Caerulus Desert Cloak

This battle ready newcomer striding through the city-gate is carrying a gnoll head. Likely came through as a victor to some scattered remains of Kishughis's hordes.
  From the brighter blue spots on their faded blue cloak, you could tell this desert traveler was unable to afford a new one, and thus was attacked by the giant scorpions. Let us pray the renewed blood on their cloaks will protect them, should they leave the city again.
— Recounting of an knowledge keeper in Da Lonsan
  Used by merchants and well-off mercenaries usually, these blue desert cloaks don't only protect you from the searing heat of the sun, but also keep Giant Scorpions, Serkians, and other creatures off your back.

  While blue is a colour associated with royalty in many circles, these cloaks are usually a little darker or less pronounced, and is known as the uniform of mercenaries, merchants, desert guides, and nomads, as they wear it functionally to protect themselves from the heat and to ward off animals.

BlueCloak.jpg
by Nico F. / Me

Mechanics & Inner Workings

The repelling effect on monsters was discovered completely by accident. According to druids of the land, there is a smell in the scorpion blood that is unrecognizable for humanoid noses, which repels scorpions and supposedly even arachnids as well as wyverns. A lot of testing had to be done to find the exact list of creatures, especially with druids only able to change shape into beasts. In conclusion, similar to the pheromones used by scorpions, giant and small alike, to find each other, this reaction to the blood dye is at least an inborn reaction to the smell and even sight of the blue scorpion blood.  

Sight

  Understandably, even the sight of this blue substance might cause adverse reactions in scorpions. This colour against the sandy background is likely also one of the reasons why the rare dragon attacks have also been reported with people wearing these cloaks. On this note, using lapis lazuli for example doesn't evoke quite the same reaction up close, therefore, while blue colour is likely to work at least in a limited capacity, Caerulus Cloaks are always the safest bet.

Smell

  An odorant in the blood of scorpions and arachnids, (dyed blue by the Hemocyanin,) alerts both creature types that something has been capable of killing their kin, thus an evolutionary adaption alerts them that there is danger, likely capable of harming them. Due to smells differing by individual, blood from several different creatures present, means more danger from the source of the fragrance, thus strengthening the potency of the cloak. Only desperate members of one of the species, or those with enough numbers, will instead attack.   Serkians, scorpid-human looking creatures, also recognise the smell, and will attack if they have a large enough war band, potentially seeking revenge for slaying creatures they usually ally with. Serkians have been considered for using as materials in these cloaks as well. This however spawned a rather unpleasent ethical conversation.   Thankfully, the olfactory systems of humanoids are incapable of registering what the scorpions register in the dye. Although some Lizardfolk and Yunkha have described the any whiff of air they take near one of these cloaks as "unpleasantly acidic". The fragrance other humanoids associate with the cloaks however, is a metallic one.
While most wearers wear something between the skin and the cloak (like traveller's clothing, or desert clothing), contact with the cloak and skin or sweat is sometimes unavoidable. In this case, the copper content in the dye reacts with the sweat or the oil in the skin, oxidising them, and chemically changing the fragrance to that one would get when holding and handling copper coins.
One rather uncomfortable trend, sees merchants rubbing and smelling the cloaks, claiming to deduce its age and quality in this way.

Manufacturing process

First the dye needs to be harvested. Most hunters bring scorpions down with bludgeoning weapons, and drag the beast back to town for the blood to be drained. But sometimes extraction is performed on location by a skilled butcher. After placing cuts at specific locations of the scorpion body, the blood is more efficiently drained, using lightning magic to contract the body of the creature several times to squeeze out as much as possible. The blood is then quickly transported to the business partners and local weavers.

Cloth is woven carefully and dyed and redyed using the harvested Cypan Imperius several times during the weaving of the cloaks.

Significance

This cloak has become an integral part of most merchants' attire.
Danger!
Dragons for example are really good at smelling this substance, or even spotting it from high up. Even the Primal Beast associated with Da Lonsan's scorpions is rumored to know the exact location of every one of these cloaks, waiting for the day it might take revenge for its kin.

