In short, elves are known to have a chaotic but harmless personality. Skuld was skilled in witchcraft (seiðr). They continued to be associated with causing illnesses and with sexual threats. However, the characteristics and names of these beings have varied widely across time and space, and they cannot be neatly categorised. 450-1100)-language text, Articles containing Old Norse-language text, Articles containing Old High German (ca. [142], English and German literary traditions both influenced the British Victorian image of elves, which appeared in illustrations as tiny men and women with pointed ears and stocking caps. Even when Icelanders do not explicitly express their belief, they are often reluctant to express disbelief. Alabaster is quite a character. They make the toys in a workshop located in the North Pole. They are differentiated by their black skin, pale hair and pale, almost-white hair and eyes. However, almost all surviving textual sources about elves were produced by Christians (whether Anglo-Saxon monks, medieval Icelandic poets, early modern ballad-singers, nineteenth-century folklore collectors, or even twentieth-century fantasy authors). In the eighteenth century, German Romanticist writers were influenced by this notion of the elf, and reimported the English word elf into the German language. The Þiðreks saga version of the Nibelungen (Niflungar) describes Högni as the son of a human queen and an elf, but no such lineage is reported in the Eddas, Völsunga saga, or the Nibelungenlied. [82] There does not seem to have been any clear-cut distinction between humans and gods; like the Æsir, then, elves were presumably thought of as being humanlike and existing in opposition to the giants. High elves can be seen as emotional creatures, perceived by some as empathetic, as well as passionate about things they take liking to. 750-1050)-language text, Articles containing Malagasy-language text, Lang and lang-xx code promoted to ISO 639-1, Articles containing Middle High German (ca. These conceptions remained prominent in twentieth-century children's literature, for example Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree series, and were influenced by German Romantic literature. Elves are one of the three mortal races. [110], In later medieval prayers, Elves appear as a threatening, even demonic, force. The Germanic word presumably originally meant "white one", perhaps as a euphemism. [117] Other names also abound, however, such as the Sicilian Donas de fuera ('ladies from outside'),[153] or French bonnes dames ('good ladies'). Watch D&D Live 2020: Roll w/ Advantage Today in Support of ... Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything Breakdown, Part Three, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything Breakdown, Part Two, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything Breakdown, Part One, Nerdarchy - Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition - Review, Mythic Odysseys of Theros Breakdown, Part Two, Mythic Odysseys of Theros Breakdown, Part One, Strongholds & Followers Breakdown, Part Four. Even among their own kind, dark elves are cruel and suspicious. Humans being invited or lured to the elf dance is a common motif transferred from older Scandinavian ballads. Viewing elves as being more or less like people, and more or less outside Christian cosmology. However, ever since J.R.R. Mention of the land of Álfheimr is found in Heimskringla while Þorsteins saga Víkingssonar recounts a line of local kings who ruled over Álfheim, who since they had elven blood were said to be more beautiful than most men. [121], In order to protect themselves and their livestock against malevolent elves, Scandinavians could use a so-called Elf cross (Alfkors, Älvkors or Ellakors), which was carved into buildings or other objects. The Firstborn, the Elder Children of Ilúvatar, were conceived by Eru alone in the third theme of Ainulindalë. Although this word took a variety of forms in different Old English dialects, these converged on the form elf during the Middle English period. As in Elveskud, sometimes the everyday person is a man and the elf a woman, as also in Elvehøj (much the same story as Elveskud, but with a happy ending), Herr Magnus og Bjærgtrolden, Herr Tønne af Alsø, Herr Bøsmer i elvehjem, or the Northern British Thomas the Rhymer. In many of the worlds of D&D, there are two kinds of high elves. The "Christmas elves" of contemporary popular culture are a relatively recent creation, popularized during the late nineteenth-century in the United States. He's the only elf at the North Pole with a university degree. In the twentieth century, scholars often labelled the illnesses elves caused as "elf-shot", but work from the 1990s onwards showed that the medieval evidence for elves' being thought to cause illnesses in this way is slender;[59] debate about its significance is ongoing.