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Many people have argued about the true nature and origin of the Deep Elves. Some claim that they are no more than an offshoot of the Elven race the High Elves drove underground. Some claim that there is a more intricate and dark machinations at work, as Erallabein himself attempts to suppress a black secret, and there are some still who don't believe they even exist. However, the Deep Elves do exist, and they fiercely hold to themselves the duty of holding the gates of the Underdeep closed against High Elven invasion – or so they say.
Deep Elves tend to be very disjointed in comparison to the overland races. Their society is militaristic and communistic, with a strong theocratic bent, which has lead to them, over time, being stereotyped as being both cruel and untrustworthy. Ironically, most Deep Elves are nothing but trustworthy, always obeying their superiors without question.
Deep Elves are slim, standing about 5 1/2 to 6 feet tall and typically weighing 130 to 200 pounds, with elven men the same height as and only marginally heavier than elven women. They are precise in their movements and swift to react. Their skin is almost universally a dull grey-black, with hair ranging from bright white to completely black. The classic Deep Elven appearance also has violet, or coal-black eyes. They have no facial or body hair. Given the darkness of their environment, Deep Elves typically dress in black to better hide. Deep elves achieve majority at about 75 years in age and can live to be over 500 years old.
Deep Elves do not sleep, as members of the other common races do. Instead, an elf meditates in a deep trance for about four hours. An elf resting in this fashion gains the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep. While meditating, an elf dreams, though these dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive through years of practice. The Common word for an elf's meditation is 'trance', as in 'four hours of trance'.
Deep elves live in a world where almost everyone and everything, from all borders, wants to kill them, eat them, take their territory, or use them as hosts. They are somewhat understandably paranoid of most races they recognise. Halflings and Gnomes are not well known to them, and Humans are only known from their forays into the Underdeep. For some reason, however, Deep Elves regard Half-orcs and half-elves with an almost awe, calling them, in the common tongue, 'Blood-weavers', or sometimes 'Mender of that which is torn'. Deep Elves on the surface are frequently found in the service of half-orcs or half-elves, and usually in a self-imposed sort of slavery.
Deep Elves tend heavily towards Lawful Evil as an alignment. They value obedience, but are ultimately cruel and uncaring, using their obedience and the obedience of others as a rod with which to rule.
The primary Deep Elf Goddess is Khei'Szeiya, who promotes the ideals of obedience to one's superiors, and ambition above affection. Worshippers of Khei'Szeiya seldom lack for power in Deep Elf society.
Same as High and Common Elves – despite many flutings, they still speak elementary Elven. Deep Elven is good for issuing commands and barking complicated orders quickly. It lacks subtlety when speaking of one's feelings or desires.
Short, brisk, titular names are common amongst the Deep Elves. While they do have Elven names, much like the Common Elves, they are prone to adopting appropriate nouns as nicknames, to be used by those that interact with them. Giving out one's true name seems to hold an element of taboo amongst the Deep Elves.
Deep elves stranded from the Underdeep and not wishing to dare a battle through the Glass City would very likely run to explore the vast, open world of the blue sky and green fields – and they would frequently find adventure of some kind.
Deep Elven Racial Traits
- +2 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence; Deep elves are hardier than their cousins and just as nimble. However, their sheltered existence makes them somewhat uninformed as to the world around them, and their slavish obedience over time has quashed much of their natural curiosity.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, Deep Elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Immunity to magic sleep spells and effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against Enchantment spells or effects
- Deep Elven base speed is 30 feet.
- Darkvision: Deep Elves can see in the dark up to 120 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and dwarves can function just fine with no light at all.
- +4 racial bonus to hide checks when in caves or caverns.
- +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. A Deep Elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for the door. An Elf's senses are so keen that she practically has a sixth sense about hidden portals.
- Sun Blindness: A Deep Elf is at a –1 penalty to all checks and saving throws made in bright light. Countless generations of living in complete darkness has made them sensitive to the bright sunlight of the overlands.
- +4 to initiative: Deep Elves are used to moving fast and first in battle.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Underdeep, and Sylvan. Elves commonly know the languages of their enemies and of their friends, as well as Draconic, the language commonly found in ancient tomes of secret knowledge.
- Favoured Class: Fighter. A multiclass Deep Elf's Fighter class does not count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty for multiclassing. (see Experience for Multiclass Characters, page 56). Deep Elven fighters are common, making up the horde that wages daily war with the Sun Elves of Llysenseil.
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