Elves are not humans. Too often, we contextualize races as who act in certain specific divergent ways. Elves are treated as long-lived humans who like the arts and nature and condescending snobbery and magic.
So what are elves, then? In this introductory piece of what will hopefully become a series, I will delve into the nature of the elven race and give you a foundation from which to draw on when making an elf character.
Table of Contents
• The People
○○○○ Gracefully Meandering
○○○○ There IS No Time Like The Present
○○○○ The Adventurous Few
○○○○ Sense and Sensibility • The Culture
○○○○ Altruists, Anarchists and Psychopaths
○○○○ Alien Art and Mellow Mood Music
○○○○ Haughty Cuisine
○○○○ Do You Even Know What "Eldritch" MEANS?
○○○○ Mysterious Elven Wares
○○○○ Important Groups
○○○○○• Arcane Archer
○○○○○• Champion of Corellon Larethian
○○○○○• Darkwood Stalker
○○○○○• Eternal Blade
○○○○○• Mystic Keeper of Corellon Larethian
○○○○○• Seeker of the Misty Isle
• The Religion
• The World
Elves are willowy, sylvan humanoids; fine-boned, with defined angular characteristics to their bone structure that strengthen their fragile physiology and compensate for the lightness of their skeletal systems. Symmetrical to seemingly the last detail, elves are often looked upon by humans as being extremely beautiful by human standards, with their high cheekbones, rich almond-shaped eyes and preternaturally graceful movements.
Just how different is the elf physique from that of a human? To put it in context, a healthy 5 ft. tall human male weighing the minimum for his height (124 lbs) is a mere three pounds lighter than an elf male of the same height and maximum healthy weight (127 lbs). The average human male stands 5 ft 9 inches tall and weighs 175 lbs; the average elf male stands 5 ft 2 inches tall and weighs 109.5 lbs. If that were translated into the Body Mass Index, the difference would be a swing of 8 points.
For a people who often come up only to the chins of their noisy younger neighbors, elves certainly have a knack for looking down their noses at humanity. Humans, in turn, seem to vacillate between admiration of the elves' beauty and grace and irritation at the long-lived race's arrogance and condescension. What underlies these perceptions, from the elf's standpoint?
When it comes to grace, elves are certainly more dextrous than many humanoids in a similar height range. The elf body is lean, fluid and sensitive; often moreso than many other races, an elf keenly feels physical sensations on the skin, with roughly twice the sensitivity of the human body in areas not normally associated with a higher-than-normal concentration of nerve endings in other humanoids. Though they naturally possess a refined quality of movement and agility, elves' famed grace derives from a more culturally-ingrained source: elves move slowly. In mechanical terms, elves when unhurried move at half normal speed and take 20 on Move Silently checks. Within five minutes of having started walking - about 75 ft, the length of a few rooms' walk - an elf is comfortably gliding along at a decibel level below the average human's ability to hear.
There IS No Time Like The Present
The most crucial element to understanding an elf's mindset, though, is to understand long-time and short-time. The elf brain does not perceive time and receive information in the same fashion that most other humanoids do; elves live much of their adult life in a pseudo-trance known as long-time, in which they can idle away days or weeks at a time without devoting significant mental focus to anything. As creatures with a lifespan measured in centuries, elves have a lot of time available to waste on getting things right, and long-time is the biological mechanism that allows them to do it.
An elf is in long-time whenever there is nothing stressful that requires true focus. Elves in long-time can eat, drink, read, play music, craft woodwork or even hunt game or fight goblins if they are sufficiently at ease with the task at hand. A sort of mental auto-pilot, long-time supplements the elven need to trance by allowing elves to keep their minds at ease while developing muscle memory and picking up on subtle nuances and details that stand out as relevant. Elves in long-time can devote themselves to a given pursuit for anywhere from a week to several years without even having to notice what they are doing. Long-time is a fluid, waking dream; peaceful, functional and allowing the acquisition of experience over a long period of time. Elves can do many things while in long-time, but unless stressed, they will not be devoting the necessary focus to noticing much of what they're about.
This leads into why elves seem constantly dismissive of and annoyed by other races: non-elves cause stress. They talk fast, they smell, they're noisy and distracting and need to be addressed immediately. Being around such a source of stress rather abruptly jolts an elf's mental awareness into short-time - the perception of time as most other humanoids experience it. In long-time, unnecessary sensations are filtered out to preserve the gentle focus of the eternal moment. In short-time, it all comes flooding back - and there's probably a reason that the elf will need to pay attention in the short term. Short-time is analogous in many ways to the headache that humans often get - often elves in fact translate it as such when speaking to outsiders, who of course have a rigid concept of the perception of time.
Long-time and short-time drive elven activity; they also shape elf cultures in interesting ways. Long-time also results in an elf trait that annoys many other races: their seeming inability to hold to a schedule. Commission a work from an elf craftsman, and you'll see it... whenever. You may be able to pin him down to a particular year or even a specific month, but he'll feel you've badgered him into it and be decidedly irritable.
So how do they function, if society simply meanders along at an erratic, dreamlike pace? Quite simply, long-time drives elves to activity and pushes them to maintain homeostasis so that nothing perturbs them. Long-time is characterized, after all, by a dreamlike but quite vivid focus on a particular activity; whether an elf is directly aware of a given activity or is simply thinking of other things while the flesh continues rote work, the singular characteristic of long-time activities is that they are monomaniacal and often persist for weeks, months or even years at a time. Elves cultivating orchards may do so for a solid two years without ever succumbing to mind-numbing tedium, because their minds are dreamily floating elsewhere while their bodies content with day-to-day labors.
The Adventurous Few
Some activities, though, clearly demand extensive short-time. Traveling or living among other races, for instance, involves constant stressors from a hectic lifestyle alien to that of elves. Combat with unfamiliar foes or foes that pose a reasonable threat is also by definition stressful. Adventuring, a cocktail of the above with a myriad of other agitating stimuli, seems an activity entirely inimical to elven well-being.
Some like it! Some very small portion of the elven population, mostly youths, enjoys the rush of constant new and demanding stimulus, even if the specific stimulus meets with their disapproval. To some, it is rather analogous to a human's adrenaline rush. Others have done a simple cost-benefit analysis of the potential gains of venturing beyond the secluded lands of the elves and determined that a constant headache is a small price to pay. These are the elves most often met in foreign lands, those who demonstrate the same consistent traits: a fascination with magic, a sour and condescending attitude towards all things and an icily supercilious countenance. These elves act as if you are somehow irking them with your very existence because, to be frank, you somewhat are.
Sense and Sensibility
The elven superiority complex takes a back seat when they are suitably relaxed and focused on a task they enjoy, but elves have a general tendency to perceive others in terms of elf standards (what a coincidence). Elves don't see themselves as "less healthy" than other races; they see themselves as the baseline of wellness and perceive others by that benchmark. Similarly, elves don't perceive themselves to be more graceful than some universal baseline - you're just clumsy.
This particular viewpoint extends to other elf traits - sleep is alien to them, as they can trance at any time and in long-time frequently have a wildly floating trance "schedule" wholly at odds with the standard diurnal activity cycle. Elves thus associate night not with rest, but with freedom from distraction, contemplation and productivity. Elves consider their enhanced vision, visual acuity and keen hearing perfectly normal, and find the "dull" senses of other races frustrating and pitiable.
Do You Like It? It's Called "Single Drop of Paint That Took Ten Years To Place Just Right"
Say whatever else you will about elves, but in terms of culture, they've got the market cornered several times over. Elf culture has weathered millennia of transformative pressures, several splinterings of the race across geographic, environmental and experiential lines, and even civil war and sectarian strife.
Far from being the placid and serene higher beings who carry themselves as though they are above it all, elves are individualistic, anarchic and extremely reactive to their environment over time. The phenomenon of long-time results in automatic adjustments on a grand scale as needed to keep elves in a given area in balance with their domains. More importantly, the chaotic makeup of the Seldarine and serious fractures in the wake of a long-ago internal crisis led many of the first generation deities to champion and shape particular subgroups of elves according to their own dogma.
This history of transformation, division and subconscious adaptation has led to a level of diversity in elvenkind that is only exceeded by that found in humans. Further, the particular nature of elven adaptations goes far beyond all but the most extremophile humans' distinctiveness. Nevertheless, though religious practices, environments, physical capabilities and lifestyles vary wildly among elvenkind, the fundamental currents underlying elf culture remain strong and characterize the race as a whole.
