Age of Legends
Forges of the North
he northern reaches are home to many races. The unique cultural identity of each of these is reflected in the types of arms and armor that are crafted by these races, and the quality of the armaments, and often even the choice of materials that make up the armor.
The Dwarves are renowned throughout the world as being some of the finest metal craftsman in Eriond. Consequently, all Dwarven made arms and armor is of at least masterwork quality. In addition, a highly skilled craftsman is able to create works of truly phenomenal balance and strength. Such “Dwarven Masterwork” (DMW) arms and armor have +2 to hardness, +10 HP, and receive a +2 to Reflex Saves to avoid taking damage from acid, rust or other corrosive attacks. Dwarven crafted armaments are designed around the principles of power and efficiency and tend to maximize a Dwarf’s great strength. While the Dwarves trade and sell their armaments readily, these do not come cheaply. A superior DMW armament crafted by a Dwarven master costs 250gp over and above the normal cost for that armament (that is, over and above the MW price).
During the reign of the kings of Ondroth, the Dwarves began to use runes in their craft. As the written form of the Tongue of the Ilad, runes are potent with creative magic. Runes are carved into an armament during the forging process, and endow it, and sometimes its bearer, with the symbol’s arcane properties. The greatest of the runecraft armaments rivaled in power, if not in beauty, artifacts crafted during the Age of Earthsdawn. Yet much of the knowledge of runecrafting was lost after the destruction of Ondroth, and in the years that followed, the Dwarves were too busy fighting each other to devote time to runecrafting. The art of this noble craft was all but forgotten. There are, however, some abiding within the halls of Duroth who have kept this tradition alive. Yet none can replicate the wonders crafted during the time of Ondroth, and sadly, most of these items have been lost as well.
Though lesser Halls abound, the two most well known contemporary havens of the Dwarves are Igladon, the Halls of Duroth. Dwarven masters can be found in both of these Halls, and drethidium and luminied are mined from roots of the mountains in which they dwell.
The only creatures within Eriond capable of matching the Dwarves in the quality of their craft are the Elves, yet Elven art is a slower and more expensive process than Dwarven craft. The Elves tend to emphasize natural themes in their armaments, and unlike the Dwarves, value grace and beauty over strength and power. Elven crafted armor is at minimum of masterwork quality. Like the Dwarves, Elven masters may also craft armaments of superior quality (see discussion on Dwarven masterwork), yet most elves are loathe to craft such items without also imbuing them with arcane power. Unlike the Dwarves, many among the Elves retain the knowledge of runecrafting, and lesser runes are often applied to Elven armaments.
As a rule, Elves tend not to sell their crafts on the open market for they regard this as somehow demeaning the integrity of their craft. Elves that make their living from their forge never display their wares, rather, they work by commission. The demand for Elven crafted armaments is such that an Elf may be selective in choosing those with whom they will deal. Each armament is tailored to the individual that will come to possess it. Runecrafted armaments vary in price widely, but are at a minimum, 500gp more expensive than the normal cost of for that armament (500gp more than the cost of a standard +1 magic item).
The wood-elves of the Tindor forest have developed a technique a leaf-weaving that they have employed in the crafting of armor. Their armor is woven from various kinds of leaf and twig, and then treated with a natural elixir which coats and toughens the leaves, giving them a leather-like quality. Leaf woven armor is incredibly light and is less cumbersome than normal armor. The Tindoran forges most commonly use Sidoran Ash for the hilts of their swords and other weapons, and green steel for the blades. The wood elves of Tindor never sell their armaments to outsiders, though they do, on occasion, give them away as gifts.
Goblins, while not as skilled as the Elves or the Dwarves, are nevertheless, quite proficient craftsman of armaments. They tend to prefer darker hues for their armaments, and make use of a variant form of greansteal that is a shade of black grey. If Goblin forged armaments often contain smooth and flowing lines similar to those of the Elves, they also contain jagged spikes and sharp spiny edges that reflect their brutal nature. Some goblin craftsmen possess the knowledge of glyphcraft, and employ glyphs in their work. Like runes, glyphs are powerful magical symbols. However, glyphs are the written symbols for the Tongue of the Damned. All goblin forged armaments are of at least average quality, and many are considered masterwork, and are valued at the same cost as human masterwork armaments. Glyphcraft armaments vary in value, but are at a minimum, cost 1,000 gp over and above the cost of ordinary armaments.
The goblins of the clan of Herzeglob tend to use bat, dragon and worg motifs in their armaments. They use the wings of the giant bats that dwell in the caverns of Mt. Amadan to make a lightweight armor for their scouts. They also craft a spiny form of dark breastplate for their elite warriors.
The skill of men in the craft of forging armaments varies greatly from culture to culture. While Men have the potential to become great craftsmen, their short lifespan prevents them from attaining to the superior skill of the elder races. Most human made armaments are of at least average quality, yet in some less advanced cultures they are of lesser quality (-1 Max/Dex, an additional Armor Check Penalty of 1, additional Arcane Spell Failure Chance of 5%, 25% less valuable). In many cultures however, more skilled craftsmen are able to forge armaments of masterwork quality.
There are many competent craftsmen within the kingdom of Vindovier, some of them half-elves possessing the knowledge of runecrafting. The land of Vindovier is wild and rugged and its warriors are largely horsemen trained as light cavalry. The armaments of Vindovier reflect the rugged character of its people. Often these armaments are decorated with symbols that tell stories about their peoples. The men of Caldoranth trace their lineage back to Barathund, Dwarf friend and father to the fallen nations of the north. Like their ancestor before them, the men of Caldoranth keep very close relations with the Dwarves, particularly those of Igladon. As a result, the style of their armaments resembles, to a great degree, that of the armaments of Igladon. Many of these armaments are of masterwork quality. Within the Thengloran Waists dwell the Hidrai, a strange tribal society of nomadic men who ride atop enormous mastodons. The armaments of these people are made directly from the flesh and bone of their mounts. The Hidrai are a technologically less advanced culture, and their armor tends to be of lesser quality; however, they are capable of crafting armor that is of at least average quality.
The Orcs have never been long for cultural endeavors. Their societies are violent and brutish, and for the most part lacking in aesthetic sensitivity. Thus the armaments of the Orcs focus chiefly on utility and are lacking in any form of frills or embellishments. Moreover, the piecemeal nature of Orc armor tends to make it of lesser quality then that of other races, though when put to it the Orcs are capable of producing armor of at least average quality. The Orc clans of the Atrowan Heights tend to employ a bit more skill than most.