The use of protective armour is a source of debate amongst Hunters, as some believe that a minimal or even no armour at all is the best option as armour can impede on a Hunter’s flexibility and mobility – two of the most important attributes as not getting hit by a Beast is better than being hit less hard. Others believe that armour should be worn even if it does impede movement because armour provides padding and protection for moments where mistakes are made. And mistakes are always made. Hunters will don different amount of armour to their taste, some wearing bulky suits that enclose the wearer like a fortress, others wearing minimal protection that could be mistaken for simple clothing.
Armour itself, is like weaponry in some ways, but different in other ways. Like weaponry, armour can be improved upon through better materials and craftsmanship. Each piece of armour is uniquely tailored to a Hunter, ill-fitting on any other person. The unique flairs, customisations and aspects of armour that a Hunter wears gives an impression to others as to who they are. Unlike weapons though, Armour is frequently changed throughout a Hunter’s life. A set of armour can last a very long time, but Hunters will change armours as they become more experienced and desire different things.
Needle and Thread – The Ritual of Armour
Armour is much unlike clothing. It cannot be bought through a store front then worn comfortably while providing its defensive capabilities. Hunter’s Armour is crafted through a ritualistic process that is defined by and follows Hunter traditions that have dated back to the Old World. A Hunter’s first set of armour is an interim set, usually made entirely out of farmable materials like metal, wood, cotton cloth, wool, etc. This set of armour is the stepping stone for a Hunter to start the ritual towards making their first set of Hunter’s armour.
The first step to creating armour is finding the materials. A wide variety of materials are used in creating armour; from farmed materials like cloth and cotton to hides and bones harvested from Beasts. However, a Hunter’s armour must always incorporate some element
Hunter’s armour is defined by its incorporation of parts that are harvested from a Beast. However, a wide variety of other materials are also used to reinforce and combine to create composite sets of armour. While these steps are followed by a Hunter making their set of armour for the first time, the ritual is universally followed by all Hunters as they change armours.
The first step in making a set of armour is locating and obtaining the materials necessary. A suitable species of Beast in an appropriate size is found. A Beast too difficult to tackle will ultimately bring harm to a Hunter, while a Beast that is not a challenge will often provide materials that do not further enhance a Hunter’s capabilities. The Hunter then locates, tracks, and hunts the Beast, careful not to damage any parts that they wish to use. Other materials that the Hunter wishes to incorporate are also gathered in this step.
The second step is recruiting an artisan. Artisans, like sets of armour, come in many different shapes and sizes. Some Artisans are only willing to work with specific types with materials, while others are happy to work with anything they have. Some are much more experienced, carrying generations of knowledge and cost a hefty sum, while others are more inexperienced and will charge less for clientele to practise on. Like locating a Beast, a suitable Artisan should be found. Money should not be spent for an Artisan to craft armour using materials of little resilience, and powerful exotic materials should not be handed to an unsuitably inexperienced Artisan.
The third step is where the crafting happens. The Hunter communicates their wishes to the Artisan, and the Artisan will try their best to achieve what the Hunter wishes. This step is completely out of the Hunter’s hands. An observant and excited eye may be kept on the Artisan.
The last step is where the old armour is retired, and the new armour is worn. The Hunter is free to do what they wish with their old armour. Many keep it for memory, while others may burn it for good luck (although this occasionally does not work as well as they’d like). The Hunter is now ready to face more tough and powerful challenges in the world.
The design of armour is entirely up to the materials available to the Hunter, the Artisan’s skills and the Hunter’s personal choice. Some tailor their armour to fit a particular aesthetic that they have in mind, while others choose to model their armour based on the Beast that they had slain. Regardless of the choice in design, armour will reflect a particular Hunter’s choices and tastes.
Armour is worn at almost all time by Hunters. Contrary to popular belief, Hunter Armour provides a great level of comfort, and usually act as clothing for Hunters. They also must wear it constantly since Hunters are in constant vigilance, aware of Beast attacks at any time and any place.
Over time, armour can develop a character of its own, similar to old weapons. Through damage and repair, armour can reveal more about the Hunter than they themselves realise. Hunters who retained the same set of armour for many years will often modify it in aesthetic ways, removing or attaching parts as they wish.
The experience of a Hunter can oft be seen in the armour that Hunters wear. More experienced Hunters would have changed elements in their armour many times over through the course of years. Many Hunters will paint their armour as they see fit, and often add trinkets that show where they have been. Hunters occasionally trade and collect trinkets as a hobby, identifying other Hunters if they have particular trinkets.