|Ethical usage of Ai/Machine Learning/Algorithm Generated Art Disclaimer|
|This page makes use of "Ai-Art". MassiveCraft is managed by, played by, and supported by a diverse and varied community of artists. We strive for Human-Art on all pages, though finance/time constraints may require temporary use of Ai-Art for visual themes. MassiveCraft has an "Ethical-Ai-Use" policy, defined as: A. Not claiming Copyright B. No for-profit benefit C. Clearly marking Ai-Art when used D. Long-term replacement with Human-Art. Please support human artists, or refrain from using Ai-Art if you cannot safeguard ethical constraints.|
|Naming Customs||Fantasy Elven (but not Tolkien Elven)|
|Distinctions||Snow Elves who guard the cycle of life and death and the memory of Dragons|
|Maximum Age||500 years|
|Eye Colors||Any shade of purple if Life Isldar, any shade of green if Death Isldar|
|Hair Colors||Black or White, regardless of which cult they belong to|
Silent watchers of the frozen mountain peaks, the Isldar are a race of Snow-Elves who dwell in the distant continent of Ellador and guard its endless, icy valleys. With humble origins as a minor religious cult in the Elven Empire of old, the struggle of their history drove the Isldar to eventually become their own people and their own nation. Seen as mysterious, reclusive, and barely understood by the outside world, the Isldar are roguish adventurers from one of Aloria’s few remaining unexplored corners. In recent years their society has been cruelly divided by a religious schism that has boiled into war, and they must contend with the Dwarves, Humans, and Vampires who also live on Ellador for land and power: yet the Isldar of the Cult of Life and Cult of Death alike pray that they will one day win. Though they appear in many of the world’s courts as precious advisors and historians, home and family are always close to an Isldar’s heart, for the roads of all their choices eventually lead back to the glimmering spires of Ellador.
Isldar are really one culture, but religious warfare between the Cult of Life and Cult of Death that make up their society leads to them being commonly divided into two cultures, or sometimes even two distinct Races. Much of Isldar history was spent under the protection of the Dragon Frisit, who was recently slain by other Dragons and revealed to be an imposter Death-God from another dimension, with her real self having perished long ago. While some Isldar started a rebellion to return to the true ways of the Dragons, becoming the Cult of Life, other Isldar simply accepted things as they were and maintained the status quo, becoming the Cult of Death. These two cultures are explained below.
This is an abridged version of Isldar history, with a more nuanced, complex explanation on the Elven History page. Over the course of the Allorn (Elven) Empire’s existence, it imported new ideas from abroad as well as developing its own, creating diversity of opinion and religion in its formerly single-minded population. One of these diversities was Dragon Worship, or the act of showing favor to Dragons, the oldest beings on Aloria. While most civilizations begin with some form of Dragon Worship, they are usually abandoned, because Dragons dislike giving blessings, suggesting that they be worshiped, or even acknowledging that there are people worshiping them. Dragon Worship in the Allorn Empire rallied around the Star Dragon Aurora, a patron of craftsmen and living things who forged life into the world’s many creatures within her Craters of Creation. The Dragon-Worshiping Allorn citizens, a secret society called the Cult of Dregodar, soon became enemies of the Allorn Empress’ inner court and the over-powerful clerics of the state religion, Estelley.
A breaking point came when their faith was outlawed around 1000 BC, leading to a long guerilla war and slow retreat of both Aurora and her Cult to the north of the Allorn Empire, from where eventually they would be driven across the ocean to the lush and vast continent of Ellador, where they would meet the locals, the Dwarves. Though they began on good terms, Allorn ambassadors soon followed the fleeing Cult and manipulated the Dwarves into declaring war on them. A hundred-year series of wars followed in which Allorn Archmages and Dwarven mechanical ingenuity together brought the Cult of Dregodar to its knees. Yet, at the final battle beneath the mountain of Udillin’s Foot, Aurora supposedly cast a great spell in revenge, turning the once green Ellador into a frozen wasteland and slaughtering the Allorn and Dwarven armies where they stood, but transforming her Cult into the Race now known as Isldar. Casting the spell changed her, turning her withered and bloated, Undead in appearance. Unbeknownst to the Isldar, she had fallen to her fear and been replaced by a Death-God called the Glacial, one of their number who had gotten lost in the land of the dead and plotted to usurp it from the inside, who had been the true source of the Magic.
