The Tartan Initiative

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The Tartan Initiative is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

The Tartan Initiative

Honor to your Ancestors, my Kindred cousins, for I write to you this day with a light heart. It has been three summers since the weavers of the T'Kirem began the Tartan Initiative and it is with joy that we share its growing use. Indeed, many cultures and nations that work hand-in-hand with our people have come to honor and respect the tartan cloth. While we know that not all adopt the use, we are nonetheless pleased to have our weave considered when honoring the clans.

Several sovereigns, leaders, and organizations have asked that we create tartan blends to honor those giantmen who work closely with them. As such, we are pleased to present the following weaves:

Turamzyrrian Empire

The very seat of the Sun Throne has requested a tartan fabric that will honor those clansmen who swear fealty to the Turamzyrrian Empire. As such, there are a few options offered for those individuals.

Imperial Tartan – Fashioned of lightweight, crimson lamb's wool, the tartan fabric's bold design is a play of sunrise hues. A single ebon sett flanked by golden yellow pivots starts the pattern and is immediately followed by a reverse ebon sett flanked by three crimson pivots on the horizontal. The vertical pattern is simplistic in design, comprised of a single narrow sett of crimson without any pivots to flank it.

Symbolism in Colors

  • Crimson to honor the Imperial Blades
  • Golden yellow to honor the Sun Throne
  • Ebon to acknowledge sacrifice a Blade must make

Solar Tartan – Fashioned of lightweight, bright yellow lamb's wool, the tartan fabric's bold design is accented by thin traces of cloth-of-gold. A single deep blue sett flanked by golden yellow pivots starts the pattern and is immediately followed by a reverse yellow sett flanked by deep blue pivots on the horizontal. The vertical pattern is simplistic in design, comprised of a single narrow sett of white without any pivots to flank it, the fabric terminating in loose fringe.

Symbolism in Colors

  • Deep blue to honor Emperor Aurmont Chandrennin Anodheles
  • Golden yellow to honor the Sun Throne
  • White to acknowledge the throne's obligations to Voln

Sparrow Tartan - Fashioned of heavyweight rackhal, the tartan's fabric is awash in white and pale grey threads. A single, narrow navy blue sett is flanked by a series of six ash grey pivots on the horizontal, the pattern repeated without any inversion along the cloth. The vertical is comprised of three heavy navy blue setts flanked on each side by bold setts of white and pivots of ash grey.

Symbolism in Colors

  • White to symbolize the giantkin's connection to the White Sparrows
  • Grey to symbolize the grim determination of the calling
  • Navy blue to symbolize the ocean

Other Tartans of the Turamzyrrian Empire

Swan Tartan - Fashioned of midweight, verdant green lamb's wool, the tartan fabric's bold design is a play of forest hues. A single copper-hued sett flanked by pure white pivots starts the pattern and is immediately followed by a reverse white sett flanked by three green pivots on the horizontal. The vertical pattern is complex in design, comprised of multiple narrow setts in a multihued thread flanked by dark green pivots.

Symbolism in Color

  • Verdant green to honor the foundations of the House of Vornavis
  • Pure white to honor the swan that is their symbol
  • Copper to honor their ties to other Nations
  • Multihued threads to honor the diversity of those who reside within Solhaven

Leyan Tartan - Fashioned of lightweight, azure rackhal, the tartan fabric's subtle design is a blend of spring hues. A single ivory sett flanked by violet pivots starts the pattern and is immediately followed by a reverse violet sett flanked by four ivory pivots on the horizontal. The vertical pattern is simplistic in design, comprised of twin ivory setts flanked by narrow pivots of both violet and azure.

