IFAQ: Thrane Fashion

Art by Bad Moon for Frontiers of Eberron: Threshold

As time permits, I answer interesting questions posed by my Patreon supporters. Here’s another:

The Thrane fashion section is missing from Five Nations—any general ideas on how citizens of Thrane might dress distinctly differently from the other Five Nations?

In thinking of Thrane, it’s useful to contrast the forces shaping it to those that shaped its neighbors. Aundair has the widest penetration of everyday arcane magic and is also shaped by long-term interaction with the Fey. This leads to fashions that are wild and whimsical, to widespread glamerweave, cosmetic prestidigitation, and a general love of flamboyance and flair. On the other side, Karrnath has the harshest climate and the most martial culture. When it embraces fashion, it tends toward a gothic approach that is both grim and intentionally intimidating; the strong seek to SHOW their strength, and you see a definite martial element across general fashion. So with that said…

Faith is the cornerstone of Thrane. This predates both the Church of the Silver Flame and Thrane itself; before Galifar, the people of Daskara were devoted to the Sovereign Host. Divine magic is as important to Thrane as arcane magic is to Aundair, but that power comes from deep faith. I have always seen the typical Thrane as more humble and stoic than their counterparts in the other nations. A key element of the faith of the Silver Flame is the idea that we face a constant, shared threat—that people should be prepared to face supernatural evil and to protect themselves and their neighbors. We’ve called out that shared devotion—and practices like group archery—are key elements of daily life for the common Thrane. I see Thrane fashion as reflecting all of these things. They don’t seek to intimidate their rivals or to celebrate their martial prowess, as you see in Karrnath; and they don’t seek to shine the brightest or to dazzle their peers, as happens in Aundair. More than anything, Thrane fashion is SIMPLE and FUNCTIONAL.

Blue and silver are colors associated with the faith, and both of these colors are thus commonly seen throughout the populace. Now, it’s not that people don’t take pride in their appearance—but they aren’t especially driven by a desire to shine brighter than their neighbors; what is vital is to wear clothing that is PRACTICAL. More than any other nation, the people of Thrane know that dolgrims could burst out of the ground or ghouls could swarm out of the graveyard at any moment; so as a Thrane, you’re always thinking “Am I wearing something that would be practical in a zombie apocalypse?”

On a more specific level, I think that long coats and dusters are common in Thrane: simple, durable, versatile when it comes to weather. The same concept goes to boots and hats; in Thrane, a hat is designed to protect you from the sun and rain; in Aundair, a hat exists to make a STATEMENT, and its functionality is a secondary bonus.

This means that at a glance, Thranes have significant uniformity—similar colors, similar overall design of clothing. But it’s not a UNIFORM. And likewise, where an Aundairian will use Mending to repair damage and likely throw out (or recycle) clothing that is out of style, Thranes will wear their clothes to the bitter end and repair them by hand. They aren’t embarrassed to have clothing with patches or a cloak that’s clearly using a piece of another cloak. So while there’s a common overall style, there’s also a significant degree of tiny, unique details, as clothes evolve over time. I could also definitely imagine a patchwork aspect to clothing, almost like a quilt—where people specifically patch their clothes with pieces of cloth that have particular significance to them—heirlooms from family members, a strip from of the cloak of a heroic templar.

We can see some aspects of this reflected in Epitaph, the Thrane missionary pictured above. Epitaph is a priest, so there is a little flair to her outfit; I’d argue that her flowing sleeves are tied to a tendency to make sweeping gestures while preaching. But compared to Aundairian fashion, it’s a fairly SIMPLE outfit. There’s no glamerweave, no decorative embroidery, no jewelry, She’s wearing practical footwear. Her most prominent accessory is the symbol of her faith, as befits a missionary. Her clothing serves its purpose. Now, she doesn’t have the “patchwork” aspect I suggested above, but that’s not surprising for a missionary, who represents the Church; but the common templar isn’t embarrassed to wear a patched cloak, or their father’s long coat modified to fit their frame.

Is there a specific style of glamerweave that does incorporate silver, similar to how silverburn alters the colors of mundane fires?

The fashion potential of glamerweave is effectively limitless; it’s illusion imbued into cloth. The Church of the Silver Flame has a small but significant following in Aundair, and yes, I believe that Aundairian priests will often have burning lines of Sliver Flame traced on their robes. In my mind, Archbishoip Dariznu of Thaliost may take things even farther; I could imagine him in a silver cloak that appears to be trimmed in actual silver flames.

