Once-verdant trees glinting blue in the fading light, their former leaves razor-sharp, a swansong of a falling civilisation. The Ancient Ones gifted us their dreams and bid us take heed of Alseta's divine guidance across the Astral Sea, where the essence of our kin was forever changed by the chaotic magics of the Maelstrom... and we arrived to a whisper of what we once had, to forests and wilderness already tainted by lesser mortals. Time may pass, but we shall not forget what was once seen; nor shall we allow history to repeat itself atop a new star.The elves of Istralar are an alien species that arrived many thousands of years ago, before even the first war of the Heavens. Long ago, in the earliest days of civilisation, they stepped out of a newly-formed elf gate into the northern forests of Xin-Jiyu, bearing seeds, crafts and fauna from their previous home. Thankful to their gods for guiding them to this new star, they near-immediately began to construct their first home - Melaeden - in the centre of the forest. From here, elven life would advance across the world, spreading druidic teachings and foreign fauna/flora to every corner of the planet. This first day is treated by most elves as the 'New Dawn', and is generally assumed to mark the beginning of their self-appointed guardianship of all Istralar's nature. Due to their foreign status and extended lifespans, elves have always seen themselves as superior to most other races. In darker periods of history, this has led to systematic oppression and/or genocide of 'lesser' races, or to high political tensions and war when the 'lessers' refuse to be considered such. Famously, dwarves have never appreciated the elves, and many different factions of elves and dwarves have found themselves at war no matter where they're located. Scholars believe this is likely a result of their opposing belief systems - whilst most elves cherish nature and care little for technological advancement, dwarves are quite the opposite. [tbc]
Anatomy & Morphology
Elves have tall, slender physiques that lean towards dexterity rather than strength. They remain similar in structure to humans, but their increased height and effortless grace comes at the cost of a weaker skeletal structure.
Genetics and Reproduction
To be blessed with motherhood is wondrous for any elf. Elven women do not suffer periods as often as humans, instead undergoing yearly periods that can last from one week to three months. Their most fertile times are similarly in flux - a few months after a period, elven woman will enter a period of fertility that can last anywhere from three days to a month, signified by a slightly heightened temperature. Conception is achieved by sexual intercourse during this fertile period, but even during this time, the chance of conception is fairly low. Many elven couples are forced to wait multiple years to bear children unless magical aid is sought. It generally takes eleven months for an elven child to gestate (though some may take longer) when the mother is pregnant. During this time, the mother must be defended as her natural reflexes will suffer. Birth is a difficult process, traditionally made easier through the aid of other elves and fey. Twins are nearly entirely unheard of, and usually result in severe damage to the mother - sometimes resulting in her death. Mostly due to their frail constitution, elven women choose to only bear two or three children, as the risks dramatically increase after the third child.
Growth Rate & Stages
Elven children grow extremely fast in their early years, being able to speak and walk in their first year. Whilst physical maturity is not completed until their late 70s, and they are not considered fully mature until they reach the age of 110, their minds develop far more swiftly (though true maturity is only gained with experience). Young elves might appear to be human-style toddlers, but will possess mature language and skill beyond their apparent years. Elven ears begin as slight points, and only become the long, pointed ears of tradition after physical maturity. This is often a point of teasing for younger elves. Occasionally, the ears will not develop properly and will require magical intervention. Elves hit middle-age at around 175 years old, are considered 'old' at 263 years, and venerable at 350 years. The eldest of all elves can live to around 750 years, but old age can claim them any time after they hit 350.
Ecology and Habitats
Whilst elves are originally from another planet, they now find themselves most at home in forests, wildernesses and other areas of secluded nature. Most elves are in touch with their environment, and take pains to protect and defend it from any aggressors. Cave elves are extremely rare, and are often stigmatised in elven society due to their proximity to drow.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Elves bear a natural sense of magic that lingers in their blood. This magic is responsible for their classic ability to resist enchantments and sleep, and for the larger population of elven spellcasters. Depending on the heritage of any such elf, this magical ability may express itself in the form of elemental resistance, aptitude for particular forms of magic, or even the power to tap into dreams. In addition, the stealthy nature of elves and their larger eyes and ears have allowed them to develop brilliant senses. In areas of dim light, they can see further than most men, and their sharp eyes can spot detail that others might miss.
Civilization and Culture
Elven names generally sound melodic, taking aspects of the cultures around them and altering them to be more musical. 'Harsher' letters, such as 'z' and 'k', are generally avoided. Most elven cultures speak of separate first names for different relations; parents, lovers, friends and strangers will each use a different name for the same person. Last names differ by family status, and local culture. Generally, most couples either combine their names into a new last name, or choose one person to take the other's name. If the surnames are significant, however (such as when dealing with royalty), or if the couple wishes, both names may be kept and used by both. Examples of male names: Isarion, Arendir, Terelas, Endarel Examples of female names: Lissadriel, Myriandrae, Ysania, Niriannve
Surnames of the KingdomThe Kingdom of the Galasthin Elves has adopted a different surname tradition altogether. Each family line chooses a prefix of 1 to 5 letters. This is placed before an apostrophe. The rest of the surname (i.e. after the apostrophe) can be any length, and is used to determine the exact branch of a family. Firstborn children retain their full original surname, but subsequent children are given different last names upon reaching adulthood. In the case of firstborn children falling, the secondborn is given the chance to take on the main line's name. In marriage, the more prestigious (and generally shorter) prefix is taken by both partners, but they retain their original last names otherwise. As an example of this naming schema, the family lines of Aer'laeth and Aer'issanel are linked, but someone with the name Eru'laeth would not be related (unless it was someone of Aer'laeth who married someone with the prefix 'Eru').
Slender, dextrous and lightly muscled bodies paired with angular, symmetrical faces and large (but not overly so) ears are the elven idea of beauty.
+2 INT, +2 DEX, -2 CON