Stormwarder's Dress Uniform

Written by Zachary S. Wells
The Dress Uniform of the Stormwarder Order was designed early in the order's history to inspire and project legitimacy, perceptibility, and authority to its members among sailors and burgeoning navies in a post-imperial age. Composed of mages specialized in weather working and sea spinning, the Stormwarders desired a uniform that would lend aid to their various duties without restricting their abilities. The uniform was created to serve warders both engaged in combat in the heart of a maelstrom and locked in negotiations in the courts of nobles. The colors of the uniform were chosen both to signify the magical associations of the Stormwarders and for the practical reason of marking them out on a ship deck.

Formal Colors

The first chosen color of the Stormwarders is a deep, rich blue, brighter than the deep navy blues of most sailor uniforms, the color of the brilliant seas they sail and the clear skies for which they hope. Next is a cloudy gray, not the dark gray at the heart of a storm cloud, but the lighter gray of clouds after a storm has passed and all their rain is spent. Third is a darker, navy blue, like the sky at night or the color of waves as they rise over the masts of ships and come crashing overhead. The final color is a pure, bright gold, like sunrays shining through the clouds or the horizon at dawn. These colors were chosen for many reasons, but most would say it is to remind sailors why they should want a Stormwarder on the deck of their ship.

Articles of the Uniform

Starting at the boots, Stormwarders wear dark brown leather boots that rise to about mid-calf. They are rounded at the tip, with a thick leather sole and heel. The heel conceals a metal insert which functions as a conduction plate, only revealed by a golden band on the back of the heel. Three buckles, made of brass burnished to shine like gold, run up the shaft of the boot, securing a high cuff on the outside of the leg. The collar of the boot has a padded seam to prevent water from getting in.

Moving up, the trousers of the uniform are made of a loose cotton twill cloth that cinches at the waist and the ankles with brass buttons. The thick waist band and ankle cuffs are cloudy gray, while the legs of the trousers are a rich blue. Golden piping, woven with a thin metal insert, runs up the outside of the legs. The pants are tucked into the boots.

Over the torso is worn a long sleeve cotton twill tunic with a band collar, which can be secured tightly by five buttons running up the chest to the collar. The tunic is of a length to be comfortably tucked into the trousers, which it usually is. The garment is cloudy gray, to blend with the top of the trousers, with golden embroidery along the collar and the wrist hems depicting wreathes of lightning. A short sleeve or sleeveless alternative tunic is also used by the Stormwarders either for reasons related to weather or aesthetics.

Worn over the tunic is a wool gabardine jerkin, so as to be waterproof, with detachable sleeves. The jerkin has an open, short, stand-up collar that reveals the tunic collar underneath. The jerkin is double breasted, the left breast extending across the chest and fastening underneath the right breast and the right then extending back over to the far left of the chest, with three hidden, brass buttons fastening each side. At the waist the jerkin splits into four panels of fabric, in the center and at the sides of the body, which descend to about mid-thigh. The panels are cut diagonally, at a gentle angle, so as to form a point at the inner part of the leg at the front and back. The main jerkin is a rich blue, with a thick, cloudy gray hem along the bottom panels and at the wrists. Golden and gray embroidery decorates the area around the collar, the wrists, and the lower panels with stylized waves and storms.

On top of the head is worn a cloudy gray peaked cap, with a band of navy blue. A cord of gold sits above the brim of the cap. Around the waist, atop the jerkin, is worn a wide, dark brown leather belt that is fastened with a decorative brass buckle. Fine, gray gloves are worn over the hands.

Finally, worn over all of this is a mid-calf length boat cloak. The cloak is made from wool broadcloth, fastened at the base of the collar with a burnished, brass buckle, with a flat, dark-furred cape collar that lays across the upper shoulders. The collar can be raised and fastened with a small, hidden clasp around the lower half of the warder's head. The vertical hem of the cloak has a thin metal insert running through it serving as a conductor. The outside of the cloak is navy blue, while the inside is lined with cloudy gray fabric.

Adornments

Atop the standard attire of the Stormwarder's Dress Uniform are added several decorative or utilitarian embellishments. Additionally, commanders of the Stormwarder Order have golden fabric epaulettes added to the shoulders of their jerkins.

