The following is a 2nd Edition rendering of The Elves of Oerth. If you have a copy of the Complete Book of Elves 2nd Edition then some of the Elvin abilities listed will be easily identified for you.
Some stories have been written from the author's point of view, but what author can write of a race that existed centuries before mankind? One who was their when mankind was born. The Elves of Oerth describes the various races of elves on Oerth, their customs, nature,beliefs,mtyhology, and much more. So take a peek and find that their is more to the Elves then what man-kind gets to see.
The Elves of Oerth
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Elves of Oerth
The Tel’Quessir as the elves refer to themselves, are a very mysterious race. There histories and true culture are shrouded in mysteries. Many believe the elves prefer it this way. The elves state that no race can understand the true meaning of life, as only the elves have had a chance to observe it. There are Gnome sages that state they have detailed information on the Elvin race. But many elves disclaim these stories, stating that the gnomes cannot know something they were not their to see. Many gnomes laugh this off as petty jealousy, and often don’t press this soft issue with Elvin-kind. Elves claim to be one of the first races, while gnomes claim they were first along with the trolls.
The following is what most Elves find to be true in life and on Oerth, whether it be true or false. The elves were once the direct servants of the gods; they had wings and were able to travel to the land of the gods and the lands of the Linnorm and Joten. When the Linnorm and Joten joined forces to force the gods from their homes, the gods had to use every ounce of their strength to force the Linnorm and Joten back to their own lands. In this great battle a deal was struck with the elfin race watch over the lands of the Joten and Linnorm and we will grant thee entrance into the court yard of the gods. In agreeing to this the elves gave up their gift of flight and descended upon Oerth. These first elves were known as the nomadic high elves.
Many of these elves befriended some of the Linnorm, as both of these races shared many interests. The nomadic high elves petitioned the gods to allow the Linnorm to seek penance and forgiveness for their past aggressions against the gods. The gods listened and for a time the Linnorm were at peace with the gods. The Joten saw this as a sign of aggression against them and plotted to slay the Elvin race. The Joten convinced the Linnorm that the gods were plotting to divide the two former allies and so the elf slaying wars began. The Elvin people could not contend with this force of Linnorm and Joten, the gods people were being slain by the thousands. The gods could not keep there lands from being over run with the lost souls of their people. The gods intervened and struck a deal with the Linnorm and the Joten. The Elvin race was resurrected from the corpse of a Linnorm and from the corpse of a Joten the dwarven race was born. The deal was simple the elves would serve the Linnorm, and the dwarves would serve the Joten. In exchange the Linnorm and Joten had to protect there servants.
All was well for a time, the elves served the Linnorm and the dwarves served the Joten. On many occasions the elves and dwarves would meet with each other. One boasting that their masters were, greater than the other’s master. Even boasting so much to say that one would benefit from the teaching of the other because that is what made them so much greater than the other servants. The dwarves and elves contested against one another, crafting, sculpturing, singing, and many other skills and trades. Finally a deal was made the dwarves would craft something for the Linnorm and the elves would craft something for the Joten. The dwarves crafted a beautiful gem orb with runic scriptures of Linnorm history; the elves crafted a wooden staff with runic descriptions of the Joten history. The elves and the dwarves complemented each other on their fine craftsmanship. The Joten received their gift first and were highly insulted the description of their history, made them out to be untrustworthy and suspicious. The Linnorm felt that the dwarves made them out to be easily fooled, mindless puppets of the gods, and maybe even the Joten.
The War of the first begun, the dwarves and elves fought for over a hundred years, neither side gaining much of an advantage. The gods gave the Joten and the Linnorm many chances to remedy the situation. But both sides refused to concede to the other. The Gods had no choice and invoked the pact of no transgressions. While no one knows the actual pact the Linnorm and Joten made with the gods, one thing was certain both failed to protect their servants from devastation.
