Ring Mail
rating: 0+x

"Well," said he, "I've heard tell that in the old days, those that could not buy bright hauberks out of the southlands would stitch steel rings on a leather shirt and be content with that. Let's see what can be done in that line!"

Farmer Giles of Ham, J.R.R. Tolkien

Basic Information

Known to purists as "ring armour" this is a primitive form of re-inforced leather armour in which metal rings, studs or scales are sewed or rivetted to a leather backing. Different from scale mail in that the metal re-inforcements may abut but do not overlap, ring armour provides neither the flexibility nor the protection of scale or chainmail.

Seen historically in the ancient world, where it formed a major part of the armoury of early Mesopotania it survived, mostly in the form of re-inforced leathers, until thoroughly replaced by technology such as brigandine.

As a variant, the rings could be sewn onto a backing of heavy cloth … this made little or no difference to the armour except for making it slightly less waterproof.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Unless you're running a low tech campaign, ringmail should be pretty backward stuff or used as an approximation for heavily re-inforced leather.
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