A Bosmer hunts in the wilds

The Bosmer are the Elven clan-folk of Valenwood, a forested province in southwestern Tamriel. In the Empire, they are often referred to as Wood Elves, but Bosmer, Boiche, or the Tree-Sap people is what they call themselves. Bosmer rejected the stiff, formal traditions of Aldmeri high culture, preferring a more romantic, simple existence in harmony with the land and its wild beauty and creatures. They are relatively nimble and quick in body compared to their more "civilized" Altmeri cousins (who often look down upon the Bosmer as unruly and naive). Their agility makes them well-suited as scouts and thieves. However, they are also a quick-witted folk, and many pursue successful careers in scholarly pursuits or trading. Bosmer live two to three times as long as humans; with a 200-year-old Bosmer being old and a 300-year-old Bosmer being very, very old. Though they are considered less influential than some of their Elven brethren, the Bosmer are also relatively prone to producing offspring. As a result, they outnumber all other mer on Tamriel.

The best archers in all of Tamriel, the Bosmer snatch and fire arrows in one continuous motion; they are even rumored to have invented the bow. They have many natural and unique abilities; notably, they can command simple-minded creatures and have a nearly chameleon-like ability to hide in forested areas. Many in the forests of Valenwood follow the tenets of the Green Pact. These "Green Pact Bosmer" are religiously carnivorous and cannibalistic, and do not harm the vegetation of Valenwood, though they are not averse to using wooden or plant-derived products created by others.

The Bosmer are one of the smallest races in Tamriel and are born with skin colors ranging from light brown to pale tan to light green. Biologically, the Bosmer are cousins of the Dunmer, or Dark Elves, and the Altmer, or High Elves. The Wood Elves lineage is less noble than that of the Altmer, but they have adapted well to Tamriel. After the Ayleids fled mainland Cyrodiil, they joined the Bosmer in seclusion, eventually being totally assimilated by the Bosmer. This probably significantly affected biology of modern day Bosmer.

Modest and Nimble

Bosmer are one of the smallest races on Tamriel. They average around 5 feet tall and weigh between 100 and 130 pounds. This small frame grants the Bosmer a natural proclivity for moving nimbly and stealthily. As with the other elves, they live two to three times as long as humans. Combined with their increased fertility and long lives, Bosmer are known to have large families, and are one of the most populous races of Tamriel. Wood Elves, or Tree-Sap People, have skin tones in copper and bronze, and sometimes have traces of light green. Their hair tends toward browns and blacks, but occasionally red and copper colored. Their eyes are golden, brown, and sometimes solid black with no visible white.

Treaty of Frond and Leaf

The ancestors of the Bosmer were some of the first to leave Old Ehlnofey, rejecting the formal traditions and high culture of the Aldmeri, instead preferring romantic ideas and a simple existence. They traveled to Valenwood to settle in the wild and untamed forests. Having to fight against lush jungles and savage creatures influenced the evolution of their society to make them who they are to this day. It is said that the Bosmer made a deal with Y'ffre, the God of Song and Forest, called the Green Pact. With this treaty, the Green would aid the Bosmer, providing them with shelter and safe passage, and in exchange, the Bosmer are forbidden from destruction of the forests. This brings great challenges that the bosmer of Valenwood have adhered to for centuries. They are forbidden from eating any of the vegetation, so their diet is strictly meat, including some delicacies, such as beverages made from fermented pigs milk, called jagga, or fermented meat seasoned with insect organs, called rotmeth. The Bosmer are also notable pacifists. They have never instigated any of the major wars of Tamriel and aim to keep peace between their tribes. This may have something to do with an ancient tradition from the Green Pact called the Meat Mandate, which required the bosmer to eat the bodies of their fallen enemies within three days. Before a great battle, the wood elves would prepare themselves by fasting. This cannibalistic ritual set the bosmer apart from the other races, but this practice diminished during the Second Era and is now only observed in remote tribal villages.

Hidden Woodland Realms

Most Wood Elves of Valenwood live in small villages hidden among the trees. Although the Green Pact prevents the Bosmer from using lumber or hollowing out trees for shelter, they have been blessed with the ability to grow their shelter. Trees, branches, and vines weave together to suit the needs of the faithful. Bridges of vines and boughs knit as one, sometimes right before your eyes, to provide passage between homes and villages. Bone, resin, and sinew are also used in building construction, as well as for their art and weapons. Totems made from skulls and bones decorate many residences, and hides stretched across frames of bone create partitions for privacy. Bosmer bows, made from horns and sinew, are noted as the best bows in Tamriel. In fact, it is rumored that the bow was invented by the Bosmer. These superior weapons, along with hides and bone charms are the main exports to the neighboring nations. Many of the coastal villages, especially those founded by other races, are built on the forest floor, and are typically constructed from traditional construction materials, like timber and stone. The Green Pact allows bosmer to import timber to make their homes, and doesn't apply to the other races.

