Shadow Elves; The Other Assassins

Everyone likes to talk about how jors were the original native people of Slothjemia’s swampy coreland, but there is another race of people that hid among the oak trees and hunted in the fens of this fetid and foreboding locale. Shadow elves are found all across the continent, but one really has to look for them. It is far more likely that an adventurer will encounter a drow elf on the surface than to ever have dealings with a shadow elf. Secretive and xenophobic by nature, shadow elves took to thievery and criminal behavior the way drow elves took to magic and spiders.

Shadow elves thrive in lawless and lethal behavior. Many become assassins, preferring to use their deadly archery abilities rather than the melee skills employed by the jors. Quite a number of shadow elves also refine their skills with the bow to become Archer Lords, fearsome warriors capable of trick shots and superhuman levels of arrows being shot in a short period of time. It is unknown if a shadow elf even exists that doesn’t know how to use a bow, as even their worst archers can outperform the best any other group can boast.

Preferring to remain hidden away among their own kind, shadow elves of a more adventurous spirit will join the army or become freelance seekers of fortune. Some will find employment as assassins with criminal organizations, but whenever given the chance, they prefer to stay with and work for their own people. Shadow elven clans are rarely more than complicated cartels devoted to unlawful activity, with all of the members bound by the blood of their relationships to remain true to the “family business.” It is impossible to infiltrate these organizations, so Slothjemia has taken an approach of containing their influence and trying to harness their power for the betterment of the realm. The most powerful of the shadow elves is Lexicon Shadefiend, the Duke of Westfen, a wild and treacherous portion of the Coreland that is off-limits to most outsiders. This was an arrangement from the very beginning to allow the shadow elves a modicum of autonomy and security, and has paid off handsomely for Slothjemia. The Shadefiend family has always been eager to assist the goblinoids with covert actions against common foes, and in return the jors and their ilk allow the shadow elves to keep some semblance of sanctuary in the heart of the empire.

Players seeking to take on a shadow elf persona should note that some portion of their alignment must be neutral, and their tendency to shy away from interactions with others can affect their charisma scores for such otherwise mundane tasks. But they do get a free weapon slot for shortbow, and no other race can even attempt becoming an Archer Lord (only humans can be paladins, so yes, this is perfectly fair). Shadow elves also have a knack for trickery and disguise, and can easily pass for other kinds of elves if they so desire (except when in the presence of those kinds of elves they are trying to impersonate). Non-player character shadow elves are often very helpful to adventurers, but this has less to do with any form of altruism and more to do with the adventurers having the same goals as the shadow elf helping them. And nothing can be told to a shadow elf, even in the most strictest confidence, without the head of their family learning of it as well.

In appearance, shadow elves are pale skinned to an extreme, almost shockingly so. Their hair looks the same as drow elven hair, but it is kept close to the head and not wildly teased within an inch of its life (we’ve all see the artwork, crazy dark elven women with the Motown look, hair frazzled out like they’ve been hit by lightning). In every other way they look and move just like any other elf, and that is enough to worry anybody.