In a fantasy world, which has both medieval and early-modern inclinations (300's - 1690's), and factors such as magic (though very rarely used directly offensive, so there's no things such as 'fireball' and et cetera) and many beasts like dragons, basilisks, orcs and vampires; How thick would horse and human armor be?

I thought of something close to 3.5 mm or 4.5 mm (with padding), enough to stop a shot at close range (considering that black powder is being used), light enough to be carried around with ease, and thick enough to protect the user against most inhuman threats, but I feel this isn't enough, mostly because I am no expert on this subject, so I'd like to know which would be the ideal armor thickness for

A - A common healthy soldier, a little stronger than the average man.

B - An elite warrior, very strong, very experienced, very well-trained and equipped, and with a grain of "inhuman" aspects, such as enhanced reflexes and stamina, though not unnaturally strong.

C - A "Beast-hunter", an expert warrior who's job is hunting beasts, such as the already mentioned dragons. It should be also mentioned that these beasts aren't much bigger than say, an elephant, and some of them are really intelligent, but none can compare to a human. (Not yet, but that's a long story)

EDIT - The armor in question would be
A) An average 17th - 16th century body armor
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B) Varies according to every "elite" troop, but to keep things simple, think of a full-body plate armor, such as a gothic
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C) Somewhat similar to B, though a little lighter and more flamboyant, like an armored Landskenecht. enter image description here

Projectiles and weapons in question - The weapons typically seen on the battlefield would be poleaxes, pikes, shields, muskets, arquebuses, longbows, maces, warhammers, longswords, lances and blunderbusses.
The "weapons" used by beasts will more often than not be claws, not terribly sharp, but very long, sharp teeth, powered by large powerful jaws, and sometimes as beasts will also make use of fire (not hot enough to melt armor though, and not used long enough to cook the hunter inside his armor) and poison.
Magic won't be much of a worry here, in part because it's use in warfare is not wide, and the nature of magic is very erratic, each wizard has a "type" of magic different from the other, so unless armies forge armors specifically made to fight an individual wizard, anti-magic armor won't be seen very soon. As a side note, usually spells and magics powerful enough to harm or kill a man can be held at bay by common armor.
The materials used to forge armor that I thought about were good ol' layered steel, but if anyone thinks of a better material, that's available in the 17th century of course, please tell me.


closed as too broad by Bellerophon, Mołot, sphennings, Vincent, JBH Dec 21 '17 at 4:13

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ This seems like more than one question to me. I am also not sure if there is a discernible "correct" answer. $\endgroup$ – James Dec 16 '17 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ In it's current form, this question seems very imprecise to me. What kind of armor are you referring to, what kind of weapons and what kinds of projectiles? The materials involved also weight a lot in the balance. $\endgroup$ – user44285 Dec 16 '17 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ It's not only about thickness, but also materials used. 300 — 1690 is a very, very long time frame. 3.5mm steel plus padding is not something that can be carried around with ease. Do what you was thinking about? Aluminum alloys? Sth else? $\endgroup$ – Mołot Dec 16 '17 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ @James Indeed this is quite a complicated question, but I'm confident that an answer can be found if I provide more details $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Dec 16 '17 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Mołot and Unlambder, The materials in question may vary a bit, but the ones used mostly would be Steel and Wrought Iron. But if you have any material in mind (available in the 17th century), please tell me! $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Dec 16 '17 at 22:53


Equation 1: Penetration of a High or Low Speed Projectile Into a Material


  • For held weapons (swords, fists) the mass, ‘m’, is the whole weight of the wielder.
  • ‘A’ is the contact area of the weapon. For slashing blades this is the the width of the target times the thickness of the blade’s edge
  • Yield strength (sigma) and density (rho) are of the target material
  • ‘v’ is the velocity of the projectile, or the velocity of a swung weapon at the time of impact. Note that some weapons, such as slings or morning stars, can be “swung up” to a higher speed.

s = 1/2 x [ (v^2) / ((A/m) sigma) + ((A/m) rho v^2)) ]

Equation 2: Velocity Loss Penetrating a Layer of Material

delta v^2 = [2 s (A/m) sigma] / [1 - s (A/m) rho]

Equation 3: Kinetic Energy Transferred by Velocity Loss

E = 1/2 m (v-new^2 - v-start^2)

By the way, if this turns out to be useful, please let me know. I never finished the book because I thought I was writing for my own benefit.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the document friend! Guess I'll have to get more information over muskets for a definitive answer! $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Dec 19 '17 at 16:51

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