Half-elven Heroes?

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mirdanis
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Re: Half-elven Heroes?

Post by mirdanis » Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:06 am

Agnot wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:28 pm
I'm resurrecting this long dead thread because this has cropped up in my game recently. A Woodman PC had a desire to approach an Elf of Mirkwood in the hopes of starting a relationship with the idea to one day court her.
I had this situation in my game as well, when we were playing through Tales from Wilderland. One of my players, Jamie, made a female Elf of Mirkwood character, a Scholar named Míriel who had gotten herself exiled from the Elven Realm by teaching herself Quenya and then teaching it to others, against the edict of Thranduil. Another player, John, created a Woodman character, also a Scholar, Grundwald, who was basically an autistic savant: incredibly skilled at Lore and Healing (and with his long bow) but almost zero social skills. Jamie decided to leave the game after the adventure with Lady Irimë, to focus on her writing. Grundwald, who was at the time only 16, confessed his adoration of Míriel just as she left with Irimë for Rivendell. 18 months later, after the first adventure of Ruins of the North, which ends in Rivendell, they met again.

I knew John had decided Grundwald’s story-arc was almost over, and he wanted to make a Ranger character for Ruins. I invited Jamie back for a wrap-up session, and she agreed. She and John clearly wanted their characters to end up together. I decided Míriel had been living in Rivendell all that time, and had sent Grundwald a manuscript of the Lay of Leithian indicating her mutual interest in him. There were plenty of Eldar in Rivendell, not least of them Elrond himself, who perceived her thoughts well enough to warn her against a romance with a mortal. It was pointless, they told her, for an Elf to become attached to any particular mortal, as pointless as becoming attached to a butterfly. Worse than pointless, they assured her; it would only mean more suffering for both herself and for the mortal, once the mortal’s brief life-span came to an end. (I decided that there was no reason why ordinary Elves should be offered the choice of becoming mortal themselves.)

Additionally, I told Jamie that Elrond, though as gracious and generous a host as could be imagined, had made it clear that there was no room in Rivendell for an Elf-Mortal romance. Similarly, I told John that his Patron, Radagast, would never allow him back to Rhosgobel with an Elven wife. So when Grundwald arrived in Rivendell, they made their choice. After he scribed a document containing everything he knew about Healing (John had put almost all his Advancement points into that and Lore), he and Míriel chose exile and left together. I was pretty happy with how that wrapped up.

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Re: Half-elven Heroes?

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:13 am

mirdanis wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:06 am
One of my players, Jamie, made a female Elf of Mirkwood character, a Scholar named Míriel who had gotten herself exiled from the Elven Realm by teaching herself Quenya and then teaching it to others, against the edict of Thranduil.
That's a pretty deep dive into Tolkien's lengendarium! :D
It was pointless, they told her, for an Elf to become attached to any particular mortal, as pointless as becoming attached to a butterfly. Worse than pointless, they assured her; it would only mean more suffering for both herself and for the mortal, once the mortal’s brief life-span came to an end. (I decided that there was no reason why ordinary Elves should be offered the choice of becoming mortal themselves.)
I've assumed the same thing. I don't think that ever happened more than once according to Tolkien, when Lúthien was granted mortality to be with Beren.
Additionally, I told Jamie that Elrond, though as gracious and generous a host as could be imagined, had made it clear that there was no room in Rivendell for an Elf-Mortal romance.
That's slightly ironic (and hypocritical) in light of Elrond's personal history and later events.
Similarly, I told John that his Patron, Radagast, would never allow him back to Rhosgobel with an Elven wife. So when Grundwald arrived in Rivendell, they made their choice. After he scribed a document containing everything he knew about Healing (John had put almost all his Advancement points into that and Lore), he and Míriel chose exile and left together. I was pretty happy with how that wrapped up.
That's an interesting story, though I'm not convinced that Radagast would have had a strong negative opinion about the romance beyond a general concern about the long-term suffering of the Elf-maid. Of course he might have been more worried about how the Woodmen might react to the situation than about the relationship itself. More and more I am thinking that the Half-elf template works best in-game as an optional Background variation that can be applied to all Mannish and Wood-elf (maybe Sinda) Cultures.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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Arthadan
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Re: Half-elven Heroes?

