Crown of the Warrior Lords: The Elven Helmet
The fantasy fans among us (you know who you are) are surely familiar with the Elves in all their iterations throughout fantasy. Among their many talents, the Elves are often skilled warriors and craftsmen, meaning that their arms and armor would have to be both beautiful and deadly.
We can see this principle when we look at the High Elven helmet, which has a classic and elegant design. The style of this helmet is partially based on the famous Lord of the Rings Elven helmet, which in turn bears some similarity to the iconic Ancient Corinthian Helmet.
Much like the helmets of antiquity, this Elven helmet features a dramatic domed shape, which ends in a point. Historically, this would allow blows to glance off the top of the wearer’s head without risking blunt force trauma. It’s a practical design, which also cuts an intimidating figure.
Again, like Ancient Greek helmets, this High Elven helmet features a Y-shape cut-out for the face, making for a relatively open-faced helmet which still has substantial cheek protection and a nose guard. So, we see the best of both worlds with regard to both visibility and coverage.
Because you’re unlikely to actually go into battle, the two most important aspects to look for in an Elven helmet would be comfort and appearance. This helmet has been designed with those things in mind.
The helmet has an adjustable strap beneath the chin that fastens with a buckle. This ensures that your helmet is secure, even if you’re planning on moving around a lot. Inside the helmet, there are removable foam inserts that can be arranged to fit as comfortably as possible.
On the appearance side of things, we’ve touched on the basic shape of the Elven helmet. The helmet itself is made of steel with a brass plating. This brassy colour again mirrors both the Lord of the Rings Elven helmet and the famously bronze Ancient Greek helmets.
As well as the colour and the general shape of the helmet, there is also some finer detailing. The helmet itself features layered brass plates which create attractive curved lines on the helmet while adding protection. As well as this, the helmet has a separate faceplate which forms the nose-guard and also features an attractive ridged pattern. This faceplate is riveted to the main body of the helmet.
So, whether you’re looking to complete your Elven look at a fantasy LARP event, you’re cosplaying as a fantasy Elven character, or you simply want a beautiful piece of armor as part of a collection, this High Elven helmet could be for you. The Illumine collection also includes some other pieces, if your character wants a more complete set of armor.
The Four Facets of Fantasy Elves: Warriors, Archers, Mages, and Craftsmen
Whenever a fantasy work mentions Elves, whether they are Tolkienesque or something completely different, they generally excel at certain skills. This is perhaps due to their advanced age giving them plenty of time to practice, or their natural talents, or some mystical reasoning, or a combination of all of the above.
Depending on the source, elves are often described as being supernaturally (or very near so) good at either fighting, archery, magic, or crafting. Sometimes they’re amazing at all of these skills, or perhaps only a select few. In worlds that have multiple types of elves, we might see different cultures focus on varying abilities.
Elven Warriors: Supernaturally Skilled or Physically Lacking?
When it comes to fantasy elves and physicality, there are two different schools of thought. Some fantasy works, such as Tolkien’s Collected works and Gael Baudino’s Strands series, feature elves which excel in all forms of combat.
Tolkien’s elves are great warriors, with a blood-soaked past history full of war, tragedy, and violence. This is especially clear in his works set in the First Age of Middle Earth, chronicling the Elves’ clash with the Dark Lord Morgoth.
Both Tolkien and Baudino feature elves that are naturally physically gifted, being strong and agile. They have incredible senses, which are useful in all forms of combat, and a natural grace that supersedes even the lithest human. This is on top of having perfect health and being immune to illnesses that would plague their human compatriots.
If that wasn’t enough of an edge, elves in fantasy are almost always very long-lived. Tolkien’s elves, as well as many others, are functionally immortal, being immune to old age and capable of living millennia while being at the peak of their physical fitness. Even more restrained works tend to give elves at least centuries to live.
This gives elves an inherent advantage in any skill that requires practice, not just combat. But when it comes to martial arts, experience coupled with extended youth allow for deadly warriors. Once a human masters a fighting style, they haven’t got long before their body starts to let them down, but elves can keep improving.
However, for every incredible warrior elf, there may also be a less physically gifted elf cropping up in fantasy. Some works base their elves on the smaller, more fairy-like creatures of yore, which provides an immediate and obvious strength and reach disadvantage compared to their larger brethren.
Other works simply suggest that elves are more physically frail than humans, perhaps because they’re naturally willowy rather than muscular. This is quite a common finding in games that feature different playable races and character customisation. The reasoning for this gameplay decision is simple, it’s all about balance.
Video games always have to juggle balance to make the game fun for everyone and to allow for different playstyles. If one race is massively stronger than all the others in every way, like Tolkien style elves would be, then many people would only play as that character.
