Wooden Armour
rating: 0+x

Basic Information

This is armour made of wood. For convenience, we can allow wood to encompass everything from actual slices of tree and scads of bark through bamboo, rattan and even coconut fibre. Probably wicker as well.

Wood isn't great stuff to make armour out of - it may be a lot lighter than metal and easier to work, but it lacks both strength and flexibility. Wooden armour will only tend to appear in cultures that lack easy access to metal and leather. Historically it appears mainly in South and Central America, South East Asia (particularly bamboo and laminated wood) and the Pacific Islands (including the fibre matting previously mentioned). Some examples of highly decorative ceremonial armour made from carved wood also appear in China and Korea.

Speaking of the Pacific, the Tlingit peoples of Alaska were also well known for their grotesque wooden war helms, which were said to relatively effective - certainly to the extent that Russian settlers reported them resistant to their musket shot.

Styles of construction may resemble splint mail, scale mail, lamellar armour or even pieces of plate armour. In some cases a suit of armour may include pieces of wood as well as metal and leather (as in the case of some Japanese suits of lamellar).

The only armour in which most people would expect to encounter wood would be shields - wood is the normal material for these.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • This is the stuff the jungle dwelling tribals will wear - and the PCs may end up adopting. Very useful if you want to set a campaign in the Pacific Rim - metal armoured 'Westerners' may find that adopting local kit makes swimming and general swamp and jungle life a lot easier and saves a lot of de-rusting.
  • Those ceremonial wooden suits might make interesting - but useless - treasure, or be indicative of a culture so decadent that its guards of state are no longer properly equipped for battle.
  • Fantasy - or high biotech - cultures may use engineered woods with far better characteristics. These would be ideal for elves for example.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License