So one day I’m trying to picture what a Crownsguard might look like, and I remember the note in the trivia section that Matt pictured them as resembling “Late Byzantine” soldiers… So I google “Late Byzantine soldiers" and nothing seemed like it was connecting until I came to this one image. It just seems to fit somehow, except no greaves or crossbow, and he’s wearing the wrong kind of armor (some sort of gambeson instead of scale, I think.) I think “not only is that kind of close to what I’m picturing-- that is simple enough that I might be able to reproduce it with some sort of scale-mail. (OK, technically just “scale” as mail actually means chain armor, but we’re talking D&D categories here, no need to get real-world technical…) As to the greaves and crossbow, I can’t imagine every crownsguardsman carrying a crossbow all the time; it’s probably more that some carry a crossbow sometimes when mission appropriate. Others, for instance might form some sort of shield wall for the crossbowmen to shelter behind… oh and shield walls are just the thing for riot control, something they probably train for. As to the greaves, many of these guys spend most of their time patrolling, not just standing around like Royal Guardsman; I bet many of them ditch the greaves if they expect to be doing a lot of walking (or marching) as those things look deucedly uncomfortable to walk around in.
Next thing I knew, I had a halfway-passable little illustration of a crownsguardsman in two versions (one with sword and kite shield and one with crossbow and strapped-on heater shield) and was I working on a “plate-mail” version for the Righteous Brand. At this point my little dude had become like a little “digital manikin” on whom I could try different styles and colors of armor and shields, and shield-blazons… and I was off working on a bronze-plate archer with a cerulean face-plate for the Hand of Ord, and was coming up with creative ideas for the four regiments at Fort Daxio and versions with a Morion Helmet and quilted gambeson for the Zolezzo and the Pale Guard… At which point I began to realize, hey I’m sort of creating an Exandrian version of an Osprey book.
OK, well, I know Osprey makes use of real artists to draw their plates, not 3rd rate hacks like me. Some day an artist will come, whose sandle-thong I am unworthy to untie, who will do this right. Until then, however, I have a series of illustrations ready-to-hand that might at least give a concept of what they might look like… And so I thought I’d share them with you, my “Armor & Uniform Concepts…”