Brigandine armor is a type of medieval armor and a common item of equipment in many Fantasy Role-Playing games.
This armor is a descendant of both scale mail and studded leather armor. A suit of brigandine armor begins with a soft leather coat, then a layer of small metal plates will be riveted to the leather. Finally an a third layer of either stiff cloth, or soft leather will cover the metal plates. This makes an armor with equal protection to scale mail, that weighs much less.
Brigandine armor is named for the brigand (a type of bandit). The armor is popular among the banditry because of its light weight, relatively quiet movement, and how it blends in. You see, brigandine armor does not look like armor from a distance, which is something that many thugs take advantage of.
This is also the best armor that many armorers can make, chain mail and more complicated armors are just beyond the skills of the average part-time armorer. It takes a skilled dedicated armorer to produce anything better than this. This may also be the best armor available in some RPG campaign worlds, particularly those that are based in the dark ages, the better armors simply may not have been invented yet.
Brigandine is sometimes called "Smuggler's Armor", because the multiple layers allow for all means of small items to be concealed. Many suits of brigandine will have several secret pockets, to even further allow for smuggling. Although the smart smuggler will hide his real stuff between the layers, while simply tossing a few copper coins in the secret pockets.