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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The idea of not harming plants for food is a weird one. How does one harm a plant?
    And more important, why is it okay to allow animals to eat grass and leaves, but why isn't it okay for people?
    "The cow knows not the harm it does to the grass when it eats it. But to survive, the cow must eat and grass is what the cow eats, so the cow must live thus. But we, we are the true elves of the natural realm and we know the harm done to a plant when one eats it and so, we endeavor to do no harm upon our realms in our efforts to survive." -The Book of Elf, Chapter 7*
    *Yeah, I just made that all up. Sometimes I go poetic

    Anyway, as Serpentine points out, there are a lot of things that are, scientifically speaking, fruit that most people don't think of as fruit. Cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, zucchini etc.
    If we're allowing for domestic animals, you can also get leather when the animal finally drops dead.

    For additional clothing materials, it's worth pointing out that cotton is made of the seed-wrapping materials of the cotton plant. And if I understand it correctly, jute and hemp fabrics can be made from the stalk fibers of the plants after they have died. Now, wearing jute isn't going to be any picnic, but it beats nudity if the weather starts to get chilly.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    What's their take on wildlife management? The elves will end up reducing the population of other apex predators in their area (big cats, wolves, bears, etc) just through self-defense, and this will lead to a population boom in whatever the local equivalent of deer is. In the US, lack of predation on deer, elk, etc., actually leads to an unsustainable population boom that ends with a chunk of the population slowly starving to death each winter... unless hunting keeps the population down to where it's within the carrying capacity of the land.

    Is it more moral in Elfland to kill a deer quickly, or to know that it will starve to death slowly before winter's end?

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Raise berries. I don't think it counts as "harming" since plants with edible berries have them so that creatures can eat them and spread the seeds. Assuming these elves don't dispose of there waste in landfills or sewers and dispose of it in nature then they will help the plants by spreading the seeds and they will have food to eat.

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    The trick with milking is to wean the calf early, so the calf doesn't need the milk. The other trick with milking is to warm your hands on the cow's back first

    It is possible to glean wool. Sheep (and Goats, Llamas, etc.) usually moult at the end of winter. You can find wool scattered on thorn bushes, or even pluck it from the coat in spring. The latter trick is standard for Alpaca I think.

    Regenerating creatures reminds me of the Chickentroll. Half Chicken/Half Troll: you can chop off a leg and it will grow a new one Much more useful than an Owlbear.
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xzeno View Post
    -One major issue that's been brought up is the domestication of animals. My first inclination would be to keep this to a minimum. After all, they are forbidden from performing harmful procedures. Don't you think sheering wool is harmful, particularly given that, thus far, the elves can't reliably generate heat sources?
    No, not at all. Especially not if you're somewhere hot (Australian sheep would never live out the summer if they weren't shawn), and even if you're somewhere temperate, I believe the usual practice is to sheer them in late spring when it's warm, and let them grow it through the rest of the year so by the time winter rolls round they're nice and warm again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xzeno View Post
    Furthermore, the elves can't impose restrictions on an animal's freedom.
    They would, I think, view it more as cooperation or custodianship. For something like sheep I'd imagine they'd have shepherds rather than fences (not least because fences were a very late institution), and I think they'd view those shepherds as bodyguards for the sheep rather than their keepers. At the end of the day, they'd usher them into the enclosure not because they're property, but for their protection. And with the presence of magic, they could use that to persuade them rather than herd them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xzeno View Post
    As for milking animals, I don't feel like I'm familiar enough with the milking of domesticated animals or the evolution thereof to make a call.
    It should be doable. I understand, for instance, that it's actually very uncomfortable for a dairy cow to go unmilked.
    There is also, incidentally, the possibility of milking other creatures, maybe even the elves themselves: maybe they help drive a particularly successful wetnurse industry in a neighbouring civilisation, or their own women continue milking themselves after their children wean and share it with everyone. And actually, children continuing to suckle far later than other peoples would probably fit in quite well - it extends the period of the innocent doing no harm to anything else for a fair while, and can also make a pretty interesting cultural feature.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xzeno View Post
    Lastly, Yora has raised a concern: can they really avoid harming stuff? Even the all fruit diet hurts bugs and bacteria. That's true. They can't prevent it. They just do their best. I'll think about the cultural implications of that.
    It could be a potentially interesting complication if you throw in different interpretations of that basis. I forsee, for example, three different potential sects:
    1. The sort you're more or less working out here. They keep some domesticated animals and cultivate crops, and they accept that sometimes harming things is unavoidable for all they do their best to avoid it. Maybe they have exceptions sometimes, even if it's just self-defense or the defense of an innocent. They milk animals and they shear sheep and they have deals with willing regenerating creatures, and so on. Fairly specific definitions of what constitutes "harm", a bit of flexibility, and some practicality.

