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The world is suffering from the creatures of fantasy and nightmares which can appear with just a few minutes of warning anywhere, regardless of it being the middle of the street or on top of your bed while you are asleep. It can be a single one, or millions that swarm the area. The world's infrastructure has been degrading, food and supplies are harder and harder to come by. While firearms work well against these creatures the bodies left behind attract and breed both insects and disease. It is not feasible to hold on to area's with low populations as a sudden appearance of many nightmares can wipe them out.

As resources to make armor become harder to come by civilians turn to the only resource they have in abundance: dead nightmarish bodies. They have slowly but surely started an entire industry around the collection, transport and processing of all the bodies into as many useful things as they can.

Civilians will be making armor for themselves to wear. However armor is usually restrictive and will not be worn all day to ensure the civilians can keep working to survive. This poses a problem: when do you put on the armor? If a few creatures appear it is not efficient to shut down half a cityblock and have everyone scramble for armor and pre-prepared hiding places. Instead people nearby react immediately while those far off will react once an alert is given for them to do so. That means armor needs to be quick to put on and not very cumbersome, but still increase the chance of survival.

The question: How can an abundance of dead bodies be used to create a useful armor?

Conditions that apply:

  • use of alternative materials is allowed, as long as 75% or more of the armor is gained from the dead bodies.
  • anything of the creatures can be used, including in processed forms that do not require vast industrial facilities to create. Their skin, bones, remaining fecal matter or small quantities of specialist materials if you see a use.
  • the size of the creatures goes from dog-sized to paraceratherium-sized (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraceratherium).
  • while Cthulian sushi-monsters, giant spiders and more are part of the nightmare force, for ease of answering the important bulk of the bodies are of similar in consistency as pigs, bears and cows and any other bodies are discounted (unless only tiny amounts of material needs to be gained from this group of bodies). any magical properties, like the giant spiders not collapsing under their own weight, are instantly gone upon death of the creature. the refinement process can take a maximum of 5 years.

The best answer will be chosen based on the following criteria, in order of importance:

  • easy to put on
  • one-size-fits-all (where possible)
  • if the above criteria can't be met, easy to carry with you.
  • blunt protection (club-like appandages, being rammed by a big body)
  • stabbing protection (pointy legs and appandages)
  • cutting appandages (long sharp nails, sword-like cutting appandages)
  • crushing (pincers, constrictor attacks)
  • friendly fire (low-grade bullets, low velocity shrapnel)

Ps: I suspect that the first answers will be on the line of "some type of Gambeson or hard boiled leather armor". That is fine, but I would like to see imagination in how it can be constructed and what its made off. An imaginative example might be a modular armor which at its core can be used for everyday wear and have pieces added on quickly to improve its protective properties.

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    $\begingroup$ @SteroidSandwich bone armor is pretty heavy as far as I'm aware and would be tough to put on in a pinch. And leather armors were made more like the skin of badgers and bears: much thicker and treated to make it tougher. Try and chew through a bear's leather, even bears themselves can have trouble with it unless they get the time to chew. Shields are a great idea. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 6 '21 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ I actually challenge this statement. "If a few creatures appear it is not efficient to shut down half a cityblock and have everyone scramble for armor and pre-prepared hiding places" Depending on how dangerous the monsters are and how much you value human lives, scrambling for safe spots is totally a valid option. Additionally, no matter how tough your armor is, your insides are still squishy. $\endgroup$
    – Henry Shao
    Sep 6 '21 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ Even if you have an armor that nothing can pierce, the giant crab whose cousin you made your armor from just has to swing their claw and you've been hit by the equivalent of a truck being wielded as a mace, and as people know well, body armor doesn't do very well against blunt force. By contrast, a nice shelter made of thick walls is far more effective and safe, as well as generally reusable once installed. It will also last longer against attack than (pfft) body armor. $\endgroup$
    – Henry Shao
    Sep 6 '21 at 22:02
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    $\begingroup$ "Studded leather armour" never existed outside of role-playing games, but it's been so prevalent in them that it's now assumed to have been an actual thing. $\endgroup$ Sep 7 '21 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ ah.... being rammed by big body.... thats mean you need something like airbag, so quite a puffy armor, otherwise your internal organs will still gonna rupture by the force anyway even if your armor is tough and fine. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 7 '21 at 3:52
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A few points on armour

  1. Armour is potentially of very limited use against many of the monsters described. Given a couple of minutes' warning when potentially facing a rhinoceros-like monster, a much better way to spend the time is running away from the danger zone or positioning and working out tactics with the people who are around you. However, if putting on armour is a priority then...

