I'm working on a roleplaying game in a medieval fantasy setting with a focus on crafting and I am having trouble visualizing how armor made from scales of creatures would be assembled; both for art and material list purposes. I wasn't able to find any good examples as animal scale isn't generally used for armor (understandable.)
In a setting where creatures existed that had scales that would be suitable for making armor, such as dragons, what would be the best approach for using those scales to make armor?
My first thought would be to use them in a similar fashion to historical metal scale armor. Metal scales are bound together with metal rings or heavy cord. Scales would have small holes punched in them for fastening and be used in place of metal. Scales of different sizes could be arranged in the way to make them most ideal to the wearer in terms of flexibility, fitment and protection. Quite a labor intensive task, but then again so was scale armor if you didn't have an efficient process.
While I was thinking on what the armor would look like, another approach came to mind. The scales are already bound together on the creature's skin, why not use that? Would it be practical to cut sections of the creature's skin, cure it, and stitch it back together as armor? Would this offer any benefits over the other approach?
Would both of these be viable ways to make armor using scales with their own benefits? Or am I overlooking a simpler solution?
For clarification: By "suitable for making armor," I mean that either the scales are comparable to metal in strength or have other beneficial properties (weight, magical effects, magic resistance, etc.) For the sake of the question, I'm using dragons as the example, however I am intending for their to be other scaled mythical creatures that armor can be made from.
Solutions I'm trying to avoid:
- Using magic, or other processes, to significantly alter the scales visibly. I want them to be visible and intact on finished armor. Kind of a status symbol for dragonslayers and accomplished adventurers.
- Using magic to adhere the scales to each other, or other materials. I want this to be something that can be done by tools. I'm seeing this as something that will require some really high quality (possibly enchanted) tools, but the majority of the work will be done by hand.