Legends of Belariath

High Elves

The high elves call themselves the first born. While the truth is that dragons were around long before high elves, it is true that the high elves created civilization, and with it art, technology, literacy, ritual magicís, and social injustice. Because of their achievement, high elves are among the most arrogant of races, considering all others far below them, suitable only for menial labor to their betters.

Character Creation

Starter Classes: Knight, Bard, Thief, Mage, Cleric, Ranger, Warrior, Healer, Artisan, Entertainer, Laymen

Advanced Classes: Any Elemental Mage, Warlord, Seductress, Necromancer, Priest/Priestess, Paladin, Warrior Mage

Starting Stats:

STR INT AGI RES STA SPL LFE
Basic Stats 3 3 3 1 5 4 7

Characteristics

As history says, the High Elves believe themselves to be the single entity of perfection among the elven sub-races and other known races. The opinion might be justified by some because the high elves are an exceptionally beautiful race, full of grace and poise, with seemingly delicate and highly aesthetic features; tilted almond eyes, straight patrician noses, pointed chins and lissome bodies. They epitomize the romanticised ideal of an elf and how they should appear.

High Elves are, as stated, lissome and slender in body type, with heights ranging from a petite 4'11 to upwards of about 6' even. They do not get exceptionally brawny in comparison to other humanoid races, and tend to maintain a weight that is proportional to a dancer or fencer. Hair color will range the full gamat of natural color, eye color too, with the addition of exotic violets or greens. They can be quick and agile, with keen eyesight and the gift of longevity. It is with this that they say a high elf will never die of age alone or appear older than when they had reached full maturity.

Elven Advantage

Eyesight: All Elves essentially came from the same origin, before the great rift and Kin Wars created the three subtypes. It is from this single connection that all elves tend to share some of the same advantages and disadvantages. The first that all elves are gifted with incredibly sharp eyesight that can easily pierce near darkness. They may not be able to see as far as the bird-winged races, but they are given a type of infra-vision that can allow them to maneuver in the dark or in the dead of night, and to see more clearly objects that are farther away.

High Elven Advantage

Language(s): High Elves are bred into a rigid social structure, where education and culture is impressed upon every member of this influent society. Even a commoner has had time and exposure to some sort of tutoring in their long lifespan, making it essentially easier for said commoner to profess their superiority to any non-high elven individual. Linguistics is one of the more common traits learned, both ancient and common, and as a merit to their culture, any full blooded high elf, at start up, is allowed to start with two additional languages other than their native tongue (excluding any requiring admin approval). This can be either written or spoken.

Elven Disadvantage

Ear Sensitivity: Blessed as they are with the ability to see far and within the darkness, all elves carry the commonality of slender pointed ears. These lobes have been known to be the not-so hidden g-spot of the race, with the slightest of pressure, both extreme pleasure and extreme pain given to these delicate extremities. Just the right pinch, pull or jab and an elf might be brought to their knees in bliss or in agony, proving to be highly embarrassing to the unlucky elf on an occasion.

High Elven Disadvantage

Hubris: Anyone can tell you that elves are full of themselves, any elf for that matter, and being one of the oldest races in Belariath they see nothing wrong with that fact. There is however, a new level when it comes to the pride of a high elf; however humbled or low on the totem pole they may be in their present situation, they will almost always take for granted the intelligence or ability of another. The sin of hubris, of wanton arrogance and excessive pride,whereas the city born high elf would almost certainly underestimate his opponent in light of this near inherent trait. Always surprised when the elf doesn't conquer or win, the pretentiousness of a high elf would certainly make them a common target for those seeking to break or make an example of such a illustrous and vain race.

Disabilities and Their Mechanics
Type: Attack Defense Init
CloPhy RanPhy CloMag RanMag CloPhy RanPhy CloMag RanMag
Sight -30% -90% -30% -100% -30% -30% -30% -30% -50%
Hearing N/A N/A N/A N/A -25% -25% -25% -25% -25%
Speech N/A N/A -100% -100% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hands/Arms*** -25% -25% -50% -50% -25% -25% -25% -25% -20%
Legs/Feet*** -25% -10% -25% -N/A -25% -20% -25% -25% -25%
* Attack/Defense Enchantments are not effected, penalties apply to base stats.
* Those temporarily blinded in one eye will receive half penalties for blindness to all attacks.
** All penalties are cumulative.
*** Penalties are cumulative per limb.
* Those temporarily blinded in one eye will receive half penalties for blindness to all attacks.

