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 [NATION] Dachaigh, The Elf Place
Esjitu
 Posted: Feb 21 2015, 09:00 PM
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THIS FIRST POST CONTAINS REALLY OUTDATED INFORMATION RELATED TO THE SINCE-RETCONNED HISTORY AND ALSO GENERALLY SUCKS PLEASE READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

Edit 1/28/17: Got sick of this place being nameless. Still need to hammer out some other details on the elves and their culture in general but at the very least I needed a name for this place so I could put it on the map, so...Dachaigh. It's Scots Gaelic for 'home'. I don't give a fuck how 'simple' it is. It's perfectly reasonable that the (urban) elves, considering they're holed up in their city and pretty much don't leave it, wouldn't *need* a more descriptive name for it than 'home', because that's what it is.

Note that I'm going to be pretty informal about this because I'm mostly just brainstorming, and I encourage feedback if anyone has any. I just felt like it was about time we establish a bit about the mysterious elves and their home base that we reference a lot but basically know nothing about.

Nation's Name: Elvengarde

Ruler: The High Elf King or Queen

Title As Ruler: Th...the High Elf King or Queen

Ruling Style: Unknown

Alignment: They are an extremely isolated community and reject the outside world even more than the other nations of the Wayward Woods - as such, they should be assumed as against Konungur Bones, but in all honesty they probably just give 0 fucks about him or the rest of his empire as long as he stays away from their city.

Power Estimate: In the grand scheme of things it's probably low, since they keep to themselves and don't care much about their influence on other nations. However, I feel like they would have a very strong military force and be more than capable of repelling would-be intruders.

Geography/Landmass Description:

Elvengarde is a large city in the Wayward Woods, hidden in the deepest depths even compared to the other nations within the forest. Most likely it's protected by magical seals to keep all non-elves (or extremely powerful mages) from entering, so not even aimless wandering and blind luck would land you in the city if you weren't explicitly looking for it. Thus, little is known of what the city actually looks like aside from rumors and ancient texts that have been discovered. Most likely it is similar to other nations in the Woods, very natural, probably with most buildings built into trees or atop the mountain ranges in the northernmost parts of the forest.

Honestly in my head I'm picturing the city design like the main city of the Fae in Kingdoms of Amalur...but since I can't find any decent screenshots I'll have to hop in later and take my own and try not to get sucked back into playing it because I need to focus my RPG energy on WoW for now

Landmarks:
?????????????????????????

Imports/Exports:
None, probably. Possibly engages in trade with other WW nations like Faeland, but definitely nothing outside the Woods. If they do trade I imagine it's in magical goods.

Population:
I imagine it's got a good-sized population, probably fairly high. Like, you'd be surprised how high, because the majority of IGNOites will never see it, and it's like the secret elf village so you'd probably expect there to not be a lot of room for a ton of people. But like the Wayward Woods themselves, it's probably bigger on the inside than it appears from afar because magic. Also they probably build upwards.

Racial Majority:
Elves, of course. Possibly some non-elves but it'd be pretty rare - they'd have to be on really good terms with the king to be allowed in, and even then I don't think there'd be any of the non-WW races living there.

Currency:
Not sure, but they wouldn't use Kok since they're not engaging in trading with the outside world.

So other stuff that's not on the nation sheet...

My current thought is that MTS was born here, obviously a long-ass time ago. Since we call her the princess she must have been the daughter of a king or queen from an age long past (and even given the long lifespans of elves, assuming that parent isn't dead, they're at least probably no longer the ruler). When she was chosen to become the next Guardian of Balance (another concept that needs to be developed better) she was basically giving up her right to the throne because ruling a kingdom wouldn't be very neutral. But that aside, I feel like her leaving Elvengarde would have been a self-imposed decision and not something she was forced to do. For whatever personal reasons she had, MTS chose not to live amongst her people and eventually set up her own personal home in the Wayward Woods - the Boob Gardens. At first it was probably little more than a house for her to live in, but in time would grow a bit and open its doors to others - including other elves who also wanted to escape the confines of their closed-up city. Which is probably illegal. So the Boob Gardens could perhaps be considered a safe haven for elves who don't want to live in their walled city, similar to how Bradios Banks is for the Neutrals?

But aside from MTS and other refugees, elves are a pretty rare sight in IGNOLand because most of them remain inside their closed-off city. If we have future characters who want to play as elves I think we should keep this in mind, from both ends - from the elf's perspective the outside world would be strange (either in a terrifying or magnificent kind of way depending on their views) and from our perspective they'd be a rare sight since MTS was the only other elf we've ever known - and she hasn't likely been in Elvengarde for centuries, so she's not the best example of what elven culture would be like.

