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Aerana
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What's in a Night Elf? (Night Elf RP Guide)

Postby Aerana » March 20th, 2014, 7:09 pm

*Moderator's Note: This post was salvaged from the previous incarnation of the Ravenholdt Sanctum. It is being reproduced here.

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What's In A Night Elf?
by Slaye » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:49 pm


I wrote this guide a while back, but I figured I could share it with you guys now.

Because sharing is caring.

What's In A Guide?

I just thought I'd post this here(On Sly since her post history is tied to more useful things than Ela's is) since I had a rather interesting conversation with a friend while at work today.

The gist of his side of the discussion was that he couldn't get into the 'mindset' of a Night Elf to RP one at first, which led to him avoiding them, and then eventually sort of 'hating' them(though that's the wrong word and I can't think of the right one at the moment) simply because he didn't understand them.

So I thought perhaps I could post a few things here that might help out anyone trying to start up a Night Elf.

1) What's In A Name?

MOST(but not all) Night Elf names are generally a personal name, and then a surname(though this isn't entirely accurate). The 'surname' can either be a family name, or a chosen name(Because, let's be honest. There's far too many warrior-types running around with combat-based names for that to be coincidence).

And there's never been a whole lot of evidence that passing along names through a family is the ONLY way it's done, like with Humans in the good old Real Life.

This surname is usually made up of two parts. Something nature-y, and then a concept or item that relates to or complements the nature-y part.

Some examples:

Stormrage - Storm, and then rage. Makes sense.

Whisperwind - Whisper, and wind. Should be obvious.

Something a little more abstract: Ravencrest. Raven is a very dark haired bird, and a crest can either mean the crest of the bird itself, or a crest as a symbol. From what I remember of Kur'talos Ravencrest he was a very serious individual, and he did have dark hair. So again, the name complements the elf.

Sly here's last name: Ravenwind. Ravens are very dark, serious, somber birds. Sly's a Warrior, and she's generally the serious type(Though she does lighten up, she's not all doom and gloom), and she knows how to get down to business when you need to. Then, wind. Ravens are birds. They soar on the wind. They bend one of the strongest forces of nature to their will to get where they need to go. I felt it made sense for a Warrior.

Obviously, your character's name need not have such depth. It could be something like Bladeleaf for a Warrior, Shadowbranch for a Rogue, or anything else that you think fits or sounds nice. It's just a name, after all. But it's the idea that your Elf's name CAN mean so much that I felt required a mention.

2) What's In A Gender?

Perhaps more than any race, your gender as a Night Elf actually does matter when it comes to character creation. It doesn't -have- to, but RPing as a Night Elf feels more connected to the lore when the lore is actually taken into account.

A little history lesson: With the exception of ONE major character, Night Elf males are generally calm, collected, and take the long view on matters of importance. Jarod. Malfurion. Kur'talos(You'll see me mention him a lot). Fandral(Until he took a lolevil faceheelturn. He was an meaniehead. Not evil.)

Almost exactly the opposite, almost all Night Elf females are fiery-tempered, driven, pragmatic, and have a little bit of the femaledog in them. Tyrande, Maiev(Even if she did go crazy. :< ), Shandris.

Males are GENERALLY, NOT ALWAYS, the more diplomatic types. They might be the ones who would go "Naw, I'll stay home with the kids. You go slaughter some Orcs." NOT ALWAYS. Let me repeat that. NOT ALWAYS. But the gender roles have been shown to be somewhat reversed from what they normally are in Real Life.

Females are GENERALLY, NOT ALWAYS, the ones who answer the "Call to duty", whether it be to war, to the Priesthood, or to something else. They make up the bulk of the fighting forces, the vast majority of the Priesthood, and they make up a sizable chunk of the Circle these days. Your GENERAL Night Elf female is going to be a driven, strong, very capable woman.

Notice I emphasized GENERALLY every chance I got. These roles are not set in stone by any means.