Altruists, Anarchists and Psychopaths
Elves are not a wholly chaotic people, but they have a decided bent for individualism. This is a natural result of the erratic lifestyles that long-time facilitates. Elves work together best when their interests coincide and they can each continue in long-time without a misstep. When forced into short-time by another elf, reactions trend toward the socially immiscible. Elves are intelligent enough to understand the necessity of short-time in certain situations - a serious orc attack, a dragon in the woods, parenting, a fire - but that does not make it any less unpleasant and stressful for them.
If you ever want to feel superior to an elf, go see an expectant father while his mate is in labor. "High-strung" doesn't even begin to describe the state he will be in - bloodless, twitchy, hypervigilant and oscillating during trance like a caffeinated kindergartener. Elves with children spend many years planning for what is known as "the Eon" - the longest and richest period of long-time an elf ever experiences. Why elves with children? Simple: they've been waiting a century for a chance at some decent long-time. Elves hear members of other races talk about missing their grown children and often have to stifle the thought "...with an arrow?"
If taking care of children is the ultimate in jarring life experiences to an elf, how much worse would it be to take care of a town? A city? A nation? Leadership is a burden even when those led are for the most part just cruising around on autopilot; when everyone's short-time has a ripple effect that comes after you, the weight of office is even more severe. In short, to an elf, power sucks.
So where do they find their leaders? Two groups often step forward to take the helm, and the first one is particularly distressing: sociopaths. To be fair, that's not a very useful term anymore, so let's refine it to: psychopaths. The classical profile of the elven psychopath includes an inability to fully experience long-time, lack of emotional depth, obsessive control over limited environments, a disconnect from nature, tension in relaxing situations, fixation on immediate goals and a total deliberateness of action. In short, these elves are mentally and spiritually broken and totally qualified to take on the duties of a leader from a simple functionality standpoint. That's not to say they're evil - though they certainly might be. No, these elves are painfully lawful: they have a need to settle into some form of social power and a rules system that lets them thrive under self-created stress in what should be a relaxing environment.
The second group consists of those that embody the native goodness present within elvenkind: those masters of a particular discipline or set of skills who give themselves to their people as leaders knowing full well the misery it will entail, as a method of enriching the whole of the populace. This altruism is less common than the alternative, though the former group often perceives itself this way.
In either event, those who lead can look forward to the grating experience that leaders have come to call middle-time, a hybrid state of time perception rather unique to those whose everyday duties involve a greater amount of unpredictable stimuli than others, but whose essential activity cycle can form a pattern. Middle-time is less of a constant headache than short-time and makes for a more consistent and efficient leader, but has its own consequences: it is tremendously fatiguing and wears on the mind and body such that leaders seem to age twice as fast. This effect is generally mitigated in psychopaths, which often provides a good clue as to which members of elected office could use replacing.
Alien Art and Mellow Mood Music
Elves are famed among other races for their astounding talents with art and music; the distinctive streak of perfectionism, combined with the excessive amounts of time that elves can dedicate to a single composition, result in an elevation of standards that seems out of reach by the reckoning of shorter-lived peoples. In nearly any form of craftsmanship, elven craftsmen and craftswomen simply have more time and more sheer anal fixatedness than any comparable artisans of other races.
That's not to say that elven art is, strictly speaking, any good.
To envision the elven perception of art, put your right hand up in the air, near your left shoulder. Slowly move it, horizontally, until it's extended as far right as you can go. That steady, curving and potentially wobbling motion was utterly pointless but I got you to do it because you felt it was going somewhere. That's elven art: motion and happenstance without inherent purpose that might draw forth feeling. (It could be argued to be all art, frankly).
In all seriousness, that aerial motion is in many ways the fundamental building block of all elven art. It is a gentle pulling forth of something intangible in a direction at once predictable and personally appreciable. Elven architecture goes up because walls go up and roofs go up and trees go up and you'll still appreciate seeing it (especially when it is shaped living wood, the material involved in many of the most spectacular examples of the craft).
Elves have certain trends in choice of medium. Sculpture is almost unheard-of, though glasswork is known. Ceramics and pottery are very rare arts, though with their long, slender fingers, elves produce marvelous pottery. Living materials are preferred where possible, though elves also work with the noble metals (silver, gold and mithril) in small quantities. Elves enjoy writing poetry, which is typically so inscrutably short and full of implied meanings that it can be used to make a student of Elvish feel that they have learned nothing of the language and have wasted their time. Literature, theater and dance are also embraced by most elf cultures. The two art forms exalted above all others by elves, though, are painting and music.
Elves make paints from many substances, taking tremendous pains to calibrate a significant range of shades and hues. Often more time is spent tailoring the perfect color than is spent on the entire painting. Elves do not have art movements; the culture tends to absorb each new work within one of the "exalted natures" considered the totality of painting styles. These exalted natures include iconicism (finding divine or natural shapes within abstracts and highlighting them), expansionism (focusing in on the minute details within everyday objects), cosmicism (the artistic merit of a single dot, line or stroke of paint carefully placed), intensivism (painting on unusual materials with an eye for highlighting the material's own qualities) and elaboratism ("pulling" shapes from thick oil paints to create expansive and textured scenes which incorporate, rather than eliminate, stray brush motion and other marks of incompleteness).
Music is a field in which elves find great fascination. The key elven instruments are the lyre, the harp and the flute. Elves shun all percussion and brass instruments and employ only a very limited selection of woodwinds. The elvish flute is known for its subdued and graceful notes and is impossible to articulate a marcato on. The elvish lyre can be played by lyrists by stroking the strings, rather than plucking them, reducing the percussive sound of a plucked string. The harp is the harshest of elven instruments and a less than masterful touch can prove irksome. However, the satiny, gliding sound produced by an elf harpist is highly valued in elven music. Elf compositions are quite different from those of many other races; they value repetition, eschew preciseness and have a vastly reduced musical range in terms of chord selection. Elves don't have a repeat symbol; they have a "don't repeat" symbol for bars selected to add surprise and startlement to a piece, which is used quite selectively and very rarely. An elven piece can easily last for an hour or more without tremendous change from where it began. It is in the performance itself that elven music reveals its artistry and that of the performer. Mastery of this flowing, interpretive and repetitive style is near impossible for other races, who find it boring and difficult to sustain when performing but are often entranced by the dreamy, timelost quality of the music when in audience. Elves do have horns, but they never employ them in music; they are used strictly to sound alarms.
Elves eat to live. In the depths of long-time, an elf can often forget to eat for a day or two without noticing, though they always find themselves with ready drinking water. Most elves keep small gardens from which they can idly pick something to chew on. Many also flow into the public marketplaces or orchards to acquire a subsistence meal and continue onward without ever really experiencing "taste" as we know it. The fact is, elves don't eat meat, fruit or vegetables for flavor. They're after nutrients and calories sufficient to keep them from health complications, and that's about it.
Contrary to some perceptions, elves are not vegetarians. Those who are entranced with the hunt go after game of all kinds, though raising livestock for slaughter is not in the elven character. Most meat elves consume is wild bird or fish. Elves aren't exposed to beef, pork or domestic land fowl unless they go afield to other cultures; elven markets rarely sell meat as freshness is preferred and salt agitates the elven palate.
Elves look for flavor in only two things: beverages and herbs. Elven wines are of famous quality, as they represent one of the few gustatory arts that elves care about. While fruits are not consumed for taste, their juice often is, and may be combined with honey as a sweetener. Elves don't season food with herbs; rather, they chew them whole. Elves can digest most plant matter including grasses and leaves without difficulty, and often use basil, chervil, lavender and mint where humans might use lettuce, cabbage or celery.
Do You Even Know What "Eldritch" MEANS?
Elves have an ancient and innate tie to the study of wizardry. Much as with their other arts, though, elves are individualistic and spend their years exploring magic in their own fashion, without a thought for praxis. With such a long history of magic use and arcane study, it is often wondered why elves have not redefined their whole civilization - nay, the world - with sorcerous foundations. The answer is simple: they're not interested.
Elves spend a great deal of time disjoining themselves from an interconnected world. They don't have a word for "hermit" because it's a basic and standard lifestyle for many of them. The power of magic can enhance their lives on a small scale - unseen servant being particularly popular - but for the average elf, spells beyond cantrips are not within their means until middle age - and they've just got so many more relaxing things to do. Elves may be intelligent, but they simply don't see magic as anything more than yet another means to an end, or at best an art. They do not perceive it as a science, nor as something to be studied to seek mastery. It is a birthright which they come into in their middle years, and which is embraced for what it is and used functionally or artistically.
