Shei (Imarelian Elves)
by T.A. Saunders ©2001 v1.5
Average Height: Five feet and six inches for males, four feet, nine inches for females.
Average Weight: 130lbs (male), 75lbs (female).
Description: Elvish appearance varies greatly with clan, though all will be lithe with pointed ears.
Languages Spoken: Shei, Kaal’Kor, Sengaardian (The Old Tongue) and Common.
Clans: Tallis-Shei (Moon Elves), Tallis-Kah (Wild Elves), Tallis-Vyss (Shadow Elves), Sivanoshei (parent race).
Racial Age Limit: Shadow Elves: 3,500; Moon Elves: 1,500; Wild Elves: 950
Racial Nicknames: Moon-Children, Tree-Huggers, Wood-People.
On a whole, the Elves of Imarel look quite similar, save for a few minor distinctions that allow a person to tell them apart. All Elves have pointed ears and a wiry, slender build. Elves are graceful by nature as well, to the point that clumsiness very nearly does not exist for them as a species.
Hair and eye color can vary across the spectrum, though the type of elf can determine hair and eye color. Moon Elves can have anything from white hair to pale blue or lavender hair and eyes. One distinguishing feature of Moon Elves is that their eyes always match their hair. If hair is blonde, the eyes will be gold, if the hair is mint green, so will the eyes. No Moon Elf will have black hair or red or black eyes.
They also tend to be taller than other Elves, reaching as tall as six feet for males and females both. Moon Elves always have pale, but healthy complexions and never seem to gain anything more than a light tan if out in the sun a great deal.
Wild Elves on the other hand, tend to be ruddier in complexion and shorter, with the tallest being no more than five feet and nine inches, for both male and female. Likewise, their ears tend to be a tad longer but not noticeably so.
Hair color also has less variation for the Wild Elves, ranging from dark brown to platinum blonde, with eyes that can be different colors than the hair. No Wild Elf will ever have pastel colored hair like their Moon Elf cousins, or black hair like their Shadow Elf cousins. Black colored eyes are also impossible.
Shadow Elves are the shortest of all Elvenkind on Imarel, reaching no taller than five feet and three inches for both male and female, thanks to their lives in the underground. This has also given them a near albino-like complexion to them. This does make Shadow Elves mildly adverse to sunlight — finding it uncomfortable to both their eyes and skin both.
Shadow Elves never have anything but ghost white skin, but hair and eye color varies from inky black, silver and snowy white. Additionally, eyes can be pale green, pale blue, lavender or violet and red. There are no brown-haired or eyed Shadow Elves.
Racial Abilities and Limitations
The various Elves of Imarel have similar talents overall, but there are those that have also come out of evolution. These are broken down in categories below:
Elvish Racial Talents (All Elves)
Dark-Sight: The ability to see in extremely low light and no light conditions for 160 feet.
Indomitable Will: The ability to resist all fear, domination and charm spells (65%).
Ambidexterity: Elves are ambidextrous and can use two small/medium sized weapons at +5% to hit.
Silent Movement: The ability to move silently at a penalty of half movement speed (85%).
Hunter’s Stride: Increased movement speed (65% to evade one attack per round or +10% to evade talent).
Moon Elf Racial Talents
Gift of Zorah: All Moon Elves can increase their overall magical strength depending on the phase of the moon. If Ishaela is at a quarter phase, spell hit is increased by 10%, Half Moon, 15% and Full Moon 20%. When there is a new moon, no bonus is available. NOTE: While on the moon of Ishaela, Moon Elves have a full 20% bonus, always. (Spell hit increases/decreases with moon phase).
Path of Zorah: Moon Elves can also use moonlight to travel long distances. If there is strong moonlight available to them (three-quarter moon, or better) they may use it to travel anywhere else on Imarel that it is night time. This feat can only be called on once per night. NOTE: While on the moon of Ishaela, Moon Elves can simply travel anywhere on the moon, at night, without penalty. (99% success if destination is familiar. 50% chance for failure if the destination is unknown. Failure can mean being teleported somewhere else, or simply not going anywhere).
