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Lore:Crafting Motif 102: Sul-Xan Style

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Crafting Motif 102: Sul-Xan Style
by Professor Astinia Bincal, University of Gwylim, Anthropology Department
A guide to crafting armor and weapons in the Sul-Xan style

I feel no need to point out to my readers that scholars of Argonian cultural mores come by the bushel. The recent mania in our scholarly community to expose "dark secrets" of the beast race in the swamps has led to such trite revelations as "On Crunchy Bugs and Moist Spines- An Investigation into Gustatory Practices of Southern Argonians." However, during a recent sojourn through Blackwood, I encountered a tribe with a culture so distinct that I felt compelled to document it. After my entourage graciously cut down several of these Sul-Xan, I collected their effects. What follows are descriptions of the materials and methods of construction which appear unique to this group.


Atop the long, narrow hilt, each of these weapons display a half-moon shaped blade unlike others I've seen. On each side of the blade, two silvery spikes jut out menacingly. However, these are not merely ornamental. I personally witnessed their tearing abilities upon several guards once the curved blade nearly cut them in twain.


Primarily constructed from what I believe is thick haj mota leather, Sul-Xan belts offer a great deal of support when carrying multiple heavy weapons. The buckles appear fashioned from basic steel, but the iconography etched on them must require a sharp eye and steady hand.


I regret that my time trudging through the swamps left mud caked within my every pore. So, when I see the Sul-Xan footwear has an open-toed design, I admit my bafflement. Perhaps the claws of the tribe are especially sharp? The supple leather structure does offer impressive support on the calf area. I imagine they find it helpful while chasing down prey as it flees at high speed.


Our group once stumbled upon a small Sul-Xan encampment to our surprise. Once the villains were no longer a threat, I discovered their bows are strung using alit sinew, finely stretched and dried across several bone racks. The delicate recurve of the bow limbs strangely conflicts with the garish metal adornments on the riser.


No surprise that such a vicious people focus on defending sensitive vital body areas. Even the lighter armors have metal plating protecting the chest and gut. Every piece is also quite tight-fitting, so that nothing can be snagged during battle. Intricate scale plating underlies dark leather, providing extra protection.


Mention a dagger, and I think of the pocket blade I carried when I left home the first time. For Sul-Xan, a dagger means the length of a dragon's tooth. While basic in construction—simple steel blade and leather grip—the size is quite enormous.


Much like the boots, Sul-Xan gloves are opened to bare the claws. Argonian fighters always have one last line of defense should they lose a weapon. Along the top of the wrist and forearm, they have placed a thick metal brace to prevent the loss of the combatant's sharp claws.


Each headpiece holds a scowling death mask carved from a bright jade. If the intent is to intimidate, they succeed. Some will sport massive curving horns like the claws of some great crab. In the interest of academics, I admit that when I close my eyes, these faces haunt me still.


Aesthetically simple, yet functionally perfect. The flexible leather surrounds the leg providing excellent range of motion. But the dull metal brace across the shin offers protection from severing. I imagine the knee spikes can also do vicious damage during intense melee.


The Sul-Xan imagination for their maces does not seem to have gone much further than "heavy and hard." The heads are a fat cylinder of dense metal, perhaps steel, with decorative designs etched in. The handles are simple but display the same jade circle on the end that we see on the other weapons.


Of all Sul-Xan armaments, I appreciate their shields the most. Unlike the ovoid appearance of many other cultures, these are more angular. Notches on each side offer resting places for weapons to stab without dropping protection. And impressive jade work upon the surface demonstrates a greater eye for artistry than expected from these savages.


Taking inspiration from the maws of beasts found within the swamps, Sul-Xan shoulder armor focuses on deadly spikes. Large steel thorns jutting from the armor not only make them appear larger but also gives them an edge in case of close quarters grappling. One such spike entered the skull of a guardsman, thus demonstrating their efficacy firsthand.


Despite their primary use by magic-slingers, large spikes upon the staves offer additional benefits in case of melee. The heads are decorated with the same awful visage as the masks. Perhaps representing a revered ancestor of a sort? I will need to find a living subject to interview.


As with most other Sul-Xan arms, simple yet deadly is the guiding principle for swords. The blades are thick steel, with a slight curve to encourage tearing of flesh. The pommels are made of darkened wood and wrapped in alit leather, with the signature jade ring on the base.