No traveling Redcap should ever be caught without a pair of strong sturdy boots. Enchanted footwear is therefore a common choice of target for effects. Calf leather predominates due to its availability, but boots made of the hides of other animals, even magical creatures such as drakes and dragons may be enchanted to make use of relevant Shape & Material bonuses.
Common shoes in the thirteenth century were commonly turnshoes, made of one piece of leather, stitched and then turned inside out to help make them waterproof. Other materials besides leather are possible, with both cloth and metal being common. At least one Redcap, the Loch Leglean Bloodcap known as Raghnall MacDerilch, wears finely crafted shoes made of metal.
Overly traditional Redcaps sometimes wear sandals of the type Roman legionnaires used to wear known as caligae but these are considered less practical than boots, particularly in the more northern or mountainous areas of Mythic Europe. Theban Redcaps may sport a type of buskin known as a kothurnus, a high thick-soled boot once worn by Athenian actors and still used by the Byzantine emperors. Clogs are a style of wooden shoe common to the Low Countries – although ill suited to long overland trips, the use of unusual or rare wood in their construction allows the use of a wider variety of Shape & Material bonuses when enchanting.
Snowshoes have not been invented yet – in the thirteenth century are anachronistic, but a clever Alpine Redcap or Mercere magus might craft them. They would provide a Major equipment bonus (see Grogs, page 47), reducing the Ease Factor for Athletics (walking in snow) by 3, and could be enchanted with various travel effects.
Boots and shoes have a Size modifier of x3, but as they are made of leather (2 Base points) are limited to a maximum of 60 levels of invested effects. Footwear is typically with enchantments that improve agility and speed, allow the wearer to pass over water or swampy ground without penalty or an effect that leaves no trace of the wearer’s passage.
Boots enchanted with Seven League Stride are common enough amongst magi but few Redcaps would entrust such a vital effect to an item that can be readily lost or stolen and may prefer the use of lickstones (see below) for this sort of emergency escape effect.
Raghnall’s Iron-Shod Shoes
These non-magical iron shoes have been crafted with wickedly sharp curved tips, making them useful against faeries and other Scottish creatures vulnerable to this metal. They have been crafted as an Item of Quality by a master craftsman to be particularly light and flexible despite their unusual material and provide +2 to Damage and +1 to Attack and Defense rolls when kick attacks are used.
The Boots of Marco the Liar
The irascible Redcap Marco, whom many consider a compulsory liar, claims to have a magical pair of Faerie boots, which once belonged to a Diedne archmaga. He has told stories that these can be grown from a tree planted from a hobnail seed.
The shoes allegedly allow the wearer to escape from anything – pursuit by enemies, mundane traps, from within closed regiones and, if Marco is to be believed (and many would strongly counsel against this), even from imprisonment by powerful magical entities such as Faerie Queens. Marco maintains that even if he loses his shoes they always find him again, an effect that has puzzled several Bonisagus magi that believe their predictive nature transgresses one of the current Limits of Hermetic Magic. Unfortunately for such curious magi, Marco always seems to have just lost his shoes, just a few hours before they request to examine his remarkable footwear…
Perhaps the shoes are only a figment of this Redcap’s over-active imagination, or perhaps they are actually a Faerie spirit that Marco has coerced into helping him escape danger in return for a place in his recursive stories. In any case, Marco is unlikely to reveal the truth, or if he does it will no doubt be hidden within so much fabrication it will be almost impossible to discern!
More details of Marco’s magical boots and further tall-tales can be found at “Games from Folktales”, Timothy Ferguson’s current blog. Set mechanics for such a wondrous item may detract from their potential story use – Troupe’s are encouraged to create their own version of this remarkable pair of shoes.