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Human worshipping Aldrya

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10 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, but is this the case with Elves and other Aldyrami?

I would presume so (in the absence of canonical statements to the contrary; in which case I likely need to consider whether & how much ygmv to add... ;-)

 

12 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

It has major ramifications. Can the elves grow a massive army over a couple of seasons? 

.With the right Aldryami magic, every forest already IS a massive army.

For a sizeable soldier, I would expect magic could produce them via growth-acceleration magic.  Some species of trees can grow to about 4 meters their first year.  But Aldryami warfare doesn't rely on only "soldiers" -- vines to entangle (particularly thorny ones), spores to choke & poison, etc etc etc...

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5 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

They care and have emotions, just very different ones to humans.

Do we have any idea what those emotions are, then? Once we make their emotions different from human emotions, then we need some clue as to how to understand them. 

5 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Dragonewts are the ones with no emotion, or at least that's what they aspire to, and no-one says they are like Vulcans.

Because they're not. Dragonnewts are Draconic, and change their physical forms, are reborn , among other less obvious differences.  

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4 minutes ago, g33k said:

I would presume so (in the absence of canonical statements to the contrary; in which case I likely need to consider whether & how much ygmv to add... 😉

 

.With the right Aldryami magic, every forest already IS a massive army.

For a sizeable soldier, I would expect magic could produce them via growth-acceleration magic.  Some species of trees can grow to about 4 meters their first year.  But Aldryami warfare doesn't rely on only "soldiers" -- vines to entangle (particularly thorny ones), spores to choke & poison, etc etc etc...

This is a very interesting concept, to me. It makes elves a far stronger, more vibrant species and gives them much greater bouceback ability.BTW, do we have any info on Aldyami diet? Do they have to eat anything, or do just drink water and catch some rays?

 

I was just thinking of the military implications of a rapidly grown army that doesn't need food or shelter. 

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29 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I was just thinking of the military implications of a rapidly grown army that doesn't need food or shelter. 

But it needs a LOT of magic to get the "insta-army" effect.

Still, raising an entire generation of decent infantry in just a couple of years instead of 15-20 is a pretty big advantage; and a thousand trees needs a LOT less space & other mundane resources than a thousand humans.

They're still "just trees" without animating magic, so a big enough Dispel / etc means you just moved the now-inanimate forest; Birnam Wood has not come to Dunsinane!

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On 11/7/2018 at 5:41 PM, PhilHibbs said:

I think that is "No, with a but". The headline is that only Aldryami can use Elf Bows, and if any non-Aldryami even touches one, it withers and dies. However, there are always exceptions, there are always ways to break the normal rules.

Surely, a worshipper of Aldrya is an Aldryami.

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2 minutes ago, g33k said:

But it needs a LOT of magic to get the "insta-army" effect.

Oh yeah, I get that, but...

2 minutes ago, g33k said:

Still, raising an entire generation of decent infantry in just a couple of years instead of 15-20 is a pretty big advantage; and a thousand trees needs a LOT less space & other mundane resources than a thousand humans.

is what just clicked in my head. Especially since such an army might not need the usual logistics. It might be possible for the elves to grwo such an army in secret and then unleash it in a big surprise offensive. And said army could literally live off the land. 

2 minutes ago, g33k said:

They're still "just trees" without animating magic, so a big enough Dispel / etc means you just moved the now-inanimate forest; Birnam Wood has not come to Dunsinane!

Yeah but that still ties up some magic on the other side that could have been better spent elsewhere. Taking out a Oak tree might be a tactical necessity, but it's magic and effort that would otherwise be directed elsewhere.  Plus even if the opposition  de-animates the tree army, isn't that just extending the forest, thus extending the  Aldyrami sphere of influence? It opens up whole new avenues of warfare. I wonder if the Aldyami have giant fly-trap-like plants that could be used both the trap opposing forces, and as mobile camps for Aldyrami?

 

It makes the Adlrymi a very nasty bunch to have to fight.  Although they are vulnerable to "slash and burn" tactics. 

 

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

They care and have emotions, just very different ones to humans. Dragonewts are the ones with no emotion, or at least that's what they aspire to, and no-one says they are like Vulcans.

