Children of the feywild, descendants of a race long forgotten
Game rules for the Almish elf are identical to the elf race detailed in the D&D 4e official rulebooks.
When Alm was still young, its connection the Feywild was deep and powerful. Two gates stood permanently open between the planes of the fey and the mortal, flooding the land with the energy from which all life sprung. Around them grew the twin forests of Heartwood and Deepwood, wildernesses deep and impenetrable, filled with giant vegetation and impossible fey beasts.
Here, sheltered beneath the mighty canopies, a new kind of creature came to be. Equally fey and mortal, they were born into bodies native to the mortal plane, yet connected eternally to life itself—never to age, and never to die. These timeless ancients walked alongside the primal beasts and held the forest as their sanctuary, unconcerned with the world beyond.
It is not understood why, or how, the ancient gates were sealed. Tales of war and calamity abound, but all that is truly known is that the ancient fey have vanished, and the gates now stand closed. Those who failed to retreat into the Wild, so the story says, became the first truly mortal fey—eventually called “elves”.
Play an Almish elf if you want…
- to be swift, agile and observant.
- to be at home in the wilds, but not wild yourself.
- to deal with the impact of colonialism.
Almish elves stand a little shorter than a human on average, and are typically of slender build; athletic individuals are typically wiry and sinuous rather than bulky. Their fine features and long, pointed ears are very much like those of eladrin, though they usually project a less haughty demeanour.
Where eladrin are pale, elves have skin of dark, earthy tones—rarely lighter than a moderate tan, usually a very deep brown. They lack the bodily hair of humans, but grow extremely fine hair uniformly over their skin, making it slightly velvety to the touch. Their hair and eyes are most often some shade of green, but red, orange and brown are also common.
Natural elves sport two short, elegant horns curving back along their crown, much like those of an antelope. Although these have no apparent function, they are traditionally decorated with small ornaments or painted patterns—a courageous elf may even carve a pattern into their surface. However, the eladrin-dominated Calanish society encourages that elven infants have their horns removed at birth, to better fit in amongst “polite company”.
Traditional elven craft favours flowing linework that curves endlessly back and forth around itself to form an intricate pattern. Those who make their home in Deepwood usually favour these motifs strongly in their personal belongings, making a point of preserving an aesthetic that the Calans have done much to erase.
Playing an Almish Elf
The elves of Alm have a long and rich history, but all of it has been dramatically overshadowed by the coming of the eladrin. While they formed an alliance as equals, the eldarin saw it as their duty to “enlighten” the elves; ultimately, their success in the war lent them the power to consume and supplant elven customs and beliefs.
Today, elves find themselves quickly reduced to their relationship with this history; as Calans they are either complacent peasants or angry rabble-rousers, or in Deepwood they are noble, savage warriors. Of course, elves are as diverse as any other species, so frustration with this lack of nuance unites them more often than any other factor.
Elves in the greater world know that they must avoid or confront these ideas eventually. Elven adventurers often choose to keep their allies at arms’ length, rather than spending the considerable energy required to educate them. However, some choose a more confrontational path, believing that their companions are worth the effort. Often, such adventurers are motivated by a particular need to explore, that they might become worldly and well-informed beyond reproach.
- 14 years ago Update Original version published for D&D 3.5e
- 10 years ago Update Game mechanics overhauled for 4e (split into distinct elf and eladrin heritage). First 4e version published to gamebrief.wikidot.com
- 3 years ago Update Published to original Skies of Escarnum website.
- 2 years ago Update Moved to current Skies of Escarnum website. Various language changes; no significant rules changes