Elf

There are no elves that are indigenous to the lands of Rekkar-Sarrat. Even now they are not too common a sight, but they can be found in ports and cities along the river just as many other foreign peoples. The elves in the riverlands consist of two distinct groups; the elves of Setal Solaris that sail in from their distant continent to trade with the people of Rekkar-Sarrat, and the Iban’Iwa painted elves that originate from the Shimmering Sea, a land west of the floodplain.
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SOLARI ELVES

Elven merchants and traders that hail from distant lands and sail their ships down the Lifeblood go by many names in Rekkar-Sarrat. High elves, wood elves, forest elves, ship elves, and Solari are the most common monikers and are used virtually interchangeably among the denizens of the river. Sometimes these elves are also simply referred to as “elves” as the elves of the Shimmering Sea are almost always called “painted elves” to differentiate them. Many of these merchant elves are originally from Setal Solaris, a great forested elven kingdom on a western continent. Such elves do refer to themselves as Solari, which has led to that term being spread throughout the ports of the Lifeblood. This isn’t a universally accurate term, however, for many elves that ply their trade at the Lifeblood’s docks come from other lands as well.

Regardless of their identifier, these elves share commonalities in their physical appearance that further lends to the universal appropriation of racial name. As tall as humans or taller, willowy, and fair of skin, such elves carry a certain grace and finesse about them. Their hair is varied in length and style but always tends to light colors – blonde, bright red, silvery-white, cream, and tan are all common, though they grow no facial hair. These elves have subtle, slender features and sharply pointed ears and delicate poise. Their eyes are a focal point as well, for they are not separated by iris, pupil, and sclera, but rather maintain a solid, uniform, opaque color. Whereas hair pigmentation is often light, eye color is usually dark and vibrant – violet, green, blue, and gold are all common. Their dress is often fine and exquisite, though not necessarily spun from extravagant or costly materials. It is attention to detail and masterful craftsmanship that makes their attire splendid. Colorful, flowing clothing is common among the elves, accented with natural accoutrements such as feathers, plants, and wood. The Solari also have access to many dyes and use different techniques to customize their garb.

The merchant elves have found Rekkar-Sarrat to be a premier market for their exotic goods. Elven vessels are an exotic sight themselves and often stand out against the backdrop of ships and cogs that drift down the great river. Many elven ships are built of strangely colored woods, often pearly white or sky blue, though pale gold and grey-green are also common. This strange wood is also a major trade commodity for the forest elves; it is harvested from trees that have been magically treated for eons by the ruling Hierophants of Setal Solaris. Lighter and stronger than most woods used for building, the “lliwio” (dyewood) also keeps its exotic coloration forever. In addition to the lumber, elves also count wood pulp, silk, hemp, sap, fruits (particularly grapes and berries), dyes, as well as magical items among their top exports. The elves do not do much buying in the port cities, at least not from desert merchants. The fare of the floodplain has little use for these foreign elves, it seems, and they buy mostly from other outland traders, if at all. More often than not the elves only collect payment for their goods and move on, though there are times when they are intrigued enough to buy something.

Most elves in Rekkar-Sarrat do not make their stays lengthy ones. The dry, hot, and harsh environment lacking in greenery and great trees often proves ill-fitting for the temperate forest-dwellers, so their sails send them on when their business is done. Still, one can find a handful of elves that remain – a few magistrates or representatives that serve as trade ambassadors for organizations operating in these distant lands and fewer mercenaries. Half a handful of embassies exist in the major port cities that the ambassadors work out of to make arrangements with new buyers and keep their local clients up to date on supplier information, shortages, surpluses, and the like. They sometimes keep a small retinue of elven warriors or mercenaries as a personal guard. Very few elves get off a ship and fail to return, but an elven shopkeeper, sellsword, explorer, or magical instructor isn’t wholly unheard of in the lands of the river.

Game Information:

Racial Stat Adjustments: +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Constitution
Type: Humanoid (Elf)
Size: Medium
Base Speed: 30 ft.
Languages: Automatic – Common (Trade-Tongue), Elven (Solari). Bonus – Draconic, Sylvan, Pharosi, Nomadi, Celestial, Aquan, Orc, Elven (Awallu)
Elven Immunities: Immune to magical sleep effects and have a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.
Keen Senses: +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
Elven Magic: +2 racial bonus on caster level checks to overcome Spell Resistance, +2 racial bonus on Spellcraft checks to identify the properties of magic items.
Weapon Familiarity: Elves are proficient with shortbows, longbows, shortswords, and longswords.
Low-Light Vision: Elves see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.


