Crafting Motifs

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These are crafting books, allowing you to craft armor in the culture’s style.

Books 1-10 are written by Doctor Alfidia Lupus, and were originally named “Racial Motifs”. Books 11-14 are written by Seif-ij Hidja, and books 15 onward are written by different authors, and most are each split into 14 volumes in game, one per type of weapon or armor.

Lawrence Schick was the real-life author of books 1-14, but the authors of the other volumes are not known.

Crafting Motif 5: Breton Style
This book was previously called “Racial Motifs 5: The Bretons”Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)The Arch-Magister at the University, Lady Opel Dantaine, is a Breton, so I consulted with her on Breton motifs. She was friendly, and very helpful.The Bretons were the last major group of humans on Tamriel to free themselves from their Elven overlords, and in many ways their long vassalage to the Direnni defines their culture. They are fiercely autonomous, each kingdom in High Rock jealous of its individual sovereignty, but Breton society retains a feudal structure that hearkens back to the rank-obsessed Direnni Hegemony. The Bretons are nearly as fractious as their cousins the Nords, but their long tutelage under the Elves makes them open to the magical arts, rather than suspicious of them.How is this reflected in their arts and crafts? Let’s look at Breton armor, for example. The gleaming heavy armor of a Breton knight is as tough and practical as that of a Nord housecarl, but its pleasing form exhibits a subtle sophistication that is reminiscent of Elven elegance. One sees the same influence in Breton weaponry, which is beautiful yet undeniably deadly.It made me think of the differences between Divayth’s Elven urbanity and Morian’s breadth of knowledge and all-too-human inconsistencies, even peevishness. Apparently the transliminal experiments have not been going well. When I stopped by the townhouse last night, neither Morian nor Divayth were in—Seif-ij, Morian’s apprentice, told me they’d quarreled over the appropriate price to pay a transporting entity to ensure safe return from a jaunt to Oblivion, the remarks became personal, and then my name was apparently brought up. There was shouting, and they both huffed their way out of the laboratory and marched off down Divines Street in opposite directions.This is terrible. Fighting? Over me? I must confess I was so disturbed I blurted out the whole thing to Lady Opel, who was incredibly kind and solicitous. She asked me if I had feelings for either of the two wizards, and I admitted I did, but they were conflicting and confusing. Opel opened a bottle of two of Bangkorai spiced wine, and we got quite confidential with each other as the evening waned. I’m not sure how I got home, and today my head hurts, but it was worth it, as my heart is no longer so heavy.
Crafting Motif 2: Dark Elf Style

This book was originally called “Racial Motifs 2:The Dark Elves”

Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel

(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)

From the High Elves it is natural to next consider the Dark Elves, as they originated in the Summerset Isles before their migration to Morrowind. Their culture can thus be considered an offshoot of the Altmeri, though in many ways that of the Dunmer is a reaction to that of Summerset rather than an extension.

Also, Morian introduced me to a Dark Elven associate of his, Divayth Fyr, who is helping him on his “transliminal sojourn” project. I don’t know what that’s all about, but Divayth offered to help me with references on Dunmeri culture, and I accepted.

Elegance is as much a goal for the Dark Elves as it is for the High Elves, but beyond that their styles could not be more different. Morrowind is a far harsher environment than fair Summerset, and that rigor is reflected in Dunmeri designs. The Dark Elves also draw on nature for their inspiration, but in place of avian and floral motifs, Dunmeri artifice draws on the curved and spiky forms of the carapaces of the giant insects that inhabit Morrowind. Elegant these are, but also fearsome, a constant reminder that the Dunmer daily fight for their very existence.

Ebony is the favored metal for Dark Elven heavy armor, but even in their lighter armors and shields, steel and steel alloys are often lacquered in dark tones to appear ebony-like. Clothing, armor included, is often accented by flaring extensions at shoulder, crest, or hip, with overlapping geometric designs that may have been borrowed from Dwarven culture, though Divayth bristled at the idea of any Dwemeri influence on the Dunmer.

In truth, I find the dark sorcerer from Vvardenfell exerts a strangely compelling attraction. He doesn’t seem old, but he referred to Morian, who is at least sixty, as a “young man.” I wonder how old he really is. In fact, I wonder many things about him. He has those crimson eyes that seem to look right through you. It’s a little bit thrilling.

He’s offered to take me with him to visit a Bosmeri tavern down on the waterfront. I may do it.

Crafting Motif 1: High Elf Style

This book was originally called “Racial Motifs 1: The High Elves”

Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel

(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)

This series will provide a survey-level overview of the symbolic and stylistic hallmarks that distinguish the major cultures of Tamriel in their arts and crafts. Our focus will be on the portable durable goods of the various races, that is, their clothing, ornamentation, arms, and armor, as these reliably reflect personal cultural expressions. When completed, this series will support the curricula of the introductory ethnographic courses at the Arcane University.

We begin with the High Elves, the reclusive Altmer of the Summerset Isles, because the argument can be made (and often is, by Elves) that civilization in Tamriel was brought here by the Aldmeri of Old Ehlnofey. Insofar as the Elves of Summerset consciously strive to maintain the heritage of their Merethic ancestors, their traditions are certainly closer to those of pre-First Era society than any other.

This is not to say that, in the thousands of years since the arrival of the first Aldmeri, the culture of the High Elves has not deviated and ramified in many ways, because it has. It is simply that, by viewing modern Altmeri culture with the eye of a historian, we can perceive the outlines of its origins.

In this initial effort I have benefited from the advice of the celebrated Morian Zenas, Professor of Transliminal Studies here at Arcane University. Professor Zenas is the only member of our faculty who has visited the Summerset Isles, specifically Artaeum, with a brief stop in transit at Dusk.

I was a bit intimidated when I first visited Professor Zenas in his house in the Cathedral District, but I found him a charming old gentleman, undeserving of his reputation for peevishness. Morian (for so he asked me to address him) bade me stay for dinner, which was served by his laconic Argonian apprentice, Seif-ij Hidja.

As Morian explained, the High Elves strive for a simple elegance in their designs, in which flowing lines reflect graceful forms from the natural world. More-or-less abstract birds, flowers, and sea shells are common motifs, rendered in rich but muted colors. Armor will be tooled or embossed to represent scales or feathers, and even heavy cuirasses and helmets may sport stylized wings or beaks.

Metallic items are often accented with a translucent greenish material called “glass.” This is a sort of jade-like obsidian that Elven smiths have learned to work by secretive processes known only to the Altmer. Though rigid enough to take a superb edge when cool, glass can be made malleable enough to assume almost any form, and the High Elves use it extensively on ornamental arms and armor.

After dinner, over snifters of Cyrodilic Brandy, Morian asked me all sorts of questions about my motifs project, and about myself. It was really very flattering. I must find an excuse to talk with him again.

Crafting Motif 10: Imperial Style

This book used to be called “Racial Motifs 10: Imperial Cyrods”

The Imperial City. I used to love it here. When I was young my native town of Skingrad seemed hopelessly provincial to me, and I looked forward all year long to going along with mother on her annual trip to the Heartland. For me, the capital was the epitome of learning, of culture, of everything I held dear.

I walk the avenues now, from district to district. And I look. Skingrad seemed provincial, yes, but it was Colovian: direct, forthright, with clean lines and a certain spare, ascetic look to it. And its people are much the same way.

The Imperial City, except for the walls and the Tower, which are Ayleid, is … Nibenese. Refined. Decorative. Subtle. Nuanced.

Decadent. Corrupt.

Like its people. And the people it attracts.

I was too late.

Morian is gone. With the help of Divayth, cursed Divayth, he fulfilled his dream and traveled to Oblivion. According to Seif-ij, he went to Moonshadow as planned, but he didn’t stay there. He went on, to Ashpit, to Coldharbour, to Quagmire. To Apocrypha.

And there, in Apocrypha, he stayed.

Seif-ij told me, emotion quivering even in his flat reptilian voice, of how once he entered Oblivion Morian seemed to become more reckless, more enraptured, with each portal to a new plane. How he ignored his assistant’s pleas to return. How Apocrypha … entranced him.

Seif-ij Hidja was beside himself, holding his head with its drooping spines, clearly at his wit’s-end. It was up to me. I ran to Divayth’s room, though Seif-ij said he was gone, hoping he’d left some way to get in touch with him, hoping he would respond to my appeals for help.

I found only a book, open on his desk, a book titled “Fragmentae Abyssum Hermaeus Morus.” It was open to what seemed to be a summoning ritual for the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora, specifying that “whatever price is named shall be met.”

A ritual to Hermaeus Mora. The Lord of Apocrypha.

I ran to Morian’s laboratory. It was looted, ransacked. The only thing of interest was a crumpled note. It read, “When thou enterest into Oblivion, Oblivion entereth into thee.”

Morian is gone. Gone to Apocrypha. Where he stays.

And so I walk, from district to district. Wondering. What price had the Lord of Apocrypha named to Divayth Fyr? What price for the entrancement, the captivity of Morian Zenas?

I walk the streets, the avenues and alleys. Wondering.

Wondering when I, too, will be ready to pay the price.

Crafting Motif 100: True-Sworn Style

By Cassia Hiriel, Outfitter and Artisan

Ours is a simple task: Pyroturge Encratis requests attire that will allow our agents to infiltrate and destroy their target. As you may expect, the Pyroturge’s preferred method for eradicating evidence of True-Sworn presence will consist of burning down the entire villa. To that end, I have designed armor that will protect against the raging inferno that will result. You will also find plans for new weapons among my designs. The item we seek holds great value and we must be the only ones to obtain it. Arming ourselves properly ensures this outcome and advance our timeline.

AXES
As the fires rage and consume the villa, you may encounter falling debris that blocks your escape. The thick iron and strong bronze that form the axes will cut through any timber to clear your path. The blade itself comes to a sharp point along the bottom edge, which shall also provide the ability to tear at armor.

BELTS
Loose clothes in a blaze are obviously not ideal. No need to catch fire due to a flapping tunic. Cinch these hard leather belts tight to protect yourself. I have added carrier loops around the waist so you can attach incendiary tonics with ease.

BOOTS
Our agents will need speed to accomplish their mission, as well as stealth to evade the creatures within the villa. Each pair of boots provided are made from a thick guar leather that insulates against the heat. The soles use a lining of my own concoction that will not melt under the hottest conditions.

BOWS
Curved ash wood reinforced with steel on the grip offer flexibility and strength to the archer. Be cautious about the flames licking the wood. The quiver offers even more carrying capacity for your incendiary tonics, which should make flaming arrows especially easy.

CHEST PIECES
I chose a darker color scheme for this attire to increase our agents’ capability for remaining hidden during the mission. The dark brown leather on the chest is highly flexible, even in the heavier versions. And the deep blue cloth at the joints increase movement. Thick cloth covers the chest and neck area to protect against cinders floating within the air.

DAGGERS
Simple yet noble was my goal for our weapon design; and even the treacherous daggers maintain this feel. The blades are etched with an elegant pattern of my own design. The hilt and guard are coated in bronze for strength.

GLOVES
Full-length gloves were imperative for this armor. If you have yet to experience the Pyroturge’s art, then know that he excels at generating heat of amazing intensity. While our agents seek their target, we cannot expose their hands to the dangers of these flames.

HELMETS
I admit to my own cleverness in these designs. The guar leather masks cover the entire face for purposes of anonymity and protection. However, I have added lenses made of amber that filter the bright flames they will encounter. They limit peripheral vision somewhat, but the sacrifice should be worth it.

LEG GREAVES
Despite my warnings, our magic-using agents insist on loose clothing around their legs. This is tradition among their kind, so I accommodated as I could. The cloth is heavy and weighted down around the hem so as not to billow out. The more sensible leg armor uses supple leathers occasionally clad in dark steel.

MACES
I am partial to two-headed mace designs due to the balance. Additionally, in the heat of battle, having twice the options for damage improves survivability. Use the thickest steel we have for the head and handles. We cannot afford for these to snap under pressure.

SHIELDS
A classic design that I acquired from books given to me by our benefactor. I believe it originates from the First Era. Rounded shields with heavy riveted rims offer the best strength and protection while maintaining portability. We do not want to slow the agents in their task.

SHOULDER ARMOR
I chose leather pauldrons in most cases in order to stay as flexible as possible. We do not need to weigh down our people any more than necessary. The look of them stays understated. The True-Sworn need not show off their allegiances.

STAVES
While many staff-users prefer wood for their weapons, that would not work in this case for obvious reasons. Bronze-coated steel forms the core of each staff, notched along the center for a better grip. The head is pointed in almost a trident shape. This is pragmatic—if the wielder needs move flaming material from their path, a forked design will assist in that.

SWORDS
Many sword designers of this era prefer ostentatious hand guard and blade designs. I find this foolish. A simple, strong weapon engenders as much fear as any eccentric appearance. That said, etch the blade carefully. I am told this symbol comes from out benefactor and should not be altered.

Crafting Motif 101: Ivory Brigade Style

A guide to crafting armor and weapons in the Ivory Brigade style

Throughout history, the city of Leyawiin has been able to rely upon the protection of the Imperial Legion. Alas, those days appear to be over. With the collapse of Imperial authority and power, each province of the Empire has been left to look after itself. If we are to protect Leyawiin from the depredations of pirates or invasions by the warring alliances contending for the Ruby Throne, we must raise an army of our own—an army of the Blackwood—to deter aggression and keep the peace.

As the commander of Leyawiin’s forces, the task of organizing this new army has fallen to me. I have always felt that the first step in making soldiers is to teach new recruits that they serve something greater than themselves, and to take pride in that service. To put on a uniform is to proclaim an allegiance and forge a bond of loyalty with those who wear that same uniform. At the same time, a prudent commander must consider the tools his soldiers will need to carry out their duties, and the resources available. To that end, I will now enumerate my expectations for the proper equipping of the army of Leyawiin.

For our coat of arms, I have selected an ivory horse on a field of green, the ancient symbol of Leyawiin. And from this brave device our army takes its name: the Ivory Brigade, defenders of the good folk of Blackwood.

AXES
Axes come in many different patterns, but the axe of the Ivory Brigade is a single-bitted weapon with a brass haft designed to stand up to damage in battle. Opposite the blade is a reinforced beak that can pierce the heaviest armor.

BELTS
Like the Imperial armor designs from which Ivory Brigade armor is derived, brigadine belts feature a short, weighted skirt of boiled leather to protect the groin without impeding mobility. Round steel buckles are a distinctive Blackwood embellishment to the pattern.

BOOTS
Form-fitted plates of bronze (or boiled leather, in the case of lighter armor sets) provide excellent protection to the brigadine’s shins and knees. The smooth surface is less likely to snag in Blackwood’s heavy underbrush than more ornate designs.

BOWS
While the Blackwood is home to magnificent forests, few of the trees native to the region produce wood ideal for self bows. Instead, an Ivory Brigade bow is a compound weapon made from two pieces of cured white oak, reinforced by brass caps and joined by a leather-wrapped center grip.

CHESTS
As one might expect, the armor worn by the Ivory Brigade is derived from the traditional design employed by the Imperial Legion for centuries. Bronze is somewhat heavy, but it is softer than iron and bends rather than shatters under a heavy blow. Lighter chestpieces replicate the same design in tough, boiled leather, which still offers good protection against slashes and glancing blows.

DAGGERS
A leaf-shaped blade of good steel, the Ivory Brigade dagger retains enough weight near the tip of the blade to be effective in chopping strokes without detracting from its fine balance. The design saves on weight by dispensing with the crossguard.

GLOVES
Vambraces of boiled leather or bronze protect the Ivory Brigade soldier’s hand and forearm. In the case of heavy armor, these vambraces are joined to full gauntlets to cover the fingers and cops that protect the elbow.

HELMETS
A brigadine’s helmet is an open-faced helm of bronze, providing excellent visibility for the wearer. A proud horsehair crest—usually scarlet in color—signifies the wearer’s rank. Heavy helmets include a steel visor that can be lowered to protect the face.

LEG GREAVES
Ivory Brigade soldiers often must contend with the dense, tangled underbrush of the Blackwood and Black Marsh. Consequently, brigadine leg greaves are rounded and close-fitted to avoid snags. The rounded plates also tend to deflect rather than catch enemy blows.

MACES
The primary bludgeoning weapon of the Ivory Brigade is a brass-hafted sledge, with a cleated striking face to prevent a blow from glancing off curved armor. Hammers have always been popular in Leyawiin, no doubt because of the prevalence of Zenithar’s worship in the city.

SHIELDS
Since the Ivory Brigade fights both afoot and mounted, a brigadine shield must combine good coverage with a shape suitable for a warrior on horseback. A sturdy steel heater is the best compromise, and offers an excellent place to proudly display the Ivory Horse of Leyawiin.

SHOULDERS
Plain, overlapping bands of bronze or boiled leather protect the shoulders and upper arms of an Ivory Brigade soldier. The design is familiar to any warrior who has served in the Imperial Legion—if it’s good enough for a legionary of Cyrodiil, it’s good enough for a brigadine of Leyawiin.

STAVES
Priests and mages are an important adjunct to the fighting ranks of the Ivory Brigade, and it is important for our spellcasters to be as well-equipped as our footsoldiers. An Ivory Brigade staff is a light but strong brass rod with grips of forest-green leather. The head of the staff is a triangular steel crozier, simple and utilitarian.

SWORDS
A sharp, sturdy blade of good Blackwood steel, the Ivory Brigade sword is distinguished by its subtle leaf-shaped widening near the point. This shifts the weapon’s center of balance up from the hilt and lends weight to chopping and cutting strokes. A handsome crossguard of brass and a grip of green leather lends the sword beauty to match its strength.

Crafting Motif 102: Sul-Xan Style

By Professor Astinia Bincal, University of Gwylim, Anthropology Department

I feel no need to point out to my readers that scholars of Argonian cultural mores come by the bushel. The recent mania in our scholarly community to expose “”dark secrets”” of the beast race in the swamps has led to such trite revelations as “”On Crunchy Bugs and Moist Spines- An Investigation into Gustatory Practices of Southern Argonians.”” However, during a recent sojourn through Blackwood, I encountered a tribe with a culture so distinct that I felt compelled to document it. After my entourage graciously cut down several of these Sul-Xan, I collected their effects. What follows are descriptions of the materials and methods of construction which appear unique to this group.

AXES
Atop the long, narrow hilt, each of these weapons display a half-moon shaped blade unlike others I’ve seen. On each side of the blade, two silvery spikes jut out menacingly. However, these are not merely ornamental. I personally witnessed their tearing abilities upon several guards once the curved blade nearly cut them in twain.

BELTS
Primarily constructed from what I believe is thick haj mota leather, Sul-Xan belts offer a great deal of support when carrying multiple heavy weapons. The buckles appear fashioned from basic steel, but the iconography etched on them must require a sharp eye and steady hand.

BOOTS
I regret that my time trudging through the swamps left mud caked within my every pore. So, when I see the Sul-Xan footwear has an open-toed design, I admit my bafflement. Perhaps the claws of the tribe are especially sharp? The supple leather structure does offer impressive support on the calf area. I imagine they find it helpful while chasing down prey as it flees at high speed.

BOWS
Our group once stumbled upon a small Sul-Xan encampment to our surprise. Once the villains were no longer a threat, I discovered their bows are strung using alit sinew, finely stretched and dried across several bone racks. The delicate recurve of the bow limbs strangely conflicts with the garish metal adornments on the riser.

CHEST PIECES
No surprise that such a vicious people focus on defending sensitive vital body areas. Even the lighter armors have metal plating protecting the chest and gut. Every piece is also quite tight-fitting, so that nothing can be snagged during battle. Intricate scale plating underlies dark leather, providing extra protection.

DAGGERS
Mention a dagger, and I think of the pocket blade I carried when I left home the first time. For Sul-Xan, a dagger means the length of a dragon’s tooth. While basic in construction—simple steel blade and leather grip—the size is quite enormous.

GLOVES
Much like the boots, Sul-Xan gloves are opened to bare the claws. Argonian fighters always have one last line of defense should they lose a weapon. Along the top of the wrist and forearm, they have placed a thick metal brace to prevent the loss of the combatant’s sharp claws.

HELMETS
Each headpiece holds a scowling death mask carved from a bright jade. If the intent is to intimidate, they succeed. Some will sport massive curving horns like the claws of some great crab. In the interest of academics, I admit that when I close my eyes, these faces haunt me still.

LEG GREAVES
Aesthetically simple, yet functionally perfect. The flexible leather surrounds the leg providing excellent range of motion. But the dull metal brace across the shin offers protection from severing. I imagine the knee spikes can also do vicious damage during intense melee.

MACES
The Sul-Xan imagination for their maces does not seem to have gone much further than “”heavy and hard.”” The heads are a fat cylinder of dense metal, perhaps steel, with decorative designs etched in. The handles are simple but display the same jade circle on the end that we see on the other weapons.

SHIELDS
Of all Sul-Xan armaments, I appreciate their shields the most. Unlike the ovoid appearance of many other cultures, these are more angular. Notches on each side offer resting places for weapons to stab without dropping protection. And impressive jade work upon the surface demonstrates a greater eye for artistry than expected from these savages.

SHOULDERS
Taking inspiration from the maws of beasts found within the swamps, Sul-Xan shoulder armor focuses on deadly spikes. Large steel thorns jutting from the armor not only make them appear larger but also gives them an edge in case of close quarters grappling. One such spike entered the skull of a guardsman, thus demonstrating their efficacy firsthand.

STAVES
Despite their primary use by magic-slingers, large spikes upon the staves offer additional benefits in case of melee. The heads are decorated with the same awful visage as the masks. Perhaps representing a revered ancestor of a sort? I will need to find a living subject to interview.

SWORDS
As with most other Sul-Xan arms, simple yet deadly is the guiding principle for swords. The blades are thick steel, with a slight curve to encourage tearing of flesh. The pommels are made of darkened wood and wrapped in alit leather, with the signature jade ring on the base.

Crafting Motif 103: Black Fin Legion Style

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.

Crafting Motif 104: Ancient Daedric Style

By Tirdos Renam, Smith of the Arcane

Mad! Mad, they call me! These flat-headed smiths with their smoldering forges no larger than tea kettles. Should we not heed the challenge of Boethiah? Should we cower in the face of the Testing Gods? These sour-hearted cowards may be content to hammer out nails and nixshoes, but not I. I look to grander things. Distant realms! Mighty tools! Designs that exceed mortal handiwork in every conceivable respect! Compared to Daedric craft, even the keenest Nirn-blade is no sharper than a butter knife. The sturdiest Dunmeri shield affords less protection than a sheet of Daedric parchment. I will pry these secrets from the blazing corner of the House of Troubles by sweat and blood.

This journal shall serve as a fulsome account of what I find wandering the Destroyer-God’s realm. With these designs committed to the page, I shall return to Morrowind not as a simple smith, but as a master of the Daedric forge!

AXES
Dremora favor heavy axes with keen, crescent edges. No great surprise, given their predilection for using weighty materials. The two-handed version features a broad double-head that can hew stone without losing its sharpness. Their hand axes are no less deadly—trading the second head for a pair of dagger-like prongs.

BELTS
I acquired a Daedric belt and even now, weeks on, I cannot identify the source of the leather. Many hulking beasts wander the Deadlands. Any one of them could have supplied the hide. If I were forced to compare it to something on Nirn, I’d compare it to an elder alit—one scarred and battered by years in the ash. The buckle features sharp edges and spikes, making cinching a dangerous task. But once secured, nothing short of a Daedroth’s bite could break this belt’s hold.

BOOTS
A Dremora’s boots—even those worn by scholars and spies—feature heavy, sharpened toes and serrated polyenes. This allows the warrior to strike from unexpected angles, well-beneath their adversary’s sight-line. When battling a kynreeve clad in this armor, a swift kick or knee-lunge can prove fatal.

BOWS
Daedric bows are unique in that they seem effective in both ranged and melee combat. Both of the bow’s limbs feature sharp metal cladding that can deflect enemy arrows and inflict grievous wounds to any who stray too close.

CHESTS
The cuirasses and gambesons I’ve observed here in the Deadlands all share one vital feature: sharpness. The Daedric smiths create ornate interlocking and overlaying metallic patterns that accentuate the brutal edges of the plates. This allows for a startling degree of flexibility without sacrificing protection. Leather of mysterious origin serves as the foundation for the piece, shielding more exposed regions from lighter blows.

DAGGERS
Daedric daggers resemble the Destroyer’s Razor in several respects. The leaf-shaped blade and fang-like cross guard give it a threatening silhouette. Beneath the handle, a clawed pommel affords the wielder the opportunity to strike from unexpected angles. The perfect weapon for a quiet ash-hunter.

GLOVES
Much like their boots, the Dremora’s gloves feature clawed tips. This allows for brutal scratches if no weapon is near to hand. Even light gauntlets provide ample protection at the wrists; spiked, interlocking bracers keep the forearms protected while also adding heft to blows.

HELMETS
All Daedric helms and hoods provide total cover to the wearer’s face. This grants both protection and anonymity—vital features for Dremora assassins. Like all other elements of the Daedric panoply, the helms often include horn-like crests and adornments. Perfect for creating a horrifying silhouette.

LEG GREAVES
Daedric greaves and breeches are rugged and heavy—a far cry from the bare legs our warriors seem to favor. While the lighter armor relies on layers of thick leather for protection, the heavier panoply protects the thighs with wide metal plates. Multiple layers of sharpened metal allow for greater flexibility on the battlefield.

MACES
Daedric warriors utilize a brutal crossbreed of a maul and a warhammer. The weighted heads of the weapon feature broad prongs that can puncture the thickest cuirasses. Even light blows from this bludgeon can crush a skull as easily as a kwama egg.

SHIELDS
While Dremora seem vastly more interested in offense, some of their cannier warriors do carry shields into battle. These imposing heater shields are adorned with rows of blade-like ridges and reinforced with sharpened, interlocking plates. In the realm of the Destroyer, even that which affords protection can kill.

SHOULDERS
Daedric smiths sharpen all their pauldrons and arm cops to a razor’s edge. While simple intimidation might be the chief reason for this technique, the prongs also excel at breaking weapons and warding off foolish grapplers.

STAVES
Unsurprisingly, Daedric staves are wrought from metal, not wood. Like many of their other weapons, they feature a clawed bottom for gouging. But the true marvel is the headpiece. These imposing caps distill the Daedric aesthetic to its most basic and brutal elements—broad, interlocking spikes that fan out like the splayed claws of a beast.

SWORDS
Dremora favor the sword above all other weapons. Unlike Daedric axes, their swords seem designed for piecing and gouging rather than cleaving. This compliments the Kyn’s martial style which focuses on brutal stabs and relentless forward momentum.

Crafting Motif 105: Crimson Oath Style

We are the oathsworn of the Red Father. The scarlet reavers of the Razor King. The bloodletters of the Fire-Veined God. We are the Crimson Oath! We offer endless death and destruction to Lord Dagon be it our enemy’s or our own. When we take the field of battle, we vow one thing: blood will spill. Take your oath garb and drench it in the gore of our enemies. This is the greatest offering you can make to our Great Prince.

AXES
An axe serves no purpose but to cleave. It is made for destruction alone. It is the blessed weapon of Lord Dagon. A Crimson Oath axe must be rugged and sharp, for you will wield it until the blade is worn to a nub and every part of it is stained red.

BELTS
A gut wound is your worst enemy. It offers you nothing but a lingering death, uselessly languishing on the battlefield instead of dying in a glorious display. For this reason, we wear the rigid girdles around our abdomens. Trade your arm, leg, or even your neck to protect it, or you’ll suffer a wretched end beneath the gaze of our Lord.

BOOTS
Ironclad and spiked! Heavy enough to crack stone! Let them hear the Oath’s march thunder far and wide like a coming storm! Drive your knees into the enemy’s guts and trample their entrails! Kneel upon the neck of your conquered foes and let the spikes drink deep of their despair!

BOWS
The barbs of arrows are best used to hinder a foe, not slay them. There is no enjoyment to be had in quick strike to the head or the heart. Leave your enemy hobbling and you will know the joys of beating your foes with the springy snap of a spike covered bow. It is a slow and satisfying process.

CHEST PIECES
Leave your chests bare and show your scars, or wrap them in the many bloodied bandages of battles prior. Let the enemy see how long it has been since you have tasted failure and death. Mourn the loss of them when next the Deadlands spits you out naked and fresh.

DAGGERS
Jagged and hooked! Razored and sawed! This is a tool of pain! It must be made to cut and rend and tear! I find them more fitting for entertainment after a battle, but I will admit some of you can make a delightful display of toying with your prey.

GLOVES
Protect your hands as dearly as your guts. What use will you be unable to carry a weapon or strangle life out of a foe? Heavy hides, iron, and good sharp spines will ensure your fists carry on dishing out pain for eons to come.

HELMETS
A secret I’ll share: the mortals are unsettled by an unclear face and patterns of holes. Something in their weak, little minds quavers at the sight of them. Replace your face with such sights and you’ll taste a rare treat in the nectar of their fear.

LEG GREAVES
Much like the girdles protect our guts, the skirts and leggings are key to keeping your legs and groin intact. Wounds to either will rarely kill us, but they’ll leave you struggling to continue the fight while your fellows leap and stride over you for glory.

MACES
Is there no more brutish weapon than the maul? It is the avalanche embodied! A simple weapon with one embellishment suggested by our tormentors. The mortals possess small hammers called tenderizers they use to pulverize meat for consumption. This is one of their rare, good inventions.

SHIELDS
Shields may seem like a waste, but if made well—and used skillfully—even these tools for protection can bring pain and destruction to your enemies. Find the sturdiest plates, rivet them together, add as many spikes as you fancy and ram your enemy with it in a headlong charge. You’ll see.

SHOULDERS
Always strap at least one strong, sharp piece of metal to your shoulder. It can keep you from having your arm lopped off, but more importantly you can throw all your weight behind it and gore some fool who thought your only weapon was what you had in hand.

STAVES
Hurling fire and lightning is all well and good in the eyes of the Prince of Destruction, but when you’ve exhausted your limited power: what then? Well, what is a staff if not an overlong mace? A sturdy, pointy, bludgeon on the end of your precious stick will get some real blood on your hands.

SWORDS
The Crimson Oath has no need for what the loathsome mortals call “”swordplay.”” Just writing it makes me retch. A sword is not a plaything. It requires no artistry. It needs to cut and cut well. Hone a hunk of forge-smudged iron to an edge you can put all your might behind. That is all you need.

Crafting Motif 106: Silver Rose Style

Like our namesake, the liveries of the venerable Knights of the Silver Rose have grown haler and more beautiful with each generation, tended by collective wisdom and guidance of our order. Here I record the essential elements of form and function in our arms and armaments as dictated by Prior Theirric Sarazen, Knight-Commander of the Silver Rose, 2E 579.

AXES
These curvaceous axes are not the decorative pieces that their gilt and filigreed beards might lead you to believe. Beneath their brilliant veneer lies a skeleton of Daggerfall steel capable of sundering the armor of a mortal foe as surely as the pure silver on their surface can cleave the spawn of Oblivion.

BELTS
The six-point belts of our uniforms embrace the hips sensually, locking securely in the rose emblemed buckles like the vines of a climbing rose clinging tightly to its purchase. This design holds all long doublets, tabards, and tassets firmly in place during the rigors of vigorous exertion.

BOOTS
The Silver Rose prefers tall, slender boots made from supple leathers often found in the shops of Wayrest fine clothiers. Although less durable than dense hide or hardened leather, the flexibility of the material is second only to Elven gossamer. It also provides more comfort beneath plate mail on a long march.

BOWS
Our bowyers almost exclusively work in Wrothgarian mahogany. Their techniques for shaping this notoriously rigid wood are so refined and subtle that they would appear—to the untrained eye—like a potter shaping clay. Hewing and sanding carefully along the natural grain coaxes an impressive springiness to the normally inflexible wood.

CHEST PIECES
As a renowned and honored Knightly Order of High Rock, we emblazon our sacred rose proudly upon our doublets, jerkins, and tabards for all to see. It is the symbol of our nobility: regal, yet dangerous. The red, black, and silver of our uniforms and our banners are both a badge of our authority and a warning to our enemies as we cross the battlefield.

DAGGERS
The dagger is not the primary tool of a knight, but it is an invaluable tool for carving out the cancers of those vile Daedra who seek to pervert our precious world. The silvered steel blades are tapered to a fine point to allow entry into the narrowest gaps of armor or hide while retaining the strength to force those weak spots wide open.

GLOVES
While the construction of our gloves is not vastly different from other knightly orders, Silver Rose gauntlets are consecrated at the temples of all Eight Divines. These blessings are to safeguard our warriors from Daedric influence when claiming their relics on the field of battle.

HELMETS
Most of our infantry and cavalry favor the elegance of a visored sallet, to provide exceptional protection while allowing for greater visibility and comfort when needed. This greatly contrasts near complete encapsulation of the head by our heavy barbutes and, unlike many other such helms, ours possess three reinforced arches along the skull capable of withstanding a two-handed hammer blow.

LEG GREAVES
Much like our boots, Silver Rose greaves are fashioned from extremely supple leathers that allow for the greatest ease of fit and range of motion. The addition of hardened leather reinforcements on the flanks provides adequate protection from the most common angles of attack, especially for our cavalry riders.

MACES
Unlike our swords and axe heads, which are silver-plated steel, our warhammers are forged from a unique silver and platinum alloy created by the order’s metallurgist, Viccaro Baumont in the late first era. While not as durable as steel, and quite costly, they have proven especially effective at shattering even a Clannfear’s dense skull.

SHIELDS
Every shield produced by our armorers is truly a work of art unto itself, each bearing elaborate engravings that would be the envy of any silversmith in High Rock. The annealed steel frame provides ample protection to both the wielder and the detailing, while the softer silver provides a certain amount of ductility that prevents shattering.

SHOULDERS
Secure shoulder armor is important for even our most lightly armored combatants when it comes to rear-line regimented combat and garrison defense. From these positions our knights can present their most well defended front to the enemy without encumbering them needlessly. The tradeoff in protection is more than made up for by the mobility granted to react to flanking maneuvers.

STAVES
Silvered-steel staves are the primary tool of our battlemages, allowing them to withstand a melee and deliver bone-breaking strikes on mortal and Daedra-tainted foes alike. The silhouette of a rosebud represents the potentiality of magic waiting to bloom in the hands of a mage.

SWORDS
Swords of the Silver Rose must be constructed more sturdily than those seen among other knightly orders. Full tang, tapered blades are mounted into heavily reinforced cross guards to prevent the entire blade from being snapped off in clashes with monstrous foes like Ogrims and Daedroths. Even a broken blade is better than none.

Crafting Motif 107: Annihilarch’s Chosen Style

By Kynmarcher Korisala, Chaos in Battle and Subcommander of Ardent Hope

Each day that passes, Lord Dagon’s plot to conquer Nirn proceeds apace. The God of Ambition will not let that which belongs to him by right lie fallow for long. As he gathers his strength and readies for another sortie, so too must we prepare ourselves. With the blessing of Valkynaz Nokvroz I hereby order a new line of armor and weapons to be forged for our elite warbands.

May the Annihilarchs of Dagon rise to the challenge of a blood-red dawn!

AXES
Axe bearers have a proud history in Dagon’s service. Let their strength of arms be shown by a quarrel of flared spines and thick weights behind the head. When I slam my weapon down into the gullet of an enemy, I want to feel the tendons tear and the bones snap! In Dagon’s name!

BELTS
I am unsure as to why I need to specify what a belt is for, but here we are. The belt is used to hold the legwraps of a warrior to their body. Use your best efforts to ensure the buckle matches the form and style of the other armor pieces. In Dagon’s name!

BOOTS
Flared spikes at the knee joints will give the enemy pause. Place them here, and here, just so. Our warriors will wade into battle, gutting the pitiful wretches that dare to cross our paths. No one who sights an Annihilarch in full body armor will doubt their dread purpose. In Dagon’s name!

BOWS
Spikes upon the bow’s outer shell will allow even our ranged warriors to deflect an enemy’s blows. More effort, however, should be placed upon armor plating around the quiver. Let every soldier under our banner know that a well-placed blow to their arrow stocks will not deny them of arrows. In Dagon’s name!

CHESTS
Within the chest of every Annihilarch beats the dark heart of a Dagonic soldier. Allow all who would dare cross blades with our warriors to see the strength of the Deadlands emanating from within that proud breast. The crimson power of the Lord of Chaos will not be diminished! In Dagon’s name!

DAGGERS
As a confident leader, I have asked our most venerated Annihilarch assassins for their feedback on these blades. Their more detailed technical specifications are attached. My only high-level direction is to ensure the hated enemies of Mehrunes Dagon quake in fear when they are unsheathed. In Dagon’s name!

GLOVES
Spiked claws must extend from the fingers of these gauntlets, with the exception of those used by our lightly armored spellcrafters. Let the idea of “”one size fits all”” be enough for the incompetent Xivkyn. Not under my command! In Dagon’s name!

HELMETS
The spires of the Deadlands shall serve as inspiration for the crown of horns that rise from Annihilarch helms. Further, enchant each one such that there is no need for a visor upon their brow. The warriors of Dagon can see their foes, but the dark grimace of success as a blade plunges home is for our Chaotic Lord alone! In Dagon’s name!

LEG GREAVES
Care should be taken in the plating for Annihilarch greaves lest they become too binding. Likewise, we should ensure that each soldier is instructed properly in the fitting process. Too many brave warriors have fallen in battle due to bunched material. In Dagon’s name!

MACES
Ah, my weapon of choice! Let each maul and mace be weighted to perfection, twice for each forging must you test these implements of war. Do not skimp on the crown of spikes, and affix several on each facing. Several designs of late have saved on materials by leaving some sides bald, impotent! Not for the Annihilarchs, forgemasters! In Dagon’s name!

SHIELDS
The visage of our dark lord must be implied by the plating on these defensive guards. Allow the power of the Deadlands to stare out from the face of these shields. None shall break the guard of the Annihilarchs! In Dagon’s name!

SHOULDERS
Upward flaring spines is traditional in Daedric armor, a tradition we should carry on here. Forgemasters, take note, some of you take liberties with the size of armor pauldrons. Not for the Annihilarchs. Leave your oversized shoulder plating for lesser warriors. Dagon’s elite demand freedom of movement! In Dagon’s name!

STAVES
Dagonic spellweavers are just as well-trained in the art of melee fighting as our infantry. Let them cast their spells from barb-tipped warstaves the full length of a mortal! All will know the glory of the Annihilarch sorcery corps! In Dagon’s name!

SWORDS
Please ensure this order reaches the forge of Shirand, Forgemaster of Ardent Hope. She won the right to design the Annihilarch’s blade in single combat with a dozen other hopefuls. Whatever cruel barbs and deft twists are inlaid into this weapon, I have full faith and confidence in her ability to carry out our chaotic lord’s will. In Dagon’s name!

Crafting Motif 108: Fargrave Guardian Style

There is no greater honor than to serve the most unique city in all of the planes. Follow these instructions carefully and you will join the ranks of those who dedicate their existence to something greater than themselves.

Firstly, gather gold, blue, and silver materials. Gold for the wealth of Fargrave; the gold in the treasuries belongs to the city and must be protected. Blue for the beauty shining in Fargrave’s eternal sky, in protecting this, a Guardian gains honor in their service. Silver ties Guardians together, creating a lasting bond throughout all Fargrave Guardians.

AXES
The head of the axe is a half-circle with jagged points of metal reaching toward the axe’s grip. The shape resembles a golden storm cloud. When used, the destructive force rained down upon those who threaten Fargrave will be as severe and fatal as a bolt of lightning.

BELTS
Cut a swatch of blue fabric into strips and wrap them around the waist. This serves as a reminder of the duty all Guardians uphold. The wrappings ground each Guardian secure them with the firm belief necessary to face those who threaten Fargrave. Add adornments to the belt if desired.

BOOTS
Footwear provides a sturdy foundation of all movements made throughout Fargrave. Footwear does not guarantee comfort. Keep this rule in mind when shaping the metal and fashioning the boots—stability in each step over comfort.

BOWS
Wrap the bow with blue fabric, styling it similarly to the configuration on the chest plate. Do the same to the quiver. Both items represent the surety of aim; for none who use them waver in their commitment to the Stricture.

CHESTS
Fashion the chest piece out of thick leathers and twist two lengths of blue fabric across the front. The blue ties act as chains, remaining fixed to heart of the Guardian’s being, reminding them of all Fargrave offers.

DAGGERS
The dagger’s balance allows it to penetrate armor, scales, hide, and fur in one fell swoop. Visitors to Fargrave hail from across the realms and the short blade acts as a fatal deterrent to all who seek to destroy it from within.

GLOVES
Layer small plates of metal to protect the extremities of the hand and protect the palm with strips of leather. While other pieces of this revered garb may sacrifice comfort, the fingers of a guardian must be dexterous enough to catch a scampering banekin thief.

HELMETS
Guardians are indistinguishable from one another. A new guardian must have their horns shaved down, removing all trace of the individual so that the guardians appear as one uniform collective with the same, sharp, horns.

LEG GREAVES
Rather than having the spiked portion of the greave facing outward—a cowardly attempt at intimidation that holds denizens of Fargrave at bay—curve the point upward, towards the knee. While attacking outsiders is noble, the first priority in an attack is to keep Fargrave standing.

MACES
The mace head resembles the intricate stonemasonry of Fargrave. The might and weight of the very walls themselves are felt in every blow a Guardian strikes. To this end, be sure to embed a piece of the city’s wall in the mace itself. It will lend Fargrave’s strength to the blow.

SHIELDS
Though there is need for them, there is little honor in wielding a shield against an enemy of Fargrave. As such, do not use the blue fabric except as a ribbon to secure the shield to the arm. Instead stand proudly and know that one more body will not hinder the city’s elite force.

SHOULDERS
Make the metal plates of the shoulder pad spiked and wide, for the Guardians bear the weight of Fargrave on their shoulders. Each shoulder plate must be curved away from the flesh of the arm. The upturned crescent shape grants us an unmistakable silhouette in thar dark alleys of the city.

STAVES
Out of all the weapons, utilize the most azure fabric in the making of a staff. These weapons will hold the enemies of Fargrave at bay and keep them distanced from the city. They are regal, pointed, and can be used in a variety of situations. In the past, the staves propped up fallen bazaar stalls, helped merchants hang and display their wares, and prod errant books back into formation. Carry them with honor and grace.

SWORDS
Swords are excellent, imposing weapons that carry statements of the swift justice of the Grasp and the steadfast rules of the Stricture. Mortal merchants fear the fate a sword brings and can be corralled into behaving. Keep the blade golden and brightly polished. So that all who see it know it as a sword of a Guardian.

Crafting Motif 11: Ancient Elf Style

This book was previously called “Racial Motifs 11: Ancient Elves”

The master—I mean the Professor, Morian Zenas—is gone. So is Lady Alfidia, though I always addressed her as Doctor Lupus. So, for that matter, is the Telvanni, but he, at least, will not be missed—nasty mer, always making caustic comments about “the scaleskin help” whenever the Professor wasn’t around.

No, I am glad the Telvanni is gone. But the others … well.

I will stay on here as long as I may, keeping the Professor’s town house in order, organizing his notes and his reagents, dusting his beloved books. I still hope for his return. For now, the University has him listed as “On Sabbatical,” and sends his stipend to me so I can maintain his residence and arcane workshop.

It was while in the study, straightening the Professor’s desk, that I came across a stack of notes in Lady Alfidia’s elegant handwriting, unfinished studies of clothing, arms, and armor in several cultural styles. The river flows slowly these days, so I have decided to organize these style notes in a fashion that (I hope) approximates how the lady doctor would have done so herself.

Though notes about the styles of the leading Elven societies of current-day Tamriel have already been compiled, there is more to say, as the mer, who revere their ancestors and ancestry, have a special regard for the history of Aldmeri culture. The Merethic Era, when Elves first conquered and colonized Tamriel, they regard as a golden age to be emulated. As a result the clothing and armor of that period never really goes out of style, and many Elves still affect the styles and manners of the ancient Aldmeri. It is not at all unusual, even on continental Tamriel, to encounter a High Elf or Dark Elf dressed like an ancient Ayleid or Chimer. The Elves call this practice “draping Ehlnofic,” but the rest of us just call it “Ancient Elven” and leave it at that.

(I will add here to the absent lady’s notes that I myself, though having lived in the Imperial capital for many long years, have never seen a Wood Elf sporting this Ancient Elven style. But the Bosmer, like we Argonians, seem to prefer to live in the Aurbic Now, showing relatively little regard for the ways of former ages.)

Ancient Elven is different from Elven styles favored by modern artisans of Summerset and Morrowind in that it is somewhat more organic, and yet at the same time more abstract. Flowing floral motifs are common, usually tapering to a sharp point or end, as in the sharp-peaked arches so familiar to the inhabitants of Cyrodiil from our ubiquitous Ayleid ruins. Circles, semi-circles, and arcs abound, often containing the organic tapering tendrils, much as the Aedra (whom the Elves claim as ancestors) were constrained by the creation of the Mundus.

(What? What’s that? …It is as if I heard my lady whisper in my ear, “How pretentious, Seif-ij!”)

Crafting Motif 110: Dreadsails Style

Welcome to the fleet, captain. First things first, take everything you think about running a crew and toss it in the drink. You pledge your ship to the Dreadsail fleet, you run your rigging as the Fleet Queen says.

Don’t like it? Better you turn and sail straight back to Pyandonea right now, before you wind up dredged through the reef until you’ve sprinkled every last scrap of your flesh for the barnacles to suck up. If that’s all clear, then quarter your crew and start outfitting them like proper Dreadsails.

AXES
The Fleet Queen has a fondness for the reef vipers on this rock. Particularly ill-tempered in a manner she finds charming. She has all our axes modeled off their jagged fangs and wants them kept just as ready to snap off a limb.

BELTS
The Fleet Queen doesn’t care how you hang your breeches so long as they stay up when she wants them that way. If she doesn’t, best make sure you can get them off at her pleasure. All the buckles she had fashioned are a little on the sharp side, you should know.

BOOTS
Waterproofed ornaug leather is preferred, but if you’ve got a nice pair of Sloadskin boots to show off the Queen will indulge you, if she doesn’t take them for her tithe. No loose leggings unless you fancy sinking.

BOWS
Most of our bows are cured driftwood and clad in scaled steel made not to rust. Fletch with whatever feathers you can find, but have at least four kinds of sea venoms ready for the tips. The Queen expects you to learn which are best for the right situation.

CHESTS
Light ornaug leather vests and chest wraps are most of what you’re going to find available. You’ll be expected to outswim a shark and scale a ship’s hull in anything you wear, so don’t claim any steel you haven’t got the gills for.

DAGGERS
Any sailor in the Queen’s fleet better have a good knife at their side. We keep ours sharp enough to split oysters, including the gut hook. If yours is too dull to cut a line in one go, you’ll wish you had when she runs it across your stomach.

GLOVES
Keep your gloves well treated for weather and wear with sea slug oil. It’s just slick enough for gliding rope but still lets you dig in and keep a line firm in hand.

HELMETS
Bare heads are permitted dress, but headwraps and bandanas are fine for keeping your hair down in the wind. We’ve got some heavy cowls with shell and scale stylings if you fancy yourself a marine, but they smother the gills.

LEG GREAVES
We’ve got drab twill breeches and robes in just about any size you could want. They’re all treated with a dreugh wax wash to keep out the sea spray. If that gives you a nether itch, use a little fish oil as a barrier.

MACES
The Queen had all the fleet’s maces styled after her own scepter. No, she doesn’t use it, just tickles her fancy. The narrow profile cleaves the air and skulls well enough, so no complaining if you know what’s good for you.

SHIELDS
I thought the shields were modeled after reef viper scales, but the Queen says she had them fashioned after one of the Maw’s teeth that washed up on the beach. Not much difference in size between them.

