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  1. #21
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Elves and dwarves make perfect trading partners - both have something the other wants, and neither has any interest in the other's land. What stops elves trading is lack of interest in material things - who cares about a painting if a few decades wandering elsewhere sees it rotted to nothing? A cerilian elf can live thousands of years and time is nothing to them, to me an elf might sit and let time flow over them as they watch an oak grow from an acorn to towering giant of the forest simply from curiosity of wondering which way its branches will turn - they are spirits clothed in flesh not mere animals that can think...

    Just as brownies, pixies, etc subsist primarily from mebhaighl and natural growths the elves have no need of agriculture (beyond asking bushes to grow berries, etc) and very little need for anything else. If your elves all live in shining cities working 9 to 5 they are humans with pointy ears, not spirits taken mortal form...

    As I've mentioned before I see the sidhe as akin to the Chai'asi and hulderfolk of Taladas - possibly the Grugach of Greyahwk... The ultra civilised gold and moon elves of the Forgotten realms they are most certainly not.

    Twisting the races - elves and goblins most of all - is one of the things that made BR so distinctive.

    So I'll happily have elves wearing clothes of silk, bark, leaves and woven grasses clothe themselves in illusion and so on rather than force them to spin wool, wield weapons of wooden or dwarven origin, etc. I certainly can't see an elf grubbing around in the dirt to get ore - it involves being undergound (ugh), dirty (double ugh), and boring manual labour (beyond ugh...)

    Of course making the elves dependent on mebhaighl not only ties them to their beloved forests (leave and become fully mortal, eat, sleep and age) but forces them to either have a parasitic or symbiotic relationship with it - I see the sidhe as spirits taken form to defend the forests and so favour the latter. similarly it keeps the population down, makes them vulnerable to poisoning of the mebhaighl, and quite possibly to powers that affect spirits (such as priestly powers...).

    Incidentally I can't see the elves ever having slaves - they have no interest in anything the slaves might do for them since they need nearly nothing, have no interest on power for its own sake, consider free will the highest good, etc - all of which suggest slavery would be abhorrent to them. Dominate them briefly to try to teach the goblins civilisation instead of slaying them yes, annihilate them for proving incapable of living in peace yes, enslave them? Why bother? in many ways elves are like cats, graceful, savage, changeable, and the like - cats play with prey and fight for dominance but have no interest in leading a pack of lessers...

  2. #22
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beruin View Post
    how do they produce enough food for their population?
    This is one of the reasons I decided that most or all of their nutrition comes not from food, but from ambient magic (as quantified by the maximum source level of the province). They may eat if they wish, but in their home forests, they have no need to. If they were to enter human farmland, however, they would have to eat much more than humans, and would become susceptible to sleep, disease and even aging if they stayed too long, but would be healed if they returned to high-magic lands. I think the elves have to reforest Cerilia in order to live in all of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beruin View Post
    The elves value quality over quantity and will be slow producers of non-perishable goods compared to humans
    The Japanese style of multiply-folded metal swords always struck me as more appropriate to elven patience and standards of excellence than to any human D&D culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beruin View Post
    they need ore to craft weapons, armour and arrowheads, and they need charcoal to smelt the ore and work they metal, so even they will have to cut wood for industrial purposes.
    I think magic can supply these needs. Magic can easily produce heat or fire without wood, and can refine ore far more efficiently than medieval technological processes. The ore itself could be obtained in trade from the dwarves, or it too could be obtained by magic (alchemy to turn surface rocks into solid steel, ritual magic to detect lodes underground and teleport them to the surface) or magical labor (constructs, earth elementals, friendly xorn). They can even make tools, armor and weapons out of wood and leaves and make them magically as hard, sharp and fire-resistant as metal, while retaining the pleasant coloration of trees.

