As bad as the Spellplague and the revelations following it affected us hin, I have to admit that we weren't the worst affected by that time. Yes, we lost our homeland. And yes, our central deity turned out to, essentially, be a lie.
But when Luiren sank, that wasn't the end for us. Most of the Ghostwise lived elsewhere, the Lightfoots had been moving away from Luiren ever since the Ghost Wars, and the Stronghearts ... well, they at least could run westward, or north over the mountains to escape.
The gnomes of Lantan, on the other hand, had nowhere to escape to, not in any real numbers.
Their flying machines probably saved a handful, but when those waves rolled over their island, most of the gnomes went down with it.
Now, Lantan wasn't the gnomes' original home, the way Luiren was for us hin. As far as anyone can tell, the gnomes popped out of the feywild like the early elves and eladrin. Gnomes still in the feywild generally fall into one of two groups: hidden in little hollows under the ground, or serving the fomorians. You know those vicious little redcaps? That's what the fomorians have made the gnomes they got hold of into. Can't really blame them for getting out of the feywild at the first chance they got, really.
The really sad part about Lantan sinking, though, is that is what gnomes here are like: They live in little burrows and hidden villages. Lantan was the only gnomish country. And it was where all of the innovation in the entire race came from.
The gnomes of Lantan travelled, adventured, invented, tinkered.
And the rest stayed in their burrows and made sure their illusions hide them properly.
Gnomes are starting to come out of their holes, but only slowly, and nowhere near on the same scale as Lantan was.
Lots of people tend to lump gnomes and hin together, but, really, other than size we're not much alike. We're about as different as humans and eladrin, really, and for most of the same reasons.
Gnomes live up to three hundred years. Hin ... not nearly that long.
We do get along with each other pretty well, though. If they'll come out of their burrows and talk to you, they enjoy a good joke and don't take things too seriously.
But that's rare these days. They used to be nearly as common as us hin, but now it's almost like they stopped existing once Lantan flooded.
If there's one thing you learn when studying history, it's that everything changes, words included.
Go back a couple of centuries, and the only eladrin around were off in a couple of the celestial planes with th e Seldarine and Sune. These days? Look around. There's probably a couple around you.
I don't know if it's due to age, but elves seem rather prone to renaming whole sections of their race. Or races. Whichever.
Used to be, sun and moon elves were, as the name says, elves. No one really thought of them as any different from any other elf. Except drow, because no one really likes them, what with the whole slavery and spider obsession.
Anyway. The sun and moon elves were always thought of as elves. Called themselves elves, and so on. But, the Spellplague hits - yes, it's always about that thing these days - and the feywild bumps back up against us, and it turns out that there's a whole load of sun and moon elves over there, rather more fey than the elves who've been stuck here for the last few thousand years. Suddenly, the definition of just what a sun or moon elf changes. There's still a few of old elves who've lived her for generations but, suddenly, most sun and moon elves are much more fey than elf now, and a couple of the different types of elves started calling themselves eladrin, instead of elves.
Of course, if you go all the way back, it seems that this isn't the first time they've renamed themselves. As far aads I can tell, all the back in the Dawn Ages, a bunch of fey wandered into Toril from Faerie, which has since turned into the feywild.
Those early eladrin were the green elves - notice how quickly they started calling themselves elves - the sea elves, the avariel, and the lythari. Those last two aren't nearly as common these days - the avariel were mostly wiped out by dragons and if they're still around they don't get out much, and the lythari, well ... they look a lot like werewolves, and dislike fighting. That tends to lead to misunderstanding and dead lythari, so they stay around Evermeet where the locals know not to kill them.
So, the elves started off with the green elves. As time passed and the feywild drifted away, the grew less fey and more ... worldly, let's say.
As time went on, they spread. And they changed. The green elves became the sylvan elves, the wood elves and wild elves of today.
The eladrin that kept the closest ties to Faerie split off down another path, becoming the sun, moon, star and dark elves.
The sea elves ... well, they jumped into the nearest ocean and swam around a lot. All elves keep to themselves, and the underwater ones are even harder to get to talk then the rest, so there's not really much I know about them. Yet.
Now, all these different types of elves aren't just random, arbitrary names given at random. Each group has its own set of traits, although, as you'd expect from their common ancestry, they can be pretty similar in a lot of ways.