Opening the floor to other input and discussion, this is really just my personal brainstorming and is subject to change.

Oh and as for where it would be on the map...I'm thinking on that mountain above Faeland, where the waterfall is. There's probably a hidden grove there that leads into the city proper.


This post has been edited by Esjitu: Jan 28 2017, 01:06 AM
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Karma
 Posted: Feb 21 2015, 10:16 PM
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One thing that bugged me right off the bat was the name. "Elvengarde." That's like naming a town "Humantown." I dunno, I feel like elves, which are often attributed to having some interesting or unusual names spanning from beautiful free-flowing musical languages to earth/wind/plant "hippy" type names could come up with a better name for their city/nation than "Elvengarde"?

Regarding the actual structure of the story, it's not uncommon for elves to be withdrawn/isolated/etc from other races. In fact it's extremely common in most fantasy stuff I've read, which is a hell of a lot, since it's my favorite genre. You mentioned WoW--the Night Elves you're familiar with so far were pretty withdrawn and supremely arrogant for the vast majority of their story up until relatively "recent" events in Warcraft history. They pretty much kept to themselves and their trees until the world started going to shit and then realized "gee whiz, maybe we should do something about this?" Their counterparts, the High elves (later Blood elves) did basically the same thing--mostly stayed neutral/away from the Big Events until it came to their doorstep, and only THEN did they try to get involved/make alliances/ask for help/etc. We also see it a lot in literature--Tolkein's elves tend to be withdrawn and want to stay out of trouble/mortal affairs/etc to the point of sailing across the ocean and running away from mortal problems. R.A. Salvatore has an entire RACE of elves that live underground and hate everyone else, to the point of killing anybody who isn't them Just Because, and even his normal/surface elves are kind of arrogant dicks. The elves in the Noble Dead series are so withdrawn from the world and so hung up on tradition and law from eons ago they keep screwing shit up because they are too busy ignoring common sense/the way the world works now/fighting amongst themselves over old dead rules. Actual lore regarding the Fair Folk in various mythologies typically has them living elsewhere and rarely bothering to interact with humans unless they're causing mischief, stealing your kids, and fucking shit up for the lulz. Even sillier interpretations of elves/faeries/etc (such as in The Artemis Fowl series) have these magical races generally just wanting to avoid being seen, noticed, or caught by modern humans. Even when elves DO interact with other races/countries/etc more often, they tend to be extremely arrogant, superior, and show-offy because they think they are better and won't hesitate to prove it at any opportunity. I could go on, but I'll just let TV Tropes do it for me.

Basically my point is that "we just live in our hidden city and nobody knows about us because we hate interacting with people" seems a bit...stale, by itself. WHY don't they interact with anybody else? Why would 99.9% of an ENTIRE population do this, other than a few random adventurers wandering out? Did something happen and they stopped trusting outsiders, say in the IGNO cataclysm? Was it like WoW's Gilneas instead, maybe, when they were so scared of something outside (a war, a plague, a religious frenzy, titans rampaging around, whatever) that they locked themselves behind a wall to keep the danger out and didn't realize things had progressed past that since then? Did something hide them from everybody else and they never realized it? Do they as a race get some sort of withdrawl/illness/etc when they leave the safety of their woodland home, unless they take special precautions? Are they being duped/lied to into not leaving at all?

(I mention this last one because of the War of the Souls trilogy. One kingdom of elves had been so upset by a sudden cataclysmic disappearing of ALL of their gods that they set up a magical force-field type barrier over their ENTIRE kingdom that kept LITERALLY everything from going in or out. They thought they were protecting themselves from attack, when in reality they had been tricked by a Big Bad hiding in the city, who convinced them to try the shield-magic to begin with--and it turned out said shield was actually draining the life energy of all the beings inside and funneling it to said Big Bad. Nobody knew because they had deluded themselves into thinking they were safe from outside attack from those Nasty Other Races, even when their entire race was slowly dying of sickness).

I can buy into a country being relatively self-sustaining by itself, although I imagine their lifestyle would be a bit spartan as a result. Imports and exports would probably be of extremely rare quality on both sides because it's foreign stuff and that's awesome. My problem with this though is if this stuff shows up we're probably going to guess at the existence of a city/nation hidden around somewhere--the same applies for random elf adventurers that might be around. Or, y'know, MTS could always tell us and instantly negate the "mysterious hidden elven nation" thing instantly. Unlike the Temples, which we've more or less determined existed long before MTS, LG, Pink, and SG2 break/remake the world and thus could go unknown to even you guys, at least one of you would likely be well aware of this elven nation, which means it wouldn't so much be hidden or mysterious. And if that' the case, at the very least they'd need to have sent an ambassador or SOMETHING to me or Bones--if nothing else to negotiate the terms 'stay the fuck away from us and we'll leave you alone in return,' which, again, sort of kills the mystery aspect. Or at the very least would require ambassador visits in return from us or our representatives. What I'm driving at with this is that spells/seals/whatever to keep people turning away from it would likely be less effective than the ones around, say, the Shadow Temple, because we know it's there (unlike the Shadow Temple) even if we may not be able to pinpoint an exact location.