SHOULDERS
The queen had light steel plates cast in some shells she collected around the reef. Worked better than I figured it would, so much so that the Queen requires every Dreadsail to wear them on your sleeves. Keep yours polished.

STAVES
The Queen’s highest standards are reserved for her mages, especially the Sea Mages. She requires any Dreadsail with a talent for magic to master a stave like her own, both for casting and as a harpoon. The three-prong, barbed end will stick firm in a whale, or a boarder.

SWORDS
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that we favor the saber in this fleet. I assume you know how to use one. The Fleet Queen considers any Maormer who can’t fence an embarrassment to their kind. Prepare to be tested. And make sure you know how to turn away a blade with the cross guard or you’ll be short a few fingers.

Crafting Motif 111: Ascendant Order Style

A guide to crafting armor and weapons in the Ascendant Order style

Welcome to the cause, recruit! Not so long ago I was a new aspirant in the Order, just like you. With devotion and hard work, I advanced through the ranks of knight, guardian, and banneret until the Ascendant Lord himself selected me to serve as the Order’s chosen champion. Let my example inspire you to embrace your duties with similar zeal.

While we must hide our faces as we go about the Order’s work, it is important that our arms and our uniforms declare our allegiance for all to see. We are no rabble, no mere bandits! We are the knights who rise from the shadows, challenging those who mistreat and misrule us. Wear your hood and helm with pride, recruit. You share a bond of fraternity with all who bear them.

This is what the Order requires of our arms and armor.

AXES
In close battle all parts of a weapon may come into play. The blade of an Ascendant Order axe features a strong forward point for thrusting, as well as a sturdy steel haft for blocking enemy blows. The blade’s hook can also be used to dismount riders.

BELTS
A wide, sturdy belt made from reinforced leather guards an Ascendant soldier’s waist and supports weapons and armor worn on the lower body. For heavy armor, a hinged plate adds protection for the knight’s groin.

BOOTS
Speed and stealth are just as important as protection for an Ascendant Order knight. Soft leather reinforced by steel plate at the knee and ankle provides good mobility and a quieter footfall than sabatons with more extensive coverage. The heavy armor adds a shin-guard of steel sandwiched between layers of dark leather.

BOWS
Every land seems to have its own preferred material and pattern for a bow, but one of the advantages of recruiting from all over Tamriel is the ability to take the best each offers. An Ascendant Order bow is a compound weapon made from sturdy rosewood or yew, powerful enough to pierce heavy plate at close range.

CHESTS
Much of the Ascendant Order’s work requires stealth and subterfuge. Dark leather helps a knight to remain concealed until the moment they strike, and to vanish again when their work is done. Even the breastplate of heavy armor is typically covered by soft leather to muffle sounds and hide the telltale gleam of steel.

DAGGERS
Relatively narrow for its length, an Ascendant Order dagger is designed for the thrust, not the slash. Its thin blade easily pierces mail, but it is strong enough to resist bending or breaking. The crossguard can also be used to catch or disarm an enemy’s blade.

GLOVES
The arms and hands of an Ascendant Order soldier are protected by vambraces of boiled leather (for lighter suits) or steel (for heavier armor). Sturdy leather gloves cover the wearer’s fingers. Flexibility and ease of wear help our knights to conceal their armor when needed.

HELMETS
As the Ascendant Lord likes to say, “”Anonymity is our sword and our shield.”” Knights of the Order hide their faces because they belong to all races and all lands. Even the lightest armor features a mask and hood to conceal the wearer’s identity.

LEG GREAVES
An Ascendant Order knight may be called upon to slip unnoticed through a crowd, scramble over rooftops, or outrun enemies in heavier armor. The best pattern for our greaves is a light, close-fitting plate of stiffened leather or steel that provides the best protection possible without sacrificing speed.

MACES
The Ascendant Order often confronts well-armored enemies, and nothing is better for crushing armor than a good heavy mace. Even a knight in plate can be disabled by a mace-blow to the leg or knocked senseless by a strike to the helm. A strong steel haft balances the weapon’s weight and ensures it won’t break in battle.

SHIELDS
Made from overlapping plates of light, strong steel, the Ascendant Order shield is a sturdy heater distinguished by its engrailed upper edge and nicked sides. A skilled fighter can easily catch an enemy’s blade with these seemingly decorative elements. Naturally, the shield proudly displays our crown-and-gauntlet emblem.

SHOULDERS
An Ascendant Order warrior typically wears close-fitting, rounded spaulders to protect the shoulders and upper arms. These pieces have few embellishments and fit snugly, so that the wearer can easily don or remove a cloak in order to disappear into a crowd. They are also less likely to snag in brush or foliage.

STAVES
Some knights fight with sword and shield; others fight with spell and staff. The Ascendant Order welcomes all who are ready to fight against tyranny. An Ascendant Order staff is a strong rod of steel with a dark leather grip. The weapon’s head is heavy enough to deal a deadly blow in melee, if a battle comes to that.

SWORDS
Few swords can defeat plate armor with the edge alone, so the Ascendant Order favors a narrow blade with a sturdy cross-section suitable for thrusting as well as slashing. Punching the point through a joint or visor is more effective than trying to club down a well-armored adversary with the edge. Strong quillons help to protect the wielder’s hands in the thick of the fight.

Crafting Motif 112: Syrabanic Marine Style

Frog-metal, or Syrabane’s Steel, is a highly coveted rarity to those of us alive today. But this was not always the case. The famed buoyant metal is an astounding prize for mariners around Amenos. The supply is woefully limited and not exactly something one can just whip up. So, I will describe these designs how they were, before Syrabane’s metal was lost to the sea. When stalwart sea knights made use of these weapons and armor, they did so unafraid of the waves that rocked the decks beneath their feet. These knights of the unfathomable depths are worthy of study, as are their arms.

I located this record of one such knight who took the time to painstakingly describe the sheer magnificence of his equipment. I hope you enjoy his account as much as I, dear reader.

AXES
One would know the fearsome sight of our axes anywhere. Resplendent in the sun, the golden sheen of our blades is quite a distinct sight. As for the rest of the design, none could forget where we come from, nor that the sea has honed our practices. A sharp fin carved from painted metal unfurls from the head of the weapon and a grinning fish wrought in steel protrudes to unnerve our enemies.

BELTS
Our belts, though sturdy, are often made from lighter materials such as thin leathers or rope. Syrabane’s Steel allows us to fight without fear of drowning, but the rest of our armor must account for that too. Depending on the kind of warrior, belts display a seashell made from the light steel as a focal point.

BOOTS
Footwear, especially on a ship, must be flexible and light in order to be useful. Even our most stalwart warriors who regularly throw themselves into the fray need a balance of both protection and agility. Supple leather gives the wearer enough pliancy so that their feet are free to move and adjust over the unwieldy deck of a ship.

BOWS
Do we truly wield bows? Or do we carry serpents of the sea along our backs, with their spines curved as they crest the waves with their spiked fins? No one can be certain. Our weapons certainly resemble terrifying leviathans with their sinuous frames and sharp, cutting fins. But we do not sacrifice effectiveness for style.

CHESTS
While our armor varies greatly within our ranks, our chest pieces usually have two things in common. One, they are easy to move around in and two, that they provide excellent protection. The leather we use for the parts closest to the wearer’s body is specially treated so that it does not suffer from long-term exposure to saltwater and the elements.

DAGGERS
Our daggers burn dark orange in the light and gleam like fishhooks. I say this only because many think they look more equipped to gut a fish than an enemy. But flesh is flesh, and our daggers can cut through even the toughest. A flared metal fin extends up from the hilt and protects the wielder’s grip.

GLOVES
Our gloves must be capable of both holding a weapon and tying down a sail. Because of this, we fashion our gloves to be light enough so that fingers can remain nimble, but we reinforce them with Syrabane’s Steel on top to protect the wearer.

HELMETS
We rise like creatures from the deep, a legion of aquatic monstrosities formed together to fight as one! Our helmets give us a fearsome appearance in most cases and are fashioned to look like the head of a terrible beast from the ocean’s depths. Bright orange fins rise atop our heads as a warning, much like sharks.

LEG GREAVES
The leather of our greaves looks closer to the scales of a fish than most armor. While this is an aesthetic choice, it is also a matter of protection. This layering effect makes the leather much harder to pierce through.

MACES
Should one encounter one of our maces, they would have mere moments to admire their craftsmanship before meeting their gruesome demise. Fashioned like horns of a ram, or perhaps the scaled tentacles of a sea creature if one looks closely, the mace is a fearsome sight. Decorative fins hold those pieces together and attract the eye with bright color.

SHIELDS
Our shields resemble the back of a fearsome creature—something that slithers beneath the waves in wait. A squid-like face at the top overshadows the glowing orange carapace that gives the shield most of its strength. Syrabane’s Steel allows for the shields to be quite large and ostentatious without risking the wearer being weighed down.

SHOULDERS
The shoulders of our warriors rest under panels of light steel. For most, shoulder pauldrons take the form of sleek fins. It may look as though we could dive beneath the very waves with such appendages and conquer the fathomless depths as swiftly as we do the land. That is not far from the truth, despite how fantastical it may sound.

STAVES
Light as air, our staves are as powerful as they are beautiful. Dark orange fins reach towards the sky, not unlike a creature descending upon their prey in the salty depths. The lean metal of the staff itself is easy to wield and not at all cumbersome. The bottom section of the staff resembles a lurking octopus and provides balancing weight.

SWORDS
Our swords resemble hooks, as part of the blade is purposely cut out to create a notch. This makes the weapon a force to be reckoned with, as its biting edge can flay the enemy twice in a single stroke. The hilt is made from Syrabane’s Steel and depicts long, sharp fins filed to points. The pommel balances the weight of the blade and contains carved tentacles bundled into a knot.

Crafting Motif 113: Steadfast Society Style

A guide to crafting armor and weapons in the Society of the Steadfast style

I congratulate you, my friends, and welcome you to the Society of the Steadfast. You have committed yourselves to the noblest struggle of our time. Many warriors have taken up arms to fight for great causes—sometimes glorious, sometimes cruel or selfish. But in the ranks of the Steadfast, you now fight for peace. When the wars troubling Tamriel finally end, you can take pride in the knowledge that no one fought for a nobler cause than you did.

It is my earnest hope that the battles we fight can be won with our swords in their sheaths. Sadly, this is not always possible. We Steadfast often must place ourselves in harm’s way to succor the victims of war. And so, my brothers and sisters, we must gird ourselves for battles we do not wish to fight, and take up arms to protect those who cannot protect themselves. But even though we must be ready for strife, let no one mistake us for their enemies!

AXES
A Steadfast axe features a steel blade set in a brass mounting, emblazoned with the symbol of the Society. It is a weapon that is both functional and handsomely crafted. Remember: an axe is a tool as well as a weapon, and we prefer to fell trees and shape wood instead of hewing foes.

BELTS
The most prominent feature of a Steadfast belt is a large, silver buckle-plate that displays the Society’s symbol. The belt itself is made from dyed leather in an off-white color that matches the wearer’s tabard, hood, and boots (in the case of light or medium armors).

BOOTS
Boots for light or medium Steadfast armor are made of soft leather, with boiled leather shin-guards for extra protection. Heavy armor sabatons use overlapping steel plates instead of boiled leather to protect the wearer’s shins.

BOWS
A powerful, brass-tipped recurve bow made from good High Isle yew, the Steadfast bow is designed to drive an arrow through heavy plate armor at long range. The Society is often called upon to protect places of sanctuary, which means defending walls and battlements with lethal archery.

CHESTS
Off-white tabards over tunics of slate-gray serve as the Society’s uniform. We want to be recognized wherever we go, so that warriors caught up in the chaos of battle can’t possibly mistake the Steadfast for their enemies. Lighter armors protect the wearer’s torso with tough, quilted cotton or soft leather jerkins; heavy armors are made of steel breastplates over a mail coat.

DAGGERS
The Steadfast dagger is a balanced blade of good steel, with a brass hilt and a heavy disk-shaped pommel. The symbol of the Society is proudly emblazoned on the crossguard. Equally useful in both thrust and slash, the dagger is a good choice for personal defense in dangerous situations.

GLOVES
Long gloves of heavy cloth or soft leather protect the arms and hands of a Steadfast warrior. For suits of plate armor, steel vambraces with fully articulated gauntlets completely cover the hands and fingers for maximum protection.

HELMETS
Much like the healers who serve in the temples of the Eight Divines, the Society of the Steadfast are called to minister to those who suffer in war. As a sign of this commitment, the Steadfast wear priestly hoods dyed in the off-white and slate-gray of our order. Those of us whose duties require them to be fully armored wear visored steel helms beneath their hoods.

LEG GREAVES
Tassets of steel or boiled leather (dyed in the Society colors) guard the hips of a Steadfast soldier. Steadfast who go about their duties in light armor instead wear cloth kilts or skirts that match their long tabards.

MACES
The preferred bludgeoning weapon of the Steadfast is a hammer with a sturdy wood haft, reinforced by brass. Unlike a more traditional mace, which has no purpose beyond fighting, a hammer is a tool as well as a weapon. If needed, a heavy beak on the reverse side of the weapon’s head can deal with the heaviest armor.

SHIELDS
Nothing better embodies the Steadfast philosophy than the shield—a device meant to deflect and defeat attack. Just as warriors guard themselves with their shields, we serve as shields to those in need. The Steadfast shield is built to the old Imperial legionary pattern, a large scutum of light steel decorated with a heater-shaped brass boss.

SHOULDERS
All Steadfast are soldiers in the cause of peace. Even Steadfast in the robes of mages wear pauldrons of dyed leather in token of their dedication. Naturally, Steadfast in heavier armor add articulated steel plates beneath the dyed leather to withstand enemy blows when forced to fight.

STAVES
While the Society of the Steadfast is organized much like other chivalric orders, many of our “”knights”” prefer the staff to the sword. Not only is the staff a powerful weapon in the hands of a mage or priest, it is also a symbol of leadership and authority. The Steadfast staff is made from good Systres hardwood, and tipped by a brass head in the shape of the Society’s symbol.

SWORDS
The sword is a symbol of war. Unlike the hammer or the axe, it is a tool with no purpose other than killing. We Steadfast unsheathe our swords only in the last resort, when there is no other way to serve the cause of peace. The Steadfast sword is a long, well-balanced blade of good steel, with a brass crossguard and a disk-shaped pommel.

Crafting Motif 114: Systres Guardian Style

By Zoellene Ruqueville, Scholar and Former Guard

In my youth, I patrolled Gonfalon Bay, ensuring that all remained safe. During that time, I grew to appreciate the quality and utility of the gear provided by the watch, designed by old man Canis. Cussed, hungry, and mean … but my fellow street soldiers were never left wanting.

As he always said. “”Looking impressive is a secondary concern, beef-wit. But it can be useful.””

AXES
These double-hafted wonders have edges sharp enough to slice a hair in half length-wise—I’ve won a few bets doing this. They also make use of supple ornaug hide for their grip. Just don’t ask Canis what he used to soften it. You don’t want to know.

BELTS
If you like nondescript belts, these aren’t for you. Barrack tales claim the emblem represents the coin-barons that bought High Isle long ago. That’s why we called our captain “”Seahawk.”” I think the barracks folk still do.

BOOTS
When you’re walking your rounds, you want comfortable boots. When you’re dealing with ruffians, you want boots that kick arse. These do both thanks to the ornaug hunters, who supplied the leather, and of course old Canis.

An ex-guard’s tip for you. Pangrit spit makes cloth proof against water. You’re welcome.

BOWS
Guards often patrol alone, which makes the design of our quivers useful as well as striking. The metal embellishment serves as added armor—a lifesaver when you’re set upon by multiple foes. Our broadhead arrows are crafted with crow-feather fletching provided by the local druids.

I once heard they literally talk the birds into giving over their feathers, but that’s got to be rubbish.

CHESTS
A mix of fitted ornaug hide and High Isle steel means each guard must have custom work done on their chestpiece to ensure the best fit.

I particularly loved the diagonal strap, which I used to hold my tankard when off duty. Captain Seahawk wasn’t always happy with this, but off duty is off duty.

DAGGERS
If you’re the type to get sweaty hands in bare-handed combat, this dagger is for you. I don’t know what wondrous technique Canis used to make the ornaug leather handle wick away moisture, but it worked. Once I had to fish my dagger out of a big stein of ale (don’t ask), only to find it dry as I held it up to defend myself.

That said, wear all your armor because bare hands are an invitation for scars when you’re a guard.

GLOVES
We’ve all worn armor meant to protect our hands, only to have it get in the way. Our gauntlets and gloves never did that. The straps stay snug, and the supple leather allows for a light touch and the metal guards serve well to deflect blows from a weapon. I can personally attest you can do alleyway surgery wearing a set, if you need any further recommendation.

HELMETS
As someone who has taken more than a few bad bangs to the head, let me tell you about these helmets. Even the lighter versions protect your forehead from blows, and the inner lining helps you avoid long-lasting effects from a real wallop.

Yes, they make for a warmer summer day than you might like, but tuck your hair up in there and it stays dry.

LEG GREAVES
Do you prefer flowing robes or weather-proofed leggings? Both are available, and both feature some damned concoction from Canis that protects against toss-up, rain, piss, saltwater, dung-stains, and your normal everyday wind off the bay.

The number of times I had to dive in and yank some oaf from the brine. Let’s just say I know the docks as well as some of the native-born sailors.

MACES
When confronting a belligerent drunkard, the pommel of these maces comes in handier than the flanges. “”Keep your reaction equivalent to the action—don’t escalate.”” That’s what Seahawk told us each night in the barracks. And I wholeheartedly agree. If you’re more of a two-handed weapons fighter, brandish the seahawk emblem if you need to remind folks of your authority.

SHIELDS
You can’t miss the seahawk on a Systres guardian’s shield—unless you’re trying to tag that guard with an arrow. In that case, the shield serves its purpose well by deflecting not only arrows, but also other martial attacks—when used properly.

Flip it over and it acts as a decent dicing receptacle, too. Not that we ever did such a thing.

SHOULDERS
Sometimes you need to bust open doors. And Gonfalon Bay doors are resistant to kicking, so you have to put your shoulder into it. Thankfully, these armor styles absorb some impact from the ornaug leather under the metal.

Just don’t do that sort of thing for fun—and go have a hot water soak when you get off duty.

STAVES
The double pointed design on our regulation staves was an in-joke from Canis. I guess an old friend of his used to be a mage … but not a very good one. So the old man whipped this up as a way to deter thugs from sticking a shank in his pal.

Think about it: Do you really want someone to poke this into your shoulder, then twist? For the more mystically inclined, lightning or fire or whatever crackling through the staff makes those double points even more alarming.

SWORDS
If someone missed the fact that they’re facing down a Systres guardian, the seahawk on the crossguard helped clear that up quick. The hilt’s grip sits just right in the hand, and I always thought its rain guard has a stylish flair not normally seen on everyday swords.

Just don’t go swinging it without a care in the world, eh? That crest means something to those of us who patrolled the bay.

Crafting Motif 115: Y’ffre’s Will Style

By Nauriel Elaia, Head Arborist of the Systres Horticultural Society

The following are annotations and observations collected while working alongside Galen’s exceptionally talented druidic armorers. It was a wonderful privilege to work alongside such talented plant-shapers. My fellow horticulturalists would do well to offer them the respect they are due.

AXES
The knotted root structure holding the blade’s neck to the axe’s haft is no mere adornment. I could barely believe my eyes as I watched a druidic weaponsmith coax these roots into intricate structures that are nearly impossible to unweave.

BELTS
It should be noted that this venture began when my daughter came home with a wonderfully crafted belt made by their druid partner. Its form fitting structure aids not only in cinching the entire ensemble, but also providing support to the lower back when lifting hefty weapons or heavy packs.

BOOTS
At first I was surprised by how tightly the boots gripped my calves. How strange I must’ve looked fumbling about! But given some time I found myself capable of footwork that I’d long since thought was behind me. These boots returned to me the balance of someone half my age.

BOWS
I once heard that an archer that expects a bow to bend to their will, without doing the same in return, is a dishonor to the weapon. An archer should show fluidity in battle and become the swaying branch that was grown to make the bow.

CHESTS
When I first wore one of their chest pieces I was brought to tears. I wasn’t just wearing a piece of armor; I was privy to the lineage of the crafter. Every stitch, every seam, passed down from one expert hand to the next. How strange to want to describe a piece of armor as comforting.

DAGGERS
The cut of the Will dagger’s blade was described to me as a biting wind. Sharp, and chilling, and nay impossible for any layer of armor to keep at bay. I was gifted one at the beginning of my stay. I still haven’t unsheathed it for fear of cutting myself.

GLOVES
I’ve watched as hunters offer not only their hand, but entire forearm to an oncoming beast. A startling act of vulnerability, but not without reason. Their arm wraps are made of threaded fibers representative of the woods they hunt in. A succinct way of conveying parity between the hunter and beast.

HELMETS
The heat of the sun and the chill of night are no match for these helms. Heavier pieces even include wooden adornments that divert blistering winds away from one’s eyes. These smooth, almost soft faceplates are crafted by hand. I’ve seen it myself: these artisans can carve wood with the same fluidity another might shape clay.

LEG GREAVES
Druid Alurra explained that they ask their tamed beasts for leather only as a last resort. There was a sadness to the way she said it. An unspoken acknowledgement of respect and loss. But, at the same time, a comfort in the lives the armor will surely save.

MACES
Great care is taken in the chiseling of these stone mace heads. Every shard the smith chips away is a deliberate step towards a perfectly balanced weapon. Druid Alurra explained, while giving me a bracing exhibition, that a trained warrior can perfectly imagine the point of impact as if it was an extension of their own arm.

SHIELDS
A stunning example of how early nurturing and druidic influence can drastically affect a familiar wood’s growth. In this case, druids greatly increased the number of capillaries present in the trunk of this mahogany hybrid. This leads to a near iron-like density, perfect for these particular items.

SHOULDERS
It may be easy for some of our greener researchers, excuse the pun, to view these spaulders as being made from simple debris. Far from the truth! If you’d humor me, take a deep whiff of the spaulders. You’ll note a nutty, earthy aroma. What looks like detritus acts as an aroma shield of sorts, masking the wearer’s scent from local wildlife.

STAVES
The druids insist that, even after being cut and hewn, the wood they use remains alive and aware. No better example can be found than their staves which rhythmically thrum as if still trying to grow, breath, and draw water from the earth beneath you.

SWORDS
Behind every weapon grown is a talented druidic blacksmith. Consider the craft and care they put into both a sword and a chisel. Both are perfectly balanced, with a form complimenting their use. And both are equally deadly when in the right hands.

Crafting Motif 116: Drowned Mariner Style

By “Growler” Silaine, Marine Salvager

There’s a bounty of salvage in the Graven Deep! Divines willing, it can be ours! If we’re to make it out of this wrecking expedition alive, we’ll need to be able to protect our ships and our spoils. Or become the wrecked ourselves! Let old Growler’s knowledge be put to page, and we’ll see if we can make proper mariners out of you filching wreckers yet!

AXES
Hear me: the best-fashioned axes sport a hook or spike astern of a nice, broad bit. It’s dead useful for prying, climbing, boarding, picking, gouging, whatever you might put your keen mind to. Adorn it with some flashy spoils, a coin, or some ribbons, and you’ll catch eyes in more ways than one.

BELTS
The most important part of a sailor’s ensemble, and I’ll hear no word otherwise. When the sea’s churning, you’ve got enough ways to lose your footing without your breeches hung round your ankles! Above all else, that belt should hold fast as a barnacle and keep your treasures safely stowed.

BOOTS
I’ll not have some knife-toed dandy slicing lines while climbing the rigging! Rounded toes, waterproofed seams, and spats or folded-over tops. No need for fancy runes to keep your footing: score your soles for traction, and thank me later.

BOWS
An oft-forgotten weapon at sea, on account of the skill needed to account for the wind and waves. Mariner’s bows are crafted with springy driftwood, if you can find it, and are adorned with cloth or feathers above the grip to give an eye for the direction of the wind.

CHESTS
Sailors fare best in lightweight, loose-fitting garb. You’ll do well in a long coat and a breathable shirt. Metal? Reinforcements? You planning to play anchor if you’re pitched overboard? What, you think frogmetal grows on trees, do you? Deck yourself in something that lets the wind blow through and takes musk and moisture with it. Your shipmates will thank you.

DAGGERS
Daggers. Now, there’s a weapon after my own heart. And yours, if you’re not careful. I like a dagger near long as my forearm, and thin enough to clamp between my teeth if need be. Mine is a deceptively simple design; no one’s tried to steal it yet. If someone’s going to nick it off me, it better well be off my corpse.

GLOVES
If you don’t understand why a mariner needs these, I’d say you’re not fit to set foot on a boat, let alone sail one. Cover your fingers or keep ’em free, it matters little to me. At the very least, wrap your hands in scraps of sailcloth. Even the most callused-up old salt will shred his palms trying to man the rigging without a good pair of gloves.

HELMETS
With head coverings, it’s a simple matter of you versus the weather. Even a bundled shirt or scrap of sailcloth will do fine enough against all manner of sun, wind, and brine. A well-made hat with an upturned brim is undeniably toothsome, and with ear coverings, it’s practical to boot.

LEG GREAVES
Comfort is key here. You want to contend with tight wet breeches while you’re being tossed round the ship like a battered fillet? I thought not. Fashion these bits to be light and breezy, and you’ll soon see them mold to you like a second skin.

MACES
Love these blessed beasts. If you’ve a steady arm, they’ll make mincemeat of any foe that might cross you. The two-handed mariner’s mace can also double as an anchor in a pinch. It’s come in handy for me more often than you’d think, and I like to wrap a net of rope around the head of mine for just such needs.

SHIELDS
Craft your shields round as the sun and flat as the doldrums. Set it atop a barrel for a game of cards. Bash a boarder in the face. Nail it in place to seal a hull breach. Hold fast to stay afloat if the ship’s going down. Your shield’s your best friend. And if you let it out of your sight, it might become someone else’s.

SHOULDERS
Sure, you don’t want to get cleaved like a pheasant. But a sailor who can’t raise his arms for fear of getting his head cracked like a nut is no use to anyone. Make ’em fit snug, so it’s easy enough to give some monkey-handed boarder the brushoff when he tries to bury his axe in your chest.

STAVES
The mast of magic! Our staves are fashioned with the head of a three-pronged fish spear, but I’ll encourage no practical use with that. That burnt fish smell tends to linger. Frost, fire, lightning—it all feels different channeling those elements down the fine tines of a trident. See if you don’t feel the same!

SWORDS
The longer your blade, all the more length to keep sharp. Craft it to a size you can manage. More power to you if you can handle a heavy two-hander. Me, I prefer something simple and swishy—a blade so plain, the world underestimates her razor-fine bite. That’s the cutlass for me.

Crafting Motif 117: Firesong Style

The declarations of Battle Crafter Bachard

Lo! I am Maxilien Bachard, War Provisioner to Archdruid Michiel of the Firesong sect. Hear now the words of the Battle Crafter!

Of the tripartite circles that comprise the druids of High Isle, the Firesong is the oldest and mightiest!! We are the heirs to greatness, the true leaders of the Draoife, and the keepers of the secrets of our path. We listen to the grinding melodies of the great holy mountain and understand its desires. We are the Chimera—many-headed, always attacking, always watchful, always wary. We know that, like the volcano’s flames, we will rise. We were the true followers the Last Druid King and will be the strong right arm of the next!

We prepare for our day with volcanic hammers and obsidian tools, with pelts of the wild beasts and with armor forged in the heart of Mount Firesong. Let us continue to fill our secret armories for that day when we may return the isles to their greatness and live once more as Free Bretons!

AXES
“”Strike hard and cut deep”” claim the foresters of Galen who thin the underbrush and preserve the straightest of trees. Heavy-headed and bound by heavy leather straps, the axes of the druids embody that philosophy. Carved from volcanic rock with pieces of skarn attached to the poll, the axe can damage on its backstroke as well as the initial hack.

BELTS
“”Stand fast in deep waters”” say our free-ranging scouts. These ornate belts, sashes, and girdles are woven from cloth and cables of steel to offer protection to the midsection while permitting the flexibility to move quickly in battle and to support the leg greaves.

BOOTS
“”Good boots are better than good swords”” say the mountain warriors, and they are correct. Thick-soled and supple, the boots fashioned for the Firesong sect are made of treated wamasu skin held with splinters of volcanic glass. A good set can last years, while lesser boots will have split and worn thin on the basalt wastelands.

BOWS
“”An arrow in flight is the safest greeting,”” is a saying of the guardians of our lands, and we make the bows to deliver that message to unwary trespassers. The rise and tips of the Firesong bows are ornately carved, the arrows are fletched with gryphon feathers, and the quiver decorated with shards of skarn.

CHESTS
“”Protect your heart as you would protect your home!”” Our armors are thick and resilient, fitted with plates of strengthened skarn beneath their leather coverings. The craft is exact—any blow against them are distributed outward through the armor itself and leave the wearer unscathed.

DAGGERS
Give me your attention! A simple blade in the correct hands is as deadly as the most powerful greatsword. Fashioned of the living skarn harvested from Mount Firesong, these dark glass blades slice with unerring accuracy, and cut through armor to the flesh beneath!

GLOVES
Our gloves are not soft velvet things, but rather made of heavy leather of the wildest creatures and iron hewn from the unyielding earth. “”Adorned with the living mountain itself,”” these gloves are a second skin, protective and effective against our foes, and join druid with weapon to form a deadly unity.

HELMETS
“”We are the Chimera, the guardians of the Druid King!”” Our helms proclaim that allegiance, fashioned after the great creatures that make up this marvelous beast! The powerful lion, the swift gryphon, and the stealthy wamasu – each holds their own power, and together they cannot be defeated!

LEG GREAVES
“”Improper greaves create long-term grief”” is the joke among armorers, and truly properly fitted leggings are a blessing to any who must move through the underbrush, whether hunting man or beast. In the colder reaches, they are lined with fur to provide additional warmth.

MACES
The heads of these weapons of crafted from volcanic rock and shod with the shards of skarn taken from the holy mountain itself. The spurs on these shards whistle with every attack. “”Let your blows fall with finality,”” and all our foes shatter before its might!

SHIELDS
Fashioned of overlaid plates of light volcanic glass and covered with thin layers of steel, our beast-faced shields protect their bearers and form a secure wall against their foes. “”Let the beasts lead the path into combat,”” as they say. And protect our warriors as the Chimera protects the Druid King!

SHOULDER ARMOR
Lo! “”Protect the weak points”” is elementary strategy, and the Firesong sect are masters of that strategy. Overlapping layers of volcanic stone provide both protection and its skarn spikes allow the attacker push through their softer opposition, brushing all away all who stand against them.

STAVES
“”The eyes of the Gryphon hold endless fury!””, or so the saying goes. The staffs of the druids of Galen are the finest in Tamriel, and they allow us to harness mystic power beyond the ken of mere mortals! Their heads are carved with the emblem of the ever-watchful gryphon, and their hafts guide elemental ferocity against our foes.

SWORD
“”A sharp blade is a gift from Y’ffre himself!”” They are not forged, but rather are flint-knapped from the living heart of Mount Firesong and bear our god’s blessing. Their jagged edges are sharper than steel and leave ragged wounds in those who dare oppose us.”

Crafting Motif 118: House Mornard Style

By Bertrand Merik, Master Blacksmith of the House Mornard Smithy

Yasmine, you’re coming of age now and I promised your mother I’d pass along the hammer and tongs when you was old enough. I’m no teacher, not like she was bless her heart, but be patient with your old codger of a father and I’ll be sure to pass along our family’s smithing knowledge as best I can.

AXES
Axes are like a mangy dog. Your instinct may be to fear them, but you’ve got to approach them with patience. Keep a firm hand, and take your time. One wrong hammer blow and your axe will leap up to bite you in the face.

BELTS
Your mother always liked gifting folks homemade belts. Said that a good belt not only kept your pants up but kept folks from stealing your weapon or coin purse. Your mother may have always looked for the best in folks, but that didn’t keep her from preparing for the worst.

BOOTS
A good boot should be flexible enough to dance in, but strong enough that it doesn’t crumple under a mace a blow. And I’m serious about being able to dance in them. I always shut all the forge windows before I test out our boots. Don’t need prying eyes seeing me make a right fool of myself.

BOWS
You’ll want to include a little notch in the handle’s leather work. Nothing too obvious, just a little dip that cues a young archer as to where to hold his arrow. Your mother taught me that, on account of your uncles being poor shots.

CHESTS
Your mother used to make knights sing during their breastplate fittings. She wanted to be sure they weren’t cinched so tight that they couldn’t get a deep enough breath to hold a tune. Should’ve seen how rosy they’d get with embarrassment. Every now and again I recognize one of their voices singing in the tavern. Nice to know her work kept them safe.

DAGGERS
Your mother used to say that everyone should either have a sharp dagger or a sharp wit. Having one will keep you out of a decent bit of trouble. Mind you, dear heart, she told me this for the first time after gifting me with the sharpest dagger I’d ever owned.

GLOVES
Using any old hot forge tool I like to lightly singe the leather, leave marks along the palms of our gloves like the lines on your own hands. Helps keep your grip tight around a weapons hilt. Last thing you want is a sword flying out your hand or your glove slipping before you can even unsheathe it.

HELMETS
Right after I showed you how to cinch the helmet so it wouldn’t fall off your head, you decided to test it by throwing yourself down the side of a hill. Still remember the way you giggled while you tumbled all the way down. Your mother called it a stress test, but the only thing you were stressing out was my heart.

LEG GREAVES
Never be cheap when it comes to leather. Might seem like the place to save a bit of coin, but we get ours specially treated. A secret mix of herbs and oils keep it from cracking from the salty sea air or getting torn up from a scrape with the thorny end of a spriggan. I’ve got the recipe written down around here somewhere.

MACES
When I asked for your mother’s hand in marriage, your grandfather asked me to help forge a mace. Wanted me to see how hard it was to balance the mace’s weight with the forge’s fire. You may not understand until you’re betrothed. But that lesson, learning how to balance passion with duty, is not one I’ll soon forget.

SHIELDS
Now, some folks might not see much sense in having a pretty shield, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. All this fancy metalwork is meant to divert a blade away from you. Every groove and curve keeps an impact’s force moving along the shield’s surface. You do this right and an enemy’s blade will glide right off you like boots on wet tile.

SHOULDERS
You’ll want to pay close attention to how tightly a pauldron grips your shoulder. Shouldn’t be so tight that you can’t life your arm, or so loose that a horse’s gallop would undo it. The way I think of it is like a tight grip from a kind hand. Supportive without being oppressive.

STAVES
The magically inclined do love their pretty staves, so be patient with the filigree. Too heavy handed and you’ll throw off its balance. Too light and it’s liable to ware away in a fortnight. You get it just right, well, nothing prettier than magic glinting off your handiwork.

SWORDS
Growing up you wanted to be a swordmaster. Came barging into the forge one day asking for a sword to practice with. Your mother got a good laugh out of it. I said you couldn’t swing them yet, but you could watch them be made. To see how lightweight they were and how you attached the hilt. You may not remember that, but it might’ve been your first lesson.”

Crafting Motif 119: Blessed Inheritor Style

Visions from Nals Indalyn

So follows the instructions for vestments of the followers of our Blessed Founder, Matriarch Lladi. By my visions through the Blessed Stone, I have seen us on the day of her return. She will know us by the adornments that protect us against the Scourge. Adorn yourself, and at your life’s end, pass them on to those who come after to witness our lady’s blessed arrival.

AXES
Our axes are double bit with clean, elegant, curved blades. Let each fall of your axe rend as much ruin as if it were the fall of our beloved Tower of Shadow’s Blessing.

BELTS
At our waists, the sigils of our order surround a fixed point: a symbol of our Matriarch Lladi, our society fixed around her blessed return, the strands of our sigil in dark leather to show no fear of the shadows that cloak our blessed valley.

BOOTS
Our boots are built with sturdiness about the shins, that we stride forward with purpose to meet our Matriarch’s arrival. Our knees are bared, such that we will feel it all the more keenly when we fall to them in her presence.

BOWS
Our bows are fashioned in recurve, as in the recursive nature of time. The limbs are bound in the same cloth and leather strips of our vestments. May your aim be as unwavering as our faith in our Matriarch Lladi’s return.

CHESTS
These vestments are secured with laces to stand for the interconnectedness of all things. We may adorn ourselves with scarves and modest fastenings of gold, but little else that may lead us from the humbleness of my visions.

DAGGERS
Our daggers have no guard. The flame-blade hungers for the return of the Scourge, to cut first and sink deep and be their fated end.

GLOVES
Our bracers and gauntlets must leave our arms free to move: to cast, to draw bowstrings, to strike the Scourge in heavy, lethal blows. Make sturdy and emboss with the sigil of our order, but leave wrists and elbows free to do what must be done.

HELMETS
On the day of our Matriarch’s return, I have seen our heads hooded in leather. With penitence, we bow our heads in conspiracy to see the end of the interlopers, the Scourge that may follow our blessed lady.

LEG GREAVES
I have seen that we wear sturdy leather, draped in somber patterns. We evoke the sturdiness of Ash Mountain, which does not ask for grace or swiftness, but stands sturdy to exhibit its power all the same. So must we root ourselves in place and chance the world that surrounds us.

MACES
I have seen our maces topped with five points, a head sharp with thoughts of malice and ruin. It dreams of a day to be used against the Scourge, to crack their bones and feast on their blood.

SHIELDS
Faith is your first line of defense. For ceremony as well as practicality, let the intricate sigil of our order face the Scourge first. Let it be crowned with three points, for that which shields may also serve as a weapon in dire times.

SHOULDERS
Our shoulders are curved, holding to the traditional stylings of our people. But let their dependable leather be embossed with the strands of our sigil—reassuring hands on both shoulders that guide you forward.

STAVES
The staves carried by our mages will carry a marking like a star breaking the night and secured with fasteners of gold. The head is split like two arrowheads: our Matriarch’s departure, and her blessed return, but joined in steadfast promise.

SWORDS
We carry blades with undulating edges, long and dark like columns of rising smoke. The guards are weapons in their own right, shaped into points, and of course embossed with the strands of our order’s sigil.”

Crafting Motif 12: Barbaric Style

This book was previously called “Racial Motifs 12: The Barbaric”

Continuing my compilation of Doctor Alfidia Lupus’ notes for studies of clothing, arms, and armor in diverse cultural styles….

Despite the civilizing influence of our noble Second Empire, Tamriel still has its backwaters and hinterlands inhabited by barbarous tribes. Probably the most familiar to us Cyrodilics are the savage clans of the Reachmen, who dwell in the wild mountains between Skyrim and High Rock, and whose raiders have been seen on the outskirts of Bruma within living memory. But there are also the Ashlanders of Morrowind, the fierce Kothringi of Black Marsh, the Ket Keptu of central Hammerfell, and many others.

It is a strange but undeniable fact that these tribes, farflung across the continent though they are, have strikingly similar tastes in apparel. Why this should be is fodder for another ethnographic study more speculative than this one, which is merely descriptive. (Therefore, on to the description.)

This clannish or tribal style, though commonly known as “Barbaric,” is really no less sophisticated than that of other cultures. The so-called barbaric tribes simply disdain all ideas of tasteful restraint, preferring the lurid and bizarre. Bright colors are favored, and materials may be lacquered to almost any hue. Typical accouterments include skulls, antlers, feathers, strings of teeth, accents of beaten copper, and weapons ostentatious in size and number.

(I feel the need to interject here that much of this description could also apply to the styles of my native Black Marsh, a region that could scarcely be described as “barbaric”! Pfui. I shall return to this cultural style another day.)

Crafting Motif 120: Scribes of Mora Style

From mire rose us Watchlings three, from ink and soot and fevered tree. With contract signed, we are bound, to share the secrets we have found. Under veiled moon and churning tide, Calx pens schematics on twisted hide. Linen spun from pent up rage, our dear Orpim inks this page. And metal hammered, iron wrought, Algar scrawls whispers they have caught. Mutter, sisters, in their ears, our fragile, little mortal peers. Armor shields, and blades do arm, protect them from untoward harm.

AXES
An axe, dear mortal, is shaped with rage, from plans written on blood-soaked page. An edge that writhes under lantern’s light, begging to spread its vicious blight. Keep a grip, a leash, upon this beast, or, perhaps, let it feast.

BELTS
A simple thing a belt may seem, but it too is part of his scheme. He holds you close, his grip is tight, but do not succumb to mortal fright. His love is deep and without end, this belt a hug from dear friend.

BOOTS
Boots of iron and cloven hoof, magically tempered and water proof. Made to scale mountains of knowledge and bone, and up to the foot of master’s eternal throne. Stand ready, stand firm, and hear his word, a song sung sweet by abyssal bird.

BOWS
Fetid grip and focused stare, arrows fletched with indrik hair. Seeker’s hands did string this bow, and gave it voice from dark below. Let loose a whisper, a lover’s lie, a tainted truth, or sad goodbye.

CHESTS
Fated words sewn into apocryphal silk, then soaked in a brew of spriggan’s milk. Knowledge and nature make for a powerful bond, all the more potent with a kiss from beyond. To some it’s a song, a whisper, or shout, but I assure you dear knight, you won’t last long without.

DAGGERS
Lurker’s teeth, Hagraven spit, born from night’s unending wit. A dagger, dear mortal, is more than its edge, it’s the care that is taken to honor your pledge. Oil the blade with dark lantern’s light and strike with the force of a hellhound’s bite.

GLOVES
Twisted fingers and puckered grip, the rotting stench of cursed partnership. As you join his stygian clutch, he too will feel all you touch. Notice now this glove’s tight fit? Or whispers that urge you to submit.

HELMETS
Creatia spun into a thread, woven into cowl upon your head. Listen close and you may hear, whispers from realms both far and near. Ancient songs in tongues long forgotten, echoes of realms held in well-sewn cotton.

LEG GREAVES
Greaves charmed with stolen Seeker’s gift, their ability to move silent and swift. You’ll run like a whisper, an ink-stain in the night, with dagger blade ready and just out of sight. Enjoy this new power, drink deep from its cup, just know that this Seeker will one day catch up.

MACES
Listen close dear mortal and shed your fright, as you too will crash with wave’s thundering might. Like anchor’s plunge that sinks and sinks, your strike will land before foe blinks. The seas churn, and mountains crack, no fated army will hold you back.

SHIELDS
An eye, an eye, your target will see, their focus will wander to an indescribable sea. Dark sea birds above, ink tides below, all while you deal deadly final blow. Adrift, adrift, on boiling dark sea, as eyes slowly shut and mind is set free.

SHOULDERS
Burnished lurker chitin, light as a feather, strapped to your shoulder with oil-slicked leather. Tighten and tighten, secure and behold, a dark fated armor just as foretold. Mind not the eyes that watch and don’t blink, if you stare for too long you might start to sink.

STAVES
A tree, a tree, grown in an apocryphal maze, fed by intention of vicious malaise. From bough carved came this great fated stave, that could channel the tides and break towering wave. Is it cursed you may ask, but let me remind, you shouldn’t ask questions per the contract you signed.

SWORDS
A blade thrice dipped in apocryphal ink; an edge so sharp in stone it sinks. Even shadows will split with your every swing, but there is a cost that this will bring. Whispers, whispers, you may hear, ever present and drawing near.”

Crafting Motif 121: Clan Dreamcarver Style

By Flaminius Auctor, Province General, Fighters Guild

A guide to armor and weapons crafted in the Clan Dreamcarver style

Hail, brave warrior! I welcome you to the battle to defend Tamriel against Daedric incursions. Whether you are a member of the Fighters Guild or not, you have a part to play in the never-ending war against the powers of Oblivion. These foes are strange and unnatural indeed, but the first step in the march to victory is simple: Know your enemy. To that end, I hope to educate you on the distinctive weapons and armor favored by the Dremora of Clan Dreamcarver. Rarely seen in Tamriel, the Dreamcarvers serve the Queen of Nightmares, Prince Vaermina. Cruel and clever (even by Dremora standards), Dreamcarvers regard mortals with utter contempt. Since they delight in turning our own fears against us, it’s only fair to turn their weapons against them—or at the least, give you the ability to recognize Dreamcarvers for what they are when you meet them in battle. Forewarned is forearmed!

AXES
A single-bitted weapon with a jagged spike on the reverse side of the head, the Dreamcarver axe proudly advertises the clan’s legendary cruelty. The haft is made from a twisted, iron-hard length of wood cut from the black trees that grow in Vaermina’s realm.

BELTS
Dreamcarvers favor ostentatious spikes in many pieces of their gear. Their belt designs are an excellent example. A thick, sturdy strap of leather from some unknown beast found in Prince Vaermina’s plane of Oblivion is reinforced with decorative prongs of black iron. The buckle is rather small and plain in comparison.

BOOTS
These boots are made from thick black leather. In light or medium armors, iron shin-guards provide extra protection to the front of the lower leg. Dreamcarver sabatons of heavy armor feature iron scales that completely cover the calf all the way down to the ankle, and articulated foot plates below that.

BOWS
Dreamcarver archers favor heavy compound bows made of black wood and iron. The wood comes from a variety of tree that grows only in the nightmare bogs of Quagmire, Prince Vaermina’s realm. Their broadhead arrows are most effective against lightly armored foes, but at short range the bow is powerful enough to drive one through Orcish plate armor.

CHESTS
A Dreamcarver’s breastplate is made from articulated plates of black bog-iron, sculpted to snugly fit the torso. A ribbed gorget protects the throat and neck. For lighter armors, the chestpiece is made from stiff, molded leather or supple pieces of sewn leather, cut from the hide of the monstrous beasts that roam Prince Vaermina’s realm (and dyed black, of course).

DAGGERS
Dreamcarvers forge their blades from bog-iron found in the gloomiest swamps of Quagmire. The very metal seems to be stained an oily black hue. The single-edged blade features a distinctively recurved form with a heavy spine for added strength.

GLOVES
A Dreamcarver’s hands are protected by fully articulated gauntlets of bog-iron with a distinctly claw-like appearance. Vambraces of overlapping iron plate guard the forearms. Lighter armors dispense with the full vambraces, relying instead on tough, flexible leather.

HELMETS
As a sign of the contempt they feel for any adversary, Dreamcarvers cover their faces beneath a war-mask in the shape of an eyeless face. Well-hidden eye slits keep the warrior beneath the mask from being blinded, of course. Their helms or hoods feature rows of sharp spikes, like crowns, representing their allegiance to the Queen of Nightmares.

LEG GREAVES
Tassets made of iron plate guard a Dreamcarver’s hips. Dreamcarvers who prefer light armor instead wear overlapping leather guards of a similar pattern. While many pieces of Dreamcarver gear feature decorative spikes, their greaves are snug-fitting and unadorned for ease of movement.

MACES
Most Dreamcarvers choose not to employ bludgeoning weapons, preferring to bleed their foes in battle. When they do, their soldiers favor maces of black bog-iron with cruelly spiked flanges like the teeth of some nightmarish beast. The weapons’ hafts are made of a wood found in Quagmire’s swamps.

SHIELDS
Dreamcarvers seek weapons that are not only effective, but also frightful in appearance. Their spiked shields are made of black iron, cast in the form of an eyeless face. The design is quite unsettling, although it likely adds little to the strength or utility of the shields.

SHOULDERS
Iron spaulders decorated with fearsome spikes are a part of every Dreamcarver’s battle attire. To Dreamcarvers, intimidation is a weapon just as important as the blade in a warrior’s hand—they use fear to undermine their foes before the first blow is even struck.

STAVES
Many Dremora are capable spellcasters, but the Dreamcarvers seem to specialize in magic that preys upon the darkest fears of their foes. Their staves are made from a wood found in the gloomy swamps of Prince Vaermina’s Oblivion realm. Each one features a spiked head of black iron that doubles as an effective striking weapon.

SWORDS
A heavy, single-edged blade with a prominent spine and strong point for thrusts, the Dreamcarver sword is lethal in the hands of an expert. The weapon is forged from Quagmire bog-iron with a black, oily sheen. Small spikes above the grip serve as a crossguard of sorts for defense—although Dreamcarvers rarely fight on the defensive.

