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Scale mail is a form of medieval armor. It consists of a soft leather coat with hundreds of overlapping pieces of metal attached. Which looks much like scales on a fish or reptile. This armor is a common item of equipment in many Fantasy Role-Playing games.

Scale mail is an older type of armor that never became very popular in the western world. It is as heavy as chain mail armor, while being more time consuming to make. Not to mention the fact that it requires much more maintenance, and does not provide the same protection as chain mail. However, this armor is also very flexible, which has made it fairly popular among some eastern cultures.

Dirt, sweat, insects, and odor are a real problem with this armor. The leather it is based on is hard to keep clean, and the armor is just too complicated to replace on a regular basis. Scale mail also must be repaired almost constantly, because of the sheer number of the scales, some are bound to come loose or fall off every time this armor takes a hit.

In many role-playing games (Nethack, Moria, etc.), scale mail is one of the available types of armor. Many times this armor can be purchased at an armor shop or a general store; but it can also be made from 'scales'. For example (in Nethack), take black dragon scales, wear them, and read an uncursed (or blessed) scroll of enchant armor. The scales will 'harden' into scale mail. This may depend on luck, but so far it has worked for me every time. Dragon scale mail does not hinder spells, while all the metallic types of armor will hinder spellcasting (and spells attempted will have a greater chance of failure).

Armor class/weight (in Nethack):

                                AC     Weight
                               -----  --------
Scale mail:                      4      250
Dragon scales (all dragons):     3       40
Dragon scale mail (all dragons): 9       40

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