Culturally speaking, what's up with these elves? If they're so isolated, are they trapped in medieval land forever while the world around it develops rocket chainsaws and cyborgs, because they refuse to trade/import with other countries? If so we're talking like...forest Japan, with their whole ban against trade with other nations that left them pretty far behind development wise for a while. That sort of isolation works in fantasy stories when everybody else is also chilling in Fantasy Land but not so much in a world like ours when we HAVE things like robots and advanced weaponry. If this is the case we could pile drive them into the ground if we really wanted to, since swords and bows are only going to be effective up to a certain point against some of the tech we can pull out elsewhere. On the flip side, how's their magic? Is it so developed it makes up for that technological lack of advancement? I mean I'm still using swords and armor as the Blood Kaiser but I make up for it with the fact that I can grind you into paste magically, so is the vast majority of their military ability magic related? Or have they developed their own machinery?

And as for the forest thing--do they necessarily have to be living in trees and the like? I mean, don't get me wrong, I have seen some AMAZING elven tree homes in art/movies/etc, but I feel like that's really overdone for elves too these days? Could there maybe be some variation in this place to change things up a little, or show some difference in opinion/lifestyle? Maybe the druids/one with nature types/etc live in trees they gently coax into house shapes or whatever--but maybe others are more at home in caves or INSIDE the mountain, not on it, and carve their homes out of massive stalagmites or turn huge caves into mansions. Maybe some are so at peace with the sky they live on open platforms or bespelled floating houses. Maybe they make ornate houses/temples on the side of a cliff like in ATLA, or have a house hanging over a waterfall or a town floating on a lake or an elven Venice with river roads. Maybe they live in swamps and commune with spirits said to be lost in there, or the will'o'the'wisps that seem to appear in such areas are the results of their trickery. Maybe they live in a jungle, not a forest, and deal with constant rainfall, deadly plants and animals, and pretty much no light ever filtering through the canopy, resulting in some interesting cultural habits for a race largely used to living in the dark. Or maybe they live in just a gorgeous, magical city--one of the reasons I love WoW's blood elf city, Silvermoon, is because while the countryside is mostly gorgeous and clearly shows their attentiveness to nature when they WANT, the city is also clearly magical in nature and has both beautiful and very dark-natured parts to make it both fun to travel around, but also occasionally make you feel a little uneasy in some parts. These elves understand nature but control it rather than commune with it. Etc, etc.

Basically I feel like while an elven race would be awesome, we also need to find ways to break up the stereotypical "elves that love nature hiding in it because fuck other people for seemingly no reason other than we think we're awesomer than you" tropes.

~VelkynKarma
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MrBones
 Posted: Feb 22 2015, 02:50 AM
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I'm with Karma here though I do have to add while elves are usually solitary, there is also plenty of contrarian lore from races elves are seen as oppressors, though the main proponent of said story arcs are Bethesda Softworks, the Ayleids in Elder Scrolls IV and V and the Thalmor in Elder Scrolls V are prime examples, While IGNO needs our own lore, we shouldn't exclude the works of others, namely the various elven races (we can add our own too) and their natural alignments.
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Karma
 Posted: Feb 22 2015, 03:54 PM
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I have seen the oppression thing too with elves in a few written works, although I couldn't remember the names of them offhand. Most of the time it sort of stems from that arrogance thing elves tend to have, though, based on what I've seen. A sort of "look, we're better than you and you're Obviously Wrong, so we're just going to take over and decide how shit will be done from now on because clearly you can't and don't know how to," etc etc. Though I've seen their REASONS behind it vary: sometimes they're doing it out of pure insistence that they're right ("we're in charge now, end of story") or because they think they're doing the right thing ("these poor stupid other races, it's such a pity, we'll take over and 'take care of them' at the expense of their freedom but it's okay because they don't know how to take care of themselves anyway obviously").

Less often I have seen the OPPOSITE--for example, Dragon Age starts with elves actually being the oppressed/enslaved race. I remember thinking 'oh wow, that's refreshingly new!' when I played a little bit of that game (though I didn't get very far in it, so I never saw how it was resolved if at all).

Generally speaking, whether or not they're taking over or being isolationists, elves tend to be considered a "higher" or "superior" race, both by themselves and on a meta level by writers/players/etc.

