Bracers as Shields?

Player wants his character to purchase superior gambeson (12 points), Finery (5 points), and shoes (1 point) and treat it as if he has really nice looking gambeson that passes as finery (quilted tunic & breaches, leather vest, high boots, & arm bracers, leather hat). He wants the bracers to count as a shield and the hat to be head armor.

I could maybe see the bracers working out like a parrying blade, but I prefer that they just add a level of protection (perhaps they account for the superior part of his arm gambeson) not a 1 die shield.

What do you think?

I think I’d like platemail that looks like it’s invisible and a sword that doesn’t require hands to use. :slight_smile:

Buying finery and a superior gambeson doesn’t give you a superior gambeson that looks like finery, it gives you a gambeson and superior finery. Others could answer better than I whether it’s possible to disguise a superior gambeson as finery, but either way it’s not available at character generation. If you decide it’s possible, I’d suggest he make it his goal to craft it or find someone who can, maybe write a belief about it. Likewise bracers are not shields and a hat is not a helmet.

But, if what he wants is to parry blows by blocking them with his bracers, that could be represented by buying heavier or better quality armor on his arms, and choosing his arms as the location he offers to the attacker.

I’m not so terribly opposed. A superior quality gambeson is actually completely indistinguishable from a run of the mill or even low quality version. It seems reasonable to me that he could basically have some lousy armor that can be hidden under a nice set of clothes. A stiff leather cap could be concealed with felt and feathers over it. If it’s okay with the rest of the table, there’s no harm.

Bracers aren’t a shield, though. And they’re not even really armor. They’re arm protection for archers and/or decorative. On the other hand I could see some light armor being hidden under a sleeve, especially a puffy sleeve. But again, it’s not a shield, it’s armor dice. If you want a shield, find somewhere to hide a buckler.

Sure, you could hide armor under your finery. That seems like a good compromise to propose to the player, if it’s plausible (which again, I don’t know enough about medieval armor to really say one way or the other.) But hiding a helmet under a hat is a very different thing from treating a hat mechanically like it’s a helmet, which is what I believe was being asked.

When I described quilted armor to my medival-fashion-junkie wife, she said late-medieval stays (corsetry) should definitely count as that for torso protection. Not sure if we ended up with the full 2D or just 1D, though.

Finery is to represent the fashion at court. Fashion at court never involves armor (that I can recall). Courtliness is about refinement and delicacy. Very different from the warrior’s craft. A warrior can wear that gambeson or buff coat to court, but it’s not finery and it appears awkwardly rustic at best to the courtiers.

Maybe if he took a special trait bracers could be used as a defensive weapon like a shield, but I think that sort of superheroic play is slightly outside of BW’s remit. Because historically, if you raise your forearm to me to ward a blow, I’m going to cut off your hand.

If you raise your forearm to ward off a blow you really want to do it with something protective strapped to your arm. And your hand.

Fashion at court probably doesn’t involve armor, although you can decide it does in your game, but again, I think with puffy-enough ridiculous finery you could hide some armor underneath it. You’d get snickering and odd looks if someone noticed, but it might mean a knife not going between your ribs. And if the mood at the table says armored finery is okay, why not? Make a military court where everyone’s expected to wear fancy armor! The hardcore conservative faction that everyone looks at a bit warily wears real, heavy stuff. Fops wear “armor” of brightly-colored stiff cloth with ridiculous embellishments that couldn’t stop a toothpick. Poor nobles just wear plain pieces. Jumped-up hedge lords wear mismatched, gaudy, and rusty messes and everyone pities them.

Okay, I’ll give a dissenting opinion here.

I agree with your instinct - I’d be inclined to use the Blossoms are Falling rules for Kote armor which is worth 1D of arm protection. I’d let a player wear that under a long sleeved shirt.

I’d also consider allowing a player to use it to Parry, but without any shield dice most likely, using Brawling/Boxing skill. But then I’d also allow the player to use a cloak to Parry as well, if it was that type of rapiers and bucklers style game, so that’s me.

In regard to finery being fancy court garb. It is very difficult to wear body armor underneath an off the rack tuxedo, let alone the rest of your gear. And that’s with modern day technology and fabrics.
So he can have a nice looking superior gambeson armor but it would not due to wear it to court.

The Eldritch Channeler (MA BU pg 201) is the closest thing in burning wheel that I’ve found to an arm bracer, and it acts as armor for the arm that wears it (left arm in this case). Even though it is a magic item the principle remains the same.

If you want to go a little magicky, I’ve got the perfect item for you - The Bracers of Defense!

No magic items for this one (though yours look great), I only meant for the Eldrich Channeler to be an example of how a bracer (or bracelet) protects like armor for the arm it is on (and not like a shield at all).

Linked Court Fashion-wise test to Disguise to hide that gambeson under goofy loose clothing.