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Elf, Drakher

Small Humanoid (Elf)
Hit Dice:1d8 (4 hp)
Initiative:+1 (Dex)
Speed:30 ft.
AC:12 (+1 size, +1 Dex), touch 12, flat-footed 11; or 15 (+1 size, +1 Dex, studded leather), touch 12, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple:  +1/-1
Attack:shortsword +1 melee (1d6-1/19-20 plus poison) or shortbow +4 melee (1d8-1/x3 plus poison)
Full Attack:shortsword +1 melee (1d6-1/19-20 plus poison) or shortbow +4 melee (1d8-1/x3 plus poison)
Space/Reach:5 ft./5 ft.
Special Qualities:Altered vision, immune to sleep, +2 saves vs enchantments, fasting
Saves:Fort 0, Ref 3, Will 1
Abilities:Str 9, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 8
Skills:Hide +5, Listen +3, Move Silently +1, Search +2, Spot +3
Feats:Weapon Focus (short bow)
Environment:Any underground
Organization:Company (2-4), squad (11-20 plus 2 3rd level sergeants and 1 leader of 3rd to 6th level), or band (30-100 plus 20% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 10 adults, 5 5th-level lieutenants, and 3 7th-level captains)
Challenge Rating:  
Alignment:Often lawful evil
Advancement:By character class
Level Adjustment:+0

Because of their environment, the Drakher are easily distinguished from the other elfin races. The Drakher have very pale, almost white skin. Likewise, their hair is naturally almost all white, however many Drakher Elves use dyes to permanently color their hair. Dyes are also used to mark the skin and faces of slave Drakher. These colors are rarely bright or attention grabbing - unless the marked Drakher is a criminal or untouchable.
    Drakher, unlike the Tenerthor and some other elfin races, do not believe in decorating their bodies with jewelry or trinkets. They wear plain clothes colored gray or black. Their dress is also spartan - plain and functional.
    The Drakher are also thinner and smaller than other elves. This is a natural adaption which helps them fit through the small, tight underground spaces that are common to the underground environs. Their ears are slightly larger and their eyes are slightly rounder than those of other elves.
    The Drakher speak their own language, Dhe-khalan, which has its own written equivalent. The language is highly changeable from one Drakher clan to the next, including written texts. The spoken tongue is not too difficult for non-Drakher to learn, though learning enough Dhe- khalan to communicate with Drakher from other clans is an overwhelming task. The written language is much more difficult to learn as it is comprised of thousands of characters which must be memorized before even simple sentences can be understood. The Drakher also have a simple set of way-runes, called Dam, which are used to guide Drakher through the underground. The Dam way-runes are characters which any serious explorer of the deep underground should know.

The Drakher prefer to wage battle using guerrilla warfare tactics. Silent weapons like barbed nets, poison darts, snares and traps, or their specially made silent short bows are preferred. They also prefer to attack from a distance since most of their prey does not have the superior vision which the Drakher have in the dark. Most Drakher who travel far from the clan have ranger-like abilities to move quietly through the underground.
    Altered Vision (Ex): Drakher are able to see in darkness with the same ability that other humanoids see in daylight. However, in lighted places they are at a disadvantage as their vision becomes clouded to protect their eyes from the light. This is a natural reaction and cannot be controlled by the Drakher. On a bright sunny day or similar strength of light, in full exposure, a Drakher's vision is limited to 60 feet. On light equal to that of daylight overcast with clouds a Drakher can see no more than 100 feet. By light equal to that of the moon a Drakher can see up to 120 feet distant. Light is not painful to the Drakher, though momentarily uncomfortable. Extremely close and bright lights can totally blind a Drakher as readily as other races.
    Immune to Enchantments (Ex): Drakher are immune to the effects of the sleep spell.
    Resistance to Charm (Ex): Drakher receive a +2 racial bonus to all saving throws against Enchantment spells and effects.
    Fasting (Ex): Drakher elves possess the natural ability to force their bodies to survive without food for extended periods of time. When calculating the effects of water and food deprivation for a Drakher elf, double all time factors for how long they can go without and for how often they must make a constitution check. Drakher characters may improve this ability by the expenditure of feats. For each feat expended towards improving a Drakher's fasting ability, add an additional x1 multiplier to starvation and thirst time factors.
    Skills: +2 racial bonus to Listen. Drakher possess acute hearing and may take the Listen skill as a class skill regardless of actual class. +2 racial bonus to Spot and Search checks. Merely passing within 5 feet of a secret door entitles the Drakher to a search check. Further, a Drakher's intimate knowledge of stone allows them a total +4 racial bonus to search checks when determining whether a stone wall, floor, or passage is structurally safe to travel upon.

