Grimwyrd: Elves

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Mystic druids, enigmatic stalkers, inhuman immortals: The Elf of Grimwyrd carries many titles and many misconceptions. The Race of Elves have lived as long as the Dwarves, created by the Progenitors hot on the heels of their older brothers, but the Elves were crafted with another design in mind. Their creators were intrigued by the interaction of the spirit with magic, and thus the entwined souls of the Elves were born. Part mortal, part spirit creature, their lives are a duality of material work and spiritual enlightenment. The side effect was, unfortunately, a susceptibility to the influence of the Demons.

The elves are an immortal undying race; given their sustenance needs are met and their lives are sheltered from violence or illness, an elf simply does not degrade like a Dwarf or Man. This has shaped their perception of the other races as always more brutal and barbaric; why indulge in violent or short sighted territorial pursuits, when life offers so much wonder and splendor? Of course the other beings of the world have much shorter perspectives, and are not as ‘enlightened’ to the workings of the world as an elf. And not all Elves are entirely enlightened.

Physiology; Twin Souls


Physically, elves resemble Men more so than Dwarves; varying 5 to 6 feet tall on average, and weighing in lighter at typically 8 to 10 stone. Long-limbed and long-fingered, their ears are also thin and long, tapering to a point often above the brow.  Iris shape is vertical, and coupled with an almond shaped eye, they boast a fine nightvision that can leave a gleam on the orb like a cat’s reflection. What is most interesting though, is their thaumatological physilogy. They literally consume mana to live.

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As their bodies were given form from the earth, their souls were forged by the Progenitors in the fires of creation. They were entwined with the newly formed plane of magic, the flow of mana tapped to their spirits. This has several effects on their physiology, first being their unending youth. Past physical maturity into adulthood, they simply maintain their health with an ease unseen in other mortals. The spirit bonding also ties them to spirits on the ‘other side’ ethereal beings of elemental power attach themselves to the spirit of each elf, and during maturity to adulthood, this elemental talent presents itself in various ways. Often these ‘signs’ can be interpreted to determine an individual elf’s magical predilection. Fire-bonded elves may be quick to anger and talented in the smithy, while those of the storm might be capricious and flighty yet having a terrible temper bordering on righteous fury. Physical manifestations can present as well, for example, with earth talented elves developing an abrasively thick skin. Rarely, those with a necromantic bent might use their powers of life and death to nurture or extinguish life they encounter.

The “twinned soul” is a conduit bridging the physical elf body over to the intangible levels of Mana in the aether. This sustains the elf with the power, and is the method by which their elemental power manifests. When moving to areas cut off from the flow of magic, the physical body starves, and much like a body deprived of water parches and wastes, and elf removed from Mana would slowly and agonizingly die. This channel does allow for the sensitive nuances of spirits to be encountered, with many elves using this ability to become brokers for the spirits. These Elves are held in a very high regard, and often lead in spiritual groups of druids (who revere the land and it’s inhabitants, the elemental spirits)

More nefarious Elves broker with demons; spirits of carnage and chaos spawned by the Darkness, these malign hosts will often possess the beleaguered or destitute, promising boons of power and forbidden magic. Most famously, the Lords of Night were such elves, a cabal of demon infested mages propagating dissension and woe throughout the lands of Anhaern. All throughout history, these dark souls have tainted the way of life for all elves, casting the specter of darkness over their reputation.

Elven Racial Template for GURPS 4th edition


Elf     15
Attribute Modifiers : DX +1 [20]
Advantages : Magical Talent (any) +1 [5], Extended Lifespan (Undying*) [5]
Disadvantages :
Dependency (Mana) (Very Common) (Daily) [ -15]

*A special consideration and custom advantage for Grimwyrd, this represents an immortal life that does not “age” past 25 in appearance, but death to violence or disease is still possible.

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The First Age: Seeds of Prosperity & Doubt


The first elves awoke in a green forest, a lush jungle of living things and bright spirits. Motes of light danced about them, and through them, remnant magical life without consciousness. Days were long and warm, full of quiet reflection, communion with earth, and the voice of it spoke to them. They were children of the land, the Great Spirit their mother which birthed their bodies. Their father was magic, a great inheritance and mantle of power. She took them to the trees, shaded them under the branches and cradled them in the roots. He spoke to them of fire, cultivation, and the spear. The Elves listened, learned, and took to their lives with excitement.

When the Darkness appeared, it had crept up from below, the pervasive rot of the thing tainting the land and setting the seeds of destruction to fester. The Demonic heralds marched, hoof and horn, scales gleaming red and ruinous. Their steeds were hellions, sinuous and violent, bearing riders with barbed spear and trident. The elves were no match and fled to the forests, their homes ablaze in a firestorm of death and destruction. The ruiners put the elves to heel, enslaving any that weren’t immediately put to the sword. Chaos reigned.

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In that dark time, the demonic whispers began. The Darkness sent it’s fingers up through the veil, little things, but dark, oily, slimy appendages. It wriggled and writhed, and slowly inexorably probed into the souls of the elves. The great cold blackness, the void, the end of all things spoke to them. In their dark times, it fed them pitch and tar, filling their bellies with pride and hatred, jealousy and rage. It crowned them as Lords, and bade them good tidings, sending them as subjects to gather a legion. The rot ran deep and the great wizards were unable to resist the temptation. The Lords of Night were born, and spread. Many flocked to shelter themselves from the Demons, hiding behind the cloak of power.

