Tales of Viridia
The Elves are strongly attuned to the natural world. Wherever they go, they tend to adapt their society completely to fit the needs of their environment. As this happens over the course of centuries, their way of live becomes deeply attuned to their home and their societies have evolved to become very distinct from one another. They are in general quite patient and calm, but prone to being prideful and insular.
Plains Elves: The Plains Elves live in small villages of huts scattered across the open grasslands and prairies of the world. They live off the land and do their best not to impact the natural balance or other settlements too much.
Wood Elves: The Wood Elves form a close bond with the forest and are extremely protective of it. They often “tame” wild animals in the sense that they form a mutually beneficial bond rather than the master servant dynamic humans do with their animals. They live in cities built into the trees, on platforms and in hollowed-out trunks.
In recent decades, an increasing number of Wood Elves have been noticed to have their hair and eye colours change as the leaves on the trees of their homeland do.
Drow/Dark Elves: Many think the Drow evil, and it is true that the harsh conditions of their underground home has led to them becoming a tough, often ruthless people. However, they are not sadistic, merely pragmatic – danger and death are commonplace in the Underdark, and mercy is a luxury few can afford. Drow are greatly sensitive to light and those who go to the surface must spend some time learning to cope with the sunlight. Many do not fully adapt, and end up living a nocturnal lifestyle.
Desert Elves: The Elves of the deserts live a nomadic lifestyle, briefly stopping at the various pockets of green scattered throughout the desert, then moving on to allow the area to recover. Like the Drow, the scarcity of resources in their home as made them a practical people – they only help others when it benefits them enough in return.
Elves are humanoids that on average range between 5 and 6 feet tall in their adult years. They have a slender but usually athletic build, rarely weighing more than 150 lbs. They have an innate resistance to magic that affects the mind.
Elven skin tone, like Humans and Dwarves, runs the full range from pale all the way to dark brown. The exception to this is the Drow, who after living in the Underdark have developed darker hues of blacks and dark greys with hints of blue and purple. Common Elven hair tones are again similar to those of Dwarves and Humans, ranging from black to browns, blondes and reds, turning white with age. Some, however, carry hints of greens and blues.
Elves have very long lifespans, commonly living past 800 years. Some have been known to reach 1000. They reach early adulthood at around 40 years.
Elven eyesight is incredibly sharp, even in dark conditions. They can see far further than most other races. Their hearing is similarly acute. A notable feature of the Elves is that instead of needing to sleep like other races, they instead enter a form of deep trance or meditation. A four hour trance rests them as well as an eight hour sleep would for a human.
Humans and Elves are genetically compatible, and can therefore breed. Their offspring blend the features of both parents. They tend to be slightly taller and stronger built than their Elven kin, and age faster, reaching adulthood in their late 20s. Although still long lived, they rarely reach 500. The more diluted their Elven ancestry is, the weaker those traits are.
Elven society centers around their respect for the natural world. Where other races build and shape the land to their needs, the Elves instead build their settlements around nature. Some don’t even settle at all, preferring to remain nomadic.
The Elves are a very insular people who rarely have any dealings with outsiders. Within their society, tribes meet on a regular basis in ancestral gathering places to exchange knowledge, build bonds of friendship and marry between tribes. In the case of the latter, the couple decide which parent tribe they wish to remain with and become fully adopted by.
Each tribe tends to be lead by a chief. Most tribes choose an experienced but still relatively young leader (between the ages of 300 and 500) whenever the previous one retires or passes. They commonly nominate a number of potentials who are then put through a set of trials to determine the most suitable leader. These trials include combat, survival, judgement, leadership and knowledge.
As a result of their lifestyle, Elves care little for material things. They appreciate the unspoiled beauty of nature as well as the arts of song, dance and storytelling. Despite this, their crafts are almost as prized as those of the Dwarves for their elegance and beauty, although those that are decorative are usually small trinkets and jewelry.
The Elves pay their respects to a small pantheon of gods primarily in the realms of nature, the foremost of which being Valarian.
The worship of Corallon is also widespread in Elven societies.
The Elves do not build temples for worship. They will occasionally build small shrines in the wilderness, which are easy to miss for the untrained eye, and will wear jewelry or carry small trinkets depicting their gods or holy symbols. Most pay their respects to the gods through rituals and prayer. The Elves have dozens, perhaps hundreds of rituals, both simple and complex, for almost all aspects of their lives.
The Elves tend to keep themselves out of the affairs of other races, and as such have fairly neutral relations for the most part.
Of all the races, the Elves are probably most involved with Humans. Although passionate and impulsive, many Elves (particularly those who are still young) find them quite fascinating. As a result of their compatibility, the two races often end up starting families together, leading to significant Half-Elf populations near the borders of Human and Elven lands. Many tribes come into conflict with new human expansions, but some also make alliances with more naturally inclined Human groups.
Dwarves and Elves have little contact. They are aware of each other, but their paths and interests rarely meet in any meaningful way.
The Elves have a fondness for Halflings, admiring their humble lifestyle. it is not unheard of for small Halfling populations to live among or alongside the more settled Elven tribes.
Like the Dwarves,Gnomes and Elves are not close. The Elves find the Gnomes difficult to understand and relate to due to their impulsive and inquisitive personalities. They are also quite wary of Gnomish technology, which has proven to be unpredictable and dangerous, so tend to distance themselves from Gnomish affairs whenever possible.
In contrast to most other races, the Elves have few grudges against Orcish people. The Elves’ nomadic nature allows them to quickly and easily stay out of the way of most marauding Orc bands, and most Elvish settlements are build in safe, secluded places where few others go. Only those tribes who have had past conflicts with the Orcs carry any ill will towards them.