This is a guide. It isn't a rulebook. You are free to make choices about your own characters.

3) What's In A Number?

Age is a -very- important factor for a Night Elf.

You might ask "But they were immortal! How can age matter?"

"Because", I would answer grammatically incorrectly, "Age defines what your Night Elf has likely seen and done."

Let's use a few examples. Night Elves were immortal. Given a little luck(or a lot of skill) a Night Elf could have been alive since the first Night Elves stepped foot from the woods and settled around the Well of Eternity. (The original one. Not the one on Hyjal. Don't get them confused.)

Say a Night Elf is around 13,000 years old. Night Elves themselves are only(And the history is hazy, so forgive me that I can't be more specific) anywhere from 17,000 to 14,000 years old as a people, so a Night Elf that old would be ancient indeed. They have seen literally every important event that has ever happened to the Night Elves, be it the Sundering, the Troll Wars, the original World Tree, the Night Elf empire-thing at it's most glorious, the Satyr War(Which we know almost nothing about), the War of the Ancients, and likely the War of the Shifting Sands. As well as numerous wars we know nothing about, but were mentioned by Maiev.

Does this have to make them a horrible stick in the mud? NO. This does not have to make them a horrible stick in the mud! What this means is that it can mean almost anything you want it to mean. Is your Night Elf world weary and just continues plodding along for something to do? Is your Night Elf an amazing <Insert thing here> because they've had thousands of years to practice? Is your Night Elf a Night Elf supremacist because obviously they've been around forever and they're perfect and all that spicy stuff? Is your Night Elf the type to constantly try new things because they have forever to do so?

This is the best part. They can be any of these things. Just because you're old doesn't mean you have to be a traditionalist stick in the mud. Though you certainly can be! Your character is your own. You make the choice.

Now, what if your elf is young|old? Say, something in the 9,000-1,000 year old range?

They were born during the Long Vigil. Meaning, they came in when the Night Elves were declining/beginning to decline. Now, they're not dead by any means(Though the Horde wants us to be! /shakefist), though they're nowhere near as strong as they used to be. This is also okay! They never saw the Night Elves in their full glory, but imagine the stories they were told! They could pine for the days of old, and wish to restore them. Or perhaps they could think that perhaps it was good that the Night Elves fell, to teach them a lesson. Maybe they don't care! You choose!

Now, for you youngin' whippersnappers out there who are younger than a thousand years old. I would advise against making your Night Elf younger than 300. From what lore we do have left, this would fall in the possible range of being considered a child. I would take a safe bet and be at least somewhere in the 500 year old range. But that's just me. Remember kids, oldpeoplewholikekids are bad!(that's a joke).

What does being young mean for your elf? It means they're young! And we all know what young kids do. They go out, they explore, they try new things. This age group is the MOST likely to be out doing things, trying and exploring and finding their interests in a rapidly changing world. They're likely the ones out fighting the Horde with the most venom, or the ones growing into the newest rank of Malfurion Acolytes or the newest ranks of the Priestesses. These elves are the future of the Night Elves. They will decide the direction the Night Elves take in the coming years.

4) What's In A Class?

Class is a very important choice for a Night Elf. While it's an important choice for anyone, remember that most Night Elves have something on the order of 2,000 years yet waiting for them. They have a loooong time to be a Warrior. This is because, as I just mentioned, Night Elves, even while no longer immortal(Malfurion went all, "Immortality? Naw, Noz, dude. We'll be 'aight."), Night Elves are still very long-lived. Best guesses place something like 2-3 thousand years remaining on even the most ancient Night Elf's lifespan. They have a reeeeeeeeeeeally long time to be whatever class they choose.

Really, this is one of the least important factors, because this is an RP server and your class choice doesn't necessarily ULTIMATLY DECIDE your job choice, but it does still matter.

