The elves of Tashmine are the Purists, considered Xenophobic by the other races. The believe in the preservation of the elven bloodlines and despise those who opt to mix blood. Some elves do not view the mixing of bloodlines as so distasteful, but they are afraid of it non-the-less.
Like most elves they make find themselves at peace in the deep forests, blending their creations with the natural world. They are best known as expert lyricists and musicians, though they rarely leave their homelands to display such talents. During the days of legend it was said that the elves of Tashmine produced the greatest of military minds and were incredibly skilled in hand-to-hand combat and swordplay. These qualities have yet to be observed beyond glorious tales.
The elves of Tashmine are quite shy, even with each other. They are quite conservative in their ways, careful not to tread on grounds that would make another squeamish or uncomfortable (ie. sex). Tashminaen elves respond poorly to change, choosing to abide by rigid traditions and concepts rather than give way to new world ideas. This puts them at odds with Humans, whose constantly changing world scares them.
The elves of Tashmine prefer simple pleasures in life, though some of their possessions are quite lavish and extravagant. They are entertainers, singers and lyricists, enjoying the world around them when the going is not tough. They are extremely skill craftsmen and specialize in swords and clothing made from furs and scales. Like the other elven races, vanity is a high priority when it comes to clothing. During social occasions they wear the most extravagant clothing that can be crafted from natural sources. Dragonscale gowns are the top of fashion, and are often fitted with feathers shed off of rare birds that emphasize the curvature of ones figure. Where scales are not available, plush fur skin gowns and coats make up the regular garb. All of their works are form fitting to emphasize their looks.
Staying fit and in fighting shape is very important to the elves. They value fitness as one of the greater achievements in life and constantly strive to remain at the top, even into their old age. An elf who doesn't strive for this pinnacle of success will never reach the top in elven society (some have tried, but the culture keeps them down at they bottom despite how intelligent they might be). Such elves are typically unmotivated and laziness in the eyes of their peers.
The elves put little value in gold and prefer to trade goods for goods or payment in dragonscales of specific colors. Shed scales are the easiest to acquire, as getting them from a living dragon can be nearly impossible. The value for dragonscales is high in Tashminaen society because of the many uses for them; magical components and clothing. Useful magical items are also held in high regard for their dual purpose as wealth and as tools. Additional high grade trade goods include rare foods and skins, or forged metals (dwarven is the highest grade – Tashminaen blacksmiths are more than happy to heap high praise on the metallurgic skills of the dwarves).
The elves of Tashmine maintain the typical elven body type, with the majority being thin with soft curves. Their body types do not reach petite though, finding a happy medium between the petite of Issalonians and the thin of Humans. Their muscle tone is deceptively hidden by slender skin making the elves appear to be weak (many have fallen victim to this belief, particularly slavers who thought they would be perfect as “service” slaves).
Tashminaen elves fall in the middle of the elven height scale, settling in around 5 to 5 ½ feet tall. The typically weigh anywhere from 80 to 110 lbs, but greater weight has been seen in body builders and Valaun (elven wrestlers).
Tasmanian elves have yellow or golden eyes and snow white or coal black hair. Their skin is a light chestnut brown and their noses typically have a soft upturn on their noses. They often stay well groomed, combing hair so that it remains straight. Males and females were their hair long, but facial features serve as indicators for gender. Males often have hard-set or chiseled features alongside angry eyebrows (their eyebrows often rile up humans who lack perception to notice that this simply is the way they are). Females on the other hand have lighter features, more curvature at their chins, small lips, and large doe eyes.
Clothing is the greatest indicator of status in Tashminaen culture. They dress themselves only in natural materials, hand made (while not necessarily by their own hand, all young elves learn about tailoring) by one elf or another. Dragon-scales are the most valuable, and are one of the primary indicators of wealth. Other materials, especially from rare monsters often indicate the profession of an elf. Blacksmiths typically seek heat resistant skins and warriors favor the hides of the beasts they have slain as trophies they can always show off. A tailor tends to wear fabrics like cotton or wool. The poor are left with whatever they can scrounge and tan (warrior and adventurers often rise up from the lower status's because of their willingness to take on larger creatures to provide for their family). Wearing the garb of another race places an elf of Tashmine in the lowest class, referred to as the Yooswei (pronounced Yo-sway; rough translation – unworthy or ignored).