    Quote Originally Posted by ConjurerDragon View Post
    I really can't see ore mines in the forest worked by sidhelien.
    I mostly agree, except for one thing: elves are elemental spirits made flesh. Those of them who are descended mainly from earth elementals, or have a strong Reynir bloodline, might really enjoy burrowing in the earth. Those who are descended mainly from fire elementals, or have a strong Basaia bloodline, would enjoy working with them to melt and reform metals.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    What stops elves trading is lack of interest in material things - who cares about a painting if a few decades wandering elsewhere sees it rotted to nothing?
    So why do humans enjoy watching sunsets? Elves can still appreciate the ephemeral for its aesthetic qualities, even though to them more things are ephemeral.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    the elves have no need of agriculture (beyond asking bushes to grow berries, etc)
    Even those who don't think (as Andrew and I do) that elves subsist on magic should keep that point in mind. Plants naturally produce fruit which animals eat, as a crucial part of the plants' reproductive cycle. The same kind of symbiotic relationship with elves should exist at a magically-accelerated scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    The ultra civilised gold and moon elves of the Forgotten realms they are most certainly not.
    They are ultra-civilized in the sense that their society has no poor or working class. Their realms are peopled entirely by artists and scholars, with nary a proletarian in sight. Wondering how any society could consist solely of patricians is what first led me to decide they are sustained by mebhaighl. Otherwise, there have to be plebeians somewhere, which leads back to large-scale enslavement of the goblins, which I don't like either.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    it involves being undergound (ugh), dirty (double ugh)
    I think this is a much more glaring FR-ism than is living in shining cities. Why, exactly, would nature elemental spirits worry about getting dirty? On the other hand, given that they pass without trace naturally, which means they don't leave footprints in mud or clothing fibers on thorns or grass crushed underfoot, it's distinctly possible that they *can't* get dirty.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    I'll happily have elves wearing clothes of silk, bark, leaves and woven grasses clothe themselves in illusion and so on rather than force them to spin wool
    I think they can magic the worms into weaving the clothing for them. Failing that, at least they can create magic spinning wheels and looms, or spin and weave magically in midair without any apparent mundane tools. In summary, then, I think all the standard industries do exist among the Sidhelien, but they are all performed using magic by part-time, recreational (though still incredibly skilled, given thousands of years to practice) artisans who do their crafts for fun rather than survival. They're like modern idle rich who can buy any food they like at the grocery store by writing a check against a giant interest-bearing trust fund, but decide to take up gardening as a hobby -- the same gardening that millions of human peasants are obligated to do if they want to avoid starving to death. That alone should be the cause of immense resentment of the Sidhelien by the other species.


    Ryan
    Last edited by ryancaveney; 06-16-2007 at 03:44 AM.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    Elves and dwarves make perfect trading partners - both have something the other wants, and neither has any interest in the other's land. What stops elves trading is lack of interest in material things - who cares about a painting if a few decades wandering elsewhere sees it rotted to nothing? A cerilian elf can live thousands of years and time is nothing to them, to me an elf might sit and let time flow over them as they watch an oak grow from an acorn to towering giant of the forest simply from curiosity of wondering which way its branches will turn - they are spirits clothed in flesh not mere animals that can think...

    Just as brownies, pixies, etc subsist primarily from mebhaighl and natural growths the elves have no need of agriculture (beyond asking bushes to grow berries, etc) and very little need for anything else. If your elves all live in shining cities working 9 to 5 they are humans with pointy ears, not spirits taken mortal form...

    As I've mentioned before I see the sidhe as akin to the Chai'asi and hulderfolk of Taladas - possibly the Grugach of Greyahwk... The ultra civilised gold and moon elves of the Forgotten realms they are most certainly not.

    Twisting the races - elves and goblins most of all - is one of the things that made BR so distinctive.

    So I'll happily have elves wearing clothes of silk, bark, leaves and woven grasses clothe themselves in illusion and so on rather than force them to spin wool, wield weapons of wooden or dwarven origin, etc. I certainly can't see an elf grubbing around in the dirt to get ore - it involves being undergound (ugh), dirty (double ugh), and boring manual labour (beyond ugh...)

    Of course making the elves dependent on mebhaighl not only ties them to their beloved forests (leave and become fully mortal, eat, sleep and age) but forces them to either have a parasitic or symbiotic relationship with it - I see the sidhe as spirits taken form to defend the forests and so favour the latter. similarly it keeps the population down, makes them vulnerable to poisoning of the mebhaighl, and quite possibly to powers that affect spirits (such as priestly powers...).

    Incidentally I can't see the elves ever having slaves - they have no interest in anything the slaves might do for them since they need nearly nothing, have no interest on power for its own sake, consider free will the highest good, etc - all of which suggest slavery would be abhorrent to them. Dominate them briefly to try to teach the goblins civilisation instead of slaying them yes, annihilate them for proving incapable of living in peace yes, enslave them? Why bother? in many ways elves are like cats, graceful, savage, changeable, and the like - cats play with prey and fight for dominance but have no interest in leading a pack of lessers...
    I only have two comments. If you read Player Secrets of Tuarheivel it mentions commoners and nobles. If Sidhe didn't like dirt or boring manual labor then how could they field an army? How could they have a common class? Not all Sidhe are nobles, crafters, or scholars. They do have a working class and hierarchy.

