The Fashion in the Flanaess series of articles comes to an end with a discussion of what clothing is actually made of, particularly the high end materials. A modified pricing system for clothing is presented. You may now fully dress your character for success, or at least to leave a good looking corpse.
Fashion in the Flanaess - Silk, Satin and Textiles
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung, with the able assistance of S. Katherine Dammerung, aka SKDammerung.Posted with permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
In the Flanaess, there are four basic textiles that are used to make garments - cotton, linen, wool and silk. Each of these textiles is produced with varying degrees of refinement. In addition to the basic textiles, textile blends or speciality woven textiles - cloth of gold, damask, brocade, satin, velvet - are also known.
What distinguishes all woven textiles is the warp and weft of the material. Threads running up and down the loom are the warp threads. Weft threads run to the left and right. The most simple fabrics have only a single warp thread for every weft thread.
In distinguishing between fine textiles and common ones, three factors come into play. The quality of the basic material is obviously paramount. No less important, however, are the skill of the weaver and the technical sophistication of the loom. Not every weaver has the skill to produce every kind of textile and not every loom can produce every kind of textile, even if the weaver knows how. To get the finest textiles, there must be a confluence of outstanding raw materials, skilled weavers and advanced looms.
The Cost of Looking Good
When a PC purchases clothing, the PHB provides a simple system for determining what they have purchased and its basic acceptability in society; it is an abstract system. Presented below is a more involved system.
First, clothing is separated into seven general classifications in an expansion on the PHB system. Each classification corresponds to a level of society and has a range of price that will purchase clothing of that classification. This is the base price. The range is given to account for regional variations and for individual items of clothing that may be purchased using the rules for textiles that will be subsequently presented. Furs and jewelry are treated separately. (See Fashion in the Flanaess - Furs and Fashion in the Flanaess - Jewelry and Gemstones)
Second, if the clothing is to be constructed out of a luxury textile, described below, the base price for the clothing is multiplied by the factor given for the luxury textile in question. This gives a general approximation of clothing made from special materials rather than ordinary ones. This system is, again, abstract in that is imagines a "suit of clothes." It is possible, using the price ranges and a detailed list of clothing (see Fashion in the Flanaess articles describing various items of clothing) to create a very detailed and exacting wardrobe and ensemble. Such a system is beyond the scope of this article. In my campaign, I use the "suit of clothes" system described herein with the addition of very particular, individual items of clothing that would have specific campaign significance.
The base prices for the seven classifications of clothing are as follows -
Lower Class Attire - 1-3gp
Tradesmen’s Attire - 3-10gp
Mercantile Class Attire - 5-100gp
Guildsmen and Gentry’s Attire - 100-500gp
Courtier’s Attire - 500-1000gp
Knightly Attire - 1000-2000gp
Noble Attire - 2000-5000gp
It should be noted that one does not always wear the same quality of attire, although one could. Basic clothing worn adventuring corresponds to Lower Class, Tradesmen or Mercantile Class Attire for the most part. Clothing worn under armor is particularly undistinguished in the usual case.
For characters looking to blend in but not appear to be of the lower classes, Mercantile Class clothing will work very well. For characters with some station, who do not want to be "dressed up," Guildsmen and Gentry Attire works well. This type of clothing is worn by most titled persons who are at their ease.
Discussion of individual textiles and treatments follows. Multipliers for luxury textiles and particular textile treatments are provided.
Linen is the byproduct of the flax plant. The flax fibers create the thread that creates the linen. Linens can be coarse or very fine, depending on how the fibers are processed. Throughout the Flanaess, linen is commonly known and produced wherever cloth is manufactured.
No multiplier for linens is suggested. Use the base price.
Cotton is the byproduct of the cotton plant. Unlike the flax plant, which produces long fibers, the cotton plant produces shorter fibers making it more difficult to work with to create thread. Nonetheless, cotton is commonly known and produced throughout the Flanaess, albeit chiefly in southern climes. The Baklunish states also produce cotton in something of an exception to this rule. Garments are not typically made of cotton but a blend of cotton and linen or cotton and wool.
No multiplier for cottons is suggested. Use the base price.
Wool is the byproduct of the hair of sheep, goats, types of gazelle and even rabbits. Wool is naturally insulating and can be coarse or very soft depending on the origin of the wool and how it is processed. Wool rivals linen in the Flanaess as the most common type of material from which garments are made. Wool can be mixed with linen or cotton to produce various types of fabrics.
Five types of wool deserve special mention.
Merino Wool (x2) - The Merino sheep produces the finest wool east of the Baklunish states. It is, however, not the finest wool available. Merino wool has a price multiplier of 2.
Angora Wool (x3) - Angora wool comes from the Angora goat of Ket and Tusmit. It is also known as Mohair. Angora wool has a price multiplier of 3.
