Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Elven Association and Politics

As I mentioned in an earlier post, elves are fiercely political creatures. Every action means something, even the actions meant to mean nothing at all.

Elves are associated with each other, always connected through various lines. These connections are rarely geographical, which would confuse humans, if they ever interacted with the elves.

There is one geographical consideration in reference to elves which must be considered, and that is the elven society on the forgotten continent, which is entirely separate from the rest elven society, and will be treated separately.

As seems reasonable, given that the society's drive is to associate, Elven society is dominated by a sort of super-association, created out of five associations with similar interests. Great wars were fought when this first great association was formed, and even now it holds power tentatively.

The age of open welfare in elven society seems to be passed, or at least dormant. Much like the contemporary Cold War, most threats of force are merely threats. The great association is held in check by two smaller associations with great influence, through their wisdom and their military strength.


It's difficult to describe an association using any other word. While family lines often provide for the beginnings of associations, elven society, kinship, and loyalty are fluid enough that these lines blur fairly quickly.

These associations are mostly political entities, but not in the sense of political parties, or ideological groups. When you agree with someone, it tends to make them easier to get along with, but it's very possible to associate with someone for mutual benefit, even if you don't agree with them.

One can generally expect to be tolerated by any member of one's own association, anywhere. This might have different meanings depending on who you're with or where you are. Sometimes your associates might feed you, and give you a place to stay. Sometimes they might agree merely not to have you killed.

Elves do not marry in the same sense as humans. Sometimes two elves decide to associate more closely and completely, but this is not expected to last forever.

A Sense of Responsibility

Elves do not view loyalty in quite the same way as humans do. Where humans are expected to remain loyal, even through difficult times, elven loyalties are expected to shift. Take as an example a powerful elven lord. His personal stature is, at this time, large, and he holds the loyalty of a great number of elves.

Slowly, though, he begins to weaken, and his stature begins to fade. As his stature fades, elves who are distantly loyal to him might switch their loyalties, then slowly more elves will do so, until he is left with only his closest companions.

This is a difficult concept to explain to humans, and as a human myself, I don't entirely understand it either. How one goes from being an outsider in one association to a trusted friend in another is particularly tricky for me. I'll have to think further about it.

Personal stature is, I should add, not quite the right term. There isn't really a human equivalent, but it's something of a mix of stature and responsibility. The greater one is, the greater one's responsibilities (thanks Uncle Ben), and when one's stature shrinks, one is not as able to be responsible for others.

I hope that made sense to somebody.


This is an important part of elven culture, as odd as it might sound. There is a guild of assassins in elven society, and they are open for legitimate business. Being elven, they all belong to associations, and most serve as bodyguards for the leaders of their associations. Every association that exists now has at least one, and from time to time, they might be expected to carry out an assassination on a rival or enemy.

There are, however, a few requirements. First, the intent to send an assassin must be registered with the guild. If the guild feels that the assassination would cause too much destabilization, it may be forbidden. Few elves in the upper echelons of elven society are assassinated.

Assassination is somewhat of a "proportional response." For example, if your stature is greatly diminished by a rival, you might register and have your rival's cousin assassinated. While it does not prevent your loss of stature, and it does not revenge you directly, your rival will undoubtedly notice and perhaps think twice about kicking you further.

It's difficult for humans to understand some of these concepts, which is understandable. I will strive to make them more understandable as I write more about the strange elves.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Elvish Numerology

I mentioned way back when that elves had superstitions regarding numbers. Odds, especially three and nine, were considered to be positively charged numbers, and evens were considered to be negatively charged numbers.

This will interest historians, because it was a major sticking point between the elves and the ancient wizards, because the ancient wizards were quite enamoured with powers of two. The ancient calendar has exactly 512 days in a year (2 to the power of 8), each day is divided into thirty two hours (2 to the power of 5), each hour is 64 minutes (2 to the power of 6) and so on. The elven calendar goes to great length to avoid this, which is difficult, because a solar year is, in fact, exactly 512 days long. This issue between the elves and the ancient wizards was often ignored but never resolved.

For many elves of the default time period, numerology is somewhere between superstition and tradition. Some elves really believe that even numbers will cause the will of nature to be jumbled, despite the fact that mating usually occurs in pairs (if I could explain it, I would, but they don't tell me these things).

A larger proportion of elves would say, if questioned deeply about the subject, that they don't really believe that having two of something will cause any negative effects, but still make sure that their bouquet of flowers has nine and not eight or ten, and they won't even think about it. This reaction to numbers is so ingrained in their psyche that most elves would be confused and surprised when you pointed it out to them, because it's the way they've always done it.

I'm not going to go into great detail about the various specific superstitions regarding some numbers, but I will eventually get down to it on the wiki. These little facts are less important than getting the psychology down.

What Is Important

First things first, I'm back, as my friend Bakatare will be very pleased to note. The hiatus ended up being longer than I expected, and I didn't really do any work on the wiki, but hopefully I'm recharged and will be able to take this blog into the next phases of work.

Now, as to the topic.

What is important? I don't think too many people ask this kind of question very often, and I think that's a shame, both in real life and in imaginary realms. You can learn a ton about somebody just by looking at what's important to them.

There are other questions that should also be answered, in this context regarding peoples in the world. Questions like: "What is power; strength?", "What does it mean to be alive?", "What is wealth?", "Who are you, what do you want?"...well, you get the idea.

These questions are important because they reveal the soul of both an individual person, and people as a whole. Questions like them will one day be included on a small information sheet given to players to fill out about their characters.

I think that people should ask themselves these questions in real life, too, because once you begin to truly understand what's important to you, it's much easier to be at peace with yourself.

There'll be more to follow today, probably something about elves and their numerology.