Instead, a lot of game developers give each creature certain strengths and weaknesses, which mitigates this issue. In this case, elves are often either physically weaker or average, while their magic or archery potential is potentially higher to compensate.
An example would be the Elder Scrolls games, which actually have three (technically four) types of elves. The high elves are physically weak but magically strong, the wood elves are physically weak but excel at archery, and the dark elves are somewhat average across the board, albeit more fragile than some races. The orcs are kind of elves, depending on who you ask, and they are strong and tough, but are less gifted in the other skills.
Elven Archers: Great Eyesight Make for Great Shots
This skill can probably be included with general mundane combat, but elven archers are more common in fantasy than elven warriors. Even if an elf is physically average or even frail, they may well be an excellent archer. This is because most elves have at least some level of enhanced sight, which can be either magic or mundane in nature.
This archery can be used to characterise different kinds of elves. Wood elves are typically great hunters, so it makes sense that they would be skilled with the bow. Legolas, while technically a kind of High Elf, hails from the “woodland realm”, and is generally considered to fit this archetype nicely.
However, there’s also the darker side of archery, which would be the elven assassin. These elves might be actual Dark Elves, or simply more morally grey and sneaky elves, and they usually enjoy a measure of night vision and snipe their victims from afar.
Masters of Magic: Elven Scholars and Wizards
Almost every version of elves has some level of magic. Sometimes, this is more of a vague connection to the world around them and an air of mystery and something greater. Again, we’re looking at Tolkien here. While his elves achieve some supernatural feats, the extent of their magical abilities are shrouded in mystery.
Other works are more explicit in their Elven magic. Sometimes, the elves are the only ones in the world with access to magic. In other cases, there are different types of magic, some of which are accessible to certain species and not to others.
Terry Brooks’ Shannara novels are an interesting example of elves and magic. They feature druids, which are humans who have access to magic. But there are also the Elfstones, which are incredibly powerful artifacts that can practically warp reality. You need elven blood to access this magic, and diluted Elven blood caused some interesting effects.
Finally, we have the case where magic is potentially available to pretty much everyone, but elves have an affinity towards it. This crops up in games, but also in other works of fiction. Sometimes this means that elves pick magic up easier, other times it means that elves have larger “magic stores” and so can do more impressive feats with the same magic.
Elven Craftsmen: Magic and Mundane Skill Intertwined
You may have wondered why we haven’t mentioned magical artifacts in our magic section. Well, it’s because we’re mentioning it right here, right now. Sometimes, Elven magic bleeds through in what they create.
To the surprise of nobody, this crops up in Tolkien’s works. The elves are master craftsmen, who most famously created several magical artifacts. These include the fabled Rings of Power, the tragedy inducing Silmarils, and a whole bunch of other explicitly magical items.
Tolkien’s elves were also so skilled at crafting mundane things that it was borderline supernatural. Elven Gondolin blades, for instance, have the ability to glow in the presence of orcs and are so well made that they are legendary.
Outside of Tolkien, we see Elven craftsmen crop up in all kinds of fiction. The Elder Scrolls is an interesting example, because “Elven armor” is quite weak, gameplay wise. However, “glass armor” is one of the strongest light armors in the game and canonically was designed by the elves.
Elven craftsmanship is generally depicted as being elegant and beautiful, especially in worlds where the elves themselves are elegant and beautiful. It often allows us a glimpse into their culture, whether we’re looking at artwork, architecture, or weaponry. As well as being attractive, these crafts are almost always very well made and likely surpass human crafts.
Now, we’ve generalised quite a bit here. There are also less cultured elves out there, we’re sure. Also, even in worlds where Elven craftsmen in general are very skilled, not every elf is necessarily an artisan. Also, other races like dwarves may rival them in skill, if not beauty.
The technical specifications of the Elven helmet are as follows:
- Materials: 19 gauge mild steel with brass plating, leather strap
- Colour: Brass
- Care Instructions: Keep away from water. Clean using a metal polish and occasionally treat with oil. Use leather-care products for the fittings.
Due to the handmade nature of the Elven helmet armor piece, the following measurements are approximate. There may also be minor deviations in its pattern, colour, and shape.
- Small/Medium: 11 inches height, 7.1 inches width, 7.1 inches crown height, 9.1 inches depth, 2.75 inches guard plate length, 2 inches guard plate width, 22.8 inches inner circumference, 4.2 lbs in weight.
- Large/X-Large: 12.6 inches height, 7.9 inches width, 9.8 inches depth, 2.75 inches guard plate length, 2 inches guard plate width, 24.8 inches inner circumference, 5 lbs in weight