Under the Glacial’s protection, but still believing they served Aurora (though called Frisit in her Undead form), the Isldar took advantage of their newfound immunity to the cold to take control of most of Ellador. Mostly ignoring the Cataclysm which wracked the wider world, the Isldar soon came into conflict with the Vampire state of Dorkarth which came to exist in the north of Ellador, along with parties of Velheim human colonists and Dwarves looking to reclaim lost Holds that had been destroyed by the Glacial’s scheme. Brutal ambushers who could melt into the snows and reappear at any moment, the Isldar acquired a fearful reputation, becoming hated by the rest of Ellador’s people and an obstacle to all their efforts. This would continue until very recently, when two powerful Dragons appeared above the Isldar capital and slew Frisit where she stood, revealing the Glacial’s trickery and reviving the true Aurora, who immediately left the Isldar to return to one of her Craters of Creation instead.
Since then, Ellador has been wracked not just by war between the Isldar and their Dorkarthi, Velheim, and Dwarven enemies, but also between the pro-Dragon Life Cult rebellion and the pro-Glacial Death Cult regime. The Velheim and Dwarves, as well as the Regalian Empire, have grudgingly accepted the Cult of Life as the lesser evil (while not entirely forgiving them), and supported them against the stronger Cult of Death. With the two sides locked in a truce behind a complex network of enclaves and exclaves even as they cooperate to keep up the war with Dorkarth together so that Ellador does not fall to the Vampire curse, it remains unclear what the future holds for either side, and doubtful that the Isldar will ever truly reunify.
Physical & Mental Characteristics
Isldar are similar to Teledden (the High Elves). Like all Elves, they are more slender and tall than Humans. Isldar specifically have pale skin and long, pointy ears, longer than those of other Nelfin Races. Death and Life Isldar can have natural black or white hair, though many dye it other colors. The only real way to tell Death and Life Isldar apart is that Life Isldar have purple irises with blue specks in them, while Death Isldar have green irises with blue specks in them. Both kinds may also have blue, green, or black sclera. Visually speaking, Isldar have a range of appearances from Caucasian to Asian, with different regions appearing differently. Isldar are ageless: they look young forever, even into old age, but can choose to look older inside of adult age ranges. The Isldar who used to tend to the Wyvern roosts, called Voltalëy, can have a unique physical appearance where their limbs taper off into violet Dragonscale (if Vixit) or Dragonscale-like black metal plates (if Rexit). Mentally speaking, Isldar are stereotyped as stoic and pensive. Their language and its literary works are full of beautiful metaphors and analogies, but completely lack any kind of comedy or sarcasm, leading to Isldar fresh from Ellador missing every single joke made in their direction. Moreover, Isldar culture does not encourage smiling, meaning that smiling without a reason is usually seen as an insult or a smug invitation to fight, which has resulted in quite a few mistaken cross words. It is possible for Isldar to have children with other Races, resulting in Half-Isldar who have the same Racial Traits.
Racial Abilities are usable in combat and for an advantage, while Specials are aesthetic. Isldar abilities are themed around their Life and Death cults, with an overarching ice aesthetic. Half Race characters select a Dominant parent, and take all the Racials & Specials from that dominant parent. (In this case, a dominant parent Isldar would be Half-Isldar). Half races must have a majority of their physical features come from their dominant parent, including which is including but not limited to skin tone, hair or fur color, ear shape, or eye color. A Character can only ever be a Life, or a Death Isldar. Both have a set of common Specials, while both also have a unique set of specials limited to their respective identities.
|Ability Name||Ability Type||Ability Range||Ability Description||Modifiers|
|Farsight Scope||Skill Power||Self||Grants the user Farsight Scope||N/A|
- Isldar Buff 2: Life Isldar can choose 1 free Pack from Radiant Point Buy classified as Dragon Magic, Death Isldar can choose 1 free Pack from Sinistral Point Buy classified as Ordial Magic.
- Warsworn: Life Isldar cannot be Geists or Undead, and Death Isldar cannot be Archon.
