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Palesian Cloak

The most identifiable item of the Scouts of Palesia are their Palesian cloaks. Indeed, within the Aeriscan League the Scouts are often refered to as "Greencloaks," due to their association with the garment. In addition to keeping a Scout warm, the cloak also serves as protection from the rain, hunter's camouflage, a bedroll, a makeshift satchel, and finally, a burial shroud.

Typically worn as a traveller's cloak, a Scout may also don the garment as a waistband, loincloth, skirt/sarong, or turban as circumstances require. When worn on the shoulders, the cloak is held closed by a simple sliver brooch.

Mechanics & Inner Workings

The secret to the superior water-repellant and tear-resistant properties of a Palesian cloak is the naturally high amount of lanolin present in the shorn wool of the Kharadim sheep. In order to ensure a constant supply of this special wool, some Scouts choose to live as solitary itinerant shepherds who roam across the wilderness of Aerisca Borealis with their flocks of Kharadim sheep. Known by the Naric term "Ra'yim," they occupy an honored status within the Scouts.

Manufacturing process

When children raised in a Scout band reach adolescence, (typically at 14 or 15 years of age) they are tasked with the creation of a cloak as a demonstration of their maturity and mastery of woodcraft. In order to acquire the materials necessary for the construction of a cloak, a Scout initiate must venture forth into the Aeriscan wilderness to find one of the nomadic Ra'yim who raise the sheep that produce the special Kharadim wool used for the cloak. As the shepherds intentionally live far away from civilized areas, this is considered a test of the Scout's ability in tracking and survival. Through an understanding of the secret system of blazes used by the Scouts, the young initiate follows wilderness trails until a shepherd is found. The Scout is then given a skein of wool by the shepherd as a reward for successfully tracking him or her down.

After receiving the skein of wool, the Scout must then spin it into yarn using the spindle and distaff given to him or her before setting forth on the quest. The process of hand spinning is considered a test of the initiate's dexterity and patience. Afterwards, the yarn must be dyed using particular varieties of woad (for blue) and weld (for yellow) until it is the correct shade of green to be considered a Palesian cloak. Locating and harvesting the plants used for the dye in the scrublands of Aerisca Borealis tests of the Scout's knowledge of herbalism. The dyed yarn is then woven into fabric using a portable back strap loom carried by the initiate for this purpose. Like the spinning, the weaving is a demonstration of a Scout's manual skill and attention to detail, as the fabric used in a Palesian cloak must have a high thread count in order for it to successfully display the water and tear resistant characteristics so valued by the Scouts. Finally, the Scout initiate then tailors the fabric into a cloak using a pattern given to him or her by his or her parents. Upon finishing the cloak, the young Scout initiate returns to his or her band to be judged on the craftsmanship displayed in the construction of the cloak. If the cloak is deemed worthy by the elders of the band, the initiate is considered a fully adult Scout with all the rights and responsibilities entailed.

Significance

A Palesian cloak is an outward sign of membership in the Scouts and serves as both advertisement for the Scout's services and warning to any who would seek to cause harm. So important is the cloak to the Scouts of Palesia, it is one of the three items Scouts vow to have on their person at all times. Only the most foolhardy would dare don a Palesian cloak and not be a Scout as they would attract negative attention from both the Scouts (who would assume the wearer killed its rightful owner) and their enemies (who would assume the wearer is a Scout).

Each Scout constructs his or her own cloak from materials he or she collected and manufactured as a rite of passage. Whereas spinning yarn and weaving fabric is seen as women's work to most Aeriscans, both men and women raised within the Scouts of Palesia learn these arts from a young age, as it is seen as part of the self-sufficency necessary for a Scout's life.

O Bira! Bless this cloak of green,
So by my prey, I am not seen!
— Hymn of the Cloak
Item type
Clothing / Accessory
Manufacturer
Owning Organization
Rarity
Very Rare
Weight
2 lbs
Dimensions
A Palesian Cloak is custom-fit to the Scout who made it.
Base Price
While a Scout would never willingly sell a cloak, the materials to make a cloak cost around 20 GP. A finished cloak might fetch up to 1000 GP on the black market, if it can be proven it is authentic.
Raw materials & Components
  • Kharadim wool
  • Palesian Green dye
Tools
  • Spindle and distaff
  • Back strap loom
  • Shears, needle and thread

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Cover image: Target Down by Nathan Park

Comments

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
10 May, 2021 07:44

Nice article! I like the amount of details you have about the wool :D It's very cool that the initiate have to do all the crafting of the cloak while on the move, carrying all the necessary tools on them at all time :D How much does it all weight?   How long does this quest generally last? I imagine the initiate must also have something to hunt to survive during that time.   I'm wondering what the shepherd gains from gifting the wool. Do they want to encourage scouts so that they keep coming back to them?

