Vanir

Entomology of the Name: Though this race’s original name is Vanir (meaning “the living” in Godspeak), throughout history they have been commonly referred to as the “Ald” (meaning “eldest,” also in Godspeak). They prefer to be called Vanir but have come to accept other races using Ald, though they will feel these people have no sense of decorum, nor any grasp of history (which never surprises them). Throughout the ages the race has earned many nicknames. During the initial meetings between the races they gained the moniker “the old ones” from humans (due to the human amazement with their ages). In ancient times it was also common for other races to refer to them as “Star Elves” (which is derivative of their homeland’s name). In recent years it has become common for them to be called “Frost Elves” (due both to their appearance and the terrain of their homeland). The Vanir do not enjoy nicknames but they will accept them from people until such time as they feel they should know better. Of course this all depends on the context in which such nicknames are used. It should be noted that the Vanir dislike being referred to as elves (as they see this as a curse bestowed upon their lesser offshoots).

The Vanir are the original elves. Created by the gods during the second muse, their bloodline is as long as history itself. All other elves are descendent from them but they consider themselves to be the only actual members of their race. They maintain that the blood of all the sub-races has been tainted and so they are just elves, and not truly of Vanir blood. How could they be? For Vanir are immortal and these others are not. Many races doubt the Vanir are actually immortal but with the length of their lifespans, who could prove otherwise?

The pure beauty and elegant bearing of the Vanir make many races feel they are supernatural beings. At first glance they look more like a finished statue than a living being. Some might go so far as to say they look frightening. Vanir have skin as smooth as polished marble but unlike other elves it is a pale blue in coloration (one of the factors that earned them the nickname, frost elves). Their hair is either jet black or purest silver and their eyes are violet or amber. They have much longer ears than other elves, ending in almost sharp points, as do their noses and chins. They are much taller and more slender than other elves. Averaging between 6 and 7 feet tall, they are most often taller than humans. Their much larger forms make them appear stronger than other elves, but this is misleading. Due to the climate of their homeland, the Vanir favor durable garments made of wool. Their clothes are made in bright colors of gold, silver, blue, pale green, purple or yellow. When they are outdoors they wear heavy cloaks of the brightest white to blend in with their surroundings.

The Vanir are one of only two races that never left their homelands after the Godsrage. In deference to the Norns, the Vanir exist in only one place in the world, the Valley of Yothvanal (Starbirth). The valley is one of the most remote and hard-to-reach places on all of Cyrus. On the far southeastern corner of the continent, buried under the glacier that rests atop the Last Gate range; lays their capitol. The city of Xanthos is as beautiful as it is ancient but the way in, is hidden from all save the Vanir. The huge baroque city sprawls through the valley and blends harmoniously with its natural surroundings. The pale marble constructions of the valley are constantly lit by the huge, glowing gem; which floats near the bottom of the ice pack. The Everdawn makes every day as bright and warm as a late spring day, but the city somehow seems coldly beautiful and as much in harmony with nature as it is artificial.

The valley also houses the vast libraries of the Vanir. Their libraries are the most extensive of any in the world but they hoard knowledge. Their facilities are closed to all save themselves. Meanwhile, they constantly expand their knowledge and wisdom. Many Vanir spend their lives in research (either magical or scientific), writing learned treatises or combing the world for further histories. Above all other elves, the Ald rely on their intelligence. Their race breeds more wizards, sages and scholars than any other. Because they spend so much time in research, they often have little time to spare for physical labor. In order to maintain their cities, they must rely on the “lesser” elves for the upkeep of their realm. Though secrecy and the quest for knowledge are important to the Ald, they cherish the purity of the Vanir bloodline above all other things and give reverence to the sanctity of their original ideals. As far as they are concerned; they are the only true elves and all others are simply pretenders. They consider any of these “lesser elves” to be half-elves. Their society allows lesser elves to live within their proximity, but they are merely servants. Though they are the first elves to have made contact with other races, they feel they should never have associated with them to begin with.