Does the sentiment of reducing waste and reusing things extend to food too, does Thrane have dishes equivalent to jok/congee, horchata or cod cakes, where the food can be prepared from leftover prepared food (examples far from exhaustive)?

Yes. Again, a good way to think of Thrane is We’re always prepared for a zombie apocalypse. So you’re definitely looking for ways to recycle waste and to get the most out of the supplies you have. In some ways, this is an interesting contrast to Karrnath, which we’ve always called out as the most martial by culture. Karrnath is proud of its martial heritage and has mandatory military service. But the people of Thrane are essentially SURVIVALISTS, always training to be prepared for the threats they know are out there. This ties to the point that local militias are a major part of Thrane’s military; it’s not as FORMAL as the armies of Karrnath, but again, most Thranes have drilled with the bow since childhood. And, of course, prior to the Last War the templars of Thrane often saw more active combat than many of the soldiers of Galifar; the Silver Crusade was certainly the most dramatic conflict in the century leading up to the Last War.

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31 thoughts on “IFAQ: Thrane Fashion

  1. Is there a specific style of glamerweave that does incorporate silver, similar to how silverburn alters the colors of mundane fires?

  2. You’ve mentioned that this austerity and practicality in Thrane extends to their food, citing parboiled potatoes as a common staple.

    Does the sentiment of reducing waste and reusing things extend to food too, does Thrane have dishes equivalent to jok/congee, horchata or cod cakes, where the food can be prepared from leftover prepared food (examples far from exhaustive)?

    Or would it be more “simple food, no leftovers” sort of stuff?

    • I didn’t work on Five Nations, where they first appeared, so I can’t tell you what the designer had in mind. But the intent is clear enough; they’re a particularly fiery spice derived from a plant that doesn’t exist on Earth.

    • IF you want a more mundane suggestion (perhaps to describe it to your players or you’re trying to figure out recipes) the one thing we know for sure is it either is blend that contains cinnamon, or is a similar fantasy spice to it.

      “A sweet brandy made in Thrane, traded out of Flamekeep. It has a spicy cinnamon taste to it and when drank spreads a warm glow throughout the body. [ . . . . ] . When an entire flask is drunk the imbiber [ . . . ] will be warmed if chilled.”
      -Thrakel and Berry Brandy

      To me that sounds like Charles Dickens’ patented “Flaming Bishop” though that was warmed/mulled before consuming. The berries in the brandy likely give the sweetness, so looking to the other ingredients in drinks that that we see cinnamon, cloves and anise as the usual spices. Cloves, pepper, ginger and cinnamon can all be used in the production of spicy soups, stews and roasted chicken as the other Thranish dishes suggest thrakel.

      The warming sensation (keeping in mind the drink can be consumed at ambient temperature) can either be something akin to ginger/cloves, the vascular sensation that strong spirits (like brandy) produce, or a “magical” effect due to the brandy being produced in Flamekeep, with Irian manifest zones all around.

      Personally, to reconcile Five Nations’ rather elaborate dishes and sorbets with Keith’s description of austere and practical food, I’m telling myself Keith’s food suggestions speak for the majority of Thrane, and Five Nations is talking about the parts of Thrane the other nations go to, Sigilstar, Aruldusk and Flamekeep (not gonna touch Thaliost as that’s Aundair culturally), so the spicy dishes have something to do with readily available trade, local spices, manifest zones and the nobility of these areas (and even the cardinals and bishops) being inclined to slide (a little) into indulgence.

      • Personally, to reconcile Five Nations’ rather elaborate dishes and sorbets with Keith’s description of austere and practical food, I’m telling myself Keith’s food suggestions speak for the majority of Thrane, and Five Nations is talking about the parts of Thrane the other nations go to, Sigilstar, Aruldusk and Flamekeep (not gonna touch Thaliost as that’s Aundair culturally), so the spicy dishes have something to do with readily available trade, local spices, manifest zones and the nobility of these areas (and even the cardinals and bishops) being inclined to slide (a little) into indulgence.

