This all began on some distant star, in a time beyond our knowing. The High Ones set out from the world of their birth. As near to gods as anything that ever lived, the High Ones took their pleasure and explored the cosmos, all while traversing in a great, shape-altering vessel. Such unimaginable enjoyment, they must have known in those days. Such beauty, they must have seen. Admit it, there is a part of every one of us that yearns to travel the heavens, as they once did. Where exactly they came from, and where exactly they may be now, are stories that have never been told. All we know is what happened when they came here, to the World of Two Moons. And what has happened since. For you are an elf. And this is your history.
I had an itch to run an RP based on Wendy and Richard Pini's Elf Quest. Those who want to get familiar with the series can check HERE!
For those unfamiliar who just want the footnotes, keep reading, and see if I can catch your interest!
The story centers around the lives of several tribes of elves, as they attempt to co-exist with the primitive race of man, trolls, wolves, Preservers, and most of all, each-other. It is not always a smooth existence, to say the least. Some tribes are savage, others cunning, and still others are elves with no tribe at all, obsessed with something or another. They are the legends that exist alongside of the tapestry of man's history, and they aren't always luckier for it. And yet, it is not a bleak existence, by any means. Each member of a tribe is cherished, valued for both their gifts and for their company. Magick, or something like it, is part of their existence, as is the thrill of the hunt, the songs and stories around fires, and the sensuousness of the furs. The world may be fraught with any number of dangers, but it is a thriving world, and few are the elves who have ever complained of not feeling alive in it.
My idea would be to create a spin-off tribe of original characters, likely a splinter tribe of the Wolf-Riders. I have a few funderful ideas about plot, including probably (see absolutely) running into the villain Winnowill and her schemes. But, if people really want to, they can pick pre-existing characters. I mean, there are enough of them. The primary thing would be a tribal, slightly-supernatual existence, in which the ultimate goal is to get back to the heavens of the High Ones, or decide if you even want to by the time you can.
I wrote up a little bit of a synopsis, without too much in the way of specific spoilers. Part of this was a muse gush, and part of this was to lay out some things for people thinking about characters. The tribes intermingle somewhat, leading to half-breeds of all kinds. There have even been rumors of troll/elf half-breeds, although these would likely be considered abominations by both. I imagine this will go in Exotic NC, or some such variety. Free-spirited lovins are expected, as is lots of tribal shenanigans. The particulars will be hashed out. Or left lasse-faire. Not sure yet.
A few facts of Elf-Life: Gifts:
Magick is alive, but not quite in the way that humans would think it. Each elf has something wonderful they bring to the tribe, be it wit, strength, or the beauty of the dance. Some, however, have great talents for healing. Others can mold the wood of a home-tree to suit their needs. Other things are typical of a tribe, but rare and spectacular for others. And still others have stranger gifts, although some of them had to be learned over the course of many years. Whatever the gift, it must be cultivated.
The Wolf-Riders, as the focus of the original story, have more development in their gifts. The following are a list of them that are common, but not precisely exclusive, to their tribe.
--Sending: Many elves are capable of 'sending' to one another, which is effectively a limited psychic transmission. Wolfriders unanimously have this ability, and are even capable of 'sending' to their wolf-mounts. While typically used to convey messages silently across small distances, some elves have found much more potent uses for the art. The rare elf can 'send' themselves across great expanses. Another, gratefully rarer sort, can use them to cause extreme pain.
--Recognition: A fact of life, (and what will become my very favorite RP mechanic) Recognition is like what humans would refer to as "finding your soul-mate." Every now and then, two elves will feel an irresistibly deep connection to one another. Such feelings are almost impossible to ignore, despite the fact that some elves have been known to try. When answered, the coupling is fierce, and will always result in child-birth, producing an elf stronger than either parent. The key difference between the human idea of a soul-mate and Recognition, however, is that Recognizing someone it is not always a welcome experience. It could be anyone, friend, foe, family, or worse. Lucky are those that find their life-mates from such feelings. Others draw lonesome solace from knowing the coupling will relieve them of their madness..
