Elf

Known as the Elvaan in their own language, these tough humanoids are an old and dying race; on many worlds, Elves are already extinct, leaving only a legacy of finely-crafted artifacts and fairy tales. Yet it is the Elves themselves that bear the ultimate responsibility for this tragedy, for the fierce arrogance and natural ennui, the bitter civil wars and protracted conflicts with other races that become their downfall in due time.

Though they resemble humans, Elves are taller and more robust, with long necks and oval faces. Their skins are darker than the average human’s, ranging from light tan to a bronze or copper color. Their best-known features, however, are their pointed ears, which protrude from their heads at lengths between fifteen and twenty centimeters.

Vital Data

Representatives: Astos (FFI), King Destin (FFXI)
Typical Height: 1.8-2.1m (Male) / 1.7-2.0m (Female)
Typical Weight: {$weight}
Hair Colors: Blond, black, gray, red
Eye Colors: Gray, green, brown
Habitats: Any
Lifespan: 100-120 years
Young: 12-18 years
Average: 28-40 years
Old: 80-100 years

Society

Elven civilisation is highly developed, yet regimented to extremes–a draconian perfection achieved centuries ago, and perpetuated ever since. For its citizens, lawfulness, order, and obedience to the state are the cardinal virtues; to this end, most Elven nations sport an extensive army as well as a well-staffed civil police force. Both of these depend heavily on levies, with all able-bodied Elven citizens receiving at least some level of training in arms; should the time come for an Elven nation to march to war, the line is held not by the knights of the royal families, but by the citizens’ militias.

Leadership within Elven society is shared by aristocracy and priesthood in a complicated arrangement of mutual benefits. Prodigious Elven lifespans mean that rulers’ reigns can stretch fifty years or more, leaving eligible regents and heirs with plenty of time to engage in courtly intrigue over the succession. In most cases, these squabbles are invisible to the general population, but when the participants choose to fight with weapons instead of words, civil war is almost inevitable. Though the king theoretically derives his divine right to rule from his ancestry, frequent in-fighting among the aristocracy means that rulership typically falls to whoever can get the clergy on their side after the dust has settled.

This deep-seated instability–coupled with the dangers of the world at large–has contributed significantly to the Elves' mastery of warfare. It was the Elves who first turned their attention to the defensive properties of mythril, who realised the deadly potential of a composite bow in the hands of a seasoned archer and married these insights with potent magic to create a series of powerful relics and accessories. As a result of this, Elves have a legendary reputation as craftsmen; equipment of Elven manufacture is both prized and sought-after, and–in the right hands–may outlast its creators by centuries. Elves were also among the first to domesticate the Chocobo riding-bird, and can field exceptional cavalry in times of crisis.

Special mention must be made of the so-called 'Dark Elves', tragic individuals who turn to black magic in pursuit of longevity and, ultimately, the hope of escaping extinction. Adventurers can find Dark Elves lingering in caverns and dungeons centuries after their 'pure' brethren have faded into obscurity, stealing magical items and draining their power to further extend grossly-inflated lifespans. However, these creatures are nothing more than mere shadows of their former selves, bodies bloated and corrupted into monstrous forms by the very power sustaining them. Such creatures are anathema to ‘true’ Elves, who will spare no effort in eradicating them if discovered. For this reason, Dark Elves have become unusually adept at disguising their true identities, often covertly operating in the very societies seeking to destroy them.

Roleplaying

Pride is at the root of the Elven psyche. From early on, Elves are taught to be proud of their race's accomplishments, the culture and achievements in warfare that predate other races' by centuries at a time. As a result, they treat other races with a haughty condescension—one that turns to out-and-out fury should that 'Elven superiority' ever be challenged. Tellingly, Elves have just as little patience for their own kind; duels over slights and insults–both real and imagined–are a common occurrence in Elven society, and can set the stage for family feuds destined to last for a century or more. Duellists usually favor the ‘honorable’ sword over more modern implements of war; for this reason, Elven swordmasters are both numerous and impeccably skilled.

As the size of the Elven population shrinks, the race's natural xenophobia becomes even more pronounced; non-Elves are no longer beings to be pitied, but an army of potential enemies waiting for the right moment to strike. Under these circumstances, adventuring Elves become a rarity, sent out into the mistrusted world only on the direst of missions.

Elven names tend to have a distinctively French flavour to them. Male names tend to be longer and more elegant, whereas female Elves have shorter, more robust names. Sample names for males include Guilerme, Excenmille, Rojaireaut, and Faurbellant; female names include Ashene, Lusiane, and Camereine. Names of mythological significance–typically heroes of antiquity and renowned warriors–are popular for both genders; parents hope the child will inherit at least some of their namesake’s strength, courage, and charisma.

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