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by Joseph Setorius from Threshold Magazine issue 10

Under the Emerald Canopy…

Though born in Houston Texas, where my parents played in the Symphony, I mainly grew up in Montana, a state roughly the size of Germany, yet having a population of only 725,000. Before playing in the Symphony, my father had been a navigator and waist gunner on a B-17 bomber during WWII. That experience convinced him he hated living in close confines with his fellow humans, and consequently abhorred hotels. Therefore, shortly after my parents were married, they bought an Airstream trailer. Our family vacations were spent hiking and camping in the national forests, mainly in or along the perimeter of the Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness. Often, hiking trips took us up the eleven and twelve thousand foot mountain slopes of the Beartooth Range, which remained snow-packed until July, with many areas permanently covered by vast glaciers. Standing upon the crest of a high mountain ridge, looking down into the coniferous forests of the mountain valleys, it was not difficult imagining campfires below as Elven encampments, or trailer lights dotting campsites as Elven villages, snug and secure in the timbered mountain vales.

As I grew older, and became more political, elves held a place in my imagination as a superior race, infinitely more in tune with the natural world around them. Having long lifespans and slow growing populations, the elves seemed acutely aware of the consequences of their actions, and the changes they wrought on the face of the planet.

As I grew older still, and less political; I came to envy their long lives. However; trying to envision life amid immense magical forests filled with massive oaks and sentinels, buttressing elaborate elven palaces, I was incapable of completely grasping their world. Magic, long-lived races, and a lack of technology change many aspects of societies, and the delicate balance of power existing between them. Although trying to imagine what these cultures are like, to a certain extent, they remain unrecognizable. Yet these foreign cultures and long-lived races add depth, taking us to a place outside the realm of our reality, and this is perhaps the very root of fantasy. A fantasy world is supposed to have fantastic elements…otherwise it’s just Earth! No fantastical race seems to capture our imagination quite so completely as the idealistic elves, and quite often they are a hallmark of many fantasy settings.

Whatever inspiration or affinity you have for elves, hopefully this issue will provide plenty of material to further spur your imagination. From the elven calendar and its holidays, to elven class variants. Past and future timelines and maps give visual and chronological order to elven events. There is also additional material for setting the CM5 module in Alfheim and playing the mysterious Vesperland Elves of the Hollow Moon, as well as continuing articles from past issues. Finally there are two forays in the wilderlands of Norwold and among the pirates of the Savage Coast! With a little bit of luck, there is something in this issue to suit everyone’s tastes.

So without further ado, let us leave the cities and pastures behind, and enter the Elven World…

Joseph Setorius (julius_cleaver)

Editor-in-Chief, Threshold Issue 10


Leaving the summer heat of familiar cultivated fields and pastures, you slowly wind your way through the underbrush of bordering forest. Clouds gradually cover the sky, and a light shower falls over the forest. As warmth of the midsummer sun quickly vanishes, the woodland shadows and moisture chill you to the bone. Increasingly you feel as though your party is being watched. Only now do you understand… this is not your home! With furtive glances you nervously scan the trees, gazing for an unseen stalker. Stepping aside an enormous trunk, you come face to face with a leather-clad warrior. The elastic sound of bow-strings drawn taut encompass you, and turning round realize you are surrounded. “Be you friend or foe!?” the warrior commands. The delicate balance of life lays in your reply…

Within this issue, you will find alternate elven histories, calendars and holidays; new elven class variants; and numerous expansion settings. In addition; the third in depth installment on the Wrymsteeth; the next level of Koskatep, Threshold Magazine's ongoing mega-dungeon; and a Norwold adventure round out the issue. Does your party die upon the points of elven arrows, make it back to civilization, or become forever mesmerized by the seemingly endless beauty of the forests?