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Iris
 Posted: Mar 12 2015, 01:16 PM
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what if the reason for Elvengarde's seclusion present only caused by a dislike a of humans / and modern human lifestyle but also caused by some sort of breaking of alliances with a nation or tribe within the Wayward Woods lot of the humanoid / sentient species that live there like piskis, pixies Satyrs ect. are mischievous and can go to extremes in reaction to things that they don't like, causing magical warfare.
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Esjitu
 Posted: Nov 17 2015, 05:58 PM
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(I'm on mobile so forgive my rough grammar and lazy punctuation)

So it's been like 9 months but I reread the thread since I'm trying to establish our dynamic more now and we really do need to come up with something to do with these elves. Karma provided a lot of food for thought as far as trying to break out of the usual stereotypes a bit and I agree, rereading my original post now it really does feel like I just opened a book called "elf tropes" and pulled out a bunch of cliches.

That said, there's at least two things about the ignoland elves that are non-negotiable:

-they live in the wayward woods (not to say there aren't other elves living in other parts of the world of course but the majority of elves are in the ww, all probably originated in the ww, and elf subspecies elsewhere spread over time. The densest elf population however is in the ww)
-they have pointy ears.

Beyond that, while I don't think we should break SO far from what people expect when they hear "elf" to the point that they may as well not be elves at all - I agree with karma that we need to at least give proper explanations for WHY they are the way they are, and also try to introduce some of our own ideas and not just stock elf tropes. So here's some crappy brainstorming of mine on a sort of compromise between "expected" elf tropes and some ideas that are HOPEFULLY a bit different. They're pretty basic still so please feel free to step in and build off my ideas or suggest different ones.

Sun Elves vs Moon Elves

Rather than just be new names for standard light/high and dark elves, break the mold. Sun elves are urban and while they do generally keep secluded in their city they're not as haughty as typical fantasy elves or arrogantly superior. Aesthetically they match the typical fantasy elf closely just so elf lovers can be appeased with their tall slender bishies. Borrow more from actual irish and celtic mythology (research) than just using standard fantasy elf tropes here. As for "sun", it's because their city is built upward like a tower and they are close to, and very respectful of, the sun. Research real sun worshiping cultures for inspiration as well. They are highly magical. It's possible their isolation was due to a threat to their kind (or to the sun) centuries ago and they just never broke it, either out of mistrust or being unaware that they're safe now. They are very strict about letting even other ww races into their city let alone outsiders, but more out of fear and distrust than hatred or superiority.

Moon elves are the "dark elves". They are not evil. They are not practitioners of dark, or any for that matter, magic. They're like the usual wood elves in many ways in that they are avid hunters and bow, but they are more feral and wild than the usual gentle and graceful friends of nature most elves in fiction are. Their dark skin is browns rather than black or purple tones. They are among the only race even within the wayward woods that can tame the wayward wolves, and some even ride them. They hunt by night and are very nocturnal, hence the moon. While they are very respectful of nature they're not gentle and peaceful and elegant about it and they don't live in treetop huts or anything like that. They are very primal and live off the land, using every part of an animal they kill. They are sometimes known as wolf elves by the sun elves and other races of the ww but moon elves by other cultures of ignoland who only know little about them and mostly from textbooks. Native American motif? If the basic idea sounds interesting I'll do more research on native Americans and try to be a bit more fair and less stereotypical in using them as an inspiration.

I'd like the idea of maybe the city serving one type by day and the other by night, like maybe some sort of transforming city, but I don't know if moon elves would fit in a city environment. Maybe, perhaps they still sound a bit stereotypical as I described them. I'm bad at this.

Piskis and pixies are more along the typical high/dark elf motif mixed with the oldschool concept of mischievous fairies. The fairies of Faeland are their own sort of thing, not really falling into the sort of definition most would ascribe to fairies, aside from having wings.

Oh and PS, still open to naming suggestions for the city.
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Iris
 Posted: Nov 17 2015, 10:29 PM
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The first thing that come to mind when think of tall Native American architecture is Northwestern Native American plank houses and totem polls or Southwestern Pueblos
But I'm not sure that quite fits what you're thinking of.

Here's another housing that has more varieties.

I also have this book that has a section on native American architecture, I might scan some pages later if anyone wants too.

As for an explanation of the difference between the Pixies & The Piskis are similar to The Seelie & The Unseelie Faeire courts.

Calling the IGNO Fairies fairies is like calling Edward Cullen a vampire :P
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Karma
 Posted: Nov 19 2015, 11:45 PM
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Okay writing my thoughts as I read this.

