Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Postcards from the Flanaess
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
    Snow Elves of White Fanged Bay
    Posted on Thu, September 09, 2004 by Farcluun
    donimator writes "Scholars believed the reclusive and rare snow elves only inhabited the upper reaches of the Crystalmist Mountains, high in the frigid expanses of the region. Recent reports, however, indicate a more nomadic clan of these elves may occupy the lands east of the Wastes. Living off the resources of the forests, the land and the sea, this group has adapted well to this harsh land and steadfastly avoids contact with all around them.

    Snow Elves of White Fanged Bay
    By: donimator
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Snow Elves of White Fanged Bay


    Small, sleek ships with triangular sails made of skins have recently been spotted plying the waters and icy floes of White Fanged Bay.

    These are rumours only, spread mainly by the rare trader from Stonefist that makes his way to Tenh. The sea-faring people of the Hold catch only glimpses of them on the horizon before they disappear into the icy mists.

    The peoples of the Rovers of the Barrens would tell a different story, if any would listen. White devils, tall, lean, and pale as the snow. They seemingly appear as ghosts from the white wastes, swarming to attack where moments ago could not be seen. Light of foot, they rarely leave a print and disappear again without a trace. The lands north of the Forlorn Forest have long been avoided by all but the most desperate, or foolish, of the Barrens tribes.

    Scholars believed the reclusive and rare snow elves only inhabited the upper reaches of the Crystalmist Mountains, high in the frigid expanses of the region. Recent reports, however, indicate a more nomadic clan of these elves may occupy the lands east of the Wastes. Living off the resources of the forests, the land and the sea, this group has adapted well to this harsh land and steadfastly avoids contact with all around them.

    The View of the Snow Elf

    The frozen waste, the unchanging expanse, suits the snow elf’s manner. Not as long-lived as their southern brethren, they still spend centuries in an area and draw strength from its permanence. The passage of time is not as evident to a snow elf. Their world stays the same, as does their place within it.

    Clan life is very important. Small groups live vast distances apart to maximize their use of the resources around them. Tribal life is simple, with much effort spent on acquiring the basic needs for survival. Fertility is low and decades may pass before a young snow elf is received into the clan. Their clan is their life and they will not allow anything to interfere with that life. Friendship and respect are shown towards other clans, but gatherings are rare. A snow elf lives for his family first and for his neighbours a distant second.

    Aside from their animal companions, all other creatures are a threat to their way of life, their very being. Snow elves do not have great numbers. They must deal with foes quickly and aggressively before they come close to their homes. A snow elf will defend their home to the death, but is always ready to pack and move at a moments notice should the threat be too great. Survival of the clan is more important than the land they occupy. One day, they will return to avenge what was taken.

    The Life of a Snow Elf

    Snow elves are an extremely reclusive race, preferring to remain hidden instead of drawing notice to their presence. Traditionally found in high mountain passes or desolate glacier regions, the snow elves of White Fanged Bay are an irregularity in the Flanaess. A nomadic group, they occupy the lands east of the Wastes and north of the Forlorn Forest, travelling onto the pack ice in the winter months. Much like the other nomads of the north, their life is a continuous search for food and shelter, but the snow elves are extremely skilled at it. They are truly one with their land. Never knowing abundance, they are thankful for all they receive and waste nothing they are given.

    Clans consist of several families who band together for mutual protection. Villages or settlements are unheard of, as the land simply cannot support concentrations of people. They are excellent hunters and range far and wide in their quests for food. Typically, a clan will number no more than thirty. If numbers grow, one family will split off and start their own clan or join with another that is less populated. There is no competition between clans and all are viewed as brothers. The clan elder holds sway over their territory. Elders of neighbouring clans will meet infrequently, but they meet as peers and none assumes any influence over the others.

    As harsh as their life is, the snow elves are very adept at using all they have. Their dwellings are comfortable, their clothing exquisitely made and their clan life is joyous and filled with story and song. The snow elves speak their own dialect and little else. They can also communicate with many of the animals of the northern tundra. They have no written language, and as such, do not use magic at all.

