Why is armor so freaking ornate in fantasy?

Nouw

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Rule of Cool [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool] man. Or may I offer Rule of Sexy [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfSexy] instead? The cooler or sexier you are, the higher chance of winning!
A Weakgeek said:
Soviet Heavy said:
But then I couldn't have my warriors of chaos!
You know i dont actually have a problem with Warhammer because it has made a sport out of it. It has completely abandoned all seriousness, all physical restrictions and made the most ridiculous looking "armor" they could.
 

Terminate421

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I prefer armor that looks like it can hold its own while still retaining a badass look.

My suspension of disbelief drops when I see armor that looks impossible to even turns one head in.

Heres is how to do it:






Here is how NOT to do it:


I know these are Sci-fi but its something I must address.
 

predatorpulse7

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I'm going to parrot a lot of people here and say that they should copy the Witcher 2 model. Ornate yet realistic looking for the most part. A lot of armor tends to fall on the funny side with gazzilion spikes, pauldrons ten feet high and some cuirass that could only be put on if the wearer had 2-3 aids by at all sides.

This is pretty much perfect armor IMO:



Just look at the details. As I said, ornate enough to look cool but no unwieldy
 

KEM10

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A Weakgeek said:
KEM10 said:
There is one thing everyone forgets when it comes to this stuff. All the armor in the fantasy games are hand made and the better the armor, the less likely hood it is mass produced.

Look at the armor of the Orcs in Lord of the Rings. It is bland, generic, and put together. Well, they also had to fill a huge order ASAP. Mass produced.
Now, when a master blacksmith makes "legendary" armor, he will make it look as shinny and intricate as possible so everyone on the field will be impressed and look for him later (sort of a billboard). For example, look at the description of Achilles' shield in Iliad
First he shaped the shield so great and strong, adorning it all over and binding it round with a gleaming circuit in three layers; and the baldric was made of silver. He made the shield in five thicknesses, and with many a wonder did his cunning hand enrich it.

He wrought the earth, the heavens, and the sea; the moon also at her full and the untiring sun, with all the signs that glorify the face of heaven- the Pleiads, the Hyads, huge Orion, and the Bear, which men also call the Wain and which turns round ever in one place, facing. Orion, and alone never dips into the stream of Oceanus.

He wrought also two cities, fair to see and busy with the hum of men. In the one were weddings and wedding-feasts, and they were going about the city with brides whom they were escorting by torchlight from their chambers. Loud rose the cry of Hymen, and the youths danced to the music of flute and lyre, while the women stood each at her house door to see them.

Meanwhile the people were gathered in assembly, for there was a quarrel, and two men were wrangling about the blood-money for a man who had been killed, the one saying before the people that he had paid damages in full, and the other that he had not been paid. Each was trying to make his own case good, and the people took sides, each man backing the side that he had taken; but the heralds kept them back, and the elders sate on their seats of stone in a solemn circle, holding the staves which the heralds had put into their hands. Then they rose and each in his turn gave judgement, and there were two talents laid down, to be given to him whose judgement should be deemed the fairest.

About the other city there lay encamped two hosts in gleaming armour, and they were divided whether to sack it, or to spare it and accept the half of what it contained. But the men of the city would not yet consent, and armed themselves for a surprise; their wives and little children kept guard upon the walls, and with them were the men who were past fighting through age; but the others sallied forth with Mars and Pallas Minerva at their head- both of them wrought in gold and clad in golden raiment, great and fair with their armour as befitting gods, while they that followed were smaller. When they reached the place where they would lay their ambush, it was on a riverbed to which live stock of all kinds would come from far and near to water; here, then, they lay concealed, clad in full armour. Some way off them there were two scouts who were on the look-out for the coming of sheep or cattle, which presently came, followed by two shepherds who were playing on their pipes, and had not so much as a thought of danger. When those who were in ambush saw this, they cut off the flocks and herds and killed the shepherds. Meanwhile the besiegers, when they heard much noise among the cattle as they sat in council, sprang to their horses, and made with all speed towards them; when they reached them they set battle in array by the banks of the river, and the hosts aimed their bronze-shod spears at one another. With them were Strife and Riot, and fell Fate who was dragging three men after her, one with a fresh wound, and the other unwounded, while the third was dead, and she was dragging him along by his heel: and her robe was bedrabbled in men's blood. They went in and out with one another and fought as though they were living people haling away one another's dead.

