The Peoples of Mythandar
Always a work in progress.
Mythandar is a diverse world, inhabited by humans and human-like peoples, as well as ancient races far more alien. Men, elves, dwarves, halflings, orcs, ogres, giants, dragons, lizardfolk and merfolk all dwell in various regions. Supernatural creatures, from vampires to elementals, exist here, while demons and other extra-planar beings are able to visit from their own dimensions. All of the mortal races of Mythandar count their histories from creation during the First Age, when the gods were directly involved in affairs on this plane.
Most of the classic races and character types of fantasy literature exist in the World of Mythandar«. Players are free to play the type of characters they prefer, with a few restrictions. In general, extremely powerful and immortal Cs are prohibited or limited.
Mankind is the most numerous, diverse and widespread race of Mythandar. Historically (and according to myth), humans arose latest from primitive ancestors who separated into differing tribes and clans and migrated into far-flung lands. Mankind first learned the basics of civilization (farming, stone-building, metallurgy) in the regions east of the Inner Sea. Over thousands of years, civilization spread westward and, eventually, into the North.
Ethnically, humans differ widely according to region. In the northwest (Anglamar and Norland), the tall blond Koths are dominant. East and southward, folk become darker and smaller in stature. There are exceptions. The Storm Islanders have dark hair and and are typically shorter than their Kothic neighbors. In the far South, the Azuni tribesfolk, though extremely dark, are remarkably tall.
Throughout the Inner Sea Lands, the dark-haired and dark-eyed Aeans have spread the farthest while diversifying among many nations. As the first beyond Kesh and the Verdant Arc (Thyrenia-Huran) to become civilized, Aean language and culture has had the greatest influence on the West.
The third major ethnic group consists of the tribes and kingdoms south of the Inner Sea. From the nomads of the Southern deserts, through Kesh, Ammar (Thyrenia) and the Great Desert to Huran, the people are brown, black-eyed and narrow featured. Culturally, they vary greatly, from semi-savage nomads and hill tribes to the ancient and advanced civilizations of Huran and Kesh.
In the Far South and among the steppes and deserts eastward, are different folk, barely known to the inhabitants of the West. The southernmost tribesfolk are uniformly black or dark brown while the Eastern Nomads are classically "oriental" in appearance. Beyond them, the lands and their inhabitants are largely unknown except to mages and wizards able to travel freely over vast distances.
The Elder Race was once dominant throughout the primeval forests north of the Inner Sea. As mankind spread and encroached on their ancestral lands, elven territory and numbers diminished until, now, they rule only the forested realm of Everwilde (though they are numerous in the Wildewood and Eastmark). Non-elves are forbidden to enter Everwilde, except by leave of the lords of elven kind and there is an informal alliance between the Elves and the human kingdom of Anglamar.
Ethnically, all elves are of the same type - medium in height to tall (6 feet maximum), slim and graceful, with greater speed and coordination than humans. They have the classic features: pale skin, narrow, handsome faces, almond-shaped eyes, delicate pointed ears. They live far longer than men, 500 years or longer among the oldest High Elves, and are much more resistant to infirmity and disease. There are two bloodlines in the West. High Elves, the "royalty" of elven-kind, are among the tallest, with golden hair and eyes. Moon Elves (or Gray Elves) have black hair and eyes of palest blue or gray. The two groups intermingle with the characteristics of one or the other parent breeding true in their children.
Elves possesses unique and extraordinary abilities - keen intellect, superhuman physical agility and senses, and natural magical talents. Though not immortal (nor immune to physical injury), they live for centuries, gaining experience and Power as they age. Elves are also Lawful in nature: they are basically good, adhering to the ideals of personal freedom, fairness and generosity. However, they have learned to be cautious when dealing with other races in general and humans in particular.
All elves posses the following special abilities:
Superhuman agility. Elves are fast and graceful, dexterous with their hands (making them amazing archers and light-arms fighters), and precise in their crafts. The typical adult elf is about three times as fast as a human.
Superior senses of sight and hearing. Elven distance vision is some 10 times better that of humans and they are able to see in near total darkness as though in the light of day (light amplification). Their hearing is extremely acute, allowing them to detect sounds unnoticable to humans and at greater distance.
Mindspeak (telepathy) allows elves to communicate silently among themselves and with those humans who are able to "hear" them. The range of mindspeak is limited by an elf's Power level.