Crafting Motif 122: Dead Keeper Style

From: The Desk of Abbot Ilvel
To: All Curates
Regarding: Dress and Weapons Code

Fellow Keepers of the Dead:

It has been brought to my attention that our order has of late been lax in our attention to our appearance. Many members of our organization have allowed personal preferences and affectations to overwhelm our dedicated robes and unique equipment. In many cases it has become difficult to determine true members of our order from followers who have taken to imitating our aspects, as well as those who have found our robes and armor to be a comfortable alternative to their normal gear.

For this reason, I have requested Keeper Davela to standardize of our dress and armament code. A coherent look for our vestments and equipment will help all of us in our duties, providing a common presentation to our fellow worshipers, and aid in the presenting the clarity of our duties. Those seeking their ancestors within our catacombs should know at a glance that one of our Keepers is available to assist them.

Thank you for taking this time to review this material, and I look forward to compliance among our numbers.

May our sainted ancestors watch over us, as we venerate their names.

—Abbot Ilvel

AXES
Our order’s axes are distinctive in appearance. The heads are engraved with symbology from the founding of Necrom itself, and the “”Crows-beak”” at the rear of the axe’s head provides a dangerous threat as well. Our order’s axes are beautiful and practical and should be always well-cared for.

BELTS
Regardless of material, belts should be well-maintained. Metal fasteners and buckles must be shined, the leather components oiled, and any cloth cleaned on a weekly basis. Worn and damaged materials should be replaced, and continual damage should be reported to Keeper Davela.

BOOTS
The footwear of our order has been crafted with respect to our duties and obligations to the ancestors. Our open sandals allow us to feel the ancient dust and absorb wisdom of our forebearersn, and the soft soles allow us to move with reverence among the crypts. Keep them in good order.

BOWS
Low ceilings can make bow fire problematic, but we are not always in the crypts, and some challenges are best dealt with at range. Made of steel-shod hornwood, our bows are resilient. However, because of the conditions in the tombs, strings and arrow fletching must be replaced often.

CHEST PIECES
Our robes and jackets are one of the first things that worshipers look for, so they must be kept immaculate and professional-looking. No tattered sleeves, ragged hems, or patched elbows will be allowed, and the clothing should be freshly laundered every third day.

DAGGERS
Bone-crafted blades must be treated with respect for the creatures they were forged from. Lightweight but ultimately fragile, they should be kept in secure scabbards before they are deployed. Any cracks or splinters should be called to the attention of Bonecrafter Gilyne.

GLOVES
Our order’s gloves and gauntlets are fingerless, the better to allow our Keepers to better commune with the stonework and ashes of our peoples. This does create challenges from a standpoint of protection, so that any blood or other damage must be promptly dealt with before the ichor sets in place.

HELMETS
Hoods and masks provide the uniformity of appearance that brings recognition and honor to our order. There is nothing more thrilling than a procession of well-dressed and well-hidden followers, bearing lamps and tablets. Facial tattoos are not forbidden among our ranks but are discouraged.

LEG GREAVES
Leg protection is key in dark areas with a lot of low, stone benches and crypts set close to the floor. Whether metal leg protectors or our long, kilt-like kirtles, these items must be kept in good order, so they may take the brunt of any inadvertent damage and not the ankles and calves.

MACES
Our order’s maces are engraved with designs from the days of Prior Durdryn himself, who established the initial abbey in Necrom. The head is steel inlaid with silver, as is the shaft, and the suede-leather grip allows easy handling. All pieces must be kept in working order.

SHIELDS
Steel shod over flexible frames, these large shields are capable of shedding off the strongest of blows, protecting both the wielder and their charges. The engraved central shield boss provides added weight and defense to the user. Keep all fasteners and grips tight when in the field.

SHOULDER ARMOR
While the normally traveled reaches of the catacombs are kept clear and accessible, some of the more ancient and abandoned passages suffer from decay and collapse. For this reason, continual upkeep of shoulder protection is key to being able to clear and restore more ancient tunnels. Keep yours in shape.

STAVES
Our staves are both utilitarian and symbols of our Order. The pronged head is good for both focusing magical energies and fishing out valuables that have fallen between the crypts. The solid base pieces allow the user to administer a reprimanding thump to inattentive novices.

SWORDS
Our blades are bone-crafted – treated osseus remain of loyal creatures and (occasionally heroes of the Order), set in suede-wrapped steel grip. They are treated with respect and should only be drawn when bloodshed is absolutely necessary.”

Crafting Motif 123: Kindred’s Concord Style

A guide to crafting armor and weapons in the Hidden Kindred style

Attend, initiate! The great Princes Vaermina and Peryite command us, their devoted acolytes, to join together. To carry out their united will! From the scattered servants of the Taskmaster and the Dreamweaver, we are called to forge a mighty new order, working side by side for the inevitable triumph of our Princes. We are the Hidden Kindred. Hidden agents of powers unseen, kindred in our devotion to our mighty Princes—and each other. Many of you are entrusted with duties that require you to move without notice among the scoffers and persecutors of our world. That is only fitting. How else can we scent the nightmares tormenting mortals? Or taste the sweet promise of plague hidden upon diseased airs? But I promise you, initiate, that the time is coming when we shall cast aside our disguises and openly proclaim our devotion. Pay heed: I shall now explain how to arm yourself for battle as one of the Hidden Kindred.

AXES
The Hidden Kindred prefer to deal in stealth and subtle blades. Yet sometimes we must set aside our preferences and do as the Master of Tasks commands. Our hand axe is a single-bitted weapon with a reverse spike, set atop a haft of strong oak. The battle axe replaces the spike with a double-bitted head for balance and striking power.

BELTS
Slender but strong, a belt of thick leather guards a fighter’s waist while supporting pouches, scabbards, or loops for whatever weapons they need. A buckle of green-dyed steel is embossed with the symbol of the Hidden Kindred.

BOOTS
Stealth is more important than weight of armor for most Hidden Kindred. Boots are made of soft leather for mobility and a quiet footfall. Those of us whose duties require heavy armor add steel shin-guards and sabatons over their leather boots.

BOWS
The unseen arrow from afar is an apt metaphor for the blessing of Prince Peryite’s lethal plagues. A Hidden Kindred bow is a compound design of yew and steel, firing arrows with bodkin points. We do not need a powerful bow to drive arrows through armor and flesh; the merest kiss suffices to deliver poisons or contaminants.

CHESTS
Since we must often pass unnoticed among our Princes’ enemies, Hidden Kindred devotees seek to disguise the fact that they are armored. Breastplates of soft leather can be worn easily under cloaks or robes, helping them to remain concealed until the moment they strike. Even our heavy steel chestpieces are covered in thin leather to muffle sound and hide the gleam of metal.

DAGGERS
No weapon better embodies the philosophy of the Hidden Kindred than the dagger. Easily concealed beneath robe or cloak, and deadly in the unexpected stroke. Our favored dagger is a double-edged blade, capable of slashing as well as stabbing. The wide fuller makes it especially suitable for envenoming.

GLOVES
Since we often handle delicate containers such as alchemical flasks or glass bottles, we prefer soft, supple leather for our gloves. The last thing one wants to do while handling poison is fumble with the bottle. Hidden Kindred warriors in heavier armor add vambraces of dyed steel to protect their forearms in close combat.

HELMETS
To join the Hidden Kindred is to surrender the self in holy devotion. Who we once were as individuals no longer matters, so we cover our faces in hoods and veils. In the case of heavy armor sets, this veil is replaced with a mask of dyed steel. All Kindred are equal before the Dreamweaver and the Taskmaster.

LEG GREAVES
Clanking about in heavy plate armor is hardly conducive to going unnoticed in a crowd. We must make do with lighter greaves of soft leather so that we do not sacrifice stealth for protection. However, in those cases where heavier armor is warranted, a light plate of dyed green steel can be affixed to the leather greaves.

MACES
Bludgeoning weapons are poor tools for delivering Peryite’s abundant blessings, but knocking a foe senseless often delivers them into Vaermina’s power. A Hidden Kindred mace is a sturdy war hammer with a haft of oak, weighty but well-balanced. Few foes wake from the dreams you bestow with such a weapon!

SHIELDS
Secrecy is the Hidden Kindred’s best shield. But when we are called to open battle, a light steel heater is an excellent second choice. The shield’s embossed emblem is an ancient symbol for the Queen of Nightmares, our Dark Lady.

SHOULDERS
Overlapping leather spaulders protect the shoulders and upper arms of a Hidden Kindred warrior. For heavier armor sets, a green-dyed steel plate is added above the molded leather pieces. Some of our initiates have requested embellishments such as spikes or skulls, but we have no need for such ornaments.

STAVES
A Hidden Kindred staff is a deadly weapon in the hands of a talented mage. A sturdy oak body with a steel head serves as a simple focus for potent spells. It is far better to sap the strength of would-be heroes through pernicious magic than to offer battle; even the most powerful knights can be laid low with spells of fear or poison.

SWORDS
A Hidden Kindred sword is a double-edged weapon of good steel, equally useful for slashing or thrusting. Wide quillons help guard the wielder’s hands in the thick of the fight. The broad fuller in the center of the blade serves as an excellent channel for delivering poisons or other insidious substances to any foe the wielder wounds.

Crafting Motif 13: Primal Style

This book was previously called “Racial Motifs 13: The Primal”

Continuing my compilation of Doctor Alfidia Lupus’ notes for studies of clothing, arms, and armor in diverse cultural styles….

You might look at the gear sported by a fully-equipped Goblin warchief and think, “What a mismatched conglomeration of primitive paraphernalia.” But you would be wrong. Each item that warchief is wearing was carefully selected for its proven utility, and represents a decision backed by millennia of tradition. This is a style of arms and armor we ethnographers call the “Primal,” and it is as distinctive and recognizable as any other culture set.

Goblins and other folk who have adopted the Primal style are typically superb scavengers and looters. They seem to have a special sense for where to find the sort of cast-off yet serviceable, even exceptional equipment that will fit the Primal esthetic. And they are as proud of their turn-out as any Imperial centurion.

Recent scholarship by Doctor Intricatus of Gwylim University confirms this, and adds some new information that shows that “primal” is, indeed, the optimal label for this style. His study of the fifty-seven Primal ensembles worn by the massacred Knife-Biter Goblin tribe showed that many of the items found on the corpses were hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Some of the greaves and cuirasses appeared to date from the early First Era, and represented ancient forging techniques that have since been lost to history. Did the Goblins loot these from ancient Cyrodilic ruins, as they’ve been known to do? Or did they actually pass them down, generation by generation, since time immemorial?

Yes, Professor Zenas, that IS how you spell “immemorial.” Wait … what? Professor? Is that your voice?

Crafting Motif 14: Daedric Style

This book was previously called “Racial Motifs 14: The Daedric”

Continuing my compilation of Doctor Alfidia Lupus’ notes for studies of clothing, arms, and armor in diverse cultural styles….

It is entirely appropriate that this last entry in Doctor Lupus’ “Racial Motifs” series should be about Daedric arms and armor, as it is my belief that the absent Lady Alfidia has somehow journeyed to the Daedric planes of Oblivion in pursuit of my lost Professor Morian Zenas. And as I can now hear the Professor’s voice whispering in my ear almost constantly, it is time to conclude these notes and move on to telling the story of his travels through the doors of Oblivion.

The Daedra, as the Professor has so often remarked, are creatures of chaos, entities of great energy and force but entirely lacking in originality. They can imitate, they can exaggerate, and they can corrupt, but they cannot create anything new. That is a capability inherent only in the Aedra, and in we mortals of Nirn, to whom they gave it as a gift. (In Black Marsh we see such things differently, of course, but these are the beliefs of the Professor and Lady Alfidia.)

Thus the armor and weapons of such Daedra as the Dremora, Xivilai, and Golden Saints—what Doctor Lupus calls the “humanoid” Daedra—consist of familiar Tamriel-style cuisses, breastplates, and pauldrons, swords, spears, and bows. They may to our eyes be ornamented with outlandish spikes and melodramatic flourishes, but look inside a suit of Daedric armor and you’ll find the familiar padding and straps that enable it to be worn by anyone of conventional shape. Pick up a Daedric sword, and despite its bizarre shape you will find the grip comfortable, the heft well-balanced. Indeed, it is said that the famous Artifacts of the Daedric Princes, such as the Mace of Molag Bal, were mostly made by mortal artisans who were enticed or forced to create them.

Yes, Professor, I believe that is enough—for now, at least. I have done my duty to the good doctor. I am sitting in your study, and I am listening. Tell me again of Moonshadow.

Crafting Motif 15: Dwemer Style

This book was previously called “Racial Motifs 15: Dwemer”

Kireth says I should write down what I’ve learned about Dwemer artisans and the styles and motifs of their lost civilization. She also says that organizing this study into an alphabetical listing of classes of relics is weird and detail-obsessive, but that’s just evidence of her muddled and haphazard way of thinking.

AXES
Dwemeri axe designs reflect the wheels, gears, and cogs that are central to so many devices of the Deep Elves. The haft is surmounted by a round disk resembling the hub of a wheel, from which spokes radiate to the blade or blades, which are like portions of a wheel’s outer ring. The blades maintain an edge remarkably well, considering their great age.

BELTS
Dwarven belts are typically made of overlapping metal links of a repeated geometric shape, such as squares or circles. Their length is easily adjusted by the addition or subtraction of a few links. The tensile strength of such a belt is without peer, many times that of an equivalent length of steel chain.

BOOTS
Dwarven boots are sturdy, but not as heavy as they look. Though they have accents of Dwarven metal, they are mainly constructed of a flexible material that resembles leather, but either it is some sort of manufactured imitation, or the Dwemer had beasts with incredibly smooth and homogenous hide. Knee-high Dwarven boots often incorporate built-in greaves over the shins.

BOWS
Dwarven recurved bows are powerful and can drive an arrow through an oaken board. Though they appear to made of metal, they are not; the strong yet flexible material they are made from is otherwise unknown, and cannot be duplicated by modern bowyers.

CHEST PIECES
All Dwarven chest armor consists of metal plates of various sizes affixed to a leather cuirass—thin, flexible leather with a few small plates in the case of light armor, the leather becoming thicker and the plates larger and more numerous as the armor gets heavier. The plates are typically geometric in shape and ornamentation.

DAGGERS
A Dwarven dagger typically has a broad and heavy triangular blade, as suitable for chopping as for stabbing. In fact, they resemble tools as much as they do weapons.

GLOVES
Dwarven gloves were always made of fine and flexible leather or pseudo-leather, reflecting their wearers’ need for fine manipulation of their devices. Only the heaviest gauntlets sported metal ribs, typically tessellated splints protecting the back of the hands.

HELMETS
Dwarven helmets of all kinds famously cover the entire face with a face-shaped visor, curiously bisected down the center by a sort of metal keel. This keel reappears atop the helmet as a crest, which may be modest or bizarrely exaggerated. A line of Dwemer troops, all wearing helmets with identical, impassive visages, must have struck terror into the Deep Elves’ enemies.

LEG GREAVES
The leg protection of the Dwemer typically consisted of geometric plates or cylinders of metal, mounted on the same thick yet flexible material used for their boots. The armor was particularly thick over the knee.

MACES
Dwarven maces have heavy and blunt geometrcal heads, without flanges, spikes, or pointed finials. The two-handed maces are outweighed only by Orcish skull-crushers, and can bend and batter plate armor as if it was foil.

SHIELDS
Dwarven shields come in many shapes, but all echo the geometric forms seen on Dwemer armor, albeit writ large. They are formed from relatively thin plates of Dwarven metal, and are much lighter and wieldier than they appear.

SHOULDERS
Dwarven shoulder pauldrons were usually made of thick and inflexible metal, mounted on cops of heavy “leather.” The pauldrons of heavier armor sometimes sported metal keels echoing the crests seen atop their helmets.

STAVES
Even the most elaborate Dwarven staff has a utilitarian look about it, as if it was going to be used with a paddle to draw a loaf of bread from an oven. The haft is made of some close-grained substance that looks like wood but is not, circled with rings of Dwarven metal. The finials are circular or fan-shaped, and usually modest in size.

SWORDS
Dwarven swords look like mere extensions of their daggers, featuring the same broad, triangular blades with both point and edge. Their cross-guards are slender to almost nonexistent, which argues that Dwemer swordplay did not rely much on thrusting.

Crafting Motif 16: Glass Style

By Vandalion Brightsteel, Armorsmith Peerless of Vulkhel Guard

During the recent strife in Firsthold, certain reference works were lost from the great library, so His Excellency Kinlord Rilis has asked the leading experts of Auridon to replace them with new accounts. For the definitive description of the Glass crafting style, naturally our wise sovereign turned to me.

AXES
The avian motif typically of the Glass style is particularly prominent in the axe designs, where the glass-edged blades are crafted to resemble the wings of a bird of prey. The blades’ feathered appearance is strictly cosmetic; the scoring that produces the feathered look is too shallow to weaken the blade, but is deep enough to create blood gutters.

BELTS

The belt on a suit of glass armor is usually a single cincture of some exotic leather, adorned with glass bosses in rhomboid or pentagonal shapes. Geometrical tassets depend from either hip, and there may be a chevron-shaped fauld in front to protect the groin.

BOOTS
Elegant footwear indeed! These vary from sturdy leather moccasins with glass toe-guards with light armor, up to steel-and-glass sabatons with heavy armor. Flexibility is paramount, as Elven soldiers favor agility over thickness of plate.

BOWS
Glass-style bows are compound and recurved, with a wooden grip and limbs of horn. The front of the curve and back of the recurve are faced with glass for maximum power. Non-glass parts of the bow are often painted with a metallic lacquer, so that a flash of reflected sunlight ripples along the line as a troop of archers raises their bows for a volley.

CHEST PIECES
The downward-pointing chevrons on Glass cuirasses evoke the deep-muscled chests of great flying creatures, and indeed the chest plates are often adorned with images of eagles, dragons, or cliff racers. They are constructed of leather, steel, and glass, with as much additional glass trim as the buyer can afford.

DAGGERS
A Summerset glass dagger is the finest fighting knife there is. The glass on a Glass-style dagger is usually confined to the point and edge, with accents on the pommel; the tang, guard, and core of the blade are of steel. They are capable weapons, equally useful for slashing, stabbing, or parrying.

GLOVES
Glass-style gauntlets typically feature thin, flexible leather gloves, with glass strips protecting the back of the hand and the forearms. The elbows are covered by triangular glass-faced cowters that echo the shape of the pauldrons above.

HELMETS
Glass-style headpieces extend the winged motif of the cuirasses and pauldrons upward; they often have armored crests, cheek-wings, and winged cranium caps. Glass, polished to a glossy sheen, trims every edge. A fine glass helmet is a sight to behold.

LEG GREAVES
Whether light, medium, or heavy, all greaves in this magnificent style are constructed of sturdy but flexible leather faced with glass. The main difference is the amount and thickness of the glass banding, and the size of the shield-shaped glass poleyns that protect the knees.

MACES
Glass-style maces and hammers feature elegant but heavy steel heads with glass-tipped studs and spikes. The hafts are made of a dense but flexible wood such as ash, faced with steel languets and ending in a steel roundel heavy enough to partially offset the weight of the head. That enables these long-hafted weapons to be whirled almost like quarterstaves.

SHIELDS
For a shield that is nearly all metal, glass shields are remarkably light, precisely because they’re mostly glass plates held in a slender matrix of steel. Two broad glass wings, usually avian-themed, flare out from central steel ribs to broad “feathered” edges.

SHOULDERS
The Glass-style pauldrons are integrated with the shapes of the chest pieces, extending the winged motif onto the shoulders and down into the upper-arm rerebraces. The marine version of this style resembles breaking waves rather than wings.

STAVES
A staff in the Glass style is many a wizard’s proudest possession. The long wooden shaft, sheathed in steel languets to protect it while parrying, is simple enough; it’s the elaborate winged finial that is the glory of a glass staff. The steel head, often set with large turquoises, unfolds on either side into a pair of exquisite glass wings, evoking birds, bats, or Dragons. The entire finial seems to glow with inner fire.

SWORDS
A Glass sword is a cunning combination of steel core and tang with a glass point and edges. The blade may be quite broad near the tip, and even “feathered” with shallow blood gutters. Despite their size, the blades are light, favored by sword-fighters for their ease of use and battlefield durability—for a glass sword will hold its edge long after a steel or alloy sword has gone dull.

Crafting Motif 17: Xivkyn Style

By Denogorath, Dread Archivist and Promulgator of Mandatory Doctrine

The Master’s new Xivkyn Honor Guard must be outfitted in a manner that will bring glory to mighty Molag Bal and fear to his enemies. The following stylistic requirements must be adhered to without deviation! See to it, or face the consequences in the scathe-rings.

AXES
A Xivkyn’s one-handed axe shall have a blade like a headsman’s axe and a narrow back spike with a slight downward curve. The two-handed axe shall have two headsman’s blades. Both shall have metal spike-wings clustered just below the head or heads.

BELTS
A Xivkyn’s belt shall have a geometric abdominal buckle large enough to cause discomfort when the Daedra bends forward. The medium and heavy girdles shall have sharp, interlocking diamond-shaped plates, so as to cause pain when the belts are used to bind captives.

BOOTS
A Xivkyn’s boots shall have heavy metal toes to optimize the brutal kicking of downed opponents. These plates shall be articulated to allow the feet to flex without compromising protection or weaponization.

BOWS
A Xivkyn bow shall be faced with flaring metal spike-wings to enable the archer to parry blows. A Xivkyn archer’s quiver shall be protected by thin armor plates held on with an excessive quantity of rivets, because who doesn’t like lots of rivets?

CHEST PIECES
A Xivkyn’s chest armor shall bear a pattern of overlapping metal scales, said pattern to evoke the general awe-inspiring shape of our Dread Lord’s mighty skull without actually depicting it. The cuirass will give an impression of great weight, to convey the power and physical strength of the wearer.

DAGGERS
The Xivkyn’s dagger shall have a broad blade, so as to inflict wide wounds that shed blood copiously. Their hilts shall be flaring spike-wings, and their pommels shall be sharp so that at need the Xivkyn can stab back-handedly.

GLOVES
The Xivkyn’s gauntlets shall have articulated metal sheaths to protect the fingers, augmented by steel talons that extend the reach of the warrior’s claws. One size shall fit all.

HELMETS
A Xivkyn’s helm shall protect the warrior’s cheeks as well as her crown. It shall be studded and horned, and yet its visage shall evoke a terrible death-mask in the eyes of Molag Bal’s enemies.

LEG GREAVES
A Xivkyn’s greaves shall appear to be a continuation of the articulated plates on the warrior’s boots, with spiked poleyns to protect the knees.

MACES
A Xivkyn’s mace shall have a heavy octagonal head, with sharp, spiked flanges protruding from its faces. It shall look as if it had but to drop on an enemy’s skull to crush it in.

SHIELDS
A Xivkyn’s shield shall be roughly kite-shaped, but with a flaring spike-wing design on its face. It shall have cut-outs for thrusting on the upper corners on both sides, for convenience of both the left- and right-handed. Once again, do not stint on the rivets.

SHOULDER ARMOR
A Xivkyn’s pauldrons or spaulders shall flare both upward and downward, to protect both the shoulders and the sides of the neck. They shall be accented with a dull red the color of mortals’ dried blood.

STAVES
Spellcasting Xivkyn shall be provided with staves with finials like flared spike-wings; they shall look as if the mage could use them to disembowel an opponent if necessary. Within the three spike-wings, each finial shall have a central pointed metallic stone that will emit the staff’s spell-energy. At a pinch, a Xivkyn staff can be placed in a floor-stand and used as a convenient torchiere.

SWORDS
Like the dagger, a Xivkyn’s sword shall have a broad blade, so as to inflict terrible wounds on those insolent enough to defy the will of Molag Bal. This double-edged blade shall be kept razor sharp at all times. Flaring spike-wings shall cluster around the hilt.

Crafting Motif 18: Akaviri

King Jorunn wants a description of the Akaviri styles of arms and armor written by someone who knows them. I don’t think anyone killed more Akaviri than I did during the recent invasion from Kamal, so I guess that makes me an expert in their wares of war. Besides, who else was I going to get to write this? Rigurt?

AXES
Kamal, the region of Akavir where the recent invaders hail from, is said to be icy and snow-covered, so it’s no surprise that Kamali axes resemble those made by us Nords of Skyrim. The one-handed weapons, in particular, are clearly descended from the kind of ice-axes we use when crossing glaciers or scaling icy peaks.

BELTS
An Akaviri belt usually sports a prominent boss on its buckle, with an abstract sigil that’s probably clan-related. These symbols are always symmetrical, and usually made of interwoven flowing designs. For several years I wore one taken from an officer I slew, and it was strong and well-made.

BOOTS
Boots of the northern Akaviri tend to be simple and utilitarian, for trudging through the deep snows of Kamal. Those of the southern Tsaesci are more elaborate and decorative, with shoes and greaves that look like Imperial sandals, though armored with thick leather or small metal plates.

BOWS
The Akaviri use composite bows with recurved ends made of horn. Though painted with metallic lacquer, don’t be fooled: their bows are not made of metal, nor do the Akaviri have the giant’s-strength it would take to bend them if they were.

CHEST PIECES
Akaviri chest armor is worked or forged from familiar materials—padding, leather, steel—and usually decorated with a triangular or pyramidal shape, point toward the gorget.

DAGGERS
Akaviri daggers are pretty, but don’t be fooled: they’re made for killing, and if you get downed on the battlefield, expect to feel one of these in your armpit or groin. As with the swords, the curved ones are Tsaesci, and the straight ones are from Kamal.

GLOVES
Akaviri weapons usually have narrow guards, which leaves hand protection up to their gauntlets. These usually have thick armor on the back of the hand, while leaving the fingers free and open for a solid grip on weapon and shield.

HELMETS
The Tsaesci helmets I’ve seen in museums, or imitated by Fighters Guild warriors, sport layered neck and side armor, and often have elaborate double crests like horns or antlers. Kamali helmets, in contrast, tend to be simpler, though they also cover the back and sides. Lots of Akaviri helmets of both kinds include visors or some other form of partial face coverage. The troops found some of these unsettling, even creepy.

LEG GREAVES
Akaviri greaves always look like extensions of their sandal-like boots. I could never tell where one ends and the other starts.

MACES
Kamali maces usually have rectangular heads, while those of the Tsaesci are round. Both kinds are studded all round with wicked spikes. They’re going to hurt you, even if you’re wearing heavy armor.

SHIELDS
Shields from Kamal tend to be metal-edged wood from the northern forests, while shields from southern Tsaesci are more likely to be curved sheets of steel. These often sport symbols echoing the crests on the warriors’ helms.

SHOULDERS
Unlike the triangular designs on their chest armor, Akaviri pauldrons and shoulder cops are always articulated rectangular or square plates. Why? Who knows?

STAVES
An Akaviri mage prizes his spell staff, and they are often splendid and lavishly decorated, trimmed in gold leaf and sporting great red gems. The hafts of these staves are made of a dense, flexible wood unknown in Tamriel, able to deflect even a great axe.

SWORDS
The Akaviri seem to love their swords almost as much as the Redguards; their long blades are among the finest I’ve ever seen. When you heft one of the curved Tsaesci swords, you can just feel how it could shear right through a soldier’s limbs. And the straight blades of Kamal are no less dangerous.

Crafting Motif 20: Yokudan Style

Stored here in the Seeker’s Archive are much of the lost history and wisdom of Yokuda, in books and scrolls brought here by the first of the Ra Gada. It will take many lifetimes to catalogue it all, so we shall start simply, with references to the characteristics that make the Yokudan motifs unique and distinctive, such as the so-called “broad arrowhead” design.

AXES
Though the Yokudans were dedicated to the sword above all, they recognized the utility of other weapons as well; their axes, for example, were both beautiful and formidable. They often had long, curved cutting edges, giving them some of the virtues of swords.

BELTS
Yokudan belts tended not to be elaborate, because what mattered was what hung from them: the all-important sword or other weapon, as well as tassets for hip protection. The buckle was usually a strong and simple geometric design.

BOOTS
Yokudan boots were made for combat, of heavy leather with strategically-placed metal plates for protection. But they were also flexible and rugged for marching across the harsh Yokudan terrain.

BOWS
The Yokudans had little esteem for archery, deeming it less honorable than melee combat, and their gallants and grandees left it to the common foot soldier. A Yokudan archer or light skirmisher was usually armed with a simple self bow adorned with modest metal facings.

CHEST PIECES
For Yokudans, the art of weapon combat was profoundly athletic, so while their cuirasses offered solid central protection for the chest and back, the arm, shoulder, and waist areas were covered with flexible leather for maximum agility.

DAGGERS
A Yokudan dagger just looks like a smaller version of a Yokudan sword, and indeed they tended to be large, approaching short swords in size. A large dagger in the off hand was a common choice for Yokudan dual wielders.

GLOVES
Yokudan warriors emphasized sword fighting above all other weapon styles, and in swordplay the hands are always under threat, so Yokudan gauntlets were heavy and multi-layered, with flaring upper sleeves to protect the forearms.

HELMETS
Yokudan helm designs are clearly descended from the turbaned hats of ancient pastoral nomads. They typically had aventails to protect the back of the neck, full visors covering the face, and even horns on the forehead or crest.

LEG GREAVES
Yokudan chausses were strong to protect against low cuts in swordplay, often with metal plates covering both the shin in front and the calves in back, to prevent hamstringing attacks. Pointed knee poleyns were common as well.

MACES
The Yokudans were so attached to the idea of edged blades that they even mounted them on the heads of their maces, where you might find spikes or flanges in another crafting style. Some of these edged blades even came to points in the “broad arrowhead” design.

SHIELDS
Yokudan shields might be round, oval, or kite-shaped, but all were fitted with blade-turning metal plates around their edges, and round central bosses featuring geometric designs. They appeared to be entirely metal, but were actually made of metallic plates riveted to wooden frames.

SHOULDERS
Though the shoulders themselves were sheathed in flexible leather to enable acrobatic swordplay, above that the joints were protected by sharp and often elaborate pauldrons, cops that flared at the top to guard the side of the neck.

STAVES
The rare Yokudan war-wizards employed staves designed to resemble melee weapons to borrow some of the prestige of hand-to-hand combat. Their metallic finials might be round, flared, or pointed in the “broad arrowhead” design.

SWORDS
Though the curved Yokudan swords weren’t elaborately embellished, they nonetheless represented the apogee of Yokudan weapon-making, having been forged and re-forged in a long process designed to make them unbreakable and invincible. Yokudan warriors regarded their swords as extensions of their essential selves.

Crafting Motif 21: Ancient Orc Style

By Curator Umutha of the House of Orsimer Glories

Here in Orsinium’s museum of Orcish history, we are proud to display arms and armor created in the style of our ancient ancestors! Feel free to handle the items labeled “reproduction,” but please admire the original relics in the display cases with your eyes only.

AXES
An Ancient Orc axe is a thing of simple beauty, its broad curved blade worked with traditional geometric patterns, utilitarian but deadly. The two-handed axe has two blades mounted on its longer haft. Can you not imagine this lovely weapon taking the head right off a skulking Diagna assassin?

BELTS
The Ancient Orc’s waist cincture is constructed of square or rectangular links, with a large belly buckle inscribed with an abstract clan sigil. Like all Orcish gear from the period, it is even stronger than it looks.

BOOTS
As you would expect from seeing other items made in the Ancient Orc style, even the boots are tough, practical, and unexpectedly beautiful. After our lovely tusks, what defines an Orsimer more than our shapely calves? And what could protect and yet display them better than Ancient Orc boots?

BOWS
Simple and elegant, the appearance of the Ancient Orc longbow conveys one quality above all others: strength! This is the bow of a people whose muscles were thickened and hardened working in the forge, who can draw a bow powerful enough to drive a steel-tipped arrow through even the best non-Orcish armor!

CHEST PIECES
Whether it’s leather, brigantine, or plate steel, the Ancient Orc cuirass is formed of interlocking and overlapping elements that provide multiple layers of protection without compromising flexibility. And, of course, their intricate geometry is a joy to the eye!

DAGGERS
When it came to weapons, the Ancient Orcs knew that size matters! Their daggers were almost the size of short swords, with a single edge and a slight curve just below the point. Lethal and lovely!

GLOVES
As you might expect, the war-gloves of the Ancient Orcs are clearly descendants of the blacksmith’s protective gauntlets, providing coverage nearly to the elbow, and crafted of thick material that nonetheless does not compromise the warrior’s all-important flexibility. In other words: nice gloves!

HELMETS
With Ancient Orc helmets, we see the broad variety that is a hallmark of Orsimer inventiveness: we go from simple hoods that are little more than arming caps, all the way to heavy horned helms faced with a fierce full-visage tusked mask!

LEG GREAVES
An Ancient Orc’s greaves are a natural extension of the Old Orsimer’s lovely boots — in fact, it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins! They exemplify the perfect marriage of form with function! You can’t get more Orcish than that.

MACES
The Ancient Orcs knew how to make armor — and they also knew how to make weapons to get through it! Their maces featured a spike on one side for perforating leather and chain mail, and a heavy flanged head on the other for bashing plate armor. And all of it as beautiful as it is deadly!

SHIELDS
An Ancient Orc’s shield is kite-shaped, of dense hardwood bolstered by overlapping and interlocking strips of metal — but not too much, because a shield that’s too heavy to move rapidly is no use in a melee!

SHOULDER ARMOR
Ancient Orc pauldrons extend the design of the helmet cheek-pieces into layers that protect the shoulders, while simultaneously echoing the shape and ornamentation of the warrior’s shield. These are pauldrons I could look at all day long.

STAVES
A wonder of the magical sculptor’s craft, the Ancient Orc mage’s staff is tipped with a metallic finial that resembles a fierce Orsimer sorcerer, tusked and horned, mouth half open as if in the midst of uttering a Destruction spell. So intimidating!

SWORDS
An Ancient Orc’s sword looks like a slim single-edged axe-blade attached at two points to a long tang, with a slight curve just below the point. The entire weapon is ornamented with interwoven geometric patterns to create an object of breathtaking beauty.

Crafting Motif 22: Trinimac

By the Venerable Uugus, Priest of Trinimac

The Elves have forgotten the warrior ideals of Trinimac, but we Orsimer keep them alive! As the Children of Trinimac, we embody his stoic courage and bold audacity. The arms we bear and the armor we wear shine with gold, in remembrance of Trinimac’s golden skin. And they are accented with polished ebony, in token of Lorkhan’s blood when Trinimac tore out his heart.

AXES
The axes of the Trinimac Cult are notched to evoke the hero Avalian’s axe, that was damaged when it cracked the heart of the fire mountain. The blades are embossed with Vaia’s Golden Ash, symbol of strength and unity of the Orcs.

BELTS
For the worshiper of Trinimac, the belt symbolizes the faith in the Golden Champion that binds the Orsimer together. Its buckle evokes the Champion’s golden helmet, surrounding a quartz crystal that represents the clarity of Trinimac’s vision.

BOOTS

The Children of Trinimac are warriors, so our shoes are sabatons, armored boots with metal-shod toes, gleaming with the light of the Golden Champion.

BOWS
Our bows are crafted to emulate that of Elsarel, the Orsimer hero who slew the colossal Daedroth Zetthax with a single arrow through the eye. It is said Elsarel did honor to the Golden Champion by practicing with the bow for 20 hours out of every 24.

CHEST PIECES
The cuirasses of the Cult of Trinimac are the highest expression of the cult’s devotion to the perfection of artistic labor: intricate, ornate, rife with symbolism, and yet supremely crafted to perform their function of protecting the warrior in battle. In garb the warrior of Trinimac is ever resplendent!

DAGGERS
Our daggers are forged of the finest steel, bifurcated into twin thrusting blades to represent the dual nature of Trinimac, the Golden Champion who is both slayer and protector.

GLOVES
The followers of Trinimac wear gloves of softest leather to enable fine manipulation, but cover their backs with articulated gauntlets of gilded splints.

HELMETS
The warriors of Trinimac wear gilded helms in emulation of the Champion’s helmet, often with golden full-face visors to evoke Trinimac’s stern features.

LEG GREAVES
Full greaves, gilded and with knee poleyns, protect the legs of the warriors who fight for Trinimac, seamlessly overlapping the sabatons on the feet.

MACES
Those who follow the way of Trinimac call their rounded maces the “fists of Usunok,” after the Orsimer hero who could down a full-sized mammoth with a single punch. The cylindrical head encloses a lead ball that rolls outward as the weapon is swung, adding force to the blow.

SHIELDS
The shield of a Trinimac warrior is embossed with Vaia’s Golden Ash, the tree from which she carved out the shield that repelled the blow of Rhogar the Destroyer, and which symbolizes the strength, heritage, and unity of the Orsimer people.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The pauldrons of a warrior of Trinimac soar like the wings of Zylvara, the great eagle that bore the Golden Champion to his reckoning with the man-demon Quarvish.

STAVES
Ebony is said to be the solidified blood of Lorkhan, spilled across Tamriel when Trinimac ripped out his heart with more than hands. Therefore, in the Cult of Trinimac, we adorn our spellcasters’ staves with knobs and insets of polished ebony.

SWORDS
The sword of a warrior of Trinimac gleams like lightning forged into steel. The one-handed swords are bifurcated like the daggers, but the greatswords are long, single blades, straight and without a taper until just short of the point.

Crafting Motif 23: Malacath Style

Listen up, smiths! We don’t pound hot metal around here just because it’s fun. We forge for the glory of Malacath! Shoddy work will not be tolerated. You don’t want to craft anything you’ll have to apologize to the Orc-Father for when you get to the Ashpit. You want to make items in the Malacath Cult style? Well, there’s only one right way to do it, and that’s to use the Tilted Square, the symbol of instability. So pay attention!

AXES
A Malacath axe blade is large, of course, because with blades, bigger is better. And it’s covered with chevrons and tilted squares, because that’s the Malacath Way. Axes are all about chopping things down and making them fall over, so naturally we cover them with symbols of instability. Any questions? Didn’t think so.

BELTS
We like to keep our belts simple and not too broad, because most of us have enough trouble bending over as it is. Ha! But we make them of the finest possible materials, such as top-grade mammoth leather, and we craft them to the highest standards. Because Malacath demands it!

BOOTS
Whether you encounter snow or ice, rock or ash, Malacath expects you to keep going. Our boots are crafted from the finest hide and soled with small cleats for traction. And because we must trust our boots to keep us stable on any surface, we decorate them, not with the tilted square, but with the chevron: upright for stability, or inverted for grip.

BOWS
Melee, hand to hand and chest to chest, honors Malacath. Sticking an arrow in someone from a distance does not. For Malacath, a bow is a hunter’s tool, not a warrior’s weapon. So bows in the Malacath Cult style are lighter and simpler than the other weapons in our armory.

CHEST PIECES
In battle, the Orc-Father calls for a layered defense, with Orcs supporting their fellow warriors left and right and before and behind. Everyone has an equal chance to bring honor to Malacath. Likewise, the warriors of Malacath wear cuirasses layered of fur and stiffened armor, usually with a great cowl-gorget extending across the chest and upper back.

DAGGERS
The daggers of Malacath are versatile weapons, strongly made, slightly curved—and with an edge on both sides of the blade, because sometimes we must reverse to stab those who attack us from behind. Treachery is everywhere.

GLOVES
The gauntlets of the Cult of Malacath reach all the way to the elbow and are adorned with chevrons, the symbol of deflection, for we are taught to parry, at need, with the forearm. We also know that when attacked from behind by so-called friends, the best defense is a half-turn and a savage backhanded blow.

HELMETS
Our helms and hoods are layered, like our cuirasses, and likewise ornamented with Malacath’s tilted square. They are sturdy but not too heavy: since betrayal is inevitable, Orcs must be constantly looking askance.

LEG GREAVES
Malacath teaches us that, just as our enemies speak fair before they act foul, it is the way of our enemies to feint high and then attack low. Therefore we take special care with our greaves.

MACES
Malacath! Forge-Founder! Smith-Father! We honor you in battle by wielding the hammer, pounding your foes the same way we hammer out hot steel! Heavy are our hammers, ever ready to smite with the power of the Tilted Square!

SHIELDS
The kite-shaped shields of the Cult of Malacath sport the sacred chevron and the Tilted Square. What is not obvious to the eye is that they are many-layered, of folded steel over laminates of hardwood. Our shields are light, but nigh-impenetrable.

SHOULDER ARMOR
In battle Malacath decrees a layered defense, and so it is with our armor, our pauldrons, faulds, cowters, and poleyns adding layers to our base armor, all adorned with the holy geometries. The pauldron that covers the off-shoulder often sports a knob or boss, to protect the arm of defense.

STAVES
As spellcasters of the Cult of Malacath devote their energies to the downfall of our duplicitous enemies, so their spell-staves are tipped with the sacred Tilted Square, that their Destruction spells may bring collapse and confusion to their targets. Hail Malacath, He Who Speaks Sideways!

SWORDS
Malacath teaches us that, when the Orcs are surrounded by enemies, that is when it is best to turn to slashing our way out. The swords of our cult are the tools to that end, long, curved, and wickedly edged on both sides. Those who think they have trapped us will be surprised… when the prey becomes the hunter!

Crafting Motif 24: Outlaw Style

By the Red Asp, Hallin’s Stand Thieves Guild

We Outlaws may not be very organized, but we have our ways of recognizing each other, no matter where we come from—our symbols, like the three-bladed dagger, or code phrases such as—actually, I don’t think I’ll write those down in a book. However, since we’re all involved in the same illicit business, you’ll see there’s a common style to our arms and armor.

AXES
Where possible, we Outlaws like our weapons to have a secondary function as tools—because frankly, if we have to use them as weapons, the job’s already gone wrong. All of our axes have hooked lower blades, which enables them to serve at need as climbing axes or grappling hooks. Up and over!

BELTS
When you’re on a job, trying to stay stealthy, there’s nothing worse than having your gear suddenly swing loose and clang into something. For this reason, an Outlaw usually wears a sturdy double belt, just to be extra-sure everything’s trussed up good and proper.

BOOTS
Even when going armored, an Outlaw likes to tread lightly, so our boots and shoes are flexible and soft-soled. Oh, and well-oiled into the bargain: no creaky shoes for us!

BOWS
As much as we Outlaws prefer simple, utilitarian weapons, we are quite fond of our bows, and lavish them with extra care and ornamentation. After all, any weapon that enables us to take down an enemy without getting into a stand-up fight is a good thing, right?

CHESTS
When stealth is paramount, and clanking is out of the question, you craft your armor from many layers of tough but flexible material. Metal splints or plates are embedded in leather housings, and all the joints are muffled so your armor stays quiet even when you’re moving fast.

DAGGERS
Blades: keep them simple, keep them straight, put an edge on both sides, and that’s all you need. When it comes to putting a hand’s-length of steel into someone’s back, trust me, a straight dagger is just the ticket. I call mine “Kidney Tickler.”

GLOVES
When your fingers are your fortune, you house them in fine kid leather so your skills at fine manipulation aren’t compromised—and then you protect their backs with stiffened material that can turn the blade of a trap or a guard.

HELMETS
Feature-concealing hoods are the Outlaws’ signature headgear, often stiffened with leather or hide. The eyes are left uncovered, so we can keep a sharp lookout when on the job. Can’t be too careful.

LEG GREAVES
Once again, the key words for Outlaws’ armor are speed and flexibility, which is why our greaves are mostly just straps and flaps. However, we often wear substantial poleyns over our knees, as much to ease crawling through tight spaces as to protect those joints in a fight.

MACES
The typical bludgeoning weapon of the Outlaw is a hammer, because it’s probably going to see more use as a tool than as a melee weapon. Whether you’re breaking and entering, or spiking a door shut behind you to foil pursuit, a hammer is an Outlaw’s best friend.

SHIELDS
For an Outlaw, having to don your shield means your job has taken a nasty turn for the worse—but that’s when you’re glad you crafted a sturdy one, with a riveted steel edge to turn a guard or constable’s weapon. We usually display the Outlaws’ three-bladed dagger on the boss, because if you have to show your shield, the cat, as they say, is already out of the bag.

SHOULDERS
An Outlaw’s pauldrons are layered and durable but don’t project far from the shoulders—you don’t want to get caught in a tight place because you’re wearing fancy winged shoulder cops, after all.

STAVES
When the social fabric is frayed by war and catastrophe, even spellcasters turn to the Outlaw life, adorning the finials of their magic staves with the three-bladed symbol of our defiance. Plus, having a pointed end on your staff is handy when keeping guard dogs at bay.

SWORDS
Like their daggers, Outlaws’ swords tends to be straight, simple, and edged on both sides of the blade. If it comes to swords, then Daedra take it: get the job done, get out, and live to heist another day. At least you’ll have a good story to tell in the Refuge.

Crafting Motif 25: Aldmeri Dominion Style

By Aicantar of Shimmerene, Sapiarch of Indoctrination

Attention smiths, forgers, weapon-masters, and arms crafters: the following are the specifications for all work to be done for the Aldmeri Dominion military. We expect the finest workmanship in every piece, for those of Aldmeri heritage can do no less, but deviation from these norms is not acceptable. I have heard some commentary to the effect that the Aldmeri Eagle is overused in these designs. Such remarks are contrary to Praxis.

Do it right. Do it well. Do it to honor the Ancestors.

AXES
What could be more natural than that the unfurled wings of the Aldmeri Eagle should become the razor-sharp blades of our warriors’ axes? Long may they lop, and ever may they sever!

BELTS
Many pieces of a Dominion warrior’s armor are intricately embellished, but the cincture that supports the soldier’s weapons and tasset-plates has too much humble work to do to carry much in the way of decoration. A simple Aldmeri Eagle belt-buckle will suffice.

BOOTS
The toes of Dominion soldiers, the most elegant in Tamriel, are protected by reinforced points on the Aldmeri trooper’s sabatons. At need, our warriors’ very boots can serve as weapons!

BOWS
The Dominion longbow may look too slender to be able to drive an arrow through armor, but look again: its winged limbs are forged of a supple alloy known as Lillandril Steel, as durable as it is ductile. Our enemies have learned to fear these bows’ deadly darts!

CHEST PIECES
As an eagle’s plumage has layers, from down to flight feathers, so are our cuirasses made of layers of metal plate over a leather aketon both thick and flexible. On the plastron, the Aldmeri Eagle soars over an abstract world below.

DAGGERS
A Dominion dagger is essentially smaller versions of our sword: a double-edged blade that broadens toward the tip before it narrows to a point, with the wings of the Aldmeri Eagle as serving as the crossguard.

GLOVES
Dominion gauntlets are of soft kid leather, so as not to compromise our nimble Aldmeri fingers. For protection our warriors rely on broad vambraces that shield the forearm, and also provide a prominent place for military unit insignia.

HELMETS
Aldmeri flesh can be sensitive to overexposure to sunlight, so it’s as well that we wear full helms with full-face visors. Our helmets’ steel caps are surmounted by golden eagles’ wings, the very symbol of the Dominion!

LEG GREAVES
A Dominion soldier’s greaves are worked in metallic patterns that represent the flow of wings under the wings of a soaring eagle. Actual Aldmeri Eagles should not appear on the poleyns that protect the knees, as it is not appropriate for a warrior to kneel upon the sacred symbol of our alliance.

MACES
A Dominion warrior’s mace has a tripartite head of three heavy eagle’s wings: one for each of the Aldmeri races in our alliance! The sharpened wings can slash as well as bludgeon, and as they are made of a dense ebony-steel alloy, they are heavier than they appear.

SHIELDS
The shining shield of the Dominion is worked with an intricate design that combines both the eagle of Summerset and the graht-tree of Valenwood, thus commemorating the historic alliance between our two Elven races!

SHOULDER ARMOR
The eagle-winged pauldrons of Dominion armor not only provide practical protection to our warriors’ shoulders, they also provide a convenient location for insignia of rank.

