Elves are one of the two archetypes (along with
Humans) by which most other sentient races are
defined: while very similar in body type to Humans,
they can be distinguished by their height (average
height is 5' 10''), thin frames and pointed ears. The
Elves' preferred habitats are wooded areas or jungles,
but can adapt readily to grasslands and coastal
regions, and can live in a mountainous or desert
environment with only a moderate amount of difficulty.
They tend to produce quite a number of Soldiers.
As a First Race (again, with Humanity), Elves have no special patron among the Archangels anymore: they are watched over by all of Heaven impartially. Indeed, many Archangels adopt an extremely laissez-faire attitude towards this race, almost to the point of negligence. It's almost as if Heaven is ambivalent towards Elves - which makes no real sense. After all, Elves are an intelligent, virtuous, resolute species, on the whole: they routinely display a stability and calmness that many Humans could only hope to imitate. Their original Archangelic agent-of-creation would be proud of the way that Elves have turned out.
Indeed, Elves are almost perfect examples of what it means to be a Race of Light...
Oh, right. That's why.
Characteristics, Bonuses and Flaws
Like most other Unbroken Races, Elves begin play with 5 Forces - but all Elves are assumed to have a potential for at least 6. It is a rare individual of this species that has not done so by his or her 200th birthday. Beginning Elves will have a minimum Agility of 2 and both Intelligence and Precision of 4 (before racial bonuses): they usually have a Will and Perception of 4, but this is not always the case. Maximum Forces for Saints: 15 Forces.
Elves are quick (+2 to Agility) and accurate shots (+2 to Precision): early training gives them Move Silently/1, Ranged Weapons/1 (Bow), Savoir-Faire/1 and Tracking/1. Despite legend to the contrary, no Elf is immortal: none of them have ever managed to live forever. However, they do not age past a certain point (comparable to a contemporary Human in their mid 20's, or a modern human in their mid 30's), so it is easy to see how this legend could arise. Total points: 8.
For the most part, Elves do not suffer much from psychological or physiological quirks, but they have one terrible burden: due to quirks in the current political scene, they are loathed by the forces of Hell. All Elves have an automatic -3 to all reaction rolls made by demons, Hellsworn, Undead and most of the Broken. The Elves reciprocate these feelings, to the point of having the Murderous/1 Disadvantage when dealing specifically with the above. Total points: -8.
Recommended skills: pretty much everything, with artistic and aesthetic skills emphasized over technical ones. Most Elves will have a point or two in either Singing or a Musical Instrument: Ranged Weapon/6 (Bow) is very, very common.
Total Cost: 0.
The fundamental aspect about Elves is that ... they abide. Being immune to the ravages of age, the species seems to lack the drive to aggressively push things along. This is not to say that Elves are passive victims of circumstance: they will act decisively to rectify a disadvantageous situation. It's just that they don't always act to make a good situation better. Also, Elves are much more likely to work around their environment, rather than alter their environment to taste.
However, the species is not slothful: among other things, they enjoy a rich mental culture. Their society is based around their artists and craftsmen. While some Elvish sub-cultures (usually those in Human or Goblin lands) may adopt feudal structures, most will simply develop the minimum amount of government necessary to allow them to get along with their lives. As a result, Humans and Goblins who settle in Elvish lands will often find themselves somehow gently jockeyed into running things. Elves prefer to play to their strengths, and let other races play to theirs. Of course, would-be tyrants quickly find themselves, well, dead. One of the Elves' strengths is their seemingly universal ability to put an arrow in a sparrow's eye at 40 yards.
It should be obvious from the above that the Elves do not generally form nation-states: they develop distinct cultures, of course, but political unification only occurs when it's necessary, and quietly dropped when it isn't needed anymore. Of course, such ad hoc alliances can persist indefinitely: there is one forest region where the Elves have been banded together in opposition to a particularly annoying Orcish slave clan for the last six centuries. Said alliance, despite its age and stability, will still not long survive the last Orc still standing.
Elves find woodlands and jungles most congenial places to live, and their eating habits reflect this. Their diet tends to be fruits, nuts, a variety of domesticated native plants/small mammals (including quite a few that plains dwellers would never have considered worth the trouble), fungi, snakes and insects. Wise adventurers soon learn to never ask what's in the stew: wiser ones don't watch a forest/jungle Elf cook or forage for food. It tastes good and it'll keep you going: just leave it at that.
