World of Amistade
Brown Elves are descended from the same stock as the White Elves, but they are much more primal than their kin. Their lives are geared toward the simple matter of survival in the woodlands, rather than enjoyment. Yet Brown Elves find that this life, more than anything else, gives them their greatest pleasure. The sophisticated art and delicate music of the White Elves is not for them. They prefer a simpler life. Their music is that of wind through leaves, the howl of wolves, and the cries of birds. Their art—in the form of tattoos—is inspired by the ever-changing cycle of seasons.
Where the kingdoms of the other races expand with strength and pride, the realms of the Brown Elves hope to grow with compassion and humility. The Brown Elves do not view their homelands as a land apart from Amistade; they understand better than their White Elf kindred that for better or worse, their fates are bound up with the fates of the other races around them.
Personality: Brown Elves, by their very nature, seem more prone to violence than their more civilized kin the White Elves. They are often described as wild and temperamental. This is true to the extent that Brown Elves are a very emotional people. They live with their hearts, not their minds as do the White Elves. Whatever they feel, they know it is the right answer. Logic plays little part in their lives, for logic cannot save one from the charging boar or the falling tree. Intuitions and strength are all that counts in the woods.
Brown elves are calm, serene, and difficult to surprise. Their patience is legendary. They are at one with the world of nature, and are not comfortable in areas of heavy civilization. They have lost the urge to build and replace nature with walls and palaces; even the cities built by their elven kin seem to be foolish to the Brown Elves. They have come to believe that buildings of stone are transitory in nature, and that in time, the forest returns to overgrow the greatest of cities. Other races interpret this attitude as fatalistic or condescending, and as a result Brown Elves find it hard to understand anyone who isn’t a Brown Elf.
Physical Description: Brown Elves stand about 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 feet tall and typically weigh 95 to 145 pounds, with Brown Elf men the same height as and only marginally heavier than Brown Elf women.
Brown Elves have coppery skin and brown, green, or hazel eyes. Hair is usually brown or black, occasionally blond or coppery-red. Brown Elves prefer to dress in simple clothing. They favor a simple cut to tunic or dress, set off by common embroidery in natural designs.
Brown Elves’ appearance testifies to their ties to nature and the Fey. They look elven except for one or two distinguishing features related to their primal nature. Some examples of these primal features are:
- small or large horns on head
- fangs or pointed teeth
- glowing amber eyes
- cat eyes
- clawed hands
- goatlike legs
- non-prehensile tail
Brown Elves are as tall as the White Elves, but more heavily built.
A Brown Elf reaches adulthood at about 50 years of age and can live to be more than 250 years old.
Brown Elves do not sleep, as members of the other races do. Instead, a Brown Elf meditates in a deep trance for 4 hours a day. An elf resting in this fashion gains the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep. While meditating, an elf dreams, though these dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive through years of practice. The Common word for an elf’s meditation is “trance,” as in “four hours of trance.”
Brown Elves are particularly fond of leather armor, and they often wear lovingly tooled and well-crafted suits even when they do not feel endangered. Their clothing, leather armor or not, is usually in dark shades of green and earth tones to better blend with their natural surroundings. They are a humble race and only rarely do they enhance their appearance with jewelry or similar accessories.
Relations: In the three hundred years since “The Great Fall” of the empires of man, the Brown Elves have been forgotten by many of the other peoples of Amistade. Only those Lapin and Dwarves familiar with the borders of the High Forest have seen Brown Elves, and even then, they most likely met a solitary hunter or ranger.
While the Brown Elves shelter deep inside forbidding forests and are therefore inaccessible to their neighbors, they are ironically among the more compassionate and understanding of the woodland and Fey races. Like the White Elves, they accept the power of the new alliance and seek to live alongside their new racial neighbors and guide their expansion instead of seeking ways to deter or intimidate the new racial settlers’ lands.
Brown Elves have a history of cooperating with the Lapin. Dwarves and Halflings are both greeted as friends and potential allies. On the other hand, the Brown Elves have a cold place in their hearts for creatures such as orcs and gnolls, who bring axes, fire, and slaughter to the forests the Brown Elves have sworn to preserve.
Alignment: Brown Elves tend toward neutrality. This is not out of any inherent evil, but only out of a desire to be left alone.