He wrought also a fair fallow field, large and thrice ploughed already. Many men were working at the plough within it, turning their oxen to and fro, furrow after furrow. Each time that they turned on reaching the headland a man would come up to them and give them a cup of wine, and they would go back to their furrows looking forward to the time when they should again reach the headland. The part that they had ploughed was dark behind them, so that the field, though it was of gold, still looked as if it were being ploughed- very curious to behold.

He wrought also a field of harvest corn, and the reapers were reaping with sharp sickles in their hands. Swathe after swathe fell to the ground in a straight line behind them, and the binders bound them in bands of twisted straw. There were three binders, and behind them there were boys who gathered the cut corn in armfuls and kept on bringing them to be bound: among them all the owner of the land stood by in silence and was glad. The servants were getting a meal ready under an oak, for they had sacrificed a great ox, and were busy cutting him up, while the women were making a porridge of much white barley for the labourers' dinner.

He wrought also a vineyard, golden and fair to see, and the vines were loaded with grapes. The bunches overhead were black, but the vines were trained on poles of silver. He ran a ditch of dark metal all round it, and fenced it with a fence of tin; there was only one path to it, and by this the vintagers went when they would gather the vintage. Youths and maidens all blithe and full of glee, carried the luscious fruit in plaited baskets; and with them there went a boy who made sweet music with his lyre, and sang the Linus-song with his clear boyish voice.

He wrought also a herd of homed cattle. He made the cows of gold and tin, and they lowed as they came full speed out of the yards to go and feed among the waving reeds that grow by the banks of the river. Along with the cattle there went four shepherds, all of them in gold, and their nine fleet dogs went with them. Two terrible lions had fastened on a bellowing bull that was with the foremost cows, and bellow as he might they haled him, while the dogs and men gave chase: the lions tore through the bull's thick hide and were gorging on his blood and bowels, but the herdsmen were afraid to do anything, and only hounded on their dogs; the dogs dared not fasten on the lions but stood by barking and keeping out of harm's way.

The god wrought also a pasture in a fair mountain dell, and large flock of sheep, with a homestead and huts, and sheltered sheepfolds.

Furthermore he wrought a green, like that which Daedalus once made in Cnossus for lovely Ariadne. Hereon there danced youths and maidens whom all would woo, with their hands on one another's wrists. The maidens wore robes of light linen, and the youths well woven shirts that were slightly oiled. The girls were crowned with garlands, while the young men had daggers of gold that hung by silver baldrics; sometimes they would dance deftly in a ring with merry twinkling feet, as it were a potter sitting at his work and making trial of his wheel to see whether it will run, and sometimes they would go all in line with one another, and much people was gathered joyously about the green. There was a bard also to sing to them and play his lyre, while two tumblers went about performing in the midst of them when the man struck up with his tune.

All round the outermost rim of the shield he set the mighty stream of the river Oceanus.

Then when he had fashioned the shield so great and strong, he made a breastplate also that shone brighter than fire. He made helmet, close fitting to the brow, and richly worked, with a golden plume overhanging it; and he made greaves also of beaten tin.

Makes sense to me.
Wow, I must say this is a well thought out argument. Though I don't feel like it applies everywhere, like why is all elven armor so ornate? Or all Dwemer for that matter?
Now you are just being picky. But I would have to say that is so you can tell from far away if the armor is better. Back to TES: iron armor is dark grey, steel is light grey, silver is lighter, dwarven is bronze, orcish has a green tint, so on and so on. It is so you can glance and know how much of a sh*t storm you are about to be in.

Also, I am pointing back to my previous post. This over the top armor has been going on for over 2 thousand years. Look at the description of Achilles's armor in Iliad.
 

BaronUberstein

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Grunt_Man11 said:
believer258 said:
We already have too much realism in our shooters. We do not need it in our fantasy RPG's!

Please, people, for the love of God, don't start this. I don't want boring realism in my fantasy. It's fucking fantasy, for cryin' out loud! It's supposed to be unrealistic and fun!

I do understand it if you think that armor in modern fantasy games is unsightly, though Skyrim is far from a bad offender of that. I think that a lot of Skyrim's armor is fairly awesome looking. The bland and boring ones are for the blander and more boring common armors, and they're supposed to get more decorative as you get better stuff.
Gotta agree here. With all the complaining about FPS shooters focusing too much on realism, or authenticity, and the whining about chest-high walls on this site. It amazes me that here we have a thread whining about something that gets away from boring, brown realism.

Can we make up our minds already?

Do we want realism or creativity?

Pick one!

