Pathfinder Companion: Elves of Golarion (OGL)

3.60/5 (based on 14 ratings)
Pathfinder Companion: Elves of Golarion (OGL)
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Elves have been a part of the world for as long as anyone can remember. Caretakers of the natural world, warriors against the tide of savagery, and scholars of the deepest secrets of magic, elves are among Golarion’s most mystical and mysterious races. This book presents the definitive word on how elves live, fight, worship, and relate with other races. The information contained herein presents a wealth of information about the elven race, with new rules, details on making elven characters, and an extensive exploration of their society, history, and goals as a people. Even if you aren’t playing an elf, this booklet contains new spells, magic items, and character options perfect for any character.

    Inside this Pathfinder Companion, you’ll find:
  • Details on the elven people of Golarion—where they live, their arts and magic, their pantheon of deities, and more!
  • An exploration of the beautiful—yet sometimes deadly—elven nation of Kyonin, the heart and soul of the Fair Ones on Golarion, including details on Queen Telandia herself
  • More Character Traits specifically designed to enhance and expand a new elf character’s history and background
  • Alchemical archery and new magic arrows, sacred pacts with elven gods, a plethora of magical meals, and the brightness seeker prestige class

Pathfinder Companion is an invaluable resource for players and Game Masters. Each 32-page bimonthly installment explores a major theme in the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting, with expanded regional gazetteers, new player character options, and organizational overviews to help players flesh out their character backgrounds and to provide players and Game Masters with new sources for campaign intrigue.

Written by Jeff Quick and Hal Maclean

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-143-5

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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3/5

The price was a little high, I thought. I realize it was illustrated, but I can buy a 300 pg Kindle book for the same price. I would have liked more detail, especially about elven death and culture. It would be nice to have a full book about the elves of Golarion, at the very least like AD&D Complete Book of Elves.


Useful Supporting Details

5/5

This supplement is full of useful detail about Elves in the Golarion setting. It's important to my own campaign, for example, because of the player characters is an Elf and lives in Varisia. With this book, I am able to tell him about where his character comes from in Varisia.


4/5

@TheEqualizer:Look,I kinda've agree with you that it's not fair and a bit spotty on some parts,but I mean...dude.Are you seriously getting THAT uppity about this?

Anyways,I enjoy the alchemical arrows the most,and I love them for my ranger.I love all the companion books and all the details they give.Solid buy.


4/5

Well Okay I liked that it had more information on the elves that the original campaign setting and the personality and culture sections were well written.
If you like elves you might like the book,
my only complaint is that I did not really care for the brightness seeker prc.

overall I give the book a 4 stars our of 5.




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Shadow Lodge

3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Hello all. Yeah I did one of the 1 star reviews, but I can assure you Zhen Yi Soh is not me. We know each other, we are in the same broad Bundoora Melbourne gaming group and we have similar dislikes of the Elves of Golarion book, but he isn't a puppet of me, there is no puppet account and I will be doing other reviews of products I've got a hold of. They will most likely be far less negative, because while other racial books can certainly be pro and favourable of what they are covering, this book on elves, this was special in just how great it presented the chaotic, fencer, wizard, bowmen, farmer, poets which each elf is meant to be. Ah the contradictions within, and how elves spread out their skills and expertise, all very interesting.

Unfortunately the second half of Zhen's review was taken down. He went into more specifics of his critique and how ridiculous it was to him, but it seems to have been removed. This doesn't seem right in a review section.

He is free to edit the review to put a link to a more in depth review here in the comments section. As far as I know you can edit reviews indefinitely.

The review system is based on one person, one 'vote'. Creating a second account and putting two reviews up isn't representative.


0gre wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Hello all. Yeah I did one of the 1 star reviews, but I can assure you Zhen Yi Soh is not me. We know each other, we are in the same broad Bundoora Melbourne gaming group and we have similar dislikes of the Elves of Golarion book, but he isn't a puppet of me, there is no puppet account and I will be doing other reviews of products I've got a hold of. They will most likely be far less negative, because while other racial books can certainly be pro and favourable of what they are covering, this book on elves, this was special in just how great it presented the chaotic, fencer, wizard, bowmen, farmer, poets which each elf is meant to be. Ah the contradictions within, and how elves spread out their skills and expertise, all very interesting.

Unfortunately the second half of Zhen's review was taken down. He went into more specifics of his critique and how ridiculous it was to him, but it seems to have been removed. This doesn't seem right in a review section.

He is free to edit the review to put a link to a more in depth review here in the comments section. As far as I know you can edit reviews indefinitely.

The review system is based on one person, one 'vote'. Creating a second account and putting two reviews up isn't representative.

As a devil's advocate, I think it should be taken into consideration that he is a new poster to these boards and does not know how to deal with a review that does not fit on the space provided.

I admit my first review had me scratching my head a bit to figure out how to do things correctly and paying attention to how others have posted their reviews. This is something one can learn from exposure to these boards and the other posters.


I appreciate the sentiment Dark Sasha. Thank you for that. Perhaps I should have kept it a bit short but there isn't a way for painting the contradictions and inconsistencies through a summary.

I am not trying to dissuade people from purchasing the pdf or mean disrespect to the creators. There is just such glaring gaps of favourtism for the elves its not funny.

I more than enjoyed running crimson throne and reading through other books. I am not crazy about orcs and dwarves but don't have a problem with the their race descriptions. A good description outlining their strengths AND hinting or pointing to flaws.

Its just..... a race which is all knowing and superior and can master any discipline without truly applying themselves HARD seems ludicrous. There is a difference between going into 200 disciplines and knowing something in each as opposed to 2 dozen disciplines and specializing in them. The difference between a jack-of-all-trades and a maestro.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

My compliments to both 3.5 Loyalist and Zhen Yi Soh, for coming here, explaining their positions politely, and being grown-ups about the whole thing. Whether I agree with your evaluations of the product, or your reasons behind it, you've both been articulate and courteous, even after some people have accused you of rude behavior.

Thanks for the good example of message board civility.

I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

Shadow Lodge

Zhen Yi Soh wrote:
I appreciate the sentiment Dark Sasha. Thank you for that. Perhaps I should have kept it a bit short but there isn't a way for painting the contradictions and inconsistencies through a summary.

To be honest I think most people are ok with the length of the review. It was just the fact that you created a second "sock puppet" account to post the second half of it that bothered anyone, particularly when it came back to back with 3.5 Loyalists post after months of no reviews.

From talking with the Paizo staff these reviews do get read and they appreciate the detailed criticism.


0gre wrote:
Zhen Yi Soh wrote:
I appreciate the sentiment Dark Sasha. Thank you for that. Perhaps I should have kept it a bit short but there isn't a way for painting the contradictions and inconsistencies through a summary.

To be honest I think most people are ok with the length of the review. It was just the fact that you created a second "sock puppet" account to post the second half of it that bothered anyone, particularly when it came sort of out of the blue after 3.5 Loyalists post.

From talking with the Paizo staff these reviews do get read and they appreciate the detailed criticism.

