Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ages of Lingusia: Elves of the Empire Era

Elves of the Empire Era
   There are several elvish kindred in the world of Lingusia, though it is only common to meet the silver elves, wood elves and dark-skinned ashtarth drow. Less well known elvish variants include the mysterious arcane elves (Naelythien), the faerie elves (kythien) and the ice elves of the north (Sirilien).

Silver Elves (Suethenuriens)
   The Silver elves, which are known also as suetheinurians in the Old Tongue and eladrin in Elvish remain present in the world, although their major cities are secluded in Sylvias, the deepest and most impenetrable forest of the world.
   The silver elves rule the forest empire of Sylvias along the southern coast of the Middle Kingdoms, where they have reigned in peace for thousands of years. The last major war fought amonst the elves was during the War of the Gods, when the great betrayal led to the schism between the Ashtarth and the suethenuriens. To this day the conflict rages on in the Black Swamps of the west, where goblin armies under the command of the ashtarth of Modra carry out the war, albeit at a much slower pace than in the ancient past.
   Sylvias is a deep woodland kingdom regarded as impenetrable by most human standards and navigable only by the elves of the region. It is entirely possible to get lost here and never find one’s way out, let alone any evidence of elvish cities. Indeed, it is just as likely that one might wander in to a blurred domain where the boundaries between the Weirding Realm of the Feywild and the mortal plane have merged. Such foreign visitors are never seen again.
   The silver elves see themselves as the keepers of these boundaries between the Weirding and the mortal plane. The cities of their domain overlap both realms, and as such the suethenuriens often spend much time in both regions.
   Silver elves are divided by a series of ancient clan relations, and each clan, or house, is divided between the houses of the sun and the houses of the moon. The moon houses are considered of high or noble blood; the sun houses are the lesser houses, and comprise the majority of the silver elf community. Those of moon blood have special magical affiliations through inheritance.
Personality and Appearance: Silver Elves are often regarded as somewhat haughty and aloof when dealing with the lesser kindred races. Some of this is a side effect of age, for the Silver Elves almost invariably live longer than most beings around them. Some of it is their fae aspect, which is unsettling or soothing to different beings. They are noble, regal beings in appearance, averaging 6 to 6 ½ feet in height, towering over most other elves and men. Suetheinurian physical traits include pronounced, slim pointed ears and opalescent eyes (no whites; all Lingusian elves have an opal quality to the eyes, running from black to deep red, reminiscent of gem stones). All Silver Elves are known for their long, silken hair which comes in all colors, but most famously in the silver, platinum blonde, and white coloration. There is an unreal quality to Silver Elves, a presence that unnerves those who fear fey magic and soothes those who are good at heart.
Religion: The Suetheinurians revere the moon for its power and importance in their lives, and treat Selene as their patron goddess. There are several lesser gods and spirits revered by the silver elves; the members of House Ilmatar worship Ailyenarion, a god believed long dead by almost all save this house, for example. Other prominent elvish gods include Phonatas, Elisin, Wishupar, and Niras, the keeper of the sacred World Tree which rests at the heart of Sylvias, and around which the greatest elvish city is constructed.
Language: All Suetheinuriens begin with knowledge of Elvish and the Middle Tongue (or appropriate local human dialect), as well as their House Tongue, which is a unique dialect used between members of the same house only, and never taught to outsiders (willingly). The house tongues are a specialized variant of elvish, though tought only to members of the same house; given time, a proficient elvish speaker could decode a message in one of the house tongues.
Names: There are a lot of "y," "th," and "s" elements in naming. Some examples of Suetheinurian names:
Male: Thyvias, Vyrasthios, Shylnavalos, Vaeram, Sylas, Mythrael, Zyravos.
Female: Phyxyllis, Thyriel, Allysithriel, Mylinii, Thyvysithies, Myrythien, Enesthyriel.

