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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Yora's Avatar

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    Default New touches for wood elves

    Since I am seraching for some, they don't even need to be actually new, just different from the standard Mirkwood or High Forest elves.
    I am not even strictly set on Wood Elves, that's mostly as a rough indication for what kinds of elves I am looking for, as opposed to High Elves, who are more about rich palaces, nobility, magic, and learning. I'm more going for the rangers, druids, and tree village direction.

    Chondalwood Elves (Forgotten Realms): Probably not that unique and one of the most commonly used variants. They live in the subtropic Chondalwood and are extremely xenophobic, not wanting any visitors to their lands and they are more barbaric than the "common wood elves".

    Dark Sun Elves: Like everything in Dark Sun, they are more Desert Elves. With almost no forests, they are nomads always traveling through the wastes, which has made them into exceptionally long distance runners who can keep going for days. They trust and respect only the members of their clan and nobody else.

    Eberron Drow: I think these are actually the closest thing to wood elves in Eberron. They were once slaves of a giant empire that was destroyed by dragons and since then have made their homes in the jungles of Xen'drik. Most worship an evil scorpion god and they are not at all fond of any visitors and almost as dangerous as drow in other settings.

    Miyeritari (Forgotten Realms): Not much known about them except that they were pretty much like wood elves, but actually a kingdom of non-evil dark elves.

    Dalish (Dragon Age): The Dalish are an elven culture whose members have turned away from civilization where elves live as poor peasants or slaves. They have only lose connections to the ancient past of the elven people and their leaders are the Keepers, who are chiefs and shamans of the clans and preserve the ancient lore and work to learn more about the history and the secrets of their ancestors from ancient elven ruins that can still be found in some places. Since they know magic and all mages have to live in guilds under constant guard by temlpars, whose church forbids the old elven religion, the dalish usually stay hidden in the wilderness, living as nomads using wagons drawn by a species of white deers.

    Night Elves (Warcraft): Sort of counts, being somewhere between Wood Elves and High Elves. Except for being purple, those that live in more wood elven ways are really not that different from any other wood elves, so there isn't much to say about them, except that in their culture archers are usually women while druids used to be exclusively male until recently. And they ride giant tigers instead of horses.

    Those are the ones I am familiar with, but I would like to have more variety for elves in my games. Does anyone have any other variants of wood elves to add or has any new ideas for how to make alternative variations of them?
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    In the Swedish RPG Eon there's a tribe of elves called Henea (though the other tribes might qualify as well) that is a rather special group of wood elves.

    They're a shamanistic hunter-gatherer society with some serious grudge issues. They completely lack any permanent settlements or industrial centra, so all their technology is based on materials that can easily be acquired from wood or animals. They stalk the woods and get attuned to their patrom spirit, learning throughout their life to become better attuned to it in various spiritual journeys. They have a very strict honour society that frequently demands duels to the first blood or death, very rarely does the henea ever forget or forgive a slight. Perhaps best symbolized that every dwarf and the first member of the fellow elven tribe Thism in every group gets shot on sight when passing into henea hunting grounds... as a warning shot. The hunting team and it's honour stands above everything, woe to anyone that insults a fellow hunter.

    That's a simplified explanation. Was it what you were looking for?

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    I don't think this one in particular works for my campaign, but yes, that's the kind of information I am looking for.
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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    The Bosmer of the Elder Scrolls have some interesting lore to them. Really, really far back in the world history, the world had no natural laws yet. The Bosmer had the problem that they could not hold a body shape yet. So they made a pact with one of gods (sort of) of the setting, who would give them a shape. Jauffre, the forest god. In exchange, they had to promise never to hurt any plant or use any plant material.

    Makes for an interesting culture. They live in a forest ,but can not use wood for anything. They use bone or horn, or they trade for metal, but never any wood or leaves. It is also implied htat if an elf goes against this, Jauffre might decide to collapse him into a puddle of primordial goo. And in times of need, the Bosmer can invoke the Wild Hunt, where some of them ritualistically unleash their primal nature and become rampaging giant shapeshifters.

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Miyeritari (Forgotten Realms): Not much known about them except that they were pretty much like wood elves, but actually a kingdom of non-evil dark elves.

