The Elven Kindreds of Oerth
In the midsts of pre-history, the original elves who sprang from the blood of Corellion delighted in their different ways and deliberately sought out alternative approaches and lifestyles for their own amusement. Thus the distinction between the different kindreds is one of nurture rather than nature. If an elf of one kindred decides to change and follow a different path then he or she will. They actually physically change, over time into their chosen form. This metamorphosis affects their wal, id, karma, òrë et al. The natural abilities of the old kindred fade into the abilities of the new. The elf does not loose skills or experience, however, changing from Sindalië to Gwaithor, an individual would loose the natural facility that the Sindalië have with spell casting but find that they had an increased ability to learn and multi-task.
Of course, most are brought up in a particular environment amongst a distinct people and will feel no need to change, even if they then spend the majority of their adult life amongst ‘foreigners’. But the ability is there. Many Graugh alter to become Galadhrim, or at least more like them.
This ability to shift even extends to those born to the dark path. Moredhel who feel the urge often leave the communities of the underdark before they discovered. They can feel the change happening within themselves and eventually, the loose the cruel countenance and other marks that distinguish them as dark brothers. They have to leave before their former comrades find them. Such returnees are a cause for much celebration amongst the Elves of the surface world and news of their arrival spreads like wild fire. Normally there are only one or two who make it to the surface in every generation. Elven Lore tells that many more actually change.
Conversely, those who embrace the particular tenants of the dark path are marked for all to see, often enough they flee underground to see out the Moredhel. Of course there is a huge grey area where morality and reality meet where self identity plays a greater part then one’s abstract concept of alignment. The Sindalië renegades who became the Carach Angren pursued power for its own sake. Acts committed by them have no other interpretation then evil. If they had attempted to subjugate their fellows then they would have been on the dark path; In the event, they remain Sindalië. Certain Clans loose their capacity for compassion under certain circumstances (night time etc). However the absence of good does not make them evil. The Graugh may war on woodcutters and so forth. But this is balanced by their saving the forest and equally ferocity towards maggot folk.
This’ll get ‘em
It is widely put about that elves and the smaller types of faerie are killed dead by the touch of cold iron. This is blatantly untrue. The Gwaithor, for instance, produce some beautiful wrought iron sculptures. The Sindalië commonly cast iron for ships fittings. What they all share, from the time of the orc wars, is a distaste for the instruments favoured by their enemies. In many cases this involved not wanting to look at or be near crude, smoke blackened, iron objects. They found such things hugely distasteful, as they had killed so many elves. It should be noted that the later Sindalië Bathamîr raiders would bear dull weapons for their nocturnal raids upon the middle kingdoms. The shininess or lack thereof has as much effect on faeries as it does on anyone else.
However the elves do suffer from a number of vulnerabilities to certain substances. This is almost certainly due to the way the flow of essence reacts with the substance, becoming a catalyst for that particular individual elf and producing what could be seen as analogous to an allergic reaction in humans. The violence of the reaction varies. In keeping with their fay nature, 99% of the time it varies from episode to episode. Other wise the result will be of equal severity. It is entirely possible for elves to suffer from more than one of these vulnerabilities.
Adverse Reaction Chart
It should be remembered that the severity of the ‘allergic’ episode should be determined separately on each occasion. It is entirely possible that should an elf change his or her nature during the course of his or her lifetime then the effect they previously felt (for example) around large quantities of salt would entirely disappear. However it is equally likely that they may develop a new sensitivity to another substance or phenomena.
‘He’s one of us’
Common to all the kindreds is an ability to see into the infrared. This vision, under good conditions, allows them to discern a reasonable level of detail at 30m. As the object being examined becomes further away, the level of definition is lost. In practical terms, this means being able to tell the difference between and elf and an orc at 30m using infravision. Beyond this distance, there is not enough detail to differentiate although two bipedal figures would be fairly obvious.
It has been suggested that elves have innate ability to hidden things and secret doors. It is also commonly held that they can see and hear better than humans. All of this is true to an extent. Their perceptions extend beyond those experienced by man. They have a ‘feel’ for their immediate environment that men do not. In all cases, this is connection to the flow of essence through the world and all the living things therein.
This manifests itself, in the case of perception, in an ability to sense and interpret the flows in the way that a human might experience weather. It its known and sensed but not easily explained. For the Sindalië this manifests itself as a direct ability to see the earth power. For the Gwaithor it is an awareness of their immediate environment, including other beings and inanimate things. For the Galadhrim it is to sense the flows within nature itself, the health or otherwise of not only the plants and animals but the forest itself. In all cases any anomalies within their sphere of perception will be more or less apparent to the elf, depending on his experience.
Since the orc wars that ended the ancient kingdom, all the kindreds have taught their children the rudiments of self defence from a young age. There is a religious aspect to this – training is carried out by priests of Corellion and attendance is a sacred duty. This is perhaps their first experience of discipline and is often a struggle. Eventually the syllabus turns to other matters an only those who follow the path of the soldier continue with their combat training. However this does give every elf who does not follow the dark path a certain familiarity with sword and bow, +5 with all bows except cross bows and +5 with long and short swords.