Symbolism in Color

  • Azure to honor the Battle Dancers of Leya
  • Violet to honor the Vaikalimara Clanswomen that aid their ranks
  • Ivory to honor the bone and blade

Elven Nations

Across the Dragonspine, many of our Issimir and Grisknel brethren work closely with the ruling houses. There is a long tradition of Issimir builders working alongside the engineers of Ta'Vaalor. Indeed, though many cannot formally join the military in that City-State, some join paramilitary groups that provide support and aid. Along the coastal waters and far to the southwest, Grisknel trackers have been known to pair with Nalfein statesmen to provide protection or services in that city-State. Given these interweavings, we have designed the following tartan fabrics:

Wyvern Tartan - Fashioned of medium-weight, crimson lambilen, the tartan fabric's bold design is woven with subtle threads of eahnor. A trio of bold crimson setts flanked by alternating gold and canary yellow on the horizontal, culminating in a fringed finish of three finger-widths length. The vertical pattern is uniform in design, comprised of seven narrow ebon pivots that alternate with a single crimson sett flanked by gold on one side and canary yellow on the other.

Symbolism of Color

  • Crimson to honor the blood spilled in the defense of Ta'Vaalor
  • Gold and canary yellow to represent the Issimir Ogre Clan who helped rebuild Ta'Vaalor
  • Black to honor the dead.
  • Eahnor threads to honor the oath to the crown of Ta'Vaalor
Frequently, this is worn with a wyvern pin.

Rose Tartan - Fashioned of lightweight, pure black rackhal, the tartan fabric has a subtlety in design that requires the light to directly hit it for the shades to properly be seen. Five ebon-on-ebon setts are shot through with smokey grey and balanced by pivots of corbeau green and dark aquamarine, ending in tight stitching on the horizontal. The vertical pattern is dense though devoid of setts, instead it has 218 smoky grey and corbeau green pivots.

Symbolism of Color

  • Corbeau green to present the fields outside of Ta'Nalfein where the Grishknel Wolf Clan train
  • Smoky grey to represent the ties the Grishknel Wolf Clan have with the elves of Ta'Nalfein
  • Ebon to represent the Grishknel's ties to the Rose Throne
  • Aquamarine to represent the waterways that connect Ta'Nalfein and the giantkin to the greater world
Frequently, this is worn with a faenor pin of some kind.

Other Elven Nations Tartans

Known to frequent the northern sections of Ta'Ardenai, members of the Vaikalimara Clan have cultivated a unique relationship with several of the burghal gnome compounds in that area. The clanswomen aid the workers by providing protective services for their trade routes to prevent raiding and to keep the frequently distracted gnomes from falling into harm's way. Many of the burghal tradesfolk are engineers, crafters, and mechanical experts, who frequently are lost to their own thoughts and ill-suited to combat.

Clockwerke Tartan - Fashioned of a blend of rackhal and cotton, this burgundy tartan cloth is comprised of side-by-side burgundy and hunter green setts that are interspersed with pivots of copper and gold threads on the horizontal. The vertical is a mirror image of the horizontal, and where the bold setts cross tiny gnomic gears in gold are sewn into the fabric.

Symbolism of Color

  • Hunter green represents burghal gnome compounds that spread throughout Ta'Ardenai
  • Burgundy represents the Vaikalimara's unwillingness to accept the status quo of the distracted gnomes' travels
  • Copper and gold threads are used to represent the gnomic ingenuity, which several of the giantkin clan appreciate and utilize
The addition of the gear was something that a young burghal gnome child came up with and has called the "emergency gear." As a result, no gear on a piece of clockwerke tartan is the same. Just in case.

Greengairs specializing in honey have long traded with kindred clans, providing them with either honey or with hives. In the case of the latter, forest gnomes will also often dedicate time to teaching the clans the best way to maintain the hives and harvest honey without harming the bee colonies. This dedication has led the clans to reserve the honeybee tartan for eligible Greengairs.

Honeybee Tartan - Fashioned of lightweight rackhal, the vibrant yellow tartan has bold setts of ebon on the horizontal. Thin pivots of forest green and pink are on the vertical, darkening in hue when they cross with the setts of at the horizontal-vertical conjunctures.

