Crafting Motif 96: Arkthzand Armory Style

Author (in-game): Mathinn Palard

By Mathinn Palard, University of Gwylim

No other people have yet matched the alloys and techniques the Dwarves employed to fashion their weapons and armor. Alas, many of the Dwarven secrets of metal-working vanished from Tamriel centuries ago. Likewise, some artifacts of Arkthzand providence also feature magical crystals—perhaps the aetherium mentioned in various mythic histories—whose purpose and powers are understood by no other peoples. Yet with a careful study of the pieces intrepid adventurers have recovered from the depths of the Dwarven ruins sleeping beneath the Reach, we can draw valuable insights into the designs favored in the legendary stronghold of Arkthzand.

Dwarven axes are double-bitted and made with durable metal hafts. They are significantly heavier than similar weapons created by other peoples, but well-balanced and extremely sturdy. Only the heaviest plate armor can withstand the bite of an Arkthzand axe.

In the Arkthzand style, a belt protected much of the lower torso and lower back. The buckle plate is quite large and supports an articulated flange providing additional protection.

It seems evident that the Dwarves of Arkthzand valued protection over mobility. These armored boots completely encircle the lower leg and armor the top of the foot, too. An angular poleyn forged with a simple geometric design guards the knee.

It is difficult to call these weapons bows; they are better described as machines in the shape of bows. The artisans of Arkthzand made the limbs of the bow from inflexible metal, but hidden springs of great strength provide the flexing power needed to drive their metal-shafted arrows with tremendous force.

A cunningly articulated breastplate of Dwarven alloy, the Arkthzand chest piece is almost impenetrable. Sockets in the pectoral plates hold small orbs of luminous arcane crystal—the legendary aetherium mined in the realms of Blackreach. The aetherium crystals most likely empowered the armor in some way, but the secret is lost to time.

Dwarves generally seemed to favor axes and maces to blades, but when they fashioned daggers and swords they did so with great skill. The blade itself is made from an alloy that bears a superficial resemblance to brass, yet it is harder and more durable than steel. To this day, no one knows what it is made from.

Compared to most other elements of Dwarven armor, gloves seem surprisingly light in construction. The fingers are left unprotected except for small rivets over the knuckles—most likely so the wearer’s ability to work on fine mechanisms would be unimpaired. A small socket in each vambrace holds an orb of aetherium crystal.

Most Dwarven helms cover the face, and the Arkthzand Armory pieces are no exception. The helm’s visor is fashion in the shape of a scowling warrior’s visage. A prominent crest inscribed with geometric symbols crowns the top of the head.

Well-articulated plates of superior Dwarven alloy guard the wearer’s upper legs. The hip-plate features a common Arkthzand motif: a stylized eye in the form of an aetherium crystal orb, with geometric rays inscribed below.

Like their axes, the Dwarves of Arkthzand fashioned their maces with metal hafts just as tough and durable as the weapons’ striking head. In fact, it can be difficult to tell Arkthzandi maces from axes at quick glance; the large, heavy flanges of the weapons bear a passing resemblance to axe blades. They are blunt, however, and maces mount four flanges instead of the two blades found on Dwarven axes.

A large heater fashioned in the shape of a pointed, notched oval, an Arkthzand shield is made from a single piece of nearly unbreakable alloy. The decorative toolwork resembles a highly stylized eye with geometric rays emanating from it.

A truncated half-cone of alloy armor, the Arkthzand shoulder-piece is distinguished by a high flared lip on the inner portion to block any strike that might skip across the plate into the helmet. Embedded orbs of arcane crystal glow softly with small reserves of Dwarven magic, although the exact function is now lost to time.

If the Dwarves ever worked in wood, no record remains of it. Their staves are made of light, strong metal alloy. Headpieces are shaped like small mechanisms, although how these devices actually contribute to the efficacy of Dwarven staves is unknown.

Dwarven swords are fashioned from a strange, brass-hued alloy every bit as hard and durable as steel, and more resistant to corrosion as well. The blades are heavy and seem better suited to slashing than thrusting. Likewise, the grips are quite long in comparison to the overall length of the weapon, allowing for a wide two-handed grip at need.

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