    They do draw power from the natural world and each clan is usually populated with one or two druids. As a community, they are able to tap into powerful earth magic through group songs and chants that provide the clan with protection, comfort and the necessities of life in times of hardship.

    The overall outlook of a snow elf clan could be termed Chaotic Good, but they will not tolerate intrusion of any sort into their lands. Most adults have the skills to belong to a class, with males and females assuming equal roles. The majority of the clan have rudimentary Ranger skills, but very few advance beyond the initial levels.

    Each clan tames and trains various animal companions for protection and service. Reindeer act as draft animals, hauling their sledges over the frozen ground. Snow owls acts as scouts, ranging far ahead to point the hunters in the direction of food. Even the mighty polar bear has been known to live within the camp and many consider it good luck when such an event occurs. The snow elves have a special affinity for the arctic wolf, viewing its manner of life as parallel to their own. The two species respect the territory of the other as if they were of one mind.

    Ecology of the Snow Elf

    The life and diet of the snow elf changes with the seasons. In the summer and fall months, they stay fairly stationary. They live off of the mosses, lichens and arctic plants that grow during the short season and hunt the game that feeds on them. As the days shorten, they turn to the sea and rivers, catching fish that will be dried or salted to store for the winter.

    As winter approaches, they move to the ice in pursuit of the packs of seals and other aquatic mammals that are plentiful. This is the hardest season for the clan and they rarely camp longer than a several days before moving on.

    When the ice breaks in late spring is when they take to the seas to hunt the whale that come to the cool waters to breed. They construct light vessels of bone and skin that are extremely quick and sturdy. Bone runners on the bottom acts as a keel but allow the boat to ride up on the pack ice, maintaining speed before plunging into the water once more. A fleet of these small vessels may put to see for days in search of their quarry, a time of excitement for the young when they make their first voyage.

    Snow Elf in Conflict

    Snow elves are masters of traps and ambush and rely on these to discourage or eliminate intruders to their lands. Well-skilled in trapping animals, this experience can be put to deadly use in defence. Snow elves do not work with metal so most weapons are made from wood or bone. Clubs, axes and knives are used in hand to hand combat, but they have become masters with the javelin, spear and harpoon.

    The barren lands of the Icy Sea coast are sparsely inhabited and enemies are few. The stronger cold-loving monsters are dealt with collectively and most intelligent monsters are content to keep their distance from the clan holdings. The snow elves wage fierce battles with the Quaggoth of the Forlorn Forest, when they enter its outskirts to collect wood or food. They use their superior intelligence and trickery to overcome and drive back these formidable foes.

    The elves maintain virtually no contact with the humans of the area – the Rovers to the west and Stonefist across the bay to the east. If they can, they will simply disappear into the frozen wilds. If the intruders persist, they will be met with deadly force. The snow elf in conflict will rely on all their abilities and those of their animal companions to achieve victory.

    Travel of a Snow Elf

    Snow elves use several rudimentary forms of travel as they roam the tundra in search of food. To their credit, they keep very little in the way of possessions such that much of the camp can be carried on their backs or pulled by sleds. When they have stores of food, they construct larger sledges that reindeer can haul over snow or frozen ground.

    Their finest way to travel though, are the sleek ships they construct for plying the seas. Many would consider them impossibly small to brave the treacherous waves, but in the hands of a snow elf, they are extremely sturdy. Carrying a crew of only three or four, one man can operate the rudder and sail, freeing the others to hunt or fish. The crafts are unmatched for speed on the northern seas. Their hulls, constructed of wood, bone and skin can ride up on ice floes and carry the boat skimming across the jagged ice with ease.

