Sea Elf Characters

in Warhammer Fantasy Role Play
by Colin Taber
Australian REALMS, issue 7, p23-27

'The warm breeze carried the smell of the sea across the deck as the ship gently coasted through the warm, dark night of the ocean. Galleos looked up into the sky, it was clear and moonless. The runes of Rota-Himmel, spirit friend of the Sea Elves, shone down upon the world, revealing the way. He thanked his friend for her help, and looked ahead. Across the water he could see the welcoming lights of Merrantalla, the sea elven port city of Lustria. He called to those upon the deck and many walked to the railings and watched as they approached their home.'

_Sea Elf Culture_

Sea Elves are the most tolerant branch of the elven race. To the other types of elves they are thought of as warriors, the military might upon the sea. This is only part of the truth, they are also the main contact between humanity and the Elven Kingdoms; in essence, ambassadors of the elven world. As a sub race they are a very distinct group. Physically they look similar to wood or high elves, the only visible difference is their more compact limbs. Differences in regard to their mentality are much more pronounced. They spend as much of their lives travelling as not, and the home port of a sea elf will often be part of a human city, both factors force a cultural mix. It is this mix with humanity which has diluted the elven perspective of sea elves. Sometimes they seem all too human.

Close proximity to humans has caused two important changes in the sea elven outlook. They are no longer complacent, their culture not static, in contrast to the lives led by other elves. They have adapted to a human rhythm; although they still hold some elven views of time, they regret a lost day as a lost opportunity. The other change is the waning of the natural elven cool. Compared to wood or high elves, those of the sea are quite moody.

Sea elves have readily accepted lodging with humans because of its convenience. Their good treatment by their hosts encourages good relations between the races. Now, as colonisation slows, sea elves concentrate on keeping the waterways of the world open and working for themselves. Sea elven culture is based upon four foundation stones: the clan, sea, military and trade.

_The Clan_

The clan is the basic social block of any sea elf community. All clans have their origins in Ulthuan. Should a clan grow too large for Ulthuan it boards a huge clan-ship, the largest seagoing ship constructed by the elves, and leaves to find a new home. When the new home is chosen, the clan-ship is beached. The ship can carry up to six thousand and will form the nucleus of the port. Should the clan elect to settle in an established port, they will ask the local authorities for permission to take a section of the city for themselves - many Old World ports have a thriving sea elf quarter. The new port becomes the clan's base of operations for all things but war.

The structure of the clan is determined by lineage, which also dictates likely careers and status for individuals. The only position in the clan not determined by birth is that of the Elder. The Elder is the head of the clan, in charge of the merchant fleet in times of crisis or war (in which the fleet can be made battle ready within a day) and he runs the day to day business of the Port. The Elder is Elected at a Full Clan meeting called the Konveniporio (literally, meeting for all) held every century or on the death of an Elder. If a sea elf misses his clans Konveniporio he must be pardoned by the elected Elder, else live in Shame. Loyalty is a very important facet of clan life, any sea elf would willingly die for its clan, few exceptions exist.

_The Sea_

The importance of the sea is as obvious as it is misunderstood. Although other elves realise its importance, they do not know the depth of the raw feelings that sea elves have for the sea and their respect for it. Humans misunderstand more than they understand of this. The majority of sea elves follow Mathlann, god of the seas. All respect him and worship him or his kin, the spirit friends.

Sea elves see the ocean as both friend and foe, it is its own being. They appreciate two types of tides; the literal tide of high and low water, but also the tide of fury, sometimes in, but thankfully, usually out.

_The Military_

The race prides itself on its military tradition. Sea elves have long been responsible for the majority of the elven military, perhaps because they are quite often the victims of opening hostilities. The large battles of the past are something not likely to be seen again as the sea elves have declined in numbers since the Elf-Dwarf wars. A sea elf devotes five decades of its life to service in the clan naval fleets, holding dual positions of merchant and soldier.

Most military actions now are against human ships prying near the elven kingdoms, or against the dark elves of Naggaroth who occasionally attack sea elven settlements.


The merchant fleet of a clan will cross the seas trading all that is available in the world, from fine wines to furniture and spice. Nowadays, trading is the main function of the clans, most of their energies are directed towards it and consequently their results are mostly very rewarding. Sea elf clans are wealthy, the settlement in Marienburg, for example, is very well to do. The highest standard of living is attained by sea elves living with their clan, some humans liken them to princes. In some ports the name has stuck and the rich elves are called merchant princes.

_The Free Spirit_

When a sea elf comes of age he or she leaves the clan for ten years to travel. This leave does not allow for an absence should the koveniporio occur during the time the elf is away, but apart from that, no other ties to the clan remain. The purpose of the free spirit is to assuage the need to travel independently in the young elf who might be entertaining the idea. When they return they are usually more than happy to serve their clan, being in a better position to appreciate the benefits of clan life. Any who do not return from their travelling are exiled forever.

