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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Unlike what I would usually write to describe equipment, this armor is NOT anything magical. Yes, it does appear in the story, and yes, it's owner is very conspicuous. But no, this armor did not save its owner. In fact it did not do anything except look good.

Which of the characters in the ROTK story is the ill-fated owner of this Berserker Mail? The answer is revealed in the "Historical Basis" section below.

Equipment Ability:
[Enforced ability] Any player within their respective action phase is only allowed to use one ATTACK 杀 card against you. (This does not include ATTACK cards used within a DUEL)

The direct translation of the name 连环铠 is "Linked-Chain Mail". That does not sound sexy enough for this blog, does it? Since "Chain Mail" is such a common term in RPGs, I decided to give the name a little spin based on its owner's fighting ability. Thus, Berserker Mail sounds cooler. You can disagree, but you are wrong.

Historical Basis:
Though Chain-Mails are a common class of armor in that era, one particular Chain-Mail stood out in the ROTK story. That chain mail belongs to none other than the infamous Lu Bu 吕布. His regalia was described as translated below (actual passage quoted from English version of ROTK)

"Lu Bu was a conspicuous figure in front of the line. On his head was a triple curved headdress of ruddy gold with pheasant tails. He wore a warring velvet-red robe of Xichuan silk embroidered with thousand flowers, which was overlapped by golden mail adorned with a gaping animal's head, joined by rings at the sides and girt to his waist with a belt fastened by a beautiful lion-head clasp. His bow and arrows were slung on his shoulders, and he carried a long heavy trident halberd. He was seated on his snorting steed Red Hare. Indeed Lu Bu was the man among humans, as Red Hare was the horse among horses."

- Romance of Three Kingdoms (Chapter 5 - para 123)

Here's the strange bit that was never described in the English translation. The words "golden mail adorned with a gaping animal's head” is not completely specific. The actual Chinese words are 兽面吞头连环铠, which on the surface appear to make reference to a beast's face (兽面) and some kind of head (吞头). I did some digging of my own and found that 吞头 refers to the armament that adorns two specific places on the body:

- 吞肩兽 = A beast adornment for the shoulders
- 吞海兽 = A beast adornment for the knees

Anyways, that is as far as I would go before I begin to step on the toes of Chinese historians and academics. In summary, the Berserker's Mail is based off Lu Bu's armor, which is a beautiful and awesome chain mail for its time.


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