Elves (Escarnum)

This is a variant of the elf race originally published in the Player's Handbook.

The Elves of Escarnum are flavoured after the oriental culture and folklore of our own world, in contrast to most other D&D settings. A dignified and very lawful race who place great importance on etiquette and composure, the elves of Escarnum are a reclusive people who dwell on the island of Taido, and have little interest in mingling with the races of the mainland.
However, the nation of Sorairo on the mainland is home to the "lost elves", those defiant few who chose to leave their ancestral home to join the mainland kingdoms. Although the elves of Taido view these individuals with scorn, and like think of themselves as "True Elves" more pure than their mainland counterparts, the two nations are of identical stock.


Elves, even those of Sorairo, still carry most of the values of their people; they are proud, regal, stern and regimented folk who place a high value on honour. Appearance and conduct mean a lot to an elf; they strive to contain their emotions and put forth a socially appropriate face at all times.

Physical Description

The elves of Escarnum are tall, slender creatures who usually stand between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 feet tall, and weigh in the realms of 95 to 150 pounds. They have no facial or body hair save for eyebrows and lashes, and tend toward thin builds with narrow shoulders and hips; indeed, there is little difference between elven males and females, making them seem largely androgynous to outsiders.

An elf achieves majority at about 90 years in age, and can live to be over 600 years old.


Elves, over all the other races of Escarnum, are known for being aloof and insular. They socialise little with other races, their only settlement outside of their home island having been established by social outcasts, and prefer to take advantage of their isolation to keep others away. Although Taido is not openly hostile toward the mainland, they clearly consider themselves apart from it, and are unconcerned with non-elven matters.

The elves of Sorairo, of course, do not necessarily hold the prejudices of their island-dwelling counterparts; although they have a hard time overcoming their racial arrogance, they at least bear a kind of curiosity, a willingness to learn about other races rather than rejecting them out-of-hand. However, many non-elven folk do not recognise a difference between the two, and are glad to see the back of any elf.


The carefully-structured society and social hierarchy of elven society rarely breeds non-lawful individuals, and in turn their encouragement of conformity - and careful, logical thought - tends to result in a neutral majority. Their tendency to look down on other races can sometimes bend them toward evil alignments, but most do not mean ill; they simply fail to recognise other races as equals.


The island of Taido is the ancestral home of the elves, since long before humans came to Alm. Although one might very occasionally find elves living amongst other races, the only major elven settlement on the mainland is the nation of Sorairo, established by a group of outcasts who are now attempting to make peace with other races.


The elven language is a sophisticated, elaborate affair which is constructed from multiple different alphabets for use in different social circumstances - for example, one alphabet might be considered appropriate for use when writing educational documents, but should never be used when writing a letter to an acquaintance, or a poem. Another still is reserved for words from other languages for which elven has no equivalent term - a set of characters used used distastefully, and only when they cannot be avoided.

The elven tongue is quite lyrical, filled with aurally pleasing sounds. However, the manner in which it is spoken is subdued and orderly; the language relies on a tremendous vocabulary of very precise terms to convey meaning, rather than imprecise things such as emphasis or implication.


In accordance with their language, elven names tend to be elaborate - although they are not always long, they are written in a meticulously detailed and complicated alphabet - constructions taken from a particular group of socially-acceptable names. With such a limitation in place, every elven name carries the weight of history, and most families hope their children will have the honour of inheriting the name of an important forebear.

Family names usually contain several particles relating to the family's honour and achievements, giving them a similar weight. An elf's name belongs not to him, but to his family, and all those who have carried the name before. Of course, many of Sorairo's outcast contingent have abandoned their original names and chosen new ones, as a sign of their departure from Taido and its ways. In laymens' terms - or more realistically, to the races who primarily speak common - the simplified rule of elven names is that they are composed only of syllables ending in vowel sounds (e.g. a-ma-ya, u-yo-ku, hi-da-tsu), with the exception being for sounds which end in "n" (e.g. bai-ken).

Example names

Akeshi, Amaya, Baiken, Emiko, Haruka, Hidatsu, Kanae, Koujiro, Kurai,
Masaru, Naoko, Saori, Shiki, Tenseikou, Uyoku, Yasuo.


Most elves who become adventurers in Alm are those from Sorairo - individuals forced to leave Taido for reasons of social or political origin, rebels who spurn the traditional ways of their people, or the scant few born on the mainland. Choosing an adventurer's life is usually considered no more than a phase in a young elf's development, even in Sorairo - a kind of childish fascination with the "lesser" races. However, while this is indeed the starting point for most elven adventurers, it often leads to something greater; a true appreciation of non-elven races and their ways, which makes most elven adventurers rather more mature and tolerant than their counterparts.


Although Escarnum does not include as many elven sub-races as many other settings, there are two distinct offshoots of the elven race; the malicious deep elves, and their servants, the stone-born.

Game Rule Information

Elf Racial Traits

Elves have the same racial traits as the elf in the Player's Handbook, except as noted below.

  • Racial Skills: Elves gain a +2 racial bonus on perception and investigation checks. These skill bonuses replace those of a PHB elf.
  • Elves of Escarnum do not gain the ability to sense secret doors.
  • Weapon Familiarity: If an elf becomes proficient with the Light Blades or Bows weapon group, he is automatically proficient with exotic weapons associated with that group. Elves natively favour showy and difficult weapon styles over mundane. This replaces the PHB elf's inherent weapon proficiencies.
  • Languages: Elven. This replaces the PHB elf's automatic and bonus languages.
  • Favoured Class: Scrapper. The elves of Escarnum lack the magical bent of those in core D&D, but are well-suited to the role of a skilled, deft combatant. This replaces the elf's normal favoured class.

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