You can do what Endzeitgeist does for lengthy reviews. Extraneous material that can't fit onto the review form is simply posted in the comments section with a note that it is a continuation of the review. That way you are only using one login to post a review and only recording one review per person.


I'm not going to change my opinion just because the poster showed up. I stand by my comments about the quality of the review, though I intend no personal insult.


Vic Wertz wrote:

Lisa didn't have access to the actual inventory numbers when she wrote that... It's actually more than a dozen, but it's well under 100.

Our distributor still has some left, too, and if they still have them after we've sold through ours, we'll buy some of them back to keep it in stock here as long as possible. Still, if you're thinking about buying a copy, don't think *too* long. They won't be gone tomorrow, but they could be gone in a few months.

How are the inventory numbers looking for the pdf? ;-)

Dark Archive

Kyle Baird wrote:
How are the inventory numbers looking for the pdf? ;-)

They might have to send an intern down into the PDF mines under Paizo HQ to chisel one out of the living rock for you, but you'll get it!


Chris Mortika wrote:

My compliments to both 3.5 Loyalist and Zhen Yi Soh, for coming here, explaining their positions politely, and being grown-ups about the whole thing. Whether I agree with your evaluations of the product, or your reasons behind it, you've both been articulate and courteous, even after some people have accused you of rude behavior.

Thanks for the good example of message board civility.

I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

Thanks Chris, this is what I am trying to do. I'm not trying to be a troll and critics aren't always trolls.

To Set on the issue of hating the elves it is something I've noticed. This goes way back in my experience so I'll talk about it for a bit. The groups I have been in are often quite dualistic in their opinion on elves, so much so that we now have a running joke that there are two types of dnd players, those that love elves and those that really don't. Some are drawn to their racial benefits, love their back-stories, their gods, their longevity, expertise, fighting styles, that they are chaotic and at times ruthless (and dispense with human ideas of honour) but also have deep and changing emotional natures. There is the idea that they are the best wizards the best rangers, and all are consumate artists in what they do. There seems to be an attraction to refinement here, a real pleasure in the race and how it is presented in fantasy settings.

The other side can be quite vicious in their criticism, but I put this down to a real dislike of elven pride. A dislike of the elven assumptions of superiority. Then you add that they live so long, present themselves as the oldest of peoples and, according to themselves, the most advanced in numerous areas. Simply, there is a lot to dislike. Zhen clearly dislikes a lot about them; and if they think themselves the best, but they at times aren't all that, then one can find themselves easily in the anti-elf camp. As a player encountering arrogant elves or elves with such high levels of prejudice (say against half orcs) it only gets easier.

Reading the elves of golarion book and others, one thing really struck me. Given the culture and the emphasis I don't think the standard classes are for most elves, if they don't obviously go into high wizardry or patrolling the forests. With the artististic and courtier attitudes, the high culture, the presence of magic, some swordplay, the best idea I could come up for the typical elf who remains in the elven territories, is to be an aristocrat and adept in one. The heavy armour proficiency of the aristocrat is traded for 1 skill point which goes into profession: agriculture or gardening, since it said all elves grow a little as a matter of course. Thoughts on this?

Bestiary two is next for me since I have been using so much of the abberations.

Dark Archive

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3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Reading the elves of golarion book and others, one thing really struck me. Given the culture and the emphasis I don't think the standard classes are for most elves, if they don't obviously go into high wizardry or patrolling the forests. With the artististic and courtier attitudes, the high culture, the presence of magic, some swordplay, the best idea I could come up for the typical elf who remains in the elven territories, is to be an aristocrat and adept in one.

The 'classic' D&D elf, IMO, is best represented by the 3.X/PF Bard class. A halfway competent swordsman, a halfway competent spellcaster, a focus on grace, the arts, etc.

The Wizard favored class of 3.0 felt completely out of left field to me, since 3.0 introduced the innately magical Sorcerer (and Bard), but of which felt 100% more appropriate for the traditional elf. The spellbook-toting Wizard seemed more fitting for a race that *wasn't* innately magical, such as a human or dwarf or halfling.

IMO, elves, as a race, suffers the most from a completely failure of fluff and crunch to play together. A race that lives in the woods, exposed to the elements, brews magically potent 'elfwine,' lives practically forever and is associated with rarely if ever breeding, and this race has a Con penalty? This race would, if the Con penalty actually affected their fluff, and not just their mechanics, be all but extinct, since they deliberately choose to live a life that requires a higher Con, and everything is stacked against them (100 years before they can reproduce, said in the text to rarely do so anyway, etc.). And then books like Complete Book of Elves come out and say mind-boggling stuff like that a race incapable of producing Bards produces music so soul-wrenching that human musicians deafen themselves after hearing it, so that they can't hear anything else ever again. Might as well add that they walk on water and poop rainbows.

[There's also the uphill slog to differentiate them from Tolkein elves, which were smarter, stronger, prettier, more magical, faster, better, etc. than all of the other races put together, with a shiny bow and a cherry on top. D&D elves have never been Tolkein elves, which would probably be better depicted as half-celestials or something, but that tends to creep into fluff descriptions that every single thing that and elf says, does, or thinks being somehow more awesome than a human can even consider, despite, mechanically, humans with the right stat distribution and bonus feat / skill choices being equal or superior at pretty much everything. A few D&D writers, IMO, looked less at the mechanics of the elven race, or Gary's writings of them as small, fickle and considered untrustworthy by other races, and colored their elf-lore with thoughts of Tolkein's elves. The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer avoided that pitfall, and had isolotionist and protectionist elves letting their long-term human allies and neighbors get overrun or undermined by Iuz, the Scarlet Brotherhood, etc. rather than get involved, and instead take the opportunity to seize the Lendore Isles and kick all the humans off, making them, for the first time in a decade or so of D&D, not your grandpa's elves and, to me, at least, all sorts of interesting...]

In 1st and 2nd edition, I pretty much played elves exclusively, and was stunned at how amazing the 2e Complete Book of Dwarves was, and how much it made me want to play a Dwarf (which I had barely even considered before). Then the Complete Book of Elves came out, and, since I *already* loved elves, I expected to be all aflutter with it's awesomeness, only to find it so over-the-top and Mary-Sue-ish that it soured me entirely. It just snappped me right out of that, and did the unthinkable, being such a soppish purple-prose love-letter to elf-wankery that it made me no longer a fan of the subject matter, and actually embarrassed to have liked them.

Elves of Golarion is not my favorite of the race Companions (which, generally, I find too short to get really into the races or countries described), but it's nothing like the Complete Book of Elves, IMO.

I'm not a fan of the book, but I don't think it warrants that sort of review. As I mentioned upthread, this felt more like a review of 2E's Complete Book of Elves, which *was* rosy-spectacled elf-poop doesn't stink elf-service, IMO, while Elves of Golarion did a fair job of presenting elves as petty, occasionally vindictive, etc.

Sure, there's some embarassing lines, like, 'The humans, with their higher birthrate, could swarm over the valiant elven warriors though each elf was worth 10 of the younger race.' but, for the most part, Elves of Golarion doesn't wallow in this sort of slanted prose, and balances it out with notes about elves dropping into depression and despair, burying bad memories or feelings with inappropriate laughter or shrugging off their own defeats and misfortunes and editing or ignoring bits of their own history (personal or racial) that they don't want to remember accurately or soaring off into vanity and excess pride.

