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Author Topic: The Rajhava: A New Look At Elves  (Read 1465 times)

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Rajhava: A New Look At Elves
« on: March 16, 2005, 09:08:13 PM »
I know that we've tried to rework elves before, and I think that the reason most of them haven't done so well is that we have tried to stay either too close to the mold or strayed too far. The point of New Looks, I believe, is to remake a race in a way that is new and innovative, while retaining the good things about the old race.
I'm not sure if the Rajhava are the new elves or not, but I think they're a pretty good idea, a pretty cool idea, but we'll run with it.
Just so you know- this idea is little bit FFX Aeon, a dash Warhammer 40K Eldar, a chunk of Hindu mythology, a slice of Raksha Fair Folk from Exalted, with a light base of my conception for elves in Scras' (apparently abortive) Indian-subcontinent setting.
Here are my basic ideas:

-They are powerful beings, more powerful than mortal humans. They are immortal and spiritually invincible, though their bodies can be destroyed.

-They exist in the mortal world for the purpose of their personal self-cults, attempting to rise above the world and become gods. To this end, they raise huge temples to themselves, weave elaborate mythologies about themselves, and gather mortal followers to feed them with spiritual power (either literally, like a vampire, or possibly through their prayers).

-Each Rajhava has what is generally called a Perfected Aspect, a powerful spiritual form which reflects their personal conception of their godhood. All Perfected Aspects are both beautiful and terrible- a Rajhava whose aspect is a raging dragon devouring corpses is still beautiful and wonderful, in the way that a volcano is beautiful, or in the way that the cycle of life and death is wonderful. Rajhava's Perfected Aspects can take any shape, and are spiritually powerful, though Rajhava cannot maintain them forever.

-Rajhava, physically, are pretty much stereotypical elves, though they tend to manifest traits reflecting their Perfected Aspects

-A code of virtues and behavior of some sort- connected to Perfected Aspects and ascention to godhood.

-Do they really become gods?

-All Rajhava compete with each other, to an extent. In the race to godhood, I suppose, there can be only one.

As usual, I welcome any collaboration and help. What do you guys think?
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Offline MoonHunter

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The Rajhava: A New Look At Elves
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2005, 11:35:51 PM »
These people are facinating, but I don't think they are a "new look". New Looks are fresh takes on a "cliche" species that still fits much of the social/ psychoecological nitch in the campaign.  For example a new look dwarf will be either subterrainean or live in mountains, or have come from a subterrainean or mountainous environment (The stone people in New Mountains of the Truth http://www.rpgcitadel.com/guild/index.php?topic=1676.0 ). After all, if you change too much, you have a whole new race that has little in common with the original point. ("So it is a short, stocky, bearded race that lives in the tree's?  So they are funky Elves?").  These people make a great "Elder Race", patrons of the lesser people (who are cultivating them humans for mere psycho fodder), but there is a lot more to Elves than that (and Elves seem to have other motivations in mentoring humans).  

The Rajhava are much more Shidhe like, the near demi-gods of Celtic Myth that Tolkein's Elves are a pale tweaked copy of. If they are a "new look" they should be seen as Shidhe/ Fey. These are creatures of spirit made form, bound more by the emotional and thought, than space and matter.

The Rajhava have powers more suited to a high end super hero/ mutant and mastermind/ silver age sentinal kind of character than your normal fantasy/ d20 character. Each will have their own unique abilities based upon their  perfect form (and many of those abilities will follow their "normal form" or exist in a watered down version in their normal form. You are going to need mechanics to support this idea, or there will be a lot of GM fiat.

That is if you are going to let these "things" be PCs.  Shudder.

So with that thought of the way, you can write these people up any way you want.

They are creatures that are going to dominate the campaign world.  Their acts will effect the large scale world (eventually). They are the important NPCs in the setting, so you can't just drop these things into a campaign. They need to be layered in to the history of the setting.

As for the "There can only be one". Blah.  The Rajhava are competing for the same scarce resource, human belief. Since there is only so much human belief to go around, there will be infighting amongst themselves as well as cultivating followers. Perhaps only one ascends in a decade or generation. This means "The Game" gets intensified, then cools, then gets hot again as time progresses.
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Offline EchoMirage

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The Rajhava: A New Look At Elves
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2005, 02:05:23 PM »
Unsuited for a PC race, though...
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Offline Scrasamax

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The Rajhava: A New Look At Elves
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2005, 03:17:24 PM »
I think that most elves tend to be grossly underpowered, when it is considered that the consensus makes elves both magical creatures, and immortal. They are going to have a hell of a long time to perfect their arts and their powers. They are also going to become almost spiderlike in their manipulation of events and things around them.

