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Ritual Clothing

Ritual garb can run the gammut between modest, practical, or even outright ridiculous.

Because of the lack of mass-produced clothing in the Empire, the clothes a person wears reveals everything about a person. Members of the various cults are expected to wear robes, jewellery, and other accoutrements that display their chosen deity. Depending on the deity, this clothing can be simple and unadorned, or rich and elaborate.[1a]

For most cultists, the most simple and practical attire is the robe. Most strive to find the best material for their vestments, but even a modest robe crafted from sackcloth still presents a respectable front. Because dyes and bleaching are expensive, only the wealthiest of cultists can afford robes with the lightest of hues. Priests of certain cults, notably Shallya and Verena, who have little need of money, spend their precious coin to ensure that they can wear robes of the most pure white to show their faith.[1a]

Other earthier cults, such as that of Taal and Rhya, and Ulric, wear more practical garb, befitting those who toil or are not afraid to get dirty. Most of these cultists wear their day-to-day clothing during their rites, pulling out special robes of green, brown, and rust only for special occasions. A few rituals even require the cultist to shun clothing altogether so as to be one with the ground and sky of the world.[1a]

Cultists of the warrior faiths—Sigmar and Ulric in particular—often combine their ritual clothing with armour. Although styles can be outlandish, they are designed in such a way so as not to restrict one’s movement and freedom in combat. Even off the battlefield, these cultists dress to be prepared to take up arms at a moment’s notice.[1a]

Ritual clothing includes garb other than mere robes. During several holidays, worshippers don costumes, wear bright and festive ribbons, or put on masks, depending on what is being celebrated. Nobles delight in being able to show off their wealth with extravagant costumes made from expensive fabrics and exotic decorations. In fact, this rite of costume making has the dual purpose of both religious observation and setting the tone for next season’s fashions. Commoners save up all year long to make the best costumes that they can afford, but most make do with the materials they have available on hand, augmented with flowers, leaves, and scraps of discarded cloth.[1a]

Although a great many cultists choose apparel suited to their station and role within their cult, the limitless variations, differences of dogma, and even ideas prompt many to dress themselves in items that reflect their deep devotion in the hope of achieving a greater connection to their God. Priestesses of Verena, for instance, may strap a dozen or more weighty tomes to their backs to make them accustomed to bringing their eyes closer to the manuscripts they examine. More broadly, many cultists take to wearing animals sacred to their Gods—priests of Manann can be found all over the north wearing fish on their heads, while others may hang the carcass of other animals that may have symbolic representation, which in most cases is known only to the priest. The famous friar of Ubersreik, in a moment of divine inspiration, plucked a pig from the sty and placed the poor beast on his head. As if by some miracle, the creature did not leave or struggle to let go, though it was later discovered the priest had applied a heavy streak of glue on his bald pate.[1a]

A great many priests, especially those with a flair for the dramatic, are known to keep puppets so they can put on a performance whenever they are in areas that are troublesome. The priest may feel an impulse to remind Old Worlders why it is important to show the proper respect to the Gods. Such demonstrations have success with the peasants and the uneducated, but in lands where Chaos and wickedness hold sway, there is rarely anything left after the show except for a few pieces of cloth and chunks of quivering flesh.[1a]

Other cultists may preach on street-corners, wearing sandwich boards that may contain extracts of holy texts, nailed body parts, feathers, or chunks of flesh (ham being a popular choice in Wissenland, where swine are preferred over sheep). Frothing in religious fervour, the priest finds a high place and beseeches the Gods for their mercy, while offering rude punishments to those whom the priest finds lacking.[1a]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Salvation
    • 1a: pg. 90

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