The Grey Elves of Illsmare

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The Grey Elves of Illsmare

Post by KaiserKris »

Grey Elves:
You’ve journeyed far to reach the Grey Isle of Illsmare, where the Grey Elves live. You are struck by the studied beauty of the architecture, carved out of the very mountains of the land in imposing and regal shapes. You’re remarkably impressed at the cleanliness of the streets and look at the gaslight lamps which light the streets, offering welcome illumination to the night.

The inhabitants resemble elves in their height and personal elegance, though their skins are as grey as the mountains which make up much of the island, there eyes glow a faint yellowish colour and they have small horns on their heads. Regarding you as a man of some substance, you are treated civilly and correctly, though with a certain cool distance. You notice that the inhabitants never seem to go about either in large groups or alone, but almost universally in twos and threes.

“I’ve got my eye on you, outlander.” You look around to see where the sound comes from, but you can’t pin point it, until you finally make out the black-armoured agent staring at you. “Remember you are in our realm, and do not cause … trouble.” His lips are not moving and that’s when you remember, with a shudder that a large minority of this race is psionic.

Racial Attributes:
Languages: Elven, Common
Bonus Languages: Drowish, Dwarven, Gnomish, Infernal, Abyssal, Celestial, Human Vernaculars
Size: Medium
Movement: 30 feet
Typical Classes: Knight, Fighter, Wizard, Sorcerer, Inquisitor, Bard
Attribute Modifiers: +1 Intelligence, +1 Charisma, -1 Constitution

Racial Traits:
Magical Resistance: All Grey Elves have the regular Elven magical immunity to sleep spells and +5 against charm spells.

Emotional Imbalance: Grey Elves are somewhat prone to emotional imbalance, and traditionally keep a check on their powerful passions by maintaining a full quadrant of personal relationships, with lover, rival, companion and mentor. If an adult Grey Elf does not possess any of these, or has been cut off from contact with any of them, they must make a Charisma check each month or suffer a loss of 1 Charisma and Wisdom point. When these reach zero, the Grey Elf is considered to have gone completely insane.

Infernal Taint: Grey Elves have been touched irrevocably by diabolic forces and suffer a -2 penalty when saving against mind-affecting powers used by devils and their agents, unless they possess a fully functional quadrant of personal relationships. If they possess no functional quadrant relationships, their penalty increases to -4.

Perfidious: Grey Elves possess a silver tongue, and gain a +2 bonus to Charisma checks related to deception, flirtation or negotiation with other humanoid creatures, except for other Elves.

Psionics: Grey Elves possess a +2 resistance to psionic magics of all types, and have the ability to mentally communicate with their mentor, rival, lover and platonic companion if they have had a relationship develop for at least six months. This telepathic communication works at a range of up to two miles, plus one mile/point of Charisma bonus. In addition to this ability, five percent of all Grey Elves possess further psionic powers (roll a d20, if it comes up 20, the character is psionic), and will gain psionic powers of one type from the following list: telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance and pyrokinesis. The maximum level that they can obtain is determined by rolling a d6. If they acquire a six, roll it again. If they get another six, they gain powers from two lists rather than just one.

Twilight Vision: Grey Elves can see in dim light as normal Elves can.

Weapon Training: Grey Elves are almost universally trained in the use of the rapier, and all Grey Elven classed characters are proficient with this weapon. They can also use their Dexterity modifer for their attack roll, if it is higher than their Strength modifier.

Appearance and Physiology: Grey Elves are, like High Elves, somewhat taller than humans, with an average Grey Elf being three or four inches taller than the equivalent human. They weigh slightly less than the average human, however, making them appear quite slim by human standards. Their features are graceful, though somewhat sharper than with other Elven subtypes. They have grey skin, glowing yellow eyes, black hair and small horns on their heads. They possess similar biology to elves for the most part, including their trancing rather than sleeping.

The most significant differences physically between Grey Elves and regular elves is their potential for psionic powers and their need to carefully balance their emotions through forging powerful relationships with others. Grey Elves that are deprived of these relationships usually eventually go insane. Others tend to explain this as being magical- Grey Elves archly explain to them that the need is, in fact, biological.

Society and Culture: Grey Elven society is marked by considerable regimentation and order, which are traits not commonly associated with elves. A particular elf’s position in their society is immediately distinguishable by the colour of their robes, with scarlet and purple robes being the favored colours of the aristocracy and simple grey and brown clothes worn by the poorest. Promotion from one social class to the other is uncommon, but not unheard of for those that have performed extraordinary service to the Grey Empire of Illsmare.

