Crafting Motif 103: Black Fin Legion Style


Author (in-game): Keshu the Black Fin

Many outsiders assume the Black Fin Legion is an army of Argonians whose purpose is to protect Argonians. They are mistaken. We serve all people who wish to live in peace, Man or Saxhleel. It is my belief that we can best defend our new home in Gideon by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors, not by fighting to protect only our own. People of all races are welcome in the Black Fin Legion—a stout arm and a willing heart are all I ask.

The first enemy that an army in the borderlands of the Black Marsh must face is the climate itself. Here, iron and steel rust without special oils, bowstrings rot, and weapon hafts made from northern woods begin to warp. From head to toe, the Black Fin legionnaire must dress for conditions that destroy the arms and armor of other lands. But if the swamp is an enemy to the unprepared, it can also be a potent ally for the warrior who learns its ways.

Green, of course, must be the primary color of the Black Fin Legion. In the forests and swamps surrounding Gideon, the value of camouflage cannot be overlooked. Highlights of brass and gold may seem out of place, but they too have a purpose. They mimic the glint of sunlight on water.

AXES
Axes are both weapons and tools in the Black Marsh. The Black Fin legionnaire never knows when they must clear a path through a thicket or fell trees to make a raft. For this reason, our axes are single-bitted weapons with a hammer-like flat opposite the blade. The haft is made from brass or bronze. It may not be as strong as steel, but it resists rust.

BELTS
The Black Fin legionnaire’s belt features a brass buckle and supports a segmented fauld to protect the groin area. In medium or light armors, the fauld segments are made of boiled leather, treated to resist rot in the humid conditions around Gideon.

BOOTS
Our legionnaires often contend with bogs, thickets, and quicksand. Overly ornate or heavy footwear presents a risk of becoming mired or tangled at every step, so the Black Fin Legion boots are designed to be simple and unornamented.

BOWS
One of the more common trees of the Black Marsh, the banyan is generally too soft and spongy to be useful in a bow. However, wood from a banyan’s root is tough and durable, and does not warp or swell in high humidity. The Black Fin Legion bow is not the most powerful weapon, but it can survive the climate, and long-distance archery is rarely possible in our densely forested landscapes.

CHESTS
The most effective camouflage replaces straight lines and unnatural shapes with the sort of ragged, broken outlines that are all around us in nature. The Black Fin Legion’s breastplates and cuirasses feature tattered overlays of green cloth in leaf- and moss-like shapes, helping the soldier remain hidden in the thickets of the swamp.

DAGGERS
Designed for thrusting through mail links rather than slashing or cutting, the Black Fin Legion dagger features a strong point with a narrow cross-section. To resist the ever-present threat of rust, it is typically kept well-oiled with grease made from frog fat.

GLOVES
Rounded and devoid of the sort of jutting spikes or ridges other warriors often wear, the Black Fin Legion gauntlet is smooth to avoid snagging in brush and vines.

HELMETS
Making sure you see your enemy before he sees you is the first rule of survival in the Black Marsh. We favor an open-faced helm for maximum visibility, then camouflage it with tattered cloth overlays mimicking leaves and mosses.

LEG GREAVES
Given the sort of terrain the Black Fin Legion must march through, leg armor is kept as light as possible. Medium and light armors dispense with it almost entirely, and even heavy armor uses a closely form-fitted greave that burdens the wearer less than similar armor in other lands.

MACES
The more warlike Argonian tribes favor tsojeis, cudgels made from Black Marsh hardwoods, but these simple weapons fare poorly against mail and plate. The Black Fin Legion’s answer is a double-headed lead hammer with a sturdy brass haft. Highly resistant to rust, the soft but heavy metal offers plenty of striking power.

SHIELDS
The Black Fin Legion shield is built to a special heater pattern and made of light steel. A cover of oiled leather cut into a leaf-like design helps the wearer to remain concealed in dense foliage, and protects the steel from the ever-present threat of rust in the wet environs of Black Marsh and Blackwood.

SHOULDERS
A rounded pauldron of steel or tough boiled leather protects the legionnaire’s shoulder. Like the rest of the Black Fin legionnaire’s armor, the shoulder piece is enameled or dyed in dark green. Heavier armor features a tattered cloth overlay to simulate moss and leaves.

STAVES
The dense ground cover and frequent downpours of the Black Marsh ensure that many skirmishes take place at very short range. Every Black Fin legionnaire—archer, footsoldier, or spellcaster—must be ready for close combat. For that reason, Black Fin Legion staves feature lead striking heads and sturdy brass hafts for those times when spellcasters find themselves in melee.

SWORDS
The difficulty of maintaining steel blades in the conditions around Gideon are not to be ignored; swords are not very common among Black Fin legionnaires. The typical legion sword is a sturdy blade designed for both slashing and thrusting, with a simple crossguard that is not likely to be snagged in hanging vines.

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