Post by Arthadan » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:43 pm

In Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth ('The Debate of Finrod and Andreth), found in History of ME, vol. X, we have a similar situation. A sage woman of the Edain and an elda discuss abouth the mortality of Men and the immortality of Elves and they grew fond of each other, but then the Elf goes to war and met the woman again. And this is why:
Then Andreth stood up and stretched her hands to the fire. 'Then why did he turn away? Why leave me while I had still a few good years to spend?'
'Alas!' said Finrod. 'I fear the truth will not satisfy thee. The Eldar have one kind, and ye another; and each judges the others by themselves - until they learn, as do few. This is time of war, Andreth, and in such days the Elves do not wed or bear child;(21) but prepare for death - or for flight. Aegnor has no trust (nor have I) in this siege of Angband that it will last long; and then what will become of this land? If his heart ruled, he would have wished to take thee and flee far away, east or south, forsaking his kin, and thine. Love and loyalty hold him to his. What of thee to thine? Thou hast said thyself that there is no escape by flight within the bounds of the world.'
'For one year, one day, of the flame I would have given all: kin, youth, and hope itself: adaneth I am,' said Andreth.
'That he knew,' said Finrod; 'and he withdrew and did not grasp what lay to his hand: elda he is. For such barters are paid for in anguish that cannot be guessed, until it comes, and in ignorance rather than in courage the Eldar judge that they are made.
'Nay, adaneth, if any marriage can be between our kindred and thine, then it shall be for some high purpose of Doom. Brief it will be and hard at the end. Yea, the least cruel fate that could befall would be that death should soon end it.'
'But the end is always cruel - for Men,' said Andreth. 'I would not have troubled him, when my short youth was spent.
I would not have hobbled as a hag after his bright feet, when I could no longer run beside him! '
'Maybe not,' said Finrod. 'So you feel now. But do you think of him? He would not have run before thee. He would have stayed at thy side to uphold thee. Then pity thou wouldst have had in every hour, pity inescapable. He would not have thee so shamed.
'Andreth adaneth, the life and love of the Eldar dwells much in memory; and we (if not ye) would rather have a memory that is fair but unfinished than one that goes on to a grievous end. Now he will ever remember thee in the sun of morning, and that last evening by the water of Aeluin in which he saw thy face
mirrored with a star caught in thy hair - ever, until the North-wind brings the night of his flame. Yea, and after that, sitting in the House of Mandos in the Halls of Awaiting until the end of Arda.'
'And what shall I remember?' said she. 'And when I go to what halls shall I come? To a darkness in which even the memory of the sharp flame shall be quenched? Even the memory of rejection. That at least.'
Finrod sighed and stood up. 'The Eldar have no healing words for such thoughts, adaneth,' he said. 'But would you wish that Elves and Men had never met? Is the light of the flame, which otherwise you would never have seen, of no worth even now? You believe yourself scorned? Put away at least that thought, which comes out of the Darkness, and then our speech together will not have been wholly in vain. Farewell! '
If any true Half-elf is to be born in ME, then it would be "it shall be for some high purpose of Doom". All in all, late Third Age is a pretty dangerous setting, a time of war, and Elves do not bring children to the world in such times, then if somehow they decide to, it's unlikely they will chose a human to watch them age and die, keeping that painful memory for eternity and finally if such as union happens, then the result would be an Elf-blooded Man rather than a true Half-elf. At least that's my interpretation of this text.

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Re: Half-elven Heroes?

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:24 am

Arthadan wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:43 pm
If any true Half-elf is to be born in ME, then it would be "it shall be for some high purpose of Doom". All in all, late Third Age is a pretty dangerous setting, a time of war, and Elves do not bring children to the world in such times, then if somehow they decide to, it's unlikely they will chose a human to watch them age and die, keeping that painful memory for eternity and finally if such as union happens, then the result would be an Elf-blooded Man rather than a true Half-elf. At least that's my interpretation of this text.
I would be tempted to use the name 'Elf-blooded' except that I want a new Character Archetype (Adventure's Companion page 18) that can apply to both Men and Elves and 'Elf-blooded' isn't distinctive enough for the latter. I think I'm stuck with either 'Half-elven' or 'Born of Two Worlds' unless I specify that such heroes are all considered to be from Mannish Cultures (due to their mortality).

Okay, I've written up Elf-blooded as a Character Archetype in the House Rules forum. Please, take a look folks, and leave any constructive thoughts or comments that occur.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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Agnot
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Re: Half-elven Heroes?

Post by Agnot » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:10 pm

Okay, taking a page out of the write-up for Bree-Hobbits in the Bree book, I decided to narrow my focus a bit and concentrate on creating a Half-elven template using a combination of Woodmen and Elves of Mirkwood, since this is my current in-game dilemma.

In a nutshell, I combined three virtues from the Woodmen with two from the Elves, trying to stay away from virtues that are deeply significant to each culture (such as Elf-magic and Hound of Mirkwood). My thought process was that, if the character is not truly part of either culture, then truly unique or culturally significant virtues would not be shared with them. I also created the Outsider Distinctive Feature to represent this in-game.

Take a look at it and let me know how it sounds.

New Culture: Half-elven (A Blend of Elves of Mirkwood and Woodmen)

You are the product of the rare union between a Man of the Forest and an Elf of Mirkwood. You benefit from the immortal kin from which you came, but you are not a true Elf. Your heritage is a blend of your two Cultures.

A player desiring to create a Half-Elf uses all the rules for creating a Woodmen, with the following exceptions:

1. They must replace the Cultural Blessing of Woodcrafty with that of the Elves of Mirkwood, Folk of the Dusk.
2. They must pick their Cultural Virtues from the following list: A Hunter’s Resolve (Woodmen), Herbal Remedies (Woodmen), Natural Watchfulness (Woodmen), Deadly Archery (EoM), and The Speakers (EoM).
3. They are considered Fair.
4. You are an Outsider.
5. Any Cultural Reward must be selected from those available to the Woodmen.

New Distinctive Feature: Outsider
Being of mixed-heritage, you have never felt like you quite belonged to either of your birth-cultures.

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Re: Half-elven Heroes?

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:05 pm

I don't think this should be a template limited to the Woodmen as we already have a precedent in Tolkien's legendarium in the Princes of Dol Amroth. It was suggested to me that looking at Changeling Characters (The Darkening of Mirkwood, page 98) might provide some help on how to approach this.

I'm going to limit specific suggestions to your post in House Rules.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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