I like the idea that you’re trying to break away from the elf stereotypes listed earlier. I definitely agree, while we don’t need to break SO far away from standard elves that are elves are no longer recognizable, breaking away from using so many of the same old tropes would be a good thing.

I’m still a little hesitant about ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ elves, mostly because this is (again) a motif I’ve seen a lot before. Right off the bat, Blood Elves and Night Elves in World of Warcraft—Blood elves revere the sun, are more active in daylight, and are fairer in color, while Night Elves worship the moon, are much more dark-skinned, and are particularly active at night (they even used to auto-stealth at night if they stopped moving). This isn’t the first time I’ve seen the sun and moon used as motifs for different kinds of elves. I think we can do better than that.

I am liking the other stuff you’re saying here though. I do like the idea of a more urban group of elves, since elves are not typically associated with cities. I also like the idea of them having become isolated due to a threat ages ago and just…never really realized that it was over. Due to their isolated location, they probably don’t get many outsiders—less if they actively did something like, say, shield the area with magic, or deliberately set wards or something to turn people away/make them forget the city is there unless they know how to shrug off those spells or have a lot of magical resistance (a bit like the concept for the shadow temple perhaps?) I like the idea that they aren’t your typical supremely arrogant and superior elves, either. Also, I wonder—if they retreated into isolation (rather than going on the offensive when this threat appeared), are they on the weaker side offensively? I can almost see a race that’s more inclined to defensive magic or actions rather than offensive ones. They would rather pull back and fortify than lash out in one big attack, and their initial retreat seems borne out of fear more than aggression or hate. I suspect they would be very good at these sorts of defensive/redirection abilities, or possibly even healing, but tend to have less outgoing or aggressive forms of magic. (A bit like the waterbender philosophy, that a good defense can be a worthwhile offense). If this is the general culture of the race, it might even explain why none of their people have really ventured out to see the world in however long it’s been since the threat to bring back the news “Um, so hey, it’s over.”

I also REALLY like the idea of a more Native-American group of elves (with proper research of course). Elves are often seen in lore as being particularly good at woodscraft, but in the things I’ve read at least, they also have a tendency to still come across as arrogant, elegant, and almost out of place in nature—like they understand it but are still superior to it (right down to being able to stay absolutely pristine with their flowing locks and unsmudged clothing after a full day’s hike. Like dirt doesn’t affect them any). But I really like the idea of going back to the roots of that idea of woodscraft, being one with the land, and having that sense of wildness and freedom. I also like the idea of them being the opposite of their brethren by not practicing any form of magic—instead trading it off for other skills (like the ability to tame certain animals). I also think it might be interesting if they employed aspects of shamanism or druidism instead of magic—looking to nature and the elements for guidance and wisdom without necessarily CONTROLLING it. This means they might not be flinging Earth or Fire powers around, but they might gain other things as a trade off—heightened senses, nature awareness, forewarning before major natural events like storms, etc. Based on what you’ve described so far, it sounds like they mostly keep to themselves and their tribes/clans/villages/etc, but are they willing to interact with others? They aren’t evil, but they sound like they wouldn’t have much interest in others—not so much out of arrogance as they’re just not interested in the affairs of others when they’ve got their own things to focus on. It DOES sound like of the two types of elves, these guys would be more prone to stealth and attack—I can see them being much better in combat (due to their more primal nature) and excelling in using the land to their advantage in it, but less apt to use redirection or defense like their urban cousins. Also, are these guys in the same vicinity of the elf city? Would they know about the great threat from before, or care? Would they know that the threat is over? Would they bother to tell their cousins?

A transforming city could be interesting, but it doesn’t sound like the 2nd set of elves would really fit into it. I could see them visiting to trade, get/give information, pick up jobs, or take a little vacation/see the sights, but if they’re as wild and primal as they sound I can’t see them wanting to stay cooped up in a city for long. It could be possible that they only come at night though (or that they only come at a certain time of the year, or certain groups come at certain points), which would mean if they set up shop or something downtown it would look completely different at night then it would in the day.

One thing I would definitely hate to see is these two types of elves at war or hating each other. This is pretty common with two distinct types of elves—inevitably they clash because at least one hates the other, and sometimes both. I could definitely see the two groups having their cultural differences and maybe not understanding the actions or choices of the other, but I wouldn’t want to see any race-wide discrimination or outright hatred of one or the other for any reason.

I do still think we can do better than ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ elves, though. Other than the fact that one is diurnal and one is nocturnal, there really isn’t much to indicate ‘sun’ or ‘moon’ about them. I like the idea of ‘wolf elves’ as you said, or wild elves or primal elves, shadow elves (silent/stealthy/night), dusk elves, wind elves, etc. Things to emphasize their connection to nature and their skills with it. Their opposites, who are defensive and magical, could be stone elves, dawn elves, witch elves (spell elves…spellves? >_> ), shield elves, guardian elves, etc.

