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Elves have a lot of advantages over humans and other shorter-lived beings - and they know it. They are longer-lived, usually more attractive, don’t need to sleep, are very dexterous, and the experience accumulated over the centuries of their existence means they can do just about anything, and do it with style. And yet, within many of their own realms, they are ruled over by the Sidhe, who are in many ways as superior to them as they are to humans. Many elves are used to this state of affairs and consider it right and proper. Others, though, become dissatisfied and leave their homes. And if they enter human domains, they often cannot help themselves treating humans as the Sidhe treated them.

The attitudes of elves towards humanity varies depending on which elven kingdom they hail from. Typically, elves from Avareen see humans as interesting toys, pets, irrelevant, or a threat to their way of life. Few elves, even those of a generally benevolent nature, take humans seriously on an individual basis - after all, there are hundreds of millions of them around, so how important can a single one be?

Avareen elves travel to human cities and realms more often than one might expect - young elves go there to celebrate, observe these interesting little creatures, and generally “sow their oats” before moving back to their home and assuming a position of responsibility (as much as there are positions of responsibility in Avareen). There they usually dabble in the arts, warfare, or politics. The intrigues of the latter type should be watched especially carefully, for their attitudes can be described as a cat playing with a mouse, a child playing with an ant farm, or a noble playing out war strategies with tin soldiers - except that the tin soldiers are usually flesh-and-blood humans. Human city dwellers close to Avareen usually view elves with a mixture of awe and distrust. The upper classes especially seek out the elves dwelling in their midst, for the attendance of a well known elven artist can make or break a party.

Elves from Narevoreen tend to see human society as fascinating for its modernity and quick pace, or are resentful for the changes humans have brought to their realm in recent years. Those going abroad tend to be in the former category. On the other hand, many humans from the Parginian Rim have adopted a patronizing attitude thanks to their victory over the Narevoreen navy, while at the same time resenting the long life spans of the elves. Sometimes this has resulted in violence, which has disillusioned the views of some Narevoreen elves of humanity.

Elves from Tuvareen rarely travel abroad, and when they do, it’s often to steal small children. The remainder tend to be exiles - either for some crime, or self-imposed over disagreement with the policies of the kingdom. In either case, they tend to travel far from Tuvareen and keep their distance from human society, either out of guilt or because they expect to be hated for the activities of their kin.

On the whole, elven culture is fairly egalitarian when it comes to gender. Avareen tends towards the matriarchal while Tuvareen towards the patriarchal (with Narevoreen showing no preference), but most positions and professions are open to both men and women, and human attitudes towards gender roles tend to mystify most elves.

List of Articles about Elves

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

Overall, elven culture in Urbis conforms to the common fantasy tropes about them - though I wanted to introduce enough cultural variety to make them interesting. The devil, as always, is in the details - I encourage you to read the descriptions of the three main elven kingdoms to find out what makes them unique.


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Urbis - A World of Cities © Jürgen Hubert. All material on this site excepting forum posts is owned by him.