Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: E is for Elves

The Elshaw Wood is a place where humans fear to tread.  It is filled with mysteries arcane and fey.  The Church and Kingdom vigorously patrol the outskirts, making sure creatures do not come out (or are they making sure citizens don't go in?) and threaten the good order.

Within the wood is an elven kingdom perfectly content to not deal with the humans to the west.  They have their own problem.  Recently (the last fifty years--recent for elves), the catacombs beneath their city, Calatirion, have been broken through by humanoids from some heretofore unknown land.  The elves are only concerned with encroaching men who may or may not be working with the humanoids.

In order to keep this encroachment down, the elves have instituted the Tauritirno, the Forest Watchers.  They serve two purposes: defense/reconnaissance of the periphery of the Elshaw and acquisition of human slaves.  Elves are majestically beautiful creatures of great power and magic.  However, they are as cruel and egotistical as they are attractive.  Feeling the world outside the Elshaw unworthy of their affairs, they often breed their lower caste males with female slaves.  The resultant half-elves (which actually qualify as Elves for PC race purposes) are then raised to be the ambassadors and other public representatives to the outside world.  As those half-elves breed with humans, the resultant "elf-bloods" (which are the PC race Half-Elves), are the result.  The diluted blood will typically last for about three generations before the offspring are, for game mechanics purposes, human.

There is a lot more to the Elshaw Elves, but those are mysteries to be uncovered in-game.

Implications for Player Characters:
Elves are much more powerful in Greatholm than most D&D settings.  As a result, the PC race known as an "Elf" is technically a half-elf.  The "Half-Elf" race is more appropriately an Elf-Blood, even more diluted.  

No. Appearing 1
Hit Dice 9d8
Armor Class -1 (Elfin Mail +2, Halberd of the Elvenkind,  plus Dexterity bonus)
Move 120’
Magic Resistance Immune to sleep and charm spells.  40% resistance to spells cast by non-elves.  20% Half-Elves, 10% Elves (PC Race)
Damage Halberd of the Elvenkind  (1d10+2/2d6+2 damage)
Defenses none
Attacks Halberd of the Elvenkind (2 attacks/round; Attack Rank J, +2)
Size M
Intelligence Highly Intelligent
Alignment Lawful Neutral
X.P. Value 1700+(12/h.p.)
Individual Treasure 5-40 p.p., Boots of the Elvenkind, 3 Cage Arrows (see below), Cloak of the Elvenkind, and Halberd of the Elvenkind (see below)

The beauty of the elves is such that characters with a wisdom of less than 14 will be subject to the effects of a fascinate spell.  PC-race elves and half-elves with wisdom scores in the 10-13 range are unaffected.  Ture elves also have the following spell-like abilities what can be used at will:
  • charm person against any of non-elven blood.  Elves have no limit to the number of  non-elves they can use this ability on.  However, if the target makes a saving throw, the elf cannot attempt to charm that target again for another 24 hours.
  • entangle (3 times/day)
  • speak with plants (2 times/day)
  • transport via plants (2 time/day)  This only works within the Elshaw Wood
Cage Arrows (New Magic Item)Bat over at Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets posted these on Sunday and they totally fit with the Tauritirno.

Halberd of the Elvenkind (New Magic Item)
This powerful weapon is found only in the hands of full-blooded elves.  Even PC-Race Elves are not permitted to wield them.  Any non-elf known to be in possession of a Halberd of the Elvenkind will, under no uncertain circumstances, be hunted until the offender is dead and the Halberd is back in the hands of the Elves.  This is one of the few circumstances when a party of Elves will leave the Elshaw.  Many of the villages (and certainly all nobles) near the Elshaw are aware of this and if they realize that someone has a Halberd, that person will, at best, be sent on their way.  At worst, the person will be slain and the Halberd will be returned at once.

For all wielders, the Halberd of the Elvenkind acts as a halberd +2  in all respects, with additional powers.  The wielder also receives a bonus of +2 to armor class and all saving throws.

It also contains enchantments similar to an enchanted staff.  If the wielder is of elven blood (an Elf, a PC-Race Elf, or a Half-Elf), a successful hit can do double damage a the expenditure of one charge, at the wielder's option.

If the wielder has the ability to cast arcane (Mage and its subclasses) spells, the wielder can also use the following abilities at will (as per the spell of the same name if applicable; the number in parenthesis is the number of charges used when the power is activated.  This cost is double if the wielder is an Elf (PC Race), triple if a Half-Elf, and quadruple if of any other race):
  • cone of cold (50% have fireball instead) (2)
  • continual light (1)
  • magic missile (1)
  • minor globe of invulnerability (1)

When found, the Halberd of the Elvenkind will have a number of charges equal to 26 minus 1d6.  It can be recharged by any spell whose effect the staff can create, plus any charm spells.  It is worth 
9,000 x.p.