Research on Armored Encumberance

A very interesting article here the effect of armor on performance. Might be of interest to ACKS types!

[quote="Limitations Imposed by Wearing Armour on Medieval Soldiers’ Locomotor Performance"] In Medieval Europe, soldiers wore steel plate armour for protection during warfare. Armour design reflected a trade-off between protection and mobility it offered the wearer. By the fifteenth century, a typical suit of field armour weighed between 30 and 50 kg and was distributed over the entire body. How much wearing armour affected Medieval soldiers’ locomotor energetics and biomechanics is unknown. We investigated the mechanics and the energetic cost of locomotion in armour, and determined the effects on physical performance. We found that the net cost of locomotion (Cmet) during armoured walking and running is much more energetically expensive than unloaded locomotion. Cmet for locomotion in armour was 2.1–2.3 times higher for walking, and 1.9 times higher for running when compared with Cmet for unloaded locomotion at the same speed. An important component of the increased energy use results from the extra force that must be generated to support the additional mass. However, the energetic cost of locomotion in armour was also much higher than equivalent trunk loading. This additional cost is mostly explained by the increased energy required to swing the limbs and impaired breathing. Our findings can predict age-associated decline in Medieval soldiers’ physical performance, and have potential implications in understanding the outcomes of past European military battles. [/quote]



That's a great set of findings. That suggests that ACKS and related games have failed to adequately model encumbrance from armor. 

The 3.5e Game of Thrones handbook had a set of rules for fatigue which limited the number of combat rounds a warrior could fight before becoming penalized. It was heavily dependent on his armor weight. That might be a good rule to incorporate for realism.


IIRC, GoT's rules were tied in with 3E's 'Armor Check Penalty' values (and a couple other things, shields, large weapons..); subtract CONmod. That makes a Fatigue Threshold, and you could trigger it by rolling under it as part of your attack or defense roll.

Alternatively, that threshold was calculated as a multiple of one's CON mod plus a static amount, subtract the armor check penalty - this is used as a round count, and once you reached that number in rounds of combat you started taking cumulative -1's to attack/defense rolls.

ACKS' Encumbrance in stone would probably serve just as well for that as anything else; it would include armor, a shield, and large weapons, automatically take into account magical armor, and everybody'd make sure to drop their bags and packs and such when combat hits.



HM5E has a potentially useful Fatigue Factor rule as well. Being encumbered, using a large shield, or wearing heavy armor offers you penalties, and as combat or other tiring actions progress, you get to roll to see if you become fatigued.

(Higher level fighter-types also gain bonuses to their fatigue factor, reflecting greater training and endurance.)

One of the ones I like is from Decipher's Lord of the Rings (Coda System), where Weariness is a stat, and you make saves against it based on exertion level and weight carried. If I was to convert it over, I'd do it roughly like so:

A character's save against Fatigue is their Poison save, +1 for each +1 of Con bonus, -1 for each encumbrance level over 5 stone. Saves must be made at the following intervals:

Relaxed (walking, riding, simple physical skills): never

Standard (jogging, dungeon delving, potentially hostile but not actively threatening environments): once per hour

Demanding (running, forced marches, climbing, combat): once per turn (10 combat rounds)

On a failed save, the character suffers -1 to all die throws. This is cumulative if they continue exerting themselves. Fatigue levels can be removed by resting. The first fatigue level requires one turn of rest, and each subsequent level requires on hour of rest. During this time, the character can do nothing more strenuous than light camp chores or conversation with others. This time cannot be used to study spells, but can be used to rest in preparation for study. The Endurance proficiency grants a +2 to saves vs. Fatigue.



One downside is that fighters are actually kind of bad at saving throws at first level, so they'll be more prone to Fatigue - they catch the Mage at level 4, Thief at level 6, and never catch the Cleric, barring taking Endurance. With Endurance, they can be better than a Mage or Thief from the start and be roughly equal to a Cleric. The true masters of Fatigue are Craftpriests - with Endurance on their class proficiency list, Fighters, Craftpriests, and Vaultguards have the easiest time taking that skills, and a 1st-level Craftpriest with Endurance saves vs. Fatigue on a 4+.

Ugh, that mass number is perhaps a bit high for fifteenth century: says 22-29 kg, including helm, until the seventeenth century.

[quote="Tom Hudson"]

Ugh, that mass number is perhaps a bit high for fifteenth century: says 22-29 kg, including helm, until the seventeenth century.

[/quote] Right you are. The 50 kilos would be for jousting armor, which was intended for maximum protection with (essentially) no concern for mobility.


Fifteenth century field armor, according to various modern sources:

Claude Blair: 57 pounds for a 1470 suit of Italian plate
Brassey's: 60-70 pounds for average 15th-century plate harness
Treasures from the Tower of London: 94 pounds for Henry VIII's tourney armor (note that Henry was very tall, at 6'2")
Battle Dress: 42 pounds for a Maximillian-style suit in the Wallace Collection; Otto Heinrich's 16th-century harness was 58 pounds

For a modern comparison, basic bunker gear for a firefighter is about 45 pounds (helmet, hood, pants, coat, gloves, boots, and air pack). Note that this is for modern gear; older gear would be closer to 70 pounds (the original Nomex gear weighed almost twice as much, and aluminum air tanks are heavier than modern carbon composites). An axe and halligan tool add about another 20 pounds (far more than a knight's weaponry; a sword was typically 2.5-5 pounds, depending on whether it was one-handed or two-handed, maces or warhammers were 1-3.5 pounds, and even a lance was only 6-9 pounds). All in all, I'd consider a decently equipped firefighter to be a good parallel for what a trained character in full armor could do.