Legends of Belariath

Swan Maidens

The Swan Maidens, or Swan May as they are sometimes known, are a form of nature spirit. They appear to be always female and only rarely encountered on the wilds. Even rarer is the appearance of one in the more civilized reaches of Belariath. Their exact origin is a mystery, like that of most of the woodland beings, for they are not overly given to discussing such personal matters. They are rather less sociable than most nature races, not sharing the same extroverted personalities, which even the most shy of Nymphs, will exhibit in comfortable surroundings. They are often depicted as the queens of the forest, aloof and serene, with all the grace and beauty the very name might suggest.

Character Creation

Starter Classes: Mage, Druid, Cleric, Shaman, Artisan, Laymen, Healer, Entertainer

Advanced Classes: Air Mage, Water Mage, Priestess, Seductress, Hierophant

Starting Stats:

Basic Stats 1 6 4 3 4 3 5


Those of the Flock have two forms that they can switch between. The first, and their main form, is that of a swan. The second is of a beautiful male or female depending on the gender. They can change back and forth between the two forms as they wish, but because they are intensely secretive of themselves, they will never change in front of an Outsider. They retain their intelligence in their swan form, of course, but forfeit all other benefits they might gain in their other form, including the ability to communicate with Outsiders.

In their human form they are tall and have long, slender necks that are distinctive but not outrageously so, that gift them an air of nobility. They are true beauties by most standards, so delicate and graceful that they are often mistaken to be elfin in nature.

White Swans

In their swan form, the White Swans have perfect snow white feathers and stand about three to four feet tall. They have pale yellow beaks and black masks of skin that stretch from the top of their beak and around their blue or brown eyes. In their human form, they have pale but healthy looking skin. Their heads are crowned with white feathers that can be flared up to look like a crown or lay flat against their skull. The White Swans have have a small vanity in the form of platinum blonde hair that can grow from beneath their feathered crowns. Their eyebrows are either of hair or very fine small feathers. Their eyes remain blue or brown, and their eyelashes, which are very thick and long, are dark black, and contrast beautifully with their pale features.

The White Swans wear robes of a gauzy, unknown material that cover their body from shoulder to feet. Beneath it they may wear other clothing, always white, but it is considered very improper to be seen in public without one's robes. These robes can be decorated with an accent color, usually gold or any other pale hue.

Black Swans

The Black Swans, in their natural forms, have inky black feathers that are so dark they seem to absorb light rather than reflect it. Their eyes are either red or black and surrounded by a red mask that extends from dark yellow or orange beaks. They are slightly smaller than their White cousins and only reach at most 3.5 feet tall while in Swan form. While in their human forms they are tall like their cousins, but their skin is pure black, darker than any Moriel or Sheyka, and lack the dusky or bluish appearance. They look very much like the White Swans, and if they should have hair as well, it is always twisted into curls and grown as long as possible as a matter of pride. Their eyes remain red or black after the change and their eyebrows are strangely a fiery red which draws attention to their beautiful faces.

The Black Swans also wear robes, but prefer to leave them open and go naked beneath. Nature gave them their perfect bodies after all; it is necessary to display them. The Black Swans may also make jewelry out of natural objects such as nuts or small, pretty stones.

Gray Swans

The rare Gray Swans are completely gray and have the eye coloring of the Flock, White or Black, that they were born into. They have masks but they are gray in hue and blend in with their feathers giving them a more goose-like appearance. They are only 3 feet tall and when in human form they are as gray as the White Swans are white or as black as the Black Swans. Their hair is either silver or flat gray, as well as their crown of feathers and feathery eyebrows. They tend to have stunted growth, though they're as equally pretty. There are no differences between Gray Swans or any other Swan except their coloration and being disliked or pitied by their people.

The Gray Swans wear simple gray robes and rarely draw attention to themselves with jewelry or further adornment. It is considered to be an insult by all Swans for Gray Swans to flaunt themselves.

The Flock Mindset:

Gray Swans have views that depend on the Flock they were born into, yet are still ever the outcasts. White Swan Maidens are quiet creatures, soft spoken and introspective, as much as the Black Swans are boisterous and extroverted among their flock. . Both their personalities are sometimes seen as haughty, almost disdainful of the other races. They are cautious and shy in their dealings with all other beings. Their thoughtful outlook on nature leads them to a greater understanding of the balance necessary for all life to exist. They have been known to aid travelers in peril and at other times ignore those who would benefit most from their kindness.

Tales and Woes:

Swan Maidens are complex creatures and the least understood, a reason for which these beings appear frequently in stories and the art of the other races, most notably the Elves. The Swan Maiden themes normally come in the form of tragedies. Their rarity amongst the Outsiders causes many to believe they are purely fictional.

Friendships have been known to exist, such as that told about a Swan May who had been shot by an arrow in her swan form. A High Elf found her, unknowing her true nature, and tended the Swan May carefully. When the Swan May was well enough to take human form, the Elf was so stricken by her beauty that he immediately fell in love with her, vowing never to leave her side. She would spend her days as a swan, riding majestically upon the sweet cool waters while he watched patiently from the shaded edge of their pond. And each night the Swan May would come to his bed to lay with him in her human shape. They spent many centuries thus, until the elf, gray and weak with age, gave his unaged Swan May one final kiss before he passed on. Or so the stories go.

