“If your armor has a single weak point, an elven archer can find it.”
—From Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic
I’ve wanted for a while now to start a category for cosplay and reenactment on Sartorially Smart Heroines, but out of four costumers I’ve attempted to contact since December, LaGueuse is the only one to get back to me. LaGueuse is a leather crafter from Quebec who makes and sells assorted leather armors as well as corsets, handbags, and other leather accessories. I was fairly impressed with many of the armors in LaGueuse’s galleries—a lot of them I felt offered decent protection in light combat, while others that might not stand on their own could still work well over chain mail or a padded hauberk. All in all, I was pleased with the overall selection and quality I saw in LaGueuse’s work.
I’m kind of a fan of guerrilla tactics in fantasy stories. And no fantasy race does forest combat like the elves. While I prefer heavy melee characters in heavy armor and can relate to jokes about elves wearing light armor because it lets them run away faster, there’s an unmatched elegance to a group of elf rangers’ hit-and-hie skirmish tactics. I feel like LaGueuse has outfitted her pretty elf effectively for a heavy scrum in the deep woodlands.
When properly treated and hardened, even relatively thin leather armor offers effective deflection against arrows and other projectiles. Thus our blue-eyed archer should be fairly safe against even the poisoned barbs of goblin or Drow invaders. The leather spaulders keep her shoulders safe from disabling blows, segmented to offer freer movement of both arms. Her leather cuirass is hardened front and back to keep her vital organs safe and secure in skirmishes and light melee. Her leather bracers are designed to protect her arms from injuries from her bow string and keep them safe from severing blows in light melee.
I like that our elf’s bow is a short bow, rather than the archetypical longbow. While a longbow has better range, they are most effective in open-field archery where there are fewer obstacles to get in the way. While a short bow has less range, it offers better armor penetration at close range and is thus better suited to dense woods where range and visibility are limited. Ideally, our heroine’s blade functions strictly as a side arm, should some goblin footpad manage to get within her bow’s minimum effective range.
The lack of cloak and camouflage suggests to me that our elvin heroine is a primary skirmisher rather than sniper or scout. Where a sniper will fall back after a few shots and use trees and brush to hide and plan her next sneak attack, a skirmisher falls back to use the trees as cover while harrying orc marauders with suppressive fire. It should be noted that while effective against ranged foes, the leathers won’t stand long against swords and axes. Thus our guardian of the woodlands needs to be constantly on the move, keeping out of reach of her enemies’ heavy units.
If there’s one thing that seems slightly off with the armor, it’s the asymmetric plating on the right arm. As an archer, our handsome elf will keep her left side to foes at all times, so it seems kind of odd to have extra padding on the right arm, but not the left. Beyond that, however, I think we have an excellent set of smart, durable armor for an elf sentry or skirmisher.