Dwarven Plate Armour Technology / Science in The True Dark Ages | World Anvil

Dwarven Plate Armour

If it's one thing besides stone work the Dwarvbes are known for, it's metal work. One of the advances they have made as a species above all is in the advances of heavy armour. Plate armour was invented a number of centuries ago by them before any other species. It's only in the past few years that they have had to adapt many of their technologies including their Plate armour, to help in their species survival.


Originally built & maintained to be used in dangerous situations such as mining, stonework and forging, the Dwarves quickly adapted it to be used by specially trained military personnel. Adding a layer of strong metal plates over the already tough body of a Dwarf led to greater survivability for those that wore these. Originally built out of lesser metals, it's only recently in the past few years to decades that many Dwarf clans discovered the means to built whole suits out of hyperstrong steel and/or adamantium while reducing some of the overall weight of the separate pieces. Sadly this has also led to knockoffs (especially by less scrupulous individuals & species) being made. These inferior pieces aren't as strong, heavier or offer the full protection that they should.


A anourer / smith and a forge master will select the best metal ore (usually iron or adamantium) for the base construction. In the case of iron, hig hquality iron is always used preferrably from sources where the iron has less than perfect mix of other compounds. They mix it with an amount of carbon drawn from sources that make the carbon as pure & as uniform as possible. This creates a strong working base that can be slightly lighter than the majority of other suits & pieces. Taking measurements of the individual that the pieces are for they work out the general shape of the armour along with a cotton suit, toughened leather pieces and high quality chainmail elements to go underneath. From there they quickly & expertly hammer out the relevant shape of each piece while marking out what goes where and where the parts are to be mounted together on the body. These are attached together to spread the load around the wearer's body evenly along with checking the undergarment pieces so there is good movement and even protection. The undergarments also help to avoid any unnecessary chaiffing though the worse of this is also avoided as best as possible during the making of the armour.   Only a master leather smith is used for the leather too, and specialist metalsmiths are used for other specific tasks. The latter is normallly used to adorn the armour with the likes of personal scenes of the individuals prowess in battle and the like. A few can use strong acids & oils to scorch out elements to create lighter & darker parts of the armour, and sometimes trims are applied in priecious metals along with parts to mount creasts & plumes of feathers or hair from animals. In rare cases, specific holders are added to attach animal skins & cloaks, especially in those who have a certain level of presige or experts at taking down large dangerous beasts & monstrosities.

Social Impact

The use of plate armour has had a major impact on Dwarven society with at least one Dwarf metalsmith in a sufficiently large Dwearve enclave, clan or stronghold knowing at least the basics of plate production. The larger communities will have a good handful and sufficient means, resources, attendants & apprentices to create partial if not full plate armour to the necessary standards & individuals. Many of the larger strongholds have a number of full suits as well as a number of partial suits to fulfil the equipping of many of their military personnel & nobles.   The protection it gives, especially in the ultra-rare adamantine and magical versions are highly prized & sought after. Indeed, many raids & battles have been fought against Dwarven settlements just to secure elements of plate armour, or to get the smiths that produce it. Because of this the founderies, smithies & forges of these specialists are often amongst the most heavily guarded parts of a Dwarven settlement.   It is also considred one of the most highly offensive aspects of Dwarven society to try to pressure a Dwarf of any kind to say he or she is not worthy of full plate. At the same time, it's a grave offence to say that the plate armour is of inferior quality, or turn down a fully functional piece of plate armour. It is because it is saying that the smith's work is subpar and not up to standard. Many a time this has led to generations long grudges between Dwarven households & whole communities.
"Some of the best armour you'll ever wear, laddie. Don't turn your nose up at it. If we offer you even one pice of it you're gonna be far better protected than wrapping your chest up with a foot of steel from anywhere else. And we could have a problem, if we make you a chest plate, it is custom to accept it even if you never wear it."   Childrec Ludger, weaponsmith and member of the Ludger Clan talking to a young Elvish adventurer in Wien.
Access & Availability
Most Dwarven clans & groups have access to a number of plate armour pieces, and the largest clans etc, have full plate suits. Usually elite guards & warriors of high enough status will have access to partial or full plate, and the higher the status the more personalised the armour is. A rare few times the Dwarf smiths who make such suits (and maintain them of course), will build & maintain suits for outsiders, usually close allies.
Plate armour manufacture is in itself can be quite basic, it's the ability of the smiths & armourers to know where to make it thicker, thinner, more or less flexible, and where the parts are to be linked together. Sometimes designs need to be carved or burned in with acids to add personalised details can add another level of complexity without damaging the effectiveness or durability of the pieces.
Dwarves in the world of Svartalfheimr had oreiginally developed a form of plate armour centuries ago to protect their miners, smiths, forge workers, stone workers and the like. Eventually they settled on a larger plate of metal with smaller parts to aid movement. It was soon noticed that the plate could be used for military use as well, allowing the Dwarves to better defend themselves. They found their movement speed really didn't matter as the plate allowed them greater protection augmenting their already considerabe & inbuilt resilience.

Cover image: by Colonel 101


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Jan 4, 2024 19:53 by Scarlet Spitfire

I love how it originated from humble origins before turning to military armor! It would be interesting to see more on its use in the military, such as the amount of plates being used to signify certain ranks or potential controversies with some high status military leader being discovered to have gotten knock off armor just to make himself look good. This concept is incredibly cool, you could do anything with it! Well done!

Jan 4, 2024 20:30 by Darren McHaffie

That's the fun of it being "still in development" so to speak. left open for possible adventure hooks later.

Jan 8, 2024 20:07 by Absinthe

An interesting dilemma; a human king has to choose which gift to accept: the dwarven plate or the elven chain mail?

Jan 8, 2024 21:42 by Darren McHaffie

It is indeed. Do they want form over function? Which would suit better, literally.