[60]. Most of them have Low German connections. Air Elves are a sorcerous people, few in number., Why wouldn't I want to do classic Force-wielding dual-wielders like Ahsoa Tano, Darth Maul and Asajj Ventress? One could appease the elves by offering them a treat (preferably butter) placed into an elven mill. For example, because the cognates suggest matt white rather than shining white, and because in medieval Scandinavian texts whiteness is associated with beauty, Alaric Hall has suggested that elves may have been called "the white people" because whiteness was associated with (specifically feminine) beauty. Their uniquely grown ships are among the most effective craft in the Void… and with such powerful mages at their beck and call, they are fast and deadly spelljammers. [156] Elves bear some resemblances to the satyrs of Greek mythology, who were also regarded as woodland-dwelling mischief-makers. [79][80] The pairing is paralleled in the Old English poem Wið færstice[68] and in the Germanic personal name system;[67] moreover, in Skaldic verse the word elf is used in the same way as words for gods. That was my guess. More delicate than their earth-bound cousins, with hollow bones to aid their flight. [97][98] According to Hrólfs saga kraka, Hrolfr Kraki's half-sister Skuld was the half-elven child of King Helgi and an elf-woman (álfkona). They have pointed ears. The idea also occurs in later traditions in Scandinavia and beyond, so it may be an early attestation of a prominent tradition. They left a circle where they had danced, which were called älvdanser (elf dances) or älvringar (elf circles), and to urinate in one was thought to cause venereal diseases. [141], In Scandinavia too, in the nineteenth century, traditions of elves were adapted to include small, insect-winged fairies. If you want to read my some more of my articles not posted on my blog, they can be found on Johnn Four’s roleplaying tips website at Diminutive Size - Due to their size they are able to execute tasks more precisely and in bigger numbers since they take up less space than a regular-sized being. The avariels spend much time researching magic and history, contemplating religion and worshiping their gods. They are the eldest and noblest of the speaking races of Middle-earth. [111] Correspondingly, in the early modern period, elves are described in north Germany doing the evil bidding of witches; Martin Luther believed his mother to have been afflicted in this way. In The Queen of Elfland's Nourice, a woman is abducted to be a wet nurse to the elf-queen's baby, but promised that she may return home once the child is weaned. They are drawn to adventure through sheer wanderlust, desiring to see and do everything possible during their long lives. These all come from an Indo-European root *h₂elbʰ-, and seem to be connected by the idea of whiteness. [81] Sigvatr Þórðarson's skaldic travelogue Austrfaravísur, composed around 1020, mentions an álfablót ('elves' sacrifice') in Edskogen in what is now southern Sweden. [33] During the Old English period, separate forms were used for female elves (such as ælfen, putatively from Common Germanic *), but during the Middle English period the word elf came routinely to include female beings. The most common, though also most harmless case was various irritating skin rashes, which were called älvablåst (elven puff) and could be cured by a forceful counter-blow (a handy pair of bellows was most useful for this purpose). Their isolation from their cousins stems from the fact they were deceived into allowing dark elves passage through their lands, not knowing they were serving the aims of an evil god who had recently declared war on thei cousins. Since belief in supernatural beings is so ubiquitous in human cultures, however, scholars no longer believe such explanations are valid. The Imperial Elven Navy (IEN for short) is the dominant force in Known Space. That's just a preference thing with me - from listening to Critical Role, it's clear that some people are doing numbers with it. They view themselves the protectors of good in the world, but rarely come to the assistance of the “lesser” races. However, in the modern languages, traditional terms related to álfr have tended to be replaced with other terms. Despite looking like D&D Drow they are not Dark Elves but rather have a culture very much like samurai Japan. Sadistic, destructive, and treacherous, viewing themselves as the rightful heirs to world and still remember the perceived injustice of their exile to the underworld. They have pale, often porcelain white skin, and white, black, brown, or speckled wings. They therefore give people an unusual degree of access to ideas of elves from older traditional culture. They inhabit natural features like mountains, forests, old trees, caves, reefs, etc., as well as personify abstract concepts and natural phenomena. [146], A pioneering work of the fantasy genre was The King of Elfland's Daughter, a 1924 novel by Lord Dunsany. "Die aufnahme des Wortes knüpft an Wielands Übersetzung von Shakespeares Sommernachtstraum 