    Night Elves (Warcraft): Sort of counts, being somewhere between Wood Elves and High Elves. Except for being purple, those that live in more wood elven ways are really not that different from any other wood elves, so there isn't much to say about them, except that in their culture archers are usually women while druids used to be exclusively male until recently. And they ride giant tigers instead of horses.
    these could probably be blended together, replacing Elune with Eilistraee. or just having the 2 be married/dating.


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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    The Sylvan elves from Heroes of Might & Magic 5 (and possibly 3, I can't really say). They're fairly normal wood elves, but go more in the celtic/native American direction. Aside from that it's bows and unicorns and living in trees.
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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Tamire Elf Clans (Dragonlance-Taladas)

    On the other continent in Dragonlance, the Elf Clans that live in the steppes of Tamire are mounted archers. They have a culture that resembles the Mongolians on Earth. They have a deep respect for horses, dress colorfully, and live in yurts. They often raid the human and goblin tribes nearby. When a elven child dies, the clan raids a human tribe and takes a human child to replace the dead elven child. This human child is then adopted to the clan and made an honorary elf. Thus they also have a relatively large number of half elves.
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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    The Bosmer of the Elder Scrolls have some interesting lore to them. Really, really far back in the world history, the world had no natural laws yet. The Bosmer had the problem that they could not hold a body shape yet. So they made a pact with one of gods (sort of) of the setting, who would give them a shape. Jauffre, the forest god. In exchange, they had to promise never to hurt any plant or use any plant material.

    Makes for an interesting culture. They live in a forest ,but can not use wood for anything. They use bone or horn, or they trade for metal, but never any wood or leaves. It is also implied htat if an elf goes against this, Jauffre might decide to collapse him into a puddle of primordial goo. And in times of need, the Bosmer can invoke the Wild Hunt, where some of them ritualistically unleash their primal nature and become rampaging giant shapeshifters.
    Tamriel really is a wonderful, interesting setting. It's just too bad the games usually focus on the boring, mundane parts.

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Gloranthan Elves: Are actually plants. They're smaller than humans, eat only other plants, can't handle iron, and have a strong affinity for other plant-magic, including a spell they use to grow their distinctive bows.

    (I've thought about swiping these and saying that when they get old enough, they grow into Treants, but haven't used it yet.)
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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Not especially original, but here's the elves of my game:

    Sylvan Elf
    Small and fine-featured, Sylvan elves are flighty and mischevous, and have an affinity for fey and the joys of life and nature. Their hair and eyes range widely in colour, but usually dark hair and natural-coloured eyes such as blue and green, though other colours such as especially bright ones, amber, and metallic hues are not uncommon. They prefer light, unrestraining clothing of natural textiles in bright shades.
    • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish colour and detail under these conditions.
    • Weapon Proficiency: Elves receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats. All elven weapons are considered Martial, not Exotic.
    • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
    • +2 Diplomacy checks with Fey creatures.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.
    • Favored Class: Sorcerer. A multiclass elf’s sorcerer class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.
    • Sylvan elves can cast Prestidigitation and Dancing Lights once per day.

    Arbour Elf
    Taller and grander in physical appearance than others of their race, Arbour elves have a reputation for being aloof and arrogant (even by elven standards). They usually have pale hair, often of silver or gold, and often have gold, amber, violet, bright blue, piercing green or similar type eyes. They prefer regal, elegant clothing of white, silver, yellow, or gold, with cloaks of deep blue or purple.
    • +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • Weapon Proficiency: Elves receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats. All elven weapons are considered Martial, not Exotic.
    • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.
    • Favored Class: Wizard. A multiclass elf’s wizard class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.
    • Arbour elves can cast Prestidigitation and Mage Hand once per day.
    - Can't think of a skill for them to have a bonus in. Possibly Knowledge (arcana).

    Bog Elf
    Bog (or Wild) elves are barbaric and tribal. Bog elves’ hair colour ranges from black to light brown, lightening to silvery white with age, and their eyes are usually of earthy colours such as brown, hazel or green. They dress in simple clothing of animal skins and basic plant weaves.
    • +2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • Weapon Proficiency: Elves receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats. All elven weapons are considered Martial, not Exotic.
    • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
    • +2 Knowledge (nature) checks.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.
    • Bog elves can cast Dancing Lights and Ghost Sound once per day.
    • Favored Class: Ranger. This trait replaces the high elf’s favoured class.


