Saturday, January 18, 2020

Matters of Elves In OSR Games or Why Elves Are Tasty With Ketchup

Last night I was rereading  the Adventurer,Conqueror,King rpg & delving into its hidden recesses. The Elves of many Old School & OSR games all feel strange - a dying & yet hidden race of peoples who have adapted to many environments throughout the planes & various elemental conditions.

Yet in ACK's they are primed for use to build empires & rule kingdoms. Something doesn't seem to add up or does it?! Is this all Elven propoganda? Have we been led astray?

Elf  Artwork by LadyofHats  who does excellent artwork. 

I'm obessed with Elves because in my campaigns Elves are one of the put upon PC & NPC races. They are the huldra ("hidden being") from folk lore but these supernaturally powerful races has its own secrets that even the Elves are not even aware of. According to the Wiki entry on Elves; "There are numerous different subraces and subcultures of elves, including aquatic elves, dark elves (drow), deep elves (rockseer), grey elves, high elves, moon elves, snow elves, sun elves, valley elves, wild elves (grugach), wood elves and winged elves (avariel). The offspring of humans and elves are known as "half-elves" among humans, and as "half-humans" among elves."

The Elven race has been dying for millions of years or at last that's the pro Elven 
propaganda that  we've been fed for thousands of years. In truth the Elven race is allowed to propigate throughout the planes & has been adapted by the various pantheons of gods. The reason is very simple. The Elven race is a powerful source of occult norisoment & protein for many of the Lovecraftian gods,demons,etc.  of the planes. The origins of the word Elf describe several key features;

"The word elf is found throughout the Germanic languages and seems originally to have meant 'white being'. Reconstructing the early concept of an elf depends largely on texts, written by Christians, in Old and Middle English, medieval German, and Old Norse. These associate elves variously with the gods of Norse mythology, with causing illness, with magic, and with beauty and seduction.
After the medieval period, the word elf tended to become less common throughout the Germanic languages, losing out to alternative native terms like Zwerg ("dwarf") in German and huldra ("hidden being") in Scandinavian languages, and to loan-words like fairy (borrowed from French into most of the Germanic languages). Still, beliefs in elves persisted in the early modern period, particularly in Scotland and Scandinavia, where elves were thought of as magically powerful people living, usually invisibly, alongside everyday human communities. They continued to be associated with causing illnesses and with sexual threats. 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."

Now notice there's this predatory sexual aspect with the Elven race & that gets into the genetic & general nature of the biology of the Elves as it relates to humanity; "Beliefs about elves have their origins before the conversion to Christianity and associated Christianization of north-west Europe. For this reason, belief in elves has, from the Middle Ages through into recent scholarship, often been labelled "pagan" and a "superstition". 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). Attested beliefs about elves therefore need to be understood as part of Germanic-speakers' Christian culture and not merely a relic of their pre-Christian religion. Accordingly, investigating the relationship between beliefs in elves and Christian cosmology has been a preoccupation of scholarship about elves both in early times and in modern research.[8]
Historically, people have taken three main approaches to integrating elves into Christian cosmology, all of which are found widely across time and space:
  • Identifying elves with the demons of Judaeo-Christian-Mediterranean tradition.[9] For example:
  • Viewing elves as being more or less like people, and more or less outside Christian cosmology.[17] The Icelanders who copied the Poetic Edda did not explicitly try to integrate elves into Christian thought. Likewise, the early modern Scottish people who confessed to encountering elves seem not to have thought of themselves as having dealings with the Devil. Nineteenth-century Icelandic folklore about elves mostly presents them as a human agricultural community parallel to the visible human community, which may or may not be Christian.[18][19] It is possible that stories were sometimes told from this perspective as a political act, to subvert the dominance of the Church.[20]
  • Integrating elves into Christian cosmology without identifying them as demons.[21] The most striking examples are serious theological treatises: the Icelandic Tíðfordrif (1644) by Jón Guðmundsson lærði or, in Scotland, Robert Kirk's Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies (1691). This approach also appears in the Old English poem Beowulf, which lists elves among the races springing from Cain's murder of Abel.[22] The late thirteenth-century South English Legendary and some Icelandic folktales explain elves as angels that sided neither with Lucifer nor with God, and were banished by God to earth rather than hell. One famous Icelandic folktale explains elves as the lost children of Eve." 

These tribes of Lost Children of Eve are the Elves propping up their numbers after wars. Clashes with other fairy races & being fed on by the gods. 'Elves as the lost children of Eve' sounds very cute until you realize that there is another class of being that I believe sprang from the murder of Cain of Abel. These are the Elven gods that we hear about in the  Lion & Dragon rpg. Elven gods who once ruled Albion & still rule in numerous fairy forts scattered across the land.They have been barred from reality as we know it but still are trying to break in through various cults of Chaos. 

The Elves of Dark Albion & the Lion & Dragon rpg are full on chaos gods & occult predators of the highest order. Not only did they use their own people but the local humans as slaves,fodder, & even sacrifices to even dark demon gods. The humans rose up & threw off the Elven shacks. But they adapted both the humans & Elven peoples are great variety of places throughout Dark Europe & well beyond.

This was something that we see even in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition; "
The elf appeared as a player character race in the original Player's Handbook (1978).[7][8] The elf also appeared in the original Monster Manual (1977), with subraces including High Elf, Gray Elf (some of whom are also called Faerie), Dark Elf (also called Drow), Wood Elf (also called Sylvan), and Aquatic Elf.[9] The grugachvalley elf, and cooshee (an elven dog) first appeared in Dragon issue #67 (November 1982) in "Featured Creatures", an ongoing series of articles where Gary Gygax released information on official creatures before their release in the upcoming Monster Manual II. The grugach, valley elf, and cooshee then appeared in the original Monster Manual II (1983).[10] A number of elven subraces were presented as character races in the original Unearthed Arcana (1985)." 

So if the Elven peoples are hiding where exactly are they hiding?! That question is one that I've been asking since last night to myself. Scattered across the planes the Elven people have adapted themselves quite well & I personally think their hanging out in both the 
Ethereal & the Astral planes. The thought occurred to me while reading through James Blish's Cities in Flight & looking at that iconic Chris Foss Seventies sci fi artwork.

The Huldra peoples are still using the old Elven gods planar pathways & their fabled world cities within  the Ethereal & the Astral planes. Various adventurers are sent out across the planes Prime, the world cities war with the Githyanki, the occassional city falls to the Lovecraftian gods, & life goes on. Sure their numbers are no where near what they were but the Huldra are in no way dying in the traditional sense but maybe to the Huldra they are. But to many of the aimless bastard royals this is all part & parcel of establishing beach heads for mother empire across the planes prime!

Artwork from the Adventurer,Conqeuror, King rpg rule book. 

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