An overview of the Kelti, Solti, and the Qualenti elves...
OVERVIEW Elves come in several flavors, each with their own distinct physical and social deviations. The High Elves, here referred to as the Solti or "Winter Elves," are taller than average, with many over six feet tall. They are xenophobic, yet noble, caring for the world at large, while remaining separate and aloof from the other races, including their closest brethren. The Kelti are far more diminutive, rarely clocking in above 5'8". Their societal organization is far more loose, but they collectively know the woods like none other. Consider giving an automatic double proficiency whenever a PC chooses any woodland skills. The Qualenti Dark Elves have the normal stats for a PC Drow, and follow a similar Matriarchal social structure. Where differences occur has to do with the Demon Goddess Lolth. Qualenti are broken into two basic camps: Those who adhere to the old faith of Lolth, and those who renounced religion during The Sundering. These two groups of Qualenti are in constant, violent opposition within the Underdark. DETAILS The elven species is broken into three primary sub-races. There are other (sea elves, in particular), less comon variety, but for now we'll concentrate on the majors. All elves share a few racial traits. The most telling is their skin color. Elves have slightly chameleon-like pigments that adapt their skin tone to the environment in which they were born or spent the most time. It's not uncommon for an elf's skin to slowly shift over a number of years to a new tone, if they've been living in a different climate region for some time. This has led to the expression, "An elf's body is a travelogue." All elves can also see in the dark, using the infrared spectrum. Some, like the Qualenti dark elves, have better night vision than others, however. The differences below are cosmetic and meant for roleplaying opportunities. The elves of our world have all the racial feats and traits as those in "standard" D&D. You may (and should) still build your elf character using the regular process within the Player's Handbook. Solti (the "High Elves" or "Winter Elves") The Solti are direct descendants of the custodians to the very gods themselves. They can trace their bloodlines directly back to Mt. Celene, and they have no issue reminding others of this, whether or not it's needed. Standoffish and haughty, they are possibly the closest elven subrace to the Tolkein style elves you may be used to. They are tall, with the average Solti clocking in over 6 feet tall (range 5'-7'), with slightly green-cast skin and long pointed ears. It is said that there are a finite number of Solti in the world. Myths say that when a Solti dies, it is reborn in the body of the next Solti to be born. Though it is likely that this myth arose out of a need to explain the low birth rate of the Solti (lowest of all the elves), it's important to note that they believe the stories and act accordingly. This may account for their slightly superior attitude, knowing that they are so important that even death cannot fully claim them. Like other elves, Solti do not have the need to sleep. Rather they meditate, entering a trance state that supposedly allows them to commune with their former selves, lifetimes ago. They are a forest-bound race. The idea of leaving their forest strongholds is anathema to them. Thus, it is rare to find a Solti amongst the ranks of adventurers. Those who choose such a lifestyle likely have a somewhat sordid past. Perhaps they were exiled? Or sent on a primary mission of some consequence? Spend some time thinking about how your Solti is different from its kin and why it's chosen to venture out in the world. Kelti ("Wood Elves" or "Small Ones") The most commonly encountered subrace of elves, the Kelti are native to Terra Gothenya, with fewer direct ties to Celene than their noble kin. They are a bastard race, with blood from various other fey creatures coursing through their veins. They can't claim the "pure" celestial bloodline that their cousins flaunt so openly. This is initially apparent from their height. On average, a Kelti ranges in height from 4'-6', with the tallest amongst them standing head to head with some of the shortest of the Solti. They share the racial skin coloration trait, and though they are woodland beings, their skin tends to have a brownish tint (as they live and work at the "ground floor" of the trees, unlike others more "lofty" than they). They both love and hate the elven woods (The Feywood being the largest enclave of elves in Hariel) and their elven cousins. They feel a sense of duty to protect the elven homeland of Nieshmehil (a large, magical city secreted away in the deep Feywood), and the Solti tolerate their presence because the Kelti are willing to risk their lives for them. This being said, adventurer Kelti are far more common, as