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Context

In this medieval-fantasy (Tolkien-esque, except humans are the only race except for some incredibly rare magical ones) world, a few individuals ( have become mages, sorcerers and monks - which are all in-universe terms for the same thing - by using precious stones to channel the magical abilities inherent in every human. The powers available to the magic user vary depending on the inherent elemental connection of the stone; for example, someone with a ruby ring could manipulate fire, or someone with an opal necklace could control water. (A magic user could collect many gemstones and thus use a plethora of powers.)

Because of the relative rarity of the gemstones necessary to wield magic, the number of powerful or skilled mages is very low. This means that mage-on-mage battles are ultra-rare, the stuff of myths.

Question

A group of dark mages (using onyx to wield shadow magic) have now joined together in an attempt to take over part of the world. Any member of the group wants to wear something which a) looks good/inspires fear in enemies/inspires confidence in allies and b) gives them the most mobility and protection for fighting in.

Most importantly they need to keep their onyx somewhere secure on/in their person/attire, because losing that in a fight means almost certain death because all magical control is lost instantly.

Their clothing needs to be obtainable in a medieval-fantasy setting, though it can be quite expensive because the mages have the ability to teleport and thus steal things from the treasuries of key kingdoms in the world.

Preferably I'd like a differing outfit for male and female mages, but this isn't necessary, I just think it'd be more interesting.

What should I have them wear?

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    $\begingroup$ They wear whatever they want, because if they wear it, it looks good, by definition. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jul 16 '17 at 17:57
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  • There is always the traditional plate armor with lots of spikes. Perhaps steel and niello? Either set the onyx as an inlay, or put black glass on the outside and mount the real onyx safely inside the helmet or breastplate. Impressive because of the spikes, of course.
  • The other tradition is skimpy black leather. Wear the onxy in a torc. so it can't be removed/lost easily. Impressive because the mage dares to go onto the battlefield without any armor, spiky or otherwise.
  • Somewhere in between these options, something patterned on the ninja costume. Black silk, cut not to hinder movement, and with many pockets (including hidden ones). Could come with a hooded cloak for bad weather and/or privacy. Impressive because silk is expensive, who would use it as an outer garment?

Follow-Up: Uniforms identify the wearer with the goals of a group and their role in the group. They take individuality away and put the responsibility for the actions on the entire group.

  • How many dark mages? Are there so many that that one of their followers might mix them up? "Can't you see that I wear the sigil of the Dark Council? My commands take precedence over those of your captain. Tremble and obey."
  • Are there ranks and rank insignia among the Dark Mages? "The leader of that force is an archmage of the 42nd degree. Better surrender now, before she turns us all into frogs."

Of course they might wear non-uniform uniforms, with common insignia or motifs and individual combinations.

  • I've heard of a mechanized infantry platoon where no two soldiers wore the same equipment the same way, all according to regulations. Sure, all had the same flag on their shoulders, but one rifleman had pouches for extra machine gun ammo, another carried grenades, and so on. There could be more-or-less standard helmets, armor plates, etc., all custom fitted to the wearer according to individual preference.
  • There could be different roles within the dark force. Commanders, scouts, skirmishers, bruisers, with substantial differences in their gear.
  • The rebel Dark Lady could deliberately omit parts of the armor/uniform like the helmet or the armored gloves, claiming that she fights better that way. Perhaps for her that is even true.
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  • $\begingroup$ Should I have all the mages in the group wear identical outfits like a uniform, or have some wearing different things? There's one particular member of this group who's an important character. I'm thinking of having her show off her rebellious personality by wearing something different. $\endgroup$ – C. R. Yasuo Jul 16 '17 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the update. I only have one more question: how skimpy is 'skimpy black leather'? $\endgroup$ – C. R. Yasuo Jul 16 '17 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ There are 5 dark mages all in all, because magic users are rare. There aren't exactly ranks but one member of the group clearly has power. $\endgroup$ – C. R. Yasuo Jul 16 '17 at 19:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Calllack, the skimpiness is your decision, if you go that route at all. Depends on your target audience, and on how you believe you can generate sales. Certain demographics are attracted by scantily clad sorceresses on the cover, others are appalled. $\endgroup$ – o.m. Jul 17 '17 at 4:04
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They wear absolutely nothing, because that stuff gets in the way of the aura projected by the stones. No hair either, for the same reason. All stones are attached directly to the flesh by way of piercings and implants. The visual effect of each piercing is augmented and amplified by surrounding tattoos of glyphs and sigils. Probably they have more piercings than are really necessary for the amount of magic gems they have, so as to camouflage which ones are really necessary for their power.

In between battles they wear long trench coats and fleece lined boots. Mages get chilly too and it is easy to throw that stuff off in a hurry if they have to do magic battle.

My Google Image search of full body tattoo proved fairly overwhelming. I am sure there are more people living now with full body tattoos than the rest of history put together.
enter image description here

source

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