Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Druids and Elves and True Neutral OH MY

True Neutral: the hardest of the alignments to play, the most misunderstood alignment (barring the fact that most people misunderstand AD&D alignments entirely), and the most important alignment for 10th Age elves and all AD&D druids.

There are two competing strands of elvishness in popular culture, the 10th Age, and fantasy. These are the sylvan elves of myth and legend and the civilized elves of D&D and most of Tolkien. Hell, they're even divided in Tolkien between the Noldor and the Avari (those who heeded the call to Valinor and those who did not). This reflects an inherent tension in the bifurcation that has naturally occurred in myth and legend.

In the 10th Age, this is reflected by the division between the civilized elves (called the Wind Elves) and the sylvan elves (the Wood Elves) who are themselves (surprise!) divided based on the original groups of elves who accepted the assistance of men and the teaching of magic and tower-building and those who did not. The two populations have crossed over throughout history; historically, many Wind Elves gave up "civilized life" and joined or created new Wood Elven tribes after great catastrophes and most famously after the devastation of the Red Plague that ended the 9th Age.

The Wood Elves live amongst the forests and do not build towers or walls; they encourage the growth of hedges and trees, live in their boles or boughs, and often live in caves. Their society is organized around a true neutral principal of balance and they are seen as preservers of the balance. Elves have two divine "parents" in Anunia (the Wind Lord) and Tulia (the Spring Maiden) even though they were physically created by Anunia himself as a gift to Tulia. The Wind Elves favor their father, it is said, while the Wood Elves favor their mother.

What does this devotion to true neutral mean? It means that they have a cultural commitment to druidism (a true neutral religion which worships Senia the Moon Maiden and Aloran the Watcher as well as Tulia) and they believe in the balance. I meandered around for a while before I remembered what the point of this post is and here it is: druids and wood elves and those who believe in the balance are NOT HIPPIES.

Certainly, nature is sacred to the Wood Elves. But they don't believe that nature must conquer mankind or even that it must be respected. They believe that there is a natural balance between man and the forest, between the races of the world. They believe in preserving the natural balance—and goblins, men, and dwarves are all part of that balance. They aren't radical tree-huggers (even though they hang out a lot with ents and Forest Giants). SO THERE.

2 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this post. Though for me it wasn't informative, it was just a fun read :)

    ReplyDelete