Wild Elf Racial Talents
Gift of the Wild: Wild Elves can Hide in Shadows and Move Silently, because of their naturally stealthy nature. Furthermore, Wild Elves can move over all manner of outdoor environments including urban environments, without leaving a discernible trail to track them by. This understanding of covering one’s tracks also grants all Wild Elves with basic tracking skills. (85% to Hide in Shadows and Move Silently, 3% chance to be tracked by others. 55% to track).
Dead Shot: Wild Elves are extremely proficient with medium and long range weapons of most kinds. The archers of Am-Tasaar are considered to be the most deadly in the world. Their rangers being exceptionally lethal snipers, known for making shots over long distances that others would simply fail at. Because of their exceptional skills with these kinds of weapons, they can make high risk shots and use in a ‘point-blank’ range that other snipers are not able to accomplish due to their lack of speed. Wild Elf snipers can also shoot their weapons with twice the effective speed of other races. (+10% to hit with any medium to long ranged weapon, including bows, crossbows, rifles and pistols. 15% chance for instant fatality at point blank range on humanoid-sized targets or smaller at the end of rolled attacks.)
Shadow Elf Racial Talents
Gift of Vanidyr: Shadow Elves gain the skill their ilk has with Illusion magic. As such, any illusion cast by this sort of Shadow Elves has a highly improbable chance of being disbelieved even of the illusion seems extravagant. Shadow Elves can maintain their illusions without concentrating upon them. The nature of the illusion magic is in fact that it’s part magic and part subconscious implementation. This allows for an illusion to be both difficult to disbelieve and sustained by the viewer, rather than the caster since its using the victim’s own subconscious against them. Shadow Elves themselves are highly resistant to illusions of any kind for this reason. (60% base mystic defense penalty to those attempting to disbelieve an illusion cast by a Shadow Elf, , +5% per ranking over Phantasmist, -50% armor rating vs. illusions cast upon the Shadow Elf).
Gift of Shadows: When in the dark, Shadow Elves can hide with uncanny easy, making them nearly undetectable under most circumstances. They are even able to move while maintaining this cover, providing they have made their Silent Movement check. When under the effect of the Gift of Shadows, a Shadow Elf can surprise attack as well, giving them an advantage in combat. (90% Hide in Shadows, Surprise Attack 65%, if successful the surprise attacker gains an extra attack that round).
Thin-Framed: All Elves suffer an innate +10% armor penalty vs. melee and ranged attacks.
Warrior (Berserker**, Scythe-Witch)
*Moon Elves and Shadow Elves become Samurai.
**Wild Elves may become Berserkers.
Zorah’s Chosen — The Elves
It is a long held truth that Moon Elves, or Tallis-Shei in their language are the immigrants to the world of Imarel, along with the child race of Humans. The original Elves, called Sivanoshei came to Imarel through a great sorcerous portal constructed by them some centuries before for exploratory purposes.
Moon Elvish legend speaks little of this land that they had escaped from except to say that it was left in cataclysm by an overwhelming population of vampires and other undead fiends. Their world, known only as Ishaela was subject to a great reckoning by the hands of Humans who had fallen under sway to an Arch Demon named Khavos, Spirit of Decay.
Upon their arrival in Imarel the Moon Elves and the uncorrupted Humans they saved from doomed Ishaela set about populating the continent of Shalzaar. At first, Elves gave homes to the refugee humans and taught them language, writing and mathematics. In some cases, a select few were chosen to learn magic in the Elvish tradition under careful and strict supervision to avoid what had happened in Ishaela.
A full thousand years of this secluded untroubled existence had come to pass. Humans eventually branched off from their Elvish protectors and begun building small cities of their own. There had been some tension between the two peoples about interbreeding; the Elves themselves always a bit touchy on the matter, but those Half-Elves that had been born generally found homes with their Human or Elvish families with little difficulty. Despite this small fuss amongst the two cultures, prosperity was enjoyed by all as their peoples advanced.
During this time, the Shar’Vaire had crafted their first Airships and had begun also harnessing the sorcerous power of the Radiance to win their long-fought battle against the dragons of Imarel. With the ability to cross whole oceans and the skies with little trouble, it soon came to pass that the Shar’Vaire and the Moon Elves came into first contact. At first the two cultures were peaceful, exchanging knowledge and sorcerous wisdom freely. The knowledge to even craft their own Airships were given to the Elves for exchange of various other bits of wisdom the Shar’Vaire required.