Elves of Tashmine typically life 600 years and rarely show signs of aging until that point. The oldest elf in their culture lived to by 889 years old.
The elves of Tashmine are a difficult people to get along with. To the other races of Saratta, they often come across as standoffish and place themselves first. They seem to go out of their way to ensure that relationships with non-elves do not go much further than friendship or mere acquaintance. This is especially true when dealing with the opposite sex where race differs. The elves fear the blending of their bloodline and resort to extreme measures to make sure it never happens.
Within their own societal circles, the elves are very cordial with their acquaintances, giving gracious (though sometimes backhanded) praise to friend or enemy. The elves are careful not to tread on each others toes with comments or actions when face to face, opting to go behind one's back rather than risk their feelings. With close friends this is a bit different. Close friends are very open with one another and are able to portray their true feelings about situations and people. The bond between friends (male or female) in elven society is much like that of lovers (leading some races to believe that the elves prefer the company of the same sex, or view some relationships as inappropriate based upon statuses). They are very close both in intimacy and words.
Friendship in elven culture is not viewed as a romance or sexual. An elf's touch is their way of showing truly how much they care, and can say more to an elf than words (in fact, it is an integral part of their language). An elf will often live with, or in close proximity to their friends, picking up roots and moving with them if that is what life dictates. The bond of friendship serves as an elf's family unit.
Love is an open affair as Tashminaen elves do not settle down or marry. If they bear children couples will remain with each other until their young are able to be on their own; typically by the time they are 15 or 16 years old. The mother and father serve as role models during this period, teaching the child right from wrong and the cornerstones of their culture. For a young elf this time can be a challenge because the family unit doesn't always remain constant.
A father or mother might seek a different mate while they are growing up and families usually do not blend. Elven Bloodkeepers find this to be particularly aggravating when trying to trace a bloodline. As such, bloodline records are often poorly kept.
When an elf is of age to strike out by themselves they seek an elder. The elder will be responsible for their tutelage in a craft. The more renown an elder has in a craft, the more likely a protege will find success after they have been trained. Elders typically take on 3 to 4 apprentices and provide them food and shelter. In return, the young elf will work for the elder after the apprenticeship has been complete. When an elf is no longer an apprentice, they are called Lays. The duty of a Lay is to continue to grow the business of an elder until their Pasadil (Burden of Learning) has been repaid. This is often at the discretion of the elder, but typically is complete once they reach 50 years of age.
Relations between the other races of the world vary. Between the other elven races, Tashminaen elves are typically open with, but still fear potential contamination of blood until a Bloodkeeper can verify true elven descent. Once purity of blood has been established an elf is given the blessing of Purity, or Ghensu. The blessing is an arcane mark tattooed onto their shoulder. Bloodkeepers are able to see the magic in the mark and determine true blood afterward. (All Tashminaen pure bloods have a similar mark tattooed on their collar by their right shoulders). Elves without the blessing are treated with the same weary regard as other races.
Tashminaen elves hate orcs though there is little historical evidence to back up why. Many of the elves will claim dozens of different reasons for this dislike, citing orcish barbarism, pagan worship, and smell. Human scholars believe that it is simple racism. Whatever the case, an elf will usually go out of their way to pick a fight or land an insult on an orc, especially when numbers favor their side.
The elves dislike humans as well. They generally try to steer clear of humans all together which can be difficult considered their homeland borders the human territories. When they must encounter humans the generally regard them with scorn and talk down to them. The elves of Tashmine refuse to be drawn in by human advances from either sex as its ultimate result is the birth of a gjokul (pronounced jo-kul) or abomination.