Hope that helps :D

~VelkynKarma
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Esjitu
 Posted: Nov 20 2015, 04:09 AM
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QUOTE (Iris @ Nov 17 2015, 09:29 PM)
The first thing that come to mind when think of tall Native American architecture is  Northwestern Native American plank houses and totem polls or Southwestern Pueblos
But I'm not sure that quite fits what you're thinking of.

Here's another housing that has more varieties.

I also have this book that has a section on native American architecture, I might scan  some pages later if  anyone wants too.

Thanks Iris!! I'm not sure what I'm looking for yet either, but it seems like the native american motif has some approval, so I think we'll go for it in some form.

QUOTE
As for an explanation of the difference between the Pixies & The Piskis are similar to The Seelie & The Unseelie Faeire courts.

I also put a note to that effect in my other post about the WW races. Though my idea of seelie and unseelie fae may be tainted a bit by Kingdoms of Amalur's interpretation of the summer and winter courts...but a lot of that game involved Celtic mythology, I'm just not sure how much of it was accurate XD

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Calling the IGNO Fairies fairies is like calling Edward Cullen a vampire :P

yes perfect

QUOTE (Karma @ Nov 19 2015, 10:45 PM)
I’m still a little hesitant about ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ elves, mostly because this is (again) a motif I’ve seen a lot before. Right off the bat, Blood Elves and Night Elves in World of Warcraft—Blood elves revere the sun, are more active in daylight, and are fairer in color, while Night Elves worship the moon, are much more dark-skinned, and are particularly active at night (they even used to auto-stealth at night if they stopped moving). This isn’t the first time I’ve seen the sun and moon used as motifs for different kinds of elves. I think we can do better than that.

Aw, I didn't actually know that was a thing XD but okay, yeah, WoW is a pretty big thing and I'd prefer not to be seen as ripping it off or stealing ideas from it anymore than taking generic fantasy tropes already.

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I am liking the other stuff you’re saying here though. I do like the idea of a more urban group of elves, since elves are not typically associated with cities. I also like the idea of them having become isolated due to a threat ages ago and just…never really realized that it was over. Due to their isolated location, they probably don’t get many outsiders—less if they actively did something like, say, shield the area with magic, or deliberately set wards or something to turn people away/make them forget the city is there unless they know how to shrug off those spells or have a lot of magical resistance (a bit like the concept for the shadow temple perhaps?) I like the idea that they aren’t your typical supremely arrogant and superior elves, either.

I hadn't thought about an actual barrier mostly because the WW itself is pretty much a natural ward against outsiders, but if they were so paranoid that they'd hole up inside their city for presumably centuries then it'd make sense that they would be paranoid enough to erect some extra security on top of that, too.

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Also, I wonder—if they retreated into isolation (rather than going on the offensive when this threat appeared), are they on the weaker side offensively? I can almost see a race that’s more inclined to defensive magic or actions rather than offensive ones. They would rather pull back and fortify than lash out in one big attack, and their initial retreat seems borne out of fear more than aggression or hate. I suspect they would be very good at these sorts of defensive/redirection abilities, or possibly even healing, but tend to have less outgoing or aggressive forms of magic. (A bit like the waterbender philosophy, that a good defense can be a worthwhile offense). If this is the general culture of the race, it might even explain why none of their people have really ventured out to see the world in however long it’s been since the threat to bring back the news “Um, so hey, it’s over.”

Makes sense. Elves are generally seen as graceful, slender, and less outwardly aggressive in combat - and even the magic ones tend to be squishy mages for the same reasons. This could be an interesting way of building off that common perception of what an elf is like, while giving them our own flair. And since the two elf tribes seem pretty opposite, it would make sense that the opposite of the more mundane, hunter elves would be the magical, defender elves. Not to say they couldn't fuck your shit up if they wanted to - but most likely, either in general cultural philosophy or the fact that attack magic is just not as widely taught or something, they probably specialize in defense more often. And hey, if they were afraid of a threat, even if they did have a handful of badass attack mages, it could still be dangerous if they felt like they didn't have ENOUGH.

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I also REALLY like the idea of a more Native-American group of elves (with proper research of course). Elves are often seen in lore as being particularly good at woodscraft, but in the things I’ve read at least, they also have a tendency to still come across as arrogant, elegant, and almost out of place in nature—like they understand it but are still superior to it (right down to being able to stay absolutely pristine with their flowing locks and unsmudged clothing after a full day’s hike. Like dirt doesn’t affect them any).

