“We are put upon, dear brothers, and we hang on the precipice of oblivion. Barely thousands of us yet remain, and who among us knows when next we will suffer the trepidations of fate or men? Who among us knows when the fields we sow will open to take us into the Earth? Who among us counts the leaves that fall to the wind, come the Autumn? None among us, for we are forgotten, first by our ancestors, then by men, than by ourselves. We peer into the graves, friends. The vultures circle for the feast, but who among us will leave their swine or their forests? Still will cling to the forgotten corners of this land, where nothingness will consume us all and each with ease. And all around us, the blood runs, drips away, and elf-kind hasn’t even the will to weep.”
The half-elves of the Mellinered, and indeed of the Earth, number a paltry 100,000. Most of them live in the isolated western forests of Carandaur, with some numbers living across the larger cities of the Mellinered. Half-elves are widely viewed with distrust by the humans of the Mellinered, mostly because of the legacy of the True-elves as oppressors and murderers. Elves are often restricted from holding large amounts of land by many cultures, while purges and forced migrations out of cities are nearly generational occurrences, the most recent being the drivings of Lant Cail not more than two decades ago. Despite having perhaps the largest population of half-elves outside of Carandaur, Mithlond’s tribes do not recognize any elves as their members. Wealthier men will often take beautiful half-elves as concubines, but even here it is unheard of for them to be formally married, and any children produced by the half-elf are either ignored, or more often killed at birth.
That’s not to say no elves hold large amounts of land, or that humans seek to actively destroy or enslave them. Indeed, many a half-elf fastness has become successful, and rich half-elf families do exist. These cases of abuse merely show that half-elves are largely forgotten or fetishized by the human social order at the best of times, and actively harassed or attacked at the worst of times. Many half-elves, particularly those in the cities, see a world that merely tolerates their existence, as though they are all foreigners on this Earth. Many feel that they are displaced in this planet of humans, left behind, directionless, stateless, bordering on nationless -most half-elf communities are isolated from each other and the rest of the world.
And so, in this purpose vacuum, the tradition of the agarandir was born, perhaps the only thread that unifies all communities in the Mellinered. Agarandir are, in the broadest terms, those half-elves who go off in search of the true-elves. The true fate of the elves post Cataclysm is not known, with theories ranging from complete extinction, to absorption into the half-elf populations of the present, to vast global conspiracies involving millennia-old puppet masters. Whatever the case may be, some centuries ago, half-elves starting leaving the cities en masse to find their furtive ancestors.
Agarandir often have wildly divergent ideas about the fate of the elves and what exactly they’re looking for. Many elves believe that the elves of old are all dead and gone, and merely search for answers as to their fall. Others go out not really knowing what they’re are looking for (or perhaps that is the approach of all such half-elves, and those few have yet to delude themselves). However, the most popular idea is that the elves are indeed out there still, and those lucky persons who stumble upon them simply find such a paradise for elf-kind that they choose not to return. Indeed, enough agarandir go missing (in such a way that their death is unconfirmable) that such an idea can’t be completely discounted.
The approach of the agarandir to their mission is just as varied as the definition of the mission itself. Some simply wander aimlessly, and investigate whatever attracts their whims along the way. On the other end of the spectrum are those who invest a nigh religious purpose in their travels, and indeed this may have been the modus operandi of the earliest agarandir- literally “blood pilgrim”. Most settle somewhere in between those extremes, leading to a demeanor most humans find unsettling. What you will never find is an agarandir who doesn’t take their mission seriously, at least not at the outset, as many pilgrims have fallen to despair and frustration.
Agarandir often start out in groups, but the dangers of the world whittle them down to a few individuals or even down to nothing. Agarandir are almost never openly hostile unless incredibly desperate, and are far less likely to be hostile to their fellow half-elves (though this is no guarantee). Agarandir will travel with humans, but such arrangements are highly temporary, as their goals don’t usually align past hiring wages. Lastly, agarandir get everywhere, from to the Far North, to the Harcaladorrim deserts, to even the Sunset Isles, mostly because none of them have any idea where to start other than “probably not the Mellinered”.
It goes without saying that most agarandir go missing soon after departing, though whether this is due to death, success, or ranging to far for news of them to reach our ears is hard to say. However, a handful of each generation of agarandir eventually return to their native land, usually wiser, sometimes richer, and almost always without results (though sometimes they’ll say that they have a lead in some obscure geographical region, which inevitably triggers a rash of pilgrimages in that direction, and just as many in other directions). From there many of them head back out, only to never return. Only a few a century manage to actually retire, and due to their experience are highly revered by half-elves that know of them, along with the more successful and famous agarandir still believed to be “in the field”, so to speak.
Add an “Agarandir” result to your random encounter table whenever they would be appropriate, which is almost always, since they get fucking everywhere.
As a general rule, roll a 1d12 to see how many of the aspirational shits there are in this group. That die can be adjusted based on how far away from the Mellinered they are/how beat up you think they should be.
