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 Qualinesti Elves

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DM Breeze
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Join date : 2011-11-16

PostSubject: Qualinesti Elves   Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:04 am

An elf of Ansalon is a mixture of contradictions. Each
has a wild, primitive side, one seeking unity with the
natural world around him; the Kagonesti embrace this.
Conversely, there is also a side that aspires to learn, create,
and raise mortal civilization to new heights; the Silvanesti
have taken that mantle.
The Qualinesti have taken what could be considered
the middle path, but in truth, it’s much more than simply
an amalgamation of Silvanesti cultural refinement with
Kagonesti conscience. The Qualinesti represent the
progressive side of elvendom and are more willing to
engage the wider world than other elven nations.

Physical Description

Qualinesti tend to be a shade taller and noticeably slighter
than their Kagonesti brethren. Their build is willowy and
graceful with a complexion the light color of sun-bleached
oak. Their hair color runs from a rich walnut to the golden
of autumn aspen leaves and is, almost without exception,
thick and full. Before the tragedy of Qualinost and the
nation’s subsequent exile, many Qualinesti women wore
their long hair in luxurious and complex braids. Now,
however, with the vast majority of Qualinesti in exile in
Khur, practicality has led to more utilitarian hairstyles for
both sexes. Qualinesti facial features are fine and delicate,
with high cheekbones and sharp, piercing eyes of chestnut
brown or sky blue.
Qualinesti dress is designed to be functional yet
beautiful, with men favoring woven trousers and jerkins.
Women once preferred long dresses or skirts with a
form-fitting bodice, but after the exile to Khur, they have
begun to dress with more practicality in mind. In the
deserts of Khur, both sexes add a geb, a white robe-like
garment of Khurish origin, in order to ward off the heat
of the sun. Browns, muted greens, and other rich earth
tones dominate Qualinesti traditional dress. The clothing
of both sexes is generally plainer than the clothes the
Kagonesti wear—there’s less intricate embroidery, except
in formalwear, which is extravagantly decorated with all
manner of patterns.
When dressing for function, Qualinesti prefer rugged
leathers similar to those worn by the Kagonesti. A
buckskin tunic and leggings with stout boots and hardened
leather armor is common for Qualinesti scouts. Qualinesti
warriors will add metal armor: elven chain for lightly
armored warriors, high quality full plate and mail for
heavy troops. Both Qualinesti men and women wear jewelry.
Earrings are extremely common among women, and some
men wear them as well. Bracelets, necklaces, and pendants
are also frequently worn by both sexes. For formal
occasions, women will wear tiaras, circlets, coronets,
ornate barrettes, and other ornamentation in their hair.
Unfortunately, this sort of formality has become rare since
the fall of Qualinost.

Psychology

Qualinesti psychology is difficult to summarize. As a
group, they are not as stubborn as the Kagonesti, nor as
arrogant as the Silvanesti, but they show hints of both
traits. They are not as suspicious as the Kagonesti, nor
as xenophobic as the Silvanesti, but at times, they can
demonstrate both.
Generally, the Qualinesti are a principled people. Most
believe good must be pursued in all cases, that innocents
must never be harmed, and the end never justifies the
means. They are willing to fight for causes right and just;
Laurana the Golden General, a Qualinesti princess, led the
Whitestone forces against the Dragonarmies in the War
of the Lance. They aided, at least in a small way, human
refugees from Abanasinia fleeing the Red Dragonarmy as
it approached Qualinesti by providing them sanctuary as
they escaped.
Qualinesti tend to have an air of superiority and
arrogance, though not to the same extent as the Silvanesti.
Most are convinced that their culture and social structure
are far more advanced than those of any other race. This
trait overwhelmed their principles when, during their
sojourn in Southern Ergoth, they took a great many
Kagonesti prisoners in order to civilize the barbarians.
This sad state of affairs lasted until the destruction of
Qualinost and the resulting exile, and many Qualinesti still
don’t believe that it was wrong to try, still believing their
Kagonesti cousins to be in need of aid and education.
Qualinesti have historically been isolationists. They
allowed no non-elf to enter their lands mistakenly;
uninvited guests in the Qualinesti Forest were removed–
sometimes gently, sometimes not. They ferociously
defended the borders of their forest, retreating only twice,
both times when faced by certain defeat—once against
Verminaard and his Red Dragonarmy, and the other
against Beryl the green Dragon Overlord. However, the
isolationism has not historically gone as far as outright
xenophobia; the Qualinesti have typically been the most
open of all elven nations, commonly sending traders,
scholars, and adventurers out into the world. Dozens of
Qualinesti wizards have enjoyed successful careers in
the Orders of High Sorcery, traveling all over Ansalon.
Of course, in this era of exile, isolationism is no longer
an option for Qualinesti culture; this has been a painful
transition for many.
Modern Qualinesti are often quite emotionally scarred.
Almost every Qualinesti on Ansalon lost a loved one in the
disaster at Qualinost; many lost their entire families. Nalis
Aren, the Lake of Death, is an irremovable splinter in the
psyches of most Qualinesti; their once-beautiful capital
city, which stood as a bastion of beauty and learning and
a pinnacle of mortal civilization for thousands of years,
is now a fetid pool, filled with the decaying corpses of a
dragon overlord and thousands of her victims. Most say it’s
still haunted by the ghosts of those who died there. With
such a huge part of their cultural identity torn violently
away, severe depression, malaise, and despair, once almost
unknown among elves, have become common among the
Qualinesti.
Among elven cultures, Qualinesti is the nation with
the most variance between individuals. Any generalization
made about the psychology of the Qualinesti is bound to
be somewhat off the mark for many.