I am of the firm belief that all species descended from grandfather Mortal have a lot in common, emotions being one of those things.

So, Elves and Trolls share many human emotions. Grandfather Mortal got jiggy with Aldrya and made the Elves. However, the Dryads and Runners have a different descent and would be more alien. Pixies were made by Shannasse, using left-over magic, to make Aldrya laugh, so would behave differently as well.

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1 minute ago, soltakss said:

I am of the firm belief that all species descended from grandfather Mortal have a lot in common, emotions being one of those things.

I Agree. According to the info on elves, they share the Person rune with the other humanoid species, so they are probably have more in common with the other species than not. I think that also goes with the whole unity thing in Glorantha. What the species and cultures have in common is greater than their differences. 

 

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Once you start animating trees I've got to point to the Banyan.  It's a tropical relative of the "ficus" (of houseplant fame), become a gigantic multi-trunked tree.  The largest known covers about 20K m^2, almost 5 acres...

Now animate THAT.

 

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14 minutes ago, g33k said:

Once you start animating trees I've got to point to the Banyan.  It's a tropical relative of the "ficus" (of houseplant fame), become a gigantic multi-trunked tree.  The largest known covers about 20K m^2, almost 5 acres...

Now animate THAT.

 

If it's one plant, then a single Warrior of Wood spell should be enough!

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On 11/7/2018 at 12:41 PM, PhilHibbs said:

The headline is that only Aldryami can use Elf Bows, and if any non-Aldryami even touches one, it withers and dies. However, there are always exceptions, there are always ways to break the normal rules.

Not exactly. The text in RQ2 stated that each Elf initiate receives and elf bow seed, and that non-elf initiates could get a elf bow by spending a point of Permanent POW, and that it took 4 years to grow. So there was a loophole for human worshipers.. Not sure it it still exists in RQG.

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7 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Interesting. So basically they could grow a huge army, go on the offensive, and then reforest newly won lands, but won't or can't bring themselves to do it. That's a very interesting insignt into their psyche.

The Aldryami don't expand their territory invading with armies, but by expanding the forest, then defending the newly overgrown land. They probably wouldn't even consider expanding any other way.

You can read about elf warfare against humans in the description of eastern Maslo in the Guide. Those are sleepless, all-male yellow elves with blowdarts rather than elf bows, and their special dryads who they mate with and who give birth to everything their tribe has to throw into the war.

 

 

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The 40 year old cherry tree right next to my house has spread its roots all around the house. I have found apparently new trees growing from its root systems as far as 20 meters away. We used to cut down most of these, but it has been a few years since I last pulled out these growths, and some of these are now of a size where I could splice twigs from the canopy or from other cherry varieties to it.

A warrior of wood made from that tree would have quite the reach...

 

Edited by Joerg
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To be clear:  Pls understand where I'm coming from: I care fairly little about nuances of canon, ie what might be found in the deep recesses of the guide or in some obscurantist comment from the Digest circa 1988.  They just don't weigh that much for me compared to making a compelling setting now.

For me, Glorantha is about building a realistic high-fantasy world.  It's one reason I discourage new players from "I want to play an elf!" or "...dwarf"...or "...dragonewt".  I think that Glorantha - in strong opposition to D&D and pretty much every fantasy MMO - elder races are fundamentally alien in their their psychologies.  The (to me) hand-waving rationalizations about rootless elves or openhandist dwarves is just that: rationalizations to make them playable by people.  While I keep them, I don't think most new players would comprehend they they are, to their kind, literally insane.  Dangerously so, to some.

Compared to D&D, where the other races are played pretty much like normal people with an elf-mask and some different stat mods, I'd like Elder races to be weird on the verge of fearsome.

I think Trolls are relatively easy for people to get into their headspace.  Elves less so.  Mostali even less so.  Dragonewts basically impossible.

"Not caring at all about children" for Aldryami is both an easy-grab to highlight how downright alien Elves are to humans, with (relatively) little game-bending impact.