    2. The extremists. No domestication, no cultivation, they have to feel terrible about every bug they accidentally kill - even the ones they can't see, that they just assume are there. No taking flesh even from a willing individual. Their more powerful members might believe that others should follow their ways as well - declaring wars or engaging in sabeutage, which will be interesting without the ability to physically harm anyone, and possibly even crueller: mental attacks, mindrape, imprisonment, that sort of thing. An extremely broad definition of harm, to which they have an extreme devotion. They certainly wouldn't trade with others in case they'd harmed animals in the course of the goods' production.

    3. The "Technically..."ers. They work to the letter of the rules, but not the spirit. If they didn't see the bugs, then technically they couldn't avoid stepping on them - maybe they have a habit of walking without looking at the ground. Technically, if they weren't directly the ones that killed an animal, then it's fair game - maybe they hunt with dogs, and make sure it's the dogs that do the killing. Technically bloodletting isn't harmful if you can do it reasonably painlessly and the animal suffers no health impacts. Technically, it's not their fault if they have to kill an animal in self-defence. These guys would quite possibly have some apparently quite bizarre customs, many more lip-service, to make sure that they technically weren't responsible of any harm, to the satisfaction of their own definition of "harm". They'd be very flexible (although potentially oddly strict in their adherence to custom), open to trade (possibly with certain attached rituals: perhaps they have to ask a specific question of the other party about whether anything was harmed in the proces of the goods' production, and they have to give a specific response, and regardless of the truth the elves can take the goods satisfied that technically it's not their fault if there was harm), and with a very specific and narrow definition of harm.

    Just a thought.

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    I like the Techniclars.

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Have you ever read the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card? In it, there's a race of tribal aliens called the Pequeninos that might be able to offer some inspiration.

    While their whole concept is quite interesting, the most pertinent aspect is how they live in symbiosis with their environment. Every so often, a particularly respectable male of a tribe will be chosen to undergo a ritualistic vivisection. The male is cut open and disemboweled while conscious, entirely of his own volition (as this process is actually considered quite an honour). A tree is grown from the earth on which the male was killed, and the ritual infuses his consciousness into the new plant.

    These trees--which they call “fathertrees”--are the ancestors of the tribe ascended to a higher form. The souls of those who have achieved this form are able to communicate telepathically with each other, making the forests in which they live a massive network of the collective memories of all the greatest members of their tribes.

    The ascended are also capable of manipulating their tree forms in a limited fashion. They communicate with the tribe in a special ritual where a few of the tribesman will rhythmically beat on their trunks with sticks and the fathertrees will change the size and shape of their interior spaces to produce different sounds, which are interpreted by the elders of the tribe. Since the tribe does not harm the trees and thus have no way to harvest wood, the fathertrees will often willingly expel parts of themselves to provide the materials for shelter and weaponry and whatever else might be needed. Their limited ability to manipulate their form even allows them to shape the bits that they offer up to the tribe--if it’s a time of dire warfare, for example, the trees could produce fully-formed spear shafts out of their own mass, obviating the need for many stone or metal tools.

