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One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
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Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
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    Canonfire :: View topic - Lost Realm of Olefin
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    Lost Realm of Olefin
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 12:04 pm  
    Lost Realm of Olefin

    The Gates of Firestorm Peak (TSR 9533) mentions the Lost Realm of Olefin
    (pg.79). Here is the text: "...Elder Elves standing in the largest city of
    an Elder empire located in what is not a sunken island chain known as the
    Lost Realm of Olefin."

    My first thought is that Olefin was the name of the Elder empire. However,
    the text could be read to say that the island chain where said empire once
    was is now known as "The Lost Realm of Olefin." I've done WWW searches,
    including in the GREYHAWK-L archives, and have found no reference to Olefin
    in GREYHAWK. That leads me to believe Olefin is the empire, as I originally
    thought.

    Anyone able to steer me in the right direction?
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 12:52 pm  

    Gates of Firestorm Peak is not a Greyhawk module.
    It is a way cool module, although it would require some significant tweaks to make it 3.5 compatible. (Particularly with the psionics and changes to the base racial abilities of the main critter in the first section.)
    And several elements from it appear in other Bruce Cordell works that have a Greyhawk element. (Like Return to White Plume Mountain.)
    But Gates itself is not a specifically Greyhawk module, nor is the background specifically Greyhawk related, or acknowledged as canon.

    So if you want direction to Greyhawk references, I am pretty sure none exist.

    If you want direction to other elements, I would think looking in D20 products Bruce Cordell has written would be the place to start. Having to buy most all the WotC stuff, I don't have the cash for such, so I don't know if there are more references in any of them, but that's where I'd go looking.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:54 pm  

    I both agree and disagree with Samwise.

    While not specifically set in Greyhawk by name, many of Bruce Cordell's products share a background. Key elements of this background have become part of Greyhawk through Return to the Tomb of Horrors and some 3X "Generic-Hawk" products. The difficulty is deciding where Cordell leaves off and "true" Gh begins. There is almost a Cordell-Hawk.

    I have no definitive answers as there is no GH governing or sanctioning body but IMC and IMO much of Cordell's work is GH by indirect reference. "Tertiary canon" if you will.
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    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:22 pm  

    Ivid the Undying says "...the haunts of the Old Elves, were among them. Some of those magics, old beyond knowing, are not wholly lost to the world, but they tend now to take terrible forms." One of the legacies of the Old Elves is the terrible artifact Hunger. It's not hard to imagine the Sargentian Old Elves creating a legacy like that of the Cordell's Elder Elves.

    There's a little more information on the Elder Elves themselves in Dragon #330 - no hard data and nothing to tie them directly to the Flanaess, but their proclivities and magics are described, as well as the terrible consequences of their research.

    As for sunken island chains on Oerth, there are two known: the Isles of Woe in what is now the Nyr Dyv once had a nation on them. There is also the Sinking Isle near the Sea Barons, about which Greyhawk Adventures said "The earliest Oeridian tribes to fish the Solnor there knew of it; the Flan before them had legends of it; the seagoing elves of Lendore Isle have tales yet more ancient. Neither our own civilization nor even that of the Elvenfolk was the first in the Flanaess; there were others in times so far past that the very shape of the lands has since changed. The Sinking Isle is a reminder of them." It seems very possible the Sinking Isle was once part of a chain, though it would be slightly odd (though not impossible) if a civilization that preceded the elves was an even older group of elves or proto-elves. The Sinking Isle does have the ruins of a city on it, and it's certainly Lovecraftian enough to fit with Gates of Firestorm Peak (though its inspiration is probably more immediately Fritz Lieber). It doesn't seem unreasonable to think that a civilization of elves or elflike beings living on an archipelago north of what are now Asperdi summoned something unspeakable, sank their islands, and perhaps devolved into sahuaghin long before the present elven civilizations entered the region.

    Another possibility is that the inhabitants of the Sinking Isle were the Vasharan described in the Book of Vile Darkness. This matches perhaps a little better with Greyhawk Adventures, which suggested they were "once-human." It also fits with the combination Book of Vile Darkness/Tome of Ineffable Damnation found in the ruins there, since the BoVD said the first Book of Vile Darkness was written by a Vasharan spellcaster "millennia ago." When their island sank, some could have escaped to the Flanaess where they became the Ur-Flannae.

