Tyranny of Dragons
Tel-quessir (also Tel’Quessir or Tel’Quess) are a number of closely related, long-lived fey races commonly known as elves, though this term is now acknowledged to be technically inaccurate. Nonetheless, the name is common and many of the Tel-quessir consider themselves as one larger culture, an attitude not unjustified given that nearly all Tel-quessir speak Elven and share a common history together. Perhaps more importantly, the Tel-quessir were once one race, generally assumed to have been the eladrin or “high elves.”
For these reasons and others, the Tel-quessir are often considered as though they were one race and called “elves.”
Tel-quessir are a relaxed people, with a degree of patience and detachment granted to them by their long lifespans. Tel-quessir are not easily excited and lack the greed that sometimes characterizes other races. Most Tel-quessir are unconcerned with the events that only affect the short-term and are likewise slow to make friends or enemies since time for them is measured in centuries, not decades. Focused in whatever they apply themselves to, Tel-quessir ignore the slight but rarely forget the serious.
Because of their long lifespan, most Tel-quessir have a patience uncommon to other humanoids. Tel-quessir view the lives and concerns of younger races as fleeting and take less joy in the short-term victories that other races have to content themselves with. Instead, Tel-quessir take pleasure in things that have more endurance, such as the arts or the honing of one’s skills.
Tel-quessir have an affinity for freedom more than anything else, preferring the way of unrestricted liberty to the restraints of civilized law and order. Liberty, both of one’s self and of others, tends to be the greatest virtue in Tel-quessir cultures. This love for freedom is often tempered by a good and generous nature, though not always, drow In particular standing out as an example of evil amongst the Tel-quessir.
Because of this, Tel-quessir governments tend to be very loosely organized, with small groups of Tel-quessir accepting the legitimacy of a respected noble, who in turn acknowledges the authority of a monarchical king. Though Tel-quessir empires have been built in the past, few in the present currently exist. Instead, most Tel-quessir, be they eladrin or elf, prefer to live in natural harmony with nature. Prior to the Spellplague many moon, sun, and wood elven rulers paid their respects to the Elven Court, presided over by Queen Amlaruil in Evermeet.
Tel-quessir are typically omnivorous, like humans, but tend to eat very little meat. This is not so much out of a concern for the animal as an effort to make as little of an impact on the natural world as possible, with Tel-quessir believing that the consumption of vegetation has a slighter effect on the natural harmony. Additionally, this partially comes from many Tel-quessir cultures’ traditions of nomadic life, which require food to be easily preservable.
Tel-quessir tend to take up the adventurer’s lifestyle for a number of reasons. Some do so out of, more than anything, boredom or a sense of wanderlust that drives them to explore beyond the boundaries of their homelands. Tel-quessir do not like being tied down and most often pursue careers that lend themselves well to adventuring. Some Tel-quessir enjoy adventuring as a way to demonstrate their own skill, such as with a bow or sword, while others do so in order to help others.
RELATIONS WITH OTHER RACES
“Tel-quessir” is the elven word for “the people.” Likewise, “N-Tel-Quess” is the elven word for “not people” and is used to refer to races outside of the Tel-quessir. This often gives other races the impression that Tel-quessir are elitist, racist and condescending to other races, but most simply see these as words with no hidden meaning or agenda.
Although the other races sometimes believe the Tel-quessir to be arrogant and condescending, the fey races don’t hold any particular hatred for any races as a whole, though individual races may have particular attitudes. The harshest racial conflict for the Tel-quessir is actually often within, given the long-standing feud between the drow and the other Tel-quessir races. The Tel-quessir can seem distant and unfriendly because many of the other races, such as humans and halflings, have a much shorter lifespan. It is easier for one of the Tel-quessir to avoid contact with these races, rather than befriend individuals who will live only a small fraction of the elven life.
Dwarves and the Tel-quessir generally have a different problem in forming relationships. Dwarves favor hard work whereas the Tel-quessir generally enjoy relaxation. Dwarves enjoy carving homes from the rock and engineering unswerving straight lines, while elves prefer more natural, flowing shapes. Dwarves and Tel-quessir can form strong bonds of friendship, but only when both agree to overlook each other’s differences.
Gnomes and Tel-quessir, both fey creatures in origin, generally get along well due to their mutual love of life, combined with the gnomes’ love of fine art and illusion magic. On the other hand, halflings and Tel-quessir share only a lukewarm relationship. The Tel-quessir trait of eating sparingly is not welcomed in halfling society, and Tel-quessir can sometimes deem a halfling’s curiosity as childlike and troublesome.
Tel-quessir regard humans with both fear and respect. Humans can grasp magic and adapt to many situations incredibly fast from the perspective of the Tel-quessir, but the fey are wary of the human tendency to claim lands as their own, often regarding them as greedy. It is quite possible for strong friendship to develop between humans and Tel-quessir, but it is equally possible that hostilities might arise.
The Tel-quessir’s origins are uncertain but recent evidence suggests they were born in the war between Gruumsh and Corellon. During the battles Corellon shed some of his divine blood and it is said that from this blood the eladrin were born. Elves, who do not like the implication of superiority that often precedes the eladrin’s supposition that they came first, are not always so convinced of this tale, however. Given the Feywilds tendency to produce “echoes” of creatures from the Prime it is also possible the Tel-quessir are one such echo. Regardless, it is now well-acknowledged that the Tel-quessir originally came from the Feywild, also known as Faerie, and immigrated to the then united worlds of Abeir-Toril over a hundred millennia ago, with the green elves arriving first.