Of course, Elves in other regions will have a varied diet (Elves by the ocean will fish and keep extensive kelp farms; Elves in other species' nations will eat what their neighbors eat, with a slightly different spicing). In general, though, there are frankly few wholesome foods that an Elf won't eat, or serve up with an honestly innocent smile.
Role in the War
Considering what Elves can bring to the table (the species are ready-made Soldiers, after all), it's amazing that they aren't recruited more by Heaven. There are several problems, of course: first, the species is somewhat infertile by Human standards. Soldiers do not always have long lifespans, and Elven society cannot handle the loss of too much genetic material. The Host has worked upon the problem, but are hampered by the extreme stability of the original design.
That's the second problem - and the real one, actually. Well, not the design: more like the designer. You see, calling Elves and Humans 'God Races' is actually a bit of a misnomer. The first members of both species were animated directly by the Almighty (in opposition to later Unbroken Races, which were animated by His loyal servants), but the original design was done by Archangels. Humans were a composite effort by Eli, Gabriel and Raphael.
Elves were designed by the Archangel of Light.
From his point of view, Elves were a perfect adaptation of sentient life to Earth. They were self-aware individuals with free will that could be counted upon to adapt to complicated situations, rather than barging across them with shortsighted exuberance. They also showed a seemly respect and deference for their superiors, which was always nice.
Of course, when God decided to animate both finalists in the contest, as a loyal servant the Archangel of Light did not even think of complaining ... at first. After all, someone had to live in the plains: that was an unavoidable weakness of the Elves, and this was an acceptable compromise. The Archangel of Light even adapted Elvish genes to be crossbreed with Humanity: he no doubt believed that his design would win out in the resulting genetic battle.
Unfortunately, subsequent events unfolded, resulting in the eventual Eden Experiment. The Archangel of Light was responsible for Lilith's inclusion in the first version of the Experiment, thinking that her superior design would demonstrate Humanity's fundamental flaws. Unfortunately, her refusal to play resulted in an all-Human Experiment (Elves were to have their own Experiment, but the War interfered). This angered the Archangel - although he later decided that it had all worked out for the worst anyway - and when the First Rebellion erupted, Lucifer was outraged to discovered that most of his personal creations refused to obey him. Lucifer had created too well, it seems.
Hell has never forgiven the Elves since that day - and many in Heaven find it hard to completely trust them. After all, they are creations of the now-Prince of Darkness, and they were indirectly responsible for the at least part of the mess that was the Eden Experiment, and Lilith (the only corporeal Superior on either side) was originally an Elf. Seraphim can detect the Truth that Elves are firmly committed to the side of God, and the species have never shown any group tendency towards serving Hell...
...but it still is a little uncomfortable at times.
Of course, the Archangels do not feel this way. The Seraphim Archangels are secure enough in their perceptions to recruit Elvish Soldiers and Saints without a second thought, Jordi likes them as proper stewards of nature, and the rest will take on recruits happily enough - but there is still a slight hesitation among regular angels at times. Many members of the Host are more than happy to find an excuse to not worry or think overmuch about Elves - an attitude that occasionally has led to tragedy.
You see, Hell has certainly not forgotten about them.
Elves and Hell
Mostly the relationship is that of bitter enemies: Lucifer has a long memory, and hates his former children worse than he does Humans: Humans may be worthless scum, but they never betrayed him. This antipathy has spread among the Horde, and even to their corporeal servants. Elves learn fast that death is better than capture by Hell.
However, there is a small - very, very small - faction of Elvish society that secretly obeys their old designer. They are descended mostly from those Elves that sided with Lucifer during the Rebellion, leavened by more recent converts. For them, the Prince of Darkness retains a fragment of what might almost be considered affection - they are immune to Hell's antipathy, and are treated somewhat better when they arrive in Hell. In exchange for such mercy, they are expected to help shatter Elvish society once and for all. Most of these Light Elves serve Lilith, as she can offer them Freedom from responsibility and conscience. Baal and Asmodeus pick up a few, as well.
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