The law is taken very seriously in Illsmare, and all foreigners are expected to learn the laws and follow them. Magistrates are among the most powerful and respected individuals in Grey Elven society and the Inquisitors that enforce Grey Elven law are universally feared. As a whole, the laws are strict, but not harsh beyond reason, and it is recognized that Magistrates should and do have limited powers of discretion. While the Grey Elves as a whole put great faith in their legal system, the sad fact is that it is rather corrupt in practice, as the great noble houses are able to purchase favorable rulings and influence Magistrates enormously.

As a whole, in technological terms, Grey Elves enjoy a rather more advanced society than most other races in the world. The streets of Samara, the capital of Illsmare, are lit by gaslight and the homes of the middle and upper middle classes are appointed with running water and functional toilets. The Grey Elves are extremely advanced in medical and biological knowledge, knowing the germ theory of disease and the basics of genetics, among other sophisticated ideas. They are familiar with gunpowder and employ it frequently as a base explosive and for cannon, but generally eschew personal firearms as being inferior to longbows.

Family in the typical human sense of the word is not particularly strong in Grey Elven society- children are raised communally with other children of their social rank in their House, rather than by their parents. Indeed, many Grey Elves do not even know who their parents even are, but rather identify themselves by their house in a generic sense. This loosening of family ties is replaced by a deep loyalty to Illsmare and the Grey Elven race, but also with a powerful network of uniquely strong personal relationships.

Along with their loyalty to their race and state, the Grey Elves put enormous stock in their personal relationships with four individuals, colloquially referred to as a ‘quadrant’. These relationships are vitally necessary for deep social and cultural reasons, but also seem to be important for biological and spiritual reasons- fighting off diabolic influence seems to rely in great measure on successful relationships, and a Grey Elf without any quadrant relationships will almost certainly go insane over time.

The quadrant of personal relationships consists of the following: lover, rival, companion and mentor. All of these relationships are considered to be extremely important to a Grey Elf, though only the first relationship is considered acceptable as a basis for reproduction. While sexual relationships outside of the primary romantic relationship are not considered a serious social problem, reproduction outside of it is considered shameful and vile in the first degree. It is socially required that the primary romantic partner be of the opposite sex, and reproduction is expected to result from the coupling.

While the benefits of a stable romantic relationship may seem obvious, a Grey Elf hates his rival with an intensity and passion just as great as he loves his lover with. It is considered taboo to actually kill one’s rival, except in a dual of honour, but it is expected that one will be motivated by that hatred to excel beyond their opponent and to subtly undermine their successes. Grey Elves often correct those of other races who claim that love and hate or opposite, testily stating that they are very similar indeed- that indifference is the true opposite of both.

Along with these two passionate personal relationships, there are two of a somewhat cooler bent. All Grey Elves are expected to find a friend and companion, who may or may not be of the same gender, who will support them in their endeavours and help them to successfully navigate the social and political intricacies of their society. They are also expected to find an older mentor, who is most often the individual that trains them in their occupation and provides them with the wisdom of experience.

These personal relationships are usually considered more important to individual Grey Elves than any political affiliation, save with the Grey Elven race as a whole. Though civil and polite with outsiders, they firmly regard themselves as a superior race and believe themselves destined to spread the benefits of their superior civilization to backwards peoples around the world.

History: The Grey Elves diverged from the rest of the Elven race in the aftermath of the Scathing of Old Illyria, a horrifically bloody civil war caused, at its root by increasing philosophical differences in the attitudes of elves towards magic. Those Elves that attempted to carry on as before became the High Elves, those elves that turned decisively towards nature worship and abjured arcane magic became the Wood Elves and those elves that reveled in the worship of vile arcane and unholy magics went underground to become the Drow.

A small band of elves fled to the island of Illsmare, where they formed a small city and attempted to create a society that would encourage greater magical power, maintaining control through a strongly lawful society and a network of powerful personal relationships. At first, these elves were notably unsuccessful and were often victimized by the powerful hobgoblin tribes of the interior of Illsmare. However, the small elven community captured the interest of The Shaper, a powerful devil granted considered autonomy by Asmodeus, who began to teach them his forbidden and arcane knowledge.

Under his tutelage, the Grey Elves grew much stronger and more powerful, with many of them developing powerful psionic powers which granted them a decisive advantage in the never-ending war with the hobgoblins of the interior. However, as they gained in power and confidence, they became increasingly like the devils themselves, hardened and brutal. Those hobgoblins that were not slaughtered in the wars were enslaved, and their descendants still toil in the farms and mines of Illsmare even today. Just as it seemed that the devils were to claim the entire race for their own, however, a great social rebellion occurred, dethroning Emperor Severin VI and breaking their bondage to the devils.

However, in many ways, the damage had already been done- the marks of the Shaper’s influence would remain permanently in their physical appearance and also, in their ambition to grow and expand. Currently, the Empire of Illsmare stands as one of the great powers in the world and the current Empress stands ready to launch a new campaign of conquest upon the Illyrian mainland.

