One of the current knocks on the game right now is that trained units tend to be glass cannons. In my experience, this is true up until you get to Leather Armor and 5 ppl per unit. After that the survivability improves considerably. I find Chain Armor and above and units become very, very hard to kill.
To improve the early game, I'm creating a Patchwork armor with a prerequisite of Standing Army. This should give early units a bit more survivabiliy without unbalancing things too much. My early testing is pretty positive. Right now, I'm only creating Patchwork Chestpiece, Chaps (greaves) and Hood (helmet).
Part of the problem is, I don't want to have to mod the Core files and force to load from local. Yet Leather armor in vanilla is so whimpy, it's impossible to come up with a Patchwork that is less effective than leather. So to make the Leather technology an upgrade over patchwork, I'm adding Banded Leather Chestpiece, Greaves and Helmet to give the Leather tech a full upgrade on those armor pieces I'm creating in Patchwork. Plus this will enhance Leather armor slightly, again making early Leather units more survivable without making higher level armors not feel like an upgrade.
Version 1.0 can be downloaded from here or from the External Link at the top of this post. (For some reason I'm not able to add an embedded link) After spending some time looking for art that didn't look like leather, I decided to give up until after the next Beta release. The next Beta might make this mod unneeded so I didn't want to waste too much time on it.
Just unzip it into your Mods folder and make sure Mods are enabled in your Options.
Patchwork Mod v1