Cashmere (x4) - Cashmere wool comes from the goats of Ekbir and is exclusive to that country. Cashmere has a price multiplier of 4.
Pashim (x5) - Pashim wool comes from goats in Zindia. It is extremely soft, almost silk-like. It has a price multiplier of 5. The multiplier will increase if regular access to Zindush goods is not available.
Shahtus (x6) Shahtus wool comes from mountain gazelle in Zindia which inhabit the highest peaks. It has a price multiplier of 6. The multiplier will increase if regular access to Zindush goods is not available.
Silk is the product of the cocoon of the silk worm. The quality of the silk will vary with both the type of tree upon which the silk worm spins it cocoon, the best being mulberry, and the skill of the processor in harvesting and preparing the silk. While silk is widely known in the Flanaess, it is always a luxury good and it varies widely in quality.
Seven types of silk deserve special mention.
Oeridian Silk (x2) - Oeridian silk is that produced in the non-Baklunish Flanaess (exclusive of Ket and Keoland, which are discussed separately). It is of very poor quality but it is silk. The poor quality is the result using other than mulberry trees and a generally unskilled production. It has a price multiplier of 2.
Keosh Silk (x3) - Keosh silk is all that remains of the once proud tradition of Suloise silk making (see below). Keosh silk is made with a finer technique than typical Oeridian silk but suffers from the use of mulberry trees that do not grow well in the climate and a but half remembered technique. It has a price multiplier of 3.
Ketish Silk (x5) - Ketish silk benefits from access to the fine Baklunish tradition (see below) but is adulterated, suffering from spotty production methods. Ketish silk is the finest silk commonly available in the non-Baklunish Flanaess. It has a price multiplier of 5.
Suloise Silk (x7 EXTINCT) - The old Suel Empire had a long tradition of crafting fine silks. All of this knowledge was lost in the Rain of Colorless Fire. Knowledge of Suloise silks did not pass through Slerotin’s Passage because the center of Suloise silk production was in the extreme western part of the Empire, not the east. The Suloise tradition of silk making is extinct. If any surviving samples were found intact and a garment was made, the price multiplier would be 7. However, such a survival might have much more value do to sheer rarity.
Baklunish Silk (x8) - Baklunish silks come from Zeif, Ekbir and Tusmit. Unlike the Suloise, the Baklunish knowledge of silk making survived intact in these lands from before the Invoked Devastation. Baklunish silks have always been finer than the Suloise due to the extensive and peaceable exchanges between the Baklunish states and the Celestial Imperium. Baklunish silks have a price multiplier of 8.
Elven Silks (x9) - Elven silks are not truly silks because they do not originate from the cocoons of silk worms. However, as they exhibit all of the same physical characteristics in look and feel, they are classed here. Elven silks are derived from either Gossamers, a presently unknown creature or process, or spiders, in the case of the drow. They are not generally traded and are extremely rare as well as fine. Were they to be traded, they would have a price multiplier of 9. This multiplier might be increased due to sheer scarcity.
Imperial Silk (x10) - Imperial silk comes exclusively from the Celestial Imperium. It is the end product of millennia of skill and experience with the finest silk worms and mulberry trees. Silk was first developed in the Imperium and its production is a matter of state secrecy. No other silk has approached the level of the Imperial. Trade in Imperial silk is limited but regular through dwarven and then Baklunish middlemen. It has a price multiplier of 10. It is said, however, that there are yet finer silks, referred to as Celestial, which are reserved for the courts of the Imperium. Any such silks would have higher multipliers.
Satins, Brocades and Damasks
Satins, Brocades and Damasks can be made from a variety of materials, including silk. The finest of each are, however, made from silk. The discussion and multipliers below consider only silk Satins, Brocades and Damasks, with the exception of Brocades made from Velvet, which is also discussed.
Satin is distinguished from other textiles by warp threads that cover at least four weft threads. Little but the warp threads are visible. This gives satin its particular luster. All satins add a +x2 price multiplier, that is they add an additional multiplier of 2 to the silk multiplier listed above. It should be noted that this is a generalization for convenience; in fact, there are a number of different types of silk satins.
Damask is a silk (but in reality might be wool or linen or cotton) in which a pattern has been woven. Damasks are flat and reversible. Damasks add a +x3 price multiplier, that is they add an additional multiplier of 3 to the silk multiplier listed above.
Brocades are silks (but in reality might be made of other materials) or velvets in which patterns are woven with extra weft threads. The pattern thus appears to be raised or to have a shadow effect. Brocades are not reversible. Brocades add a +x5 price multiplier, that is they add an additional multiplier of 5 to the silk multiplier listed above.