    Arbour elves are in the "homeland" of elfdom. They're the stereotypical "Tolkein elves": beautiful, mysterious, arrogant and full of themselves. They have a long-running war with the ultra-conservative "homeland" dwarves.
    Some years ago, there was a schism among the Arbour elves. Something to do with the war with the dwarves and/or a perception that the elves were losing touch with nature. Various groups left to form their own communities.
    The ones that would become Sylvan elves and Bog elves both agreed that the Arbour elves were becoming too disconnected from nature, considering it a tool and a domain over which they ruled and manipulating it to suit their aesthetics rather than appreciating the beauty it already had. However, the Sylvan elves thought it was time for the war with the dwarves to end and that the elves should engage more with the other peoples of the world, whereas the Bog elves thought the war wasn't going far enough and if the elves couldn't eliminate or conquer all of them then they should cut themselves off and preserve proper elfiness.
    Sylvan elves went into the Highlands, and hang around with fey. They're the more... well, fey type elves. All nature and sparkles.
    Bog elves were the most bitter about the schism, and moved into an enormous swamp. They're feral, bestial type elves, the sort that don't like visitors.
    Last edited by Serpentine; 2012-09-30 at 09:25 PM.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    In my setting elves were “uplifted” by the “gods” who found the world, molding them from cave dwelling men into creatures who could naturally do magic. Elves were given divine right to rule over the world and founded a theocratic empire. This empire mostly collapsed and a large number of elves began following an elven philosopher who proposed that magic was a horrible corrupting thing that destroys the natural beauty of the world. They refuse to cast magic on anything or creature and live in the woods using simple tools and animal skin shelters. However, given that they have already been “corrupted” by their “gods” to be innately magical they instead became master shape shifters and use other spells that augment their bodies. Other elves find this heretical, because they were designed by the “gods” therefore their form is already perfect and altering it unthinkable.
    Last edited by GenericGuy; 2012-09-30 at 10:33 PM.

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    what about elves who live in the forest but hate it. They are at constant war with the forest itself. They engage in strip logging and slash and burn agriculture in a systematic attempt to destroy all the trees.

    The ancestral curse they live under makes this a loosing game however. New fields rapidly loose all their fertility within a few seasons (the forest rapidly reclaiming the barren land), timbers warp, split and splinter and the buildings they erect are torn apart by encroaching trees.

    If they abandon the forest and attempt to settle outside it the cures follows them. This makes them social pariahs as no one wants them on their land.

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Quote Originally Posted by GenericGuy View Post
    In my setting elves were “uplifted” by the “gods” who found the world, molding them from cave dwelling men into creatures who could naturally do magic.
    I did something similiar. In the beginning elves and all other races where cave dwelling savages, but some where captured and trained as slaves for the fey courts. But at some points the fey lost interest and only kept their castles in the spiritworld, leaving the elves behind in the mortal world. Familiar at least with the idea of farming and metalworking, the former slaves where then the first to bring these discoveries back to the savage elves, which became the second civilized race after the lizardfolk.
    Those civilizations that were founded by the former slaves are collectively the wood elves, while in the south the dark elves had never been enslaved and got most of their early technology and knowledge from scavanging in the abandoned castles. At least that is what the two groups now both pride themselves with in the present day.

    I like the idea of swamp elves. I think there's really something I want to use in some way.
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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    There is some "back to nature" elves in Warhammer 40 000, the Eldar Exodites. An Exodite more resembles a plate armored elf riding a tyrannosaurus with a laser cannon than a traditional elf, though, but there is big variation among the planets they colonized.

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    The wolf-riders or Elfquest make an excellent role-playing race. Cut off from their past, they have become part of the forest, and form close bonds with their wolves. Unlike high elves, who often appear somewhat detached from the world, these are far more closely bound to it.

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    The Newesti might fit what you want, though its favored class are an assassin class and Wizard, and its more balanced for Pathfinder.