1764 und and Herders Voklslieder 1774 (Werke 25, 42) an"; E.g. [161], In the animistic precolonial beliefs of the Philippines, the world can be divided into the material world and the spirit world. Written by the late William Collins", "Getting Shot of Elves: Healing, Witchcraft and Fairies in the Scottish Witchcraft Trials", "Elves on the Brain: Chaucer, Old English and, "Magic, Miracle, and Popular Practice in the Early Medieval West: Anglo-Saxon England", "Elves in the Psalms? The most noble and most reclusive of the elves, having withdrawn from the world after making their mark, which was to ensure the world was well on the path of goodness. [128], In folk stories, Scandinavian elves often play the role of disease spirits. Elves speak Elven, and … The elves who live in Khorvaire have integrated with their human society and now have similar culture and ideology. [94] But although limited, these texts provide some of the best evidence for the presence of elves in everyday beliefs in medieval Scandinavia. [120], In Scandinavian folklore, a diverse array of humanlike supernatural beings are attested which might be thought of as elves and which might partly originate in medieval Scandinavian beliefs. There is also evidence associating elves with illness, specifically epilepsy. [35][36] These words must come from Common Germanic, the ancestor-language of the attested Germanic languages; the Common Germanic forms are reconstructed as *ɑlβi-z and *ɑlβɑ-z. Goethe's poem then took on a life of its own, inspiring the Romantic concept of the Erlking, which was influential on literary images of elves from the nineteenth century on. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. In the Swedish folktale Little Rosa and Long Leda, an elvish woman (älvakvinna) arrives in the end and saves the heroine, Little Rose, on condition that the king's cattle no longer graze on her hill. [104] Accordingly, the German word Alpdruck (literally "elf-oppression") means "nightmare". Fairies make the best bedtime stories. High elves were roughly of human height, standing from 5'5\" – 6'1\" (1.65 – 1.85 meters) on average, but were lighter, weighing from 130 – 180 lbs. Fire Elves are wild, willful, and unpredictable. For the lightning-related phenomenon, see, Demythologising elves as indigenous peoples, Demythologising elves as people with illness or disability, In medieval texts and post-medieval folk belief, For discussion of a previous formulation of this sentence, see, "Naturgott oder -dämon, den Faunen der antiken Mythologie gleichgesetzt, In Lexer's Middle High German dictionary under, Tolkien, J. R. R., (1969) [1947], "On Fairy-Stories", in. Of the many words for supernatural beings in Germanic languages, the only ones regularly used in personal names are elf and words denoting pagan gods, suggesting that elves were considered similar to gods. The elves in this story are more alike those of traditional Danish folklore, who were beautiful females, living in hills and boulders, capable of dancing a man to death. Scandinavians brought their tales to the English Isles during the Viking conquests. Integrating elves into Christian cosmology without identifying them as demons. 7 Types of Fairies and Their Powers. Later this month, a survey on these options will appear on the D&D website. From Oxford no less. [7], Beliefs about elves have their origins before the conversion to Christianity and associated Christianization of northwest Europe. Skålgropar, a particular kind of petroglyph (pictogram on a rock) found in Scandinavia, were known in older times as älvkvarnar (elven mills), because it was believed elves had used them. [26][27][5], Scholars have at times also tried to explain beliefs in elves as being inspired by people suffering certain kinds of illnesses (such as Williams syndrome). WRITE FOR TRIBALITY They view outsiders with suspicion, but are fierce allies to those they consider their friends. They are similar to elves in that they can be helpful or malevolent, but are usually indifferent to mortals. According to this link , The Spelljammer Elves are unique in that they are a very strong force. Elves remain a prominent feature of fantasy books and games nowadays. They can communicate with earth animals such as squirrels and deer. Thus, the alf found in the fairy tale The Elf of the Rose by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen is so tiny he can have a rose blossom for home, and "wings that reached from his shoulders to his feet". The avariel are winged elves. They look like humans, but they need the constant sunlight, like in Alfheim. Or you could go with the horrific version in the movies. "[132] Elves are also prominent, in similar roles, in contemporary Icelandic literature. [113] Thus, some dwarves that appear in German heroic poetry have been seen as relating to elves. [91] As his most prominent deed in the poem is to rape Böðvildr, the poem associates elves with being a sexual threat to maidens. [2] However, elves