Studded leather armor

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[   studded leather armor   Studded leather armor.png
Appearance studded leather armor
Slot body armor
AC 3
Base price 15 zm
Weight 200
Material leather

Studded leather armor is like leather armor, but one AC point better, providing three instead of two. It also provides MC1. Despite the studs, studded leather armor does not rust, but it does, however, rot. Studded leather does not inhibit spellcasting, so it's a common body armor choice for early wizards.


Studded leather appeared in the first edition of AD&D, where it was described as "... leather armor to which have been fastened metal studding as additional protection, usually including an outer coat of fairly close-set studs [...]"[1]

Studded leather was one of the stock armor types in the original Rogue, where it provided two points of AC reduction[2], rather than three, as in NetHack; this was the same as in D&D.[3]

Studded leather did not exist in Hack121, but has existed as far back PDP-11 Hack, and was included in the Hack 1.0 release.


Armor comprises 10% of all randomly-generated items in the main dungeon, 0% in containers, 12% on the Rogue level, and 20% in Gehennom. There is a 72/1000 chance that a randomly spawned armor object will be studded leather armor.[4]

Studded leather armor is one of the protective starting inventory items that can be spawned on certain eligible monsters—including all of the Yendorian army, as well as watchmen and watch captains.[5]


Reconstruction of 15th century brigandine armor

Studded leather armor does exist in the real world, but not as it's generally thought of from video games such as NetHack. In real life, the studs on leather armor were not meant to stop blows, but instead were structural, fastening small metal plates beneath the leather exterior or merely holding the layers of leather together. They may have occasionally been included decoratively, though this would have hampered the armor's functionality.

This is a carry-over from D&D, the inspiration behind many fantasy games, as NetHack, and is seen in many, many games. This misinterpretation is most likely based on seeing medieval artworks of brigandine armor[6]—which has highly visible rivets on the outside layer of leather—but is another type of armor entirely. In brigandine armor, rivets held many small metal plates beneath the leather exterior to allow greater maneuverability than full plate armor and greater protection than armor made entirely of leather.

Studs, as often seen on fantasy leather armor, would add weight without adding protection, and weight was an omnipresent enemy in medieval warfare, even more-so than in NetHack. Worse, the studs could drive into the wearer of the armor, actually limiting the protection it provides.[7]

See also

  • Leather armor, a body armor which is slightly lighter and less protective than studded leather armor.


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