    Newesti
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    Origin
    During the early years of the Second Era, a race known to others as elves were created by the god Kephra, Lord of the Wild. He designed them to have an eternal bond with nature. They lived content for two generations but afterwards two cults were forged. Through the actions of these two cults, demons were created. The survivors of the cult were exiled by the other elves to the plains of Sumra for betraying their creators. The cultists were branded the name Dunesti (Or Exiled Elves), while the others elves saw themselves as being true uncorrupted elves and adopted the name Newesti (True Elves).

    These Newesti dwelt within their lands, preferring not to trouble them with the rest of the world. They were content until the Dwarves tunnelled into their lands. Once the Newesti found out they sent Spider Blood Assasins against the miners, soon a war started between the two. This war has led to harsh regulations against leaving Estikar and the origin of the Seekers.

    Personality
    The personality of a True Elf is tied to their Soul Beast, a creature which their soul is linked to in the Feywild. Those with the Wolf might be cold, calculating and work best in teams, while a Newesti with Shark would be more spontaneous and self-serving.

    Despite this causing a diverse number of traits most Newesti share some traits.
    Nearly all Newesti are personal in their thinking , giving them an arrogant side and causing them prefer to do as they wish regardless of other. This causes them to often act selfish towards others but this doesn't mean they aren't empathetic. Despite their self-centred minds Newesti are very empathic to those who they consider family or friends.

    The highest commendation from a Newesti is them being willing to risk their life to save yours. If this happens then the Newesti will probably be your ally for life.

    Physical Description
    Newesti are short and slim, standing about 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 feet tall and typically weighing only 95 to 135 pounds, with Newesti men the same height as and only marginally heavier than Newesti women. They are graceful but frail. They tend to be fair skinned and dark haired, with deep green or amber eyes. Both male and female Newesti grow hair very quickly, often causing large amounts of facial hair to arise in weeks. Facial Hair is frowned upon as it is seen as a sign of giving into the beast within, because of this it is amazingly rare to see a Newesti with a beard or moustache.

    Because of their bond to the Feywild, once mature their bodies never show any normal sign of aging, but when they reach the age of 200 their bond with nature becomes uncontrollable.

    They start to transform into that of their Soul Beast. If they are in their homeland the Newesti assembly will start a ritual, this will allow the Newesti to retain their mind and personality intact. A Newesti older than 211 has never been recorded and the maximum lifespan of a Newesti has never been found because of the transformation.

    Relations
    The Newesti generally don’t care enough about the outside world and see most races as strange but not exotic enough to garner any interest. This isn't true of three species though; Aasimar are sometimes born to Newesti parents these are seen as weaker because of their short lives and pity them. Dunesti are openly hated and distrusted because of the Dunesti's treason in the second era. Half-Elves are also pitied because of their tainted blood.

    They are currently are war with Dwarves and distrust them almost immediately.

    Alignment
    They tend towards Chaotic Neutral, doing as they wish as their main goal.

    Lands
    The Newesti rule the land of Estikar. Estikar is the smallest country in the world of Keran, being only a single large island. It is mainly tropical jungle with several large forested hills forming boundaries between Territories. It has no cities in it; instead each community has control over a Territory. With the exception of Mira, where the government and the Newesti Assembly of Estikar lies. The buildings in the territories are far and in between, and are generally built in the upper areas of large trees.

    Because of the war with the Dwarves and the low-birth rates of Newesti, most True Elves aren't allowed to leave Estikar. There are often only three exceptions; Aristocrats, Seekers, and Soldiers. The Seekers are a specialized group of warriors trained by the Assembly for the sole purpose of hunting down Newesti who have illegally left Estikar.

    Religion
    Newesti have a close religious relationship with Kephrana and his children, The Divines of the Wild. Every Territory in Estikar has a large temple to each of these gods of nature, and hundreds of Newesti make pilgrimage to these temples each year.

    Language
    Estilex is the ancient language of the Newesti. Despite what most tell you this language was originally learnt from the Fey rather than a Divine. Estilex is a rather poetic tongue and uses vowels to great extent.