_Sea Elven Outlook_

The sea elven outlook on life and other races is very similar to that of other elves except for two fundamental differences; their view of humans and dwarves. Dwarves are generally distrusted as by other elves, sea elves however, are quicker to look for redeeming features. Essentially, they are tolerant of dwarves, having forgiven the hostilities of the past. This is no small thing as sea elves suffered greatly at dwarven hands during the Elf-Dwarf wars. Humans also are not completely trusted but are viewed as good trading partners and, as long as mutual benefit applies, as a worthwhile ally.

To other elves, these attitudes are evidence of a taint of something primal. Humanity is slowly invigorating the sea elven culture, this energy spreads like waves on an ocean, and these waves are crashing on the shores of the elven kingdoms, spreading slow change through their society. These repercussions are recognised by neither humans or elves. Only the dark elves notice, they watch their kindred with growing hatred.


The sea elves follow one god, he is Mathlann, the god of the seas. Mathlann has two children called spirit friends. Sea elven initiates and priests of Mathlann follow the same guidelines as those applicable to Manann. Priests are called Messengers due to the unique nature of elvish interaction with their gods. Like Mathlann, his children are friends of the sea elves and not their masters. Instead of the elves worshipping them, they deal with them through the Messengers. This is not to say elves do not have faith in their deities. Elves trust them, but they do not have blind faith in them. They can be used and abused with dire consequence and should be treated with respect.


She is the spirit friend for the night, starts and navigation. Her name means Glowing Sky, she points the way for sea elven ships and traders, always showing the path home. She represents the skies and everything in them such as the birds, stars, the moon (Mannslieb), and the clouds. The stars are her most important attribute as elves rely upon them for navigation - they do not use maps. Rota-Himmel is pictured as a young elven woman with long black flowing hair. She is a spirit friend of knowledge.


He is the spirit friend for negotiation, dealing and trade. His name means to communicate freely, he represents many things. Some humans misunderstand him, thinking of him as a god of trade. This is in his sphere but so too are conversation, relationships and land. Senparae is summarised by what the sea elves actually do in ports. It may be their home, where they trade, but most importantly it is where they live in community. It would be more correct for humans to call him god of the clan, even perhaps of life.

Senparae is pictured as a merchant always standing on dry land but with the sea on the horizon, he is never pictured alone. Messengers of Senparae are more gregarious than normal sea elves and will habitually seek company and conversation.

_Basic Sea Elf Listing_

To roll up a sea elf character follow the listing shown.

Sea elves all have the skills of orientation and sailing. They have equal chance of having either excellent vision, fish, row or boat building.

Sea elves have the normal d3-1 fate points and use all other elf information such as age, height and weight. For Careers reference the chart given at the end of this article. Careers are slightly different, below are some new careers which are only available to sea elves, or high and wood elves living with a sea elf clan.


Used for varying tasks, sea elf Divers are trained for endurance and to carry out specialised work underwater; repairing the hull of a ship, cleaning the hull of marine growths such as barnacles and diving for valuable sea goods eg. pearls and abalone. Divers are well known for holding their breath. They are also known to be powerful swimmers and capable of fighting underwater when attacked by sea creatures. The best Seaman will often go on the more dangerous career of Diver, with more danger often comes a greater reward. A Diver fights with no modifiers when engaged in combat in the water. The new skill of Diving is detailed below.

Diver Advance scheme


	Diving*,  Sixth Sense, Swim, Very Resilient.
  	Knives (2), Spear
Career Entries
	Boatman, Marine, Seaman
Career Exits
	Merchant, Navigator, Pilot, Sea Captain


A unique part of sea elf society is the emergence of vigilante groups. They shadow the local militia (usually unknown to it) of the sea elven quarter in coastal cities. To understand why these groups have evolved and what exactly they are about, we must look firstly at the independent nature of sea elven ghettos within human cities.

Whether the quarter is a small section of the wharf side or perhaps physically quite large part of the main city, it is legally independent from the rest of the metropolis. When the sea elf clan first arrives at a port and decides to make the place its home, it seeks the permission of the local authorities to allow the clan to land and rule its own affairs. Human authorities have to decide whether they are prepared to give away part of their city. If so, are they then prepared to have a part of their city where their guards are not allowed to enter. The benefits of having a clan based in a port always tempt the local rulers, usually they give their permission and the most run down part of the wharf is cleared of beggars and thieves then handed to the elves.

While the clan's militia keeps their quarter clean and safe they can do nothing for the rest of the city where they have no jurisdiction. This is the Vigilantes' role. They spread through the rest of the city after dark seeking out one specific type of law breaker (in their eyes), that is, chaos cultists among the human population. Most vigilantes will, once they have tracked down their prey, lure them near or into the elven quarter. Once the victim is in an elven controlled area it can be killed without arousing the attention of the authorities. This behaviour is inspired by the elves feeling of insecurity living amongst so many humans. Treachery is a very real possibility, it is upon such thoughts that they act.