Silver Elf Characters:
   The suethendur are equivalent to eladrin; use the eladrin character generation rules to create silver elves. Silver elves gain special rules regarding what house they belong to:
The Elvish Houses: Most silver elves belong to one of the dozens of Houses of the Sun and some of low or forgotten heritage belong to no house at all. A Silver Elf with the Trueborn House of the Moon feat (below) may gain additional heritage perks as follows.

Silver Elf/Eladrin Racial Feat:

Trueborn to a House of the Moon
   You are a trueborn member of an elvish House of the Moon.
Prerequisite: Silver Elf/Eladrin, any two characteristics of 12+
Special: Even if the character loses this feat through retraining, the title and social status as a member of this class is retained (but the feat benefits are otherwise lost).
Benefit: You may roll (or choose if your GM allows it) on the following chart to determine your unusual house heritage and any benefits/limits that accompany such a background:

D100                Result
01-12               House Ilmatar
13-24               House Istrion
25-36               House Nethestor
37-48               House Vystrion
49-60               House Shalmanfiel
61-72               House Astrux
73-84               House Calyspion
85-96               House Arienform
97-99               Salienform
00                    Shilnavilin

House of the Moon Descriptions:

Ilmatar, House of Fire. This house is legend for its metalwork and armoring skills, and is unique in its ability to harvest and tool adamantine implements. Likewise, members of this house are famous for their talents at pyromancy and alteration.
Benefit: +1 to attack and damage with any power that has the fire property; +2 to all Saves that contain the fire property.
Level 11: Increase to +2 to attack and damage
Level 21: Increase to +4 attack and damage

Istrion, House of Water. Blessed by Trimelin, this house is known for its seafarers, shipwrights, merchants, and water mages.
Benefit: +2 to Athletics for swim checks; members of this house treat water as normal terrain for movement purposes.

Nethestor, House of Ice. Located in Ice Falls, members of this house are powerful with cold magic, and considered pre-eminent architects throughout the elvish lands.
Benefit: +1 to attack and damage with any power that has the cold property; +2 to all Saves that contain the cold property.
Level 11: Increase to +2 to attack and damage
Level 21: Increase to +4 attack and damage

Vystrion, House of Earth. Those of House Vystrion are accomplished druids, geomancers, and earth workers. They are known for their agricultural and horticultural skill, as well as magic shaping the earth and the flora.
Benefit: gain Nature as a class skill (or +2 to Nature if you already have it as a class skill); gain one bonus language (primordial or an animal dialect).

Shalmanfiel, House of Enchantment. Masters of illusion and disguise sometimes regarded as tricksters and hucksters, the illusion-crafting skills of House Shalmanfiel are well known.
Benefit: +2 defense bonus against any power with the Psychic property; once per day as a free action. Gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage with any power containing the psychic property.
Level 11: Increase the bonus to +2 to attack and damage.
Level 21: Increase the bonus to +4 attack and damage.

Astrux, House of Many Eyes. The most venerable house of the politicians, they have made the art of diplomacy and politics a family affair. All houses participate in politics, but House Astrux rules the field. Nothing gets done without their participation or approval. Almost all rulers for the last two thousand years have been from House Astrux. Members of House Astrux are consumate commanders, and favor the warlord class which they almost always take when choosing from martial class options.
Benefit: Gain Diplomacy as a class skill (or a +2 bonus if it is already a class skill); choose one weapon to gain a permanent +1 attack and damage bonus with as your signature weapon.
Level 11: Increase the bonus to +2 attack and damage..
Level 21: Increase the damage to +4 attack and damage. 

Calyspion, House of Conjurers. This is a small house, largely dominated by the Fraternity of the Gray Robes, a venerable order of conjurers and summoners whose abilities are tethered to the Weirding Realms. Oddly, some of these mages also take up arms and practice combat to become war mages.
Benefit: Gain a +2 racial bonus to attacks and damage performed by any summoned creature you control. In addition, you gain a +2 Insight skill bonus when dealing with or negotiating with outsiders.
Level 11: Increase the attack and damage bonus of your summoned creatures to +4.
Level 21:  Increase the attack and damage bonus of your summoned creatures to +6.

