Silverlan, by Leo Black

silverlan1Silverlan, by Leo Black

“To survive, they became wise in the ways of the sheltering forests and hid themselves from their enemies. They were wise in wood-lore, and their eyes were bright as all the Elves’ with starlight.” —David Day, from Tolkien: A Dictionary

I’ve meant for a while now to offer writeups for two of Leo Black’s concept pieces for Unwritten: Echos of Twilight by Druid Gameworks. I gave one for his Highland concept portrait back last July, but I really liked his work on the Silverlan and Lowland characters as well. So this weekend and next I’ll be featuring those two pieces while I work on contacting a couple of other artists I’ve not worked with previously about using their art for the blog.

One of my frequent complaints with elvish costuming is how oft sexualized their armor and adventuring gear is in fantasy stories and artwork. Hence the reason I’m always relieved to see them in smart, protective attire that would keep them safe whether exploring monster-filled dungeons, skirmishing with orc raiders, or battling Drow kin-slayers. Thus I found Leo’s Silverlan archer a smart and refreshing contrast to the boob-plate and bikini armor too often associated with elf fighting-women.

silverlan2Armored surprisingly heavier than her elf-sire counterpart, our silver-haired heroine is well-protected wherever her adventuring takes her. The green ranger’s cloak is ubiquitous in elven adventuring apparel, offering warmth and cover in weather, rain-protection for her armor, and camouflage in the deep woods. The armor itself is a well-made steel breastplate, deflecting most arrows and absorbing blows in all but the heaviest of melee. Beneath the armor she wears a padded surcoat for additional absorption.

Our heroine’s shirt and pants are woolen or soft leather, either way functioning as durable traveling attire for a forest trek or dungeon crawl. Her gloves are a flexible leather to protect against light weapons as well as the inevitable strain of bow-handling. And her boots are rugged leather for wherever her next adventure takes her. Her short bow identifies her as a forest archer, given that it’s easier than a longbow to handle on cluttered terrain. Lastly, she carries a pair of daggers for that pesky kobold that manages to get in under her bow’s minimum effective range.

While I love our archer’s armor, I feel it’s perhaps a bit too heavy for her assumed role as a woodland light-skirmisher—where the bow is her primary weapon and she only uses her knives when something has gone wrong and she ends up in melee. Her breastplate grants excellent protection in heavier melee, offering a heavy-skirmisher option. I’d recommend trading the daggers for a spear, glaive, sword-and-shield, longsword/short sword combination, or even a bastard sword, allowing her to pepper the invading goblinoids with arrows before rushing in to engage them in melee.

Huge thanks to Leo for the use of his artwork for the blog. Feel free to check out his gallery on Tumblr as well. Thanks as always for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!

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