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SCHATTENALFEN (Kingdom of the)

Location: Northwestern World Spine Mountains, continent of Iciria, south of the Azcan Empire, west of the Oltecs, east of the Traldar. HW

Area: 175,976 sq. mi. (455,780 sq. km.).

Population: 600,000 including Issarthyl (pop. 60,000) and several other towns.

Languages: Elvish (Schattenalfen dialect, similar to the Shadow Elven dialect).

Coinage: Mountain (gp), pyramid (sp), stone (cp).

Taxes: 10% tithe in coin, 15% tariff on all goods, 10% toll on commodities transported through the kingdom, plus levies in kind, surtaxes, and corvée labour based on need.

Government Type: Theocratic monarchy; kings and queens must be priests of Atzanteotl.

Industries: Agriculture, crafts, mining.

Important Figures: Catriata (Queen, elf, female, F10/M10/C8), Caryldian (General, elf, male, F10/M10).

Flora and Fauna: Basilisks, bats, black bears, brown bears, giant beetles, beholders, black puddings, carrion crawlers, mountain lions, smilodons, giant centipedes, chimeras, dinosaurs, dragons, gelatinous cubes, stone giants, hill giants, grey oozes, green slimes, giant lizards, ochre jellies, pterosaurs, purple worms, rats, trolls, giant weasels, yellow moulds.

Further Reading: Hollow World boxed set, previous almanacs.

Description by Theukidikies the Historian of Corisa.

The Schattenalfen are a cruel, mysterious race of mountain-dwelling elves. Where the Icevale elves are light-hearted, the Schattenalfen are a grim and sombre folk, living in vast underground chambers.

The Land

This is another mountain land along the World Spine Range, a region of craggy, snow-capped peaks and rugged foothills, riddled with caves and caverns. The lower foothills are forested as they descend to the north. The land is otherwise similar in its rustic beauty to the lands of the Kogolor dwarves or the Oltec Kingdom.

The People

These lands are inhabited by a race of elves, which, much like many Icevale elves, live in the caverns. But in most other respects they are unlike the Icevale elves. They not only live in caverns, but also prefer to live deep within them, and do not spend much time on the surface except when conducting raids and attacks on neighbouring lands. The Schattenalfen are very pale skinned, more so than even other elves, being almost albino, while their hair likewise is white or steel grey rather than golden, and is worn long and unbound by both sexes. Their eyes, the only thing that distinguishes them from albinos, are cold blue or grey, with some pale green or even a sickly yellowish hue.

When operating on the surface, the Schattenalfen dress in heavy, covering garments to shield themselves from view and also from the rays of the sun, which they find uncomfortable and loathsome, and even harmful. Inside, they wear slightly less concealing garments, but still dress heavily against the cold of their caverns.

The Schattenalfen religion and art are like those of the Azcans, or at any rate as the Azcan religion until recently, in that the Schattenalfen still follow Atzanteotl. They build their cities in a style somewhat similar to that of the Azcans, but all underground in huge caverns, and the Schattenalfen are excellent engineers, diggers, and miners. They are governed by a king and queen, who rule from their city of Issarthyl, and appoint governors to rule in their names over the other cities and towns of the Schattenalfen. Approximately one in ten Schattenalfen live in Issarthyl, which is centred on a plaza surrounded by the temples of Atzanteotl and the royal palace.

The Schattenalfen treat men and women equally, and yet even more oddly, they take their family names from the wife and property is handed down from mother to daughter rather than from father to son. When they marry, the man leaves his clan and joins that of the wife. They also expose, and leave to die, any child who is born with a deformity, and exile the elder members of their communities. Most of these exiles die in the wilderness.

Despite their similarities in faith and custom, the Schattenalfen have always hated the Azcans, and have fought numerous wars against them. This dislike seems to have only grown fiercer since the Azcans' religious upheaval and revolution. It is quite likely that they will launch another war against them soon. When not fighting the Azcans, they make raids against the Oltecs, Neathar, and even the Kogolor dwarves. In these wars and raids they sometimes use flying creatures, known as flapsails, as mounts, dropping torches and other flammables on their enemies.