they inherited a certain wanderlust from some of their fey blood brothers. They also are far more personable with the race of man, and often have friends from various other cultures. They are particularly fascinated with dwarves (especially those from the Blight), as the small folk are a mystery to them. A Kelti can often get into trouble attempting to convice a dwarf to consume rocks in front of them (see Blight Dwarves below). They have a particularly bad history with the Isagorn "hobgoblins," as after the Sundering, the elven lands were overrun with the "evil" beings. This also drove another huge wedge between them and the Solti, as in their desperate hour of need, the high elves shut the gates of Nieshmehil to them. Of all the elven races, the Kelti show the most physical variation. This can mostly be attributed to their mixed blood, and is something the Solti see as an inferior trait. The range of feature differences can run from the length and width of their pointed ears to how many fingers they have per hand. Though most have the standard five, some tribes consist of Kelti with only four fingers per hand. The Solti are particularly unfriendly to the "four fingers." Qualenti ("Deep","Dark" or "Drow" Elves) The Qualenti were once Kelti, just like any other. Until the Sundering ripped the earth apart in places, revealing an underworld, teeming with life. The original tribes of Kelti that eventually became Qualenti were those in league with dark mages that performed blood magic rituals in order to rob Celene of her arcane energy. After the Sundering, they feared retribution from both humans (via the massive arcane purge or "magic inquisition"), and their own kind, for (aiding) bringing about the cataclysmic event. Unlike the blood mages who became the Lentokki, these elves went down, deep into the bowels of the earth. Here, they changed, becoming what they are today; dark elves. Their elven trait of skin pigmentation has reacted to the lack of light in much of the Underdark, giving them an ashen complexion ranging from pure black to light grey, depending on the region and how much atrificial light they're accustomed to. There are even regions of the underworld lit by phosporescent fungi, which give off a pule, purple light. The Qualenti who live amongst these mushrooms tend to have purple or blue-cast skin tones. The Qualenti are a new race, only in existence for around 2,000 years. They were formed out of perceived necessaity, ans as such are rather bitter about their descent into the darkness beneath the world. Ironically, this resentment has turned to a hatred for the "world of light." They can't really handle the light well (their eyes cannot take bright sunlight), and whenever they travel to the surface (most commonly for raids), they tend to do it by moonlight. A particularly derogatory term for the Qualenti is "dirt elves," and anyone stupid enough to use this pegorative around them is "cruising for an epic bruising." Qualenti do not have many allies, and are generally considered to be a xenophobic (if not overtly racist), "evil" race. This, of course, is an oversimplification, and many Qualenti are quite personable. These particular dark elves are the ones most likely to be encountered as adventurers, for they are often exiled for their point of view, or simply cannot stand the stifling rigidity of their kins' ways. They are also typically the shortest of all the elves, with average heights not much above 5 feet. Like the Kelti, they have a good degree of racial variation, and some even sport the same "four fingered" configuration as their open-air cousins. Their societal power structure is based upon power and power alone. Since they are of a magical bent, arcane power is prized over all else.Through tradition, education and access, the primary possessors of this power are female. This started with the most powerful female Blood Mage, Lolth, who ascended to demi-godhood after she absorbed a massive burst of pure wild magic from Celene during the Sundering. None know if she survived this, or is just a symbolic figurehead for the Deep Elves. Something answers their arcane rituals and prayers however. If it's not Lolth, perhaps it's something far darker. Something from "beyond." For an example of the Qualenti within The Underdark, see the entry on House Dey'orl and its clan of dark elves. HISTORY & LOCATION The Elves of Hariel Majour After The Sundering, The High Elves to the North, known as the Solti or Winter Elves, retreated to their distant homeland of Neishmehil, at Hariel Majour's north eastern seaboard. However, they have not completely removed themselves from the affairs of Gothen, and often send emissaries whenever court is held. Beyond the barrier of the magically imbued Feywood, Neishmehil separates the Winter Elves from their “lesser” kin. A great animosity exists between the elvish highlords (oft called