        Yes, I would agree. I didn’t work on Five Nations and there are points I especially disagree with, but foodwise I’m primarily speaking to the life of the common Thranish farmer, with the further point that Thrane has a greater focus on its smaller communities. But I don’t expect a bishop in Flamekeep to be eating parbroiled potatoes. Even in smaller communities, Five Nations’ suggestions could also certainly be seen at festivals and feasts.

  3. Awesome article Keith, thank you!

    If the Thranish focus in clothing is on practicality and function, would you say that items like clothes of mending and other pieces of clothing with utilitarian enchantments are also common throughout the nation?

    • If the Thranish focus in clothing is on practicality and function, would you say that items like clothes of mending and other pieces of clothing with utilitarian enchantments are also common throughout the nation?

      Yes and no. Thrane has a stronger focus on divine magic than on arcane magic, and divine magic isn’t easy to industrialize in the same way as arcane magic, because it’s not something that anyone can learn or that can be reliably taught; you have to find it within. There IS arcane magic in Thrane — it’s not a complete backwater — but it’s less a part of life than in any of the other Five Nations. So essentially, Aundair is where you’ll see the most clothes of mending, because they have the widest integration of common magic items. In Thrane people will certainly VALUE such clothes if they acquire them — and people in the large cities might have access to them — but the common people are going to be mending their clothes by hand, hence the patchwork aesthetic I describe above.

      So Epitaph may have a robe of mending, to help her keep her uniform intact during her work as a missionary. But the typical Thrane peasant archer won’t.

  4. Would the Thranish sense of survival influence architecture so that they build bomb shelters?

    Would the thranes use canned food? Would for example spam be a enjoyed thranish meal?

    Do thranes have several pouches/pockets at them at all times with stuff like tinderbox/knife/healers kit if danger happens?

    • Preservation has existed long before canned goods, which are much more related to industrial waste than natural food waste. We’ve never really seen super markets in Khorvaire; the food industry at least seems to remain small scale (and was small scale in our societies until fairly recently). I’d expect pickled, smoked and jerked food (and whatever else). Heck you could even make Thrakel spice be a spice (maybe common in a Risian manifest zone) that is an exceptional preservative and thus used for jerking (and perhaps it gives the mala sense of the Shichuan peppercorn whose characteristic is that it is numbing, thus tied to cold).

    • Would the Thranish sense of survival influence architecture so that they build bomb shelters?
      We build bomb shelters because we’re afraid of BOMBS. They’re afraid of werewolves, ghouls, and dolgrims. It is the case that Thrane churches are always fortified, and built to serve as sanctuaries for the town; people know to retreat to the church in times of trouble, and the church is built to serve as a fortress (arrow slits, watchtower, reinforced walls, supplies of food and water, etc, etc). So it’s a fortified location to retreat to designed to survive a siege, but it’s not a bomb shelter as WE think of it, because they aren’t primarily worried about bombardment.

      Would the thranes use canned food? Would for example spam be a enjoyed thranish meal?
      I agree with Nym. Thranes would certainly keep supplies of preserved food on hand in case of emergency, but I’d be more inclined to see things like jerky or preserves as opposed to cans; I also agree with the idea that Thrakel spice is an excellent preservative. So spicy jerky as opposed to spam.

      Do thranes have several pouches/pockets at them at all times with stuff like tinderbox/knife/healers kit if danger happens?
      Some do, certainly. Others will have such supplies in their homes. They’re prepared for trouble, but not every survivalist in our world carries a first aid kit on their person…

      • So a place like Rekkenmark or Karrnath would suit better with bombshelters as their concern is military attacks? Moreso after the thranes drooped blast disks on rekkenmark in the last war?

        I like the idea of Thrakel spice as a preservative. Though canned food would be more a novelty maybe by cannith or clifftop (maybe for a trip to the north pole).

        • That exists already though; Eternal Rations are pretty much the magical equivalent of canned goods (Secrets of Xen’drik, pg. 23)

  5. What subclass in 5th Edition do you think best suits a Thranish Ranger? You mention they are survivalist and favor the bow which is very Ranger (tho I also enjoy your take on the silverbow arcane archer from Morgrave).

    • Also sorry, follow up. In ExE you describe Thrane as a whole like a paladin, which I find ironic since they cannot use bows. Would templars with paladin like powers use bows too?