There are manifest tales of elven armies, even those of the ancient kingdoms, clad in shining leaf mail, passing, in forested areas, within yards of their enemy without their enemies knowledge. This is likely to have been accomplished by the subtle misdirections of the Galadhrim spell weavers. However smaller units are undoubtedly more stealthy than any human counterparts. Elves have better motor control over their bodies than humans. They are faster in action and have superior hand-eye co-ordination. However, they lack the stamina of men and generally can be said to tire more easily.
They possess immense short term focus but are unable to remain committed to things for a long period, their attention wavers and they soon loose interest and move on to the next thing that catches their fancy. What they do possess is the ability to re-visit a skill set or career that they had put aside perhaps hundreds of years ago and resume from very nearly where they left off. If an elf sees you do something he or she cannot then he or she will persuade you to teach him and then swiftly over you in ability and competence. Only when your skills have been exceeded will he or she loose interest and forsake the practice.
Elven society gets around this by having ‘paths’ down which they travel through their lives. There are common intersections; for instance starting with music, going to singing, then oral lore, written lore, academic study, geology, quarrying, architecture, sculpture, and so on. A logical progression of self imposed strictures designed to benefit both the individual and society. More dynamic leaps from one discipline to one far removed are discouraged but not forbidden.
Elves live much longer than humans, ten times or more longer, depending on their kindred. They are slower to heal, taking somewhere between two and three times as long. However they do not scar as badly and are more able to recover from things that would kill a human. The ratio of males to females is roughly the same as humans and pregnancy and other related functions are comparable. Somehow, being closer to the flows means that they are able to eat less and need less sleep. Although noticeable to those the company of elves, this is only a very small boon to the elves and they eventually become as hungry and tired as their human fellows.
Elves are of a size with their human neighbours. Their irises are larger than humans; some 10% of elf kind have eyes which do not show any white at all. Their eyes often appear to be bigger or more almond shaped. Their ears are pointed and much smaller lobed. They tend to be more slightly built than humans, although not by as much as some might expect. Sometimes, when connected to the flow of essence, they can let wash through themselves, amongst some (usually spell casters) it may pool, causing the appearance of ‘glowing from within’ occasionally visible to the naked and untrained eye. Practised individuals exercising their full power can sometimes wear a halo or aura.
It is commonly noted that elves of either sex do not grow facial hair. Ancient males may display beards, although it seems likely that these are a carefully managed affectation, requiring some effort. It is doubtful that they would bother if they did not have regular contact with men. Their hair can be straight, wavy or curly. Their hair’s disposition in this regard is due to their mood on that day. Although there will be a default condition, inherited from the parents.
Elves do tan. Those who spend a long time outside in all weathers will develop a ‘farmer’s tan’ like their human counterparts. However, freckling is much more widespread amongst elves than it is amongst men, with approximately 50% freckling during the summer months.
Their intrinsically individualistic nature means that it I very hard to charm or coerce an elf by magic. Equally they are similarly resistant although its not clear why, to magics that would render them asleep or unconscious. This ability to shrug off such enchantments is very strong in all of the kindreds, +90 to RRs vs all sleep/catatonia/coma and charm/beguilment/suggestion magics from all three realms. However, they will put more and more of their own being into resisting such magic. This does mean that they automatically notice such attempts. Should they fail, the results can be catastrophic. The elf who fails will suffer a Stress Critical for each point of failure up to five. ie if they fail by one point then they suffer an A Stress Crit. If they fail by four points then they suffer A,B,C and D Stress crits, all in the same round. The maximum effect of this is for 5 points ie one crit from each of A to E. This is of course in addition to the effect of the magic. Elves cannot help this; they cannot ‘drop their guard’ voluntarily to allow such magic to work without triggering their innate defences. This means that a sleep spell cast on a sleeping elf is almost certain (90% likely) to waken him/her.
The Gwaithor of the Western Flanaess generally possess blond or sandy hair and hazel or blue eyes These tend to be a deep ‘royal blue’ that do not occur amongst men. Those of the Eastern Flanaess have black hair, often a faintly blueish black and green eyes; these are not hazel green, but much stronger, like the colour of grass or emerald. As in men the darker colouration is dominant. Unlike men, the colours do not blend, Gwaithor will be either blond or black haired.
The Gwaithor connectivity to animals manifests itself as a +10 bonus in any dealings there with. This is their enhanced understanding of nature through being better connected with the flows (which permeate the animals as well as them selves).
This connectivity and their naturally sharper senses give them a blanket +20 bonus to all perception abilities.
Their predisposition to academia makes it easier for them to learn and retain information. They learn twice as fast as humans. They also love making things. When using a skill that involves creating something from raw materials with their hands , they have an inherent +20 bonus.