    My second comment is in regards to Sidhe and slaves. The Sidhe did own slaves, kobolds and goblins, and attempted dominated the dwarves for 4,500 years before they went back underground. The war with the goblinoids was started by the Sidhe, not the goblinoids. They were just as expansionistic as the Anuirean Empire, but lasted longer.

    Read through Player Secrets of Tuarheivel and it will give a little more insight into the BR "elf."

  4. #24
    I guess it works in your campaigns, but that's a view quite idyllic from the suggested canon - and for spirits taken form.

    The "fairy cults" as Jenner called some folk traditions of the british, were accompanied by systems of offrands - they were considered fed, but through a certain symbiotic relationship (good luck, not too much interference, you get your strawberries and creams [EDIT - and mead[) - history makes it so that such a mechanism is hardly possible between the sidhe and humans. The "fey" in british legends do toy with other's free will, have social organisation, etc.

    As for multifolded steel, the practice was also found in Europe (Scandinavia, Spain) and did not tend to make particularly better blades (a typical katana can be as brittle as an early rapier (not as bad as a small sword, but you're unlikely to use it on a fully armored foe). It has more (lapsus) to do with limitations of ressource than any standards of excellence (romanticism excepted).
    Last edited by Gwrthefyr; 06-16-2007 at 10:22 AM.

  5. #25
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autarkis View Post
    I only have two comments. If you read Player Secrets of Tuarheivel it mentions commoners and nobles. If Sidhe didn't like dirt or boring manual labor then how could they field an army? How could they have a common class? Not all Sidhe are nobles, crafters, or scholars. They do have a working class and hierarchy.

    The Sidhe can very easily field an army without peasants, remember that they have no elderly, almost no children - that has a huge impact on society (women aren't just child bearers and raisers but full members of society, all members are fully productive). With less need for food, goods, etc your population has plenty of time over the centuries to gain martial skill - particular as elven tactics avoid mass warfare which needs intensive training.

    Commoners and nobles is in my view a humanism. The elves have no need for the concept of inheritance - indeed it is completely illogical from their point of view. Nobility is simply then a human tag to any elf who is forced to serve society in one role of another - not a separate social class.

    Remember that in addition to being immortal (removing any real concept of inheritance) elves are so independent and against the concept of fealty that they have no gods - so making a peasantry/nobility split very unlikely.

    What is the working class to do anyway? Elves don't till fields, build, etc - if they did the source level would drop with population as for any other race. A working class is needed when you need manual labour to obtain food and other basics - the elves either don't need these or gain them via trade/magic. Work for pleasure as Ryan says yes, work like a dog because otherwise your master will beat you? Because otherwise you will freeze in the cold rains? Because you will starve? If your elves worry about any of those three then you are back to pointy eared humans - not nature spirit types and we are talking about completely different races.

    Do you have faerie dragons, sprites, dryads, etc working small fields to earn a crust? If not, why have elves work?


    Quote Originally Posted by Autarkis View Post
    My second comment is in regards to Sidhe and slaves. The Sidhe did own slaves, kobolds and goblins, and attempted dominated the dwarves for 4,500 years before they went back underground. The war with the goblinoids was started by the Sidhe, not the goblinoids. They were just as expansionistic as the Anuirean Empire, but lasted longer.

    Read through Player Secrets of Tuarheivel and it will give a little more insight into the BR "elf."
    PS Tuarheviel has many 'issues' - failure to follow through strands from the initial canon, a pitiful handover story, etc. It reads very much as the 'human view of Tuarheviel' - quite likely given the perspective in other BR stuff - rather than an impartial view. The Goblins throw away line is in a similar vein, to a human if the golbins lived amongst the elves for a while they must have een slaves - how else can two people live? Similarly as both dwarves and elves are different and compete with humans they must have competed against each other in the human view...

    I clearly disagree with Ryan regarding the prevalence of magic, or more accurately, his industrial use of it. To me to create such a system requires a mass demand for products and I simply don't see the demand. I see the elves as making artifacts when the artifacts are needed, but not otherwise. Similarly they may make a building and various elves live there or not as the whim takes them, without any consideration of real ownership - land ownership was foreign to a number of human peoples and the elves should almost certainly scorn it.

