Even the wood and wild elves, with their nomadic lifestyles, can recognize a piece of land as ‘theirs’. Not so the wanderer elves or ‘khilasa’, as they are called. These vagabonds travel alone or in caravans, visiting their elven cousins as they cross plains and forests, climb mountains and sail the seas. To the khilasa, the whole world is their home and that of every other creature under the sky. They are proficient tinkers and traders, selling their merchandise as well as their services to complement the hunting and gathering they do en-route.
The Quintessential Elf
Author Alejandro Melchor
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2002
Elves and non-elves receive a khilasa caravan with the same mixture of excitement, expectation and deep mistrust, for an elf with no land is not attached to anything, and elves are unpredictable enough. The wanderers have the self-appointed duty to keep all the clans, tribes and kingdoms of elves in touch with each other, carrying news about what happens to the rest of the elves in the world.
The oldest member of a caravan gets to lead, or passes the position over to another elder. Past that, the khilasa have no further need of a government. A caravan is made up of a single clan, and it is through the deeds of its members that a caravan gains status among the rest of the khilasa. Centuries of travel and boasting have created an aristocracy of sorts, with members of certain clans being treated as royalty by other caravans, but it is all part game and part meritocracy; the ‘noble’ clans are deferred to in certain situations, but receive no other rights nor obligations over the rest of the khilasa. When two caravans meet, they make camp for a few days to celebrate the occasion, and this is the time where they keep their bloodlines fresh by exchanging members through marriage and simple curiosity. There are two main branches in khilasa society: the rovers and the waveriders, who travel by land and sea respectively. Rovers travel with a wide assortment of creatures, including horses and dire animals that serve as mounts, draught animals and beasts of burden. Waveriders have their own ships and are perfectly comfortable spending years without stepping on firm land.
The wanderers are the ultimate free spirits, never settling anywhere for more than a couple of months, and not forging close ties to anything except each other. Despite their long elven lifespans, they are aware that nothing lasts forever, not even the most stubborn wizard, and that the best way to live is in the here and now.
Player Character Information
Wanderer elves have the same traits as high elves with the following differences:
- Personality: Khilasa are jovial and overt in gesture and word, feeling an inclination for the performing arts that carries to their expression, which sometimes is too bombastic for the fine tastes of other elves. Even if they are friendly, the wanderers are worldly enough not to place their trust easily in anyone. They prefer to pretend to be amiable and accommodating, while keeping a hand on their Daggers.
- Physical Description: The wanderer elves have a darker complexion than that of other elves. They stand slightly taller than high elves but not so much as grey elves. Their skin is a copperish brown and their eyes are deep purple, blue or green. Their hair ranges from the steel-blue-black to light brown, and it grows wavy or curly most of the time. They dress in comfortable, yet durable, clothing, hanging all sorts of beads, sashes, bandannas and other items from their bodies. Their life expectancy is slightly lower than high elves, with a maximum age of around 700 years.
- Relations: Khilasa get on fabulously with Gnomes and Halflings, sharing music, songs and news from all the places they travel. The relationship with humans and dwarves tends to be strictly professional, though not a few love-struck humans have run off from their homes to join their caravans. They are friendly with high and wood elves, and walk carefully around grey elves and grugach. Waveriders often travel with sea elves, and only the drow miss the chance of welcoming a khilasa caravan to update them on what happens outside their domains.
- Alignment: Life on the road or the high seas is not very conducive to strict discipline, and the wanderers are ardent followers of benign chaos.
- They are not as concerned about the welfare of others outside their caravan, and a certain selfishness and greed presents itself in unexpected places, leaning these elves towards a neutral stance between good and evil.
- Wanderer Elf Lands: This is an oxymoron. Khilasa have no lands to call their own, and it is uncertain if they ever did. Their wagons, carts or ships are their only properties as well as the cargo they carry inside them. Without a land to protect and patrol, the khilasa concentrate on enchanting their vehicles, and it is a little known fact that a khilasa wagon could make an excellent assault vehicle thanks to all the protective magic it has on it.
- Religion: The wanderers pay lip service to the elven pantheon, praying to elven trickster deities if they feel the need, but generally leaving the heavens alone. The khilasa’s spiritual leaders are shamans and druids more often than full-blown clerics.
- Language: Khilasa speak the normal Elvish language, plus they are familiar with all of its dialects and scripts.
- Adventurers: Some wanderers get tired of the company of their clan-mates and separate when reaching a town or meeting a group of travellers. They adapt quickly to their new companions and learn anything and everything about them. A khilasa adventurer can be annoying at first, but he soon proves his loyalty to his new ‘family’ or warns them that he is leaving for greener pastures.
Wanderer elves have the same traits as high elves with the following differences.
- +2 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence.
- Wanderer elves are not automatically proficient with any weapon.
- Because of their upbringing, the following skills are always class skills for all khilasa: Intuit Direction and Appraise. Rovers have the following skills as class skills: Handle Animal, Profession (teamster) and Ride. Waveriders have the following skills as class skills: Balance, Profession (sailor) and Use Rope.
- Favoured Class: sorcerer or rogue.