Elves are typically tall, lithe and sharp-featured humanoids with vibrant and other-worldly eye and hair colors. They have come to value their privacy when it comes to their own traditions, yet love to and oft record the histories, stories and traditions of others. Some Elves who dwell in a region long enough even find themselves physically adapting to match their surroundings, most noticeably taking on coloration reflecting the local environment.
There are five tribes of the Elven people; four that remain united, and the fifth lost.
Elves typically speak the common trade language of the lands they frequent, in addition to their ancestral language: Elven. They often delight in the study of other peoples and their languages, making polyglots quite common.
Next to their grace and beauty, Elves are next envied for their long seemingly endless lives. Elves are just entering adulthood at the young age of a century, with many adventurers falling somewhere between one hundred ten years and two centuries of age. Elves see middle-age at just over two centuries of life, are considered old at three centuries, and venerable at four.
Though long-lived, Elves are not immortal and can die early from injuries and illness. This is one reason why many Elves abstain from physical conflict, though they are not above it entirely. Elves will fiercely defend themselves, their loved ones or their homes; often with terrifying completeness. They would rather end a conflict for a hundred years than simply stop one fight.
Elves typically follow a form of monotheism and worship of The Creator is often a personal, rather than communal, commitment. It is not unheard of to find great churches or cathedrals in Elven lands, though not as often as in Human ones; the practice of Faith is simply seen as something beyond buildings.
Society and Government
Elven diplomacy is seen second only to their hospitality, in times of peace. The Elves are ruled over by a council of five made up of individually-elected leaders from each of the tribes and a tie breaker representative elected by all. The everyday functioning of Elven government is much like a Republic, with each tribe electing their own representative, and that representative bringing constituent concerns to a common table where issues are then voted upon and laws created or amended as necessary.
Elves are prone to dismissing other races, writing them off as rash and impulsive, yet are often excellent judges of character. An Elf might not want a Dwarf neighbor, but would be the first to acknowledge that Dwarf’s skill and craftsmanship. Elves are fascinated with Humans, as evidenced by the number of courtships shared and Half-Elves in the world. They regard Half-Orcs with distrust and suspicion, and view Halflings as lazy.
All except one, the tribes of the Elven people differ but stand united.
Base 8, Strength +2, Vigor +2
The Del’Lali are fierce fair-skinned woodland warriors priding themselves as weapon smiths, metalworkers and fine brewers of mead, wine and beer. They are skilled swordsmen who teach their children how to wield weapons, fight and how to survive at a very early age. The concept of duty is instilled in them during this time, creating an inner spark of loyalty and sense of honor that drives many to serve their community and their kin as adults.
It is common to find among them towering but muscular masters of physical grace, though the average height is between six foot four and six foot six. Of their brethren, the Del’Lali are often muscular or well-trained, with few adhering to the lithe standards of beauty adopted by the others. It is not uncommon to find scars and tattoos, even in their adolescents, who often begin using their body as a canvas to tell their own unique stories at a young age.
They have a wider palette of hair color than many of their brethren, though the more common among them are black, auburn and chestnut brown. Their eyes are often softer and less almond shaped than the other Elven tribes, yet their ears are just as sharp and average longer than many of their brothers and sisters. Eye color is also warmer, with less electric tones and more natural hues of amber, green, hazel, yellow, brown or blue. Hair length is often kept short and utilitarian, rather than long and extravagant, though longer hair is not looked down upon.
Over the years the Del’Lali have come to represent the brunt of the Elven military forces yet, for all their enthusiastic service, are often seen as too militaristic or even barbaric by their brethren.
The Del’Lali typically live amongst the other tribes, adopting whatever that group deems appropriate, as their commitment to service tends to distribute them throughout. Their ancestral homes were typically made of stone and earth or brick and mortar. They often lived on the outskirts of the forest in long houses built for larger families.
Base 8, Agility +2, Virtue +2, Darkvision
Unlike their brethren, members of the Til’Anis Elves traditionally make their home deep in the earth or in the stone of the mountainside. They are dark-skinned with deep grey and indigo blue hued skin, raven black or snow-white hair and eyes of piercing red, deep purple, rich platinum or cobalt blue. They share a similar average height with humans, typically just under six-foot-tall with a trained somewhat muscular physique.
From the living rock they carve halls and homes deep underground in similar scope to that of the Dwarves, building whole cities under foot and out of sight. From that which they find in the earth, they hammer and spin fine works of craft to then trade with those around them, for the things they cannot produce themselves. Walking many a road and tunnel, Til’Anis are said to be memorable poets and songwriters.