    It could also be that Olefin had a number of different races on it, including both Elder Elves and Vasharan, or the Elder Elves could have learned some of their magics from Vasharan living on the continent, combining it with their own research (thus the hybrid tome).
    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:39 pm  

    It's also conceivable that the planar magics the Elder Elves were experimenting with resulted in the discovery or creation of the Codex of the Infinite Planes, in which case it could well be that Olefin was the Isles of Woe.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 7:24 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    And several elements from it appear in other Bruce Cordell works that have a Greyhawk element. (Like Return to White Plume Mountain.)


    Interesting. Do you happen to know which elements from The Gates of Firestorm Peak also appear in Return to White Plume Mountain?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:58 pm  

    According to Pg. 4 of the adventure. "The beginnings of the story steched far,far back into prehistory, back to the time of the Elder Elves, the now legendary ancestors of the nomadic high elves. Legend tells of the mighty tasks and accomplishments of the Elder Elves, and of the elvish civilization which thrived during a previous Age of the world."

    Even though the adventure is not specificly set in GreyHawk I found it being one of the most easily converted out of all the non-canon material. Accept for perhaps Night Below.

    IMO it also was the best adventure if not the only adventure to incorperate the Player Option rules for 2nd Ed..

    The Dragon Tear Comet is a cool celestial phenomena to spice up Greyhawk's skys every 27 years.
    Is there any Canon related celestial phenomena besides the ball of fire in CY 198 and the Blood Moon?

    I do like the link to the Sinking Isle and its tie to Lovecraft.
    I tailored alot of this flavor IMC.
    Could have the Elder Elves forgotten their past and were forced to repeate their mistakes?
    I can smell the deep ones crawling from the darknes of the sea caves as the sleeping one awakes, if the Firestorm is not stopped.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 9:27 pm  

    ephealy wrote:
    Samwise wrote:
    And several elements from it appear in other Bruce Cordell works that have a Greyhawk element. (Like Return to White Plume Mountain.)


    Interesting. Do you happen to know which elements from The Gates of Firestorm Peak also appear in Return to White Plume Mountain?


    Yes, of course.
    Is there some spoiler rule around here?
    Cool




    In White Plume Mountain the PCs find the bodies of some Duergar bearing a message from the head cleric of the Duergar community in Gates of Firestorm Peak.
    A very direct connection between the two.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 9:36 pm  

    I also want to add,

    I really like Gates of Firestorm Peak. Check my review of it in that section. It is an awesome module, of a previously poorly done genre.
    And while it isn't Greyhawk, what you need to set it in Greyhawk is incredibly minor. (A mountain, a comet, ancient elves.) That ease of inclusion in a setting is another element I feel makes it incredible.
    However, I don't think Cordell's work as a whole is really Greyhawk. There are enough differences that can be seen if it is taken as a whole that make it obvious that it is his own campaign world, with various tweaks made to convert some of it specifically to Greyhawk. (Like Return to the Tomb of Horrors and White Plume Mountain.) This doesn't make them bad, it just means that for many of them some serious work is required. Perhaps the most dramatic example of that is Bastion of Faith. If you read other Cordell works, it seems obvious that it was written for his deity Immotion, a LG deity of purity and magic, and converted to be Heironeous. That is why the adventure seems so distinctly un-Heironean. It is still good, it just isn't Heironeous, and would be better if used for a different deity, one that is LG, with spheres of purity and magic.

    So when I say Gates is not Greyhawk, I am reporting the actual fact of it. I think everyone should make it part of their Greyhawk, even if I'm not a super-fan of uber Elder Elves.
    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 9:36 pm  

    starbreaker wrote:
    The Dragon Tear Comet is a cool celestial phenomena to spice up Greyhawk's skys every 27 years.
    Is there any Canon related celestial phenomena besides the ball of fire in CY 198 and the Blood Moon?


    There's the Soul Gem from the Ghost Tower of Inverness. That was apparently a meteorite of some kind.

    I'm not sure if there's a canonical deposit of meteoric iron anywhere but the Pits of Azak Zil.

    Then there's the Greyspace stuff from Spelljammer.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:52 pm  

    starbreaker wrote:
    I do like the link to the Sinking Isle and its tie to Lovecraft. I tailored alot of this flavor IMC. Could have the Elder Elves forgotten their past and were forced to repeate their mistakes? I can smell the deep ones crawling from the darknes of the sea caves as the sleeping one awakes, if the Firestorm is not stopped.

    I don't think the text in Gates implies a being from the Far Realm actually destroyed Olefin, whether it was on the Sinking Isle or not. However, it would seem to fit, based on what rasgon has posted. (I'm still digesting it all.)