Psionic Powers: All abilities are cumulative.
Level 1: (Abilities gained at character level 2)
Telepathy: Ability to use detect alignment at will, can attempt to detect thoughts or discern lies if in physical contact with individual (they get a Charisma save). Can telepathically communicate if in physical contact with a willing individual.
Telekinesis: Ability to move five pounds at will, as mage hand. Can, once per day, slow falling as a feather fall spell.
Clairvoyance: Ability to attempt psychometry once per day, +1 to Initiative checks.
Pyrokinesis: Can use burning hands a number of times per day equal to 1+Charisma mod.

Level 2: (Abilities gained at character level 5)
Telepathy: Ability to detect thoughts and discern lies at a distance, can cast charm person at will. (Individual gets a Charisma save, can only be attempted 1/day on a specific target) Can telepathically communicate with willing individual at 100 feet distance, or unwilling person within arm’s reach.
Telekinesis: Ability to move ten pounds at will. Can cast feather fall at will. Can create a telekinetic shield a number of times per day equal to 1+ Charisma modifier which acts as mage armour.
Clairvoyance: Can attempt psychometry at will, can use augury and status a number of times per day equal to Charisma modifier.
Pyrokinesis: Can use pyrotechnics a number of times equal to 1+Charisma modifier per day. Can use continual flame at will.

Level 3: (Abilities gained at character level 8)
Telepathy: Ability to cast hypnotic pattern once per day, and cast suggestion or hold person a number of times per day equal to 1+Charisma modifier. Can telepathically communicate with willing individual at half a mile distance, and communicate with unwilling individual at half that distance.
Telekinesis: Ability to move twenty pounds at will. Can cast fly once per day.
Clairvoyance: Can cast divination and scrying a number of times per day equal to 1+ Charisma modifier.
Pyrokinesis: Can use fireball 1+Cha modifier times per day.

Level 4: (Abilities gained at character level 11)
Telepathy: Ability to cast sleep on one creature of any hit dice a number of times per day equal to 1+Charisma modifier. Ability to attempt to pry knowledge or memory out of unwilling subject’s within 10 feet’s mind once per day.
Telekinesis: Ability to move fifty pounds at will. Can cast telekinesis once per day, and fly 1+Charisma modifier times per day.
Clairvoyance: Can cast true seeing once per day, and detect scrying at will.
Pyrokinesis: Can cast wall of fire once per day, can use burning hands at will.

Level 5: (Abilities gained at character level 14)
Telepathy: Ability to cast charm monster and hold monster a number of times per day equal to 1+Charisma modifier. Can charm person at will. Telepathic communication with willing individual within 100 miles. All telepathic abilities can take place within 100 feet.
Telekinesis: Can cast telekinesis 1+Charisma modifier times per day, and create a blade barrier once per day.
Clairvoyance: Can cast find the path, greater scrying and sequester once per day.
Pyrokinesis: Can cast delayed blast fireball once per day. Can use wall of fire 1+Cha modifier times per day.

Level 6: (Abilities gained at character level 17)
Telepathy: Can cast geas once per day, and feeblemind 1+Charisma modifier time per day. Can cast mental domination once per day. All telepathy can take place within one mile, simple communication anywhere within 100 miles.
Telekinesis: Can cast telekinesis at will.
Clairvoyance: Receive prophetic dreams every night. Can cast foresight once per day.
Pyrokinesis: Can cast fire storm once per day.

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Re: The Grey Elves of Illsmare

Post by GreyLord »

I like this idea, and this race. Nice job.

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Re: The Grey Elves of Illsmare

Post by Lurker »

Nice, I always love racial classes, and this would easily morph into one, so thanks for posting.

By the way, GREAT point on the love/have vs indeferance referance!

My 1 issue is I've never been a fan of psyonics in my fantisy settings, but that is personal preferance ...

I can't wait to get home and copy paste this (along with a bout 100 other things you've posted)

Again, thanks for sharing
"And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!" - Mark Twain

Forgive all spelling errors.

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Re: The Grey Elves of Illsmare

Post by KaiserKris »

Lurker wrote:Nice, I always love racial classes, and this would easily morph into one, so thanks for posting.

By the way, GREAT point on the love/have vs indeferance referance!

My 1 issue is I've never been a fan of psyonics in my fantisy settings, but that is personal preferance ...

I can't wait to get home and copy paste this (along with a bout 100 other things you've posted)

Again, thanks for sharing
Love is passionate, and so is hate. Providing outlets for their passion makes them able to deal with other matters in a calmer and more dispassionate manner. A Grey Elf rarely gets truly angry, except with their fated rival.

One could fairly easily edit the class so they were more focused on traditional arcane magic than psionics.

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