The Drakher live in closely knit clans. Each clan of Drakher may contain anywhere from 10 to hundreds of families. Most clans have their own specialty or niche that they fill in the societies need.
    Most clans have at least one Dura. The Dura are mystics, almost like priests or sages, and are highly revered. The Dura have the ability to pass through stone as if it was air, can go without food or water for many weeks, and have a strange ability to see into the future, among other mystical gifts. The Dura function as go-betweens of the Drakher and mystical beings known as the stone-spirits. The Dura make sure that the Drakher live peacefully with the stone-spirits and act as advisors to the Drakher on matters such as how to please the stone-spirits whom the Drakher believe have power over the future and the stone.
    The Dura are untouchable. No non-Dura Drakher dares brush against even the hem of a Dura's robes. Drakher believe that Dura must remain unmarred by avoiding contact with anything other than the earth. There are some exceptions to this, such as the light clothing which the Dura wear. This clothing is made from finely spun adamantine thread taken from the earth and purified by the flames of the Blackforge. This unique clothing marks the Dura apart from the normally drab clothing worn by other Drakher.
    Aside from the Dura, who act more as interpreters between the Drakher and their environment, the priests of the Drakher society are worshipers of a deity known as Brakah. Brakah is a malevolent being who the Drakher say lives at the center of the underdark. The Drakher believe Brakah to be the creator of the sacred steel called adamantine, to be the origin of magical power employed by Drakher wizards and priests, and to be the deity of darkness who someday will lead the Drakher and races of the underground to the surface where they will destroy the light of the sun, moon, stars, and set the Drakher as rulers over all. Whatever the deity Brakah is, worshipers of the Lord of the Shadows receive spell-like powers as other priests do. Priests of Brakah have considerable political influence in Drakher society. More information regarding the Drakher god, Brakah, can be found in the power's portfolio in the Pages of Divinity. It is likely that for every fifty Drakher gathered together there will be one priest of Brakah.
    Drakher are strongly independent and resent others who would call them less for their diminutive size or the location of their civilizations below ground. The Drakher are also strongly ethnocentric and believe that they are the stronger race of the elfin races and consequently the finest race of the under and overworlds of Sulerin. Frequent wars between the Drakher and the Dark Ogre-kind and between the Drakher and the Silothreni continually assert the Drakher's non-complacent independence from other races and their desire to forge the races destiny without assistance from any "lesser" race.
    Drakher live in hollowed out stalagmites and other stone structures which have been highly fortified. Few races care to invade a Drakher stronghold. Patrols are usually large groups of warriors or single rangers. Rangers will usually not make contact with other travelers but watch from a hidden place and send warning to a larger patrol if a threat is seen. Other patrol groups are usually hostile to strangers and indifferent to more familiar neighboring races.

Relations with other Underground Races
The Underhalls are an unforgiving realm and the Drakher are but one race that dwell in the depths of the Earth. Drakher have long suffered and made war against the other underground races. The reasons behind their attacks on other underground races vary from revenge to the basic need for food. Most underground races shun the Drakher and leave them alone. By their legends, the Drakher have a great hatred for both the underground dwarven races and also towards the Silothreni. Occasionally, the Drakher will make trade with the warlike Dark Ogres of the Underhalls or the Deep Gnomes - perhaps the only underground race toward whom the Drakher have no ill-intentions. The Drakher are deeply ethnocentric and believe themselves superior to all other underground races. They claim to be the most adapted and most suited for an underworld existence and believe themselves to be the eventual conquerors of the underworld once the Regathering has occurred. Until recently, few dared to invade the Drakher cities, but in recent centuries there have been growing incursions into the deepest Drakher cities by a mysterious race of shape-shifters known as the Shub-Naddar. The Shub-Naddar are an entirely new discovery and until they began to attack deep gnome and Drakher cities, no one even knew that they existed.