Vanir are at once the most noble and reclusive of beings on Cyrus, and their society is the most rigidly stratified. They have a fierce dedication to perfection in all endeavors and are full of their own importance; believing themselves to be above all others. Often condescending, they think nothing of speaking their minds providing they stay within the bounds of decorum. Of all races they are the least trusting of mix-blood races and the most xenophobic of the same. They see this as a justified mistrust given their knowledge of the history, but even they know it often keeps them from making progress. This prejudice extends even to other elves; whom they deem lesser children of greater sires. These opinions are unpopular to nearly all people and so they have become estranged from nearly all other societies. Thankfully, they prefer to spend their time with books rather than in revelry. They value intelligence over all else and they rely on their minds and selves above all other things.

Elf History

Vanir have the following abilities and hindrances which are beyond the norm.

Ability Modifiers: -1 Str, +1 Dex, -2 Con, +3 Int.

Ability Min/Max Score Class Level Limit
Str 6/17 Basic Warrior 10
Dex 12/19 Horseman 8
Con 8/16 Ranger 10
Int 14/21 Cultist 12
Wis 6/18 Elemental Adherent 10
Cha 6/18 Troubador U
Wild Mage U
Class Level Limit Freewalker 16
Thief 10 Smuggler 8
Bard 8 Acrobat 12
Assassin 12

Character Classes: A player character Vanir can be a Basic Warrior, Horseman, Corsair, Ranger, Cultist, Elemental Adherent (any), Troubadour, Wild Mage, Freewalker, Thief, Smuggler, Bard, Acrobat, or Assassin. In addition, they may choose from the following multi-class options: Fighter/Mage, Fighter/Thief, Mage/Thief, or Fighter/Mage/Thief (rules for Multi-classing). Multi-classed Fighters may be a: Basic Warrior, Horseman, or Corsair. Multi-classed Mages may be a: Troubadour or Wild Mage. Multi-classed Rouges may be a: Thief, Smuggler, or Acrobat.

Base Movement Rate: 14.

Languages: Vanir begin play knowing how to speak, read and write Ald (which is their native language). Their thirst for knowledge has pushed them to learn many languages and as such; they may learn to speak any language using only one Language Slot, regardless of rarity. Suggested initial languages for Ald are those of their neighboring cultures (Norin Parse, Centuri, Équipù, Norse, Nim, Quantis, Faerie, Jontun, and Gnoll) but it would not be unusual for them to know any language.

Additional Experience Costs: Vanir must always gain an additional 20% of the experience needed to level in any class.

Abnormal Observation: Secret and concealed doors are difficult to hide from elves. They may notice one by merely passing with 10 feet it.

  • Notice Secret or Concealed Door while Passing; 1 on a d6
  • Find Secret Doors; 1 or 2 on a d6.
  • Find Concealed Doors; 1, 2, or 3 on a d6.

Racial Stealth: Elves in non-metal armor can gain a bonus to surprise opponents if he is alone, or with a party comprised only of Quants or elves also in non-metal armor (or 90 feet or more away from his party). If these conditions are fulfilled, he causes a -4 penalty to opponents’ surprise rolls. If a door or other screen must be opened, this penalty is reduced to -2.

Strength of Will: Although they suffer from a constitution that is weaker than a man’s, the nature of elves endows them with extreme willpower. Their mental faculties are so strong that they have 90% resistance to all sleep and charm spells. Should this natural immunity to such spells fail them they are still afforded the normal saving throw (if one is allowed). This making the possibility of an elf falling victim to such a spell more than a few times in its entire lifetime dubious at best.

Ancestral Weapons Bonus: The tenacity of elven tradition reaches into all facets of elven life. These traditions are so virulent that even the weapons they wield are deeply ingrained into their cultural identity. During their lengthy youths, elves are put through rigorous training with their cultural weapons. This intense training grants each elf a natural attack bonus of +1 while wielding any of their ancestral weapons: Lagista (elven long sword), Megure (elven short sword) and Aimegil (elven long bow). Also, elven archers are extremely mobile and can fire their bow, move (up to their full base movement), and then fire again all in the same round.