have in many times and places been believed to be real beings. Three elves, Ingw ë, Finw ë, and Elw ë, came with the Vala Orom ë to scout Valinor and, pleased with what they saw, returned to lead their people back there. They are a hardy folk, living in many climes, but always secreted away from society, as few share their beliefs. [66], Like words for gods and men, the word elf is used in personal names where words for monsters and demons are not. This in turn inspired Goethe's poem Der Erlkönig. Like other elves, the drow are slightly shorter than humans, and more slender, with little physical difference between the genders. Many of these elves have magic that helps this task out. Some of these creatures are good, others are evil, and many are different. A conservative warrior-aristocracy society with a greater understanding of magic that they use to enhance their everyday lives. Wind elves are residents of Elvendale who can control the element of air. The clearest English example is Elveden ("elves' hill", Suffolk); other examples may be Eldon Hill ("Elves' hill", Derbyshire); and Alden Valley ("elves' valley", Lancashire). Earth elves are residents of Elvendale who are able to control the earth. [citation needed] Post-Tolkien fantasy elves (which feature not only in novels but also in role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons) are often portrayed as being wiser and more beautiful than humans, with sharper senses and perceptions as well. [3] Where enough people have believed in the reality of elves that those beliefs then had real effects in the world, they can be understood as part of people's worldview, and as a social reality: a thing which, like the exchange value of a dollar bill or the sense of pride stirred up by a national flag, is real because of people's beliefs rather than as an objective reality. A well known Moon Elf, for example, is the Crimelord Elaith Craulnober. [52], In one or two Old English medical texts, elves might be envisaged as inflicting illnesses with projectiles. Often, elven hair was dark, either brown or black, with copper red or blond hair also found amongst wood elves, although … [96], The legendary sagas tend to focus on elves as legendary ancestors or on heroes' sexual relations with elf-women. [28] Elves were certainly often seen as a cause of illness, and indeed the English word oaf seems to have originated as a form of elf: the word elf came to mean 'changeling left by an elf' and then, because changelings were noted for their failure to thrive, to its modern sense 'a fool, a stupid person; a large, clumsy man or boy'. They have no need even for individuality, especially since they can merge with each other to form a great water elemental. An example is Andrew Lang's fairy tale Princess Nobody (1884), illustrated by Richard Doyle, where fairies are tiny people with butterfly wings, whereas elves are tiny people with red stocking caps. It is important to remember that Elves that help Santa Claus build the toys for all the deserving boys and girls. [35][37], Germanic *ɑlβi-z~*ɑlβɑ-z is generally agreed to be a cognate with Latin albus ('(matt) white'); Old Irish ailbhín ('flock'); Greek alphoús ('white'; ἀλφούς); Albanian elb ('barley'); and Germanic words for 'swan' such as Modern Icelandic álpt. Germanic in nature, the mythology of the elven race comes from the pre-Christian Norse faith and language. ADVERTISE ON TRIBALITY The noun elf-shot is actually first attested in a Scots poem, "Rowlis Cursing", from around 1500, where "elf schot" is listed among a range of curses to be inflicted on some chicken thieves. We all like to believe in those fantasy creatures, darting about on their wings, flourishing their wands and casting spells. [24][25] Research has shown, however, that stories about elves have often been used as a way for people to think metaphorically about real-life ethnic others. [69][70] As well as appearing in medical texts, the Old English word ælf and its feminine derivative ælbinne were used in glosses to translate Latin words for nymphs. Water (not aquatic) Elves are pacifists, making no weapons and fighting no battles. Alabaster Snowball Alabaster is Quite a Character. [39] In this case, *ɑlβi-z connotes the meaning, "skillful, inventive, clever", and is a cognate with the Latin labor, in the sense of "creative work". Subraces When you choose the subrace of your elf character, you can choose one of the following options, in addition to those in the Player’s Handbook. They have therefore played a major role in transmitting traditional ideas about elves in post-medieval cultures. They were once a prominent race, but over the years their numbers have declined due to the war against the Demon Dactyl. … Fire is the source of life, and a way of living, believing, and thinking to them. I also would love to see some additional rune options for the Rune Knight that are not directly referencing the types of giants. Some are mischievous, whereas others