They usually are armed as spearmen or light archers, with a 1d4 HD leader. This leader has a 60% chance of being a fighter, 20% chance of being a rogue, and a 10% chance each of being a witch or cleric. For every three elves not including the leader, one elf will be of first level with class distribution determined above.
Roll 1d6 to determine their philosophy on their mission- 1 elves are dead, looking for histories, 2 they don’t fucking know, 3-6 looking for paradise
Roll another 1d6 to determine their approach- 1 is super chill, 6 is militant/serious/religious, any roll in between is just that.
Make a reaction roll with an inherent +2 bonus here, with an additional +1 if half-elves are present in the party.
THE MORE INTERESTING TABLE
|1-7||Possessed. Will turn hostile as soon as they think they can get away with it.|
|8-15||Depressed. Wondering why they even fucking bother with this shit.|
|16-17||As above, but will probably commit suicide as soon as they get back to town.|
|18-24||They know about a hidden treasure, and are willing to accompany you to find it.|
|25-30||As above, except they don’t care.|
|31-40||Dying, as in from some sort of rare disease. This has taken precedent over their original mission. Will be very grateful for help. 50% chance they’re contagious.|
|41-50||Dying, as in right now. Pick one of the nastier things off your encounter table.|
|57-65||Currently headed towards a dungeon that isn’t yours with a mercenary company in tow.|
|66-70||Currently headed back from a dungeon, with a good bit of treasure in tow. No elves though. 😦|
|71-76||You stumble upon their camp, and they’ve been dead for a while.|
|77-85||You stumble upon their camp, but they’ve been killed recently|
|86-90||You stumble upon their camp, and they’re all undead now.|
|91-95||They’ve got a lead, and it’s utter rubbish.|
|96-97||They’ve got a lead, and it’s alright.|
|98-99||Agarandir hero, see below.|
|100||Roll 1d12. One any result 1-11, as 96-97. On a 12, they’ve learned whatever truth there is to be learned about the elves, and are beginning the long journey back to tell the world.|
Some agarandir achieve fame and renown in the field. Here are a few of them. None are hostile outright, and all of them are dangerous if provoked.
Naurchiel, daughter of Aphariel– Fighter, deadly with a longbow. Stern, stubborn, and sullen. Takes this shit very seriously. Burns over half her body. Carries an emerald on her at all times, from the dragon that burned her (she won eventually). Pretty serious PTSD, likes crushing lizards. Accompanied by her cousin, Tachaner, who is a competent spearman, and has been suicidal these past few years.
Nauthedir of the Single-Eye– Witch of 8th level. Aside from the bandage that covers half his head, very attractive. Loves women, and they tend to love him back. You’ll probably find him in bed with the farmer’s daughter or something. Accompanied by his father Thannor, a fighter of 6th level who specializes in sword and board. They argue a lot since they’re both stubborn as hell, but together they’re pretty competent at being adventurers and really good at having illegitimate children, as they both believe it’s their duty to produce as many half-elf children as possible. The fact that human pregnancies rarely lead to half-elf children does not bother them.
Menten the Eunuch– Fighter of 8th level, specializing in the longspear. Ever since the loss of his manhood, he’s started going out searching less and less, and engaging in increasingly extravagant displays of sexual hedonism. You’ll find him in the wilds angry, cranky, snappy, and accompanied by 30 mercenaries in silver plated shields and helms, and various prostitutes/hanger-ons. He’ll probably just get to where he wants to look for elves, give up, then turn around. Back in the city (this guy only shows up near cities, by the way- the bigger, the better) he’ll throw an extravagant and tasteless display and if you have met him, you’re probably invited. Charming sweet talker when he’s not in the field, very gracious, and when talking he only occasionally makes his crippling insecurities apparent. Don’t be fooled, though- if you start a fight with him, you’re in for the bad shit.
Henion the Singer– 8th level Cleric, travels alone. Pretty good with the morningstar. Loves telling stories, learning stories, and singing. Pleasant, but doesn’t understand the concept of stealth, and usually just turns around whenever he thinks something is too hard or dangerous. Will probably ask the PCs to recount something they did, bonus points if done in song. Will heal if the need is urgent or if you exchange stories with him. Knows about the other heroes.
Osgariel– 10th level Mary Sue. She’s technically a fighter, but she’s by far the most all around competent on this list. She’s a master swordswoman, and always uses a dagger in the off-hand. Like 18 dexterity. Her sword is some kind of awesome steel relic from the Old Kingdom. Cynical, helpful, and terrible at finance. Has a snake tattoo on each of her arms that are said to give her strength. It’s rumored that she spent time with the Snake Cultists of Harcalador, and impressed them enough to be granted these boons. What you don’t know is that she has another tattoo running along her spine (only the head needs to be exposed to air, and her hair obscures it without suffocating it). She always travels alone, because she’s actually a werewolf. She’ll try to avoid being around during transformation, but she’s kind of terrible of keeping track of the moon phases. She herself doesn’t really know what to think about the elves, but she believes that if she finds that truth, she’ll find the cure for her condition. She also thinks she’s getting close- she isn’t.