Elves are a humanoid race which has evolved to live deep within temperate forests. They average six inches shorter than humans and are lithe, graceful and have no body hair. Elves can live for several thousand years without signs of aging, under proper conditions.
Elves live in a vast forest called Fransylvania which spans from the southern bays of the Riverlands down to the World Spine Mountains, from the Hanfleur River in the east, over the Lyons Range to the White Ocean in the west. There are close to a million Elves in Fransylvania, and very few anywhere else.
Elves hold two things in the highest regard: Aesthetics and Reputation. To an Elf, even an eating utensil should be of the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. This high standard can manifest in a travelling Elf as Asceticism, denying oneself mediocre experiences in order to hold out for glorifying ones.
An Elven Craftsman would never sell any wares which had even the slightest flaws; Elves are so long lived that producing substandard products would harm one’s reputation for centuries. Elven Junkmen can make a tidy profit outside of Fransylvania selling what to an Elf is worthless junk but to the untrained eye might be the most exquisite objet d’art they could ever hope to own; the craftsman would go to great lengths to erase their personal sigils from any items they threw out, though.
Relations with Other Races
Elves see Humans as largely ignorant, short-sighted, uncultured brutes, but try not to hold their failings against them.
Elves see Dwarves as willfully ignorant for beings with a respectable lifespan; there is a great deal of mistrust between Elves and Dwarves, but it rarely manifests as hostility. Dwarves can occasionally execute Aesthetic Works, but it’s so rare as to be noteworthy when it occurs.
Elves view Gnomes as ‘tolerable Dwarves;’ the older Gnomish race has more in common with the worldview of Elves, and Gnomish cleverness has an Elven Aesthetic all its own…
Elven Specifics – Not an Elf? Probably don’t need to read this!
Elves generally train in a Master-Apprentice relationship. Their society is very big on reputation and recognition of honors, especially via letters of recommendation. For those so long lived, reputation is everything…
A student of a discipline is called an Initiate.
After the basics of a discipline are thoroughly explored, the Initiate applies for Journeyman status; in Elvish, this translates into the (English) Player. This has the connotation that basic learning is over, and now the student is enjoying his pursuits.
A Player who achieves complete knowledge of his discipline then studies to become a Leader. Leaders take Initiate-candidates as apprentices and teach their knowledge to them. Leaders are authorized to advance Initiates in levels, but only a conference of 5+ Leaders may declare one a Player.
A Master is a Leader who has not only mastered his discipline, but one who has helped no fewer than 5 Players achieve the rank of Leader. At least three Masters are convened to advance a Player to Leader status, but every available Master must meet to advance a Leader in rank (of course, there are very few Masters to convene for any specific discipline).
Elves organize their disciplines into schools of accomplishments, delineated by the in-game attributes: Strength skills are Arcs; Dex skills are Dances; Presence skills are Circles; and Knowledge skills are Trails.
One who has achieved 5D in Sword would beseech their Master/Leader to let them take the Trials. Before 5 other Leaders, the candidate demonstrates his competence. If successful, they receive a Commendation stating that they are now a “Player of the Fifth Level of the Arc of Flashing Steel”.
Mage skills are all Trails: Personal magic is the Trail of the Heart; Universal magic is the Trail of the Land; Dimensional magic is the Trail of the Sky. Cleric skills, based on Presence, are Cirles. The Circle is named for the God or the God’s Sphere.
Each Level’s Commendation takes a different form, usually some objet d’art. Whatever the form, it is expensive and exquisitely detailed, and it generally has some type of association with whatever Path is being commended. The expense of such an object, which is given by the Leader, is one of the main reasons a master or leader generally only takes one Apprentice at a time. The Apprentice, without realizing it, generally offsets the cost of the Commendation object through their own labor.
Each Commendation object has the following inscription language:
“Certified by [master’s name] that [student’s name] has demonstrated the abilities and completed the studies of [an Initiate/Player/Leader/Master] of the [numbered] Level of the [attribute] of the [skill]”
A partial list of Elven skill names:
(Strength) The Arc of …
…Flashing Steel (Sword)
…Steel Lightning (Spear)
…the Mountain’s Base (Stamina)
…Silent Steel (Sword Parry)
…Steel Claws (Dagger)
…Thunder (Feats of Strength)
(Dexterity) The Dance of …
…Shooting Stars (Bow)
…Steel Claws (Knife-throwing)
…Steel Lighting (Spear-throwing)
…the Treetops (Acrobatics)
…the Sky (Extreme Dex)
(Presence) The Circle of …
…the Folk (Public Speaking)
…the Woodland Realm (Tracking)
…the Mountain’s Peak (Strength of Will)
(Knowledge) The Trail of …
…Shooting Stars (Bowyer)
…Flashing Steel (Swordsmith)
…the Woodland Realm (Landscaping)
…Fiery Stars (Gemcraft)
…the Deep Forest (Wilderness Survival)