STAVES
With their flaring winged heads, the weapons of Dominion spellcasters almost look more like pole-axes than magical staves—and indeed, many an arcane warrior has used them as such when in a tight spot.

SWORDS
Dominion swords are long, straight, and powerful, edged on either side, and with a blade that widens toward the tip before ending in a point. The eagle’s-wing crossguards are sturdy enough to trap an opponent’s blade on a parry and, with a twist, perform a disarming maneuver.

Crafting Motif 26: Daggerfall Covenant Style

Yes, we based the Daggerfall Covenant arms and armor on classic Second Empire designs, and we’re unapologetic about it. In fact, we’re proud! The Covenant represents the continuing ideals of Reman’s Imperium, the uncontested height of Tamrielic civilization, when everyone, even the Orcs, were included in history’s greatest confederation. Insofar as we seek to restore those lost glories, we deliberately hark back to them in our designs and symbolism.

AXES
Our axes are adorned with the lion rampant of the Daggerfall Covenant, so our enemies feel the lion’s bite with every swing! Solid, sturdy, sharp, and heavy—we learned that from the Orcs. Yes, we can even teach the Imperials a trick or two.

BELTS
The Covenant belt is strong and solid, made of square links but fronted with a round buckle. The buckle’s abstract design is meant to represent the entire world of Nirn, of which Tamriel is the center. It stands for a Tamriel reunited under the Remanic ideals exemplified by our king, Emeric.

BOOTS
Steel sabatons, simple and utilitarian: the warriors of the Covenant are shod with the boots they need for the long march to Cyrodiil—and beyond. Our knights may ride sturdy mounts, but in battle they mostly dismount and fight on foot, alongside the infantry and archers.

BOWS
The Covenant bow gives our lions’ claws a fearsomely long reach! In the Daggerfall Covenant, we choose our archers for strength, the muscles needed to draw a bow powerful enough to drive an arrow through the thickest armor.

CHEST PIECES
The cuirasses of Daggerfall Covenant troops are unabashedly Imperial in design and outline, but unmistakably Covenant in adornment, with the lion rampant prominent on the chest. King Emeric chose well when he selected that as they symbol of our alliance!

DAGGERS
Our Covenant daggers, wide yet pointed for thrusting, are definitely based on the short stabbing swords of the Second Empire’s Imperial Legions. If it was good enough for the soldiers who followed Emperor Reman, it’s good enough for us!

GLOVES
Though the Reman Imperials wore only braces for hand and forearm protection, in the Covenant forces we feel the need for a bit more protection in modern melee warfare. We keep the hands relatively unencumbered, but have added strong upper gauntlets for forearm defense.

HELMETS
Our chest pieces may be based on Imperial designs, but when it comes to helmets the Covenant draws its inspiration from the armor of High Rock’s knightly orders. We go for a full helm, complete with visor, and an aventail to protect the neck.

LEG GREAVES
Covenant greaves are plain but thick and rigid, for maximum protection of the troops’ vulnerable lower legs. The design draws from both Breton knightly armor and Orcish forge-wear.

MACES
Daggerfall Covenant maces are standardized on a heavy round head with spikes on all sides. This is a time-honored and eminently practical Orcish design: when your bludgeon is the same no matter how you hold it, you never have to wonder in the heat of combat if you’ve got the head facing the right way.

SHIELDS
Covenant soldiers march into battle protected by kite-shaped shields embossed with the proud symbol of the lion rampant, the seal of our alliance personally selected by our monarch, His Majesty King Emeric! Forward, the Daggers!

SHOULDER ARMOR
Covenant shoulder cops are derived from the practical pauldrons typical to the armor worn by Breton knightly orders. Sometimes we ornament them with snarling lion faces as a reminder that we are fierce and mighty.

STAVES
When it comes to magic, it’s the Bretons who are the most naturally talented of the Covenant allies, and the High Rock spellcasters are proud to wield staves tipped with the lion rampant of Emeric, our High King. The wrought-metal lion typically rears atop a facet-cut focusing crystal of some sort.

SWORDS
Daggerfall Covenant troops are armed with swords that harken back to those of the Second Empire: broad, straight blades edged on both sides, designed for both slashing and thrusting, with a strong crossguard above the hilt to enable vigorous parrying in the heat of melee.

Crafting Motif 27: Ebonheart Pact Style

I’m no writer, Jhunal knows, but here I am, taking up the quill again at the behest of King Jorunn—or his advisors, anyway. I haven’t seen that young rascal of a monarch in days. Wonder what he’s getting up to?

Anyway: I’m supposed to summarize what our alliance arms and armor should look like, so the smiths and armorers all make them to uniform standards. I guess I can do that—by Shor’s stones, I’ve seen enough of them!

AXES
We arm our Pact soldiers with axes based on traditional, proven Nord designs, only with Dragons stamped on them, because we stamp Dragons on everything in this alliance. Not that I’m complaining—can’t think of a better symbol for something you’d better not mess with than a Dragon!

BELTS
I like a nice, sturdy belt, without a whole lot of fiddly decorations on it that might snag your weapon’s hilt when you try to draw it, understand? If you’re a soldier for the Pact, that’s the kind of belt we give you. You want to get fancy, look to your chest piece and pauldrons.

BOOTS
Personally, I like the Pact military boots: plain steel-toed sabatons, practical and easy to keep clean. Like Nords, really, except for the easy-to-keep-clean part. (Just kidding, Your Majesty!) But seriously, these are fine boots, though I admit they could be improved with a touch of fur.

BOWS
For our Pact archers, we took a Dark Elf composite bow and added a couple of grinning metal Dragon heads on the forward facing. They look great, and enable the archers to use the limbs of the bow to parry with, if necessary.

CHEST PIECES
All right, here’s where we get fancy, with embossed Dragons and Argonian nature-designs and Dunmeri what-have-you, I don’t know what those things are, but they look good. But don’t be fooled by all the spangles and trim, these cuirasses aren’t just for show: that’s some solid steel and leatherwork, there.

DAGGERS
When it came to choosing a design for our Pact daggers, we turned to the Dark Elves, because when it comes to sticking somebody in the back—no, maybe I shouldn’t say that. Anyway, you’ll see the crossguard is adapted from Tribunal symbology, though we did slap a Dragon on it.

GLOVES
I wanted some serious Nord gauntlets for our Pact soldiers, but the Dunmer and Argonians said they wanted their hands kept pretty free, so I got overruled on that one. They’re good gloves, though, with some decent mail on the back of the heavier versions.

HELMETS
I must say, we outdid ourselves on the Pact helms, which have some proper flaring wings and horns to them. Warms an old Nord’s heart just to look at them. They’re solid, too, let me tell you, good protection all around, with full visors. Good headgear.

LEG GREAVES
The front plates on the Pact greaves are nice and solid, and with enough trim to look good on dress parade, too. And I like the pointy poleyns on top—you want those when you’re kneeing some milk-drinker in his stones. You do that to an opponent, you don’t want him getting up again for a payback.

MACES
I like the one-handed Pact mace, it’s a good, basic Argonian design: spikes, heavy round head, what more do you need? I think we went a little overboard on the two-hander, though, what with its three roaring Dragon heads and all. Harder for the smiths to craft, and it won’t knock your brains out any better than its simpler little brother.

SHIELDS
Pact shields take a basic Nord oval kite shape, and then add a bunch of spikes around the outside because, I don’t know, the Dunmer and the Lizardfolk like lots of spikes. Oh, and we put a pair of big Dragons on the front just to remind our enemies which alliance is about to bash the crap out of them.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The Dark Elves from House Redoran insisted on big, flaring pauldrons, so that’s what we gave them. And I have to hand it to them, they look good. Sometimes those fellows know what they’re talking about.

STAVES
By now you know what our alliance symbol is, right? So I’ll give you one guess as to what we put on the heads of the staves of our Pact spellcasters. If you said “roaring metal Dragons,” give yourself a pat on the back. If you said anything else, soldier, you’re standing guard duty tonight, because you’re too dumb to be allowed to go into town.

SWORDS
Like I said, we adapted a Dark Elf design for our Pact daggers, and it looked so good we just up-scaled it for our warriors’ swords. Same straight blade, same semi-barbed point, same Tribunal-inspired crossguard with a Dragon stamped on it. Nice sword. Nothing like a good sword.

Crafting Motif 28: Ra Gada Style

The Ra Gada or “Warrior Wave” of settlers from Yokuda actually occurred in four successive waves in the First Era’s ninth century. This catalogue focuses on the second, or “Tavan” wave, so-called because it was spearheaded by the Hattu Metropoles brigade, which revered holy Tava, Lady of the Air. Thus the Tavans’ arms and armor are replete with bird imagery. This second wave primarily settled on the southern coast of Hammerfell, and almost three millennia later their structures can still be found jutting from the coastal dunes. And one doesn’t have to look far to see the influence of these ancient settlers on modern Redguard society.

AXES
Axe-wielders among the Tavans were taught with an emphasis on the “Singular Cleave” attack, intended to cleave a target in twain with a single blow. That’s why these Ra Gada axes feature one large, heavy blade.

BELTS
The belt is the central cincture of a much broader girdle, which provided an extra layer of protection to the Ra Gada’s abdomen and lower back. The large, round buckle is embossed with air-current symbols.

BOOTS
Ra Gadan boots are cobbled from heavy leather, usually camel hide, with thick soles as insulation against hot sand and stones. The traditional turned-up toes conceal metal caps to protect the soldier’s vulnerable feet.

BOWS
Aggressively avian in design, the bow of the Ra Gada is faced with two brazen ibis-heads that can be employed as parrying edges in the heat of melee. It’s a compound bow, and the entire front is faced with horn, often painted a metallic color.

CHEST PIECES
The Ra Gada were sword-fighters, and their cuirasses were solid and sturdy to enable their wearers to withstand blows in close melee. They are covered with swirling air-current symbols, and most feature the distinctive Tavan bird-wing back banners.

DAGGERS
The daggers of the Tavan Ra Gada echo the scimitar-like curve of the second-wave sword blades. The Tavans didn’t use daggers for parrying, preferring to use shields on their off-arms, so their daggers lack crossguards. They are, however, weighted for throwing.

GLOVES
Ra Gada warriors, particularly those wielding two-handed weapons, were trained to parry with their heavily-armored forearms rather than with their weapons’ crossguards. Their gloves, therefore, are basically reinforced upper gauntlets that leave the fingers free for deft weapon manipulation.

HELMETS
The Tavan Redguards’ headgear was typically a turban wound around a sturdy steel cap, usually embossed with the near-universal wind-current symbols. Most of the face was concealed by mouth and cheek guards, as much to intimidate foes as to keep out blowing dust and sand.

LEG GREAVES
Stiff and sturdy armor to protect the front of the lower legs was standard gear for the second-wave Ra Gada, echoing the form and function of the reinforced gauntlets on the forearms. Layers of heavy hide covered the back of the calves.

MACES
Ra Gada maces were made to deal with well-armored opponents, their heads heavy and spiked for crushing and puncturing their targets. The weight of these bludgeons necessitated development of the “Terminal Blow” style, similar to the “Singular Cleave” used by Tavan axe-wielders.

SHIELDS
Ra Gada shields were wide and heavy to provide maximum coverage, not just to the bearer but also, at need, to his nearest ally. Besides the usual embossed wind-current symbols, the bottom of the shield was wrought to resemble a hawk’s broad tail.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The so-called “pagoda pauldrons” of the Ra Gada are quite distinctive, but the three layers of cops are not as rigid as they appear: they are articulated underneath, allowing the cops to swivel to follow the warrior’s arm movements.

STAVES
Ra Gada spellcasters often tipped their staves will finials in the shape of Tu’whacca’s sacred ibis, as the Tricky God was (and is) the patron of mages. Nowadays being suspicious of magic is regarded as a hallmark of Redguard culture, but this was not always so pronounced.

SWORDS
The Tavans came from the Yokudan sword tradition that called for edging only one side of the blade, so the backing can be thicker and stronger. This gives the curved Ra Gada swords, both one- and two-handed, the weight to hack through a target in one slash – and single-move attacks have always been celebrated by Redguards as the epitome of fencing elegance.

Crafting Motif 29: Soul-Shriven Style

By Sir Cadwell the Undaunted, Knight of the Court of Coldharbour, Champion of Chivalry, Defender of the Defenseless, Shepherd to the Soul-Shriven

Here in Coldharbour we have people who’ve come from every corner of Tamriel. And who can blame them? This realm is a virtual paradise! And also, now that I think of it, a victual paradox. I mean, we Soul-Shriven live, but we do not eat. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt even a bit peckish. Curious, isn’t it? I wonder how that works?

But never mind that. On to the matter at hand: style! Soul-Shriven style, to be precise. It’s the style that has no style, because it draws from every style! It’s got the best of everything, doesn’t it?

I mean, just look at our weapons! A veritable bounty of battle-ready accoutrements [sic] and pointed pain-sticks. The dagger: a wavy kris from Soul-Shriven Khajiit! The mace: a clonking good morning-star, all spiky and everything, from freshly Soul-Shriven Orcs! The swords: real katanas from real Akaviri, those snaky Tsaesci, not those chilly Kamali with their silly straight swords! And the axes: nasty-looking things with scythe-blades … genuine scythe-blades from … well, truth be told, I’ve no idea where they come from, but someplace fun, almost certainly!

And have a look at our armor! Go on! I’ve never seen its like, but I like what I see. It’s all … how should I say it? Rather mixed up and confusticating, isn’t it? Cobbled together with bits and bobs from all over—a bit like a flesh atronach, but far more comfortable to wear, and not nearly as pungent.

So, if you give a tinker’s damn about style, why not consider crafting Soul-Shriven weapons and armor for all of your madcap adventuring needs? They’re quite fetching, and not at all dodgy. Not too dodgy, at any rate.

Crafting Motif 3: Wood Elf Style

This book was originally called “Racial Motifs 3: The Wood Elves”

Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel

(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)

Next we complete our study of the Elves with the Bosmer of Valenwood. Though less influential in the world at large than their cousins the High Elves and the Dark Elves, the Wood Elves outnumber all other Mer in Tamriel, being relatively fecund (for Elves) and more, shall we say, amorously-inclined.

It’s a commonplace to point out that the Wood Elves favor natural motifs, but as I learned, there’s more to it than that. Their reverence for Y’ffre and the story of the Earth Bones is reflected in the stylized fashion in which these natural motifs are represented. The Bosmer believe that all nature was in chaos before Y’ffre gave all plants, animals, and people their names, which defined the permanent form each species would take. Thus each species is depicted by a particular, idealized motif which represents the ur-form it was given by Y’ffre.

This is reflected in the designs that appear everywhere on Wood Elven arts, crafts, and clothing. These designs are drawn from a large repertoire, as there is a design for each species of plant and animal in the Bosmer’s world, but the use and depiction of these designs is culturally prescribes, and there is very little room for variation. Unorthodox usage of these stylized pictograms is considered improper, just plain “wrong.”

This may seem paradoxical in a race whose members otherwise seem so carefree and easygoing, but it is so, as I had an opportunity to see for myself. There are quite a few Wood Elves in the Imperial City, enough that there is a small Bosmeri neighborhood down on the waterfront, served by a tavern called the Tipsy Torchbug. Divayth Fyr, the fascinating Dark Elf wizard assisting Morian Zenas in his experiments, had offered to take me there, and I agreed.

When I arrived at Morian’s house on the date of our jaunt to the docks the old professor himself answered the door, and I was surprised when he asked me to step into my study for a moment. Also surprising was the way Morian was turned out: in a new silk robe sporting star-sign symbols, hair trimmed and combed, and smelling faintly of lavender. Quite a transformation from the disreputable, singed and stained robes I’d seen him in previously.

It turned out he wanted to caution me about going down to the waterfront with Divayth Fyr. I’m afraid I laughed, at which he reddened, and I then told him I was a grown woman who could take care of herself. He was somewhat abashed and muttered some excuses, from which I gathered that he was more concerned about my spending time with Divayth than going to the docks. I didn’t want his feelings hurt, so I complimented his new robe, at which he beamed, and then I went to the parlor to meet Divayth.

I shouldn’t ramble on, but we had a wonderful evening. The Tipsy Torchbug was a lively place, and Divayth introduced me to Lady Biniele, the proprietor, who insisted that we share our table. The entertainment was Biniele’s Bosmeri Burlesque, which was hilarious, and though I couldn’t drink any of the Wood Elves’ revolting beverages, I did consent to share a pipeful of bugsmoke with Divayth, which made me feel strangely exhilarated.

It also led to my seeing a prime example of Bosmeri disdain for “improper design” when a Leyawiin sailor, who’d seen me sharing Divayth’s pipe, offered to sell me a carved-bone pipe of “genuine Valenwood make.” Lady Biniele told me it was a counterfeit and not to waste my money. The sailor protested, but the diminutive Wood Elf woman told him any fool could see the tail was wrong on the Imga carved on the bowl, and he should shove off. Which he did.

Divayth and I shoved off shortly thereafter, and on our way back up to the city gates he pointed to the stars in the brilliant night sky and told me the ancient Chimeri names for the constellations. I must confess, I remember nothing but the warm tones of his resonant voice—and the warm touch of his hand on my arm.

Crafting Motif 30: Morag Tong Style

Guild Memo to the Recondite Forge

I’ve been asked to convey to you the Exalted Master’s dissatisfaction with your recent work for the Tong. The Sun’s Dusk shipment was unacceptable, not up to standard either in quality or style. We’re going to give you one opportunity to redeem yourselves. Don’t fail. In the interest of your … rehabilitation … I’ll summarize our requirements for you below.

– Naryu Virian, Knower

AXES
Note the broad, heavy crescent blade with the signature “double bite” inset edges at the center. These wide serrations result in particularly savage wounds that look like they were inflicted by some forest predator. (And what does “Morag Tong” mean in ancient parlance but “Forest Guild”?) Axe blades: double bite. Got it?

BELTS
The Morag Tong are like woods hunters, except people are our prey. Our belts are of simple stout leather, like a forester’s, occasionally ornamented with dreugh or mudcrab chitin—but don’t get too fancy. Save that for the cuirass and pauldrons.

BOOTS
The toes and uppers of Morag Tong shoes are protected by plates of chitin, but the sides and soles are of flexible leather, tough but quiet. The goal is to make sure our writ-targets never even hear us coming. Can you manage that? For your sake, I hope you can.

BOWS
Morag Tong archers wield composite bows of hardwood and horn, constructed on fundamental principles that haven’t changed for millennia. For flourish, add metallic parry-crescents just above and below the central grip, with spider-web supports to honor the Webspinner. (Don’t pretend you don’t know of whom I speak.)

CHEST PIECES
A Morag Tong cuirass is designed to intimidate as well as to protect. The base arming coat shall be of dark, heavy leather, ideally Bull Netch, accented or (in heavier sets) layered with irregular plates of chitin. The effect should be monstrous, as if the wearer were more crustacean than person. Be imaginative! We have a reputation to maintain.

DAGGERS
The blade on a Morag Tong dagger should be an offset demi-crescent, with a hook or barb on the point so the dagger can double as a corpse meat-hook. The hook must be able to drag a body without bending or slipping out—which is what happened with that last batch you sent us. Don’t you even test your work before you call it done?

GLOVES
In the last batch of gauntlets you sent us, you got the leather quality and the chitin plate on the back of the hand right, but you blundered by giving the gloves full fingers instead of half-coverage. We do delicate work, all right? We need the ends of our fingers free for things like picking locks and twisting garottes around victims’ necks. Gauntlets with half-fingers. Got it?

HELMETS
You did a relatively good job with our flanged chitin helmets, but the visor goggles were a complete failure. The heavy glass lenses were rippled, distorting the wearer’s vision and making everything viewed appear slightly off-center. We can’t be going in to cut a writ-target’s throat and hit them instead on the shoulder. Whatever source you’ve been using for lenses, change it.

LEG GREAVES
These should be heavy leather—once again, Bull Netch if possible—with a top layer of chitin plates. That’s chitin, like from dreugh or mudcrabs, NOT bone. We don’t wear bone. Also, the sharp poleyns on the heavier armor should jut out to the side rather than the front, because that’s weirder and looks more dangerous.

MACES
For the Tong maces, we use a pretty traditional Chimer warhammer design, with two heavy cylindrical heads. Sheath the haft below the head with metal for parrying purposes. And make sure it’s not too shiny: we don’t want our weapons to compromise stealth.

SHIELDS
I know the shield design looks like chitin, but it’s actually ashwood faced with metal. It only looks like layered chitin so as to be thematically compatible with the Morag Tong armor, which is made of actual chitin. Is this too confusing? Read it through several times slowly until you’ve got it. Then do it right.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Getting the shoulders right is very important to maintaining the Morag Tong armor’s distinctive silhouette, so pay attention. The pauldrons are layers of articulated chitin plates, like the cuirass, but the upper plates need to have short curved spikes mounted on them. Use dreugh or shalk shell spurs for this.

STAVES
There are only a few real spellcasters in the Tong, and I’m not one of them, so I can’t comment on where the design for our spell staves comes from, or why it’s so important we stick to it. I think the finial looks like a heavy brass Dwarven fish, but that’s just me. What matters to you is that you follow the design as closely as you can.

SWORDS
Morag Tong swords have one sharp edge, with a curve toward the point, which ends in a back-barb like the dagger, and for the same reason: so it can double as a corpse meat-hook. Put some irregular curved points on the sword’s spine, just so it looks nastier.

Crafting Motif 31: Skinchanger Style

Would you live among the wild of the northern woods, and perhaps be wild yourself? Would you worship Hircine in his aspects of Alrabeg the Hunter, or Storihbeg the Skinchanger? Would you seek for the Beast Within, so it may be released to seek its blood prey? Then let your arms and armor bespeak these things of you, for at times your speech may be naught more than a growl. Hearken, Manbeast:

AXES
Woodsman you may have been, but though you bear an axe, you are woodsman no more. For you shall turn your axe from hewing wood to spilling blood. Broad shall be the fore-blade, and narrow the hind, but the hind-blade shall sport three claws, that you may scrape the mark of the beast into the flesh of your prey.

BELTS
You shall make your belt from the hide of your prey, tan it and tool it and bedeck it with teeth, so all shall know that you fear no bite. And your belt shall be broad, and from it shall depend tassets of thick hide, the better to protect your midsection when the prey turns at bay.

BOOTS
Your boots shall be of tanned hide, thick and well-oiled, for you will hunt your prey up streams and through swamps. Take care the soles are thick and be-ridged, for you must be sure of foot when the surface is uncertain. Even the best hunters fall to their prey when they slip and stumble.

BOWS
Your bow shall be of heartwood and antler, for to shoot true in the forest, the archer’s tools must be of the forest. The limbs of your bow shall be clawed, like the limbs of your prey, for like calls to like. And your quiver shall show the face of a beast.

CHEST PIECES
Your cuirass shall be many-layered and tough, and the breastplate shall be a beastplate, with the glaring eyes and wrinkled nose of a predator hard on the trail of its prey. And this is not strange, for beneath your cuirass beats the heart of a hunter, pumping the blood of a beast.

DAGGERS
You shall bear a dirk like a long, curved claw, a steel talon with which to gut your prey and skin its hide. It shall be deadly, yet simple and unadorned, for does the bear paint its claws, or the falcon gild its talons? They do not. So say I, and who shall contradict me?

GLOVES
Your gauntlets shall be a mighty protection for your forearms, for the biting beasts will try to grip your forelimbs with their fangs and wrestle you to their level, and you must deny them this. Stud your gauntlet backs with metal spikes to give them fangs of their own, but leave the fingers free, nimble to grasp for arrows or dirk.

HELMETS
When the beasts look upon you, they will see another beast looking back, for your helm shall be a wolf’s-head of steel. And this is as Storihbeg would have it, for the Manbeast within shall manifest without, and the hunter shall be exalted.

LEG GREAVES
To protect your legs your greaves shall be of the densest hide, and they shall be studded with metal rivets, that they may turn the fangs of serpents and blunt the tusks of boars. For while you are Beast you are also Man, and must stay upright except when in form most feral.

MACES
Your mace shall be heavy and spiked, like the fist of a kwama warrior, but you shall strike twice as hard with it, for you are at once both Beast and Man, and none who are of single nature shall stand before you.

SHIELDS
The beast-face on your chest and your helm shall be repeated on your shield, of great size and feral aspect, so as to strike fear into your enemies from a distance. Then you may smite them from afar, or close and savage them by hand, as best suits your way of doing honor to Hircine.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Your pauldrons shall be as you will, whether metal, leather, or fur, so long as they are strong and solid to turn both blows and fangs. For your shoulder is anchor to the arm that brings your weapon down upon your prey.

STAVES
Every spell you cast from your staff shall do honor unto Lord Hircine, in both his Princely form and in his aspect as Alrabeg. For your staff shall be crowned with antlers like unto the Lord of the Hunt, and your spells shall emit therefrom. This is the way, and no other!

SWORDS
Your sword shall be long and curved, a great talon to extend the reach of your mighty arm, and it shall have an edge that shall slash like the tusks of a great boar. But it shall end in a point, for when your prey has finished fighting for its life, you shall take that life quickly and cleanly with a thrust to the heart. See to it.

Crafting Motif 32: Abah’s Watch Style

I just sold that Iron Wheel outfit a load of first-quality arms and armor—good enough that our own Abah’s Landing guards are going to look shabby in comparison, and that’s not going to do. We need to show a united front to the Wheel, with a standardized look to our guards. Based on what we’ve got in the warehouses, let’s equip them as indicated below.
—Merchant Lord Orahan at-Addin

AXES
We have a number of those axes with the double-crescent blades down in the water-level warehouse. They’re very similar to what I sold the Iron Wheel; let’s equip our own axe-wielders with those arms.

BELTS
That shipment of heavy wool sashes we got from Rihad will do fine as belts: just put a round metal boss on front to cinch it through, and hang metal tassets at the hips for the more heavily-armored guards.

BOOTS
The basic goat-leather boots shipped in from Senchal ought to do fine: we have plenty of them, and nobody looks at a guard’s feet anyway. But make sure they have good quality straps at the ankle to attach to the bottom of the greaves.

BOWS
We’re arming town guards here: they don’t need to shoot arrows at battlefield ranges, so there’s no point in giving them powerful (and expensive) composite bows. Simple self bows will do fine—and as a matter of fact we just got a ship load of those from Velyn Harbor!

CHEST PIECES
It was smart to buy out that entire shipment of mix-and-match layered cuirass pieces from that forge that went out of business in Satakalaam. We sold most of them to the Iron Wheel, but there are enough pieces left over to equip our own Abah’s Watch guards.

DAGGERS
Redguard blades—swords and daggers—are just the best, even simple, relatively plain stabbers like those crates of used weapons we got from the school at Leki’s Blade. They may have been forged as practice blades, but they’re none the less lethal for that. Make sure every one of our guards has one of those simple curved daggers.

GLOVES
When we bought those Satakalaam cuirasses, I got them to throw in two crates of matching gauntlets constructed along similar lines: a sturdy leather base that supports layers of mix-and-match plates mounted on top. Those are good combat gloves; it’s almost a shame not to sell them. But the guards must have gauntlets!

HELMETS
We sold the Iron Wheel three crates of those turbaned conical helmets from Gilane. I think we have one crate left, so let’s issue those to the Abah’s Watch guards. If we run out of the conical helms, give them metal skullcaps to wear under the turbans.

LEG GREAVES
The greaves we’re using follow the same design principle as the gauntlets and cuirass: they’re heavy top-grain leather lined with strap-points for buckling on layered metal plates. Leave off the metal plates for the guards working beats on the docks—if they fall in the harbor, we want them to be able to get out again.

MACES
We got the maces from the same forge as the axes and shields, and they have that same double-crescent motif, in this case as the shape of the sharp flanges on the maces’ heads. That double crescent: I wonder what it means?

SHIELDS
Even after equipping the Iron Wheel, we still have a lot of those round shields faced with the double-crescent design. Put a slightly different tint on them and issue those to our guards.

SHOULDER ARMOR
We have a fair number of sets of pauldrons from Satakalaam that match the cuirass and gauntlets—heavy leather with attachments for overlapping metal plates. In for a copper, in for a drake: might as well give those to the Landing guards as well.

STAVES
In the warehouse at the outer harbor you’ll find a round dozen spell-staves topped with double-crescent finials. That ought to be enough to equip our spellcasting officers, and as a bonus they match the design on the axes, maces, and shields.

SWORDS
We got both one-handed and two-handed swords from the school at Leki’s Blade, and from their quality and condition you’d never know they’d been used as practice blades by students for years. Redguards take care of their swords like nobody else.

Crafting Motif 33: Thieves Guild

Do you know what’s a good way to waste money? …Actually, you probably know a lot of ways to waste money. Let me rephrase that: do you know a good way to save money? I’ll tell you—buy in bulk, and have any manufactured goods made to specific standards. Economy: that’s the reason Thieves Guild arms and armor need to follow the specifications below.

AXES
Thieves Guild axes are sturdy, made to open up both armored opponents and reluctant doors. Also, note the way our axes have hooked blades so they can act as prying tools when necessary. The Guild triple-dagger symbol appears in the center of the head.

BELTS
Actually, the Guild is not all that finicky about belts, so long as they’re strong and made of top-grain hide, whether from cattle, welwa, or kagouti. Design of the metal buckle is less important than the fact that it shouldn’t be shiny.

BOOTS
Guild boots should be of sturdy leather, with stiff uppers but soft and flexible soles. Get a pair from the supplier and test them yourself: if they creak or rustle when you walk, they’re not suitable for the Thieves Guild.

BOWS
A Thieves Guild bow should be of dense but springy ash or yew, powerful enough to drop a guard at medium range. The front of the limbs should be faced with (dull) metal sheathing for parrying purposes. Arrowheads should be steel, but once again, not shiny: you don’t want a glint from your arrow to betray your position as your [sic] draw down on your target.

CHEST PIECES
Our cuirasses are constructed of overlapping layers of articulated tooled leather, well-oiled to keep the armor both flexible and silent. Heavier versions will be faced with light steel plates to protect critical areas, but the metal must be matte and dullish. A round boss with the three-bladed Guild symbol is to appear on both chest and upper back.

DAGGERS
The official Guild dagger is a double-edged stabbing weapon with a broad blade—almost a short sword. The flaring three-bladed Guild symbol at the hilt serves as a crossguard.

GLOVES
Thieves Guild gloves may look like warrior’s gauntlets above the wrist, but the fingers must be sheathed in soft kid or chamois so as not to interfere with the delicate manipulation so critical to thieving.

HELMETS
We’re thieves, so we don’t wear steel pots on our heads: metal helmets are noisy, shiny, and would impair our vision. We want a nice, flexible, dark leather cowl, with a feature-concealing mask covering the lower half of the face.

LEG GREAVES
Guild greaves are nothing fancy, just gaiters of dark oiled leather with attachment points for dull steel overplates. As with the rest of the armor, they mustn’t creak during movement.

MACES
A Thieves Guild warhammer doubles as both weapon and tool: the heavy, flat head is backed with a spike that can also serve as a crowbar. The three-bladed Guild symbol should appear on both sides of the hammer head.

SHIELDS
Deciding to encumber oneself with a shield can be a difficult decision for a thief, so we allow a fair amount of variation is both shape and size: anything from a medium round shield up to a full kite shield is acceptable. The Guild symbol should appear in the center on a (rather large) round boss.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The fact is, thieves often run away, and when you’re running away you tend to get hit on the shoulders. So for us, shoulder armor is not a good place to economize. We want multiple layers of thick, articulated leather on our pauldrons, with buckle points for adding additional layers of non-shiny metal. Don’t skimp.

STAVES
Thieves Guild spell staves are pretty low profile, of dark hardwood with a finial in the shape of our familiar three-bladed symbol. It’s a good idea to add metal prongs to the foot so the staff can help add stability when thieving on uncertain surfaces.

SWORDS
A thief doesn’t really want to close with an opponent (except by surprise), so our Thieves Guild swords are broad, double-edged affairs made for slashing so as to keep an enemy at bay. As with the daggers, our flaring three-bladed Guild symbol provides a crossguard at the haft.

Crafting Motif 34: Assassins League Style

The “Dark Brotherhood”? Utter nonsense. The Brotherhood is a myth. A legend. A lie. Death comes to us all, and murder is merely a matter of mundane craft—there’s no need to invoke the Void, or its, ahem, mother.

Ah, but a secret society of assassins, a guild of killers for hire—now that makes sense. That’s just good business. And like every good business, we have standards. You wish to join us, and dress like one of our league? Then follow the instructions below. And one day, if you are found worthy, you may be invited to learn some actual secrets.

AXES
The hallmark of Assassins’ weapons is that they are both nimble and effective, striving for that sweet spot between the heavy arms of soldiers and the supple but over-subtle weapons of duelists. Our axes, for example, feature a single, broad blade, with no more than a short slicing crescent on the backside for ripostes.

BELTS
You’ll notice that all Assassins wear dual belts, one above the other, with weapons and tassets depending from the lower strap. Why is that? Because sometimes a job goes wrong and you need to make a sudden escape, in which case you can drop the bottom belt and everything on it, losing all that extra encumbrance.

BOOTS
Boots? An Assassin’s footwear will be more like a dancer’s shoes than a warrior’s sabatons: light, flexible, and above all quiet. The best leather for soles is guar hide, which is limber but provides good traction on uncertain surfaces.

BOWS
If someone should say unto you, “Oh, I see your bow has death’s-heads on it, so I guess I should be really afraid, since you must be some kind of assassin or something, right?” …You are authorized by the League to kill such a person, and take their head. Full-sized skulls make good decorations for ballistas.

CHEST PIECES
Remember, Assassin, you are not a soldier—it may be your job to kill, but wholesale slaughter is not your task: you kill once, and escape to kill again. So League-standard armor, even your cuirass, is to be relatively lightweight and flexible, with plenty of attach-points for tools and weapons.

DAGGERS
For the League Assassin, the primary function of the dagger is as a weapon for surprise attack from behind, to either slice the windpipe or plunge into the lower back. It must be small enough to be nimble but big enough to kill, and razor-sharp on both edge and point. A barb behind the point comes in handy when manipulating a body, whether living or dead.

GLOVES
Keeping your hands nimble and free is of critical importance in all phases of assassination. When lightly armored, we forego gloves entirely below the forearm; even when more heavily armored, our gloves are so light and supple as to be barely there at all.

HELMETS
Executioners don’t wear helmets, they wear hoods—and so do we. To be quite accurate, we wear leather coifs, layered underneath, in the heavier versions, with skullcaps and flexible mail. The value of a buffe that conceals the lower features is obvious in our profession.

LEG GREAVES
As often as not, a League Assassin travels on all four limbs, leaping and climbing, clambering and crawling. For such activities, rigid greaves are a liability, so with leg armor, as elsewhere, the watchwords are resilience and ease of motion. Modest knee poleyns are useful when crawling or kneeling to shoot.

MACES
For bludgeoning, we use a square-headed warhammer backed with a metal spike deliberately curved to evoke the look of a raptor’s talon. It’s also useful for prying open any doors or windows you might encounter between you and your target.

SHIELDS
For the League, a shield usually comes into play on two-person missions, where one assassin is using it to cover a second killer who’s picking a lock or lining up a shot. So the shield must be large enough to crouch behind, but with cutouts to left and right so one can stab or shoot around it.

SHOULDER ARMOR
While flaring pauldrons may make a fashionable silhouette for a warrior, they are counterproductive for an Assassin, who can’t risk getting hung up in the scenery in the middle of a stalk. Shoulder protection is important, but so is keeping a low profile.

STAVES
When we assign an Assassin a target, we say, “Pass over them with the Hand of Death.” Thus we use a stylized iron hand as the finial on our spellcasters’ magic staves. It is acceptable to place a round-cut precious stone on the back of the hand to represent the all-seeing eye of the League.

SWORDS
A League Assassin’s sword is a tool of death, long and strong, sharp-edged and sharp-pointed, with a barb behind the tip of the slightly-curving blade. It designed to be fearsome to behold, its very look calculated to paralyze an opponent who sees it come gleaming from the shadows.

Crafting Motif 35: Dro-m’Athra Style

Somewhere, deep in the Dark Behind the World, there are grim forges and bent benches where Lost Cats arm and armor themselves. On those dire times when they appear among us, their outfitting is much alike, implying they are made to certain standards. This one shall sing the song of these standards below. Because all knowledge is useful, no? If only to know what to stay away from.

AXES
Many times dro-m’Athra weapons and armor show the “waning crescent” symbol—waning because evil is strongest in the dark of the moons. Thus the Lost Cat axes show two waning crescents, one for Jode and one for Jone. But diminishing, yes?

BELTS
Many tassets! On the buckle of the dro-m’Athra belt we see waning crescents lengthened into two long, curving fangs, often below a sort of “dark eye” sigil. Full meaning of latter is obscure, and perhaps that is for the best. Who would know all that Namiira knows?

BOOTS
Dro-m’Athra boots have enclosed toes, a curious exception to usual Khajiiti practice; it brings to mind this ancient song: “One foote Jone, one foote Jode, Lost Cattes be most straungely toed.” Are the enclosed toes hiding some sort of hind-paw disfigurement?

BOWS
The waning crescent motif is very pronounced on dro-m’Athra bows, which feature two pairs of sickle moons, one pair on the face bracketing the grip, and another, smaller pair at the ends of the limbs. Such a bow may shoot more than mere arrows, alas.

CHEST PIECES
The cuirasses of dro-m’Athra warriors have a central boss of double waning crescents, surrounded by the jagged patterns of what I call “blue claw marks,” the distinctive slashes of blue lightning so common in Lost Cat imagery.

DAGGERS
The dro-m’Athra dagger is a short stabbing weapon, with a so-much-curved crossguard that must assist when parrying. Curiously, this means dagger has but a single “waning crescent moon,” where most Lost Cat weapons display two. Is missing moon symbolic of Ghost Moon? This one does not know.

GLOVES
Gauntlets protect hands from blows, of course, but also it is cold, very cold in Dark Behind the World, so wear gloves. Fingertips are covered—where are Khajiiti claws? On forearm, blue claw marks, but on hands, no claws. Very disturbing.

HELMETS
Cat-face doubled, one atop another—so eerie! But dro-m’Athra face is hidden, which is a Good Thing. Crowned with double waning crescent, yes. False ears, but teeth are real, or at least real sharp. No gorget!

LEG GREAVES
Dro-m’Athra greaves almost normal, mundane. Must guard lower limbs just like Top-of-World greaves, yes? Darkening moons on shins, pointed down, emptying out all life. Sing me a song of shinbalds, turning ’round and walking away!

MACES
With blows of mace, Lost Cats beat out rhythm of the Bent Dance. See, dro-m’Athra mace head is shaped like shield, and yet dro-m’Athra shield is not shaped like mace! Who can sing the answer to this riddle? Not this one, no.

SHIELDS
Double-waning-crescent shield, Jode to right, Jone to left, with gaps in moon-sickles for stab-stabbing from behind it. See the blue lightning? Very dangerous: beware.

SHOULDER ARMOR
So clawsome, the pauldrons! And laced with blue claw marks, yes. High collars help make up for lacking of gorget and aventail. Sharp and sharp: do not touch them, for they touch back. This one is quite serious.

STAVES
What a staff it is! Two down-turned waning crescents emptying the head, while above is crescent Ghost Moon, rampant, ready to funnel forth spells of Destruction. No need to guess why Lost Cat Sorcerer is most feared dro-m’Athra of all. No, not a bit.

SWORDS
Heavy at end, Lost Cat sword would be awkward wielding for any but muscle-cat dro-m’Athra! Weight of sword drives sharp-sharp edge through body and bone. Crosshilt is waning-double-crescent, but by now you guess this twice over. Avoid! Evade! Will you be wise, and heed Adara’hai? Who can say? Var var var.

Crafting Motif 36: Dark Brotherhood Style

Heed me, Initiates: we are not soldiers, and do not wear a uniform—it would be a difficult thing indeed to do our jobs if we had to wear gear that identified us as members of an order of assassins. But just because we don’t typically use uniforms when on assignment doesn’t mean we don’t have them: we do. When it is necessary for you to represent the Dark Brotherhood in a manner that leaves no doubt as to our involvement in an affair, you will wear guild armor and wield guild arms as described below.

AXES
Your axe blades, Initiate, are shaped like those of meat cleavers, and for much the same reason. While the blade may not be heavy enough to decapitate a target with the first blow, if wielded with care it will still go halfway through your target’s neck, and that usually suffices.

BELTS
An initiate’s belt shall be leather that is broad and strong, to keep armor cinched tight and weapons secure. It shall display the Brotherhood’s gray steel dart design, either toward the buckle or away from it. Hip tassets shall be broad and display the steel dart wrought large.

BOOTS
An Initiate’s boots shall be of flexible leather for maximum mobility. The uppers shall bear the broad steel dart, toe-ward, for protection of the instep. The sole shall be ridged for traction.

BOWS
The Brotherhood bow is simple and utilitarian in appearance, but strong enough to drive a clothyard shaft through the heaviest breastplate. Double-chevron plates shall protect the facing, and enable the Initiate to parry. The quiver shall be blazoned with either the black or the bloody hand.

CHEST PIECES
The Initiate’s cuirass shall be of dark leather accented with divers steel dart and chevron designs. There shall be extra straps for easy carriage of tools and spare daggers. And on the sternum shall be blazoned the black hand of dark knowledge.

DAGGERS
For assassinations, Initiate, your dagger will often be your primary weapon. The Brotherhood dagger is heavy, single-edged, and slightly curved, with a serrated back. If plunged hilt-deep between a target’s ribs, the serrations may make quick removal difficult, so carry several daggers in the event you are forced to leave one in your target’s corpse.

GLOVES
An initiate’s gloves shall be of the finest kid leather, supremely flexible, with metal dart studs to protect the knuckles and back of the hand. The palms and insides of the fingers shall be textured to hold and apply the black soot of dark knowledge.

HELMETS
The Initiate’s headgear shall be a thick leather cowl accented by matte steel studs, with a lower half-mask to conceal the wearer’s features. The cowl shall be of generous length so as to drape full to the shoulders.

LEG GREAVES
The Initiate’s greaves shall be of sturdy boiled leather, supplemented by metal dart-and-chevron plates in the heavier variations. They shall extend over the top of the boot for protection of the Initiate’s ankles. Calf-straps shall be adjustable so as to provide room for stowage of hideout daggers.

MACES
The standard Brotherhood bludgeoning weapon is a square-headed warhammer, flanged on the corners for collateral laceration. The two-handed hammer is double headed, but the head on the one-handed variation is backed with a curved spike, useful as a tool for dragging cadavers into the shadows to hide them.

SHIELDS
The Initiate’s shield shall be of oval kite-shape and large enough to protect a co-assassin as she plies her bow or spell staff. Upon the central boss shall be blazoned either the black or bloody hand.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The Initiate’s pauldrons shall likewise be of sturdy boiled leather, surmounted by double-chevroned metal plates to turn blows from above. The elbows may sport cowters of matching design. All metal shall be matte to prevent glinting and reflection.

STAVES
The Brotherhood spellcaster’s staff ends in such a heavy flanged head that it almost resembles a two-handed mace—and may be used in that capacity in extremity. Make your staff strong enough that it can be used as a pry bar when breaking and entering, or as a rod to hold a door open or jam it shut.

SWORDS
Your sword, Initiate, should be a long, curved single-edged blade, with an unevenly serrated back. This latter detail has little practical purpose, serving more as an indicator of your ferocity, potentially paralyzing with fright a target who sees it. There is little difference between the one- and two-handed versions other than size.

Crafting Motif 37: Ebony Style

By Frikkhild Coldheart of The Anvil & Pauldron

The Ebony style of arms and armor: so striking, so strange, so distinctive that there’s no mistaking it. But how are we to account for its bizarre admixture of stylistic forms, Dunmer, Nord, and even Daedric? Where does it come from, and who established it? I have spent years seeking the answers to these questions, and all I have for my pains are a few names and terms that may (or may not) apply. Mackkan. Caldera. Fickledire. “Glorious Upheaval.” I wish I knew what these words mean, but I do not. I only know that the Ebony style is ancient, and can be defined as described below.

AXES
The Ebony-style axe is notable for its oversized single blade, twice as long below the axle as above it. There is a spike opposite the blade, and another one, curved, at the ferrule.

BELTS
The Ebony belt is surprisingly simple, considering how ornate the rest of the armor set can be. It’s constructed of black leather with metal rivets, and a shield-shaped buckle at the front.

BOOTS
The boots of Ebony armor are articulated metal sabatons, with overlapping chevron-shaped plates similar to those on other pieces of the set. The toes are pointed, but the heels are flat, and can be equipped with spurs.

BOWS
The Ebony bow is of heavy compound composition, dark springy hardwoods faced with ebony in the set’s chevron pattern. It features inward-curving metal spikes above and below the central grip. The quiver, in contrast, is of supple black leather, holding arrows whose points have a slight, wicked curve.

CHEST PIECES
The cuirass is constructed of overlapping ebony plates atop leather or chainmail, articulated so the wearer can bend freely. The breastplate is shield-shaped, above double-chevron bands that protect the abdomen. They may be embossed with jagged flame symbols of Daedric inspiration.

DAGGERS
The Ebony dagger has a long, slender blade with a slight S-curve to it, reminiscent of the dark rocky Coldharbour spikes that accompany incursions of the Planemeld. Its crossguard is minimal: it’s a dagger for thrusting, not parrying.

GLOVES
Ebony gauntlets are of black leather with thin, articulated plates protecting the backs of the hand and fingers. Pointed metal flanges protect the forearms on the heavier variations.

HELMETS
Ebony helms resemble those worn by Dremora, with full visors, crests, and flaring wing-shaped prongs over the ears. The eye-slits are narrow and deliberately sinister in aspect.

LEG GREAVES
The greaves are constructed to the same design as the rest of the armor set, with overlapping chevron-shaped plates, and shield-shaped poleyns at the knees.

MACES
The Ebony warhammer is a decidedly nasty affair, with a heavy flanged head and a curved back spike. The haft is partly sheathed in metal for parrying purposes, while the ferrule sports the same curved spike seen on the bottom of the axe handles.

SHIELDS
The Ebony shield clearly shows the armor set’s mixed stylistic heritage: though kite-shaped like a heavy Nord shield, its bulbous central forms resemble Dunmeri bug-armor, all inscribed with unknown runes that look like Daedric script—but aren’t.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The pauldrons on Ebony armor are sharp and shield-shaped, with an extra chevron-shaped plate flaring out over the upper arms. There is a layer of thick leather, or even chainmail, beneath the over-plates.

STAVES
Compared to the ornate detailing on the armor, Ebony spell staves are relatively simple in design, consisting of a shaft of dark hardwood, sheathed in metal toward the top, with a finial of down-flaring crescent wings. The ferrule is equipped with the same curved spike as other hafted Ebony weapons.

SWORDS
Ebony-style swords are definitely Daedric in inspiration, with crinkled, asymmetrical handles topped by twisted guards, from which sprout single-edged blades with disturbing curves. The sides of the blades are etched with runes that, though traditional to the Ebony style, are of unknown origin.

Crafting Motif 38: Draugr Style

By Narsis Dren—Treasure Hunter

So, you want to be able to pass yourself off as a Draugr? That makes perfect sense! Done it myself, and more than once! Just follow my instructions below, and you’ll have gear so Draugr-y not even a Dragon Priest’s mother could tell it from the real thing! After all, if you’re going to imitate my exploits recovering relics from ancient Nord tombs, in theory it will go much easier if it looks like you belong there!

Anyway, that’s the theory.

AXES
Draugr-style weapons have three characteristics: they’re old-fashioned Nord in design, they’re typically high-caste or high-quality, and they look like they’ve been in a tomb for centuries. Draugr axes exhibit all of these traits.

