If you look closely at the tiny, tiny rogue illustrations in “The City of Fire & Coin,” you may notice that both Manyara and Snorri carry shields. In fact, both have helmets, Manyara is almost fully armored, and Snorri seems to be well protected by a couple of fur-covered life-preservers, while Muaphet is all but naked. Clearly Muaphet’s the most badass, right? Running into battle next to these chumps who hide behind their shields?
The current pop culture image of Conan is a bare-chested man who depends solely on the strength of his sword arm to protect him. But this is not Robert E. Howard’s Conan. In the original fiction, Conan wasn’t a fool. If he knew he was heading for a fight, he’d gear up and get some appropriate armor on. Because that’s how you survive a fight, by being prepared.
Conan wore armor because it made no sense for him not to. This should be reason enough for your rogues to do the same. But there is another, deeper reason that Howard dressed Conan in his armor. A reason that holds true for your rogues as well. Conan’s armor exists to be dented, scratched, torn, cracked open, rended from his body by some of the most impossible foes in all of Hyboria. He wears armor to cede glory to his foes.