It matters because what class your character is can say a lot about your character. A Warrior isn't going to be a pansy flower picker*. A Rogue isn't going to wear plate(It's noisy), which means they're ready to expose themselves to danger if they have to. A Hunter is going to be a damn good marksman*, and have a companion of some kind*. A Mage is going to be fairly bookish(you have to be, in order to use Arcane. You're not born a Mage, contrary to semi-popular belief).

* means YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE. I have seen concepts contrary to what you would expect from a class played well. Not everyone needs to be forced into a mold and told "DO WHAT WE SAY OR DIE". Though, there are some guidelines.(In a guide. I made a funny).

Let's break it down, shall we?

Warriors are first because duh. A Warrior wears plate. They use melee weapons. That means they're going to GENERALLY have skill with these things, and they're GENERALLY going to be somewhat physically strong. They're also GENERALLY going to be willful, strong, determined individuals.

I say Generally because I've seen a cowardly, weak, inept Warrior who tried so hard and was played well, and she was an ABSOLUTE DELIGHT to RP with. I won't go too in-depth with these because this is YOUR CHARACTER and you get to decide. I will frowny-face at you if you decide to be THE BEST EVER SPARKLY AWESOME MCAWESOME FACE, though.

Rogues are GENERALLY going to be... well, Rogues can actually be a hell of a lot of things. Swashbucklers, determined but sneaky melee fighters, sneaky stabby assassins, underhanded sneakthieves, all sorts of things! Rogues are probably one of the least-defined classes because they can be almost -anything-. USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Think outside the box, please I beg you. I have seen so many fun-to-RP-with Rogues, and fewer of those than you might imagine were Baddy McBadass in the dark armor brooding in the corner. Though you can be that too if you wish!

Druids are actually more open than people think. Yes, a Druid will have been taught about the balance of nature(A very important concept to Night Elves, balance. I'll get to this eventually). Yes, a Druid will have been taught Druidism. Yes, you do actually have to have some aptitude for Druidism to be taught. They're not going to waste time teaching someone Druidism who can't even make a flower happy to see them. But, here's the thing. NOT EVERY DRUID NEEDS TO MASTER ALL ASPECTS OF DRUIDISM. I'd repeat that, but I'm working under a word count here. Gosh.

Hunters. Hunters are fun. Hunters can be almost as many things as a Rogue can. Old School(And awesome!) Priestess of the Moon? GOGO. Sneaky marksman? GOGO. World-savvy woodsman? GOGO. Simple hunter? GOGO. BE FREE MY FREE WILL CHILDREN. Go forth and populate the world with interesting characters.

Mages. Oooh, Mages. This one requires a bit of history. And I'm probably going to catch Flak for this. Night Elves and Mages had a bit of a falling out somewhere around 10,000 years ago. The War of the Ancients and the Sundering. Two things you've probably heard about. Not going to get too wordy here, so you can look these things up on your own. But Mages and Night Elves don't really get along. Now that Highborne are accepted back into the fold, they ARE ACCEPTED, but other Night Elves likely won't be too happy about it. They probably will be especially unhappy about a Non-Highborne Mage taking up the Arcane arts(An NPC in Feralas is actually ostracized from her friends because of this). But, you can do so! Mages do make sense as a class choice. Fighting Fire with Fire is very apt in this situation, methinks.

Priests. Mmn. Holy. Here's the thing: Night Elf Priests do not use the Light. (Unless you converted, but WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. Elunism is so fun!) Which means that your shiny golden spell graphics don't really exist except for you to yell "BE HEALED" when they go off. Priests of the Night Elf variety follow Elunism. Or Elunitism. Or whatever the hell you want to call it. They follow Elune, damnit! Elune is an Arcane/Divine entity depending on who you ask. I won't go into debate mode because guide. So they either heal with MAGIC *sparkles* or divine energy. It's really anyone's ball to say which. BE FREEEEE~

