From: Clay Luther <email@example.com>
Subject: So You Want To Be An Elf?
X-List: The WFRP mailing list
Elves in WFRP are the most powerful race a player can choose to play. Unfortunately, too few players realize what it means to role-play an alien species and too often fall into playing their elf character as nothing more than a superman. True, compared to men, elves are super, but they are not men.
Where Did Elves Come From?
Elves are a humanoid race, related to, be distinctly different from, Men. Elven civilization predates that of Man by more than 5000 years. It was spawned and nurtured by the Old Slann. Six-thousand years before the Birth of the Empire, the Old Slann created for and moved the Elves to an island continent in the Great Western Ocean. The Old Slann closely oversaw the nascent Elven Kingdoms, guiding and teaching the young race much of their philosophy, science, and magick. Under the omnipresent watch of the Old Slann, the Elves built gleaming symbiotic cities in which science, nature, and magick played equal and harmonious parts in the lives of the people.
When the Cataclysm destroyed the Old Slann civilization and Chaos exploded into the Universe, the Elves remained relatively safe in their kingdoms at the center of the world. The winds and currents of the ocean, combined with the remnants of the Old Slann barrier magicks, swept the worst of the Chaos storms away from them, leaving the Elves largely, but not completely, untainted. The Old Slann retracted to their cities in the Far West, leaving the Elves, for the first time, alone.
We should not discount the influence the Old Slann had over the development of Elven civilization and attitudes. Most certainly, the Old Slann created the Elves (and other pre-Chaos races) from the primitive Ancestors that inhabited the world before they arrived. By careful design, using arcane science and magick, the Old Slann grew the Elves from the Ancestors, carefully shaping the race for their own inscrutable purposes. Elven civilization, science, and magick are rooted firmly in the arcana of the Old Slann, a fact that Elves never forget but rarely acknowledge.
What's An Elf Like?
Of the humanoid races created by the Old Slann, the Elves were first among equals. For almost two-thousand years, the Old Slann formed and shaped the Elves. They gave the Elves superior physical and mental characteristics and taught them superior skills and arcane knowledge.
Elves hold beauty and pleasure as the pinnacles of civilization. Civilization exists, so say the Elves, to foster and preserve not only the people, but the beautiful creations of the people. The great explorer, Sir Hermann Gunterbold, wrote about the Elven city Galerideleli calling it a "bizarre yet beautiful collection of towers, bridges, and spires which seemed to hold no purpose other than someone must have thought they looked good. Beneath these frivolities of architecture grew forests of groomed gardens and parades of statuary. Artwork adorns every wall; even the windows are oddly shaped and colored so that the entire city glitters and sparkles day and night. The city itself contains a seemingly endless abundance of restaurants, museums, theaters, and playgrounds. I never saw anyone do work for I never saw any work that needed to be done."
Unlike Men, Elves are not driven by greed or jealousy, but by the unceasing desire to avoid boredom. Elves live communally and share the responsibility of raising and entertaining community children. Ownership of property is unheard of, though Elves recognize and honor the "creatorship" of objects and individual Elves take great and unashamed pride in their creations. Those elves that express the "low emotions" of greed or avarice in public are censured and, if their behavior continues unmended, banished from the community. Greed, anger, and jealousy bring only pain and turmoil into Elven society and are not tolerated. Elves will avoid any subject, occupation, or occasion that they think is painful, boring, or ugly to themselves or anyone else.
Elves revere many gods, but not in the same way that the other, lesser developed races do. Remembering their Old Slann traditions, Elves know how to manipulate their gods and seem to understand the true nature of these beings. Of the Elven Gods, we know a few explicitly: Liadriel, Foremost of Elven Gods and God of Song of Wine; Meneloth, a benign Chaos God of Pleasure; Adamnan-Na-Brionha, Lord of Dance; Karnos, Lord of the Beasts.
Elves revere Nature and the patterns and beauty it represents. Elves take delight in all aspects of Nature and find excitement and beauty equally well in birth, growth, sex, hunting, feeding, and death. Elves seek to mold their lives to the patterns of Nature, and Elven philosophers fondly use natural metaphors in their musings. Of all the humanoids fostered by the Old Slann, the Elves possess the keenest understanding of Nature and its creatures and spirits.
Elves hold the other "lesser" races in paternal contempt. If the Elves possess a single obvious vice, it is decadent Pride. Most Elves see the younger races as too clumsy, ugly, stupid, and corrupt to bother with, while other Elves, just as prejudiced, think they have a duty to teach these "primitives" the glory of Elven life (just as, they argue, the Old Slann taught the Elves long ago). These liberals, however, are greatly outnumbered by the insular conservatives and have little effect on policies of Elven nations.
Elves do not fear and loathe Chaos like the younger races. Using their Old Slannish magicks, they have tried to appease and distract the Chaos beings that they abhor while at the same time they have contacted and dealt with the Chaos beings they find pleasurable (such as Meneloth). They despise the Chaos powers of pure Chaos, Evil, or Law, for these things destroy or restrict the individual's freedom, or, in the case of pure Chaos, represent the malignant forces of change.
Things To Remember When You Play Your Elf
Elves are Good.They hold natural order, peace, and beauty in high regard. They love to learn. They have a strong sense of duty. They dislike cruelty, crime, violence, and dishonesty.
Elves do not hold the gods in the same high regard as other races. They recognize the gods as sources of great power, but not as omniscient or uncontrollable forces.
Elves avoid situations and emotions which will lead inevitably to unpleasant situations. Elves disdain "dirty" work. Elves prize comfort and pleasure, and by extension, wealth.
Elves generally dislike Mannish and Dwarfish cultures, morals, and living conditions. This makes them seem insufferably arrogant to those people.
Elves wish to avoid boredom more than anything else. For this reason, many Elves are attracted to dangerous activities.
Elves are incredibly long-lived and they possess the oldest continuous culture in the world. No race can rival their libraries, skills, or magicks. Elves have seen, or at least heard about, almost anything. It's no wonder their bored.
Elves are dying from the world; they are the lightning rod for the worst attacks by Chaos.