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The cape was born of necessity to protect man and his mate from the cold and rain and to use as a cover when sleeping...
They came in all materials, lengths and styles; unadorned, furred and bejeweled. They hid secret documents, lovers' trysting notes, stolen chickens. In a more romantic vein they were indispensable groundcovers for picnics and flashy backdrops for Errol Flynn's swordplay.
Whether capes, cloaks, or mantles, these are favored garments of superheroes, royalty, vampires, and fantasy adventurers.
Visually, they are a great way to draw attention to characters, due to their size and potential for movement, especially with Dramatic Wind. There's a reason the tropes The Cape and Ermine Cape Effect have this word in their names.
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