    Now tell me that "aliens" couldn't easily be re-fluffed to "elves".

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    If the concern with eating dead animals is maggot infestation/general rotting, they could go on long hunting trips where they just find an old animal, and follow it for weeks until it dies so they can then bring it back

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    No, not at all. Especially not if you're somewhere hot (Australian sheep would never live out the summer if they weren't shawn), and even if you're somewhere temperate, I believe the usual practice is to sheer them in late spring when it's warm, and let them grow it through the rest of the year so by the time winter rolls round they're nice and warm again.
    They would, I think, view it more as cooperation or custodianship. For something like sheep I'd imagine they'd have shepherds rather than fences (not least because fences were a very late institution), and I think they'd view those shepherds as bodyguards for the sheep rather than their keepers. At the end of the day, they'd usher them into the enclosure not because they're property, but for their protection. And with the presence of magic, they could use that to persuade them rather than herd them.
    It should be doable. I understand, for instance, that it's actually very uncomfortable for a dairy cow to go unmilked.
    There is also, incidentally, the possibility of milking other creatures, maybe even the elves themselves: maybe they help drive a particularly successful wetnurse industry in a neighbouring civilisation, or their own women continue milking themselves after their children wean and share it with everyone. And actually, children continuing to suckle far later than other peoples would probably fit in quite well - it extends the period of the innocent doing no harm to anything else for a fair while, and can also make a pretty interesting cultural feature.
    It could be a potentially interesting complication if you throw in different interpretations of that basis. I forsee, for example, three different potential sects:
    1. The sort you're more or less working out here. They keep some domesticated animals and cultivate crops, and they accept that sometimes harming things is unavoidable for all they do their best to avoid it. Maybe they have exceptions sometimes, even if it's just self-defense or the defense of an innocent. They milk animals and they shear sheep and they have deals with willing regenerating creatures, and so on. Fairly specific definitions of what constitutes "harm", a bit of flexibility, and some practicality.

    2. The extremists. No domestication, no cultivation, they have to feel terrible about every bug they accidentally kill - even the ones they can't see, that they just assume are there. No taking flesh even from a willing individual. Their more powerful members might believe that others should follow their ways as well - declaring wars or engaging in sabeutage, which will be interesting without the ability to physically harm anyone, and possibly even crueller: mental attacks, mindrape, imprisonment, that sort of thing. An extremely broad definition of harm, to which they have an extreme devotion. They certainly wouldn't trade with others in case they'd harmed animals in the course of the goods' production.

    3. The "Technically..."ers. They work to the letter of the rules, but not the spirit. If they didn't see the bugs, then technically they couldn't avoid stepping on them - maybe they have a habit of walking without looking at the ground. Technically, if they weren't directly the ones that killed an animal, then it's fair game - maybe they hunt with dogs, and make sure it's the dogs that do the killing. Technically bloodletting isn't harmful if you can do it reasonably painlessly and the animal suffers no health impacts. Technically, it's not their fault if they have to kill an animal in self-defence. These guys would quite possibly have some apparently quite bizarre customs, many more lip-service, to make sure that they technically weren't responsible of any harm, to the satisfaction of their own definition of "harm". They'd be very flexible (although potentially oddly strict in their adherence to custom), open to trade (possibly with certain attached rituals: perhaps they have to ask a specific question of the other party about whether anything was harmed in the proces of the goods' production, and they have to give a specific response, and regardless of the truth the elves can take the goods satisfied that technically it's not their fault if there was harm), and with a very specific and narrow definition of harm.

    Just a thought.
    There is absolutely no reason why you cant use all three in the same society. You could have the bulk of the population as the balanced path, they use the tried and tested realistic method of survival. Then you can have the extreme aesthetes who live as hermits, monks and sages and survive on a diet of water, spirituality and magic and then you can have the more secular technicist who just pay lip service. Finally rounded off with baelnorns (who don't have to eat at all being dead) and murder hobo elves who are either extreme zealots or use zealotry as an excuse for banditry.