I like that sort of thing, as it both explains elves thinking so highly of themselves (as they selectively edit or ignore their own failures and shortcomings, both as a person and as a people), and makes them feel a bit more fickle and fey, and less like Tolkein's 'arbitrarily better at everything than you' elves.

Elves would make perfect politicians, strongly supporting a stance one day, and then rabidly attacking their own original position the next, while vociferously denying that it was their own idea, originally. Unlike a politician, their very nature makes it possible for them to think themselves honest in such two-faced hypocrisy, because they chose to forget supporting their original position, and are 100% in favor of their new position. (Which may change again tomorrow...)

That's kinda neat. Anything that makes elves a bit less Tolkein and a bit more 'fair is foul' works for me.


Set wrote:
Everything you said.

+1.

While I think Tolkien-elves have their place in mythology and fantasy, they are not especially automatically benevolent or supreme, I can somehoow see the points of criticism.

As a matter of fact, though, I'd consider this companion rather average than bad due to production values and the fact that Elves are often portayed as supremacist guys. Due to the pro-race stance, I actually do get how they were written.

Just my 2 cents, for what they're worth.

And yeah, sorry 3.5-loyalist, it did seems a bit like trolling. Props for stepping up and being civil and mature.

Cheers,
Endzeitgeist


Set wrote:

The 'classic' D&D elf, IMO, is best represented by the 3.X/PF Bard class. A halfway competent swordsman, a halfway competent spellcaster, a focus on grace, the arts, etc.

The Wizard favored class of 3.0 felt completely out of left field to me, since 3.0 introduced the innately magical Sorcerer (and Bard), but of which felt 100% more appropriate for the traditional elf. The spellbook-toting Wizard seemed more fitting for a race that *wasn't* innately magical, such as a human or dwarf or halfling.

IMO, elves, as a race, suffers the most from a completely failure of fluff and crunch to play together. A race that lives in the woods, exposed to the elements, brews magically potent 'elfwine,' lives practically forever and is associated with rarely if ever breeding, and this race has a Con penalty? This race would, if the Con penalty actually affected their fluff, and not just their mechanics, be all but extinct, since they deliberately choose to live a life that requires a higher Con, and everything is stacked against them (100 years before they can reproduce, said in the text to rarely do so anyway, etc.). And then books like Complete Book of Elves come out and say mind-boggling stuff like that a race incapable of producing Bards produces music so soul-wrenching that human musicians deafen themselves after hearing it, so that they can't hear anything else ever again. Might as well add that they walk on water and poop rainbows.

[There's also the uphill slog to differentiate them from Tolkein elves, which were...

Set, I agreed with just about everything you said. I have always loved Elves and have played my fair share of them. One thing struck me though was how right you were about their Classes. Elves should have been given a +2 to Charisma, not Intelligence, and Bard, Sorcerer ( especially Fey Bloodline ), and Ranger should have been their favored Classes. Gnomes should get the +2 Int. instead, with Wizard their favored Class, which dovetails nicely with their old Illusionist history. Just my two coppers.


one owuld not have to be a bard to dance and sing.......

I liked elves of golarion, it could of been better though.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

The whole 'memory edit' and 'willfull forgetfulness' is a direct steal from the Elves of Warhammer FRP. The Elves edit out their own bad or unwanted memories to make room for more pleasant ones, and so can completely forget they were good friends with a human and a dwarf if it becomes stylish to never have associations with such creatures.

Makes dealing with Elves highly unpredictable, because they can and do deliberately forget about dealing with you before, and their opinions get colored by 'other' events. You thought you had a rapport, some twit in another country aced his cousin, and your good friend is now looking for an excuse to death duel you in revenge.

Chaotic, indeed.

==Aelryinth


Set you interestingly trace the changing presentations of elves. I remember the second ed Elf book and being a little repelled by it and I think we are on a similar wavelength. Any character from a default race, built well, can top an elf, and that is something I like about dnd. The elves and those who love them can go on and on, but it is not impossible for a human fighter or barb to go through an elf in melee, or unbelievable for a human sorcerer to outlast and defeat an elf wizard. This is good, the elven supremacy ideas are not too deeply into the rules yet (they don't get a +4 to int, cha and wis, although the way they act, I think they deserve a -2 to wis). Funnily enough, a kobold or goblin rogue can be quite a bit more stealthy in the woods than an elf, which always made me chuckle. The fawning is actually limited by the mechanics. I fully believe Kyonin elves would shoot all tresspassers who don’t apologetically turn back, but bows and arrows aren’t always the best weapons. In Second Darkness, a good counter to the run-of-the-mill drow skirmisher was a heavy mace-wielding cavalier on foot. They were too generalist, low damage and not hard enough where it counted (AC, HP, To hit). In that book when I went through it as a pc, the dm highlighted how similar the two types of elves were in how they fought. Course, the difference was that the drow used more foreign mercs and unusual additions.

On the right class, Bard could really work. Vanities about the beauty of elven song are turned into mechanics. They can go into melee, but without feats and luck, aren’t as good as pure specialists in violence. I did suggest aristocrat adept for another few reasons, if an elf stays focused on swordsmanship and the arts, they can become good in both, but if they go adept then their bab goes right down, and the elven wizard opinion on the worthlessness of the sword comes through in bab “Some older elves (wizards in particular) consider swordplay little more than a children’s game that turns into a brutal and far-too-personal method of battle during times of war” (p. 11). The point in elves of golarion that “Elf apprentices spend decades mastering basics of arcane spellcasting before moving on to anything showy. This focus on theory makes elven magic almost overwhelmingly detailed and complex” (p. 5) got me thinking that the way you do something can inhibit your abilities and potential. Academics can become hyper-specialised and focused on adding unnecessary complexity, this can inhibit works so much, that at times nothing is really said in thousands of words. My proposition for adept is that based on how magic is taught it lacks the pragmatism and drive behind say, human magic. In the decades an elf spends getting the casting just right after the years of theoretical study on the level 1 spell, the human wizard has graduated, got out there and is already casting level 5s. It is odd that the chaotic elves don’t rebel at so stifling and conservative a practice as their flawed magic tuition. Another strange contradiction.

For a chuckle, there is also that part in elves of golarion that sounded completely nonsensical to me: “Elves kept in slavery often rebel or force themselves into a stupor until they are eventually abandoned” (p. 6). The rebelling is not unsurprising, what is, is the idea that they wouldn’t be beaten or executed if they acted sluggish or comatose. A funny little idea that the elves can counter and escape being enslaved, no, that they will be let go due to their defiant will. Elves can be stubborn and wilful, but please make your save against intimidation. No, you do not automatically pass nor are you immune to fear.

On elven culture and beliefs, their chaos, their fickleness does accord strongly with Callistria, a deity worshipped by elves. Which is why on page 11 it does seem a bit off to say that: “elves tend to be casual in their worship”. Golarion elves are not greyhawk elves or forgotten realms elves, but when their character so assuredly seems to merge with the ideas of Callistria so often, it is odd that they aren’t more religious—maybe it is the pride or reality of being chaotic, detached and vengeful.