Elves are thus very magical people in their later years, but a people without the urge to push the boundaries of power or transform their environment in ways not already contemplated. Their idleness gives them no incentive to create for any reason that doesn't please them. They would rather go over the forms that already exist and refine their ability to work those spells than work toward new and unusual applications of magic. Elves generally do not craft magic items, preferring to work powerful enchantments into their environment.
Nevertheless, elves still possess the potential to be potent arcanists, and those who come upon magic at a younger age often see it as the highest of arts. The curiosity fired in these younger elves through the powers they harness never fades. The natural inclination of the young elven spirit to be moved to wonderment by the art of wizardry is in fact the genesis of the now-abused term "eldritch," which properly refers to the arcane practice of elves. Mind you, it's the fault of elven arcanists that the term took on the other connotation it now has, but still. You're misusing the word.
Elven specialists tend to prefer conjuration, enchantment and evocation, though the overall preference trends toward a generalist approach to magic with a long and studied history.
Mysterious Elven Wares
Remember, to elves, "elven things" are just "things." When perusing an elf marketplace, other races need to adjust to this fact. The exotic and dangerous weapon in the corner isn't an "elven thinblade" - it's a thinblade, and the rapier you're examining is a "human thinblade," or a "pointing sword." That fine mithril armor isn't "elven chain," it's "chainmail" and what you're wearing is "steel chainmail" or "human chainmail" or "clinky horriblewear" (not actually said, but jingle around elves enough and you can practically feel them thinking it).
The elven marketplace contains many products unique to elves and their interests. The elegant weapons of the warrior traditions, fine chainmail worked from mithril, and tools for the practice of many arts are all routinely available in an elven market of fair size.
Elves use metal primarily for weapons and chainmail; the supply available to elf communities that do not have a significant amount of trade is limited to that mined and smelted by psychopaths (they can't all hold office). Other elven goods are made with treated leaves and wood, or other plant materials. Use of animal products is very limited, but glass is quite popular. Elves have a fascination with clothing, even while in long-time, and garments made of starlight cloth or silk are both found in most elven marketplaces, though the former is by far the most preferred.
Elven goods tend to be significantly more expensive than those found in human marketplaces, but the majority of elves have large amounts of time to spend crafting what they need, significantly reducing the costs individually experienced. Elf-crafted bows are quite superior to the kind humans normally employ, though elves can use those lesser bows if the need arises. Elven longswords, apart from the use of mithril in the most high-quality offerings, are not significantly different from those other races make. Lightblades, thinblades and courtblades round out the standard complement of weaponry available at an elf marketplace. Elves also sell specialty arrows.
Elven goods can be found in Dragon #279 and Races of the Wild.
Who's Who in Elven Lands
Elves are a people with a great many ancient and formal traditions. They typically ignore these with the elven approximation of great gusto, except on rare occasions where they feel it significant to undertake them. Elves don't do anything "annually" and with the exception of certain religious practices, ignore "monthly" pretty solidly too.
Elven traditions are thus rather fluid; based more on a breadth of available lore and tools than any strict adherence or observations. This fluidity extends to their communal traditions and even communal offices and practices, some of which have devolved significantly from timelost eons. Elves don't care. They seek to make a personal art of just about everything; sometimes, that even includes following formal training (picture the feeling of joining a martial arts class for the first time to understand the novelty of adhering to customs for the value of those customs). This also means that you won't run into the same elven festival too often - though they're elves, they're not really qualified to call anything they do a "festival."
Many elves never join with any tradition; some of them independently develop skills that echo time-honored communal archetypes, while others either find a master willing to teach them or tap into lore and buy the cultural relics required as the desire strikes them. Elves rarely have levels in the commoner class once they reach adulthood; experts are far more common, and paragons are not unheard of. Aristocrats are only found in large elven cities, and most of them are psychopaths or the children of psychopaths.
Only certain elf societies have barbarians. Bards are very common among young adults with many interests and little focus. Clerics are less common than in many other races, but most of the Seldarine have at least one personal representative in any elf community. The druid's path is more common. Fighters are incredibly rare; elves who take the fighter class are pursuing a personal battle idiom and not following any established tradition. Monks are not unheard of, but live lives of particular tranquility and solitude even for elves; they sometimes take up the lore of the Temerad (Dragon #309). Paladins are very rare as they must spend a majority of their lives in short-time; paladins of the Seldarine are usually champions with elf paladin racial substitution levels (Races of the Wild). Many elves live a ranger's life, as it has a natural appeal to them. Some elves with a taste for momentary spurts of short-time (and some true masters who can live the life in long-time) take on a rogue's mantle, though the meaning of it is often vastly different in an elf community. Sorcerous blood is extremely rare in elves. Wizardry is in common practice, though mostly at low levels.
The predominant classes in elven cultures are bard, cleric, druid, duskblade (Player's Handbook 2), moon-warded ranger (Dragon #340), ranger, ranger (elf racial substitution, Races of the Wild) and wizard (elf racial substitution, Races of the Wild).
The ceremonial order of the Arcane Archers has longstanding ties to the church of Sehanine Moonbow. Once a prominent and powerful order of master combatants, the arcane archers have vastly diminished in power and capability over the centuries. Members of the modern order spend their time as lookouts, scout leaders and outpost wardens, with a small number working as honor guards for high priests of Sehanine and government leaders. Arcane archers that spend their time away from settled areas tend to be 5th level rangers/1st level duskblades/1st level arcane archers. Ceremonial guards tend to be 6th level duskblades/1st level arcane archers.
One of the few traditional arts that involves trained fighters, bladesingers are in elven culture considered as much performance artists as warriors, if not moreso. Bladesingers are often encountered near major temple sites, as they are the ceremonial guards of Corellon Larethian, Tethrin Veraldé (their patron deity) and Ye'Cind. Bladesingers spend long-time fluidly merging many of the high arts of elven culture, and although most have fighter levels, they are Tethrin Veraldé's chosen bearers of the duskblade tradition. Bladesingers tend to be 2nd level fighters/3rd level duskblades/1st level bladesingers.
The bladesinger prestige class appears in Complete Warrior.
Champion of Corellon Larethian
Probably the closest analogue elves have to "knights" are the champions of Corellon Larethian, who come from many warrior and religious traditions and often take up leadership roles for altruistic reasons. These champions, known as the Aelavellin Corellon, have all undertaken a modicum of pure martial training and bring their combat expertise to bear in protection of elven lands and advancement of elven interests. In absence of a formal government structure, a champion of Corellon Larethian often serves as a community protector and adjudicator. Champions tend to be 1st level fighters/6th level duskblades/1st level champions, 1st level fighters/6th level rangers/1st level champions or (rarely) 1st level fighters/6th level paladins/1st level champions.
The champion of Corellon Larethian prestige class appears in Races of the Wild.
Few things arouse passion in elves, and fewer still true anger and revulsion. The elemental hatred between elves and orcs, however, has existed since the dawn of both races. A warrior tradition has been passed down among the most obsessive foes of the orc race that has remained relatively undiluted over the eons. Its practitioners, the darkwood stalkers, are often maniacal in their singleminded drive to slay orcs, and even those who are not true psychopaths tend to have a rather grim long-time. A darkwood stalker can be found in or near every elven community, and they often serve as martial trainers and military irregulars. Darkwood stalkers tend to be 5th level rangers (elf racial substitution)/1st level darkwood stalkers.
The darkwood stalker prestige class appears in Complete Warrior.
Not a formal order, though known and spoken of to elf children, the eternal blades are few and far between. Fostered from a young age by a blade spirit, these elves spend long-time attuning themselves to the art of blade magic. Eternal blades were in ancient times mighty servants of Corellon Larethian, but now are aligned more with Vandria Gilmadrith, who considers them the true warriors of the elven race. Eternal blades tend to be 10th level warblades/1st level eternal blades, though those who have been raised in the community may take on levels in other warrior traditions including duskblade, ranger and even paladin.
The eternal blade prestige class appears in Tome of Battle.
Mystic Keeper of Corellon Larethian
As the chief deity of a people known for pursuing multiple often eclectic interests, it should come as no surprise that many of Corellon's most dedicated followers seem to get sidetracked from strictly clerical duties into areas such as music, martial study and art. Mystic keepers are divine servants of Corellon Larethian who uphold the iconic characteristics of their patron deity. Explorers of the mysteries of magic, performers of ritual dance, channelers of the divine will of Corellon and wielders of his holy weapon, mystic keepers strive to embody Corellon and perceive him as the epitome of elven essence. Mystic keepers teach the young of the Seldarine and support and protect the people. Mystic keepers tend to be 7th level clerics of Corellon Larethian/1st level mystic keepers.