BELTS
Draugr all wear those big, broad Nord belts of thick leather, with great, round metal buckles—but the buckles should be rusty, as should any metal rivets or edgings on the tassets that hang from the belts. And rub grave dirt into every crack.

BOOTS
Take a pair of Nord boots, you know the kind: simple, but thick and sturdy. Leave them next to your stove or forge for a month, making sure to spray them with water once or twice a day. When the metal is spotted with rust, and the leather is cracked and flaking, you’re done.

BOWS
How Draugr bows maintain their flexibility and functionality after rotting in a vault for a thousand years is a mystery, even to me—but they work just fine, and I’ve got the arrow-scars to prove it. However, if you don’t want your “new” Draugr bow to snap in half when you draw it, I advise using fresh materials. Just antique it appropriately for that musty from-the-catacombs look.

CHEST PIECES
Get one of those Nord cuirasses that shows a lot of skin, the kind that says, “I’m too tough to care about the weather.” Then weather it: dry out the leather, spot the steel with rust, rip chunks out of any fur, and finally scar up every visible surface with a chisel. There you have it: authentic Draugr armor!

DAGGERS
Why does a Draugr dagger look so creepy? I mean, it’s just an ancient Nord fighting knife that’s been buried with an undead warrior for a millennium. If you want the same look for your dagger, you can’t go wrong with rust spots and spider webs.

GLOVES
Acquire a pair of medium-grade Nord gauntlets, with good coverage of the lower forearms. Then Draugr-ize them by tying them to a cord and dragging them behind your mount for a few weeks.

HELMETS
Don’t get mere helmets, get full Nord helms that cover the entire head, and ideally have prominent horns. Don’t skimp on this: the horned helm is very important to achieving that classic Draugr silhouette. Scar the leather parts with a cleaver, ding up the metal with a hammer, and rub rust and grave dirt into every surface.

LEG GREAVES
Start with a pair of basic cylindrical greaves of Nord design, then “Draugr them up” by burying them in a dung heap for two weeks. You can add verisimilitude by nicking them with a chisel if you like, but after the dung treatment nobody’s really going to look at them all that closely.

MACES
A Draugr’s mace may look old and rickety, but I assure you, it’s strong, solid, and will crush your skull in a heartbeat if you’re careless. Make sure your Draugr warhammer is made of sturdy materials underneath its coating of dust, rust, and cobwebs.

SHIELDS
The ancient Nords bore large shields, and so do their revenants. Use modern oak and steel, but craft your Draugr shield to an old pattern, then use a heavy axe to nick its face and edges as if it’s survived a hundred battles. I use a heavy lumberjack’s tool for this purpose—no points for subtlety!

SHOULDER ARMOR
Take a pair of classic Nord shield-shaped pauldrons, and then abuse them by tying them to the rim of a servant’s wagon wheel for a week. Your servants may complain that this makes the wagon’s ride intolerably bumpy, but just tell them you’re following Narsis Dren’s advice. That will silence them!

STAVES
Draugr revenants schooled in “the clever art” don’t cast a lot of happy healing and light spells, so for authenticity, make sure your Draugr staff has a dark and sinister look to it. You can’t go wrong with dried bloodstains on the head and haft, in my experience.

SWORDS
The ancient Nords liked their swords large and heavy enough to kill at a single blow, so avoid light, dueling-style blades for your Draugr-style swords. And no matter how nicked and dented it is, your sword’s edge should still be razor-sharp.

Crafting Motif 39: Minotaur Style

By Nonus Caprenius, Temporarily Unaffiliated Scholar of Imperial Antiquities

Would you do honor to the noble and all-but-forgotten race of Minotaurs, those mighty man-beasts who symbolized the Empire of yore? Do you believe in the legends of their greatness, as I do? Listen, then, and I shall teach you how to craft a set of arms and armor that will pay appropriate tribute to these nigh-extinct avatars of ancient Alessia!

AXES
The typical Minotaur’s axe resembles nothing so much as a great cleaver modified for combat—and could anything be more ironic, considering the fate of most Cyrodilic beef cattle? The two-handed version features a small blade mounted at the heel of the haft for backhand remise attacks, which Minotaur warriors excel at, despite their false reputation as clumsy brutes.

BELTS
The Minotaur’s belt is so broad, it would be more correct to refer to it as a war-girdle, a wide triple-layered cincture with a great round buckle-placket in front, as background to a large metal boss that serves as the actual buckle. Thick tassets hang from this war-girdle all around its circumference.

BOOTS
The footwear of the Minotaur style, especially on heavy armor, consists of sandals made to emulate the Minotaur’s great hooves. Though the uppers are light, the soles are thick, and scored to enhance traction.

BOWS
The Minotaur-style bow is made of darkest yew, stiffened, not surprisingly, by horn, and faced with spiked rivets. Morihaus the Winged Bull was said to be the finest archer of his era, and the finely-fletched arrows of the Minotaurs pay him due tribute.

CHEST PIECES
The Minotaur’s chest armor seems to take its inspiration from that of arena gladiators, crisscrossed by heavy straps, and with exposed skin on all but the heavy armor variations, so the wearer can more easily bear the heavy weight of the style’s massive helm, arm, and shoulder armor.

DAGGERS
The Minotaur’s dagger is a simple spike-poniard with a triangular blade, usually wielded in the left hand to deliver the coup-de-grace following a mortal blow from the main weapon in the man-bull’s right. Not fancy—just deadly.

GLOVES
Like arena gladiators, Minotaur-style warriors have the strong forearm protection of military gauntlets, but the hands are left entirely free. I would speculate the origin of this tradition lies in the difficulty of finding gloves that would actually fit a Minotaur’s massive hands.

HELMETS
Insofar as a Minotaur can be simplistically described as having a humanoid body with the head of a bull, it’s no surprise that the Minotaur-style helmet simulates a bull’s head, in boiled leather or steel. Actual bull’s horns are typically affixed to the helmet’s brows.

LEG GREAVES
The thick greaves and cuisses of Minotaur leg armor emulate the powerful and muscular lower limbs of the Minotaurs themselves. They are usually decorated with simple repeating designs; some take this as an indication that Minotaurs are simple-minded, but I reject this as mere racialist presumption.

MACES
The Minotaur’s mace sports a heavy cylindrical head studded with sharp rivets. These heads are often lead-filled when wielded by the mighty man-bulls, but ordinary mortals find that too unwieldy, and instead settle for mere iron or steel. The two-handed version features an iron spike on the butt end.

SHIELDS
The shield of the Minotaurs has a diamond shape for its central boss, but one should expect such Imperial iconography on the arms of a race so deeply linked to the early history of Cyrodiil. It’s an all-metal shield, and thus heavy—if one isn’t a Minotaur. Ordinary mortals may make them thinner and lighter.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The mighty and muscular shoulders of the Minotaurs are simulated by heavy pauldrons that rise almost to the neck, and overlap the gorgets on the over-armored right arms. Here again we see the influence of the armor of arena gladiators, which begs the question: did the Minotaurs imitate the gladiators, or vice-versa?

STAVES
What could be more appropriate as the finial of a Minotaur spellcaster’s staff than a pair of broad horns? The haft below the head is metal-wrapped so the staff can serve as a parrying implement, or a means of condign chastisement for erring lesser mortals.

SWORDS
Like the dagger, the Minotaur’s sword is a simple triangular blade, sharp and double-edged, with an Imperial diamond at the curved crosstree. These blades are thick and heavy, easily lopping limbs from smaller or poorly-armored opponents. Wield them with care.

Crafting Motif 4: Nord Style

This book was originally called “Racial Motifs 4: The Nords”

Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel

(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)

We come now to the Nords, the first human culture on Tamriel to successfully resist, and even displace, Elven hegemony on the continent.

Not unlike the Bosmer, the Nords rely heavily on stylized, often interlocking natural motifs in their architecture, crafts, and clothing. However, where the Wood Elves’ designs are mainly floral, the Nords emphasize animals, in particular the eight “totem” animals of the old Atmoran religion: wolf, hawk, whale, snake, moth, fox, and so forth. They also allow for much more variation of design, to the point where some of the animal motifs are so abstract they are difficult to recognize. Indeed, areas of trim are often filled with interlocking geometric designs that evoke nothing natural at all.

Nord design varies in other ways from that of the Elves as well, in general relying on simple, heavy yet dynamic forms where Elven work would be slender, elegant, and understated. Nothing the Nords make is understated, ever.

This was clear even from outside the Imperial City’s Skyrim Embassy, where Morian, Divayth and I had gone to a reception for King Logrolf. The lintel above the embassy doors was crowned with a great iron hawk’s-head, its mouth open as if screaming defiance, while the doors were flanked by bas-reliefs of hawks so stylized they looked as much like axes as they did birds. The door itself was dark oak, banded with iron and studded with iron rivets, as if they expected to have to repel an attack.

The inside of the embassy was less martial in appearance, at least once one got past the armed and armored guards inside the door. I wondered if they really needed to wear full helms sporting ram’s-horns in order to check the invitations of party guests, but the look in the Nords’ eyes didn’t exactly invite questions.

The party, as I said, was a reception for King Logrolf, visiting the Imperial City to pay his respects to the Potentate. Morian was there representing the Arcane University; he’d asked me to accompany him and I’d accepted, eager to see our fierce northern cousins in their own environment. When Divayth learned where we were going he’d attached himself to our party, in spite of Morian’s baleful glare, but once we were inside the embassy and he was surrounded by loud, boisterous Nords, the Dark Elf wizard seemed to be regretting his decision to join us.

Not so Morian! After he’d downed a flagon of mead, I was suddenly seeing a new Professor Zenas. Attired in his new robe, he positively bloomed, holding forth on the history of magic to an admiring crowd of diplomats, whom he enthralled with tales of the feats of wizardry of the Nord Arch-Mage Shalidor. He seemed twenty years younger, and I suddenly saw him as he must have been in his prime, when he first came to the Imperial City to help found the Arcane University.

Morian even introduced me to King Logrolf, though how he came to know the monarch of Skyrim I have no idea. When I looked around for Divayth, he was nowhere to be seen. Morian and I stayed late at the embassy, quaffing mead and laughing at the Nords’ hearty jokes. When we finally left and he walked me home, I thought I could see a new gleam in Morian’s eye.

He may have seen the same gleam in mine.

Crafting Motif 40: Order of the Hour Style

By Amminus Entius, First Quartermaster of the Order

The Order of the Hour is the defensive arm of the Chantry of Akatosh, and as well-disciplined knights of the Order, you must at all times properly represent the dignity and glory of the ancient Imperial worship of the Dragon God of Time. Though the Order is not technically a part of the Imperial hierarchy, we nonetheless embody the virtues of the old Empire—and our equipment must reflect those virtues as well.

AXES
The Order’s axe, whether one-handed or two, is a weapon not overlarge, but rather well-balanced and wieldy, for use in both military melee and civilian riots. The long axe-head is as useful for prying as it is for chopping, and it’s backed by a strong spike that can be used to dismount opponents or dismantle barricades.

BELTS
The belts worn with Order armor blend in with the cuirass above and the tassets below, seemingly part of the greater armor set rather than a separate garment—much as every Knight of the Order sets aside his or her personal agenda to become a living embodiment of the will of the Primate. The buckle may display the hourglass symbol of the Akatosh Chantry.

BOOTS
Our knightly footwear is adapted from the standard sandals of the Imperial legionaries, and pays tribute to the Empire by displaying a Cyrodilic diamond on the instep. In the heavier armor variations, the entire foot is wrapped in flexible leather for protection.

BOWS
Knights of the Order of the Hour stress the skill of mounted or hand-to-hand melee combat, and place little emphasis on ranged attacks. Our bows, therefore, are relatively simple implements of yew or ash, decorated just enough to do honor to the dignity of our position in the Colovian community.

CHEST PIECES
Our cuirasses are based on Imperial Legionary armor of the Reman period, but ornamented with swirling designs representing the roiling mists of time, optionally supplemented by Imperial diamonds or the hourglass symbol of the Akatosh Chantry.

DAGGERS
The Order’s dagger is a broad, triangular stabbing blade, a smaller version of the Imperial gladius, or short sword. It is edged on both sides, and narrows to a razor-sharp needle point. The quillion is barely broader than the base of the blade, and may be ornamented with a diamond or hourglass symbol.

GLOVES
A rigid upper gauntlet protects the forearms of Knights of the Order of the Hour, ornamented with swirling time mists, and perhaps an Imperial diamond or Akatosh hourglass. The gloves that cover the hand are made of supple kid leather, to facilitate the grip of our weapons.

HELMETS
The design of an Hour Knight’s helm harkens back to the officer’s helmets of the Imperial Legions of the Second Empire, with a proud and noble crest above, and nasal and cheek plates to protect the face. No knight should fear getting embroiled in close melee because his or her face is unprotected.

LEG GREAVES
The standard leg armor worn by Knights of the Order is faced in front with rigid kite-shaped greaves to protect the shins, ornamented as desired with time-swirls, Imperial diamonds, or the Akatosh hourglass. A small hourglass may even be inset within a large diamond.

MACES
The Hour Knight’s mace has a heavy spherical head, studded with pointed spikes. This is a weapon for killing, not crowd control, and is used only in military affairs where the enemy is to be given no quarter. The upper haft is sheathed in metal to enable parrying.

SHIELDS
The shield of the Order of the Hour is distinctive, so that all may know whom they oppose. It is large and rectangular in design, and made of good steel, though to keep the weight down the metal is thick only at the edges and in the center. Its chief symbol is a great hourglass, showing a double twist that represents our devotion to duty and the right.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Like our cuirasses, an Hour Knight’s pauldrons are based on the armor of the Second Empire, with two or three curved, overlapping plates, rising toward a vertical gardbrace that protects the side of the neck.

STAVES
The staves of the Order’s spellcasters are truly magnificent, with finials like great hourglasses crowned with the wings of the Dragon God of Time. The ferrule at the end of the haft is a pointed steel spike, and the haft itself is decorated with designs that evoke the swirling mists of time.

SWORDS
A Knight of the Order of the Hour bears a sword with a long, broad, triangular blade, edged on both sides and pointed for thrusting. The crosstree is narrow, as our melee doctrine emphasizes active parrying, rather than letting the opponent’s blade slide to the pommel, which is just sloppy.

Crafting Motif 41: Celestial Style

As above, so below. This was ever our creed. And thus, O Celestial below, as thou craftest thy arms and thy armor, thou shalt follow ever the guidance and model of ye Constellations that wheel above.

AXES
Who wieldeth the axe? The Warrior, of Last Seed. Like the Warrior, make thy axes strong and sharp of edge. Their blades shall be like crescent moons, aglow in the light of ye Warrior’s stars.

BELTS
Who circles ye zodiac, and crawleth where it will? The Serpent, of unstars and no moons. Thy belt shall be thus strong as wyrm and long as a twelve-month, when ye head shall meet ye tail. See to it.

BOOTS
Who hurrieth across the sky, bearing night from dusk till dawn? The Steed, ye noble mount. Thus shalt thou make boots to bear thee withal like the bearing of ye Steed, to support all in their celestial journeys.

BOWS
Who striketh from a distance, all heart afire with sympathy? The Lady, who bends bowing in the firmament, as it’s meant thy firm bow shall bend like a lady whose darts speed true. Mark these words, Celestial.

CHEST PIECES
Who protecteth Nirn from roguish particles, ye ill from on high? The Aurora, curtain of light that wrappeth the globe in its folds. Like the Aurora thou shalt make thy cuirass, that it may wrap thee and ward thee particularly ‘gainst weaponry.

DAGGERS
Who wieldeth the dagger as the surgeon doth his scalpel? The Thief, who cometh in ye dark of Evening Star. As thy knife is thy luck, make thou thy dagger of fortune, so thou mayest make fortune from thy dagger.

GLOVES
Who draweth off her gloves when the season of safety is nigh? The Lover, who covers all till Sun’s Dawn, then covers none. Glover, follow the Lover, and make therefore gloves for thy hands clingsome and supple, protection in peril, yet lovely when undonned.

HELMETS
Who watcheth all with glowing eye in the face of space? The Ritual, of Morning Star, whose eye is seen but whose visage is hidden. Be ye then like the Ritual, and hide thy visage beneath cap and behind visor, seeing but not seen, unknown until thy actions make thee known.

LEG GREAVES
Who supports ye master, and does all needful and minor-magical? The Apprentice, right behind thee, to hold thee up to Sun’s Height if thou falleth. Make thus thy greaves as supportful as ye Apprentice, and with a right good will.

MACES
Who bludgeons the sky with magical might? The Atronach, ye golem, who rolls like juggernaut twixt night and day. Make then thy mace like the Atronach’s mighty arm, to smite thy foes even as rocks that fall from ye sky.

SHIELDS
What protecteth ye Celestials e’en as it supports the very world? The Tower, that both opens and closes the Way. Make therefore thy shield so it be strong as the Tower, closing the way to the weapons of thy foes, yet opening when thou smitest on thine own account.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Who hideth beneath the Second Seed, uncovering only to strike from below? The Shadow, unseen although seen, shadowing the sky’s every move. Make then thy pauldrons to be like ye Shadow, to follow thy form, faithful and silent, and protect betimes ye striketh.

STAVES
Who wieldeth ye staff as the mightiest of armaments? The Mage, of Rain’s Hand, whose hand raineth magicka by rod and by staff. Make then thy staves in emulation of ye Mage, with star-disk at finial for faster stellar spellcaster.

SWORDS
Who wieldeth both sword and plowshare, planting both seeds and foes? The Lord, master of sword and harrow, from First Seed to all. Make then thy sword as straight as a Lord, and wield it justly, in high law and low.

Crafting Motif 42: Hollowjack Style

Conjure, conjure, jill and jack
Harvest arms and armor tack
Pumpkin drear and black hawthorn
Wrought into grim garments worn

AXES
Cur-ved blade and wicked point
Victim disembowel and joint
Chop and amputate and hack
Happy work for Hollowjack

BELTS
Cincture hold our raiment tight
Sure and secure to prowl the night
Straps to hold our weapons near
Ready all for time of fear

BOOTS
Soles of rind and pointed toes
Shall surprise unwary foes
Hollowjack shall ever tread
On the corpses of the dead

BOWS
Thorn-tree wood, bend and release
Thor-ned arrow, mark decease
Flet-ched dart, twist and fly
Taking target through the eye

CHEST PIECES
Cuirass of enduring rind
Guarding torso fore and hind
Turn all weapons, point and edge
Like impenetrable hedge

DAGGERS
Bodkin blade dig inward deep
Tween yon ribs and organs creep
Like vine of orange jack-all fruit
A pumpkin knife of ill repute

GLOVES
Thor-ned night-black gauntlets planned
To cover Hollowjacky hand
But flexible so hands can strangle
Throttle, eye-gouge, tear, and mangle

HELMETS
Grinning Hollowjack must laugh
Dismember, threshing, wheat from chaff
Now inner anger embers show
As lambent eye-slits ever glow

LEG GREAVES
Rind and bark are intersected
Lower limbs shall be protected
Weapons swung and darts projected
Shall be tur-ned or deflected

MACES
Pointed hammer made to puncture
Mail and armor at their juncture
Hollowjack fair grins with glee
Murd’ring on a killing spree

SHIELDS
Hawthorn bark and twisted limb
Ward with visage gaunt and grim
Despite what weapon foe will wield
None shall penetrate this shield

SHOULDER ARMOR

Summon pauldrons, shoulder plate
Deadly damage shall abate
Rind be tough and vine be long
Hollowjack be armor strong

STAVES
Summon segments, mirthful medley
Hollowjack staff long and deadly
Casting spells good and malign
Pumpkin daemon knows the sign

SWORDS
Sword to cut, a blade to sever
Crafting a condign endeavor
Point to pommel, edge to back
Scimitar for Hollowjack

Crafting Motif 43: Grim Harlequin Style

My Lord Sheogorath has directed me to compile a guide for those seeking to create “Grim Harlequin” arms and armor, so that the Mad God’s mortal servants may have a way to make all their equipment look the same. Of course, this standardization runs counter to all other cult practices, and is insane on the face of it. (Ahem.) Milord has probably already forgotten he asked me to do it, but what better do I have to do with my time than write manuals for mortals?

Actually, almost anything, now that I think about it.

AXES
Curved crescent axe blades are specified, with edges of varying depth, and a complicated cluster of sharp, curved … somethings … at the haft. You know: what-you-may-call-ems. Also, grinning skulls. Put those on everything.

BELTS
The belt shall be made of one, two, three, or four leather straps, of tanned Human or Elf skin, where possible. A grinning skull for the buckle, of course. Hip tassets may also sport skulls, wearing fool’s caps and with tongues extended. The extended tongue is very important—a stylistic hallmark, really.

BOOTS
Pointed toes are required. This is not negotiable. Uppers may be of dark quilted motley, as you like. But nobody will be looking past the pointed toes: do that right, and the rest is gravy. Note: not actual gravy. Gravy may be implied, but is never stated.

BOWS
Now isn’t this a pretty thing: seed pearls on the facing, and swooping recurved limbs that terminate in finials curled ’round large, lovely milk pearls. An instrument of death, but ornamented with nacreous excretions: simply splendid. Don’t you think?

CHEST PIECES
Straps, straps, straps, and many layers—but not too rigid, not t0o confining, we do not wish to make it impossible to somersault. A Grim Harlequin must somersault, after all. As appropriate. (You’ll know when.) Also: grinning skull sternum cameo. Very important!

DAGGERS
What we want here is more or less a curved poniard. Pointed, of course, but with a definite crescent edge, so it matches the swords and axes. The serrated back edge is handy for cleaning fish or grating cheese. A bastard to keep clean, though.

GLOVES
His Derangment has decreed that the fashion in Grim Harlequin gauntlets this season shall be for half-fingered gloves—the upper half. The lower digits shall remain nimble and free, so they can, as Milord Madness puts it, “Dance like little rabbits from blade to bow and back again.” The metaphor is strained, but you get the point, do you not?

HELMETS
Let your headgear be a cunning cowl that simultaneously evokes both a fool’s cap and an executioner’s hood—jolly but gruesome is the goal here, mortal. And there’s nothing to lose by adding a mummy-wrap bandit’s mask to the lighter sets, or a skull visor to the heavy.

LEG GREAVES
These should match the boots. I suppose. Just between you and me, to be quite candid, I have had no instructions from The Avuncular One in the matter of greaves or schynbalds. Not a peep. It’s as if he didn’t care what you put on your lower legs. Make of that what you will.

MACES
The Grim Harlequin mace head is a grinning skull (naturally) wearing a fool’s cap, with a long extended tongue that wraps right ’round the top of the haft. It’s quite cunning, really. If I were a mortal, I’d want both the one-handed and the two-handed versions. But I’m not.

SHIELDS
Grinning skulls, fool’s-capped jester faces, diamond quilting, those curving sharp what-you-may-call-em motifs: the Grim Harlequin shield has it all, really. Strap this on your off-arm, and they’ll get out of your way in the grocery store, believe me.

SHOULDER ARMOR
For your left pauldron? A grinning, grimacing jester-face with an upturned spade beard, of course. Oh, and another one on the right. Assuming symmetry is your goal. Who knows—it might be!

STAVES
I already effused about the fool’s-capped grinning skull on the mace head; doing so again about the same motif on the finial of the Grim Harlequin staff would be just rather tedious. I would prefer not to.

SWORDS
The swords should be long, curved single-edged blades—almost scimitars, really. The crossguard is another one of those clusters of curving overlapping sharp whatevers, you’ll recognize it when you see it. And there, that’s the Grim Harlequin guide, for what it’s worth, which fortunately is not up to me.

Crafting Motif 44: Silken Ring Style

By Bathed-in-Steel, First Armorer of Stormhold’

First of all, a warning: do not be so careless as to allow these instructions to fall into the wrong hands! If the authorities in Stormhold knew I was hiring out-of-work smiths to create arms and armor for the Silken Ring, my head would soon be adorning a pike on the Big Bridge!

Second of all: follow these instructions to the letter. You don’t want a secret society of assassins irritated at you because you made them squeaky boots. Pay attention, hatchling, and we’ll all profit.

AXES
If you expected to stamp out a few hundred daggers for some easy gold, disabuse yourself of that notion right now. The Silken Ring collects killers of all kinds, and they are particular about their methods. Hand axes are to have a single shallow crescent extending well above the haft. The blade is to come to a sturdy point to facilitate stabbing as well as slashing. Two-handed variations require a second blade of this design and may be employed as a man-catcher .

BELTS
The Silken Ring Prefer their belts to be woven from leather or silk to allow for greater flexibility and fastened by a sturdy silver buckle. The large buckle must include a hidden compartment and unfasten quickly using only one hand.

BOOTS
Flexibility and grip are of utmost importance, so stick to cloth or supple leather. Hardened leather may be used for shin guards and capped with silver plate. Soles must be tough leather, ridged for traction. Alit hide would be ideal.

BOWS
A simple wooden recurve bow is preferred by these assassins. Draw strength and accuracy are to be prioritized over durability as the bow may well be abandoned after a single use.

CHEST PIECES
The signature identifying feature of a Silken Ring uniform, aside from their creepy masks, is a wide band of silver (not silk, don’t ask me) that encircles the collar. This may be layered or permanently affixed, but should prominently feature the curved “tangled web” embossing that the Silken Ring prefers for embellishment.

DAGGERS
More a short sword, the Silken Ring’s blades will need to be on the thick side to compensate for the softer silver coating the blade. Mount them with a full tang into a thick rounded hilt. The daggers will need to be twisted free with ease and you’d better hope the blade comes out along with the hilt.

GLOVES
More so than the boots, the gloves must accommodate dexterity even at the cost of protection. Fine leathers only. Bracers may incorporate hardened leathers and silver plate, but be mindful of added weight and keep them separate pieces. Affix with braided leather or cloth.

HELMETS
The hallmark of the Silken Ring are their silver masks. They resemble a human head with no mouth, narrow squinting eyes, and symmetrical crescent horns rising high off the skull. The incorporation of hair into the design of the head is strongly encouraged. DO NOT USE ANIMAL HAIR.

LEG GREAVES
The Silken Ring favors knee length skirts over constricting legwear. Thick leather may be used, but the cut must not impede range of motion. Banded leather tassets may be hung from the belt or cuirass, but mobility is an assassin’s best defense, apparently.

MACES
As you might expect, an assassin’s wants for a mace involve puncturing heavy armor more than messy bashing. Keep the striking point narrow with minimal protrusions. More a hammer with a thick dagger for a head than anything else I could compare it to. The two-hander is more a conventional post maul with upward sloped spikes on the business ends.

SHIELDS
Perhaps the most challenging pieces will be the shields. They need to be lightweight, but sturdy and full sized. Don’t bring me any bucklers. I recommend a layered, cross-grain core of light wood, backed in silver with a thicker face. The embossing should look good winding through the frame’s layers.

SHOULDERS
While the Silken Ring prefer to keep their arms bare, they do not forgo shoulder pads. Thick silvered plate may be employed either by itself, or affixed to leather. Add one or two secondary metal bands as protruding elements for ornamentation.

STAVES
As you might have guessed, harnessing the Destruction school is of greatest interest to the Silken Ring. The staff heads will be spear-like but blunt, and sprouting curls of silver similar to the embossing found throughout their designs. Why it isn’t a literal spearhead, I don’t know, but I’m not the mage here.

SWORDS
Much like the daggers, Silken Ring swords are thick single-edged blades meant for hacking. Long serrated curves along the blade are more visually intimidating than functional, but they’ll split a neck cleanly all the same.

Crafting Motif 45: Mazzatun

Armsman Omeeta, Stormhold Fighters Guildhall

I try to catalogue the arms and equipment of all the deep marsh tribes—it helps our fighters identify who and what we’re up against. This Mazzatun gear, with its panoply of plumes and avian and reptilian skulls, is particularly garish. That’s fine by me: it makes identifying it all the easier. What follows are brief descriptions of arms and armor of Mazzatun origin, both for the record and for the use of guild fighters in the field.

AXES
Much like the ruined city’s stone, the war axes of Mazzatun tend to be made from reclaimed detritus. Often they are nothing more than the repurposed splinter of a sword lashed to a hewn branch by leather straps. Crude, but effective enough for butchering unarmored combatants and rebellious captives.

BELTS
Belts range from sashes of cloth and fur, to intricately woven and braided leather or fibers. One thing is consistent, if not make or material: the spiraling path sigil of Mazzatun is featured prominently at the navel. If there’s any significance to that, I’m sure there are eight books on the subject you can reference at the Mages Guild.

BOOTS
Footwear is light, if worn at all. Sandals are the preferred dress of warriors, soled in thick hide or bark. Bone, shell, or other inflexible materials are sometimes strapped around the ankles and shins for protection, but I’d say they’re still fair game for a hobbling strike.

BOWS
Mazzatun missile weapons are mostly thrown, but simple recurved bows are favored by their most keen-eyed warriors. Most are made from flexible swamp reeds, but be on the lookout for plumed wooden bows. They are a sign of distinction among tribal archers and a good indicator to take cover.

CHEST PIECES
The primary protective material of Mazzatun gear is bone, and while it might not seem like much, it’s deceptively effective. Layers of bone splints offer protection and flexibility nearly as good as steel scale mail, and thick horns, tusks, etc. will stop even a forceful strike. Mazzatun armorers appear to lack the means to adequately protect the abdomen, so their warriors are most vulnerable at their bellies.

DAGGERS
Proper daggers are rare and appear to serve mostly ceremonial purposes. The short blades most likely to be seen in the hands of a warrior are machetes meant for clearing vines and scrub. But I have seen one hack into a sword arm through a steel vambrace, so overextend your guard at your own risk.

GLOVES
A combination of leather bracers and armlets do the heavy lifting for arm protection. These are often reinforced with thick plates of bone and steel bands, but even the lightest armor will add wraps of stone beads for rigidity. They sometimes contain flint used to ignite alchemical concoctions and oil.

HELMETS
A basic leather hood is the foundation of most Mazzatun headgear. Beyond that, the functionality of the helmet falls away in favor of grand displays of personal status based on how many ostentatious layers of skull and plume can be mounted to it. Occasionally these ornamental features happen to serve to protect the skull beneath it all.

LEG GREAVES
Leg protection is minimal, as the inhabitants of Mazzatun favor loincloths as their primary dress. Occasionally a warrior will hang bone plates from their belt or strapped to the front of their knees, but for the most part they leave their legs bare. Take advantage when you can: they move fast over this mucky terrain.

MACES
For its simplicity, I can’t argue with the design of a Mazzatun mace: a simple hardwood sphere mounted to a wooden shaft and studded with steel. The whole thing vaguely resembles a bird with bright plumes on the back of its head and a steel-spiked “beak” on its face.

SHIELDS
Shields are elaborate affairs, combining wood, reed, stone, bone, cloth, feathers, and steel. The face is primarily bone plate stitched together around a central stone stud. The reed construction is light, and durability is questionable. Keep hammering and the whole thing will fall apart eventually. Mind the horns on the rim, or you’ll find one jutting into your throat.

SHOULDERS
I don’t know why the Mazzatun gear puts so much emphasis on protecting the collar, but the bulkiest bones tend to find themselves strapped around the neck and shoulder. Sometimes you’ll find the entire jaw of a large beast draped there. Maybe a collar is just the easiest thing to wear when you lack modern armoring techniques.

STAVES
I have yet to identify a meaningful difference between a ceremonial staff and a battle staff among the Mazzatun inhabitants. They typically seem to carve them from fallen branches of their tribe’s Hist tree. Animal—and other—skulls are the usual ornamentation for the head of the staff. Usually the skull selected bears some significance to the wielder.

SWORDS
Little of the Mazzatun warriors’ weapons and armor contain worked metals, with swords being the primary exception. Obviously they’re a favorite for combat, but they also pull double duty as tools. These oversized machetes can hack through most vegetation, and the teeth on the back edge make a passable saw. Between those and the scale-like carving along the flat of the blade, I think the blades are supposed to resemble the native Wamasu.

Crafting Motif 46: Frostcaster Style

By Doctor Alfidia Lupus, Imperial Ethnographer

STALHRIM FROSTCASTER STYLE

(Previously unpublished notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus, Imperial Ethnographer)

…After meeting King Logrolf, I took the time to examine a display of clothing from the many subcultures of Skyrim, which it seems is home to other peoples than just those mainstream Nords so well-known across northern Tamriel. Some of these cultures still wallow in barbarism, such as the clans of the Reachmen, famous—or rather infamous—for their savage raids over the northern borders. But I also came across the clothing of a culture previously unknown to me, that of the Skaal, who inhabit an island in the Sea of Ghosts named Solstheim (I hope I’ve spelled that right—my notes were taken in haste).

Unlike the Reachmen, racially the Skaal are Nords, but they differ from their continental cousins, who were among the first foreigners to adopt the worship of the Eight Divines, in that the Skaal still cling to a primitive monotheism, venerating a single creator they call “the All-Maker.” At least some of the shamans of this ancient faith specialize in Frost Magic, and are called “Frostcasters.” (All this is according to the information inscribed on a tablet next to the clothing display.)

The most curious aspect of this Frostcaster clothing was its extensive use of an unfamiliar translucent blue-white material labeled “Stalhrim,” a sort of crystalline metal unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It was so strange that, after checking to make sure no one was paying any attention to what I was doing, I laid hands upon it, rubbing and tapping. It was rigid, faceted yet smooth, and gave off a distinct chill, despite the heat from the Embassy’s roaring log fires. I was fascinated, and went so far as to try to scratch this Stahlrim [sic] with a nail file from my clutch—to no effect whatsoever. And this gave me pause: for could a culture described as being “barbaric” have produced an armor material that even steel couldn’t scratch?

Crafting Motif 47: Buoyant Armiger Style

Vivec smiled at those brave souls around him and summoned celebration demons to cleave unto the victors. There was a great display of love and duty around the netted monster, and Vivec was at the center with a headdress made of mating bones. He laughed and told mystical jokes and made the heads of the three houses marry and become a new order. “You shall forever be now my Buoyant Armigers,” he said.

AXES
“So to quiet his mind the Hortator chose from the Fight Racks an axe. He named it and moved on to the first moon.” And the edge of the blade of the axe of the Armiger shall be rippled like a hanging curtain, a tapestry for cutting.

BELTS
“A scavenger cannot acquire a silk sash and expect to discover the greater systems of its predecessor: perfect happiness is embraced only by the weeping.” And the belt of the tassets and the arms of the Armiger shall be fore and aft a chevron, and descend in the places of generation.

BOOTS
“Six are the walking ways, from enigma to enemy to teacher.” And the boots of the walking feet of the Armiger shall have rigid uppers and spines, like a dreugh that clothes the pedal appendage.

BOWS
“Out of their fortresses they came with golden ballistae that walked and mighty atronachs and things that spat flame and things that made killing songs.” To afflict enemies from afar with singing darts, the Armiger must have a bow of chitin and verdigris, doubly recurved.

CHEST PIECES
“The mystics began by wrapping one of their sages in the shells, a series of flourishes by two supra numerates, one hormonally tall and the other just under his arms.” The carapace of the cuirass is a sacred shell to contain the Armiger’s soft hot heart of truth, as the volcano contains the lava.

DAGGERS
“At which he stabbed the heart of City-Face with the Ethos Knife, which is to say RKHT AI AE ALTADOON AI, the short blade of proper commerce.” And the Armiger’s blade shall be green as a leaf, but sharp and supple as a thorn that pierces between the sixth and seventh rib of eventuality.

GLOVES
“‘For I have crushed a world with my left hand,’ he will say, ‘but in my right hand is how it could have won against me.'” And the gauntlets that house the Armiger’s digits shall grasp and hold like sharp-shelled lampreys, but cleansed of all ordure.

HELMETS
“CHEMUA, the Running Hunger, who appeared as a mounted soldier with full helm, had the powers of Heart Roaring and of sky sickening.” And who shall be crowned like the Buoyant Armiger, with verdant flares of solid flame?

LEG GREAVES
“He sat with his legs in the ocean and with a troubled look on his face.” And the greaves and cuisses of the Armiger shall be like pillars and columns of manifest argument, with heavenward chevrons all akimbo.

MACES
“Truth is like my husband: instructed to smash, filled with procedure and noise, hammering, weighty, heaviness made schematic, lessons learned only by a mace.” And the terrible truncheon the Armiger bears shall be like the scepter of a king unforeseen and unreckoned.

SHIELDS
“The ruling king is to stand against me and then before me.” And the shield of the Armiger shall be like the shell of the Emperor, for what is a monarch but a shield to his people?

SHOULDER ARMOR
“The ruling king is armored head to toe in brilliant flame.” And the shoulders of an Armiger shall flare up and out like a blazon of fire, broad-bearing the burden of bastion against the words-like-knives.

STAVES
“He attempted to attach them and form a staff but Vivec would not let him, saying, ‘It is not the time for that.'” And thus the spell staff of the Armiger Magical shall be shaft-singular, and speak only contradictions.

SWORDS
“The true sword is able to cut chains of generations, which is to say, the creation myths of your enemies.” And therefore behold the Armiger’s sword, by which I mean the sensible, by which I mean the first night, for which I mean the dual nature, preceded by a sigh.

Crafting Motif 48: Ashlander Style

By Sannemmu Khamishi, Wise Woman of the Erabenimsun Tribe

So, Clanfriend, you are curious about our clothing? You wonder how such simple, nomadic barbarians can come to have such elaborate and sophisticated garments and tools? Then learn this: for the Ashlander, simplicity is a choice, not a necessity. We follow the precepts of the Good Daedra, and our practices and preferences are in accord with their teachings. We have other, deeper secrets which I will not reveal now, but the making of our apparel and arms are not among them.

AXES
The crescent moon is an ancient and holy symbol for us, used sparingly but with significance. Our axe blades are edged crescents, though incomplete at top; our tales say that, should certain prophesied events occur, the crescents shall be full once more, and our axes will be wielded in a time of hardship and glory. It may yet be so.

BELTS
Our belts are always several, fashioned of strong leather and crossing each other on the diagonal, the better to support our tools, arms, and tassets of chitin. The buckles are ornamental rather than symbolic, decorated at the wearer’s choice, and may be of chitin, carapace, or even metal, if one leans to the ostentatious.

BOOTS
Our boots are of supple leather, usually guar, but with chitin knobs and plates to protect the toe, instep, and shin. This chitin is affixed to the leather beneath with a powerful and permanent adhesive we derive by boiling kwama cuttle and (when we can get them) horse’s hooves. The rest of the horse goes into the stew pot.

BOWS
Our composite bows are constructed of limbs of ash willow and trama trunk laminated together with cuttle glue, and faced with chitin or claws from mudcrabs or, if possible, dreugh. Our arrows are fletched with gristlewing or racer plumes.

CHEST PIECES
Ashlanders armor their torsos with layers or bands of guar leather, augmented with chitin, carapace, horn, bone, or even vvardvark shell. The bands are sewn together with twisted thread made of kresh or roobrush fibers, often waxed with desiccated scrib jelly or dreugh wax. Colorful enamels may be applied to display tribal or cult affiliation.

DAGGERS
The sacred crescent appears again in the wavy blade of the Ashlander kris. For us the kris is both a stabbing weapon and a handy tool, with a strong point for prying and thick-backed edges for scraping. The hilt is of heartwood from trama or fungus trunk.

GLOVES
Our gloves are thick, of several layers of hide, for we live in a volcanic land and must protect our hands from burning stone and boiling liquid. On war gauntlets, the forearms are protected by chitin plates, affixed to the gloves’ leather by cuttle glue. These plates may have spikes or flanges.

HELMETS
Our hoods and helms cover the entire head, for safety in the harsh environment of the Ashlands, particularly when Red Mountain’s mood is ugly. A mask or filtered visor keeps ash from nose and mouth, and goggles protect the eyes from soot, embers, and fume. The skull is protected by overlapping bands of rigid chitin, sometimes knobbed or crested.

LEG GREAVES
Like our cuirasses, Ashlander greaves are made of bands of guar leather sewn together with waxed and twisted thread made of kresh or roobrush fibers. Chitin or carapace poleyns may be attached at the knees. In this way our legs are protected not just from weapons, but also from thorns, scathecraw, and jagged volcanic rocks.

MACES
We tip our maces with heavy heads flanked by dual edged crescents, creating weapons that can both cut and crush. The long trama-trunk hafts are wrapped diagonally with leather strips to provide a sure grip. The base of the haft ends in a pointed ferrule of metal or bone.

SHIELDS
An Ashlander shield is made of several large pieces of light but rigid carapace cuttle-glued into a single unit, and studded with spikes of chitin. The edge is lined around the back with a metal rim that prevents chopping blows from splitting the shield.

SHOULDER ARMOR
We Ashlanders make our shoulder cops from half-cones of thick guar leather boiled for stiffness. In the heavier weights of armor, small or even large plates of chitin may be affixed to the leather with cuttle glue. Such plates may sport sharp knobs or spikes.

STAVES
An Ashlander spell staff is not only a magical weapon, but a ceremonial crosier, and thus its decoration is fraught with symbolism—at least for us. Each staff is tipped with one, two, or even three symbols of the Good Daedra, surrounded by a double crescent of chitin and bone. The haft ends in a pointed ferrule like that of the mace.

SWORDS
Our swords have sinuous blades, with edges that curve and snake like crescent serpents or razor-edged frozen flame. There is a full crescent on each side of the crossguard, and the tang is seated in a hilt of heartwood from trama or fungus trunk. Baring a blade is a significant act, and an Ashlander will rarely return a sword to its sheath without using it first.

Crafting Motif 49: Militant Ordinator Style

By Vermethys Indoril, High Ordinator of the Order of War

Justice never sleeps: three gods, One True Faith. And one true uniform for each Order of Ordination, which must be correct and proper in every detail. As High Ordinator of the Order of War, known also as the Militant Ordinators, it is one of my many duties to ensure that our arms and armor conform to Temple directives. So heed these words, Citizen Armorer, and go about your business. But I’m watching you.

AXES
As the crests on our helmets are curved and sharp as the blade of an axe, so are the blades of our axes sharp and curved like the crests on our helmets. Like fungusjacks fell the mushroom forests, so we with our axes fell the enemies of the Tribunal. They cannot escape the righteous.

BELTS
Our belts are simple and strong, like our faith in and loyalty to ALMSIVI. Strong tassets depend from our cinctures, and the buckle is a triple rhombus (do not say diamond!), representing our triple devotion to justice, retribution, and the Three Most High.

BOOTS
The boots of a Militant Ordinator are strong boots, for the march of justice is eternal and we must be prepared to go wherever heresy needs to be eradicated. Across the instep of each boot shall be a golden band embossed with the Triple Rhombus of our threefold devotion.

BOWS
The bow of the Order of War shall be faced with sharpened crests pointing forward, as the crests on our helms point the way to righteous mayhem. And the quiver shall sport overlapping plates in wide descending chevrons like those on our shields. The points of the arrows shall be brazen.

CHEST PIECES
The cuirasses of the Militant Ordinators are to be brazen or bronze, patterned with elaborate filigree and richly decorated to do honor to our lieges the Tribunal, and to impress the impressionable with the Order’s majesty and might.

DAGGERS
The dagger of the Ordinator of the Order of War is to be a broad dirk, single-edged and slightly curved, the better to carve heresy from the hearts of the schismatic and apostate. No crossbar is needed at the hilt, for what Ordinator would parry when they can attack?

GLOVES
Though our gauntlets protect our forearms with overlapping plates, our fingers remain at all times unencumbered, so that we may wrap our hands around the neck of heresy and strangle it until it breathes no more.

HELMETS
Justice wears but one face, and so the stern visage of Temple justice is stamped upon the faceplate of every Militant Ordinator helm. Above is our soaring forward crest, pointing toward heresy, which we always attack and from which we never retreat. Three Gods, One True Faith.

LEG GREAVES
Our greaves and cuisses are of thrice-cured leather, from hides of kagouti or alit, dense enough to turn a blade or deflect a blow, but flexible: a Militant Ordinator must move without hindrance, for heresy cannot escape the righteous.

MACES
The maces of our siblings of the Order of the Watch are more blunt, like truncheons, in accord with their function of maintaining order among the citizens. We, however, are the Order of War, and our maces are flanged and edged, to slash as well as smash. We are the Militant Ordinators, and no heresy shall survive us.

SHIELDS
Our shields are large, for we are charged with defending the Truth of the Three against all threats and doubts. Broad descending chevrons they show, for deflecting the blows of the unfaithful, and they may also display the Triple Rhombus of our threefold devotion.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Each pauldron shall be two plates, rigid like our devotion to the Three, pointed like the arguments of our swords, and patterned with elaborate filigree to do full honor to our masters.

STAVES
The staff of a Militant Ordinator spell-caster is surmounted with dual sweeping crests like those on our helms, pointed and parallel for the aim and guidance of our righteous magical onslaughts. A spell-staff can also serve horizontally as a barrier to entry when on sentry duty at door or portal.

SWORDS
The Temple’s Order of War wields single-edged swords with razor-sharp points, for with these do we chop logic with heretics. Militant Ordinators keep their swords near their hands at all times, for at any moment we may encounter apostasy or error that must be condignly corrected.

Crafting Motif 50: Telvanni Style

By Ivela Telvanni, Vivec City

So, good-looking, you wish to show your allegiance to House Telvanni? Then you must dress the part, dear thing. You know what we say: “The powerful define the standards of virtue.” And so our House Council has appointed me their Mouth Costumier in order to define our standards of virtue in cloth and clothing, in arms and armor. And I hereby define and decree the look of House Telvanni to be both distinctive and awe-inspiring.

AXES
The blades of our axes resemble sharp-edged shelf or bracket fungi, and in fact, they may be made of forge-hardened ferrofungus if metallic ore is unavailable. The blades are no bigger than they need to be: Telvanni warriors wield their weapons with precision and finesse, and instill proper awe by their use rather than mere appearance.

BELTS
Telvanni war-girdles are thick and strong, and distinguished mainly by the overlapping plates they support at front and rear, protecting the abdomen and small of the back. These flexible plates are shaped like the woody fruiting bodies of bracket fungi, displaying radiant patterns of spore gills.

BOOTS
The terrain of the Telvanni lands is rugged, so the soles of our boots must be thick, albeit with flexible uppers. For the heavier armors, where the boots are actually sabatons, overlapping metal plates protect the instep, the forward ends pointed upward. This echoes the upward-pointing shape of the pauldrons, as well as evoking the pointy-toed shoes of our Master Wizards.

BOWS
Though magic is of course the Telvanni range weapon of choice, House thralls may be armed with bows, so it’s just as well to specify their appearance. We provide our archers with simple recurved bows faced with protective metal in overlapping mushroom-cap shapes. Quivers are decorated to match.

CHEST PIECES
Telvanni chest armor is layered, of flexible leather topped with stylish overlapping plates of chitin, ferrofungus, or metal, in shapes inspired by shelf fungi or toadstool caps, and scored with spore gill lines. Lacquer overpainting is optional, but can be used to express your inner kagouti.

DAGGERS
Our dagger is like a long, curved athame, albeit with the hooked end that makes it distinctively, deliciously Telvanni. The swirling patterns on the metal tang between hilt and blade resemble both an unfolding spell and our glorious House symbol.

GLOVES
Our gauntlets display the same contrasting nature as the rest of our garments: guar hide covers the hand and fingers, leather sufficiently thin and pliable so dexterity isn’t compromised, while the back of the hand and forearm are protected by rigid plates with the shape and spore gill lines of shelf fungus.

HELMETS
Telvanni helmets cover the entire head, and come in two distinct variations: hoods of mail fronted by rigid faceplates for lighter armor, and the “mushroom-mask” full helms, with their unmistakable toadstool silhouette, to accompany heavy armor. I, for one, can’t look at the helm of a Telvanni heavy trooper without feeling a proud shiver of awe!

LEGS
Instead of cuisses, a Telvanni warrior’s legs are protected by kilts of mail that fall from hip to knee. Inspired by our Wizard Lords’ robes, these are both stylish and practical—and frankly, I find them exciting. A Dark Elf in a kilt? Yes, please!