PAINTED ELVES

To the west of Rekkar-Sarrat, across the harsh and desolate Scablands, a different breed of elf makes their home in the Shimmering Sea. These elves are known as painted elves to outsiders, though they refer to themselves as Iban’Iwa. The label of painted elves refers to the colorful designs that the Iban’Iwa adorn their flesh with using various pigments and paints made from a variety of different ingredients.

The Iban’Iwa little resemble the Solari elves that come down the River. Painted elves are as tall as humans at best, but are mostly shorter, and their skin is tanned from the harsh desert sun, their hair black and dry. Painted elves almost always wear their hair long to keep the heat of the sun off of their necks and also grow small amounts of facial hair for similar reasons. Painted elves have eyes more similar to humans and tend towards dark colors – brown and black and auburn, though deep blue and yellow can also be seen – but have a certain noticeable film of some sort over them. This membranous layer over their eyes protects them from the intense brightness of the sunlight as it reflects over the sand of the Shimmering Sea, as well as from the minute grains of glass that blow about its surface. The most iconic physical attribute of the painted elves is of course the colored designs on their skin. These decorations (“hullunqa”) are serve as both spiritual and physical adornments. They both speak of the deeds and honors pertaining to the individual but also resonate in deeper, personal meanings and are applied through rituals. Some designs are used universally among the painted elves – for example there are symbols to show certain rites of passage such a marriage and the birth of a child – but others are distinct. Tribes have their own color-symbol combinations, but beyond tribal markings and certain rite-markings, the decorations are wholly unique and are said to show the journey of the individual’s life through the colors on the skin. Certain colors reflect different aspects of the journey – red for battle, blue for an epiphany or breakthrough of the soul, green for an effect to the spirit, and so on – while certain designs are likewise grouped. Chiefs and shamans usually decide on what designs an individual receives by judging their deeds, be them physical, spiritual, or emotional. An individual can apply his or her own hallunqa, but this is a risky practice that can lead to exile if the application is deemed unworthy in the eyes of the chief or shaman.

The Iban’Iwa maintain a tribal societal structure with the members of the tribe (“takkaru”) operating under the guidance and direction of a chieftain (“Amghar”) and a shaman (“taymu”). The Amghar is the first and final authority within a tribe. They decide when to move the tribe, when to attack an enemy, how many resources to use or to ration, give consent to marriages, decide the outcome of any dispute, choose to exile or assimilate individuals or families, and so on. The position or title of Amghar is usually hereditary, often passed to the chief’s first child, male or female. The firstborn is tethered to the chief for much of his or her life, learning the weight of every decision, the outcomes of every path, constantly groomed to take up the role. If a chieftain is childless or deems his or her own children unworthy, a successor can be appointed. The shaman of a tribe also plays an important role, serving as the spiritual conduit for both the Amghar and the people of the takkaru. Shaman consult with the spirits and pass their wisdom to the chief, but otherwise have little in the way of actual power beyond influence and advice. Still, shamans are respected members of their tribes and assist the chieftains in some decision-making and the application of hallunqa. They perform rites for marriage, childbirth, and funerals, invoking the spirits during these times.

The Iban’Iwa are primarily a nomadic people, settling where resources can be found and moving on when the resources are used up. Despite their best conservation efforts, the painted elves have had a long history of conflict. Resources are scarce in the Shimmering Sea, and the elf population is constantly fighting for and defending them. Such a life has made the painted elves a warlike people, perpetually battling for their very existence in the harsh land they call home. Painted elf warriors (“amaskri”) form warbands (“fistaqi”) that roam around the Sea of Shards, defending their lands and their resources from their primary enemies – gnolls (“mjgylriz“), lamia (“izamin“), and troglodytes (“damyust“) while simultaneously raiding for supplies of their own. Iban’Iwa tribes try not to come into conflict with one another over resources, but it is known to happen, particularly during especially dire times of scarcity. Nearly every member of a tribe is trained to fight, even if they are not all allocated to fistaqi. All too often are tribes attacked while their true warriors are away, causing the need for every member to contribute to battle. Amaskri are respected greatly by the rest of the tribe, seen as providers, heroes, and guardians. In the event of a chief’s death with no successor, a leading Amaskri is usually chosen by the shaman and elevated to Amghar.