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    It should be doable. I understand, for instance, that it's actually very uncomfortable for a dairy cow to go unmilked.
    It will eventually kill them because of infections. These animals are bred to a state where they can't survive without permanent care. Wild cattle don't have that problem.
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xzeno View Post
    To put it in perspective, they can't farm. They can't till the ground (because that kills or harms plants and bugs)
    If they can't harm plants at all then they certainly can't have any kind of settlement and they can't easily move in groups larger than a handful, even if you do allow them to walk on grass.

    Really, they seem more like they'd belong in the undercity of some other race, living as undertakers and waste disposal than something that would dwell in nature. Mostly make me think of the carrion-eater hominids from Ringworld.
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    I am one of these people who define much of the work of animal breeders as harm.

    [evidence] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ru...Red-Clover.jpg[/evidence]

    I do not think that these elves would create such a thing as dependent livestock.

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    I always thought of elves as been somewhat intrinsically magical, so in a homebrew setting where magic goes away for a time, their civilisation pretty much collapsed as their older members died of old age. This was bad as who needs written records when you can simply have someone who remembers?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    I always thought of elves as been somewhat intrinsically magical, so in a homebrew setting where magic goes away for a time, their civilisation pretty much collapsed as their older members died of old age. This was bad as who needs written records when you can simply have someone who remembers?
    So their older members died of old age as soon as magic went away or were just too dense to transmit any information before they passed on/were too busy with the whole collapse of the civilization because of its magic dependence?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    So their older members died of old age as soon as magic went away or were just too dense to transmit any information before they passed on/were too busy with the whole collapse of the civilization because of its magic dependence?
    It was basically like the scene from The Last Crusade, only slightly slower. By the time everyone realized what was happening, the eldest had become senile and died swiftly after.
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    I am one of these people who define much of the work of animal breeders as harm.

    [evidence] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ru...Red-Clover.jpg[/evidence]

    I do not think that these elves would create such a thing as dependent livestock.
    They don't have to create them, but they might "liberate" them from those who did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    There is absolutely no reason why you cant use all three in the same society. You could have the bulk of the population as the balanced path, they use the tried and tested realistic method of survival. Then you can have the extreme aesthetes who live as hermits, monks and sages and survive on a diet of water, spirituality and magic and then you can have the more secular technicist who just pay lip service. Finally rounded off with baelnorns (who don't have to eat at all being dead) and murder hobo elves who are either extreme zealots or use zealotry as an excuse for banditry.
    I second this. One thing to keep in mind is that no matter how deeply ingrained a belief or law is in a culture, there will always be different interpretations and even a handful who flat out go against the mold. Having an entire race have the same beliefs and the same approach to them feels artificial and is fairly unrealistic without some outside, likely physical force. Not to say it can't be done, mind, just that having a little wiggle room creates a lot of opportunities for plots.

    One way to run with this is have, rather than the race being a single nation or tribe, a few smaller ones that are separated by the differences in their beliefs that stick together mainly because they need to in order to survive without taking actions that violate their own views of the beliefs. Possibly have a very small outcast tribe that has broken the laws of the other groups, situated on the edge of the territory the majority of these elves call home, be it because they were disowned, kicked out, or even self-exiled themselves out of guilt.

    There can also be variance in how much they tolerate others doing the things they don't believe in; some groups utterly refusing to interact with them while others being more receptive so long as they don't try to antagonize them or attack their beliefs. This could even be used to make some plot hooks- the extremist group has begun attacking their less extreme counterparts, who can't fight back besides what is needed to push the aggressors back without violating their beliefs, but don't want the war to continue. The Technicalists, look to outside help with the cavat of 'technically, I didn't tell them how to go about doing it- so if they proceed to take the violent route, it's not on us'.

    On a side note: would another unreliable source of meat be from self-defense against predatory animals/monsters? Not a big help, but every little bit counts in a situation such as this.

