The long-lived elves are children of the natural world, similar in many superficial ways to fey creatures, though with key differences. While fey are truly linked to the flora and fauna of their homes, existing as the nearly immortal voices and guardians of the wilderness, elves are instead mortals who are in tune with the natural world around them.
Generally taller than humans, elves possess a graceful, slender physique that is accentuated by their long, pointed ears. It is a mistake, however, to consider them weak or feeble, as the thin limbs of an elf can contain surprising power. Their eyes are wide and almond-shaped, and filled with large, vibrantly colored pupils. The coloration of elves as a whole varies wildly, and is much more diverse than that of human populations. However, as their coloration often matches their surroundings, the elves of a single community may appear quite similar. Forest-dwelling elves often have variations of green, brown, and tan in their hair, eye, and even skin tones. While elven clothing often plays off the beauty of the natural world, those elves who live in cities tend to bedeck themselves in the latest fashions. Where city-dwelling elves encounter other urbanites, the elves are often fashion trendsetters. Elves’ bodies slowly change over time, taking on a physical representation of their mental and spiritual states, and those who dwell in a region for a long period of time find themselves physically adapting to match their surroundings, most noticeably taking on coloration that reflects the local environment.
Elves value their privacy and traditions, and while they are often slow to make friends at both the personal and national levels, once an outsider is accepted as a comrade, the resulting alliances can last for generations. Elves take great joy in forging alliances with races that share or exceed their long lifetimes, and often work to befriend dragons, outsiders, and fey. Those elves who spend their lives among the short-lived races, on the other hand, often develop a skewed perception of mortality and become morose, the result of watching wave after wave of companions age and die before their eyes. Many elves feel a bond with nature and strive to live in harmony with the natural world. Although, like most, elves prefer bountiful lands where resources are plentiful, when driven to live in harsher climates, they work hard to protect and shepherd the region’s bounty, and learn how to maximize the benefit they receive from what little can be harvested. When they can carve out a sustainable, reliable life in deserts and wastelands, they take pride as a society in the accomplishment. While this can make them excellent guides to outsiders they befriend who must travel through such lands, their disdain of those who have not learned to live off the scant land as they have makes such friends rare.Elves have an innate gift for craftsmanship and artistry, especially when working in wood, bone, ivory, or leather. Most, however, find manipulating earth and stone to be distasteful, and prefer to avoid forging, stonework, and pottery. When such work must be done within a community, a few elves may find themselves drawn to it, but regardless of their craftsmanship, such “dirt-wrights” are generally seen by other elves as being a bit off. In the most insular of elven societies, they may even be treated as lower class. Elves also have an appreciation for the written word, magic, and painstaking research. Their naturally keen minds and senses, combined with their inborn patience, make them particularly suited to wizardry. Arcane research and accomplishment are seen as both practical goals, in line with being a soldier or architect, and artistic endeavors as great as poetry or sculpture. Within elven society, wizards are held in extremely high regard as masters of an art both powerful and aesthetically valued. Other spellcasters are not disdained, but do not gain the praise lavished upon elven wizards.
Dark reflections of surface elves, drow are shadowy hunters who strive to snuff out the world’s light. Drow are powerful magical creatures who typically serve demons, and only their chaotic nature stops them from becoming an even greater menace. A select few forsake their race’s depraved and nihilistic society to walk a heroic path. Drow look almost exactly like their hated elven cousins, though with bright white or silvery hair, skin that can vary from a polished obsidian black to a dark dark blue or dusky purple, and either red or white eyes, though there are the rare variations of violet pupils as well.
Drow society is traditionally class-oriented and matriarchal. Male drow usually fulfill martial roles, defending the species from external threats, while female drow assume positions of leadership and authority. Reinforcing these gender roles, one in 20 drow are born with exceptional abilities and thus considered to be nobility, and the majority of these special drow are female. Noble houses define drow politics, with each house governed by a noble matriarch and composed of lesser families, business enterprises, and military companies. Drow are strongly driven by individual self-interest and advancement, which shapes their culture with seething intrigue and politics, as common drow jockey for favor of the nobility, and the nobility rise in power through a combination of assassination, seduction, and treachery. Drow have a strong sense of racial superiority and divide non-drow into two groups: slaves, and those that are not yet slaves. Drow place a premium on power and survival, and are unapologetic about any vile choices they might make to ensure their survival. After all, they do not just survive adversity—they conquer it. They have no use for compassion, and are unforgiving of their enemies, both ancient and contemporary. Drow retain the elven traits of strong emotion and passion, but channel it through negative outlets, such as hatred, vengeance, lust for power, and raw carnal sensation. Consequently, most drow are chaotic evil. Conquerors and slavers, drow are driven to expand their territory, and many seek to settle ancient grudges upon elven and dwarven nations in ruinous and dreary sites of contested power on the surface. Male drow favor martial or stealth classes that put them close to their enemies and their homes, as either soldiers or spies. Female drow typically assume classes that lend themselves to leadership, such as bards and especially clerics. Both genders have an innate talent for the arcane arts, and may be wizards or summoners. Drow make natural antipaladins, but males are often discouraged from this path, as the feminine nobility feel discomforted by the idea of strong-willed males with autonomous instincts and a direct relationship with a demon lord. Drow seldom make themselves known to surface folk, preferring to remain legends while advancing their sinister agendas through proxies and agents. Drow have no love for anyone but themselves, and are adept at manipulating other creatures. While they are not born evil, malignancy is deep-rooted in their culture and society, and nonconformists rarely survive for long. Some stories tell that given the right circumstances, a particularly hateful elf might turn into a drow, though such a transformation would require a truly heinous individual. Drow hold spiders in high regard as holy creatures, and before reaching adulthood the males are not allowed to look upon them, averting their eyes whenever one should pass by.
With a much more grand appearance about them and a stronger skill and power with magic, the high elves reside high above the other mortal races, building their cities on the tallest of trees and mountains, and holding legends of even more cities built within the clouds. The high elves hold a true air of mystery about them as they seem to be elves with bronze or golden skin, almost always found in a set of robes, and eyes consisting of one solid color, varying from green, blue, violet, yellow or even red orange or black for any sinister high elves. High elves tend to lean towards neutrality and should they worship a deity, they either chose Meiloq or Blustin.
Aquatic elves dwell within the ocean and seas, and rarely within lakes. The Aquatic elves are the enemies of the Sahuagin. These elves usually have skin of a blue hue with some more purple or green variations. They also have webbed feet and hands with gills on their necks, that don’t allow them to dwell too far from their aquatic homes before starting to suffocate if they get too dry. They hold a stronger sense for three dimensional fighting than most of the other races, and have a different style of combat and magic than their surface brothers. Aquatic elves still hold their connection to nature and love for freedom, retaining the tendency to lean towards chaotic good as their alignment. Aquatic elves worship Meiloq and Uoolg.
Similar to the Neanderthals of the Human race, savage elves, depend upon instinct and might, though they focus more on speed and swift strikes than muscle, and more will become druids over wizards. In lands where every day is a constant struggle to survive and the niceties of civilization are rare, elves adapt to depend on swift strikes and lifelong vigilance to keep their families alive. Aside from Meiloq, savage elves may pay respects to Felishrad, and rarely Kkrruuttaarr, or Karthax should they choose a more vicious or sinister path in life.