It is not remembered how or why this relationship deteriorated with the Shar’Vaire. It is widely believed that when the Shar`Vaire’s dabbling in infernal blood had finally reared progeny old enough to take (and in some cases, seize) positions of power in the Empire. The Moon Elves viewed this as a grave threat and began preparing for the inevitable conflict, but it was too late. In 202 BF the Moon Elf colony of Jir-Tasaar (which would later become Am-Tasaar) was attacked with a sorcerous plague, thus marking the beginning of the War of Eternals.
The War of Eternals raged on for over two hundred years, with both cultures being similarly skilled in both sorcery and had the advantage of Airships, there was little in a deciding victory that could be dealt. Where Shar’Vaire had kept the proverbial ace-in-the-hole knowledge of the Radiance, Elves kept their best defense of intricate and difficult to disbelieve illusions that could often hide their forces in plain sight. It nearly seemed this conflict would never find resolution.
To win the conflict with the Moon Elves, the Shar’Vaire crossed a proverbial line that they knew would be dangerous to cross. Calling again upon infernal allies that had once helped them sire sorcerously powerful children, the Shar`Vaire opened gateways to the Hells unleashing all manner of infernal power upon the Elves. It is said that The Nine Lords of Chaos even shared knowledge of dark eldritch sorcery with their eager Shar’Vaire students to further seal the Fate of the Moon Elves by way of sorcerous plagues that pit Elf against Elf and Elf against Human. It was not long then before the Moon Elves were literally crushed as a civilization. And while this technically concluded the War of Eternals in Shar`Vaire victory, it was not long before the Empire collapsed upon itself in civil war with the Cataclysm of D`Mir.
A Scattering of a People: The Fate of the Moon Elves
Of those that remained, three distinct cultures formed. The first, of course being the last and scattered remains of the Moon Elves, who sought refuge with their Human allies. The Shar’Vaire, seeing the Humans more as pets or things of amusement paid little attention to them, hence those few Moon Elves that weren’t outright exterminated or worse remained safe in their cities.
These Moon Elves along with the Humans, founded the cities of Sundown, Vale, Tashran and Windsong. Sundown was supposed to be part of this unified nation of Humans and Moon Elves that had settled on the eastern coast of the continent of Tal’rah that would later be known as the Windsong Republic. Politics and negotiations with the appointed colonial emissary in charge of the Sundown colony, named Ko`rashae Ri had swayed both the people of the colony and the Grand Duke Bellicose who sent forth the colony from Brookshire that Sundown should stand alone, in defiance of the Windsong Accord. The Accord was the treaty by which all the Humans and Moon Elf refugees had sworn an oath to uphold.
Because of this gathering of mingling of peoples, there are more Half-Elves of Moon Elvish stock than any other type. These Half-Elves are also represent a hefty portion of the population of all four of the currently thriving Human cities. Many tend to be practitioners of magic, having the benefit of the very old knowledge of their ancestors having been passed down in secret and kept safe from the Shar’Vaire Imperial Era.
The Rise of the Wild Elves
The second culture to arise from this near genocide was the Wild Elves, or the Tallis-Kah in the language of their own people. These Elves were settlers on the continent of Tal`Rah before the War of Eternals, having been given land in the north west of Tal`Rah. Initially this had been an attempt by the Shar`Vaire to learn about the Elvish people. As the colony of Jir-Tasaar grew, thanks to the commerce that shuttled through, the Shar`Vaire grew suspicious, thinking that the city actually housed a military garrison for an invasion.
When the war had begun, most of the Elves of Jir-Tasaar were cut off from their kin on Shalzaar and were eventually subjected to the first sorcerous plagues so that the Shar’Vaire could observe the results with little interference. These plagues of course were imperfect in their lethality as of yet and as a result, a handful of Moon Elves survived this initial onslaught that started the war. However, the colony itself was sacked of all its history, lore and sorcerous knowledge, leaving her survivors with nothing of their heritage or their advanced culture’s wisdom.