Spirit-animism is the religion of the Iban’Iwa. They have no formal doctrine of faith, nor do they revere the ambiguous “spirits” as deities. Spirits represent forces that dwell within anything and everything, and such forces are to be respected, feared, venerated, and appeased. Spirits of water and sky bring rain, spirits of the earth provide food, spirits of beasts grant noble, primal power. So too are there negative spirits that possess mortals to do terrible things, and that bring famine and disease. These malignant spirits are often thought to be the result of other spirits being ignored, neglected, or corrupted. The Iban’Iwa also believe that they become spirits when they die, joining the spirit world, and ancestral spirits are prevalent among their reverence as well. Among the most important prized spirits to the Iban’Iwa are those of the yakti – large, flightless birds that roam the Shimmering Sea, feeding on the lizards and snakes that populate the area. The yakti and the painted elves have a long history of companionship, having been tamed by the Iban’Iwa for centuries. The yakti are the primary spirit animals to the painted elves and as such they do not hunt them in the wild nor breed them for food. They train the birds as mounts and companions and use their feathers for clothing and even armor. When a yakti dies in battle or is put down due to injury or disease, only then is the bird eaten by the tribe, to honor the creature and imbibe of its strength and power.

The painted elves’ interaction with the people of Rekkar-Sarrat near solely rely on the elves’ greatest resource – lavaglass. Lavaglass is an innately magical material born of the supernatural relationship between the otherwordly magma of Lavagout and the glass-infused sands of the Shimmering Sea. Not only is the magical material highly prized and sought after by the wealthy, the nobles, and the master craftsmen of the floodplain and its traders, it is also the greatest source of conflict in the Shimmering Sea. Other than food and water, it is the most commonly fought over resource in that land by all of its sentient species, and battles over fields of lavaglass are long and brutal. The gnolls purportedly take it to their fire giant masters in Lavagout, and no one is quite sure what the lamia and troglodytes do with it, but it is a sacred and spiritual thing to the Iban’Iwa, who call it “hal’awa.” Hal’awa is seen as a concentrated, physical manifestation of spirit-force generated by primal, ancient spirits. Because of this, a rift has divided the painted elf population into two groups that now war with one another as often and brutally as they war with the other races. These two factions arose after contact was made between the painted elves and the humans of the riverlands. Some of the tribes agreed to trade the lavaglass to the humans in exchange for much-needed resources and necessities unavailable in the Shimmering Sea. This decision angered other tribes, who refused to turn this sacred treasure into a trade good.

This schism inevitably led to war. The two factions of Iban’Iwa are the “Sufu Htalabrid” (Lighters of the Long Path) and the “Yiwan Tamgart” (Reverent Ones). The Sufu Htalabrid are the more pragmatic of the elves and have a loose alliance with the human population of the Kingdoms. They collect the lavaglass and trade it for food, fabric, metal, wood, and weapons, but the humans are required to make the dangerous journey across the Scablands to exchange the goods. The influx of these resources has allowed the Sufu to become better equipped and more stable than their enemies, but the Reverent Ones remain more numerous. The Yiwan Tamgart sends its own fistaqi into the Scablands to launch attacks on the human caravans and often ambushes the trading posts where the other elves and humans do business. Some human merchants have hired guards and mercenaries to join the Sufu in their constant wars, which has only made the Yiwan more contemptuous.

There are some representatives of the Lighters of the Long Path that semi-reside in Rekkar-Sarrat. They can be found in the cities making the orders for what their people need and protecting their interests. They also offer to show ways to manipulate the lavaglass and reveal more information about it in return for more goods. Some painted elves have even become infatuated with city life and the benevolent lands of the river and have found a new home and place within them, effectively deserting their people to become self-made citizens. These defectors are spurned by their kin as “gadrizi” (forsakers) but find that they are not so shunned by the diverse peoples of the River cities.

Painted elves speak their own language called Awallu which strangely has similarities, however few, with an ancient form of Solari elven, leading some linguists to believe that the first painted elves were travelers from what would become Setal Solaris. It has little to nothing in common with modern Solari, however, and is a separate language in its own right.

Game Information:

Racial Stat Adjustments: +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Intelligence
Type: Humanoid (Elf)
Size: Medium
Base Speed: 30 ft.
Languages: Automatic – Common (Trade-Tongue), Elven (Awallu). Bonus – Draconic, Gnoll, Pharosi, Nomadi, Abyssal, Halfling, Elven (Solari)
Protected Eyes: Immune to effects that would cause the dazzled condition and have a +2 racial saving throw bonus against spells or effects that cause blindness.
Keen Senses: +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
Desert Runner: +4 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves against fatigue and exhaustion, from heat, thirst, starvation, and running.
Weapon Familiarity: Painted Elves are proficient with the nimcha, flyssa, and mambele.
Low-Light Vision: Elves see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.

Elf

Rekkar-Sarrat ForestWoodsmoke