Item type
Clothing / Accessory
Current Location
Rarity
Common
Weight
5 lbs
Base Price
500 GP
Raw materials & Components
  • Cotton 1/2 layers; Higher valued variants use Silk, cheaper versions using linen and other fibres
  • Cypan Imperius
  • Ivory, copper, or wood buttons
  • string (sometimes made from animal hair or giant spider silk)
Tools
Pools of dye
Weaver's tools
Sewing Equipment

Quality

  Over time, the discreet blood smell the cloak provides, fades, giving a low quality, quick soak, slightly dyed cloak a life expectancy of 2 years. A high quality cloak, soaked in several different blood baths, for days at a time, can give protection for up to 5 or sometimes even 10 years. Some cloaks are treated, or rather lightly sanded with temporal sand glued to palm leaves, supposedly extending their lifetime and strong colour tenfold to a hundred years.
The highest quality dye is said to glow in the dark, which comes from the oldest scorpions and is only given to nobles and officials of Da Lonsan, though most travellers, mercenaries, and merchants have never seen one that actually glows on the dark.

 

Fading

  When approaching its maximum lifetime, the blue of the cloak will become faded, look worn down. Exposure to oxygen, the sun, and water can shorten the lifetime of a cloak drastically. Correct storage after usage is required to potentially even surpass the maximum expected lifetime.



Cover image: by Nico F. / Me

Comments

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Grandmaster KajetanWrites
Kajetan Krakowiak-Świątnicki
4 May, 2021 20:57

Very interesting article. I would like to know more about how it repels scorpions. The quote suggests that when a cloak's colour fades it becomes less effective. Why? What about those other monsters?

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4 May, 2021 21:30

Thank you for the follow up prompt! I very easily gloss over details so your support is godsent, I mean, it's you sent but it helps big time! Thank you, I'll work it in when I am on PC again so I don't trash any formatting

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
6 May, 2021 10:19

Very nice cloak!   I like the twist that dragons are attracted to it and that Tincalli will attack too :D   I'm guessing people had better not wash those cloak… Do people try to cover over things in the dye? I'd imagine some people would want all of their clothes made form it for extra protection or as a status symbol. Could they paint other stuff too? Like a chariot that needs to be transported through the desert.   What is the smell like for human? Is it noticeable? Does it smell bad?

7 May, 2021 06:29

Exactly! Very good detail noticed there! I'll likely write the other uses into the material instead of the cloak tho ;D definitely a great idea!   Amongst the traveling folk and most specifically merchants, mercenaries, and guides, having more dyed clothing and brighter colours would likely increase one's trustworthiness! Not so sure about the aristocracy as they'd likely not have this social pressure and instead likely could go for different and more expensive dye to distinguish themselves a little.   That is a good question! I'll go into some detail involving this, but copper based blood would likely smell very similar to iron when in contact with the oil of our skin or sweat etc thus leading to a sort of rusty smell. Great food for thought! (which will make into the article :D) Thank you!

6 May, 2021 12:24

Wear is or be attacked ... wear it and be attacked ... oh, the choices lol

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7 May, 2021 06:31

Chances of dragon attacks are in most places lower than those of giant scorpion attacks :D thus, with many merchant traveling into the desert towns, it's a safer bet to have one and risk the lone dragon swooping by, than become the single nicely smelling meal in the sand for hordes of giant scorpions >:D

Master SamuLij
Lleij Schwartz
9 May, 2021 01:16

I like the idea of the blood acting as a repellant. It gives the cloak a practical use as well as a fashionable one!

11 May, 2021 05:54

My favourite kind of fashion is practical :D

12 May, 2021 15:24

Interesting idea to use the blood to repel potential attackers! A shame that it can also attract dragons :p I like how there is a limit to the time it can effectively be used. One small note is that if you ever want to publish your world that you can't use DnD exclusive names like Yuan-ti. But that can easily be remedied by renaming and creating your own version of them :)

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12 May, 2021 20:46

Thank you! Good point I still need to change that :/ I will change that asap! Overlooked that they aren't in the base rules :< thanks for letting me know!

12 May, 2021 20:55

Yeah indeed it is something which is easy to overlook :p I just know about the Yuan-ti because they are mentioned as not public in the SRD so thought I would give a headsup :)

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12 May, 2021 21:33

Thank you! I removed those so far! I'll see where else I used non-SRD content, and I'll be careful in the future :D

18 May, 2021 14:40

I love how you took the time to detail the smell.


