Whereas humanity is the most numerous race on Braelun, elves are the most widespread. This is in part due to their unique physiology, which ties in very closely with the world around them.
All elves are born star elves, regardless of their surroundings. As a young elf grows into maturity, s/he will take on physical traits and affinity for the surroundings in which s/he is raised. Known varieties of elves include:
- Star elves live in the Ley itself, or right atop ley nodes, and thus retain their primal form their entire lives. Star elves found amongst other races are most often found in cities, where temples have often been built, intentionally or otherwise, on or near existing nodes. Their skin tones tend toward pale shades, some almost silvery, and their hair tends toward the fair as well.
- Sylvan elves are found in forests the world over, with slight subvariations based on their home forest’s climate (temperate/deciduous, coniferous, or rainforest). All three tend towards life off the ground, crafting raised cities in the canopies of their homeland. Skin colors tend towards tans and light browns, sometimes with hints of red or gold amongst those from deciduous forests.
- Subterrane elves, or Shade elves as they are sometimes known, are dark-skinned, silver-haired elves of the deep underground. Rarely seen topside, they are just as personable as their more surface-friendly brethren, but prefer the cool, damp caverns that lie deep within the earth. Also, their ears tend to be a bit broader than other elves’, to aid in their hearing’s ability to compensate for the often absolute darkness.
- Stone elves roam the caves nearer Braelun’s surface, as well as the mountaintops of the world, and can frequently be found sharing territory, or even living in direct contact with, dwarves and dragonborn. Their skin tends toward earthy shades, from sandstone brown to a gravely grey color, and their hair tends towards the brunette side of the spectrum, in some cases looking vaguely metallic in its similarity to bronze or pewter.
- Savannah elves roam the grasslands and plains, with wild, strawlike hair and skintones tending toward lighter tan and sienna tones, occasionally with hints of green in more temperate climates. Typically nomadic, their briefly-kept settlements tend to consist of a few grass and mud huts, in the rare instance more than a half-dozen are found together.
- Sand elves are a relatively rare breed, at home in the desert. Dark-haired and with skin that looks bronzed, if not darkly sunburned in some cases, these elves are known not to stay in one place for more than three nights, with a knowledge of oases and safe rock formations handed down from generation to generation and shared freely amongst the few small, tightly-knit families roaming the dunes.
- Sea elves are, obviously, from the sea, at home in the waters offshore, but still mammalian and air-breathing. Home for a sea-elf can be as simple as some near-surface reef space or a small cay where rough seas calm enough to allow a floating rest now and then. They tend towards the blues and greens of the skintone spectrum, with hair color from a similar spread.
- Swamp elves tend to the moors and marshes, with skin ranging from clammy greys to murky browns, and hair almost exclusively dark brown or black. While some may find their habitat unpleasant, the elves of the murk are some of the most amicable elves around, gladly sharing what bounty their habitat can provide in exchange for whatever nearby civilization and settlements may provide.
- Sky elves are entirely theoretical, as no one has figured out how an elf could consistently stay airborne long enough to lose any earthbound affiliations.
If you’re wondering what’s with the alliteration, the human researcher who cataloged all these discoveries thought it was quite the clever maneuver, and elven society on the whole, which makes no naming distinctions as such, decided to humor him. He subsequently went missing on an expedition to learn more about shade elves, not long after publishing his initial classifications.
An elf can change its type, inadvertantly or willingly, through continuous habitation of a biome other than the one where it came to maturity. The natural process is very slow, taking several decades, but it can be accelerated through special meditations and rituals if desired. Even then, some vestigial traits from the elf’s native form still remain.
Elven society is fairly decentralized, with no central council or rulers recognized outside of elders in local clusters. Those who remain star elves are revered by the other tribes as devout, but other than as a mouthpiece for Osta, they do not serve any directorial purpose.
Elves of different varieties get some slight tweaks to their feats, that’s about it. I may do some minor class or paragon path restrictions as well. Star elves are just Eladrin as per the PHB, in case you were wondering, because I think splitting the elven races in the first place was dumb.