High Fantasy 101
Starálfur is the great forest between the human-held lands of Retz, in the east, and Vannes, in the west. A great elven city of the same name is set some miles within the forest. To all but the elves, the forest is a mystery and a forbidding fence. Most merchants use roads that curve to the south rather than attempting to parley with the elves, whose haughty demeanor and magic-rich culture strike commoners as alien. For those few who do befriend the elves, the forest holds a beauty unmatched by any other place.
Society in Starálfur:
Elf society is almost exclusively aligned with Chaos and Good. Elves are cherished as individuals and allowed – even encouraged – to pursue their own goals, but it is assumed that individuals’ goals will not conflict in any great way with the goals of other elves or the community as a whole. Experience is accepted as the best teacher, and elves are respected in proportion to their age as much as their ability. The most admired elves are usually those who have mastered magic as wizards. There are few clerics among the elves, but devotees of Corellon Larethian are respected and admired.
Because of the elves’ isolationism, there are few actions to which the group must commit as a unit. When such a decision is necessary – such as involvement in a war of great scale – elves of two hundred years and more vote in a directly democratic process. Meetings to discuss such decisions are open to all elves and might last weeks (and I do mean individual meetings). Because elves can count on almost any other elf to keep a promise or to reciprocate in kind, elves are quick to give each other aid and rarely ask for recompense. When dealing with outsiders, they can instead be sharp-tongued, suspicious and xenophobic; trusted strangers have brought great damage to Starálfur in the past, and elves have long memories.