Why risk the potential danger of death when a few thousand completely expendable humans can accomplish the same goal. These godlike elves are the flavor I am seeking in the Indian based game, and they would not be allowed to be player characters. Perhaps the bastards of illicit relationships with promising mortals, or half-elves, would more commonly resemble the stereotypical elf.

The wood elves are actually the mud-blood children of a single, or a small number of true fae. They fit the general appearance of elves and are long lived beyond the years of man, but are still mortal but serve as the lieutenants of the true fae. These new elves would be beautiful and terrible, but would also be conservative and more prone to long term plans and acting with degrees of subtlty that would take generations to realize. I can also see these elves becoming jaded with the tedium of life and despite their trend towards conservative values would definately be interested in the violence and drama of human life in a vicarious fashion.

Just my two cents.


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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Rajhava: A New Look At Elves
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2005, 04:26:22 PM »
How did I know that MoonHunter would come swooping in with some Elder-Gamer objections?  :)

In any case- I never intended them to be a playable race. In fact, most of the New Looks (at least the ones I've seen) would barely be playable- the Duerga (arguably the first one, not to pat my own back) would be really difficult to fit into a game, arguably.
It is my belief that, in part, playability is something that detracts from a race, because the race must then be pared down to something more closely confined to human ability, which is, suffice to say, small.

Lets work on the half-elves as well, since it would be nice for players to be able to share in some of that god-like elf-power, yes?  :wink:
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Offline MoonHunter

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The Rajhava: A New Look At Elves
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2005, 09:03:21 AM »
Since these people are all about control of the human belief system, they are going to be very careful about halfs.

After all, if the child does not support you, you just created something of a competitor.

If all goes well, then the child is going to be a minion of the parent, doing their bidding, to enhace their parent's chance at "god hood".  After all, if there parent becomes a "god" then their own existance will be improved... if not their own energies.

And who wants to be a minion?

If all goes badly, the parent will seek out and destroy the child, as this little syphon of your own godly energies is not doing you any good... and perhaps is even harming your chances.

And who wants an demi-godish hunted/ nemsis?

And you can't take in someone else's half, because you never know if they are a trojan horse.

And there goes other options not to be under someone's thumb.

So unless the halves are just humans with slightly improvements, just a better version of human... the halves can be a threat. After all, they are the only thing that can compete with the full Rajhava.  

So Halves might just be like the Heros of Lore... slightly better humans... given slight edges but still within human norms... so they can go out and do "great things" enhancing the reputation of their demi-godly parent.  

Which is really what PCs are... people who can do great things and still be within human allowable range.

This model means Halves are pushed to be heroic/ notable people. The more people who believe in the abilities of the Half Rajhava, the more who in tern believe in the power of the half's parent. If you aren't a hero or being famous, then you aren't doing your parent any good. They might just cull you.

I have a thought....
Maybe Half's are the only ones who can work magic in this world?  Not nearly as powerful as their demi-god parents, but still a good edge over the mundanes. That would give them a unique place in the world... given them Orders to belong to (based on parentage and alliance of parents)... and add a great deal of politics/ competition between MUs.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Rajhava: A New Look At Elves
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2005, 09:47:01 PM »
Preliminary name for half-Rajhava- the Mahravit.

Possibilities- "heroic" mortal being, like a Greek hero, gifted with a specific special trait or simply being a very talented individual. Perhaps Mahravit are the only ones capable of sorcery, or possibly a certain kind of sorcery.
Or... The Mahravit are seriously powerful- perhaps not as powerful as Rajhava (and lacking the Perfected Aspect), but if Rajhava are near-Gods, then the Mahravit are half-Gods.
Or... The Mahravit are always born monstrous, containing physical and spiritual aspects reflecting a partial manifestation of the parent's Perfected Aspect. Provides nice hideous henchmen for Rajhava villains and such.
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The Rajhava Creation Myth
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2005, 05:50:40 PM »
The Story of Trikhmunjhidharmalokshatrat, That Immaculate Wisdom Which Dwells In the Ashes of the World

In the beginning, there was the Efflorescence of Being, and outward from this fled nineteen spheres of matter, which imparted a stately dance as they sculpted chunks of nothingness into form. Then came the Cities of Confusions, Rage, Water, Fire, Frustrations, Death, and the final city from which all the other cities and all the whole world can be seen, the city of godhood, the City of Glass.

Out of the City of Glass rose nine haughty Perfects with bodies of glass. They came down and shot the world with glass-lightning and made it perfect, but no mortals would believe that the world was perfect, for they were not perfect, so the Perfects from the City of Glass became angry.

Taking the world, they grasped it by its corners and tossed it like a rug, so that one side settled in the Ontojh, the world of physicals, and the other in the Mahrajh, the world of spirituals. The mortals all became two beings- one was an animal and the other a spirit, but both constantly fought over the same body.

