All suggestions and comments are welcome; I hope we can start a lively and interesting discussion!
Here is the story basis:
The Hylar are a culture of largely Sindarin heritage (with a small amount of Edain mixed in) that migrated east out of Beleriand before the end of the First Age, and eventually came to dwell far to the east of most of the civilizations we know of in Middle-Earth, hence their non-appearance in the books (technically, Rhûn means "east", but they live farther east even than what we think of as the "eastern" parts of Middle-Earth. If Middle-Earth were analgous to Europe and Harad to the Middle-East, the Hylar would live in India or even China). They were, however, among the civilizations touched by the Blue Wizards. Culturally, the Hylar are closely related to their Sindar ancestors, and their language, Hylarin, is very similar to Sindarin, almost to the point of being mutually intelligible, although there are a few noted differences.
The Hylar were a significant civilization throughout the Second and Third Ages, although they grew and faded in power and were nearly wiped out several times. The Hylar were vaguely aware of Sauron for much of their history, and they participated in the great wars of the Second and Third Ages, having been a significant part of the Last Alliance near the end of the Second Age. At the end of the Third Age, they were again at war with the Forces of Darkness in the service of and allied to Sauron, but the peoples of the West know little of them largely because of the multi-front nature of the War of the Ring; like the Woodland Realm, Esgaroth, Dale, and Erebor, they fought their wars close to and on their own lands, and did little to aid the Quest of Mount Doom or the Kingdoms of Men apart from providing yet another front to keep Sauron distracted and draw off his military strength that might otherwise have been sent west of Mordor instead of east. In the Fourth Age, the Hylar continued to exist in Arda and remained for a great period of time, but their culture was slowly united with people of Mannish kindred that lived in and around their lands.
Economically, the Hylar were more involved in trade and other forms of interaction with the local peoples with whom they shared the East, including a number of Mannish peoples, Durin's folk in the Iron Hills and other Dwarven houses farther east, Khand, Dorwinion, and occasionally the Haradrim and even Númenor at its height. They also were capable sailors, and occasionally traded with the Elves of Lindon up and down the coast, but their contact with Gondor, Umbar, and Dunland took place largely under the banner of Lindon and not their own. Like the Sindar, the Hylar only rarely felled trees and so required large tracts of forest in order to have enough timber to support their civilization. This need for land resulted in much of the conflicts that almost proved their destruction. They were fond of jewelry and precious stones, and were able miners of such items, but they did less with metals. Their food was grown most commonly in orchards or hunted. Their more permanant buildings they built out of stone, but their dwellings were most often wooden. They gathered wine, and were very curious and adept at natural history. Although, like all other cultures of Elves, the Hylar were long-lived and slow to multiply, they valued their population more than other Elven cultures in the Second and especially the Third Ages, and thus their birth rate never declined.
The Hylarin military, like their Sindarin forebears, depended heavily on infantry, but unlike the Sindar, they did use cavalry, especially for scouting and as mounted archers, but their cavalry almost never wore heavy armor, making them fairly easy prey for archers on foot when they did not have the element of surprise. They relied heavily on bows as their main weapons, and their common shock troops used spears, but they did posses an elite force of skirmishers armed with both sword and bow. Like other Elven cultures, they used music to strengthen their morale and raise their prowess against their enemies, and the weapons they used were of special make. The Hylar, especially their leaders, were less sexually segregated than most other cultures of Arda, even compared to other Elves, including in their militaries. Last, citizenry also were better armed than those of most other civilizations, and their societies usually needed little of a basic guarding force.
For the most part, the Hylar did not develop sophistocated crafts like the Noldor, although they did have special arts, that gifted their lords and ladies with military and other equipment of surpassing quality even compared to the Noldor, although their crafts were more like their ancestors among the Sindar of their more common people. However, they exceled in their knowledge of animals and plants, which they used to care for their lands in such a way as to have ample basic commodities and did not use up their resources, so could sustain their people and continue to raise their levies. Unlike many other Elven peoples, the Hylar did not think of themselves as immortal because they accept that each nír and nís would one day inevitably be slain, as all of their early founders were in Beleriand or in their journey eastwards to their present home. They therefore developed arts by which the memory of their forebears could be retained and known to their children, and they married young and had larger families than is most usual for Elves.
Proposed usable goods (**can produce; *cannot produce but has technologies):
*Most of the units are self-explanatory, but the student is one special unit of the Hylar. The student is a unit costing wisdom at the University and fills a large number of roles. A student generally functions as a citizen, although better at gathering knowledge. Any student can be tasked to any resource or unit-producing building and, after a time, it can become a master of a skill corresponding to that building at an additional wisdom cost. If the building was for resource gathering, the student is now much more effective at gathering said resource, moreso than a normal citizen. If the building produces units, the master can become one of any unit the building can produce (the wisdom cost varies depending upon the unit), but still retains all of the abilities of a student. For most units (other than the marchwarden or lord), the new master is generally better than the normal unit it is emulating. Students, like citizens, can be male or female, and retain their sexes even after they have acquired the ability to function as something else.
Living Hall (produces citizen, harper, guard, herald; gathers all resources)
Mineshaft (gathers gold and gems
Timber Camp (gathers wood)
Guildhouse (produces jewelery)
Orchard (produces food)
Vinyard (produces wine)
Conservatory (heals if tended by harper; gathers knowledge if by citizen or student)
Library (gathers wisdom)
University (produces student)
School of War (produces banner-bearer, spearman, marchwarden, archer)
Outpost (produces mounted scout, mounted archer; fires arrows)
Castle (produces lord, deposits all resources)
Elven Skill (Increases citizen/student gather rate)
Elven Talent (Increases citizen building rate)
Winemaking (Increases Wine production rate)
Wine Aging (Increases bonus of Wine)
Ainulindalë (Increases effects of Harpers)
Foriegn Relations (Improves relations with minor civilizations)
Gemcutting (Increases benefits of Jewelry)
Gem-lore (Increases bonus of Gems)
Minerology (Increases Gem production rate)
Silverwork (Increses boni of Silver and Mithril)
Elven Empathy (Increases healing effect)
Grace of the Valar (Decreases Food cost of all units)
Valaquenta (Increases Knowledge gather rate)
Scholarship (Increases Wisdom gather rate)
Secrets of Lúthien (Decreases cost of Students)
Lore of Kelvar [a.k.a. zoology] (Increase Wisdom gather rate; allows Hunting and cavalry-related upgrades)
Lore of Olvar [a.k.a. botany] (Increases Wisdom gather rate; allows Timber Camp and Orchard upgrades)
Lore of Cemen [a.k.a. geology] (Increases Wisdom gather rate; allows Mine Shaft upgrades)
Tapestry of Vairë (Increases benefits of Knowledge)
School of War:
Tactics (Increases Military Attack)
Strategy (Increases Military Hack and Pierce armor)
Military Organization (Decreases cost of Banner-bearers, Heralds, and Harpers)
Fortification (Increases building hit points)
Accuracy (Increases building attack)
Reconasaince (Improves all stats of Mounted Scout and Mounted Archer)
Diplomacy (Increases relations with initially friendly civilizations)
Legends of Heroes (Increases benefits of Harpers, Lords, Leaders, and Heroes)
Edited by Beren IV, 29 June 2006 - 05:44 AM.