After their arrival the Tel-quessir went about building their empires and the first such state was created in approximately -24000 DR by the gold elves although ancient texts suggest that the Tel-quessir were present on Toril at around -30000 DR which was approximately when the draconic species established their first empires.
The Tel-quessir reigned on Toril in relative peace until -12000 DR when the gold elf nation of Aryvandaar invaded the dark elf and green elf nation of Miyeritar, starting the first of five Crown Wars which, in total lasted for 3000 years.
At the end of the fourth war, the dark elven Ilythiiri were banished to the Underdark, becoming the drow. Finally the fifth war that followed resolved matters, ending the conflicts. The Tel-quessir remained at peace with each other (with, of course the exception of the drow) and the dwarves had established themselves fully.
For many millennia, thousands of Tel-quessir, particularly moon elves and sun elves, left Faerûn for the isle of Evermeet in a long migration known as the Retreat. However, by 1374 DR most of the Tel-quessir who desired to leave had already done so, as remarked upon by Cambrizym of Candlekeep, and in fact, the Retreat began a gradual reversal, with many who had left or their children returning to the continent.
Tel-quessir, regardless of their native plane, tend to favor woodlands over terrains, though exceptions exist. Most Tel-quessir communities are relatively small in scale, around a few hundred in number, and blend easily into the natural landscape. These communities are usually very well isolated and contact between Tel-quessir and outsiders is usually a matter of deliberate contact rather than accidental as a result.
Tel-quessir who live among humans, of whom there are many, tend to take on lives that favor the arts, such as that of minstrels, artists, or sages. Many are also valued as martial instructors, given the Tel-quessir races’ well-known skills with both the bow and the sword.
ELADRIN: High elves, also known as eladrin, are graceful warriors and wizards that originated from the realm of Faerie, also known as the Feywild. In addition to living in the Feywild, they are at home in Arvandor and Gates of the Moon as well as the forests of the world. They are magical in nature and share an interest in the arcane arts. From an early age they also learn to defend themselves, particularly with swords. Even exceptionally strong high elves look rather slim compared with other races, looking athletic rather than muscular.
Elf Race, High Elf Subrace
LLEWYRR: The Llewyrr are a race of elves that once held sway over the isle of Gwynneth and perhaps others of the Moonshaes, but as humans began to colonize the islands the Llewyrr decided to retreat to Synnoria and isolate themselves. The Llewyrr are very similar to those called the high elves and it is suspected the they were the descendants of the survivors of a shipwrecked elven vessel that was on a pilgrimage to Evermeet, but only the Llewyrr can know for sure. Llewyrr typically have dark grey to pale grey skin and ash-white hair. They can be mistaken for Drow on occasion, though those who recognize them as a different subrace tolerate them as well as all elves.
Elf Race, Drow Subrace. Replace Superior Darkvision with Low-Light Vision. Remove Sunlight Sensitivity.
MOON ELF: Moon elves, also known as Teu-tel-quessir in their own language, or as silver elves are the most common of all the eladrin subraces. More tolerant of humans than other eladrin, moon elves are the ancestors of most half-eladrin. Like all eladrin, the Teu-tel-quessir are tall, close to humans in height, but more slender and beautiful. Moon elf skin is pale, often with an icy blue hue. Moon elf hair is commonly black, blue, or silvery white, although human-like colors are heard of as well, though very rare. Moon elf eyes, like those of other eladrin, are very commonly green, although some are blue as well. All exhibit a characteristic best described as golden flecks speckled through the iris.
Elf Race, High Elf Subrace. Replace + 1 Intelligence with + 1 Charisma.
SUN ELF: The sun elves, also sometimes known as gold elves, sometimes as high elves due to their stereotypically elitist ways, and Ar-tel-quessir in their own language are a subrace of eladrin historically rare in Faerûn due to the Retreat, in which the majority abandoned the continent for Evermeet, although during the Era of Upheaval they began return to the mainland. Haughty and arrogant, sun elves typically feel themselves superior to most other races, including other Tel-quessir. Sun elves have bronze-colored skin and hair most often of copper, golden blond, and black, with red more uncommon but heard of. Sun elves, like other eladrin, typically have green eyes, though golden ones are also common, often with a liquid appearance, and silver, black, hazel, or copper hues have also been heard of.
Elf Race, High Elf Subrace. Replace + 1 Intelligence with + 1 Strength.
SYLVAN: Elves, sometimes called sylvan elves to distinguish them from the eladrin who are also commonly called elves, are a long lived race of the Tel-quessir found most commonly in forests, shrublands, and other wildernesses. In comparison with their close kin the eladrin or “high elves” the true elves have a closer affinity for the natural world over civilization and have more or less abandoned the eladrin focus on magic as a whole. From time to time the elves have organized strong nations, though with far less frequency than eladrin, in some cases adopting even a nomadic lifestyle. Almost all elves worship the Seldarine, otherwise known as elven pantheon and the elves are generally, though not always, good in nature.
Elf Race, Wood Elf Subrace