Elven Culture

Elven culture depends greatly on the particular Creed a group of elves follows. Some are ruthlessly militaristic, fighting each other when more interesting foes can't be found. Others are just as assiduously pacifistic, relying on the more martial Creeds to defend them. Within a given grouping, almost any mode of social organization can be found.

The most common mode among the Creeds tends to be one of relaxed individualism. Elves marry for the upbringing of children, and may or may not remain wed after the children are fully adult. Liasions between unwed adults are expected and normal, albeit married elves who neglect their spouses tend to come in for distinct disapproval. As rare as children usually are among the elves, they are invariably prized and protected by the group until they are old enough to stand on their own. Adulthood and maturity happens at roughly the same rate as for humans, albeit some Creeds stretch the process out slightly longer in order to fully acculturate youth to their more complicated societies. A few communities under intense outside pressure may breed more abundantly so as to avoid extinction due to population loss. Most prefer to keep births rare and population down so as to improve the general living standards for all.

The individual is expected to obey the traditions and customs of the Creed, but the worst that violators face is expulsion from the group rather than any more direct punishment. A healthy degree of individual discretion is encouraged, and even direct violations of tradition may end up approved if the end result is good for the group. Property crimes tend to be treated leniently unless the goods stolen or destroyed were particularly important to the victim. Crimes such as rape, assault, and murder tend to be punished much more harshly, however, and executions are not unknown.

A set of common customs tends to prevail when elves of different Creeds interact. Courtesy and politeness are highly prized, and rudeness towards another elf can gain the offender a degree of obloquy regardless of whether or not offense was deserved. Open violence towards an elf of a different Creed can provoke a feud, and those who do so rarely please their fellows. Crimes against members of other Creeds tend to be punished sternly lest it provoke hostilities between the groups.

The new division between Immanent and True is complicating traditional elven culture. Immanent now have a very finite period of life to them, living and dying within three centuries. The introduction of such formerly-unknown traits as "sleep" and "dreaming" is having a profound impact on cultures that had no space for such things. The True have a closer approximation to their forbears in that they have no need of sleep and have no physical aging, but their semi-real nature has its own consequences that have yet to be fully explored by elven culture.

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