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Source: Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, pg(s). 22
Despite the fact that elves are among the most common of Golarion's humanoid races, they are a people in decline. Their culture peaked thousands of years ago, and they have been unable to repopulate the many places they once called home.
An elf is a tall, slender humanoid, usually taller but lighter than their human counterparts. Elves tend to be more frail than humans, though their natural lifespan is measured in centuries. Elves tend to be elegant, in both appearance and movement, possessed of an almost supernatural grace. Their colouration varies far less than humans', with most elves being quite pale and fair skinned, though almost none possess freckles, or blemishes. Elves tend to have bright green or dark blue, ranging to nearly black, eyes. The irises of the elven race are far larger than those of other humanoids, often making it seem like they have little or no white in their eyes. This trait can often make elves seem alien and unreadable to humans and dwarves. Their hair, which is typically naturally straight and healthy, usually ranges through the normal spectrum of fair hair, though some possess pure colourless white hair. Neither elven males nor females go bald, and indeed they show little in the way of discernible signs of aging. They have long ears, which point backwards, angling upwards slightly to end usually parallel to the crown of the head.
There isn't as much sexual dimorphism in elves as in other humanoids. Males tend to be taller and broader, though rarely broader than a human male. They tend to be naturally lean and fit, with inhumanly good metabolisms. Males do not grow facial hair, or indeed much body hair. Many have at least shoulder-length hair.
Female elves are slender and willowy, considered beautiful by most. They are almost as tall as human males, though lighter of frame and weight than most human females. Their faces tend to be austere and beautiful, with high cheekbones and delicate symmetrical features.
Elves maintain an otherworldly beauty, and whether found in their magnificent wilderness communities or cosmopolitan civilizations, are often well-dressed and even glamorous.
The elven warrior, as pictured above is an example of a male elf. Merisiel is an example of a female elf.
Departure from Golarion
The history of the elves is an ancient one, and their civilization on Golarion reached its peak long before their human cousins attained their own greatness. The two races were in near constant conflict as human barbarians stretched their reach to grasp ever more of the world. The elves knew that they must ultimately cede much of the world to humans and as their numbers dwindled, the race turned its attention away from Golarion and focused on exploring the other nearby planets, traveling across vast distances through a series of interplanetary gates created in antiquity. Perhaps suspecting that the Earthfall was nigh, the elves departed Golarion through these gates to their mysterious legendary homeland of Sovyrian where they remained in isolation for thousands of years.
Evolution of the Drow
While most of their number were spared the turmoil of the Age of Darkness, those that remained on Golarion were not so lucky. These elves, seeking refuge from the horrors of the planet's surface, receded into the depths of the earth, establishing settlements there. Unbeknownst to them, this decision would alter them forever, and not positively. Over time the underground elves developed ember-black skin and sable-white hair and became corrupted by the powerful evils lurking in the darkness. The newly-formed drow, meaning "accursed," ruled the Darklands, gaining dominance over lesser races such as derro, duergar, troglodytes and worse, becoming one of the most powerful races in the world, even if they hid themselves from their above-ground rivals.
The Elves' Return
In 2632 AR, elves began their return from Sovyrian, somehow sensing that their old human enemies had grown out of their barbaric origins and that the two races could share the world. Many of the elves' ancient holdings were reclaimed, causing tumult with human warlords who did not recognize their claims of ownership on these lands. More than just human inheritors posed problems for the elves, as they soon learned of their drow brethren. Beneath the Varisian city of Celwynvian in the Meiriani Forest the elves confronted the drow, and fearing them, abandoned the city, collapsing the tunnels beneath is in the process. Many of these elves traveled across Avistan to the ancient kingdom of Kyonin, while others sailed west to the island chains off the Varisian coast, where they raised the Mordant Spire on the edge of the known world.
Society & Culture
Although elves will worship any deity that strikes their fancy, the large majority worship the goddesses Calistria and Desna, and to a lesser extent, Nethys. They tend to have a less formal relationship with the divine, seeing the gods as general inspiration, and are not tied down with the particulars of dogma. Other gods worshiped by the fair folk include Findeladlara, the goddess of art and architecture, Ketephys, god of the hunt, and Yuelral the Wise. These last three are deities particular to the elven pantheon, and are not worshiped by other races.
Elves believe that their current life is but one in a series, and that upon death they are reincarnated as another creature. Their ultimate goal is to be reborn as a natural creature of the wild. In pursuit of this they believe that they must find or follow the Brightness, signs and portents which lead them to live a life leading them to their higher destiny.
While elves can be found not only in their own communities such as the Mordant Spire and Kyonin, but throughout the world, there are distinct differences in those elves that have been raised among their kind and those who live primarily among other races. Life among shorter-lived races grounds elves to the world in a way that is foreign to their more isolated kin, and the resulting melancholy outlook on life has earned these elves as "Forlorn". They are generally pitied and looked down upon by the general elf population, believing them to be emotionally scarred. A large portion of adventuring elves find themselves among this group.
Main article: Category:Elf/Inhabitants
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 8-9. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- Erik Mona and Jason Bulmahn. (2008). Gazetteer, p. 5. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-077-3
- Hal Maclean and Jeff Quick. (2008). Elves of Golarion, p. 10. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-143-5
- Hal Maclean and Jeff Quick. (2008). Elves of Golarion, p. 12. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-143-5