Robes Item in Mendala | World Anvil


One of the most curious social trends in Mendalian society is the use of robes as a visual shortcut for status, rank, and profession. Around 90% of people own a robe and they’re typically worn during work, travel, and formal gatherings. Robes are made entirely of ustus which means they cannot become torn, dirty, or soiled in any way. It is usually the most expensive article of clothing a person owns, but most people never own more than one robe at any given time. Because of their importance, all merchants and craftsmen who deal with the creation and sale of robes are regulated by the Global Trade & Commerce Authority of the Fantasmal Government.  

History & Origins

Robes came into fashion near the beginnin|200|rightg of the TS era after Terrance Stokenshire perfected the process for making ustus—a quartz-based fiber that, once turned into fabric, could not be torn, dirtied, or soiled and was the perfect medium for making clothing with embedded mentus. This in itself was a revolutionary invention that would forever change the garment industry, but it was Terrance’s first creation with ustus that would quickly take the world by storm and bring about a huge shift in the global culture.   Sarah Fantas, daughter of the first Fantasma and second Daughter of the Sun, was friends with Terrance Stokenshire and requested that he make a uniform for the members of the Fantasmal Government using ustus. Terrance complied, and in 63 TS he designed and created the very first robes, white with purple belts, for the Fantasmal Staff. The robes were simple and designed to be worn over a person’s regular clothing. They also had a circular symbol on the front that denoted their position within the staff.   Each robe had a light hood and several pockets, two carefully concealed on the outside and another four on the inside. The pockets were all enhanced with embedded mentus allowing them to hold more than their size without affecting the robe’s weight or appearance. There was also embedded mentus in the body of the robe that regulated temperature so that it would always feel comfortable in all but the most extreme weather conditions. These features made the robes versatile for both indoor and outdoor use, great for travel, and comfortable enough to be worn all day long.   The robes were a hit with the Fantasmal Staff and people not only wore them while working but even during their off hours. Staff developed the habit of wearing their robes closed while they were on duty or traveling and open during free time and casual engagements. Fantasma was very pleased with the popularity of the robes and asked for a separate design for guardians. Terrance complied and using adimus aura as a base, he designed a series of purple robes that not only worked for guardians but also mandants in training to become guardians. Mandants received white belts, guardians silver belts, and for the Fantasma, who stood above all mandants and guardians, a purple robe with a gold belt.   After this, Terrance decided to make robes for the other well-known adimus classifications: mentants, and mind mages, once again utilizing adimus aura as the base. Mentants were given blue robes with white belts, and mind mages were given blue robes with silver belts. These were mostly sold in the Fantasmal Mountain city of Teedmount to people who did not work for the Fantasmal Government but wanted robes after seeing friends or family wearing them. However, high-ranking mind mages in the Fantasmal Government also decided to wear mind mage robes as a sign of status.   Terrance then decided that since he’d made a special robe for Fantasma, he should do the same for the Epouranal Mages. Following the same pattern, he made the epouranals special blue robes with gold trim and belts. He then received Fantasma’s permission to present them to the epouranal council as a gift, though Fantasma warned Terrance that the epouranals would most likely not take the robes since they rarely accepted gifts. However, to everyone’s surprise, the epouranals accepted the robes and from that day forward whenever an epouranal was seen in public, they were wearing the robes Terrance had made.   After this, the popularity of robes exploded as everyone around the world wanted one once it was known that the epouranals wore them. At first, Terrance’s shop in Teedmount was the only place that they could be bought, so he took on apprentices who eventually opened sister stores in other parts of the world to handle the demand. Soon after, Terrance licensed out the process to make ustus to other tailors, schools, and even the Fantasmal Government itself so that knowledge of how to make the quartz-based fiber would spread and skilled tailors would be able to make robes and other clothing as well. As the original creator of ustus, Terrance continued to make money even when others used it since he owned the rights to the process for creating it. Terrance was the first inventor to license a product in this way.   Within a decade, robes were so widespread that it became clear that global standards needed to be put in place so that no one could wear a robe that denoted a rank they didn’t actually hold. Though there had only been a few cases of this type of fraud, Terrance felt that the Fantasmal Government should step in before it became a bigger problem. Fantasma agreed and created a new government department that would eventually become the Global Trade and Commerce Authority.   The new department’s initial project was to establish a list of official robe colors and their corresponding ranks that all tailors would be required to follow. Penalties were established for creating and wearing robes that falsified a person’s rank. This deterred fraud while further cementing the importance of robes in Mendalian society. Robe standards were quickly adopted worldwide and codified into global policy.   Because silver and gold represented the highest ranks, special ustus was created for this purpose. Only silver and gold ustus infused with the Fantasmal Signature could be used for robes. This would make counterfeits easy to spot in the mentant realm. The Fantasmal Government controlled distribution of this special ustus and only licensed tailors vetted by the government were permitted access to it.   Over the years, more robe and belt combinations were added to the list of official ranks. In the beginning, various other organizations wanted their own robe designs, similar to the Fantasmal Government, as a uniform for their members or employees, but this trend largely fell away. Because robes were so expensive, people typically only owned one and it was also seen as too cumbersome to switch between different robes just to have one for work and one for leisure. Now, only very large organizations continue to do this while most employers have people to wear the robe that marks their adimus rank. The two major exceptions are the Order of Nature and the Sunnin Social System as both organizations have robes that are standardized as part of official global policy.   Robes fully cemented themselves into Mendalian society within fifty years of their initial creation, and they largely stayed the same both in design and cultural relevance ever since. Now robes are seen as a universal aspect of world culture, ubiquitous across all nations and independent cities with the notable exception of the Crystal Sands Desert, due to the general lack of adimus ranks among the residents. There are currently over two dozen official robe and belt combinations to signify various ranks and positions.  