The mystic keeper of Corellon Larethian prestige class appears in Dragon #328.
Conventionally thought to mean "elf-friend," the word "ruathar" is rich with layered imagery and closer in meaning to "fish who swims without causing ripples in the lake." Ruathar are quite uncommon, but chances are that any member of another race encountered in a small elven community is a member of this group and there tend to be several in larger cities. Ruathar are members of other races, blessed with a grace given by Labelas Enoreth such that they are able to not disturb long-time. To elves this makes them wondrous indeed, and a ruathar tends to be a popular guest in elven communities as a result. Ruathar are more properly invested in a magical ceremony overseen by a cleric, which includes gifts from the community and investiture with the magical key phrase that identifies those so accepted. Elven ruathar seem like an unnecessary concept, but some particularly respected altruistic leaders are invited to take up the mantle, which partially mitigates the hardship of middle-time. Ruathar are all at least 5th level before their first ruathar level, though they come from many races and classes.
The ruathar prestige class appears in Races of the Wild.
Seeker of the Misty Isle
The oldest and truest order of the elven peoples is also the most tragic. Questers dedicated to finding and liberating the lost jewel of elven civilization, the Seekers of the Misty Isle hope against hope to succeed where gods have failed. Their quest is to find the Misty Isle, an elven realm that was wondrous even in its timelost era, stolen away by Gruumsh and Kurtulmak. Seekers leave elven lands, perhaps never to return, and the order remains small due to the requisite devotion and the strict standards for admission. The lifestyle is hard, but it is believed that the Misty Isle may retain the lost destiny of the elves. Seekers of the Misty Isle tend to be 5th level druids/1st level seekers or 4th level clerics/1st level rangers/1st level seekers.
The seeker of the Misty Isle prestige class appears in Complete Divine.
There is a popular theory that holds that the four great races (dwarves, elves, gnomes and halflings) are each associated with one of the four elements. There is a fundamental truth to this, and elves are the race that is linked to Air. The appeal of the skylord tradition is in the exultation of the airborne life. Skylords claim that long-time takes on a richer, cleaner timbre on the wings of a great eagle, owl or pegasus. Though outrider skylords on errands of peace and mercy are seen as powerful warriors, these lovers of flight are enjoying themselves in the sky in a way that most other races can never appreciate. Skylords tend to be 7th level rangers/1st level skylords.
The skylord prestige class appears in Book of Exalted Deeds.
Wildrunners are not so much a formal tradition as they are an old phenomenon. Vestiges of ties between the Seelie Court and the Seldarine, wildrunners are elves who have developed a long-term fascination with the nature of fey. Often seen as more fable than reality, especially in larger settlements, wildrunners are rare and only found in small wilderness settlements where the pull of nature is stronger than the ripples of elven life. To become a wildrunner is seen by some as a mental affliction due to the wild and chaotic behavior associated with those who have walked this path. Wildrunners tend to be 5th level rangers/1st level wildrunners.
The wildrunner prestige class appears in Races of the Wild.
The elves venerate a great and vast pantheon of deities known as the Seldarine, headed by Corellon Larethian and consisting chiefly of his family, his friends, their unaffiliated allies and the mortals who received divine patronage. In addition to this ancient and august pantheon, elves also on occasion venerate deities who are not associated with the Seldarine, both those of humans and those whose interests are linked chiefly with elven worshipers but run counter to the spirit of the Seldarine.
Few races have experienced such a transformative relationship with the divine as the elves. Perhaps it is the nature of long-time that it creates a deeply felt and passive faith; however, the elves with their long history have seen their race shaped by events transpiring on the Outer Planes, and are often said to be more directly tied to their gods than other races.
This link is the reason for the apathy and listlessness of the elves; why they do not seek out progress or conquest. In eons long past, an internal war sundered the elven race, fueled by the divine conflict between Corellon Larethian and his consort Araushnee, goddess of elven destiny and artisanry. To protect his people and cast back the forces united under Araushnee, Corellon was forced to destroy her divinity, leaving her a powerless demon and banishing her to the Abyss with her allies. The cost of this conflict was the loss of elven destiny and desire for progress, which has slipped from the race and gradually eroded the cultural pillars of yore.
Elves have many divine foes: Gruumsh, the god of the orcs, hates Corellon and has sworn to oversee the destruction of the elven race. Maglubiyet sees the elven lands as his most important conquest. Deep within the Lower Planes, the twisted goddess Lolth, returned to her divinity and reborn in a new madness, leads the drow in campaigns of wrath and slaughter against their surface cousins. The strength of the Seldarine and their allies remains a bulwark against these dangerous forces.
The chief pantheon of all elvenkind, the Seldarine originated from Corellon Larethian and in some mythical traditions, a consort (often Sehanine Moonbow). From Corellon sprang the essence foundational to elvenkind, and from the elements of that essence arose divinities to steward and champion them. This is the chief characteristic of the Seldarine: that its members have as their portfolios either a segment of elvenkind or a core component of the elven essence. Those deities who take elven worshipers but are not members of the Seldarine have portfolios not drawn from the elven essence. The Seldarine are often featured in pantheonic artwork and temples. The collective realm of the Seldarine is Arvandor, located on the first layer of Arborea, though some members live elsewhere.
Clerics representing the Seldarine as a whole can choose from the Chaos, Elf and Good domains.
The origin of the Seldarine and all of elvenkind, Corellon Larethian is the god of Magic, Music, Arts, Crafts, Warfare and Poetry. An androgynous deity, Corellon favors his male aspect and has taken many consorts over the eons - Araushnee (his first wife), Sehanine Moonbow (his primary consort), Hanali Celanil and Aerdrie Faeyna (both individually and as the triune goddess Angharradh). He is the inspirer of martial traditions as art forms and was in another time a powerful warrior god. Corellon retains great power and influence, but struggles across the eons have left him weakened and worried for the future of the elven race. Corellon is the patron of many elven traditions and preserves the arts of elvenkind through his mystic keepers.
Corellon's symbol is a crescent moon; his favored weapon is the longsword. Corellon's domains are Chaos, Community, Elf, Good, Liberation, Magic, Pride, Protection and War. Corellon Larethian is chaotic good.
The goddess of the weather and the air, Aerdrie Faenya is the patroness of the rare and reclusive winged elves, the avariel. A close friend to several similarly-aligned deities of the sky, Aerdrie is worshiped by some aarakocra and is an inspiration to skylords. In most elven communities, she is linked more with druids than with a formal priesthood, and prayed to for weather of all kinds - rain, snow and sun. Aerdrie's realm, the Aerie, shifts back and forth along the border between Arborea and Ysgard. Aerdrie Faenya's icons are often seen in elven architecture, as the elves feel closest to air. Though worshiped only rarely by groundling elves, Aerdrie is the patroness of freedom and choice and one of the most chaotic-minded of the Seldarine. She brings a touch of wildness into elven life. Her specialty priests, the halcyons, raise flying steeds and bring the gift of flight to elven communities in any small way they can.
Aerdrie Faenya's symbol is a cloud with a bird silhouette; her favored weapon is the quarterstaff. Aerdrie Faenya's domains are Air, Animal, Chaos, Elf, Good, Liberation, Sky, Storm and Weather. Aerdrie Faenya is chaotic good.
A young and esoteric demipower, Alathrien Druanna is the little-known elven deity of magical praxis. The mistress of elven runes, geometric magic and summonings, Alathrien has few worshipers due to the might of the rest of the Seldarine. She is a patron of geometers and runecasters, a foe of the Faerunian power Velsharoon, and an ally of other deities of learning, writing and magical study. Her divine realm, the Spiral Castle, is located in the Outlands, surrounded by a maze of thorns. She is served by a small clergy incorporating geometers and her specialty priests, the jadir. The church is lead by the five Jaradir.
Alathrien Druanna's symbol is a scroll and silver quill; her favored weapon is the rapier. Alathrien Druanna's domains are Knowledge, Magic, Rune, Spell and Summoning. Alathrien Druanna is neutral.
The youngest member of the Seldarine, Alobal Lorfiril is the elven deity of hedonism and revelry. The concepts he embodies are unusual in elven culture, for what elves consider "hedonism" and "revelry" resemble nothing like that which other races would recognize. Alobal is the patron of winemakers and orchard-keepers; of herb gardens and silkworms; of hosts and conductors. Alobal Lorfinil teaches of the slow savoring of each moment and the pleasure of spending bits of long-time focused solely on sensations soft and enchanting. Alobal encourages communities to share in celebrations and inspires his clerics to design new festivals incorporating all entertainments known to elf culture.
