- 1 Geography
- 2 Population
- 3 Elven attitudes
- 4 People
- 4.1 Royalty
- 4.2 Courtiers
- 4.3 Factions, groups or organisations
- 5 Places
- 5.1 Eidolon
- 5.2 Winter Garden
- 5.3 Elvandar
- 5.4 Vorimairë
- 5.5 Nordlingen, Fergensee and Passau
- 5.6 Merche and Adjac
- 5.7 Salins
- 5.8 Siegens
- 5.9 Úvandor
- 5.10 Quickborn
- 5.11 Seensplate
- 5.12 Liesuen
- 5.13 Varnendor
- 5.14 Ladlaugh
- 5.15 Elsfield
- 5.16 Erlangene
- 5.17 Enwinolm
- 6 History
Queendom: on the north side of the Alfheim Mountains.
All the cities are odd: single huge trees, or over multiple trees, or made of crystal and silver. cf Eidolon.
Lang.: Elvish, money.
The borders of Alfheim are approximately 600 miles N-S and 400 miles E-W but there is a large portion of 'wild lands' around the queendom inhabited by all sorts of folk. The lands are largely wooded, some open cultivated areas. There are paths through the forest, but most transportation uses canals and barges/canal-boats with magical hulls drifting under their own power.
The Queendom is heavily populated in a few areas, well populated in the main but sparsely populated in other areas. Popn density of around 50 per sqm would give this an overall population of around 12m mark. However ...
Few elves believe they should do anything constructive in their life time. At the most they should achieve one memorable thing. So they spend a lot of time doing little. Hence recreational drugs are widely used. A new drug or boredom buster is an easy way to make a lot of friends at court. As long as it does not involve effort on the part of the bored.
Elves will discuss anything. And a new discussion is an excuse to rekindle old grievances, as long as there is a semblance of a bridge to the topic under discussion. Hence the elvish discussion on whether to participate in the salvation of Alusia might begin with a vicious debate on the merits of staying on Alusia. The terms 'people', 'culture' and 'civilisations' obviously only apply to elves.
Hence to learn something or to get anything done, will take much longer. e.g. days instead of hours, weeks instead of days, months instead of weeks etc.
Learning a college at the Royal College of Magic takes six years - and the students have a thorough knowledge of the history (major proponents and their adaptions/evolutions) of each spell. Students are selected to attend based on their magical ability, and conniving/spending at court.
At court 'nice girls' do not mention humans (and other lesser humanoids) or recognise their existence (it would be like a southern girl saying that black men are interesting). The richer merchants etc probably mimic this (at least on the outside whilst recognising their potential) and may resist the temptation to trade with them. Social ostracism could be bad when you live for 1000s of years!
Elvish ideas of the rest of the world are millennia out of date. And they do not wish any updates thank you.
- "Nasty, place. Drizzled the whole time I was there. The bread was hard and the wine weak."
The changing nature of the world beyond their borders and internal issues have changed elven society. Since the Rites of Spring were bought back and rekindled as a hope for the Elven race and the various periods of factional infighting they have stopped the incessant partying and become more active and normal, rather than drug addled, hard partying and care free.
The Elven nobility is matrilinial (passes through the female side).
Alternatively: Her Elven Majesty, Her Royal Majesty, The Queen of Alfheim, Her Imperial Majesty (technically inaccurate but there are those who wish to correct that), or simply The Queen (since who else might one mean?).
The ruler of Alfheim, mother of Prince Rylec. The Queen's husband, Prince-Consort Tarec, was killed in 612 WK while leading an army against raiding giants in the north. Her majesty has so far chosen not to remarry.
Her Majesty's given name is Aliera, but there are few people that may use her name, and most of them would only use it in private. Outside of Alfheim most people don't even know her name.
Princess Illyana, Heir Presumptive, more formally titled "Venerable-Princess" -- a unique title granted her by the Queen -- is a young elven noble-woman (approx. equivalent age of early twenties) born in the ancient days of the old empire (before the War of Tears) into the clan Dancing Turquoise Tiger.