Learning about the golarion elves has been a steady process for me. It is amusing that these bards or aristocrat/adepts or wizards (who take oh so many years to be basically competent) do so well and are so feared (on the numbers they aren’t that great). An elf fan I know has played plenty of elves and also a cleric of Callistria. I didn’t know much about that faith and I was running the game so I had to look it up. It is truly dodgy, with few limits and even fewer rules. It also states on page 8 of the Gods and Magic book “Although the elves worship a great many deities, they hold none so highly as Callistria”, which seems to contradict page 11 in elves of golarion. These slip-ups and different views happen. The key way in which Callistria relates to elves, is that they may not be so dutiful and religious in regards to Callistria, but they think and act as if they are Callistria—including the deific level of pride.

Dark Archive

I think, with the Calistria thing, and the 'casual worship' of the goddess of 'casual sex,' it feels almost turned around a bit.

With a human worshipping Irori, it's safe to assume that the human wants to be like Irori.

With an elf worshipping Calistria, it feels more like Calistria best represents the life that the elf is already living anyway. The elf doesn't 'pick' Calistria because he wants to live by her principles, the elf picks Calistria because she's the goddess most tolerant of and encouraging of the behaviors he already exhibits.

By elf standards, he's a 'new' god, and not likely to be taken terribly seriously, yet, but Cayden Cailean with his consequence-free life devoted to wandering around getting drunk and chasing tail, seems another god that the elves would end up 'worshipping,' if only because the Forlorn have already been living that life anyway, leaving half-elven bastards abandoned in their wake as they pass through human communities, chasing their own pleasures, in an empty effort to forget whatever it is that haunts them.

It's only Cayden's focus on goodness, I suspect, that has prevented that faith from really catching on, just as Urgathoa, for all that she's *also* strongly focused on 'feeding her own hungers' and doing whatever makes her feel good, to heck with anyone else, probably turns the elves off for being too evil. Calistria ends up being 'just right,' being a celebration of hedonism and self-interest, without a heavy focus on either good or evil, each of which might feel like they are corrupting the entire point of the endless party that is life, to get away from morality entirely and just lose oneself in pure unexamined experience.

If Cayden was less good and 'liberation theology' and a tad personal responsibility-centric, and more wine-soaked bachannalian orgy-centric, the elves would probably be all over that action.

It can be sobering enough as a human to remember every mistake one has made, or unkind word one has said, or embarrassing moment one has had. Plenty of humans turn to strong drink to get away from past horrors or painful memories. I'd imagine, after 400 years, the ability to brush such things aside and live in the moment, unencumbered by a thousand bad choices or unpleasant experiences in the past, could be the only way elves can avoid total madness.

Of course, elves who full-throatedly endorse this way of 'coping,' are doomed to never learn any lessons from their past, and condemn themselves to forever making the same mistakes, over and over, until, to the shorter-lived, but wiser, races, their 'endless party' rings increasingly of desparation and their laughter sounds brittle...


Poetic.

With Cayden, there is also the unfortunate problem for elves, that he is human. Their racism is really really strong.

If the naturally Callistrian elves were followers of Milani, that would also change their culture/character in golarion. The isolationism is practiced, but broken unpredictably by expansions, martyrdom and hard effort, before the quiet retreat. That strikes me as not only more interesting, it would explain why they are still around when they are so withdrawn and put them on a real chaotic axis of being at times villains, and at times relaxed, domestic pacifists.

Okay, so an intense idea of martyrdom sweeps through Kyonin. Everyone briefly goes religious faddishly, and retrains as paladins and clerics, before expanding out, ensuring the new territory is held and then reclines back for some good wine and child-rearing, confident in their greatness.

As for the elves and wisdom, Zhen and I went through the book pointing out all the markers demonstrating a lack of intelligence or wisdom. There are a lot there truly. Elves have a problem learning from mistakes and self-examining themselves.

Dark Archive

3.5 Loyalist wrote:
As for the elves and wisdom, Zhen and I went through the book pointing out all the markers demonstrating a lack of intelligence or wisdom. There are a lot there truly. Elves have a problem learning from mistakes and self-examining themselves.

Fey type races in general seem to be long-lived and short-sighted, and yet, mechanically, often have levels in druid or high Wisdom scores, to represent their strong willful natures and keen perceptions...

It's a bit of a legacy of D&D in general that the word 'wisdom' represents willpower and perception, but not at all what we think of in the real world when we say someone is 'wise.'

A headstrong fool with 20/20 vision has 'Wisdom,' but isn't 'wise,' so we end up with high-Wisdom races that behave in foolish, petulant, intemperate or short-sighted manners.

C'est la vie.

Same applies to goblins, in Golarion. They are *incredibly* foolish by nature, to the point of being buffoonish caricatures, suggested as being likely to kill themselves or each other than accomplish anything lasting or meaningful in their lives. And yet they have a Wisdom score equal to any halfling, elf or gnome.

So, really, the problem isn't entirely that elves (or Golarion goblins) are suffering a massive disconnect between flavor and mechanics, but that 'wisdom' doesn't mean what we think it does. :)

If Wisdom was 'common sense' or followed the wiki definition, Golarion Goblins (or the ones from Labyrinth or Legend) would probably score around a 6.

If I were to re-design the races, I'd probably tweak elves to have -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity and +2 Charisma. Nimble, compelling, ethereal, fey and slight of frame, but not any more or less prone to sickness or heatstroke or exposure than most humans.

Dwarves would be the race with the Intelligence bonus, representing their mastery of craft and engineering. The grandest stoneworks, the great aqueducts, the terraced mountain farms, masterwork armor and weapons of all sorts, all feats of dwarven ingenuity.

'Elven chainmail' would be something that was originally designed and crafted by dwarves, during a time when elf and dwarf were allies. Elves are capable of metalworking, and can be quite good at it (and modern suits of 'elven' chainmail may indeed have been crafted by elves, or humans, or halflings, who have learned to smith mithril), but dwarves would be the engines driving innovation in the craft.


Good point there Set. I have discussed the issue of how certain players in games make some truly questionable decisions. I'm referring to actions which could very easily get one hanged or stoned to death.

The amusing thing is that most of these characters tend to be clerics with 18 wisdom or wizards with 20 intelligence. There are even examples of high charisma warlocks whom when trying to explain their position somehow end up offending eceryone in the party.

I think you're on to something there that mental stats in ability scores don't fully represent what we think they do. Still, have to admit. Certain actions some players take, have made me tempted to say:" you lose two points in this ability score since someone with a stat so high in this wouldn't possibly make this sort of blatantly foolish blunder."

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

*reads Zhen Yi Soh's 1-star Elves of Golarion review*

*reads Zhen Yi Soh's 5-star Dwarves of Golarion review*

I see what you did there.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Dwarves don't really innovate.

innovation is a human thing. Humans come up with new ideas to adapt to changing circumstances.

What Dwarves do is Not Forget and Do Things Very Well.