Political Structure and Society

High Elven society is patriarchal, a male being the Ruler of each Elven city and he appoints the city's representative on the Council of the Exalted. High Elven families are similarly patriarchal, the eldest able male ruling over the family with nearly absolute authority. Females are treasured for their beauty and grace, protected and sheltered from all harm and their lives are closely regulated by the dictates of their fathers, mates and even brothers. As Elves are exceptionally long lived, succession in the rulership and patriarchy of each family occurs rarely, and only when the Ruler or patriarch dies of his own volition or through some violence or accident. Leadership falls to the eldest male capable of asserting his right of ascension. This sometimes involves a power struggle and intense political intrigue, but more often the heir is carefully selected and groomed for the role by his father. Leading males vie for position and influence through political intrigue aimed at currying the favor of the Ruler and the ruling family. High Elven cities have ruling councils, headed by the Ruler and composed of those he has chosen as advisors and operatives. These councils enforce the laws of the Council of the Exalted as well as local laws and decrees. Those who violate the laws are apprehended and put on trial by the council, and if found guilty, penalties are imposed that may include fines, restitution, exile, slavery or even death.

A fairly rigid class system exists in the Elven cities, consisting of the ruling (high), merchant (middle), and working (lower) classes. While some mobility between classes is possible, it is rarely achieved in the upward direction. More frequently, but still rare, is a lowering of class due to the committing of crimes, being on the losing end of political intrigues, or other social stigma. There is also a servant class, consisting mostly of those other races that work within the cities as common laborers, slaves and servants. The High Elven cities typically have non-High Elven populations in the twenty to thirty percent range, the majority of these being high humans along with a smattering of other amiable races. Barbarians are almost never seen in the cities, and Dark Elves are strictly prohibited.

Because of the rigidity of their society and the nearly absolute authority of their rulers and patriarchs, crime is a rarity. Individuals that come into strong disagreement with their elders often choose to leave their home cities rather than live under the harsh fate of those who violate High Elven law. Thus, there are many rogue High Elves that leave their home cities and make a life for themselves elsewhere, most notably in Belariath. Rogues adhere to the dictates of the Council of the Exalted, but reject the strictures of their families or city rulers through a self-imposed exile. In addition there are bands of renegade High Elves that live solitary or nomadic lives, roaming the lands in their quest for freedom from what they consider the tyranny of the majority. These are essentially outlaws as they choose to ignore the dictates of the Council.

The Arts and Music

The High Elves are extraordinarily skilled artisans and produce some of the finest goods available on the continent. Besides paintings, sculptures, and pottery of exquisite beauty, they are highly adept at crafting items of wood, from fine furniture to the more mundane household items. They take special pride in the crafting of musical instruments that are highly prized by musicians far and wide. Many of the High Elves are well-trained musicians and masters of their instruments and are considered by many to be the best teachers. They naturally love music and dance, some devoting their lives to the perfection of these arts. All High Elven feasts involve elaborate music and ritual dance. They are renowned for their poetry as well, creating lengthy epics that relate their history, accomplishments and the fabled prowess of their heroic adventurers. In addition, they consider themselves among the best of weaponcrafters, rivaled only by the Dwarven smiths. The Elven long bow is generally considered the most accurate long distance ranged weapon. Of course, they are famed for the Elven chain mail they produce and guard the secrets of its manufacture closely. Mithril, too, is a favorite metal used in the crafting of elaborately decorated blades, from daggers to the long sword. As with most of their products, magic is frequently employed in the process, making Elven weaponry and armor highly valued throughout the region.

Agriculture

Another specialty of the High Elves is their agricultural products. They cultivate groves and orchards of all manner of fruit and nut bearing trees, often relocating other trees to clear the land for their groves. The bounty of their trees they consider a gift bestowed on them by the Elahil in ancient times and they guard their groves with the same passion that they shelter their women. They cultivate extensive vineyards of a wide variety of grapes, even selecting the lands in which their cities are built for their superior soils for the cultivation of grapes. The Elven wines produced in these lands are usually considered the very best of all vintages, even by the other races. The Elves were the first domesticators of animals and High Elves continue this tradition, some keeping herds of sheep, goats and cattle. Horses, too, are bred and trained by certain specialists. Most all High Elves keep private gardens in which they grow many different flowers and flowering plants, along with vegetables for their own consumption. The abundance of their agricultural produce is traded extensively with neighboring communities of high humans and other friendly races and is a mainstay of the High Elven economy.

Birth and Death

Births among the High Elves are even rarer than among the Sylvans, the race being arguably the least fecund of all the intelligent beings. Thus, births are celebrated extravagantly with a great deal of pomp and ritual. Naming of children can be a complex and time consuming process involving the family's history and the child's ancestry. Often a nickname is given at first until a suitable name can be decided upon through this long and exhaustive process. High Elven children are treasured and closely protected in their early years, and every effort is made to see to the child's education and development. Males are usually watched closely for their aptitudes and given extensive training in magic, combat, craftsmanship or a combination of the three. Females often become highly trained artisans, dancers and musicians. Even so, a well-rounded education is considered to be a necessity for all High Elven children so that males and females alike will receive training in all these areas.

