Crafting Motif 84: Blackreach Vanguard Style

Author (in-game): Captain Thromkir

By Captain Thromkir of the Blackreach Vanguard of Dusktown

The few brave enough to venture to Blackreach found themselves in need of specialized protection early on. While this place remains unpredictable, it has a wealth of resources that are easily harvested and can be turned against it. Much of the process is still trial and error, but it’s been refined to a point where I believe it’s pertinent to take record of. I imagine the longer people exist in Blackreach, the more nuanced these practices will become.


The overall design of the Blackreach Vanguard’s axes isn’t much different than the axes from the surface. It certainly has hints of Nord design evident in its creation. The engravings and special touches, however, make it distinctly Blackreach. The chitin plating on the underside of the metal is purely decorative. I think the blacksmiths just like to show off how proficient they are at working with the material.


Our belts provide ample space for holding weapons, and necessary pouches vital to survival in the wilds of Blackreach. The harnesses strap down over the hips for extra stability and support around the waist. The belts provide ample opportunity for stowing weapons and potions one might need while adventuring. Blackreach is a treacherous, volatile place. The key to surviving it is going out prepared.


There’s a lot you don’t want to step on in Blackreach. You’d think that most of the things down here that want to take a bite out of you are easy to spot. Not the case! It gets so dark that the nasty things that skitter along the ground go by unnoticed. If you don’t have proper footwear, you’re bound to step on something that’ll kill you.


Blackreach provides unique opportunities for improving bows’ heft and accuracy. Sharp chitin plates adorn the upper and lower limbs as well as the arrow tips. This sharp, near indestructible material provides stability to the weapon while lessening the overall weight of it.


Chaurus chitin features heavily in most of the chest pieces of the Blackreach Vanguard. Adult Chaurus are not easy prey, but their natural armor is an incredibly valuable resource. A full piece would be difficult to maneuver in, so we opt for covering the heart.


Most of the time, you won’t notice something sneaking up on you until it’s too late. In that case, there’s little time to draw a larger weapon, so a dagger is a versatile, efficient thing to have on hand. Blackreach-mined metal will bite through anything, whether it’s armor or chaurus shells.


Though Blackreach is mild in temperature, our gloves cover the whole hand and go up to the elbow. With the amount of strange flora and fauna here, touching anything you’re unfamiliar with is just asking for trouble. Our gloves are made with thin Vale deer leather to keep them flexible and allow us to use weaponry while still protecting ourselves from the elements.


Most of us aren’t headbutting our foes down here, but a sturdy piece of Chaurus chitin on the front of our helmets offers a substantial amount of protection in case anyone gets any ideas. We keep the face open to get as much opportunity to see what’s ahead of us as possible. nnLEGSnVale deer are abundant, despite being easy prey for the local fauna. Their numbers dwindle by the day, unfortunately, but for now there are enough to provide us with material. Many of the greaves worn by the Blackreach Vanguard are made from their hides. The leather makes for heavy, tough protection that tends to be flexible enough for quick movement and traversing the uneven terrain. nnMACESnThe best defense against some of these crawlies is a big hunk of metal to the face! We take a lot of inspiration from Nord maces that were brought down with us from the surface for the actual head of the weapon itself. We use our own special flair when it comes to the decorations along the metal, and the top of the shaft is adorned with thick sheets of Chaurus chitin.


Our shields aren’t much different than a Skyrim guard’s. The wood gets brought down from the surface, but the metal and reinforcements are made from resources exclusively gathered from Blackreach. Ridges made from the backs of Chaurus protrude from the face of the shield to provide additional strength.


We make good use of Chaurus in Blackreach. Especially when it comes to the shoulders of our armor. Depending on the kind of fighter, we vary the type of chitin used. Those who may be more directly in the fray have more pointed pieces that make it easier to deflect attacks. Others are molded flatter to provide maximum protection.


A fierce barb of metal tops each Blackreach Vanguard’s staff. It’s fused together with a single plate of Chaurus chitin to reinforce the apex of the weapon. The chitin is often carved with runes and into a three-pointed shape pressed flush against the metal. Leather wraps the staff, and each end is secured with a decorative sheaf of metal.


The metal mined from Blackreach tends to be incredibly sturdy even when thinned. This allows the blade to be worked until it’s razor sharp without sacrificing the integrity. These are lightweight weapons, making it easier for the wielder to move about. The leather from the hilt comes from Vale deer and the guard is made from a metal foundation with an adult Chaurus chitin finish.

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