    Also I see elves as spirits of air/water, not of earth/fire (the latter would be dwarves), so elves wouldn't be burrowing underground at all - indeed I always had mine as claustrophobic - sometimes to the point of going crazed in captivity...

    Reading various other BR sources on elven guilds I can't see any support for the idea that the elves are happily working in mines, factories, and so on. PS Tuarheviel aside, I can't see any support for the elves=pointy eared humans really.

    I find it deeply saddening how little consideration is given to the impact of low birthrate and eternal youth on elven society in most works - so much of human society revolves around inheritance, child raising, protection of the elderly, etc that removing any such needs should have a huge impact on elves - and make them far more alien than the dwarves ever are.

    Some of my stuff - seeing elves are able to let time pass over them, subsist entirely on mebhaighl, etc are non-canon, or at least, not stated but not contradicted, but the lack on industry and general disinterest in following leaders seems fairly well supported.

  6. #26
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    How could the elves enslave kobolds?Cerilian kobolds live only in the underground or however in caves...elves hate that kind of places.And also dwarves and orogs are interested in kobolds....how the unmotivated (in underground businnes) elves could be more effective of the dwarves and orogs?
    And we must remember that cerilian kobolds aren't stupid like goblins:they are even good magicians.

  7. #27
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    vota dc schrieb:
    > This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
    > You can view the entire thread at:
    > http://www.birthright.net/forums/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=3877
    > vota dc wrote:
    > How could the elves enslave kobolds?Cerilian kobolds live only in the underground or however in caves...elves hate that kind of places.And also dwarves and orogs are interested in kobolds....how the unmotivated (in underground businnes) elves could be more effective of the dwarves and orogs?
    > And we must remember that cerilian kobolds aren`t stupid like goblins:they are even good magicians.
    >
    In the 2E Atlas of Cerilia it was mentioned that the enslaved races
    retreated into impenetrable underground warrens as far as I remember -
    so the kobolds fled the sidhelien slavery by retreating underground.
    Before they could be enslaved because they did not live completely
    underground.

    If you remember that kobolds aren?t stupid as goblins, then please also
    remember that (cerilian) goblins are also not stupid like goblins ;-)

  8. #28
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I will make a comment as to the folding of metal, just to clear a few things up.

    The Japanese ferrous ore is pretty poor because it's rather sandy (i.e. is very impure and imperfect), so their weaponsmiths figured out at some point that, instead of the traditional, Chinese-based techniques that were excellent for the good Chinese ore, they should fold the steel, hammer some impurities out of it, and repeat - the process usually done thrice (thus giving 9 layers, since the blade was already two blocks of soft and hard steel layered one on top of the other: SSSSSSSSHHHHHHHH --> HHHHSSSSSSSSSHHHH --> HHSSSSHHHHSSSSHH --> HSSHHSSHHSSHHSSH, for example).

    The Westerners used pattern welding mostly, which is a very different thing.

  9. #29
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConjurerDragon View Post
    If you remember that kobolds aren?t stupid as goblins, then please also
    remember that (cerilian) goblins are also not stupid like goblins ;-)
    I always forget that one. I tend to go with the view that most are fairly dim but some are viciously cunning... So they have the same intelligence range as humans but a different weighting to the norm. I see them as far more savage than humans however, without the joy in life which tempers the elven soul.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    The Sidhe can very easily field an army without peasants, remember that they have no elderly, almost no children - that has a huge impact on society (women aren't just child bearers and raisers but full members of society, all members are fully productive). With less need for food, goods, etc your population has plenty of time over the centuries to gain martial skill - particular as elven tactics avoid mass warfare which needs intensive training.

    Commoners and nobles is in my view a humanism. The elves have no need for the concept of inheritance - indeed it is completely illogical from their point of view. Nobility is simply then a human tag to any elf who is forced to serve society in one role of another - not a separate social class.
    Inheritance is not illogical from their point of view, as can be seen by their adherence to inheritance when it comes to leadership. (see Sidhe timeline below from PSoT and Dragon Magazine (Nov. 1997) since you are disregarding PSoT.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    Remember that in addition to being immortal (removing any real concept of inheritance) elves are so independent and against the concept of fealty that they have no gods - so making a peasantry/nobility split very unlikely.
    Sidhe have concepts of fealty and Empire building. They had armed conflicts with dwarves from -15705 HC to -1435 HC when they signed a peace accord with the dwarves. There is also a write up in the Dragon Magazine Nov '97 that talks about The Sceptres of Old Oak speaking about lords appearing and warring amongst themselves:

    "After centuries of uncotested dominance, the elves faced challenges from these "lesser" races. The elves had grown great indeed, but the others grew plentiful. The goblins arose against their elven lords and battled them. Other humanoids did the same. The elves fought back and blamed each other for their failings."