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Master SamuLij
Lleij Schwartz
10 May, 2021 16:18

Thank you for your comments. The tools wouldn't weigh that much as a spindle and distaff is literally just two sticks and a backstrap loom is stone age tech designed for a nomadic lifestyle (https://www.kimberlyhamill.com/blog/2019/5/22/how-to-make-your-own-backstrap-loom), I'm guessing the loom would be around 5 pounds/2 kilograms.   If the Scout is skilled, the quest might take anywhere from 1 to 3 months. A Scout would certainly have to hunt and forage for food, which is also part of the test. I'll add that as further detail! Thank you. :)   The shepherds (Ray'im) view the gift of wool as a duty, as Scouts themselves, they feel a responsibility to keep the traditions alive for the next generation. They gain in status through their sacrifice of living as a hermit. Thank you for this question, I'll also add that detail.

11 May, 2021 19:42

Great article! I love the idea of the scouts having to find the roaming scouts as a test to create their cloak. I wonder though since those scouts live rather hermit lives what do they do if they feel that their end is coming? Do they return then as to not lose all of the animals?

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Master SamuLij
Lleij Schwartz
13 May, 2021 04:38

Thank you for the kind words! You raise a good question about the shepherds. It would seem to me that there would be some sort of hand-off between one who wishes to enter the life of the ra'yim and one who is too old to continue. As for how they meet, well, that's why Tel has a god of fate! :)

18 May, 2021 11:48

Interesting article. I love how you used the template prompts to their full potential. The scouts seem like a great bunch to have around judging by their care and dedication to their uniform!

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Master SamuLij
Lleij Schwartz
5 Jun, 2021 16:02

Thank you so much for the kind words! If one is on your side, a Scout is definitely handy! On the other hand, if one is hired to track you down, you'll have a rough time of it.

27 May, 2021 21:02

Nice article! The Scout having to go through tests to get the materials and make the cloak themselves is really quite fascinating. As the Scouts have to make the green with blue and yellow dye, is there no green dye? Or is the reason for this that there is no dye that makes that specific shade of green?   Also, what would happen if someone were not to pass with their cloak (perhaps the shade of green is off)? If they start again, is there a limit to how many times they can do so?

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Master SamuLij
Lleij Schwartz
5 Jun, 2021 16:09

Thank you for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to read my article! You are correct that the reason the Scouts use blue and yellow is to make a specific shade of green. I was inspired by the real-world history of "Lincoln green" in medieval England.   If a scout does not succeed in constructing a passable cloak, they can try again as soon as they feel ready. However, this is rare as most Scouts would only consider undertaking this quest when they have completely mastered the skills necessary to spare themselves the embarrassment of failure. Likewise, there is no limit for attempts, but a Scout who required multiple attempts would probably have a poor reputation among his or her peers.

29 May, 2021 15:02

Sounds like an interesting way to prove one's skills, interesting test!

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
Master SamuLij
Lleij Schwartz
5 Jun, 2021 16:09

Thank you for your comment!

31 May, 2021 18:02

I really like this article, it is a really good read and actually gives me a really good idea for the organization they are apart of. I do have two questions though:   You mentioned that a person who has a cloak but isn't a scout will attract negative attention, but is there a clear way to know? Are the cloaks of the scouts secretly magic?   Secondly, can the scouts get new cloaks or how do they repair their cloaks with they are destroyed.   Also, are they buried with their cloak if they die?   SO MANY QUESTIONS! LOVE THIS ARTICLE!

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Master SamuLij
Lleij Schwartz
5 Jun, 2021 16:21

Thank you so much for your kind words and taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your thoughtful questions and I will integrate the answers into my article to improve it. The cloaks aren't magical in any way, but the reputation of the Scouts precedes them. If a non-Scout wearing the cloak encountered a real Scout, he or she would be quickly found out in conversation when it became clear that the imposter possesses none of the cultural knowledge a Scout would have been socialized into from birth. Similarly, an enemy of the Scouts would most likely attack first and ask questions later.   Scouts carry a sewing kit to repair their cloaks when out on the field. If the cloak is so damaged that they need to construct a new one, they can do so with no penalty. The Scouts are a hardy and pragmatic bunch and understand these things happen. However, as tracking down the shepherds to acquire Kharadim wool is an arduous task, most Scouts take good care of their garment.   As for the last question, yes, a Scout is wrapped in his or her cloak as a burial shroud when they die. It is considered a great honor and fits with their practical ways. They live in an arid climate and consider a wooden coffin to be a waste of an important resource.