The end result being over the passing centuries after the war, these Moon Elves returned to a simpler way, rather than attempting to rekindle the power of their past. These few elders decided that magic would not be practiced, save to commune with the great wild that surrounded them and allowed their colony to remain a husk of its former self. New structures that were built within the confines of the colony were shaped from the trees, or build within their branches, rather than cut them down to build on what they had come to believe a sign from Zorah that they should return to the old Sivanoshei way.
Long forgotten by the Shar`Vaire who had since plunged themselves into civil war, Jir-Tasaar became the city of Am-Tasaar an flourished quietly under the careful guiding hand of the Tallis-Kah elders that assured not only did their people remain true to the old ways, but any wandering Shar`Vaire intruders were quietly dealt with to keep their home a secret as long as possible.
Eventually, Am-Tasaar and the Wild Elves opened themselves to sparse relations with the outside world, namely the Kingdom of Farwind, with whom a strong alliance exists. The Tallis-Kah Territories have amiable relations with all other races, so long as their ways are respected, save the Shar`Vaire who were given a pact of non-aggression and no more.
As stated, the Wild Elves do not practice magic in the traditional sense, but rather have returned to their proverbial ancestral roots, where communing with natural spirits grants them druidic power. That isn’t to say Wild Elves can’t learn sorcery, but such cases are extremely rare and only seen in those Wild Elves that become adventurers. Any Half-Elves born of this stock are likely the progeny of said adventuring Wild Elves as well, as Am-Tasaar is by and large left alone save by the occasional Human or Quar’Vess trading caravan.
Lost in the Deep: The Shadow Elves
The last culture to spring from the decimation of the Moon Elvish people is the Shadow Elves, or Tallis-Vyss. These Elves are the descendants of many of the Moon Elves that hid in the catacombs under their great cities during the war with the Shar’Vaire, realizing that their defeat and possible extinction was at hand. These Elves worked tirelessly to build underground complexes deep under their ruined cities, so deep that they could elude Shar’Vaire detection until the time came that the drums of war had silenced and they could once more rebuild their homes.
Years turned to decades and decades turned into centuries. For so long did these Elves remain underground that their skin turned a snowy white and their ears became a bit longer and eyes a bit larger to accommodate hearing things in the deep caverns they had carved out with magic and to see in their dark depths with better clarity.
Despite these massive cities constructed under the foundations of their fallen ones, the Shadow Elves grew more and more curious to what became of their thought-to-be lost world above. Relying on the cover of night and their incredibly advanced illusionary magic, they began creeping back onto the surface world, to find that their ancestral homes were left in ruins…but their would be conquerors were nowhere to be found. Inspired by this, the long forgotten Shadow Elves re-emerged in small numbers and began reconstructing the cities of Am-Vansa and Am-Raynia, the capital. This resurgence as a culture marked the first appearance of the new Kingdom of Vyss.
However, the lessons of the past were not forgotten. When reconstructing their vast and beautiful cities, two important alterations were made. First, the trees that had cropped up around the ruins were left intact, to offer a canopy of shade to their now somewhat light-sensitive eyes. With this in mind, none of their buildings breached or come close to breaching the rather impressively tall tree line.
The second and most important change was both cities have been cloaked in such an intricate illusion, that to walk into either place uninvited is to end up taking a voyage of the mind, where one wanders the ruins of Am-Vansa or Am-Talisa as the Shadow Elves found them, upon their return but end up misdirected, set to wander somewhere in the deep and forgotten forest. It is only of recently have stories of these cities actually existing leaked out in long tales spun in taverns and inns across the Singing Coast and through the lands of Humans. Some expeditions have gone to the forgotten continent of Shalzaar to confirm these stories, but for obvious reasons, almost all have returned empty handed.
Of the three Elvish cultures remaining, the Shadow Elves have almost no Half Elves within their population but have the highest overall pure population, being spread out over the entirety of Shalzaar. The very few Half Elves of this lineage that exist are as secretive as their Shadow Elvish blood would deign and often attempt to pass themselves as Half Elves of Moon Elvish or Wild Elvish lineage.
The Return of the Sivanoshei, the Elder-Kin
Recently, with the downfall of Ko and the toppling of the vampire regime in Sundown, the reemergence of the Elder Race of Elves, known as the Sivanoshei has occurred. Thought to have been lost in the cataclysm that devastated Ishaela, the Sivanoshei favor the look and druidic knowledge of the Wild Elves, while retaining the skills of sorcery displayed by the Moon Elves. A trait neither the Wild Elves or the Moon Elves display, are the wings that the spell-casters amongst the Sivanoshei seem to have.
