The Dragonlance Nexus

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The N'ath El-ojim

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by Aelfwyn

History of the N'ath El-ojim

Age of Dreams

At the outset of the Age of Dreams there were three mortal races. Ogres were the favored of the gods of darkness and made war with men, favored of the gods of neutrality. Caught in the midst of this chaos were the children of light, the elves, who were neither as physically strong as the brutish ogres nor as prolific as the humans. Neither did the elven race much care for war, which seemed to dominate the destinies of the other two. The elves wanted nothing so much as to live in their forests in peace. This, however, was not meant to be.

Spread throughout the whole of Ansalon, the elves were under the constant threat of slavery or complete annihilation. They cried out to the gods of light for deliverance and Eli gave it to three of their divine number to devise a plan to save their children from extinction. Kiri-Jolith, Astaron, and Solinari took council one with another and, selecting a handful of worthy elves, established an order of protectors among the elven race. They were called the N'ath El-ojim, literally, the "Gift of the Gods". They blended the elves' love of art with their natural affinity for magic, but, due to the wild and unpredictable nature of sorcery, they tempered it with an unsurpassed martial discipline. Elves upon whom this gift was bestowed were able to fight toe to toe with an enemy many times their size as well as fight multiple opponents at once. Soon, they earned the respect of their enemies who dubbed them Bladesingers after the deadly beauty displayed in their fighting style.

Though they held all three deities in high esteem, Kiri-Jolith served as the patron deity of the N'ath El-ojim. With his oversight, they were able to save the elves. The N'ath El-ojim dedicated themselves to the protection of the elven people and worked closely with Silvanos Golden-Eye in the first and second Dragon Wars to secure a homeland for the elves. They formed House Protector and taught the elves martial skills that they used to defend their beloved homeland. While many joined House Protector, only the most disciplined and serious minded elves were trained to serve in the N'ath El-ojim. As such, the N'ath El-ojim were the most highly regarded in all of elven society and served as peacekeepers and ambassadors to the humans and other races.

The N'ath El-ojim had their difficulties as well. They staunchly opposed the formation of House Servitor and the enslavement of the Wilder Elves. As such, they routinely fought political battles in the halls of the Sinthal-Elish for the Kagonesti's right to live free as they saw fit. This put them at odds with most of the elven nobility, including those in Houses Protector and Royal. Then, on the day Sithel Silvanos was blessed with twins, a sign of godly favor among the elves, High Blademaster Illyriel Moonglow prophesied that a sharp schism between the brothers would split the mighty elven kingdom asunder. This so angered Sithel that he took steps to limit the political influence of the N'ath El-ojim and to alienate them from the royal throne. Furthermore, with the formation of the Orders of High Sorcery, whispers spread throughout House Magus that though sanctioned by the gods, the N'ath El-ojim's use of magic and swordplay together was anathema to the Orders of Magic.

These circumstances all came to a head after the end of the Kinslayer Wars and the signing of the Swordsheath Scroll when Illyriel's prophecy came to pass. Kith-Kanan established the kingdom of Qualinesti and elves from many parts of Silvanesti sought to join him. His brother, Sithas Silvanos, ordered House Protector to stop them by whatever means necessary. While the N'ath El-ojim were opposed to dividing the elven people and sought to dissuade elves from going to Qualinesti, they refused to use violence to prevent elves from defecting from Silvanesti. This angered Sithas even further and, with the support of House Magus and politically ambitious members of House Protector, he declared the N'ath El-ojim dark elves, going even so far as to erase their contributions to the elven race from history. In order to keep them from seeking refuge with the Qualinesti, stories of House Protector's brutality were attributed to them. Kith-Kanan, hearing the rumors, declared the N'ath El-ojim dark elves, as well, and outlawed the practice of the Bladesong. Some time later elven mages entered the Great Library in Palanthas and stole all records pertaining to the ancient order of elven protectors.

Since that time the N'ath El-ojim have dwindled in number. They were forced to live in secret, on the fringes of elven society. They stood in the shadows, silent protectors of the elven people, recruiting fewer and fewer for fear of being revealed. By the time of the first Cataclysm, even the long memories of the elven people forgot the N'ath El-ojim had ever existed and the elves began a slow and steady decline.

Age of Might through the Age of Despair

As the influence of the N'ath El-ojim on elven culture subsided, outside influences emerged. The rise of Istar as the preeminent power on Ansalon proved to be the largest of them all. Despite their best efforts to isolate themselves from the outside world, no longer did the elves view the gods in a uniquely elven way but, as a matter of course, adopted the religious concepts of Istar.

The N'ath El-ojim were powerless to stop the progression of human influence. Not only did they fear discovery by elves, they found themselves hunted at every turn by everyone from the Istarians to the Wizards of High Sorcery who had declared them renegades. Though they assured the Orders that they were warriors first and only supplemented their fighting with minor magic, the combination of their use of wild sorcery and elven influence on the council of mages made them renegades in the eyes of the Conclave. The N'ath El-ojim were forced deeper into the shadows and their influence on elven society all but vanished.

Without the Gift of the Gods as a moral compass and a safeguard to the elven way of life, by the Summer of Chaos the N'ath El-ojim were forgotten completely.

Age of Mortals

Little is known about the fate of the N'ath El-ojim. The few elven scholars who have even heard of them refuse to speak of them aloud due to their status as dark elves. Some believe those who remain may well have died in defense of Qualinesti during the War of Souls. Others secretly speculate that they were trapped in the Silvanesti shield and died at the hand of Cyan Bloodbane who may have seen them as a threat to his devious plot. But there are some who know their history and secretly hope that in these times of great woe and suffering for the elven people, Kiri-Jolith will once again see fit to reinstitute the ancient order of elven protectors. For in the Age of Mortals the elves are once again threatened with extinction and they cry out to the gods of light for aid in a most desperate time.

N'ath El-ojim Magic

The N'ath El-ojim are warriors, not mages, but they do use minor magic to supplement their fighting. As the N'ath El-ojim were formed long before the establishment of the orders of High Sorcery, they have always used primal sorcery to supplement their fighting prowess. Due to the unpredictable, chaotic nature of primal (or wild) sorcery, ritual and discipline is required to keep the magic under control. This discipline is the bladesong itself. A stylized martial form of controlled, rhythmic movements that access the arcane energies of Krynn and keep them under the control of the bladesinger. It has been said that the Song is the magic. However, it is more accurate to say that the magic is accessed by and flows through the Song in order to tame its wild nature. In fact, it is that very theory which the gods' of magic built upon in the formation of the Orders of High Sorcery.

As the effects of Chaos waned in the Age of Dreams and primal sorcery declined some sought an alternative. Many among the N'ath El-ojim learned the use of High Sorcery and adapted the ritualistic spell casting of the Orders to the rhythms of the Song. Others sought out certain chaotic energy sources in locations across Ansalon. The purpose of the magic is usually defensive and is always minor in nature. In any event, if discovered by a wizard of the Orders, most would look upon the N'ath El-ojim with suspicion at best. At worst they would see him/her as a renegade.

N'ath El-ojim in Your Game

The N'ath El-ojim use the same rules as a bladesinger as found in the Tome and Blood errata found here.

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