The form of racial weapons is very similar to their human weapon counterparts. As such, proficiency (and Specialization) with an ancestral weapon or its mundane counterpart allows one to fight with equal competency with either weapon. But due to the build and balancing of the mundane weapons, the Ancestral Weapon Bonus cannot be applied when fighting with them.

The Reverie: Ald do not sleep in the typical sense (though they can if they desire) and instead gain rest through a process known as the reverie, which they must do as often as any other race sleeps. When they enter reverie they do not close their eyes (unless there is a bright light present) but they relax their bodies entirely. Reverie is akin to sleep, yet is very much unlike it. During this time, they are aware of their surroundings, but they cannot act to influence them any more than a human can while asleep. Only by an act of will can an Ald tear herself from reverie, and she will be confused for a short time, just as a human would be who has torn himself from sleep. Although the reverie provides rest, it is primarily an important memory tool that help the Ald maintain a strong sense of identity. The fact that the Ald go into this reverie, rather than enter actual sleep, could help to explain their natural resistance to sleep spells.

When Ald do choose to sleep they have real dreams. Sometimes these dreams are prophetic. Whether these dreams are some sort of Vanir precognitive ability or a gift granted by the gods is a matter of debate. Not all of their dreams are prophetic but they are still highly symbolic.

The Elven Bond: Ald can form a mystical and unbreakable bond with another being, whether elf, Murian, Norn or otherwise. This is a lifelong bond and not be lightly broken. Only very rarely will an elf actually form a bond and even more rare are cases of the bond being formed with a non-Ald. In such a case they bestow the title of “elf friend” upon the being. Ald can enact this union as many times during their lifetimes as they wish but may only maintain one bond at a time. Needless to say they are very careful about those to whom they attach themselves. Some signify this bonding through the giving of a gift; others forge the bond quietly without any outward signs. Whatever the process, the elf and their chosen can sense the strong emotions of each other. They feel the joys and sorrows of the other and their triumphs and angers as well. Should one die, the other will feel the death through the breaking of the bond. The elf’s life is focused around making their bond-mate happy and safe, even if they must sacrifice their own life. When this bond is broken (through betrayal or death of one of the pair) it is a tremendous shock to the other member of the union. Ald can die from the grief caused by such partings. These dangers are the reasons many of them never join their spirits to another, for many find no one deserving of such an important union.

This bond applies, to a lesser extent, to the earth itself. If confined or kept away from the land or the company of other Ald for too long a time, they can die from grief and loneliness. Even if being held prisoner near nature or with other Ald, they can lose hope and—without sustaining physical injury—force his own death. This is done only in the darkest of times, and only when there is no hope left at all. This ability to choose death over life is one that defeats captors and would-be torturers, for they are unable to maintain their grip on their victim for long should the Ald choose this method of “escape.”

Blade Singing: Ald may spend Weapon Proficiencies to gain proficiency and specialism in the Blade Singing Weapon Style.

Racial Reaction Penalty: Because of their haughtiness and arrogance, Ald receive a -3 on all reaction adjustments when dealing with any race including all other elves (other than the Àflin, Wìáldàr or themselves). Their disdain, intentional or not, communicates itself to others and leads to very poor relations. This adjustment reflects their irritating and condescending attitude, which extend even to other elves.

Lore of the Ages: Ald have unlimited access to their own libraries and sages. Any information the Ald council deems to be useful to elves can be furnished to an Ald PC for one half the price he might be charged elsewhere. All information is purely discretionary on the part of the GM and should only be provided accordingly.