Death is also a rare event among the High Elves, coming only as a result of mortal combat, accident or by an elder elf's own choice to end his or her days. Sudden and unexpected deaths are therefore mourned extensively throughout the community and for prolonged periods of time by the individual's family members. The deaths of elders that have completed their cycle of days and depart the mortal realm of their own volition are the cause of celebrations of that individual's life and accomplishments. In either case, the earthly remains of the high elf are burnt to ash on a funeral pyre with all due ritual, and the ashes scattered per the wishes of the individual in a favorite grove, vineyard, or the sea. Their immortal spirits are thought to reside thereafter in the spirit pool of the deity to which they have been most devoted during their lives.

Marriage, Mates and Paramours

Marriages within the High Elven communities are invariably arranged by the patriarchs, even before the age of full maturity is reached at about the eightieth year. These matchings are made with an eye toward favorable political ties between families in the never ending quest for social status, and also with an eye toward the yielding of gifted, beautiful and graceful offspring. Elven males have the privilege of postponing the actual marriage for as much as twenty years, providing some viable rationale is presented, usually the pursuit of advanced education in the arts of war or the arcane arts. However, sons are expected to acquiesce to their father's wishes in the matter of mating. Judicious sons very often curry the favor of the father in subtle ways to earn some voice in the selection of a mate. Females have less latitude and little say in the selection process. Their only hope for a mating they favor is to win the affection of the male they prefer and pray that he is politic enough to win over his father to their desire. High Elves faced with a marriage they do not prefer have limited options. Most will go along with the wishes of the patriarchs and resign themselves to make the best of the mating. Some, however, will refuse the arrangement and lose much of their social standing in the community. This rejection of the arranged marriage is the leading cause of High Elves turning rogue and leaving the community in a self-imposed exile. On rare occasions, such Elves may distinguish themselves enough to bring about a softening of the father's will and eventual return to the community.

High Elves are notorious for their sexual appetites, but are expected to exercise a great deal of discretion in pursuing them. Thus, paramours - sexual partners outside the bonds of marriage - are common. High Elves tend to be very secretive and circumspect with regard to paramours, their social status dependent to a great degree on the avoidance of discovery. Males often share their stories of romantic conquest with a few trusted male peers and allies and gain social status among them for the number of partners they maintain and the relative status of their partners within the community. Females tend to be extremely secretive about their liaisons, not trusting other females to guard their secrets. Often, they only reveal their affairs in their secret diaries or cryptically disguise details of their dalliances within their poetry. Discovery of these affairs by the community at large results in embarrassment for both partners, and possible challenges from offended mates. Such challenges are typically the result of the embarrassment and loss of social status rather than actual jealousy. Combat, usually non-lethal, between the offending and offended parties is seen as a way for the victor to restore much of the social status lost.

Mated couples among the High Elves are invariably heterosexual pairings, as the purpose of marriages is the procreation of well-bred offspring. However, many High Elves exhibit bisexual tendencies and thus seek out same sex paramours as well. They are equally secretive about these partners, but discovery does not bear the intense social stigma as with opposite sex paramours and challenges rarely result. In either case, there is often an unspoken understanding between a mated pair that dalliances may be expected, but that discretion must be exercised. Rogues and renegades among the High Elves frequently dispense with the customary secretiveness, as it tends to be a main point of contention between themselves and formal High Elven social standards.

Magic

All High Elves have some hereditary aptitude for magic, and most have a good deal of ability. Those of high ability receive extensive training in the arcane arts. Magic pervades Elven life and all of their occupations and they naturally consider themselves the most fit to wield magical power and the most adept at its uses. Their cities are constructed of materials imbued with magical forces, their arts and industry augmented by magic, and even their extensive agricultural economy rests upon the manipulation of natural forces through the application of the arcane arts. It was to the Elves that magic was given by the Elahil in their view, and all other races have merely purloined what meager magic they have from the Elves. Non-Elves are second-rate magic users at best in their estimation. This, along with their belief that they are the first and most gifted of all races, accounts for the fabled superiority that High Elves seem to project among the lesser folk. It must be noted too, that the High Elves generally hold a strong disdain for the misuse of magic and exploration into magics that are forbidden by the Council of the Exalted. Not only are the most powerful of benevolent wizards of the Elven race, but the most despicable of malevolent sorcerers as well. High Elves that succumb to the temptations of the forbidden magics invariably draw the scrutiny of the Council and are dealt with most severely if apprehended.