The last of the Linnorm and Joten were put into a deep slumber, the blood of both spawned two races what are now known as Giants and Dragons. The gods squabbled over their past decisions. Many of the gods created other races which were meant to represent their will on the land of Oerth. But none were as great as their first the elves. The Goblin and Orcish races were a by product, of the treachery of the Linnorm and Joten masters. “The maggots grew and took on bipedal forms, twisted and distorted features, they were made of all that has ever been wrong with the world” as noted by Aunglor Khaalvandar, Elvin historian.
The gnomes are the result of a mating between the Galeb duhr and Treant spirits, and are misinformed about when and where they were created, but are still a race worthy of Elvin respect. The dwarves were made from the corpses of the treacherous but still have noble pursuits in their life even though their philosophy is flawed. The human race has made great strides from there less than admirable beginnings, but still has far to go. Halflings are too reliant on outside substance, though they are flawed, there overall outlook on life is not unlike are own. Trolls are direct descendants of the Joten, and are as suspect as their ancestors were, though some rare few show promise. Elves take pity on the Orcish and Goblin races feeling it better to rid Oerth of these pests than allow them to live. Many Half-orcs are treated in a like manner, though a rare few have been noted of being able to overcome the great limitations of their race. Dragons are the lesser forms of the Linnorm and even though there ancestors broke a pact with the gods , they still hold a place in Elvin hearts , as much of what elves know of Oerth was taught to elves by their ancestors. Giants were a proper punishment for the treacherous Joten as this lesser form allows the dwarves to keep their former masters in check.
Elvin Mannerisms & Festivities
The Elvin philosophy to life is as simple as it is complex. Elves enjoy every lasting moment of their lives, or so they try. There have been elves that lay in a field of grass to study and enjoy the changes of wind the positioning of constellations, to feel the blades of grass grow beneath them. It is a rare occurrence when elves will rush to complete a task.
Because elves are immortal or damn near close to it, they just don’t feel the need to rush anything. This is why most elves refuse to marry outside their race, if they marry. Let’s say an elf is consumed by recognition of a human mate. In many insistences the human will feel the same and want to marry. To an elf recognition is a sign of physical and emotional attraction which cannot be denied. Even if the elf is deeply in love with the human and isn’t afraid of getting married to him, the elf still sees no need to rush into marriage. In fact many human mates will grow so old, that when an elf is ready to wed, their time left together is very short.
Because of an elf’s incredible lifespan, it is hard to rouse an elf to uncontrollable enthusiasm. An elf is just going to take longer to complete a task then a human, not because they are unable too, but because they don’t need too. Even in cases of war elves are reluctant to make rash decisions.
Every day is a celebration for elves; their love of music, poetry, and song imbues their lives with a festive air. These celebrations, despite their rituals or perhaps because of them), are the most anticipated days of an Elvin year (10 human years = 1Elvin year). Naturally, these days have a special significance attached to them, for they mark events in the hearts of elves. The following is a list of the major festivals elves celebrate each year, although it is by no means complete. Elves have other celebrations throughout a human year or Elvin month, but they change and are not as important to elves as those listed below.
Yeartide: takes place at the last month of an Elvin year. Marking the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. This Elvin month is celebrated with quiet meditation on the year past and on things to come.
Faerieluck: This holiday is celebrated every third Elvin month for one human month. On this day all pixies, leprechauns, and so forth, celebrate this festivity with their Elvin cousins. Too often elves forget their kinship with these other races, and this festival reminds them all of their relationship. It is a human month spent in practical jokes and merriment, and participants try to demonstrate their cleverness at the expense of another. The games are never acrimonious; they draw to a close long before any irreparable damage can be done to one’s pride.
Agelong: is the celebration of the Elvin creation, the observance of the legendary battle between Corellon and Gruumsh. This holy day serves to remind the elves of the presence of their enemies. Held at the beginning of the tenth Elvin year and completed at the end of the it. Agelong is the perfect Elvin excuse to go Orc hunting. On the first night of the hunt, elves nick themselves with their weapons and let their blood flow into the earth, simulating the bloodletting that made their continued existence possible. They then swoop down from their homes and kill as many orcs as they can find during this year.