Alobal Lorfinil's symbol is a full wineglass; his favored weapon is the dagger. Alobal Lorfinil's domains are Chaos, Good, Magic and Trickery. Alobal Lorfinil is chaotic good.
In the lands of Faerun, the goddesses Aerdrie Faenya, Hanali Celanil and Sehanine Moonbow are worshiped both individually and as a single triune goddess, Angharradh. Venerated as the consort of Corellon Larethian, Angharradh represents spring, life, birth, fertility and the planting season. Spoken of in lore as a wise consort, she is not known beyond Toril and her worship is partitioned between the three goddesses who she represents. Angharradh was never a truly independent being, but rather a temporary union of the powers of the three goddesses created to repel Araushnee. She does not currently exist, but the mythical tradition of the hero-queen of Arvandor has withstood the eons and remains prominent in the elven cultures of Faerun.
Angharradh's symbol is a trio of interlocked rings within a triangle; her favored weapons are the longspear and shortspear. Angharradh's domains are Chaos, Elf, Good, Knowledge, Plant, Protection and Renewal. Angharradh is chaotic good.
A younger elven power, one of the "Second Born" who were sired after the ancient struggle against Araushnee. His dogma has the zeal of youth, for Araleth is a champion of the struggle against darkness and has rushed headlong into battle against the forces of evil on more than one occasion, earning him a wickedly scarred shoulder from Lolth's poisoned bite. Araleth is a patron of the passionate undertakings of short-time and one who gives succor to elven paladins in times of hardship. His starlight provides peace and a renewal of conteplative tranquility to elves forced out of long-time. As the bringer of light into darkness, Araleth Letheranil is also a popular member of the aquatic elf pantheon (to whom he is Araleth Stacialus) and represents the driving back of dreadful undersea monsters into the submarine abyss. His specialty priests, the twylar, train young warriors in combat against drow and other wielders of darkness and promote starlight meditation.
Araleth Letheranil's symbol is a beam of light tapering upward; his favored weapon is the longsword. Araleth Letheranil's domains are Moon, Protection, Sun and War. Araleth Letheranil is chaotic good.
A former servant of Rillifane, Darahl Firecloak is one of the last generation of the Seldarine, a young demipower of elemental magics forced to build this new identity after the machinations of Lolth and the Unseelie Court tainted his original self, Tilvenar. Formerly an intermediate deity, the destruction caused by the maddened avatars of Tilvenar caused his following to die out, and he has reinvented himself in Arcadia over long centuries with the help of Dumathoin of the dwarves. Darahl Firecloak retains few friends among the Seldarine, but continues to uphold the elven heritage of earth and fire magics. From his divine realm on Abellio, the Twin Towers, Darahl inspires elves and renegade drow to bring fire and earth magic against the threats of the Underdark. He is still invoked on occasion when dealing with earth- and fire-related phenomena, but is otherwise only venerated by his small following and his specialty priests, the firecloaks.
Darahl Firecloak's symbol is a pair of hands cupping a green flame; his favored weapon is the longsword. Darahl Firecloak's domains are Earth, Fire, Protection and Travel. Darahl Firecloak is lawful neutral.
The patron of the aquatic elves and de facto chairman of the Asathalfinare (the united pantheon of good sea deities), Deep Sashelas is worshiped on the surface as a god of mariners and the bounty of the waves. Sashelas has a history of dalliances that is long indeed and includes mermaids, selkies and even a giant goddess, though his wife Trishina has proven capable of keeping him mostly in line. Sashelas is a fierce warrior when riled, a deity of many allies and powerful enemies including Sekolah and the malevolent deep sea power Panzuriel, who he maimed in personal combat eons ago.
Deep Sashelas's symbol is a dolphin; his favored weapon is the trident. Deep Sashelas's domains are Chaos, Elf, Good, Knowledge, Ocean and Water. Deep Sashelas is chaotic good.
The god of orchards and harvests, Elebrin Liothiel is said to be the warden of thriving elf communities, a god who sends the desire to tend crops and prune trees to idle elves to ensure that all remain fed. Elebrin represents one of the most fundamental principles of elvenkind: harmony with nature. His incorruptible tranquility is famed in a myth that tells of Lolth's attempt to use spiders to seize every pollinating insect, in response to which Elebrin armed the bees with their stings to ensure that the harvest would continue. Elebrin Liothiel holds sacred the saelas (wildwood) tree of the self-healing wood and teaches his clerics and druids how to acquire kindling and lumber from the saelas groves without destroying the trees. Elebrin's clerics are generally avoided by the followers of evil deities for reasons unknown.
Elebrin Liothiel's symbol is an acorn on a leaf; his favored weapon is the quarterstaff. Elebrin Liothiel's domains are Chaos, Good, Plant, Renewal and Sun. Elebrin Liothiel is chaotic good.
Erevan Ilesere is the roguish elven deity of transformation, change and mischief. A karmic trickster on a grand scale, Erevan is not what other races might imagine: his actions often play out over a long period of time, and he is a patron of elven comedy, which is - well, picture a British farce, strip out 90% of the laughs prior to the ending, and stretch it out over twenty hours and that's a good approximation of elven comedy. Erevan is also an admirer of adventure, discovery and spending long-time hooking onto a single curiosity and following the thread to its end. His home in Arvandor lies near one of Yggdrasil's roots, enabling him to quickly stride across the planes in search of new adventure. Erevan Ilesere has a close friendship with Dugmaren Brightmantle and the draconic god Hlal; the three are known to crusade into the most mysterious and dangerous parts of the Planes and get into plenty of trouble en route. He also maintains personal ties with the Seelie Court and has fey worshipers.
Erevan Ilesere's symbol is a nova with irregular rays; his favored weapon is the short sword. Erevan Ilesere's domains are Chaos, Elf, Luck, Sloth and Trickery. Erevan Ilesere is chaotic neutral.
The scorned and outcast god of rogues, scapegoats and exiles, Fenmarel Mestarine maintains the most tenuous of associations to the Seldarine and is the patron of the fringes of elven life: the wild elves and the pariahs. A dour, sullen and solitary god, Fenmarel isolates himself in Fennimar, his tiny enclave in the chaos of Limbo, despite having a home available to him in Arvandor. He associates only with his brother, Solonor Thelandira, and with Sehanine Moonbow when she entreats him to return briefly to Arborea. Fenmarel Mestarine watches over the wild and the natural realms of all elvenkind, and has loose alliances with the beast lords of the Beastlands. His outcast status derives from his seduction by and brief alliance with Araushnee during her rebellion, during which he was at turns collaborator and dupe. Though he saw the truth of her and turned against her, he has ever since felt attainted and removed from the rest of the Seldarine.
Fenmarel Mestarine's symbol is a pair of elven eyes in shadow; his favored weapon is the dagger. Fenmarel Mestarine's domains are Animal, Chaos, Elf, Plant, Travel and Trickery. Fenmarel Mestarine is chaotic neutral.
To understand the nature of Hanali Celanil, one must first come to understand the nature of elven love. To put it bluntly, elves in love are all moony derps. Elven love is rather like Chernobyl, in that it centers on a kind of radiant, glowing tragedy. It is also like Chernobyl in that outsiders with any sense won't go near it with a ten-foot pole. Elves do not link sex with love; certainly, those in love may make love, but the intimate act (in which they engage frequently and for exaggerated periods of time) is not innately linked with any emotional connection. No, for elves, love is in the romance, the passion, the bitter sorrow and tragedy. Elves in love feel the need to pine for their other half, to feel the pain of star-crossed lovers - especially when no stars have been crossed. Imagine spending long-time engaging in no activity other than pining. That's elven love. Fortunately, this cooperative limerence tends to mellow over time into rather fierce and somber pair-bonding - don't look for a lot of joy on the part of those involved, elven love is a voyeuristic and melodramatic affair. Such is the purview of Hanali Celanil, perhaps the ultimate shipper, who directs the melancholy drama of elven lovers and is always out to try a new scenario. Unusually, Hanali herself is quite cheerful - but then, she's the one dropping elves into throes of romance, not the throe-ee. Hanali embodies elven beauty, bliss (as distinct from joy) and romance; she is vain, self-involved and flighty, but unlike other goddesses of love does not meddle with her fellow deities. Hanali has been a lover of many elven deities, and with Erevan Ilesere bore Alobal Lorfinil. Melira Taralen is her daughter. Hanali Celanil reveals all aspects of elven love; she can become a fierce and somber warrior where matters of the heart are concerned, and was one of Araushnee's most implacable foes. Her clerics preside over not just marriage, but many rites of passage for young elves, often in concert with those of Corellon or Sehanine.