Illyana was placed in hibernation for her safety at the outbreak of hostilities, and remained hidden and sleeping for many millennia until she was rediscovered and awoken by a Guild party in the 790's and subsequently taken to Alfheim.
Her arrival caused something of a stir amongst the traditionalists since she may technically have a greater claim to the Elven throne than the current incumbent. While records from before the war are fragmentary, the Dancing Turquoise Tiger clan is known to have been a cadet branch of the then royal clan Noble Sapphire Day, making Illyana very probably a close-ish relative of the last Empress, Letheana.
Political factions and manoeuvring began around Illyana -- not so much because the nobles involved wished to see her in power, but to provide a lever on the throne. The Queen countered by making Illyana her ward and naming her "Venerable-Princess". (The Elven form of the title has ambiguous meaning, but the essential point was overtones of "Princess for historical reasons only").
This didn't end the politicking and eventually the Queen named Illyana as her heir, conditional on daughters of her body being heir-apparent. As the Queen has no daughters, her son cannot inherit, and her majesty has named no other heir, Illyana is for the present the heir presumptive to the Elven throne.
Prince Rylec is the son and only child of the Queen. As a male Rylec may not inherit the throne, and nor do any of his female children automatically inherit through him (although it would be quite normal for the Queen to name one of his female descendants as her heir if she wished). Prince Rylec is married to Lady Wensia, daughter of a minor family from the Bordensee province, a union of which his mother does not approve. Rylec and Wensia have three children: Barrin (m), Arisia (f), and Caillin (m). While the Queen's grandchildren bear the titles of Princes and Princess, the fact that their mother has been granted no titles, and that Princess Arisia has not been named Princess-Royal speak to the Queen's displeasure about her son's choice of partner.
Prince Eoren, the great-uncle of the Queen, holds the office of Warden of the Northern Marches, and as such is the nominal ruler of Elvandar.
In actuality the Prince's court mostly consists of several semi-deserted buildings run by a skeleton staff of little liked and largely ignored deputies, and populated by various nobles that no-one in Eidolon currently wants -- indeed to have gone North, or be sent North is a commonly known phrase in Alfheim, with a meaning similar to sent to Coventry.
Prince Eoren himself is far more likely to be found in a military encampment in the far wilderness, involved in fighting off border raids from giants and other unsavoury sorts at the head of an army including his personal regiment Eoren's Bowmen. The Prince is well liked by his troops -- even his Elvandar troops, who generally consider him a far better sort than most of the Nobles from the capital.
Princess Isil Eth is daughter to Lord ___, Warden of the Southern Marches, first cousin to the Queen.
As it is her father who is of the royal line, Isil Eth is not in line of secession. Not unless all matrilinial female heirs (and Princess Illyana) died.
The prospect of a Queen who is an agent of Manwe/Varda polarises most Elves, fortunately it is highly unlikely (barring acts of gods).
Keeper, Mistress of Assassins
Lady Alais. A serious and no-nonsense elf. Lady Alais is the Queens feared investigator and spy mistress. As Keeper, she has access to the Royal Champions, elven warriors so dangerous and insane they are kept permanently sedated.
Royal Eyes of Wisdom
For over two hundred years the three seers have successfully held the position within the Court. The three normally reside in the Winter Garden at the Sunrise Temple. They are; Sir Callus Kelpenwood a Lord from the Elven Isles who is known for being kind and polite and two of The Queen’s most loyal ladies-in-waiting Lady Hanna Royal Elm, and Lady Marigold (who is understood to have returned centuries ago from Kinlu). Both are known to be very discreet and have many contacts within the Court for getting things done.
The Great and Powerful healers of Alfheim. Led by Lady Mirrow Hearttouch a young looking Elf of only ~3,250 years of age. They are said to be able to perform some of the most powerful healing within the realm including a wide range of Fae healing. Lady Mirrow travels with her two bodyguards, Mistress Elm and Mistree Ash (Which are their office names) who are said to be members of the free Dryad (of the Quickborn province in the north of Alfheim) coming from and not bound to a single tree or location.
