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The Plane of Svartalfheim

by Ripvanwormer

Planes of Chaos for Planescape also has a version of Svartalfheim, set in the second layer of Ysgard near Nidvellir, realm of the Norse dwarves. The boxed set portrays the Svartalfar and the dwarves as enemies, with dwarves often raiding dark elven lands, and vice versa.

Planescape's svartalfar are chaotic neutral or chaotic good, unfairly maligned as evil by outsiders.

- the tunnels of Svartalfheim are warm, heated by hot sulfurous springs, filling the caves with mist
- the stone glows with a dim silvery light; much of it is quartz, mica, or pyrite; it's a place of glittering crystal.
- the dark elves prefer style over substance; the gems they sell are pretty but worthless
- some of the caverns are filled with underground forests where the plants grow from heat rather than light
- the acoustics of the caves make all sounds sweeter; every drop of water rings like a clear bell. All bardic abilities function as if three levels higher. Everyone's singing voice sounds pleasant, even the croaking of a slaad.
- the major towns are Dokkar and Yggwyrd. Dokkar is a crowded, bustling market town, where the dark elves refuse to bargain. They sell fine cloth and shining stones, mushroom wine and enchanted wooden carvings. Dokkar is ruled by General Jan Thorinson and his consort Dagmar Atheling, the Woman Without a Shadow.
- Yggwyrd is known as the City of Ancestors. It's a sacred necropolis where living dark elves can communicate with the spirits of their dead. It seems to function like Manifest in the Ghostwalk setting, but only dark elven ghosts are permitted inside. Yggwyrd is ruled by the Witch-Mistress, Ingrid Liansdottir, the Keeper of Mysteries and the Wyrd, feared for her powerful curses and enchanting song.
- The realm contains a gateway to the Lower Planes known as Elkhound's Gate, watched over by two brothers whose mission is to prevent anything from the Lower Planes from using the gate to invade Svartalfheim.

Pathfinder 1e's Bestiary 4 also had a version of svartalfar, portraying them as lawful evil fey creatures, exiled from the fey world to the Plane of Shadow. They are pitiless assassins who seek payment in secrets, obscure information, or occult lore to add to their vast libraries.

Wood Imp Quarter
In this narrow alleyway in the city of Dokkar, wood imps have built a miniature city, with many wood imp-sized stories strung together with catwalks spun from spider silk. Wood imps have lived in Dokkar for many generations, serving the dark elves as messengers, laborers, and spies. A permanent gate nearby leads to the plane of Thorne, which in turn contains a gate to one of the "bad magic points" in Alfheim, on the world of Mystara.

Modrigswerg Quarter
The rot dwarves have been, at times, allies or rivals of the dark elves, learning life-binding magic at the dark elves' feet and twisting it toward their own ends. In the dark elven city of Dokkar a small community of them live, working as craftsmen, traders, scholars and sorcerers. A permanent portal in the Modrigswerg Quarter leads to the plane of Svergheim.

The Academy of Souls
The oldest of the dark elven assassin guilds is located the city of Yggwyrd. Said to have been created millennia ago as a mausoleum, the lowest level of this labyrinthine structure is filled with countless rows of dark elven skulls, each bound with the spirit of the dark elf whose skull it was, ready to impart its wisdom to those who visit. Upper levels include more conventional libraries of books and scrolls, as well as armor, poisons, and weapons to outfit the assassins who ply their trade in exchange for new knowledge to add to their collection. The Academy of Souls is led by the Witch-Mistress, Ingrid Liansdottir.

The Library of Shadows
Rival to the Academy of Souls in Yggwyrd, the Library of Shadows is a newer guild located in the city of Dokkar, founded by defectors from the Academy who founded their own guild rather than give up their souls to the Academy for all eternity. Unlike the Academy of Souls, the Library of Shadows accepts members of other races, and the occasional rot dwarf or wood imp has been known to the join this guild of scholars and killers. The Library of Shadows is a more conventional library than the Academy, encoding its lore on common parchment and paper rather than the skulls of its ancestors, though the pages in some of the darker rooms are said to whisper and rustle of their own accord. The Library only accepts contracts against those who have broken dark elven laws, while the Academy of Souls will accept contracts against anyone for any reason, even against their own members. As a result, the Library of Shadows is seen as the more honorable of the two guilds; this means it has more institutional support in dark elven society, but it also means it's been slowly losing members to their more ruthless rivals. The current mistress of the Library of Shadows is Dagmar Atheling, the Woman Without a Shadow, who is married to the general who rules Dokkar.