      • Paladins CAN use bows — they have Martial Weapon Proficiency — it’s just not especially effective since they can’t smite with a bow. Keep in mind that Eberron predates 5E, and in 3.5 the Ranged Smite feat allowed paladins to use ranged weapons effectively. But beyond that, while the bow is an important weapon for the faith, the people need champions who can close with the enemy. Note that by canon, we know of Tira Miron’s greatsword Kloijner; it may be that she had a bow, but if so, it’s never been mentioned.

        As another random detail, I could certainly imagine a SF divine caster describing their use of Sacred Flame as manifesting a bow made from light, even though that would have no actual affect on the spell effect.

    • Monster Slayer would be my go-to for a Flamic ranger. The purpose of the Flame is to fight supernatural evil, and the Monster Slayer also has access to Protection from Good/Evil and Magic Circle. I’d certainly consider giving them access to the Blessed Warrior fighting style as well. Long term, if I had a Flamic ranger in my campaign, I might actually design a divine ranger archetype (similar to the Silverbow).

      • Obviously you have your own various projects currently but what might you include in a Ranger Subclass like that? Say “Silver Templar Conclave”

  6. While I definitely get the idea of Thranes being the doomsday prepper nation given that they actually already have gone through the Apocalypse once and thus focus on utilitarian clothing, do you think there would also be a focus on having that one outfit that is very high quality (not ostentatious, just very high quality) that is mostly intended to be worn at church? Many cultures in our world would have something similar where even the poor who would be pragmatic in clothing by necessity would still maintain at least one good outfit for church.

    • do you think there would also be a focus on having that one outfit that is very high quality (not ostentatious, just very high quality) that is mostly intended to be worn at church?

      Not really? Consider that we’ve called out archery practice as a devotional focus of the faith. I don’t feel that the Thranes feel that they NEED to dress up for church. I think there IS a focus on having clothes that are high quality, but the focus is on functionality and durability over appearance; essentially, they aren’t embarrassed about their patchwork aesthetic and don’t see it as something to be ashamed of. If you’ve got a jacket patched with a strip of a great templar’s cloak, THAT might be the thing you’d wear on Silvertide because it’s essentially your holiest outfit.

      Barring the templar-patch example, I think many people might wear their most pleasant outfits for services, certainly. But the point is still that the patchwork aesthetic is engrained enough that it’s not something to be embarassed about — and if ghouls attack on Silvertide, we still want to be prepared to deal with them.

    • I see the doomsday prepper aspect not so much that there aren’t nice things. Of course they have nice things, high quality church clothes and formal suits. However, they always ask the question “can I fight in it?”

      Less skirts and more pants, shoes and boots with sensible soles for running and climbing, jackets with room for the shoulders to move, less flowing sleeves or belts that could be caught on things.

      They might be very fine clothes, but if the town gets attacked by zombies/werewolves/demons in the middle of church everyone can pick up their bows and run to help without a second thought to their clothes.

      • Less skirts and more pants, shoes and boots with sensible soles for running and climbing, jackets with room for the shoulders to move, less flowing sleeves or belts that could be caught on things.
        Yes, I agree with this. It’s not that no one has nice clothing, but that even the nicest clothing will be PRACTICAL.

      • Plated boots as well, in case something falls on it. It’s a very practical tool. As is the case with the cleric above having metal around the toes.

  7. Does Wolf’s Bane have any particular use in Thrane fashion? Such as a boutonnière/corsage, or even simple flower patterns.

  8. Not really a question about Thrane but this one is about fashion so maybe it will be okay?

    Is Arcanix the least fashionable place in Aundair?
    Aundair strikes me as like a really fashionable place – not really sure why but I just see it as being a place of cutting edge design, where magic and fabric come together to make fancy (or gaudy) looks. But Arcanix is a place of wizards, and I just see them trying to out-wizard their classmates with more and more outlandish works, till everyone looks like Lady Gaga or from a bizarre fashion show.

    I’m not sure if Eberron wizards aren’t tied to the usual wizard getup (long billowy robes and pointy hat) but I’m just picturing some student with robes embroidered with glowing runes from several dead languages they happen to know and acting all smug. Divination wizards dressed like the night sky in fancy black or purple robes, with diamonds and silver filigree that twinkles like the stars. Some poor fool dressed in a suit of meat, enchanted to never go rancid and smells like roses. An artificer with fashionable armored dress. It’s all sorts of impractical, just pure raw hubris at making magic into clothes.

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