volcanic wood elves Ethnicity in Scarterra | World Anvil

volcanic wood elves

Properly called bykan elves, the colloquial name of "volcanic elves" or "fiery elves" is used more often in ordinary conversation.   This ethnicity hails from a region in Codenya dotted with semi-active volcanoes. The soil is extremely fertile but the locals understand that nothing will last forever here.     By the Third Age, the bykans are rarely surprised by volcanic activities and when they are surprised it's more of an inconvenience than a deadly threat. Magical divination helps predict major Geothermal activity before it becomes a severe danger, and even without magic most bykan elders can read minor changes in the landscape to make accurate prediction for volcanic eruptions and dangerous geyser eruptions days in advance if not weeks in advance.   Unsurprisingly, given that their homelands are saturated with fire elemental energy, bykan elves have a lot of fiery elemental ethnicity in addition to a fair amount of earthy traits, making them stand out from the airy and watery primary traits most other wood elves manifest.


Culture and cultural heritage

Propelled by their fiery heritage and their general piety towards Zarthus, the bykans value artistic achievements greatly.   Music and storytelling is prized (because it cannot be destroyed by lava), but all forms of art are promoted. Most of the time, art can be evacuated before a seismic events and if not, the bykans accept that art, like most things in life, are transitory.

Shared customary codes and values

While bykans are usually able to avoid volcanic related mishaps, the fact that they live, work, and love near ever present danger has influenced their psychology and culture. They are noticeably more prone to risk taking and living for the moment than the more slower paced wood elves in the rest of Codenya.

Average technological level

Bykans are fully integrated with other wood elves and have all the same access to the cultural achievements of the nation of Codenya that wood elves enjoy.   Relative to other wood elves, bykans encourage the study of wizardry and professions related to wizardry such as alchemy and herbalism.  This helps bykans avoid the dangers of living in a geothermally active region while also taking advantage of the rare resources and opportunities this avails them.

Common Dress code

Like most wood elves, the bykan dress pragmatically more often than not, dressing for comfort and often dressing to blend in with the forests.   While this is not universal, bykans are more likely to dress flamboyantly than other wood elves favoring vibrant colors, at least some times.  A bykan in the forest is not going to wear bright colors if he is hunting or on patrol.

Art & Architecture

They have a few citadels made of magically fortified volcanic rock that they can seek shelter from nature or enemies in, but most bykans live in easily constructed simple wooden and thatch huts.   Even compared to other wood elves, bykans are not picky where they seek shelter and sleep. While the bykans value artistic expression in almost everything they do, they do not waste effort on sprucing up the buildings instead favoring more portable forms of art, their jewelry is especially renown and prized throughout Codenya.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

During a bykan's name day, the infant is generally anointed with a small amount of volcanic ash in a small formal ceremony.   The volcanic ash symbolizes fertility, health, vitality, but ultimately that life is short and needs to be lived to the fullest.

Coming of Age Rites

Boy boys and girls will typically have a coming of age rite which involves a climb up a volcano with minimal food and water.  Upon reaching the summon, the climber will throw a symbolic trinket from their early childhood into a volcano.  After descending the volcano, the young man or woman is given a piece of jewelry to recognize their new adult status, this jewelry is often but not always fashioned from obsidian.   Mostly this is a test of endurance, but if young elf gets a vision or is physically met by a spirit, this is considered a good omen.

Funerary and Memorial customs

Bykans, not too surprisingly favor cremation.  The family of the bereaved has a lot of leeway into deciding what to do with the ashes.  Typically the ashes are kept in an urn for one year or nine years, and then spread over an area of significance to the individual such as the family home, one of the central volcanoes nearest their home or a place associated with happy memories during that person's life.


Beauty Ideals

Most bykan elves have fiery hair traits resulting in various shades of blond and red hair being pretty common. Bronzed or tanned skin is the norm.

Gender Ideals

Like most wood elves, bykans are very egalitarian rarely pushes either gender into specific roles letting boys and girls pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they help the community.

Courtship Ideals

Relative to other wood elves, Bykans are more emotionally driven and less pragmatic when selecting mates. Bykans don't differ much from wood elves as a whole. In fact, a great many bykans end marrying non-bykans, the bykans are hardly a homogenous group, either culturally or genetically.   Traditionally, while an elf born out the volcanic region of Codenya could display many traits commonly associated with bykans and be proud of her bykan heritage, for most, to be considered a bykan, one must grow up in the volcanic regions.

Bykan Elf Rumspringas

  Bykan Rumspringas are not different from mainstream Rumspringas.   Given the general bykan philosophy of living for the moment and taking risks, bykans often have more exciting and interesting Rumspringas than other wood elves.
Parent ethnicities
Encompassed species
Languages spoken
Related Locations

Cover image: by me with Heroforge


Please Login in order to comment!