Vigilante abilities make them deadly to their enemies, but sadly they are small in number. Also, their actions do not go completely unnoticed and it becomes increasingly harder to dig out the weeds from human society. An average Vigilante group will have around four members. The group does not travel randomly through the city but will have carefully researched their possible targets. Eventually, if they discover that the person concerned is illegal in their eyes, they will set out on a search and destroy mission. Each separate investigation and execution will take up to eight weeks to complete. A group of sea elf vigilantes may spend up to four nights a week on a suspect, hiding what they are doing from the rest of the clan. The clan, regardless of whether it approves of vigilantes or not, cannot officially help them as it is deemed interference with the human city's affairs. Such actions breech the original agreement made between the city and the clan.

The reaction from the local human authorities where these groups are known to operate is usually one of feigned ignorance. Where Municipal militia are under great pressure from the criminal and chaotic elements of the Old World they often welcome the aid of sea elf vigilantes. Other cities, however demand a stop, claiming the activity is both unlawful and dangerous. Often it is in these cities that vigilantes are most needed.

Vigilante Advance scheme


	Ambidextrous, Disarm, Dodge Blow, Silent Move-Urban
	Specialist Weapon - Throwing Knives, Strike to Stun, Strike Mighty Blow
	Hand Weapon, Leather Jerkin, Net, 4 Throwing Knives
Career Entries
	Bodyguard, Merchant, Militiaman, Noble
Career Exits
	Bodyguard, Marine, Mercenary, Militiaman, Outlaw, Seaman, Soldier

_Merchant Prince_

Merchant Princes are the master merchants aboard a sea elven trading ship. They are distinguished from the normal run of sea elven Merchants by their opulent finery, their consummate skill when dealing, and their grand worldly manner.

This exclusive career often marks the end of clan naval service by the individual. It is the goal of the upwardly mobile of the sea elves, an example of the human-like ambition of the race. Many choose to become Explorers, revisiting some of the rare sights viewed during their naval days, but at a more leisurely pace.

Often a Merchant Prince becomes elected to the elevated position of Clan Elder. To outsiders, all sea elves seem to have the cultured air and finery of merchant princes.

Merchant Prince Advance scheme


	Etiquette, Evaluate, Haggle, Magical Sense, Numismatics, Read/Write,
	Secret Language-Guilder, Speak Other Language, Super Numerate, Wit.
	Town House, Warehouse, 4000 GC (for trading), D3 Scribes,  D3 Merchants,
	Valuable Item (from far off continent such as Cathay - ideally a Ring or
	Chain, something visible, worn austentatiously, worth at least 1000GC).
Career Entries
	Diver, Merchant, Sea Captain
Career Exits
	Explorer, Gambler, Sea Captain


In many ocean ports a sea elf quarter will be expected, the sight of a sea elf common. The sea elf quarters of ports are old, beautiful and noble places. The population spread of sea elves amounts to groupings or clusters where clans have settled or maintain trading posts. Their largest communities are at Merrantalla in Lustria, Jer-Loren in Araby, Kao-Llermer in Nippon and the coastal cities of Lustria. The largest concentration of sea elves in the Old World can be found in Marienburg.

The Marienburg clan is called clan Tia-Farell. At the heart of the sea elven quarter is their clan-ship, which no living human has ever seen. The ship is used for many things, it is the Elder's home, it is also a museum of the clan's origins and the only truly elven artifact in Marienburg. It is also the store house of sea elf knowledge and lore.

The clan has its own section of the wharf, and a sizable slice of the city. The elven quarter consists of three islands, the largest of which has the clan ship at its centre in a small lake. The quarter's buildings are ringed around the massive vessel to hide it from non-elven eyes. The entire quarter is separated, either by the river or stone walls, from the rest of the city. Access is exclusively through gates guarded by elven militia. The largest island of the three is strictly off limits to all but elves due to its holding the clan-ship.


Sea elves are generally an open minded and fair race, they have their arrogance, but that is part of being an elf. Their mixing with humans and other races has proven their flexibility and good intentions. Essentially they are the only race of elves who are prepared to look beyond what they have and what they are. To a large extent the future of the elven race rests heavily on their shoulders, fortunately they are prepared to bear the burden.

_Sea Elf Career Chart_

Warrior Ranger Rogue Academic
01-05Bodyguard 01-20Boatman 01-05Agitator 01-10Alchemist's Apprentice
06-20Marine 21-30Bounty Hunter06-10Bawd 11-15Artisan's Apprentice
21-25Mercenary 31-35Coachman 11-25Entertainer16-30Herbalist
26-35Militiaman 36-45Diver 26-30Footpad 31-35Hypnotist
36-45Noble 46-65Fisherman 31-40Gambler 36-40Initiate
46-50Outlaw 66-70Gamekeeper 41-50Minstrel 41-45Pharmacist
51-55Protagonist71-75Herdsman 51-60Pedlar 46-50Physician's Student
56-65Seaman 76-85Hunter 61-70Raconteur 51-55Scribe
66-70Servant 86-95Pilot 71-85Smuggler 56-65Seer
71-85Soldier 96-00Trapper 86-00Thief 66-70Student
86-90Squire 71-85Trader
91-95Vigilante 86-00Wizard's Apprentice