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Specialist human descendants as 'elves'

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Almyrigan Hero, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. Almyrigan Hero

    Almyrigan Hero Minstrel

    This is already a concept too entrenched in my worldbuilding to exactly rip out either way, but that doesn't mean there's no room left for feedback and development.

    To make a long story short, the elves diverged from humanity during the first and most severe of several worldwide collapses. Those who simply picked up the fragments and started over from the beginning remained their fantasy equivalent of homo sapiens. Some, however, were not so eager; blaming and thus forsaking that initial direction, they would form groups dedicated to finding new ways in the world. Over time (and at a vastly accelerated rate - both "because fantasy" and "because monsters will wipe us out if we don't adapt") these groups would settle biologically into their new niches, giving rise to new humanoid species, referred to as "elves" for the sake of simplicity. Elves are still human, existentially speaking - psychological differences mostly come down to 'quirks' or conscious results of their physical mutation, and for the most part they can mate amongst each other and their parent species.

    The Lethiri ("Wild Men") themselves consist of numerous regional races, but all share a similar compact and robust body plan. They're sinewy and light, save for their powerful legs, and surpass their ancestral humans in strength despite being up to a head shorter on average. Due to survival and breeding traits being prioritized over elegance and affluence in marriage, men are typically hard-bodied despite their wiry proportions, and women are usually buxom and wide hipped, delivering larger and more developed babies faster and more safely. Vastly enlarged sensory features give their faces an almost bovine quality, but that is not reflected in their high-metabolism, high-protein diets.

    Despite what sort of images the term "wild men" might conjure up, the Lethiri are not savages or roving bandits. Rather, they are somewhat luddite and 'metrophobic,' having evolved from people who believe excessive development and forced intermingling between factions are the main causes of conflict. As such, they tend to avoid the Republic's scattered agoras, instead forming, joining, and leaving small communities of like-minded individuals in the outer prairies, hills and woodlands. Their cultures are built on peaceability, virtue, and the general avoidance of scandal, giving them a reputation for purity and fidelity. On the flipside, a lack of opposing voices in general life also leaves them with somewhat narrow minds and sharp tempers when their patience is put to the test.

    The Jocat ("Hermits") are a wooly, subterranean race with highly developed dark vision and low-frequency hearing. Fat bodies and mineral-reinforced bones make them slightly more durable than average, but their main biological advantage is their bulbous, sophisticated noses. They are virtually immune to smoke, pollution, and natural gas, capable of breathing easy so long as oxygen is present. Deeper in Mount Orymir's geothermal forge cities, there also exists a hairless relative with thick, flame-resistant skin.

    Descending from a conclave of surviving philosophers, theologians, and scientists, the Jocat are introverted hoarders of technology and lore. Having dug into the dead volcano of Mount Orymir, and burrowed their earthen fortresses deeper and deeper the more acclimated they became, they have long ago isolated themselves from the cycles of calamity above and abroad, dedicating their kingdom as a vault for slow-made progress and a failsafe against utter extinction. They run their society with utmost care and the best of intentions, but fear of polluting their histories with revision, losing priceless artifacts to malice or carelessness, or being undone completely by envious subterfuge, makes them aloof and xenophobic.

    The Ivanians (People of the ancient emperor Ivanius, whose name meant "unforgotten." ...Also yeah, some rather old art here...) They may appear to be relatively ordinary humans, but that's not quite the whole story. With faultless porcelain skin and 'black' hair that displays an eerie green shine under direct light, it's clear something is strange about their genetics, and that becomes fully apparent as soon as a child is born. Anyone born of either an Ivanian mother or father will inherit mostly Ivanian traits; even multiple generations removed from pure Ivanian bloodlines, children will bear only a passing resemblance to any other race. While not an 'ability' in the sense of some other elven mutations, this factor grants significant social lifting power to their republic at large.

    An opposite in many ways to their other elven counterparts, the Ivanians were the very first to begin putting the pieces back together, scarcely waiting for the rubble to cool before they began rebuilding their republic. They are a diplomatic, universalistic people whose loose pantheon consists of deifications of Strength, Wealth, and Freedom. Though polite, they look down upon the primitive scattered monarchies and anarchies of the world, and are animated by the desire to spread their model for civilization over all of Almyrigo.

    There are others, mostly undepicted and purely conceptual notions at this stage, but these three are the most developed and purposeful, representing what I consider a rather nice trifecta of nature, history, and society. Any pertinent thoughts? Am I doing anything super right or super wrong with these?
  2. MeWrite

    MeWrite Acolyte

    Those drawings are really good!!!!!!!!!
    Almyrigan Hero likes this.
  3. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    You've got sophisticated beastmen, dwarven scholars and fantasy humans with a different name. Honestly I'd ditch humanity altogether in this world and make them some mythical predecessors as the Ivanians already seem to serve the typical fantasy human's purpose of being the populous, industrious sort who love to claim they're civilised.

    As for the trifecta, I enjoy it. There's a lot of suggestions I could make for other "elves" but I'd stick to the core three that you have first and foremost. Can always add elven sprites, centaurs, minotaurs and what not later on as ancillary species.

    And I'll echo the above. Nice drawings, the usage of brown gives them a weathered feel.
    Almyrigan Hero likes this.
  4. Almyrigan Hero

    Almyrigan Hero Minstrel

    The Ivanians aren't so much 'typical fantasy humans' as they are reverse High Elves. Replace the air of "we're too good for you to be us" with "we're too good for you to not be us," give them mutant, borderline viral genetics so dominant they couldn't lose their 'racial purity' even if they wanted to, and you've got the ultimate benevolent menace.

    Aside from that, there're already several "normal" human races written into the lore (and more importantly the first book) who serve as either PoVs or excuses to bring in other cultural influences (without using literal monkey men as stand-ins for said cultures.)

    (Also thanks to both of you for your kind words on my illustrations.)

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