    One thing that did occur to me, which is why I was looking into all this in the first place, was that the Elder Elves mentioned in Gates could be the same as the elven race before the Branding of the Drow, the Elfwar, and the Fractioning. I suppose that, since Gates isn't canon, the term I need to be using is Old Elves, a la Ivid the Undying (cf. rasgon's post). At any rate, I've been trying to track down any references to Elder Elves and Old Elves. So far, I've got Gates and Ivid, that is it. Anyone know of another source that I could add to the list?

    I know this radically changes the topic of this thread, but the whole point of looking to this connection between the Elder/Old Elves and Gates's Lost Realm of Olefin was to try and nail down what the elves were like when the Seldarine created them, and how they've changed since then.

    Also, and more intriguing to me, was trying to find out what Lolth was like before her fall. In "Servants of the Seldarine" (DRAGON Magazine 176), Chris Perry writes that "Lolth was once part of the Seldarine." It appears she stuck with the alliance through the Godswar, but the time and conditions of her fall escape me. (Again, if anyone can shed some light on that as well, I'd be most grateful.)

    Back to Gates and the Far Realm... It would be most interesting if Lolth was driven insane by the reality that seeped through the Vast Gate from the Far Realm. Those Elder/Old Elves who survived in opening of the gate could have been her first devotees. Now, maybe that's a needless stretch b/c the issue is canon. I don't know (and doing a search for Lolth on the web is like asking for the address of every Smith in the USA - you get too many hits). So, again, I ask y'all to point me in the right direction.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:03 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    I don't think Cordell's work as a whole is really Greyhawk. There are enough differences that can be seen if it is taken as a whole that make it obvious that it is his own campaign world, with various tweaks made to convert some of it specifically to Greyhawk.


    The first sentence of "The History of Firestorm Peak" would seem to back that up. It says, "The village of Longbridge is a small community located at the southern foothills of the uncharted Mountains of Frost, within the northern reaches of the Shirelands." Now, I must admit I'm very new to GREYHAWK, but I couldn't find a reference to the Shirelands or Mountains of Frost anywhere.
    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:40 pm  

    There aren't any Shirelands or Mountains of Frost as such. Theoretically, you could call the Griff Mountains the Mountains of Frost, since they border the land of the Frost Barbarians. The Shirelands would then be the Duchy of Tenh.
    GreySage

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    Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:43 am  

    The phrase "nomadic high elves" is from The Complete Book of Elves in 2nd edition AD&D, by Colin McComb. It refers to the elves who wandered the world or worlds, spreading the elven race in its many variations wherever they went. This was after the Elfwar between light elves and dark.

    The Complete Book of Elves (1992) doesn't have much to say about the elves before the war other than that they were originally one people who lived in harmony with one another, and they originally dwelled in the forests. They seem to have split into Grey, High, and Sylvan elves fairly quickly, and intraracial conflict soon blossomed. "The great Elf cities of old deteriorated, and the Spider Queen Lolth gained a foothold in the hearts of many Elves. They used her to gain greater power nad influence, and her evil ways led them even further astray. These Elves practiced dark magic and forbidden lore to make themselves mighty, and they turned from the light they loved so much." According to this interpretation, it may have been Lolth who inspired the elves of old to begin tampering with the Far Realm in the first place, perhaps to expand her empire.

    Whether Lolth was ever anything but a demon is somewhat controversial. The idea that she was once part of the Seldarine was first put forth, as far as I know, in Dragon #155, in the article on snow elves. That article said she was once a dark goddess named Megwandir, and she seduced and later betrayed the god of the snow elves, which is why the snow elves are shunned by the light elves and hate the drow to this day. This myth later (in On Hallowed Ground) became associated with Fenmarel Mestarine, the elven god of exiles and scapegoats, instead. The myth doesn't require that Lolth was ever anything but evil, however. She may have only been a demon disguised as a goddess.

    It wasn't until March 1999 that the novel Evermeet by Elaine Cunningham introduced to the Forgotten Realms setting a new myth where Lolth was once Araushnee, the elven goddess of fate and consort to Corellon Larethian. A lot of complicated stuff happened as her heart grew darker and she inspired fights between Corellon and Gruumsh and other evil gods. Her motivation seems to have been something like pride, a belief that she would be a better ruler of the elven gods than Corellon, and a firm belief in survival of the fittest. I didn't actually read the book, but eventually Araushnee was discovered and "named tanar'ri" by Corellon, her body transformed into spiderlike form and cast into the Abyss where she became known as Lolth. Although a variation of this story appears in Races of the Wild, it's not completely clear that it's any kind of canonical for Greyhawk.

