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There is a magic that allows a certain percentage of the population to create a twin of themselves instantly, a clone that is aware of itself and is equal in all aspects to the original, which makes them indistinguishable.

In the battlefield, where swords collide with shields, armor and each other, having a numerical advantage is always desirable. Even so, some of these blessed people prefer to use their ability to confuse adversaries; either tackling fights in which they appear to be at a disadvantage or on equal terms so that their adversaries discover that they face a person more than they expected, or to maneuver quickly during a confrontation.

How power works:

  • At will you create a clone that is identical to you in all aspects. The clone appears instantly anywhere if it can fit as long as it is in direct contact with your body (skin, bone, nails, hair, etc)
  • While you are having direct melee contact you can choose which of the two bodies is reabsorbed and which one stays. The "you" that remains has the memories of the two "you." (Example, you are closed behind a gate of bars. You take out one hand, create the clone outside, and decide to reabsorb the one inside the cage). Done quickly this would look like you moved a step in the blick of and eye.

This ability does not copy clothing or anything you are holding in your hand. In the field of battle / skirmish in the forest / fight in the bar, putting aside your weapon or throwing it into the air so that the clone catches it when it is formed is an option, not so much with the clothes / armor that you wear. (Well, you've tricked your opponent and pierced him with the spear but now you're naked against the other opponents.)

Though my question is more about preventing one from being completly naked during the confromtation I also seek some protection. The best I could manage is a cloak with a dissimulated belt at waist high and 2 hand holes normally masked by a shorter cloak layered on top of the first one.

Edit: Some more about how the powers work.

Thouse with the power to clone themselfs are called gifters and they used to be healers. Unconventional healrs because they needed to reopen the wound to be able to heal it. The way they did it is by recreating the missing bone/muscle/blood etc using their own as a reference. The wound apeared to be filled with the material out of thin air and the more similar was the wounded and the gifter(body type, wheight, gender, race, etc) the less potential (name for the mana/energy) was needed.

The way gifters use potential is by extracting it through their ember (a soul like catalist that every living thing poses. Unfortuantely most people never learn to use it and gets atrofiated, that's why only a percentage of the populations are gifters). They learned that they could split their ember in two with training and use it like a base to gift it a body. That is how the power evolved into cloning.

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    $\begingroup$ To be honest this doesn't seem like a very effective way to use this power. Trying to use it as a 'trick' is more trouble than its worth. If it were me, I'd never mess around with trying this ON the battlefield, I'd just make the clone before the fight when he could put on his own armor and pick up his own weapon. Creating a naked clone you have to mess with when you're one of a hundred guys in the middle of a hundred other guys who are trying to kill you, I don't see that being very effective no matter what kind of trick gear you're carrying. $\endgroup$ – Morris The Cat Feb 5 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, you are right but my point is to make this kinf of clothes somehow work. The protagonist is a woman and I plan to use this power on and of a lot. Most of the time the ability to quikly "dres" oneself is not important but I have some scenes in mind that are key and I would rather think about a way to create this kind of clothes than deal with her being naked. $\endgroup$ – Mike Feb 5 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ Can you walk to a battlefield alone with a wagonload of weapons, make 1000 (or as many as you need) clones and promptly rout the enemy? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 5 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander No, you can only create 1 clone under normal circumstances. $\endgroup$ – Mike Feb 5 at 21:47

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SinisterFellow suggested a magical cloak, well, a non-magical cloak might be made feasible (with some limitations, of course!). You might be able to make a kind of padded cloak that works as soft armor. Play, er, I mean, experimenting with a blanket suggests 7-10 seconds to grab from the floor and swing on, maybe 15 if same edge and same side out matters, I don't know how that would play out with heavier, stiffer material mid battle, could be less or more depending on material, practice, and how exactly it fell, but I can't think of anything that would be quicker to put on, exactly.

I know there was linen armor, made of many layers stitched together (ie, padded jacks or gambesons, often with some thirty layers of linen, cotton, or wool stitched together, sometimes reinforced with leather), that were sometimes the primary, or only, armor some folk had. It wasn't a hard armor, it tended to soften or lessen blows rather than prevent them, but it was reasonably effective as armor even against arrows or swords - one would end up with bruises, small cuts or slices rather than stab wounds, that kind of thing.