    Names
    Newesti do not choose their names nor do their parent's. Instead the name of the Newesti is the True Name of his Soul Beast. The parents don't find this out until a year after the child is born, upon which time this Soul Beast will manifest granting the parent's with his name, until which time they will call the baby Naeli (My Child). Because of the importance of this name, the parents create a public name for their child, this name is often derived from the Newesti's personal name.

    Racial Traits
    • Feybound: Newesti are humanoids with the Elf and Feybound subtypes.
    • +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, –2 Constitution. Newesti are swift and cunning like a beast, but their bodies are weak.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, Newesti have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Newesti base land speed is 30 feet. Newesti also have a climb speed of 10 feet, but only when climbing natural surfaces.
    • Fey Soul: A Newesti's soul takes the form of a creature in the Feywilds, this causes them to have many Fey Traits. Newesti gain Fey Heritage Feat as a bonus feat. If they do not fufill the prerequistes
    • Keen Senses: +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
    • Low-Light Vision: A Newesti can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • Soul Beast: A Newesti's soul lies in the Feywild as a creature, with experience a Newesti can learn to call it to his presence. Upon reaching 2 HD, a Newesti gains a familiar. The Newesti is treated as a Binder of half his Hit Dice for the purposes of the Familiar. In addition, as long as his familiar is alive, the Newesti is immune to soul moving effects such as Trap the Soul spells.
    • Language: Newesti begin play speaking the Estilex language. Newesti with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Karmainian, Kratoan, Sumran, Umbrese.
    • Favored Class: Spider Blood Assassin and Wizard.


    Vital Statistics


    {table="head"]Newesti Random Height and Weight| | | |
    Gender|Base Height|Height Modifier|Base Weight|Weight Modifier
    Male|4'5"|+2d6|85 lb.|x (1d6) lb.
    Female|4'5"|+2d6|80 lb.|x (1d6) lb.[/table]
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    You'd already noted metalworking, but another approach would be to shy them away from metal, and focus on wood-shaping and enchanting magics. Wooden blades that are enchanted or magically grown as hard and sharp as iron, that sort of thing.

    There are some flavors of Wild Elf that might capture the flavor you're after. Not necessarily the face paint and furs type, but the deep forest, xenophobic, tree savvy, elk-riding, cooshee companioned sort of thing. Hunting Elves. With spears, because who the >Qbert< uses a longsword for hunting?

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    I'm thinking with my elf cultures I'll try to emphasise their differences though, for example, their art. I think Arbour elf art will be very flowy and use the natural forms of materials to create intricate shapes but changing the material in an ultimately unnatural way; Sylvan elves will work more closely with the material to emphasise beautiful forms already found in nature in a more naturalistic manner; and Bog elves will appreciate the natural form directly and unadulterated.
    So, for instance, Arbour elves might be into topiary, while Sylvan elves probably dabble in bonsai, and Bog elves chuck a bunch of seeds from plants they like on the ground and see how they grow.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    What about dwarf fortress elves?

    Their most defined feature is their hatred of people that hurt trees. They use wood, but only trust themselves to be able to produce it ethically; over-logging is a valid justification for war and offering them a wooden object (even one that originally came from an elf) is a grave insult.

    And they have no qualms about eating dead (formally) sapient beings.

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Hoodie Elves
    A bunch of delinquent adolescent wood elves who like carving graffiti into trees, stealing chariots and playing loud drums.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' — Actually it's worse than that.


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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Quote Originally Posted by Rainbownaga View Post
    What about dwarf fortress elves?

    Their most defined feature is their hatred of people that hurt trees. They use wood, but only trust themselves to be able to produce it ethically; over-logging is a valid justification for war and offering them a wooden object (even one that originally came from an elf) is a grave insult.

    And they have no qualms about eating dead (formally) sapient beings.
    They also tame a plethora of strong animals, which is their only redeeming quality when they bring interesting ones to trade.
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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    I have a setting with elves that are semi-nomadic hunter/gatherers and live in/around forests, following the herds of their prey across their territory. They live in temporary wooden, hide, and bone shelters that they pack up and take with them when they move on. Their social structure is as tribes comprised of clans who meet biannually for a spring and fall festival. These gatherings occur at a middle-ish point within the tribe's territory around a great forge, where the smiths of each tribe make and repair their metal tools. The festivals are also used for coming to a consensus about shaman divinations, new laws, coming of age ceremonies, passing on news and gossip, and for deciding on new chiefs (when the old chief dies).