    Though I doubt they'd be the least bit happy about it, if the animal or monster has died through a genuine mistake on their part or through complete accident without anyone at fault, doing anything but make the most of it would be disrespectful to its sacrifice.

    Besides that, a rampaging monster would likely kill and consume far more lives if left alone than if it was killed, though that again would rely on the exact specifics of the beliefs and their interpretations.
    Last edited by UserShadow7989; 2012-10-06 at 11:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Ok, if we can see the general problems with the structure of their society then some of then can too. The general population believes they thanks to their utter devotion their gods deliver bounties from time to time in the form of dead plants and animals. What's really happening is there is an underground cult that thinks the tradition of no harm is suicidal, and is willing to be fat more pragmatic. They don't want to just leave society though, since they have friends and family who still abide by these rules, so they operate in secret to leave these gifts from the gods

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Ok, if we can see the general problems with the structure of their society then some of then can too. The general population believes they thanks to their utter devotion their gods deliver bounties from time to time in the form of dead plants and animals. What's really happening is there is an underground cult that thinks the tradition of no harm is suicidal, and is willing to be fat more pragmatic. They don't want to just leave society though, since they have friends and family who still abide by these rules, so they operate in secret to leave these gifts from the gods
    I think it would be more realistic to have elven covert opps units that protect settlements or proactively hunt down specific threats. As this would be reprehensible to the population at large they act either as secrete societies or as deniable special forces. I think that if it where as bad as you describe this society would never have survived to begin with.

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xzeno View Post
    So help me out, Playground: How can we keep these guys from dying cold, naked and hungry while a) observing their cultural stipulations and b) avoiding unfun magical problem solving.
    They'd become vultures

    Aside from the limited co-operative farming (milking cows, sheering sheep) they would constantly be looking for dead animals to pick over for food and resources (hides, bones). They could still cook or preserve dead meat using deadwood and salt so it's not like they'd be forced to live off of fresh-kills.

    The real problem is that they'd be obliterated by the first rival sentient culture to come through since they can't kill animals -- and people are animals. So you'd need some sort of "pragmatic ethicists" to make this work.

    I second the idea of imposing Castes in this system depending on how "pure" their ideology. The Outcastes would be the warrior caste that protect the Caste Elves and have the highest standard of living due to hunting and industry. The lowest Caste would be the ones who live off of the refuse of the Outcastes (an animal killed by the Outcastes is no different than one killed by a wolf); the middle Caste would be shepherds and tend to various light-domesticated animals; the high Caste would eat nothing but fruit and be naked -- they'd probably be spellcasters.
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    I'd recommend going the "cause no permanent harm, but passing discomfort is okay" route. That allows wool, keeping animals fenced in, keeping other animals from eating their gardens, pruning trees, and so on. Eggs, fruit, milk and so on would be what they can eat daily. They might be able to grow some grain fields, if they did everything slowly and by hand.


    What would these elves have that others do not? They could have a supernatural connection with nature. The predators would usually leave them alone, the predated would not run from them. These elves could walk into a herd of deer and pat their backs. A couple of "hunters" might follow an old deer around for days, keeping it company, knowing that it'd die soon. And when it died, they'd grab it up and have access to fresh meat available to them due to natural causes.

    Add in magic, and they know which animals to follow, giving access to some meat and, more importantly, ability to harvest leather and other lasting animal products.

    Also, the elves could use magic to make certain their actions do not harm insects or such. Imagine the players exploring a forest, and every now and then coming across an exceptionally beautiful glen, but every time the players go there they're chased away by a powerful necromantic, fear-inducing aura... And the only ones around are these elves who seem too good to be true...

    Wood would also be available, not in an endless supply, but enough to explain where they get their tools. Whenever a storm passes by, it will cause havoc in the forest, the elves would be there and harvest the wood from the fallen trees.

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by endoperez View Post
    I'd recommend going the "cause no permanent harm, but passing discomfort is okay" route. That allows wool, keeping animals fenced in, keeping other animals from eating their gardens, pruning trees, and so on. Eggs, fruit, milk and so on would be what they can eat daily. They might be able to grow some grain fields, if they did everything slowly and by hand.


