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Why armour doesn’t work in films and series such as Vikings


The spear took 1 slow thrust to penetrate PLATE. The sword was pushed into the other guy just as easily.

The spear took 1 slow thrust to penetrate PLATE. The sword was pushed into the other guy just as easily.

No matter now good looking the armour, no matter how historically accurate it is, or isn’t, armour just doesn’t work.

There are many examples of armour parting like paper as a sword or axe cuts across the wearer’s abdomen or back in a spray of blood and gore.

For years this used to vex me no end. What, I used to ask myself, was the point of paying so much money, spending so much time to craft it, and going to through the physical discomfort of wearing the damn stuff, if it was going to be as useless as a chocolate teapot.

Then, just recently, I had a revelation. The main characters in such films and series, as well as their followers are higher ranking characters than their opponents. Their critical hit scores are therefore much greater, and their weapons are endowed with magical powers (even if there is no mention or use of magic).

These guys and gals are basically rolling 20s every time, rolling max damage pretty much every time, whilst their opponents are low-level NPCs that have the save-rolling ability of someone who owns dice that only have the number 1 on them. Armour doesn’t work because the heroes – even in non-magical settings – have magical weapons of +50 Minion Killing. And, even when facing the super villain at the end, the sword transforms into a sword of +50 Super Villain Killing, with the super villain having a lesser sword of +25 Hero Wounding.

So, the next time you’re watching such a film and ranting at the uselessness of armour, just remember this article.

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7. Matthew was Features Editor, Technical Consultant and regular columnist for magazines such as ‘Fighters’, ‘Combat’, ‘TKD & Korean Martial Arts’ and ‘Traditional Karate’. These are the four leading martial arts magazines in the United Kingdom. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed 'Practical Taekwondo: Back to the Roots', which has been sold around the world. With regard to his martial arts background he has been studying martial arts since 1991. In 1995 he hosted Professor Rick Clark of the ADK and since then has been studying pressure points and their uses in the martial arts and on the street (initially as a Special Constable and as a Door Supervisor). All of this practical hands-on experience means that he is uniquely placed to write fight scenes that are not only plausible but some of which are based on personal or anecdotal experience. Matthew has had a number of short stories published by Fringe Works, KnightWatch Press, Anderfam Press and Emby Press.

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