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Old 11-11-2020, 09:55 PM   #21
RyanW
 
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

Just an idea to throw out, but perhaps the elven way of doing a lot of things is really slow. Elves don't work metals at all (my first thought was that metalworking slowly poisons an elf's connection with nature magic), but they have ways of inducing trees to produce woods with a wide range of properties. Need a building? Grow a tree in the shape you need. Need a sword? Make a tree grow a super dense branch in the appropriate shape. It takes decades, but what are decades to an elf?
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Old 11-12-2020, 05:48 AM   #22
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

Well, you still have to defend yourself during the time that you are waiting for your sword to grow. I think that it is much more likely that they design their environments to be dangerous to everyone else. An elven forest might be full of toxic fungi/plants whose spores/pollens cause any human who stumbles into them to suffer a number of adverse effects. Elves could gather and preserve the toxins for use during the winter, and any humans that would attempt to invade their territory would face an unpleasant surprise.

For example, an elven forest might cause any human to suffer from Slave Mentality while they are suffering from the effects of the toxins. Why would you need to make weapons when you can simply order any invaders to give you theirs? Legends would warn humans from entering elven forests because they would be enslaved by the glamour of the elves.
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Old 11-12-2020, 05:51 AM   #23
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

Having to wait years for a sword to grow assumes that wooden swords are a NEW technology. If they've had wooden swords for a few hundred years, they'll have a standing crop of swords waiting to be harvested.
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:11 AM   #24
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
We don't really have a good system for touching a material giving you a condition - it's something that's lacking.
A reversed Environmental (Powers 110). The normal form requires something "touching or surrounding the target" for the ability to work. Reverse it to something touching or surrounding the caster preventing the ability from working. (Or just apply a penalty, to make it a little softer.

Environmental tries to distinguish between activation and effect (you can activate your Root ability, but it doesn't do anything without vegetation -- which skates the edge of a distinction without a difference). It cites Accessibility for conditions that affect activation. So you could also just make "Not touching iron" or "Only TL 0 materials" your Accessibility condition. The positive form can still be used -- e.g., buy those couple of levels of IQ that work "Only in a TL 0 Environment".

Put Trigger ("requires exposure to a specific substance or condition") on a Disad.

Last edited by Anaraxes; 11-12-2020 at 06:14 AM.
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:14 AM   #25
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Put Trigger ("requires exposure to a specific substance or condition") on a Disad.
Yeah, but where's the disad I would use for "choking" or "agony"? The closest we have is Nocturnal. But this is a question for another thread.
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:27 AM   #26
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
Just an idea to throw out, but perhaps the elven way of doing a lot of things is really slow. Elves don't work metals at all (my first thought was that metalworking slowly poisons an elf's connection with nature magic), but they have ways of inducing trees to produce woods with a wide range of properties. Need a building? Grow a tree in the shape you need. Need a sword? Make a tree grow a super dense branch in the appropriate shape. It takes decades, but what are decades to an elf?
That's one of the best ideas I have heard. But there is no reason that several swords cannot come from the same tree. It can be trademarked with the tree's name. There can be guilds surrounding the same tree.
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:36 AM   #27
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

Inspired by the responses to this thread, I went back to the Low Tech books and found a good number of weapons and materials that a non-metalworking society could have.

I was less confident about whether or not to make stone off limits, which I think would still be quite a useful building and weaponry material (obsidian spear points and arrowheads, for example). I've been toying with a limitation that "all materials they use must once have been alive" to fit in with their "one with Nature" theme. This leaves open the possibility of shells, teeth/fangs, and sharpened bones and so forth for weaponry, but closes off most rocks and all metals. (As a side note, if carved shells are important as a source of arrowheads, then it could give rise to interesting geographic priorities or sacred sites for the elves. A prehistoric riverbed-turned-hillside in their forest, which also happens to provide the only source of ancient shells, could become a Place To Be Highly Defended if they have no other source of useable arrowheads.

Armor could be fashioned from animal skins and shaped wood (magically if need be) and weapons could maintain a decent forest deterrent with bolas, slings, spears, bow and arrow, caltrops, and potentially even grenades with contents such as burning pitch, sleeping powder, madness spores, and the like.

Vehicles such as wagons, chariots, and carts would not be used, not least owing to their problematic material manufacture, but also perhaps aesthetically being non-pleasing to the elf who prefers to "feel the life of Nature by their skin". Mounted transportation could still be done naturally, if elves are deemed to be able to ride woodland animals like deer - similar to Prince Ashitaka riding a red elk in Princess Mononoke.

Magery or other powers could be limited by the Nature limitation, so they may even deactivate altogether if the elves venture into higher-TL areas. Combined with their limited options for vehicles, this could make the elves a permanent sylvan guerrilla race, quite willing to raze human (or other) higher-TL settlements, but unwilling to take them over for their own.

Obviously, my vision for elves in such a campaign would completely avert certain fantasy tropes ("blond pointy eared skinny nobles wearing platemail, holding their elegant steel rapiers amidst the soaring marble spires of Palace Clichéfael" etc.) but I think it's a good basis for a nature vs. civilization narrative contrast.

Last edited by SolemnGolem; 11-19-2020 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 11-12-2020, 09:49 AM   #28
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

One detail: Carts and wagons are thousands of years older than iron smelting, and all-wood-and-hide Red River Wagons were still used in the 19th c. Not having bronze or iron tools does make woodworking harder. You would see more dugout canoes and bentwod boxes than intricately carved munti-story wooden buildings. Not being able to use stone axes and scrapers would be crippling for food gathering and tool making.
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Last edited by Polydamas; 11-12-2020 at 09:51 AM. Reason: typos fixed
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Old 11-12-2020, 09:57 AM   #29
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

Without stone, they are not even on the TL spectrum really, as TL0 assumes extensive use of stone tools. Honestly, such a species would have been overwhelmed by humans early on unless they have substantial magical advantages and/or lived in areas where humans could not prosper. In the former case, the average individual would need magical abilities that would compensate for lacking stone tools.
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Old 11-12-2020, 11:02 AM   #30
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Default Re: Elves as "closer to nature and lower-tech" - give them a revulsion to metal?

Continue the "growing" theme - the elves work stone by using some form of magic to make the stone grow into the shapes they require - all of their buildings are effectively one-piece castings extruded from the bedrock, possibly with the occasional welded on bit. This would have the added bonus of giving any elven buildings the opportunity to have a delicate, organic look with traceries and flows and such things. Stone tools could also, presumably, be grown into shape.
Singing would seem a thematic way of doing it.
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