Last, but not least: Death Knights. Another history lesson is in order. NIGHT ELVES DO NOT HATE ALL UNDEAD ON SIGHT. Let me actually repeat this one because it's that important.
NIGHT ELVES DO NOT HATE ALL UNDEAD UNCONDITIONALLY AS SOON AS THEY SEE THEM. Wisps are dead Night Elves. And pretty much every Night Elf that's ever existed is going to love them some wisps. Wisps are where Night Elves get their wood, stone, gold, minerals, etc. Wisps are also undead. Think about it. Also, the Watcher NPC in Warcraft 3 raised Avatars of Vengeance(or something like that) who were themselves empowered to raise undead spirits from slain enemies. That doesn't exactly sound like something someone who unconditionally hates all undead ever would allow/do. We all know the whole DK thing is it's own debate, but I will throw this at you: WE HAVE QUITE ENOUGH EMOTIONLESS ROBOTS, KTHNX.

5) What's In A Profession?

I'll start with Engineering. These will be short because you can do sooo much with your professions I could talk all day about them.

In short, Night Elf Engineers do exist. Glaive Throwers didn't spring into being spontaneously. They are complicated pieces of mechanical machinery things. They do have to be constructed/maintained. Night Elf Engineers probably do this.

Blacksmiths are pretty self explanatory. They make weapons and armor(And other things!)

Okay, since I'm getting wordy, I'll just say this about professions: THERE IS NO PROFESSION THAT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE FOR A NIGHT ELF TO TAKE. NONE. NEIN. NO. Take whatever you want. Just please please please incorporate it into your character somehow. It gives them depth! RPers love depth!

6)What's In A (Bad~) Romance?

Night Elves seem like the sort to be 'pragmatists' when it comes to romance.

As in, they don't seem to care too much about what gender the person is- at least, that's what we've seen in the past.

With the way that Night Elves have been dropping likes flies in the interim though, it's entirely possible that there may be a new 'push' to so speak for a little bit of repopulatin' doin' some horizontal mambo between the sheets, if you know what I mean.

But there's at least two 'canon'(If you want to call them that) f/f 'couples' that we know about. Sweetspring and Amber... Amber-something in Dragonblight flirt one-sidedly, and then Maiev and Naisha was heavily alluded to in Warcraft III.

However because Blizzard likes to take a stance of "Hint first and confirm never" so they can be as inoffensive to as many groups as possible, it's extremely likely that we'll never get an explicitly stated f/f couple or even a m/m couple anywhere in the game at all, no matter what race.

7)What's In A Language?

Someone requested a small section on language, so here we go.

Darnassian: It's called "Darnassae" by the Night Elves themselves. Which raises some questions. Was Darnassus named after the language? Was the language named after the city? Were they both named after something else we don't know? We're not sure. It is the language that every Night Elf speaks. It is their natural, cultural language. From what I understand it has a sort of 'sung' quality to it, almost like... uh, think of something sort of like latin chanting.

Listen to this for an example of what Darnassian likely sounds like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZy9ziutmaA (And it's a beautiful song besides, so listen to it anyway)

Common: We have conflicting information on Common. On one hand, we have information that states Common is a language spoken by every race on Azeroth, regardless of faction lines or even planetary boundaries. It is the language spoken by everyone on the planet, even the Horde, and even races that have never met Humans before(Vrykul speak it, Trolls speak it, Tauren speak it, hell Draenei speak it and they're not even from the same planet). So it would make sense that anyone everywhere(Even the Night Elves) would speak Common.

There's also information that states that Common is the language of the Humans, but I actually believe this is false. There was an article posted somewhere that I've since lost that stated that there was a Human language named "The Common Tongue" or something along those lines, that all the Human tribes(Yes humans evolved from tribes to city-states to what we have today in WoW) spoke long ago. When they started meeting other races and they realized that everyone spoke Common anyway, it would appear that the languages were simply folded into one, which is why the Humans only have one language.

Basically: Your Night Elf speaks Common. There's no "I was never taught" or "I never learned". You speak it. End of story. This goes for Draenei too.

The only way you could get around not speaking Common is if you were never taught to speak at all.