  2. The most straightforward way to utilise the available materials is to make armour from boiled leather. Various recipes exist for various applications. The glue required for boiled leather should be able to be made from parts of the bodies.

  3. If there are monster bodies that have hair/wool, then gambesons and padding for helmets can be made from that material. If not then use non-monster material.

  4. Donning modern armour / helmets is pretty quick due to clips and velcro. Donning armour / helmets from 30+ years ago is slow because of buckles and laces. With time of the essence, always use velcro - it may be damaged and need replacement more often and it presumably can't be made from monster bodies, but buckles and laces are far too slow.

  5. A helmet is the most valuable and highest priority piece of armour to don, as without your brain the rest of you is not very useful. Not necessarily to protect from the monsters, but to protect from low ceilings, protrusions, wild swings from allies and so on. As per above, make it from boiled leather, possibly with some reinforcing metal bands. Padding needs to be built into the helmet for speed and ease of carriage rather than as a separate piece of headgear. Helmets can be donned very quickly provided the chinstrap is well designed (unfortunately, not all of them are). However, they are uncomfortable to wear for prolonged periods and a pain to carry around routinely.

  6. Torso armour is second priority. The simplest option to manufacture would be a boiled leather breastplate, preferably with a gambeson underneath it. However, individuals will need to decide at the moment of warning whether they have time to don a gambeson plus breastplate before they start putting on their helmet. An alternative to the breastplate would be a variant of the coat of plates, with the plates being individual segments of hardened boiled leather or bone rather than metal, attached to a monster-leather jacket which could possibly also include built-in padding. This would be slightly more complicated to manufacture and provide less protection than a breastplate + gambeson, but it would be much faster to put on and could be donned after a helmet. It could also be worn as a jacket in colder climates, making it more convenient to carry around. Another trade off is that a rigid breastplate provides some "constrictor" protection where the coat of plates does not.

  7. Shields are iffy - they can definitely be made from boiled leather and/or bone and they can be readied very quickly, but they have massive disadvantages: they prevent use of two-handed weapons (or reloading of one-handed weapons); they are a heavy nuisance to carry around; and if someone needs to open a door in a hurry then either their shield or their weapon needs to be dropped. The main advantage of shields is against primitive missile weapons (sling bullets, arrows, crossbow bolts) which the monsters apparently don't use, restricting the benefit to protecting against friendly fire and point 9 below.

  8. Other armour - no. Carrying around your own helmet and torso armour all the time (see below) is arduous enough without trying to add greaves, armguards and so forth, quite apart from the amount of time required to put them on. As a drill to be undertaken in an emergency, putting on a helmet, donning a breastplate and readying a weapon is more than enough for a person in a really stressful situation to be doing.

  9. One-size-fits-all requirement - simply put, no. A relatively limited range of sizes should accommodate the majority of people, but incorrectly sized helmets or armour are such a disadvantage to the wearer that they are better off with no armour and better mobility. Even if helmets are made in one primary size with adjustable interior straps (greatly complicating their manufacture), there would be no time to make the necessary adjustments in an emergency. Military forces can get away with a relatively limited number of different sizes given the entry requirements for the relevant service, but the variation in the civilian population is too great. In short, people need to carry around the armour that fits them. The only exceptions are shields - these could be stored in various locations and anyone who chooses to use one could grab the nearest in an emergency.

If I had the misfortune to be in this world I would opt for a helmet and coat of plates - easier to carry around than a breastplate and the coat can keep me warm. Ballistic protection is negligible, but that's true of pretty much all wearable armour except relatively thick metal plates and kevlar.