    What would these elves have that others do not? They could have a supernatural connection with nature. The predators would usually leave them alone, the predated would not run from them. These elves could walk into a herd of deer and pat their backs. A couple of "hunters" might follow an old deer around for days, keeping it company, knowing that it'd die soon. And when it died, they'd grab it up and have access to fresh meat available to them due to natural causes.

    Add in magic, and they know which animals to follow, giving access to some meat and, more importantly, ability to harvest leather and other lasting animal products.

    Also, the elves could use magic to make certain their actions do not harm insects or such. Imagine the players exploring a forest, and every now and then coming across an exceptionally beautiful glen, but every time the players go there they're chased away by a powerful necromantic, fear-inducing aura... And the only ones around are these elves who seem too good to be true...

    Wood would also be available, not in an endless supply, but enough to explain where they get their tools. Whenever a storm passes by, it will cause havoc in the forest, the elves would be there and harvest the wood from the fallen trees.
    i still prefer the Domesticated Trolls and vegitized Tarrasque approach


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  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by endoperez View Post
    What would these elves have that others do not? They could have a supernatural connection with nature. The predators would usually leave them alone, the predated would not run from them. These elves could walk into a herd of deer and pat their backs. A couple of "hunters" might follow an old deer around for days, keeping it company, knowing that it'd die soon. And when it died, they'd grab it up and have access to fresh meat available to them due to natural causes.
    I'm not sure that this is viable. In the wild; Wolves (or whatever the local predator is) would have taken the old deer long before it gets to this stage.
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  24. - Top - End - #54
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    As far as I can see you can't go much further than fanatical Jainism if you don't want magic to be used.

    If you will allow magic then you can go further because you can have druids. These guys can talk to animals and awaken plants. An awakened tree could probably donate wood to the elves.

    The biggest issue I have with this idea is that it's going to be hard to explain WHY they're like this.
    If they were created by a god this way then wouldn't the god have made them able to survive by eating rocks or absorbing sunlight or what have you? If they were created by a god and the god expected them to eat meat and vegies then why would they, as an entire race, decide to stop doing that?
    If they were supposed to eat only fruit why didn't the god make a tree that produced a fruit that provided all their nutritional needs and also shed leather like bark and dropped iron like branches?
    If you don't have interventionist gods, or any gods at all, how did their entire race end up with such odd social conventions and how have they not been wiped out by the orcs, humans, dwarves or whatever next door? Or indeed the wolves, lions or other top predator since they can't really produce any decent weapons they would probably get killed off by any large powerful predator in the area even ruling out big bad magical monsters.

    You might have a reason for it all figured out but as a player, reader or casual observer if this wasn't handled well it would be a major problem for me to accept. Especially as you've already ruled out magic as a hand wave.

  25. - Top - End - #55
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    It could be a divine form of self imposed challenge. A god twists a preexisting people into this just to see if he can get it to work without a thought to the hardships and suffering of the people.

  26. - Top - End - #56
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    So, logistics are pretty much worked out at this point, but how do you plan to make it plausible that these people weren't destroyed or enslaved almost immediately after the other races discovered them?

    I mean, each elf could be a master swordsman by human standards, but in the end that won't matter because the humans can support a larger, better equipped population. All it would take is one or two evil overlord types early on in history, and the elves would have been overrun and their lands would be owned by the more violent races. Unless they were geographically cut off, there's no way that a medieval elf race would be anything but slaves and servants with weird hangups. Sure, there'd be escapees and other outliers, but for the most part you'd be looking at one race filling out the entire bottom-most rung of the cultural ladder.

    As described, it would be extremely easy for an evil PC to enslave the entire race themselves. All he would really have to do is get a horse and gain a knack for riding low to its back. The horse is part of nature, and therefore would make a very efficient morality-shield.