- Undeathsong: Isldar have some modicum of control over who gets to become Undead. When a person is dead or dying, Life Isldar can sing the song of life, which prevents that person from becoming an Undead after they expire or before they rise again. Death Isldar can sing the song of undeath, which guarantees that a dead or dying person becomes an Undead (so long as they haven't been dead for more than an hour). Whichever variant of Isldar sings first, cancels out the other. If either song is used on a Suvial, it causes them to instantly revive instead of on a timer.
- Avatarsong: Isldar can Transform into the Avatarsong Form, which differs for the Life and Death Isldar. For the Life Isldar, the Avatarsong Form is a crystal glowing ethereal being of light and life, while the Death isldar become Bone Horrors which are amalgams of rotten flesh and decayed bone. Avatarsong Form does count as a Disguise, and the user can also make use of a distorted voice while in the Transformation.
- Elladorsong: Isldar can manifest themes of Ellador on their own body in the Elladorsong Form. For the Life Isldar, including but not limited to scales and claws of the wyvern (generally white or opaline or light blue), or shards and patches of ice and frost on their skin and in their hair. For Death Isldar, this is including but not limited to black metal scales and glowing Ordial green scripture and lines on their body.
- Glacialsong: Death Isldar while Geists, are immune to any and all Mental Changes or Characteristics applied by said Affliction, thus always being in full control over their own agency.
The Isldarrin language, Sulvaley, shares a family with other Nelfin languages. It has diverged somewhat over the centuries the Isldar have spent in Ellador since their departure from the Allorn Empire. Sulvaley has Arabic phonetics, with glottal stops and harsh consonants not found in most other Nelfin vocabularies.
Example Isldar male coded names: Arfa, Eriannan, Irifa, Ursal, Arqaam, Arslan, Aryaan, Irsaley, Ercaror, Henqaan. Most Isldarrin male names start with vowels, and double As are common.
Example Isldar female coded names: Almeya, Cuadhïra, Erthira, Kharaera, Isra. They can also be made by modifying male coded names. For example, Erianna, Ursaela, Arslanna, Irsaleya, Ercantha, Henqaena.
Isldar names are not very complicated. In addition to their first name, most have a last name, but some Isldar do not bother. When decades are spent in the field, many soldiers abandon the difficulty of a second word to remember.
It is religious differences which sent the Isldar spiraling into civil war, so it should come as no surprise that individual Isldar can have very different religious interpretations. Bene Vixit Isldar usually follow the Dragon Aurora from Dragon Worship and all related tenets of Dragon Worship, including its struggle against the encroachment of Magic and Demons and maintaining the cycle of life in the world. However, with an Isldar ascending to become the high priestess of the Dragon Regulus, there are quite a few Bene Vixit Regulus worshipers as well. Even if they have a specific Dragon patron, the Bene Vixit tend towards respect for all Dragons, but notably favor the more moderate and gentle ones, because Isldar society was full of Mages drawing on the Exist dimension until very recently, and the Vixit prefer to slowly convert them to Dragon Mages rather than kill or exile them like more extreme Dragon Worshipers would suggest they do.
The Bene Rexit, meanwhile, worship the Glacial from Ordial Cultism. This transcends religion to include a form of self worship, since it is common knowledge that the Glacial herself was once a Dregodar Cultist desperate for more power to fight the Allorn armies, and her descendants still walk the world as Godborn. While the Bene Rexit are favorable to all forms of Ordial Cultism, this comes on the catch that they secretly siphon power from the other Death Cults to feed the Glacial instead in the hopes that she can overthrow the Death realm’s original creator god, the Malefica, and usurp them. A Bene Rexit always worships the Glacial plus a cover Ordial god who they perform acts in false worship of, all in the Glacial’s name.
Family is incredibly important to the Isldar, whose broader society is very tribal, strung together by clans. When living in a place as large and inhospitable as Ellador, it is important to have an easy way to judge the value of strangers without spending time on knowing them, which for the Isldar is done through their last name and spire city of origin. Unlike the other Elven peoples, the Isldar frequently have large numbers of children such that every Isldar can name a nigh-infinite list of first and second cousins, and families get large enough to become a force in politics and the military just by association to one another. While there is not a pre-written list of Isldar families nor are players obligated to think about their Characters’ in detail, it is encouraged to work little details into Roleplay such as having one’s Character wrinkle their nose upon hearing another’s last name because they had a bad run-in with their third cousin four years ago, and other things to this effect.