    These elves are not hostile to outsiders, welcoming strangers for a chance to exchange stories, news, and products. They wield magic powered by the blood and spirits of the animals they hunt, though such magic is not destructive to the animal's spirit and is considered to be necessary for the animal to reach the afterworld. They also commune with fey and study the stars.
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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    I frequently use at least one race (elves and/or dwarves, usually) that can't cast spells on the fly, they can only enchant items.

    As a general concept, how about elves who don't just reside in the trees, they live in the canopy and never (willingly) touch the ground?

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Or they literally live in the trees. Old hollow trees with tunnels dug among the roots. With the occasional knot hole for an arrow slit / (spell) loophole.

    Or perhaps they are Half Dryads ?
    π = 4
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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Dark Sun Elves: Like everything in Dark Sun, they are more Desert Elves. With almost no forests, they are nomads always traveling through the wastes, which has made them into exceptionally long distance runners who can keep going for days. They trust and respect only the members of their clan and nobody else.
    There's also the elves of Sylvandretta, up near the Last Sea. They live in massive trees of life, and respect only the purity of their bloodline.

    Miyeritari (Forgotten Realms): Not much known about them except that they were pretty much like wood elves, but actually a kingdom of non-evil dark elves.
    Don't forget the Lythari, who are wood elves who also happen to be CG werewolves, who only infect other elves, and then only when they choose to. I ran a campaign where the drow of Cormanthyr, stripped of their powers by life on the surface, were forcing lythari to turn the drow into lythari... so you had packs of dark werewolves enacting the Wild Hunt on everyone.

    Those are the ones I am familiar with, but I would like to have more variety for elves in my games. Does anyone have any other variants of wood elves to add or has any new ideas for how to make alternative variations of them?
    There's the grugach of Greyhawk, who are freakishly strong for their pale frailness, and tend to be far more reclusive than regular wood elves.

    There's the Kagonesti of Dragonlance, who choose to live separated from their elven kin, reluctant to give up the old ways.
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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    I once made up a new sub-setting idea for elves, to give an alternative take on, and additional plot hooks attached to, their aging process, although I never really developed the wood elves of that setting:

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    The "Elven Lands" are a demiplane, out of phase with the rest of the world in time. For every day that passes there, 5 pass in the outside world. Growing up there means that you'll stay young for five times as long... which is the secret to the elves' longevity in the outside world. And to elven power; there are a few very, very old and very powerful elves around. God wizards and the like.

    But the kicker is, you have to grow up in the elven lands to be properly instilled with longevity by them. So elves are rarely seen in the outside world until they're 20... or 100, depending on how you're counting.

    Where the rest of the world and the elven lands meet stands an elven city, in phase with the rest of the world. Very, very few non-elves have ever passed beyond it into the elven lands proper. Those from the rest of the world who are viewed as friendly may enter the trading quarter of the city. But it's rare indeed that they'll ever see an elven child.

    The elven demiplane is actually a fragment of what was once their world. The Drow live on another fragment; unlike the elves, they take back slaves. However, these slaves age and die rapidly, by how time runs in Drow lands, unless brought over as children; as do all who enter the elven lands. Drow thus are far more likely to take children as slaves than adults. Taken at the right age, these children will age "fast" as time is measured in the Drow lands, yet slow down in aging as adults even while not fully psychologically developed. A very few have escaped, to find a world where centuries have passed while they were away for decades.

    The rest of the former world of the elves was destroyed in a long-ago mage war. The main elven population and the Drow are the remnants of the two main factions.

    Wood/wild elves are the refugees of this conflict, and their aging is only slightly slower than human.

    If they have to have dealings with those from the outside world, the very old elves with centuries of experience and arcane knowledge which form the basis for their power will sometimes disguise themselves as "elven gods". Over the centuries, this has led to a conjecture, which in turn has led to a mythology among some of the other races that the elves themselves have the potential to attain divinity.