And don't go saying, "Can't we have both?" because the answer is NO.
It's not really possible to have creativity when you have oppressive realism handing over head.
So...I guess the physicists who figure out how the universe works aren't creative? Because that's within the confines of reality.

Perhaps some of us have fun with the confines of reality? Perhaps there can be games for BOTH the people who want realism and the people who want neon pink porcupine armor with glowing skulls hovering around the helmet?

I look at Sauron's armor in the LOTR movies, and I laugh. It isn't scary, it isn't cool looking, it's downright silly! People are drooling over this spiky black armor with dozens of spikes and fire bursting out of the eyes, some skulls thrown on there for good measure, and I simply don't get it. But then you put me in a game where I'm driving a tank while being actually INSIDE the tank, looking though the tiny view ports and struggling to see what's in front of me as the commander is yelling orders from the turret, and my first thought is "This is awesome." That's the kind of situation where I'm going to start singing Panzerlied and running over enemy infantry! Creating battle plans, figuring out how to best take a shattered apartment building filled with enemies when all you have is a bolt action rifle and your bayonet, that takes creativity as well. Creativity isn't limited to saying "let's make it fancier! FANCIER!"

People have different tastes (clearly there are people who enjoy the 'brown' games), and I argue we can have games for both sides of this argument without belittling the others opinion.
 

kouriichi

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Less Function=More Protection.

If your breasts are hanging out, or you cant raise your arms above your belly button, your doing heavy armor right.
 

Duskflamer

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a) While I haven't played Skyrim, I HAVE played Oblivion and in that game there was absolutely no reason to be third person (the detect life spell eliminates the need to peak around a corner). As such, I don't really get why people care, just stay in first person and pretend you're wearing armor that is acceptable to you.

b) Magic exists in the universe, and IIRC, everything north of Glass armor is explicitly magical in nature, there's no point in arguing that it doesn't look functional.

c) While I do agree that skimpy armor on females doesn't make a lot of sense, if males and females wore the same armor designs it would be impossible to tell them apart. I'm not saying that the girl needs to wear a chainmail bikini while the male is literally wearing a tank, but there does need to be some distinction that wouldn't be practical in real life.
 

Kimarous

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...

*doublechecks what the Skyrim armours look like*

Really? You think this stuff looks THAT bad? Okay, Dragonplate looks terrible, Dwemmer looks dumb, and Glass stretches the realms of plausability, but they don't look as awful as you are making them out to be. Arguments of "lightness" aside, this looks halfway functional:

 

Grunt_Man11

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BaronUberstein said:
So...I guess the physicists who figure out how the universe works aren't creative? Because that's within the confines of reality.[/quote]

*WHOOSH*

That's the sound of my point going right over your head.

BaronUberstein said:
Perhaps some of us have fun with the confines of reality? Perhaps there can be games for BOTH the people who want realism and the people who want neon pink porcupine armor with glowing skulls hovering around the helmet?

I look at Sauron's armor in the LOTR movies, and I laugh. It isn't scary, it isn't cool looking, it's downright silly! People are drooling over this spiky black armor with dozens of spikes and fire bursting out of the eyes, some skulls thrown on there for good measure, and I simply don't get it. But then you put me in a game where I'm driving a tank while being actually INSIDE the tank, looking though the tiny view ports and struggling to see what's in front of me as the commander is yelling orders from the turret, and my first thought is "This is awesome." That's the kind of situation where I'm going to start singing Panzerlied and running over enemy infantry! Creating battle plans, figuring out how to best take a shattered apartment building filled with enemies when all you have is a bolt action rifle and your bayonet, that takes creativity as well. Creativity isn't limited to saying "let's make it fancier! FANCIER!"

People have different tastes (clearly there are people who enjoy the 'brown' games), and I argue we can have games for both sides of this argument without belittling the others opinion.
*WHOOSH*

Again that's the sound of my point, and the point of the poster I replied to, going right over your head.

If you want "realism" then might I suggest not looking in a fantasy-themed game. That's the point we were trying to make.

You, (and I mean that in a general gamer community sense), whine about "too much realism" in one game genre, and then turn right around and demand it in another? That doesn't make sense to me.
 