Punishment of Crimes
While the Drakher make good use of dismemberment, branding, torture, and physical labor, perhaps the most inventive methods of punishment are those which are reserved for the most vile offenders or misfortunate innocents. The Screaming Room, as it is called, is among the most terrible of Drakher punishments and it ultimately results in the greatly prolonged and agonizing death of the victim. The offender who has been condemned to the "Screaming Room" is taken forth from the Drakher city to a secluded chamber, located not far away. In this place grows a fungus, called Vin'vichith by the Drakher, that slowly feasts on living flesh. As it feasts on the flesh it exudes both vitamins and proteins into the victim's body so that they do not die from starvation, but live on while the flesh is picked from their bones over the course of several months. This alone would be horrifying enough but the Drakher have added further unpleasantness to the punishment by hoisting the victim upward and magically cementing their feet into the ceiling of the cave where the fungus grows, amid the bodies of those who have succumbed, where they hang unto their deaths.

The Drakher are easily the equal of many other civilizations that live in the earth. They are opposed by the other elfin races for the Drakher's rejection of the light, their desire to bath the surface world in darkness, and their aggressive and spartan lifestyles.
    Drakher live minimally consumptive lifestyles and disapprove of waste and gluttony. The practices that this attitude spawns allow large numbers of Drakher to survive on the limited resources available underground.
    Drakher are omnivorous, surviving off of molds, fungi, and the flesh of those that they slay - even other intelligent races. Drakher are not normally cannibalistic but in times of food shortages they have been known to feed off even their own dead to survive. Likewise, pets or labor animals are used for food when they die.
    Drakher, if not stopped by violence, are said to live to be nearly one thousand years old. Drakher who live more than 500 years begin to feel a desire to travel deeper into the earth to become closer to their god, Brakah. Every 100 years after about their 500th there is a cumulative 20% chance that the Drakher abandons its clan to seek out the mysteries of the deep earth and meet his god. Nothing can stop a Drakher from this task once they have made up their mind to depart.

Much of the Drakher history is shrouded in confusion. Most Drakher can only accurately retell their history to the founding of their clans current domicile. Beyond that, the Drakher history changes from one city to the next. However, several stories remain largely consistent through-out the Drakher legends.

Legend of D'thalgin
The Silothreni of the Underworld and the Drakher have a long history of racial hatred and warfare. In ancient times, according to Drakher legend, the Silothreni descended from the world above and begged refuge and protection from the Drakher. The Drakher tolerated the Silothrenium presence and made the pale intruders into their servants and slaves. The Silothreni were very devious and with their magic they began to influence Drakher society.
    Several thousand years later the Silothreni had elevated themselves from slaves to rulers over the Drakher society and had begun to gather the Drakher clans of the underworld. Many Drakher believed that the time for the Great Regathering was at hand and the clans flocked together under the manipulation of the Silothreni. The beginnings of a vast underground empire, led by the powerful Silothreni mages, began to form and the great underground city of D'thalgin was built. This great city of thousands filled hundreds of caverns and when it outgrew the available space of the cavern complex, the Silothreni used magic to excavate larger and larger caverns to house the growing civilization.
    Then, the world began to tremble and the Silothreni leadership began having troubles with a secret cult of Drakher that had invaded D'thalgin, a cult known as the Doth-Duran, or Dura in short. These fanatics claimed to possess mystical insight and commune with the spirits of the earth. The message that they professed was frightening to the Silothreni: The Drakher must lead themselves to greatness. If the Drakher did not rise up and throw down the reigns of the Silothreni leaders then destruction would be visited upon their civilization and upon all those who pretended that the time of the Regathering had come.
    The words of the Dura spread through D'thalgin but the Drakher would not believe that the time of the Regathering was not at hand. The leaders of the Dura were captured and brought before the Silothreni leaders of the civilization where they were pronounced traitors and heretics, and then were condemned to death. The commune of Silothreni leaders circled about the Dura leaders and gathered their magic that would extinguish the Dura's lives.
    As the Dura perished to the magic of the Silothreni executioners the earth heaved and a terrible earthquake caused nearly all of D'thalgin to be destroyed. In the chaos that followed the Drakher rose up against the remaining Silothreni and chased them forth from ruins in all directions.
    It is said that the Drakher chased the Silothreni so far from the ruins of D'thalgin that none were able to find their way back and none could find their brethren who had fled in other directions. The ruins of D'thalgin remain a mystery and legend in Drakher society still today.