While the Sivanoshei maintain diplomatic ties with their lost cousins on Imarel, their return marks a new hope for the Elvish people for a possible reunification of their kind and a return to prominence. (For game purposes, the Sivanoshei are not considered a player race at this time).
The Elves of Today’s Imarel
The Elves that originally came from Ishaela originally are a much different people than the different Elvish Clans of today. While the Moon Elves are the most well-adjusted, no Elf, regardless of clan is particularly fond of the Shar`Vaire, despite all that has been done to make amends. The Windsong Republic maintains a cordial relationship with the Sovereignty of Anthalas with a formal alliance, the Territories of the Tallis-Kah are a bit more aloof, allowing only a pact of non-aggression and minimal diplomatic relations, while the Kingdom of Vyss remains outright hostile towards any and all Shar`Vaire.
Of the three clans, the Moon Elves are in the most danger of dying out. Their numbers were so depleted during the War of Eternals that they, as a cultural identity are threatened with extinction. Many Moon Elves have taken Wild Elf mates in hopes of revitalizing their bloodline, but much of the Moon Elf legacy has been interbred with Humans for all that time they lived amongst them during the war. It is not assured that the Moon Elves will fade into the pages of Imarel’s history, but as each generation sees fewer and fewer Moon Elves of pure blood, it becomes evident that the cost of war is far greater than land and blood.
The Wild Elves have actually flourished in their exclusion from most of the comings and goings of Imarel. While they do not hold an incredibly vast nation, they make good use of the the land they have. The Tallis-Kah as a people are not particularly industrialized, nor do they require vast amounts of industry to maintain their populous. They hunt, fish, farm and live off the land for all they require. This maintaining of a simple life and a strict code of existence has given the Wild Elves the opportunity to grow as a people.
The Shadow Elves are the largest segment of Elves on Imarel and in the many centuries they spent in the dark cavern-cities they built under the ruins of their former homes, they thrived. When the Tallis-Vyss finally resurfaced on the face of Imarel in 1099 AC they were immediately a force to be reckoned with, having built vast armies, honed their illusionary magics and explored darker sorcery and knowledge, while in the cool embrace of the Underworld. It is also said that the Shadow Elves have forsaken the Old Gods all together and have taken up worship of other deities that insofar have only been referred to as the Risen Gods in recent historical documents (named so, as the Shadow Elves have refused to discuss their religion with outsiders).
Before the Kingdom of Vyss took control of the many ruined Elvish cities across Shalzaar, they had simply been left abandoned and unclaimed, save for a few Jackalare tribes that took residence in the ruins. Driven out swiftly by the surprising and swift might of the Shadow Elf armies, it was not long before the Kingdom of Vyss reclaimed all of the ancient Moon Elf territory as their own and established themselves as a power to be reckoned with on Shalzaar.
Immortality Lost — The Legacy of the Star of Bae-Lorh
The Elves that originally came from Ishaela brought with them an artifact called the Star of Bae-Lorh. It is believed that this was a gift from one of their gods, that granted immortality to all Elves. During the War of the Eternals, the Star of Bae-Lorh was hidden deep underground. At some point during the fighting, the cave the Star was hidden in collapsed, and cracked the crystal of the Star with a tremendous cave-in. While the Star still functions, its power is lessened and limited in range.
Shadow Elves, being the closest to the Star’s secret location will live up to 3,500 years. Moon Elves will live up to 1,500 years and the Wild Elves, will live no longer than 950 years of age. Were this major artifact destroyed somehow, its possible Elves would have no longer of a lifespan than humans. The Star’s presence is a heavily guarded secret amongst the many the Shadow Elves keep in the dark places of the world.
There are a few shards of the Star of Bae-Lorh wandering Imarel, the most famous of which belonging to the Paladin, Lord Samuel ‘Old Sam’ Brookholte. These shards are said to grant longer-than-normal life to the keeper, which seems to be true in Sam’s case, having lived well past his mortal years. Other shards are said to exist, kept secret and hoarded as one of the greatest treasures on all of Imarel.