Crafting Motif 95: Nighthollow Style

Author: Lord Idrisin

By Lord Idrisin, Bearer of the Scarlet Insignia

A guide to crafting armor and weapons in the Nighthollow style

Dark, deadly, and elegant—these are the terms in which those few mortals who come to know our kind describe our arms and our bearing alike. One might be forgiven for presuming that the superb workmanship and exquisite proportions of the equipment we choose to employ in battle are the products of mere vanity, but I have found that these qualities are more than a matter of taste. The armor in which we dress for battle and the weapons we employ proclaim our identity and strike fear into the hearts of those foolish enough to stand against us. Yes, it suits the Nighthollow clan to remain in the shadows … most of the time. But when we step into the open, let our foes and thralls alike look upon us and know dread.

AXES
While an axe is not often regarded as a vampire's weapon, the Nighthollow sometimes find themselves in need of weapons that can split the carapace of a chaurus or smash a Dwarven construct. A Nighthollow axe is a keen blade of dark iron, double-bitted for balance and mounted on a slender but strong metal haft.

BELTS
A Nighthollow belt features a distinctively swept buckle plate, reminiscent of a vampire bat's outstretched wings. Graceful proportions and flexibility are more important than thick protection.

BOOTS
Composed of five to six overlapping chevron-shaped plates of light, strong steel, Nighthollow boots provide excellent coverage to the shin and the top of the foot without weighing down the wearer with unnecessary armor for the back of the lower leg. Few foes will ever see a Nighthollow warrior's back.

BOWS
As one might expect, few trees grow in the lightless depths of Blackreach. A Nighthollow archer's bow instead features limbs crafted from dark, springy steel. This results in a weapon of unusually high draw weight and striking power. However, it is heavier and less handy than bows fashioned from wood.

CHESTS
A breastplate of dark steel alloy decorated with a pewter filigree, the Nighthollow chest piece provides excellent protection without sacrificing the elegant form that characterizes a vampire's preferred armor. Flexible chevron-shaped plates cover the abdomen below.

DAGGERS
Most vampires prefer blades to hafted weapons. The uncanny speed and reflexes with which our kind are blessed lend themselves to light, precise weapons. (It may also be true that we relish bloodletting for its own sake and are naturally drawn to blades.) A Nighthollow dagger can be identified by the bat-winged form of its crossguard.

GLOVES
Anyone who has fought in close combat knows that the hands are the most exposed part of the body. Completely covering the back of the hand from wrist to fingertips, Nighthollow gloves protect this vulnerable area. A light vambrace of overlapping plates extends the protection to the elbow.

HELMETS
A full helm of dark, strong steel, the Nighthollow helmet features subtle swept-back hinges near the wearer's temples that are representative of bat ears or wolf ears—an homage to fellow predators of the darkness.

LEG GREAVES
Ridged, form-fitting plates of dark steel protect the Nighthollow warrior's upper legs. The greaves are not articulated, but hug the hip closely enough that they do not interfere with the wearer's mobility.

MACES
Just because a weapon is inelegant in its function, it does not need to be inelegant in its form. A Nighthollow mace features six fluted striking faces adorned with fearsome spikes. Few vampires prefer the mace in battle, but the mace is also a symbol of authority and rulership.

SHIELDS
Most vampire warriors believe the best defense is a swift and accurate attack, but from time to time the Nighthollow face foes against whom a shield is only prudent. This shield of dark steel is graced with elegant scrollwork and intricate workmanship.

SHOULDERS
Decorated with pewter filigree, the Nighthollow shoulderpiece is a pauldron of dark steel. A pronounced ridge provides a suitable menace to the armor's silhouette, but is also highly functional; the sharp angle deflects enemy blows.

STAVES
Made from a long rod of dark iron, a Nighthollow staff features a headpiece in the form of a wide-bladed spearhead. This is generally not used for stabbing, and instead focuses and directs the weapon's destructive energy.

SWORDS
Beautiful yet deadly, a sword is an apt metaphor for the Nighthollow vampires. Forged from a dark alloy that incorporates the strange minerals of Blackreach for extra strength and sharpness, the blade features a broad fuller and a reversed-wing form crossguard.

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