Harness Overview – Nohr (Fire Emblem)
Basis for this will be armour worn by Prince Leo. This is because armour of everybody’s favourite Tomato Prince does not appear to be extensively customized (unlike other siblings), and full-body image is harder to find for a typical Nohrian knight.
Nature of combat
Combat in Fire Emblem Fates has significant close-combat as well as ranged element, with neither significantly dominating another. Because of this, armour has to provide at least some protection against:
- infantry polearms (pikes, halberds etc.)
- infantry ranged weapons (crossbows etc.)
- cavalry weapons (warhammer, lance)
- sidearms (sword, dagger)
- magic (elemental etc.)
This requires both good mobility and extensive protection, as wearer has to face massed ranged fire and still be able to fight in close quarters. Since addition of magic also increases requirments for coordination between different forces, it means that armour should provide good visibility and audibility.
When it comes to general design, this armour is much better than typical fantasy armours. It is a reasonably tight fit to body, and provides good coverage. One issue with design is that it does not have any mail voiders, which in historical design would have protected areas which could not be protected by solid plate protection. Plates have designs on them which may also act as reinforcements, though whether they do act that way is unclear.
Head is protected by a helmet. This appears to be most similar to “siege burgonet” or “Savoyard” helmet. Savoyard helmets were called “siege burgonets” because they were designed for use in sieges in order to protect the wearer from projectiles. For this reason such helmet makes sense. Fire Emblem is a setting with many ranged attacks, both physical and magical. Further, enemies that Nohrians are facing – Hoshidan forces – are modelled on Japanese samurai, who heavily utilized bows and other missile weapons in warfare. As such, Nohrian armour would have logically developed to provide good protection against ranged attacks.
Helmet does have significant differences from Savoyard type. Namely, it has more openings – ear holes, what appear to be breath holes at ends of the mouth, and the first illogicality to be noted: structurally superfluous holes between eye and ear holes. These holes compromise protection, but also indicate that Nohrian military is (supposed to be) highly disciplined and organized force, as helmet design obviously points to a tightly controlled force.
Torso armour is segmented, providing mobility despite the fact that it extends much lower on torso than historical breastplates did. Plates on torso overlap downwards (top plate overlaps lower one). This is a logical choice if facing other infantry or missile fire, as it means that gaps are covered. It is less logical for an obviously cavalry armour. In historical Gothic armour, shoulder plates overlapped downwards while tassets and plates of cuirass overlapped upwards. However, there are examples of armours with different setups – such as Japanese armours – so this is not much of an issue. One issue with torso armour are spiky bits visible at bottom of lowest plate, which might cause to self-harm problems if certain movements were made, thus limiting mobility. Second issue is lack of fauld, which means that torso – or, rather, groin area and upper legs – are not as well protected as they could be.
Neck is protected by a collar plate which is significantly ahead of the head – it does not follow neck and chin. This allows for potentially better head mobility with an enclosed helmet, but is a questionable choice due to threat of missile weapons. This is especially true because armoured collar only covers front, but not sides or rear of neck.
Arms and shoulders
Limb protection is also fairly historical. Both shoulder and elbow cops are more-or-less appropriately sized. Both are constructed of one piece, whereas in historical armour shoulder cops were constructed of multiple lames, but this is not a major issue. Shoulder cops also appear to partly cover armpits, thus explaining why besagews are not present.
Rest of the arm protection is also very historical and functional, and thus not much needs to be said.
Feet are protected by laminated solerets or sabatons, which are a historical design allowing good mobility. Shins are protected with greaves, which appear to encase the entirety of the shin, likely being of a hinged design. Greaves do appear to come low on leg, thus potentially limiting mobility somewhat despite flaring out.just above the sabaton.
Knee cops are of a historical design, and not much needs to be said. The only major issue are cuisses (thigh armour), which leave the inside of thigh completely unprotected to a much greater degree than strictly necessary, despite tassets themselves leaving inner thighs completely exposed.
Weapons and armour interaction
Due to presence of magical weapons, one can expect much greater diversity of designs to remain in use despite advances of armour. And this in fact is what can be seen. On the side of armour, it does appear to have somewhat more extensive adaptation to missile fire than historical armours in terms of overall design. It is however let down in some specifics, such as too-holey helmet and lack of protection for upper thighs and groin area.
Standard infantry armour
While armour described above is used by lords and knights, infantry utilizes different style of armour, of essentially Conquistador style. This armour consists of a morion helmet, a breastplate with a fauld, and a shield. It is notable that breastplate in this design clearly comes down to (transitions into fauld at) the natural waist, thus allowing adequate mobility – something which is usually a problem with many fantasy armour designs.
Overall, Nohrian armour designs are – despite some flaws – probably among better in fantasy. It has more-or-less correct order of priorities, and little to no unnecessary elements. The only major flaw is lack of mail protection for bits not covered by plate, which is far cry from typical fantasy armours.
At least for male armours. When it comes to female armour, it follows similar design lines as male armour, and would thus be very good armour if it weren’t for one flaw – it leaves breasts (and thus chest, and thus heart) without any protection at all. It also leaves thighs completely bare. While lack of protection for thighs is a flaw shared by male armour as well, female armour is worse in that it exposes naked skin – there is no clothing, let alone padding, present – which would lead to chafing.