Isldar families and traditional clan bonds were completely ripped apart by the religious schism between the Cult of Life and Cult of Death, with brother turning on sister and mother turning on son. While a few of the most powerful and stable Isldar clans were able to use social pressure to force conformity and make the transition to their new situation, many Isldar are still coping with a new world where you cannot assume anything just by hearing someone's name, and adjusting accordingly. As a result, in Regalia especially, there is usually a lot of hesitation to take a name at face value. There is a silver lining in this that some have pointed out, in that the destruction of over-powerful family ties means freedom for many young Isldar, and the elimination of nepotism caused by the practice of nominating relatives to positions.
Isldar traditional upbringing is considered very spartan, with an emphasis on learning how to fight and survive out in the frigid wilderness of Ellador, and few material comforts. With the stoic public attitude that Isldar are taught to have, it is also usually difficult for Isldar children to express when they are having trouble with something or need an explanation, leading to childhood complexes generally going unresolved. All the same, with free choice of marriage and a lax attitude towards same-sex relationships because there are so many Isldar already, the Isldar believe that they have it rather good. Isldar romance is however famously bloody, because Isldar literature and poetry romanticizes sacrifice made in the name of one’s love, so the road to holding down a courtship is usually full of moonlight saber duels and dramatic challenges made during regiment dinners because two people share wishes to have the same partner.
Below is additional cultural information.
- Isldar fashion is pragmatic for Ellador's environment, usually mixing some combination of tighter, simpler underclothes with traditional Elven robes that can be quickly shed if a fight breaks out. While still recognizable as Elven in style, it sits somewhere between the forced ostentatiousness of the Teledden and the total pragmatism of the Maquixtl or Sihndar, striking a middle position that is still finely and richly decorated, but without becoming hard to move around in or a problem in a difficult situation. Isldar have a fondness for silver over gold, relating it to the moon, which is in turn a very common theme in Isldar symbolism (though they still use gold as well). Both types of Isldar also have a fondness for wearing gloves with metal claws attached, a piece of Draconic symbolism that stayed with both.
- Bene Rexit fashion is grim and dark, with black and green colors that play directly into jokes about Dimensional color theory. The Bene Rexit usually do not mind looking evil beyond belief because they also feel that to look evil is to look powerful, with elaborate headdresses and swaying golden jewelry links, dark eyeliner and heeled shoes, all carefully combined to give a gothic and spidery first impression. This is as much considered a form of self-expression, dressing for the self, as it is a way to dress for others, as the Bene Rexit like to impress and stun with their glamor.
- Bene Vixit fashion is similar, but with inclusion of the so-called starlight capes, pieces of translucent dark purple fabric speckled with white dots to resemble the night sky above Ellador, a shimmering and unique form of silk. This fabric is both worn in cloaks and used as translucent paneling between different parts of an outfit where otherwise skin would be shown. The Vixit also have a long tradition of tan, durable ranger clothes in the style of the Keeper Archon who are their scouting arm, and after the style of a certain Isldar Kade, lined with white fur and crossed with belts to hold knives and potions.
- Isldar are skillful tattoo artists, with their long history of religious cultism leading to a love for marking their own bodies to show dedication. Isldar have a unique style of blackout tattoos that cover the entire body in pigment and use the revealed open space that is not tattooed to draw the shapes instead. While both Isldar cults share some things, including moon designs and Ellador's jagged mountains, the Bene Vixit usually use different shades of purple ink with themes of Dragonscale, wyvern wings, and the Occult sigils of the various Dragon Thrones, while the Bene Rexit favor green ink with themes of skulls, bones and the Glacial's most famous relics. Most Isldar at least have a glyph tattooed at the base of their neck, that indicates their Cult and deity of preference.
- Isldar are famous Wyvern riders, fancied to be among the best in Aloria even among the other Wyvern-riding civilizations. They form lifetime bonds with their mounts, and believe that if they perish that the next Wyvern they acquire is the spiritual reincarnation of the previous, giving them the same name: and going to painstaking lengths to find a new mount that was born on the same day that their previous one died. Bene Vixit wyverns are usually lighter and quicker for long-range travel, while Bene Rexit wyverns are usually heavier and with larger claws for combat and dives against infantry.
