In Knight Realms, the value of a piece of armor is judged by two things: the amount of protection it gives (what it covers and how sturdy it is), and how it appears. Good, thick armor that looks like it was cobbled together in your garage will do, but a suit of armor that appears authentic (or at least does a good job of faking it) is even better. We do realize that a suit of plate mail is not cheap, and chain mail does not grow on trees, but we encourage players to make an effort to make their armor look realistic.
Ultimately, your armor’s quality and appearance will be evaluated to decide how many Armor Points you get for it. These points are the only thing that matter for the purpose of Knight Realms. You do not have to worry about actually protecting yourself from any blows swung at you. The boffer weapons used at Knight Realms are designed not to hurt anyone, even someone wearing no armor at all.
Armor can include:
Leather Items: Many Renaissance Faires and catalog / online vendors sell bracers, tunics, or other simple items made of hard leather. Soft leather, such as pants, can also be worn. The decoration and appearance of these can vary from simple to exquisite. Leather with metal studs or rings offers more protection. Industrious players may be able to make "leather" armor out of pleather (fake leather) or vinyl, available from a local fabric or craft store.
Chain Mail: Some catalogs and online vendors sell chain mail shirts and hauberks made of modern materials. Prices can vary, as can weight and the amount of care required, but few things have the classic and distinct appearance of authentic chain mail. Theatrical knitted chain mail is also available in some places.
Plastic: Plastic is light, inexpensive, and easy to get and care for. Sports pads can even be converted to armor with a bit of work. The hardest part of dealing with plastic is the appearance – it needs to be painted or otherwise covered so that it does not look out of place. Some vendors make plastic armor for SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) or other mock combat events that looks convincingly real.
Metal Plate: Metal plate includes individual pieces of plate metal armor as well as entirely custom-fashioned suits of plate armor. These are the quintessential trappings of a knight, but they are also the most expensive and hardest to care for. Many medieval or renaissance catalogs carry some form of metal plate armor, from helmets to breast plates, gauntlets, greaves, and so on. If a complete set is not within your budget, a single piece may be enough to give you some protection, and you leave you with the option to add more pieces later.
When choosing or making armor, you will want to keep the following in mind:
Safety: Not just yours, but other people’s as well. Make sure the armor fits you comfortably, that there are no sharp edges or points, and that you can get into and out of it easily in an emergency. In addition, heat and exhaustion are a factor – keep in mind that you may be wearing this in the middle of the summer in combat, or in the middle of a New Jersey winter.
Comfort: Do you really want to wear this stuff all day? Can you run, jump, and swing comfortably in it? Do you need padding underneath it? Will it tangle with the rest of your garb, or your hair?
Maintenance: The armor is going to be in live combat situations, where it will be whapped with sticks, sweated in, and possibly crushed or dented if you trip or fall. Consider how easy it is to repair, clean, and maintain your armor.
Many links to sites about making or buying armor can be found on the Web Links page under Resources on the site menu.