The Lands of Babylon
The Shade Elves
written by Jon Catron
Long ago, in the dawn of Human civilization on Baellon, a Great War was waged betwixt the Legions of Shadow, and the Races of the Light. To the great shame of those Races which clung to the Light of Good, there were some from their numbers which embraced the Shadow, and Betrayed their brothers. Those Ylldyr which Fell to darkness came to be known as FhyllSidhe, or the ShadYlldyr.
ShadYlldyr (or Shade Elf) is a template which can be added to any evil elf character after that character undergoes the Chaos ritual known as "The Unspeakable Oath", or "The Descent". The following powers are the same as from the Forgotten Realms Shade template except for those marked with " * ". (+2 ECL)
|8th||Shadow Stride||As Dimension Door, shadow to shadow 800' range, once per 2rnds|
|12th||Shadow Travel||As Teleport without Error from shadow to shadow anywhere on planet, or as Plane Shift to Plane of Shadow|
ShadYlldyr also gain a specific type of Strength Drain based on level. Along with this drain ability comes a type of hunger for this stolen vitality that is distinctive to their race. Each Shade elf must "consume" a certain amount of Str per week based on Level. As a Shade Elf gains in level it also becomes easier for it to gather this vital energy.
|Level||Amount||How Gained||Amount Needed||Save Vs.|
|14th||1d4||*Viscera (blood etc...)||.5xLvl/week||No Save|
|17th||1d4||*Grapple Attack||1xLvl/week||Fort DC 25|
|20th||1d6||*Touch Attack||1.5xLvl/week||Fort DC 30|
|25th||1d6||*Line of Sight||2xLvl/week||Ref DC 30|
|30th||1d4/target||20' radius of effect||2.5xLvl/week||Will DC 30|
|35th||1d10||Anyone in Sidhe Thyl||3xLvl/week||Will DC 35|
When a ShadYlldyr first experiences the hunger, it is unable to sate this terrible need in any sort of efficient manner. At 14th level, they are only able to slake this by attacking a living creature and literally feeding on it's blood and viscera thru a bite attack. At 17th level, the ShadYlldyr can str drain by making a successful grapple attack upon their victim. At 25th level, this becomes similar to a gaze attack. At 30th lvl it is a radius effect which the creature can use at will as a standard action. At 35th level, the Shade Elf can literally drain the strength of any creature within the borders of Sidhe Thyl.
Sidhe Thyl was once one of the wonders of Baellon, proclaimed in song and story as the most beautiful city ever built. Certainly, it was one of the most beloved of Ylldyr Cities, even among the non-elves. Eventually, this wondrous beauty was to be betrayed during the Siege of Sidhe Thyl, and nearly decimated in the war
that followed. Banished and forgotten by the Elves of Light, it is now pitted and scarred by the countless atrocities that have befallen there. Barren crags of cooled lava and desolate fields of blasted earth greet any who travel there. Among the wastelands and ruined husks of ancient halls squat the vile N'Azhmhagna (Darkholds) of the ShadYlldyr. Centering this nightmarish hellscape is the diabolical Tower of N'Azhbahrad, or The DarkOath.
Each Darkhold contains the seat of power for the Ancient Houses of the ShadYlldyr. Once, these great houses (House Moiryr, Fhyllyin, Hetarae, & Criaan) were counted among the Noble Houses of the Synaad. But now, banished and branded for their crimes, they rule only in this blackened hell of their own making. Besides the Grand Hall of the House which rules a N'Azhmhagna, all Darkholds contain several common structures which are necessary for the continued existence of Sidhe Thyl. The most prominent structures in a Darkhold, next to a House Hall, are the Chambers of the Claiming Stones. These are foul abattoirs, where slaves are drained of their vitality, to feed the ravening hunger of the Shade Elves. Also of great import are the Birthing Creche's. In these foul laboratories of corruption slaves are ravaged and robbed of their reproductive capabilities for the continued glory of Sidhe Thyl. Each House also contains at least one Portal which leads directly to another Darkhold (usually at least one to each), and possibly one to the day lit world as well.
