The mortal denizens of Kheol, as well as manifested phrenes, wear masks when they go about their business in town. They do this because the masks confuse shades, making them think that the person wearing it is simply another shade. Masks are, thus, an important part of life in Kheol, and nothing says “fool” like walking the streets without one.
While there are spells which can be cast and rituals which can be performed to keep the shades at bay, they require far more effort to maintain than simply wearing a mask. Public places are almost never protected by such wards, and they are generally reserved for homes or occasionally businesses. Some locals even do a brisk business selling warding charms, which contain the magic needed to keep the shades at bay but, like all such magic, must be renewed periodically. Allowing a ward to slip can mean death for all in a household, so they are generally renewed or replaced regularly.
But, in public, people go about in masks, giving crowds in Kheol an even more otherworldly appearance. New arrivals in the city, provided they come in via the docks, are granted simple wooden masks, paid for as part of the tax levied for entering the city. From there, they can go on to buy more elaborate masks if they so wish.
Masks can be of any material, but they must be stiff, and cannot have moving parts. The trick is to make shades think the mask is simply a dead, immobile face. Outside of that however, they can be as elaborate or symbolic as the wearer desires. Most keep their masks rather simple, as Kheol is a humble place. People with garish masks which betray their wealth are often mocked, behind their backs, for being so immodest.
This does not mean that unique masks are not valued; they simply aren’t often made of gold or other such materials. Those who wish to maintain a public persona, such as entertainers, ensure that their masks are quite unique, while others might have masks similar to those favored by their families, or with as few distinguishing features as possible.
Those unfamiliar with the city sometimes assume that they can get away with crimes by wearing as plain a mask as possible. These people are mistaken. For while a human or phrenes might have difficulty identifying a criminal based on their mask, the Yamas do not rely on anything as simple as sight to recognize a person.
Small Charm Cost: 30
This charm can ward an area of up to 30 feet on a side against shades, and is usually used in small homes. It lasts for one month.
Large Charm Cost: 100
This charm can ward an area of up to 80 feet on a side against shades, and protects such places as warehouses, taverns, and large homes. It lasts for one month.
Shade Ward. You protect an area up to 10 feet on a side from shades for 1 day. Cleric/Conjurer 1
Artwork: “Shop in Paris,” by Euène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, from Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle, vol. 2 , by Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, 1875