The decorative buckle worn to fasten the belt includes a front panel of rectangular brass emblazoned with one of several images. Newer Stormwarders would have the image of two crossed bolts of lightning. A Stormwarder can wear a buckle with two bolts added to the embellishment for every year of service to the order. The bolts are added to the embossing circularly with the opening facing upward, until after thirty years of service the lightning should make a full wreath. In the center of the buckle, within the lightning, can be an image either chosen by the individual warder or be representative of a faction membership.

The peaked caps worn by the Stormwarders have space to add a badge, and members of the order are given some freedom as to what the badge can be, allowing it to serve as a mark of personal heraldry. The order does have an official cap badge that can be worn, consisting of a circular brass fixture depicting an albatross, its wings extending beyond the main disk of the badge, flying over a calm sea with storm clouds behind it.

Worn at the left breast of all Stormwarders is the insignia of the order. Usually, warders are encouraged to wear this insignia even when they are not wearing the rest of the dress uniform. The insignia is made of burnished brass and shows an albatross, its wings broadly displayed, looking to the bearer's right. In its talons is clutched a bundle of lightning bolts, and across its chest is an oval crest displaying an eight-pointed compass star.

Many Stormwarders wear a wand sheath on their belt, usually made of leather and brass, in the place that a more mundane sailor would wear a sword. Interestingly, the wands carried by Stormwarders also easily double as swagger sticks, used by mundane naval commanders. However, there are Stormwarders that choose to use alternative arcane foci, such as a staff designed to attract electricity like a lightning rod. Some Stormwarders may also wear swords or other weapons, depending on their personal skills and preferences.

At the wrist are worn torque bracelets made of a conductive metal. Along with the other conductive metals spread throughout the uniform, these articles serve as a guiding focal point for Stormwarders to lead electricity that strikes them down and out of their body without crossing vital organs. The less conductive brass used in the more central parts of the uniform aids in keeping electricity away from vital organs.

Enhancements

Not all Stormwarders are satisfied with the standard array of materials in the dress uniform and look to modify aspects of it. Certain modifications and enhancements are so popular among Stormwarders that they are officially considered appropriate variations of the uniform. These take the form of either enhancing their natural abilities or providing additional utilities beyond their powers.

Among the most commonly sought after natural enhancers is a magical boost to a Stormwarder's resistance to electricity, through their conductive accessories. Their torque bracelets already help them guide lightning through their bodies, but enhanced versions can catch and store electrical energy to be redirected by the warder. Rare magical boat cloaks can turn away lightning, as well as the other extreme effects of ocean storms. And magically crafted jerkins can bolster both a warder's magical and physical defenses.

Peaked caps are popularly enchanted to add simple to lifesaving utilities, like giving the wearer the ability to see further than is normally possible, or granting them the ability to breathe underwater, or something as small as offering a magical shield from weather around the wearer's face.

Mobility during storms and potential sea battles is a regular concern for Stormwarders, so they often seek out boots that can allow them to fasten themselves to the decks and masts of their ship or give them the ability to walk on the surface of water. And in the case of being stranded at sea, a Stormwarder's boat cloak can be enhanced to also serve as a small life raft.

One of the few still living founding members of the Stormwarder Order, the elf Ilkaida Tanurin "The Sunstorm", has a personal crest that is displayed in the headquarters of the order, a golden solar disk with lightning bolts emanating from it in the place of sunrays. He allows members he has trained and their successive apprentices to use the crest as their cap badge.
Membership in the Stormwarder Order comes with many benefits, but becoming a full member can pose a challenge. To be considered, an applicant has to show an aptitude for air or water magic and be accepted for training either at the Stormwarder headquarters or by an individual mage. To become a member from there, the applicant has to pass three trials of mastery, proving they can call upon the winds and seas.

Once a member, a Stormwarder can charge guild prices for their services, has access to supplies and facilities at every port with an order presence, and has connections to high ranking officials in most maritime civilizations.
Item type
Clothing / Accessory
Raw materials & Components
Cotton
Wool
Leather
Brass
Conductive metal alloys
During the Drakear Empire, mages capable of manipulating the winds and seas were often tasked with protecting and aiding vessels on long voyages. These mages were so valuable that the empire could not afford to discriminate who could learn these magical practices, and any who showed an aptitude for it was quickly apprenticed to an experienced mage.

After the imperial age came to an end, the storm mages, who had already been separated from mainstream society and given preferential treatment, feared how they would be treated by those who had ended the empire. To protect themselves, many of the mages banded together to form the Stormwarder Order, claimed their traditional training ground as a headquarters and home port, and branded themselves as a trade guild.

