Wednesday, August 2, 2017

No one ever said elves are nice

Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.

I was thinking about the elf for my OSR hack and thought I might like to go in another direction. You can still use the elf class from there if you want. I would rebrand them gnomes. 

<Sidebar> Gnomes are what becomes of the children that elves steal. When elves get a wild hair to raise a child (elves  don't procreate normally), they sneak into human lands and steal a baby. In their place they leave a changeling--a log of alder wood or a goblin wrapped in a glamour of a human child. The glamour never lasts very long. Then they take the human baby back to Elfland and turn it into a gnome.

A gnome has the blessing of immortality but not agelessness. A gnome grows old but never dies. They never grow much larger than human children, but soon grow liver spots, long beards, bee-sting noses, yellowed nails, hunched backs. Eventually, they might grow into trees. 

By the time this happens, their elven "parents" have long since lost interest. 

This elf class takes a moderately different tack from the original. It is more of a gish, similar to the classic D&D elf. 

2d4 Hit Dice
Favored Attributes: Dexterity and Intelligence
Deathless: Elves cannot be coup de graced except by a weapon made of iron. Attacks against them while at 0 Blood cause them to fall unstable. 
Heartspell: Elves begin play with one spell from the school of Elementalism. They can cast this spell by singing a song, and can cast even if they are encumbered. Casting the spell causes d6 damage to the elf.
Your heartspell determines what "type" of elf you are. Those with the "Chariot of Air," for instance are known as sky elves, whereas those with "Stormspeech" are called mist elves, and those with "Rockspeech" are cave elves, etc. 
Ironbane: Elves cannot cross a circle of unbroken iron. Elves cannot wield items made of iron, be they tool, or weapon, or armor. Luckily, most modern arms are made of steel.
Not of Flesh: If an Elf dies outside of Elfland, they rise as a wraith. The wraith picks up the corpse he once was and tries to carry it back to Elfland. If it is actively prevented from this task, the wraith will fight back--but will not otherwise engage with the mortal world any longer. 
Star Eyes: Elves treat starlight as sunlight. If they can see the stars, they can see as well as they can during the day. This doesn't help in dark, underground dungeons, but is helpful in the wilderness.