Sunday, 2 April 2017

Terrae Vertebrae: Non-Humans (Elves and Dwarves)

Dwarves....live in the mountains and underground.  A culture of rational self-interest.  There is a concern with personal achievement; hence the need for pre-existing self-evident ties; clans & clannishness can prevail in outside dealings. 

There is a belief in multiple spirits connected to a certain rock, rocks, place, places &c. To craft a rock/metal/&c. poorly is to insult its spirit and hence to bring demerit on one’s self. One might compare this to Shinto; an ancient set of beliefs that predate codification still practiced by a civilisation even after centuries of growth. This polytheism informs the human Manifest Rite.

One element of Dwarven society is herdsmen. Rearing cattle underground is difficult; but Dwarves nonetheless enjoy big joints of meat. This could be traded for, but some Dwarves operate their own herds in high mountain pastures (they have to be brought in from the hills come winter - much like Alpine herdsmen in those mountains must, and this is accompanied with some ceremony). This is a rewarding enterprise; beef prices in Dwarven communities are somewhat higher than Human prices for similar quantities. However, the cultural prestige of this occupation is lessened compared to that of miners, smiths, sculptors, &c.

The Dwarven desire for personal accomplishment hasn't reached what might be referred to as dystopian levels - merely levels sufficient to make non-Dwarven visitors uncomfortable.


Elves...live (for a long time!) in the forests and isles. Traditionally they are vegetarian aside from when a beast must be culled- they can (or say they can) innately sense when this is supposed to occur. This ties into their religious-philosophical beliefs -which are overwhelmingly pantheistic. This pantheism informs the human Unified Rite. 

Unlike the Dwarves, they attempt to set up a form of society dedicated to group happiness; developing a form of innate understanding and empathy with those around them (this sort of thing dovetails nicely with Charisma being 'the Elven character stat'). Those who have lived solely among other elves for long enough would be confused and distressed that a human does not want to join in the games. Naturally, those Elves dwelling in Elven communities within human cities possess a different point of view and are somewhat more flexible.

Like Dwarven society, these traits are can be off-putting to those not used to them; again, these traits haven't yet served to turn Elven society into Huxley's Brave New World.

Yes, this is all somewhat reminiscent of another double-dozen High Fantasy settings. But the split between the two Elder Race societies informed the rest of Terrae Vertebrae (see the Introductions page).

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