Just as in any society, fashion is a fickle mistress in Ansalon. One day dragonskin boots might be all the rage, but on the next, people could embrace squirrel fur stockings. So, to help heroes choose the perfect thing to wear on occasions where the right clothing is a life-or-death necessity, the bard Eldarath Fernstalker brings word of the latest fashions from the noble quarters of Palanthas. Heroes who have no need of attending audiences with the upper crust of Palanthas can use these guidelines to help them predict what styles will become appropriate with the young set in the courts of Ergoth within a few months. As with anything, however, the nobility of nonhuman lands have their own sense of style. A final note: Don’t expect anything to be popular very long.
Helmets are soooo passé. Anyone who’s anyone wears bright, wide-brimmed hats with as much decoration as possible. Nobles prize flowers and the feathers of rare birds especially, and if anyone has the unbelievable luck to stumble upon a pegasus, he or she can make a fortune from those feathers. Though be wary of merchants selling these feathers; I’ve heard that some pluck white swans and sell the feathers in this manner.
Leather headgear is out. Today’s popular hat material tends to consist of softer, more pleasant (but less practical) materials, such as velvet. Popular colors range from blue to rosy pink, always bright and often sporting intricate designs (some including gems or ornamental stones on the brim). Black or white hat bands made of delicately cured leather is most popular, though make sure the hat pin is made of gold, steel, or platinum and ornamented at its end with a jewel or flashy stone.
Cloaks and Jackets
Silk jackets are a must. Unless someone can find a water naga coat, exotic animal furs are in for cloaks. Do not wear silk in your cloak in any way; it will clash terribly with your jacket. Plain black, white, or gray fabric is out of the question. Make sure you dress as colorfully and brightly as possible, with frills and laces everywhere. This is the Age of Mortals; don’t treat it like a funeral procession. And, as always, never dress like a mere adventurer. Such rabble can’t mix even with the savage ogres and yeti. Don’t ever expect them to mix with civilization.
Everyone needs good shoes that make a nice, rhythmic clatter when dancing. Shoes are probably the one article of clothing that should be dark, preferably black. If you can add a special twist to them, like a couple of tiger’s claws, by all means do so. Just make sure not to have any lizard skin in your wardrobe; the dragons have control and nobody in their right mind wants to anger them. The soles should be made of a durable material, but with your busy schedule of rubbing elbows with the upper crust, expect to purchase new shoes every few weeks.
Robes have fallen out of style except as nightwear. Even some former wizards have begun to update their looks since the dusty old things of yesteryear are only in style in the desert, where such dress is all but required for survival. Even baggy or loose pants have fled; today’s fashion demands tights or breeches. Have your tailor make most of your wardrobe just a tad too small – that accentuates the natural beauty of humans and not the folds of cloth. Again, modern society turns its nose up at black fabric. Common colors range from green to white, although pants are not quite as decorated and ornate as jackets, tunics, and cloaks. This fashion results mostly from the fact that pants do not play much of a role in one’s appearance. Few people (except maybe the kender – who rarely look at faces anyway) comment on a noble’s pants, and the current trend in art does not depict anything below the chest. People are judged on appearance, but pants simply play a muted role.
Never show up at a party with a club or a quarterstaff. Modern weapons focus toward slim, straight blades, such as stilettos and rapiers. One’s scabbard should display a family coat of arms in some prominent color, usually highlighted with gold or silver. The bearer should always keep the blade clean. Armor should not be worn in public except by warriors, who should wear plate mail during ceremonies and parades only. The Fifth Age may be deadly, but it’s the soldier’s job to fight the noble’s battles.
- A Palanthian noble wishes to gain a roc’s feather for an outfit, and he offers to finance an expedition into the Worldscap Mountains for some lucky heroes. He also adds 50 steel apiece up front, with the promise of another 200 steel when they get back with the feather. Can the heroes find a roc? If they do, how do they get a feather from it?
- While traveling, the heroes meet another group heading in their direction. One of the members of the group is a noble with a very fashionable (yet gaudily decorated) long coat made of water naga hide. As the heroes and the group pass by an area with water, a nearby water naga notices the coat and immediately attacks the noble, angrily declaiming the death of its fellow for a simple piece of clothing. Do the heroes defend the noble and attack the naga or do they attempt to find a way to reason with the naga?