MACES
The mushroom-cap maces borne by Telvanni sentries resemble the fungal scepters of our House Councilors, though larger, and with a head heavy enough to crack an escaped slave’s skull like an eggshell!

SHIELDS
Our heart-shaped shields are constructed of overlapping plates of chitin or ferrofungus, with a brazen central boss displaying the sorcerous symbol of House Telvanni. Rigid but light, their edges are reinforced with steel for added protection.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The overlapping plates of our pauldrons contribute the points of their upwardly-flared ends to the distinctive silhouette of our Telvanni armor, particularly at the heavier weights. Oh, those broad-shouldered Telvanni troopers! I’ll take two.

STAVES
The finial of a Telvanni spell staff is surmounted by our House symbol wrought in gilded silver, so that even when one of our mages isn’t wearing the Telvanni uniform, there’s no need to guess which House the wizard belongs to. Enchanting!

SWORDS
A Telvanni sword has one long curved edge, its point backed by a hook or barb useful for dismounting riders or toppling heavy knights. Traditional Telvanni swordplay emphasizes the cut over the thrust, so the point isn’t used much. As with the dagger, there are swirling spell patterns on the metal tang between hilt and blade.

Crafting Motif 51: Hlaalu Style

By Mastercraft Mediator Rolis Hlaalu

Trade makes the world go ’round, and in trade, reputation is everything, so maintaining House Hlaalu’s reputation for reliability is critical to our continued pre-eminence in mercantile affairs. The arms and armor of our House guards and marines must adhere to strict standards in quality and appearance, exemplifying that dependability expected from us by our trading partners. Where possible, we adorn our items with the stylized merchant-scale sigil that symbolizes the source of our power.

AXES
The Hlaalu axe has a single heavy curved blade, backed on the opposite side of the haft by a narrow spike for grabbing opponents or punching through their armor. For parrying purposes, most of the haft is sheathed in a cylinder of metal, and there is a heavy, pointed ferrule at the base.

BELTS
Our belts are made of double-tanned guar hide, strong and thick, to support tassets, weapons, and of course money pouches. The buckle in front may display a Hlaalu House symbol or a personal family crest.

BOOTS
Our boots are rather heavy, and though narrow below, they widen as they rise up the shins toward the knee. Toes are steel-shod except in the lightest armors; shin plating extends around the back of the leg to protect against hamstringing.

BOWS
Hlaalu House bows are made of imported ash or yew wood, which is superior for this purpose to our native funguswoods. Quivers are of guar leather, adorned with our House symbol, the long double-scales version.

CHEST PIECES
Hlaalu cuirasses are constructed of overlapping plates of traditional worked bonemold, or of metal plates cast to resemble bonemold. The House scales-symbol is prominently displayed on the chest and abdomen.

DAGGERS
Our daggers are primarily parrying weapons, double-edged, broad and straight, with that distinctive curve-hooked tip design they share with Hlaalu swords. The wide crossguards resemble the wings of cliff striders, but are edged and pointed for backhand attacks.

GLOVES
Hlaalu gauntlets are of flexible leather over the fingers and hands, with the forearms and back of the hands protected by flaring plates of bonemold (or metal cast to resemble it). The leather at the fingertips must be supple enough not to impair the rapid counting of coins.

HELMETS
Our House helms (and in light armor, hoods) cover the entire head, with a full face visor for protection against environmental dangers no matter where our trading takes us. They are of bonemold, or metal crafted to resemble it, bulbous in shape, and elongated toward the back of the skull to protect the traditional cranial coin stash.

LEG GREAVES
Hlaalu cuisses and jambes are constructed of flaring bonemold (or bonemoldesque) plates, protecting the legs at front, sides, and rear. Knee poleyns may display the House scale symbol or a personal family crest.

MACES
The Hlaalu mace is tipped with a trio of curved flanges, heavy for crushing and edged for slashing. As with the axes, mace hafts are sheathed in metal for most of their length to enable parrying, and footed with heavy, pointed ferrules.

SHIELDS
The large, kite-shaped Hlaalu shield was traditionally crafted of bonemold, but these days is just as often made of metal plated over funguswood. Our bold House scales-symbol is prominently displayed on the front.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Hlaalu pauldrons are constructed of overlapping triangular bonemold or bonemoldesque plates, flaring at the top to help protect the side of the neck. Their designs may be abstract, or inscribed with House symbols.

STAVES
A Hlaalu mage’s spell staff sports a finial in the shape of our House double-scales symbol, proudly displaying the wielder’s affiliation with the world-famous Morrowind mercantile masters. The foot is sheathed in metal, with a heavy ferrule, and can serve as defensive weaponry at need.

SWORDS
The Hlaalu swords are long and straight, like our reputation for fair dealing, and double-edged, like our contracts. They sport the distinctive curve-hooked tip design they share with Hlaalu daggers. The quillions resemble broad wings that protect the hands of the wielders.

Crafting Motif 52: Redoran Style

By Vindamea Redoran, House Procurement Sister, Vivec City

Should any non-Redoran ask you why our arms and armor are inspired by the claws and chitin of gigantic arthropods, just ask them if they’ve seen any Emperor Crabs lately—you know, those cathedral-sized crustaceans that once roamed the ashlands of Vvardenfell. Where did those go?

We killed them. We, the warriors of House Redoran.

Duty, gravity, and piety: these are our watchwords. We are the wartime defenders of the House Dunmer of Morrowind. Follow the guidelines graven below for crafting in the Redoran style, and do not cut corners, for that would be unworthy of our House.

AXES
The double-edged blades of our Redoran axes evoke the claws and mandibles of the mammoth Morrowind insects whose fierceness we embody. Though accented with bronze, the blades themselves should be of the most durable metal available, ideally carbon steel.

BELTS
Our belts are strong but simple and relatively unadorned, though the buckles may be of ornamental chitin. If available, the leather should be tanned kagouti hide, though premium guar leather may be substituted at a pinch.

BOOTS
House Redoran boots are made of the toughest available leather, with thick soles for protection against our land’s rugged terrain. Each instep is protected by two overlapping plates of rigid, pointed chitin.

BOWS
The classic Redoran bow is a composite of native funguswood and springy leg-chitin, faced with chitin plates on the limbs as they radiate from the grip. The quiver is of light chitin plates accented with bronze; arrows have broad, barbed heads.

CHEST PIECES
Our House Redoran cuirasses are of flexible leather covered in layers of medium-sized overlapping chitin (or chitin-looking) plates, embossed and filigreed with ornamentation that may include our sacred scarab symbol.

DAGGERS
The Redoran dagger has a broad and relatively short blade that ends in two diverging prongs that can inflict savage wounds on an unarmored opponent. Our House blade-fighting style emphasizes cutting over thrusting, so the twin prongs are no liability against armor.

GLOVES
To facilitate grasping and grappling, even in the heaviest armor sets House Redoran gauntlets eschew rigid components over the hands and fingers, mounting overlapping chitin plates only on the forearms. These gauntlet-plates are typically pointed as an enhanced danger to enemies who get too close.

HELMETS
Inasmuch as Redoran warriors are encouraged to get close and personal with their enemies, our helmets are designed to provide maximum protection for the head, with thick cranial domes and full face visors. The helmet’s crown is ornamented with tall horns that resemble the mandibles of shalk.

LEG GREAVES
Redoran greaves are of heavy but flexible leather, with overlapping chitin (or chitin-appearing) plates fastened in front to protect the wearer’s shins. These plates should match those mounted on the insteps of the outfit’s boots.

MACES
The Redoran mace has a heavy head that sprouts sharply edged flanges on all sides, curved like insect claws. Though accented with bronze, the mace head should be of heavy iron or steel—or even Dwarven metal, if available.

SHIELDS
The large, kite-shaped Redoran shield appears to be fashioned from the overlapping chitin plates of a gigantic scarab, and indeed our House scarab symbol often adorns the shield’s central boss. The shield-face is topped with an open network of spiked bug-limbs that provide protection without blocking the wielder’s vision.

SHOULDER ARMOR
A Redoran pauldron is usually a single curved, flaring chitin (or chitin-looking) plate embossed with ornamental filigree, the whole mounted on the shoulder in such a way as to enable full, free movement of the shoulder and arm joints.

STAVES
The finial of a Redoran mage’s spell staff echoes the shalk-mandible horns of our helmets. To keep these twin prongs from getting entangled with enemy armor in close combat, they are designed to easily break away without damage, and fit back onto the staff’s shaft when the battle is over.

SWORDS
The sword of a warrior of House Redoran is broad, straight, and double-edged, with a murderous flaring double prong at the tip. Crossguards are narrow, as the Redoran swordfighter is trained to parry with the blade’s forte, a hand’s-width above the grip.

Crafting Motif 53: Tsaesci Style

By Kiasa-Veda, the Chronicler of Blades, Dir-Tonenaka

What does “Akaviri” mean? For many generations after the coming of my ancestors to Tamriel in the late First Era, Akaviri meant the people and heritage of the Tsaesci, the most refined and sophisticated civilization on the remote eastern continent of Akavir. As every schoolchild knows, at the beginning of the twenty-eighth century of the First Era, the Tsaesci sent a large and well-armed Fortified Embassage to Tamriel for reasons of mythic import that are not for discussion in a venue such as this. This Tsaesci force met General Reman of Cyrodiil first as an antagonist, and then as an ally. Thereafter General Reman became Emperor Reman I, and the Second Empire was born.

My ancestors were among that Tsaesci force, and indeed, many Imperials could now claim some measure of Akaviri descent, and might well do so—were the name “Akaviri” not tarnished by the recent invasion of the Kamali barbarians, so ill-advised, so abominably led, so resoundingly defeated. But we will speak no more of them.

We will speak, instead, of what may be spoken of the Tsaesci. Much may not be shared outside the true bloodlines, but this was never true of our artisanship, of the Serpentine Ways of Making. These my ancestors freely shared with the People of Reman, and though over time the old styles have become diluted and debased, still pristine examples of the Serpentine Ways can be seen in the Tonenaka at Rimmen, where I am honored to labor as Chronicler.

See our traditional armor, painstakingly crafted of many small rigid plates laced or wired together to form a flexible blade-proof fabric. Note how the most vulnerable areas are protected by several overlapping layers, all hinged to move as the body moves.

Notice our masked helms, each a fierce scowling visage crowned with horns or flaring crests to create an imposing and intimidating silhouette, as of an unstoppable demon warrior.

Admire our katanas in three lengths, dagger, sword, and two-handed sword, narrow blades with a slight curve away from their single edge, superbly designed for quick cutting, though with a point for when a thrust is needed.

Wonder at the beauty of our shields, which, though we rarely use them in combat, are still made and decorated to the most exacting standards passed down from one generation of artisans to the next.

And fear our snake-headed bows, striped red-and-tan to represent the duality of life-and-death and how close to each other the two always are and must be. Even the fletching of our arrows is meticulous.

Would you follow the Serpentine Ways of Making? Then here, armorer, are your models.

Crafting Motif 54: Bloodforge Style

Clanfellows, in the name of the Hunt-Father, whom I invoke in his aspect as Alrabeg the Hunter, take now to heart these sacred schema that define the trappings of we who work the Bloodroot Forge. For it is as Bloodforge Smiths that we shall hammer the Nords upon the anvil of our rage and hatred, until all bend the knee before the Hunters of Hircine. Fellihboh!

AXES
Forge the axe, fine the work, broad the blade, filigree, wrap the haft, leatherly.

BELTS
Broad the belt, interweave, strongly girt, buckle wide, cinch the sash, mammoth-hide.

BOOTS
Leather and stud, foot defense, kick and stomp, on offense, chase the prey, forward hence.

BOWS
Strong recurved, simple bow, hurling darts, at the foe, quiver bulge, with swift arrow.

CHEST PIECES
Bloodforged breast, tied to back, intricate, weave and tack, flexible, for the hunt.

DAGGERS
Straight and broad, guard and blade, tang in hilt, Bloodforge made, cut and thrust, Hunter’s knife.

GLOVES
Gauntlets tough, fingers free, forearms wrapped, guarding thews, Hunter’s hand, grips and hews.

HELMETS
Antlers sprout , from helmet brow, casque is thick, cradling head, enemy sees, enemy’s fled.

LEG GREAVES
Serpentine, interweave, on front plate, of the greave, strap to calf, above the boot.

MACES
Heavy sledge, crushing arm, pounds the prey, deadly harm, weapon true, of Bloodforge.

SHIELDS
Keyhole shape, writhing cord, brazen boss, five more round, Hunter praise, Hircine lord.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Oblong cops, curved at crest, metal plate, steel is best, forged in blood, fringed in fur.

STAVES
Magic staff, tipped with horns, sharp and ringed, potent thorns, oaken haft, battle bred.

SWORDS
Double edged, long and strong, point for thrust, edge for slash, death in steel, doesn’t rhyme.

Crafting Motif 55: Dreadhorn Style

By Gherig Bullblood of the Dreadhorn Clan [Notes by Rena Hammerhands]

Wayward sons and daughters, set aside your old ways and embrace the Hunt-Father’s terrible champion Domihaus! Henceforth, his ways shall be our ways! Listen to these, the new precepts for crafting our arms and armor, and set to work to outfit our reborn clan—as the Dreadhorn!

[Found this in the Forge, instructions for scum on how to make scum-work. Who knew those barbarians could read, let alone write?]

AXES
Hew down the trees of Falkreath Hold as you would the Nords who have taken root. Flense the skin until it is ripe and raw as bone. Lash to steel as angular and sharp as the Jerall Mountains and mark it with the creeping vines of the Bloodroot Forge so that it may share your thirst.

[Fit only for brutes, but dangerous enough with some muscle behind it.]

BELTS
Bind tight your guts with the thick hide and hair of the minotaur and they will not be easily spilled. Pin the girdle with an icon of Domihaus at your core and his great power will stoke your hunger for battle.

[What a load of stinking bull manure! Fool superstitions won’t stop pike nor pick, but that suits me just fine.]

BOOTS
Though our feet have been hardened by the pitiless stone of the Jerall Mountains, we will clad them in the unshorn skins of the bulls to keep our blood running hot and ready to stampede alongside the chosen.

[Until they trip over all the loose straps.]

BOWS
Use the horns of our allies as your guide as you shape the timber of our bows, so they too are shown the Hunt-Father’s favor. Twist the fibers of Bloodroot vines tightly to string your bows with their hungry veins. Sharpen the skin of the mountain to give it teeth, and unleash them like the Hounds toward your quarry.

[Stone arrows aren’t the match of Nord Steel, but get pelted with enough and their cowardly pecking may strike true.]

CHEST PIECES
Always guard your precious heart with the fruits of the Forge, for that is where it belongs. Remind yourself of this truth with glyphs of curling vines upon the steel. Beneath these Forge gifts, entrust your flesh to the hide, hair, and horn of the bull.

[Their hearts were black and empty before they started replacing them with stone.]

DAGGERS
When we offer our prey to the Hunt-Father, it’s work best left to a butcher’s blade: hefty, to split bone, but kept short and sharp to twist through the joints of your kill. To this end, leave a blunt notch at the base of the blade to hook a finger.

[Some fool knife this is. Too fat for proper skinning. No wonder Reachman leathers look like dog-chewed pizzle.]

GLOVES
Whether the Nirncrux beats in your chest or lays inked in your skin, let the Nords see its power coursing through your sword arms. Bracers of leather, haired hide, and the steel icons of our clan are all the protection you need.

[We’ll see how they feel after the might of a true Nord prunes their limbs to the trunk.]

HELMETS
The Hunt-Father has shown us his champion! We shall honor this pact by taking on the visage of the chosen! Hammer a new skull of steel in the likeness of our bull brothers. Adorn it with stud and cap and band, as you would mark your own head, for in battle this shall be your face.

[If I were a filthy, feckless Reach-dog, I’d want to pretend I was something more impressive too.]

LEG GREAVES
We will shield our legs and loins with kilts of leather as has been our tradition, but wear upon them only emblems of the bull and the coiled vine. We are all Dreadhorn now. The old clan colors and glyphs are things of the past.

[Turn enough of these bulls to steers in the fields and they’ll soon change their tune about their precious milkmaid skirts.]

MACES
The iron hides of the Nords may not be easily cut, but their inner softness can be battered and burst. Waste not your efforts on fanciful construction. A cudgel of four faces delivers a sturdy strike from any angle and its corners will crack even the toughest forged shell.

[Simple design to cover for their lack of skill. Good enough for their berserk flailing.]

SHIELDS
Just as the bulls lower their heads for the charge, so too will we raise shields forged in their likeness and take their power as our own. Brand its face in brass and mark it with the glyphs of the Horned Lord’s chosen.

[A solid chunk of crude steel can block a fine blade, but that won’t matter once they’re too tired to bring it to bear.]

SHOULDER ARMOR
Combined with our helms, our pauldrons help shape us into the visage of the broad shouldered beasts we march alongside. Craft them of leather or steel, but do not neglect to present the haired hide as your mantle.

[If these savages worshiped wolves he’d be telling them to walk on all fours too.]

STAVES
Domihaus speaks for this land. Brandish an effigy of the Bloody-Horned and it will have no choice but to obey. Take the branches of our plundered home. Nail to it the face of the Hunt-Father’s chosen rendered in steel and this icon will command the elements as he does.

[I don’t know what Daedra-bothering creature he’s yammering about, but I’d like to put its head on the end of a stick myself.]

SWORDS
The fangs and claws of the Forge are meant to taste blood! Tame the hot metal into a single broad blade with a snarling tooth at its point. Wrap the hilt in leather, and where you see fit to hold the blade, but never forget its thirst when you grasp the reins.

[It’s true. The blades crave Reachmen blood as much as ours. Remember that.]

Crafting Motif 56: Apostle Style

So, you say you want to craft arms and armor in the Clockwork Apostle style? Well, don’t just stand there spinning your gears! Tune your mnemonics to what I’ve got to say, and follow every diagram, schematic, and sequence-plaque to the letter. We’ll get all your cogs and cams whirring in sync in no time. No time at all! Let’s begin!

AXES
Apostle axes lean heavily upon the Law of Circles, or the winding-wheel method. Just a fancy way of saying the heads are round. Most feature a handy thread-fastener on the haft that lets the owner swap out axe-heads when they become too dull or tarnished. We’re great at replacing things!

BELTS
Most outsiders consider Apostle belts unremarkable because most outsiders are fools! The flexible fabric binding is impressive in its own right, but what truly sets these belts apart are their masterfully crafted spin-fasteners. Rotating the central swivel tightens the belt to the ideal circumference without clumsy buckles or unsightly knots!

BOOTS
The harsh conditions of the Radius make sturdy footwear indispensable. Apostle boots eschew lacing and pliable leathers for solid, water-tight seals and accordion gaskets at the ankles. It can get a bit sweaty in there: all the more reason to replace those fleshy feet with metal ones!

BOWS
I honestly have no idea how archers manage outside the Clockwork City—plucking their silly wooden bows with their wobbly feathered arrows. Where’s the creativity? The trick to Apostle bows is combining rigid limbs with an elaborate pulley system. The result is a bow that can put holes in solid steel.

CHEST PIECES
Apostle cuirasses are marvels of anatomical precision. The sturdy brass shell conforms to the ribs and abdomen like a glove, while pliable filaments allow for full range of motion, including chest expansion for breathing (for the silly people who still do that sort of thing). They’re almost always covered in Sothic filigrees, but you can barely tell under all those white robes. What a waste!

DAGGERS
Apostle daggers excel at both slashing and stabbing—a product of their curved edge and hollow guard. The grip, wrapped in alchemically-treated fabricant skin, never slips; not even when covered in oil and blood!

GLOVES
I pity the exodromals, with their clumsy metal mittens and thick leather gloves. As practically everyone knows, the sense of touch is of paramount importance when conducting experiments—doubly so when fighting off verminous fabricants! The engineered filaments at the palms and fingertips protect the digits while preserving vital sensation.

HELMETS
First and foremost, the Clockwork Apostles must honor the Clockwork God. What better way to honor him than to imitate him? Apostle helms always feature a central crest that mimics the shape and motifs of Lord Seht’s blessed mask. Some are more ostentatious than others, but what’s the point of a crest if you’re not going to flaunt it?

LEG GREAVES
Apostles rarely sit down. So much to do! To accommodate their busy lifestyle, our brilliant predecessors invented pneumatic support girders that connect to the cuisses and extend from the waist to the calf—allowing the wearer to walk for as long as they wish without tiring. The quiet hissing of the compressors can grate on the nerves after a while, but all progress requires sacrifice!

MACES
Smithing the Apostle mace requires a well-oiled mind and very steady hands. Unlike the clumsy mauls and clubs warriors wield in Tamriel Above, the circular flanges on this weapon orbit a perfect sphere. And I do mean perfect! Even slight miscalculations in the weight or orientation of the head can result in tiny dents, minor dings, and other totally unacceptable imperfections.

SHIELDS
The circular Apostle shield combines clockwork motifs with flawless parabolic angles to create an indestructible barrier! The brilliant aperture design redistributes the force of impacts to the outer ring in a perfect spiral pattern. It also produces a really tremendous clanging noise that can make your teeth rattle! I suggest replacing them with brass teeth.

SHOULDER ARMOR
What heroic proctor’s silhouette would be complete without ornate pauldrons? Like the Father of Mysteries himself, the Clockwork Apostles adorn themselves with beautifully engraved shoulder armor. The hollows ensure it is both light and flexible, and the reinforced brass makes them nearly indestructible.

STAVES
Like the Apostle mace, our staves feature a perfect brass sphere as the focus. Unlike the Apostle mace, this sphere rotates on a central axle, making it even more difficult to balance. Flawless rotation reflects the perfection of Lord Seht, and stabilizes the magical energies channeled through the brass. Spinning it also provides hours of pleasant, idle distraction for children and pets!

SWORDS
The Apostle swords bear a strong visual resemblance to the Apostle daggers, but their composition is far more complex. Alchemical additives make the brass lighter and more flexible. This reduces the efficacy of thrusts, but radically increases the damage they inflict through slashing attacks!

Crafting Motif 57: Ebonshadow Style

You want to be beautiful. Beautiful, and whispering. Whispering, and dark. Dark, and beautiful, and whispering—with claws, such claws. You shall be cold, and sharp, and dark. You will be Ebonshadow.

You cannot rest, you can never rest, so you might as well craft. Craft arms for Her will; craft armor for Her machinations. You are filled with dark nothingness, filled until you spill it into that which you shall make. And for that time of making, though you do it alone, that time alone will have Meaning.

AXES
Do you see an axe? No, it is a claw, a glorious claw, a claw curved like the night sky. With a claw like this you can open them up, wide open, and let the purple and blue come out. It wants to come out. Pick, pick the axe like a pick-axe, pick and let the darkness spill. And it shall spill.

BELTS
It wraps around you, secure, never letting go. Holds you in its dark embrace, like Her embrace. You’re bound within it, but it’s yours! You created it! Within your hands you have created this darkness, this shadow, this black belt that binds you. Holds you.

BOOTS
You’re already sinking into the shadows, up past your feet, up your legs. But it will not devour you, no. You’ve shaped the darkness. You’ve shaped, and strapped, and it has become a part of you. Boots which allow you to walk between the shadows, between the worlds.

BOWS
It’s cold to the touch, isn’t it? Black ice. But your fingers don’t slip. You grasp tight upon its ebony grip, and let the arrow fly. Piercing. It pierces through the night, true. Quick. It pierces your enemy’s flesh, and hot blood pours out. Hot against the icy arrow. Hot, but you remain cold.

CHEST PIECES
You gasp, and gasp, but you cannot breathe. The weight of the darkness consumes you, pressing against the lungs, but now. Now you’ve crafted armor to protect you. Wrapped around your chest, against your dully-beating heart. It will stop the weight. It will protect you from that crushing weight.

DAGGERS
Her crows that laugh, and caw, and peck and peck. You must peck too. So you forge daggers from the darkness, small, light, sharp. Sharp, a deadly point. They must pierce the hot flesh. Feel the blood against your fingers, hot, but your hands are still cold. Watch the steam rise into the night.

GLOVES
Your hands are ice, cold, numb to all touch, but still you try to keep them warm. Thread the shadows, forge it to do your bidding. They wrap around your fingers, enticing, feels almost safe. They move your hands for Her dark will, but it’s a comfort. It’s almost warm. Almost alive.

HELMETS
Your head is full of secrets. Dark omens, Her will, the cawing of crows. Your mind is slipping, floating, must keep it. Safe. A helmet, yes, craft a helmet. It binds the broken pieces of your consciousness. Let your mind know only Her. Her will. She will love those broken pieces. She still has uses for them.

LEG GREAVES
You’re broken, aren’t you? Pieces missing, something missing. This! Yes! This will make you complete. Whole. This will bind you together. The shadows bind us together. Create this and be one. Forge this and be one. Finally, be one with Her shadows. You are not broken. You are complete. I am complete.

MACES
Smash them open. Her enemies, they’re warm inside. See? See the colors, running down. You have no colors, but you can still see. You’ve forged Her will within this mace. Use its force against all others. They are warm, but you are cold. Feel nothing. Shadows do not feel, after all.

SHIELDS
The light will try to take you, melt you away. Their light. Their swords, their daggers, their maces. They’ll poke and pierce. Try to end you, but you are shadow. Never ending. Let this shield block their light. It shall keep you in the safety of Her darkness. In Her everlasting embrace.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Her will presses against your shoulders, heavy, unbearable. But you can forge the darkness now. Your broken pieces are held together by the shadows, a tar that binds you. Become Her will. Then your shoulders have no weight, no burdens, nothing. A numb nothing, save Her.

STAVES
Your magic once was color, was warmth and delight. No longer. You gave that to Her. My Mistress has your color, but has given you a power. A cold stave. A crow sits upon it, watching. Judging. Watching as your enemies fall, as you fall into the darkness. Deeper, deeper, the deepest shadow.

SWORDS
A blade of black, elegant, deadly. Like Her words which filled your ears one night. The edge is sharp, unforgiving. It’s hungry, don’t you hear it? It calls for warmth. For blood. Those who dare defy Her shall feed it. Hungry, like her crows are hungry, like you’re always hungry. For warmth. For death.

Crafting Motif 58: Fang Lair Style

For too long the magical discipline of Necromancy has been disregarded as a mere subset of Conjuration, or worse, dismissed outright because it is “evil.” But our efforts in Fang Lair will impress all Tamriel with the importance of Necromancy! As such, it is critical that you lesser members of the Blackmarrow make an impressive showing; therefore, when crafting your arms and armor, you will follow these instructions to the letter. Unless you’d prefer, of course, to serve as a subject of experimentation. Hmm?

AXES
For thematic reasons that should be obvious to even the dimmest intelligence, our axes look like great razor-sharp cleavers on poles, with our hallmark “fang” on the end of each blade. A person threatened by a Fang Lair axe will have no choice but to imagine what it will do to their flesh and bone if they do not instantly yield.

BELTS
While in principle the ideal material for our Fang Lair belts would be tanned human skin, in practice human-hide just isn’t thick or durable enough for our needs, so you may substitute cattle or horse-hide leather. A skull-shaped belt buckle will get our point across just as well.

BOOTS
Our experience among the narrow-minded of Tamriel has taught us to be quick on our feet and ready to relocate, so our shoes are a relatively light element of our apparel. They may even be as simple as sandals, especially when paired with light armor.

BOWS
Any style with “Fang” in its name implies it will look sharp and dangerous, and that’s certainly the case with our Blackmarrow bows. Even the quivers that carry our broad-headed arrows are adorned with sharp motifs and even sharper edges. (Wear gloves when arming yourselves, fools.)

CHEST PIECES
Though we haven’t been able to provide them yet for every member, eventually all of you will proudly wear our Fang Lair tattoos and body markings. These marks are a tribute to your fervent commitment to the Blackmarrow cause, and to show them off our cuirasses leave the less-critical parts of your torsos exposed.

DAGGERS
Like much of our equipment, our daggers derive from proven Redguard designs: curved, single-edged blades, sharp pointed, and with our signature “fang” in the barbed hook behind the point.

GLOVES
You will agree—for you must—that for both conjuring and combat, it’s best to have the fingers free of the confinement of cumbersome gloves; however, above the hands you can trust our flaring gauntlets to protect the wrists and forearms.

HELMETS
The Blackmarrow wear close-fitting metal skullcaps with upper-face visors covered by tight-turbaned hoods that extend to our shoulders. If you are wise, you will wear an additional mail coif under the hood to protect your neck.

LEG GREAVES
We rely on leather, supple but many-layered, to protect our legs. Our fighting style dictates the primacy of mobility, in which attacks to the legs are mainly avoided or turned aside before a blade can ever contact our greaves or chausses.

MACES
A mace is the preferred weapon for an order with necromantic ambitions, because a body struck down by a mace is more useful for reanimation than a corpse with severed limbs. Thus our maces are heavy and functional, so that you may defeat an adversary with the least number of blows, leaving behind a body ripe for necromancy.

SHIELDS
The broad oval shield of the Blackmarrow, rimmed with overlapping metal plates, has one purpose and one purpose only: to protect your body in combat. Those who fail to employ it properly may, upon death, be reanimated and assigned to menial and even humiliating tasks. So use it wisely.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The symbolism behind crafting our pauldrons to resemble grinning abstract metallic skulls should be obvious to even our least-sophisticated cult members. Remember: in Necromancy, there are no points for subtlety.

STAVES
The focal finial of our spellcasters’ magic staves features a mystic crescent between two bony, taloned fingers. It has been pointed out to me that this symbology appears nowhere else on our gear, but as a Master Necromancer I am above such a small-minded emphasis on consistency. It looks impressive, and that’s good enough.

SWORDS
Our swords fundamentally hearken back to Redguard roots, though the austere descendants of the Ansei would shy away from the baroque and spiky improvements we’ve made to their overly simple designs. The fools! Soon, they, too, will acknowledge our greatness and kneel before us.

Crafting Motif 59: Scalecaller Style

By Jorvuld Davaux, Dragon Priest Historian

There is considerable evidence that orthodox Dragon Priests had their armor crafted from genuine remains of the great creatures, using actual Dragonscale and Dragonbone (rare materials indeed). The followers of the renegade Dragon Priest, Zaan, outfitted themselves like the greater clergy in replica Dragon Priest armor made of more common materials: metal forged to resemble Dragonscale and bonemold crafted to resemble Dragonbone. The details are described below.

AXES
Scalecaller axes follow barbaric early-Nord designs, but with highly abstract Dragon Cult claw-crescents at the finial. The upper part of the haft, just below the blade (or blades for the two-handed version), is clad in metal that resembles overlapping Dragon scales.

BELTS
The cult’s belts are relatively simple and utilitarian, as the followers of Scalecaller preferred to display their ornamentation elsewhere. Leather from almost any source is acceptable; the surface may be pebbled to resemble reptilian hide.

BOOTS
These Scalecaller sabatons look like they’re made from great overlapping Dragon scales, but actually the material is tough leather, except for the toes on boots made for heavy armor, which are always rigid bonemold. The ankles are protected by abstract forged Dragon-mouth uppers.

BOWS
The cult’s bows are adorned by an exaggerated Dragonscale motif on the weapon’s limbs just above and below the grip. The ends of the limbs sport stylized Dragon heads, while the quivers are wrapped in reptilian wing motifs.

CHEST PIECES
For the cuirasses, bonemold is formed to resemble plates of rigid Dragonbone, accented by tooled leather, with the arms clad in metal mail that resembles Dragonscales. These chest pieces are so sturdy they have endured for centuries with almost no evidence of rot or rust.

DAGGERS
The blades crafted by Zaan’s folk are fairly standard Dragon Cult weapons, blades that start out straight and then, after a broadened forte, curve toward the sharp point, resembling nothing so much as elongated Dragon claws. Only the outside of the curve has an edge.

GLOVES
The cult wears full gauntlets of flexible leather, but backed by splints and plates of bonemold fashioned to resemble Dragonbone. Flaring bracers, similarly ornamented, protect the wrists and forearms.

HELMETS
The full helms worn by the followers of the renegade Zaan feature face visors of bonemold formed to resemble the masks of legendary Dragon Priests—attire that would be blasphemous if worn by orthodox low-level Dragon cultists. It shows just how far the Scalecaller cult had deviated from the norm.

LEG GREAVES
Other than having Dragon-mouth poleyns at the knee, the cult’s leg armor is relatively unadorned, though it may exhibit bonemold plates atop the leather chausses crafted to look like large overlapping Dragon scales.

MACES
These Scalecaller maces terminate in heavy cylindrical heads studded with wicked fanged abstract Dragon heads. The hafts are clad in the same overlapping metallic Dragon scales as the axe handles.

SHIELDS
The central oval of the cult’s shield is adorned with a coiling snaky Dragon that evokes the Prince Peryite as much as it does the Dovah the Nords’ ancestors revered. The shield’s rim is protected by thick bonemold plates that resemble great Dragon scales, and echo the armor’s pauldrons.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Scalecaller cult pauldrons are elaborate and fanciful, a double tier of flaring plates crafted in both bonemold and metal scale, surmounted by an abstract roaring Dragon head, the whole giving the Scalecaller warrior a very distinctive silhouette.

STAVES
The spell staff of the Scalecaller spellcaster is perhaps the single most emblematic design in the entire Zaan Dragon / Peryite visual lexicon: an oaken staff inscribed with mystic runes, ornamented with overlapping scales, and topped by an open-mouthed serpentine Dragon head. It’s awe-inspiring.

SWORDS
The swords of the renegade Scalecaller cult are nonetheless recognizably weapons of Dragon worshipers, single-edged blades that start out straight and then, after a broadened forte, curve toward a sharp point, looking very much like elongated Dragon claws.

Crafting Motif 6: Redguard Style

This book was previously called “Racial Motifs 6: The Redguards”

Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel

(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)

When I arrived at Morian’s townhouse this morning all was sunshine and rainbows—Divayth and the professor were chatting over mugs of chal like best friends, comparing Ralliballah’s Eleven Ritual Forms to the Book of Most Arcane Covenants. I reminded Divayth that he’d promised to escort me to the Yokudan Chapel in the Market District, at which Morian’s brow clouded over slightly, but then he smiled and said that was fine, as he wanted to test some new hyperagonal media in his laboratory.

(And maybe it was the light, but to me both men looked … younger, somehow. I must keep in mind that they’re both highly capable wizards, which I suppose might include knowledge of illusion magic. Or perhaps I flatter myself.)

I met a number of knowledgeable Redguards at the chapel, all exhibiting that dignity and polite reserve I associate with the better-educated members of that people. The Most-Revered Zirumir, a Priest of Tu’whacca (I hope I spelled that right), was particularly helpful.

As Zirumir pointed out, both the Redguards’ ancient home of Yokuda and their current province of Hammerfell are (or were, in the case of Yokuda) deserts. To stay cool, and for protection from the elements, Redguard clothing tends to be light, long and flowing, and these flowing curves are carried into their artisanal designs. Their robes and armor are often accented by flared curves at joints and on headgear. Even their swords tend to be curved.
In contrast their architecture appears rather heavy, though on close inspection this is mainly for the purpose of insulation from the desert’s extremes of temperature. Zirumir showed me the chapel’s clever system of louvered ventilation ducts in the clerestory, designed to catch the slightest breeze and funnel it down into the nave.

After Zirumir was called away to tend to one of his congregation, Divayth and I strolled into the apse to view the eight shrines to the Yokudan Divines. Divayth was explaining that whereas the Forebears of Hammerfell often worship the Cyrodilic Divines brought to them by the Reman Empire, these were the traditional gods worshiped by the more conservative Crown Redguards. Suddenly, behind the beehive shrine to Morwha, he turned to me with those blazing eyes, took my hands between his, and told me he thought me the most brilliant and desirable woman in the Imperial City. My breath caught in my throat, and my heart was hammering. But when he moved as if to embrace me I was suddenly frightened—I backed away, shaking my head, then fled out into the nave. I fear I quite startled a young family of Redguards placing candles on Morwha’s altar.

Now what? I’m afraid I must have insulted Divayth terribly. How can I make it up to him? And dare I mention it to Morian? Julianos’ little teapot, what a dilemma!

Crafting Motif 60: Worm Cult

In death is life, reanimation
A sacred and a dark vocation
Our Order’s garb all shall recall
Their final sight before they fall

AXES
Worm axe blade’s like a severed ear
Restored to life as metal hacker
A mighty arm that all must fear
Glint of steel and gleam of lacquer

BELTS
Echoes of Coldharbour see
In cinctures, sashes, belts
On each hip are tassets three
With hooks for scalps or pelts

BOOTS
Each sabaton is lapping, plated
Like those of Bal’s dark legions
Our troops corpses reanimated
Returned from deathly regions

BOWS
From bones defleshed we craft our bows
They loose with bony rattle
The skeletal dart Worm archer throws
Slays men like so much cattle

CHEST PIECES
Worm armor’s plates are tributes all
To our Lord of the Undead
The skin and form of Molag Bal
To steel and iron wed

DAGGERS
Like jagged fangs, our daggers curve
Serrated edge and point
Grim armaments, they also serve
To sever and disjoint

GLOVES
Our gauntlets guard forearms and hands
Enabling fists to grip
With fingers clad in bony bands
Ensuring hafts don’t slip

HELMETS
Like metal skull of Daedric beast
Worm helm enwraps your head
Overlapping, layered, creased
March leading our undead

LEG GREAVES
Chausses echo chest design
Coldharbour inspiration
Daedric chevron, curving line
Of Lord of Domination

MACES
When slaying foes to animate
The mace has many charms
We want a corpse in wholesome state
With all its legs and arms

SHIELDS
On Worm Cult shield the horns of Bal
Adorn o’erlapping plates
For undeath is the fate of all
Who pass Coldharbour’s gates

SHOULDER ARMOR
Pauldrons sharp as fangéd skulls
Adorn Worm Cultists’ shoulders
Mortals rise as Black Worm thralls
Or in their graves shall molder

STAVES
With spellstaff horned like Bal himself
Dark mages focus magic
Thus mortals—human, beast, or Elf
All meet their endings tragic

SWORDS
Swords serrated, pointed, edged
To twist in mortals’ entrails
March forth, Worm Cultist fully-fledged
Cause adversaries’ wails

Crafting Motif 61: Psijic Style

The Psijic Order eschews combat, regarding all violence as a failure of negotiation and diplomacy, which are the highest of the non-magical arts. Our garb, therefore, lacks the martial look and feel of most “armor”—but that doesn’t mean it’s any less protective than clanking suits of metal, for powerful protective runes are woven into the very substance of our robes.

AXES
Psijic weapons are esthetically pleasing, as most of the time their function is merely decorative, but all of our arms are fully functional when necessary. Our axes, for example, though filigreed with gold and ornamented with turquoise, are nonetheless superbly balanced and razor-sharp.

BELTS
Psijic cinctures are usually simple leather girdles embossed with defensive runes and sporting buckles studded with turquoise or lapis lazuli. They may support broad tassets displaying runes for Deflection and Absorption.

BOOTS
In the order, we wear boots of leather with reinforced toes, the whole enhanced by protective runes embossed and sewn in on top, front, sides, and back. For durability and softness, the hide of Psijic Domino Pigs is preferred.

BOWS
Just above and below the handgrip, Psijic bows are adorned with Mundial Globes that represent our order’s equal commitment to the defense of all mortals that walk the surface of Nirn. The three turquoise discs arranged vertically on the quiver represent the Three Kinetic Forces embodied in archery.

CHEST PIECES
Though a Psijic cuirass is light and flexible, its defensive enchantments are such that it will turn a blow or a blade as well as a much heavier chest piece of metal or chitin. The Psijic may choose to wear a lapis Scrying Eye medallion over the sternum.

DAGGERS
The appearance of Psijic daggers echoes that of the Athames, or ritual knives, that we use in certain spells, for example when cutting off the intrusive scrying of outsiders. Their crossguards are wrapped in runes of defense.

GLOVES
As hands are often extended when spellcasting, our Psijic gauntlets feature strong protection over backhands and forearms. However, the ends of the fingers are exposed so as not to interfere with the intricate gestures some magic requires.

HELMETS
Our headwear is a hood, because what else would the members of a monastic order wear? However, woven into the warp and weft of its gleaming material are runes of protection and mystic phrases of focus and concentration.

LEG GREAVES
Psijic greaves, crafted from the finest domino hog’s-hide, are slender and flexible, yet enchanted so as to provide a measure of protection equal to that of far heavier materials.

MACES
By design, a Psijic mace is also a sceptre, depicting a Mundial Globe enwrapped in the order’s protective spells of Balance, Envelopment, and Contemplation—the three Middle Forces of the Eleven. It’s also a blunt object heavy enough to knock a welwa to its knees.

SHIELDS
Psijic shields are light metal plate, heavily reinforced by defensive runes, and adorned by three horizontal turquoises that represent the Three Middle Forces: Balance, Envelopment, and Contemplation.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Our shoulder cops are relatively unobtrusive, and may be constructed of leather or even light metal. What doesn’t vary is the embossed Deflection rune that appears prominently on each pauldron.

STAVES
One might think that since a Psijic’s temporal power is mainly expressed through wizardry, our spell staves would therefore be elaborate rune-encrusted objects, but not so: their relatively simple design reflects the truth that a staff is merely a focus of power, not a source of power itself.

SWORDS
Each Psijic sword is elegant, beautifully embellished, and when forged, it’s blessed with an orison praying it need never be drawn in anger. For at need, the straight, double-edged Psijic sword can cut a terrible swath, though its use may always be regretted.

Crafting Motif 62: Sapiarch Style

By Artuudawen Thousand-Shoes, Sapiarch of Apparel Analysis

The distinctive style of the robes of the Sapiarchs has not been designed so much as it’s been refined, the style distilling the clothing choices of a hundred generations of the Wise. Every detail has its own deep history, all memorialized, of course, in the Apparel Archives of the Crystal Tower. The lighter styles of robes are for research in controlled environments, while the heavier, armored robes provide protection when a Sapiarch must do research in the field.

AXES
Though the bearing of weapons is usually delegated to research assistants, and their main function is as symbolic representations of authority, our arms are also supremely practical as weapons. Take, for example, our majestic eagle-claw axe, with its razor-sharp three-pointed blade. Most effective.

BELTS
Our belts are simple, the most pragmatic item of clothing we wear, because what matters to a Sapiarch is not how a belt holds their garments together at the waist, but what accessories and scholarly implements it can carry. This varies a great deal depending on the sage’s specialty, but writing pouches and scroll travel-tubes belong in every Sapiarch’s equipage.

BOOTS
My favorite subject! Sapiarch boots are calf-high leather with turned-down tops, often patterned with metal studs that serve the dual purposes of ornamentation and protection. The same is true of the boots’ metal toe-caps, which are often wrought in shapes that evoke the flow of Magicka.

BOWS
The Sapiarch’s composite bow is made of horn, bone, and Summerset yew, carefully crafted to rigorous design standards formulated and refined by centuries of Altmeri bowmer. The fletching on the arrows isn’t feathers, but rather thin, aerodynamically-curved pieces of chitin from coral mudcrabs.

CHEST PIECES
Upon accession to a Seat of Knowledge a Sapiarch is invested with their formal robe, its yoke and placket adorned with mystic symbols of knowledge, wisdom, and Elven heritage. Of course, beneath this robe may be a layer of enchanted chainmail, depending on the dangers of the Sapiarch’s researches.

DAGGERS
For most Sapiarchs, a dagger is the only weapon they’ll ever need carry, and even then its function is mainly ornamental and ceremonial, so our daggers are justifiably ornamental and impressive. Of course, we leave the major weaponry to our defensive assistants, whom we trust to handle martial affairs when they come up.

GLOVES
For both spellcasting and fine laboratory work, it’s of paramount importance that a Sapiarch’s fingers be unencumbered, so we wear only fingerless demi-gauntlets that protect the back of the hands and the wrists. The armored versions may be crafted of lobstered steel.

HELMETS
The hood is the universal headwear of the scholar or sage, so naturally our light robes are topped with embroidered hoods of the finest material. However, when engaged in perilous studies, we don’t scruple to wear a skullcap under the hood, or even replace it with a full visored helm. (Why do you think we’re known as “the Wise”?)

LEG GREAVES
Though hidden by long robes, our legs don’t go unprotected, and are sheathed above our tall boots in cuisses of leather or light mail, with metal poleyns at the knee. The fabric of the lower robe is also some defense, especially when inscribed or embroidered with warding runes.

MACES
The end of a Sapiarch’s mace is a globe, representing the acknowledged fact that a Sapiarch is the leading sage and scholar in all Nirn in their field of expertise. The spherical mace head is also studded with eight diamond-shaped spikes to augment its menace as a weapon.

SHIELDS
Sapiarchic shields are light metal plate, heavily reinforced by defensive runes, and decorated with elegant shapes that evoke the flow of Magicka. The central boss recalls the Resolute Diamonds that are the keys to the gates of the Crystal Tower.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The yokes of our upper robes extend over our shoulders, beneath which we wear sturdy but unobtrusive spaulders of leather, chitin, or metal. Heavily-armored robes may have additional plates atop the shoulder yokes.

STAVES
The upper ends of our spellcasters’ staves specifically echo the shape of our symbolic home, the Crystal Tower, surmounted by Magicka-flow brackets holding a finial Nirn-globe, representing our global leadership in all the arts of scholarship and knowledge. The sphere also serves as a focusing lens for magical projection.

SWORDS
Sapiarchic swords are elegant, straight, and tall, like the Altmer themselves, with superb ornamentation that is both refined and restrained. Our sword has two edges, for all questions must be looked at from more than one angle, but a single point, for in the end one answer is most correct. Such is our creed.

Crafting Motif 63: Dremora

When possible variations in physical appearance are unlimited, it is an act of supreme will and discipline to confine oneself to a uniform semblance. For we proud Dremora, who regard all other Daedra with well-earned disdain, self-expression is nothing but vulgar self-indulgence. Heed these regulations, kynfolk, and don’t disgrace your clanmates with unauthorized variations—or it’s the scathe-rings for you, and don’t think otherwise.

AXES
Like all weaponry of those who proudly serve the Prince of Domination, our axes evoke Molag Bal’s physical presence, echoing his dread features and extravagant ridged horns. It’s said that after the mace, our Prince’s favorite weapon is the axe, since it is the tool of the headsman. Perhaps it is so; who would dare ask?

BELTS
Our belts are layered of several straps and strands, overlapped to provide reliable support for our many tassets, faulds, weapon loops, scabbards, and tool pouches. By preference our cinctures are made of thrice-tanned human hide, but the pelts of other mortals are an acceptable substitute if manskin is unavailable.

BOOTS
Dremora sabatons are tough and soled with thick treads, for we stride the surfaces of worlds uncounted, regardless of the ruggedness of their terrain. Our toes and arches are protected by shields of filigreed dark-metal, but our boots’ insteps and uppers are of finest Argonian hide—a lesson learned on Nirn, for not all mortal ideas should be disdained.

BOWS
The Coldharbour Dremora’s bow is a composite weapon assembled from horn from various sources, including the prongs and spurs of our own honored dead. Quivers are adorned with motifs that evoke the Prince of Domination.

CHEST PIECES
Our many-layered dark-metal cuirasses are embossed with the swirling curlicues that represent the flow of chaotic creatia, shown in its state before it is hardened into martial permanence by the sheer willpower of the Daedra. Thus we honor the Prince of Domination, who makes every reality submit to his insatiable desires.

DAGGERS
The daggers of Coldharbour Dremora have triangular blades designed for both parrying and punch-stabbing, leaving wounds that close poorly in the flesh of mortals unless they are particularly skilled with Restoration magic.

GLOVES
We wear the gauntlets of warriors, battle gloves of mortalhide under curved plates and lames of metal, all embossed with symbols of chaotic creatia, to protect our forearms and weapon-gripping hands from the ill-aimed blows of our pathetic opponents. Dread Lord, with these we raise our fists to salute you!

