1. Mell
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    Mell Member

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    Elves in a Steampunk human world?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Mell, Apr 24, 2012.

    Yep, I'm going to have elves in my story. I know they're overused and whatnot, but I like them and I'm going to write about them.
    Now that that's out of the way, my question for you is, how should these elves be? Usually they are seen in Medieval worlds, but because the humans in my world do have a decent level of technology, I'm not sure how I can "realistically" have my elves. The reason for this is that since these elves, like most, do have a much longer lifespan than humans, it seems illogical that they purely be the forest-dwelling, bow-wielding tree huggers in a world where they could be potentially dominated by a "lesser" race if they don't take advantage of technological advancements? I still do want them to be somewhat traditional, and unlike humans in their carelessness for the earth, but I feel that they should also be somehow advanced and was hoping for some ideas on how to go about this without making them into a merely longer living human.
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are interesting and plot-relevant elven creatures in Hamilton's "Void Trilogy". It is a good read, I suggest you check it out :)
     
  3. Pedro87
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    Pedro87 New Member

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    I have never played the game but this might provide some inspiration. It has a steampunk setting with elves and other epic-fantasy creatures.

    Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcanum:_Of_Steamworks_and_Magick_Obscura

    I hope it helps.
     
  4. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    I like Elves too!

    You could have something like Elves being healers and are well knowledgable in the arts of healing the ill and reducing their pain (allowing them to live much longer lives maybe?); they could be well advanced in that area, where as human's are more advance other area's, such as like weapons. If you don't want one to be dominate over then other, then have them needing each other. For example human's need the elves healing knowledge (which they could refuse to teach to the humans) and elves desire the weaponary or aid of human's to collected the herbs and such they need for there medican.

    Hope that can be of some help to you!
     
  5. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    In Arcanum elves were innately magical. Technology and magic interferred with one another. Simple flintlocks, for example, would fail to strike when in the presence of a powerful mage. A mage might not be able to cast a spell if he was standing next to a steam engine. Mages wanting to ride on trains had to sit in the caboose, the exact opposite end where the ENGINE powering the machine was kept. This was a game mechanic (to keep people from trying to become ninja mages with assault rifles), but explained how the world worked. The elves lived in the forest because they HAD to. If they had lived closer to the industrializing human cities, then their powers weakened. The only elves you typically found in cities were half-elves who had less magic and aged closer to the normal human rate. They were less discrimnated against, however, than say half-orcs (orcs used as cheap unskilled labor and given few rights).
     
  6. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Green Technology! Power Bows!

    I'm sorry, I imagined a pointy ear man guarding a solar panel with the modern day bows.

    Are Elves known to your humans or hidden amongst the people? My suggestion is just to separate their cultures and technology. If you want them to still have care for the earth, then have them create technologies that benefit both them and the earth.
     
  7. Domino
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    Domino Active Member

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    When anyone mentions Elves, I automatically think of Santa's helpers... Will Ferrell as opposed to Orlando Bloom.

    It's an interesting question you ask. I can't imagine your version of Elves going for technology. They're at one with nature. They're magical. They don't need technology. I can't imagine them chatting on a mobile phone or internet shopping. I'd stick with them living outside of the human world just because I imagine the modern world would be too loud and polluted for them.
     
  8. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Well, they could be elves that are ornery. All, you want to create technology that hurts the earth? Well, we'll create technology that heals it. An evening out presence almost.
     
  9. Domino
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    Domino Active Member

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    Sure, I could buy that - If the writer could come up with believable ideas for the kind of Elvish technology that could fix the mess humans make of the world. Hmm.. That's a thinker.
     
  10. Mell
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    Mell Member

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    Thanks for those suggestions, I'll take a look!

    I do really like this idea, thank you! Although the idea I had in mind was that the elves are in a way dominant over humans, not to the extent where they try to control them, but they could defeat them if they had the desire to. They sort of keep to themselves. But yeah, still, I really like the idea of them being advanced in a different way. Thanks again!

    For the Arcanum elves, that's a really interesting idea, I never would have come up with something like that hah. Thanks a lot for posting it!