    "In time, certain elves arose among the throng and declared themselves lords of their people. These lords took charge of the battles against the humanoids first, but then sought to rule their peple as well. Soon, external conflicts ceased as each lord fought for dominance."

    Seem like they are very familiar with the concepts of fealty and lording over others. Don't mistake the fact that they don't believe that gods are important enough to worship for not believing that hierarchies exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    What is the working class to do anyway? Elves don't till fields, build, etc - if they did the source level would drop with population as for any other race. A working class is needed when you need manual labour to obtain food and other basics - the elves either don't need these or gain them via trade/magic. Work for pleasure as Ryan says yes, work like a dog because otherwise your master will beat you? Because otherwise you will freeze in the cold rains? Because you will starve? If your elves worry about any of those three then you are back to pointy eared humans - not nature spirit types and we are talking about completely different races.

    Do you have faerie dragons, sprites, dryads, etc working small fields to earn a crust? If not, why have elves work?
    If the elves did not need manual labor to obtain or other basics, why did they conquer races and war with them? Sidhe are the ones credited with creating tighmaevril, which means they have basic mind set to do things you can't or won't credit them the ability to do so. They may not till fields or build homes the traditional way, but they do. Tuarhievel and Sielwode speak about buildings grown from trees.

    The reason source levels don't drop when they rule provinces is not because they don't build, but because they are in harmony with nature and their building techniques differ from dwarves, humans, goblins, etc... in that it does not impact the magical sources of the province.

    Sprites, dryads, faerie dragons, etc.. don't eat and don't have a structured society, the Sidhe do. Again, nothing in canon supports your position.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    PS Tuarheviel has many 'issues' - failure to follow through strands from the initial canon, a pitiful handover story, etc. It reads very much as the 'human view of Tuarheviel' - quite likely given the perspective in other BR stuff - rather than an impartial view. The Goblins throw away line is in a similar vein, to a human if the golbins lived amongst the elves for a while they must have een slaves - how else can two people live? Similarly as both dwarves and elves are different and compete with humans they must have competed against each other in the human view...
    See above for Sidhe competing with themselves and Sidhe competing with dwarves (and other races.) Also, see the timeline I will post after this one. PSoTh also states that the book is worded so humans can relate to it since, well, that is what the player base is. It would be difficult for the writers of setting material to describe Sidhe mentality with words that we wouldn't understand. Thought the Sidhe are different, they do have the similar characteristics with dwarves, globlins, orogs, humans, kobolds, etc...

    Dislike for how setting material is set forth and attempting to use it as a basis for supporting your point doesn't strengthen it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    I clearly disagree with Ryan regarding the prevalence of magic, or more accurately, his industrial use of it. To me to create such a system requires a mass demand for products and I simply don't see the demand. I see the elves as making artifacts when the artifacts are needed, but not otherwise. Similarly they may make a building and various elves live there or not as the whim takes them, without any consideration of real ownership - land ownership was foreign to a number of human peoples and the elves should almost certainly scorn it.

    Also I see elves as spirits of air/water, not of earth/fire (the latter would be dwarves), so elves wouldn't be burrowing underground at all - indeed I always had mine as claustrophobic - sometimes to the point of going crazed in captivity...

    Reading various other BR sources on elven guilds I can't see any support for the idea that the elves are happily working in mines, factories, and so on. PS Tuarheviel aside, I can't see any support for the elves=pointy eared humans really.

    I find it deeply saddening how little consideration is given to the impact of low birthrate and eternal youth on elven society in most works - so much of human society revolves around inheritance, child raising, protection of the elderly, etc that removing any such needs should have a huge impact on elves - and make them far more alien than the dwarves ever are.

    Some of my stuff - seeing elves are able to let time pass over them, subsist entirely on mebhaighl, etc are non-canon, or at least, not stated but not contradicted, but the lack on industry and general disinterest in following leaders seems fairly well supported.
    So are dwarves just stumpy humans because there are certain correlations with human culture?

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