HELMETS
We wear, forged in metal, horrific horned visages of resolution and terror, designed to paralyze our enemies into fear and indecision. Frozen, they gasp, “What nightmare is this that confronts me?” as our weapons, unheeded, scythe them down, a harvest of death we offer to the Prince of Domination.

LEG GREAVES
Greaves of grievance, we craft our cuisses from the tanned skins of our defeated foes, defending our hides with the hides that did not defend them. Fine-worked poleyns protect our knees, not for kneeling in submission, but to enhance sudden, vicious blows in close combat.

MACES
The mace, of course, is the symbol of our Dread Lord Molag Bal, and so the martial mace of the Coldharbour Dremora must pay homage to that symbol without crossing the line into blasphemous imitation. Therefore, follow our guidelines without deviation, kynworms!

SHIELDS
Dremora shields are of heavy metal, for we are strong, and replete with sharp points, for we are dangerous. Embossed symbols depict the flow of chaotic creatia as it appears before Daedric will imposes order upon it.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The Xivilai think our flaring and pointed pauldrons are ostentatious and extreme—and they’re right, for thus do we achieve the distinctive angular silhouette that evokes the concept of “skeir-gallyn,” or discorporation-by-geometry. For what is a Dremora if not a belligerent collision of acute hyper-angles?

STAVES
As proud servants of the Prince of Domination, the heads of our spellcasters’ staves symbolically evoke our Dread Lord’s ridged horns, with his awe-inspiring features depicted expressionistically beneath. The staff’s haft ends in a point like a curved metal talon.

SWORDS
If, as you were trained, you impale our enemies so that they die slowly, their long final moments will be spent staring in horrified disbelief at the intricate scrollwork on your sword’s upper tang and crossbar. It behooves you to follow our forging designs closely so that our Dread Lord will be honored by his enemies’ dying contemplations.

Crafting Motif 64: Pyandonean Style

Some of my peers dismiss our nautical neighbors the Maormer as mere Elven pirates, seafaring bandits with no more sophistication than Gold Coast highway robbers, but this is a mistake: though over time some breakaway clans have descended into near-barbarism, the core clans loyal to King Orgnum are organized and well-disciplined martial forces it would be a mistake to underestimate. I will try below to describe their typical arms and armor turnout.

AXES
Pyandonean axes are double-bladed, even the one-handed weapons, great edged crescents like the wings of rays. They sport a shell motif where the tang goes into the haft, which features an edged and pointed ferrule at its base. For their size, the weapons are marvelously light, a hallmark of Sea Elf design.

BELTS
Pyandonean belts are made of the same thick, overlapping leather strips as their light and medium armor, and made from the same source: triple-tanned hide of porpoise, creatures the Sea Elves slaughter on sight out of sheer hatred for the blissful creatures’ exuberance and joy.

BOOTS
In line with the Pyandoneans’ obsession with survivability should they end up in the water, their boots are light affairs made of (what else?) porpoise hide, and easily kicked off before they can drag their wounded wearers down into the depths.

BOWS
Sea Elf bows are at core simple self bows of Pyandonean yew, though they are often elaborately decorated with sculpted sea serpents wrapping the bow’s limbs above and below the grip. Their quivers are fanciful, shaped like great barbed fins, the arrows fletched with seabird plumage.

CHEST PIECES
The armored area of Pyandonean chest pieces is largely confined to protecting the chest, back, and abdomen, with the arms left lightly covered or free to enable swimming. (Note to self: do the Sea Elves have a particular fear of drowning? Worth researching.) Light and medium armor are of overlapping strips of porpoise leather, but heavy armor is of orgnium.

DAGGERS
Pyandonean daggers exhibit the same scimitar-like curve as their swords, with a barbed hook behind the point that the Sea Elves use to wicked effect in close combat. The cross-guards at the hilt are forged in the shape of the heads of sea serpents, and can be used to trap and even break a blade in parrying.

GLOVES
Gloves inhibit both swimming and climbing in ships’ rigging, so they are not popular among the Pyandoneans, whose gauntlets consist mostly of bracers to protect their wearers’ forearms.

HELMETS
Like their boots, a key aspect of Pyandonean headgear is that it’s easily doffed in the event the wearer goes overboard. The light armor coifs are just hoods, but the medium and heavy helms seem intended to intimidate by presenting a nonhuman visage, either some sort of crustacean or a spiny deep-sea predator.

LEG GREAVES
Though their outfits are usually kilted, underneath them the Pyandonean marine wears greaves of overlapping porpoise leather, tightly wound so as not to interfere with swimming or the climbing of ships’ rigging.

MACES
In line with the idea that Pyandonean marines’ gear shouldn’t be heavy enough to drag them under if they go overboard, the heads of their maces are relatively light, relying on points and flanges to do damage rather than bludgeoning weight. They’re also comparatively short in the haft.

SHIELDS
Pyandonean shields are basically kite-shaped, but smaller than most kite-shaped shields, possibly as a way of mitigating their weight. They’re forged of a light but durable metal, with radiant shell designs at top and bottom, and usually depicting at center the raised or embossed figure of a sea serpent.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The shell-shaped Pyandonean pauldrons are constructed of stiffened porpoise-leather often capped by a covering of orgnium, the mysterious light metal the Sea Elves use for their heavier arms and armor. Symbols of rank are typically affixed to shoulder armor for the easy identification of officers.

STAVES
The finial on top of a Pyandonean staff is, of course, sculpted in the shape of a sea serpent. Curiously, it’s made of orgnium, the same light metal used so extensively in Sea Elven armor. Whether it’s imbued with magical properties to assist in the focusing of spells is unknown, but seems likely.

SWORDS
Pyandonean swords are curved like scimitars, but with a dogleg just above the quillion, and a barb behind the point that enables the weapon to be used somewhat like a boathook, snagging enemies and dragging them overboard or into off-hand thrusts. They are ornamented rather simply except for the quillions, which take the shape of a two-headed looping sea serpent.

Crafting Motif 65: Huntsman

By Uraccanach the Witchman (as transcribed by Juno Procillus, Academy of Chorrol)

For those who would honor Hircine the Hunter, it is right and proper to adopt the apparel and arms of his Huntsmen, those spear-shakers, fewterers, and whippers-in of the Lord of the Hunting Grounds. Just as his Huntsmen evoke Hircine’s Aspects by their appearance, we honor him by emulating our prince’s Huntsmen. All hail the Great Hunter! Even his curses are blessings! It is so, for I have said it.

AXES
Heavy of blade is the Huntsman’s axe, for it has but one sacred task: to behead the Prey once it is run to ground and sore wounded. Adorned with antlers, the axe evokes Uricanbeg the Stag, whose hooves drum the Blood Summons. Stamp for the Stag!

BELTS
The Huntsman’s belt is typically made from the hide of mighty beasts such as mammoths or brown bears, and usually tanned with the fur or bristles left on. The Hunting Grounds is a land of woods and fields, not cities of cold brick and stone, so Hircine and his Hunters always show a touch of the wild about them.

BOOTS
Our boots are of flexible hide with felted uppers, studded in the heavier versions. They are based on the boots worn by our lord as depicted in his aspect of Alrabeg the Hunter and seen on traditional blankets and hunting lodge wall hangings. Praise be to Alrabeg, who finds the worthiest Prey! Gibber, manlings, and dance to his name!

BOWS
The Huntsman’s bow is a composite of wood, horn, antler, and hide, and is the standard weapon of the stalkers and hunters who bring down the Prey. The bow is decorated with wolf’s-heads at the angle of its limbs to honor Storihbeg, the Wolf Aspect of Hircine. Howl for Storihbeg!

CHEST PIECES
A chest plate of cuir bouilli atop a leathern jack is all the body armor a Huntsman needs, even against the fiercest of Prey—for a hunter must be nimble to avoid a beast’s fangs and talons, or a mortal’s dagger and glaive.

DAGGERS
The large hunting knives of Hircine’s Hounds serve many purposes, of which “weapon” is only one: skinning knife, pointer-of-stakes, and trimmer of net cords are among the others. The blade has but a single edge, but it’s forged of heavy steel and balanced for both chopping and thrusting. It’s a clever tool, and thus dedicated to Gulibeg the Quick Fox.

GLOVES
Leather vambraces protect the Hunstsman’s forearms, extending down even over the back of the hands, but fingered gloves are never worn. For does Gulibeg the Quick Fox wreathe his wise and wandering fingers in swaddles of fabric? Never!

HELMETS
Affixed to their stiff skullcaps of boiled leather, Huntsmen wear the antlers and horns of fallen Prey, for who should respect the Hunted more than the Hunter? And when we wear beast’s clothing we are akin to Storihbeg the Skinshifter, and honor him thereby. Howl again, and stomp your heels like hooves!

LEG GREAVES
Is any Daedric Prince more active and more athletic than mighty Lord Hircine? I will answer for you to avoid foolish error: NO! And so his Huntsmen, and we who emulate them, must be quick and nimble, which is why we put little stock in leg armor. Does Uricanbeg the Great Stag armor his legs? No! Does Gulibeg the Quick Fox? —At this point, Uraccanach thinks he can let you answer it yourself.

MACES
The Huntsman’s mace is a bone-breaker, its heavy metal head fittingly studded with bone, horn, and antlers. Though it can deliver the coup de grace when needed, it’s usually employed to shatter a Prey’s leg before it is beheaded with an axe. Wielding the mace calls for strength, for which we pray to Hrokkibeg the Mighty Bear!

SHIELDS
The Huntsman’s kite-shaped shield is large and of thick boiled hide, nearly as strong as metal but much lighter. It bears the antlered visage of Uricanbeg the Great Stag, and is surmounted and bordered with actual stag antlers, lashed to the shield with strips of hart leather. Beat your weapon against it to drum like the Great Stag’s hooves!

SHOULDER ARMOR
Though Huntsmen in general favor relatively light armor choices, there is no harm in a good pair of pauldrons—I tell you this as a Witchman from five generations of Witchmen! Pauldrons, they are all right. And they give us one more place to wear horns and spikes, so that is all to the good.

STAVES
Our spellcasters’ staves are topped with the skull-and-antlers totem of Uricanbeg, Lord Hircine’s aspect of the Great Stag. Rows of focusing claws line both the staff’s lower head and the base of its haft, for as Destruction magic is cast from the front end, so Restoration is cast from the hind.

SWORDS
Sometimes the Prey requires a coup de grace of a thrust to the heart rather than a beheading, and for that task the Huntsman uses the sword. Though the Huntsman’s blade is forged of the finest available steel, crossguard and haft are of claws and leather-wrapped bone, more serviceable than ornamental.

Crafting Motif 66: Silver Dawn

As I wait (oh, so impatiently) for permission to enact my plan for the final eradication of all lycanthropes, I find my mind turning to the history of our glorious order, its heritage and traditions. I shall try to describe our traditional arms and armor as briefly and clearly as possible for the benefit of future werewolf hunters. By the gleam of silver shall we slay!

AXES
The brazen blades of Silver Dawn axes have hewn many a werewolf asunder, and may their butchery ever continue! We wield a simple but effective single-bladed axe with a long, curved edge, its haft chased with silver, our favorite ornamentation.

BELTS
A Silver Dawn warrior’s belt looks like a simple leather affair designed to hold up its wearer’s gear and weaponry, but it’s actually far less mundane than it appears. For each Silver Dawn belt is crafted of tanned werewolf-hide, butchered from the beast’s inner leg to get pieces of proper length. Strewth!

BOOTS
The footwear of the Order of the Silver Dawn are always warriors’ sabatons of heavy hide and plate, the better to protect the feet of our beast-slayers as they put the boot into wounded lycanthropes. “That’s right!” we shout. “Give it another!”

BOWS
The elegant bows of our Silver Dawn archers send their winged darts arcing into the pelts and soft underbellies of the horrid abominations we are sworn to slay. Our greatest archer, the legendary Sir Brancas, once drove his arrows through the eyes of nine werewolves in succession. Oh, to have been there to see it!

CHEST PIECES
The Silver Dawn cuirass is constructed of overlapping bands of heavy leather, thick but flexible, for we must be nimble when contending with our fierce and feral enemies. Woe betide the werewolf who tries his teeth on the boiled leather of a Silver Dawn chest piece!

DAGGERS
A Silver Dawn’s dagger is a short but sturdy stabbing blade with two edges and a silvered crosspiece for parrying. A warrior keeps one always at their belt for delivering the coup de grace to a mortally wounded man-beast—usually right in its abominable guts!

GLOVES
Many martial traditions prefer gauntlets that protect the hand and forearm but leave the fingers and thumb bare, the better to grip their weaponry—but their opponents aren’t lycanthropes, whose bite brings a curse. For this reason all Silver Dawn gauntlets are full-fingered, even with light armor, as we dare not fight with bare skin exposed.

HELMETS
In most cases we Silver Dawn stalwarts wear helms that cover the entire head, for the same reason we wear full gauntlets: we dare not show exposed skin in combat with beasts whose bite brings a curse. We prefer headgear of tough, boiled leather—werewolf hide, if we can get enough of it!

LEG GREAVES
Werewolves: it’s always said that they go for the throat, but we who fight them know they’re just as likely to target the legs, as that’s how their wild cousins bring down their prey. And that’s why we spare no expense on Silver Dawn greaves, making them strong, durable, and of overlapping layers.

MACES
Silver Dawn’s mace is a thing of terrible beauty, topped with a heavy brazen ball studded with two dozen silvered spikes. As you can imagine, a werewolf’s skull that has been battered with one of these lovelies is barely recognizable!

SHIELDS
Silver Dawn shields are tall, oblong affairs crafted of durable hardwood, thin but dense, and all but impervious to the claws and fangs of our atrocious opponents, may the Divines ever aid us in striking them down! From behind these shields we hammer those bestial monsters with abandon.

SHOULDER ARMOR
To strike fear into the cowardly hearts of our wicked foes, the Silver Dawn warriors wear on their shoulders, not stiff pauldrons or shoulder cops, but instead the pelts and severed heads of wolves and man-wolves, their eyes replaced by silver spheres. For by the gleam of silver shall we slay!

STAVES
A Silver Dawn spell staff is surmounted with golden wings of victory unfurled around a finial bearing the silvered image of a severed wolf’s-head. How I love to watch one of our staves glow with refulgent death before spitting its message of destruction at some wretched lycanthrope!

SWORDS
The swords of the Order of the Silver Dawn are straight, strong, and double-edged, like the pack-slaughtering knights who wield them. There’s nothing like watching a howling man-beast go down under the flashing blades of half a dozen Silver Dawn warriors. Glorious!

Crafting Motif 67: Welkynar

By Sir Relequen, Wing Captain of the Welkynars

Though the Knightly Order of the Welkynars numbers no more than four members at a time, each of those knights needs a broad array of equipment, including armor of all weights as well as a complete array of weapons. This gear must be made to exact specifications of the very best materials, adhering strictly to the guidelines stated below. Only equipment that is well and properly made will be accepted into the Welkynar Armory.

AXES
Welkynar axe heads are adorned with stylized golden gryphons, because what else would be on them? The blades themselves are of dark carbon steel, mounted on a long haft of studded ash wood ending in a hooked metal ferrule.

BELTS
The Welkynar’s plumed war girdle supports gilded metal tassets and is cinched in the front by a buckle in the shape of a stylized gryphon’s head. As an aerial order, we must avoid accruing undue weight wherever possible, so metallic materials must be both durable and, above all, light.

BOOTS
Though gilded sandals are sufficient protection to accompany light armor, for heavier load-outs we must have the traditional Golden Gryphon-Talon Sabatons. Copies of the cobbler pattern for these distinctive martial boots may be checked out of the Armory in Cloudrest.

BOWS
The bows wielded by the Knights of the Welkynar Order are among the most beautiful arms ever created by High Elves, bar none. Each beaked limb ends in an exquisite sweep of carved golden feathers—artful, and yet these are deadly weapons that shoot lethally barbed arrows. It’s an irony that reflects the core esthetics of the order.

CHEST PIECES
As an aerial order that has to think about flight weight, most of our equipment looks heavier than it is. Welkynar cuirasses are a case in point: though they appear to be forged of weighty metal, most of those elements are actually lighter materials such as flexible scale maille or gilded cuir bouilli—boiled leather, if you can believe it! Wing banners attach to the shoulder blades

DAGGERS
A Welkynar’s dagger is made of dark carbon steel and is doubly edged, but it’s really a punching dagger so it’s the needle-sharp point that counts. The crossguard evokes gryphon wings, forged thicker and more solid than they appear to enable the dagger to be used as a parrying weapon.

GLOVES
A Welkynar’s substantial but intricate gauntlets may be the knight’s proudest belongings, since they are among the first items of gear issued to a squire-in-training. If you give any thought to the practical issues of training spirited gryphon mounts, with their powerful, snapping beaks, you’ll understand the need for sturdy gauntlets and vambraces!

HELMETS
Our helmets have been rightly described as “magnificent confections of plumes and gilt,” with avian motifs such as cheek pieces that resemble gryphon wings, and a forepeak like a gryphon’s pointed bill. They were designed by Mornyalemar the Battle-Hardy generations ago, and we see no reason to change them now.

LEG GREAVES
Our resplendent metal poleyns, adorned with gilded wing symbols, certainly draw attention from the rest of our leg armor, cuisses that are functional though less spectacular than our knee bosses. Welkynar greaves consist of light overlapping plates backed by flexible flaxen fabric.

MACES
When a Welkynar’s mace strikes, with its heavy business end forged in the shape of four beaked gryphon heads, it’s as if the entire Aerie of the Order smites its opponent at once! Though the gilded gryphon heads look delicate, they’re actually crafted of carbon steel surrounding a solid lead core.

SHIELDS
The Welkynar’s shield, with its overlapping plumage rendered in carbon steel, brass, and copper, represents the inescapable wings of Elven justice and Altmeri martial prowess. Let evildoers who threaten Summerset beware! This land is under Welkynar protection.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Welkynars never tire of avian symbology, so of course our flaring pauldrons evoke the wings of great raptors. Their edges are even feathered with genuine gryphon plumage! (Don’t even think of substituting raven feathers.)

STAVES
A Welkynar’s spell staff is topped (of course) with stylized gryphon wings, in this case pointed and parallel like those of a knight’s flying mount when put into a power dive, a shape that also evokes the focus of a spellcaster’s will. The long ash-wood haft ends in sharp ferrule.

SWORDS
The swords of the Knights of the Order of the Welkynar are as straight as our commitment to justice and as long as our heritage of heroism. Inscribed with runes of efficacy and balance, let our enemies beware when these noble weapons are drawn in defense of the Altmer!

Crafting Motif 68: Honor Guard Style

By Kiasa-Veda, Chronicler of Blades, Dir-Tonenaka

To make gear rightly,
One must follow the old rules;
Error, dishonor

AXES
Axe is made to cut;
The long edge slices open,
Then weight drives it through

BELTS
Warrior carries
Weight of weapons and honor;
A belt must know strength

BOOTS
Feet must feel the ground
Yet boot soles push it away;
Place your feet with care

BOWS
Archery reveals
Relation of heart and mind;
Aim with the whole self

CHEST PIECES
Armor frees fighter
To think solely of attack;
It must be strong yet light

DAGGERS
Knife trades reach for speed;
Yet it must be forged as well
As a longer blade

GLOVES
Gauntlets defend hands,
Yet hands are the source of blows;
Find the right balance

HELMETS
A well-guarded head
May wear a fearsome aspect;
Fight with the mind, too

LEG GREAVES
Intelligent foes
Will strike at a fighter’s legs;
Good greaves forestall them

MACES
A blow from a mace
Can settle any debate;
Wield strong arguments

SHIELDS
A shield is the face
That your foe sees from afar;
Wear a grim visage

SHOULDERS
Strong pauldron deflects
The unseen flanking attack;
Make it durable

STAVES
A spell is a tale,
A staff a storyteller;
“Once upon a time…”

SWORDS
Akaviri swords
Often have slightly curved blades;
But Honor Guards’ are straight

Crafting Motif 69: Dead-Water Style

By Bolu, Reel-Ka of the Dead-Water Tribe

My quill will write the truth words. Dead-Water warriors defend the tribe in both life and death. Many travelers find this tradition morbid. They speak of defiling our fallen kin. It is not so. To craft a weapon from the skin and bones of our warriors, this is honoring.

AXES
A proper axe requires a leg bone. This, the Dead-Water know. It is the only bone long and thick enough to support the axe head. Male bones are best for this because of their thickness. Female bones are too flexible, better suited for blades. By wielding this axe with strength, we honor a fallen warrior.

BELTS
Dead-Water Tribe is not renowned for beautiful creations. This is known. Still, our leatherworkers decorate the belts of our warriors. They carve intricate buckles from amber and stone. I nod in admittance. This is not necessary, but still, it is nice.

BOOTS
The mightiest Dead-Water warriors line their boots with sharp spikes. Useful in close combat. With every kick, we hope to pierce the hide of our foes. My egg-mother was able to behead her enemies with one swift kick. This is why I carry her bones in my weapons. I hope to carry her fighting spirit.

BOWS
Dead-Water quivers are made from the hardened hide of our fallen. Our bows are lined with their fangs, and our arrowheads created from their bones. After battle, we will salvage what arrows we can. Many will keep broken arrowheads in remembrance.

CHEST PIECES
The Dead-Water bound our warrior hearts in the skin of our fallen. Atop this, we wear hardened scales from lurking beasts: haj mota, wamasu, hackwing. Our hunters have slayed, our leatherworkers have skinned. And now our warriors proudly wear.

DAGGERS
Dead-Water daggers are made from bones of the arm or shin. When finally the blade wears, they are used for eating. I regularly eat with a dagger made from the shin of my egg-sire’s egg-sire. He has lasted through many seasons. I do not share this with travelers I meet. They do not understand such things.

GLOVES
I flex my hands. Gloves must be supple. I look upon the metal hands of outsiders with questioning. A Dead-Water warrior must strike quickly. And, should all else fail, we will use our claws to rip and tear. To cover our fingers would be to take away such weapons.

HELMETS
I bow my head, displaying a helmet covered in long horns. It strikes fear into the heart of my foes. Dead-Water warriors must always be prepared for battle. So we place horns upon our helmets. This way, we continually display the spine of aggression. A display that all of Murkmire knows to fear.

LEG GREAVES
To the front, hardened scale. Behind, supple leather. Dead-Water leg greaves allow for quick movement during battle. Useful in a swamp where the land itself will swallow you whole. This also enables quiet movement. Useful for sneaking towards our enemies. Again, I eye the metal of travelers with distrust.

MACES
Dead-Water maces have rounded, curved edges. This was not always so. In my egg-mother’s time, skulls were used. They proved far too brittle. Now we place sharp bones atop the heads. Still we honor our ancestors, but now the maces are more durable for battle.

SHIELDS
Dead-Water warriors protect in life and death. Their spirits have returned to the Hist. Flesh and bone remain to aid us in battle. I bow my head in respect. We show this most clearly with our shields. The skin of our fallen are stretched across the wood. Their bones decorate the sides.

SHOULDERS
Our shoulders proudly display spikes of bone. Should the wamasu try to crush us? Should our foes crash against us? The Dead-Water will drop their shoulders, bringing them up for a mighty blow. With skill, a bone will crack or sinew will tear. I will confess, such spikes also add awe to the look of our armor.

STAVES
Dead-Water staff is as dangerous as our blades. Its amber gem is soaked in the sap of the Hist. From this, its power is absorbed. Only the bones of our fallen mages will create such weapons. By this, they lend their magical essence to another. Or so it is believed.

SWORDS
Dead-Water swords are only held by our most cunning of warriors. Its jagged back can easily cut its wielder, should they not be careful. I bow in reverence. My blade is a most prized possession. Crafted from the leg bone of my egg-mother. Even still she fights by my side.

Crafting Motif 7: Khajiit Style

This book was previously called “Racial Motifs 7: The Khajiit”

Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel

(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)

When I went to the professor’s townhouse this morning, my first priority was to apologize to Divayth, but Seif-ij told me he was out—he’d gone somewhere from the portal chamber, using an incantation and leaving nothing behind but a burnt smell. Onward, I told myself: work will take your mind off it. So I went looking for Morian.

I found the old dear at breakfast, just finishing his sweet roll and chal. When I entered the kitchen, he nearly knocked over his mug in his haste to stand up and bow! I told him I wanted to make some notes on the Khajiit and asked him if he knew any of the Cat-Folk, as I did not. He said he knew exactly the person I needed and would be delighted to help me, since “that irascible Telvanni” had taken the day off.

I had often passed the seasonal camp of the Baandari Pedlars outside the Market Gate but had never gone in—residual caution from my father’s warnings keeping me out, I suppose, as well as the pungent scent. Besides, I’ve always been a dog person. But Morian plunged right in without hesitation and led me to a pavilion adorned with colorful prayer-flags. I followed Morian into the tent, where he introduced me to Madame Shizahi-jo, whom he said was a Khajiiti sorceress devoted to Azurah and Magrus. Though sitting in lotus position, she bowed politely—the Cat-Folk are lissome—gestured to a pair of seat cushions, and asked how “this one” could be of service.

We had a long and lovely chat. There are superficial similarities between the motifs and designs of the Khajiit and the Redguards, perhaps because they both inhabit hot, arid environments, but where the Redguards favor long, flowing curves, the Cat-Folk are devoted to circular and crescentiform moon-shapes. The shapes of Masser and Secunda in all their phases appear everywhere on Khajiiti clothing and ornaments. The falcate sliver of the crescent moon also brings to mind the Khajiiti claws that spring from pads in their hands and feet, a subtle but ever-present threat to softer folk.

Shizahi-jo made us some tea—sticky sweet, like all Khajiiti food and drink—then asked to see the leaves in the bottom of my cup. She stirred them with her pinky-claw, and said now she saw the object of my concern: I’d let my fear cloud my longing and darken my heart. I blurted something about how Divayth had tried to kiss me, and Morian dropped his cup, splattering poor Shizahi.

I thought he was going to explode in rage, but instead this sad look came over him, and then he began pouring out his heart about his feelings for me. It was so sweet of him. I was really quite moved. The Khajiiti mage made a discreet exit, and we stayed on her cushions, talking, for what seemed like hours.

Crafting Motif 70: Elder Argonian Style

I am proud to present, on behalf of Cyrodilic Collections, my findings on pre-Duskfall Argonian raiment and adornment. The similarity of designs and motifs found during our expeditions across Black Marsh suggest that the Argonians once may have had a more unified civilization, or perhaps simply traded more widely.

AXES
The only elder axes we have recovered were clearly weapons of war, leading me to believe that mere tools might not have been created with the same care and grade of material. These war axes consist of one or two large shards of volcanic glass mounted in a brassy alloy and adorned with feathers, dyed yarns, and gold. This degree of metalwork is almost nonexistent in contemporary Black Marsh.

BELTS
Belts were almost entirely decorative, consisting of expertly woven cloth sashes sometimes adorned with gold chains, rings, or colorful cord. Warriors would employ sturdier reptile hide belts over these sashes as an anchor for arms and armor. Emblems, worn at what would be our navel, often bore Sithis iconography.

BOOTS
Elder Argonians used more footwear than many modern tribes, though they still favored open designs that allowed them to keep their feet immersed. Rubber-soled sandals were uniform among all walks of life, though fringed leg wraps, anklets, and shin guards were frequent accompaniments for those of high status.

BOWS
We still know little about the elder Argonians’ relationship with the Hist, but I believe that the bows we’ve recovered were made from Hist wood. Perhaps they regarded the arrow as an extension of the Hist’s will, like some fatal decree, though it might have been just the most readily available source of wood.

CHEST PIECES
Elder Argonians preferred light sashes and wraps over tunics. This might have been to keep their frills and spines uncovered for communication. Armor was almost entirely constructed from bronze splints and mostly covered the shoulders and abdomen, suggesting that their own scales were expected to protect the exposed flanks and back.

DAGGERS
Regardless of length, elder Argonian blades were made from a series of volcanic glass shards set in a beaten bronze channel. The prevalence of volcanic glass in so many weapons was quite surprising, given that there isn’t any known volcanic activity within Black Marsh itself. That suggests the Argonians may have regularly ventured into what we now call Morrowind.

GLOVES
Much like their descendants, elder Argonians found gloves impractical. They either used a fingerless mitt that hooked upon the thumb, or hand wraps like those favored by pit fighters. Cloth or leather bracers were commonly worn for decoration and protection, some of the latter mounting rigid metal splints for war. Frilled bands around upper arms were also nearly universal adornments.

HELMETS
A simple circlet or headband acted as the base upon which many styles of headwear could be built. Most had prominent ornamentation above the face and employed feather plumes, jewels, and great brass icons as decoration. Impractical as it may seem, these headdresses were even worn into battle over leather hoods.

LEG GREAVES
Where a simple loincloth is one of the more widely preferred pieces of legwear among tribal Argonians now, their ancestors swaddled themselves in elaborate layers. Knee- and ankle-length skirts and pants were often layered with other frilled skirts and dangling drapery. Warriors favored a top layer of rigid leather or woven reeds reinforced by bronze and bone.

MACES
War bludgeons we recovered from a sunken foundry were impressive. Made largely of bronze, these weapons must have been wielded by warriors of great stature. Though it is the striking ends that are the most interesting features. Usually styled after Argonian heads, the designs were angular—almost geometric—and familiar, as was the metal it was cast from.

SHIELDS
Maybe it was the way the glass teeth along the rim reminded me of a cog, or the orange tinge of the shield’s face, or the boxy scrollwork, but the answer to the nagging familiarity I felt with elder Argonian metalwork struck me like one of their maces: Dwarven influence. Black Marsh may not always have been as insular a province as it is these days.

SHOULDERS
Usually a combination of leather and bronze, shoulder guards consisted of nothing more than a simple curved pad and a strap to loop through the pit of the arm. Rather than being shaped to fit over the shoulder, many simply projected upward—some as high as the wearer’s jaw, making them something of a neck-guard as well.

STAVES
Staves were primarily instruments of the priesthood of Sithis. Many of these bronze rods were capped with icons and symbols of the Great Serpent to whom the priests made their sacrifices, but some bore razor-sharp, glass teeth intended to spill blood in many of their ceremonies. All evidence points toward Sithis playing a more central role in ancient Argonian worship than in modern day, at least among most tribes.

SWORDS
We didn’t understand why volcanic glass was preferred for blades when the ancient Argonians already possessed the capacity for metalwork. In testing one of the glass swords, we quickly learned that the brutal sharpness was frightening for as long as the glass remained intact. It’s also easy to replace in the field and lighter than metal sharpening equipment.

Crafting Motif 71: Coldsnap Style

By Landal Gevont, Scholar of Goblins, Invisible College of Daggerfall

The Coldsnap Goblins who inhabit the Frostvault and neighboring subterranean regions are definitely related to the other Goblinkin tribes of Skyrim, such as the Riekr Goblins of Wrothgar or their diminutive relatives, the Rieklings of Solstheim. But their arms and armor are unique, displaying a rudely dynamic barbarism that expresses their fierce pride and, it must be said, decided bloodthirstiness. I shall try to describe their defining characteristics in terms even common readers can easily understand.

AXES
I came to observe the Coldsnap tribe during a formative period in their cultural development: the discovery of the Dwarven ruin that they began to inhabit. The humble axe was their first foray into becoming a metalworking culture. It was a simple design employing sheets of jagged scrap metal affixed to a wood or bone handle.

BELTS
The Coldsnap’s sparse tundral habitat leave them few resources, so they have developed into adept scavengers. Many of their belts are made from scavenged hide, mostly gathered from their own durzogs as the beasts have a nasty habit of killing each other at the slightest provocation.

BOOTS
Coldsnap resourcefulness might best be embodied by their footwear. Despite being a mish mash of whatever hide scraps lay at hand, their boots are always snug fitting and sturdy. A testament to the tribe’s knowledge of stitch work.

BOWS
The traditional Coldsnap bow is of roughhewn hardwood, like black alder, strung with spun durzog gut. In their post-Dwarven period they have begun to adorn their bows and quivers with scrap metal with no functional purpose.

CHEST PIECES
Most Coldsnap bodywear is an amalgam of scrap hide, with layering being the main method of increasing protection, though bone ribbing and splints aren’t uncommon. Bear, ogre, and troll fur are often used for warmth.

DAGGERS
Daggers were the first legitimate attempt by the Coldsnap to shape metal themselves. While they had not yet developed a method for smelting, the tribe began fusing scrap together in open fires and beating it into a rough blade form.

GLOVES
Bracers are almost ubiquitous among the Coldsnap and range from simple wraps of fur to bone and metal reinforced hide. Gloves are almost non-existent, apart from durzog handlers whose thick hide gauntlets are plated along the wrists and fingers.

HELMETS
Prior to Dwarven influence, helmets were either hide or bone, with a troll crest being most prized. After recognizing the superiority of metal, however, the Goblins now widely employ a horned skullcap reminiscent of a troll. A sign of the tribe’s superiority over their rivals.

LEG GREAVES
In the frigid conditions they live in, pants are a luxury reserved for Goblins of higher station, warriors mostly. Lesser drudges are expected to make do with simple skirts. I believe this is also a method of population control, as strong warriors are often the only Goblins in any condition to mate.

MACES
Mostly unchanged in the tribe’s post-Dwarven period, blunt weapons remain entirely made from the leg bones of ogres. Some might consider this proof of their primitive nature, but I recognize that the clever Coldsnap won’t waste their limited resources when they already have a perfectly effective tool.

SHIELDS
Shields are where the Coldsnap’s ingenuity really comes to the fore. Though the tribe still lacks the understanding to work Dwarven metals, they have begun to embed animunculus scrap into layers of baser metals greatly increasing the strength of their defense.

SHOULDERS
Usually a hide base, reinforced with metal and sometimes adorned with fur. Coldsnap warriors often display the teeth and horns of their most fearsome foes on their shoulders to give themselves a more frightening silhouette.

STAVES
The Coldsnap mystics have replaced the fir branches of their staves with salvaged rods found in the Frostvault, though they have retained the animal skull fetishes. It’s unclear to me if the Dwarven metal has improved their magical abilities, but they break bones quite readily.

SWORDS
As the Coldsnap craftsmen’s confidence grew, so did the size of their works, a natural extension of their experimenting with daggers and knives. Though unwieldy, the fused metal swords of the tribe are incredibly solid and surprisingly sharp.

Crafting Motif 72: Meridian Style

From ancient times till the present, the Cult of Meridia, no matter how often suppressed, always rebounds and reappears. Perhaps this is due to the fact that, for a Daedric Prince, the Lady of Infinite Energies rarely requires genuinely terrible behavior from her worshippers, though she can be severe on those she considers enemies. Mortals who revere her often honor her by adopting an armor style inspired by that of the Aurorans, Meridia’s Daedric warriors. This look is so consistent among her cultists in every place and time that one can legitimately say there is a “Meridian” style.

AXES
For a combination of versatility and lethality in close combat, followers of Meridia wield two-bladed axes. Each blade is ornamented with symbolic waves of energy, and crystals on the haft and pommel catch the light.

BELTS
Belts give a nod to the symbolic representation of energy, though they vary from a graceful flow to something resembling flames. Other artistic touches include the scales from scale armor as well as stylized feathers.

BOOTS
Followers of Meridia favor metals even in the lightest armor, as their boots show. With the familiar touches of energy symbolism, these boots are not so much made for stealth as they are designed to withstand blows from necromancers and other typical enemies of Meridia.

BOWS
The quiver and bow of the Meridian style emulate those seen on Meridian statues in Tamriel. Feathered wings, though soft-seeming in the realm of ideas, come to deadly points on the bow, making movement from ranged to melee combat more fluid.

CHEST PIECES
The imagery of energy dominates the artistically wrought metalwork of the chest armor of Meridia’s adherents, which also utilizes scale armor. Tassets both protect cultists and allow them to use their bodies to unbalance opponents.

DAGGERS
The daggers Meridian cultists use are especially valuable for catching the blades of their foes, tangling them temporarily and potentially even disarming them.

GLOVES
The gloves worn by those revering Meridia enable them to block both blade and arrow, ensuring that they can move into and out of close-range combat with minimized risk—a preferred tactic. As the light ebbs and flows each day, so too do cultists of Meridia in combat.

HELMETS
As evidenced by the metal rays emanating from the headgear worn by Meridian cultists, those fighting in her name are not afraid to threaten to eviscerate their foes with their heads.

LEG GREAVES
Mastery of motion is a cornerstone in the fighting techniques of those revering Meridia, thus the primary material used in leg armor is supple leather. Metal augments the protective nature of this armor to some degree, but only mildly so.

MACES
Due to necromancers and their minions being a common enemy of Meridia, the maces of Meridian cultists are crafted primarily to splinter the bones of skeletons and sweep away less limber undead. Of course, these weapons also deal the ultimate punishment to those practicing necromancy, too.

SHIELDS
Wings, rays of energy, and the flow of light decorate the shields of those following Meridia. Multiple sharp edges on these shields also allow Meridian cultists to make particularly gory shield bashes.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Metal provides a perfect medium for artistic touches such as flowing lines that represent the energy of Meridia. Even the lightest armored adherent of Meridia can use the metal shoulder armor to enhance the impact of full-body moves to overwhelm a foe.

STAVES
Meridia’s true form—that of light and vibration—are represented best by the use of crystals in her followers’ weapons, such as the three present in staves. As noted in an otherwise incoherent Meridian cultist’s journal: “Light and vibration affect crystals, so carrying crystals into battle allows Meridia to bless our moves directly.”

SWORDS
The design of Meridian swords allows them to better parry their foes’ attacks. Cultists often use this tactic when first wading into close combat with foes. When fighting against skeletons and the like, the swords can even snap bones with a simple quick twist.

Crafting Motif 73: Anequina Style

By Captain Nala-do, Northern Elsweyr Defense Force

This one is determined to record the traditional appearance of Anequine arms and armor despite the attempts of Euraxia the Usurper Queen to replace them with new, inferior designs. Our martial traditions in the North date back to the time of Darloc Brae, and though nowadays we no longer employ his savage methods, one must confess that the Golden Beast had a truly Khajiiti sense of style in arms and armor.

AXES
A good axe must have the heft needed to cleave your enemies, yes, but also the balance to be handled nimbly. Similarly to the style’s swords and daggers, Anequine axes use lightweight lacquered wood and elegantly curved metals to ensure this is so. Using graceful arcs and wide sweeps, soldiers are able to carve their foes from a distance while still maintaining their strength for long combat durations.

BELTS
Anequine belts, as it is with most Khajiiti fashion, are both stylish and practical. After all, it would not do for warriors in the midst of battle to have their leggings fall down. Sleek and sturdy, these leather belts have proven themselves against the stress of combat time and time again.

BOOTS
In the desperation of combat, the Khajiit consider all possible attacks. Sometimes such desperation comes down to fighting fang and claw. With this in mind, the open toes of Anequine boots allow swift kicks to become piercing slashes. The style also allows relief in the hot climate of Elsweyr, giving our armies an edge against heavily armored invaders who quickly overheat.

BOWS
The Wood Elves claim their bows to be the finest in all of Tamriel. This one does not place much faith in such claims, given that she has held an Anequine bow. Like all fine Khajiiti weapons, the balance of this lacquered bow is impeccable. Each arrow flies straight and true, striking with more force than a Pahmar’s paw.

CHEST PIECES
Anequine chest pieces are as bold and sturdy as Nala-do’s people. Each piece of armor is meticulously carved with symbols of the Moons, showing our reverence to their divine grace. The lacquered wood is sturdy enough to withstand the blow of a blade, yet light enough to allow for quick, silent movements. No other armor so greatly compliments the martial prowess of the Khajiit.

DAGGERS
It is rare to catch a Khajiit without a dagger somewhere on their person, whether it be their weapon of choice or a last resort. Hidden in a boot, a dagger can help spring a surprise attack. With a surprise blow, it can kill your enemy instantly. It is of little wonder that the Anequine dagger is created with such care, from its sturdy blade to its deftly balanced handle.

GLOVES
To ask a Khajiit to cover their claws is like asking a warrior to sheath their blade; there is a time and place to do so, and that is not on the battlefield. Each pair of Anequine gloves allow for uncovered claws and dexterous hand movements, ensuring that Khajiiti warriors can never truly be disarmed.

HELMETS
In days past, only the mightiest Khajiiti warriors would earn the right to wear the most fearsome of Anequine helmets. The faces of these helmets were said to be so grotesque that even fellow soldiers would shudder at the sight of them. It is a point of pride for Nala-do’s people that we continue this tradition with fearsome masks of our own.

LEG GREAVES
The greatest strength of Khajiiti martial arts is its quick movements. This is why Anequine leg greaves are lightweight with many independent parts, allowing warriors to maintain their flexibility. By the time our enemies move one step, we have already sprinted behind them and struck from behind.

MACES
Only the strongest and boldest Khajiit choose to wield a mace. Given the weapon’s heft and size, the usual Khajiiti martial skills of quick strikes and deft dodges are unable to be fully utilized. And so the Anequine mace is solid and heavy, good for bashing in the skulls of enemies with strong, precise strikes.

SHIELDS
Anequine shields are adorned with gemstones, each carved to represent a phase of the moon. Khajiit who commission such shields will often request specific phases that represent important events in their lives; their birth, the death of a loved one, even the night of their first kill. When you receive such a shield, remember that there is a story carved into its gemstones.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Yes, the Khajiiti are a practical people, but Nala-do can justifiably claim that we have a certain sense of style as well. This can be most easily seen in the design of Anequine shoulder armor. Though these pieces are sturdy and lightweight, as all other pieces of Anequine armor are, this one is proud to note how beautifully carved they are as well.

STAVES
Only a fool underestimates the Khajiit who wields an Anequine staff. In the paws of a mage, these elegant staves produce powerful spells and evocations. In a claw-dancer’s paws, it can be used to strike quick and lethal blows. Whomever the user, you can expect this beautifully balanced and sturdy staff to help its wielder outlast many difficult battles.

SWORDS
There are few sights more awe-inspiring than a claw-dancer under the Moons, their curved blade twirling through the air like ripples of moonlight. And there is no finer blade than those found on an Anequine sword, perfectly balanced and deadly sharp. Even in the hands of the most novice of warriors, this weapon can cleave through armor and flesh alike.

Crafting Motif 74: Pellitine Style

By Cashia Khrasaat-Plume, Envoy of the Mane, Torval

While it is an overstatement of the ignorant to characterize we Khajiit as flighty and superficial, it is true that not all of us, like this one, have the gift of precision in speech and writing. It is a worse mistake, but all too common among Tamrielic Men and Mer, to regard Khajiiti civilization as something shallow and recent. This is particularly false as regards the seven kingdoms that became the Federation of Pellitine, a land with a history long and deep. This Servant of the Mane hopes, in the few lines that follow, to cast some light our Southern Elsweyr military traditions.

AXES
Unlike the crude axes of northern barbarians, Pellitine cleavers combine style and martial efficacy, making each weapon a work of art. The sumptuous curve of the axe head, accented by sleek, fang-like prongs allow the attacker to both cleave and stab with every swing.

BELTS
In Pellitine, fit is of paramount importance. Metal buckles can only approximate the wearer’s girth, resulting in a slouching and unsightly waistline fit only for a city vagrant or a cane-farmer. Our braided leather belts guarantee a perfect cinch every time.

BOOTS
A Khajiit’s graceful feet should never suffer the indignity of a close-toed boot. Without the freedom to flex and retract, our claws grow dull and useless. And dull-clawed Khajiit can hardly call themselves children of Alkosh! Alas, the boots’ leather padding still covers the shapely calves and ankles, but complex lacing helps the leg retain a pleasing shape.

BOWS
Since time out of memory, man, mer, and beast have all suffered death and defeat at the point of Pellitine arrows. The Wood Elves fancy themselves Tamriel’s greatest marksmen, but their wooden pauper-bows cannot match the range or precision of their Khajiiti counterparts. A flexible metal frame, senche-gut bow-strings, and peerless styling make the Pellitine bow the envy of archers everywhere.

CHEST PIECES
Torval’s damp climate and our distaste for restrictive clothing make metal armor very unpopular here in Southern Elsweyr. Leave heavy iron hauberks to the hoary Nords and flat-footed Bretons, yes? A Pellitine cuirass, by contrast, is typically made of durable boiled leather, shaped, stamped, and tailored to fit the wearer’s torso like a glove.

DAGGERS
No shape is more distinctive to the Khajiiti people than the curve. The rounded crescents of Jone and Jode and the natural flexure of our fangs and claws are both given voice in the Pellitine dagger. The whorled guard and roaring pommel likewise reflect the frightful mysteries of Khajiiti culture!

GLOVES
A Khajiiti glove must do two things well: protect the forearms, and leave the fingers bare. Pellitine gloves boast perfection on both counts. The stylish leather vambraces deflect all but the strongest blows. But more importantly, these gloves leave the claws completely unrestricted, allowing the wearer to slash and stab to their heart’s content.

HELMETS
There is no greater weapon on the battlefield than fear. When an enemy’s eyes widen and their jaw falls slack with terror, the contest is already decided. To that end, Pellitine helmets all bear the terrifying aspect of a snarling cat-demon.

LEG GREAVES
As Khibazi the Whirlwind once said, “All fights begin at the thighs.” Tailored silken pants provide ample flexibility and protection at the knees, while molded leather greaves protect the upper-legs. Like all elements of the Pellitine panoply, these greaves feature ornate crescents and swirling contours that complement the wearer’s inherent grace.

MACES
The defining features of foreign maces are their simplicity and tremendous weight. No surprise, then, that Pellitine maces are both light and beautiful. Their lacquered wooden construction and hooked shape allow for swift and brutal strikes that put the crude, loping swings of barbarian maulers to shame.

SHIELDS
Northern barbarians are often surprised by the comparative lightness of the Pellitine aegis. Rather than try to lift a heavy iron heater shield, Khajiiti warriors of Southern Elsweyr rely on hardened leather affixed to a sturdy bronze frame—an arrangement that provides maneuverability and protection in equal measure.

SHOULDER ARMOR
Nothing enhances a warrior’s imposing silhouette quite like a set of sturdy pauldrons. These protective shoulder-coverings feature subtle curves and sharpened leather prongs that are impossible to miss.

STAVES
When it comes to martial refinement, the Pellitine staff is a weapon without peer. While the haft is almost always fashioned out of stout Tenmar oak, the headpiece is a bronzesmith’s masterpiece. Fragile lotus blossoms and grand chandeliers rest atop the staff like a king’s crown, making even the most boorish wielder look like royalty.

SWORDS
Much like the Pellitine dagger, the swords of Southern Elsweyr evince the regal and deadly nature of the Khajiiti people. The grand, curved blade often features ornate, swirling designs that complement the guard’s rounded contours. In skilled hands, this weapon can kill practically anything, from the clumsiest Goblin to the most fearsome dro-m’Athra.

Crafting Motif 75: Sunspire Style

By Azin-jo, Esteemed Bishop of Sunspire

Rejoice, children of Alkosh! After many lean years, the Dragon King of Cats has returned to guide us to glory. We Khajiit are magnificent, yes, with our glistening fangs and silky fur. But to truly honor Alkosh, we must adorn ourselves with a fitting panoply—armor and weapons that give voice to both Khajiit and Dragon! Therefore, the smith-adepts of Sunspire have created this collection of arms and armor. Each piece bears the First Cat’s blessing.

AXES
Our mighty axes honor Alkosh, yes, but Jone and Jode also. Smith-adepts affix weighted disks to the axe heads to add great heft to every swing. On each disk, the faces of the moons—their waxing and waning—shine like the Topal waters on a cloudless night. A weapon as beautiful as it is deadly!

BELTS
Any avowed Khajiit, from highest curate to lowliest novitiate, can tell you that prayer begins at the belly. We do not mutter our mantras to blessed Alkosh with our mouths alone. No! We summon them up from the stomach. No surprise then that we protect our stomachs with woven cloth and metals of the highest quality.