I was actually thinking when I first wrote up the post that they might, as a result of being hunters, be more muscular than the typical conception of an elf - as you said, they're usually pristine and beautiful, at all times. So I did consider that these elves might be more built for the lifestyle, and generally more 'rugged' (though I'd still say no on facial hair because, as TVTropes points out, the image of facial hair on an elf really is pretty weird XD) in appearance.

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But I really like the idea of going back to the roots of that idea of woodscraft, being one with the land, and having that sense of wildness and freedom. I also like the idea of them being the opposite of their brethren by not practicing any form of magic—instead trading it off for other skills (like the ability to tame certain animals). I also think it might be interesting if they employed aspects of shamanism or druidism instead of magic—looking to nature and the elements for guidance and wisdom without necessarily CONTROLLING it. This means they might not be flinging Earth or Fire powers around, but they might gain other things as a trade off—heightened senses, nature awareness, forewarning before major natural events like storms, etc.

All good ideas, I really like the druid idea as their equivalent of 'mages', and I already suggested the whole wolf connection which sort of fits with the idea of taming creatures. You know what I was also thinking of? Going off the native american motif, I was picturing native american weaponry. Of course, elves are already strongly associated with the bow (and while I see no reason to say these guys don't also hunt with bows, it's not enough to just stick bows in their hands and be done with it), but what about things like axes and tomahawks? An elf with an axe is practically unheard of in a fantasy setting - if an elf does stoop to melee, they'd probably use something elegant like a rapier, or maybe go as far as a spear, but that's about it. I kinda like the idea of these guys using small hatchets as their primary weapon/tool (since it's great for both!!) rather than giving them swords, spears, or even knives.

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Based on what you’ve described so far, it sounds like they mostly keep to themselves and their tribes/clans/villages/etc, but are they willing to interact with others? They aren’t evil, but they sound like they wouldn’t have much interest in others—not so much out of arrogance as they’re just not interested in the affairs of others when they’ve got their own things to focus on. It DOES sound like of the two types of elves, these guys would be more prone to stealth and attack—I can see them being much better in combat (due to their more primal nature) and excelling in using the land to their advantage in it, but less apt to use redirection or defense like their urban cousins. Also, are these guys in the same vicinity of the elf city? Would they know about the great threat from before, or care? Would they know that the threat is over? Would they bother to tell their cousins?

These are the aspects I need suggestions and brainstorming for. As I said, I had originally sat down thinking of having both tribes of elves share the city and sort of rotate 'shifts' by the time of day, but as I wrote more about the 'moon elves' the less feasible that sounded...so I was actually trying to place where they would live, and yet somehow still be part of that 'isolated elf' business. So the way I see it now is there are two options:

A) going with the barrier idea, these elves live outside the city, but within that barrier. The barrier might not be a physical 'force field' shield thing but kinda like what you said, about the shadow temple, just a sort of magic that kind of subtly turns people away from it. The problem I see with that example specifically is that the other WW races do know the elf city exists, and I had it in mind that they do, albeit rarely, accept visits from other WW citizens into their walls. The reason the 'news' never slips that they're safe now is, probably, that the outsiders don't even know why the elves are in hiding in the first place. They may even assume what we do, that all elves are stuck-up and they're isolated because they're xenophobic. So say, a fairy gets permission to visit the city, and you ask 'well why didn't he tell them it's safe to come out now?!' - the answer would be that he didn't know that was something to tell at all. If only the elves themselves know the reason for their isolation then, even if they do accept the occasional visitors inside, there's no contradiction. Anyways, for that reason I'm not sure about the 'forget where you were going' sort of spell being there, or it'd affect other races too...but I like the idea of a sort of passive spell rather than an actual, physical 'shield' or something you could bump into if you walked into it...or get zapped, or whatever. A passive sort of magic, definitely.

B) the 'light' elves are the only ones isolated for that reason, and the 'dark' elves just kinda keep to their tribes, which I do think are probably in the same general area of the Woods as the city (rather than on the opposite end of the map or something). They may not be involved in whatever the 'light' elves were afraid of at all.

I...was going to say something else but it's late and it already slipped my mind. Suffice to say, I have very little ideas on the issue of where they live and how/if it's really connected to the 'light' elf city at all. That's stuff we'd have to work out still.