Hanali Celanil's symbol is a golden heart; her favored weapon is the dagger. Hanali Celanil's domains are Chaos, Charm, Elf, Good, Magic and Nobility. Hanali Celanil is chaotic good.
The goddess of subtle magics, Kirith Sotheril is a dispassionate power who dwells on her inscrutable but benevolent plan for the ever-shifting future of elvenkind. Insightful and charming, she nonetheless retains a mysterious veneer and keeps the full understanding of her concerns well-hidden. Kirith and Sehanine have a friendly, if subdued, rivalry over their shared claim to the subtler forms of magic, but the former is much more a patron and scholar where the latter is merely a practitioner. Kirith Sotheril lives apart from most of the Seldarine in the realm of Tethridar on Amoria, the first layer of Elysium, as she finds Arborea too chaotic for her liking. Her specialty priests, the zivorns, are often turned to for minor divinations and can be easily picked out by their multicolored robes.
Kirith Sotheril's symbol is a rainbow sphere; her favored weapons are the dagger and the dart. Kirith Sotheril's domains are Charm, Good, Knowledge, Magic and Planning. Kirith Sotheril is neutral good.
Of all the senior elven gods, Labelas Enoreth is the one whose presence and status most befuddles scholars of other races, for he governs time. To elves, however, to whom time is fluid and the perception of time is everything, Labelas Enoreth is fundamental to their way of life. One of the small number of gods charged with guardianship of history, causality and the continuum, Labelas carries the essence of elven timelessness and is said in myth to have given as a gift to Hanali Celanil the graceful aging of the elven people. Labelas Enoreth is portrayed as androgynous, and is a very somber power, for he has watched over the gradual erosion of the elven people across history and has projected his own end with the fall of elvenkind. The clerics of Labelas are record-keepers, philosophers and teachers. His speciality priests, the chronologians, ensure the fullest recovery and archival of the events of the past to serve as lessons for future generations.
Labelas Enoreth's symbol is a setting sun; his favored weapon is the quarterstaff. Labelas Enoreth's domains are Chaos, Elf, Good, Knowledge, Oracle and Time. Labelas Enoreth is chaotic good.
A younger goddess, Melira Taralen is the daughter of Hanali Celanil and the apprentice of Corellon himself. The patron of bards, minstrels and songwriters, Melira is a muse and patroness of all forms of elven music. Her curse upon fey and elves for their condescension toward new forms of music is behind the fascination sometimes witnessed when sylvan beings hear music being played. Melira's name can be found somewhere on all elven sheet music and is the root word of much elven musical terminology. Unlike Corellon, who upholds music for music's sake, or Ye'cind, who values the magical qualities of music, Melira is a goddess of creativity and composition who hates stagnancy and pushes for transformation. Elven minstrels have music for every occasion, and Melira is famously said to have scoffed to Milil, a human god of music, "Surely you've run out of maidens fair by now?" Melira Taralen's specialty priests, the brystars, are often bards themselves and host the great concerts of elven cities that often last for days on end.
Melira Taralen's symbol is a golden lute on a blue background; her favored weapon is the short sword. Melira Taralen's domains are Chaos, Charm, Good and Passion. Melira Taralen is chaotic good.
One of the last generation of the Seldarine, Mythrien was a popular and well-liked deity among his fellows and the creator of the powerful elven magic known as the mythal. Investing his own personal essence into the creation of mythals, Mythrien expended himself on behalf of his people. Weakened to demipower status through his work and seeking to renew his strength, Mythrien planned to craft an artifact on a Prime Material world that would anchor and supplement him. Unfortunately, his avatar was attacked by the evil god Malar, the artifact was lost, and the avatar itself ended up imprisoned beneath the earth. The weakened Mythrien, no longer capable of manifesting avatars, has retreated to his small, private realm of Mythralan in Arborea, a secret location wreathed in threads of invisibility which only Corellon and Sehanine know how to access. Mythrien Sarath has watched mythals fall and been unable to renew them, and in his isolation has lost all joy. His church has eroded such that only his specialty priests, the seekers, remain.
Mythrien Sarath's symbol is a blue ring flanked by golden rings; his favored weapon is the light mace. Mythrien Sarath's domains are Chaos, Creation, Good and Protection. Mythrien Sarath is chaotic good.
The son of Corellon and Sehanine Moonbow, Naralis Analor is an important elven deity who is involved in both life and death. Naralis is a psychopomp, and is venerated in elven communities as the escort and defender of the deceased and he who enshrines ancestral spirits. He is also the elven god of healing and the guardian of the brink of death. As elves live their entire lives familiar with the goddess who will come to claim them at their proper end, Sehanine Moonbow, they do not fear natural death as other races often do. For violent or otherwise unnatural deaths, elves trust in Naralis to return those with a chance of survival and ensure a proper place for those without. Naralis Analor and his specialty priests, the heralars, are most concerned with quality of life, from birth to old age. They also oversee funerary practices. Naralis keeps his realm, the Healing Glade, on Amoria.
Naralis Analor's symbol is a dove, oftentimes represented on a shield; his favored weapon is the flail. Naralis Analor's domains are Good, Healing, Life, Repose and Protection. Naralis Analor is neutral good.
A frequent visitor to the Seelie Court, where he takes the grandiose and meaningless title "the Frost Sprite King," Rellavar Danuvien is a lesser elven deity of winter, protection from the elements and survival in the long cold night. Rellavar enjoys the cold, but understands the dangers it poses to life and the threat of unprepared long-time in the long darkness of winter. Ostensibly a servant of Tarsellis Meunidduin, Rellavar's close friendship with Solonor Thelandira has caused a cooling (pardon the pun) of relations between himself and the snow elf god. Rellavar Danuvien watches over the arctic elves from the Ice Plain on Karasuthra, his divine realm. His specialty priests, the frostwardens, move among elven communities come fall to ensure they will recover when spring arrives and engage in pacts with the fey of the cold places in Rellavar's name. These dangerous negotiations hold the most powerful and unpredictable of the frosty fey to bargains on a razor's edge, but Rellavar Danuvien remains one of the few deities who can deal with both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts.
Rellavar Danuvien's symbol is a silver spear flanked by white circles; his favored weapon is the ice axe. Rellavar Danuvien's domains are Cold, Endurance, Fey, Good, Protection and Winter. Rellavar Danuvien is neutral good.
In many myths, it is said that Labelas Enoreth, the warden of time, is older than even Corellon Larethian; the two deities themselves are uncertain. Older still than either, however, is Rillifane Rallathil, the steward of the great trees and the keeper of the woodlands. Rillifane is a quiet, careful, reflective and patient. His sacred animals are birds, his sacred plant the oak tree. A frequent visitor to the Seelie Court (and frequent host to the Court when it comes calling), Rillifane has deep ties to the fey lords. Rillifane is the patron deity of the wood elves, and his priesthood and his druids are quite isolationist, working only to see that each community remains in harmony with nature. Rillifane has had conflicts with Solonor Thelandira and Tarsellias Meunniduin, as these are gods of the hunt and Rillifane opposes hunting for sport. Rillifane is an especially staunch foe of the Unseelie Court and of the drow, who legend tells he cast from the woodlands when Lolth fell.
Rillifane Rallathil's symbol is an oak tree; his favored weapon is the quarterstaff. Rillifane Rallathil's domains are Chaos, Elf, Good, Plant and Protection. Rillifane Rallathil is chaotic good.
The distant patron of snow elves, Tarsellis Meunniduin is the warden of mountains and rivers, the hunter god who finds game even in the most cold and barren land. A former friend of Solonor Thelandira, the two have refused to associate for eons - myths say their rift is over a mutual love, perhaps Hanali Celanil, but in truth the two were driven apart through the agency of a dark goddess calling herself Megwandir, who seduced Tarsellis in a time before the War of Darkness and turned him from his concerned friend's counsel. Though Tarsellis separated from the dark deity, he has hated her and her people ever since. Tarsellis considers himself ruler of the mountains and contests Rillifane over the forests that line the slopes. His divine realm, the Wild Hunt, travels with him as he courses over Ysgard. His specialty priests, the peakwardens, guard against the monsters that live in the slopes and mediate between elves and other powerful races of the high lands such as giants and dragons.