    As I said above, Bruce Cordell wrote a little more on his Elder Elves in Dragon #330. The article doesn't really answer your questions, but there is a little more flavor on the Elder Elven culture. They're portrayed as extremely rational beings whose senses of reality were destroyed by a confrontation with a godlike being of the Far Realm who cemented a connection between its domain and the cosmos in which Oerth exists. They had been determined to completely understand the nature of the planes, and then to open a vast gate into a theoretical reality outside time. They succeeded, but it didn't work out well for them.

    I doubt all pre-Elfwar elves were similar to the Elder Elves in culture. I get the impression that elves were created more or less the same as they are today, though more primitive and initially confined to forests. The culture of the elves of Alfheim in the outer planes is probably the best model; some sources (Planes of Chaos) claim the elven species originated there before moving to Arvandor and other planes. I suspect the "arcane scientist" type elves described in Firestorm Peak were a later development.


    Last edited by rasgon on Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:51 am; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

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    Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:48 am  

    You might also wish to read The Great Embarkation, which tells a story of the earliest days of the elves, long before their civil war with the drow, when their greatest enemies were the scaly races that preceded mammalian life.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:56 am  

    Random thought about Old Olve and sunken island chains:

    What if there were once more isles in the Spindrifts than there are now?

    That'd add an interesting spin to the Olven takeover of Lendore...

    P.
    GreySage

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    Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:49 am  

    Woesinger wrote:
    Random thought about Old Olve and sunken island chains:

    What if there were once more isles in the Spindrifts than there are now?

    That'd add an interesting spin to the Olven takeover of Lendore...

    P.


    Maybe the Sea Barons and the Spindrifts were once one long archipelago.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:23 pm  

    I was planning on using the Gates of Firestorm Peak in the mountains around Perrenland, becasue that's where my PC's should be at the level if things go well. Its definitely something that would peak Iggwilv's interests...
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:53 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    Woesinger wrote:
    Random thought about Old Olve and sunken island chains:

    What if there were once more isles in the Spindrifts than there are now?

    That'd add an interesting spin to the Olven takeover of Lendore...

    P.


    Maybe the Sea Barons and the Spindrifts were once one long archipelago.


    Or the mountain regions of a now sunken landmass?
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    Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:56 am  

    Woesinger wrote:
    rasgon wrote:


    Maybe the Sea Barons and the Spindrifts were once one long archipelago.


    Or the mountain regions of a now sunken landmass?


    As one who has fiddled with flooding the Oerth here before, if you begin unflooding the current Oerth enough to expose more of the Sea Barons-Spindrifts-Duxchan chains you do get larger land mass areas, especially in the Spindrifts which seem to be clustered closer than the SB's. The Sinking Isle could have sank initially around the same time as the Isles of woe if not from the same event entirely. If the Flanaess is taken as a whole before these two island nations sank you can probably surmise that the Olman would have an easier time getting to the Flanaess, that the Nyr Dyv was once smaller; Amundfort's isle would be much larger, Blackmoor would be dryer than it is now, Jeklea Bay would be surrounded by two isthmus arms and so on.
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    Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:30 pm  

    I think Araushnee may be older than Cunningham's novel because I'm familiar with the name and think the memory is older than 1999. Also, I don't think I read Evermeet.

    I greatly enjoy the notion of Araushnee / Megwandir becoming tainted by something like the Far Realms (or perhaps the Elder Elemental God). To me it seems like the goddess became entranced by the threads of Istus and the webworks between worlds. Something like the demoness Lolth may have ensnared her in the Demonweb. Eventually the entites merged completely.

    A different point entirely is that Corellon Larethian doesn't need any consort because her/his original conception involved shem being not only androgynous but also suggested shem was pansexual, iirc. IMO, later stories about Araushnee or Sehanine Moonbow give into heterosexual impulses or ideology.

    (Shem is a word introduced by Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's Realms of Chaos in relation to its Chaos God of omnisexual pleasure, Slaanesh.)

    Finally, it seems that 3.xE's eladrin might constitute part of the elder Old Elves.
    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:57 pm  

    I would avoid making any sort of connection between elves and eladrin other than the most superficial. Eladrin are celestials, the personifications of Chaotic Good, and their oversight is much broader than any one race; they're as closely aligned to storm giants, titans, brass and copper dragons, and unicorns as they are to elves. They're no more related to elves than slaadi are related to frogs, devils related to gargoyles, or modrons related to polyhedral dice. Their appearance only symbolically reflects their nature.

    The leShay from the Epic Level Handbook, on the other hand, may well be related to the Elder Elves.