    The main body of elves trade, in the city which straddles the worlds, with fine fabrics and other consumables, many of them luxury items, which seem to stay fresh and new far longer than those made in the prime material plane. Elven weapons and metalwork are also held in some esteem, since they seem to keep their edge and form longer, with less maintenance. In return, the elves are only interested in items made from the more permanent things from the prime material plane, such as gold, stone, ceramics etc. Almost anything else will decay far too fast after being taken between worlds.

    The light's dimmer in the elven lands. Hence the eyesight thing. Maybe the war even damaged their sun, or maybe their world floats at a greater distance from their sun, but in a nebula which provides a permanent glow...

    The drow lands have broken off from the main elven world. Their surface is an inhospitable place, without breathable atmosphere, and they therefore live in the interior, with the only gravity being that they create by their sorceries. (Effectively making these Drow moon-Nazis).

    Relations between the main elves and the wood elves are friendly enough... but the latter cannot cross back, unless as babies, for fear of aging; they're now time-synched with the prime material plane.

    A diet consisting largely of foodstuffs from elven lands has the side effect of very slightly delaying the aging process for those who consume it. Only by a factor of, say, 1.5 or so; but even this is regarded as a precious boon by the wealthy and privileged.

    What this means for adventurers/plots
    - A first level elf would have only recently attained the right to travel to the city or beyond, and could have left the city for practically any reason; the world outside would likely be rather strange to him or her, being as it's a different plane and all.
    - A mid-level or high-level elf might have done their other adventuring a long time before, then gone home to raise a family, and return to a world which had changed by, say, 150 years while they lived for 30.
    - Or they might have lived in the outside world for centuries, and seen nations rise and fall.
    - Diplomatic negotiations with the elves can take a long time to resolve, if it's something for which those who live within the elven lands, rather than the city, would need to be consulted
    - Adventurers wishing to visit the elven or the drow lands would be well advised to keep their visits brief, and not to visit while pregnant. If they stay for years, they'll grow old uncomfortably fast.

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    Default Re: New touches for wood elves

    My setting has elves with strong Gaelic influences. Technologically, they're barely in the Iron Age, although they have primal magic that helps them feed themselves with hunting and gathering--no agriculture, though. There's a strong warrior culture, as well, and their society is ruled by military lords who protect them by organizing and commanding the militia. Theoretically, there's a queen who rules all of the lords, but for generations the queens have been more interested in hunting and revelry than in actual ruling. The lords rule a few villages from fortresses-slash-hunting lodges, and the peasants/militia supply them and their permanent retainers with food and art objects while they entertain themselves with hunting, feasting, and contests of skill during peacetime.

    Since the wood elves are disorganized, outnumbered, and technologically backwards compared to humans, dwarves, and other varieties of elves, they have a precarious position in international affairs. While they'd like to be completely isolationist and kill anyone who crosses their borders, they've been persuaded (read: forced) to make concessions and allow parties of travelers and traders to pass through their lands. Many local lords discourage their subjects from interacting with them, and some quietly dispose of travelers when they think they can get away from it (they like hunting the most dangerous game...). The only reason that other nations haven't invaded to put a stop to this, or to outright conquer them, is that the wood elves produce a lot of valuable, exotic plant products in the deepest parts of their forests. These include things like bronzewood and ironwood, the soarwood used in constructing airships, rare herbal remedies, powerful magical reagents, and luxury goods like fine dyes, textiles, and spices. Many of these things don't grow anywhere else, and the elves have made it clear that if anyone invades them and stands to win, they will set fire to the groves where the plants grow in order to deny them to the rest of the world.

    There's a small class of druids and shaman separate from the peasants and nobles; they don't have any official standing, but the peasants love them because their magic helps bring in bountiful hunts and harvests, and the nobles love them because they can work powerful war-magic (things like obfuscating the forests so that invaders wander in circles, animating the trees to attack and ensnare invaders, growing short-lived groves out of nowhere, or creating wooden wargolems). A lot of the druids go to work with the peasants or nobles, depending on their tastes, but many of them hold themselves separate and take little notice of the small picture; they look after the forests where the elves live, and on rare occasions when a queen unites her subjects and goes to war, they support the unified elves with especially potent magic.
    Last edited by kieza; 2012-10-14 at 10:32 PM.

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