Cloaks and Mantles

The Latin word for cloak is mantellum, from which the term mantle is derived.

Many cloaks are affixed with clasps, a form of brooch that can incorporate the Redcap Pin, or other shapes and designs that vary according to local culture and Tribunal. Some cloaks have hoods, incorporating protective effects or magic more commonly associated with magical hats (see later). Further information on Medieval Clothing can be found in the sidebar on page 57 of Magi of Hermes in the chapter detailing Julia Textrix of Ex Miscellanea, a weaver maga born with the blood of a Faerie spider.

Magical cloaks are classically associated with enchantments that help conceal the wearer from view, whether by camouflage, image shifting or even full invisibility. An extension of this concept are cloaks that employ magic that allows the wearer to shift shape, whether through Hermetic magic (such as the examples on ArM5, page 131: Cloak of Black Feathers and Cloak of Mist) or by acting as the focus item for the Skinchanger Minor Virtue.  

Another popular style of enchanted cloak is to protect the wearer from the elements or attacks such as missiles or particular types of weapons. The latter type of magical garment is often crafted from the hides of dragons or legendary animals, similar to the cloak Herakles made from the Nemean Lion‘s hide.

More mundane uses of cloaks include protection from the elements. The most common example of this type enchantment used by Redcap is a variation of Cloak of the Duck’s Feathers (ArM5, page 124) that protects the messenger from the vagaries of the weather, but more complicated effects are also possible.

The supplement Magi of Hermes contains several examples of magical cloaks that a Redcap may or may not find useful in carrying out their duties:

  • The Traveler’s Comfort (protects against rain and extreme temperature, page 24)
  • Traveler’s Cloak (transforms the earth beneath into a soft bed, page 32)
  • Foul Weather’s Bane  (keeps the wearer warm and dry, page 76)
  • The Cloak of Authority (casts Aura of Rightful Authority, page 103)
  • Cloak of Wilderness Refuge (cloak expands into a tent, page 142-143)

The intelligent Magic Thing known as Amiculum, the Magical Cloak, is detailed in Realms of Power: Magic, pages 131-132 and may make an interesting magical companion for a Redcap character.

The Cloak of the Murder

This dark blue-black hooded mantle carries a somewhat sinister reputation amongst Redcaps of the Rhine. The last wearer, Gregor Corvinus, was reputedly an Infernal Goliard and died under mysterious circumstances, leaving the current wherabouts of the cloak unknown.

Upon triggering the shapechanging power of the collar, the tethered enchantment holding a murder of crows in cloak form breaks and the cloak explodes into a large swarm of crows that scatters in all directions, providing an excellent distraction if the wearer also shifts into crow shape. The crows only attack if attacked themselves, wheeling around in confusion and then usually settling on a nearby tree or building unless controlled using some form of additional Animal magic.

Murder of Crows (Crow Swarm)

   Characteristics: Int +1, Per +2, Pre -1, Com +1, Str 0, Sta +1, Dex +3, Qik +2
   Size: +2
   Natural Qualities: Accomplished Flyer, Crafty, Keen Vision, Mimicry, Vocal
   Personality Traits: Crow +5
   Combat:
     Dodge: Init +2, Attack n/a, Defense +5, Damage n/a
     Beaks: Init +2, Attack +8, Defense +7, Damage +1
   Soak: +1
   Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Unconscious
   Wound Penalties: –1 (1–7), –3 (7–14), –5 (15–22), Incapacitated (23–30), Dead (31+)
   Abilities: Athletics 5 (flying), Awareness 4 (food), Brawl 2 (dodge), Music 3 (mimicry), Survival 3 (foraging).

Encloak the Murder of Crows
MuAn 54, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Group; Pen 0, 6/day, constant, linked trigger; Harnessed, Tethered
This effect transforms a small flock of crows into a cloak that forms around the braided feather collar that acts as the spell’s focus. The Mutantum magic used to create it allows the wearer to cancel the effect when they transform, appearing as if they have exploded into a swarm of angry crows.
(Base 15, +2 Voice, +2 Sun, +2 Group, +3 6/day, +3 constant, +3 linked trigger)

The secondary enchantment that allows the wearer to shift into a crow form is non-Hermetic. The braided collar acts as the focus item for the Skinchanger Minor Virtue embedded within it. Upon shifting into crow shape, the wearer undergoes changes to their characteristics and Abilities as per the rules for “Statistics for Shapechangers” in  HoH:MC, page 23.

In the Skin of a Lion

A favorite of Mythic Redcaps belonging to the Cult of Heroes, the Nemean Cloak is allegedly the same lion’s pelt worn by Herakles, the ancient Greek demi-god. Regardless of it’s reputed origin, the current version of the cloak is a Faerie prop created by the External Vis (Major) Virtue. It contains 6 pawns of Animal vis in the claws and grants it’s wearer the Minor Virtue Lesser Immunity (slashing weapons), a slightly weaker power than the original cloak worn by the hero of legend.

The cloak consists of a whole adult male lion’s pelt, with the skull and head of the lion forming the hood. The whole garment is held in place by tying the forepaws across the wearer’s chest and provides mundane Protection as per a padded haubergeon and an open helm (see Lords of Men, pages 139-141) – equivalent to a +3 bonus. It can be worn over other forms of armor but not a helm, only increasing Encumbrance by 2, but usually rouses interest unless the Redcap is posing as a knight or other warrior.

Similar cloaks made out of a Lion of Virtue’s skin and mane in imitation of the true cloak may be enchanted with Hermetic effects that replicate the living creature’s powers such as Trackless Step, Terrifying Roar and Sleep with Eyes Open (see Realms of Power: Magic, pages 60-61).

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