In 809 WK the Queen appointed Sir Celladoor Bladekind, a young and handsome male outcast from the Beltan Elves to this office. He is the new holder of this office of 'Youthful Expectations'. It is unclear what his roles or duties are. His advice is often sort by the Queen.
Factions, groups or organisations
Ministry of War
Ministry of Defence
Internal Security (Department I)
- Section 7
The descendants of a division of warriors of the Elven Empire, their role in the Imperial army is the first line of offence against extra-planar threats to the Empire. Having been out on campaign the last 30,000 years they were somewhat shocked on returning for resupply to find the Empire fallen and the remnants unable to even service their fleet of flying ships.
Initially based out of Elfenburg, they are gradually being accepted and are more likely to be seen in Alfheim. Following the events and agreements of 809-810wk the Beltan are now actively involved in the defence of Alfheim.
This is a body of elves gathered together by Kern Silvercrest and taught recent and modern combat tactics. They are all hardy outdoors elves who think they already have a good grasp on how to fight but a willing to listen when Kern is around. There are about 1000 Kernsmen. While most are technically High Elves they are all tough outdoors types not really accustomed to courtly settings. Most Kernsmen are male, only about 1 in 6 are female.
Capital of Alfheim, a dual city: ancient, excessively civilized, exorbitantly expensive.
Selkai (the lower city) is on the lake's surface, criss-crossed with canals.
Eidolon (the upper city), floating about a mile above Selkei, resembles a circular step-pyramid.
All of the real nobs and royalty live up here. The wide, lowest stage of Eidolon has huge trading warehouses and docks for the fleet of Elven flying-ships, which don't visit the Baronies, because they're too politically unstable.
Almost anything may be bought at Eidolon including minor magical items (if easily reproducible or desired in quantity -- e.g., armour and weapons) ... but it is all hideously expensive (about 4x Seagate cost): e.g., good boots in Seagate (20sp) are 10 [Selini] in Selkai (8 Seagate sp = 1 silver Selini).
The old Winter Capital of Alfheim, and is also know as the Eyes of Alfheim.
Located close to the eastern mountain borders. It is the place that outsiders are often taken if they are known to the Elves and stray into the tree realm. It is one of the few places within the realm that outsiders are seen in any numbers, and are welcome.
The City also serves the Sunrise Temple which is a large circular step-pyramid where the priests see in the New Year's sun.
The only pass through the Dragonspine Mountains for wheeled vehicles leads south to Elfenburg
Lying in the north-west of Alfheim, Elvandar is part of the greater elven kingdom in much the same way Scotland is part of England. Like Scotland, it is a hard, dangerous place filled with hard, dangerous people who pay only lip service to the notion of a greater elven kingdom (and only when the Krrf snorters are watching). Away from the high courts of Eidolon are elves who live a rougher and some say darker existence. There are rumours that the Old Gods are still worshipped and their bloody rituals observed. Most fearsome of these is the dreaded and mythical Wild Hunt which some say has revived itself in recent times.
The 'Wild Elves', as they are termed, regard themselves as the 'true spirit and soul' of Alfheim. Many chafe at the restrictions placed upon them regarding the status of short lived sentients and the relinquishing of lands on the other side of the Dragonspines by the Articles of Elvandar. It must be said that many are totally unaware of the spread and vigour of these cultures and that the High Court's policy is the safest option.
Still, the Wild Ones do not regard themselves as traitors and many serve in Alfhiem's military. They can be well travelled and are not always the insular hicks they appear to be. It may be that this major presence in the army is what has stayed Eidolon's hand in dealing with a particularly troublesome province.
In his office as Warden of the Northern Marches Prince Eoren is the provincial ruler of Elvandar... on paper. The Warden's palace consists of largely deserted buildings and grounds with a bare skeleton staff to try and maintain them. Most business is actually done at the Low Court of Lord Velteyn.
Only very occasionally, will any Wild Elf acknowledge the rightful ruler and it is probably the presence of the High Guard which jogs their memory at the time. Oddly enough, the Prince is well liked as Warden, and many Elvandar elves have served with him in the military and would gladly follow his lead in military matters. That Eoren is much happier wearing his General's hat to his Governor's one seems to be what makes this odd dichotomy possible.