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

For me, Glorantha is about building a realistic high-fantasy world.  It's one reason I discourage new players from "I want to play an elf!" or "...dwarf"...or "...dragonewt".  I think that Glorantha - in strong opposition to D&D and pretty much every fantasy MMO - elder races are fundamentally alien in their their psychologies.  The (to me) hand-waving rationalizations about rootless elves or openhandist dwarves is just that: rationalizations to make them playable by people.  While I keep them, I don't think most new players would comprehend they they are, to their kind, literally insane.  Dangerously so, to some.

For me, Trolls, Elves, Mermen, Ducks, Baboons,  and, perhaps, Clay Mostali, are all descended from Grandfather Mortal and all share many characteristics. So, they are not alien, as they have a common "Humanity".

Living Trees, Dryads, Dragonewts,  Dehori, Jolanti, Unicorns, Minotaurs, many Nymphs and so on are not descended from Grandfather Mortal, so are alien in nature.

So, for example, I could not even begin to understand how an Alrdyami Great Tree thinks. It is stationary, lives for millennia, is connected to the entire Great Forest, reproduces in an alien way and so on. 

Elves, on the other hand, are much easier for me to understand. 

Some types of Elf do not have females and reproduce with Dryads. Others have females and reproduce through mating as normal, but produce a seed. I don't see why they would be any less attached to their offspring than, say, a creature that lays eggs. Once the seed germinates or the egg hatches, the offspring can be cared for and raised like many other creatures. Maybe Elves are raised by the Great Forest, due to their connection with it, that makes some sense, so perhaps they have a more communal upbringing.

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2 hours ago, styopa said:

To be clear:  Pls understand where I'm coming from: I care fairly little about nuances of canon, ie what might be found in the deep recesses of the guide or in some obscurantist comment from the Digest circa 1988.  They just don't weigh that much for me compared to making a compelling setting now.

Oh I get it, and, as always, It's just that:

43 minutes ago, soltakss said:

For me, Trolls, Elves, Mermen, Ducks, Baboons,  and, perhaps, Clay Mostali, are all descended from Grandfather Mortal and all share many characteristics. So, they are not alien, as they have a common "Humanity".

Seems to be an important bit about Glorantha. It does appear to come up a bit in the timeline.

 

No hard feelings though. As before,Your Glorantha Will Vary.

Edited by Atgxtg

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

For me, Trolls, Elves, Mermen, Ducks, Baboons,  and, perhaps, Clay Mostali, are all descended from Grandfather Mortal and all share many characteristics. So, they are not alien, as they have a common "Humanity".

Living Trees, Dryads, Dragonewts,  Dehori, Jolanti, Unicorns, Minotaurs, many Nymphs and so on are not descended from Grandfather Mortal, so are alien in nature.

And there you have the rub for at least 70% of the aldryami - they have dryads for mothers. While green elves generally don't, brown elves do mate with dryads even though they have elf females. Yellow elves are all male, and all have dryads for mothers.

Dryads are of course a subset of nymphs, but nymphs are the combination of Ulerian (or Tilntae) "mother" and "local or elemental aspect" magic.

Even green elves have dryads and gardeners as their foster parents. There is something like a parental bond between elves, but it appears to be a subset of the general bond between the elves and their overarching identity, the forest, a responsibility of the parent to make sure that the offspring will contribute. The father (and, if an elf, the mother) of the sapling elf going mobile might be involved in the immediate training of their offspring, as far as other duties to the forest allow.

This "forest first, individual family second, self third" approach of elven mentality combined with an utter ruthlessness towards parasitic or symbiotic species can make aldryami quite alien. Elf-friends need to be a lot more fatalistic than dark-friends.

1 hour ago, soltakss said:

So, for example, I could not even begin to understand how an Alrdyami Great Tree thinks. It is stationary, lives for millennia, is connected to the entire Great Forest, reproduces in an alien way and so on. 

I have read a few pieces of fiction written from such a perspective, and it may be a lot less alien than you might imagine. People are connected to a multitude of other people and virtual people through their medial interaction, and in that context they aren't that mobile, either.

Plus there are games like "Civilization" which put the player into a similar role, overseeing the antics of their instances.