The Sindalië can possess the black hair and unnaturally green eyes of the Gwaithor. Silver is also a widespread hair colour (40%). Once again this is identifiably silver, being metallic and reflecting light, rather than a shade of grey. Where the hair colours mix they occur in solid bands; they only very rarely mix to a metallic grey (‘steel hair’). Eye colour continues in the vein of the very strongest of Gwaithor eye colourations. Vibrant metallic green, violet, purple and a shade of amber that looks to be quite a bright orange under bright conditions. As many as 2% are born with different coloured eyes.
They are exceptionally gifted with magic; They can sense power more readily than any other race, +30 to power perception. They are naturally talented, +10 to all magical skills involving essence and mentalism, and resistant to the influence of magic, +10 to RRs vs essence and mentalism.
This connectivity, allied with their exceptional natural senses, give them +10 to all Perception abilities.
The Galadhrim generally have mousey brown hair and brown eyes. Some (30%) have the deep blue eyes common to all the kindreds. The minority who do not have mousey hair are either dirty blond or brown. As they age their hair colour changes. The dirty blond become a light golden yellow, most turn from mousey to russet to copper coloured. The darker haired ones eventually become black. When their self image finally sets into the form that they will throughout the remainder of their lives, this colour turns ever stronger and develops a deep metallic sheen. A small percentage, (2%) have eyes of another colour, green, hazel or amber.
Their awareness of their own place within the natural environment and ability to respond and influence the flows therein gives them +10 on all outdoor skills.
This connectivity with the flows and their own natural sense give them + 10 to all perception abilities. Within the confines of their home forest (or one very like it) this rises to +20.
Their affinity for plants and animals, through association, understanding and acceptance, gives them +10 to any activities associated with either flora or fauna.
The land of milk and honey
Carthorm is a Galadhrim dialect word meaning a deliberately chosen or shaped place. It is ‘half way house’ between Oerth and Arvandor for those faithful to the Seldarine. It is also where the devout followers of the cult of the Dragon God of the Empire go when they die. It resembles a realm of wide rolling grasslands, vast woodlands and lofty mountains. The residents thereof do not run out of space, food or patience. Pestilence is unknown (the inhabitants are actually dead, so they don’t give the matter much thought). Ilin are reunited with horses that might have died hundreds of years before. There are no non-believers and so reasons for conflict. What does happen there is that the senior persons therein (based on their status whilst alive) vet newcomers for suitability. The rare person sent there (ie given the proper funerary rites) whom these senior persons judge unworthy is set back. If they cannot find somewhere else to go or are not evil enough to fall all the way into the Lower Planes, then it is presumed that they become unquiet spirits.
Eventually, after attaining a degree of enlightenment, the elven residents of Carthorm might pass on to Arvandor. This is not impossible for the Peredhil or humans who end up there, just less likely. Those who make it to Arvandor are free to visit Carthrom without let or hindrance. Occasionally the Seldarine will require a messenger, or perhaps the elders of Carthorm will require contact with those still on Oerth. Often the most expedient way is for a nominated individual to be sent back in a semi corporal form to deliver the advice. Such an avatar does resemble one of the undead (which they are not. They are dead, not undead). However they draw power from Carthorm and not the negative material plane. Consequently they do not pose the severe threat that undead do. However as ‘aliens’ to Oerth, they can be turned as undead.
The elves view each of their conscious lives as preparation for the next. Thus the time before birth is to prepare them for life on Oerth. Their time on Oerth is to prepare them for Carthorm which in turn prepares them for Arvandor. After this the next step is true enlightenment and fusion with the very stuff of the universe. Scary stuff, even for Elven Theologians.
Cyrdhwm is connected to (partially constructed from) two thirds surplus Arvandor and one third of “appropriated” Oearthen essence flows (hence its great resemblance to its donor world). The number of beings of Oearth who die and go there sustains this link. This process prevents cataclysmic rejection. The artificers behind Cyrdhwm are aware of this balance and remain therein, working to arrange for a smooth disengagement at the point at which the number of dead cease to sustain the link.
The nature of Cyrdhwm is such that without careful tempering and adequate controls, its magic will produce random results. The Sindalië, with a sense of glee, had made several magical items that trap into Cyrdhwm to access this power. The touch of an Avatar from Carthorm will also produce such an effect.
Carthorm Magic Table
The effects of this table should be rolled on any individual ‘touching’ Cyrdhwm with their physical body. Also on any non-believers who enter (one roll each turn until they leave). DMs may rule that Elven spell casters might use this table instead of another in the case of ESF. DMs should note that this table does not have any A to E graduation. It could be a ‘normal’ result of ESF or might only happen in places such as Elven homelands etc.
All the effects presented herein, except where otherwise noted, last until the next midnight. Thus sand may reform into clothing and equipment, leaves may turn back into money etc. It is up to the DM to decide on the size of a persons new cranial antlers and otherwise interpret the results. Should the use of this table ever become ‘old hat’, it should be replaced by one with even more inexplicable results.
 ie in areas with low protein diets (Teddin) they will be shorter.