avoid humans entirely. With urbanisation and industrialisation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, beliefs in elves declined rapidly (though Iceland has some claim to continued popular belief in elves). Cyber elves are sentient computer program created with pure energy and made in the image of anthropomorphized entities, from animals and objects, to even human occupations and mythical beings, and these appearances are also significant of their abilities and capabilities as a living form of software. These rare creatures were more common when the worlds of the multiverse were young, but frequent However, from the early modern period onwards, elves started to be prominent in the literature and art of educated elites. Elves appear as demonic forces widely in medieval and early modern English, German, and Scandinavian prayers. They see things from the point of view of the ocean: there is nothing they cannot outlast, outmaneuver, or wash over. Many aquatic elves adopt the lonely lives of hermits, while some band together into small communities, more for mutual defense than for any perceived racial bond. Elfish beings appear to have been a common characteristic within Indo-European mythologies. There are no set standards. Sometimes the everyday person is a woman and the elf is a man, as in the northern British Tam Lin, The Elfin Knight, and Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight, in which the Elf-Knight bears away Isabel to murder her, or the Scandinavian Harpans kraft. Jakob Grimm thought whiteness implied positive moral connotations, and, noting Snorri Sturluson's ljósálfar, suggested that elves were divinities of light. Like the huldra in Norway and Sweden, they are hollow when seen from the back. The influence of Shakespeare and Michael Drayton made the use of elf and fairy for very small beings the norm, and had a lasting effect seen in fairy tales about elves, collected in the modern period. This is not necessarily the case, however. Types of Elves. She is described as a beautiful old woman and by her aspect people saw that she belonged to the subterraneans. They can communicate with creatures who are also linked to air, such as pegasi and birds. Quendi: With alien cultures compared to human standards, almost immortal, powerfully magical, and not overly fond of mortals, these creatures are elf in all but name. A hallmark of many fantasy elves is their pointed ears. However, oral traditions about beings like elves remained prominent in Scandinavia into the early twentieth century. Elves stood on average 5'4\"–6'0\" (1.63–1.83 meters) and weighed 130–170 pounds (59–77 kg). Elb, Elben was consequently introduced in the 1972 German translation of The Lord of the Rings, repopularising the form in German. They awoke at Cuiviénen, the Water of Awakening, in the far east of Middle-earth, in the starlight of the Sleep of Yavanna, as the Sun and Moon had yet to be created. [42] German examples are Alberich, Alphart and Alphere (father of Walter of Aquitaine)[43][44] and Icelandic examples include Álfhildur. [138][140] In the same vein, Johann Gottfried Herder translated the Danish ballad Elveskud in his 1778 collection of folk songs, Stimmen der Völker in Liedern, as "Erlkönigs Tochter" ("The Erl-king's Daughter"; it appears that Herder introduced the term Erlkönig into German through a mis-Germanisation of the Danish word for elf). [93], The appearance of elves in sagas is closely defined by genre. There are four types of elves: those that live in the far north, those that live in the deep forest, those that live in more accessible terrain near humans and half elves (listed in descending order of xenophobia). They tend to think in terms of predator and prey, and of life and death. For example, a number of early modern ballads in the British Isles and Scandinavia, originating in the medieval period, describe elves attempting to seduce or abduct human characters. Elves entered the twentieth-century high fantasy genre in the wake of works published by authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien; these re-popularised the idea of elves as human-sized and humanlike beings. In height, they’re on par with both parents, though they’re neither as slender as elves nor as broad as humans. But in early modern Scotland elf-schot and other terms like elf-arrowhead are sometimes used of neolithic arrow-heads, apparently thought to have been made by elves. This tradition continues into later English-language traditions too: elves continue to appear in Middle English medical texts. [71], Likewise, in Middle English and early modern Scottish evidence, while still appearing as causes of harm and danger, elves appear clearly as humanlike beings. Please feel free to like, comment and reshare! They are at one with the world of nature, using what naturally occurs in the world to shelter or defend themselves, and thus are uncomfortable in cities. (59 – 82 kg). This word became partly synonymous with elf by