Now the Stormwarders sell their services, protecting vessels, keeping dangerous storms from devastating vulnerable areas, and facilitating the growth of trade networks. Occasionally Stormwarders are even called upon to serve as neutral judges on the high seas.
All art by Zachary S. Wells. The exact colors used by the Stormwarder's are: Navy Blue (color hex #0A1172), Admiral Blue (color hex #051094), Cloudy Gray (color hex #C1C6C8), and Metallic Gold (color hex #D4AF37).

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
23 May, 2021 10:13

This article is very interesting!! I like how detailed your descriptions of the various elements of the uniform are. They make it really easy to imagine how it looks. I also think the possible enhancements are nice, since they're not only expanding the uniform but also give it a somewhat personal note. The hex codes for the colors are also clever, although it would probably help to have the palette as an image maybe? But overall this is great and was fun to read :)

23 May, 2021 17:39

Thanks for the kind words! Good suggestion on adding an image of the palette. It's now in the footer.

24 May, 2021 14:19

Nice article! You really created a well detailed description of the different parts of the uniform. I especially like the history related to the Stormwarders and how the guild came to be. As for the image you have put it now in the bottom but would it perhaps not be better to put it near the formal colors section since that part relates to the image?   I also wonder why you are using all h4 headers and not the h3 and h2. I think it could look pretty nice with bigger headers :) In all good read!

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
24 May, 2021 20:54

Thank you! It was fun fleshing out the organization's history from the little bit that's come up in my D&D games. Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm happy with the color palette placement. The headers should all be h3, so I'll test how it looks with h2. And I'll be sure to check out your entry too!

25 May, 2021 09:12

Yeah I encountered that sometimes. If I used a h3 it was for some reason using the h4 css. But that was mostly in the aloud boxes. Pretty weird :p

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
29 May, 2021 23:19

Great article! I love the details about the meaning of the colours and the symbolisms they have, and also about the materials of the uniform. It's very interesting that it incorporates some conducting metal everywhere :D I also like the different types of magic you came up with to enhance the clothes and they highlight the environment in which the uniforms are worn.   I love the idea of using the decorations on the buckle to indicate rank/experience. I imagine the buckle must be rather wide so that the details are clearly visible to everyone?   Are the stormwarders linked to one country – the one that was previously the empire of Drakear – or are they an international organisation?

To see what I am up to, see the list of my Summer Camp articles—my favourite is Sentient Cells.
1 Jun, 2021 21:46

Thanks for the kind words. I imagine the belt buckle as about 2 inches wide, so about as visible as the rank markings on most military uniforms. The Stormwarders are an international organization that have trade contracts with several countries. Their headquarters is on an island independent from any notable countries. However, they do have members that have significant ties to different nations. One of the major founders of the organization is actually an elf, that I mentioned at the end of the article, who also helped found an elf nation.

3 Jun, 2021 14:34

This is a very interesting outfit! I do wonder, if the uniform serves as a way to mark them out on a ship deck, does this cause them to be targeted more often when they are “protecting vessels” since they stand out? I would think taking out mages like them would be a priority in some situations, so would this paint an even bigger target on them?   The pieces of the outfit are also very nice. Good thing those boots have that padded seam, water in a boot can always be a pain! I love that there are so many lightning bolts on the outfit, in the insignia and badges.   I also can’t say I knew about swagger sticks before, so I learned something new! I love how the wands have that purpose as well. Very enjoyable article!

Come and take a look around my world, Totania!
If you'd like, also check out my Tavern Challenge Entry, The Gilded Camphor.
4 Jun, 2021 20:27

Thank you! I'm glad you liked the article! You make a very good point that their uniforms would mark them out as targets to enemy ships. I think in a lot of cases seeing a storm mage on a ship deck would serve as a deterrent, since most pirates would not have the means to easily go up against one. My setting is akin to the early Middle Ages, so ranged weaponry isn't very advanced and arrows can only do so much to someone that can control the wind. And getting into melee would mean having to get past the mage's spells first.   I took a lot of inspiration for the uniform from naval uniforms used in Europe in the 15th and 16th century. The padded seam in the boots was inspired by Inuit kamik, although the same style of seam is also used in snowboarding boots. Swagger sticks are really interesting in that they've been around forever as a symbol of authority under different names, but they also don't get seen much nowadays so they don't really come up.