Tarsellis Meunniduin's symbol is a snowcapped mountain; his favored weapons are the longspear and the light hammer. Tarsellis Meunniduin's domains are Chaos, Cold, Competition, Earth, Elf, War and Weather. Tarsellis Meunniduin is chaotic neutral.
The son of Corellon and Sehanine and one of the younger members of the Seldarine, Tethrin Veraldé is the god of the bladesingers, to whom the art of swordplay is sacred both as martial practice and sport. Reputed to be the lover of Kirith Sotheril, with whom he shares a realm in Elysium, Tethrin also shares a love of subtlety and holds up the fusion of elven magic and elven steel as the highest form of combat and artistry. Tethrin is the personal target of Lolth, who believes that killing the child of her former lover and her hated ex-rival would strike a particularly serious blow against the Seldarine. She has charged Selvetarm with Tethrin's assassination. The god of bladesingers has a talent for accruing foes - his alliance with Heironeous has drawn the ire of Hextor. His specialty priests, the tethryls, train bladesingers, swordplay artists and many warriors, and frequently serve a leading role in defensive formations.
Tethrin's Veraldé's symbol is a pair of swords aligned over a full moon; his favored weapon is the sword. Tethrin Veraldé's domains are Celerity, Courage, Good and War. Tethrin Veraldé is neutral good.
The eldest child of Corellon Larethian and his onetime lover Araushnee, Vandria was a goddess of joy whose demeanor was permanently sobered by her mother's war against her father. Rallying forces to mediate the battle and prevent further bloodshed, Vandria's hopes of a reconciliation between her divine parents were shattered when the demonic Kerythakar forced her to watch Corellon turning Araushnee into a spider demon and casting her into the Abyss. Appalled by her mother's fall and saddened by the toll of the war, Vandria has devoted herself to peace and to the prosecution of battle without glory. An alien goddess to many elves, Vandria eschews art and passion, teaching negotiation, strategy and planning. She guards those who grieve and holds contracts sacred, and her priests teach of the necessary evil of sorrow. Vandria Gilmadrith lives apart from the Seldarine in her divine realm in Acheron, where she keeps vigil over the warmongering realms of the goblin and orc deities and protects elves who venture therein.
Vandria Gilmadrith's symbol is a weeping eye on a red shield; her favored weapon is the longbow. Vandria Gilmadrith's domains are Law, Planning, Protection, Suffering and War. Vandria Gilmadrith is lawful neutral.
On the world of Oerth and others, Ye'cind is the elven demigod who uses music as a medium for magic. Once a mortal elf bard from the world of Oerth, Ye'cind's artful and triumphant fusion of sound and sorcery earned him a patron in Corellon Larethian, who arranged the bard's apotheosis. Now the patron of magic-wielding bards, Ye'cind appreciates the inherently arcane and wondrous nature of music and seeks to draw out the natural magics of sound, melody and harmony. Ye'cind's most famous composition consists of only one note, struck but once, and at its only successful performance is said to have brought a tanar'ri lord to tears. Alathrien Druanna tolerates Ye'cind, as she considers his work to be a form of magical praxis and recording, though needlessly decked with musical conceits. Kirith Sotheril enjoys his performances, but finds his methods distracting and considers Ye'cind second-rate as a patron and practitioner of magic. Ye'cind lives apart from the Seldarine in the shared divine realm of Brightwater, which like Arvandor is in Arborea. His sacred artifact, the Recorder of Ye'cind, has continued to travel Oerth since he first used it to reveal a regicide during his time as a mortal.
Ye'cind's symbol is a recorder; his favored weapon is the quarterstaff. Ye'cind's domains are Chaos, Good, Herald, Knowledge and Magic. Ye'cind is chaotic good.
On Oerth and some other worlds, the wild elves venerate the hero-deity Gadhelyn, an old mythical figure who is considered master of the wildwood. Gadhelyn hunts across the Material Plane, the restless lord of the wilds, and all those who trespass in the untamed forest are subject to his rule. The "bear" to Fenmarel Mestarine's "wolf," Gadhelyn promotes a fierce independence and cares more for the welfare of individuals than of the people as a whole. A very seasonal power, he encourages his followers to live like the bear, with long-time and trance dominating throughout the winter and feasting for the faux hibernation through celebration in the fall. Hunters and outlaws fall within his sphere of influence.
Gadhelyn's symbol is a leaf-shaped arrowhead; his favored weapon is the longbow. Gadhelyn's domains are Animal, Chaos, Endurance, Feast and Plant. Gadhelyn is chaotic neutral.
When elves are very young, they hear frightening tales of Reloseer. When the young gain a few years, they hear frightening tales of Lolth. It is many more years before they will be terrified by stories of Kerythakar Dragavae. A deity of shattering malevolence and hatred, Kerythakar is more akin to a demonic nightmare figure among elves than a god to be worshiped. To turn to Kerythakar is to repudiate all elvenkind and the Seldarine, and everything they hold dear, for through Kerythakar there is only destruction, corruption and suffering. Kerythakar's darkest works are marked by the Blinding Moon - an eclipse with a bloody corona. Invocations of this profane force are associated with the fall of elven cities, the destruction of art and culture on vast scales, and the breaking of ancient lines of warriors, magicians and leaders. Kerythakar Dragavae is the god that elves turn to for revenge, for wrath and for the commitment of the darkest of crimes against others. His omens are found in eclipse-like markings, and in creatures which, like his chosen manifestation, have one red eye and one dead-black eye. Kerythakar's aid, dark blessing and guidance are thankfully sought only rarely, for his "help" often spirals far beyond whatever evil his invoker intended. Kerythakar Dragavae relies on the most extreme desperation to supply the few invitations he needs to unleash devastation. He doesn't need a sales pitch, a temptation or a con, for he enjoys the luxury of time.
Kerythakar Dragavae's symbol is an eclipse, which often looks disturbingly like an ever-staring eye; his favored weapon is the spear. Kerythakar Dragavae's domains are Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Hatred, Strength, War and Wrath. Kerythakar Dragavae is chaotic evil.
There is a dark ripple that lies beneath the surface of elven culture, a force born of regret, despair and the deep ancestral wound that elvenkind suffered in the dawning of history. Elves have long-time in which to brood and short-time in which to feel true anger and hate, and these somber emotions are often provoked when dealing with goblins, orcs and especially drow. For those like Shevarash who let the darkness drive them, there waits the Lady of the White Tapestry, the goddess who promises the restoration of elvenkind when all drow are slain, she who promises a new age woven by elven hands: Megwandir. This subtle goddess approaches those most driven to strike against their dark brethren and gives them the means to bring war upon the drow. She asks for sacrifices of Lolth's favored and promises a clear path to a new and prosperous elven future. Megwandir keeps her cultists carefully hidden from the Seldarine, for her most devout followers lose themselves to hatred and violence and become as terrible as the worst of those they mean to destroy.
Megwandir's symbol is a sharp spindle spooled with white thread; her favored weapon is the dagger. Megwandir's domains are Chaos, Darkness, Destruction, Pride and Trickery. Megwandir portrays herself in chaotic neutral fashion and takes worshipers as a chaotic neutral deity, but is chaotic evil.
The head of the pantheon of good deities on the world of Krynn and a powerful benevolent force on the Outer Planes, Paladine offered to recreate the elven essence imbued with his own nature in a world he could conceal from powers such as Gruumsh and Lolth. Corellon was pleased to share his people with the new world and gave his blessing for the elves to take up the charge of building a new world under Paladine's guidance. The elves of Krynn have retained their environmental adaptability, splintering into many peoples while upholding shared traditions, but the lawful nature of Paladine has resulted in a rather different people than are encountered elsewhere. Paladine continues to watch over the elves but fears that he has not been able to recover enough of their essential destiny to see them persevere into a new Age. His specialty clerics, the revered sons and revered daughters, work to rebuild the religious traditions sundered in the Cataclysm. Among elves, Paladine is known as E'li. The pine is his sacred tree.
Paladine's symbol is a silvery dragon; his favored weapon is the heavy mace. Paladine's domains are Courage, Good, Law, Nobility, Protection and Strength. Paladine is lawful good.