--The Way: All elves feel a certain intuition, but none but the Wolf-Riders feels it to this extent. Their elf-blood calls to them from the stars, but their wolf-blood calls to them from the shadows of the forest. Wolf-riders have a sense of 'instinct,' an understanding of what is and what must be done that is unique to their kind. That isn't to say it's impossible to shrug it off, naturally. But that, as the forest teaches us, has it's own dangers.. The High Ones and The Palace:
The god-like progenitors of the elves, these mysterious beings are sometimes prayed to in the same fashion that humans whisper prayers when in need of divine intervention. No one knows precisely what became of the High Ones. It is known that when they came to this world, they assumed the shapes of elves, meaning to greet men in the pattern of their own legends. To this end, they also transformed their vessel into a beautiful Palace. But at the last moment, something went horribly wrong. The High Ones travelled to a period of this world's time when those legends never existed, instead face to face with primitive man. Their god-like powers of flight, forces and shapes failed them on this world, and primitive man fell upon them, driving them from their own Palace, stranding them here. The Palace still exists, the dormant and unlearnable key to the Knowledge of the High Ones and the heavens they once explored.
Of special note is Timmain, the only High One who is known to have physically survived after the fall of the Palace. It was she who chose to embrace this world, assuming the shape of a wolf and learning the art of the hunt. Over the course of the ages, Timmain has become more wolf than elf. There is a sense of tragedy there, that for all her ageless knowledge and power, and all the blessed things she could teach, The High One lives the life of an animal. But that isn't to say her wisdom is entirely lost on her children. She appears rarely, a ghostly white wolf with unsettlingly intelligent eyes.. Elves Do Not Kill Elves:
It seems like it would be trite to say this, and then emphasize the strange and potent internal agony that comes with murdering one of your own. But for elves, it's slightly different. More than merely a nepotistic aversion, killing another elf is actually a really bad idea. The spirits of an elf will usually migrate to The Palace, anchoring themselves there until such time as it can return to the stars. However, a powerful spirit is not inexcorably drawn to its resting place. A potent enemy with a body can be restrained with mere rope. A potent slain enemy will curl around you like a shadow.. The Wolf-Riders:
The primary tribe of the original story, the Wolf-Rider Chief earned the name Kin Seeker, as he found and connected several other tribes. Wolf-riders are forest dwellers, living under an unbroken bloodline of chiefs, in a fashion not unlike the Iroquois once did. They have a curious and ardent bond with the wolves they co-habitate with. Their wolves are both friends and mounts, and it isn't uncommon for them to choose a single wolf companion that they cherish for all their days together. This bond exists because the Riders are, in fact, a hybrid species: an entire tribe that can trace their bloodline back to one of Timmain's wolf-cubs. Wolf-riders are short, males sport beards and such, and while they can live for several generations longer than men, their wolf blood will eventually cause them to die of old age. They are the only 'mortal' tribe. The Other Tribes:
The Sun Folk are desert dwellers, who have a settlement under the open sky, and hidden from the incursions of man. Their gifts and ways of life are much less primal than those of the Wolf-riders, although their sometime-serenity doesn't eliminate the deep passions they feel. They have more knowledge of the High Ones, and a more mystical way of viewing things. Some of their wise ones have gone blind studying the bodies of light in the sky, while others traverse the realm of spirit to expand their knowledge. They have a series of rites, sometimes used to settle significant disputes, and orchestrated by a shamanic leader. Sun Folk, unless killed, will simply live forever. Time they often spend exploring their natural talent for magick, and the unknowable, beautiful history that is their birthright.