Elves are unique in many ways and for the most part are peaceful. The following is a list of Elvin racial abilities and skills in brief. Elves have a plethora of skills and abilities. I will list all here and give as much information as possible in some insistences I will refer to the proper page in the “The complete book of Elves” for a complete description.
Recognition: All elves at one time or another feel the call to mate. Sometimes this call is experienced with members of other races, or members of the same sex from within the Elvin race. This call for mating is so great that others often feel the emotions the elf has for them. While other elves have more control over there response to these emotions, humans and other races (save for Orcs, Goblinoids, and Gnomes) don’t have full control. If an elf has recognition for a member of another race he receives a +4 to his reaction roll with that race, a +2 if the race is dwarven and no effect on gnomes. Elves can sense this and often allow the elf who suffers from the recognition to make amends with it. Some elves fight off the effects of recognition, because of how it might affect others which are involved. But if an elf fails to make amends with his recognition he will suffer a -2 to all his attack rolls & saving throws and be more susceptible to mind effecting spells and charm effects (70% resistance to mind effecting and charm spells instead of 90%) unable to manifest or perform the reverie in the presence of their desire. Those elves who wish to fight these effects often leave for a foreign land or result to adventuring to prevent themselves from the ill effect of recognition.
Bond: An elf can bond with any race that he can have recognition for. The Elvin bond is described on page 40 & 41 in the complete book of Elves.
Communion: All elves have the inborn ability to share their experiences, their feelings, and their lives with those elves they love or trust implicitly or with bonded members of other races. The complete book of Elves has a full description of this ability on pages 31 & 32.
Elvinsight: Elves have extremely keen eyes. This ability is similar to the night vision ability of cats, and also allows an elf to see 20 feet as if it were but 10 feet away. As long as there is a pin prick of light present an elf can see at night.
Manifestation: is the Elvin ability to impose their presence on another being. Other elves are not affected by this ability but other races are. The description of this ability in the complete book of Elves is on page 33, but is slightly flawed only sylvan elves (Grugach) are smaller than humans, the high and gray elves (Valley Elves) are often just as tall if not taller than their human counterpart. Dm note: PC’s who try to abuse this ability or use it inappropriately should receive negative experience points for that entire session.
The Reverie: is the Elvin equivalent to sleep. Elves relive their past experience’s both positive and negative one’s this often takes the elf a minimum of four hours + one hour for every hundred years of life the elf has attained. A more detailed explanation of this ability can be found on page 34 of the complete book of Elves.
Resistance to Heat and Cold: A detailed explanation of this ability can be found on pages 34 & 36 of the complete book of Elves.
Magic Resistance: Elves are 90% resistant to sleep- and charm-related spells.
Camouflage: Elves are 90% undetectable in forests or other natural surrounding’s. Also Elvin rangers can pass without trace in forests or natural surroundings, in fact the only way to spot an Elvin ranger is if he attacks or someone who can spot invisible objects is looking for them. Finally, elves have the ability to give their enemies a -4 penalty to a surprise roll if the elf is: 1) moving alone, 2) is 90 feet away from the rest of their party, or 3) is with other elves or halflings and all are in nonmetal armor. If the elf must open a door or screen to get to the enemy, the penalty is reduced to -2.
Elvin Hearing: Elves have a highly attuned sense of hearing, much like that of a feline. In game terms this gives an elf character a 2 in 10 chance of being surprised instead of a 3 in 10 chance like most other races.
Elvin skill: All elves are capable of using long or short bows except crossbows of any-kind (provided the bow is not too large for the elf to wield properly). In fact all elves can choose to take the long or short bow proficiency at no cost. In addition all Elvin warriors start with either the long or short bow as their weapon of choice without expending any proficiency slots. Also all Elvin characters get a free proficiency to spend on singing, poetry, or musical instrument. Also all elves gain the direction sense, weather sense, and set snares proficiencies at no extra cost.