Social Structure

Qualinesti social and institutional structures have been
modeled loosely on that of the Silvanesti. Qualinesti’s
founder Kith-Kanan, a prince of Silvanesti, brought many
of the conventions of Silvanesti social structure with him,
including a caste system and a hereditary patriarchal
monarchy. These traditions and institutions will
undoubtedly change as they forge a new place in the world.
The leader of the Qualinesti is known as the Speaker
of the Sun. Although elves typically do not use the term
“king,” the office is in most ways indistinguishable from
that of a traditional human monarch. It has always been
held by a direct descendant, usually in the male line, of the
great Kith-Kanan and is currently held by Gilthas, son of
Laurana the Golden General and Tanis Half-Elven. Gilthas
is not universally loved; he is one quarter human, and this
mixed bloodline causes some Qualinesti to mistrust him.
The Speaker rules alongside the Senate, the Thalas-
Enthia. The role and power of the Speaker versus
the Thalas-Enthia is only loosely defined, relying on
tradition rather than statute to define the powers of each;
traditionally, the Thalas-Enthia has served in an advisory
role for the Speaker, but there have been instances in the
past of a particularly strong senator temporarily tipping
the balance of power in favor of the Thalas-Enthia. During
the current exile, the Thalas-Enthia has become nearly
irrelevant.
The Qualinesti have a house-based caste system as the
Silvanesti do, but it is far less rigid and hierarchical—and
far less important—than that of their eastern cousins.
Qualinesti houses bear a great deal of resemblance to
trade guilds, and mobility between houses is common;
a Qualinesti with a talent for jewelry-making might be
invited to join House Gemcutter, even though his family is
traditionally of House Celestial, for instance. Even among
the nobility, very little of a Qualinesti’s reputation and
prestige is wrapped up in house membership, and most
Qualinesti commoners ignore the house system altogether.

Names

Some Qualinesti names are many syllables long, and most
will have a shortened version used by family and friends;
examples include Lauralanthalasa “Laurana” and Tanthalas
“Tanis.” Like the Kagonesti, most do not take on surnames.

Folklore

Kith-Kanan, founder of the Qualinesti nation, is the
single greatest folk hero of the Qualinesti. The tragic love
between Kith-Kanan and the wilder elf Anaya, his first
wife and mother of his son Silveran, is the subject of many
folktales and legends. It’s considered one of the rites of
passage for young Qualinesti children to put on plays retelling
the tale of Anaya and Kith-Kanan.

Magical Practices

Qualinesti elves hold arcane magic in high regard. It is
considered a mark of prestige for any family to have a
member pass her Test of High Sorcery and don white
robes. Qualinesti Wizards of the White Robes find
welcome in almost any Qualinesti home; in fact, a white
robed wizard of any race is likely to be received well by a
Qualinesti. Many Qualinesti pursue limited arcane skill;
a sizeable percentage of the population has studied to one
degree or another. The loss of arcane magic hit Qualinesti
wizardry very hard, and precious few White Robes of old
took up their art again after the War of Souls.
Wizards of the Red Robes are not quite so welcome.
Qualinesti who earn the Red Robes will find that they are
no longer welcome at home; if they push the matter and
insist on returning to the community after their test, they
may find themselves cast out as dark elves. Of course,
those of the Black Robes are immediately banished from
the community, and black robed wizards of any race find
most Qualinesti quite openly hostile. See the Dark Elves
sidebar for more details.
Divine magic is also welcome, if rare, among the
Qualinesti, provided it comes from one of the gods of
light. Now that E’li is no longer in the pantheon, the tiny
number of Qualinesti clerics and druids to recommit
themselves after the gods’ return are mostly devoted to the
Blue Phoenix and Quen Illumini.
Many of Goldmoon’s students at the Citadel of Light
were Qualinesti elves. Though rare, mysticism remains
among the Qualinesti, as some elves question whether
the gods still truly care about them. With the Qualinesti’s
historical ties to the Orders of High Sorcery, ambient
sorcery is very uncommon among them.