Legend of the Blackforge
It is said that it was not long, only several hundreds of years after the destruction of D'thalgin, that the Drakher returned to the worship of Brakah. Brakah is also known as the Lord of the Shadows, The Earth Mason, the Lord of Darkness, and He Who Waits. This ancient deity has long been a part of Drakher society. Legends say that Brakah labors endlessly in the center of the world, forging the strength of the Drakher people at the Earthforge.
    The Drakher also believe that it was Brakah who made a device known as the Blackforge. It is said that Brakah labored six generations to build the Blackforge so that his people, the Drakher, would be able to forge the steel of Brakah's loins, Adamantine, into blessed weapons with which the Drakher could overcome their foes. After six generations, Brakah finished his labors and set the Blackforge to rest outside his Hall of Shadows and Fire. This done, the great Earth Mason fell into a deep slumber.
    During his rest a group of Urdunan hunters came upon the great Blackforge and stone by stone they carried it away. When Brakah awoke he was furious that his gift for the Drakher was missing. Turning to the earthen stone about him he questioned, "Where has my gift been taken?"
    But the earthen stone had been persuaded by the dwarven gods to remain silent. So Brakah turned to the stale drafts of the Underhalls and questioned, "Who has taken my great gift?"
    But the drafts of the Underhalls drifted away and would not reply to the Great Earth Mason.
    Angered and enraged, Brakah turned to the spirits that served him and dwelled in the earth and asked, "Where has my gift been taken?" But the stone of the earth kept the spirits from answering.
    Furious, Brakah took hold of the earth and shook it violently. The earth groaned in agony, twisted in torture, rolled in pain, and crumbled beneath the tempest of the Earth Mason until the dwarven gods, feeling the earth become sand in their hands, lost hold of the earth's tongue and then Brakah knew where the Blackforge had been taken.
    Reaching through the stone of the earth, Brakah found the city where the Blackforge had been taken and smote their hearts into stone so that every dwarf of that city was instantly struck dead. Having taken his gift from the silent dwarven stronghold, he cursed the dwarven people so that their magic was tainted and impossible to use. Then, departing from the dwarven city, Brakah bestowed his Blackforge to the Drakher and warned them to never let it fall into the hands of the dwarves.
    The dwarven gods took pity upon their ravaged people and raised the dwarven city from the dead, but their could not remake their hearts from stone to flesh again. The heartless dwarves fled to other peoples lands and took with them the curse of tainted magic. It is said that as time went by, the curse spread to all dwarven people and became dilute, making it so that their magic would only work sometimes when called upon and other times it would not work at all. Further, it is said that the heartless dwarves, without a heart, became filled with cold evil and that their first few generations were of an evil blood. The Drakher believe that these evil dwarves became what are today known as the Urdain, the evil dwarven race with whom the Drakher and Urdunan make war upon.
    In retribution, the dwarven gods forged a great wall of gems and, while Brakah slept after having recovered his prize, they sealed off the entrance to his lair at the center of the earth so that he could not travel freely forth to be among the Drakher. Brakah, unable to find a way from his prison, bespoke to the earthen spirits once more and bade them carry his message to the Drakher. The earthen spirits took pity, feared the Great Mason's wrath, and carried his message to the Dura of the Drakher, who then told the message to the Drakher. As the message gained momentum a priesthood was formed to preach Brakah's words to all Drakher until He Who Waits is freed from his lair at the center of the earth.

Variants and Resources
Drakher Player Characters
Brakah, God of the Drakher
The Blackforge