In D&D 5e, elves can live up to 700 years old. After some hesitations (my first idea was to shorten their lifespan drastically), I’ve decided to go along with this. In my mind, that is not just another feature. This is the main thing. The Elves are the only long-living race in my setting. It’s that fact, not their pointed ears or magic inborn abilities, that is the core of what they are.
What does it imply?
- Many of them, are older than the city (more than 300 years old).
- Waiting for a shorter-living being to die or to weaken is an efficient strategy.
- Even with a very low fertility rate, there is many, many generations living together.
- The head of a family could have 5, 10, 20 generations under her?
- Nepotism is quite the norm.
- They can be magic-users and still have time for not being complete idiots about everything else.
- They can also practice (and sometime master) their own brand of martial art: canestick fighting.
- Those who do both are respected Eldricht Knights (D&D 5e).
- The older elves are serious badasses.
Elves don’t sleep, instead they recuperate while in trance-state. Sleep, for elves is equated with death. Elves don’t die of old age, not really, but someday they suddenly fall asleep and that’s it, they just sleep eternally from that moment (can’t be more literal than this). They’re then ceremoniously put in glass coffins (not airtight, of course) with great care and decorum, in ornate crypts(1). Most elves believe that the sleepers (the whole lot of them) will wake up, in a single glorious day. So of course, they have to be treated with the utmost respect.
There is seven Great Houses, each have a very extensive reach in the city. There is long-standing pacts and alliances between them but they are also competing one against another. Out of boredom, mostly (the older elves are quite blasés). They schemes, using their numerous (and often oblivious) pawns to play their tournament of shadows (2), unbeknown to most of the citizens.
Five of the Great Houses are in the Enclave district, an enclosed and highly restricted area.
House Adeah-Bonnior: Throw the most extravagant events, which does not help their finance. They’re also notorious blackmailers, which does help their finance.
House Despensera: Great patrons of the art. As long as they can have exclusivity on the best bits, of course.
House Ugradior: Known as Idealists. Push for an extensive Law reform. Sadly, they’re very much alone in this endeavor.
House Latvimsera: Hoarders of knowledge and artifacts of the past. They own the greatest library of the city.
House Truulentu: The most arrogants of an arrogant bunch. They always dress in military-like uniforms. Fucking Fascists.
There’s also two Great Houses outside the Enclave.
House Puulchesera: The cursed Puulchesera. All they touch turns to dust. Now they live in the slums of the Kwag, where there is nothing to blemish.
House Coërsce: Elven mafia. Located in the Penumbazaar, they own one of the ancient ziggurat.
Not every elves are part of the Great Houses, in fact many of them lead a more mundane life, only loosely associated with their blue-blooded cousins. There’s those who reject the puppet theatre of the Great Houses entirely. The most famous and extreme of these dissenters are the Amphorae Sages (more on that another time).
- Someone daring enough could make a fortune stealing a sleeper for ransom. Good luck to stay alive after that though.
- Got that from Ripper Street.