Power here works much the way it does in any Evil society. The powerful enforce their will upon those weaker than they, and can expect a measure of obeisance equal to the difference in their power and status. Overt insubordination is met with swift and terrible punishment. Assassination, however, is a far cry from disobedience. In fact it is commonly assumed that if an aspiring ShadYlldyr has not taken advantage of the tool of assassination, whether personally through "hired help", they are not worthy of advancement. Officially, the ShadYlldyr society is broken down into several tiers that mostly run in family positions. When a ShadYlldyr is made a Warder, they are usually assigned a post within the N'Azhmhagna of another house for several years. This is a tradition which is supposed to help cement relations between the houses, but typically is honored to isolate upstart Shade Elves that "threaten" their superiors.
Specifically, power mostly flows along House lines. Though a Warder must always submit to the will of any Archon, that Warder is only responsible to the Archon of her House. All power in Sidhe Thyl, of course, flows eventually from their Nameless Gods, and thus, through their chosen one, the N'Azhravag or ShadowLord. When this foul creature is roused, he gives his edicts unto the Patriarchs (or Matriarchs) of the Houses, who then disseminates them to the Archons to be carried out. Effectively, the chain of command works as such:
|N'Azhravag (ShadowLord)||Ruler and Despot of Sidhe Thyl and all ShadYlldyr|
|Patriarchs/Matriarchs||House Rulers and lords of the DarkHolds.|
|Archons||Lieutenants of the House leaders and in charge of day to day operations on a large scale|
|Warders||Specialists who have achieved a level of rank but are not technically "in charge"... yet.|
|The Dark Host||Recently turned ShadYlldyr. The rank and file of ShadYlldyr forces are comprised of The Dark Host|
|Tel'Formor/ The Fallen||Artificially bred Slave race loosely based upon the Elven type. From these, are most of the newest ShadYlldyr drawn.|
During the Chaos War, those elves which turned to the Shadow were nearly identical to their old Brethren except for the change inherent in their fusion with the Shadow. Unfortunately, this infusion left the ShadYlldyr sterile and without natural methods of replacing their numbers. Over the Millennia, they have developed ways of reproducing by use of Horrible magicks and no small number of enslaved females( almost always Elven). This process has also presented the ShadYlldyr a unique opportunity to almost literally "craft" new bloodlines to their liking. On the mounds of millions of ruined and perverted newborns, the ShadYlldyr have forged 4 distinct Bloodlines, known collectively as The Fallen, to continue their agendas. Each of the ShadYlldyr Houses claims a separate bloodline and uses that bloodline to it's Masters' (and it's own) ends.
(note that the Original ShadYlldyr were Standard bloodline Elves, the Successive ShadYlldyr came from the Ranks of those experiments which eventually led to The Fallen, thus there are also several fairly distinct "generations" of ShadYlldyr)
In addition to (or in place of) the typical elven statistics given in the D&D PHB all Fallen Elves possess the following Characteristics
|Stat Bonus||+2 Dexterity/ -2 Charisma (Fallen from House Hetarae substitute -2Con for the typical -2 Cha)|
|Spell Resistance||10 +1/Character level|
|Blindness||Centuries of exposure to the Plane of Shadow has rendered the Fallen effectively blind to ordinary visual stimuli.|
|Acute Senses||Being mostly sightless, the Fallen have learned to attune their other senses to a greater level. (+4 Listen, +4Spot & Search [non-visual])|
|Shadow Sight||The Fallen can detect Positive Material emanations at 30' allowing them a limited form of "sight"|
|Preferred Class||Rogue, with the exception of House Moiryr, which may substitute Spell Weaver in it's place|
|Shadow Weave||All Fallen spell casters gain the Shadow Weave feat automatically.|
The Houses of the Fallen Typically Breed as such:
|House Moiryr||+4 Intelligence, +2 Dexterity/ -4 Charisma, -2 Constitution|
|Special||Clairvoyance/Clairaudience: Once per day/lvl|
|Preferred Classes||Rogue or Spell Weaver|
|Disadvantages||-Insanity:: After reaching 50 years of age, a Fallen of House Moiryr gains a 10% chance per year (cumulative) of becoming permanently, and irrevocably, insane. After the onset of this derangement, the Fallen gains a 10 %/yr (cumulative) chance of the dementia becoming debilitating.|
These sullen, sickly elves are disturbing to look at even fresh from the Creche. They sneer with a contempt bred from a deeper knowledge of the Void and the Shadow than even most infernalists can boast. From a very young age, they are taught the subtleties of the Weave and the Shadow Weave, as such most are powerful Magi even at a young Age. The Fallen birthed to House Moiryr are the most likely to be accepted into the ranks of the ShadYlldyr. Typically, only their disturbing tendencies toward dementia as they advance in years disqualify them from that honor. Many say this results from the relentless pulse of the nearby Negative Material Plane, while others claim it is Moiryr's own Obsession with the Visions of the Void. Fallen wizards of House Moiryr may multiclass with the Alienist or ShadowAdept prestige classes with out possessing all of the prerequisites. House Moiryr reveres the Nameless demi-power of the Devourer and such typically take position of Warder of the Claiming Stones
If it is possible to be a truly serene monster, then the
Fallen of House Fhyllyin would epitomize such a creature.