Ice Elves, as a pejorative) and their shorter, sylvan brethren, The Kelti. The Kelti, or Wood Elves are far friendlier with their neighbors, and for most commoners, represent all they know of elvish people. Dark, "Drow" elves (once Kelti, later transformed by the abyssal magic of the Deepening Pits into malicious beings known as The Qualenti) are those who revolted against the rule of Nieshmehil, and were so thoroughly defeated, they were forced to retreat to the subterranean cities of the Underdark rather than face total annihilation at the hands of their former brothers. There, in the Deepening Pits of the Undercities, they’ve grown in power to such a degree, that a planned reckoning may not be long in the future. If the Qualenti were to hear of an invasion from the East, they would likely attempt to commit their forces to the foreign invaders’ cause. The Kelti, "children" of Winter At the edge of the accursed Dullwood lies the Border Fey, home of the Kelti. Here they serve as guardians of the ancestral elven kingdom of Neishmehil, both out of tradition, and out of disdain for their more "noble" kin. They both love and hate the kingdom of the Fey, not wanting to abandon it, but knowing that living any closer than the border would be a constant salt in a longstanding racial wound. Some Kelti willingly serve as attendants to the Winter highlords, living in self-imposed servitude in the paradise of Nieshmehil. Conversely, the Winter Elves tolerate their “lesser” brethren at their borders, for they serve as a deterrent to those who would attempt to cross the barrier into their lands (primarily Goblinoid). Oddly, there have been recent, sickening rumors of The ISAGORN (a dynastic line of Hobgoblins) seeking out and planning an "insurrection" with the most scornful of the Kelti, as they perhaps share a mutual enemy. But though they quarrel, there still lies a bond between The Winter Elves and the Kelti that has yet to be fully broken.
True Names of the FeyLike all other creatures that originate or have significant ties to the Feywild, all elves (and most half-elves) have a secret "true" name that they never reveal to anyone, lest that person gain some sort of supernatural control over them. Elves do not choose their true names, and they are not assigned by their parents. Rather, they are born with names bestowed upon them by the cosmos itself. Often, it takes years and years before the elf in question even discovers its own true name. It's also not unheard of for an elf to live his or her entire (lengthy) lifetime without ever knowing their true name. The dominion of one bearing an elf's true name over said elf is closely akin to that of a demon or devil whose true name has been "stolen" by a summoner (or similar). In fact, the greatest trust and show of love and elf can impart to another is the revealing (or "gifting") of their true name. There is no higher personal honor that an elf can bestow. Names given are referred to as "gifts," while names discovered (or researched) unbeknownst to a particular elf are considered "stolen."
Much about elvish society is rather secret. This likely has something to do with the "fact" (at least from their point of view) that they are direct "descendants" of Celene's gods, and are tasked with keeping the mountain's secrets. It's even possible, given their long lifespans (often deemed indefinite), that some elders amongst the elven tribes were actually on Celene back when it first landed on Gothenya. But this is just wild conjecture, naturally.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
The largest colony of both Kelti and Solti in the west occupy the northern forest of The Feywood, however both species are not uncommon throughout the west. Another large colony of Solti inhabit The Horta, in the southwest portion of Hariel Minuta. The Qualenti are spread evenly throughout the cavernous maze of The Underdark, with populations known in both Hariel Majour and Hariel Minuta. As far as Golthien is concerned, there is not yet an accurate demographic breakdown to which we can currently refer.
Most elves are blessed with above average intelligence and the wisdom of the Feywild.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
All elves have strong Darkvision, and otherwise follow the rules laid out in the PHB.
- These "Godkin" were created by the Lords of Celene as servants to the holy mountain. Or at least, that's what elven legend claims.
- Average Height
- The average elf stands slightly shorter than the average human, somewhere between 5' to 5'8 for males, and 4' to 5'4 for females. But amongst elves, the Solti are typically the tallest, with taller members coming in right around 6 feet.
- Average Physique
- Elves tend towards lithe physiques, and have a difficult time putting on weight (purposely or otherwise).
- Related Myths
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