If Brocades can be understood to be on a scale of complexity greater than Damasks, there is something that is yet more complex than Brocades. These are Tapestry weavings. Tapestry weaving is, however, the subject of another article and is not covered herein, principally because tapestries are not worn, nor made into clothing.
Velvet is produced from a simple or complex (see Brocades above) weave where additional warp threads are woven over a series of fine rods. When complete and the rods are removed, small loops remain which may be cut to form the pile that gives velvet its texture. Velvet is a technique and is not limited to material. It does, however, require more thread and more skill to create than other fabrics or treatments.
The following types of velvet in the Flanaess do not assume any given material. Instead, the multipliers listed are added to the material or price multipliers listed for linen, cotton, wool and silk above. For linen and cotton, which have no multiplier listed above, assume the Velvet multiplier is applied to the base price of the clothing without further modifications.
Aerdi Velvet (+x7) - Aerdi velvet is manufactured in the successor states of the old Great Kingdom. It is a speciality. Most often Aerdi velvets are made from linen with some more rarely made from Oeridian Silk (see above). Aerdi velvet adds a +x7 price multiplier, that is it adds an additional multiplier of 7 to the multiplier for the base material as noted above. While it is theoretically possible to apply the Aerdi velvet technique to better quality silk than the Oeridian, in practice this almost never occurs in the ordinary course of trade.
Velunese Velvet (+x6) - Velunese velvet is the name given to velvets produced in Veluna, Furyondy, Dyvers and Verbobonc. It is second only to the Aerdi and comes from that tradition. Most Velunese velvets are made from linen, or more rarely Oeridian or Ketish silks. Velunese velvet adds a +x6 multiplier, that is it adds an additional price multiplier of 6 to the multiplier for the base material as noted above.
Oeridian Velvet (+x4) - Oeridian velvet is manufactured in Nyrond, the Urnst States and the City of Greyhawk. It is in all ways average, neither distinguished nor inferior. This state of affairs is in large measure due to a lack of emphasis placed on the creation of velvet, more than anything else. Oeridian velvet is universally made from linen or more rarely Oeridian silk. Oeridian velvet adds a +x4 price multiplier, that is it adds an additional multiplier of 4 to the multiplier for the base material as noted above.
Keosh Velvet (+x3) - Keosh velvet is a product of the same heritage as Keosh silk. It is a lesser reflection of the former advanced state of textiles in the Suloise Empire and for the same reasons. The major textiles centers were located in the western Empire and were destroyed by the Rain of Colorless Fire. Knowledge of these advanced processes did not travel through Slerotin’s passage, only more general knowledge. Keosh velvet is made from linen, or more rarely Keosh silk. Keosh velvet adds a +x3 price multiplier, that is it adds an additional multiplier of 3 to the multiplier for the base material as noted above.
Baklunish Velvet (+x2) - Baklunish velvet production should be far more advanced and proficient than it is at present. It is not, because of a Baklunish preference for felt over velvet. As a result of this cultural preference, velvet making has not been made a priority. Baklunish velvet is made from either linen or Baklunish silk. Baklunish velvet adds a +x2 price multiplier, that is it adds an additional multiplier of 2 to the multiplier for the base material as noted above.
Cloth of Gold
Cloth of Gold refers to fabric woven, in whole or substantial part, of golden thread. Silver thread may also be used. Such fabrics are obviously luxurious. The cost of such fabrics have a price multiplier of 10 for Cloth of Gold (x10) and 7 for Cloth of Silver (x7). No other fabric or additional modifiers are applied. Cloths of gold and silver are routinely found throughout the Flanaess in the wealthiest of families.
Any fabric may be hand embroidered. Embroidery adds to the appearance and value of the resulting garment, if it is done particularly well or stylishly. Two centers of embroidery deserve special mention.
Aerdi embroidery, produced in the former lands of the Great Kingdom, has been refined to a high art. It adds a +x3 price multiplier, that is it adds an additional multiplier of 3 to the multiplier for the base material as noted above.
Velunese embroidery, produced in Veluna and Furyondy, takes much from the Aerdi tradition but does not equal it. Velunese embroidery adds a +x2 price multiplier, that is it adds an additional multiplier of 2 to the multiplier for the base material as noted above.
This is the last article in the Fashion in the Flanaess series. Clothing styles, clothing materials, dyes, furs and jewelry have now been discussed. Putting it all together, you can dress your NPCs or PCs to the nines. Hopefully, you will also see adventure opportunities. There are rare materials to be obtained. There are secret techniques to be uncovered - a sort of medieval industrial espionage. There are valuables to be stolen, recovered or found. There are gifts to be given. And one can always dress to impress, indeed one can do no less and long remain, to say nothing of prosper, at court. Hopefully, this series of articles has outfitted you properly and you are dressed for success in your game.