Kallavesi Mystic Part 1 - Design

By James Fishwick

In the same vein as the Marcher Costume Diary, on this page I’m going to explain how I’m making my Kallavesi Mystic kit, from design to construction to finished product. I’m going to be mixing new and old pieces of costume, to produce a new and distinctive character’s look.Once I’ve finished I might also make some spare back-up Wintermark kit, just in case I die... Suaq kit sounds lots of fun!

Concept & Inspiration

When I first read the Wintermark brief I really loved the idea of a Kallavesi Mystic- a shaman, wearing a big headdress and tattered cloak, covered in fetishes, speaking in riddles and spitting curses at his enemies. As the rules aren’t out yet, I’m not sure if I’ll end up as a priest or a magic-user or a combination of the two, so I’ll try not to make the kit too specific one way or the other. Visually I want to emphasis the Raven look, so I’m planning on quite stark black kit - especially a big black cloak. Beyond that colour choice I want to stick as close to brief as practical. To plan my look I started by looking through the pages on Wintermark Costume and the Wintermark look and feel. The main costume points that leapt out at me were:

  • Thigh-length tunic over trousers
  • Ragged cloak, either semi-circular or a front-split rectangular poncho
  • Unhemmed rough checked wool, linen, fur - drab colours, greys and blacks
  • Layers, more primitive / Iron Age, less tailored
  • Belts covered in pouches and so on are good
  • Feathers, beads, fetishes, animal headdress

I’ve also been looking at the Holt Hyrde Pinterest Board, which is especially useful for headdress ideas.

Planned kit

What have I got already?

From my random kit box I’ve already got some pretty suitable dark brown striped wool trousers, and some plain black (although aged & muddy, so more like brown) leather ankle boots. I’ve also got plain brown leather belts & pouches and a plain heavy cream canvas shoulder bag, which I’ve used lots of Odyssey, so I’ve got places to store my IC & OOC money, phone, car keys, etc. Finally from my Maelstrom Native kit I’ve got lots of bead necklaces - some are too plastic or bright to work for the Kallavesi, but the wooden beads will be great. I might replace some of this stuff with Empire-specific kit in the future marked with the runes, perhaps?), but for now I’ve got a good base to build on.


If I’m wearing a rough wool tunic, I want a linen or cotton undertunic as well. But I’m very aware of how warm those layers could be in summer, so I want to make the tunic not too massive. Adding extra layers will help in cooler weather, but I want kit that I can wear in the height of summer and still look good! So I think I’ll go with a sleeveless tunic, in a Roman/Celtic style. I’m going to make it from some lovely black and white checked wool that I bought from Bernie the Bolt. The sleeveless tunic style has four main advantages over a full T-tunic:

  • It’s easier to make - it’s just two rectangles!
  • It’s got that primitive / Iron Age feel that sets Kallavesi apart from Steinr and Suaq.
  • It’s cooler, for summer wear, as it has no arms. In cold weather I can add a thick cloak, or maybe later make a T-tunic.
  • I’ve already got a Roman-style armless calico under-tunic in my Odyssey kit (bought from Ceolred Monger), so I just need to add the wool tunic and I’ll be done. Calico is undyed cotton - not quite linen, but it’s a natural fibre so it’s close. Of course, it’d also be easy to make my own undertunic at a later date. But I’m lazy, so if I have a perfectly good one I may as well reuse it.


As well as the tunics I need to make my cloaks. These need to be big, ragged and layered. I want at least one warm layer in there, but it needs to be removeable for the summer. So I’m thinking of a black cotton layer as the base (again linen would be better, but I have an old duvet cover that I could use for free..), with a black fully feathered mantle and, for bad weather, a dark wool layer or two? I’ll probably be consulting and adapting the costume guide on making a furry mantle!


Finally, of course, there’s the headdress and fetishes. I’m collecting useful bits for these from ebay (crow’s feet, feathers, bird skulls, evil eye beads...) This is definitely the least developed part of my plan so far, but I think I want the headdress to be more of a hat than a mask - so I could go for an elaborate face-painted lineage if I wanted. I also want to avoid drawing too much from any particular real world culture - partly to avoid causing offense, partly because this is my chance to fantasy it up!

(Not) Sketching

At this stage the sensible thing would be to draw a sketch of my costume. But I’m rubbish at drawing, and I’m planning on experimenting with the shape of the cloak and the headdress as I go along. This may go horribly wrong, but I prefer a more organic design process (i.e. I’m lazy).