Full Item Description
The Djellaba is a full body length garment that is loose fitting and has full sleeves. it is much like a caftan, except that a djellaba has a hood that can be pulled up over the head. Like any article of clothing, djellabas come in a wide variety of styles and colors, though those worn by mages tend to be aligned with the associated colors of their magical arts, or muted neutral colors to avoid attention.
The Djellaba began as a common piece of clothing in the Ankara region, heavily favored by men over women. This loose fitting robe was agreeable to the often stifling heat of the Red City and those who had wealth and influence would dress in these fine robes. A Herder's djellaba would be natural colors, or even undyed cloth, while a merchant's would be a riot of color and displays of stitchcraft and embroidery to demonstrate his or her wealth.
This style of dress would remain localized to Ankara until the adoption of the Trinitine faith. When Ankara was converted, a good many Ankaran items and ideas filtered back east, one of them being the djellaba. Initially the merchants were the first to adopt the new style of dress, primarily to blend in at Ankaran markets, but later because the outfit proved to be versatile and comfortable. Later the noble class would adopt the djellaba as a leisure garment to be worn in private, or in very casual gatherings.
The Order of Upright Civic Wizards
The djellaba was adopted by the Order roughly a generation after the conversion of Ankara, but well before the ill-fated Council of Sangreal. The loose fitting garments were popular wear at the Emerald University in Dreifach where they replaced the previously more common 'scholar's robes' that many considered to look entirely too much like the robes worn by mendicants, beggars, and lepers. Once the djellaba became commonplace, it was not long before most Falhathians started calling the garment 'wizard's robe' and no longer used the more tongue twisting Ankaran name.
Of Codes and Colors
Being prone to stratification, it was not long before various themes and trends emerged in the appearance of wizards. It quickly became a vogue thing for a wizard's djellaba to have a color correlation to his or her preferred form of magic, as well as markings to indicate rank and status within the ranks of wizard society.
The rank of consor, the lowest rank of wizard, is indicated by a plain djellaba of undyed material, most commonly linen, though in winter, wool djellabas in muted browns are also found. The Consor, an applicant who wishes to become an apprentice wears a single strip of color down the front of his or her djellaba that matches the color of his or her prospective patron's robes.
The rank of Acolyte, or the basic rank of entry level apprentices are allowed to have regular robes of whatever color they prefer though tradition dictates that they should not vary too far from their art's associated colors, and should not exceed their master's robes in darkness or brightness of color. The rank of acolyte is demonstrated by white panels across the shoulders and along two white stripes down the front of the djellaba.
The journeyman wizard, one expected to continue their studies alone, with minimal instruction from mentors have the same color options as acolytes, but the white panels are replaced by a single white stripe three fingers wide that runs down the front of the djellaba.
The Accepted Wizard, one having the full rank of wizard, can wear a djellaba of any color without any white stripes. Most will still stick to their primary art's colors, and some wizard's djellabas can be quite decorated with needlework that is as much as a work of art as an expression of their ideals and accomplishments.
An art specialist, one who has demonstrated mastery of their school of magic will adorn their djellaba with a gold braid over the right shoulder, tough some substitute some other fitting shoulder braid to demonstrate their mastery. A master of illusion might have a multicolor braid that seems to shift colors while an elementalist might have a gold braid woven of fire or some such.
Schools and colors
Drawing on the basic 8 schools of magic from dungeons and dragons, others who wish to adopt their own colors for the djellaba can feel free to do so. This would be practical for games that use the DnD magic schools, or a close approximation.
Those versed in the arts of warding and defence, the Abjurationists tend to favor the colors of light blue, white, and silver. Those who have to wear white panels in their djellaba are required by tradition to wear pale blue djellabas rather than white.
Alterationists and Transmuters favor djellabas of pale green, yellow, and medium gray. Many more accomplished alterationists will have djellabas that can shift color in response to the wearer's mood, or simple commands. While camouflage patterns are certainly possible, many will chose to have a djellaba that slowly trasition from one color to another, especially colors that can be hard to pick apart such as purple and blue, or blue and green. These tend to be flamboyant enough to step outside of their color basics.
