Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How Many Elves?

A Wild Elf
I decided to take a break from writing, or re-writing in a lot of cases campaign sketches to chat about a personal view and get some thoughts from people who read the blog. The question I like to pose is this: With the plethora of information out there on Elves, with stuff like table top gaming, video gaming, and fiction. What groups of Elves do you like to see in your campaign world? Below are the three that I use in my Borderlands campaign and in general when I run a fantasy campaign. They include:

Wild Elves

Wild Elves (Wilders, the Unkempt) are one of the two breakaway factions of Elves developed during the ancient era. Like their cousins, the Steel Elves, they descended from the first order of Elves to enter the prime material plane, the Star Elves. Like their Steel Elf cousins, the Wilder were not always able to manifest magic like that of the Star Elf forebears. But rather than turn to swords and conquests like the Steel Elves, several clans of Wild Elves departed for the solace of nature, settling regions such as forest or jungles. Quite a number of Wild Elves listened to the whispers of nature, learning their secrets and gaining a bit of magic on their own.

In the Borderlands... Wild Elves are stretched from the Northern Kingdom into the Borderlands region as a people who have no interest in serving in the Southern Empire (of which is populated by their estranged cousins, the Steel Elves). Wild Elves live in small groups of forest, swamp, or desert communities. Modern Wild Elves do use metals in their work and have no problem trading furs or alchemical ingredients for weapons, they still resist in trying to build grand kingdoms like their cousins.

Steel Elves

Steel Elves (Civilkin, High Ones) represent the other half of the breakaway factions from the primordial Star Elves. As subsequent generations born on the Prime Material Plane lacked an overall magical talent (there were exceptions, but unlike Star Elves, not every Elven child has magical powers) the Steel Elves made up for this by turning to the metallurgical arts, especially from knowledge they could get from their trading parts, the Dwarves. Steel Elves overtime organized and turned villages to cities, cities to city-states, and city-states into kingdoms. Species that would not submit would be destroyed by the broadsword and crossbow. Their hunger only tempered when a large swath of their kin left, declaring themselves the Wilders and were unwilling to continue the journey with the Steel Elves. Even after slowing down their drives for conquest, Steel Elves are still a haughty and imperialistic lot.

In the Borderlands... Steel Elves form the bulk of the Southern Empire then Humans, then Dwarves, and finally Halflings. Most of their interaction with the Borderlands has been groups like "The Exiles", mercenary units or individuals that have been chased out of the Southern Empire for crimes of disloyal to the newly crowned Emperor.

Star Elf

Star Elves (Grey Elves, Starkin) are the first Elves who came to the Prime Material Plane from their own realm, for a reason that has been speculated but never confirmed. Some believe it was to escape the destruction of their demi-plane due to magical means. Some believe that the Star Elves that arrived were driven into exile by their kin. By the time Humans arose from their lands afar, the Star Elves had existed but were unwilling to share. What is known is that as the Star Elves bred on the Prime Material Plane and interacted with other groups that were the forebears to Elves on those planes, their offspring born on the realm were slightly mutated. They still had sharp eyes, long ears, and ethereal beauty, but Elves born of the realm were less incline to magic that was natural to Star Elves. As time continued forward the Star Elves continued to become more and more secluded until they were a few colonies living either with their children in secret, or apart in small colonies.

In the Borderlands... Star Elves exist as the forerunners to Elves and live in small colonies or in secret within both the North and Southern Empire. It is rare to find a Star Elf in the Borderlands itself, though occasionally one of their settlements do pop up as a ruin to explore.

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