Sidhe

Sidhe are a branch of the elven racial group particularly adapted to life underground. They retreated many thousands of years ago from their brethren and other above ground races to fastness deep beneath the GloomRim Mountains. The reasons for this isolation is unknown. Until recently, Sidhe have been unseen and considered to have either died out or slipped into the shadow of legend. Seventy-five years ago the Sidhe reintroduced contact with the above ground world and its races. The reasons for this renewed contact is as mysterious as their initial retreat.

These elves have recently opened small above ground trading settlements near their subterranean empires (the entrances to which are a closely guarded secret). From these small trading posts and an increasing presence in merchant caravans, Sidhe trade spider-silk cloth and garments, exquisite cloisonné jewelry, rare dark-grown herbs, fungi, and plants, and fine ceremonial bronze and copper weapons.

Sidhe resemble their non-subterranean dwelling cousins in the same fashion as hobbits resemble humans. They are predominantly a grey haired, slight framed folk, significantly smaller than sylvan elves. With their slight, graceful frames, large, almond-shaped eyes with a slight epicanthic fold, and fine, sharp features, Sidhe are considered attractive if unusual.

More so then their sylvan relatives, Sidhe tend to be physically quite frail, and with their adaptation to life underground over the millennia, they have become photophobic to an astonishing degree. Only on overcast days are Sidhe comfortable with being above ground without wearing colored crystal eye coverings or visors with narrow vision slits to reduce the brightness. At noon, on a bright day without eye coverings, Sidhe are virtually blind. Further, the extreme pallor of their skin and a congenital lack of pigment makes this race prone to severe sunburn, heat exhaustion, and dehydration unless appropriately garbed. They do, though, excel in natural magical aptitude (even more than their surface dwelling cousins) and are naturally quite nimble and swift.

Because of their inextricably, almost physically bound, magical aptitude, iron (which disrupts magic) causes an uncomfortable, almost allergic response in Sidhe. While iron weapons do not cause additional damage against Sidhe, extended physical contact or close proximity to the metal will cause headaches of increasing severity, skin rash, heightened photophobia, and progressive debilitating nausea; also impairment of a Sidhe's magical aptitude will gradually result. Wearing an iron longsword for greater than twenty minutes, being imprisoned and in irons for ½ an hour, or sleeping within 3 feet of a mailed comrade would cause a severe reaction. If the source of the reaction is not removed from the proximity of the Sidhe, unconsciousness and death will follow.

With their adaptation to underground life has come superior infravision (out to 60') and a sense of smell (ID Scent at a base 50%) which has developed to the degree that they can perceive weak scents and determine their source and origin with the same faculty as ranger. They also able to detect toxic or explosive gases even in minute concentrations.

The society is matriarchal due to the sexual disparity; only one male Sidhe survives past the age of three years for every four females. Males (who are only two-thirds the height of females) are carefully guarded and cloistered. They are forbidden to participate in trade, go above ground or meet with foreigners. Males are married off in contract ceremonies to cement treaties between powerful families, shared as sires among consanguineous women, and are generally kept ignorant and bare foot. All property is transferred matrilinearly and males are forbidden to own property.

Sidhe use bronze, copper, stone, chitin (from giant underground insects) and ceramic for weapons and implements. All Sidhe are tested at birth for magical aptitude and are given at least minimal training and taught a spell. Their magi guilds are superb centers for training magi—the masters having +2 on the Bonus Spell roll.

Dart throwers are the preferred missile weapons of Sidhe, and the tips of the darts are often coated with paralytic or sleep poison; Sidhe may purchase blade venom when equipping (1 mark/10 uses).

Sidhe tend to be predominantly left handed (same chance as other races have of right handedness).

Male Sidhe have -1 on Strength, Fitness, and Health rolls.


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