The bulk of other races are tolerated but not openly welcomed. An elf will be cordial with a member of another race until they grow weary of the company. At that point they usually cut off conversation or leave without a second though. The exception to this treatment is with the Othar. The elves respect the Othar as children of Purity, allowing them to roam within their land with impunity. For their part, the Othar have been working with the elves to return some of the original life to their homeland. Mixing of blood with an Othar is punished just as severely as mixing blood with other races.
Gjokul, or abominations are the lowest possible status in Tashminaen society. A Gjokul is formed by mixing blood with another race, or rather by giving birth to a half-elf. Tashminaen elves view half elves as the lowest of the low, and often punish families who bear such children with banishment or death. Tashminaen elves rarely dole out such a severe punishment as death except to repeat offenders against their laws. Men and women are treated equally when dealing with punishment, but the males are rarely caught. Females on the other hand must bear the child and are thus found to be in violation of Tashminaen law far more frequently.
The immediate punishment for a mother who gives birth to a half-elf is Banishment from Tashmine. The mother is allowed to rear the child only until they are able to fend for themselves, at which point she is allowed to return to her homeland. The child on the other hand must be sent on their way. The other option is to give the child to human families at birth. The elves do not believe in killing such children and seek every alternative to death, but sadly that doesn't prevent it from occurring.
A half-elf represents the loss of Purity, the cornerstone of Tashminaen society. All elves in Tashmine grow up under these tenants and willfully submit to them to please their gods. As such, any half-elf child is viewed with scorn and it is the greatest possible blessing for them to be adopted into human families. On occasion though, an elven mother will abandon her home to keep the child. If she does this, the penalty for returning is death.
The elven homeland of Tashmine is a land of intrigue to many, as its borders have been closed off to other civilized cultures. The peninsula of Tashmine is a vast temperate forest bordering only by Naltronia, effectively walling it off from other cultures unless contact is made by ship. Its seaside coasts are littered with coral and white sand beaches, dotted with sub-tropical plant-life that diminished the further inland one ventures. The rich forests keeps the elven cities hidden with the exception of port Cimorte and Avore. Non-elven vessels seeking to trade with the elves are permitted to moor on floating reefs away from the mainland shores to prevent interaction between the majority of the elves.
It is said that long ago when the land was Pure, the trees uprooted themselves, walked, and talked to the elves. Ancient trees stand testament to the legends but no longer whisper to the elves, though many have tried to revive them. The elves have been fighting an uphill battle with the natural elements that are slowly consuming Tashmine. Much of the land consists of low lying flood zones that have transformed once beautiful forests into growing quagmires. The elves say that this natural blight has come about because of the lack of belief in the goddess Purity.
Several large rivers cut through the land, drawing excess waters back to the ocean, but as they have shifted and changed over the years, they have also given way to more flood plains. The large number of swamps covering Tashmine is not without a benefit. Many fur bearing mammals inhabit the ponds and streams that dot the land, leading to a rich supply of fur that does not seem to end. It also has its own set of dangers, including Bog Hounds and the dreaded Black Wyrms that continue to swell the mires in which they dwell.
The elves of Tashmine worship the goddess Pasquirn. They know her as she once was, the goddess of Purity and have sought to maintain that image of the goddess. The rest of the world knows Pasquirn as the goddess of Pestilence and have little remorse for her worshipers regardless of what form they choose to cling to. In Pantheon history, Pasquirn was once the embodiment of all pure things, including naivety and innocence. When Kantoram was cast from the pantheon, her parents were divided, sewing the first seeds of dissent into the young goddess.
Pasquirn cast her anger upon the dark lord Balphurus. She called the god out and called for a battle between the two within the realm of Mysorra. Only godly power could be used, a test of might rather than arms. Balphurus agreed but changed the terms to powers of the gods aspect. Pasquirn missed his intent and also agreed to the change.
