Age of Fantasy Lore Focus #2

May 12, 2023

Hi everyone,

Every week we're highlighting the lore of a few factions for each of our games, and this week we're focusing on Age of Fantasy factions!

Wood Elves

"Wood Elves are Elves who live in harmony with the forest and the magical beings within. Although lightly armored, they are able to move quickly and strike at foes from far away, while relying on the trees themselves to slow their enemies.

Over the centuries, Wood Elves have been betrayed by outsiders and even their own kin who have cut away at the edges of the forest. Now, they look on both outsiders and new ideas with suspicion, unwilling to bend in their traditions, even as their forests continue to shrink and the world threatens to leave them behind.

The ancestors of the Wood Elves migrated to the Heartwoods to find a new home as human tribes had begun to encroach on their ancestral lands. Here, they met the Treelords, powerful beings who dwelt in the Heartwoods, and the two forged a pact. The Elves would protect and nurture the forest, never harming it without need, and in exchange, the Treelords would protect and provide for them.

When Humans arrived at the edge of the forest, they began to clear land for farming and cut trees for fuel. Together, the Elves and Treelords drove the humans back, though the humans held onto the land which they had cleared. While many Elves viewed the humans and their ways with distrust, others began to learn from their foe, taking metal weapons and tools from them, and they even began trading with them. They called themselves High Elves, as they began to build stone towers and carve out Kingdoms in the Heartwoods, claiming the forest lands for themselves. The remaining Wood Elves and their allied Treelords fought back against their former kin.

The Wood Elves won a costly victory, exiling the High Elves, and leaving their old towers to fall to ruin. The Wood Elves renewed their pacts and clung closely to their traditions, distrusting any who strayed from them. So it was that the Wood Elves remained in isolation for centuries, maintaining their old ways of life until the arrival of the Havoc Gods.

The followers of the Havoc Gods raided the forests, taking lumber for their weapons of war, and burning what they did not need. The Wood Elves fought desperately to drive them back, but it was soon clear that their enemies were too many. So, when the High Elves offered an alliance, the Wood Elves reluctantly accepted it. This alliance quickly grew, and the Wood Elves conceded large parts of their forest to give their allies lumber for weapons, ships, and fortifications.

Yet when victory came, the Wood Elves had little to show for it, as their former allies claimed the land where the woods had once been, and some even sought to encroach further. Now, the Wood Elves fiercely guard what remains, but the forest continues to shrink with each passing year. Even some Treelords believe that their days are numbered as the forest continues to shrink.

How will you uphold the ancient pacts of your people?"

High Elves

"High Elves are a faction of prosperous Elven principalities made up of traders and merchant-princes. Their wealth allows them to maintain elite and highly mobile armies, emphasizing cavalry and archery over more durable line infantry.

The High Elves have built a prosperous realm along the coast of Tyria, though they remain a shadow of their former glory. The High Elves once sought to build an empire to rival humanity and unite the Elves under their rule. Instead, their ambitions have twice resulted in costly and violent civil war, fragmenting their people even further than before.

The Elves of Tyria once lived together in the Heartwoods which took up much of western Tyria. These Elves often came into conflict with humans encroaching on their borders. Over time, some Elves began to learn from their foes, taking metal weapons and tools from them, and they even began trading with them. These Elves started to adapt human tools and knowledge to their home. They called themselves High Elves, as they began to build stone towers and claim parts of the forest lands for their Kingdoms, driving out those who refused to adopt their ways. The remaining Elves allied with the spirits of the forest and fought back, defeating the High Elves and forcing them into exile.

The High Elves migrated to the coast of Tyria, on the edge of the Heartwood forest. They settled this isolated and sparsely populated land, and rapidly built new cities of stone and steel along the coast, while using whatever lumber they could find to build great fleets. These cities competed for power and position amongst themselves, and High Elven rulers considered wealth, intrigue, and knowledge to be every bit as critical to their cities’ welfare as castle walls and a standing army.

The High Elves sought out knowledge and skills, like smithing and craftsmanship from their neighbours, while jealously guarding their own secrets. Enterprising High Elves became wealthy and powerful, while the rest risked falling into poverty. They built trade colonies throughout Tyria, but their richest colonies were in the Dark Isles, where the High Elves grew spices and mined gold.

When the Havoc Gods arrived in Tyria, the High Elves reluctantly set aside their old rivalry with the Wood Elves to make a temporary alliance, offering their aid in exchange for wood and other supplies to build their fleets and feed their armies. This alliance soon expanded to include much of Tyria, with Dwarves, Humans and Goblins. However the Elves of the Dark Isles took the chance to declare their independence. When their conflict with the Havoc Gods ended, the remaining High Elven armies and fleets sought to reclaim their lost colonies, but were soundly defeated by the Dark Elves and their allies.

Now the High Elves have lost their fleet and colonies, whilst Havoc followers raid their shores, and the Wood Elves refuse to aid them. Still, the High Elves seek out new opportunities, exploring through Voidgates and forging new alliances.