    To Kaymindless, they are separate societies, so that could work. I'll just have to rack my brain a bit for earth-friendly technologies that can rival such destructive ones haha. Thanks :)

    To Domino, they do live apart from the humans, but I feel that they should have some way of being able to "beat" the humans if they had to. They do have magic on their side, but it isn't a huge advantage as there are human magicians also.


    Lots of great ideas, thanks for all the help everyone :)
     
  11. lorilee
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    lorilee Member

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    You could check out Mercedes Lackey's SERRAted Edge series and her Bedlam's Bard series. Both set in the modern world, SERRAted has elves using advanced technology
     
  12. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    In Lord of the Rings elves were "better" than humans because of skill developed over CENTURIES of life. If you were a warrior for a hundred years, you would probably be very good at it (assuming you did more than posture). This was part of the plot of Arcanum and countless other settings too. Elves and dwarves lived for centuries, allowing their smaller armies to be immensely skilled as well as teaching them to wait and see as they WOULD STILL BE AROUND decades after major decisions were made. Humans in Arcanum, limited to seventy years or so if they were lucky, jumped headfirst into the industrial revolution started by one boy tinkering with a steam engine (the engine was actually invented by dwarves as a novelty). It was mentioned during one conversation that a dwarf king once spent seventy years (an entire human lifetime) deciding on which stone to use for a sculpture and how to cut it. We mayfly humans do not have that luxury.

    The elves went into isolation in Arcanum partially because of what happened to one human kingdom that shunned tech. It was once the most powerful. Then an upstart nation with advanced firearms mowed down charge after charge of knights and carved out the territories it decided were its now. The human cities had the means to match magic, AND greater numbers as industrialization allowed greater food production. The elves did the smart thing and made themselves hard to find. Yes the elves and dwarves could fight the humans and maybe win NOW. In another human generation or two, however, the humans would have 100 times their numbers.

    Basically humans are the zerg.
     
  13. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    You might try the idea of a seasonally nomadic culture. They could have knowledge and use of technology, but no permanent buildings or forges. Without any desire to hold claim to any one land they'd care about the humans as much as an ant hill. Unless they crossed the line (ancient pact or laws of nature) then the elves rain down righteous fury. You don't have to have battles to show their prowess, but men could whisper of the days when one city of man had mistepped the elves.

    For the tech, I recommend trade and barter. BUt I could think of a hundred other ways to give elves tech. Finding one that fits is half the fun of being an author. To give them an edge, they could be the ones selling steam-tech to the humans, but the humans can only poorly replicate it with iron and steel.
     
  14. Mell
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    Mell Member

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    I'll have a look, thanks :)

    Those are some really helpful ideas, thanks a lot. This will be much easier to work out now, I really appreciate the help!
     
  15. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    What if they're epically magical and use magic in place of technology?
     
  16. mootz
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    mootz Member

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    You're talking about your story. They can be whatever you want. They can be actual elves, or just elven like creatures. The important part is that if it's in the story, there should be a reason why. Namely, racial differences should effect the story in some way. Which is up to you.
     
  17. Mell
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    Mell Member

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    I had considered that Ettina, and they will be better with magic, but I don't really want their magic competing with steam engines and the like. Thanks though :)

    Oh I know, I'm just looking for ideas that work with my current one; which is that they are similar to elves in that environmentally-friendly nature. They still will be whatever I want. Yes, there are reasons for their differences that impact the story, not to worry.
     
  18. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    To sort of build on what Lorilee suggested (ML is one of my faves!), look at faerie mythology. Faeries--a group to which many consider elves to belong--have a strong aversion to iron and iron-based metals like steel. It's like their kryptonite.
    Now, you can't very well have industrial-age technology without iron and steel. Maybe it's a source of conflict between the humans and the elves. For ages, the elves have been on top because of their magic, but as humans develop their tech, building things out of iron and chewing up forests for fuel, the elves find themselves (or thems-elves) losing ground.
     
  19. Mell
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    Mell Member

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    I really like that idea, thanks :D
     

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