Every culture has a need for warriors, and every warrior has a need for weaponry and armor. Of course, not every warrior will use the same weapon or armor. Natural and economic resources, as well as the culture in which a warrior lives, will influence what is readily available, and how things look.
At the request of High Scribe Fayruz Blue-Ink, I, Caydis of the Loamy Cliffs, have written down the most common types of armor and weapons in different parts of Amlöst, as well as the differences in appearance. As I am a master smith and have worn armor for both sexes in the appropriate bodies, I have been instructed to provide occasional insights as well.
As we Cenetlae (or elves) live near abundant sources of metal, we naturally have choice materials for making both armor and weapons.
Cenetlae favor armor based on their environment. For the most part, the Cenetlae of the mountains favor scale armor for its appearance, and the fact that it is generally lighter than other types, but still provides some degree of warmth. These hauberks are accompanied by gauntlets, greaves, and helmets. More ceremonial suits have coronet-shaped helms, and golden etching on individual scales.
On the coasts, we favor breastplates with mail skirts. As our scale hauberks, these are accompanied by gauntlets, greaves, and helmets.
The most common weapon wielded by the Cenetlae is the spear, in honor of our goddess. Metal components are decorated with gold, as are butts. Swords are the next most popular weapon, and falchions in particular are favored for their looks and function. Daggers and maces also see a fair amount of use, while axes, flails, and other weapons are relatively rare. Weapons that can be wielded in one hand alongside a shield are favored, though two-handed specimens have their uses.
Javelins and darts are our favored projectile weapons, with bows and crossbows seeing little use save by archers; of the two, bows are the most popular, and their use stems from hobby hunting.
Dwarves favor materials such as leather and wood when fashioning armor and weapons, as well as fire-hardened and alchemically treated bones and some types of stone. Metal is rare in most dwarven settlements, and those that are able to shape it are hard to come by.
Dwarves prefer armors made out of animal hides. In settlements with individuals able to cure leather, leather armor is a popular choice, and fire-hardened bones are often stitched onto these harnesses for enhanced protection. Metal armors are rare, and Druids shun the use of them among their own.
Dwarven shields are almost universally made of wood and decorated with leather, though those with metal bosses and accents surface every so often.
Of special note, are dragon-hide armors. Dwarves have been known to kill dragons at the request of other dragons, or World Spirits, for a variety of reasons. More often than not, they harvest their bodies for everything that they are worth, and make scale armor-like harnesses out of their remains. Particularly large scales become shields, and skilled craftsmen are able to make plate mail-like gear out of scales.
Dwarves favor weapons that can be made out of wood, such as clubs and staves. Metal weapons are hard to come by, but the wooded people have been known to make bone-tipped spears, and some exceptionally skilled individuals are able to craft more complex weapons such as swords and halberds out of fire-hardened bones and stones. These weapons are beautiful, but unfortunately have the same likelihood of breaking when struck. Specialzied enchantments have been devised that give them the properties of iron, and are highly sought after by human smiths.
Dragon bones and teeth are also used in weaponry.
Genies and grine favor armor and weapons made out of precious metals, with gemstone accents. The designs are highly impractical, and if it were not for the enchantments used in their creation utilizing these would be fatal or inconvenient. Still, they are considered by many to be things of great beauty.
Of note are tools made out of the metal known as abarun, a lightweight material found in mines all around the World of Air and some veins in the Material World. Items made out of it weigh half of what they would normally weigh, and adding to this it is incredibly sturdy!
Djinn favor armor made out of gold and abarun, though to the untrained eye it is seldom identifiable as such, as it covers very little of the wearer's body. To say the very least, their armor is impractical in the eyes of mortals, but speaking from personal experience it is incredibly durable, and some suits have been in use for millenia without showing a single sign of wear!
Djinn prefer to wield weapons made of their favored abarun, considering all other weapons below their notice. Beyond this, they care little as to what they wield, as long as it is made of abarun.
Humans are resourceful creatures, and can fashion arms and armor out of whatever is available to them. Lower-caste humans, called "peasants", have been known to wear layers of quilted cloth, while more capable individuals are able to fashion suits of armor out of the same materials as most other races. Plate mail seems to be very popular among those who can afford it. Precious metals are favored for enchanted weapons and armor, and gold in particular is said to hold their enchantments better than any other metal.