1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Elves, on the other hand, are much easier for me to understand. 

While I am no great fan of the Star Trek Vulcan comparison, either, there are other Star Trek species that might serve as an inspiration - the servants of the Dominion in the Deep Space Nine series. Both Jem'Hadar and Vorta are dedicated to their greater whole in a way quite alien to humanity.

1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Some types of Elf do not have females and reproduce with Dryads. Others have females and reproduce through mating as normal, but produce a seed. I don't see why they would be any less attached to their offspring than, say, a creature that lays eggs. Once the seed germinates or the egg hatches, the offspring can be cared for and raised like many other creatures. Maybe Elves are raised by the Great Forest, due to their connection with it, that makes some sense, so perhaps they have a more communal upbringing.

Elves are somewhere halfway between mass-produced r-selection and carefully nurtured K-selection. Elf units can reach quite impressive ages, depending on the subspecies, which would suggest a K-selection. At the same time, they are able to delay the planting of elf seeds in accordance with the greater plans of the forests. This suggests that they start valuing an individual when it begins to have merit, rather than after conception.

There have been speculations (in ancient digests) about female elves being able to nurture young elves through gifts of nectar from their rudimentary mammaries (or imitations thereof, by virtue of the morphic demands of the Man rune). If so, this might be a way to impart lessons as well as to vector magic to the recipients, and might be extended to grownup aldryami, too. Possibly even elf-friends in need of such a power-up.

Elves and runners feed on plants (mainly fruit or leaves, but probably also some barch or resin, and possibly some mulch) for energy and growth nutrients. They appear to leave general nectar harvest to the pixies. They may be able to do limited photosynthesis ("lightfeeding"), but that will only delay their need for energy consumption somewhat, and doesn't suffice to support frantic activity. This places them (and the runners) in a group of parasitic or symbiotic plant growths.

Herbivorous beasts are some kind of rivals for food, but also somewhat useful recyclers of nutrients. Carnivorous beasts are nature's way to keep the herbivores in check without elf intervention. Both sorts of beasts probably would ingest elves if given the opportunity, making the elves less than sympathetic to their intruding uncontrolled into their own breeding and sleeping grounds. Hsunchen beasts may actually be a little more acceptable in this regard as their human-shaped entities are highly unlikely to hunt elves for food, and their beasts probably held in check somewhat by the human prohibition on feeding on humanoids. No idea where that leaves runners, though.

Does the RQG bestiary have images of runners? The only depiction I recall from RQ3 days was a very unsatisfactory one of a chimp or gibbon with garlands.

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41 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Does the RQG bestiary have images of runners? The only depiction I recall from RQ3 days was a very unsatisfactory one of a chimp or gibbon with garlands.

image.png.b7526ab18854fe79dc859ed057e4a6cb.png

Edited by PhilHibbs
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I think knowledge about Gloranthan species  has reached the point where terms such as "elf" and "dwarf" probably confuse the issue more that they help. Over the years, as more are more info has come out, it becomes more and more obvious that the Elder Species have nothing in common with the typical FRPG humanoid species, or even their mythical antecedents.

Edited by Atgxtg
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4 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I think knowledge about Gloranthan species  has reached the point where terms such as "elf" and "dwarf" probably confuse the issue more that they help. Over the years, as more are more info has come out, it becomes more and more obvious that the Elder Species have nothing in common with the typical FRPG humanoid species, or even their mythical antecedents.

Yes, but on the other hand, terms like Aldryami or Mostali just confuse the issue, as they relate to many different types of creature.

So, Aldryami include Sentient Trees, Dryads, Elves, Runners and Pixies, as well as things like Warriors of Wood. Mostali include Dwarves, Jolanti, Nilmergs as well as the True Mostali, from the various castes. Uz include Mistress Race Trolls, Dark Trolls, Great Trolls, Cave Trolls, Trollkin, Hot Trolls and so on.

If we are discussing particular races, using terms such as Aldryami or Uz is confusing. Better to use the term for each race.

Edited by soltakss
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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Yes, but on the other hand, terms like Aldryami or Mostali just confuse the issue, as they relate to many different types of creature.