The whole Engineering/Architecture mastery is simply an expression of their ties to stone and steel...the +2 bonus. They are naturally better at working with such things. However, their culture is lawful, traditional, and stifling. A Dwarf lives to pay respect for his ancestors, not to surpass them or create something new.

Unlike humans, who innovate,keep the knowledge selfishly and pass it on only to blood or a chosen few, and regularly lose knowledge, Dwarves tend to have a deep, multi-generational pool of skill that is hard to eliminate, and insures that secrets get passed around and down. If they see something that works, they co-opt it, and can likely do it even better then a 'human' inventor because of their racial bonus.

So Dwarves aren't particularly smart. They are disciplined and 'naturals' at using earth and metal. Like elves, they also have a LONG time to learn all the tricks of the trade, which would give them a deeper well of knowledge then most humans.

But innovation? Nah. You want radical new stuff, you look to humanity, who've got no respect for the past, they want to beat it, not live up to it.

==Aelryinth


I'd review at 4 and a half stars.. but sadly I would not know how to go about writing a review.... and yes I know it would start with the write a review button up there


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I'd follow this template:
1) What's in it?
2) What did I like about it?
3) What didn't I like about it?
4) Some more stuff I liked about it?
5) A quick one-sentence summary of the above.


Gorbacz wrote:

*reads Zhen Yi Soh's 1-star Elves of Golarion review*

*reads Zhen Yi Soh's 5-star Dwarves of Golarion review*

I see what you did there.

Indeed. There is nothing to hide. Two products differing in levels of objectivity and realism. If this is not what you're referring to, do be more specific. I am not fluent in interpreting hidden messages.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The hidden message is: you're doing a 2-part essay on how the Elves book sucks donkey balls. And actually honestly, there's very little that I understand from the review, it mostly being about how your vision of Elves and the book don't match. Mmmkay.

Then comes the Dwarf book review which is pretty much one sentence, 5 stars.

I'm left wondering how much of it is "Elves sux, dwarves roxxorz" mentality. I've happened across a fair amount of such people, mostly WFRP players.

I for one consider PF dwarves to be utterly BORING. They're re-doing the Celtic/Nordic beer drinking stout little mountain fortress long wars against orcs beer drinking hardy men trope all over again, and honestly I'm sick of it. Also, beer drinking.

Realism? Hell, this is D&D! You have demons teleporting into your bathroom and economy that would fall apart the moment any M.A. in finances would take a closer look at it. Realism, please.

Now, with Elves there's some variation. There's Calistria, and the question of how longevity influences the point of view, and few other things. Now that might not be the jackpot that Paizo hit with gnomes or the near-perfect score on halflings, but hey, at least I can see somebody trying to keep true to the archetype and yet introduce variation. I can't really see it with dwarves.


Misunderstanding there or you didn't read a previous post where I stated "not crazy about orcs or dwarfs either." So your take on my supposedly bias attitude of "Elves sux, dwarves roxxorz" is off the mark.

The reason why the length is so different is because there isn't a hinting at the all-powerful mysticism. They're collectivists who get s&@* done. Perhaps in a boring way but the task will be completed.

The book acknowledges their hardiness and hard work but also acknowledges that they have been routed and crushed before. There is no mention of each of them being worth 10 of their enemies. It almost is the difference berween accepting what you're good at as opposed to "thinking" you're good at everything.

Indeed. Look at the gazeteer. How many nations have fought, been defeated and become occupied by their enemies or came back stronger for it? Yet we have the amusing issue of how the elves fought with their ancient foes, legged it to some mystical realm and returned pretty much the same as they left. Thats their history which I find hard to believe. You've been fighting how many foes of different origins and have never really suffered a loss? The ye old "I walked away from it" argument has been used by people who were defeated or were close to it.

You don't like the nordic dwarf idea? Thats fine. Don't have an issue with our different perspectives. Although this is a fantasy setting, the rules of BAB/AC/Saves/etc all have a rational basis. It comes down to back stories of each individual and the numbers to back up the back stories.

There have been lords' games run where the moment players had a sufficient force, they were more than happy to test that "deadly reputation" of the elves. The elves folded, couldn't hold out because they were too dispersed across the fields of various disciplines. This can't be right. A race of all powerful wizards/swordsmen/farmers/poets/crafsmen couldn't possibly be bested by a shorter-lived race?

My point is that there is way too much suger-coating. They are perfect and flawless in every way. Untouchable by all the other races. They somehow master any discipline they go into despite being painted as chaotic and wildly flippant. They can are blessed since the gods grant them spells despite casual worship. The gods also wait on them and feel it is necessary to convince the elven "fence-sitters" by manifesting a portion of their power.

It may be pretty in the way its painted but too much contradictions and they're put on too high a pedestal. All in all, a gamers dream to play a member of the "perfect" race. To fuel the elitist attitude of gamers to no end.

Within the next few days,I'll take a look at the core rulebook. Everyone's been talking about how its so balanced. I can't wait to look at it in depth.


To clarify one point mentioned by Zhen, the Lord's game was a 3.5 game I ran for years with a sizeable crew set in a number of different setting, but typically in the Forgotten Realms. The main factions were: players as dukes of Cormyr, Sembian merchant princes, Zhent generals, rebel leaders and city-state despots.

Now the second Lord's game was quite interesting. It was mainly about the Zhents, Cormyr and Sembia all trying to expand without collapsing into defeat. The Dalelands and Cormanthor was the main targets of the Zhent armies, some Sembian and Cormyrean forays (carefully done because they don't want to seem like the big bad) and a temporarily unified Vast. The Dalelands really got their arses handed to them with some good tricks, fierce suppression and the dice rolls turning against them in war machine (2nd ed mass combat system, very good gentlemen, very good).

When it came to the elves, to the powers picking at their lands and settlements they didn't do so well. The Cormanthor settlements bear some significant similarities to Kyonin elves: isolationist, chaotic, merged with nature, low in pop, reliant on a longbow militia of sorts and rangers. Their main general, commanding their disciplined elven army (which differs to Kyonin in this respect) played it awfully (and he was very pro elf). He actually rebelled (chaotic I suppose, xp reward?) took away a serious resource from the protection of the elven lands and got ganked with his army after making yet another blunder into an enemy trap. War machine is an interesting system, but even factoring the elves in as veteran troops, even on the defence in areas they know or can use, there are better troops out there, with more experience, skill, higher ac.

The Zhents picked up more territory, strained the elves to breaking point. Got enough funds together to get in really heavy Tethyrian foot mercenaries (a counter to elven bowmen and fresh from the Tethyrian wars against the elves) and marched into those woods not in small bands to be picked off, but in the thousands. The elven settlements were not fortresses or citadels (so missed out on significant war machine bonuses there) since that would be unnatural and not beautiful, and weren't so good at sieges, or even standing up against a lot of medium armoured crossbowmen (not quite 10 to 1 ration, heh). Yeah, their lands got divied up between the victors. The slave market was flooded with elves, prices went down.

On the differing ratings between two products or Zhen, some books are good, some books are awful. It seems the contradictions and faults Zhen found in elves of golarion were not found anew in the dwarf book. I can imagine his relief.