    I agree about Corellon not needing a consort. Or, at least, not just one.
    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:03 pm  

    My own idea was that Ehlonna is the daughter of Corellon Larethian and Obad-hai.
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    Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:24 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    My own idea was that Ehlonna is the daughter of Corellon Larethian and Obad-hai.

    And she has Daddy issues, right? Embarassed
    Kwint
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    Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:23 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    My own idea was that Ehlonna is the daughter of Corellon Larethian and Obad-hai.


    She is the daughter of Pelor and Beory.
    The sun bringing forth the fertility of the earth.
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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:17 am  

    rasgon wrote:


    The leShay from the Epic Level Handbook, on the other hand, may well be related to the Elder Elves.

    I agree about Corellon not needing a consort. Or, at least, not just one.


    leShay for sure. What sort of time frame would elder elves fall into?
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:37 am  

    No idea. Before the beginning the olven calendar.
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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:38 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    I would avoid making any sort of connection between elves and eladrin other than the most superficial. Eladrin are celestials, the personifications of Chaotic Good, and their oversight is much broader than any one race; they're as closely aligned to storm giants, titans, brass and copper dragons, and unicorns as they are to elves. They're no more related to elves than slaadi are related to frogs, devils related to gargoyles, or modrons related to polyhedral dice. Their appearance only symbolically reflects their nature.


    From which game product did the Eladrin originate? To me they were new as of 3.xE and resonated strongly with the eldar / olves. If they're not deeply connected, what do folks think about the Eladrin being connected to the Seldarine inasmuch as the former copied the forms of the latter?
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:17 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    From which game product did the Eladrin originate?


    They were originally presented in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix, Volume II.

    Quote:
    To me they were new as of 3.xE and resonated strongly with the eldar / olves. If they're not deeply connected, what do folks think about the Eladrin being connected to the Seldarine inasmuch as the former copied the forms of the latter?


    They are similar to elves in appearance (even more so in 2e). This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, as I think the chaotic good alignment deserves something a bit broader than a bunch of elf-clones.

    Now, I like the eladrins on their own terms, but the natural habit of people to look at them and think, "Ah, they're planar elves or faeries," drives home their limitations. I wouldn't mind them as faeries, except that would leave us with no major chaotic good celestial race at all (we'd still have asuras, but they have only one form and they're really outcast archons anyway). And the D&D game already has so many elven/faerie races that it really doesn't need another one.

    What the game needs is a good counterpart to demons and a chaotic counterpart to archons, which is the hole that eladrins were intended to fill. As long as we keep in mind that their resemblance to elves is only superficial (like the resemblance of hound archons to gnolls) I can deal them.

    If anything, eladrins are much older than any of the Seldarine (most of the planeborne races far predate the current generation of gods). It's possible (maybe even likely) that eladrins took on their elflike form when the Seldarine invaded their plane and drove out the giants who had lived there before them (the Seldarine being native to the plane of Ysgard/Gladsheim, originally invaders to the plane they would name Arvandor). Perhaps before that eladrins looked like giants (maybe storm giants, who are also chaotic good).

    The role of "ancient extraplanar fey ancestors of the elves" is filled by the leShay of the Epic Level Handbook.
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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:57 pm  

    Quote:
    eladrins took on their elflike form when the Seldarine invaded their plane and drove out the giants who had lived there before them (the Seldarine being native to the plane of Ysgard/Gladsheim, originally invaders to the plane they would name Arvandor). Perhaps before that eladrins looked like giants (maybe storm giants, who are also chaotic good).
    Ysgard eh? Not knowing the PS cosmology by heart, would the Seldarine then be seperate or equal to the Norse elves of Alfheim? Also, your theory on Storm Giant form imitation may lend some credence to actual Storm Giant's haughtiness over lesser beings.
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    Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:57 am  

    I didn't really like the leShay.
    I like the eladrins, mostly, and look at them as a sort of prototype elf/fey that "descended" or was copied into elves and fey.
    I do agree that there needs to be significantly more of them, but that would have to wait until I'm finished with the slaad. Cool
    GreySage

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    Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:01 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    Not knowing the PS cosmology by heart, would the Seldarine then be seperate or equal to the Norse elves of Alfheim?


    Equal to, most likely, though sources differ slightly. The elves of Alfheim are either elves from Arvandor who became more neutral in alignment and seperated, or they're the ancestors of the Seldarine.

    Or both, possibly.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3108
    From: Michigan

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    Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:43 pm  

    Apparently the elder elves are also mentioned in The Sea Devils, the sahuagin book. The elves helped create sahuagin by disrupting the ritual of an ancient aquatic race.

    This helps support the identification of Olefin with the Sinking Isle, I think, since sahuagin live there to this day.
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