- Lifespan: 700 to 1500
- Typical Height: 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 6 inches
- Typical Build: Lithe to athletic
- Distinctive Traits: Pointy ears
- Where Found: Almost anywhere in the world of Vaxia
- Types: Air Elves , Half-Elves , Land Elves , Sea Elves
The elves are a diverse species and can be found all over the world in almost any kind of environment. Because of this the appearance of elves can vary drastically from region and even clan. Most full blooded elves tend to have little body hair, tend to have a lithe to athletic build, and have pointed ears.
Other physical features can vary and hair, eyes, and skin can be just about any color out there. This wide ranging variation of physical appearance is believed to be caused by the connection elves tend to develop with their home region, allowing them to better blend in with their environment. Another reason is it may be due because a clan may seek to breed for just certain characteristics.
Some elves are capable of seeing just fine in low light conditions. (This must be reflected in an awareness skill of a character if a player wishes to take advantage of such a trait.)
The average elven lifespans ranging anywhere from 700 to 3000 years (this long lifespan is thought to be related to the close relationship between elves and the natural world around them, because some elves often age faster if they are removed from their natural environment).
Elves sleep but tend to have a different pattern and it has been sometimes described more like a kind of meditation. On average an elf will need to rest about one hour for every six hours of being awake. The longest they can push themselves to stay awake before needing sleep or any ill side effects is three days.
There are four distinct types of elves:
- Land Elves live on surface of the world and in nearly every kind of environment from forests, deserts, plains, to mountains.
- Sea Elves live beneath the sea and can breathe water as well as air. They often tend to have webbed fingers and toes as well to help with swimming.
- Air Elves are often found in high mountain eyries and generally have large, feathered wings.
- Half-Elves are the offspring of an elf with another species. Half-elf features are generally unpredictable, and which can take after either parent more, or can be an even cross between the two.
Most elves speak varying dialects of a single language influenced by the regions and whatever trade they may do. City elves and half elves usually speak the languages common to the city or area they live in.
Often elves refer to themselves by their clan, especially if it is well known. An elf from the Rose Clan would simply call themselves a Rose elf, while an elf from the Ramsalon Wood Clan would call themselves a Wood elf. Others may use the region or environment they are from instead.
The social organizations of elves are clans. The culture, Religious beliefs, and governance of the clans vary, though some clans may share the same culture or be very similar if they are in the same region, or if a larger clan had to split in order to adjust for over population issues or other reasons. Some clans are matriarchal, while some are patriarchal; others are more egalitarian in regards to gender. Social class and caste structure can also vary by clan to clan.
Clans are very important to an elf, but there are some that are clanless. There are many reasons on why an elf can be clanless, though in Shi Inkahan it is considered a severe dishonor to have no clan and most clanless elves from SI have been banished as a form of punishment.
Aside from banished elves there are two common types of clanless elves found in Vaxia and Candenord:
- Wild Elves are elves that live out in the wild of nature and belong to no clan. Some may be feral, while others may just have tired of the life in their clan or city and seek the refuge of nature.
City Elves are born and live in non-elven cities. These elves adopt the culture and language of the city they live in. Some may even loosely associate with their parent’s clan if they are able to.
Elves on this continent are largely nomadic as most of them favor the plains or desert regions. They have a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, though some groups have picked up forms of nomadic pastoralism. They are largely collectivist, but many families extend that view to the world at large. Leisure time is very important to them as it is a reminder to enjoy life as they survive in some very harsh conditions.
Children are allowed to do as they please until they are a young adult. They believe that a child should enjoy as much as they can before they assume duties within the family, as well as weed out the weak. However before the ritual to signal their transition to adulthood, the young adult is encouraged to go out into the world to see if staying with the family is their true path or not.
These elves stay in smaller family groups for easier travel and survival, but they are connected to a larger regional clan and a couple of clan gatherings a year. Those clans are run by the collection of elders from each family unit. This has led to fewer clans in the area, but more smaller familial groups.
It was once believed that there were no elves on Shi Inkahan, but time showed that was not the case. Many of these elves tend to be much more wary of the world then the elves of Candenord and Vaxia, for in some regions there are stories of those that sought to take the elves’ perceived Immortality for themselves. Some clans still hide themselves today and tend to be more mischievous towards some of their non-elven neighbors, playing up to the legend and stories of the region they live in. Half-elves born to these clans are often snuck into the houses of unsuspecting families, while in other regions where a clan is hidden if a non-elven woman gives birth to a half-elf some villages/towns may think the child touched or cursed by a spirit. Those clans also tend to be fiercely territorial and highly protective of their collective territory. Other clans have stopped hiding, seeming to take pity upon the shorter lived neighbors and feel they can help improve the world around them by taking a more present action.
Honor and family are very important to many of the SI clans, often having strict hierarchies, and are very collectivist in nature. However this all is expressed in many different ways depending on the clan and region. Due to this it is very rare for a SI elf to have no association with a clan, if they do not it is because they were outcasted for some grievous wrong doing and that elf must now on their own find some way to make up for their wrong doing on their own.
Many of the SI elven beliefs are centered on the idea of karma and uplifting the clan, with Holidays and sacred sites being observed as times/plays where either the clan achieved a bountiful karmic blessing and helped improve the world or places where an epiphany happened or something great achievement to help uplift the clan.
Vaxia elves have some of the most variation compared to the other two continents due to a much longer history of interaction. Many of the clans tend to be individualist.
Clans that are in the plains or the northlands are migratory in order to follow needed resources as the seasons change. This is also reflected in their cultures as have holidays that are not only a time of celebration but also a means to help the clan prepare for the seasonal move.
Their beliefs are varied, though naturalism and believe in universal essence is common.
Some clans often center their beliefs around something they consider special in their environment and holds a historical significance to the clan. More agricultural centered clans tend to celebrate times of the season that is crucial to harvesting.
A few of the clans that are more open to non-elven relations have also started adopting other holidays from their neighbors as a means of gaining better relations and the nature of culture mixing going on.
There are two major factions of elven clans:
The Elven Nation is made of clans that practice isolationism in regards to non-elven species.
The Elven Alliance is made of clans that had grown tired of the isolationism policies and saw potential in working with groups of other species.
However each clan still has their own sovereignty and governance. There are even some clans that have not joined either faction and are referred to as being an independent clan unless the clan has decided to join with one of the Empires or other nations/city-states.
Clans associated with the Elven Nation tend to think of themselves in a more superior way compared to the Elven Alliance clans as they believe associating with other species weakens the elven integrity of the clan.
Interactions between Elven Nation and Elven Alliance clans can be quite antagonistic, the clans on the whole will not engage in physical confrontation over their attitudes. Though individuals may be a bit more zealous in their expression of their attitude. This also holds true for Elven Nation clans and clans that have joined an empire or nation where there are mixed species.
The interactions with Independent Clans may vary as they may practice similar values to the Elven Nation or Elven Alliance, but most do not want to deal with the extra political obligations of being part of a faction, or simply have no desire to do so.