To finish with an appropriate quote related to this discussion I turn to Blade (1998)
Blade: You better wake up. The world you live in is just a sugar-coated topping! There is another world beneath it - the real world.

Scarab Sages

First: Elves of Golarion isn't my favorite of the races books. I definatly see flaws in that book, and of course you are entitled to whatever opinion you may hold, but some of the flaws you are picking are strange, to say the least.
1) Using your experience in a Throne / War Machine game as proof that the history of Golarions Elves should be different? I hope you don't play Games Workshops Lord of the Rings game, or you might find out that Tolkiens description of the various nations and individuals of middle earth is totally wrong...
2) The casual worshipping has been mentioned more then once - I don't think you should consider clerics casual worshippers, only the average elf. That also holds true for the "elves don't fit any of the standard classes" argument.
Again: I was not trying to attack your opinion, nor your review, but these arguments seemed strange to me.


No no, the lord's game was set in forgotten realms, not warhammer based.

If they seem strange you should re-examine them. There might be something behind Set, Zhen and I. We've gone through the book thoroughly without fawning.

Scarab Sages

3.5 Loyalist wrote:
No no, the lord's game was set in forgotten realms, not warhammer based.

I got that. doesn't change a thing. A Forgotten realms set lord's game has absolutly no meaning for the believability of the history of Golarions elves (just as, my slightly snarky example, a games workshop lord of th rings games has no meaning for the plausibility of the lord of the rings).

I did read Elves of golarion, too. Cover to cover, more then once (One of my players likes elven characters, we were have been using the book more then once to flesh out her characters background).
I reread your arguments. Those I picked out still don't make any sense to me. Maybe my understanding is flawed, maybe it isn't. I'm surely not fawning either, just because I find your argumentation not convincing. If you wanted to imply that, I find it deeply insulting.


feytharn wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
No no, the lord's game was set in forgotten realms, not warhammer based.

I got that. doesn't change a thing. A Forgotten realms set lord's game has absolutly no meaning for the believability of the history of Golarions elves (just as, my slightly snarky example, a games workshop lord of th rings games has no meaning for the plausibility of the lord of the rings).

I did read Elves of golarion, too. Cover to cover, more then once (One of my players likes elven characters, we were have been using the book more then once to flesh out her characters background).
I reread your arguments. Those I picked out still don't make any sense to me. Maybe my understanding is flawed, maybe it isn't. I'm surely not fawning either, just because I find your argumentation not convincing. If you wanted to imply that, I find it deeply insulting.

I think what loyalist is trying to say is that there is alot of fawning in the book. Too much and big gaps in logic. Yes, it is a fantasy setting. However, there is too much given to the elves on a platter. The "amazing at everything" philosophy.

Furthermore, if clerics are not casual worshippers but the average elf is, thats implying they can get away with it. Why can they get away with it when no other race can? Elitism on a level far above anything sensible in the sense that the gods turn a blind eye to it. The whole part on divine pacts was even more laughable, implying the gods have a need to prove themselves to the elves. There's a reason why the gods are the gods and the elves are "the elves". Not the other way round.


If it's a contest or a war, it comes down to the numbers.

Also check their treatment of their neighbours. The golarion elves have shot a range of people and have somehow got away with this without an invasion. That Druma hasn't dropped its armies and merc hordes in is a little unbelievable. They have the resources, the benefits of looting the elven kingdom would be high.

Running a large-scale political game and seeing how the elves get trounced is informative. They could of course also win, but what does them in is alliances and two front fighting. The elves are isolationists, they look down upon outside contact, this weakens them politically and their haughtiness does not help in preventing alliances against them. Their elitism, aloofness and pride actually get them killed, and there are plenty happy to swing the blade.

Back on the numbers, bowmen skirmishers and wizards can be good, but there are military counters to this (more crossbowmen, heavy infantry, knights). One can't skirmish forever, eventually you must fight or give the ground to the invader.

The "deadly reputation" seems a little lacking and exaggerated.

Scarab Sages

I get all of that. I don't share your view on some of that points, but aside from the "casual worshippers" nothing you wrote even touched my post. And I don't know where you picked up that no other race can get away with casual worship.

I don't intend to try to weight the odds for any nation to wage war on the elves and win. If I look into the history of nations and war I find to many "surprises" to think I could possibly get my head around the countless factors that might influence the political and military landscape - certainly not based on the few pages of information I gget with "Elves of Golarion"

Perhaps you are able to do so, perhaps you are right - I don't intend to argue that point and I certainly didn't do so with my previous post.

Despite reading the book more then once, I didn't get the feeling of a race "amazing at everything". Do I think the book is biased toward the elves? Yes, I do, but then all of the races books I've read are biased toward the descripted race.

Please, don't read anything into my post that isn't in there. I didn't question your view of the book itself, I didn't question your analysis of how the elves couldn't possibly continue to exist the way they are written. Your perception regarding that is certainly as valid as my less negative perception.

I only questioned the use of data gathered via a strategic game based on a Forgotten Realms campaign to validate your point, and I questioned the assumption that the god grant spells to casual worshippers by remarking that I don't those casual worshippers are supposed to be the clerics among the elves.

Nothing more, nothing less.

There is no need to repeat and stack up on your other arguments to convince me you are right.


“Despite reading the book more then once, I didn't get the feeling of a race "amazing at everything". Do I think the book is biased toward the elves? Yes, I do, but then all of the races books I've read are biased toward the descripted race.”

Page 2. “though the elves might not denigrate the other races on principle, it’s hard not to be dismissive of someone whose entire lineage can come and go in an eye-blink, and who won’t live long enough to truly understand any given discipline.”

That’s right, from the perception of the elves, other races don’t live long enough to ever truly understand any discipline. Any? The sheer hubris. That no non-elf can ever understand any discipline presents themselves as the only amazing and truly accomplished race at anything, by their own logics, as told by the writers.

Scarab Sages

Would you please let it go?
I don't question your perception of the book.
I don't question most of your arguments.

I interpret the line you quoted as mirroring the average elves point of view, you interpret it as the writers point of view.
Perfectly valid.

I don't argue your general POV, I just have questioned two points among your arguments.

Shadow Lodge

Set wrote:
Fey type races in general seem to be long-lived and short-sighted, and yet, mechanically, often have levels in druid or high Wisdom scores, to represent their strong willful natures and keen perceptions...

A bit pedantic, perhaps, but I wanted to point out that Pathfinder elves are not fey, or even fey-related.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Bull headed willfulness is seen as a charisma effect, not wisdom. Wisdom would be sly pragmatism.

The average elf army should be higher level then an average invading army, due to the longevity of the defenders.

The elves should have a massive edge in magical ability, and that should have a severe impact on the mobility of the invading forces. The ability to scry and die, fireball and run, summon and flee, would wreak havoc on any kind of a traditional troop formation...remember, tightly packed troops are TARGETS in a fantasy realm with magic, not something strong.

The elves would simply create chaos in a standard situation like that. Rip apart the supply lines, snipe from cover, etc. The only recourse to stop them might be to set the woods on fire...but they'll probably control the weather.