Religion


For thousands of years, the Qualinesti thought of
themselves as the chosen of E’li and the other gods of
light. E’li’s fall from divinity has challenged Qualinesti
spirituality in a very fundamental way, but the flexibility
of Qualinesti culture is aiding in their transition. Some
Qualinesti, believing the gods have abandoned the elves,
have taken on a secular outlook. Most Qualinesti disagree,
and while their faith in the gods has changed, it still
remains in some form. Members of the Holy Orders are
rare among the Qualinesti, but those who do exist are held
in very high regard.
Quen Illumini has replaced E’li as the primary object of
worship among the pious Qualinesti, and her clerics, called
Light Bearers by the Qualinesti, bring healing to Qualinesti
individuals and communities. There are only a few Light
Bearers among the Qualinesti. There are rumors that Quen
Illumini has called a small number of druids and rangers
to her service among the Qualinesti who remain in the
forest.
While they turn to Quen Illumini for comfort,
Qualinesti call upon the Blue Phoenix for endurance.
Many Qualinesti find that Habbakuk provides them
with the strength to pick up and carry on, even though
everything they’ve known has been torn asunder. Some
in exile are learning to see him in the shifting dunes of
Khur as they saw him in the forests of Qualinesti; through
that recognition, they are rediscovering their spiritual
connection with Krynn. Some Qualinesti have felt a
different calling to the Blue Phoenix and have taken up the
more solitary life of druidry.
Saddened that a once-joyful people have been struck
with so much despair, Astra has been a refuge for those
needing to feel the spark of happiness. The perceived
frivolity of appealing to the god of bards in times such as
these angers some Qualinesti; others think those who are
annoyed by it are the most in need of Astra’s healing.
The Mantis of the Rose (Majere) also holds a place
of honor among the Qualinesti. Contemplatives studied
in his ways of mental discipline have aided many of the
Qualinesti wrestling with emotional wounds; some of
those suffering from post-traumatic stress and severe
depression have found relief in the serenity the Mantis can
inspire.
As many Qualinesti become more militaristic, worship
of Kiri-Jolith is increasing. They beg for the military
strength to win back their old homeland or gain a new one.
Worship of the gods of Neutrality is uncommon but
not unprecedented. Those who do must be very careful
to maintain a low profile. Personal devotion is tolerated,
but too much open proselytizing can risk the scorn of the
community. Shinare and Chislev each have cults among
the Qualinesti, and Zivilyn is often respected as a sponsor
of sages and philosophers.
Service to the gods of darkness is not tolerated among
the Qualinesti. The Dark Queen Takhisis and her servants
have repeatedly attempted to wipe the elves from Ansalon,
and even though she is gone, the Qualinesti wisely do not
trust any of her fellows. The Qualinesti attempt to convince
anyone found to be devoted to the gods of darkness
to repent of their errors. Even so, Kinis (Sargonnas)
seems to have taken more than a passing interest in the
Qualinesti’s current plight. Some Qualinesti have aligned
themselves with the Cult of the Bloody Condor, giving in
to their despair and turning it into a thirst for vengeance.
Additionally, Hiddukel finds that despair and desperation
make fertile ground for his seductive lies.

Racial Traits

• Elvensight: Krynnish elves have low-light vision
and can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight,
and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain
the ability to distinguish color and detail under these
circumstances. Elvensight also includes darkvision up
to 30 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is
otherwise like normal sight.
• +1 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Sense Motive
checks. Though they can be as aloof as the Silvanesti,
the Qualinesti are more inclined than most elves to
deal with other races.
• Automatic Languages: Common, Elven. Bonus
Languages: Abanasinian, Dwarven, Ergot, Goblin,
Khurish, Ogre, Sylvan.
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