The Gliders of Blue Mountain are, or perhaps were, an insular society of tall and beautiful elves. They encased themselves in a conservative, 'utopian' living space, by hollowing out the upper portion of a mountain and dwelling there for centuries. They were ruled by Lord Voll, a sensible but short-sighted elf who may literally have been the first child born to the High Ones on this world. However, the Gliders lost something while living on their mountain, becoming decadent, arrogant, and aloof. Nowhere was this more evident than in the case of Winnowil, Lord Voll's one-time consort, whose sharp mind became twisted by the centuries of idle pursuits, to the point where the short-sighted Voll may not have realized just how little 'ruling' he was actually doing himself. The Gliders, as their name suggests, typically have the ability to fly. Once, the Eight Elite Warriors even rode gigantic birds into battle. However, fate conspired to punish the sins of this mountain by destroying this tribe, leaving only a handful of survivors. Some of whom are still unwelcome..
The Go-Backs are winter dwelling hunters and nomadic elk-herders. Boisterous, crass, war-like and excitable, they tend to find fulfillment in life by making sport of how hard it can be. The Go-Backs are governed almost entirely by the force of personality their eccentric chief wields. While most of their existence has been wandering in the arctic, the tribe became possessed of a singular desire to 'Go Back' to The Palace. They are the only elf-tribe that knows its location. Would that they were the only tribe at all that did, of course, since the entire population of them has been at war with the Trolls that currently occupy the space between The Palace and them. Despite being closer to the nexus of Elf Power than any other tribe, the Go-Backs tent to abhor magick, growing out of a need for the gifts of sending and recognition. Their lives are built around strength and frankness, and to their credit, they live well.
The Wave-dancers are a mystery.. are there actually more elves, beneath the sea? (Maybe they'll show up later..) Other Inhabitants of Abode
Men: Humans are curious things. This planet belongs to them, not to the Elves. And it is somewhat disconcerting to watch the inevitable march of their own history, from primitive tribes of shamans to cities in the shadows of stone castles. In the period of time our story takes place, the humans live in tribes, devoting themselves to hunting, gathering, and propagating their species. Their primary religion involves a mysterious and, if we're being honest, a probably non-existent deity called Gotara: a shamanic and demanding god that teaches that elves are demons. Not all humans believe that, of course. Some were tricked by the Gliders of Blue Mountain, into worshiping them as spirits of the air. Other humans have come to see the Wolf-Riders as allies, calling them spirit-friends. And still others are even more reasonable. It's the fact that one can't know which will offer you food and which will offer you up as sacrifice, that makes the humans so dangerous. It's commonly an unspoken agreement between the tribes that not letting them know you exist is the best method for dealing with them. It should be noted that most humans speak a different language than elves, and typically they cannot communicate easily. Some elves, however, speak the human tongue. Of course, some of those same elves hate humans beyond measure.
Trolls: Large, stout, wart-covered green men and women that live in kingdoms under the mountains. To a one, Trolls are repulsive, greedy, self-centered, and rude-natured. They prize their own ugliness almost as much as the adore pretty baubles to wear on it. But despite all of this, Trolls are not necessarily what you would call evil. A Troll is just as capable of giving an elf a kind turn as they are of tricking them. A Troll King can even be a charming host, provided it serves his self-interest to do so. A fact that the elves have had to rely on more than they care to admit. Descended from the servants of The High Ones, Trolls are mortal, delightedly growing into old age over the course of many centuries.
Preservers: Pahahahaa!! Oh, these guys! Preservers look very much like pixies. Small, winged things with long limbs and big, pupiless eyes. They speak in a quirky, rapid, and almost unintelligible fashion. If they have a social structure at all, their attempts to explain it have been utterly lost in their nonsensical vocabulary. Typically they are allies, seeking to be as helpful as possible to whoever they like most, as their childlike way of thinking will discern. However, the Preservers have unique abilities. The most famous is what they call their 'wrap-stuff,' threads of silk that can be rapidly spun around a body, which will actually prevent it from aging until it is released. Apparently, these undying beings were also servants of the High Ones, although to what purpose is a curiosity..
There may well be other things out there in the World of Two Moons, but the tribes will have to find it for themselves..
So! You've read this far! Then I poke
you! I poke
you and see if you're interested! Waaahahahaa!
..oh, gods, just going through and looking at the art was worth it...