CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Baby Its Cold Outside

Snow Elves of Golarion

This week we are looking at the Snowcaster elves. We’ve started with our random rolls to making a Snowcaster character. Today we are going to be expanding upon the write-up for these elves the way I have in the past for the cannibal halflings, and the desert dwarves. The Pathfinder wiki has a bit of consolidated information on them, but in truth there is very little written. There is a sentence in Elves of Golarion, a glimpse at half-Snowcasters in Bastards of Golarion, and a scant two pages in People of the North. So today I present to you my take on these elves from the frozen north.


Illustration by Luis Perez
Nearly ten thousand years ago when Earthfall was heralded and the elves fled Golarion from their home in Sovyrian, some elves decided not to flee their new home; the most famous of these are the Drow. Although the dark elves seem little more than myth and legend, they are for the most part the only known elves who stayed on their second home planet. There was, however, another group.

While the Drow fled below ground, the elves that would become known as the Snowcaster fled north. The suspected impact location would do the most damage to Southern Avistan and Northern Garund. The elves retreating from Kyonin believed that the northern reaches of Avistan would be for the most part spared and if they could survive the frozen climate they would live to see another day. They were both right and wrong.

The Snowcasters, led by priests of Findeladlara, marched from Kyonin to the Crown of the World. There they began building a new home. The architects of The Guiding Hand created grand structures in the name of their goddess and their people. Life began anew in these grand cities, but the elves’ forewarning only gave them a few years, by elven standards, before the Starstone would impact and change the world forever.

Golarion shook from pole to pole with the impact of the giant meteor. The cities in which the Snowcasters had hoped to live out the Age of Darkness in came crumbling down around their ears. The elves fled once again out into the snow and the cold, made even colder by the obscuring of the sun. In the darkness they split from each other getting lost among the snow banks with no light to guide them.

Afraid, separated into small groups, and without any true home, the faithful of Findeladlara step forward to guide their people once again. Able to light their way, the small bands found homes in the concealed ravines between the many mountains of the Crown of the World. Protected in this manner from the snow they began to rebuild a second time, except smaller.

The lives of the Snowcasters became tribal, almost barbaric to some who remembered the glory days of Kyonin. But to survive in a land as inhospitable as the northern wastes the elves had to adapt. When the dust settled and the Age of Anguish began the elves came out of their secluded homes and began to explore their lands once again. Although some tribes found each other, they did not combine to once again form great cities. Many feeling that the destruction of their initial attempts was punishment for their hubris.

As the Age of Destiny arose they made some contact with the outside world, including the Ulfen in the newly founded Land of the Linnorm Kings and the Kellid tribes in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. These interactions were few and far between and the Snowcasters, now far removed from the ancestors, sought for nothing more than to keep to themselves in their frigid homes.

The Snowcasters continue to live their isolated lives in the Crown of the World to this day. Rarely does one of the snow elves feel the need to return to their homeland or brethren who left them to suffer. They continue to have very little to do with the outside world, although the Jadwiga of Irrisen occasionally seek them out for forced breeding purposes. For now they are content to live lives of family and worship.


Snowcaster elves keep many of the same physiological traits as their woodland cousins. Their bodies have remained nimble but frail. They have grown used to the cold environment  and despite their fragility they can ignore all but the most frigid temperatures. They are also known to traverse the icy tundra for hours on end without becoming fatigued or exhausted.

Their outward appearance has changed slightly, but that’s mostly cosmetic. Snowcaster elves tend to have even paler skin than their cousins in Kyonin. Their hair also tends to be white with tinges of blue in it. The snow elves eyes are almost universally blue and their time living on the surface with no sun has made them sensitive to bright lights while now having the ability to see in the darkness they once feared.

Whether lack of a connection to their original homeland or their changes in physiology to survive in their harsh new home is the cause, the Snowcasters have also lost much of their connection to magic. The snow elves have much more need of rest than their southern kin. They are no longer immune to spells that bring slumber, nor are the able to shrug off enchantments. Their own magics are not as strong as they used to be.

Rules Note: Snowcasters replace low-light vision, elven immunities, and elven magic with darkvision, desert runner, and elemental resistance (cold).


Family is important to the Snowcaster elves. Tribes are generally small and offspring are few and far between as it is with most elves. Although much of their history is oral, family history is incredibly detailed. Each family within a tribe passes down the deeds of their ancestors from parent to child. Children’s names include the names of favored ancestors to keep those memories alive.

Because the emphasis on family history is so important, family honor is also highly valued. Family members that dishonor the family have their name stricken from the histories and their name is no longer passed down to future generations. Very rarely dishonor is brought down upon an entire line, and in that case a family is banished from the tribe.

Alignment and Faith

Although they can be aloof the Snowcaster elves tend to be good aligned. The harsh environment they live in doesn’t allow them to be as carefree as their southern family, but they have yet to become as rigid as the ice from which they build their homes. Neutral or chaotic good are the most common alignments of the snow elves.

Findeladlara is by far the central deity of the lives of the Snowcasters. Her priests are the leaders of different tribes of snow elves, although they worship her in a far different way than their woodland kin. They see beauty as fleeting and they build very few structures that would be considered great architecture. The worship her as the lady of twilight, a guide between the light and the darkness just as it saw them through the Age of Darkness and Anguish through to the Age of Enthronement.

The Guiding Hand isn’t the only being the Snowcasters pay homage to. The Empyreal Lords Tolc and Pulura also have a strong following. This is especially true among those who hunt the frost giant minions of the Demon Lord Kostchtchie.


Snowcaster elves dislike dealing with the outside world much at all. Although they do send out envoys from time to time, their dealings are very cold. Individual tribes will deal with Ulfen, Kellids, and the Jadwiga of Irrisen. Their closest neighbors are the Erutaki tribes that travel the Crown of the World living off the same reindeer and caribou that the snow elves do. Both of these people enjoy their privacy and so understand each other quite well.

Frost giants and ice trolls are the two main hostile forces that the Snowcasters have to deal with. Occasionally a white dragon may stir or some Yeti will come down out of the mountains, but the giants and trolls are the only true enemies of the northern elves.


The Snowcaster elves have their faith in Findeladlara as a centerpiece of their society. Clerics, oracles, warpriest, druids, and shamans are all common among the elves of the Crown of the World. Those who the tribes send to trade with other races are devout followers, so these are the most common types of Snowcasters outsiders see.

The Snowcasters also live in a brutal environment where hunting, tracking, and scouting are of the utmost importance. Hunters, Rangers, Rogues, and Slayers are also very common. And although their connection to their magical nature has been seemingly severed, the snow elves still produce a fair number of wizards, sorcerers, and up here in the north, even witches.

What kind of cultures for other races would you like to see? Would you use these Snowcasters in your Golarion campaign? Would you adapt them to your homebrew world? What other information would you like to know about the snow elves?

The Snowcasters have survived a long dark past to become something more. If you’d like to become something more try becoming a contributor on the CRB’s Patreon. If you’d like to join the growing community of the CRB, I’m currently traversing the tundras of social media; Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Twitter all have a CRB presence. Come see what else is going on.

The opening illustration was created by a fine artist Luis Perez. You can find him on TwitterTumblr, and on Instagram at luisperezart.

No comments:

Post a Comment