Carapace Armor is the favored protection of men-at-arms, well-to-do merchants and mercenaries or bodyguards. It's an all-around good form of shielding, covering the wearer with a protective layer of steel.
Like the warriors of the archaic ages of Old Terra, these suits lack in technology but make up for it in affordability and price-for-protection. They are almost universally comprised of several standard parts:
A breastplate/back plate and lobster-articulated pauldrons,an open faced helmet (most commonly a barbuta or celeta style with attached coif) a long chain skirt, greaves and a set of gauntlets. Depending on the region, maker or style, there may be additional components, such as a gorget to reinforce the throat area, rondels to protect the vulnerable armpit area, or reductions in armor to allow for higher maneuverability (most commonly the removal of the long, heavy chain skirt.)
The plate portions of the armor are most commonly forged from medium-high grade steel. Differences in quality are determined by smiths, or by price. High quality or ceremonial suits of carapace armor may be inscribed, runed or gilded for show, or perhaps plated with engadium to give the surface of the armor a low-friction sheen to help rebound missiles and glancing blows. Likewise, Arbiter Hunt-Kill Soldiers commonly have carapace armor crafted completely from Arcanite to protect them from overexposure to Ether.
Worn beneath the armor is first a hauberk; a loose fitting, padded garment reinforced by a thin chain mesh at points of articulation. It's primary function is to deflect the impacts of crushing weapons, such as mallets or mauls, lessening the trauma felt through the armor. It's billowing, tied by a belt at the waist and falling well past the end of the long chain skirt to cover the legs down to the ankles, concealing the greaves. It is a rough spun garment - and is particularly uncomfortable to wear just on the skin. Thus another layer is employed - the Akteon or Arming Coat. Usually made of wool. It's considerably shorter than the hauberk, ending just past the waist, meaning that an accompanied pair of trousers or leggings must be worn also.
Carapace armor offers very suitable protection, for those who cannot afford Powered Plate armor. While it lacks the technological benefits and edges that a Knight's armor might bestow upon a warrior, it does offer ample protection in brutal melee. While far from impenetrable, it offers an extra layer of protection that light armor does not offer, at a price that Powered Armor could never be sold at.
Additional Styles of Carapace Armor
Zuudi "Condottieri" Style Carapace Armor
-Known to be the lightest and most agile of all the Carapace Armor styles, the Condottieri style lacks pauldrons and a chain skirt, as well as using crested Morion style helm. The hauberk is also completely removed, in favor of a heavier puffed and slashed aketon and matching trousers. Because so much metal is removed, the Condottieri style armors are often high grade, or even mithrilized, steel to make up for the lost zones protection. However, even with the loss of protection on those areas, the high quality materials will cost extra.
Teutonian "Reichstein" Style Carapace Armor
-Easily the heaviest of all styles of Carapace Armor, no expense can be spared when it comes to the best defense. The prized Forlorn Hope Soldiers of the Emperor's Shock Brigade all sport Reichstein style armor and for good reason. The entire suit is almost always made of mithrilized steel, and the suit's coverage in terms of protection is unrivaled. Gorgets, crested Galea helms, a lobster-articulated back plate, two-piece breast plate, and thigh guards are all additions to the traditional Carapace Armor that make it heavier, more protective, but at the same time mobile and comparatively agile.
Arbiter "Hunter-Killer" Style Carapace Armor
Looking similar in most ways to normal carapace armor, Hunter-Killer armor is composed of Arcanite, a ether-resistant material. Attached to the shoulder guards are elongated, kite-shaped pieces of Arcanite. These are spell deflector-shields, used to reflect the brunt of any harmful ethereal energies cast at the wearer, who need only to turn to his side and brace him/herself for the incoming blast. The shields are wide and long enough to protect the entire upper flank, though protection on the lower body is only in the form of an arcanite-chain skirt and greaves.
Ienpokani "Hoplite" Style Carapace Armor
-Perhaps the oldest and strangest style of carapace armor is the Ienpokani Hoplite style, which is said to have influenced the old Eretanian "Legio" Style that is still seen from time to time. The left side of the body lacks gauntlets or shoulder plates, and the chain skirt is shortened to just above the kneecap on the left side. The right side is completely armored, with the right flank sporting extra plating, right armor being covered by a series of articulated plates all the way down to the gauntlet, and the right side of the chain skirt, descending down to the ground.
The Hoplite style armor, engineered to be used in a Phalanx formation, lightened the load on the shield-bearing side of the body, enabling the user hold up a heavy "Hoplon" shield, a circular steel shield that covered almost the entirety of the body, save for the right arm and flank of the wearer. The helm is largely open faced, with a horsehair crest running from front to back, covered by a veil of thin chain mesh from side to side, to shield the wearer's face. Additionally, the haubergeoun and aketon are missing from this style, replaced by a robe-like garment of thick spun Koton fiber, called a "tunica" - a tubular, sleeveless vestment, falling down to the ankles and tied by a rope or belt at the waist. Koton fiber, harvested in the warm climates of Ienpokos, Acary and across Sahar makes for a durable, almost bulletproof shielding that is both lightweight and comfortable.