Romance of the Four Elements
Allegedly Intelligent Species
Centauri – As per the GURPS Fantasy Folk, except that culturally, they are the same as in my Stray Dog campaign. Centauri are usually balanced in relation to the elements, but occasionally one might be “mildly” favored. They are rarely “moderately” favored, and are never “strongly” favored by any element.
Dwarves – A direct port from D&D into GURPS terms. Dwarves have a tendency to have more members with the Earth personality quirk as opposed to Air.
Elementals – The four elements are natural forces that inhabit and permeate the world. The elementals are living embodiments of those forces. For each element, there are three types of elementals:
- Vællem – The elementals that most closely resemble humanoids. Each Vællem has a body that is essentially humanoid, but that has features that are closely tied to their element, and have some automatic abilities that stem from that element. The Vællem are the most intelligent of the elementals, and are always at least as intelligent as the average human. A Vællem is also capable of shape-shifting into a Kællem or Ülem of the same element. Elementals can not use magic which stems from their opposing element. The personality of a Vaellem is strongly influenced by the nature of their element, but is not ruled by it, and otherwise behave as one might expect any intelligent individual to act. Vællem will never have the “balance” personality quirk, and will always have a personality quirk of their element, in either “strong” or “moderate” strength.
- Kællem – These elementals have physical bodies that are completely composed of their element, but have an overall shape and body form of a humanoid. They are typically as intelligent as a clever child, although a few are slightly more or less intelligent. Their personalities are almost entirely dictated by their element and have great difficulty behaving any other way. They will always have either the “strong” or “moderate” personality quirk in their element. They have many automatic abilities that stem from their element. The few Kaellem that are capable of casting magic can not cast magic of the opposing elemnet.
- Ülem – These elementals are barely sentient, and just squeak in over the dividing line between sentient beings and animals. The typical Ülem is just barely smarter than a clever chimpanzee. Their physical forms are completely composed of their element, have a roughly conical shape, usually have two or more pseudopods which function as “arms” or “hands,” have two lighter or darker “spots” near the top of the cone which look like and function as “eyes.” Their personalities are completely and totally ruled by their element, and are incapable of behaving otherwise. They always have the “strong” personality quirk of the same element.
Elves – The various types of elves used to be all one culture, and one basic physical type, then the Great Schism occurred, splitting the elves into several distinct groups:
- Birloidi — Birloidi have tough, leathery, green, photosynthetic skin, and thus, a great deal of energy. Most Birloidi have strong, active personalities, and always favor the Fire element.
- Malko’ii — The Malko’ii are heavy, and have stone skin. Most have rock-steady, easy-going personalities, and always favor the Earth element.
- Farnerf — The Farnerf usually live in or near rivers, lakes, oceans, or islands. They travel often, and their empathizing personalities give them natural advantages in diplomacy and theatrics. Their complexions have a blue tint. Their favored element is always Water.
- Soo’na — The Soo’na all have wings, and take to the skies as naturally as humans to the roads, and the Farnerf to sailing. Their favored element is always air.
- S’vardi — S’vardi think of themselves as “pure” elves, embodying everything that was “elven” prior to the Great Schism. S’vardi value excellence as a primary virtue, and apply that virtue to everything they do. S’vardi are always balanced.
- S’olkoan — The S’olkoan are nearly extinct. They were driven to the brink mostly by the S’vardi and any humans that happened to be on good terms with the S’vardi nations. They have survived mostly by immigrating to nations that recognized their right to live. S’olkoan are always either balanced, or have “strong” personalities related to one of the elements. They are never “mild,” or, “moderate.”
Sprites – Average about 2 inches tall, with dragonfly wings. They are typically adept at magic, and are just as mischievous as imps, but tend to be more benevolent than cruel. They usually inhabit forests and grasslands near rivers or lakes. They try to avoid swamps, but can be seen going nearly anywhere, since they are occasionally struck with wanderlust. Sprites are sometimes also called Faeries, but it’s a good idea never to refer to one as such within earshot, or else you might be polymorphed! Sprites usually have Air or Fire personalities, but can favor any element.
Gnomes – Average about 6 inches tall, wear conical hats, and tend to live in rustic areas. Occasionally, you will find some small groups living in certain human cities, where their small size gives them advantages in manufacturing careers. Typicality, though they prefer to live in forested or hilly areas near lakes. They generally know a great deal about nature and are usually experts on local animals and plants. Gnomes always grow their own food in neat little gardens, even if they live in a city. Gnomes usually have Water or Earth personalities, but can favor any element.
Goblins – As described in GURPS Fantasy Folk. Goblins usually favor Water or Air.
Halflings – A direct port from D&D into GURPS terms. Halflings usually favor Earth or Fire.
Humans – The dominant species on this continent, and the standard, assumed, species in GURPS. Humans usually favor one element or another in the various strengths, but can be balanced on occasion.
Imps – About the same height as as gnomes, but with a great tendency towards mischief. They almost always live in swamps or forested areas, and sometimes come into conflict with gnomes. The few that make it to human cities typically find work as thieves, spies, and occasionally assassins, although this may be nothing more than a stereotype. Imps usually favor Fire or Air.
Minotauri – They’re out there. Most are primitive, but a few manage to make it to civilized areas, and in spite of being of being an extreme oddity, are accepted in areas where they try to adapt. The “allegedly” in “allegedly intelligent species” definitely applies to Minotauri, but then again, the counterexamples are shocking and impossible to ignore. Minotauri usually favor Earth or Fire, but the few that successfully integrate into human cities are Air or Water favored.
Sulari – Sulari are to kangaroos as monotauri are to bovine, but with one significant exception: the “allegedly” in “allegedly intelligent species” definitely does not apply to them. Sulari are master mages and craftsmen, and they find the recent (recent, being within the last 200 years for the Sulari,) human expansion into “combining magic and technology, whilst perfecting each individually,” extremely vindicating, even if it isn’t the pure “Sulari way,” and is a rather nice massage to their huge egos. Sulari usually favor Air, but can favor any element, or balance.