Lord Velteyn is an influential noble with very traditional leanings. Unofficial ruler of Elvandar.
(lit: Steadfast Sea). A large southern province dominated by a giant lake. It lies west of the central provinces and east of southern Elvandar. The locals are farmers and fishermen mostly and indeed the lake is intensively fished. For all that the locals know surprisingly little about lies beneath the more productive levels.
Nordlingen, Fergensee and Passau
These three large and rich provinces surround Eidolon. They are they capital's main source of well, almost everything. Nested within carefully cultured forests are massive fields capable of feeding the giant city. All industry is likewise tastefully concealed and much commerce flows along the giant canals through the regions. The regions have very few nobles in residence (they all can live in the big city) and to meet one is to assume they've committed this or that outrage or are currently doing some menial task which for some reason cannot be trusted to a commoner.
Merche and Adjac
Following the massive river feeding Vorimairë are the two provinces of Merche (north) and Adjac (south). Although ruled by two distinct houses the realities of easy travel, common causes and shared histories tends to make them one. Their entire western border is dominated by the feral forests of Elvandar. Producing the best cloths and dyes in the Empire the regions are rich, prosperous and were it not for the occasional Elvandan raiding party, idyllic.
The locals are much enchanted by the returned Imperial Princess and current heir-designate. Many, in their cups have been heard to wonder if her time has come...
Lady Talis rules Merche.
High Elven in name only, Salins may be considered the eastern-most part of the Elvandan nation. Unlike other elven lands where the trees act as fences, houses, borders and aesthetic delights the forests here provide an impassable wall of wood where light never reaches the forest floor. Where strange things scuttle and scurry in the stygian darkness and for gods sake, don't go out at night. The last census taker was sent back as a decorative and macabre jewellery set and the tax collectors hang from the trees as if caught by really big spiders. Apparently the basilisks grow really big in this environment.
Travel north by river from Merche and you reach the mountainous region of Siegens. A Siegenian Elf is considered by other elves as very odd as they are as likely to be a miner, smith or builder as any respectable profession. A lack of wood (by elven standards) and abundance of raw materials drives this and the Siegenian preference for actual buildings (as opposed to well trained trees). For their part the elves of Siegen regard the others as backwoods hicks who would do well to remember that nails, horseshoes, swords and ploughshares don't grow from trees. Elven smithing is amongst the best in Alusia and it is in Siegens that they practice and refine it.
(lit: Monsterland) In the far north-west lies Úvandor. It is dark, forbidding and filled with, well, monsters. Unlike some other parts where the inhabitants seem to live in a state of balance with their feral neighbours Úvandor is a province under siege. Dark forces and their minions invade from the north and the west. The elves of Úvandor are mean, tough, and completely loyal to the throne as it is only royal support that keeps the darkness at bay.
East of Úvandor and possessing far better natural barriers to the things from the north is Quickborn. Lying near the end of the Elven weather magic the northern reaches seem to exist in a permanent state of winter. Elves from this area are seen as lean, tough, hardy outdoorsmen making a living from hunting, trapping and skinning everything with a profitable pelt, of which there are plenty. Many are actually herders of deer and live in permanent villages but the mythos of being able to hunt an elk through 25 miles of harsh terrain and then carry it back persists.
The most Northern of the eastern provinces Seensplate lies outside the weather magic zone that provides the rest of Alfhiem with an eternal balmy spring. It is as if the magic, beauty and grandeur of the elves has forgotten this province. The elves within are rare, hardy and often only staying for reasons of honour, duty or geas. The land seems not so much wild as, tired. Great things happened here once, indeed, but that was long ago and now the province shuffles off largely unremembered except by queer historians. The province does not even have a current Lady.