I do agree about the 'attack' vs. 'defense' focus though, as I already said. But even then, it's not like I see these guys being gung-ho about fighting a war or anything. If they felt threatened like the 'light' elves did, they'd probably also try to withdraw in their own way, but rather than fancy magical barriers they'd probably just move deeper into the forest and be more careful about using their skills and senses to remain hidden. Haven't there historically been tribes living in the depths of the wilds that had never seen modern humans before, in relatively recent years? There's a precedent for that sort of thing. If they were to withdraw hard enough, they'd probably be bothered very little even by other WW races, and thus probably feel relatively safe even from whatever the 'light' elves were afraid of, short of a natural disaster sort of thing (because that really only works if they were hiding from something living that could seek them out). So, 'attack' in the sense that they're proactive, they hunt, they get their hands dirty, but not in the sense of being 'aggressive'. In that way I think all elves share the trait of just sort of preferring to avoid conflict with other races rather than fighting them or controlling them in any way.

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A transforming city could be interesting, but it doesn’t sound like the 2nd set of elves would really fit into it.

That's my thinking, too.

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I could see them visiting to trade, get/give information, pick up jobs, or take a little vacation/see the sights, but if they’re as wild and primal as they sound I can’t see them wanting to stay cooped up in a city for long. It could be possible that they only come at night though (or that they only come at a certain time of the year, or certain groups come at certain points), which would mean if they set up shop or something downtown it would look completely different at night then it would in the day.

I dunno, I mean, I guess the idea of them going into the city is fine (it might be stereotyping too far to treat them as 'savages' who just spend all their time in the wild, plus they're all elves and it'd make sense for them to have some sort of interaction), but the more I think of trying to force the 'transforming city' idea the less I like it. I can see them being involved in trade, though. In Skyrim, sometimes you'll find hunter campsites when you're wandering around in the wild - a tent, a rack with some fish on it, campfire, etc signs that someone lives there, you know. And if you find the hunter you can usually talk to them and buy stuff from them that makes sense - they'll sell fish, meat, maybe some ore if that's available in the area, etc. I like the idea that hunters might set up stalls in the city once a week or something to sell their meats to the city-dwelling elves who probably don't hunt themselves. In other words, that's probably their only source of getting goods like meat and fish. So there ought to be something that they can provide the 'dark' elves with that they can't easily get on their own, too. Rather than buying/selling with currency, since they're so isolated and literally only need to trade goods within their own community, I can see their entire economy running on a trade and barter system, even for the urban elves. Maybe the urban ones have currency though, I dunno. But I can't really see the 'dark' elves having a use for it, so for them, at least, they probably trade their goods for something useful to them in return - maybe things like clothing, spices, tools, and the like. And since they'd be providing material like pelts and leathers to make clothing with, meat fat and herbs to grind into spices, chopped wood and mined stone to use for building and tools...they'd definitely have to coexist and work together in a lot of ways. Then the 'light' elves never really need to venture out of the bounds of their city very much, if at all.

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One thing I would definitely hate to see is these two types of elves at war or hating each other. This is pretty common with two distinct types of elves—inevitably they clash because at least one hates the other, and sometimes both.

I never even considered that. From the start I was thinking of the sun/moon opposites relation, transforming city, etc, as a sort of yin/yang relationship where the two have to work in balance. The stuff I just said about trading and bartering with each other was off the top of my head bouncing off your ideas, but it ultimately fulfills the same sort of dynamic my original sun/moon idea had. So no, no civil elf war XD I imagine that there's generally no conflict within the Wayward Woods, aside from maybe Pixies and Piskis engaged in a (not so harmless) prank war. It seems like a pretty peaceful place in general.

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I do still think we can do better than ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ elves, though. Other than the fact that one is diurnal and one is nocturnal, there really isn’t much to indicate ‘sun’ or ‘moon’ about them. I like the idea of ‘wolf elves’ as you said, or wild elves or primal elves, shadow elves (silent/stealthy/night), dusk elves, wind elves, etc. Things to emphasize their connection to nature and their skills with it. Their opposites, who are defensive and magical, could be stone elves, dawn elves, witch elves (spell elves…spellves? >_> ), shield elves, guardian elves, etc.

Dusk and dawn elves are too similar to what we're trying to change XD I like wild elves, maybe keep the other ones simple too and just call them city elves. I'm guessing they have their own word for their race anyways and these are just what outsiders refer to them as.

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Hope that helps :D

Definitely a lot to think about XD more ideas definitely welcome though!!
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Iris
 Posted: Nov 21 2015, 09:31 PM
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So, I was looking up words meaning magic in various native American languages and I found this which says that Orenda is an Iroquois name meaning, "Possesses magical power" that sounds like it could be a name for the elf city I don't know how accurate that is and I don't want cultural appropriation. Then I thought about how The Wayward Woods suits characters under the earth element and I think elves originate from Irish, Scottish and are seen in german and Norwegian folklore so I looked up Names that mean Earth on this website. which I've looked up names that I already knew the meanings of like my full name, names of family, ect.
The Meanings of Names is a pretty accurate, with a wide database.
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