Biweekly Monster-Omen Elf (AD&D)

FREQUENCY: Very Rare
NO. APPEARING: 2-12 (10-100)
ARMOR CLASS: 5
MOVE: 12″
HIT DICE: 1
% IN LAIR: 10%
TREASURE TYPE: Individuals L, Q; G, S, T in lair
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: By weapon
SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below
SPECIAL DEFENSE: See below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 90% to charm and sleep only
INTELLIGENCE: High and up
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Evil
SIZE: M (5’+ tall)
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

Omen elves (they often call themselves True, Pure, or Noble elves, while those elves suspicious of them sometimes call them Pale elves) are so called as a credit to their professed prophetic capability. What prophecy they are able to perform is a combination of spy craft, a broad intelligence network, and devilish worship. They mask this information in extensive interest in astronomy and feigned rituals of reading tea leaves and entrails. They leverage this reputation to make themselves leaders within larger elf communities.

The omen elves are eager to go out and provide their leadership to other races of elves because they are ill-content to be subservient and society amongst themselves often suffers for it. High ranking members of the race will remain in their secret enclaves coordinating the others, including the overarching goal of their enclave and their agents abroad, match-making, and managing devil-worship. 

Those omen elves found leading other elves are in the middle ranks of omen elf hierarchy. They hope one day to return permanently to their mother enclave with a promotion to the higher ranks, but talent cannot be found working there because those with talent insist on being in command and thus must go out.

Those aspiring to these middle ranks are often found accompanying, protecting, and counseling leaders abroad while those young and lowest ranking remain doing bureaucratic and accounting work in the enclaves at the behest of the omen elf leaders.

The enclaves coordinate among themselves, but those at the top of their respective enclaves are unwilling to accept any universal leader (though they do sometimes try to emerge). It is common for agents from different enclaves to struggle over control of the same elven groups and often one enclave will have influence at high levels of regional governments while one or more other enclaves will influence lower level parts of government trying to get control of the higher level.

If three or fewer are encountered outside an enclave, there is a 75% chance that they are messengers with no leader present and of normal statistics. Otherwise, and when in larger numbers, there will always be one member of exceptional quality:

  • 10% a level 2-6 (2d3) cleric
  • 5% a level 1-5 (2d3-1) cleric/fighter (both classes)
  • 5% a level 1-7 (2d4-1) cleric/magic-user
  • 5% a level 1-7 (2d4-1) cleric/thief
  • 5% a level 2-6 (2d3) fighter
  • 10% a level 1-7 (2d4-1) fighter/magic-user
  • 5% a level 1-7 (2d4-1) fighter/thief
  • 20% a level 2-8 (2d4) magic-user
  • 10% a level 1-10 (3d4-2) magic-user/thief
  • 15% a level 2-11 (3d4-1) thief
  • 5% a level 1-5 (2d3-1) fighter/magic-user/thief
  • 5% a level 2-8 (2d4) assassin

If this leader member has a sum of levels above 4, then one other member has a 10% chance per level over 4 of also being exceptional with levels halved and rounded up (minimum level 2 for single classes and at least 2 levels below the leader in sum). A third member (if it exists) has a 5% chance per level over 4 of being exceptional with the minimum level for the rolled class.

Omen elf enclaves have significantly greater numbers (10-100) and will have in addition a 25% chance for each 10 of having an exceptional individual as when encountered outside an enclave and one exceptional individual of maximum level, as well as females and young equal to 100% and 5% respectively.

Exceptional individuals conform to the Elf (Monster Manual, p. 39) in terms of possessing magic items.

As NPCs, Omen elves conform to other elf stats with a few differences. They are less robust than other varieties (add a -1 to strength rolls and an additional -1 to constitution rolls for a total of -2). They are, however, more cunning and personable to compensate (add a +1 to intelligence and charisma rolls, treating a 19 as an 18).

Unlike other elves, they are able to advance without level limit as magic-users. Some omen elves do become liches, though these liches are rejected by living omen elves and exiled from their enclaves as such immortality represents the ultimate step to become personally powerful at the exclusion of omen elf society.

Omen elves are almost exclusively lawful evil, though neutral evil, chaotic evil, and lawful neutral individuals do exist.

Description: Omen elves have a complexion so fair it borders on iridescent, white hair, and eyes that vary from bright yellow to deep red. They wear the finest cloth in dark colors and robes with which they shroud themselves in mystery. They share the life span of high elves. 

I was considering using the Drow as the evil influence among the elves that contributed to their downfall and still influence them in Moedre, but I don’t intend an underdark in particular for it, so they didn’t really make sense. The omen elves are a better fit and do more of what I’m looking for in the setting.

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1 Response to Biweekly Monster-Omen Elf (AD&D)

  1. I like this Drow workaround. It actually makes more sense than “we live underground with spiders” as a raison d’etre. And the idea of various theoretically allied groups unknowingly working at cross-purposes opens up a lot of plot hooks for a party to exploit if they can catch on.

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