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The Armor of Commander Cullen - A Diagram by AuriV1 The Armor of Commander Cullen - A Diagram by AuriV1
I've seen some posts in various places mentioning the difficulty in understanding how on earth Commander Cullen's armor works in Inquisition. I recently posted a labeled screenshot on Tumblr to help assist with proper term usage, but then I thought it might be even more helpful to actually diagram out how I, personally, see it functioning. If you are interested in how I think about it, read on! :D

We don't get to see a whole lot of the armor itself because it's covered up with a lot of cloth, so I've done quite a bit of artistic interpretation of how things look underneath Cullen's vest and coat. This diagram is just me extending the basic armor idea we're already given and adding what bits I know about medieval armor to achieve some sort of logical conclusion. What follows is an in-depth examination of the labeled parts in the diagram, which I couldn't include on the picture itself.

Feel free to download this to use as a reference for your art or fanfics, but please do not upload it anywhere yourself or claim it as your own.

:bulletred: Red arrows indicate movement direction for articulation.
:bulletpurple: Purple lines indicate what I've interpreted artistically, either for what we don't see, how things are supposed to attach, or both.

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Vambraces and Couters
This is his forearm armor.

The couter (A) protects his elbow and, as far as I can tell, is supposed to connect with the top of the vambrace (C), because there is no other method of attachment visible. In my opinion, the couter should be hinged where it attaches so that it can move with the elbow. It could remain stationary, but it would dig into the back of his upper arm if he ever straightened his arm all the way out, which works against the concept that armor should be as mobile as possible. (B) depicts the inside of the couter as I imagine it.

At the wrist-end of the vambrace are some plates to protect the back of the hand. These, too, should be articulated to move with the hand; again, certain movements, like putting the hands flat on a desk surface as Cullen is wont to do, would cause the plates to dig into the knuckles if they weren't mobile, so articulation is the best bet. The underside of the vambrace is shown in (D). That's pretty much how it looks in-game, but that leaves no method of actually putting it on. Thus, I added outer hinges to the vambrace so it would clasp together with tiny buckles (or something similar) on the inside forearm for safety purposes (C2). Since the vambrace is already "closed" in-game, it would be difficult to concept out larger buckles and straps without straying from the original design too much.

Note that "gauntlets" are actually his gloves, and are probably fairly short in length, hence why they appear to be the same as his sleeves; the vambrace hides the openings.

Spaulders
Also called "pauldrons," these function as shoulder protection.

(A) is a simple side view of each set. They consist of three plates each, one on top and two underneath. Again, these would need to be articulated to move with the arm. If you're wondering why the extra guard plate is on Cullen's left side, keep in mind that's the shield side and would (one assumes) help deflect blows if a shield were not handy due to two-handed weapon use or some other reason.

Unfortunately, as is evident from the frontal view (B), there is no obvious method of attachment for these pieces. Most of the area that would involve any attachments is covered up by his fur collar. So, I concepted out some buckles for the main pieces (clasping together on the rear side of the arm for safety reasons)*, and some ties for the smaller pieces. I headcanon that the leather sleeves we see in the game are part of an arming outfit, and these outfits would have easy attachment methods for plate armor, including leather ties to hold things down.

*One could also make the argument that the upper plates attach to the gorget; see the next section.

Cuirass and Gorget
The torso armor. This is where things get a little tricky.

I'm fairly certain that the gorget (throat armor) here is the entire upper portion (A) of the cuirass, ending at the seam where the straps start. Because the neck opening of the gorget is so large, and there are no obvious seams for hinges or clasps, I'm assuming that it goes on over his head. If that's the case, it would go on top of the rest of the breastplate and backplate (B), which is divided into two more segments. The three segments, just like the articulated plates mentioned earlier, allow for more movement of the torso. Cullen has a habit of bending over tables, and this would be pretty uncomfortable if breastplate was one solid piece.

Of course, these pieces need to be held together somehow. This is partially where the straps we see come in. It would be entirely logical to assume that the buckles and straps on the front of the cuirass are designed to hold the gorget down (they wouldn't have to attach to the third segment as I have depicted...the second would suffice - especially if you wanted the third piece, the plackart, to overlap upwards instead of downwards as I have it here). See the back view for an idea of how it might connect to the backplate (C). I've included a possible side seam on the right for attachment if you think that the whole thing might be hinged on the left and opened on the right to get into and out of (B2). There's also a possibility that the cuirass has seams on both sides and, consequently, is buckled together on both.

Ultimately, this is the most difficult portion of the armor to reason out, with a multitude of possibilities regarding how it functions. Just keep in mind that it needs to be both mobile and easy to don and remove.

I've included the vest, belt, and sash in color to indicate where they go in relation to the armor.

Mantle
This is just how I see his fur-lined coat thing. :P I firmly believe it's a separate piece from the vest underneath, judging from the way it appears in the game. It looks to be just a decorative cape, more or less.

Boots
OK, I'll admit I have no idea what's going on here.

I've "separated" the metal bits and straps (B) from the actual boot (A) so you get an idea of how I think it would attach. It just looks like some sort of minor protection and reinforcement for an otherwise not-very-protective boot. The disk on the knee might be a poleyn of some sort, but it looks like it would be better described as a kind of knee-pad to protect the joint when kneeling down in the dirt or something...

Do note that the boots lace up in the back, which is likely for a very good reason: you don't want stray downward slashes in combat severing your laces and making your boot come off.
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This is just my own interpretation of how I see Cullen's armor working. If you like it, as I said above, you are, of course, welcome to use it to help you with your own fanfics and art. Just don't claim the diagram as yours. :P Also, feel free to leave comments - I love discussing this sort of thing and would be more than happy to talk about it with you. :)

Also on Tumblr. Please reblog from there: aurianavaloria.tumblr.com/post…

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Cullen, his design, and Dragon Age: Inquisition © EA and Bioware
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:iconcaptain-savvy:
Captain-Savvy Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is fantastic! Thank you for doing this and sharing it! I'll admit I've puzzled over Cullen's armor quite a bit, especially wondering if the mantle and vest were the same garment and, if so, why. Because it would mean wrapping up in a furry burrito, which seems to just add an extra layer of complication that Cullen probably wouldn't want or need. XD
This is very informative and I've learned some armor terms that I didn't know as well. As much as I love armor I never knew what the gorget was.  Much epicness all around! :eager:
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:iconauriv1:
AuriV1 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you and you're welcome! :D :hug: And I agree...a furry burrito would be quite the pain. :XD:

BTW, if you happen to be familiar with modern French, it helps with some of the armor terms, as many of them either originated from or were influenced by Middle French.

* gorge is French for throat -> gorget
* coude is elbow -> couter
* épaule is shoulder -> pauldron/spaulder
* bras is arm -> brace/bracer -> vambrace

Of course, not all are related to French. Some are strictly Anglo-Saxon/Middle English or even German influenced. But knowing a bit of those languages helps a lot, I've noticed. :P
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:iconcaptain-savvy:
Captain-Savvy Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sadly I'm not great with languages other than English. I've tried learning Dutch since that's my husband's first language and so far the only world I've retained is kip (chicken). XD
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:iconauriv1:
AuriV1 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Dutch seems like it would be very difficult!
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:iconyagellonica:
Yagellonica Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh my goodness! This is SO USEFUL! I'm not very familiar with armours and Cullen's armour has always baffled me. You're a brilliant person for having done this! :happybounce: 
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:iconauriv1:
AuriV1 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aww, thank you! :love: I'm glad you find it helpful! :)

I'll admit, it was a puzzle to sort out to any reasonable degree. Had to do a lot of filling in blanks.
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