Elf, Valley

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Elf, Valley
Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:High to supra-genius (14-20)
Treasure:M,N (G,S,T)
Alignment:Chaotic neutral
No. Appearing:10-40 or 20-240
Armor Class:4 (10)
Hit Dice:1+2
No. of Attacks:1 or more
Damage/Attack:1-8 (by weapon)
Special Attacks:+1 with bow or sword
Special Defenses:See below
Magic Resistance:90% to sleep and charm spells
Size:M (5-6' tall)
Morale:Steady (11)
XP Value:420

Whether a separate race of elvenkind or simply an offshoot of gray elves, the elves of the Valley of the Mage have distinctive features and characteristics. In the World of Greyhawk fantasy world setting, they are found only in the immediate vicinity of the Valley of the Mage. They are known as valley elves to most races, but other elves use a derogatory term implying the status of slaves or created things rather than servants or allies.

Other than the distinctive attributes described below, valley elves conform closely to the characteristics of gray elves, and of elvenkind in general.

Valley elves are as tall as most humans, but thin with sharp and pointed features. Their hair is pale yellow in the summer, darkening to a rich gold in the winter months. They dress in blues and greens, usually in garments that are loose and flowing. When necessary, valley elves can pass as humans. (Indeed, the Mage of the Valley is rumored to have valley elf spies and assassins arrayed in a network stretching across several kingdoms.) Like most other elves, their preferred weapons are the bow and the long sword. Many valley elves own and wear suits of chain mail.

Combat: The elves of the Valley of the Mage have been known to raid other territories, probably at the behest of their liege. They are also a loyal home guard, patrolling the Mage's lands, more or less in cooperation with gnomes and strange, fierce monsters. Wherever they are encountered, valley elves are quick to initiate combat.

The typical valley elf is a fighter/wizard of 1st/lst level (only 25% of the elves are unable to cast spells). Valley elves are most often encountered in squads of 10d4. Spell choice and weapon use is coordinated. (For example, a wall of sword-wielding elves will protect a second rank of archers and a third rank of elves wielding offensive spells.) However, once such simple coordination is worked out, valley elves have no feel for tactics. Fighters, particularly those carrying swords, are not inclined to worry much about group tactics in combat; each fighter's tactics are intelligent and well-thought-out, but they may not mesh well with the intelligent plans of his neighbor.

Valley elves are excellent horsemen, though they do not ride other mounts. They rarely fight from horseback, prefemng to ride up to a foe, dismount, and engage on foot.

For every five valley elves encountered, there is an additional fighter/wizard of 2nd/2nd level. For every ten, there is an additional leader of 3rd/3rd level. If more than 30 elves are encountered, the squad is led by an elf of 6th/5th level, with two assistants, each 4th/4th level. These leaders expect their orders to be obeyed; they can occasionally counteract the individuality displayed by valley elves at war.

Wandering bands of valley elves often (75%) have 1d4 cooshee (elven dogs) as guards.

Habitat/Society: The Valley of the Mage is a dangerous place, with wild monsters let loose to discourage visitors, subtle traps, and other hazards. Rather than being at risk, though, the valley elves are part of the danger. The elves obey their liege and his First Protector (a female drow in charge of defenses against unwarranted intrusions) and are in turn kept safe from the lands they patrol.

Occasionally, a visitor stumbles onto one of the bands of valley elves, settled among the hills. The elves know that none of the Mage's invited visitors is supposed to encounter them, and so they attack with intent to capture the intruders and take them to the First Protector. Communities have 2d4 cooshee, as well as a council leader, traditionally a valley elf of 5th to 8th level as a fighter, and between 4th and 7th level as a wizard. Valley elves are by nature reclusive and predisposed to resent most other races, except gnomes, whom they tolerate.

Other elves dislike valley elves, believing that they have sold out their most valued treasure, their independence, to the Mage. They are also less than enthusiastic about valley elves taking orders from a drow.

Ecology: The Mage provides for most of the valley elves needs, and they forage for the rest. In return they serve the Mage as agents and guards. They have raided Bessel, the Gran March, Ket, and the Duchy of Geoff.