If I were running a D&D campaign…


…I’d have to include antler armor as an option.

inside_kulai_armor

That’s a reconstruction of a suit of armor made of plates of antler worn by the Kulai people 2000 years ago and excavated from Western Siberia. Very stylish.

Comments

  1. cartomancer says

    Looks a lot like the boar tusk helmets mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, fragments of which have been excavated from Mycenaean shaft graves dating from the 17th to the 10th centuries BC. Homer has Odysseus wearing one when he prepares to go into battle with the Trojans – an heirloom piece passed down through the generations.

    It is thought that boar tusk helmets would have been status symbols more than effective armour though – bronze is much stronger. You do, however, have to kill dozens of boars to get enough tusks, so it would be the mark of an accomplished huntsman or someone who could command several such huntsmen. I don’t know how many elk you’d need to kill to make that get-up though – there’s rather more ivory on an antler than a tusk. If it’s from semi-domesticated reindeer then it might have been rather more practical and less of a status symbol than the Mycenaean version.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    The armor is reindeer antler.
    Reindeer antlers can be huge and they are grown and shed every year.

  3. microraptor says

    Aren’t Reindeer antlers a lot softer than elk or moose antler due to lower calcium levels in their diet? Not sure how that would effect the effectiveness of the armor- probably depends on what type of weapon it’s being used against.

    Still, this would be pretty cool armor for a character who’s origin was with a group that had limited metal-working options.

  4. rumleech says

    You should run a D&D campaign. I’d love to see how you’d house-rule Clerics and Paladins.

  5. lumipuna says

    Thank you, this is very interesting.

    The article is about recent finding in Ust-Polui, near Salekhard, northwestern corner of Siberia. The reconstruction of Kulai armor is based on another similar finding – according to Google the Kulai lived a little further south and probably spoke a Yeniseiyan language.

    The modern indigenous peoples in Salekhard area include Khanty and Nenets, who represent distant branches of the Uralic language family*. Apparently there’s some continuity from Ust-Polui culture to modern times. This is old reindeer herding area, and also recently a hotspot for long-lasting indigenous people/big oil conflict.

    *Khanty in particular is related to Hungarian and more distantly to Finnic languages.

  6. lumipuna says

    Also, hello everyone. I’ve been lurking on Pharyngula for years, had previously some trouble with registration.

  7. davidc1 says

    Hi ,Doc you missed the bigger story ,follow the link to the Siberian Times ,there is a story about a psychic Cat .
    A so called clairvoyant bought it for $84.000 .

  8. Matrim says

    @5, rumleech

    Not sure why he’d have to unless he was running a home brew setting. In all the established settings I know of for D&D/Pathfinder the gods actually exist, take an active hand in the universe, and can be directly consulted.

  9. numerobis says

    There was armor in western siberia back then?

    From other readings, armor implies enough specialization that soldiers can spend a lot of time practicing, while someone else gets food.

  10. Arawhon, So Tired of Everything says

    Armor has been being made from all kinds of peoples from across the world and from some pretty amazing materials, like fish leather or crocodile skin or bits of stone sewn together. Generally, the more complex the material the more specialized the people, but basic armors wouldn’t really need all that much specialization.

    A really cool blog entry about D&D armor and what to base them off of, filled with pictures of armors from around the world.

    One of my favorites is the wooden Tlingit armor and its cool helmet.

  11. Ichthyic says

    Armor has been being made from all kinds of peoples

    Indeed. I myself often wear armor made from the skullcaps of my enemies.

    ;)

  12. madtom1999 says

    @cartomancer #1. Bronze is pretty but thick enough to really work as a helmet it would be a touch heavy. The helmet from Sutton Hoo weighed 5lbs and would not have resisted a simple arrow or sword strike. They also restrict your vision considerably and a non-lethal blow to the side of the head can leave you sightless with the helmet bent so you can turn it. I’m guessing these things were almost purely ceremonial. Now this bone armour looks a lot more functional and can be made from animals you eat on a regular basis. I would imagine you can eat more than enough animals to make a decent set of armour in between whatever the ‘sustainable’ period is for beating the hell out your neighbours.

  13. says

    I’m working on a modified 5e campaign setting for my D&D group. Among the changes I’m making is that the gods don’t exist. All the classes still work as written, it’s just that the clerics’ and paladins’ powers come from themselves, not the gods. There will never be any divine intervention.