A cloak of such a construction might be, well, not great armor but something. It would fairly stiff and heavy, more like a carpet in weight and stiffness than a blanket, but it would likely be quicker to grab and swing on than most other forms of medieval (or even modern) armor. On the other hand, the looser and easier to put on it is, the more of a hindrance it can be mid-battle if it slips or snags on something, or hangs incorrectly, and the tighter and more fitting it is the harder it will be to put on quickly and correctly.

If you would like to go that route, I'd suggest the style like a blanket, folded in half, with the folds over the shoulders and a cut up one side so two panels rest over the shoulders and down the front. (like this one, I am not describing this well, example chosen randomly)

The cloak needs to be short over the arms, not more than halfway down or so because one needs their arms in battle, it can be a little longer front and back. It needs to be open in the front, so that it can be swung on quickly. A shorter cloak will be easier to put on, but offer less protection for the legs. A lighter cloak will be easier to put on and wear, but offer less protection overall. It would not be wise to depend on a design that needs a button or clasp to stay on, since there may not be time for that mid-battle. The easier it is to swing on, the easier it may be for it to slide off kilter and tangle the wearer up.

In any case, this kind of cloak will always leave vulnerable the areas under the arms (especially when raised), and the center line in front where it falls closed. It might be possible to leave a little extra material in front, so that it overlaps a bit, but the more complex it is the easier for something to get in the way. It will primarily be useful against blows to the back, or shoulders, or blows across the front or back of the body, much less so for stab wounds or blows along the sides of the body, or arms and legs.

Yeah, this is not a magical answer. Such a cloak will be limited, and imperfect, and have many flaws and weaknesses. That said, I think it could work, that it might be a decent compromise for someone with the specific limitations and requirements from your question, and also that said limitations and flaws can also be plot points, if needed.

On the other hand, if you do want a magical answer, well... Going back to SinisterFellow's suggestion of a magic cloak, if you can use magic of course, you might be able to offset some of the disadvantages or gain some extra advantages, but that will of course depend on the magic available to your character. I hear handwavium is a very useful armor!

A picture of a cape, cloak, shawl poncho, whatever they're called

Image chosen randomly from an image search. I think it's from here.

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On the field of battle weapons are essential, but clothing is entirely optional...

Phalanx fighting on a black-figure amphora, 6th century BCE

Greek hoplites fighting. Side A of an Attic black-figure Tyrrhenic amphora, ca. 560 BCE. Photograph by Bibi Saint-Pol , available on Wikimedia; public domain. The amphora itself is in the Staatliche Antikensammlungen in Munich.

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    $\begingroup$ Greek hoplites did not actually right in the nude, Greek artists just liked to depict them like that. $\endgroup$ – Marvin the Paranoid Android Feb 6 at 2:56
  • $\begingroup$ To reinforce what SE-is-too-politically-correct is saying, Greek writings about war often refer to "girded loins" which refers to how a one would tie off his tunic before battle or hard labor. Apart from keeping you from getting tangled in it, this would offer added support to the genitalia reducing the likelihood of injury while running and fighting. If their soldiers actually fought in the nude as standard practice, we would not see this expression so prevalently in their literature. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki - Reinstate Monica Feb 6 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ If you are a man, you will generally do better in a fight with your loins girded (be it a good pair of briefs, or a more primative techniquie such as content.artofmanliness.com/uploads/2014/10/…). If your caster is a woman with an ample bosom I'd suspect you'd want the closest equivalent to a sports bra you could manage as well. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki - Reinstate Monica Feb 6 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ That said, hellenistic and classical Greeks did wair surprisingly little armor compared to the Archaic Period. This evolution of the Greek soldier comes from the effectiveness of their hoplon shields rendering armor on the torso, groin, and upper legs redundant wasted weight which may have contributed to the idea of fighting without armor "in the nude" as more manly. Not just as a point of machoism, but because generals had to convince their citizen soldiers to leave the extra armor at home. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki - Reinstate Monica Feb 6 at 15:17
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If the clothes cannot be duplicated, this is an embarrassment your protagonist might just have to endure. It takes me about 5-10 seconds to put my underpants on, and that's as basic an article of clothing you can ask for. Heavy medieval armor can take between 10 minutes and an hour to put on, since it's made of many separate pieces. Historically, knights had squires to assist them in putting it all on. Throwing a sword and shield to your new self is simple enough, but if he/she can't duplicate attire, your hero is gonna fight in the nude, no way around it. If the limits of magic are no obstacle, something like Dr. Strange's magical cloak with Velcro to help it wrap and secure itself might do the trick. But whatever material that it's made of will not be rigid, so I doubt it makes particularly good armor.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well this is embarrassing. The idea of some magical cloak or cloth never occurred to me. $\endgroup$ – Mike Feb 5 at 21:03
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Tats. And lots of them.

tats

source

Your protagonist has a lavish full body tattoo. Yes she is naked, but you have to be close up to tell and she is liable to kick you if you get close up, all googly-eyed.