And, you've probably noticed I've left one big group out. I'll get to them later.
First up, the only actual elves left around - the wood and wild elves.
Now, the main trait about the sylvan elves is that unlike the eladrin and their ties to the feywild, sylvan elves have a connection to nature.
For the wood elves, this means that they tend to live in small villages in the deep woods, and favour the magic of clerics and druids over that of wizards. They tend to live more physical lives than other elves, and are quite often stronger as a result.
Wild elves ... take this even further.
Wood elves might dislike cities, seeing them as just transient attempts to control nature, but wild elves ... they really dislike cities and, as the name suggests, live out in the wild. They remind me a little of early ghostwise halflings, just without the influences that lead to the Ghost War. Wood elves get along with other people, but wild elves do not like outsiders at all. And while the wood elves still maintain a connection to divine magic, as well as limited arcane abilities amongst the best of their archers, the wild elves have almost no magic users of any kind, save for a handful of mostly female shamans. Wild elves are, however, probably the physically strongest sort of elf around.
Now, on to the eladrin. These elves are either from the feywild, or tied to it in some way. The more 'civilized' sorts of elves are in this group, like the ones in Evermeet.
Incidentally, a lot of their biggest or most important settlements tend to have portals to the feywild, or just exist both here and in the feywild at the same time.
So, let's start off with the friendliest and most common sort, the moon elves. These guys get on quite well with a lot of different races. Very well indeed, as it seems that most half-eladrin have a moon elf parent. Honestly, I like the moon elves better than the other eladrin. They actually get along with people and have a good sense of curiosity. You'll find quite a lot of them wandering around looking for adventure, and they're usually pretty laid back about things.
Sun elves, on the other hand ... well. You've heard stories of stuck-up elves thinking they're superior to everyone else? Those are the sun elves. Used to be called the gold elves, were always a pain to deal with.
Oh, some can be nice and friendly, but as a whole ... they're the opposite of the moon elves. On the other hand, sun elves can be quite useful - they're one of, if not the best, bunches of wizards around, but ... they take everything far, far too seriously and hold onto ancient grudges almost as badly as hungover dwarves.
The star elves ... well, they're an odd bunch. Honestly, if we ever succeed in helping the eladrin of New Sharandar, these guys will probably be next in line asking for help. A long time ago after their kingdom had fallen and Narfell and Raumathaur started to rise, they basically decided they'd had enough of life here on Toril and moved what was left of their kingdom out of this plane entirely.
That actually worked out pretty well for them, although they've started to come back, since strange magical creatures have started invading their little demiplane. I bet they're watching the feywild right now, to see if asking for help would actually work.
While hidden away, they didn't really have any contact with Toril, and they can be a little ... outdated. And they don't have much of an idea of anything that's going on these days.
And finally, the other elves. The dark elves, and the drow.
They used to be the same - the dark elves were cursed by Corellon, changed by demons and turned into the drow.
Corellon made them hate light, and Lloth countered by giving them advantages in the dark.
There's a few good drow, but ... be careful. If you get fooled or mistaken, you won't like the situation you find yourself in at all.
Typically, drow are at least as bad as the sun elves when it comes to thinking that they're better than everyone else, but, well, at least the sun elves don't go in for wanton cruelty, slavery, and sacrifices to spider-goddesses.
The dark elves ... are what the drow used to be. Closer in appearance to the other elves, with dark skin instead of being utterly black like the drow. I'm not sure what to make of the stories floating around out there that, when she died, Elistraee redeemed her drow followers, and Corellon turned them back into dark elves.
It wouldn't be the strangest thing to have happen, that's for sure.
This, of course, is just a broad overview. But when you're dealing with something as old and big as the elves, going in small chunks seems like a good idea. I'll probably get around to elven and drow histories later.
Now, all these planes can get confusing. Some of them aren't that much different than this one. Others ... can be really, really weird. And alive.
The whole plane. Alive. Apparently it eats people who wanders into it.
Admittedly, the wizard who was talking about that one was completely drunk, but if he had just been in a place like that, I can't really blame him.
Anyway. Planes. The Shadowfell is, of course, one of the ones that's really similar to this plane. This plane, by the way, being called the prime material plane by all those wizardy types. It's also one of the closest, one of the easiest to get into.
Even easier to find yourself in, though, is the Feywild.
