James M., over at Grognardia had a nice little write up on his "Drow", he calls them Eld. And to be quite frank, like James, I'm a wee bit sick of Drow and am in dire need of something a little different. I loved the Drow when they first appeared on the scene in the G modules, but unfortunately R.A. Salvatore and Drizt has ruined it for me. For some reason I associate Drow with WoW or McDrow these days. They've just been run into the ground and are as stale as last week's pancakes.
So it's back to the drawing board. I'm going to borrow a little of James' hard work (His original article can be found here.) as the basis for my elder race and give them a tweak or two in order to personalize them a tad and let them slip seamlessly into my fantasy taxonomy.
Eld: (yes I'll keep the name...it's cool)
The Eld are an ancient race, descended from the deep voids of space, that had originally colonized the dark side of the largest moon, orbiting the "world". A natural hop, skip and jump placed them smack in the middle of a wilderness that had yet to be populated by an intelligent "master" race. The Eld fit that to a 'T'.
By bringing strange technologies from their home world, coupled with their mastery of the arcane forces of chaos, the Eld were masters of all they surveyed.
And so on and so on... Much like James' Eld, but with a twist. Read on.
The Eld were a race born of the darkness between stars and had descended from a planet that knew natural light only a fraction of the time (Think "Pitch Black"). While direct light wasn't part of their evolution, light did exist and was used....The closest moon to their home world was a luminous and silvery entity that marked the Eld's day and night with its orbit.
Reflected light played a large part in the magic of the Eld, and they became masters of reflections; Travelling through mirrors, pools and any reflective surface the Eld also were able to cast over long distances and discovered much about the dark places by casting their reflections farther and farther into the chaos. And as all things that touch chaos for too long, the Eld soon became warped through close association.
The current Eld now live in the deeper darkness beneath the surface world and there they still cast their likeness and weave their madness-laced spells through flickering light and reflection. A shadow or an errant reflection seen in a mirror is often termed "An Elder Casting" by the common folk of the surface world, but the meaning has been largely lost. Some of the older races know of the Eld but it has been long since they've been heard of...and longer yet since they've been "seen".
Their are a few ancient Eld cities still in existence, now mostly inhabited by degenerate slave races, that lie deep beneath the surface. These cities are twisted and strangely difficult on the eyes of the surface folk. They reflect any light cast upon them into odd dimensions so that the buildings and thin purple spires twist and weave as if they live. Shadows seem to rush and ebb, as if they were the tides of an unseen ocean that crowd the narrow, empty streets.
The Eld themselves are a dying race and it is extremely rare to ever come across one. Most of those that still live are deeply ensnared in a "casting"...and can be found on occasion in front of one of their enormous black mirrors, staring deeply into the depths, as unresponsive as a corpse. Their cities are troves of strange technologies and magics, the likes of which would bend most sane minds, still, these are items of great power.
Who knows what power the Eld still wield as a collective race. They yet might control things on such a subtle scale that none can detect their influence. Or maybe they've been "gone" so long that they've been eternally lost to the chaotic maelstrom. No one living can tell these things. And that may be for the best.