How will you return your people to prosperity?"

Dark Elves

"Dark Elves are a faction of pirates and freebooters, who have cut themselves off from their homeland, and have learnt to tame the wild and monstrous beasts of their native isles through an alliance with the Snake-Elves. They are swift and skilled attackers, but their lack of armour leaves them vulnerable to counter attack.

The Dark Elves won their struggle for independence, but now, without a common enemy, there is nothing to keep them united. They must tread carefully with their new found freedom, as they risk either falling into lawlessness or tyranny if their delicate truces collapse.

Before the High Elves arrived, the Dark Isles were only known through sailors’ legends and tales, which spoke of the waters as dangerous and infested with sea beasts. High Elf sailors discovered the islands during their voyages, and soon found the islands were rich in spices and gold.

The High Elven Kings sought out colonists to claim these once-mythical islands, but only the most daring and desperate Elves would venture out to the isles, since most ships sent to the isles were lost to the creatures beneath the waves. The colonists who arrived on the islands had to learn to survive independently, as shipments were often lost to the sea and many colonies were lost completely.

Those who did survive did so with the help of the Snake-Elves. The Snake-Elves had lived on the isles for centuries, and learnt how to tame many of the islands’ creatures. The settlers developed close relations with these Snake-Elves, trading wealth and weapons from the mainland in exchange for the Snake-Elve’s knowledge and skills. The High Elves took a more cautious approach, viewing the Snake-Elves with scorn and attempting to subdue the sea-beasts by force.

Despite the dangers of the Dark Isles, the Elven Kings and their merchants expected their share of profit from the colonies. Colonists resented paying taxes to the supply ships that often were lost at sea before they arrived, because as ships left port, heavy with the wealth of the islands, they became tempting targets. Many settlers took on a life of piracy, returning with wealth that otherwise would have been sent to the homelands. These pirates soon filled the moneyed class of the islands, overtaking the old nobility in wealth and power.

The colonists rejected the taxes imposed on them to fight the distant Havoc Wars, and many began to speak of independence, calling themselves Dark Elves. The High Elves then sent a diplomatic mission to negotiate with the colonists, only to have their diplomats slaughtered, and the High Elven navy was thoroughly defeated by a coalition of pirates and Snake-Elves using the monsters beneath the waves.

The Pirate Lords’ ambitions have only grown since they won their independence, and they have begun to pillage along Tyria’s coasts and through its Voidgates. Now it is unclear whether the Pirates’ alliance will last, or if the fiercely independent Dark Elves will collapse into civil war.

How will you bring fortune to the Isles?"

Deep-Sea Elves

"Deep-Sea Elves are elves who have adapted to live deep below the sea through magic, taming the mysterious creatures that dwell beneath the waves. Their war hosts are made up of elite infantry units supported by powerful war-beasts, using dark magic to levitate over the land.

The Deep-Sea Elves are ruled by mages obsessed with knowledge, who rule with absolute authority. Faced with rebellion, the mages decided to destroy their home and live beneath the sea rather than surrender their power. The surviving mages have slowly rebuilt their civilization, still seeking to expand their knowledge and power at any cost.

In ancient times, the Elves were driven from the plains by the expanding human tribes. While many Elves fled to the Heartland forest, others were driven into the sea. These Elves discovered a great island to the east of Tyria and made their home there, finding many ruins and relics from lost civilizations.

Most of these relics had been worn away by time, left broken and indecipherable, but the Elves who studied them gained a deep insight into magic and many powerful tools. Some of these wards were still active, and it was only through their magic that the islands were kept safe from flooding. Soon, these scholar Elves became powerful mages and ruled over their people. They learnt to command the beasts of the sea and demanded absolute obedience from their subjects. They used their knowledge to modify themselves to gain greater control over the creatures they controlled, slowly becoming more and more like their monstrous servants, capable of living in the ocean as easily as on land.

As the Mages became increasingly tyrannical and detached from the rest of the sea elves, so too did resistance against them. Eventually, the Mages were faced with revolution, and even their powerful magic and monstrous servants were not enough to quell it. The Mages and their followers became desperate, and chose to release even the creatures which they could not control, though they knew it would require them to destroy the island’s wards.

As the ocean and its monsters poured onto the island, these Elves fled into the deep sea, narrowly escaping the destruction they had wrought. The Elves found new lairs in caverns deep beneath the ocean, where they hid away, as much of their knowledge and relics had been abandoned in the flood, and were now scattered or destroyed. Slowly, the Mages and their servants began to rebuild in the oceans of Tyria, jealously seeking to reclaim the knowledge and power which they had lost beneath the waves.

For centuries now, the Deep-Sea Elves seek out whatever relics and magical knowledge they can find through coastal raids and hidden Voidgates, and some say that they are nearly ready to re-emerge onto the land and forge a new Empire to replace the one they have lost.

How will you reclaim your birthright?"

That's it for this week, we hope you enjoyed this lore focus. :)

Happy Wargaming!

– OPR Team

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