Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Races of Mystoerth: Gypsy Elves

The Gypsy Elf

"Thousands of years ago the elves were a unified race.  The elven people stood strong and diverse.
Then the War came and the Elves were Sundered. The elves were divided by the war.
But some chose not to fight, some took in their brothers and sisters from all sides.
These elves were cursed by Corellon Larethian to wander the lands till the day when all elves stood as one people again.  The other elves took pity on them, calling them, in their own tongues The Wanderers.  But not the Wanderers themselves.  They knew a powerful secret.

They knew they were Free."
- From the Songs of the Ranagwithe

The Witches Beck by Nichole Marie Grubb
The Gypsy Elf, or as the call themselves "The Free Elves" (Ranagwithe in their own language) , has a long history in my game and one shared with the evolution of my Witch class.  Originally I was going to even make a few Gypsy Elf witches to play, but oddly enough I never did.   Though there are mythos of the gypsy elves that are tied indirectly with various occult, but mostly pagan, beliefs.

In the game Gypsy Elfs wander the world, in and out of the land of faerie, searching for their lost home.  They will find it only on the day when all the elves are reunited as a race.  Until then they wander.
I have pictured them as not being xenophobic as human gypsies are often portrayed, but rather as gregarious travelers.  Why this change?  It helps the taboos I have set up for them and it seemed to be more logical.  Plus I did not want to do another Romani or Irish Traveller clone.

Like their human counterparts, Gypsy Elves travel all over the known world. However, unlike the Human Gypsies, Gypsy Elves are much more gregarious. The origins of the Gypsy Elves (and Shadow Elves) date back to what has become to be known as the Sundering of the Elves. When the Dark elves broke free from the light elves they split into several races. The light elves of course became the Eladrin/High Elves and the dark became the Drow.

There were elves that remained outside of the conflict. One group was a band of light elves that protected both the dark and light elves from each other. When the gods split the elves apart, the gypsy elves were left without a home to call their own. Since they never harmed another elf before they were not forced into the dark underground. Ever since then the Gypsy Elves have wandered from place to place looking for a home. While Gypsy elves tend to be neutral to all other races, they are always treated as “good” to other elves. There are several universal elven customs that apply only to Gypsy Elves.

  1. No Gypsy Elf may harm another Elf. Even Drow and Half-Elves.
  2. No other elf, Drow or Half-, may harm a Gypsy Elf.
  3. No Elven community may refuse lodging to a band of Gypsy Elves. The Gypsy then must agree to be on their way soon after.

At any point in time other elven species may be found in a group of Gypsy Elves, as they may freely travel as long as they abide by the Gypsy Elves rules and lifestyle. These “Free Wanderers” can make up to 10% of the tribe’s population.

As long as the other elves do not fight amongst themselves or the other Gypsy Elves they may remain with the tribe as long as they like. Also any Gypsy Elf is invited to remain in any Elf community, but few rarely do.

Consequently the racial make-up of Gypsy Elves is somewhat mixed. Actually there is no Gypsy Elf race. It is the human populations of the world call them “Gypsy”. The elves refer to them only as “Wandering Elves”. Gypsy Elves often refer to themselves as the “Free Elves. Either name in the elven language is Ranagwithe.

Gypsy Elves are on friendly terms with humans. They find Human Gypsies to be too xenophobic for their tastes. But they will travel with them for mutual benefit. This helps to explain the high amount of Half-Elves.

Gypsy Elves, like their Elf cousins, produce fine art, in particular music and dance. Many have excelled in woodcarving and sell these pieces of art in communities they pass through. What these elves cannot make, they buy. In this respect they are very good terms with humans.

Gypsy Elves are careful never to take more from the land or their hosts then they absolutely need. It has been said that there will be no evidence of a gypsy elf camp 24 hours after they leave.

4th Edition Gypsy Elves

Related to the elves, eladrin and drow, gypsy elves wander the world for their lost home and in hope that they elven races will be reunified.

Racial Traits

Avg. Height: 5'2"-5'10"
Avg. Weight: 90-150lb

Ability Scores: +2 Dex, +2 Cha
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-light

Languages: Common, Elvish, plus one other of the player’s choice
Skill Bonuses: +2 Nature, +2 Stealth

Gypsy Weapon Proficiency: You gain proficiency with the shortsword.
Elvish Reflexes: You gain a +1 racial bonus to your Reflex defense.
In addition, you gain a +5 racial bonus to saving throws against charm effects.

Versatile Linguist: You gain one extra language (above and beyond other bonuses) that you have learned in your travels.
Fey Origin: You are considered a fey creature for the purposes of effects that relate to creature origin.

Trance: Rather than sleep, eladrin enter a meditative state known as trance. You need to spend 4 hours in this state to gain the same benefits other races gain from taking a 6-hour extended rest. While in a trance, you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.

Elven Fate: You can use elven fate as an encounter power.

Elven Fate Gypsy Elf Racial Power
Your race has twisted the strands of fate for so long that every action can be foretold.
You may re-roll any one die and use the roll of your choice.

Free Action Personal

Effect: Reroll any roll. Use either roll.

Play a gypsy elf if you want . . .
✦ to be good at stealth and moving in natural environments.
✦ to play a worldly hero with an air of mystery and mystique.
✦ to be a member of a race that favors the bard, ranger, rouge, sorcerer or warlock classes.

3.x/Pathfinder Gypsy Elves

+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Intelligence: Gypsy elves are agile of foot and hand. They also process a gregarious personality. Their lack of a permanent home and their ad-hoc means of education give the impression that they are unintelligent or uncouth.

Medium: Gypsy elves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Gypsy elves have a base speed of 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision: Gypsy elves can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Elven Immunities: Like Elves, gypsy elves are immune to magic sleep effects and get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.
Elven Magic: Gypsy elves receive a +2 racial bonus on caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance.
Keen Senses: Gypsy elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.
Weapon Familiarity: Elves are proficient with crossbows, rapiers, shortbows (including composite shortbows), and short swords, and treat any weapon with the word “elven” in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: Gypsy elves begin play speaking Common, Elven and one additional language of the player’s choice. Gypsy elves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Celestial, Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.

Note: In the Pathfinder RPG Gypsy elf spellcasters often choose the Oracle and Witch classes.

Physical Qualities

Gypsy Elves look much like their Elf cousins. Traveling and encountering different lands and peoples for more than a millennium has altered the appearance of the race. They stand about the same height as elves. They are typically darker completion, having an almost olive skin color, though darker shades are not uncommon. Their hair also tends to be dark. Blacks and browns are very common. Once in a great while a blond or redhead will be born, and this is usually a cause for great celebration. If a child is born with white hair then this is considered a great omen of change; good or ill.

Playing a Gypsy Elf

Gypsy Elves are natural born adventurers. Young Gypsy Elves are expected to spend some time away from their clans in order to see the world. It is expected that they will seek out other elves in order to share stories and news.

Special thanks to Jason Vey for coming up with the elven name Ranagwithe.

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