There are many reasons that an elf may be outcast or exiled, but for the truly criminal there is a scorn which not even Fenmarel Mestarine or Gadhelyn will redress. Elves who flee their own and their gods in fear of their crimes, whether venal or heinous, may meet in the darkness the small, flame-eyed avatar of Reloseer, whose name means "cowardice." A deity of temptation, who seeds mistrust and division in elven communities, Reloseer offers a perverse form of "redemption" to those who fall within his sway, in exchange for "later favors" which often undermine elf society. Reloseer is cautious in his dealings and ensures that the eyes of the Seldarine are cast aside from his targets before he makes a move. Some elven scholars theorize that Reloseer may be an assumed identity used by a deity opposed to the Seldarine; such scholars invariably seem to vanish under questionable circumstances.
Reloseer's symbol is a bloody arrow; his favored weapon is the scimtar. Reloseer's domains are Destruction, Envy, Evil, Spite and Trickery. Reloseer is neutral evil.
Deep Sashelas's wife and a member of the Asathalfinare in her own right, Trishina is the goddess of dolphins, the young, and play. She is the adoptive goddess of a race called the shalarin, a member of the aquatic elf pantheon, a friendly rival to Hanali Celanil and a staunch foe of Blibdoolpoolp, Dagon, Panzuriel and Umberlee among others. Trishina is a protector of aquatic life and all good sea creatures and maintains two realms, one in Thalasia and her main abode in the waters below Mount Celestia. Her specialty priests, the wavedancers, lead her followers in rescuing and healing wounded sea life and protecting against the subjects of evil oceanic deities.
Trishina's symbol is a dolphin with a calf; her favored weapons are the net and trident. Trishina's domains are Animal, Good, Law and Ocean. Trishina is lawful good.
The Fall of Araushnee
It is not entirely clear what caused Araushnee to turn against her lover (and some myths say her husband) Corellon. Some believe that she was jealous of his dalliances with the other elven goddesses. Others trace her corruption to a long-vanished force of evil known as the Dark God, and note that this entity and others like him have had a hand in divine corruption before. The drow will tell you - if they're in a talking mood - that she cast aside Corellon as weak and cursed his favored elves to live on the surface. The elves will tell you that she was always cruel and ambitious and harbored mutinous drives long-hidden.
There is a mote of truth in each of these tales - Araushnee was driven and passionate; she did indeed grow jealous of her husband's affairs; she was tainted through the agency of an evil power; and her fall did curse the surface elves.
It was an opportunistic evil indeed that stole upon Araushnee while she lay in the depths of jealousy. A power of vengeance, harboring great enmity toward Corellon: the orc god Gruumsh. With a single dark thread in her web of destinies, Gruumsh planted the desire for revenge in her breast and stoked her evil feelings until they became a raging fire. Gruumsh worked with subtlety and patience, disguising his handiwork with devastating wars that drew Corellon's attentions elsewhere. When Araushnee appeared in his court at Nishrek with an offer of allegiance to take down the father of elvenkind, Gruumsh knew his plan had succeeded.
Araushnee seduced the wild god Fenmarel Mestarine to her quarter, and with poison turned her child Vhaeraun to evil. Her attacks began with stealth; bending fate to give Gruumsh the edge in a duel with Corellon; convincing the Faerunian power Malar to harry the weakened elven deity and imprisoning Sehanine Moonbow, her greatest rival, who had discovered through a contrite Fenmarel the schemes of the corrupted goddess. Araushnee and her allies struggled against the Seldarine and eventually broke, but she had cornered the still-weak Corellon. Hanali Celanil and Aerdrie Faenya liberated Sehanine and the three joined their powers to defeat Araushnee, whom Corellon stripped of divinity and cast into the Abyss.
Still a powerful entity, the fallen goddess took for herself a new name: Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders. Consolidating her power in the depths of the evil plane, she emerged anew as a goddess and an eternal foe of the elves and their gods. Lolth has proven a most terrible foe, whose destructive wrath drives at the very heart of the elven people and has laid low many others who have stood in her way. Lolth is a tremendous force of evil who colludes with the most powerful demon lords, and her involvement in their works has time and time again proven horrific for the worlds on which they prey.
The fall of Lolth had farther-reaching ramifications for elvenkind, though, for as Araushnee she held the elven essence of destiny, desire, purpose and artisanry. When Corellon struck away her divinity, he struck all that Araushnee represented out of the elven essence. Now that she has reclaimed her divinity, Lolth still controls a twisted version of her old portfolio but rarely exercises it. The loss of Araushnee's portfolio has been a direct contributor to the stagnation and slow decline of the elven people, and one that Corellon cannot rectify. The only hope for the elves lies in finding those whose essence was not scoured - the few who were taken by Gruumsh when he stole away the Misty Isle.
Long-time and short-time work nicely to showcase alien-ness on the parts of elves; I've been toying with a setting where, biologically, only Humans have the ability to get adrenaline rushes; every other race has their own equivalent, but they aren't quite the same.
Admittedly, it was sci-fi, and it would be a set of short stories, but eh.
When one thinks about it, Long-Time is a perfect thing to apply to most of the outer planer creatures around. Devils signing in infernal paperwork, angels greeting the new souls in Celestia, it all stops when some twit Gates them out of the nice little zone and forces them to smell the Protection circles.
Well, one time at Bard camp...
Former avatars & Quotes
Former avatar, had it since I started realy posting here.
Originally Posted by Tychris1
Pokonic look what you have done! You fool, you`ve doomed us all!
Originally Posted by Doorhandle
Oh Pokonic, never change. And never become my D.M.
When one thinks about it, Long-Time is a perfect thing to apply to most of the outer planer creatures around. Devils signing in infernal paperwork, angels greeting the new souls in Celestia, it all stops when some twit Gates them out of the nice little zone and forces them to smell the Protection circles.
Signing in the infernal paperwork could get a Devil killed, y'know.
Originally Posted by Chilingsworth
Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
HAH! There IS No Time Like The Present just perfectly described my life. Content to go around in some trance creating, reading, pondering, until some twit brings me back down to earth in some short-time event XD
I should play elves more often, apparently we're so much more like minded then their stereotype suggests.
I like this, good read. It is good to draw attention to the 'timelessness' of elf culture so players can see elves are actually alien, fey creatures instead of mentally challenged humanoids that take 100 years to hit level 1.
Congratulations, you've managed to counter the work of Dwarf Fortress, bringing my hatred of elves down from a fiery passion to a dull blaze. Still dirty cannibals, but I can sort of see where they're coming from now.
If you see me talking about Shaper Psions, assume that anything not poison immune within 100 feet will be dead.
Originally Posted by kardar233
I was going to PM you about it because I wanted to know, but then you posted it later. Elegant solution. Watch out for Necropolitans.
Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
Love this. For some time, I'd actually come to dislike elves very much not because they were cliched or annoying, but because I simply couldn't figure out how to articulate what differences would arise because of elvish longevity. Being long-lived was too alien, and there's no point of reference from which to begin designing a character with a personality.
But this? Long-time and short-time? This is awesome, because it really makes elves distinct from just being long-lived humans with a superiority complex, which I feel is the default interpretation.
This very definitely looks like a good read to me. Elves being treated as pointy-eared people who are always really pretty, live close to forever, and sparkle in sunlight live in harmony with nature has always annoyed me. If you want to play a human who's immortal and spectacularly hawt, Elans from the Psionics Handbook are exactly that, even there's no psionics in the game. (They do admittedly have a Charisma penalty, but Charisma is not actually supposed to be the sole determiner of beauty, even if it's all the D&D mechanics offer; it governs too many other things, and thus building a pretty but shy person is literally impossible in D&D world if you go strictly by the RAW descriptions of the attributes, even though such individuals obviously exist in our world, and thus should exist in all but the most gonzo D&D settings.)
I've got my own variation on Elf fluff, but my elf player (well, my non-Drow elf player, since Drow are a bit different, though still very "elfy" in most ways) disapproved of my idea, and said his vision of what elves should be was based on a fantasy novel which I don't own, and have better uses for my money than to buy it, likewise my time than read it. So for now we're more or less sticking with D&D fluff (partly the PHB, partly Forgotten Realms, since the elf in question is a Sun Elf even though we're not playing in the Realms themselves). I would direct him to this thread in a second if not for the fact that he's got a lot on his plate at the moment.
Oh wow, this has (so far) absolutely made my day. I mean, the justification for what is preceived as elitism is staggering. the part on raising kids is hilarious ( missing, with an arrow? I died there). Government? Ah well, let's just leave it to the psychopaths. it all makes sense though. Almost inspires me to do a piece on dragons, were it not for the diverse books on dragons from WotC. I applaud your effort!
Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.