The elan are a race of constructs made to imitate humans but possessing innate psionic powers. Originally created as covert agents by the mysterious group of psionicists known only as the Order, some elans are now breaking free of their programming and forging new lives for themselves. This week, we’re giving you the AD&D 2e version of the elan.
The elan race originally appeared in the 3rd edition Expanded Psionics Handbook, where they are presented as a race made from volunteers who undergo a strange transformation. When Dragon and Dungeon magazines tackled Dark Sun for 3rd edition, they added the idea of the elan being created by the Order and that’s the interpretation we’re using in our games – along with the idea that not all elan chose to become what they are.
For more on the Order, see Dragon Kings, and check out this cool blog from Jesse Heinig, which gives advice for using the Order in your Dark Sun game and includes the Order Operative kit for 2nd edition and background for 5th edition, and some Order-related feats for 3rd edition games.
As always, there’s a pdf version of the elan writeup at the end of this blog.
Originally created as a secret network of court agents by a powerful society of psions known as the Order, elans are not born; they are made. It is said that the Order erred when it created the first elans because it gave them too much free will. Some elan enclaves still owe allegiance to the Order, while other elans have turned their backs on the Order and are determined to forge their own destinies in the harsh lands of Athas. The average Athasian has never heard of an elan, but most noble families, merchant houses, and high-ranking templars have learned of their existence within the last few years.
Elans all have one thing in common: an origin as a human. A special elan council screens living humans from a pool of possible volunteers and targets who have been identified for replacement with an elan. Those who are approved for replacement are taken to one of several hidden elan enclaves, where organic life is replaced with psionically-energized animation. The elan replaces the original individual, who is usually slain.
Newly created elans retain the basic memories and personalities of their previous lives, but they keep none of their class skills, powers or spells (if any), or previous class abilities. Elans are a secretive lot in this regard, and they do not publicly reveal their enclaves or places of making. If one is to be replaced by an elan, he is usually selected. Thus, elans do not reproduce biologically, but rather psionically, through the transition life power changing humans into elan. Even then, their “children” are usually fully-grown adult humans.
Non-human elans are never created, and it could be that the transition life power simply doesn’t work for any other creatures but those who were originally human.
Personality: Elans are nearly as adaptable, flexible, and ambitious as the humans from which they are made. Because their state of existence sometimes leads other races to think the worst of them, elans practice a certain restraint, especially In regards to their origin. Otherwise, their personalities vary widely.
Physical: Elans typically stand just under 6 feet tall and weigh about 180 pounds, with men sometimes taller and heavier than women, but not always. Elans vary in looks as widely as the humans they have been chosen to replace. Elans dress in the styles similar to humans, including the adoption of unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, body piercing, and the like. Elans have unlimited lifespans – as long as they are not destroyed, their mental arts could conceivably continually energize and rebuild their bodies for over a thousand years.
However, the Order only recently established the first elan enclaves, so no known elans are more than twenty five years old (not counting their time spent as humans before being transformed into an elan).
Elans do not sleep as members of other races do. Instead, an elan meditates in a deep trance for 4 hours a day. An elan resting In this fashion gains the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep. While in trance, an elan concentrates on suffusing his body with psionic energy, healing the hurts and random lacerations of the day, and restoring animation and resiliency to his tissues.
Relations: Elans mix well with members of other races, especially humans. It is probable that their relations would undergo a shift should their true nature become widely known, so one of the essential tenets of elan existence is secrecy.
Lands: Wherever humans are found. there, too, are elans.
Language: Elans speak Common. They typically learn other languages, including obscure ones. and they are fond of sprinkling their speech with words borrowed from other tongues: pterran curses, elven musical expressions, thri-kreen military phrases. and so on.
Elan Society: Elan society is an artificial thing, growing around elan enclaves that have been created and put in place to further the desires of the Order. Still, elan are life forms and cannot help but build culture as they continue to grow. One area that elans take great interest in is that of names.
Elan names vary greatly and often are simply the same as the human name they possessed before they crossed into their new existence. This is particularly true when an elan wishes to pick up his old life where he left off. Others view their second chance at existence as an opportunity to start anew and might pick completely new names.
On the other hand, titles are important to the elan, although they are used only among themselves. Freshly transitioned elans have the title of Newmade, those who have had at least a few years of animate “life” have the title Made, and those over two decades old have the title of Eternal. Those that belong to the group that chooses new elans have the title of Culler (although any elan who knows the power transition life might take this title, whether part of the Culler Council or not).
Role-playing Suggestions: As an elan adventurer, you are akin to humans in their daring and ambition. Because some effects that afflict other races leave elans unscathed, you sometimes seem extraordinarily brave to those who do not know the secret of your existence.
This secrecy is paramount. You were made from a human, either willingly or at the behest of the Order, and they can unmake you as readily as they gave you life. Always remember that the Order is watching. If you are a loyal servant, then act to impress your distant masters. If you seek freedom from their control, focus all your thoughts and deeds on winning a new life for yourself and discovering who you truly are.
The following game statistics apply to the elan player character:
Ability Adjustments: +1 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom, –2 Charisma. Elan are mentally powerful, yet their status as constructed beings means that they lack a strong sense of identity.
Movement Rate: 12.
Construct: Elans are created beings, and thus are not subject to spells or effects that affect humanoids only, such as charm person or hold person.
Naturally Psionic: Elans gain 2 bonus Psionic Power Points (PSPs) at 1st level. This benefit does not grant them the ability to manifest powers unless they gain that ability through another source, such as a wild talent or levels in a psionic class.
Resistance: Elans can use psionic energy to increase their resistance to various forms of attack. At any time, an elan can spend 1 PSP to gain a +4 bonus on saving throws until the beginning of her next action.
Resilience: When an elan takes damage, she can spend PSPs to reduce its severity. At any time, she can reduce the damage she is about to take by 2 hit points for every 1 PSP she spends.
Repletion: An elan can sustain her body without need of food or water. If she spends 1 PSP, an elan does not need to eat or drink for 24 hours.
Trance: An elan meditates in a deep trance for 4 hours a day. An elan resting In this fashion gains the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.
Elan Racial Ability Requirements
Elan Class and Level Limits
Elan Rogue Skill Adjustments
Climb Walls: –
Detect Magic: +10%
Detect Illusion: –
Detect Noise: –
Escape Bonds: –
Find/Remove Traps: –
Forge Documents: -5%
Hide in Shadows: –
Move Silently: –
Open Locks: –
Pick Pockets: –
Read Languages: +5%
Elan Height and Weight
Base Height in Inches: 60/60
Base Weight in Pounds: 150/150
Starting Age: varies – the elan is created from an existing human
Base Maximum Age: none – elans are immortal