Evokers and Invokers, those who call the primal powers of the elemental forces favor strong colors of red, yellow, or blue. The color choice most often is also a demonstration of their favored element, such as pyromancers wearing red embroidered with yellow and gold, while cryomancers would obviously favor blue and silver. There is seldom a chance to mistake the vibrant blue of a Evocationist with the muted blue of an Abjurationist.
Conjurers and Summoners favor djellabas of dark gray, purple, and dark green, reflecting their often mysterious agendas and powers. Said wizards will also have something of their summoning spells detailed in their djellabas, such as a sorceress who excels in summoning imps might have silver imps embroidered into the chest panel of her djellaba, or the nature aspected wolf summoner might have the symbols for wolves and hunting detailed in the hem of his djellaba.
Illusionists tend to favor the colors of dreams and clouds, wearing pale purples, silvery blues, and other sunrise hues of color. Also, like alterationists and transmuters, Illusionists will often enchant their djellabas to shift colors, often to reflect the colors of sunrise, or sunset, or the shades of twilight.
Enchanters have a single color, green, and wear no other for most consider their art to be a living and growing thing, though not primarily associated with nature. Most will have some idiom of their area of arts, such as those who deal in charms and such will have organic details, while those who work with magic items and creating long term spells with have more concrete or even geometric designs in their djellabas.
Lastly, Necromancers are not limited to black, in fact black, white, and red are common colors, with embroidery having funeral motifs, or the symbols of necromancy, fallen kingdoms, or even agents of death, rebirth, healing, and change.
The djellaba by itself is a mundane item, but being as common to wizards as their staves, it is not uncommon for these items to become enchanted with magic by intent or by happenstance. Below are several sample djellabas and a bit about their creators.
Oikos' Djellaba - This rather drab looking robe is a sort of khaki color and has simple embroidery with a flame on one side of the brest and a snow flake on the other, connected by the branches of a tree. this garment has been enchanted with a charm of comfort to keep the wearer at a comfortable temperature. so long as it is below 120 degree, and above 0 degrees, the wearer will be as comfortable as he would be sitting in his house.
Penelo's Djellaba - Favored by the Illusionist Penelo, this garment is a pale hued pink that fades to a dusky purple at the hems. The garment has a mild suggest of sleep woven into the cloth, and those who look at it for too long will become drowsy and more vulnerable to magical illusion and suggestion.
Perpessio's Djellaba - A rough and scratchy djellaba of red dyed wool, this garment was worn by the necromancer Perpessio, who despite the art's dark reputation was a tireless healer and dispeller of ghosts and evil spirits. He was also afflicted with a degenerative illness that caused him continual pain. For the years he wore it, the garment gained some of his determination, and those who now don the old djellaba might find themselves able to withstand pain easier, perhaps knowing it better and finding a way to accept that which they cannot change.
Urdrum's Djellaba - a cursed garment, this article was being worn when Urdrum the Invoker was assassinated by an avatar demon of fear. A remnant of the demon's power lingered, and those who don it are overcome with a sense of dread that takes to shake after the djellaba is removed.
A Final Word
The Wizard's Robes are a common and often mundane aspect of the realm magic, one that can be as variegated and colorful as history, or our own modern culture. The Djellaba is actually originally a Turkish piece of clothing, and comes in a variety of colors with many different details, beadwork, embroidery and the like. Not all mages have to dress exclusively from the Gandalf Graybeard Collection. No plot hooks have been included as this is a very basic item that is fairly common place in my own setting, but there could certainly be very famous djellabas, the equivalents to the Shroud of Turin, or Merlin's robes that could be the subject of a Dingus hunt, a cursed item, or something needed to cast a spell.
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? Responses (5)
I use something similar in my campaign, except we call them Kaftans in lieu of Djellabas (same thing-though I would add that I actually have a Kaftan and it has a hood.)
Love the examples provided! ('sleep woven into the cloth'- Nice!)
Now this is the kind of post I like. Sure the thing is mundane, but it is such a key piece in a campaign that it truly needs a write up. I like the weaving of history for the piece and the inclusion with other elements (which you should of linked with bracketed names so new members could find those pieces). Nicely done.
Another great addition!
Certainly something that needed to have a second look, a good post detailing something everyone in a fantasy setting takes for granted.