Brown Elf Lands: Brown Elves live at ease with nature, using what naturally occurs in the world to shelter or defend themselves. They are not nomadic, and claim large territories in the deepest woodlands of Amistade. Some Brown Elves choose to do without houses, furnishings, and any possessions they can’t carry, using the high branches of great trees or natural caves in their roots for shelter and storage. Most Brown Elves instead prefer to dwell in small villages of permanent homes of natural fieldstone and lovingly carved wood, so carefully concealed among the surrounding wilderness that a wandering hunter or ranger might walk through the center of a Brown Elf village and not even notice that he had done so.
Brown Elves adhere to a tradition of leadership by their oldest and most experienced druids, although most villages form a council of elders selected from the wisest and most experienced elves of each family to handle day-to-day affairs. The druidical hierarchy serves to unite Brown Elves of different villages and weld all the Brown Elves of a particular forest into a common realm. The druids do not presume to tell the elders how to run a village, but the elders generally give great weight to anything a druid chooses to say.
Brown Elves excel in the hunt. They spend much of their time stalking their chosen territory on the search for food or intruders into their realm. With the return of the White Elves, Brown Elves are quickly coming back into contact with the civilized world.
Although they are reluctant to allow others into their lands, Brown Elves understand that times are changing. If they are to survive as a people, it may be time to change for the Brown Elves to change as well.
Religion: The Brown Elves worship Rysland the Protector and Preserver of animals and nature. They also share in worshipping Braun Wynn the mother figure of birth, fertility, home and hearth with the White Elves. Though worship of gods from the greater pantheon of Amistade is also accepted in Brown Elf communities.
Langauage: Brown Elves speak a fluid language of sublte intonations and intricate grammar. The Brown Elf script, as flowing as the spoken word, also serves as the script for Sylvan, the language of dryads, pixies and other Fey races.
All Brown Elves speak Elven, Common, and the language of their home region, if any. The average Brown Elf has neither the interest nor the dedication required to learn other languages, but those who do often learn Chondathan, Draconic, Goblin, Gnoll, and Sylvan.
All Brown Elf characters are literate except for barbarians.
Names: The following are some typical examples of Brown Elf names.
Male Names: Aerel, Amarandlon, Caladrel, Duardlon, Durthu, Erevel, Felaelrel, Heldalel, Izkrael, Jaraerdrek, Lanliss, Meirdrarel, Narnel, Orion, Scarloc, Seldlon, Talathel, Variel, Zordlon
Female Names: Amrunelara, Arahan, Ariel, Cathlessra, Dardlara, Drycha, Emraeal, Faunra, Imdlara, Jathal, Maraedlara, Meriseiel, Naestra, Nordlara, Oparal, Praeldral, Soumral, Tessara, Varaera, Yalandlara
Adventurers: Brown Elves take up adventuring out of wanderlust. They choose careers that allow them to wander freely and set their own pace.
Favored Class: Brown Elves are master hunters, and most train enough to possess at least one level of ranger. Favored enemies usually include orcs, gnolls, outsiders (planetouched), and other savage races that dwell near the traditional homelands of the Brown Elves.
Brown Elves have the least fascination with arcane magic. They understand its power and a number of their folk study its ways, but ultimately the artifice of arcane lore is simply one more way of expressing dominion over the natural order of things, and the Brown Elves view it in that light. Brown Elves make excellent fighters, rangers and rogues, relying on their natural strength and quickness to meet challenges. Brown Elves from particularly remote forests sometimes become barbarians. Clerics are somewhat rare among this people, but druids are very common and are the most prominent spellcasters of the race.
Brown Elf Racial Traits:
- +2 Dexterity, –2 Constitution: Brown Elves are graceful but frail. An elf’s grace makes them naturally better at stealth and archery.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
- Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
- Low-light Vision: A Brown Elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- +1 racial bonus on attack rolls with spears and long and short bows (includes composites). Also includes automatic weapon proficiency even if not normally available to the Brown Elves chosen class.
- +2 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, Spot and Survival checks in grassland and woodland settings. Brown Elves are keenly attuned to natural settings and camouflaging their movement..
- Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan. Elves commonly know the languages of their enemies and of their friends, as well as Draconic, the language commonly found in ancient tomes of secret knowledge.