Arienform, House of the Sky. Blessed by Ogron, this smaller house sprouts many wind elementalists, navigators, and weather mages.
Benefit: Members of this house gain Nature as a class skill (or a +2 bonus to the skill if they already have it). Members of house Arienform are unusually stable, and gain a unique trait: any effect that would ordinarily knock them prone or force movement with a slide may immediately be resisted with a save; if they make the save, the forced movement effect (slide or knocked prone) ends.

Salienform, the Outcasts. Exiles by choice or force, Salienform have been branded heretical and cast out from the Houses of the Moon. Salienform are usually born of two houses, and choose one ability bonus from each house. Intermarriage among the Houses of the Moon is forbidden (although it is permissible with the Houses of the Sun). Likewise, criminal or deviant behavior also results in expulsion. If this is the case, determine your reason for belonging to this outcast set and choose one of the following. Benefit: Salienform gain stealth as a class skill, or gain a +2 bonus if they already have it as a class skill. Choose one of the following after determining if you are an outcast of birth or a criminal:
Criminal: gain one at-will ability from any class as an encounter power if you are a criminal outcast.
Outcast: choose any two benefits from your two parent houses. For example, a child of house Istrion and house Arienform could choose to treat water as normal terrain and gain Nature as a class skill, or any other combination of two of the four effects granted by both houses.
Diosadvantages: In addition, you gain the following disadvantages: Salienform receive a -2 diplomacy and bluff check penalty to all Charisma and social interaction rolls with members of the Houses of the Moon, and a -1 penalty to the Houses of the Sun.

Shilnavilin, the Dark House. This is officially an extinct house, as its members became the seed of the Ashtarth many millennia ago. The Ashtarth who still wage war against Sylvias claim this house title their own. The only fair skinned members of this house are said to live in the demiplane of the Desecrated Lands, worshippers of the ancient Anhedron the Damned, he who first corrupted the house and cursed them to become Ashtarth forever more. Members of this house are rare descendants of the original tainted bloodline who were not marked by chaos, though the corruption of their house still marks them in unusual ways. They are almost never lawful good in alignment, and most are albino.
Benefit: You may plane shift once per day to the Desecrated Lands, but receive a -2 skill penalty to Diplomacy and Bluff in any encounter in which you are known to belong to this house.

Shilnavilin Plane Shift – House Trait-Spell
   “You may move between the plane of the Desecrated Lands and the Material Realm due to your unusual heritage.
Daily – Utility – Arcane, Teleport
Sustain: Free
Effect: You teleport to the Desecrated Lands, a wasteland of infinite expanse which surrounds the great maw of the Abyss; when you end this effect as a free action, it automatically returns you to the prime material plane to a location within 10 squares of where you plane-shifted from.