Symbolism of Color

  • Vibrant yellow represents the honey produced by the Greengairs
  • Ebon represents the bees themselves
  • Bright pink represents the flowers visited by the bees
  • Forest green represents the forest gnomes

Known to pass through several alpine glades in the northern steppes of the Dragonspine Mountains, the Wsalamir Clan travels in what they call "spirals" with several of the migratory families of sylvans who frequent those same locations in both the early spring and late fall. Each group obtains different resources from those areas before moving on and regular trade takes place between the two groups. As a result of this friendship, and at the request of one of the Wsalmir clan leaders, we created this tartan to honor the unexpected friendship.

Aemersyl Tartan - Fashioned into a heavyweight fabric, the tartan cloth is crafted from a blend of rackhal and cavelta wool that is dyed a rich dark brown hue. Arctic white and rhimar blue setts are repeated on both the horizontal and vertical weaves. There, the traditional tartan pattern ends as red-orange and sunny yellow spirals form a decorative pattern throughout the weave.

Symbolism of Color

  • Arctic white and rhimar blue represent the Wsalmir Clan
  • Red-orange and sunny yellow represent the sylvan
To honor the traditions of the sylvankind, the dyes used to create the tartan are carefully selected from resources in the alpine glades that the two groups meet in. Ground acorns and walnuts are used for the dark brown base, while sirensong blossom and goldenrod flowers are utilized for the other hues. The arctic white is produced by leaching the natural colors of the fabrics in the sun.

Beyond the Nations and the Empire Tartans

While many clansmen will honor their tribes and clan tartans, some have asked to have weaves built that represent their unique connections with other organizations and groups throughout the continent. These fabrics represent some of the combinations that we have been asked to design.

There is a large following of Grot'karesh Hammer Clan that supports the efforts of Voln. As such, many wear their tartan along with their white clay face paints.*

Shield Tartan - Fashioned of heavyweight ivory oiremere, the tartan fabric has a bold pattern of three snow white setts followed by three ebon setts interrupted by an entwined copper and green pivot on the horizontal. The vertical pattern echoes the horizontal in uniformity and design, though where the horizontal ends in a finished hem, the vertical ends in braided fringe set with alternating beads.

Symbolism of Color

  • Ivory threads to represent the spirit of those who have passed on
  • Ebon threads to represent the darkness that all members of Voln stand against
  • Snow white to represent Lord Voln's connection to Lorminstra
  • Interwoven green and copper to represent the constant battle against the forces of Luukos
The white fringe is frequently capped in black alloy beads, while the black is capped in bone.
Though mentioned only briefly, several of the Grot'karesh Hammer Clan have taken to wearing "faces of the ancestors" when they are heading into battle. This battle paint is fashioned of white clay with a heavy hand that gives their grim faces an almost skeletal appearance. It is particularly striking on the women, as they have no beards to interrupt the look.

Sunfist Tartan - Fashioned of mediumweight vaslavilen, the tartan fabric has a stone grey background with three setts of beige surrounded by three pivots of gorse yellow, sepia, canary yellow on the horizontal. The vertical pattern is a reverse echo of the horizontal, with three setts of gorse yellow, sepia, and canary yellow surrounded by beige.

Symbolism of Color

  • Stone grey is used to represent the dwarves in the Sunfist partnership
  • Beige is used to represent the addition of the Giantman Clans to the partnership
  • Gorse yellow is used to present the deep hatred and anger the group shares for the Grimswarm
  • Sepia is used to represent the legendary and lost city of Kalaza
The addition of canary yellow is actually a bit of a joke between the Clans of both the dwarves and the giantkin. If you ask one group about it, they will sing the praise of the canary and its importance to life under the mountain. If you ask the other group about it, then they will tell you that the fable of the canary is that it is a hoax and a lie. You may be wondering which group provides which answer, but the fact of the matter is that they switch sides so frequently that you could within a month get two different answers from the same individual.

OOC Information/Notes

  • Created by GM Thandiwe with help from GM Xynwen and input from GM Casil, GM Haliste, GM Itzel, GM Kenstrom, and GM Valyrka in November 2023.
  • Initial Article on Tartan Cloth