Cunning, and "wise", yet malicious and vile, these
Bodhisattvas of the Void radiate a calm fiendishness that makes
them seem utterly in control of their surroundings. It was House
Fhyllyin that first proposed the Creches and the Great Experiment
that brought them into being. The Fallen amongst them seem to
feel that this makes them somehow superior. House Fhyllyin's
Bloodline is second only to Moiryr's in numbers of those who take
the Unspeakable Oath. Unfortunately, the "superiority"
of this clan provides a scant bulwark against the inevitable
decline that is The Void. Many Fallen of House Fhyllyin are very
sensitive to the hostile nature of the plane in which they dwell
and quickly succumb to overwhelming paranoia in their latter
years. Fallen of House Fhyllyin often multiclass with levels of
Cleric or Blackguard to augment their Rogue skills. Those that
are Clerics can multiclass as Alienists without meeting all of
the prerequisites for that class. House Fhyllyin worships the
Corruptor aspect of the Nameless Ones, and are thus Warders of
|House Heterae||+2 Dexterity, +4 Charisma/ -2 Strength, -2Constitution|
|Special||Alter Self: Once per day/lvl|
|Preferred Classes||Rogue (Assassin)|
|Disadvantages||-Loss of Identity:: After reaching 50 years of age, a Fallen of House Hetarae gains a 10% chance per year (cumulative) of slipping into a most curious form of Multiple Personality Disorder. After the onset of this dementia, the Fallen gains a 10 %/yr (cumulative) chance of the disorder becoming severe enough that they lose all previous sense of self and enter catatonia.|
Assassin, Wench, Whore. Being the Mothers of Assassins has earned the House Hetarae no great love from the other Fallen. But being a Bloodline steeped in lies, deceit, and seduction, they would have it no other way. Compared to their fouler brethren, the Matriarcal Hetarae are elegant devils wrapped in silken shadow and supple leather. This erotic facade, however hides the foulest of monsters, these hedonistic Fallen excel at torture, assassination, and the seduction of all that is good. As the House that once acted as Bodyguards and Spies for the Elven Synaad, they now perform a similar task for Sidhe Thyl, steeping it in shadow and illusion. Though fewer Fallen from this Bloodline are accepted into the ShadYlldyr than some, those that do are fearsome creatures. Those that fail, however, face a much less glorious future. Their constant layers of lies, deceit, and false personas slowly erode at their true selves deep within their psyches. Most Fallen from Hetarae House slip into a deep catatonia in their later years, making them prime candidates for certain cannibalistic rites. The Fallen of this house may multiclass with the Assassin or Shadow Dancer prestige classes without meeting all of the prerequisites. House Hetarae are bound to the Nameless Power that is the Deceiver, and thus Ward Sidhe Thyl and are responsible for it's protection.
Horror, shock, revulsion, and disgust at the recognition of the barest hint of elven blood are the first things that wash over most elves minds when they confront these Fallen. Indeed, to a non-elf these bestial monstrosities are barely elven. One thing you cannot mistake, though, is their vicious and yet chillingly methodical, cunning. These are the brutal killers among the Fallen. Like ancient predators, Fallen from House Criaan are ruthless and bloody carnivores. Those few Fallen from this clan that are allowed to Descend possess a fiendish mix of brutal strength and devilish cunning. Unfortunately, those that do not, quickly degenerate to little more than the animals they resemble, as their hunger for living flesh drives them into blood rages again and again. Fallen elves of this house may take levels of Masters of the Chain or Lasher prestige classes without meeting all prerequisites. Fallen from House Criaan offer blood to the Destroyer, and act as the shock troopers of the Houses of Sidhe Thyl.
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