It is said that some members of the tribe can share empathy with the earth around them, that they can speak to the rock and some can even shape it into their will. Some parts of their underground cities appear shapen, rather than hewn. Their eyes have adapted to being underground and are often sensitive to the bright sunlight, but they can see normally in complete darkness.
Base 8, Intelligence +1, Virtue +3
In times long ago, the La’Norrtal have lived in the deepest heart of the forest; where sunlight fails to shine even during its brightest hours. As a result, many members of this tribe possess pale white complexions, lithe bodies of normal weight, white, brown or black hair, and almond-shaped eerily iridescent blue, green or grey eyes. Their height is among the shortest of the Elves, averaging just under six foot tall.
Many of this tribe can trace their lineage back through long lines of constructor blood, making them one of the most gifted or cursed Elven peoples. Because of this, many do not venture out into the world until they are adults and well past the breaking age. Nearly all of their people are capable of some form of construction, making their section of the woods or world, although it may be dark to normal eyes, one of the most enchanted and secretive spaces in the Elven world.
They are seen as guardians of The Creator’s gift among their people and with that, also the seekers-after and guardians of all knowledge. Many spend their entire lives recording the events of the lands they inhabit. Cataloging the histories, wisdom, languages, and art of their own people and of those around them, creating detailed volumes filled with deeds, poetry, and songs. Their libraries are often open to any and all who seek knowledge, but beware they are also fiercely guarded, and a lack of respect for history may be fatal.
The La’Norrtal tribe traditionally made its homes out of the hollow trunks at the base of elder trees, though today many live with the Nildark tribe among the tree canopy cities, or scattered travelers in cities near and far. Wherever there are new insights to be gleaned, major events unfolding, or a new play being written, there you will likely find an Elf with quill, ink and a scroll.
Base 8, Agility +2, +2 Animal Companion
Said to be the eldest of the Elven tribes, The Nildark believe that the destruction of anything in and of the forest is sacrilege and they, to that end, fiercely protect that which provides for and protects them: the forest. It is said they can feel the breath of the trees and hear their song upon the wind. For a member of the Nildark, they are never more at home than when they are bare foot and free in a forest.
At a young age, members of this tribe become self-sufficient in the wilds: gathering nourishment, clothing and shelter from the forest and that which it contains. It is during this time that they will typically encounter an animal with which they will bond themselves to following a rite known as the brotherhood by blood. The Kah’Dal is a sacred rite of passage and is the gateway between adolescence and young adulthood for the Nildark people. It brings to the Elf a deeper understanding of their surroundings and a more intense bond with the land, while granting unnaturally-long life to the animal.
The bonded animal serves as a guardian, protector, friend and also companion through life; a treasured member of the family. Nildark must always have an animal companion and, unlike other animal companions, that companion cannot die unless the Elf it is bonded to also dies. Their animal companion may also not be released.
The Nildark typically range in height from just below to just above six-foot-tall, possess a golden skin tone and radiant emerald, hazel or yellow eyes with red, brown, or black hair. They are often athletic but lithe in build and clothe themselves lightly in leathers or cloth armor with the colors of the trees and the earth. Bright colors are not worn except for wedding celebrations or other community events.
Many still speak of the expansive cities built into the canopies of tall trees in ancient forests, far above the ground. Each city is as unique as its forest, each built naturally into and between the trees themselves.
Base 8, Agility +2, Vigor +2
Estranged from their brothers and sisters, the Esari elves were exiled from their ancient home and barred from ever again rejoining the tribes of the Elves because of their prideful and impulsive nature. In ancient times long forgot it is said that the Esari lived with the other tribes in peace, but they forfeit their place among the others when they ignored the wishes of their people and attacked a neighboring race. So violent and terrible was the slaughter that ensued, that this one act soured relations of an entire continent against them and made their own people cast them away.
The Esari today can be found anywhere, but are most at home in arid desert regions. They typically stand between six and six and a half feet tall with sand or leather colored skin, sharp elongated ears, blonde sun-bleached hair and brilliant eyes the color of common jewels. Eye colors vary between red, yellow, green, purple or blue, and all have a slight glow to them. A constructor among the Esari is always born with blue eyes, though not all those with blue eyes become constructors.
Seemingly unaffected by the harsh sun, the Esari often dress in light and loose-fitting but utilitarian clothing stained in the bright colors of the desert foliage. They are known to be active hunters, sometimes enlisting the local wildlife as tools or companions, but also as scavengers and raiders who take what they can from the ruins of elders they care nothing for.
Nomadic travelers, cut off from the larger Elven race and long forgotten culture, the Esari have been described as a backwards, primitive and highly superstitious people. Still some fear them for their wild magic and the otherworldly glow of their eyes.