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Dark Elves of Mystara

by Joaquin Menchaca

On Mystara, most have not heard of the Dark Elves. The very Elves themselves do not even remember the existence of Dark Elves, except through the through mythology and legends. The Shadow Elves also do not know of the Dark Elves except through the very same mythology and legends. Though unbeknownst to many, some Shadow Elves have had contact with the Dark Elves.

There are some clues referencing the Dark Elves from ancient Dwarven and Gnomish writings. But this is very obscure. The Norse legends tell of Svartalfheim, but this is believed to be only of legends.

The gnomes know all to well of dark elves. Though even to them, their existence is a shroud of mystery. Whole communities of gnomes have disappeared. There is no evidence left behind of any attacker. The gnomes blame this on the legendary enemy, but there is no hard evidence to prove their claims.

The Dark Elves live deep below the ground under Alphatia and the Isle of Dawn. The have a large and expansive kingdom. The Dark Elves remain hidden to all races, and there is no real physical way to reach their domain. The Dark Elves use special powers to transverse back and forth between the surface world and other subterranean areas through special powers of the mind.

All dark elves have inherent mental abilities. They can communicate through telepathy with one another. They can enter and exit portals that are triggered by the Dark Elven powers of the mind. Once on the surface world, the dark elves can use their abilities to be invisible to everyone except other dark elves. This is not a bending of light, but rather a mental affect, where people sub-consciously ignore the dark elf as if s/he does not exist. Another power they have is to take the form of another person. They can infiltrate societies using this technique. If the dark elf does not role-play the new role well, then some might have suspicion (allowing a saving throw). Many dark elves might have the mental abilities beyond the basic abilities shared by all, and thus can adapt to adverse situations, like when their cover is blown.

The Dark Elves understand a history that reaches farther back than that of the Blackmoor era. They were there in the beginning when they were able to manipulate reality with exacting precision. During the time of the fey, they were always ignored and shunned. Perhaps it is because the dark elves preferred to communicate full understanding through the mind, where the other fey communicated through song. In the darkness and shadow, the dark elves existed. They were never considered diabolical or evil. They were just never the preferred as they communicated and practiced their art in different manner. They became the ignored and invisible race.

As reality formed, and most of the fey escaped into the dreams of man, the dark elves were left stranded in reality. They could not forge reality any longer. They now found themselves very much mortal. The dark elves secluded themselves in the subterranean world and created their own reality, half real, and half illusion. The illusion did not matter, because after all, we live in a world of our own illusions.

Some dark elves were not content with remaining in a isolated pseudo-reality. They wanted more. They sought out more and journeyed to the surface world. There they saw the marvels of civilisation; they saw aliens from beyond the void; they saw Immortals using Mystara as their playing ground; and they witnessed some mortals achieve Immortality. They wondered how one can achieve immortality, and they thus experimented. They wanted to know how they can achieve their immortality once again. They wanted to transcend from their trapped physically forms. They wanted to roam the multi-verse and forge a reality for themselves which is as real as Mystara.

Thus they began their experiments. They tried to discover the essence of time, energy, matter, and thought. They wanted to unravel the secrets, so that they too can harness these energies and achieve their immortality as a sentient race.

Many of their experiments involved thought, namely human thought and emotion. They did several experiments, but as their passion to achieve immortality increased, so did the ambition of their experiments. Some experiments were quite hideous.

They abducted entire populations, sometimes civilisations, and engaged in experiments. The whole reality of the test subjects would remain unchanged. They subjects would not noticed that they have been relocated or that they were indeed in some grand experiment. Sometimes, they would shuffle the roles and identity of the subjects. The memory and very identity would be shifted and altered as part of their grand experiment.

Some human captives have been known to acquire the alien logic of dark elves. In doing this, the human subject will most likely become insane, but a rare few somehow acquire mental abilities of the dark elves. When this happens, the human can enter and leave the subterranean dark world of the dark elves. One problem though is that the human will always remain invisible to non-dark elves. They can never touch, love, or talk to another human. Often these people would become the bums of streets in society where everyone simply ignores them as being a rambling deranged beggar.

To remove this ability or curse, a dark elf, or a human possessing mental abilities, must do a mind-wipe of all memories of his stay in the dark elven realms. This will remove the subjects understanding of the alien logic, and thus remove all acquired abilities. (Note: Pscionists might be immune to the curse of being invisible. GM's discretion)

More powerful dark elves are able to control and manipulate the minds of all known races with exception of one race: gnomes. They discovered in their dealings with dwarves, that gnomes seem immune or resistant to the natural dark elven abilities. They captured gnomes and did experiments. Somehow the gnomes can see through the dark elven's mental illusions and mental charming and manipulation affects. From this point, the gnomes were perceived as a threat, and the dark elves have indeed been purging Mystara of all traces of gnomes. Though in some cases, the gnomes have perished due to natural causes, but this is still blamed on the dark elves.

The Dark Elves are very scientific. They do not understand nor relate to the emotions and moralities of lesser races. This would cause many races to consider Dark Elves as being evil, if they only knew the Dark Elves existed. The Dark Elves do not see other races, with exception of fey (elves, sprites, dryad, nymphs, etc.) as being equals. They have little disregard for them beyond that of a laboratory animal. They would treat other races like scientists treat laboratory rats. If the tests become contaminated, or the experiment is over, all test subjects are exterminated. They would not have a conflict with morality or conscious, as these creatures (other sentient races) are not considered sentient beyond that of an animal. There are a few Dark Elves, that have realised that humans have feelings and intelligent thought as well in the equivalent spectrum of Dark Elves. Though, they may support the experiments, they do not wish the test subjects to be destroyed. Some even feel that experiments that causes physical pain should not be allowed, though the majority opinion disagrees, as the results of the experiments are so vitally important for the eventual goal of transcendence.