THE CHAIN MAIL ARMOUR

DESCRIPTION - USAGE - MANUFACTURING

Chain Mail is the armour preferred by infantry and soldiers at most parts of the Southern Sarvonian continent. It is especially popular among the often war waging tribe of the Erpheronians, who have shown exceptional proficiency in creating such items. This kind of armour is basically crafted from thousands of tiny metal rings riveted together and is often seen in combination with other kinds of protection, depending on the purse of the wearer or his or her Lord. Despite the high amount of workmanship involved, chain still remains a fairly inexpensive form of protection, providing material is present. Chain Mail is less versatile and heavier than leather, but offers protection only exceeded by the various forms of plate mail - however, unlike plate mail chain still gives the fighter a good deal of freedom and flexibility to wield a weapon without the armour inteferring too much in combat activities.

A smith working on chain mail
View picture in full size Picture description. A smith being busy with the meticulous work of fabricating a chain mail suit. Picture from the game Mystical Empire™, used with friendly permission, done by Arbaon.

Description. Chain Mail can be in worn several different ways, but a perfectly complete chain suit includes a chain shirt, coif, leather or chain gloves and boots all worn over light leather or cloth. Leggings will generally be leather, or, much more rarely, Chain Mail as well (in this case called a "chausses"). As you can see, combinations of different materials (ranging from leather over Chain Mail to plate parts) are quite common, depending on what's available, affordable and considered practical. Below the Chain Mail padded fabric or soft leather should be worn. If the mail shirt is waist length, it is called a "hauberk". If it is knee length, it is called a "habergeon". The coif can be worn two ways - with chin covering and without. It is more commonly found without. If the wearer does not wear a coif, a "camail" (leather helmet with mail hanging down) will oft be used.

The "chains" in Chain Mail are small rings riveted together, with each ring connected to four others. Depending on the metal, chain mail is generally silvery-gray, though different metals produce a different coloured mail. Aurium (only the wealthiest need apply!) chain is a light gold, fyrite mail (used in places of extreme temperatures) can be lavender, pink, peach, or orange, herne mail is a greenish-gray (perfect for camouflage), mithril mail is a white-silver, and black, blue, and red iron mail will be (respectfully) black, blue, or red. However, Chain Mail is rarely made of materials besides steel or gray iron. Aurium and mithril are extremely expensive (though well worth the cost!) and most other metals are too brittle or weak for the forging process. In areas with low iron concentration (iron is used in the steel-making process), leather armour is generally more popular.
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Usage. Chain Mail is best used against swords and other cutting weapons (such as axes). The mail is occasionally shorn by these, but the armour will nevertheless protect the skin underneath. It can be punctured by spears and will only serve to cushion the blows of blunt weapons slightly. Ranged weapons not fired by expert marksmen seldom pierce mail.

You won't find every common soldier wearing Chain Mail, so the possession of this kind of equipment indeed ensures a distinction. Chain Mail helps to represent nobler warriors or adds an official touch, e.g. to town guards or patrolling soliders. The armour is prized by human, elf, and dwarf alike, but is usually not found at orcish warriors, who lack the know-how to construct such items meticulously. It is hardier than
leather, and more flexible than plate armour. While movement is not unhindered, it is not excessively restricted, providing a good balance needed for fighting. Return to the top

Manufacturing. The process for forging Chain Mail is a lengthy and repetitive one. The first portion of the project involves the crafting of rings. Chain mail is made of hundreds of individual rings, each one bonded to four others. The ring making process is generally handled by an apprentice. The rings are originally kept open, but as the forging process continues, they will be riveted shut.

The next step is possibly the hardest and most complicated - the crafting of the ring chains. However, the journey of a thousand furlay begins with a single step, and the working of a thousand chains begins with a single ring. Attached to this ring are two others, hanging down sideways (so the narrow side faces the forger). This is a ring assembly. Two more ring assemblies are attached to this one. The side rings are folded out, creating a 4:1 pattern. You continue the third step until the chain is the desired length. Once the length is achieved, create another chain of equal length, continuing this until you have the desired shape/size mail pattern. Return to the top

 Date of last edit 17th Fallen Leaf 1666 a.S.

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