- Isldar music centers around large choral arrangements, harps, and the hammered dulcimer (Persian or Iraqi santur), famed for its graceful air and almost angelic quality. Opera houses around Aloria like to use Isldar acts to close out an evening’s shows. The Isldar in general have a very strong relationship with music and believe it relates to poetry, rarely performing one without the other.
- Isldar poetry is considered very profound, often reflecting on life and love, about which the Isldar have a number of famous ballads as well as quatrains referred to as Sulvariyát, after the Sulvaley language which they speak. Important to understand is that despite Isldar culture's surface stoicism, this value was only earned due to the constant suffering and loss during their culture's formative period as the Cult of Dregodar fleeing from Allorn armies and losing almost everything they had. Isldar are very passionate and feel very deeply inside, with their poetry showing this in its romanticization of self-sacrifice and suffering for those one loves. Also important to understand is that Isldar stories do not usually have happy endings, with one side of a love story dying alone, or a large family having all siblings die except the narrator, who ends the story on a wistful note. It is believed that forcing a happy ending undercuts the true purpose of storytelling, because storytelling is a reflection of the beauty of life, a beauty that is found in the bad as well as the good.
- Isldar are stereotyped as fatalistic and wistful people who cope with inevitability very well but have an it cannot be helped, woe is me attitude about it. Isldar are often willing to keep up hopeless struggles just because of a single promise they made years ago, because it is not right to abandon one's purpose even if defeat is certain, and it is better to play one's role and bow out than be forced to suffer the shame of conceding defeat. Since Isldar are so clear in their sense of self-purpose, this has the side benefit of making them very difficult to sway or corrupt, with an often religious dedication to their life beliefs.
- Isldar have sport culture, but their sports always have a military angle to them, or some kind of military usability. For example, javelin throwing and archery competitions are very popular, but only because these skills are applicable on the battlefield as well. The individualistic Isldar also have a disdain for any kind of team sports, only wanting to be represented by themselves.
- Isldar love symposiums, debates, and rules-lawyering competitions. The scholarly class is mostly to blame for this, as well as remnants of their Allorn cultural heritage, but there are few feelings more satisfying to an Isldar than thoroughly proving someone else wrong, especially about something they’re supposed to be an expert on.
- Even though the Isldar have strong family bonds, the civil war between the Bene Vixit and Rexit ripped them apart and put the Isldar clan system under a strain it has never felt before. Siblings have turned on one another and parents no longer talk to children: everyone has lost someone to the other side, and everyone knows someone who has died, making it all just that much more bitter.
- Isldar have a very strong concept of guest right and hospitality. If one is enemies with an Isldar, the safest place to be is at their doorstep begging sanctuary. Isldar also do not poison food or water offered, at least not in their own homes, considering this against their sacred guest right. The most common way guest right is given is by offering a glass of ice water. If an Isldar offers one among five captives a drink, then that one should breathe easy, and the other four should start sweating.
- All Isldar own a dueling saber passed down through their family line, or made for them upon reaching adulthood, and stamped with calligraphy of their name or a fragment of religious text. These swords are ceremonially only intended to be used for duels of honor against other Isldar, for which optional combat rules are included below.
- Roll flat d20s, with the best of three winning, before any emoting is done.
- The winner attacks first, the loser defends for an emote, then the winner attacks again, and the loser goes down.
- This is completely optional, and intended for quick cinematic duels that do not drag on.
- Isldar put an undue amount of focus on their word, and keeping the exact letter of their verbal agreements, no matter how much time has passed. Isldar debtors always pay back their debts as seriously as possible, and Isldar can be trusted not to haggle or cheat, because when you live in a place like Ellador a reputation is everything, not just in the hands of one’s friends but one’s enemies as well. This is one of the ways in which Isldar can be perceived as honorable, even by those who dislike them.
- All Isldar love hunting and wilderness pursuits of all kinds, showcasing their skill at tracking and moving undetected and unsupplied for long periods of time. It is common for Isldar to embark on weeks-long hunts without showing their face in a city, something that they can use to make friends with otherwise distant Urlan or Velheim. While this is hard to do on-server, extended journeys done as Lore Stories or planned events between friends are encouraged.
- Isldar do not see shame in running away from fights, or from retreating and redeploying. As the historical inventors of ambush guerilla warfare with tactics studied worldwide, there is a famous Isldar saying that translates roughly along the lines of "they call us cowards, but they are dead and we are not," alongside the other proverb "only a fool would waste good men for fleeting glory," showing a cynical and patient attitude to warfare. Isldar do not see shame in shooting their enemies in the back and ambushing them, either, as the victor writes the history, and the shame of backstabbing is washed away by victory.