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  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately ink is not part of the body so like the clothes the clone wont have it. $\endgroup$ – Mike Feb 5 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ How about hair? Are the clones hairless? $\endgroup$ – Willk Feb 5 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ No, they do have hair. In fact hair and nails are considerate the same as skin contact for the purpose of creating or absorbing a clone. This is interesting, what would make you think the clones don't have hair? $\endgroup$ – Mike Feb 5 at 22:52
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    $\begingroup$ Hair is not alive. If tattoo pigment under the skin does not come with the clone then dead material at some distance from the clone might not either. $\endgroup$ – Willk Feb 6 at 1:05
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    $\begingroup$ Ah-ha! so that is why wizards have those long beards, it's so you can't see their junk when they clone themselves. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki - Reinstate Monica Feb 6 at 3:10
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The weight of medium or heavy armor is not much of an option. A basic suit of chainmail would be the fastest to put on, but it weighs ~35-45lb. This is not that bad when you are wearing it because the weight distributes so well, but to carry a backup suit of armor would be REALLY encumbering. You could easily be carrying 90lb of armor before you even begin thinking about weapons or provisions; so, this is a non-starter in my opinion.

So let's look at lighter armors: Any leather armor that can reliably stop a weapon is going to be too rigid to effectively carry on your person or layer. Which basically leaves you with textile armors. Gambeson is armor made of many layers of linen cloth sewn together. While it is not as effective as mail, it could stop an amazing assortment of weapons without being either heavy or ridgid. Now interestingly enough, an arming coat (the linen armor typically worn under mail) is basically just a half thickness gambeson and was often used as improvised armor in medieval times when one did not have enough time to fully armor up or was too poor to afford a full thickness gambeson. So, one solution may be to wear 2 arming coats. It would be just as easy to get around in as a full gambeson, but it would probably take a minute to get off and onto your clone. Perhaps your system could support a rule that possessions can be split up as needed during the cloning process so that when you split, each copy can just keep one. Since you were wearing both when you started, there is no getting dressed period to consider.

Now let's say one clone can not just come out fully clothed, and you care more about getting decent in a hurry than you do about armor specifically, you may want something like a wrestling singlet. While most modern singlets are made of lycra, adequately thin and stretchy materials could be made from hand knitting using ancient or medieval techniques. They weigh next to nothing, you can fit one in your pocket, and they can be put on in about the same amount of time it takes to put on a pair of pants. Depending on how cloning works, you may also have more options to be able to cheat on the coming out nude part too. If your clone expands off of you, you may be able to hang a singlet off of yourself in such a way that the clone expands into the backup garb.

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  • $\begingroup$ Have you considered leather lamellar armor? The plates can be thick enough to stop a weapon, but it is more flexible than a solid sheet. $\endgroup$ – Patricia Shanahan Feb 6 at 3:54
  • $\begingroup$ Weapon tests I've seen with lamellar armor tend to be pretty unimpressive unless it is worn over an arming coat. While both types of armor work well to stop a slash, lamellar runs into issues against thrusts and arrows. Unless the strike hits well centered on one of the scales, when the shape of the armor yields to the pressure, it often guides the attack between the scales, making the path of least resistance straight into the defender. In contrast, as a weapon penetrates through layers of gambeson, the successive layers direct the weapon outwards as the path of least resistance is... $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki - Reinstate Monica Feb 6 at 6:02
  • $\begingroup$ between the layers so a thrust or arrow is more likely to end its path inside of but not through the armor. So, while I agree it could be used, I don't really see any advantages it may have over over a layered textile armor. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki - Reinstate Monica Feb 6 at 6:02
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Spray on clothes.

I don't know the tech level, but there are spray on rubber compounds for various fixes. A version of this could do in a pinch.

