All fantasy game settings have Elves, or some form of Elf archetype. The archetype may not look like an ‘Elf’, but is an Elf by another name – long lived, beautiful, wise, advanced and generally a personification of our highest ideals. For the Twistasy archetype I wanted to muck about with their makeup and produce something that messes with the reader’s pre-conceived ideas. The are not quite the Elves as we know them. Yet I hope they will still be recognised as ‘elfin’. They are a mix of many myths, mostly Northern European. This article will deal more with the nature of these elves, their physiology, psychology and culture, rather than detail their history and the geography of their civilization. This is one of the modular building blocks, meta-blocks, I mention in Sciror. They can be added into any game world, and this meta-block is intended to guide the creation of their final fantasy setting to be built by the GM.
These Elves refer to themselves in the singular and plural as the ‘Avari’ (like ‘sheep’). The Avari name specifically refers to their ‘soul’ not their body, and the Avari view their bodies as temporary. They refer to their bodies as an ‘Avatar’. Special names are used in regard to the Avatar form, such as Avaro (male), Avaris (neutral) or Ave (female) in singular, and Avatar in the plural.
These Elves are a little different from other fantasy elves, and one aspect is how their immortality is handled. The Avari that are a ‘species’ that spirit (energy) based. They inhabit Avatar in order to walk in the material world. However the Avari are highly advanced and their thought processes amazingly fast, so they run their bodies to the max. As such the Avatar is very short lived, the oldest are never more the 20 years old by human reckoning before they suffer catastrophic failure. Most Avatar fail by 15. This seems like a very short life span to a human, but their metabolism is exceptionally fast and they are in a constant state of hyper alertness. They do not sleep and have no need for rest. they can work for 24 hours are day for weeks on end. This means they can often accomplish much in their short lives. What makes the Avari ‘immortal’ is their ability to reincarnate.
When an Avatar ceases to function (dies) the Avaris releases it’s grip and drifts free in the ether. The Avaris is then drawn to a new Avatar. New Avatar are born without a Avaris, they lack a ‘soul’ in human terms and will die is they are not possessed by a Avaris. It is when entering the Avatar that the Avaris takes on the role of Avaro or Ave. However, strong male or female Avaris may be termed Avariso (male) or Averise (female) and has a preference, yet most are Avaris.
Much taller than humans, but a similar build if a little slender. The height comes from standing on tip toes (digitigrade) and incredible long feet. The Avari have no heel as such, and cannot put their heel on the ground and remain upright. They have a stride that is twice that of a man, it’s as if they have a built in set of bio-mechanical running blades. As a result an Avari is can run much faster than a human in a straight line dash, easily clocking up 40mph. However, humans are far more mobile in changing direction, and dodging. An encounter with an Avari is like being a Matador facing a bull, except this bull faster and has a spear. Avari are like their own cavalry, with lance. Out in the open they can destroy enemy formations very quickly.
The high plains. The Avari love to run in the open grass plains of their homeland. Their cities are wide and open, with lots of water features, like a mix of archipelagos and sweeping art nouveau structures that seem to grow out of the land, their roots stretching into the waters. The look like they are built over lakes. The buildings have a symbiotic relationship with the vegetation, drawing up water from the lakes to supply flowering plants and vegetables at higher tiers.
These are human-avari hybrids, and are more in keeping with the Elf archetype. They have feet like ours, but retain the fantastic balance of the Avari, and can run along the limbs of trees. This is something even the Avari have trouble with due to their long legs. The wood elves always stand on their toes, and the feet a quite long compared to a human. Unlike the Avari the wood elves can put their heels on the floor and remain standing but they find it uncomfortable, and walking heel to toe is awkward. (design note: The roots of human clowns, with long feet, could be mocking the wood elves.)
Interactions with others
The Avari have a chequered history when it comes to their dealings with other species. They like to interact by they have powerful and forceful personalities and no fear of death. They are often seen as obnoxious and tiring, incessant chatter boxes and know-it-all busybodies. Only the most quick witted and capable can stand their presence, and much can be learned from the Avari. In arguments the Avari are lethal, and tend to forget that other ‘species’ are not like them (mortal).
Humans refer to them as Avari or Aves (the female form). This is not insulting to ‘males’ as it refers to the spirit and is taken as such by the Avari. Some humans call them Avatar, but this is considering insulting. most humans know there was an alliance between the Avari and Human kingdoms long ago, and the descends are the wood elves. To humans, the wood elves are a delight compared to Avari, a mix of self-depreciating humour, wit, and enthusiasm.
Dwarfs (Gudd) dislike, and many hate the Avari with a passion. The Gudds are very long lives for a mortal peoples, often reaching many hundreds of year in age. They have slow metabolisms and are ‘cold blooded’ and are never far from a source of warms (volcanoes and forges). The can have a bust of speed and have power, but their stamina is short. Most of the time the Gudd sleep, whereas Avari are awake all the time, never shut up, and demand constant attention.
Gudd are hard workers when warm, and they like nothing more that working by a hot forge to fuel their systems. However, despite their strength, they are not the greatest of fighters due to their reach limitation. They do fight well in formations and shield walls, but in the open they are very vulnerable. Avari excel in duel combat, and will win against a Gudd or Human with ease. The Gudd invented firearms and mange to be quite effective against Avari, but it soon became clear that the Avari do not die like mortals, and when they returned, they returned with unnatural weapons.