Yeah. What I think we need more Glorathan names for "Elves" and "Dwarves". As soon as you use those words, most people think of standard FRPG species. It probably starts them off on the wrong foot. 

 

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The Entekosiad calls elves Talargs, if you want a 'native' name, though it's Wendarian.

As with Durev, the Wendarians claim they were originally made from trees, and in their case the elves/talargs were created by the trees who stayed rooted as a copy of people. Durev was carved from a tree by the god Orstan the carpenter. Of course, the distinctions between the elder races and humanity was thinner then.

'Tree-people', 'Darkness folk', 'Stone people', etc., could be used pretty universally in a game, I think, also.

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We have Gloranthan names for the elf types: Vronkali, Mreli, Embyli. A bit unwieldy and not that easy to pronounce, though.

Quite often when we talk about the aldryami we include the upper ranks of the Aldrya cult tied to specific trees, too - dryads and sentient trees. Whether this includes the semi-sentient runners or the sprites or other animated plants often is left open. We might say "elf plans" when those are really the forests' plans.

6 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

As with Durev, the Wendarians claim they were originally made from trees, and in their case the elves/talargs were created by the trees who stayed rooted as a copy of people. Durev was carved from a tree by the god Orstan the carpenter. Of course, the distinctions between the elder races and humanity was thinner then.

Durev was carved by Orstan the Elder (one of the few cases where a name has been reused in a Gloranthan lineage). Orstan the Carpenter is a son of Durev (or Orlanth, or both).

Green Age origin myths may have people growing as fruit on trees, emerging from flower buds, or similar, as alternatives to childbirth by a nymph/mother goddess (which includes beast-shaped mothers). Humans made from clay or similar substance are something like a rival concept, and generally a lot more hostile to the forest. The rivalry Grower and Maker, through delegation.

 

I am not that great a fan of terms like "stone people" or "tree people". Talking about "the Stone Tribe" rather than Mostali offers a bit of Thesaurus functionality when writing about them, and does leave re-interpretation backdoors for heroquesters, but any kenning for an opponent or protagonist will allow such backdoors.

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15 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

'Tree-people', 'Darkness folk', 'Stone people', etc., could be used pretty universally in a game, I think, also.

That's a good suggestion.  It's off-beat enough to break the Tolkienesque expectations, but still descriptive.  But, like most pre-modern concepts, one has to recognize and maintain it (confusingly, to moderns) as astonishingly non-objective.

The illustration I give to players is that medieval roads weren't objectively named, like they are today.  We all look at a map, and all agree "That's route 18A".  But it doesn't take much time with ancient cartography to see that the road between Happytown and Greenville has multiple names: from Happytown it's called 'the Greenville road' and to the inhabitants of Greenville it's the "Happytown road"....obviously, because to each of them that's where it goes.

In a premodern world, mostly illiterate, there is no effort to universalize, nor any sort of consistent taxonomy(I mean, the God Learners tried it, and we all know how that turned out...)  Our village calls those violent weirdos in the forest 'Sheepkillers' because every time our stock accidentally wanders out the other side of the meadow, they keep them and kill anyone stupid enough to try to get them back.  I heard the village in the next valley over calls them something like Husband-stealers as in grandpa's time a bunch of men vanished, one was found and dragged back to town raving about beautiful women...nobody here has ever seen pretty girls, just an occasional warning arrow (if you're lucky).

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Not to get overly technical and anthro-wanky, but we do have some interesting cosmologies of non-literate people in the RW. Eduardos Viveiro de Castro, a Brazilian social anthropologist specializing in Amazonian peoples, proposed a concept he called "Perspectivism" that is almost uncannily similar to the Gloranthan concept of common descent from the man rune/grandfather mortal, albeit with some major differences.

He argued that among many Amazonian groups, society and "humanity" (or personhood) was actually seen as universal, but was essentially impossibly to recognize from different positions in the system. He cites a lot of myths I won't go into here, but basically the general gist of it is that animals are seen as having secret villages with their own chiefs/big men, lineages and shamans, as do plants, as do spirits and gods, and even inanimate matter like rocks and mountains, but they are "hidden" from normal human eyes. The only thing that really divides them is their different substance. This difference can be overcome by the shaman, who is able to transcend the boundaries through trance, or by taking a different body or body form, and can then visit the villages of the beasts, the plants, the gods, and speak with them as an intermediate, and relay it back to his own people.