Starik20X6

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To create a recognisable image. The first thing you notice about someone is their silhouette- when you've got 100+ different helmets you're gonna need more than the "bucket with eyeholes" design to be able to tell them apart. It's good to be able to tell the dragon helm and the troll skull helmet apart at a glance. Plus, some people love the 'over-designed aesthetic. Just look at Warhammer stuff- all of the WH miniatures I've seen (and I work in a shop that sells them) are all ridiculously overdone. I personally think they're hideous, but hey, some people love it.
 

iNsaneMilesy

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It isnt hard to find the line between ftasy and practicality. I use the LOTR as the perfect example. A WIDE variety of designs that were real yet looked alien enough to warrant a fantastical feel. I wear nothing above plate steel in skyrim because anyin above it is too clunky and stupid looking. Besides, be a smith and you can make your leathers and lower level stuff just as strong as the higher crap. I walk around ina Fur kilt like conan half the time and survive. Base it more in reality and the immersion into the world becomes stronger i think.
 

Imbechile

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A Weakgeek said:
Why is armor so freaking ornate in fantasy?
Because developers are too lazy/don't want to/are too dumb to create an interesting and strange fantasy setting, so they have to compensate it somehow.
 

BaronUberstein

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Grunt_Man11 said:
*WHOOSH*

That's the sound of my point going right over your head.

*WHOOSH*

Again that's the sound of my point, and the point of the poster I replied to, going right over your head.

If you want "realism" then might I suggest not looking in a fantasy-themed game. That's the point we were trying to make.

You, (and I mean that in a general gamer community sense), whine about "too much realism" in one game genre, and then turn right around and demand it in another? That doesn't make sense to me.
Well, when you make a statement such as, and I quote, '"Do we want realism or creativity? Pick one! And don't go saying, "Can't we have both?" because the answer is NO."', and at no point if your post did you say anything about fantasy RPG's. You made a general statement. I could have taken it out of context, but I'm simply reading what you wrote.

And perhaps people want fantasy that doesn't have giant spiked armor? I've played plenty of tabletop games where there are dragons and magic yet no armor with 10 inch spikes and shoulder pads the size of boulders. The idea that only YOUR version of fantasy is 'fantasy RPG acceptable' is absurd. All fantasy has some root in reality, and it's the balance of the two that should be adjusted accordingly to suit an individual's want in a game. Your statement of "boring, brown realism" was another statement I was challenging, though again, what is fun is a matter of opinion.

I have never whined about too much realism, I challenge you to find any point in time I have done so. That, and randomly applying a label of "casual gamer" upon me seems to be jumping the gun, I was simply pointing out a logical fallacy in your argument.

EDIT: Gosh darn this quote system
 

Ruwrak

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NickCaligo42 said:
[img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_0kgHgHUJSTc/TNbmhLGm2SI/AAAAAAAAADY/fEfrVHXnlFI/s1600/4e12.jpg" /]

All those overlapping plates, extraneous details, and weird-ass shapes. D&D 3rd/4th shields are the worst. Seriously, who EVER had a shield shaped like that?

When you apply this kind of over-designed embellishment to one guy I can sort of forgive it, but when this makes up the bulk of the universe's designs and aesthetics it's difficult to take seriously. It's really tough for me to push out of my head that this isn't what real armor looks like, and it got boring and gaudy shortly after I got out of high school.
... I like it. Won't say it's practical but.. Ya know, at least he has chainmail around the joins so he can move his arms and legs..

[anyway back to topic]
It's a game and the keyword here is 'fantasy'. We chucked realism out of the window the first time we screamed a dragon to death I think. Or heck, when we even encountered a non real creature (In general, not just skyrim.)

And well, I picked light armor. So far I'm up to scale smithing and all looks good to me so.. I dunno. I walk around in first person anyway. THe issue I am bothered with more is that if my character has long hair, it magically dissapears when I put on a helmet. Same goes for Khajiit ears. Those things are big ya know. Not as if you can hide the ears (or hair) all of a sudden righ?
 

Fishyash

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Llil said:
Weslebear said:
Perfect:

I like how that breastplate basically says "shoot me in my heart!"

And seriously, what's with the shoulderpads. Not just in those three you posted, but in general. Why are they never symmetric?
AFAIK single shoulder pads were used IRL as well. It meant you had more freedom and the uncovered side was usually the side easier to parry/block with.

Okay to OP: Rule of cool definately, and also a sense of progression. I don't want my armours looking too similar as they get better.

Obviously I think this mainly applies toward single player RPGs, where the main hero, maybe his party members, are the only ones wearing this stuff. It makes them unique.

In games like WoW though, where everyone is wearing it, and there's probably more ridiculous looking armour than typical looking armour, it's almost like a parody of sorts on the rule of cool.