The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Morph Bark's Avatar

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    Default Better elves! [Ymaggion]

    So everybody knows elves. Many of you have played one or two, even. But elves in general are too often portrayed as much like humans, just upstuck and/or "better" in some way, hence why afroakuma creating this wonderful essay. Upon reading it, I realized that it fit the way I was portraying elves in my world perfectly, as there were several sub-races with most more like the usual long-time elves, with some being more often in short-time and ending up a little mad. Since then I let it rest for too long, but today I decided to get on it and work them out mechanically for the setting, as I have done with the angels, humans, dwarves and jotun before.

    The elven bloodlines' names refer to... well, it should be quite obvious if you're good at linguistic recognition. At any rate, I may need some help coming up with little abilities for the bloodlines that don't have those yet.

    Alfar
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    • Medium size
    • 30' movement.
    • Humanoid (Elf) type.
    • Low-light vision.
    • Bloodline: All alfar (singular: alfr, and often referred to as ‘elves’ in informal settings by other races) select a bloodline from the list below, which offer them different bonuses and abilities. This choice is permanent.
    • Trancing: Alfar possess immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus on all Will saves that increases to +4 against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Weapon Familiarity: Alfar treat any weapon with "elven" or "elf" in the name as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.

    • +2 racial bonus to all Perception and Stealth checks.
    • Automatic Languages: Roé-Allon. Bonus Starting Languages: Dwarven, Jotun, Komul, Stamarian, Tsumian.
    • Favored Classes:

    Bloodlines

    Brunstjerne
    • +2 Constitution
    • Darkvision 60 ft instead of low-light vision.

    • Additional Favored Class:

    Rødstjerne
    • +2 Dexterity
    • Rødstjerne gain Evasion. If they would gain it later through a class ability, they gain Improved Evasion instead.
    • Additional Favored Class:

    Gulstjerne
    • +2 Strength

    • Additional Favored Class:

    Hvitstjerne
    • +2 Charisma
    • In a campaign that uses them, Hvitsterne begin with 1 Insanity point. (Or, if the campaign uses Taint, they begin with 1 depravity.)
    • A hvitstjerne is immune to silence effects and may inspire his allies once per day as a swift action, giving all allies within 30 feet a +1 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls as well as a +1 morale bonus to saves against charm and fear for five rounds.
    • Additional Favored Class:

    Blåstjerne
    • +2 Wisdom

    • Additional Favored Class:

    Svartholr
    • +2 Intelligence
    • In a campaign that uses them, Hvitsterne begin with 1 Insanity point. (Or, if the campaign uses Taint, they begin with 1 depravity.)

    • Additional Favored Class: Engineer
    Last edited by Morph Bark; 2013-01-29 at 02:46 PM.
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    Frathe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Better elves! [Ymaggion]

    Do you really expect people to just be familiar with Scandinavian roots? I think you'd get more suggestions if you actually told people what they meant.

    For the record:
    Brunstjerne-Brown star
    Rødstjerne-Red star
    Gulstjerne-Yellow star
    Hvitstjerne-White star
    Blåstjerne-Blue star
    Svartholr-Black hole

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    Default Re: Better elves! [Ymaggion]

    Quote Originally Posted by Frathe View Post
    Do you really expect people to just be familiar with Scandinavian roots?
    Not really, they seemed rather easily translatable enough, at least some of them. Considering elves have really strong Norse roots, I figured I'd keep those in. Dwarves, giants and the other races aren't so limited in that regard (other than orcs).

    I'm... kind of at a loss for abilities, primarily. Culture is easy enough, same for appearance.
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    Default Re: Better elves! [Ymaggion]

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Not really, they seemed rather easily translatable enough, at least some of them.
    Do they? I think you're underestimating the extent to which roots blend at boundaries. I had to spend some time thinking about it and then do quite a number of searches to figure out the color/star theme, and then, sure, it was easy enough after that.

    I might be able to help suggest abilities if you made the theming clearer. Right now all I'm getting is... colors? I'm probably missing something. I assume it's like black hole, red dwarf (star), white dwarf, etc.

    Edit: Okay, I think I figured it out (though I wish you'd explained it). I think it's based on a stellar spectral classification like this. Not sure how you mean to get culture or abilities from that.
    Last edited by Frathe; 2013-01-29 at 02:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Better elves! [Ymaggion]

    The idea is that in the ancient past, the elves followed a kind of caste system in order of their creation (kind of like the Gold Men, Silver Men, Bronze Men, Heroic Men and Iron Men of Greek myth, except they never really existed alongside one another), with the Blåstjerne as the Gold-equivalent, Hvit (white) like Silver, Gul (yellow) like Bronze, Rød (red) like Heroic and Brun (brown) like Iron. I thought of making them actual Gold, Silver and Bronze Elves, like in the Forgotten Realms, and have them call Humans "the Iron race", reluctantly acknowledging a tiny measure of kinship, but this felt more defining and fluffy.

    Blåstjerne are meant to be closest to the gods in their spiritual nature, similar to the mythological elves of the Norse, as well as the high elves of Lord of the Rings. Gulstjerne are meant to be much closer to the Earth in nature and be warriors and slightly barbaric in their culture, much like the heroes of ancient times or Conan the Barbarian. Svartholr are the typical "used to be the highest but fell" kind of deal and turned away from spiritual enlightenment.

    I haven't decided yet, but either Svartholr or Brunstjerne would be much like the drow in appearance. I think Svartholr would be more "dark elf" in the spiritual sense, with Brunstjerne appearing like Eberron drow (brown-skinned rather than pitch black).

    Hvitstjerne are the more everyday leaders, and the other elf races usually let them go with that, as they don't wish to bother with the troubles and stress of leadership. Brunstjerne are warriors like the Gulstjerne, but more in the knightly, fighter sense.

    At least, that's how I got it right now.

    On the subject of the names, I thought they were easy enough, sorry. With English being my second language, I figured for someone for whom it is their primary it'd be just as easy to figure it out, seeing as I speak no Scandinavian tongue.
    Last edited by Morph Bark; 2013-01-29 at 02:46 PM.
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    Default Re: Better elves! [Ymaggion]

    Thanks for explaining the cultures. I see no reason you couldn't have both the Svartholr and the Brunstjerne have dark skin, with the Svartholr more like the classic drow to go with their fall from grace, and the Brunstjerne with brown skin and a knightly fighting spirit. Look at the real world; that certainly doesn't seem like too much of an overlap.

    I think the whole obviousness-of-the-roots has a lot less to do with who's a native speaker or not, and more to do with how everything is really obvious if you already know it. I assume you looked these roots up to come up with these names, and therefore there was never a point when you looked at them without knowing what they meant.
    Last edited by Frathe; 2013-01-29 at 03:01 PM.

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