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a complete list of Caecern world design articles.
North of the Dwarven Stoneholds is the Elven Forest. This is a large
stretch of old growth boreal forest west of the Worldcrowns - think
British Columbia. Nearly all of the world's elves live here; all that
remains outside the forest (called Shenthara in Elven; literally,
"sanctuary") is the city state of Eldruthar ("Old City").
The Elves of Caecern are essentially hunter-gatherers; they have no
developed agriculture beyond the level of household gardens. The
Elves don't cut down trees, though they do cut branches for
woodworking and fires. Each elf is expected to look after his or her
own needs, or barter time with another elf for food. While elves eat
meat, they don't maintain herds of animals directly; deer, elk, boar
and the like are encouraged in Shenthara, but allowed to run
wild. This is one of the major population limiters on the Elves; the
forest can only support so many elves, and since the end of the Elven
Empire, thousands of years ago, the elves don't leave the forest much.
The other limiting factor on the elven population is thier low birth
rate; only a handful of elves are born each year. Elves mature at a
similar rate to most other sentients, despite thier longer lifespan.
It is not uncommon for young elves to leave the forest to gain some
experience of the outside world, though most return after a few
Centuries ago, the Elves were more expantionist, and more
traditionally agricultural, and ruled most of the world west of the
Worldcrowns. The dwarves were essentially thier servants, and humans
were little more than animals. Then came a great disaster, which
burned the Shattered Lands, where the Elven Empire's greatest cities
had stood. Afterwards, the elves changed their relationship with the
world, seeking to live in harmony with the world instead of ruling it.
The only city to remain from the old empire is the mountain city of
Eldruthar, astride one of the few trade supporting passes across the
Mechanically speaking, since elves live so long, most of the
population had had time to gain a number of character levels. The
average level of an elf is somewhere around 10. Most elves pick up
levels in several classes through thier lives. Wizard, ranger and
druid are popular choices. Fighter and Paladin are more common in
Eldruthar, though even there, most elves find the multi-classing
restriction on the paladin class too confining.
Despite their small numbers, the sheer power of an individual elf
allows the elves to resist any attempts at military conquest; when
even the foot soldiers have a few levels, traditional human armies
find themselves outgunned.
The Elves have a generally socialist democratic government; major
decisions are advertised through word of mouth (magical messages and
wandering messengers to the larger settlements). Local groups attain
a consensus, then send a representative to another gathering where the
local representatives debate the issue before coming to a decision.
There are no formal rules for the process, and no recognized political
leaders, though the wisdom of the older and more experienced elves
tends to carry more weight in achieving consensus. Elves do not make
political decisions quickly.
Elven maintain a fairly low population density, with a few larger
towns boasting permanent structures slowly formed from living trees.
Many elves live in temporary camps that move through Shenthara
throughout the year. All Elves are expected to participate in the
defense of Shenthara, should the need arise.