First of all, let me copy here the sentences in the Wayward Elves description that made me think that this cultures could offer something really different from the Mirkwood Elves:
a shadow is falling upon their land –but they seek to combat it through less martial means.
They see themselves as dedicated as any warrior to the fight against the Shadow, but do not believe weapons of war to be the strongest tools in their arsenal.
Wayward Elves enjoy a Martial standard of living, though they spend less of their resources on articles of war. Instead they wear fine garb rather than carrying keen weapons, and always they carry with them a musical instrument.
Wayward Elves rarely take up the sword and spear in direct combat against the agents of the Shadow, but instead use hope and wisdom to triumph against their foes.
Now, think for a moment how a RAW Wayward Elf character would enter combat in TOR. My bet is:"Though the world may be fading, our voices may yet bring light to the world!"
With a Woodland Bow, with a Great Spear and a Spearman's Shield, or with a Bitter Spear.
Can you spot any difference with a Mirkwood Elf? Because I can't, despite the colorfoul description of the culture.
Oh, I forgot! And with more Endurance points than a normal Mirkwood Elf because of the Wine Virtue. All in all, a Wayward Elf is an equal or better weapon fighter than a Mirkwood Elf.
That said, let me return to the proposed changes and additions to the Virtues and Rewards I have in mind, to allow Wayward Elves to offer something different from other cultures when entering combat.
Foreword: Remember that the Cultural Rewards of Mirkwood Elves, all of them weapons, are available to the Wayward Elves by the RAW.
Wine of the Dark Mountains- I don't see the need for a Reward that increases the prowess in battle of the Wayward Elves. In fact, it goes against my idea of what a Wayward Elf is.
I would change it to some kind of Musical Instrument, which seems headfront thematic. Personally, I'd also swap it for the Spearman's Shield: Not being that martial, I don't see why they would use such a specialized piece of combat equipement for such a big weapon as a Great Spear. Again, goes against all sense of the previous descriptions of the culture.
I love how the Pipe of the Prancing Poney works for the Men of Bree (Feat die twice, and benefit to Standing), for example, but have to admit that Song is much powerful than Riddle. Also the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains have a musical Harp as Reward, related to rolling the Feat die twice, and to some bonus to Standing, too. I think the WE's Reward should be related to these two Rewards.
I don't know what exact effect it should have, but I'm sure of this: I'll erase the Spearman's Shield and the Wine of the Dark Mountains, and swap them for a Reward related to a Musical Instrument.
My first approach is:
Harp of the Woods [replaces Spearman's Shield]
There was the sound, too, of elven-harps and of sweet music; and as it echoed up towards them it seemed that the chill of the air was warmed, and they caught faintly the fragrance of woodland flowers blossoming in spring.
--The Gathering of Clouds, The Hobbit
When using Song during an Adventuring phase, roll the Feat die twice and keep the best result [this leaves the Song use for Heal Corruption outside of the benefit].
Additionally, if you spend a point of Hope, you (not the LM) may decide how to allocate the Hate loss among the enemies when using Intimidate Foes, even focusing it all in a single adversary.
I'm still convinced that the damage oriented Virtues (Deadly Archery and Stinging Arrow) have to be swapped for something else, not based in Weapon skills, but in Common skills, specially Song.
Stinging Arrow will be deleted in my version of the WE, making Elf-lights the first tier in the Wood-elf Magic Virtue. Enchanted Sleep will be the second, and the third will be:
Songs from Elder days
…and their faces and their songs were filled with mirth. Loud and clear and fair were those songs…
-Flies and Spiders, The Hobbit
You may use the Intimidate Foes from Open Stance in Combat, but using the Song skill instead of Awe or Battle. [credits to Scrollreader!]
Feast Clearing [replaces Deadly Archery]
There was a fire in their midst and there were torches fastened to some of the trees round about; but most splendid sight of all: they were eating and drinking and laughing merrily. –Flies and Spiders, The Hobbit
Once per Adventuring phase, when travelling through a Border Land or Wild Land in Mirkwood, the fellowship can rest for a night as if they were taking a prolongued rest in a safe place, thus using the improved recovery rates for Endurance, Fatigue and Wounds.
The fellowship can decide to stay for more days and continue to recover at the increased rate, but each hero will gain 1 point of Shadow for each day above the first.
Sorry for the long post!