Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wait, There Were Eladrin in 3.5?

You bet there were. And they weren't just sparkly-eyed elves either.

Specifically, they were found under the Core Monster Manual's "Ghaele" and "Bralani" entries, which are now part of the OGL.

I don't give a hoot about their stats though, I'm interested in their picture, which is the only real fluff part of the OGL stuff. Check them out:

Link to SRD page

Wooh! That's what I'm talking about! Look at those muscles, and the bad ass weapons, and the +5 level adjustments. THOSE things are NOT just pointy-eared humans who like magic, that's for sure.

Then 4e came along and fixed all the math, but spoiled all the imbalance. The only Eladrin that could be found in that game were boring, occasionally-teleporting humans who lived a long time.

So here is how I would play Eladrin in my game:

-Eladrin are, far and away, the most successful of the races in terms of: wars won, magic discovered, overall physical prowess (some races are stronger, some are faster, but if there were a fantasy decathlon, the Eladrin would win every time), history documented, weapons and armor smithing, architectural feats, agricultural efficiency, and civilization longevity.

-Eladrin live a LOOOOOOOONG time. Like, thousands of years. Because of this they are extremely meritocratic. If you can't become really really good at SOMETHING given a couple thousand years practice, you're probably pretty hopeless.

-But they have traits you wouldn't expect, too. Their governments are either run by royal families or monarchs, because it is stable, and thousand year old kings are quite level-headed. 

-Despite their meritocratic lifestyles, they dislike competition because short-term measurements of accomplishment make no sense to them.

-They are ultra confident, but not to a fault. Chances are, they are very good at anything someone asks them to do, but if they aren't, they will listen avidly to anyone who can teach them how to accomplish the task. They ask LOTS of questions when learning anything, and struggle to understand why anyone would refuse to share their knowledge with others or get bored of teaching.

-Eladrin generally have one or two children, when they are around 100 years old. Eladrin children actually mature faster than humans, reaching adult size and reproductive ability by age 10, at which point they are essentially self-sufficient and often live on their own. This total lack of a significant childhood makes Eladrin prejudiced against children other than their own. Being called a child or "young" is a big-time insult to Eladrin.

-Eladrin may marry many dozens of times in their lives, each new marriage supplanting the old one, almost always without any bad-blood or animosity on the part of either partner.

-Eladrin are downright rude to anyone who says they will accomplish something, and then are not able to.

-Eladrin see the acknowledgement of beauty as their only currency. For example: Farmers will give away their crops in order to show off how beautiful their plants are. Swordmasters hold public lessons frequently to make a display of their techniques. Wizards's favorite spells are often flashy and impressive. So on, so on.

-This comes with a significant downside, however. Eladrin will sometimes wage war in order to seize land that is naturally beautiful. Often, a handful of Eladrin warriors will show up in a quaint non-Eladrin town, near a very pretty waterfall for instance, and serve the hamlet with a contract to relocate so that the Eladrin may inhabit the aesthetically pleasing area. If the townspeople agree (are smart), the Eladrin usually make the move as easy and beneficial as possible by giving the ex-inhabitants food and lumber for relocating. If the townsfolk resist, well, there is a reason they only need a handful of warriors...

-Lastly, Eladrin hate the idea of decay. Not death, such as in battle, or when crops are reaped for harvest, but withering, dying. They avoid it in their environments at all cost, using magic to prevent flowers from ever wilting, riverbed stones from ever eroding, trees from ever dropping their leaves, etc.

Done. I know I said I was going to do wood elves today too, but they'll wait until next time.

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