A chitin helmet! It’s tougher than hardened leather, but not as dense as metallic armors. Chitin is a tough, often rigid material that makes up the exoskeletons of large arthropods, such as spiders and lobsters. In this case, armor-grade chitin is usually harvested from ankhegs, monstrous spiders/scorpions/centipedes, monstrous crabs, chuuls, and so on. It has performance greater than that of leather, but is not quite as tough as metallic armors such as iron.
Unlike leather–its lesser and more common cousin–chitin armor is universally rigid. It has a slight flexibility to it, but not nearly enough to count it as flexible armor. This means it has the same advantages, such as having less issues with blunt-force trauma, and disadvantages, such as inability to cover inner joints, as other rigid armors.
Chitin tends to be an appropriate armor-thickness for a creature of similar size, down to about half the chitinous creature’s size. A pony-sized ankheg may have plating from 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch (6.35-12.7mm), but an elephantine ankheg may have plates above 1/2-inch, making much of it unusuably thick unless used for torsos (typically for the front of the chest), helmets, shields, and siege weapons.
Some chitin-craftspersons (coloquially called “crabsmiths” or “scorpsmiths”) have developed methods of delaminating chitin–allowing them to separate it into thinner, more usable pieces–with the main challenge being the retaining of the armor’s original shape and resiliency. Simply sanding or chopping chitin pieces was a messy and labor-intensive process, often producing unreliable and rough-edged results.
Hope was not lost for long in the chitin industry, as a few bright stars in the Armorer’s Guild, Hormun and Gladstoke, had developed a method of acid-bathing, pressing, and resin-bonding that could delaminate chitin armor and relaminate it into any thickness. This became known as the Hormoke method.
This would effectively produce the world’s first “fine chitin”, a material used by adventurers and soldiers alike.
- Scorpionnoisseur, Skibli “Tough as (Finger)Nails: A Thesis on the Material Properties of Monstrous Scorpions”. Scribe-copied.
- Scorgard, Dain “Chitin Too Thick’n to Fit In?“, Arms and Armor Magazine vol 53. Golem-scribed.
- Decree #387 from Baron Leemark: “Acquire a name for craftspersons who use chitin as a primary medium”. Shouted from atop a box (wooden).
- Scorgard, Dain “Chitin Thinning“, Arms and Armor Magazine vol 55. Golem-scribed.
- Scorgard, Dain “Dissolution Revolution“, Arms and Armor Magazine vol 67. Golem-scribed.
- Decree #401 from Baron Leemark, ordering a total of over 1,000 sets of chitin armor suits to be brought to the Grand Armoury for the re-equipment of standing forces.
- Adventurer’s Census #14XX, Question 31; “Have you utilized chitin armor in your profession?”