Decorating Guide for the Reach

Author: Tate Marshwart
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This text was first published in The Modern Adventurer Volume 8 released in The Modern Adventurer – Skyrim mod on 11/11/23.

Don’t let the title fool you. This advice can be invaluable to hagravens, bandits, necromancers, cultists, and anyone else who wants to add that special something to their lair.

The First Essential: All Natural!

The theme for this era in the Reach remains nature in all its glory. Don’t accidentally offend by storing a Dwemer automaton in your entryway or leaving a set of metal armor on a table. Anything that even hints of craftsmanship must be carefully locked away. If possible, prepare a place to put all those horned helmets and steel breastplates so you don’t panic at the last minute when you’re hosting a gathering and some unwanted guests arrive.

The same applies to personal attire. Leather and fur and feathers are IN! Metal is OUT! Keep the heavy armor at home or for when you need to buy supplies in town. In a full helmet, no one knows you’re a Reachman.

Skin is always natural and always in style. A naked Reachman is welcome in any company, as they say. Not only is skimpy dress in fashion with other Reachmen, but it can be distracting to unwanted visitors (or wanted visitors — a Marshwart never judges). The best defense is striking the first blow.

The Second Essential: Deer Heads

You would be amazed what you can do with a severed deer head and some body parts. These don’t even need to be authentic Nord or Breton parts, either. Deer guts, wolf entrails, or even chopped up bits of skeevers will do in a pinch. A polite guest isn’t going to inspect the decorations, and an unwanted guest will get the message.

Your finest deer head should always be the centerpiece of a room. It should be displayed prominently on a wall mount, pike, prominent table, or sacrificial altar. For the best effect, body parts should be arranged in a semi-circle around the front of the deer head. You may wish to display some treasures or ingredients around your finest deer head as well. These can be delightful accents, and makes it easy to remember where you put that giant’s toe!

When a deer head is fresh, remember to rub it with salt (or frost salts when available) once a week. Over time, this will make sure your deer head is never eaten by insects or mold and slowly dries so that the skin tightens and pulls back from the teeth for that perfectly ferocious effect.

The body parts, of course, cannot be so easily preserved and need to be exchanged for fresh parts at least once a week. I recommend setting a day of the week, such as Loredas, for hunting so you never forget this important task. Replacing the body parts frequently ensures that the blood stains are a pleasant combination of fresh and old. This shows visitors that you are both active and well-established in your home. You can use the leftover bits in a soup. They make a lovely base.

If you want a more daring style, you can invert the antlers of your deer heads so they point down to either side of the skull and look something like wings. Place any readily available man’s (or mer’s or pig’s) ribcage beneath the head, and you have a reasonable facsimile of a raven. Stylish Reachmen will always feel at home next to such a display. Cover the whole decoration with feathers and perhaps even Nocturnal will smile upon you.

Leftover deer heads also make fine helmets and other accessories.

The Third Essential: Skulls and Bones

They work for pirates and you can make them work for you! Those who leave bones in haphazard piles show how little they respect their home. Always be sure to arrange extra skulls and bones in an artistic pattern on the floor or table.

Skulls and bones are especially valuable outdoors. Nothing says “Reachman’s Lair” like a row of skulls on bone pikes outside of a cave.

And never forget the most important rule of decorating: no pain, no gain.

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