Sunday, 28 August 2016

Elves of Known Space

The inhabitants of Aquila, capital of the Aquila Sector, are an eccentric lot, and not only does it have a Hobbit colony, it has a population of Elves as well.

A very hospitable Garden world it attracted a large number of colonies from all over Earth including some utopian groups who rejected most technology and sought to live 'in harmony' with the environment. The global warming that had seriously affected Earth by the end of the 21st century was a prime example of what could go wrong.

Most of the colonies were underfunded, under-equipped and over optimistic about how easy it would be to adapt to Aquila's not-quite Terran ecology. The only ones who made a success of going back to nature was a Tlingit group, and they brought plenty of modern guns, chainsaws and motor boats and a laboratory load of exo-zoologists to make a thorough study of which local fauna and flora could be exploited and how much human predation they could bear.

The more dippy-hippy types mostly drifted into the farms and towns of the less idealistic colonies to avoid starvation, resulting in a relatively high proportion of Druids, Odin worshippers and Wiccans in the modern population. 

But on the edges of the major colonies and in areas left as parks and nature reserves there are still holdouts, survivors of the initial colonies, and it became the fashion among these people to have their ears surgically altered to be pointed in the cheap plastic surgery clinics catering to the suburbanites of the New Dorset, Merovin and Onika colonies. The 'wild elves' in the backwoods achieve the same effect in an initiation ordeal involving obsidian knives, bone needles and plenty of opiod and catecholamine containing plants.

There are now over three million of them. Three-quarters of these elves are part-timers, living normal lives in the technologically advanced cities and spending only a couple of months a year in their forest villages, some of which are actually rather plush 'glamping' holiday homes. Another eighth are effectively in the tourist trade or work as park rangers and a only a few live up their ideal of living entirely self sufficient lives off the land. 

The 'half-elves' seem to do well in marketing and management consultancy, segueing easily between mystical baloney and management jargon. It seems no Human Resources department on the planet is without a glib elf to promote the cosmic oneness of the team.

They follow revived and reconstructed versions of long defunct 'pagan' religions from Earth and some have gone the whole hog and treat Tolkein's fictional mythology as if it was real. Some 'serious' occultists are dismissive, but others accept that according to the theories of Chaos Magick, mentally creating your own deities is perfectly acceptable. They are well known for their use of recreational drugs, not that most of Aquila has a problem with that, and like to use strong hallucinogens for special religious rituals. Some even speak Quenya, the fictional language Tolkein concocted for his creation.

They are coming into conflict with the rest of Aquilan society. 'Green' parties have considerable influence in Aquilan politics and industrialisation has been as low impact as possible, but it has had some effect. The elves have turned militant on occasion and resorted to localised eco-terrorism, and kidnappings of campers who fail to clean up after themselves are almost routine. Others have turned their attention to the damage being caused to other worlds of the Aquila sector by even less considerate colonial regimes.

Mongoose Traveller rules

Dave 'Celeborn' Nasmith, elf advertising salesman

Part-time elf, 'half-elf'

  • Social Standing is -1 due to them being regarded as eccentrics and outsiders, Education is -1 due to ideological issues with many areas of science and technology.
  • Must take Survival 0 as one of their background skills.
  • Have a -1 DM to enlistment in any career that involves military service or travel off-world.
  • They may abandon any career and become a Drifter/Barbarian, and this the default option if they fail to enlist or re-enlist in a career.
  • In any situation where knowledge of technology is a factor they have an effective TL of 10, even though their planet is TL 12.
  • May take Militant Religious and Insurgent from the Spica Career books.
  • May not use cybernetic enhancements.

Nalacra sez take your empty beer cans home or else.

Elf, 'wild elf' or 'wood elf'

  • Endurance +2, Education -4, Social Standing -2; they are thought of as potentially dangerous due to drug use and history of terrorism. They really have no use for most conventional education.
  • Gain Survival 1 as part of their background skills.
  • Have a DM of -2 to enlist in any career other than Drifter/Barbarian, Citizen/Colonist, Militant Religious or Insurgent. Their reputation for ideological fixation and religious eccentricity precedes them.
  • They may abandon any career and become a Drifter/Barbarian, and this the default option if they fail to enlist or re-enlist in a career.
  • In any situation where knowledge of technology is a factor they have an effective TL of 4, even though their planet is TL 12.
  • Regard those who use cybernetic enhancements as less than human and are openly hostile towards them, dubious about genetic manipulation.

Adventure Hooks

  • The Voice of the Planet are a very militant elf terrorist group who have staged some high profile attacks on major industrial areas and are now targeting civilians in the Korine Pines district of Onika. The civilian attacks are unusual for this kind of group, but as the players investigate it becomes apparent that the 'Voices' have decided that the ideal population of Aquila is 30 million - the current population is over 300 million. The planet has suffered asteroid strikes in the distant past and recovered, a precedent the VoP may follow...
  • A daredevil thief has nabbed a fortune in jewels from the luxury space liner 'Princess Marguerite' and bailed out in orbit using a personal re-entry shield to reach the planetary surface. He hit ground somewhere in the Indigo Lakes National Park, players are going to need the help of the local elves to find him, and they might be helping him to find his way out.
  • The elves are leaving Middle Earth... Even though there is plenty of wilderness left on Aquila, some elves feel that it is getting overcrowded, industrialised and will be like Earth back in the late 21st and early 22nd centuries in a couple of generations. They are on the lookout for a new unspoilt planet to colonise, or have found one in the fringes of Known Space, and with the aid of a successful half-elf who has made a pile selling gimcrack magic crystals and tree-bark 'healing bands' to the gullible back in the core worlds are hiring merchants to take them there.
  • The Psionics Institute in New Dorchester has long claimed to be able to awaken mankind's latent psychic ability, and has a small but dedicated following for their meditation programs and vaguely yoga like exercise programs. Sceptics say they are nothing but a scam (their history as an offshoot of the Church of Scientology doesn't help), but they are promoting some elf called Merkurius 'Feanor' Hyvonen as having amazing powers. Merkurius background is obscure, he is apparently a wild elf from a tribe in the back of beyond discovered by a PI holidaymaker. What can he really do? How much is bullshit? Is he taking the PI for a ride? Or are they taking advantage of some shroom head hippy hillbilly?
  • Now it is getting fucking silly, the Orcs are on the march! Nationalist grav-biker gangs in New Dorset have dabbled in Nordic style paganism for a while, though vociferously disowned by the Orthodox and Reformed Grove Odinists. They have never liked the elves, stupid hippies that they are, but a couple of gangs are beating them at their own game, dying themselves green and sharpening their teeth to become Tolkeinesque 'Orcs'. They are getting hopped up on amphetamines and riding over the leafy lanes of New Welwyn Garden City stun-gunning and beating anyone with pointy ears. Rumour has it that they have been deployed as 'security guards' by Twinkling Springs Hydroelectric who are planning on damming a really quite minor river near the Indigo Lakes and have been meeting elvish resistance.

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