South of Enwinolm and north of Varnendor is a forest that immediately comes to mind when one thinks of elves and Alfhiem. Tall, beautiful trees, lovely groves, villages and towns seeming to grow naturally from the surroundings. The locals are woodsmen of unsurpassed skill and every able adult practices daily with the spear and bow, the best of which are made (grown) here. However until recently the province was under a dark and sinister curse that caused them often to be at odds with greater Alfhiem and that their cultural skills allowed them do so. However even beyond the curse Liesuen is the most egalitarian of elven lands and does not accept the currently fashionable class system. This will remain the grounds for conflict for a long time to come.
Lord of Liesuen
(lit: land of the dark/brown river). A bountiful, rich and successful province overflowing with milk and honey with but one minor problem. Hobbits. About a thousand years ago an adventurer rescued a tribe of Hobbits threatened by some big nasty or vengeful volcano. With the approval of the ruling Lady they brought them into the province where they could rebuild their lives. And how. In the present day Varnendor can be described as a province of Hobbits supporting a tiny population of elves. A Varnendoran Hobbit in their tweens travels to a local elven household to 'learn a trade'. These days of course what they do is learn it off older, established Hobbits already in the household. The elves benefit by being able to live lives of total luxury waited on hand and foot by an army of Hobbits and the Hobbits grow, multiply and prosper in a land where none of the normal checks on these normally vulnerable folk exist. The last imperial census taker suffered a heart attack and died when inquiring about their numbers. Varnendor lies south of Liesuen.
South of Seensplate is Ladlaugh, a province with an infamous past and querulous future. Like it's northern neighbour it has seen better days and was slowly fading into senescense when events took a sudden turn. Now the area seems to be reawakening, rejuvenating and undergoing sudden rebirth. A visitor from even 10 years ago would have to check a map to ensure they were in the same place. Still it is far from the capital and serious elven news. It may be however that future historians will note that ignoring Ladlaugh's growing magical and economic might was a fatal error for the then ruling classes.
West of Varnendor and Southeast of Ladlaugh is Elsfield. Ruled by the strange High Lady Maris she spends a great deal of time encouraging her subjects to work harder, innovate better and outdo your neighbours. Draconian and some say quite mad she has outlawed loafing and vagrancy (standard elvish pastimes). Mean spirited harridan is a polite term for Lady Maris and she is feared both at home and in Eidolon. Rumoured to be a Necromancer whose dead consorts provide an honour guard she does get results and an Elf of Elsfield is wealthy and prosperous, if a little put upon.
High Lady Maris rules Elsfield.
Nestled to the north of Passau and Fergensee is the small dreamy province of Erlangene which exists to support The University.
Si Ialolaesoria os Condraer Jhaesol (Elv. The University of Highest Learning)
The University (as everybody calls it) was formed to develop knowledge and magic to better the elven empire. On paper. These days it is a place to send excess sons and intractable daughters. 'Get thee to the University' is a good threat to conjure with your high-elven daughter. Oh yes, excess males. At the University one can taste the testosterone in the air. Makes for a damn exciting knowledge environment when most of the faculty is also a mage.
South of Quickborn is an elven province famed for it's seers, mystics and soothsayers. It is a land alive with portents and wonders which the less gifted locals try best to ignore
- "Sorry milord, just another bloody portent"
Locals are seen as superstitious and overly religious and not appreciative of higher culture. That seems to vanish whenever a divination, prediction or sheer magic power is needed. The other reason not to rag on the locals ways is their cultural affinity with axes and their use in war.
The succession, reintegration, demarcation, revolution and evolution of the various Provinces of Alfhiem started in the Summer of 808 with the succession of Ladlaugh. This event, while minor in of itself, brought to a head many of the disputes and problems in the Empire. Due to the wise counsel of St Isil Eth the Lawgiver (and the actions of some other adventurers, heroes and mercenaries and some relatively minor battles) the Empire is reorganised, reunified, more independant and undergoing a renaissance of Elven character and virtues. The conflict ended in Summer 810.
Unlike human conflicts, the ECW was more a conflict of ideas and values caused mostly by Elven travellers bringing back the best of other cultures and trying to get the locals to adopt them. The re-awakening of the Old Gods and of elven spirituality also played a major part. This is not to say people did not get hurt though.
Adventures and campaign events... (TBC)