After these Elves joined the armies of the Lords of the Pentacle, Shantara wrought considerable magic to dramatically extend the lifespan of her new servants, gifting them both the dexterity of the Triad Elves and the intellect of the High Elves (who would later become primarily identified with the Aeldmen). These boons came at a significant cost, however, and they required the Dark Elves to ritualistically bind their souls to Shantara, not merely as a devotional measure but to fuel her gifts during their lives. As a result, older Dark Elves are essentially soulless and often begin to lose their sanity as they move decades or even centuries beyond the lifespan of other elves (usually, elves live some 300 years. The oldest Dark Elf, in contrast, was an adviser to the Half-Demon Prince Dres'Fialt and lived to be nearly 1,000 years old).
While most Dark Elves were hunted and slain by the Order of the Ivory Sword (an Elvish warrior cult devoted to the "purity" of the Elvish race) during and after the Pantheon War, some survived and formed secret enclaves throughout the cosmos. Their descendants retained many traits of the Dark Elvish boon, but some went still further, learning the Occult rituals to contact their goddess, Shantara, and receive her full gifts (including some limited spellcasting).
Dark Elves receive the following effects:
+2 Int, +2 Dex, +2 Per, -2 Con, -2 Wis, -2 Cha
Restless: Dark Elves sleep only two hours each day (unlike elves, who sleep for four)
Awakened Dark ElvesEdit
Awakened Dark Elves receive all of the effects of being a Dark Elf, with the following changes and additions:
- Instead of -2 Cha, the Awakened receive +6 Cha. They also receive +4 Int rather than +2 and -4 Wis rather than -2. The Awakened receive +10 to their Knowledge of the Occult (this does not count toward skill costs), and they must also invest at least a further +10 into their knowledge of the Occult through skills. The Awakened also permanently lose 1/4 Sanity.
- Once per day, the Awakened can cast an impenetrable darkness about themselves (Will Save DC 16 or take 1d6 sanity damage) in a radius of 15 ft; this darkness lasts for up to 2 minutes (or up to 10 minutes with a Will Save DC 22 vs. 2d6 sanity damage) and may either follow the Dark Elf or be left stationary. The Awakened may also use the impenetrable darkness to cloak themselves, conferring 1/2 cover and +8 to stealth in dark spaces. The Awakened can also, once per day, invoke the Visage of Shantara, giving them +6 to Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate on a single skill check (Will Save DC 14 or take 1d4 sanity damage). The Awakened may perform a 24-hour occult ritual (DC 35 Occult), spending 2d8 sanity (no save allowed, but mortal sacrifices reduce this to 1d8) to receive the guidance of their goddess -- this amounts to a form of Forbidden Lore, but one in which the answer is not guaranteed to be honest but rather reflects Shantara's will.
- Awakened Dark Elves receive a Background Point-worthy "Obligation to the Goddess" which marks them for destruction by a host of different cults and churches. They must also obey the visions of their deity (some of these visions may be falsely induced by sanity loss), on pain of sanity damage. However, the Awakened are revered by most other Dark Elves (+4 to social checks if the Dark Elf recognizes the Brand of Shantara (which the Awakened can conceal or reveal upon their palms at will)) and receive some measure of regard from other servants of the Lords of the Pentacle -- rivalry among the Awakened, however, means that they are as likely to assassinate as to aid each other. Commonly, this BP is offset by one or more cultist servants.
- The Awakened receive a +1 Level Adjustment.