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18 May, 2021 18:40

It was a night of spiralling down the rabbit hole of research, and smelling on my hands after touching coins and steel wool.... this is a weird way of saying: Thank you very much! :D

18 May, 2021 18:58

xD


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20 May, 2021 07:39

Really digging the blood as both dye and repellant thing! That's a real cool, interesting thing :D   Some small feedback and notes from reading it:   "According to druids of the desert, enzymes contained within the scorpion blood, that serves as the blue dye, repels scorpions and supposedly even arachnids as well as wyverns"   What is the technological level of this setting? If it is more fantasy/medieval, I would perhaps advice using some other word than enzyme, since it wouldn't be something they might know and breaks us out of the immersion.   "An odourant in the blood of scorpions and arachnids, dyed blue by the Hemocyanin, alerts both creature types that something has been capable of killing their kin, thus an evolutionary adaption alerts them that there is danger, likely capable of harming them."   Same here - adourant, hemocyanin, evolutionary adaption... Are these terms the people in your setting would use? Based on what I've seen, it sounds like it is more of a D&D style setting? It is perhaps worth thinking about. :)   "Over time, the discreet blood smell the cloak provides, fades, giving a low quality, quick soak, slightly dyed cloak a life expectancy of 2 years."   There's a lot of commas in this sentence, giving it a sort of choppy feel. I would suggest maybe putting it into a text-to-speech thing to get an idea how how the commas makes it sound :)   A question: if blood has this sort of effect, are there any uses of them as basically stink bombs? Load a potion full of blood and throw it to create the same thing, or a spray? :)   Very well done :D

22 May, 2021 08:23

I also came here to mention the enzymes :P   They do not seem to fit with the level of technology implied in the world. Moreover, I do not see how enzymes could work as repellents. In the real world, they do work as pesticides, but not as repellents. Later on, pheromones are mentioned, which is a lot more likely than enzymes. However, I am unsure whether people would know in your setting what a pheromone is.   As a suggestion, consider the word substance or even essence. I think they could fit what you are going for.   A typo:
"Recounting of an knowledge keeper in Da Lonsan"
a instead of an   A question:
What is "temporal sand" and how do they all work in extending the cloak's longevity? Maybe a tooltip could help to explain this.   I really enjoyed the idea of these cloaks and the drawing made to accompany the article! And having half-scorpion people in your setting makes it all the more interesting. Cool stuff!   PS: You have two "Smell" sections.

24 May, 2021 09:11

First of all, thank both you (Qurilion), and MGatta for your valuable feedback!   I will come home tonight and try and work in all of the corrections. You both make great points that help me with both my phrasing (obviously in addition to typos, I totally read past this one .-.) and probably overall way of thinking while writing on worldanvil.   I have to find this sweet spot between understandable and in world accuracy (and I'll have to get my biology info on track). Thank you for your feedback. I'll hopefully manage to incorporate it accordingly.

24 May, 2021 09:48

Personally, and especially for a fantasy world, I find it also comes down to reader expectation. Readers of a fantasy world will be fine with less accuracy, while sci-fi readers want more.   You can even use this to your advantage! People in your world might not exactly understand what's going on, but they'll have ideas. That's how culture happens, and superstitions - myths, legends. and all that fun stuff.   So it boils down to what you want to tell, but consider the examples:   The cloak works because it is doused with enzymes...   or:   In ages past, the hero Namako challenged the Divine Scorpion to a duel and cut their tail off, their clothes becoming doused with the blood. Since then, all the Scorpion's children have inherited the same fear that they felt then.   It's not great, but it gives you an idea of how you can tie stuff like this into the larger world, too. :) Is that story true? Who knows! Probably not! But people might believe it. :D   Good luck!

30 May, 2021 08:36

Very good point! Thank you! For now most of the pseudo- half-modern knowledge and terminology except for pheromones (changed the usage tho) are out/reworked :D I'll see later if I can work this into a "recounting" sort of style instead of going full fantasy-wiki entry

29 May, 2021 20:58

That's a neat way to dye clothes. Wait, does that mean some people are hired to hunt Scorpions and collect blood, or butcher and immediately dye?

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30 May, 2021 08:34

That is a very good point! It would probably cause either weavers to come out with whoever kills the scorpions, or bludgeoning weaponry to become the go-to means of killing a scorpion, to keep the blood fresh while transporting the scorpion :D