Asgardian humans seem to prefer armor made out of leather and animal hides, with the latter being the most common. Metal armors are scarce, and of them only chain, lamellar, and scale are common, and worn only by those in high social standing. Plate and other varieties are rare, if not non-existent in most parts.
Smiths capable of fabricating plate armors are given "much respect" in Asgardia.
All free Asgardians are required by law to carry weapons with them at all times. Most carry daggers (known as seax) or hand-axes, because it is quite impractical to carry a spear with you wherever you go... Even slaves are given daggers with which to defend themselves, but the last that I heard they are barred from carrying any weapon greater save on hunts.
In any case, spears, hammers, axes, and swords are popular, and all but the most spectacular enchanted specimens are made of iron or steel (as available). Spears and hammers seem to be the most likely to be enchanted, as they were the weapons of two early Asgardian Kings, Vodanaz (who wielded a spear called "Gungnir") and his son Vingthor (whose hammer was called "Mjolnir"). Every warrior carries at least two weapons, and some shun the use of shields in favor of wielding both of them simultaneously. Two-handed specimens are also a popular choice among the stronger warriors.
As far as projectile weapons go, small axes, spears, and daggers are popular, and some warriors carry bows to use in the early stages of a battle. Crossbows and slings see little use, but are still given some merit.
Calgaria is a very humid region, so wearing too much armor can be deadly. However, the same can be said of wearing too little armor. Accordingly, Calgarians wear armor of a design inspired by djinn, which minimizes discomfort due to heat. There are protective enchantments on all suits of Calgarian armor, ranging in scope from very faint for light infantry to very heavy for heavy infantry.
All Warmages wear enchanted armor, usually of djinn design.
Calgarians will use whatever weapons are available to them, and some elite warriors are trained in the use of two weapons at once.
The people of Eald prefer animal hides exclusively, having few other sources of armor available. Enchanted suits of other types are a common sight in burial mounds, but all are said to have belonged to heroes (or the odd heroine of that people). Many prefer to fight in their clothing, or even nude.
Two-handed weaponry and longbows are the weapons of choice, though dual wielding is popular among the younger warriors and shields see some use as well. By far, swords and axes see the most use among the people of Eald.
Ivrians favor most types of armor, with splint being especially popular among the middle classes. Plate is the most common among these people, and some wealthy individuals own more than one suit, with the more expensive one being worn during parades or decorating their homes.
As in Calgaria, Ivrians favor whatever weapons are available to them, with swords being extremely popular. Swordsmiths are valued in this country.
Long-distance combat is usually done with bows, and crossbows are frowned upon in most areas, being called "Knight-Killers". I have heard of adventurers having their crossbows confiscated until a fine is paid...until it comes time to pierce the plate armor of an enemy knight.
Padani warriors are the most likely to use heavier armors, owing to the temperate to cold conditions in which they live. Leather and ring armors are favored by town guardsmen, and all warriors wear thick cloaks for additional protection.
Padani warriors prefer swords and maces, as well as daggers.
Crossbows seem to be the preferred method of long-distance fighting in Padan, though scouts have been seen using slings for hundreds of years. Despite being favored, warriors are ill-advised to carry crossbows out in the open.
The people of Ogadi shun the use of most armors, as theirs is a hot land. Enchanted pieces are rare as well unless gifted by djinn, so most warriors protect themselves with enchanted jewelry, cloaks, and bracers.
Swords of all types are favored, as are daggers, flails, and bows. Other weapons are usually "found goods", or bought from travelling merchants, or gifts from djinn.
Thu Vara Edit
Thu Varans are not known for their love of armor, instead preferring to wear enchanted jewelry and bracers, as well as the occasional enchanted cloak. What body armor is found in Thu Vara is always - or was - enchanted, and beautifully crafted. It is almost always of djinn influence.
Thu Varans favor scimitars and falchions, with glaives seeing use in armies. Maces are also popular, and favored by warmagi for unknown reasons.
Bows and darts are popular weapons to use at a distance, as are crossbows.