of chain on the battlefield. But chain is an affordable armour that is easy to wear and use. I have moved away from plate due to the bruises on my thighs (even under a padded jack), time it takes to get ready, needing a 2nd person to dress, expense and fitting, ect ect

I think chain can work, but it needs to be dressed up. Make a slashed dublet to go over, Sashes, full colours, avoid helmets and wear a soft hat, use what plate is easy to wear such as arms and legs.
I am looking at making an over jacket to accentuate the look.


I don’t think armour has to actually be fully visible in Empire, unlike other systems where the armour has to be clearly seen, though correct me if I’m wrong. So you could wear a light chain under other clearly Leaguey things. I know of the odd Suaq who wear light chain under their fur coats in Wintermark.


That is true. I know a couple of people who play arrow bait by wearing coats over plate. Just make acknowledged you have been hit still. Maybe a pat the chest or some such.

Fancy brigandine/coat of plates are wonderfully Leaguish. (Ex?) General Barossa wears a gorgeous one in black velvet with gold (I think) rivets. Armchair Armouries does lamella plates in aluminium which should work fine in a brigandine and would count as medium armour and you could bling it up as much you like with colours of fabric and rivet patterns.


Another probably cheaper option that might be worth looking at is offcuts of vinyl flooring for medium ‘leather’ armour - again, if it’s plates inside something like a brigandine it wouldn’t matter how it looked - though in that case you’d probably want to drop an email to PD to check that it would be counted as medium. If it has the bulk and weight of thick leather I can’t imagine they’d quibble.

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Ooh, these are both fantastic suggestions, thank you!

Having been attacked by a ref wielding a micrometer, you’d need “leather” of about 4mm+ to be counting as medium armour. So I can certainly see a long trenchcoat style thing, heavy linen with flash bling over the front, and hidden pockets for a double layer of vinyl flooring or similar, for a “coat of plates” effect. You’d need excellent coverage from the actual armour plates, but with a torso, sleeves, shoulders (big shoulderpads :slight_smile: ) down to the knees… you could have a suit of medium armour in the one garment…

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Hey, how’s this:
Mud-guard washer brigandine!
So, you make a fancy League jerkin, all buttons and puffy bits and such, just a bit too big.
Then you buy a box of steel mud-guard washers from the hardware shop, big but thin washers with a big hole in the middle. Now stitch them edge to edge on the inside of the jerkin, Tudor jack-of-plates style. You could overlap them if you want to be pedantic, but hey, LARP, just butt them edge to edge.
Medium armour … for the cost of the fabric and a 12 quid box of washers. And your time.

Oooh, that’s an interesting suggestion…

The other kind butchers use is essentially standard four-in-one maille, but the rings are small and are made of thin stainless-steel wire, and are welded closed. Sometimes called “ringmesh”. Again, this counts as medium armour. Tends to be shiny. Probably made of mithril IC.

Why 4mm+?
The rules say that for real leather it has to be 3mm+, and they’re not specific about any kind of fake leather.

For light armour buy or make gambeson. You then have the perfect base armour to add onto. Bonus that you can use it as a warm layer when it’s cold.
Then look at pleather. Use it to make bits of armour or ask companies such as Darkblade who regularly make fake leather armour.

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