Customs & Traditions

Though robes originated with the Fantasmal Government, it was the epouranal mages who popularized them, specifically High Mage Julius Thernstrat who, at that time, was very visible to the general public as he did weekly teachings all around the world. He often praised the robe and the ‘genius” tailor who made it and spoke highly of its many attributes. Most of the other epouranal mages never spoke directly about their robes but they were always seen wearing them, and this was enough to make a huge impact. It was widely known that the epouranals rarely accepted gifts of any kind, so for them to not only accept but wear the robes given to them was enough of an endorsement. Many people believed it was a sign that everyone should wear robes, though the epouranals made no such claim.   Robes not only became popular, but it became practice to wear them at all times, just as the epouranals seemed to do. The trend that the Fantasmal Staff started, where they wore robes open during leisure and casual times and closed when doing formal work or traveling, soon became the default habit for everyone. Though robes are now considered universal, this is not completely true. Their high cost typically makes them out of reach for those of limited or meager means, making them really only ubiquitous among the middle class and above.   Robes are expensive but typically purchased once and worn for life, but there are some exceptions. In the instances where a person does need to change their robe, they can sell their current robe to almost any clothing merchant. Robes typically last a few hundred years, which means they often outlast the owner, so that’s another reason why they may be sold. Clothing merchants can easily resell used robes since they still look as new as when they were first made. The price is reduced based on how old the robe is, as this determines how much longer it will last.   As the used robe industry grew over the centuries, more working poor were able to obtain robes. This was especially important because by then many businesses and employers required that their staff where robes while on the job. While some employers were capable of supplying robes for those who didn’t have one, this was rarely the case, and people could find themselves unemployable in certain fields if they didn’t own a robe.   Of course, there were still plenty of professions where people didn’t wear robes including law enforcement, military work, and hard labor jobs like mining. In addition, robes did not have the same widespread popularity in the Crystal Sands Desert. Though many speculated this was because of the extreme temperatures, that was only one of several factors. Most desert residents worked in the mines, and no one who lived in the desert could use adimus abilities. Though there was a robe rank for “crystal-non,” which was the technical rank of anyone who was born and raised in the desert, since adimus abilities were virtually nonexistent, even for visitors, robes seemed largely pointless. Robes are only ever seen in the large hub cities but almost never in the smaller desert towns.   Another norm that developed organically was that robes are typically only ever worn by adults. It became tradition for a family to present a robe to a child who has come of age at 15. This was usually blue with a white belt which represented both mentants and mentant-nons who were not fully qualified in their rank. The robe would usually stay with them for life, with only the belt changing as needed unless they moved to an occupation or rank that required a different color robe entirely. Mandants would receive a purple robe with a white belt, but usually this was given at age 12 instead of 15, when they are first enrolled in mandant school and typically given by the school.   Though most people wear their robes all the time when outside their home, especially persons of high rank, being seen without a robe does not automatically reduce someone’s social status. Robes are still widely viewed as utilitarian in nature. While wearing one is a visual shortcut to determine someone’s adimus rank or profession, not wearing one is still considered just as normal. There are many reasons someone may not be wearing a robe and several jobs that require a different type of uniform. Specifically, most law enforcement, military, or combat related jobs do not have robes as part of their uniform, as they are considered ill-suited for fighting in.   Standard robes haven’t change since they were first created by Terrance Stokenshire in 63 TS. This plain and practical design is what has always led them to be seen as more functional than stylish. There have been some exceptions, and it’s not unusual for someone to order a custom robe, especially if they are wealthy and don’t have a high adimus rank. However due to their expense, this trend has not widely caught on.  