... That wasn't short at all.

So, we have class. Race. Gender. Age. Profession. Romance. Language. That sounds like a pretty good guide to me! I'll leave this post open for some Q+A if I get them. I pretty much guarantee that I'll get them.

What? You expected more? I'm not going to hold your hand.

What do I look like, your mom?

8) What's In A Q+A Section?

Stuff.
"It is all a balance."
~Aerana Dantay, Empress of the Twilight Empire~

Nolan
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Re: What's in a Night Elf? (Night Elf RP Guide)

Postby Nolan » August 16th, 2014, 4:48 pm

This was a great read but I do have some questions about the factors in a night elf's age.

Now, I've asked this before about Draenei but getting any lore about them on an official level is nearly impossible when it comes to specifics. With Night Elves I hope it's a different story.

Now it's common, human knowledge that as we grow up and our minds expand, we learn things and depending on how enthusiastic we are about learning, we are capable of learning very large quantities of information. We also pack plenty of experiences into our personalities and memory as we age until we are all wisened elders with naught but tales and experiences to share with the next generations. This is how it is.

However, we know that Night Elves, as you so clearly put it, have and can live thousands of years, far longer than any human could hope to live. I realize Night Elves are different from human beings but since they're written by humans, there has to be some logic here. My question is this; how is it that even the youngest Night Elf player character isn't at least as wise and experienced as the most elder human or dwarf?

For my particular case, as an example, I want my male Night Elf druid to be of equivalent age to myself IRL, which is 24. This would mean that after the 320 years or so it took for him to reach the equivalent of 18 years of age in physical appearance, my character would be something of 426.7 years old. (Each Night Elf age year is 17.7 human years by my calculation)

In my character's 426.7 years of learning how to be a druid and traveling the world, he would have undoubtedly accumulated more knowledge than 1000 human 24-year-olds. So would this be true? Are all Night Elves super wise, super experienced, and just super powerful with all these decades and centuries spent growing, learning, and mastering their crafts?
Noldain: Human Death Knight
Baltus Ravenholm: Worgen Priest
Nylaenan Oakwhisper: Night Elf Druid
Nipwick Mechaneedle: Gnome Rogue
Njolin Stonefeather: Dwarf Shaman

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Re: What's in a Night Elf? (Night Elf RP Guide)

Postby Kiraleen » August 16th, 2014, 6:02 pm

No, they're not. They're still individuals with their own comfort zones, likes, dislikes, fears, etc. Add in the "keeping up with the Joneses" factor when "the Jones" have been druids for 14,000 years to your 10,000, and studying the habits of fauna half the continent away doesn't seem that important.

You really need to just play the game rather than try to map everything out beforehand.

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Re: What's in a Night Elf? (Night Elf RP Guide)

Postby Nolan » August 16th, 2014, 6:39 pm

Kiraleen wrote:No, they're not. They're still individuals with their own comfort zones, likes, dislikes, fears, etc. Add in the "keeping up with the Joneses" factor when "the Jones" have been druids for 14,000 years to your 10,000, and studying the habits of fauna half the continent away doesn't seem that important.

You really need to just play the game rather than try to map everything out beforehand.


Well, I'm just trying to plan out my character's background a little. Besides, I can't play the game yet anyway so I have ample time to sit and think and get the facts straight. I can't help but explore different ideas, lore and such. I'm just thinking logically that after over 400 years of life, my character might be wiser than any living human, let alone Tyrande and Malfurion who are over 10,000 years old. Perhaps it's not logical to assume that, but such is the problem I run into with creating background for such long-lived characters.
Noldain: Human Death Knight
Baltus Ravenholm: Worgen Priest
Nylaenan Oakwhisper: Night Elf Druid
Nipwick Mechaneedle: Gnome Rogue
Njolin Stonefeather: Dwarf Shaman

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Re: What's in a Night Elf? (Night Elf RP Guide)

Postby Cerestal » August 16th, 2014, 8:33 pm

Age doesn't make you wise, life experience does.