The numbers do NOT favor them in a stand up fight, but they don't like stand up fights, anyways. The damage they can inflict long before their real homes are threatened should be significant to discourage most things from attacking them, especially if they go after the leadership first. Unless the attacker has some manner of shutting down ranged attacks and magic entirely, they are going to have a problem.

==Aelryinth


Good points, good points.

Unfortunately, the elves were not the only "army" with spellcasters. The Cormyreans had the war wizards, the Zhents had clerics and undead. The Sembians made it a habit to target wizards with crossbowmen snipers.

They could have played more of a role, but their political disunity also caused problems. The wizards are also the political elites, and were stuck in debate and disagreement as the many enemies closed in. We think, yeah, wizards who are on the ball, who are organised could be a real smart threat. Sadly the didn't think and act to their full potential.

In the golarion elf situation, five things stand out. One, that the elven wizards are not discussed as pragmatic war wizards with high organisation skills. No they become advisors who talk in confusing wise-sounding sayings. Second, the way magic is taught leaves elven wizards in training saddled with decades of learning the theory and basics and not advancing quickly. Third, elven wizards are the elites and have an advisory role. The wizard adventurer may be common (to us), but this is highly unusual in elven society. Rangers travel to the fringes and encounter outsiders, and are looked down upon for it. There is no mention that elven wizards travel far and wide gaining much experience and returning to be powerful guardians. Four, the numbers of wizards are not specified and there may not be many high in power. They are a magic practicing race, but as Set pointed out, it seems more appropriate and correct for many to be bards not wizards of war. When we are talking about numbers, there is also the question of numbers of those that are significantly powerful (level 5 and up). This relates to point two. Five, the elves have a philosophy of resistance against serious invaders, that of escaping, letting them win and then beating them over time as they die of old age. The four points are real weaknesses.

"The average elf army should be higher level then an average invading army, due to the longevity of the defenders."

This is also a point that stands up well initially, but unfortunately elves waste their lives in flights of fancy and non-application. They are generalists and dispersed in skill and focus. They practice fencing, but more as a distraction and source of fun. Duels to the death are raised as really unusual. They don't train in group tactics, nor is it indicated that many elves train faithfully and committedly because a threat to the elven territories may one-day come. In fact they have a philosophy of retreating and outlasting enemies, and not a code of honour as say a human knight might pursue. Again I say, travelling outside of the elven lands is also very rare. They don't challenge themselves in real combat, instead they have a love for bickering and non-violent political feuds. They all have competence, but high levels of skill would be unusual because of their other areas of focus. If they didn't farm they could make better warriors. If they weren't extremely concerned with the arts and courtier life, they would have more time to improve their potential. If they travelled and fought more monsters, there would be a greater pool of veterans. The adventuring elf is very different to the isolationist elf.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

You don't need to be a pragmatic war wizard with high organization skills. You need to have a high Int and be good at wreaking havoc.

Two, decades to train means nothing if you live centuries, and levels come very quickly in times of war.

Three, elites need to occasionally prove why they are elites.

Four, Wizards are their FAVORED CLASS. It will be common, even if people only have a level or two. That's enough to use arcane magic items.

Five, they are patient, deadly guerilla fighters, exactly the same as most combats in the world today, only with a magical edge over almost all invaders.

Six, crossbow snipers don't work in something as simple as making it rain, and what kind of elf, in a society of archers, isn't protected against missile attacks?

Seven, wasting your lives in flights of fancy over century means your 'fancies' can last longer then a human life. Elves can get very good at something without specializing in it simply due to longevity.

You level up fast by traveling and fighting others. It doesn't mean you can't level up competing against your own and one another, vying to be the best. Spending a hundred years to beat your swordmaster is just another flight of fancy.

and over periods of time, it's reasonably to assume that all elves will do their duty as defenders and warriors of the nation...even the wizards. Sure, it may only be for 20 or 30 years, whew, and then they go back to what they really want to do...but remember time spent is relative. And when you have a casual, but continual culture of self-defense and hunting, martial skills never atrophy.

===Aelryinth


If the Golarion elves were the Warhammer fantasy wood elves, far more concerned with defence, martial activities, every elf a sniper and less of a dandy hedonist, they would be a really frightening fighting force. Unfortunately it doesn’t present them that way. High culture is too much of an obsession, and not martial culture or the teaching of effective group tactics, which it states is entirely abandoned over individual skirmishing. To even kill a single other elf in personal combat is highly unusual for golarion elves, as unusual as travelling outside their borders, that is how un-tested the domestic elven population is.

One, to use one’s magic effectively in warfare you do need high organisational skills, and the ability to cooperate with others of your ilk. You after all, as a wizard, only have so many spells in a nine hour plus period. It also does not detail that the advisory mages train for war. It more emphasises their high status and their position on councils. They are more like a bureaucracy, less like a military wing.

On two and four, Elves don’t reach adulthood until 110 years, and births are rare. To train as that favoured class it takes +10d6 years, with the average being 30 years, and the maximum being 60 years. This is for the basics, this isn’t to get to even level 2. See Core p. 169. Levels do not come quickly to the elves because war doesn’t come to Kyonin because of their “deadly reputation” and there is no mention of them travelling outside to conflict to risk their lives and get experience. They are not human mercenaries. Such an act would be simply beneath them.

Three, I agree! The elites should be proving why they are elites, but apart from the necessary and specifics-focused long study of wizards, there is no indication they do prove themselves. Now if it said the elves are prone to teleporting into capitals and challenging human wizards, I’d agree they test themselves mightily. This is absent.

Five, this is incorrect. The small number of border guardians would be deadly guerrilla fighters, those that killed Druman explorers and other types, but as has been discussed further above, the typical elf is concerned with their own delights, staying in the fine elven cities, and is far closer to a bard or aristocrat adept.

Six, archery is also inhibited by the rain, but causing rain and weather control anyway is a series of druidic spells. The elves would have druids, but as has been brought up before, the elves left the nature of golarion to be destroyed and darkened when they fled through the gate. Surely Erastil is not so easily forgiving. They love nature and are swayed by it, but their favoured class is wizard, not druid. The wizard-ocracy also looks down upon non wizard spellcasting. And lastly, there is the matter of will the druids fight a war to protect the elven city-folk. It is all up in the air and speculation on that matter.

Seven, not without application, trials, experience, levels. That is the way of the pathfinder world. With all their interests, and not being in a culture of human-like competition, not being desperate to strive and achieve before time takes them, they have a lot of factors working against their mastery. The “vying to be the best” is not an elven trait. As the book states:

Elves live such a long time that non-elves rightly wonder why they aren’t all expert swordsmen, powerful enchantresses, master rogues, and archpriests. One answer is that elves measure success differently from other races. Crushing enemies and amassing vast quantities of wealth are not worthwhile goals in themselves for elves, just occasional necessities—distractions from the more important paths of honor, art, craftsmanship, magic, and seeking enlightenment. Those elves who interact most with humans are already outliers within their society, and as a result are more susceptible to the “transient” races’ desperate urge to leave a mark on the world. After all, what need does an elf have to leave his mark when he knows he’ll remain long after any monuments have crumbled to dust? (p. 5).

