Wednesday, April 6, 2011


E is for Elves in our fifth installment of the Deepest Sea, A-Z.

Elves have become an even more classic element of fantasy than dwarves, ranging from our friends at Keebler, to the immortal elves of the Lord of the Rings.  Elves are typically portrayed as thin, super hippies, with above average resistance to poison, long lives, and so on.

In D&D, elves are small skinny folk (only 5-5.5' tall, and 120 pounds).  They get a plus to dexterity, and a minus to constitution, have infravision, and can spot hidden and secret doors. They are not affected by ghoul poison, and have limited class and capped level progression like dwarves (or have a race as class).

The elves were the first slaves of the Titans, and they went willingly.  The allure of knowledge, and the thirst for the new and unique was in the blood of the species even then.  For thousands of years, the elves served the Titans, and the novelty wore off, the Titans became more cruel and demented, and the elves now had the knowledge of what they lacked in bondage.

The nearly abandoned gods heard the cries of the elves, and sent Remoos to deliver them.  Born alongside the great river, Remoos became the mightiest of all elves, and liberated his people, as well as the havlings, and dwarves from the Titans.  He founded a mighty city alongside the great river, and became king of an empire which circled the rim.  During his long reign, all remaining Titans were slain, their works burned, and the study of magic was forbidden.  Anticipating that he would die, Remoos created the senate, and left a republic to protect his people.

The republic lasted only a single generation, and became an empire in name as well as in fact.  The Bans of Remoos did not even last that long, as the lust for knowledge burned deep in the people of Remoos, and the study of magic was already underway in his waining years.  The empire was powerful and the cattle wains and marching legions spread civilization all the way to the endless grass, and north to the Wet.  Gradually the people weakened, and turned inwards, and orcs and other things came out of the Wet, or the mountains, and preyed upon the people of Remoos.

When the first humans rode out of the plains on horses, the elves greeted them with honor and delight.  The vast tribes of the humans were settled in the sparsely populated territories beyond the south rim, and human lords fought the monsters.  Horses were particularly treasured by elves, and even though they were poor horsemen, horses were eagerly sought after, and spread quickly around the empire.  Little known then, was that horse pox was spread with them.

After the great plagues had depopulated so many of the provinces, elves returned to the city Remoos, in the contraction.  Wanting to be amongst their own kind, elves walked from the towns full of the dead to where they found more of their kin, or stayed and died with their families.  In a few short years, the empire died.

Now, 90% of all elves live in the city, or the farming villages to the north along the great river.  The rest are scattered around the former provinces, living where their families once did, tending graves, going crazy in solitary towers, and declining. Humans, and their kingdoms hold most of what was the empire, and orcs press from the north to take more.  Past glory is past, and the last of the elves who knew the imperial days has died.

Elves speak Franka as a rule, and typically learn many other languages during their long life.  Magic users learn the ancient languages, and as Franka is derived from Servile, they become proficient at it quite easily.  There are several Franka dialects, generally relating to geographic distribution; however, Elves can speak without accent when the situation calls for it. As Franka is spoken everywhere by educated people, and as a trade language by many merchants, elves have a much easier time traveling than others.

Race Rules
In the Deepest Sea, elves are not limited in class.  There are elves of all classes, from Assassin to Paladin.

Elves do not have infravision, instead they have keen vision, which accounts for their ability to spot hidden and secret doors.  Elves are able to see much further and more clearly than humans.

Like dwarves, Elves do not have an experience cap, although their lust for adventure may serve as a cap, in that.  More experienced elves have a tendency to want to return to the capitol city and live off of their stories, at least for a while.  In addition, with every level gained above 3, elves have a 1/6 chance of becoming addicted to adventuring, meaning that they are not able to retire, even when they seek to do so.  Unlike humans, or other races, PC elves are not likely to create strongholds, as they begin to get "itchy feet" and must go back to the dungeon or the frontier.

Elves adventure for one main reason: ennui.  Being a long lived race, they experience all mundane life has to offer (even in a city as many splendered as the capitol), and frequently become bored with it.  Adventures, particularly dangerous adventures, excite the elves, and they are either planning to adventure, or make a living from telling about the ones they have had (real or imagined).  Battle scars gained from combat with exotic animals are almost de reigure at the fashionable parties.  In addition to seeking adventure on their own, elves also hire adventuring parties to collect rare specimens, lost magics, and above all, new stories.

Randomly generated elves, either PCs or NPCs, are likely to be nobility 1/20 of the time, come from the Capitol 2/3 of the time, and are male 3/5 of the time.  Newer adventurers tend to adventure because they are in the employ of other elves who want them to acquire some artifact, or have simply become bored with their workaday life.  Occasionally elves adventure to regain items or wealth that their family lost in the contraction.  Experienced elves tend to adventure because they are addicted to the thrill, or less commonly to the rewards of adventure.  Experienced or no, elves will often be at the forefront of any dungeon delving group, and the first to explore any dark space, open a chest, and so on... with the resulting high death rate.

Finding miniatures to represent this view of Elves is difficult to say the least. Most elves seem to be either bow armed, cloth covered, or are in fantastic plate armor.  Sometimes all three.  I believe that the ones which most closely fit the look are from Thunderbolt Mountain, specifically this one.  If larger figures are desired, then the Molon Labe fantasy figures may work.
Tomorrow, more Deepest Sea A-Z, with a discussion of Fighters.

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