Creation & Design

Even after thousands of years, robes are still made using Terrance Stokenshire’s original design. They are always made from 100% ustus, making them very hard to produce and expensive. However, robes are design to be used for life, and often even outlast the owner. Robes are almost always one primary color with the belt and sometimes a trim or logo being the second accent color. Even unofficial robes are designed this way since mixing multiple colors of ustus in one garment is even more time consuming.   Robes are long sleeved and designed to go down to a person’s ankles. They also have a hood and six pockets, two on the outside which can barely be seen, and four on the inside, two of which can be easily accessed even when the robe is tied shut.   Robes have three different types of embedded mentus. One specific trigger is embedded so that a skilled channeler can resize the robe to fit a person as they grow. Another is always active and uses residual mentus energy from the wearer to regulate temperature. The last is the most complex and powerful, which is placed on each of the six pockets to allow them to hold more than their natural size would allow without affecting the robe’s weight or appearance. This is by far the most complicated of the three embedded mentus modifications and only works successfully because robes are made entirely of ustus. Four of the pockets, the two outer and two of the inner pockets can hold twice their physical size while the two remaining can hold up to four times their physical size.   Ustus fiber is thin, so robes are very lightweight and have a slightly silky texture to them. Because they are worn continuously by the same person, they eventually imbibe the adimus signature of their owner, usually after a few years, similar to quartz-based tools. This means that a robe can be easily identified as belonging to a specific person when they are examined in the mentant realm.  

Official Robe Colors

Official robe and belt colors are managed by the Global Trade and Commerce Authority, a division of the Fantasmal Government. Currently there are over two-dozen official combinations used to recognize adimus ranks, professions, and social status.   It is generally illegal to wear an official robe for a rank or profession that you are not a member of, with a few exceptions. Not every adimus rank has an official robe; several rare ones are unlisted. In addition, while quickeners and channelers have official belt colors, they cannot wear them until they’ve been deemed “fully-qualified” which means they have been licensed to work in the fields associated with their rank.   For un-qualified mentant-nons and any unlisted adimus rank, a person can wear the blue robe and white belt of mentants or the white robe and blue belt of nons in jobs or professions that require a robe.   The Fantasmal Government is the only source for the special ustus required to make a silver or gold belt since those belts are infused with the Fantasmal Signature. There are only a few merchants allowed to purchase this and they typically work directly with the Fantasmal Government. Merchants will lose their license if they create or sell counterfeit robes or sell any robe to a person who does not meet the appropriate rank or qualification.  
Rank/Status Robe Belt
Fantasma Mandant-Purple Fantasmal-Gold
Guardian Mandant-Purple Fantasmal-Silver
Mandant Mandant-Purple White
Epouranal Mage Mentant-Blue Fantasmal-Gold
Mind Mage Mentant-Blue Fantasmal-Silver
Mentant / Mentant-Non Mentant-Blue White
Quickener (Fully Qualified) Mentant-Blue Mandant-Purple
Channeler (Fully Qualified) Mentant-Blue Red
Commander of Weather Environ-Grey Fantasmal-Gold
Weather Master Environ-Grey Fantasmal-Silver
Environ (Fully Qualified) Environ-Grey Mandant-Purple
Environ (Student) Environ-Grey White
Order of Nature Chief Nature-Green Fantasmal-Silver
Summoner (Fully-Qualified) Nature-Green Mandant-Purple
Summoner (Trainee) Nature-Green White
Healer (Fully Qualified) Nature-Green Mentant-Blue
Healer Nature-Green Nature-Green
Daughter of the Sun Sunnin-Yellow Fantasmal-Gold
Daughter of the Sun Sunnin-Yellow Fantasmal-Gold
Sisterhood of Ester Sunnin-Yellow Fantasmal-Silver
Sunnin Social System Staff Sunnin-Yellow White
Non / Anti-Mentant White Mentant-Blue
Crystal-Non White White
Monarch / Head of State White Fantasmal-Gold
Nobility White Fantasmal-Silver
City Mayor / Leader White Fantasmal-Silver
Fantasmal Government Staff White Mandant-Purple
  Fantasmal-gold, Fantasmal-silver, mandant-purple, mentant-blue, nature-green, Sunnin-yellow, and environ-grey are specific hues of their respective colors.  
  • Fantasmal-Silver: #AAA9AD
  • Fantasmal-Gold: #D1B000
  • Mentant-Blue: #4169E1
  • Mandant-Purple: #5F388C
  • Sunnin-Yellow: #FFF154
  • Nature-Green: #005427
  • Environ-Grey: #D3D3D3
  • Page Contents
    Quartz-Based Items & Tech
    Invented 63 TS
    Inventor(s) Terrance Stokenshire
    Primary Quartz Ustus
    Library Info & Links
    Item type
    Clothing / Accessory

    Quartz Guide
    (Main Article)
    Noteable Variants
    Quartz-Based Products & Devices Related Articles

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