On the Shoulders of Heroes
Elves generally live on the edge of civilization, in small villages where other races rarely visit. Their long lives makes Elves a mystery to the other common folk. Human children in the north or south can grow old without ever meeting an elf. In larger towns communities of city Elves are common. Elves are protected by Mielikki, goddess of the forest. Her high priestess is an Elf.
Common folk generally refer to Elves as the fair-folk, for they are fair, slender and short. Males and females share the same androgynous figure, with little body hair. In the distance to some they may seem like slim teenage humans. Closer inspection reveals long, droopy ears and huge almond shaped eyes. They wear their hair long and braided and adorn it with wooden beads. Most Elves wear traditional adorned, tan and green clothing and cloaks of woven leaves. They typically despise thick footwear, as they feel it severs their connection to the earth.
Before the rise of dwarves and men elves have been living in the woods of Bellög in a tight clan structure. Their strict and complicated traditions go back thousands of years, making it hard for them to see the younger cultures as equal to their own. Before the Green Age, the ages of peace, Elves society fell apart due to internal strife. Driven apart by vendetta’s their clans moved far into the world. The elders say this struggle was fuelled by religious misunderstanding. But young elves learned from the wars of their grandfathers and about ten generations ago ended all conflict in an immense celebration during the longest day of summer: The Day of Friendship. Clans joined into communities and have started the process of recovery. Although they have forgiven each other they have sworn never to forget.
All Elf tribes deal with the outer world in their own fashion, but only rarely with violence. If anything, many Elves are pacifists. Elves are bound by tradition and therefore have great respect for laws and rules. The complexities and subtleties of Elven culture mean many Elves prefer their own kind, shunning the company of outsiders. On the other hand, some are happy to accept outsiders into their midst and even to explore the world themselves. These Elves are sometimes drawn into cities and mingle with the other common folk.
Unlike the other races of bellog, traditional Elven culture sees the female as the centre of life. She is caring and protecting. She not only the creator, but also the nurturer of life. This is the greatest cause of misunderstanding between elf, man and dwarf. Although their religion shows many comparisons to the religion of the other common folk, they praise Mielikki as the sole creator and leader of all life.
Although women often lead Elven clans, men play an important role in protecting them. When attacked by Orcs the men take up shields and ceremonial weapons to shield their women and children from harm. The position of a guard, or shield, is reserved for men only and being a bodyguard is considered a great honour. These brave men are chosen by priestesses in ceremony. They live under their roof, eat at their table and they are paid with luscious gifts. In other roles in society men and women are treated equally.
Elves usually live among their kin in tiny villages. Their long lives makes it that many Elves specialize in specific fields of knowledge, especially nature or arcana, mean that they are often sought after for advice. Many of them are excellent craftsmen and artists, with decades of experience. Elves live of the land, although they despise hunting. In the last few hundreds of years trade has become an important part of their culture, as their wine, clothing, wickerwork and bows are highly praised.
In general, Elves greatly respect the Druidic traditions of their people and only seldom use metal objects in their daily lives. Larger villages attract skilled Elven smiths, however, who craft durable weapons, armour, jewellery and tools.
Elves are generally a Druidic people who worship Mielikki, goddess of the forest as the center of creation. Animals and nature are seen as allies against problems of daily life. Elf children are taught lessons in a highly religious setting, by priestesses. Girls are encouraged to help their mothers to prepare for later life by making small sacrifices at the feet of large trees. Elves do not pray in churches, but in holy groves and grotto’s at the edge of their village. These caverns, called the Belly of the Goddess, are often guarded by sacred guardians. Boys learn all about nature, and arcane magic, from their fathers. They learn how to fight with traditional weapons and how to defend themselves and their loved ones.
Mielikki, goddess of the woods, is the protector of Elven kind. She has a special place in many seasonal celebrations and her image can be found in many wood carvings.
- +2 Dexterity, –2 Constitution. Elves are quick, but slender and frail.
- Medium size.
- An elf ’s base land speed is 30 feet.
- Immunity to sleep spells and effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects. (Not reflected in the saving throw modifiers given here.)
- Low-light vision.
- All elves automatically have Weapon Group (bows) and either Weapon Group (heavy blades) or Weapon Group (light blades).
- +2 racial bonus on Perception and Search, checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
- Automatic Languages: One of the common languages and Elven.
- Favored Class: Druid.