Don't have aerosols? Possibly a similar liquid rubber compound in a stopped canteen, that you can pour on.

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I think your best solution is not going to be some sort of stripper-esque clothing (easy on easy off), instead it's going to be some unique tech that fits into the rest of your fiction.

For example, maybe there is clothing made from the hair of those who can clone themselves, or maybe made from your own hair (if you can duplicate endlessly, that seems a reasonable way to get a lot of material quickly). Perhaps anything that shares this gene / power will also be duplicated as part of the ability.

Another option could be that there's some sort of magical creature in the wild that shares this ability (a doppelganger, for example), and killing and skinning this creature, then creating clothes from it, those clothes will duplicate along with you.

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I would have a different perspective on how to us this ability and not show your naked body for too long. Assuming that you somehow (magic) can direct the clone forming I would utilize the same logic listed in your prison break example with a twist: Create your clone and let it absorb the original (this should take like a blink and allows the utilization of this also as a dodge) attack your opponent (use you previously thrown weapon or whatever you find around) than create a new clone inside your empty armor (depending on what a blink represents it could be either dropping on the ground or already there).

Note: You should have unprotected finger tips in order to avoid creating the initial clone inside the armor.

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  • $\begingroup$ I thought about this but as fast as blink might be things fall very fast to the ground to. Though the part were you create the clone on the armor in the ground, that is interesting. $\endgroup$ – Mike Feb 6 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Mike Technically you are materializing your clone inside the armor being it already on the floor or falling (extra cool points for the second one however your magic user should also have inhuman reaction time) $\endgroup$ – Dantae Feb 6 at 11:44
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Why do you need all their skin to be exposed? You need some skin right? Just do hands with either fingerless gloves or have a function where you can do mits that lift from the fingers to expose the fingers all flesh on the body is the same so any available room would do.

Foot exposure can work too using sandals or footwraps but this is purely seasonal maybe they want to create their clones when they are not in battle. Battle requires all of your concentration worrying about making clones will kill you in one well placed hit or wound you and you don't need a wounded clone to aid you.

If you absolutely need hair, skin, nails, ect why not make a sack? Odd sounding but if your gifted one slices skin off of themselves do you have rules about how fresh this must be? Can't I just have sewn a pouch from my flesh tanned flesh and fill the small bag with hair pulls, nail clippings, filed teeth dust, spit and if I need blood I can add that in the day of and sew it with my hair spun thread or use my own fat rendered from my skin (if I boil it) to glue the pouch together this flesh pouch would be the summoning token of a version of me that is updated with at least new skin flakes or a small slice before battle the outer skin may be dried but it sill my skin my tanned hide.

Though honestly your hair, blood, ect is already encoded the same as your body so I think just skin only would reasonably do here. Your gifted ones must be safe they could actually be support mages behind your lines making clones to make endless reinforcements if there is no limit on them. Then if nudity is required they have all day for that with little harm so long as the front and rear guards are doing their jobs on the battlefield these people would only need to see the inside of their tents with slip on backup gear should they get word or an alarm that tells them they are physically in danger. I'd honestly say the gifters might want to commit suicide then to prevent their capture and turning at the hands of the enemy who would no doubt want such army boosters for themselves.

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  • $\begingroup$ It's not about contact with the actual skin or hair itself is about contact with the recipient of the ember-soul-source of magic. $\endgroup$ – Mike Feb 23 at 14:10
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Clothes of Hair

So, I noticed you actually answered your own question in the comments:

In fact hair and nails are considerate the same as skin contact for the purpose of creating or absorbing a clone.

So, if MC makes clothes from her own hair, they will also duplicate when she clones. Granted it may take a long time to grow enough hair for a full outfit (assuming there isn't any magical way to do it) but it's better than being naked.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry about that, I am still figueing out how this page works. 1- It wouldn't work. The way the clone proces works is; the character grows another full body using the same energy she uses to heal. After the body is complete (in a matter of miliseconds) then she inserts a splinter of her ember, the origin of the magic in this world (you may see it as part of the soul too if it helps visualize it but the idea is that it contais the memoryes and consciousness making the clone move) Even if she is wearing cloth made of her own hair she couldnt clone it. 2- Is it even possible to braid hair? $\endgroup$ – Mike Feb 23 at 14:02

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