BOOTS
While many Khajiit insist that all footwear should leave the toes bare, there is something to be said for a snug leather sole—particularly when wandering the frigid peaks and searing depths of Sunspire. Whether boot, shoe, or sandal, our footwear provides ample protection from the elements and the foes of blessed Alkosh.

BOWS
The bowyers of Sunspire are right to boast when demonstrating the strength of their arms. Wood cured in the sacred heat of the Shrine of Jode flexes like a young Dagi, but launches arrows that strike with a Senche-raht’s strength!

CHEST PIECES
Our Dragon-father, Alkosh, made us strong, while our mother, Azurah, made us lithe and swift. The snug tunics and sturdy breastplates of Sunspire reflect the will of both! No true Khajiit would suffer inside a stuffy metal shell. So, even our heaviest hauberks leave room to flex and bend.

DAGGERS
Of all the weapons our smith-adepts forge, the daggers are the most distinctive. Some say they resemble the fangs of mighty Alkosh; others say that their crescent blades match the curves of Jone and Jode. Both are true, I think. In the hands of a pious warrior, these twin blades are deadly indeed!

GLOVES
Our boots may shield our toes from the elements, but even the most pious Khajiit with the most cautious heart cannot keep all their claws restrained. Sunspire gloves are little more than masterfully crafted bracers; they protect the wrists, but leave our birth-weapons free to slash and rend the enemies of Alkosh!

HELMETS
A child of the Dragon King of Cats must be more than a simple Khajiit. They must find their truest heart, where the Dragon within resides. Our helmets’ design serves as a constant reminder of our true nature. We are both cat and Dragon. The cat’s silhouette crowned by the snarling aspect of blessed Alkosh makes that truth manifest!

LEG GREAVES
A Sunspire adept spends many long hours on their knees in solemn prayer. As such, our pants and leg greaves are both lightweight and smartly tailored. Neither cold stone nor faithless weapons can inflict injury on an adept wearing this garment.

MACES
A Sunspire mace features a perfect, striated sphere at the striking end that mimics the forms of Jone and Jode. Like Alkosh himself, these weapons strike with perfect force—leaving flesh intact while pulverizing the bone and sinew beneath.

SHIELDS
A Sunspire adept knows the value of quickness, but sometimes even the swiftest paws are not enough. In those times, we might reach for one of our flawless shields. Smith-adepts affix multiple plates to a central aegis, then lace it with prayer cords to create a sturdy, but visually pleasing work of art!

SHOULDERS
All Sunspire shoulder armor, from the simplest epaulets to the strongest pauldrons, honor Alkosh with prayerful motifs and woven prayer cords. Our arms may not bear the sublime weight of a Dragon’s wings, but we must protect them nonetheless!

STAVES
Ah, old age! It is a curse, it’s true. In the days before Alkosh’s return, I often leaned on cedarwood walking sticks and the like. Now, though? Now I steady myself on one of our mighty staves—proud weapons that bear the phases of Jone and Jode emblazoned on precious metal disks. Great power swirls within their headpieces. With Alkosh’s blessing, we shall use that power to lead the Khajiit to enlightenment!

SWORDS
Our Sunspire swords are like the mighty claws of Alkosh himself—beautiful, intimidating, and razor-sharp. While these blades honor our beloved First Cat above all other deities, the blessed crescents of Jone and Jode appear on the crossguard, the pommel, and the blade itself. Truly, there is no holier weapon in all of Elsweyr.

Crafting Motif 76: Dragonguard Style

By Sidura, Navigator of the Perfect Pounce

This one notes that she received permission to look for equipment before she dragged out all the Dragonguard gear on Tideholm. In no way did she gain these items through ill-advised means. Then Sidura spent some time updating and repairing them, with the help of some skilled volunteers. They turned out nicely, yes? Old Dragonguard mixed with new! Dashing and functional!

AXES
Sidura is not one for axes, but if she had to choose? She’d pick the Dragonguard axes. Well-balanced, with ornamental touches picking up on the Dragonguard symbol. Two blades on the two-handed one, and one blade with a sharp poll on the one-handed axe. Poke out a Dragon’s eye with that poll!

BELTS
Oh, the detail on the waist gear! Graceful and airy, to Sidura’s mind. Protective, too, especially for those midriff swipes. Dragon claw attacks are serious, yes, and better the claw catches on this armor than inside your gut.

BOOTS
Old Dragonguard used a range of light and heavy materials to protect their feet. Sidura made sure to keep those sensibilities intact while enhancing the decorative elements. Don’t worry about ankle slices with this footwear—we added extra protection there due to cultists.

BOWS
Sidura likes bows to work in close combat as well as melee, which is why the original Dragonguard bows, with her crew’s enhancements, are slick. Smash the bow into your foe’s forehead if they get too close! This one made sure it won’t break anything but your opponent’s skull!

CHEST PIECES
This one had to replace much of the fabric and leather elements of the armor pieces, and used the Dragonguard symbol as inspiration for fine-tuning the decorative elements. Sidura also wanted drama, so she added fabric touches to the chest, which will flow majestically as you fight!

DAGGERS
Whether you use one or two daggers when fighting, the Dragonguard dagger allows you to easily catch a foe’s weapons or turn away a claw thanks to the quillon’s design. Sidura has tested these daggers herself and finds them to be her favorite of all daggers!

GLOVES
Use flexible gloves for nimble fighting or choose metal gauntlets to help stop blows from landing! We restored the hand armor we found with an eye toward ensuring you could continue to grasp your weapon while dealing with Dragon shouts. Sidura thinks the old Dragonguard would approve.

HELMETS
Elements of the Dragonguard symbol embellish the headgear, along with horsehair crests. At least, Sidura thinks they are horsehair. Yet, wouldn’t horsehair have disintegrated by now? Perhaps the crests aren’t horsehair. A mystery!

LEG GREAVES
The Dragonguard knew that you had to be nimble while fighting Dragons, so their leg armor takes that into account. You might not like tucking and rolling to avoid a Dragon’s attack, but you won’t die because your greaves prevent it! Sidura approves!

MACES
Sidura recommends you handle the maces with care. The flanges on the two-handed versions are large, but even the one-handed flanges can bite. This one appreciates their ability to penetrate Dragon scale and hide, yet does not appreciate the cut she nurses currently due to these sharp flanges.

SHIELDS
Ah, the shields! They show off the Dragonguard symbol exquisitely well! Duck behind one to protect yourself from Dragon breath! And you can smash in someone’s face with them. Or a Dragon’s snout. They do call them snouts, yes? Forgive me. Sidura is new to Dragon fighting.

SHOULDERS
Sidura once took a shoulder slice, so she knows well the value of protecting your shoulders. These pieces match the rest of the armor, though this one added some more embellishment. The arm cops and pauldrons even feature a fabric accent. Sweet, yes?

STAVES
Sidura is not a staff fighter, but this staff tempts her. It looks impressive. This one loves the red gems they used. Draws the eye, yes? Just do not sleep with this staff next to you if you have a mane. The ornate head on this staff tangles badly with longer hair.

SWORDS
Looking at the sword made Sidura wonder: Why the serrations near the guard? What does this say about the Dragonguard fighting style? Is there a part of a Dragon you can entrap? Then Sidura realized: Dragonguard warriors must have had to fight people with weapons, too! So versatile!

Crafting Motif 77: Stags of Z’en Style

By Gwaerelos, Greenblessed Master of Arms, Elden Root

The Spinners will tell you that all the world is a tree. Evils burrow under the bark like weevils and drink the goodness out of life. The Green’s warriors search the boughs, plucking vices from their hiding places and devouring them with relish. Transgression and consequence. Wickedness and payment in kind. We Stags exact that punishment. We claim that payment in blood. Z’en, god of toil and vengeance, demands nothing less.

AXES
Like all right-thinking Wood Elves, we observe the Green Pact gladly. Let no tree suffer the axe; only enemies should feel the cleaver’s bite. The Stags’ great axe-heads feature multiple prongs and cutting edges to ensure every wound we inflict is grievous and irreparable.

BELTS
In Valenwood, a loose fit spells death. Razor-sharp thorns, snare-like vines, and the grasping claws of great beasts always seek to drag us to an early grave. Our sturdy leather belts cinch tight as a river-boa’s coils, keeping our profile lean and our midriffs protected.

BOOTS
All too often, the raking briars and venomous snakes of Valenwood make a meal of unprotected shins and calves. A Stag’s boiled leather and beetle-chitin boots afford the wearer the same protection as iron greaves at half the weight.

BOWS
Wooden bows, no matter their origin, carry the stink of filthy loggers and woodland-oppressors. A Stag’s bow relies on flexible root-beetle chitin extracted at the very moment the imago emerges from its husk. Of all the weapons we Wood Elves carry into battle, this one does Y’ffre and Z’en the most homage.

CHEST PIECES
We Wood Elves excel at all crafts, but butchering monstrous beetles remains one of our most time-honored traditions. Crafting a Stag brigandine requires hundreds of delicate cuts to create a flexible garment. Affixing the chitin plates to a leather jack can take many long hours, but the results speak for themselves.

DAGGERS
Few weapons embody the virtues of their wielder as completely as the Stag dagger. Fashioned out of chitin and steel, the blade resembles a serrated leaf. What could suit a servant of the Green finer than a lethal frond?

GLOVES
Tight leather wraps and expertly cut chitin plates make Stag gloves the envy of woodland warriors everywhere. Weapons can rarely find purchase on the slick surface of beetle-hide, making these vambraces the perfect armor for a slippery duelist.

HELMETS
A true Stag of Z’en should inspire more than fear. The transgressor must see the face of cold, dispassionate justice. We do not extract the toll on behalf of ourselves—we claim it in Z’en’s name. So we hide our faces behind the mandibles and mask of a predatory insect. Insects do nothing needlessly. They lead their life of violence with an eerie calmness. As do we.

LEG GREAVES
Flexible chitin plates laid over rugged leather trousers allow us to remain protected while moving swiftly from foe to foe. For a Wood Elf, speed and safety are one and the same. In these armored leggings, we can move very swiftly indeed.

MACES
The head of a Stag mace closely resembles a flower preparing to bloom. But the petals are far from delicate. Heavy, spiked chitin wrapped around a prodigious iron weight make this the most brutal weapon south of the Strid River.

SHIELDS
Sometimes chitin needs no alteration. Take the Stag shield, for instance. Z’en’s aegis is little more than a beetle’s thoracic carapace affixed to a rugged leather base. Y’ffre, in his wisdom, set the beetle in a shield-like shell. What fool would alter what is already perfect?

SHOULDER ARMOR
The shoulder is the steady root of the arm, and like all roots, it needs protecting. Stag armorsmiths devised perfect shoulder cops that feature spiked chitin plates and imposing mandibles to enhance our already terrifying silhouette.

STAVES
The staff of a Stag mage reflects the Green’s sublime power with fearsome mandibles and sharpened leaf motifs. Any spell channeled through such a weapon carries the full blessing of Z’en. Should you face off with hostile mages, this staff ensures that you pay their bloodshed back in kind.

SWORDS
Like our daggers, the swords of a Stag reflect the beauty and terror of the Green through sharpened chitin and leaf-like motifs. Despite their size, these weapons enjoy a remarkable lightness. For every enemy sword-stroke, we can reply with two of our own. Under such an onslaught, even the hardiest Nord will fall in short order.

Crafting Motif 78: Moongrave Fane Style

As decreed by Clan Mother Nisaazda

Children, you came to me seeking something greater than the life you were given. This one promised you power beyond your imagining. Through her blood, she has given you only a taste. Soon Nisaazda will show you the heights we can reach. All we must do is follow her chosen Devourer and claim the greatest prey this world has to offer: Dragons. To prepare for this hunt we will learn from the Dragonguard and outfit ourselves accordingly. The trappings of a Hollowfang Dragon hunter are outline herein.

AXES
We will lord over the night with crescent blades of hardened steel, gleaming as the two moons do in the darkness. Follow Dro’zakar’s example and no quarry will escape you.

BELTS
Like the Akaviri we will wrap our waists in sturdy garments, but where they wore ornamental silks, we will bind our spines in leather and gird our loins as Sangiin does before a tempestuous night.

BOOTS
Shod your feet in blackened, studded booths and bolster them in burnished bronze, as the Dragonguard do, but where their hobnailed toes turn downward, ours will rise like the dunes of our ancestors.

BOWS
In our hunt for Dragon blood, our bows will be our fangs. Hew them from the mightiest of Tenmar hardwoods.

CHEST PIECES
We shall clad ourselves in black and red to honor the Blood Cat on our hunts. Even our lightest cuirasses must be made in the rigid Akaviri style if they are to resist a Dragon’s claws. Fashion our bronze as the Dragonguard did, but do not weigh yourself down with excess plates. We are Khajiit, we must remain nimble.

DAGGERS
Like with any other hunter, a Dragon hunters knife must be a flawless tool. They must be sharp enough to cut through Dragon hide and thin enough to slip between the beast’s scales.

GLOVES
Brace your forearms in blackened leather as you see fit but leave your claws free and sharp like a true five-clawed warrior, or at least give your gloves claws befitting a true predator.

HELMETS
As the Akaviri wore fearsome masks upon their faces, so shall we. Let the Dragons’ final moments be of our snarling teeth craving their blood.

LEG GREAVES
Forget the bulky plate of the Devourer. Khajiit must be swift and agile. More swift and agile than a Dragon! Studded leather should suffice. A splint mail skirt at most. Those who don’t heed will find themselves in Dragons’ teeth.

MACES
The Devourer has shown us the design of the Dragonguard’s scalebreakers. These half-moon faced maces focus their power into a single prominent spike, to pierce and shatter a Dragon’s scales.

SHIELDS
Our shields shall bear the hallmarks of the Akaviri and Khajiit traditions in perfect unison. They shall be our emblem, representing the evolution of our clan.

SHOULDERS
What is a Khajiit without a mane? A dull-clawed scavenger. Just as our armor bears our claws and fangs, so too should our collars and shoulders bear our fur. Drape them in the fur of what worthy prey you find among our former kin.

STAVES
Though the Dragons are our prey, their strength is to be respected. We hunt them because we aspire to be them. Adorn your staves with symbols of their wings, flames, and claws to remind you of this.

SWORDS
The curved blades of the Akaviri are deceptively strong for their lightness. We do not possess the materials to recreate them, but we can borrow some of their traits to improve our own formidable scimitars.

Crafting Motif 79: Refabricated Style

By Dreyla Indavel, Halls of Fabrication

There’s a Vehk of a lot of salvage material available if you want to bash together some wicked arms and armor, but there are certain ways the bits fit together for best results. We mainly use parts from those old decommissioned “”D-series”” Factotums, but there’s also a place for more modern Factotum parts, and even some old Dwarven pieces. Here are my recommendations (and I ought to know):

AXES
For the blade, you’re going to want a number 5 flange strut—two of them, for the two-handed axe. The strut’s curved side sharpens up real well and holds an edge for quite a while. For the haft, I recommend the light and durable molybdenum axle from the retired T-class motobarrows.

BELTS
For a really tough belt, get the elasti-strap from a belt-driven sump piston and mount it with a series of rigi-plates from the old die-stamp feeder bins. That’ll get you a belt with enough tensile strength to support anything you care to hang on it, up to and including a lead-sledge.

BOOTS
When you’re working in an environment full of dense metallic objects that fall over a lot, the rigid toe-box that protects the front of the foot is the most important part of your boot. Just take a couple of metabrass slag scoops, detach the handles, flip them over and mount them on some flexible uppers, and there you are.
BOWS
A flexsteel spring from the suspension of an autonomous gyrocart makes a perfect Refabricated bow, once you machine a grip into the middle, and back the limbs with Seht-shelf light strut supports. A flow-rod case is easily adapted into a quiver.

CHESTS
The best Refabricated cuirasses are made by taking D-series Factotum torsos, scouring out the servos, and adding some duraweave gussets to either flank so there’s enough room for a citizen to fit inside. You don’t even need to add rout embossing to the outer faces, since it comes built in.

DAGGERS
If you think our daggers look like extended J-class manual pry-trowels that have been pointed and edged, well, that’s exactly what they are. You can look for a better blade if you like, but I’ve got three motobarrow skids of pry-trowels just oxidizing in the warehouse, so you might as well use ’em.

GLOVES
For the flexible parts of Refabricated gloves, we repurpose the relatively soft duraweave fabric used in Ventral Terminus refuse-sacs, then stud it with syncro-disks dug out of the metallics dump behind the Halls of Fabrication. For heavier armor, more disks.

HELMETS
Helmets are tough to Refabricate, mostly because only heads are shaped like heads, so we repurpose actual heads from Factotums and Dwarven constructs to serve as helms for real people. I challenge you to find a sturdier and more durable helmet anywhere!

LEG GREAVES
Refabricated leg armor—and for that matter, cuirass sleeves as well—are made from Dwarven pipes and plumbing cut and trimmed to fit the mortal form. I mean, arms and legs are just jointed cylinders, right? It’s an easy conversion once you know how.

MACES
Find a decommissioned elevator (or, you know, “”decommission”” one); if you open up the counterweight shaft, you’ll find cables strung with oblong weights of a dense metal that I call “”heavium”” (that’s a smithing joke, n’wah). With a little rework, these weights make perfect heads for war hammers.

SHIELDS
Sometime in the mid-First Era our Lord Seht must have come across a storage site of the ancient Dwemeri cargo constructs we call Dwarven Turtles, and brought in stacks and stacks of their parts. We’re lucky he did, since if you just add straps to the plastron from a Dwarven Turtle, it makes an excellent shield.

SHOULDERS
The finest pauldrons you’ll ever wear are made from Dwarven pipe joints split open and augmented with welded-on struts and flanges. It’s the same principle we use to make Refabricated arm and leg armor.

STAVES
We learned some time ago that the best focal finial for a spell staff is the soul gem bezel setting from a Spider construct (either ancient or modern). Of course, those bezel settings aren’t always easy to come by, but we find the gripping element from a bread slice carbonizer works almost as well.

SWORDS
As you probably guessed after seeing our daggers, Refabricated sword blades are also made from J-class pry-trowels, just in multiples: two trowels for a one-handed blade, and three trowels for a two-hander. The real trick is welding them together without a seam, but at high heat those trowels merge together like they were meant to.

Crafting Motif 8: Orc Style

This book was previously called “Racial Motifs 8: The Orcs”

Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel

(Dr. Lupus was Imperial Ethnographer for Potentate Savirien-Chorak from 2E 418 to 431)

I saw Divayth last night, briefly, at the Torchbug. I told him I truly cared for him, but that Morian had won my heart. He clouded over like a storm in the Jeralls, but then took a deep breath and managed a dignified exit. Oh, I do hope he’ll be all right.

Though I confess, I’m more worried about Morian. His experiments with Divayth are reaching their climax, when Morian will open a gate and personally make a visit to Oblivion. He says he’s going to try for Azura’s realm of Moonshadow, as he says that ought to be relatively safe. Safe! I’m as anxious as a scrib on a griddle. I dearly want to see Morian before he goes, but he says he must concentrate on mastering the ritual and can’t be interrupted.

He did send a note by Seif-ij saying I should take his place representing the University at the Potentate’s state dinner for the new envoy from Orsinium. He must really be busy to skip that event, as I know he was keen to go. Well, all the better for my Racial Motifs project, I suppose—work, work, work will take my mind off my worries!

The new province of Orsinium doesn’t have an embassy yet, so for the dinner the Potentate’s snake-staff set up a row of pavilions on the grounds of the White-Gold Tower. To honor Envoy Thuggikh they were all decorated with authentic Orcish paraphernalia imported from Wrothgar, so I got out my journal and took notes during the interminable speeches.

Strange to think that a folk as brutish as the Orcs seem to be could design and create objects of such sophistication! Of course they’re known across Tamriel as fine armorers, but I’d always assumed that was due to their great strength rather than skill. A glance at their arms and armor was enough to show me how wrong my assumption had been. Though never ornate or over-embellished, their metalwork, though even simpler and more utilitarian than the Nords’, displays a deep understanding of the laws of proportion, symmetry, and harmonic congruity. An Orcish sword may be a weapon of violence, but to contemplate the dynamic sweep of its blade, visually balanced by its heavy but shapely hilt, obviously molded to flow into the hand of its wielder—why, it’s almost restful and reassuring.

Afterwards at the reception I was happy to see somebody I recognized in Lady Opel the Arch-Magister. She greeted me warmly and, over some West Weald wine and Eidar cheese, asked me how things were going with me and my pair of wizards. I told her I thought I’d made a terrible muddle of things, but she assured me everything would work out in the end. She said she’s known Morian for ever so long, and he’s really quite sensible beneath his fussy old-man ways. She was glad he’d found someone as clever as I to keep him from completely vanishing into his laboratory.

But as far as I’m concerned, that’s exactly what he’s done. I think I’ll go talk to Seif-ij again—maybe he can help me get through to Morian before he leaves.

Crafting Motif 80: Shield of Senchal Style

By Centurion Ancrus Vesnentia of the Shields of Senchal, Thirteenth Legion

Southern Elsweyr resisted our arrival when Emperor Aquilarious gave the order. Considering the brutality that plagued the countryside for nearly two decades beforehand, it only makes sense. The Thirteenth Legion prepared for such circumstances, however, and I believe that preparedness won us the trust of the Khajiit over time. We came to restore order to Southern Elsweyr, but we stayed to protect its people. Over time, the Khajiit began to call us the Shields of Senchal.

AXES
Southern Elsweyr is home to all manner of foes that most of us could scarcely dream about before we arrived. It became necessary to adapt our weaponry to fight beasts and provincials of every size. Our axes became sleeker, inspired by the Khajiiti cleaver.

BELTS
While I may be alone in this thought, I firmly believe a good belt provides the foundation for a good soldier. Hung low on the hips and studded with an engraved metal buckle, we strive for an accessory that is as functional as it is striking.

BOOTS
The heat in Southern Elsweyr makes open and flexible toed boots highly desirable. After a few dozen cases of what the locals call “”Scorch-Paw””-which is just as dreadful as it sounds-we adapted to a more breathable structure. The flexibility of the open toe allows for scaling tougher terrain, as well as maximizing speed.

BOWS
The Khajiit have some … interesting ideas about archery. Still, there is always something to be learned. Like their bows, we adapted our own to be of finer metal, and began to see the promising (if not unsavory) uses of senche-gut bow-strings. The styling remains unique to our order however, with intricate carvings along the grip and distinctive colorings.

CHESTS
You will not find much stiff, metal armor in Southern Elsweyr, and for good reason. The heat and terrain make anything inflexible quite a nightmare. Any metal gets applied sparingly, used most often for embellishments. The Khajiit are fond of their crescents, so we Shields display them proudly.

DAGGERS
General Renmus insists “”A good dagger need not be distinctive, for those who meet its edge will never see it coming, and not live to remember it.”” I’m not the wordsmith that he is, but it remains a truth that our daggers are more functional than decorative. The carvings around the hilt and on the blade itself pay homage to Khajiiti design, but we have stuck fast to our straight, thick blades.

GLOVES
Southern Elsweyr bears the mark of Imperial influence, but the opposite rings true as well. We Imperials may not have claws like our feline neighbors, but our gloves still allow the freedom and flexibility as if that were the case. Our soldiers handle their weapons with greater efficiency and boast hard-won callouses as a result.

HELMETS
Visibility cannot be discounted as a component to survival, especially in this untamed environment. We reserve our face-covering helmets for our front-line soldiers, fashioned out of pliant metal with the likeness of the Legate Autrus, the hero who singlehandedly launched an attack on the enemy commander in the Battle of Xaseear. Most fighters prefer an open-faced helmet, however, with protective leather inlay to provide both flexibility and some relief from the heat.

LEG GREAVES
Supple molded leather, metal casing where appropriate, and airy fabric for the interior make the perfect recipe for success. Material for the legs must be open and non-restrictive to allow for movement, while also maintaining proper protection. You don’t want to brush up against the wrong side of a Glyptodon without something between you and it, after all.

MACES
Not everyone shares my passion for the mace, but no one argues that it makes a statement. Though not precise as a blade, it still strikes both fear and awe in ones enemies. Bronze faces decorate the head of the weapon. They become a particularly frightening sight once spattered with blood, as if the faces themselves enjoy drinking it. Some soldiers swear they even grin.

SHIELDS
Decorated with ornate crescents, golden chains and intricate compound, our signature instrument could never be accused of subtly. Nor should it. The shield functions as so much more than just a shield. It is the very symbol of our order. It inspires courage and serves as a manifestation of our purpose.

SHOULDERS
The number of dangers one can encounter in Southern Elsweyr remains beyond counting. While shoulder plating will not stave off the worst of it, it serves well as a good first layer of defense. The bright metal pauldrons wink like pointed fangs in the hot sun.

STAVES
It would be a mistake to assume the elegance of the Shield’s staff undermines its strength. Far from it! Though topped with elaborate bronze sculptures and wrapped with sinuous, dyed leather studded with gold beads, the staff boasts lethality in abundance. An all-seeing eye tops the staff, and no enemy escapes its gaze.

SWORDS
All recruits start with a sword to learn the fundamentals of the blade. A sword must, above all else, be dependable. Given the variety of enemies in Southern Elsweyr, a good blade must cut them down with brutal, reliable efficiency. Save for the carvings along the hilt, we tend to be fairly straightforward with our blades. Simple or no, our blades possess considerable weight in order to cleave through enemies, whether they be as sturdy as the Mountain Bristleback or frail as an inept scavenger.

Crafting Motif 81: New Moon Priest Style

By Fadai, Arcane Quartermaster, Order of the New Moon

Some believe that the Order of the New Moon grows too quickly. The fear and confusion felt upon witnessing the rage of Dragons has led many into our ranks. This one says the newcomers should be embraced! Lord Laatvulon offers his protection to all wise enough to accept it. Of course, production of the required priestly garments will need to increase. Fadai gladly offers guidance on crafting vestments and how best to incorporate the aeonstones into their designs.

AXES
The blades of our axes mirror the majestic spread wings of our lord as he soars across the skies. The shadow cast as the blades descend upon those who would disrupt our rituals should evoke the same terror, before nothing is felt at all.

BELTS
Due to the flowing nature of even our heavier vestments, the modest belt performs a crucial service. Without them, garments could easily snag and tear, leaving a priest vulnerable. The silver buckles guarantee a close fit while still honoring sacraments.

BOOTS
Typical priesthoods adhere to open-toed sandals to demonstrate humility before their gods. While we do offer such a design, our labors for Laatvulon often require more aggressive protection. Many will find the heavy steel plating useful when crushing nonbelievers underfoot.

BOWS
Although powerful, the Dragons exhibit a grace in their movements. The gentle fold of the wings. The curve of the neck before releasing a plume of flame. So, too, is our bow just as gentle and deadly. The aeonstone spikes are arranged to resemble the scale patterns of our lord.

CHESTS
As members of a religious order, we expect our priests to don robes when carrying out their sacred roles. Since this often includes vicious combat, the garments are reinforced with thick leathers and silver plating while flowing open at the bottom. The perfect blend of devotion and defense.

DAGGERS
We honor the superiority of Dragons by placing their image onto these simple daggers. Straight, sleek blades contrast against the sharp spikes of the guard and pommel. The hilt is textured to resemble scales which provides optimal grip.

GLOVES
Manipulating aeonstone can be delicate work. Thus, our gloves expose the fingers while still offering protection. Spikes of aeonstone along the forearms allow the wearer to harness their absorption power while casting magic.

HELMETS
When Fadai was first presented with the spiked design of our priestly hoods, this one was skeptical. But Fadai has seen first-hand the terror that they evoke in our foes. Embedding the aeonstone directly into the helm allows direct access to their magical gifts.

LEG GREAVES
The duties of priests of the New Moon call for violence more often than typical religious followers. Our greaves are flexible enough so that they don’t hinder the wearer, but provide the hardy protection needed to defend lord Laatvulon’s mission.

MACES
A series of sharp blades resembling a Dragon’s majestic wings ring the head of our maces. We intend these to be as instructive as they are decorative. The blades bite and tear like lord Laatvulon’s jaw, so that the victim remembers exactly who the wielder represents.

SHIELDS
With the clever use of aeonstone and dense steel, our shields describe our Order’s mission for those foolish enough to oppose us. The prophecied Dark Aeon, wings spread wide, ascends into the night sky to become our New Moon .

SHOULDERS
We’ve designed our pauldrons as tiered steel plates wrapped with dark leather bands. The splayed layers evoke the scales of our Dragon lord and the edges are sharpened to points for extra defense. Aeonstone spikes jut from the tops to give the wearer access to their abilities.

STAVESnnIf any might be confused as to who the Order considers supreme, we have placed a Dragon’s terrible image onto the head of our staves. We craft these from dark ironwood for a satisfying heft. Aeonstones are embedded in the crest so that casters may amplify their spellcraft with them.

SWORDS
Some who claim to worship Dragons will craft their blades to curve into claws. The Order knows that we are destined to ascent higher. Our swords are forged straight, with the image of our lord on the guard. When held aloft, they point directly to where the New Moon will form in the night sky.

Crafting Motif 82: Icereach Coven Style

By Svarrid Snow-Seer, Guard of Windhelm

When the Icereach Coven returned to Skyrim, they did so in force. They bolstered their numbers with Reachmen, lured innocents to their cause and plunged this land into chaos. Little is known about the witches that make up this sinister faction, and even less is known about the kind of weapons and armor they adorn themselves with. It is my duty to report on these aspects of the Icereach Coven as best I can so that we may learn more about our enemy.

AXES
I have seen too many of the Icereach Coven’s gnarled axes for one lifetime. They truly are a sight to behold, each like a mangled hand, with blood dripping from pointed fingernails. At first glance, the craftsmanship looks slipshod, but the design is quite clever. The splayed, knotted blades cleave through bone and tear near everything to pieces.

BELTS
The coven’s belts are made of animal hide and have several small pouches hanging from them on either side. From corpses, we have been able to determine that the contents of these pouches varies and often depends on the witch. For the sturdier support, more tightly woven belts and reinforced leather serve to clasp about the waist and provide stability.

BOOTS
I dislike the Icereach Coven’s boots most of all. My fellow soldiers despise the freakish masks well enough, but there is something truly unsettling about the sight of the three-pointed toes on the battlefield. Our foe becomes something unnatural and primal rather than an enemy we can understand and fight. It is a small thing, but with people turning into monsters and raging storms collecting in the sky, even the tiny details can inspire terror.

BOWS
The coven’s bows are made of twisted, hard branches that make them light as air. Strange woven heads made from hay and twine decorate above and below the grip, as if their twin beaks might swallow the wielder’s hand.

CHEST PIECES
Like most of the coven’s armor, there is no structural metal to be found across the chests of their fighters. The heathens are probably incapable. The witchmen cover their torsos with a blend of boiled leather, animal hide and furs. It is not uncommon, however, for them to decorate their chests with small bird skulls and talons.

DAGGERS
I have too many friends who met their ends with a witch’s dagger in their heart. The Icereach Coven uses daggers made of jagged, split metal. The guard is wrapped in fur and the grip roughly covered in uneven leather. It is a fearsome weapon, and often unsuspecting. The colors blend into the coven’s armor, so that you might not ever see it coming.

GLOVES
Almost every member of the Icereach Coven we’ve encountered thus far has hand, or forearm protection. The material is much like the rest of their armor, insulated with thick furs and bound with either leather or sinew. Occasionally, the Reach-scum adorn their fingertips with sharp metal, not unlike a hagraven claw. And certainly just as deadly.

HELMETS
It seems odd to call the Icereach Coven’s head pieces helmets, since I, for one, believe they are more for show than protection. The headwear seems to have a common theme in that they are all horrible, twisted masks, styled like birds. Hooked beaks protrude over mouths guarded with wicker and string. Some masks sport horns and dark, soot-colored feathers. Others are merely chaotic heaps of twigs and bark. Each face seems more sinister than the last.

LEG GREAVES
From what I have been able to discern, the Icereach Coven’s armorers fashion their greaves from hardy fabric that is reinforced with patchwork leather. The material seems stiff and heavy, which one would think would slow their movement. Perhaps the lack of metal grants them agility.

MACES
The witches wield horrifying maces. The damage is twofold, with one side splayed out with bones and bark that have been sharpened into hard points for piercing through thick armor. The other side of the head looks like maces we’re used to, though made from a stone-hard wood. Not many who encounter these weapons survive the experience.

SHIELDS
Just as unsavory as the rest of their implements, the Icereach Coven’s shields are no exception to the rule. Outfitted with a jagged piece of flat bone at the front, the rest of the shield is made of curved wood, sharpened into points. The shape gives the illusion of a crow’s plumage, fashioned from wooden daggers.

SHOULDER ARMOR
The shoulder armor of the coven is simple, but effective. Though the level of protection varies, Reach armorers reinforce these leather cops with either tough bark or a collection of bones. I have witnessed some that look truly like bird skulls from a distance. Upon closer inspection, they are wrought from twigs and hay instead, but it does not make them any less terrifying.

STAVES
The coven’s staves are deceptively simple. The witches carve and bind gnarled lengths of wood into eerie shapes like lurking crows and twisted fingers. Menacing spikes unfurl from the neck before twisting down into a staff fashioned from merely bone and string. Do not let the simplicity of the materials fool you. These are as deadly as any other, and the coven uses them with exacting, terrible proficiency.

SWORDS
Jagged pieces of bone adorn the hilt of the Icereach Coven’s greatswords, formed into sharp beaks that seem to eat the blade itself. The metal is mottled and uneven, as if the weapon were forged in a storm. There is something barbaric and wicked about them.

Crafting Motif 83: Pyre Watch Style

By Tazheq at-Rajd, Honored Scribe of Histories for the Pyre Watch

Death must be the end. The Pyre Watch requires each of its warriors uphold this demand. Those who come after may see piles of ash and bone in our charge and believe the task beneath them. “What danger,” they may ask, “poses this dust?” But we who witnessed the horde of blood ghouls and man-beasts march upon the gates of Bangkorai remember. A horror rests within this Unhallowed Grave. Know well our order’s arms and armor that give us the strength to defend the living. Because, the Gray Host shall not wake. Death must be the end.

AXES
Although our people more commonly use swords in battle, a brutal axe offers unique advantages to those who wield them. Weighted blades carry the axes through wide cutting arcs. When beset on all sides by fiends, the ability to bring them low with a single swing may determine whether you fall then or at the next battle.

BELTS
The Gray Host did not fight at a distance. Their army fought us hand-to-claw, eye to bloody eye. Any warrior caught by the long talons of some undead beast did not stand for long. Cinch your belts tight; fluttering cloth provides an opportunity. And bear boldly the Pyre Watch sigil on your buckle, so those you meet know your sacrifice.

BOOTS
The Pyre Watch stands vigil to assure no one enters the Unhallowed Grave, and nothing leaves. We demand our warriors stay alert for any disturbance in the remains of our enemy. Focusing on the pain in your feet might distract at a crucial moment. And so, we craft our boots from supple leather to ensure prolonged comfort.

BOWS
When the Gray Host came to Bangkorai, I stared frozen in despair as a clot of vile ghouls ran at me. If not for the alacrity of our archers, my death was certain. Waves of arrows rained down, felling enough of the enemy for me to regain my nerve. Our bows’ superior speed and power determine how many brethren stand or fall.

CHESTS
While heavy metals can provide protection against blade or arrow, they slow down their wearer. When the enemy are preternaturally quick undead, speed matters more. We craft our chest armor with tight-fitting, supple leather to keep our response times fast. If the vampires and wolves reach us, metal armor won’t stop their claws.

DAGGER
Deadly, quick, and perfectly balanced in every way. These qualities define the Pyre Watch daggers. The blade’s gentle curve reflects an elegant sleekness of all Bangkorai design. We keep them hidden but always at the ready, much like ourselves.

GLOVES
We of the Pyre Watch serve as weapons against the darkness. Just as a blade must respond to its wielder’s whim, so should our bodies deftly answer the commands of Tu’whacca. The gloves we wear provide ultimate flexibility and grip so that we may honor the Tricky God and not lose our steel in times of battle.

HELMET
As members of the Pyre Watch, we forego our pasts in service of a higher purpose. Our former lives must end to remove anything that may distract from our purpose. By covering our faces, we remove our identity and demonstrate our total commitment to the cause.

LEGS
Even now, I feel certain that villains plot to resurrect our buried foes. Pants and skirts of flexible horse leather with minimal plating allows us to spring into action at the sign of any threat. If you must run, spin, or leap to end a threat, this legwear will not interfere.

MACES
If you require more than a single swing of a weapon to bring down a foe, then you invite your own death. The heft of our hammers, when properly applied, ensure their target shall not move again. Even vampires pose no threat with a crushed skull.

SHIELD
The Gray Host served darkness. And in darkness their ashes shall remain. And though the Pyre Watch holds vigil in the black, we stand for the light. Our shields of burnished silver and gold reminds any who meet you in the Grave who you serve.

SHOULDER
Defend your shoulders well. Even a shallow gash from a claw can make your arms unusable. Pliant, yet thick leather allows for range of movement. And added tiered metal plating protects those who fight face to fang.

STAVES
The Gray Host moves at great speed on the field of battle. Mages at range often found themselves engaging up close. Although crafted from fine Mournoth timber, the Pyre Watch reinforces our staves with metal plating for added strength. They shall not splinter when struck across a ghoul’s face.

SWORDS
The tales of great swordfighters among our people could fill libraries. Every sword we craft must honor that legacy. The intricate designs embossed in the blade and its perfect balance are the culmination of generations of the finest metalworkers.

Crafting Motif 84: Blackreach Vanguard Style

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.

AXES

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.

BELTS

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.

BOOTS

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.

BOWS

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.

CHESTS

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.

DAGGER

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.

GLOVES

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.

HELMET

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.

SHIELD

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.

SHOULDER

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.

STAVES

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.

SWORDS

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.

Crafting Motif 85: Greymoor Style

The Gray Host needs little introduction. The ancient army, risen anew, plagues our lands with little regard for the lives they take. I believe it is important for us to know our enemy. Many have clashed blades with these terrors, but are woefully misinformed about their weapons and armor. Here, I intend to make a detailed account of everything we know about the Gray Host’s armaments in hopes that those who read will be better prepared.

AXES
The Host’s axes are quite fearsome. Giant twin fangs emblazoned in gold make a terrifying arch of destruction. Like most of their weaponry, there is an elegance to the axe that might lead you to believe it isn’t as lethal as it truly is. Do not let the beauty fool you.

BELTS
Golden bat figures feature prominently on the Gray Host’s belts. The designs vary, but the spread wings are consistent throughout. They seem more decorative than functional, possibly to emphasize the grandiose style the Gray Host adheres to.

BOOTS
There is a refinement and delicate quality to the design of the Host’s apparel that tends to be misleading. Their boots are no different. Thin gold plates of metal lead down to a reinforced sole. Pointed like daggers, I imagine the toes are capable of inflicting nearly as much damage as daggers themselves.

BOWS
The Gray Host craft their bows with such magnificence, it’s enviable. Gilded, arched wings decorate both the quivers and bows themselves. The combination makes a simple form of combat into something darkly beautiful and fearsome to behold on the battlefield.

CHESTS
Each Gray Host member’s chest displays a golden sigil. Some designs spread out along the entirety of the chest; others are focused into smaller pieces directly in the center. Against the dark, inky black of the rest of their armor, the shine stands out and commands respect.

DAGGER
An ignorant observer might think the Host’s daggers look flimsy. But as many can attest to, the thin nature of the blade, though it looks more apt to sting than stab, is just as deadly a dagger as any other. The precision the design lends makes it an especially dangerous weapon.

GLOVES
Dark leather makes the hands of the Gray Host near invisible in the night. You might catch a flash of gold under the moonlight before a killing blow, but that is all.

HELMET
Dark onyx-colored plating makes up the helms of the Gray Host. Sharp horns, like those of a dragon, stud the crown. Gold accents flare out like wings across the visor. Some faces are left open, others concealed so only a flash of animalistic eyes can be seen within. The word most commonly brought to mind when viewing these helms is … sharp.

LEGS
The Gray Host fashion their greaves out of dark leather. The material joins like plating, though that’s hard to see in the night. These are measures for stealth, most certainly. Though they do add protection in the form of the same gold metal material along the hips and across the knees in most cases.

MACES
Personally, I think the Host maces look closer to tridents than anything else. Multiple prongs make up the bludgeoning force of the weapon. They stack them neatly around the top, and the hooked edges are perfect to snag and tear at flesh.

SHIELD
Heavy, twisted whorls of metal adorn the shields of the Host. The intricate carvings inspire fear. Perhaps it is because of the unmistakable symbol of their forces. Others say they see horrible faces in the curves of metal, as if the shields grin horribly while wielded by their masters.

SHOULDER
Golden pauldrons, sharp as the vampire’s fangs, decorate the shoulders of the Gray Host army. They extend far past the actual shoulders of any soldier, making them appear taller, wider and more formidable. The edges look nearly as sharp as the army’s swords.

STAVES
The Host’s staves look incredibly similar to their maces, just diminished in size. The head of the staff almost resembles terrible talons. Perhaps it is meant to resemble the vampire lords themselves. Either way, they are a horrible sight.

SWORDS
Much like the daggers the Host uses, their swords tend to be thin, delicate … almost needle-like in appearance. They are no less dangerous, however. The metal is sturdy enough to pierce through flesh and muscle, and with it being so thin, you might never see it coming.”

Crafting Motif 86: Sea Giant Style

We know very little about Sea Giants. What scraps of information about the elusive species we’ve gleaned thus far certainly fail to paint a clear picture. We’re reasonably certain that Sea Giants are fearsome hunters, as harvesting great whales could be no easy task. That they stay such a mystery and point of terror for many seafaring Nords should be more than enough of an incentive to try to integrate their techniques into our own.

AXES
From studying the carcass of a Sea Giant hunt, we know that the Sea Giants can fashion a weapon similar to a harpoon in construction. Putting this addition into the structure of an axe makes an already deadly weapon capable of grievous damage.

BELTS
Those who claim to have seen Sea Giants in the flesh describe clothing festooned with skulls and long, serrated teeth. The skull of a sabre cat would look as small as a bird’s skull on such a large creature. Despite our smaller frame, we can still use such adornments. Bird skulls and slaughterfish teeth would make equally terrifying additions to our belts.

BOOTS
From what we can tell, Sea Giants use a great deal of bone in their weaponry. Logic dictates that they also use such methods in their clothing, minimal as it is. Whale bone makes for especially good structural support in footwear, as well as a strong offensive component when placed on the outside of the shin.

BOWS
Carved bone adds weight to bows, as well as stability. It’s not clear whether Sea Giants themselves use bows or any kind of ranged weaponry, but if they did, I imagine it would be something like a quiver made from horker leather and arrows tipped with feathers from the wings of seafaring birds.

CHESTS
Sailors often trade tales of the Sea Giants’ fish scale armor. While the origin of these massive scales remains a frightful mystery, they no doubt make for stout protection. Sewing these plates into the chests of boiled leather armor pieces provides an incredibly solid line of protection.

DAGGERS
Sea Giants themselves likely use crude daggers, or what we would call short swords. From the evidence we’ve seen in whale carcasses, long slashes and cuts signal the use of blades. If we take anything from their inspiration, it should be the sheer slashing power of the blade and supple horker leather at the hilt.

GLOVES
Fish scales and fish teeth are underutilized in armor crafting, if I may be so bold as to say so. They have the distinct advantage of being lightweight but incredibly durable. If the Sea Giants are intelligent enough to repurpose inedible parts of their prey, they might see the benefit of protecting the hand with such materials. We surely will.

HELMETS
Though stories of Sea Giant sightings are often greatly exaggerated, there is one unifying theme: they are a fearsome sight to behold. The fact that these towering barbarians have mastered sea travel is intimidating enough. If we are to take after them, we must use our helmets to inspire similar fear. Thick horker tusks, shimmering fish scales, and long plates of bone mimic the Sea Giants’ chilling appearance.

LEGS
If Sea Giants are anything like their land-dwelling cousins, they probably do not feel the need for leg greaves. Still, Sea Giants must brave frigid waters to hunt down their prey. Boiled horker leather both retains warmth and protects just as well as any other material. Reinforcing our own greaves with bones and the scales of mighty fish might get us close to the Sea Giant’s greatness.

MACES
Those who claim to witness Sea Giants out upon the water describe terrifying figureheads at the bows of their vessels. Descriptions range from horrible gargoyles to ugly depictions of what might be horkers. No one knows for certain if these exist, but the concept makes for interesting mace design. Four figureheads with fierce faces, turned out, ready to clobber their enemies!

SHIELDS
A race as savage as Sea Giants probably eschew protective items like shields. That does not mean we can’t iterate on our own shields as they might. Bone must be a plentiful resource for them—much more plentiful than wood or steel considering their seafaring nature. Attaching pieces to the edges of the shields we have already gives them added protection, lethality, and style!

SHOULDERS
We have no verified accounts of Sea Giant ships, but one would have to surmise that they are massive. To hold a hunting party of such size would take a colossal vessel. Armor can inspire the same kind of wonder. Imagine shoulder pauldrons with ship figureheads carved in miniature out of bone, to make the wearer a vessel themselves.

STAVES
I’d stake my reputation on the theory that Sea Giants aren’t magic users. Even so, taking their affinity for bone into account, we can fashion our staves into fearsome imitations of what the Sea Giants’ might look like. The skulls of small animals might decorate the top, with larger pieces of bones carved thin like sails to spread out and inspire terror in any unfortunate enough to warrant the wielder’s ire.

SWORDS
Our swords would be mere daggers in Sea Giant hands, but surely even they could appreciate the use of horker leather around the hilt and decorative bone carvings along the pommel. While we may not be jumping into the sea to deliver a fatal blow to a great whale, we can use these mysterious creatures as inspiration during our own battles.

Crafting Motif 87: Ancestral Nord Style

Twas the year one hundred and forty-three of the First Era when Harald, thirteenth in the line of Ysgramor, did relinquish all claims to the holdings of his storied line in the land of his birth and, by birth and by conquest, did assume the mantle of high king to found his own kingdom in Tamriel: the Kingdom of Skyrim. To commemorate the vanquishing of the Elves and the unification of Men under his banner, Harald commissioned every craftsworker in his new land to outfit his warriors and forge the first army of Nords.

AXES
Though the first Nords wished to distinguish themselves from the their forebears, they were still fiercely proud of their Atmoran heritage, and there is no more revered weapon in our storied history than the battle axe. Though uniformity would mean not every warrior could wield their own Wuuthrad, the high standards of Harald would ensure that each would receive a sturdy, steel weapon of war.

BELTS
While a sturdy leather cinch would suffice for most, Harald’s warriors were equipped with fur-lined and studded belts as a sign of distinction from common rabble. Soldiers were permitted to bear any insignia upon the buckle and many proudly displayed their family crests as such.

BOOTS
Concessions were made during the initial outfitting of Harald’s army to avoid a surplus of ill-fitting boots, so rigid armor of hardened leather, steel, and brass was designed to be strapped around the shins and knees over a warrior’s own footwear. Korm No-Toes famously wore them over his bare legs.

BOWS
With Skyrim seeing its first domestic peace for some time, many palisades and other temporary fortifications were torn down and repurposed. Much of that tough, native ash was rendered into recurve bows and arrows.

CHEST PIECES
Harald’s steel supply was limited in the early days of his reign, so hardened leather, chain link, and bronze plate or scale mail made up the bulk of the army’s cuirasses. Despite this, the royal insignia medallion emblazoned on the chest was always minted in steel.

DAGGERS
Most Nords kept their own knives for utilitarian purposes, so the short blades borne by the army were more akin to swords than their diminutive cousins. Wide of blade, stout of heft, and better suited to chopping than thrusting.

GLOVES
Despite claims that freezing sweat from a bare-hand grip would keep a weapon firmly in hand, Harald’s army elected to provide insulated gloves for his warriors, as well as bracers of reinforced leather or metal to fend off more than the cold.

HELMETS
While not all