The Perfects were disgusted with the mortals, who could not martial themselves and even enter the gate of the City of Confusions, which is the first and easiest step to being a god.

But one mortal, Ashjujhmudharmashtlit, saw the great glass-shining Perfects floating in the sky, and he took up a spear, and this he threw (for he was very strong).

The spear fled like lightning from cloud and went through the eye of one of the Perfects, and the Perfect cried out in pain. Little shining splinters of glass fell to the ground, and they were so sharp that they became pinned between the Ontojh and the Mahrajh.

Ashjujhmudharmashtlit went with his wife to these glass-splinters, and each grasped one, but they died when they touched it. The glass-splinters then sent out little birds of glass-lightning, and from the womb of the wife of Ashjujhmudharmashtlit crawled a child, and this child then grew greatly and became not grotesque like a mortal, but cast off this grotesquery, and became like a Perfect in mortal skin.

Then this child saw the Perfects. This child decided that he would go and be one of them in the City of Glass.

The child went to the City of Confusions, and there were many tricks of the mind and confusions and illusions and mistakes of the eye and endless questions which have no answers. But the child made his way through these. He became absolutely certain in purpose and mind- no madness or confusion could ever be there, but there was instead iron conviction.

The child then entered the City of Rage, and there was incited many times to wild and furious anger, and battle was all around, and blood was spilt upon his hair and rolled in his jewel eyes. He took up a broken sword then and cleft seventy times seventy others who roared in anger. But then bypassing this City of Rage, he became skilled in battle and strong of thews, though slender, like the dancer, and he knew that rage was a cloud on the eye.

The child then entered the City of Water, and there it always rains, and there it is always cold, and the towers are coated in ice, and he lived for ninety days and ninety nights beneath a great thing that is frozen there that is called Ghujharandakh, Icicle-Giant, but which does not move. When he moved there, the coldness and resisting water told him to cease moving and freeze and rest finally, but he went beyond this. He became immured to apathy and the need to stop and rest, and he learned to proceed like the stone to the bottom of being rather than to ripple like the raindrop.

The child then entered the City of Fire, which is like the endlessness of burning alive, and which is all desert and wasteland. There is no food in the City of Fire, and neither water, so the child became very weak. But he crawled beyond this. He learned to go beyond physical needs- food and water were no longer his need, and heat and pain no longer his irritants.

The child then entered the City of Frustrations, which within has endless stairs and hallways which curve in upon themselves and many laughing naysayers who speak venom words to those who try to find the end of the mazy ways, and many iron doors which send one in the wrong way. The child, though frustrated to no end, went past these. He became deaf to attack and ridicule, and his words unimpeachable, and anger never stirred in his breast when he heard those who told him that he could not continue.

The child then entered the City of Death, and which is so terrible that it cannot be recounted. The child was there for 5,000 and 40 days, and when he left, he no longer feared death, pain, fear itself, or had any fears at all in the fact.

The child then came to the City of Glass, which is the city of godhood, the nexus of all being, from which can be seen anything and everything, and which as arms like those of the armfish of the ocean's deep which reach out into the world of the Ontojh and the Mahrajh. But around this city there was a great girding- the Perfects had made a vast, baroque, showy, tawdry, heavy, blindingly-golden city of their own, which is like a corpse which is covered in gilt leaf, and this the Perfects called Heaven.

The child fought for 6,000 years against the Perfects, and in those days there was much tribulation, and all the world was layed to waste, and the Ontojh and the Mahraj were made into ashes.

But the child slew the Perfects, and their shining blood ran in streams down into the burned land, and the child burned Heaven to ashes, and layed waste to all the Perfects that were there, and all of Heaven's wonders he destroyed, and all of the glory he dismantled, and this he scattered across the world.

Then, the child entered the City of Glass and called his name Trikhmunjhidharmalokshatrat,  which is That Immaculate Wisdom Which Dwells In the Ashes of the World.

Then, Trikhmunjhidharmalokshatrat reached out and incited the blood of the Perfects to mix with the world's ashes, and this he used and recreated the world. And then, he stimulated being, and forth from him came sons and daughters to many degree, and he cast each of these from the City of Glass.

He said to them: "You are my children. You are not Perfects, but you can be Perfects or gods, if you so should wish. Reach into your inner-self and there find your Perfected Aspect. You must rise to the City of Glass."
Then he taught them the Twenty-Three Ultimate Esotericisms, which are the keys of passing through the layers of existence to the Cities.

So that none of his children would destroy the world as he had, he put in every mortal the key to the Cities, that his children would seek them out in order to collect the power to enter godhood.

And these children he called Rajhava.
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