A twenty-four year old human with a hard upbringing that's loved and lost, fought in half a dozen theatres of war and had his ass kicked more than once (curiously enough, my rogue of a hunter is twenty-four), can be wiser than a 10000 year old night elf that has sat in a small village for the entire time and attained fewer life skills.

There are other things that influence someone's ability to learn such as personality, intelligence and education, religion and community.

I mentioned this in the draenei post that the night elves came into existence amidst a war with trolls and aqir. If they really needed 300 years to become fighting fit, they'd have been snuffed out thousands of years ago being unable to replenish their numbers over the course of a war. The lore is sketchy, but I maintain that a night elf grows at the same rate (perhaps a little slower) as a human. A twenty-year old night elf is perhaps a sixteen year old human.

I'll make a reference to cats in real life. They don't age linearly to us - their first year is about 16 of ours, the second around 8 or 9 and ~4ish after that. They still need to mature and reach a breeding age first, and night elves would need to do that as well.

I'd also like to point out something about immortality. A famous American sergeant in WWI shouted 'Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?!' He was obviously speaking of immortality through glory, but I've thought about what the effects of living forever would have on staring death in the face.

I believe that particularly among Alliance units, cases of desertion and cowardice among rank-and-file night elves (excluding Sentinels b/c they're badass) would've been rather high, even after their mortality post-Hyjal. The mindset wouldn't have changed right away.

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Re: What's in a Night Elf? (Night Elf RP Guide)

Postby LEGION » August 16th, 2014, 10:16 pm

The most worldly, life-experienced human will not be an equal to the most worldly, life-experienced elf by the simple fact that any elf who isn't asleep or hidden in complete isolation WILL have experienced more. The problem is that we, as limited human beings, have a really, really hard time wrapping our heads around what it must be like to live a span that would encompass multiple human lifetimes, and not go crazy.

So, I think it's entirely appropriate to wonder about these things -- but I don't think you can expect to find the answers from Blizzard. Because frankly, there are some deep, philosophical questions that they, as a creative force, are simply not equipped or interested in exploring. I'd say consider what has happened in 300 or 400 years. What world events might your character have been involved with or affected by? Did he or she travel a conventional path within the race, or diverge for some reason? If s/he diverged, why and where did that take him/her?

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Re: What's in a Night Elf? (Night Elf RP Guide)

Postby Lukar » August 16th, 2014, 11:07 pm

Nolan wrote:
Kiraleen wrote:No, they're not. They're still individuals with their own comfort zones, likes, dislikes, fears, etc. Add in the "keeping up with the Joneses" factor when "the Jones" have been druids for 14,000 years to your 10,000, and studying the habits of fauna half the continent away doesn't seem that important.

You really need to just play the game rather than try to map everything out beforehand.


Well, I'm just trying to plan out my character's background a little. Besides, I can't play the game yet anyway so I have ample time to sit and think and get the facts straight. I can't help but explore different ideas, lore and such. I'm just thinking logically that after over 400 years of life, my character might be wiser than any living human, let alone Tyrande and Malfurion who are over 10,000 years old. Perhaps it's not logical to assume that, but such is the problem I run into with creating background for such long-lived characters.


As I said in a different thread, I've always pictured Night Elves like the Asari of Mass Effect. In their youth, they go out and do wild things, live, love, be reckless, and gain the life experience they will need later in life. After 300 to 400 years, they should have gathered the life experience to move on to the "matron" stage, where they slide into that role as an older, "mature" member of Night Elven society. So they may be more wise and mature than any 24-year-old human, but it's just a matter of what that elf has seen or done during their life. So ultimately it's up to you to make that determination.

Also, let's get one thing perfectly clear here. Night Elves develop at the same rate physically and mentally as all the other races. I'm not sure how this concept that because they aren't deemed "mature" until they are 400 suddenly became that they are mentally and physically children for 300 years.
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