Immunities: Elves are immune to all natural diseases, magical afflictions affect them normally.
Valley Elves: are as tall as most humans (5-6’tall), but with sharp and pointed features. The hair is pale yellow in the summer, darkening to a rich gold in the winter months. They dress in blues and greens, usually in garments that are loose and flowing. When necessary, valley elves can pass as humans. Their preferred weapons are bows and swords. Many valley elves own and wear suits of chain mail. Valley elves are excellent horsemen, though they do not ride other mounts, they rarely fight from horseback, preferring to ride up to a foe, dismount, and engage on foot. Valley elves live in or near hilly areas often on the outskirts of forest lands. They build large towers and tend to have cities built of stone and wood. There is a strange group of valley elves located in the Valley of the Mage. These elves serve a non-elf master and are thought to be less honorable than other elves of their kind. Valley elves gain the horseback riding proficiency at no additional cost. Valley Elves receive a +1 to Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma and -1 to their Strength scores.
Grugach: or Sylvan Elf, by their very nature, seem more prone to violence than their civilized cousins. Their muscles are larger, their complexions more florid. They have yellow to coppery-red hair, which contrasts with their lightly tanned skin. Their eyes are generally light brown, although bright green is not uncommon. Hazel or blue eyes are exceptionally rare, cropping up only two to ten times in an entire generation. The superstitious sylvan elves believe that twins who have blue or hazel eyes are an omen of good fortune for both the twins and sylvan elves as a whole. Thus far, they have not been disappointed. Unlike other elves Sylvan elves prefer the simpler joys of life. Instead of sophisticated art or delicate music. Their music is that of wind through leaves, the howl of wolves, and the cries of birds. Their art in the form of tattoos is inspired by the ever changing cycle of seasons. Grugach clothing is much less gaudy than one would expect from an elf. The focus of their clothing is to allow the wearer to blend with the woods easily. Atypical outfit is dark brown and green, or tan and russet in fall. Winter finds sylvan elves wearing white leather so that they can hide in snow. Grugach receive a free proficiency in the spear or bow, survival in woodlands, animal friendship (with any animal native to their forest) at no extra cost. Grugach receive a +1 to their Constitution scores, and a +1 to their Dexterity Scores and no minuses.
Drow: Contrary to popular myths there is no sub-race of elves known as Drow on Oerth. It has been noted that this is a Grugach name for an Elf who has lost his way(One who is evil or does not follow Elvin beliefs) .
All Elves have a special disadvantage; they must pay three times the experience to attain a level. This reflects the Elvin mind-set of there is time for everything and all things can be achieved in time.
Half-Elves of Oerth
Most half-elf’s, are of a mating between a valley elf and a human, only 3% of all half elves are of grugach stock. Half-Elves lose many of the abilities of true elves, but maintain enough to ensure their elfin ancestry. Half-Elves age similar too humans, (Half-elves age at 50% of the rate of humans, so a 30 year old half-elf will look like a fifteen year old human). Half- elves can be of any skin color normal for humans or elves, and have any eye color similar to humans or elves. Some half-elves keep the pointed ears of the elfin race, while most have rounded ears like humans. Half-elves can grow facial hair, something no fair skinned elf can.
Some half-elves are not readily accepted in either elf or human communities, and they often become introverted, sullen and embittered. Lucky half-elves gain access to both races, for often elves and humans find half-elves fascinating. Largely, it is a matter of the half-elf in question and the societies with which he or she deals.
Half-elves receive the Elvin abilities of Elvin sight, Elvin hearing, and a weaker form of their Magic Resistance. Half-Elvin magic resistance grants them a 30% resistance to sleep and charm spells. It is thought that since half-elves require sleep that the reverie of elves is greatly associated with their magic resistance. Half-Elves receive no adjustments to their ability scores. Half-Elves must pay 1.5 times the experience of a human character to achieve a level.