On this, as said by you: “and over periods of time, it's reasonably to assume that all elves will do their duty as defenders and warriors of the nation...even the wizards.” One cannot trust chaotic Callistrians to do their “duty”. Remember also that contact with non-elves is seen as undesirable and unusual. Combat is also contact of a sort.

"when you have a casual, but continual culture of self-defense and hunting, martial skills never atrophy." And if you are casual, your martial skills will never magnify and blossom, they will reach their peak.

I understand that you like them, but the book doesn’t actually present the elves as a people of rangers, all out there fighting battles everyday, the greatest skirmishers that ever was. It somewhat tries to, but they are too distracted and busy elsewhere to make this war-like vision a reality. War is not actually what the elves are good at. Not in the way orcs or dwarves are focused in this area, with weaknesses and detriments on their character and capacities elsewhere.


I might suggest that a (extended) lifetime of study for a wizard may be a level 1 wizard who seeks out every single level 0 and level 1 arcane spell that he could potentially cast. The wizard might never reach 2nd level and yet still spend his days researching spells.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
pres man wrote:
I might suggest that a (extended) lifetime of study for a wizard may be a level 1 wizard who seeks out every single level 0 and level 1 arcane spell that he could potentially cast. The wizard might never reach 2nd level and yet still spend his days researching spells.

Panel 3?


I'm so glad I always seem to miss that part and go about my own way.....


An outsiders perspective.

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=762
http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=759

Damn these are funny. I showed this to a DM who ran second darkness.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

3.5 Loyalist wrote:

An outsiders perspective.

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=762
http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=759

Damn these are funny. I showed this to a DM who ran second darkness.

Linkified for (my) convenience :)

And yes, DM of the Rings is damn funny. Did you get as far as tracking the halflings in Rohan or the Paths of the Dead? Priceless.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

3.5 Loyalist wrote:

If the Golarion elves were the Warhammer fantasy wood elves, far more concerned with defence, martial activities, every elf a sniper and less of a dandy hedonist, they would be a really frightening fighting force. Unfortunately it doesn’t present them that way. High culture is too much of an obsession, and not martial culture or the teaching of effective group tactics, which it states is entirely abandoned over individual skirmishing. To even kill a single other elf in personal combat is highly unusual for golarion elves, as unusual as travelling outside their borders, that is how un-tested the domestic elven population is.

One, to use one’s magic effectively in warfare you do need high organisational skills, and the ability to cooperate with others of your ilk. You after all, as a wizard, only have so many spells in a nine hour plus period. It also does not detail that the advisory mages train for war. It more emphasises their high status and their position on councils. They are more like a bureaucracy, less like a military wing.

On two and four, Elves don’t reach adulthood until 110 years, and births are rare. To train as that favoured class it takes +10d6 years, with the average being 30 years, and the maximum being 60 years. This is for the basics, this isn’t to get to even level 2. See Core p. 169. Levels do not come quickly to the elves because war doesn’t come to Kyonin because of their “deadly reputation” and there is no mention of them travelling outside to conflict to risk their lives and get experience. They are not human mercenaries. Such an act would be simply beneath them.

Three, I agree! The elites should be proving why they are elites, but apart from the necessary and specifics-focused long study of wizards, there is no indication they do prove themselves. Now if it said the elves are prone to teleporting into capitals and challenging human wizards, I’d agree they test themselves mightily. This is absent.

Five, this is incorrect. The small number of border guardians would be deadly...

1) You're mistaking high level for deadly effective. So the 400 year old elf is only level 5. That's way, way better then 99% of humanoid opponents. Sure, it's crappy for being 500...but on an ABSOLUTE scale, it's a way higher floor then other races have.

2) To use magic effectively you've got to be able to use magic effectively. If one mage wants to do his own thing and another mage his own, their efforts are just going to create more chaos. You don't know what you might be hit with. And if the super-geniuses bother to collaborate, it's gonna be brutal. Military organization is not needed with guerilla tactics. A wicked sense of humor and a high caster level will suffice.

3) Age is all relative. Perhaps it takes a while. It doesn't matter...they have the time! Now, if all the elves over age 100 are dead, the elves are going to have a problem. But that's not the scenario you are talking about.

4) Casually testing and sparring against your equals and peers is a part of any society with any kind of martial tradition. there will always be a pecking order of prowess.

5) Or they could be a ftr/3 wiz/2, which thematically is quite similar to a bard as a dillentante, but gives them access to a suprising degree of versatility come combat time, without being committed to any one class.

6) Weather Cntrol is level 7 both Druid and Wizard. Druidism has nothign to do with this...except Druids will likely side with Elves as caretakers of the forest against armies likely hacking it down and setting it on fire as they try to flush out the Elves.

7) Trials can be internal as well as external, especially in a society filled with Callistrians. You make it seem like they are all happy faeries, and not vindictive artistes who, like most high-end societies, have their own unforgiving adn bloodthirstiness hidden under smiling faces and proper manners.

8) Being chaotic, vengeful and passionate does not preclude a strong sense of personal duty and obligation. It precludes others telling you what that duty and obligation is. It's pretty obvious the elves have immense racial loyalty and xenophobia, and at one point or another take up some form of defense against all those damn savages out there, if only as a flight of fancy.

I don't have any particular love or hate for Golarion elves, it's just that you're viewing them with a short-term, jaundiced human eye. Sure, growing elves to high level might take a long time...that time has ALREADY HAPPENED and they are already here. Sure, they aren't going to go out a-conquering with their slow population growth. On the other hand, their existing population is on average so much more dangerous then other humanoid races, it supports the deadliness of their reputation. The idea of 'helpless elven peasants' just doesn't fly...the average elf comes from an old, highly advanced society with tremendous resources, enough to satisfy all the many things an elf could indulge in over centuries...and magic and swordplay are prominent parts of that. Each elf doesn't ahve to be POWERFUL to be able to have a huge impact...they just have to be better then their enemies.

The fact they don't have rapid level gain is meaningless. They already have the levels, they gained them over the last three hundred years, your PC is going to catch up to them and pass them...but the average invader is NOT.

And the elves will hand them their hats. On the other hand, getting rid of high-level threats might be a problem, hence the small issue of having a nascent demon lord at the heart of their kingdom they can't do anything about.

==Aelryinth


Elves gain about the same knowledge in 100 years that a human would gain in 15 years. Thus your 500 year old elf, probably had as much knowledge as a 75 year old human. Also there are probably just about as many 500 year old elves proportionally as 75 year old humans, thus they aren't going to be outnumbering invaders by having a greater number of older elves.

Sovereign Court

You can probably get a better sense of this from reading the fiction, rather than debating the companion.

Plague of Shadows gives a taste of Elven defence which is quite impressive.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, I am just asking myself: Do Elves in Golarion really only need to go into trance for four hours, or is this a relic from the 3.5 days? James Jacobs said that Elves sleep eight hours, like everyone else, but it seems we have in-lore writings specifically for the setting versus his words.

Can we get another "official" clarification in this product thread, where it won't get lost so easily in the shuffle? :)

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