Magical abilities. Though they do not practice the magic arts as humans do, all elves are able to Sense Power and resist magical attack or influence (as a mage of equivalent Power Level). These abilities do not require formal training, but are natural talents which increase as the elf matures and gains experience.*
* Typically, an elven child will possess Weak Power, increasing to Typical at maturity and Superior in middle age (300+ years). The eldest elves possess Power at Fantastic level or higher.
Travel. The elves know the world far better than men do and are able to use their innate magical abilities to locate and use magical paths which link certain locations. These operate much like intra-planar portals, providing instantaneous travel without the restrictions of teleportation which mages use.
TERMS AND TITLES
ELDER RACE is the ancient name of the elves, as recorded in the histories of the Inner Sea Lands. According to their own traditions, elves were the first sentient mortals to inhabit Mythandar (the dwarves dispute this claim), given life by the primal power of creation itself. The term is now used as a gesture of formal respect.
THE PEOPLE is the common translation of the elvish name for themselves - talas (singular talasa). Non-elves are collectively called n'talar, literally "not of the people."
HIGH LADY is the acknowledged queen of elven-kind and among the eldest and most powerful of High Elves. For the last 500 years, Aravel of Everwilde has been High Lady of the Elves in the West.
HIGH ELVES are the highest caste of elven society, based solely on heredity and appearance. Also called Gold Elves, they are tall and handsome, with gold-blond hair (turning snowy white with age) and eyes of amber, green or blue. High Elves are the nobility of elven kind and accorded the greatest respect among the People.
GRAY ELVES (or Moon Elves) are distinguished by glossy black hair, gray, blue or violet eyes, and extremely pale skin. The most numerous of elves (outnumbering High Elves 20 to 1), they are the most likely to deal with outsiders. Adventurous Gray Elves even live or journey among humans for extended periods of time.
HALF-ELVES, the offspring of elven and human parents, are rare. As half-breeds, they are most often discriminated against or even outcast from human society. Half-bloods fortunate enough to be raised by elves are treated more kindly, though mistrusted for their human flaws ... Half-elves exhibit the mixed traits of both parents. As genetic hybrids, they are incapable of producing children (there are no 1/4 elves or humans with a trace of elvish blood). They are smaller and more agile than the typical human and possess all of the elven abilities to a lesser degree (see above - Power level is limited to Typical without formal magical training). Due to their elven heritage, human-raised half-elves often tend toward study of the magic arts, which makes them susceptible to corruption as are all elves.
WILD ELF or WOOD ELF is a term used by humans to refer to the forest-dwelling elves first encountered centuries ago when men migrated westward into Anglamar. The concept of the elf living like an animal in the wilderness is a myth and prejudice common among city-dwelling humans.
DARK ELF is a term incorrectly used by some as a name for the drow. In proper usage, a dark elf (elvish il'ntas) is one who has been corrupted by Power and become evil. Due to their natural magical abilities, elves are susceptible to the appeal of magic. Once seduced, such individuals abandon elven ethics and grow in Power beyond that of human mages. These rogue elves are ostracized from elven society and, depending on the extent of their corruption, are often hunted down and destroyed by other elves.
DROW are the third branch of elven kind, subterranean dwellers seperated long ago from their surface-dwelling kin. Seduced and corrupted by evil powers, they have become dark, in mind, body and soul. The Lost Ones (elvish il'loth) practice sorcery and worship the dark goddess Llis of the Blood-red Moon. drow have all of the abilities and talents of surface elves, but are weakened in the light of the sun. They are wholly evil in nature, and there is unrelenting hatred between the elves of light and darkness.
ATHANAS (├íth a-nas) is the much vaunted elven elixir that cures illness, speeds healing, and restores the mind and body from the effects of fatigue. Distilled from a secret mixture of herbs and magical ingredients, athanas is literally worth its weight in gold (Player Characters must get athanas from an elf in character).
ELVEN BOW is a short recurved bow made of laminated fibers and wood, perfectly balanced and elaborately carved and crafted. It is the mainstay of elven fighters and elven archers are reknowned for their deadly accuracy. Elven bows are rarely found in the possession of non-elves and only if they have been stolen or gifted to those considered elfwise (friends of the Elven People).
ELVEN CLOAK The cloak of elven-kind, mentioned in legends and fairy tales, is an item of great rarity and value. Woven from the finest threads of green, gray or midnight blue, it provides excellent protection from rain and cold. The most valuable trait is the ability to make the wearer virtually invisible by blending in with the surrounding terrain or environment. Cloaks are not sold openly, but are sometimes gifted to the elfwise.
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