Resistance to Cold: Vanir are keenly attuned to the climate of their homeland and its meteorological cycles. As such, they are less affected extremely cold temperatures than most other races are. The chill of arctic temperatures causes them discomfort, but not nearly as much as this extreme does to others. Vanir can withstand and remain clad in only their normal clothing during temperatures as low as the freezing point of water and be only mildly uncomfortable. Below 30°F, they suffer the same ill effects as anyone else, but until that point they feel little different. Their resistance to the elements prevents much of the skin damage that other races suffer. Only those elves who are constantly exposed to the elements suffer even the slightest amount.

This immunity to cold temperatures does not extend to anything that simulates these conditions. It is only to natural temperatures that they have resistance. For example, the Vanir cannot walk through freezing rain without effect. Neither are they immune to spells that rely ice, wind, and other weather-related effects (I.E. they still suffer the usual adverse effects from a Cone of Cold spell).

Resistant to Disease: Despite their lowered constitutions, Vanir have a remarkable resistance to ordinary disease. While it is not on a scale with the paladin’s total immunity, Vanir are only rarely afflicted. In game terms, the Vanir are 50% resistant to non-magical diseases. They gain a check for this resistance in addition to any allowed saving throw. Additionally, they may make this check even in cases where a saving throw is not allowed.

Immortality and Longevity: The Vanir are immortal. Though they can be killed, an Ald will never die of old age. Additionally, the effects of aging are slow to act on them.

When they move into the “Middle Age” category; they suffer none of the normal effects of this change. This move signifies only that they have passed into their third stage of life. When they move into the “Old Age” category; they finally suffer the effects of middle age and enter their fourth stage of life. Moving into the “Venerable” category bestows the effects of old age but Ald never progress past old age for the purposes of determining aging effects. During this fifth stage, their features (ears, nose and chin) begin to further lengthen and their skin begins to age (it gains deep, sharp wrinkles). The most shocking aspect of the Ald aging process is that sometime after they have passed into the venerable category, they will begin to grow beards. All of the Ald elders are bearded and heavily wrinkled.

Aging Effects

Base Age Maximum Age
100+5d6 Unknown
Middle Age: 1000 Old Age: 3000 Venerable: 5000
Height Weight
Base 72(68) 110(90)
Variable +2d6 +4d10

Relations with other races: Being so long lived, the Vanir do not rely on tales of the ancient past, told by their great-grandfathers for their history. The eldest members of their race lived through those distant times and have firsthand knowledge of their plight against the shorter lived races. The young races have no common knowledge of the atrocities committed throughout history. Many events in the past are the stuff of nightmares and the Vanir know them all too well.

Since their return to the world the Vanir have shown that they are xenophobic towards other races. They feel any influence from the outside world will corrupt their society. In the brief time since they revealed themselves, they have fought fiercely to maintain their isolation. They have not embraced the new world and it seems that they have no intention of doing so.

The Ald firmly believe they are superior to all other races and are quite vocal about this. They are condescending and full of their own importance. Needless to say, this pride has soured any relationships they might have formed with any other race. They are not rabid in their dislike of demi-humans and humanoids, but throughout history the Vanir became used to being needed by other races, while not needing them in return. They do not seek aid or relations with others but will cheerfully rule over them.

Interestingly enough, the Vanir have the worst relation with other elves. Though the Aflin have tried to return to their homeland, they have been denied by the Vanir. The AdarÁflìn and the Vanir have a mutual hatred that is as old as the race itself. The Vanir and the New Elves share a common opinion of each other. Each sees the other as a dead-ended evolutionary off-shoot or their race, something that has become somehow, no longer elven. Only the Wiàldar have a regular relationship with them, though they little more than the servants of the Vanir.

In the eyes of most elves, the Ald have enslaved the Wiàldar, if not in fact, then at least in spirit. They feel the Ald have lost the elven joy of life and have instead have set boundaries upon it. They have become far closer to the word “human” than “elf.” The Vanir feel other elves have not properly concerned themselves with maintaining the purity of their blood. They believe they are the only true elves remaining in the world and that these others are only humans with muddled blood; who call themselves elven.

Vanir

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