    Alternatively, a handful of evil druids, casting Summon Nature's Ally and commanding the summons to corral but not attack the elves. Load them onto slave ships and go up and down the coast. Bam, millions in profit. The elves try to retaliate against you? Turn into a doe, run into the herd of deer that you keep outside your house for exactly this reason. A 16th level druid would be able to cast Animal Shapes on himself and his party for 16 hours. Twice per day.

    These extreme hippy-elves are a bit too extreme to be capable of (independent) survival in the long term, in my opinion. But that's just my two cents.
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  27. - Top - End - #57
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Sihdee.

    In Irish mythology the turtha de dannu where the gods of preceltic Ireland. Uniquely the immigrating mortals defeated the gods and drove them out of the land. As part of the treaties that ended the war the gods where given hollow hills (sihdee) to live in.

    In this scenario the elves are faires who live in subterranean pocket dimension where time and space is answerable to their whims.

    It may interest you to note that fairy animals would be semi-existant/immortal and could be consumed again and again.

  28. - Top - End - #58
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Our elves are primarily scavengers. Logically, they need pretty hefty immune system to stomach what they need to survive. Lets amp that up a bit and say they can eat fruits and berries that are lethally poisonous to others. Like certain species of insects, their bodies store the toxins.

    End result? Predators let elves be because eating them kills you.

    We can even extend this to partly explain why they havent been conquered. Firstly, any place with elves still has most of its wildlife intact, including beasts and monsters that would gladly eat anyone else. Secondly, elves themselves could be immune to most diseases, but that doesn't mean they can't serve as carriers for them! Just being in the presence of elves could lead to catching a deadly plague. Remember how diseases carried by european invaders wreaked havoc among native americans? It's that in reverse. The would-be conquerors kill the first bunch of elves, laughing at these naive beings. They return home with their spoils of war - and next thing you know, it is THEIR civilization that ends up decimated. Cue legends of a blood curse befalling anyone who does violence on the fair folk, and anyone who could enslave the elves is too frightened to try.

    As to why these elves exists? That s easy! Even a culture of humans could survive within the guidelimes proposed. So, once upon a time there was a small group of sapients who decided they'd do harm to no creature. Their lives became harsher than anyones', but they survived. In time, they mastered their new lifestyle and slowly their numbers grew.

    Add enough time and the right environment, and these sapients will evolve into our elves. There.

    If you want to add magic to the mix, you could say the elves can speak with plants and animals - a mystical trait they have either learned or earned as a result of their lifestyle. This would further allow them to cooperate with animals and forge symbiotic relations with them, where elves help catle to give birth in exchange of milk, for example.

  29. - Top - End - #59
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    We can even extend this to partly explain why they havent been conquered. Firstly, any place with elves still has most of its wildlife intact, including beasts and monsters that would gladly eat anyone else. Secondly, elves themselves could be immune to most diseases, but that doesn't mean they can't serve as carriers for them! Just being in the presence of elves could lead to catching a deadly plague. Remember how diseases carried by european invaders wreaked havoc among native americans? It's that in reverse. The would-be conquerors kill the first bunch of elves, laughing at these naive beings. They return home with their spoils of war - and next thing you know, it is THEIR civilization that ends up decimated. Cue legends of a blood curse befalling anyone who does violence on the fair folk, and anyone who could enslave the elves is too frightened to try.
    Aaaand now Team Evil Druid Elf Shepherds isn't selling slaves, but they are the terror of any port town, thanks to construct-operated ships provided by a wizard buddy or several.

    Which is actually kinda a cool idea for a pirate faction.
    Last edited by Jack of Spades; 2012-10-08 at 05:11 AM. Reason: Quotesnip!
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  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Default Re: Elves. How Do They Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    If the concern with eating dead animals is maggot infestation/general rotting, they could go on long hunting trips where they just find an old animal, and follow it for weeks until it dies so they can then bring it back
    So... the elves are xkcd time vultures, using aging to kill their prey!

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