So, if you’ve followed along with the various rants, lore books and whatnot concerning races and species in Harem Collector, you’ve probably surmised I have a more than passing interesting in evolution and biology. Especially cool weird stuff like cordyceps mushrooms, the ploidy and reproduction of worker ants, and theoretical technically-asexual semi-parasitic clone aliens.
Elves present an interesting challenge, because they’re supposed to be an older, more evolved race. So, I have to hook up some futurist prediction evolution shenanigans. Awesome.
Elves were the first sentient species to form civilization in the world of Harem Collector. When humans, orcs, dwarves and whatnot were still banging stones together to make funny sparks, elves had already discovered advanced magic and formed a world-spanning civilization.
This has to do with the particulars of the Elf genetic code. Because they can live for centuries and only reproduce a handful of times, Elf-genes are particularly prone to mutation and differentiation. This is why, in a handful of generations less than a millennium after the fall of Elven civilization, isolated pockets of Elves have differentiated into the various subspecies- aquatic, high, wood, dark, blood, etc.
This genetic advantage lead to the Elven race to evolve in infrequent leaps rather than at a steady pace. This, combined with the treasure trove of experience held by their long-lived elders, caused the Elves to advance rapidly ahead of other species. But, as stories involving Elves often go, they became victims of their own success.
Eventually, having become masters of their terrestrial domain, Elves began to evolve again to better suit their circumstances. That is, since natural selection was no longer a factor, social constructs began to take the place of the usual evolutionary pressures.
Female elves began to have less and less interest in the aspects of male elves that would help in a natural selection situation- things like physique, prowess, and personalities compatible with caring for young- stopped being the qualifiers for elven attraction. Instead, qualities associated with social advancement- the ability to attain money and political power- took their place. And the same time, male elves stopped seeking things like a healthy physique and healthier sexual appetite as desirable qualities in their mates, and instead looked for other qualities- emotional support, the ability to keep a home, and acceptance and support of the male’s hobbies.
In short, female elves had evolved to become coldly ambitious gold diggers and male elves had evolved to become emotionally needy manchildren. Rampant xenophobia meant that no Elves were mating with other compatible species to help genetically mix things up, either. And this is totally not meant to reflect the social realities of any IRL cultures at all, whatsoever.
You might begin to see the problem here. Certainly, both sides of the Elven species had unreasonably high standards for the other, but that’s only half the problem. Even for Elven couples that did end up together, the desire for actual sex had been bred out of the species. The raw, primitive desire to stuff parts of one partner’s anatomy into the other partner’s anatomy was gone, replaced by a set of calculated social variables.
This lead Elven society to grind to a halt, and eventually fragment and fall apart. Elves now live much as the other races do, but in isolated communities flung far apart from one another. The species, never really numerous, simply began to die out. The isolated pockets of Elfdom straggle on, usually because clan elders force enough Elf couples to bump uglies long enough to produce offspring, much like modern zoo do with pandas. But the Elfs are a species on the way out, a process accelerated by the fact that not many young Elf men have the power and money Elf women have been bred to expect.
If only there was some rich, powerful, and virile young Hero come to pull the Elven species out of this genetic, extinction-bound tail spin. Oh well, only time will tell.