He contrasts this with western (Abrahamic) physical universalism, which was basically the assumption that everything is unified by having a physical body of gross, base matter, but divided by how God had assigned different spiritual/mental qualities to them, and given humans, uniquely, a soul. (I'm not saying that all these bodies were identical, but rather seen as being fundamentally similar in terms of decay, reproduction, etc.)

There's a delightfully macabre anecdote about how, while the Spaniards would debate whether the Indians had a soul or whether they were animals, the natives themselves put Spanish corpes underwater to see if they rotted, in which case they were a human, or whether they didn't, in which case they were spirits. In summary, the westerners took a common body for granted, but were unsure about spiritual qualities, whereas the indigenous Amazonians took common spiritual qualities for granted, but were unsure about the qualities of the physical bodies of other groups.

NOW - I know this was perhaps a bit tedious to read, but my point is really that a) attempts at universal scheme in an non-literate culture is possible, and b) in Glorantha, where several groups are unified by runic patterns across different elemental alignments, there can be serious differences while maintainting some base similiarities as well. The two aren't mutually exclusive. We can have the idea of a commonality through the Man rune, while still having them be more than just "people with long ears or tusks", as it were. It doesn't have to be an absence or presence of emotions, but a different register of emotions produced by a different set of priorities or triggers.

So, the Aldryami might very well feel very strongly about their young, and they might care for them intensely, but perhaps not in a way humans are capable of comprehending, due to our different "perspective". In a sense, we are, by virtue of our bodies, spirit (or elemental constitution, or what you) barred from viewing them as they themselves do. It certainly seems that way from the Belintar snippet we have on the Aldryami.

Here's a suggestion I have: given that young Aldryami (as in, the humanoid elves) need to be grown from a rooted plant, this would probably mean leaving the plant alone for long stretches at a time, because there really isn't that much to do about its growth all the time. No constant feedings, no keeping them warm, and so on. Perhaps elves would rather just check in every once in a while to make sure things are okay, much like hunter-gatherer people would do with fruit-bearing plants they casually cultivated along their hunting trails by removing competing plants or propping them up when they happened to walk by.

Additionally, we might find that individual elven parents might not necessarily care especially passionately for their own offspring, but rather that keeping an eye out for these sapling-fetuses is a common task for all adult, mobile elves. When an elf eventually grows from its fruit-egg, it might not have any particular bond with its particular parents, and vice versa. Adult aldryami care for infant aldryami, as groups, not individuals. The loss of an individual is regrettable, even tragic, but not as personally devastating in the way it is for humans (arguably, premodern infant mortality rates does create some hardened attitudes among humans too).

This opens for some interesting differences, where an elf might be puzzled as to why some children are cared for so well, while others languish in poverty, and would be absolutely horrified by the very *idea* of orphans or street urchins while there are seemingly so many adults around who could care for them. Favoritizing one's own biological offspring might be seen as outright lunacy by them, a perversion of the group-self's preservation instinct. Conversely, they might also be puzzled as to why humans complaining about too many mouths to feed won't just cull one of their young to reduce the problem, as it is the most practical solution that gives the group the least pain. It should preferably be avoided, but if it can't, there's no reason to agonize about it. This could also explain why elves would become so utterly furious at humans burning down or cutting down a grove, or a few acres of wood - because in some ways it is worse than killing any individual Aldryami - it is (potentially permanently) reducing their ability to reproduce. Aldryami population sizes are after all tied to forest sizes and density.

Feel free to extrapolate about other aspects, such as cannibalism, willingness to self-sacrifice, life-priority (they might prioritize other living organisms higher than their own kin/type, depending on how well they contribute to the ecosystem), property rights, inheritance, etc.

This is of course also a potentially interesting way to make a Plant rune-converted Aldrya worshipper seem alien enough to their companions, without making them utterly incomprehensible.

Just some suggestions.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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