Terran Robes Item in The Magic Multiverse | World Anvil
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Terran Robes

Walking into a Sanctuary on Earth will often feel like meeting a rainbow of people. That doesn't necessarily mean that the members of the Sanctuary are diverse so much that they wear a literal rainbow of clothes, especially to official functions or when travelling the wider Multiverse. Their robes can give a stranger a quick glimpse into a given mage's specialty, their Affinities, their rank in the Seven and even where on Earth they're from.  

Appearance and Ornamentation

Most Terran robes are made from about 7-8 square metres of fabric; the type of cloth is often polyester these days, but older or specially crafted robes can be made from wool, tweed, linen, cotton, silk or (extremely rarely due to it being often banned) denim. Taller Sophonts often need more fabric, and a mage can request an inner lining of a certain colour which will double the required amount of fabric.   What the robe looks like follows a general set of criteria:
  • The Affinity of the mage determines the basic colour palette of the robe. Depending on the dress code of the Sanctuary, these colours might be colour accents on the collar or bottom hem of the robe, or might be the main colour of the robe. The colours are as follows: Fire is red, Protection is orange, Air is yellow, Earth is green, Water is blue, Flora & Fauna is purple, Mind is pink, Health is brown or dark red, Time is black, Lightning is grey and Illusion is white.
  • If a mage has multiple Affinities (a relatively common occurrence) or they feel that their Affinities don't accurately portray their area of specialization, they might use multiple colours from the above or some other colour to indicate this. A mage with a double Affinity for Fire and Lightning, for example, might wear a red robe with grey fringes or a plain robe with a red-and-grey collar. Another example is that many Enchanters working in Sanctuaries wear light brown robes to indicate their profession.
  • There is a very specific rule regarding the cuffs of the robes: Masters will wear robes whose cuffs are silver or grey while their Apprentices will have a plain cuff or no cuff at all. Some Directors of Sanctuaries have golden cuffs on their robes or a rainbow pattern here, depending on the dress code of the specific Sanctuary.
  • Most Sanctuaries permit one badge to be worn with the robes, usually pinned over the heart or sewn into the fabric in that spot. These badges are for identifying a particular profession that the mage holds, such as a combat medic, or a guild or Department they belong to in the Seven, such as the sign of a set of scales for the Department of Justice. A few Sanctuaries, particularly in North America, permit a second badge or pin that has their pronouns on it so strangers can properly address them.
  • Most robes are fastened with small plastic or metal fasteners on the inside of the robe or are buttoned up with plastic or ceramic buttons. Many Sanctuaries permit the wearing of a belt in addition to help tie it together, usually of a similar colour to the robe or to the cuff colour.
These are generalizations that were originally codified by the mages of New York in 1997 and updated in the years since, but every Sanctuary will have its own dress code that will clarify what kinds of robes and colours and ornamentation are permitted for its members.  
Regulations regarding the wearing of robes/dress robes in the Sanctuary:
  • Robes cannot be worn on Saturdays so as to respect Shabbat activities.
  • Clothing (robes or otherwise) may not be so long as to be caught underfoot or tuck into shoes.
  • Robes may not be worn in the outside courtyards as it is possible for mundane folk to be able to surveil the building from above.
  • When in doubt for social or religious reasons, wear regular clothing or ask an expert.
— Extract from a rulebook from the Tel Aviv Sanctuary

Wearing Robes

Robes are a requirement for many social gatherings between mages. These might be events like a marriage, a meeting with an important dignitary, an election or a holiday. Many will also wear them as a general rule when travelling around inside of a Sanctuary, such as having meetings at lunch time or when teaching students, but this is generally not required.   Naturally, robes are never worn when travelling in the rest of the world outside of the Sanctuary, as Terran mages do not want to violate the Terra Doctrine by bringing undue suspicion onto themselves. Robes are often worn, however, when Terran mages are travelling to Limbo or to any of the other worlds of the Multiverse. This differentiates them from other Sophonts like the opur of Endaman or the tepilar of Orkanis who might look very similar otherwise.
Item type
Clothing / Accessory
Current Location
They will often reach just above the ankle, leaving the feet, hands and head exposed.
Base Price
Usually distributed and updated free of charge.
Related Species
Terran Human

History of Terran Robes

As soon as magic first arrived on the world, Terrans immediately began to go into hiding, forming small subcultures of magic-using people who often felt like exiles from their home cultures. They immediately began to try to create (or recreate) the sort of clothing that appeared in folklore and stories in an attempt to define themselves, and so many began to wear robes.   It wasn't until the arrival of the Seven about a century ago that these bands of mages began to be connected to one another. Since robes were the most common clothing option that defined these groups as a whole, they became the general expectation for Terrans, then the rule. The last couple of decades has cemented robes as a general uniform for Terran mages whenever they are in their Sanctuaries or on official business in other parts of the Multiverse.  

Robe patterns and colours from a French Sanctuary.

Non-Robe-Wearing Cultures

Terran Humans are so diverse that many cultures have specific cultural practices that prevent the wearing of this particular style of robes or replaces them with something that is more culturally appropriate. In particular, many South Asian and sub-Saharan African cultures feel like the usage of robes is another colonization tactic by a predominantly European robe-wearing culture. Therefore, they replace the robe with more appropriate clothing but often guard some of the same colouration and ornamentation practices. The Seven does not have specific rulings regarding clothing, so it is often up to the individual Sanctuaries to determine which clothing types are considered respectful.
Unless otherwise credited, all art is created by me, EmperorCharlesII

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May 10, 2021 07:11 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Nice article :D I like the story of why people started to wear robes one day, and that some countries just refused to do so :D   "extremely rarely due to it being often banned" This is intriguing so I think you can add a tooltip here to explain why it's banned.

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May 13, 2021 12:05

Interesting article! It is nice how each affinity has its own color but still can be mixed in case of multiple ones. I like how the entire wearing of robes is a hidden subculture that non mages can't be allowed to see. Nice read!

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May 16, 2021 00:45

This is such a cool peek into your world and the culture of this magical Earth! I love the history section in the sidebar and all the details that ground it in the real world's culture. This really feels like an alternate Earth. One thing I was confused about though - what would a "plain" colored robe look like? White, black, brown, and gray all mean certain things, so what would plain be?

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May 17, 2021 12:23

Interesting article. I like how different affinities have different colours. Did you draw the pictures yourself? They are very nice.

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May 20, 2021 00:47 by Emperor Charles II

I did draw them myself, actually! Although this reminded me that the art credit was missing so thanks for that!

May 17, 2021 21:03 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love that you've added a pattern for the robe on the side. That's such a nice touch. I also really like that some cultures see robe-wearing as a western colonisation tactic and they choose to wear something different that still displays the colours. :D

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Jun 4, 2021 17:17 by Jared

This is a very interesting outfit. I find the reasoning behind the banning of denim very intriguing. Banning a whole material partially because it’s difficult to clean! So petty, but just really makes sense alongside the whole rebel thing.   I find the coloration of the robe very fascinating as well, with both the affinity bit and the cuffs. Also good that some of the robes have pronouns on them, that is always good to see. The cultural differences on the sidebar was nice as well! Overall this was a very good read!

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Jan 2, 2023 03:57 by Molly Marjorie

I love the details here about cultural differences, particularly the way that South Asian and Sub-Saharan African cultures often don't use robes because they see it as a colonization tactic, and that the Tel Aviv sanctuary does not allow robes on Shabbat.

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