Elves are one of the earliest recorded races in known history. Originally hailing from the now lost eastern continent, the Elves arrived in Aradoth under the auspices of an alliance with the Dryads and Satyr. Often embattled with their neighbours, their skill at arms could not save the Elven race from suffering greatly in recent years.
Elves are classically humanoid in appearance; their stature is generally tall and slender, their skin pale and flawless and generally asthetically pleasing to behold. Their most notable features are their long, tapered ears which serve to make them instantly identifiable.
These appearances however are only skin deep; the internal anatomy of an Elf is somewhat different from that of other humanoids. Elves lack a sub-dermal fat layer, with reserves being stored in liquid form in their body cavity. Organs carry an asthetically clean appearance and are perfectly symmetrical, with the exception of the intestinal tract that is notably longer than that of a human. Elven stomachs are chambered in a similar manner to herbiverous mammals, though this seems to be attavistic as Elves can survive on the same mixed diet as other races without difficulty.
The skeletal structure of Elves differs from that of humans in that it is hollow in a similar manner to a bird’s. Vascular systems are also notably different; lacking the large blood vessels to feed the major extremities found in other races in favour of more numerous and smaller sanguine pathways. The end result of this is a sacrefice of survivability in favour of agility. The arrangement of their physical makeup lends itself to balance, with large savings in weight and mass evenly distributed throughout. However, this leaves them somewhat fragile and lacking in stamina; Elves are best suited to short bouts of extreme activity, and quickly tire when placed under extended duress.
Above all else, Elves regard their traditions with the highest acclaim. Over time these have become such a govening factor of their species that it has become as inviolable as law, with ostricisation being a common penalty for breaking them. As a part of this, the Elves are organised into Houses; each of which with its own hierachy, nobility and particularities. The Nobility of both lesser and greater houses directly oversee the affairs of clan, each of which is led by a Duke, who in turn is answerably only to the King. Power struggles between lesser and greater houses alike are all too common and have spurred the growth of decidedly unfriendly rivalries and bitter feuds.
At some point in their history they were very closely associated with the Dryad and Satyr, gaining from them a wealth of knowledge and an affinity with Nature. The Elven relationship with the natural world seems to be one mostly of sustainability; Elves are known to tend and cultivate growing things, but not to revere them in the manner of the Satyr or be fundamentally connected to them as the Dryads are. Early in the Age of the Dragon their connection with the other nature loving races began to wane; no records remain as to the exact cause of this falling-out.
Since migrating from their original homelands the Elves have made many foes and their location in central Aradoth has made them the target of Dwarven and Human neighbours. The motivation for these conflicts was mostly material in nature, as the Elves occupied a large swath of land in eastern Aradoth and denied its access to the rapidly expanding kingdoms, so that early in the Age of the Sorcerer they were the frequent targets of attacks. In addition to this, their capital of Feledan was in the past a favourite target of Half-Giant raiders. Over time this developed into a trading alliance, much to the detriment of the Saris who were prized as slaves by Elven Nobles. A few descendants of these slaves remain.
Elves revere Galderos in the Istarian Pantheon; the Lord of Beasts grants to them an affinity with the wild creatures, and so the keeping and training of hunting animals is a very respected passtime. War animals are also common, with Elven smiths going so far as to provide them their own armour.
Elves are divided into distinct Houses, each of which is a largely self-policing establishment with holdings in Elven lands. The exact nature of governance within the houses differs between them; most often this takes the form of a warrior-caste hierachy at the top of which is a Duke, though scholarly and mercantile Houses are not unheard of. Advancement in rank is usually awarded based on ability, though at times an elf may rise in rank through duels.
Outside of the houses lies the Elven Royalty, who are ostentiously neutral in the power struggles occouring below them. Their Royalty is made up of a roughly equal mix of representatives from the greatest Houses, though since the burning of Feledan by the Withered Aegis the Royalty itself has largely been replaced in function by the Imperial Administration. Those few survivors who escaped Feledan now devote their efforts to holding the Houses together whilst their capital is rebuilt, and spend their free time resisting attempts by the Empire to stamp out their less facourable traditions and the blatant racisim present in House dealings.
With their homelands smashed by the Aegis, Feledan has little in the way of a functional export economy. For the forseeable future it is likely to be heavily dependant on Imperial subsidees until some level of stable industry can be re-established. What little does trickly out of Elven lands mostly goes towards their efforts on the home front. Still in the process of securing its borders, Feledan’s biggest produce is likely to be corpses. However the forests of their homelands are ripe with game, and many Elven artificiers have relocated their works to more secure provinces. Exports include: exotic meats, fruit and literature.
Through necessity the Elves have had to become a race of warriors. As the frequent targets of their neighnbour’s ire, and later Half-Giant raiders, the quick and flighty folk of the woods often found themselves are a disadvantage thanks to their rather fractious nature. Lacking the reach and brute strength to hold their own against the Half-Giants, the stamina and discipline to contend with Huamns, and the equipment to face off against Dwarves, they instead resorted to range as their greatest equaliser.
Military service is compulsory for all young Elves, and remains compulsory for members of House Nobility, who are expected to act in a leadership role. Elves are masters in the use of the bow and javelin, and for close quaters prefer the use of spears to keep their opponents are arm’s length. Rapiers are also common, though the use of heavier longswords, greatswords and axes of all types is very limited in their ranks. Tactics usually involve manoeuvre through close environmnts, skirmishing and setting up ambushes. When close they prefer to face off singly and duel, relying on their superios hand-speed, balance and reflexes.
Thanks to its coastal access, the Elves have two major naval anchorages at Feledan and Selen, with a minor outpost at Greyling. Elven ship design features a lateen sail plan that is best suited to the shallow waters surrounding their homeland, and are usually unsafe on the open seas. Their traditional design has been supplamented with Polacre type ships, which are more suited to open water. Elven ships in the Imperial Navy serve as long range scouts, patrol vessels and light combatants.
Elves also blend combat magic seemlessly with their fighting style, and whilst they may lack the raw destructive power of dedicated casters, magic users are likely far more numerous amongst their numbers than elsewhere.
Notes to Players
Elves tend to seem a bit smug. They’re generally of the opinion that they’re superior to everyone else.
They regard status and hierachy highly.
Elve’s aren’t as die-hard a bunch of tree huggers as the Dryads, but they’ll still intervene against needless destruction.
Yes, elves do eat meat. They’re reletively good hunters.
The raising and keeping of war animals is an honoured passtime anongst the Elves. Most households will have some kind of hunting animal; the more exotic the better.