Skilled Adventurers

As some of the greatest hunters and scouts in all of Tamriel, many Bosmer leave their villages to seek out greater challenges. They are born warriors, excelling at martial combat, and they have a natural connection with beasts. Those that have ignored the Pact and turned their back on Y'ffre are expelled from their tribe. An exiled bosmer usually has no other option than to seek out adventure elsewhere.

Bosmer Names

Most Bosmer have only their given name, but it is not unheard of to have a family name, which is typically descriptive of their skills or ancestry.

Male Names

Aengvir, Athragar, Baenlin, Brenor, Calthindor, Deros, Drinlin, Elseer, Faenir, Fangaril, Filalmoth, Firras, Gelin, Hadran, Inluin, Lenor, Malgoth, Niden, Ording, Rollin, Saldir, Thranor, Urunil

Female Names

Aerin, Althel, Belwen, Candel, Distel, Elphinia, Erwin, Evelie, Fangil, Ganwen, Glaras, Herdor, Indanas, Laen, Miniel, Nara, Pishna, Ralion, Sednel, Thralin, Uunril, Zifri

Family Names

Arrow-Catcher, Blood-Letter, Daintyfoot, Flameheart, Greenwood, Longshot, Many-Legs, the bold, Tree-Killer, Woodwalker

Common Traits

Every character will have traits to choose that are not dependent on their Heritage, relying more on the background or story of the character prior to becoming an adventurer. These are often influenced by their Heritage or their class, but is entirely up to the player.

Attribute Score Increases. When determining your attribute scores, increase one of those scores by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. Follow this rule regardless of the method you use to determine the scores, such as rolling or point buy.

The “Quick Build” section for your character’s class offers suggestions on which scores to increase. You’re free to follow those suggestions or to ignore them. Whichever scores you decide to increase, none of the scores can be raised above 20.

A classic depiction of a Bosmer would suggest that your Agility score increases by 2, and your Willpower score increases by 1.

Alignment. Each ancestry has stereotypes about what they believe, but these are broad strokes that might only apply to a group, rather than to an individual. Each player character’s alignment is entirely under the purview of the player.

Stereotypically, Wood Elves love their freedom from the more structured societies, but they also come from a history of strict tradition. Bosmer are neutral good more often than not, but those who ignore the pact might favor the gentler aspects of chaos.

Languages. Your character can speak, read, and write Tamrielic (sometimes referred to as Cyrodiilic or Common) and one other language that you and your GM agree is appropriate for the character.

Bosmer Ancestral Traits

Your Bosmer character has a variety of natural abilities common with all other Bosmer.

Age. Like the Altmer, Bosmer mature the same way as humans do, but they can live up to 300 years or more.

Size. Bosmer are smaller and more delicate than other races, they are rarely over 5 and a half feet in height. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 35 feet.

Beast Tongue. You have the ability to communicate in a limited manner with Beasts. They can understand the meaning of your words, though you have no special ability to understand them in return. You have advantage on all Personality checks made to influence them.

Bosmeri Resilience. Your Bosmer ancestry grants you advantage on saving throws against being poisoned or diseased, and you are resistant to poison damage.

Y'ffre's Gift. You know one cantrip of your choice from the warden spell list. You also know the animal friendship spell and can cast it once with this trait. You regain the ability to cast it again when you finish a long rest. Intelligence, Willpower, or Personality is your spellcasting ability for these spells (your choice when you choose this ancestry).

Bosmer Cultural Traits

Bosmer culture puts an emphasis on understanding and surviving natural environments.

Bosmeri Combat Training. You are proficient with Marksman weapons.

Cunning Artisan. As part of a short rest, you can harvest bone and hide from a slain Beast, Dragon, Monstrosity, or Plant creature that is Small or larger to create one of the following items: a shield, a club, a javelin, or 1d4 darts or blowgun needles. To use this trait, you need a blade, such as a dagger, or appropriate artisan's tools, such as leatherworker's tools.

Nimble Skills. You are proficient in the Acrobatics skill.