Thursday, March 21, 2013

Arcis Enumre- Elfs

Once the elfs of the world were plentiful, or as plentiful as any other civilized race. But that was a long time ago. They belong to an older time when things were a lot more magical, fewer rules of the world were set into stone, giants and dragons fought and the free peoples were reduced to only small villages or nomadic settlements. In this world the elfs excelled. With the taming of the lands (a relative expression for they are all wild) and the erecting of the elf city-states, things settled down a bit. But with humans (and some dwarves) learning the ways of magic, dragons turning their attentions to pursuits other than the giant war, and the appearance of new enemies such as the orcs and gnolls, the elfs felt the pressure of the world around them growing up and leaving them...overtaking them.

The elfs would surely have lost this arms race of cultural evolution and been stricken from the world entirely, in time, had they not taken drastic action. To preserve their place in this world they built Arcis Enumre, the largest and grandest elf city. Into this generations of elfs dumped their lives and their magics, powering the powerful spells of prophecy which allowed them to physically breach the veil of time itself using the Tower of Time at the city's center. This tower still exists, the axle on which spins the wheel of elf destiny.

There are two major consequences of this desperate act.

Elfs spend their life now more cloaked in magic and saturated in it than ever before. They are only able to live thanks to magic, and if not for the spells protecting them the last elf would have died out from the world a thousand years ago. As a consequence, however, they have had their lives stretched so far as a people that their tether to the spiritual plane has been broken. An elf cannot be said to have a soul, and cannot touch the spiritual plane or wield its powers. Elfs cannot speak to their own god, Felixiex, and rely on humans to carry out his will (and that of the other gods who have a presence in the city's God District). Elfs cannot be resurrected by anything less than a Wish.

Additionally, nothing in the great city works right apart from the elves. The ground level exists in the present, the upper level exists ten years in the future, the topmost keep exists one hundred years in the future, and the top of the Tower of Time looks down on a world a thousand years hence. Beneath the modern era, the foundations of the city have sprawled into an enormous system of labyrinths, dungeons, and tunnels, colloquially known as the subdungeon. The subdungeon is where the city's past and all elf heritage goes to die. They have no connection to their own histories or even lineages, and every dark act committed in elf history has taken on a life of its own in these shadowed halls. This makes elfs beings who live chiefly for the now, sharp-minded but somewhat hedonistic. This also means that the character of the elves and the character and shape of their city constantly shifts. The Arcis Enumre you sleep in is not always the same one you wake in; all change is sudden, rather than gradual.

Despite this, Arcis Enumre has become the most stable and longest lasting kingdom in the lands, and now the very societies which threatened to push the elfs out of this world flock to their grandest and final city for trade, diplomacy, culture, and most importantly to commune with the gods. None of these ironies are lost on the elfs. They're just bored of them.

As a result, Elf is the common tongue.

There are now no elfs living who weren't at least born in Arcis Enumre. At times a diplomat or adventurer may go afield but they give themselves up for dead the moment they leave the comfort of the city.

Rather than erecting an elf domain as the original B/X rules suggest, which is courting disaster most openly, elfs may instead buy land within Arcis Enumre and be not merely citizens but a kind of adventure-baron, someone "come back from the dead" to enjoy celebrity and influence within the city. An elf may acquire servants at the same rate as they might have earned peasants. These 'servants' might be true butlers and maids and shit or elfs who simply depend on the PC's patronage. 9th level elfs are also granted access to the upper level through the Tower of Time.

Half-Elfs? Yeah, you're an elf. Half-Elfs are the largest ethnic sub-group among Elfs but the attention to blood and parentage is a largely cultural divide. Elf blood has primacy and overrides Human genetic material. Half-Elfs have their own subculture and some legal rights.

Elfs of the Coldquarter are elfs from the most neglected and abused part of Arcis Enumre, a part of the city without patronage in the upper levels and a part of the city where many of the grand schemes of the future are first road-tested. Coldquarter elfs have some specific rights within the city, and are immune to Sleep, being somewhat hardier than modern elfs and a little closer to the Old Elfs.

Finally, Pale Elfs live exclusively within the subdungeon, sometimes called Past Elfs. Their spells don't work right and they live in a state of being of a state of shock. Sometimes these are remnants of elf history who have managed to survive in the cracks of the subdungeon, while other times they are the living damned, as all elfs sentenced to the subdungeon eventually become Pale Elfs.