The histories and traditions of the elven people tie them to their beloved land, the continent of Kotime. Throughout history, the elves have held territory on other lands and even under the oceans, but all surface elves regard Kotime as their spiritual home.
Physical Traits Edit
Elves are sapient mammals.
Most elves venerate the Valpas Valtuudet, a pantheon of deities known as 'the watchful powers.' Ukko is chief of these standoffish gods. Even in the face of terrible cultural strife, Elves take the rarity of their gods' direct intervention as a sign of the trust the powers place in them as the greatest of the mortal races. Humility is not one of the greater cultural values.
Elves almost universally speak Kaunis Kieli, the elven tongue, as well as the common trade tongue, Lexi. Because of the high cultural value of words and expression, elves who are fluent in fewer than four languages are usually thought of as insular boors.
The Kantele Edit
The kantele is a near-sacred musical instrument to the elves. The first kantele was made from the jawbone of a legendary fish, a half-seadragon known as Essox, which was slain by the mythic elvish hero, Väinämöinen, a bard and mage of extraordinary power.
The Decline Edit
Elves have been in steep decline over the last 800-1200 years due to a serious fertility problem. This problem (a curse, perhaps?), known as Lasku, or The Decline, has cut the normally-low elven birth rate by over 70%, leading to a cultural bias against young elves becoming adventurers because of a radical reassessment of acceptable risk throughout elven society. Where a thousand years ago elves forged their identity through quests and adventure, the elven social establishment now does everything it can to keep all elves from risking their lives. Adventurers are generally seen as aberrant radicals, except by the elven youth - those 200 years old or younger who chafe at their societal constraints.
Backlash Against Cultural Risk Aversion Edit
There has been a backlash movement among the remaining elven youth. Many are convinced that elves as a race are under some magical curse... and many have become determined to find who or what is responsible and end it. They don't want their race to slowly fade into memory, and are incensed that most elven elders seem resigned to the hopelessness of their situation. Still more are incensed that their elders are comfortable with relegating dangerous professions and tasks among elven society to underclass outsiders such as hobbits and gnome workers and mercenary groups.
Foreign Relations Edit
The elves’ dwindling numbers are further impacted by incursions from the various hobgoblin empires and kingdoms. The hobgoblins and elves have shared a burning enmity since the two races first encountered one another. Though never as robust or numerous as their hobgoblin foes, the elves’ mastery of arcane magic and (pre-industrial) technology has more than evened the score for thousands of years.
Many elves fear that their declining numbers and recent fear of conflict will bring a tipping point where the elven people will no longer be able to successfully repel hobgoblin hostility.