- Isldar are almost all archers, but a small minority of them have begun to reverse engineer donated or seized firearms from the Regalian military. There is a unique Isldar rifle pattern commonly called 'jazalya', with a hooked stock and long range enabling the user to sit on the crags of mountaintops behind rocks and fire down at hapless armies in the valleys below them while remaining completely out of range of anything except artillery. These are usually heavily decorated with silver inlays and the mark of the wielder's Moon Vault of origin. It is however not expected to replace the generations of Isldar master archers, or to obsolete archery.
- Isldar have an unusual artistic practice called Aysur, where they carve abstract statues out of Ellador's unmelting ice and forge jewelry and other charms for them, hanging them on extended limbs or from their necks. It is believed that the Isldar that by lavishing their Aysur with attention and riches rather than wearing them themselves, they are humbling themselves and ensuring that they will receive good fortune in the future by voluntarily surrendering their wealth. Guests soon learn not to trifle with an Isldar's "weird-looking ice mannequins" without earning their anger.
- Isldar holds in Ellador are usually referred to as spire-cities, with many towers clustered around a buried, silvery-metal vault in the center called a Moon Vault that only opens during the phase of the full moon. Moon Vaults hold historical records and Isldar city-states' holds of wealth and loot, as well as artifacts accrued over the years and anything a citizen needs personally held while they are away, with the added function of serving as a panic room in the event of a hold's complete military collapse, and a place to cure Vampires. Most of them have been added to over the centuries, and are considered almost impervious to siege.
- Isldar love hiking and difficult terrain. In Regalia, this means that many Isldar take to parkour, something they invite strangers along on frequently just for the experience. Crookback residents frequently complain about the clatter of Isldar feet on their shoddy roofs at nighttime. Rooftops also make a good spot to sit down privately and talk about personal feelings without a looming crowd, something the privacy-insistent Isldar always appreciate, who would never want a stranger they don't intend on trusting hearing about their problems.
- Isldar, both Vixit and Rexit, like to use the greed of their enemies to lure them to their demise. For the Rexit, this was the mythos around the false invincible metal Skysteel, which they carefully crafted over the decades to lure Ailor travelers from the south to their death searching for it, even creating false artifacts out of the material and then killing their wielders and stealing the false artifacts back to help maintain the myth. Isldar are very aware of the weakness that desire creates in others, and try to avoid succumbing to it themselves by living simply and never wishing for too much more than what they have.
- Isldar cooking usually lacks meat except for game stews from whatever they can hunt in Ellador, since there is no room inside their spire-cities for agriculture. Instead, they live on highly productive fruit gardens enchanted by Aurora or the Glacial's Magic to produce far more yield than any other, knowing a thousand different ways to cook up the various tropical-looking and exotic-sounding crops that they have access to, but basically no experience with worldwide staples like bread, beef, or milk. Dates and blackberries are favorites of the Isldar, as well as a specific type of savory, oversized peach that is dried into strips. Isldar alcohol is also usually fruit-based, different types of brightly flavored liquors drunk in shots and heavily spiced with cinnamon and other flavors, similar to the Wirtem schnapps.
- The Isldar are famed observers, who have built Crystal Spires hidden away in mountains all around the world, even in Regalia, where observation teams work to record the details of history as it passes and make sure that the record is kept properly. More can be read about this on the Ellador page, which also helpfully explains the geography of their homeland and nearby areas. For the dedicated reader, the Dwarf page is also useful, to see their point of view on historical events relative to the Isldar's.
- The Isldar like to play checkers. Not because it is considered mentally challenging, but because the white pieces are a metaphor for the Life Isldar and the black pieces are a metaphor for the Death Isldar: different colors, but the same shape.
- The elaborate acrobatic games of the Isldar, like throwing darts and backflipping, have achieved some renown around the world as evidence of the unrivaled dexterity of these mysterious Snow Elves.
- The once-beloved tradition of Isldar family reunions has turned into anxiety-inducing nightmare fuel after their religious schism, since no one knows who chose what side and no one wants to tell for fear they'll be the only one.