Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meta Humans In A Swords and Sorcery Campaign: Elves

Many of the OSR publications boast how they draw from "Sword & Sorcery" literature rather than "High Fantasy". Which has always left me wondering why Meta Humans like Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Gnomes, etc. have been included in the rules if they're mostly absent in the literature that has inspired them?

Now that was just a rhetorical question, I know the reason. But I think that the classic "High Fantasy" races can be handled in a "Sword & Sorcery" style. Here's my ideas on Elves (Aelfar or Vanir, I use them interchangeably).

Elves are reclusive from humanity and they somewhat despise mankind for encroaching on their lands and the exploitation of nature. Elves are terrible spirits of nature and can be wild and unpredictable as the weather. With power over the forces of nature they sometimes sending wolves and eagles to harass human settlements. They meet human adventurers with distrust and any excursions into the sylvan territories are usually met with violence.

The world of men prefer to avoid contact with Elves and some worship them and even leave gifts of tribute outside of wooded areas. Foolish young men pursue Elf maids only to find themselves ensnared and never heard from again.

Elves who become adventurers are usually sent out into the world of man as a rite of passage or they are outcasts of Aelfheim and must now fend for themselves. Becoming trackers, mercenaries, archers or spell slingers in the service of an adventure party or in service to a human king.

These are just some ideas I've had in keeping Elves as a player character race, rare and in a more Sword & Sorcery mentality.


  1. As a lover of Norse mythology, the cold wild elves suit my tastes very well, and that's the tack I've taken in my Northmarch setting. I've written about the Northmarch kindreds here and here, but I have another post on the hopper in which I'll give more detail about the specific kinds. I'll definitely link to this when I put that up, since you've captured the elven spirit rather well.

  2. Being a Son of Thor, I've been a fan of Norse Mythology myself. It's in most of my gaming ideas except Imajapoor which is more High Fantasy with a Spanish feel.