Wood Elves (Sylvanuriens)
   The wood elves still dwell in tribes across the world, as they left the Weirding Realm of the Feywild long ago to wander the world and inhabit its many forested lands. They can be found almost anywhere; one of the more well known enclaves of wood elves can be found in the mountains of Elflin, east of Sylvias. Other woodland enclaves can be found in Niras, Hettanar, throughout Amech and the Northern Wilderness.
   The Sylvan Elves are of woodland stock, and disdain the ancient spired cities of the eladrin silver elves in favor of a natural approach to living. They are a curious and earthy folk; considered closer to their Fae roots than many other elves, save perhaps for the Kythians, who are still touched by the Weirding.
   Wood elves are clustered in a number of clannish provincial domains, through which normal men could blindly stumble through and never know were inhabited if the woodland elves chose not to reveal themselves. Most of the Sylvanurien communities are centered in high-roosted townships built in and along the length of great old red woods, which comprise much of their forest land.
 Personality and appearance: Woodland Elves come across as mischievous, personable, and very curious. Almost all sylvan elves who have not settled down in old age often seem to be almost juvenile in their approach to life, although this is a side effect of the fae glamour which permeates them, driving them on to distraction. Yes, there are focused sylvan elves, and yes, there are laconic, disinterested members of the species, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
   Sylvan elves appear short, averaging 5-5 and a half feet in height, of slim build with pronounced, pointed ears. They have rustic, earthy colors for hair, ranging from sandy blonde to dusky brown or gray, and some sylvan elves hair changes color with the fall and spring. Like all Lingusian elves, they have solid opalescent eyes, usually of speckled red, blacks, and browns.
Relations: Sylvan Elves are inclined to get along well with everyone, or at least try. They are compelled to taunt dwarves, however, who are too dour for the taste of most Sylvanuriens. Likewise, they are generally disapproving of the lifestyles of most chaos-kin and other evil beings, but are also more likely to accept one of those beings, if they willingly walk the path or order and goodness. They love gnomes and syleni, and like humans because they’re such an easy mark. They tend to be uncomfortable and concerned about planar beings, as such entities are rarely a part of the natural order.
Religion: Wishupar, Herme, Niras, Selene, Phonatas, Temina, and Amasyr are all part of the reverent sub pantheon of wood elves.
Language: Elvish, as well as the Middle Tongue; they tend to be familiar with many woodland and animal languages. In Lingusia, all animals are given to a degree of intelligence and language, if not sophistication, and so fey kin attuned to nature may learn their languages.
Names: Sylvanuriens are prone to simple and descriptive names. They have houses, like the silver elves do, but their family structure and inter-relations are much looser and without boundary. The house name would come last, and some known houses are listed below.
House Names: Vellsoth, Nathylien, Erendys, Helthior, Varundys, Gamathys, Zypharem.
Male: Wormi, Silas, Syralys, Vyphar, Corlyn, Pyryth, Vale, Wendyros, Longyn.
Female: Sabyl, Dryiele, Erythri, Grysaudia, Tymyri, Kyellie, Myrin, Hymiri.
Adventurers: Sylvan Elves are by far the most common elf found in foreign lands, wandering, adventuring, and striving to outlive the glamour of wanderlust, which possesses them to go out and do rash and unusual deeds. Likewise, more half elves than not have a Sylveinurian parent as a result of this wanderlust and adventuresome nature.

Sylveinurian Characters
All Sylveinurians have the standard profile found in the Player’s Handbook. They are the default elvish type for elves that do not know or have not discovered their heritage.

