Brief thoughts: masks in your fantasy setting.

In my recent blog post I referenced the Mayan, Lord Pakal. Pakal was buried wearing a jade funerary mask and it reminded me that masks are very cool! You’ve probably used or encountered a mask in your RPG game—maybe it’s a powerful magic item, a funerary mask found in a crypt /tomb or worn for a festival or celebration. I was reminded of masks worn by cultures or organization in popular fiction and how the mask itself became a defining trait.

Masks can be powerful symbols—they can hide an identity or gender, signify membership, convey emotion, create equality and/or eliminate social barriers. In a fantasy setting, masks can convey tone or atmosphere to the group using a very simple description. One-off masks are great, but what about standardized masks worn by whole groups of people/fighters etc?

Two that immediately come to mind:

1.       The Immortals in the movie 300. Certainly the movie was highly stylistic and not that historically accurate, but the masks make the enemy both anonymous and menacing.

2.       The Seguleh. If you haven’t read the Malazan series—do so! The Seguleh were a militant, hierarchal society of skilled warriors. All wore masks, each one signifying their rank (1st being the best warrior).

I can’t recall any particular group that sports masks as part of their uniform in Shadow World—can you? I’ve included a few cool masks worn by some cultists and like the effect they had on the players.

Anyone have any magical masks they want to share: stats, powers, description etc?

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