    Characteristics of a Snow Elf (in game terms)
    (With information from ‘In Frost and Snow’ by David Reimer, Dragon #155)

    The snow elves of White Fanged Bay differ from their mountainous cousins. Like the elves of the Crystalmists, they differ greatly from their southern brethren in appearance. They are lean like all elves, but males tower to an average height of seven feet or more. Their pale skin and light hair blend with their natural surroundings. They favour light clothes that provide camouflage in their natural environment.

    Snow elves do not make use of fire and shun it without exception. As a result, they are susceptible to fire-based attacks and suffer a -1 penalty to saving throws vs. fire and suffer one extra hit point of damage per die when subject to a fire attack. However, their affinity for arctic climes makes them resistant to cold-based attacks. They have a +1 saving throw bonus vs. cold and reduce damage by one hit point per die from such attacks.

    They share the elven resistance to sleep and charm spells, but do not gain a bonus with sword and bow. Instead, they gain a +1 to hit bonus with hurled weapons. The snow elf can exist comfortably in arctic climes, wearing only light skins and furs for protection. As such, if a snow elf is forced to travel to warmer climates, they lose 1 point of strength and 1 point of constitution for every climate zone they pass into – arctic, sub-arctic, temperate, semi-tropical, and tropical. This can only be regained by returning to their arctic climate and resting a week for every day they left their arctic surroundings. Clearly, a snow elf of White Fanged Bay is not meant to be a player character.

    Most of these snow elves encountered will be rangers, highly skilled in tracking and hunting and working well with the native animals of the land. The elven druids wield great power and have access to a wide range of spells with major access to the spheres of Animal, Elemental (air, earth, water), Healing and Weather, minor access to the spheres of Creation, Divination, Plant and Protection, but no access to traditional druid spheres of Sun and Elemental(fire).

    The snow elves of White Fanged Bay are masters of their frozen realm. They have lived in seclusion for as long as they can remember, inspiring fear in the superstitious tribes of humans they come in contact with. They are perfectly adapted to the small corner of Oerth they call home and will fight for their land without fail. "
    Related Links
    · More about Monsters of Greyhawk
    · News by Farcluun

    Most read story about Monsters of Greyhawk:

    Excerpts from the Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Orcus, Demon Prince of Undead

    Article Rating
    Average Score: 4.09
    Votes: 11

    Please take a second and vote for this article:

    Very Good


     Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

    Associated Topics

    Monsters of Greyhawk

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

    Re: Snow Elves of White Fanged Bay (Score: 1)
    by Devon on Thu, September 09, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Nice Article...a good race that could add a lot of flavor!

    Re: Snow Elves of White Fanged Bay (Score: 1)
    by Muscles on Fri, September 10, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Hey dominator,

    Wonderful elves. Do they live north of the burneal forest as well? I think I may put them there, got rovers in white fanged bay.

    I could see not using bows as per the difficulty w/ distant vision and snow blindness. I really like that they have no wizards. maybe an odd Snow Witch in the outskirts of the society. I wonder what and how often their clan gatherings are. They eat raw fish, thats a good touch.
    look forward to more of your work.


    Re: Snow Elves of White Fanged Bay (Score: 1)
    by Abysslin ( on Fri, September 10, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    I can deffinately put these guys to use in my Rhizia campaign.

    Thanks Donimator.

    Re: Snow Elves of White Fanged Bay (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Sat, September 11, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    Very nice article. Thank you.

    I like the Quaggoth conflict. Very nice use of a non-typical element!

    Let me second Muscles comment. How about a followup that talks about Snow Elves in the Burneal Forest or among the Ice, Snow and Frost Barbarians? I would think they could have different characteristics in different areas.


    Re: Snow Elves of White Fanged Bay (Score: 1)
    by PeterOui on Mon, September 13, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Good article! I find Snow Elves great additions to campaigns, related to both valley and grugach. Although mentioned twice in Dragon magazine (#155, with Tarsellis Meunniduin updated to 2E in Dragon #236), I am disappointed that they are not canon. Your article only further proves that they should be.

    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!

    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.37 Seconds