One final note - there is no such thing as studded leather armour in real life. There are leather garments with studs, but the studs do not provide any significant protection. The myth of studded leather perpetuated through many editions of a certain fantasy role playing game came from the appearance of a coat of plates and equivalent armour, because they look like a leather garment and the plates are on the inside, all that is visible on the outside are the rivets or studs securing the plates.

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  • $\begingroup$ About 1: having all the civilians take to the streets is a recipy for disaster, especially since it assumes people know exactly where the danger is. It limits mobility for the militias and attracts monsters more easily. "Hide and stay put/use a shelter in the building" is a more logical solution. As mentioned the armor needs to increase survival, not provide immunity. About 7, isn't a shield basically spaced body-armor on your arm? And can't you redesign it to attach to the fore-arm while leaving a sizeable gap at the wrist for movement? It doesn't have to be a massive shield right? $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 7 '21 at 7:10
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here bone lammellar, as far as i know its not heavy, at least compare to their metal counterpart.

enter image description here

enter image description here

from: pinterest

enter image description here

from:https://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/features/warriors-3900-year-old-suit-of-bone-armour-unearthed-in-omsk/

and technically i think it can reach high enough to cover the neck to form like a collar or to form as gorget just like this chinese han and jin lamellar armor, since wild predator usually aim that part.

enter image description here

from:https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2020/06/11/han-dynasty-frontier-armies/

enter image description here

from: https://www.artstation.com/ginkgostory

enter image description here

from:https://dragonsarmory.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-first-chinese-cataphracts-3.html

and tusk helmet

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boar%27s_tusk_helmet (cant upload the image so i just link it)

and technically its possible to cover the neck and overall face like this lammellar helmet from china too.

enter image description here

and you can cover it with boiled leather as already mention by KerrAvon2055 as a form of coat of plates or brigandine depending on how big the bone or tusk are, or a surcoat if you dont want to attached them together.

i recommend to close or fastening it from the front or side rather than in the back as shown already in the inuit armor there, so you personally can wear it without need of help.

so i personally think this can be easy to wear and can fit all.

and also ironically since we deal with non sentient monster (i assume) studded armor (as much as non-historical it is, we are dealing with fantasy monster here after all) and i mean the spiky one, think geralt spike armor (never play, watch, or read the book though), so the monster cant touch you without getting impaled by the spike, even better if you coat it with poison (just need to be careful to not get prickled yourself).

either carve the bone to become spike or use animal tusk and sharp fangs and attached it to the leather/boiled leather.

and here siberian bear hunting armor as reverence image (dont take that too literally), although tone the length a bit and not the entire body like that, though i recommend the side in the armpit or inside the limbs need to be spikeless, and maybe focus only in the frontside, and the spike is only around the chest or torso and frontside of the limbs, left the rest spikeless so at least you have place to grasp and fastening it safely, or you can keep it as is and left the back or side spikeless so you can fastening it from behind (likely need someone help) or the side.

enter image description here

and here another alternative if theres some monster with spiky skin.

enter image description here

from: pinterest

and regarding shield, since you mention they use gun, i recommend pavise type of shield, also add spike or blade to the frontside too, so the monster will have a hard time to get pass the shield preferably in bottle neck location or close tight terrain with low roof to prevent this monster from climbing the wall or jump over such as in front of the door, windows, or tunnel, otherwise try to position yourself in the high ground.

enter image description here

from:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavise

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Clint Eastwood’s character in “Gran Torino” claims to have used corpses as sandbags in the Korean War. Not wearable armor, but easy to construct (just stack corpses) and practically justifiable if needed. I think some comments have already mentioned armor made from bones, which is a decently tough material. You wouldn’t need bones for complete coverage; I think a few large rib-bones or a femur or something could make a basic structure for some solid armor, and then have leather made from the skins of the corpses bound tightly over that for full body coverage. It would be a bulky setup, but lighter than full bone armor, and if the structure is well-made it could improve crushing or impact resistance. I also think using fangs or claws of large creatures as spikes on the armor (on the back or maybe on the forearms as some kind of weapon) would look cool and maybe dissuade large predators.

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