As the name suggests, this is where pretty much all the fey came from. It used to be close, then it got harder to get to, and now it's open for business again. If you're an elf or a gnome and you know your own history, then ... well, you know as much about this place as I do, since you're from there.
The place is, pretty much, the exact opposite of the Shadowfell - bright and loud instead of shadowy and depressing. And, like the Shadowfell, a lot of places here in the prime material plane have counterparts over there.
A few warnings, though. This place is easy to wander into if you happen across the wrong place. You don't need any rituals to get in at points, and it can be as simple as simply walking across the right spot and ... bam. You're in the Feywild.
Of course, other places have been walled off by the fey living there and you'd need half the wizards of Neverwinter to even have a chance of punching through. And then you'd have a lot of angry fey, so I really wouldn't try to force your way in.
And that brings me to the next warning. This place? It's full of fey. Good fey, evil fey, but ... generally fey. And while the sun elves are usually nice enough, everything in the Feywild puts being fey ahead of being good. You'll have better luck with the eladrin out there than the fomorians, but bothcan be quite inventively nasty if they feel like it.
So, remember all those old stories about the fey. Be careful of gifts, don't agree to anything if you can help and and really, really avoid insulting anyone. They take those things seriously and ... well, you don't want to get them annoyed with you.
Oh, and watch out for the Feydark. It's basically the fey version of the Underdark, with fomorians instead of drow.
If you're above ground, then you have the elves and eladrin to worry about. And while they can get nasty, the fomorians underground start at nasty and get worse.
So, there you have the three main planes we have to worry about. The Shadowfell, all dark and dead, the Feywild, all bright and chaotic, and ... here. The prime material plane, with bits of both.
I know what you're thinking. So far, I've only talked about the hin, and the gods of the dwarves. There's still plenty of Toril to talk about, never mind the bits of Abeir that got dropped on us.
But while the laws and people might be different in, say ... Waterdeep and Tymanther, the same fundamental rules apply. Magic works the same, the sun rises and sets, the things trying to kill you are, broadly speaking, the same. If you end up on a different plane, on the other hand ... those rules change. Everything changes.
Take the Shadowfell, for example. It's a lot like our world, and not by accident. After the Spellplague, Shar decided to redecorate the Plane of Shadow. She decided to rename it, make it look like Toril, and install as much necrotic energy as she could grab.
The place doesn't look too good, either, so I can't really recommend it for sightseeing. It's full of shadow, death, and undeath, and what do you think it looks like?
If you didn't say 'dark and gloomy and rotting', then you were wrong, because that's what it is. And if you want to see it, I'd say wait until you die - everyone sees the Shadowfell. Spirits go through there before moving on to their next destination. Except for the spirits that hang around as ghosts and shades, and there are a lot of those around there. The only living things you'll find are the shadar-kai and a few dark ones, descended from pockets of old Netheril, and they aren't all that hospitable to random travellers.
And don't forget the necrotic energy I mentioned before. Most of it won't make you feel more than a little ill ... but that's only most of it, and you don't really want to go around poking stuff to see what does and doesn't kill you.
As you can imagine, shadow magic and necromancy is rather more potent in this place, so most living people wandering around the place tend to have an unhealthy interest in those branches of magic. Either that, or they worships gods like Shar .. or Mask, although most have forgotten him by now. Both of those gods left artifacts and ruins in the Shadowfell, but, really, those places are too dangerous for the potential rewards.
Now, the Shadar-kai are the main worry here, after the wandering undead. They're pretty high up in the social order of the Netherese and tend to be rather good at shadow magic, sneaking around, necromancy and killing people. Most of the Shadar-kai in the Shadowfell, though, are pretty much independant of Netheril. And typically more powerful, although that might just be due to being in the Shadowfell more.
Hello Everyone! This month I am doing something different! I'm putting up two Guild Spotlights one for the Dragon Server and Mindflayer Server! For the Mindflayer Server I'm very happy to bring you the Guild Spotlight for June! Haven's Point. I got a chance to speak to Seyena Dl'pae about their guild that resides on the Dragon Server.
As in my previous Guild Spotlight. I will be doing these once a month and will re-visit the guilds post launch to see how they are coming along. Send a PM to me Anipuma if you want secure a Guild Spotlight. However I will be randomly choosing each month! Now let us get to the wonderful conversation I had with Seyena!