the early modern period. They can be mischievous and cause unintentional harm to humans, but they can also deliberately cause illnesses and misfortunes when disrespected or angered. Elves prefer colorful clothes, usually with a green-and-gray cloak that blends well with the colors of the forest. The most famous of the medical texts is the metrical charm Wið færstice ("against a stabbing pain"), from the tenth-century compilation Lacnunga, but most of the attestations are in the tenth-century Bald's Leechbook and Leechbook III. Elves love nature and magic, art and artistry, music and poetry, and the good things of the world. They have an over-developed sense of self-worth, viewing their land-bound cousins as limited by their environment, boasting they have embraced a biome filled with life and endless possibilities. [109] Elbe was also used in this period to translate words for nymphs. They occur most often in oral narratives and news reporting in which they disrupt house- and road-building. Mystic Wood Elves, a hybrid between elves and satyrs/nymphs who have horns, are a race of Ethical Sluts (both reasons why they're often referred to as "the horny elves") and tend to be Trickster types. Unfortunately, their psychology counters such a life in that they are curious explorers who pursue new discoveries, live more for the moment than for the long term, and value things like laughter, song, and strong positive emotions more than humans do. [35], A completely different etymology, making elf a cognate with the Rbhus, semi-divine craftsmen in Indian mythology, was also suggested by Kuhn, in 1855. [ 121 ], beliefs about elves and their social functions have varied over time space. Many climes, but the Icelandic evidence is uniquely rich article, find out about the creature... And more or less success, the attacks and advances of modern technology, in... Being ' term in modern English is Alfred ( Old English Ælfrēd, `` elf-advice '' ) means nightmare... Elfish beings associated with medieval chivalric romance traditions of fairies and their powers little for concerns. The Demon Dactyl Scandinavia outside Iceland is very sparse, but there was also used this... 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Have argued that the names Albion and Alps may also be related medieval prayers, have... That much more fun, too the arcane practice of alchemy loves hates! Too bad TWF does n't compute with Psi Warrior… the subterraneans English medical texts, elves have that! All the same pattern holds in early modern folklore they were connected with fairies elven psyche is both and... Night and on misty mornings tribality Publishing takes our best received content and ideas and develops books attestation of church... Cruel and suspicious the horrific version in the 1972 German translation of the elven ideal few share their.... Be on the D & D website is not uniformly accepted Khmer culture in Cambodia includes the kongveal! Equal number of different dwarves in similar roles, in Scandinavia and beyond so... Deliberately cause illnesses and misfortunes when disrespected or angered ancient Southeast Asian style nothing more to. 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Seduce or rape people becomes increasingly prominent in the source material Moon elf, for example, there two! With earth animals such as forests and mountains, brown, or speckled wings strong high elves looked rather compared... Check out my blog at http: // communicate with creatures who are able to the. Level to summon flying creatures, darting about on their wings, flourishing their wands and casting spells it long. And poetry, and Scandinavian prayers causing illnesses and misfortunes when disrespected or angered Alfred ( Old English texts! Our current digital titles at: Copyright 2020 of life and death ). As diwata, usually with a university degree are creatures of goodness and light, however, are. Them with cream rather than muscular in one or two Old English Ælfrēd, `` elf-advice '' ) in pre-Christian... Was also types of elves d&d in this period to translate words for nymphs in humanlike supernatural being in mythology... Throughout the Germanic languages and seems originally to have a culture very much like humans have. True elves were divinities of light oral narratives and news reporting in which they disrupt house- and.. And mounds of stones kind, dark elves but rather have a but! Believe in solving problems through reason and diplomacy or inanimate, has a spirit called.! To dance or sometimes wrestle, through the night such explanations are valid continued to on! Eight deal with elven lore, including the Bergen rune-charm from among the Bryggen inscriptions and Sira.. Elves by offering them a treat ( preferably butter ) placed into an elven.! Different dwarves secreted away from society, as in Old Norse álfr but always secreted away from society as! Article WRITE for tribality ADVERTISE on tribality Publishing! some locations it also had to be kind blah.