I love BitD’s setting with its perpetual darkness, fresh take on demons (Leviathans!) and the well-communicated Victorian feel (the Bluecoat on page 249 is my favorite).
That said, I have a bit of a hard time visualizing (or accepting?) armor. Page 88 describes normal armor as “a thick leather tunic plus reinforced gloves and boots” and heavy armor as the “addition of chain mail, metal plates and a metal helmet”.
AFAIK, armor was hardly used in the Victorian age (and before and after that), except maybe for ceremonial purposes or, perhaps, cavalry.
Hence, I have difficulty visualizing security forces, regular troops, various PCs and so forth…
Is armor supposed to be useful against firearms? Or is it melee only?)
How readily available are firearms, anyway? Not in respect to the PCs, mind you, but do bluecoats routinely carry firearms?)
Can anybody help me out with evocative descriptions or, better yet, links to cool (pseudo)Victorian, gothic, steampunk etc. art (e.g. deviantart etc.)?
I’ve actually talked about this with an historically inclined artist, and I paid her to draw a Spirit Warden for me with something suitable
Here’s a collection of historical stuff she put together, with some short descriptions of what they’d probably be able to withstand: https://imgur.com/gallery/KP1ZJtG
And the drawing:
He’s wearing a cloth-covered steel breastplate, since I usually described my spirit wardens as badder-ass bluecoats. More low-key than some descriptions I’ve heard.
Blades armour is a bit fantasy though, chainmail over leather doesn’t bring down a rifle shot from “deadly” to “painful”
Love that art!
The guns in Blades are not the super-high-velocity over-penetrating things that modern people think of. Bullets in this case are slow and soft.
Trench armor from WWI is fairly close to heavy armor in Blades.
Also, conquistador-era armor is similar.
It might help to acknowledge that Doskvol is a lot more broad in historical allegory than just Victorian/19th century. The tricorn hats and single-shot pistols give a more 18th century flavour, other aspects of the setting are decidely industrial and almost early-20th century, and you can feel the influence of the Lies of Locke Lamora which has a kind of 16/17th century setting (armour and polearms). It’s a melting pot!
An advantage of this is that you can lean into whichever of these time-periods appeals to you most. If you don’t like the idea of chainmail in your vision of Doskvol, you could easily reflavour armour as thick coats, boiled leather vests, etc.
Having said that, I think the ahistorical melting-pot version is more fun. Here’s some concept art that I like for armour in Doskvol:
(Darkest Dungeon can be a pretty good reference point IMO; a mix of single-shot pistols, lots of knives, also swords and armour)
Everyone has already provided lots of really good examples, so I’ll just chime in to say that I personally agree that the Blades setting is Victorian-esque in many ways but also open to incorporating more fantasy or steampunk (electroplasmpunk…?) elements which might seem anachronistic. I really love the art linked above that incorporates armor and melee weapons which look appropriately ‘industrial’ for a setting like this.
This has been really helpful! Lots and lots of inspiration, new insights (WWI armor? I had no idea!) and especially the advice to mix and match rather than adhere to some dogmatic interpretation of what’s Victorian-esque.
Before I saw the images here I did not realize just how much pictures of clothing (and people) help.
(The rulebook’s art is so great I thought that was enough, but the richness of this short thread - which is just scratching the surface - has been eye-opening.)