Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Imperial Elves

The Elven Empire built great cities and towers all along the coasts of the known world and beyond.  They were and are a people with greater technological and magical capabilities than the realms of mankind.  They rule the deep ocean with great bladeships and catamarans far superior to the wooden oar powered ships of human kings who must stick close to the shore.     Where they have a colony,  only the most foolish or powerful human king would dare launch an assault against them and their elegant mailed armies supported by swarms of knights riding massive swans of unusual intelligence.

So why aren't these Mary Sue assholes running everything?  Why Do humans outnumber them so heavily?  Is it that they are dying race and humans are too prodigious?   Is the magic of the world fading?  Well,  maybe a little bit,  but no, the great limiting factor is biology.

As with Dwarves I am a fan of using biological limitations or quirks to explain why a species would fit to fantasy tropes.   For the city dwelling high elves,   the solution seemed simple.   They are pescetarians who cannot drink fresh water, they require brine as humans require fresh water.   With such a little change it makes perfect sense that they would seek to dominate the waves but wouldn't bother with inland holdings which would be difficult to supply.   They no doubt have some in strategic locations,  but by and large they can't afford to set up a city in the desolate brine-free forests of central Europe, Asia, or Africa.   Their territorial control of the oceans also explains why the presence of magical spells doesn't enable more trans-oceanic contact and trade.   The ocean is full of elves with better ships than you can cobble together.

Other bloodlines of elves,  seelie and unseelie or any other magical creatures exist too (like Barbarians).  But these fill the role of snobby "High Elves" for me,  things that exist to leave ruins of once important strategic locations without really interfering in the day to day of dung age mortal affairs.   High Elves are something "out there" in the oceans 

1 comment:

  1. An interesting question, Zzarchov; and one I bet that DMs have a different answer for. Elves in my games choose to limit their numbers to only what their immediate environment can provide resources for.