Most stories though, have a rather different ending, such as this one: A beautiful youth was hunting in the wilds when he spied a majestic swan. In his foolishness he struck the creature a blow with his javelin, spilling crimson life across it's snowy down. As he splashed among the reeds and lilies to retrieve his prize, he found instead a beautiful woman, unadorned but for the feathers on her head and the spear in her heart. Horrified by his own action, the youth returned to his home unseen and locked himself alone in his room. The beautiful woman he had killed would be the last person his eyes would ever see; he spent the rest of his days weeping alone in the darkness.

Which stories are true and which are not are subjects best left to the Bards who sing of them. Swan Maidens approach civilization only when there is a need to do so, bearing a hidden purpose they are usually loath to disclose. They resemble High Elves in their attitude and regard others with initial disdain, though this reaction may be improved upon if the other person uses the correct approach. The Swan May usually expect a certain amount of respect and recognition, but not undue familiarity.

Swan Mays are quiet, usually calm and serene, seem to pay little attention to the goings on around them. In actuality this is untrue; they are excellent observers and are quick to pick up customs and behavior from those around them. They enjoy learning and possess great intellect. They have been known as poets and composers of delicately orchestrated music of the sort not usually found at the local inn or tavern, but more in keeping with the tastes of the Elven Lords. Their subtle wit and distracted manner of speech lend a certain air of superiority; or perhaps fragility, as if they avoid contact with others directly for fear of some emotional or even physical distress.Those few who are able to penetrate the Swan May's resistance will find a very warm and tender being that is devoted and loving.

About Slavery:

The idea of slavery is entirely unnatural to the Swans. No matter which culture they come from, they are very much of the belief that it's all for one and one for all. The idea that someone would give up their will to another, or take power of another's will, is strange to the Swans. Because of their fragile natures, one or two have been captured and enslaved successfully, but a member of the Flock would likely not make a good Master or Mistress.

Life and Death:

With the exception of elder Swans, who may carry the wealth of wisdom and may be sought to make difficult decisions, there is no hierarchy among Flocks. Flocks are usually kept small, 3-10 members, to live peaceful lives and do as little damage to nature as possible, though it has been known for some flocks to have as many as thirty members.

Those of the Flock appear to have an extremely long life. Because they live in solitude, they are not often subjected to disease or attack and thus have developed life spans to rival the Elves. Also, upon reaching their mature appearance (in human form appearing 25-35 years old), they seem to stop aging physically. When they die of old age, they are aware that their time has come to an end and often there is a sort of pre-funeral held before the Swan goes to sleep, never to wake up.

Skills and Abilities:


Feathered Kinship Swan Maidens have a special kinship with all feathered animals and are able to speak with birds of any sort, whether the Swan May is in human or swan form. They may use this ability as often as desired and without restriction, except for the following: A Swan Maiden may never order a bird to attack someone, steal an object, "dive-bomb" someone's drink with bird droppings, or any other such activity. They may ask the creature simple questions, use them to look for someone or something, or simply sing a pleasant song.

None can hold me down A swan maiden may attempt one escape per scene. Using this ability, she has the chance to break from any bindings be it magical or mundane. If the Swan maiden is cornered she may revert to her swan form. The transformation can take on any appearance the player deems, from a 'magical flash' to a flurry of feathers and limbs. The shock of a successful transformation will provide them a single round to slip out of the bindings and attempt to escape from their pursuer. This does not count if the Swan Maiden is held in a cage or any type of locked room.

A !rstat agi from the swan vs the opponent's !rstat agi will determine the success or failure of this attempt. The swan maiden receives a bonus of +1 per 3 levels. This bonus will max out at +15. If the roll is successful, they will have transformed and can slip out of any restraints holding them in place. The pursuer is likewise shocked, or stunned and unable to give chase until the following round. If the roll fails, the maiden remains in human form, unable to escape. For example a level 15 swan maiden would roll !rstat agi +5 while her opponent would roll !rstat agi no matter what their level is.


Civilly Uncivilized In being creatures of nature rarely seen in the more civilized parts of Belariath, Swan May have difficulty understanding the hierarchy of the world and social needs of other cultures. This includes ranks of nobility as well as the exchange of money for goods. As beings who rely on nature for their needs and having so little because of it, they are used to a trade system as well as having colors of plumage separate their kind in rank and value, as seen with the Whites, Blacks and Grays. They are by no means feral, but do not have the fundamental understandings of outsiders.

Frail beauty Swan Maidens are graceful, elegant, not predisposed to combat or harming others and lack the protective blessings of Gaea that the nymphs enjoy, making them quite frail should they ever find themselves in a fight.

Mechanics: When in combat swan maidens suffer a 10% penalty to their stats for all defense rolls. So for instance when rolling a close physical defense they will use !cd agi res @90% +## or !clophydef @90% +## . Out of battle swan maidens roll their defenses normally.


They are not restricted from learning or using offensive spells; however, a Swan Maiden confronted with the choice of taking a life, or losing her own, would rather sacrifice herself than kill another. For the most part, a Swan Maiden will use defensive spells and non-lethal offensive spells to stun an opponent long enough to make her escape.

Swan Maidens may change into their natural forms during role play as long as there is no combat, or sex, involved in the scene.

Males of the Flock are not playable and exist only for background.