It occurred to me while writing about the benefits of chainmail bikinis that one of the major downfalls is the vast amount of exposed skin. Not for any morality or mortality reasons (although those do make for interesting points), but rather for the sheer amount of maintenance that would require. I’m not even talking about shaving and waxing. (We all agree that Conan *must* wax to pull off that oily muscled look, right?)
And let’s be realistic. Wow, the scars adventurers must have. I mean, I once had a tick removed from my tender tender belly flesh. That’s what you get for running in the woods fully clothed, so I flinch at the thought of running half-naked in the woods. You’d become a tick magnet.
Anyway, a 70-year old mostly blind doctor went at me with a scalpel to remove the tiny leg still stuck in my flesh and, I gotta tell you, that left a scar. Now that was one tiny, super sharp and badly wielded knife. So let’s pause and imagine how many scars inappropriately armored individuals must have.
This is more about the unsightly scars left behind by being thrust at with swords, spears, arrows, knives, mystical weapons, spells, and large pachyderms. Obviously there are ways of dealing with such minor scars, leaving visible only the major nod-to-backstory ones.
In my continued efforts to support sword and sorcery fashion adventurers, here’s an undoubtedly incomplete list of tricks to deal with scarring while wearing almost nothing.
1 – Scar removal à la tattoo artist
Concealing makeup isn’t really a maintainable solution, since there are loads of makeup removing swamps to wade in and sweaty deserts to cross. But a tattoo covering would be perfect. You can get a tattoo representing your deity (bonus points: sucking up to a deity means extra powers!) or a flesh-toned tattoo.
If you go for the latter, try to keep your skin tone even or the tattoos will show like maps of pain on your skin. Watch those tan lines!
2 – Hair
I’m not suggesting you grow hair where none grows, although all the more power to you if you can. Heck, market that in pharmacies and live like an emperor.
What I’m saying is, long hair is a great way to disguise head wounds and upper back scars, for all those treacherous betrayals. Most adventurers sport this look not out of convenience, but out of vanity. Scar hiding vanity.
3 – Accessories
If I can bring up accessories in every single one of my blog posts at Black Gate, I will. Because I feel that strongly about them.
Have you ever been chained up in a dungeon for weeks until you get nasty scars around your wrists? Ever get your throat slit, but were saved thanks to your unaesthetically-inclined wizard friend who was able to heal you before you completely bled out? Those would be tough scars to hide if not for cuffs and chokers and stuff like that.
Remember to accessorize with your boots, but not your bag. You don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard.
4 – Outfit
By no means am I advocating a move away from your traditional mostly naked adventuring wear. Rather, I’m suggesting that you choose outfits with the right touches to hide the nastiest scars.
A simple extra length on your loincloth can really hide those thigh scars, without robbing the audience sight of your rippling muscles. A chain mail sash can also hide tick scars on your belly, and make you feel like a pageant winner.
At this point, you may be wondering why you would bother hiding all your scars when you’ve earned them while doing righteous battle. It’s not necessarily about vanity. It’s also about the comic book artists and cosplayers who might pick up your story. Think about the hours they’ll spend drawing in scars just to be true to the source material.
Think about them. Be a hero one more time. Cover your scars.
Marie Bilodeau is an award-winning science-fiction and fantasy author, as well as a professional performing storyteller. Check out her writings and find out what the heck a storyteller is at www.mariebilodeau.com.