In the upheaval, the races rallied against their taskmaster, taking up in glorious rebellion and shedding the ichorous blood of the Demons. The Men charged against the foe, pulling his attention in all directions at once, chasing his tail of anarchy. The dwarves worked in their mountainhomes, smithing the works that would build the ultimate weapon that the Elves had designed. Foolishly they toiled, working the sigils and signs, unaware the design of the Ansible was a gift by the Lords of Night! When the time came, the siphoning of the veil tapped direct to the source of all Mana. The twisted workings of gold and silver glowed bright, an unending cascade of power ripped throughout, permeating all things, and the great horde was struck with it. In the aftermath, it was easy for the order to return to the land, the strong hands of the Lords guiding their people to their place on high, above all others. Ruling with authority invested not by virtue, but by power, black and thick as night.

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Anhaern Today


The Elven society is one dominated by castes, hierarchies, and deference. Wisdom is presumed a corollary to age, patronage is given to parentage, and in short, youth is wasted on the young. In every group of more than one elf, they will order themselves in rank by age, deferring to their elders in nearly all things. Children and adolescents are instructed strictly to respect their elders, with apprenticeship among one of the highest gifts bestowed. For an immortal society, it is a habit that comes as naturally as breathing.

As the chaos of the first age ended, resettlement of the lands began in earnest. When the nature of the victory became clear to the Men of Grayhold, diplomatic ties broke down, and the ruling council of elders dissolved any remaining agreements with their short lived brethren. This directly resulted in ‘The Great Walk’; a mass exodus of the elven people from foreign lands back to their first homeland, the Great Green, a forest of timeless foliage that had been saved from destruction, marking it’s life start from the time of the Precursors. The migration of elves also posed the quandary of the Ro-Haern, but the highway peoples will be discussed at length separately.

Elven town

Scattered communities now dot the Great Green forest, nestled in hillsides, on redwoods, even tunnelled into cliffs. Many homes “built” by Elves are often the work of careful druidic planning, accommodating existing living trees or incorporating live growth into the superstructures. While they may quarry stone for foundations, and fire brick from clay, the supports of a building will often be this nurtured livewood, coerced into place by skilled mages. Spirits of the land are communed with in all works, from fishing and hunting to fletching and smithing, even stonecutters speak with mineral elementals before exhuming their digs. The overarching motivation of the elves being to heal the earth, return it to it’s original glorious eden-state, and take up the lives they were ripped from so long ago. The Elemental Spirits are the quintessential residents of the land, and while Elves may shape the land to suit themselves, they do so at the consul of these motes of druidic life.

In all homes of the Elf, the practice of druids reigns. Naturally tuned to mana and the Veil, it is second nature for an elf to speak with even the tiniest mote of elementals. Thus, in their daily lives, the practice of communion and sacred respect goes hand in hand with daily toils. Some progressives give it lip service, intoning the words of blessings and continuing with their lives. The most holy however channel the Great Spirits and commune with even the very heart of the land below or sky above. The greatest of these druids, the High Elders, make up most of the ruling Council of Elders. The oldest among them coming from the time of the first days. Worn like cordwood and leather, they have weathered many days in the sun or under shadow, but they prevail undying. Wisely, they attempt to guide the Elven race into the next age, hoping to stem the flow of evil into the heart. Hoping that communion and peace will prevail over all.

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The Lords of Night, while powerful enough to decide the outcome of an empire spanning war, were eventually successfully suppressed by the Elven people. Vigilance struggled against temptation, and with the expunging of chaos incarnate from the world, wholesome druidic life could resume. Many renounced their possessions, exorcised by elder shamans and channelers, banishing the demons back to the pit below. These people accepted their new caste as outcasts and betrayers, creating whole communities of the damned away from pure Elven lives. Many records were cleansed as well, and in the time of the Exodus, an inquisition followed, ferreting out the evils of the past from entering the Anhaern. The sage rulers of the Council attempted to strike clean the slate and remove all traces of the taint brought by the Demons. Every bloodstone relic smashed, every book of demonic thaumatology burned, every cairn or altar to the Princes of Darkness struck to rubble.

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Alas, the nature of the Demon is to slip unnoticed into places unwelcome, and the Lords of Night persisted as an underground cult. They would often sow dissent and chaos where they could, recruit from those affected by their nefarious deeds, and then move on freshly supplied to begin the cycle anew in another hamlet or town. Whenever these treacherous ones would be apprehended, they too became the caste of Taboo, expelled from society but not slain needlessly.  The Council coming to the excessively compassionate decision that all life is sacred, and all Elven lives should be spared when possible. Branded with their mark, stripped of all spirits by the holy druids, and cast into the dense dark of the far Great Green. The simplest translation of their title: both simultaneously sacred and forbidden, never to return to their families.

Demon mark of Fury

 

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About KentonBlack

I'm an avid gamer, computer troubleshooter, and all around dashing fellow. I blog After Action Reports on my gaming, running as the GM for several GURPS 4e games
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