Our Balaclava Monster Masks

Out of the many contributions that Rhiassa has made to the community, one of our most impactful and enduring ones are our balaclava cloth monster masks. The more venerable members of the Realms will remember a time when the great majority of monster masks were made out of plastic "hockey" masks, meaning cheap "Friday the 13th" halloween masks that were then transformed to look like a monster by adding foam and duct tape to the front of them. These prevailed as the most common type of mask for decades but were uncomfortable, restricted ones field of vision, and would cause issues to the wearer when the mask was hit during combat.

Our cloth masks solved all of those problems. By creating full-head coverings out of elastic-woven material, we were able to craft a type of mask that stayed on well and could be adorned with all sorts of monstrous features to really help create the illusion of different types of creatures. These masks hide the faces of NPCs so well that is becomes almost effortless to suspend your disbelief and see real monsters facing you in combat. Since the creation of these masks dozens of event holding teams have borrowed them to help make their events better and we are proud to have made something that has such long-reaching effects.

Mask Types We've Made

The initial inspiration for the balaclava masks started when we had to make ninja masks for The Legend of Yumenguan event in 2007. These aren't the current ninja masks that are in our collection as the originals were very much a mostly-functional prototype but it was from that prototype that the idea of how to make a cloth monster mask work was stirred in Steve Johnson. From that idea he went back tot he basics and spent many weeks hard at work creating the troll and goblin masks in our collection. It was the creation of those masks that led to the idea for the What Lurks Beneath plot series. Steve made some other mask types after those and Jason Rosa and Lani Jones both joined him in making other mask types and adding them to the collection. Below you can see all the monster types we have created with the balaclava design, all of which are available to lend out to other event holders across the Realms.

Mask Making Tutorial

We beleive very strongly in our balaclava fabric mask design as the most viable and comfortable costuming option for most types of NPCs. While we are happy to make available our supply of masks to the community, we also recognize that other groups want to have their own gear and that there might be monster types that you would like to use that we simply do not have masks for. To that end, Lani Jones put together the following tutorial video to show you how you can make your own fabric masks. Patterns for the mask are linked below.

Pattern 1 - Outer Mask Shape Pattern (formatted for 24"x20" paper)
Pattern 2 - Face Plate Pattern (formatted for 8.5"x11" paper)