Dark Elf (Drow)
Shattered by exile and civil war, the dark elves, or drow, are a populous but beleaguered race, far from home and farther from friends and forced to adapt in radical ways. They are creatures of paradox, for while they are pragmatists to the bone, many are also deeply spiritual and religious. While those dark elves friendly to common civilization owe their allegiances to Alhadan and the arcologies of Gedros, many more swear to the god Iblis, who incites his faithful to bloody murder. Those drow who stand against him fight a shadow war while seeking to adapt and seek peace with their human neighbors. The drow of Alhadan are the most familiar in recent years, for they have earned deadly reputations as monk-assassins for hire, serving the Yaguran factions as spies and saboteurs without peers.
The drow came through from the Outer Realms with their brothers, the eridanu. The elves had decided to flee the Divine Forest, having fought with and lost to the corrupted beings that had conquered the darker reaches of the plane. Together, the drow and eridanu formed a new empire. However, at some point the dark elves were accused of treason against the Empire, and summarily exiled. Distraught and broken by war with the eridanu, the drow left Yeziphel and found the god Iblis. Iblis promised the dark elves vengeance in exchange for worship, and taught them secret methods of murder and destruction. Armed with the power of a new god, the dark elves staged a new war with the eridanu, destroying swathes of the nation before being pushed back into the wastes.
Although most of the drow served Iblis faithfully, some of the elders turned from the worship of the bloodthirsty god and sought answers from mysticism. Through this, the first five of the Seven Prophets of Suley rose, imparting wisdom and the first of the Fifty-One Prophecies to the drow. This in turn sparked civil war, which saw the warbands of Iblis as the victors, but the Suley drows successful in fleeing east. There, the Suley drow met the humans of the Gedros arcologies and taught them their faith and warned them of the coming drow hordes. Some remained to ingrain into the Gedros human culture, while some followed the remaining prophets to found several fortress cities on the Yaguran border. Bound by religion and a need to defend one another, the cities formed an alliance that would come to form the nation of Alhadan.
The Iblisian drow would soon come east and came into conflict with the arcologies of Xibaros. To the Iblisians, the arcologies are ripe targets full of boundless riches and safe harbors in the unforgiving wastes of the Grave – tempting targets without peer. The Al-Bahin drow of Alhadan would enter into accords with Yagura, turning to a tradition of selling their scouts and assassins as mercenaries to the great nation, and in time other clients as well. Meanwhile, in Niranshetra, drow who had amassed wealth in the arcologies and chose a secular life over one of mysticism came south to live in comfort. They took advantage of civil war and raised the Kingdom of Noragma from the ashes through wealth, subterfuge, and political maneuvering.
Most drow are calm, composed, and devoid of outer emotion. This is often unnerving in those who are meeting one of them for the first time, but as many will tell, drow have no problem sharing emotions and thoughts with those they see as friends. Drow prefer to speak only when they feel their words will have proper impact, and hate to see their breath wasted. Drow often prefer to survey a situation first before engaging. Personal time is important for drow, as they will often set aside several hours in the day for personal, private rituals. These often take the shape of meditations, but even non-religious drow make a ritualistic habit of cleaning their equipment, practicing a certain skill, or exercising.
The Ausutara drow live in the arcologies are tied deeply with the Xibaros struggle, but also are the most mistrusted people among the arcologies. They must go day to day distinguishing themselves from the Iblisian marauders, and countless suspicions are leveled against them by their neighbors. On the battlefield, however, there are none more fierce against the Iblisians than the Ausutara – what it is they hate so much in their fallen brethren cannot be spoken easily. Most Ausutara drow live in the arcologies, playing prominent roles as craftsmen and guiding Suley temples. However, a good number often become caravaners and guides, using their keen senses and deep knowledge of the Grave to guide travelers from arcology to arcology safely.
The Al-Bahin are the drow who rule Alhadan. Their divergence from traditional Suleyism fuels their seclusion as they train in the mountains to shed the mortal coil’s illusions. For all their faith, however, the Al-Bahin are a people of pragmatism. This same outlook has given rise to the favoring of assassins and spies to defend their homelands: the end is always justified by the means used by an Al-Bahin. Mystics begin their careers as spies and agents of murder, sold to the highest bidders according to the Caliph and Sheikhas of Alhadan. They have gained global renown for their professionalism, but also for their nigh-divine powers. At home and abroad, Al-Bahin are insular creatures that confound outsiders by their seemingly contradictory acceptance of both mysticism and pragmatism. In recent years, a few Al-Bahin settlements have arisen in Yagura out of necessity for safe villages for traveling drow warriors. These villages prove irritating for the Divinity – the clans and Court guard their right to practice Suleyism against demands from the Divinity to conform to Yagura’s faith.
The Noragma drow are haughty, arrogant, and fully divorced from their brethren in Gedros. Having claimed a kingdom in Niranshetra, they want nothing to do with their brethren in the Grave; most don’t even practice Suleyism. They merely wish for the creature comforts of this life and the politics of the Bay. They have adopted mannerisms of the southern nations, spending their days in luxury and donning silks and jewels; a few have even converted to the Tebodim faith. The drow are the undisputed upper class of Noragma, claiming not only the throne, but the house of lords and loyalty from the dragons.
Although other races have since joined the hordes dedicated to Iblis, the marauding drow form the backbone of the faithful. Countless raids and wars with the eridanu and Xibaros have severely depleted the numbers of the drow, although they continue to jealously hold the reigns over the warbands. Iblisian drow culture is highly insular, ruled by jealous chiefs who rule from their tents with an iron will and sons trained in deadly murder and silent assassination. In time, as the chief grows old, one of the sons murders the father and the other sons and claims the mantle for himself. Such a culture invariably churns out outcasts on a regular level, many who manage to pass themselves off in time as drow from another culture, although little can hide their savage, bloodthirsty streak in battle.
+2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Constitution. Drow are nimble and wise, but not as stout as the other races.
Medium – Drow are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed – Drow have a base speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision – Drow can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Born in the Desert – Drow gain +2 racial on Stealth and Survival skill checks.
Poison Use – Drow are skilled in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves.
Mirage Sense – Drow gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against illusion spells and effects. In addition, they may make a saving throw to disbelieve and identify illusions even if they are not actively looking for them.
Weapon Familiarity – Drow are proficient with longbows (including composite longbows), scimitars, and shortbows (including composite shortbows), and treat any weapon with the word “elven” in its name as a martial weapon.