Color. We take it for granted but color, of any significant hue, is the result of dye. Dyes may be commonly found but dye that will hold its color and possesses a rich vibrancy is rare indeed. This short article provides basic information about dyes in the Flanaess.
Fashion in the Flanaess - Dyes
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung, with able assistance from S. Katherine Dammerung, aka SKDammerung
Posted with permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Cloth, thread or yarn of whatever nature can be colored through the use of dyes. Plant dyes are nearly universally known. Practically every region and every climate has plants from which colored dyes can be extracted. This process usually involves a soaking of the plant in water with the addition of some type of fixative to hold the color, salts and vinegar are common fixatives. Examples of common dye colors and plants in the Flanaess include:
Red - Madder root
Orange - Sassafras
Blue - Woad
Purple - Red Maple bark
Yellow - Weld or Goldenrod
Green - Ragweed of Fiddlehead Ferns
Brown - Black Walnut husks
Grey - Iris roots
Black - Sumac leaves
The problem with most simple plant dyes are twofold. They do not hold their color after prolonged exposure to the light and their color is not usually vibrant. This is where certain dyes that do not have these issues become sought after and expensive. Vibrant dyes that keep their color well include:
Crimson - Cochineal, an insect, is found in southern temperate, sub-tropical and tropical areas.
Scarlet - Kermes, an insect, is found in northern and middle temperate zones.
Purple - Murex, a mollusk (this is the source of the famous Imperial Purple), is found in southern temperate and subtropical regions.
Blue - Indigo, a plant, grows in tropic, sub-tropic and the southernmost areas of temperate zones
Yellow - Saffron, a plant, is found in middle temperate regions.
Each of the foregoing are rare dyes in the Flanaess. All of them can only be found in the Amedio Jungle, Hepmonaland or the southernmost Hold of the Sea Princes or Tilvot Peninsula. To the West, they may be found in Zindia, the Celestial Imperium and the Bakhoury States. The Bakhoury States, despite their northerly climate, enjoy a warm temperate to subtropical climate thanks to the oddly heated currents of the Dramij Ocean.
In the alternative, alchemical dyes or processes may have made resort to natural dyes nonexistent or nearly so at a DMs discretion. In my campaign, alchemical dyes exist but they do not have the same luster as the rarer natural dyes. Thus, dye becomes a particular type of treasure that may spur adventures.