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.
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.