Elves

Elves are an aloof and spiritual people, seemingly attuned to a rhythm wholly alien to the shorter-lived races of the world. They are insular and private, protective of their culture, traditions, and wisdom, and are incredibly guarded (if not bigoted) towards outsiders. They possess an otherworldly grace and a keenness of mind that makes them stand out among other civilized races. Most elves follow a unique nontheistic philosophy called yirsa'el (roughly, "dharma") that informs their moral compass and dictates the duties and rights that they have as a race. Of course, many elves today pay mere lip-service to the spiritual traditions of their people, particularly as they mingle more within the melting-pot of culture that is the Empire.

The longevity and low fecundity of elves almost inevitably led to them developing the most complex sociopolitical systems in the world, where alliances and enmities are formed on timescales equivalent to multiple generations of humankind. Bloodlines are carefully cultivated, with young scions of a family used like pawns in the longest game of chess ever played by the elders. There are two major bloodlines of elves: the Aelruun and the Quelran. Within each bloodline are many families that can prove lineage back to certain important figures in elven history. It is said that there were once other bloodlines, but they have been lost to time. Many elves thrive within this cutthroat atmosphere of familial politics, but an increasing number are leaving elven society entirely, embracing the world outside their traditional lands where their blood does not matter.

Elves were not always so insular, obsessed with politics and power and consuming themselves from the inside out. They prided themselves on their advanced understanding of philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and all things mystical, being particularly skilled diviners and soothsayers. Knowledge was treated as something to be shared freely, for it was the birthright of all peoples to stand on the shoulders of giants that came before them. This, of course, was seen as dangerous by the Emperor, and when the elves were faced with destruction or silencing, they took the latter path with great sadness. Some elves dare to dream of a return to this golden age, but few express it openly for fear of the repercussions. 

The most well-known facet of elven spirituality is called Istyavë ("the Enlightenment"), a ceremony performed when an elf reaches the cusp of the third phase of their life according to elven numerology – usually around 150 to 200 years of age. An elf at this point must decide whether they ascend to join the enlightened ones beyond the veil, or to remain behind in service to the Empire and the elven people. This latter path is considered a great sacrifice worthy of much respect, for while these elves live long and lavish lifestyles funded by the Empire's bureaucracy, they may never claim the immortality that is their birthright. 

Elf Traits

Your elf character has the following racial traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.

Age. Elves define four phases of life in yirsa'el: childhood, adulthood, enlightened, and transcendent. An elf reaches physical maturity at about the same age of humans, and are considered an adult from around the age of 30 and up. Achieving enlightenment or forgoing it is a choice the elf makes around the age of 150. Elves who forgo enlightenment can live to be around 750 years old, but those who go beyond the veil never pass away from old age. An enlightened elf may choose to transcend—leaving behind their physical body and merging their consciousness with the great starlight.

Alignment. While elves have a strong moral compass guided by their families and yirsa'el, they nevertheless value free thought, exploration of the self, and self-expression, so they tend towards neutrality, although lean somewhat towards the gentler aspects of chaos. Classical elven culture and belief is one of shared knowledge and support to all peoples, but the effects of the Empire on them as a race have resulted in the elves prizing self-sustainment over anything else.

Size. Elves are slightly taller and more lithe than humans, ranging from slightly over 5 to more than 6 feet tall with slender builds. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.

Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill.

Fey Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can't put you to sleep.

Trance. Elves do not sleep. Instead they meditate deeply, remaining semi-conscious, for 4 hours a day. While meditating, you dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive after years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit a human would from 8 hours of sleep.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Elven.

Bloodlines. Though rumors abound of bloodlines that existed in the past, today, two main bloodlines persist: the Aelruun and the Quelran. Choose one of these bloodlines.

Aelruun

Aelruun was a powerful elven diviner whose prophecies foretold the fate of the universe. Her writings have been lost to the ages, as the Empire demanded all copies were burned, rejecting the words within. Elves of the Aelruun bloodline are pale, with alabaster skin sometimes tinged with blue. They often have hair of silver-white, black, or blue, but various shades of blonde, brown, and red are not uncommon. Their eyes are typically blue, green, or silver, and often flecked with another color entirely.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.

Elf Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.

Cantrip. You know one cantrip of your choice from the wizard list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.

Extra Language. You can read, speak, and write one additional language of your choice.

Quelran

Quelran was an honored king of the elves, a leader of great wisdom who forged the first elven alliances with feykind by marrying a hamadryad queen. The Quelran elves once felt a great connection to the untamed wilds, but with the urbanisation of their lands have lost much of this. Elves of the Quelran bloodline have coppery skin and tend to be slightly taller than Aelruun elves. Their hair tends toward browns and blacks, but it is occasionally blonde or copper-colored. Their eyes are typically green, brown, or hazel, but gold or purple is not uncommon.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Elf Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.

Fleet of Foot. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.

Mask of the Wild. You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.

Elves

Beyond the Empire Ange Ange