Dark Elves (Ashtarth)
   The Ashtarth are the dark elves, the drow of Lingusia, corrupted from their Silver Elf kin long ago by the minions of Chaos, they were forever marked with their coal black skin cast out of the elvish community. Ashtarth society is a cruel mimicry of silver elf society, with houses of rule and advancement through might and stealth. In the ancient annals of elvish lore, the ashtarth were members of House Shilnavilin, the House of Betrayal as it eventually came to be known, for in ancient times, its most prevalent members betrayed the Kingdom of the elves by swearing fealty to Dalroth and the Courts of Chaos.
   By choosing the worship of the Courts of Chaos and the demon gods, ashtarth cast away their tether to the Weirding Way and were branded with darkness forever more. A war between elves erupted, and they were cast out of the elvish realms, destined to wander the world for new homes. Some Ashtarth traveled to the distant Northlands and settled there, to be called Dock-Alfar. Some traveled to the east, and a handful of them even settled deep in the Amechian lands, to pursue a means of redressing their sins against Selene. But most settled in the Kingdom of Dahik, and established their own Order of Houses, to pursue the will of the Demon Gods. Known ashtarth domains include:
Modra and the Black Swamps: here dwell the most tenacious of dark elves, a group of six clans that have relied on the goblins of the swamps as fodder for a two-thousand year old war of reclamation. They are arguably the most bitter and vindicative of all dark elves.
The Empire of Dahik: This vast subterranean city beneath the Hyrkanian Deserts is most wlel known for his military might and political influence among the underworld kingdoms. It is dominated by the Cult of Dalroth and each of the two dozen clans of the ashtarth have adopted a demon god patron.
Pariscar: This ashtarth kingdom deep in the Mountains of Madness is dominated by house Plagistron, which rules over several lesser houses. The maddening cults of these ashtarth revolve around the god Slithotep.
   Other enclaves of dark elves can be found in the Greyspire Mountains north of Yllmar, in the deep north of Autrengard, and in the jungles of Amech.
Personality and appearance: Ashtarth are always of coal black skin, save for a few white skinned albinos who are born once every few generations. Women are prized for their sorcerous superiority and divinatory powers, while the men are disdained as warriors and laborers to be lorded over. Much like the drow of other worlds, Ashtarth are matriarchal.
   Ashtarth are physically very tall, from 6 to almost 7 feet in height, due to their heritage of once having been silver elves, although tribes of shorter ashtarth exist (suspected to be corrupt wood elves in ancestry).
   All ashtarth opal eyes are usually black, red, and occasionally white. Their hair is usually white or gray, and occasionally black or fiery red.
Relations: the Ashtarth of the Underworld maintain relations with the hyshkorrid and some orc tribes, goblinoids, and slave species such as kobolds. The subterranean ashtarth are at odds with all surface dwellers, seek to annihilate their fair skinned kin, and have shaky alliances with the Southern Hyrkanians. In the north, they are natural enemies of the Kythians and Zarnians. Only the neutral and reserved I'Cathor House of the Amechian Enclave near the City of Ur seeks solitude and escape from war and destruction.
Religion: The Ashtarth revere Dalroth and his Courts of Chaos whether they like it or not. Other gods of chaos such as Slithotep and Thaedra figure very prominently in ashtarth religious beliefs. A few gods of order have impressed the ashtarth enough to gain a foothold amonst the dark elves, including Haro and Wishupar. Almost all ashtarth houses adopt a patron degmon god. Some of the Demon Gods most favored by the Ashtarth include The Spider Goddess, Orcus, Pazzuzzu, Koschtie, Belphegor, Yeenoghu, Lamashtu, Demogorgon, Tragonamos, Kalakan, and Huwawa.
Language: Ashtarth learn the Ashtarth tongue, their House’s Cant (the secret language of their house), the Sign language of the Dark Elves, and either elvish or the Middle Tongue.
Names: Ashtarth like brutal names, with rough sounding qualities to them. all Ashtarth must belong to a house. The major family houses are listed below, or you can belong to a different lesser house. The northern Dock-Alfar do not group by houses, but by clans. many Ashtarth come from a union between two houses or clans, and so carry both names in hyphenated form (I'Cathor-Stromm, for example) with the mother's house first.
House Names: Stromm, Kaliban, I’Cathor, Grannen, Urdanne, Grenedan, Venetor, Baal'rammen, Plagistren, Vehedemeer, Korlaas.
Male: Charnel, Flavios, Daros, Kabel, Varkol, Krael, Lovador, Sherzade.
Female: Synestra, Deviris, Paniseth, Vitrea, Kalieth, Sibrien, Pinetteras, Calyspel.
Adventurers: Ashtarth who are evil and seeking to further the will of their family or the secret order of the Black Circle are always prone to have cause to adventure. The rare Ashtarth who is good in nature is an adventurer by necessity, struggling to survive in a world that will give him no quarter while escaping a vengeful people. Often, good Ashtarth seek a quasi-mythical means of redeeming their people, or themselves.

Ashtarth Characters
   Use the rules for generating drow player characters. All abilities, feats, powers and other traits that are normally available to drow are also available to ashtarth. If drow from another plane of reality come to Lingusia, they will find that the ashtarth and drow languages are similar enough to allow for communication, but the secet language and runes of ashtarth differ sufficiently from similar secret languages of drow in other planes that they must be learned separately.

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