When the battle broke out the two gods threw their powers at one another in an equal display of prowess but it soon became apparent who the victor would be. Pasquirn's rage was growing in the presence of the dread god, each blow she rained down increased her fury. She began to make mistakes and misjudgments that infuriated her further. She drew all of her strength into a singular blow, one that could have been devastating. She cast the energy at Balphurus but the bolt of power was deflected by a spear that the god drew up from the ground. Its tip blossomed with venom and and burned with hate.
“You can't!” Pasquirn protested.
“I can.” Balphurus roared. “You agreed to the terms. I am the aspect of Anger, Wrath and War! Tools of destruction are my domain. None would deny me!” And none could, for the god was correct. The terms had been agreed to by both parties and in Mysorra such agreements are binding. Balphurus raised the Thorn of Spite and plunged it into the goddess's side. She fell through the Mysorran Veil and was defeated.
For a time she was gone, recuperating from the damage dealt to her by Balphurus's treachery. When she returned she was changed, and only time would reveal just how great a change it would be.
The elves believe that Pasquirn was poisoned by the Thorn and in their early history led crusades seeking to find and destroy the artifact. Their warring brought them to odds with the druids of Resonn who now refuse any interaction with the elves and their dying homelands (the elves stubbornly refuse to accept any aid the Conclave can offer as well, as the elders believe they are still at war). The bulk of Tashminaen society now believe that the Thorn is simply part of myth rather than fact, or if it is real it remains with the gods in Mysorra.
Without a physical object to cleanse, the elves have turned their focus inward, giving prayer and worship to their goddess in the form she once was. Their worship, they believe, keeps a part of Purity alive in the goddess, who answers their prayers as best she can. In times of need, Pasquirn still grants mighty blessings of life and healing to her faithful, and it is said among the elves that High Clerics of Pasquirn are resurrected elder, reborn and forever living due to their faith in the goddess. Consequently, High Clerics are the oldest living elves in Tashmine, typically living an extra 200 years beyond the average lifespan. The oldest Cleric is 889 years old (as of 985 LD) and does not appear to show any signed of aging to date.
Religious requirements include fasting and mediation, often for weeks at a time to show dedication to the goddess and to cleanse impurity. Elves must also travel into the heart of blighted land (any of the numerous, large swamps) and plant purified seeds yearly to revive their homeland. Druids have denounced the practice as fool-hearty further alienating the elves. Despite the druids claims, the effort of the elves has worked in several smaller swamplands, leading the elves to place further belief in the rebirth process for their goddess.
The elves of Tashmine speak elven, but their use of the language goes further than words. Touch is incorporated into their speech and can transform the meaning or context of what is being said. Touch also conveys deeper connotation to a word, or can be entirely silent in nature while still telling another elf everything they need to know. The elvish touch / sign language draws upon emotion to convey a conversation just as much as it relies on the actual words.
Those with knowledge of the elven language will still understand most of what is being said, but they often miss out on the context.
Elves of Tashmine have a distinct accent as well (a cross between Irish and Scottish – some words are hard and accented, while others are quite fluid).
Notable Tashminaen Elves
RPG Racial Traits
+2 Dexterity, +2 Strength, -2 Constitution: Tashminaen Elves are strong and quick, but frail from the hardships of their home.
- Medium: Elves are Medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Normal Speed: Elves have a base speed of 30 feet.
- Low-Light Vision: Elves can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
- Elven Immunities: Elves are immune to magical sleep effects and gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.
- Keen Senses: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
- Hatred: Tashminaen Elves gain a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the Human and Orc subtypes because of their special training against these hated foes.
- Fated to Live: Elves are cursed to live while their homeland dies. They gain a +4 bonus on Fortitude saves against disease and poison, including magical diseases.
- Sword Trained: Tashminaen Elves are trained from birth in the use of swords and as a result are automatically proficient with sword-like weapons (including bastard swords, daggers, elven curve blades and katanas, falchions, greatswords, kukris, longswords, punching daggers, rapiers, scimitars, short swords, and two-bladed swords).
Languages: Tashminaen Elves begin play speaking Elven and Sylvan. Elves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Auran, Aquan, Common, Ephryn, Gnoll, Gnome, Orc, Othari, and Terran.