Cavern Elves on Golarion?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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So while trying to figure out whether half-elf can be a half-drow officially speaking for a darklands half elf character I was making, I realized something: while cavern elves are confirmed to be different from drow, what ARE cavern elves?

Like, is there any elf culture on Golarion that actively lives in darklands or in caves besides drow?


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Jinin as a nation is defined by the deep veins of mithril that led them through the Darklands to Tian Xia. I suppose I always assumed that nation extended a fair bit below the surface, and so likely hosts cavern elves.


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Given the state of the world after Earthfall, I assumed a lot of elves who didn't quite delve as deep as the Drow or Jinin still would have stayed at least shallowly subterranean to survive, and remained that way after the skies cleared. IIRC, the Kellids did the same thing before the Quest for Sky, when they were pushed out by the Orcs who themselves were pushed ahead of the Dwarven exodus. Perhaps there are scattered communities of cavern elves who escaped that fate? Heck, do they even know the Age of Ashes even ended, like leaving a nuclear bunker expecting an irradiated wasteland and instead finding farms and cities?

Wayfinders

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The Spiresworn elves of the Mordant Spire are also called out as having the cavern elf heritage often, though what they live in qualifies more as an ancient ruin than a cave per se.

I could also imagine the Ilverani up north inhabiting caves.

Neither of those strike me as immediately 'iconic' types of cavern elf though, which is weird given it's a Core Rulebook heritage!


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From the wording of the heritage, it has always seemed to me that Cavern Elf is an individual adaptation to living in darkness rather than something acquired from a particular ethnicity or culture.


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If my understanding is correct, heritages are explicit that they are the product of your ancestors/family (or other origins for less biological creatures), but also that no heritage is tied to a single ethnicity, and no ethnicity is universally one heritage. A cavern elf can appear anywhere in Golarion that at least one family of elves grew to adapt to darkness, though for similarly intuitive reasons, places where there are more elves who fit thus description are more likely to see a population of cavern elves, such as Jinin and the Mordant Spire.


Cavern elf are a lot like dusk elf, they are tied to living in darkness or a connection with the night/darkness. Just like how snow elves are related to living in snowy regions or being connected to the cold/snow. Or how wood elfs are associated with living in the forest or being connected to forests/trees.

(Btw if you are still wondering if you can be a half-drow offically the answer is yes, technically. Half-elves used to get drow optional racial traits and a vigilante archetype to switch between elf and drow.)


Gisher wrote:
From the wording of the heritage, it has always seemed to me that Cavern Elf is an individual adaptation to living in darkness rather than something acquired from a particular ethnicity or culture.

Yeah, the Lost Omens Character Guide notes elves as slowly shifting to take on traits of their environment over enough time, the Wandering Heart feat which makes that a faster adaption process specifically calls out cavern elves as one of the heritages "based on adapting to an environment". So I figure any elf that spent enough time in darkness could be a cavern elf. At least, when I was choosing the heritage for PC elves, I tried to make it come from something logically in their history, like my former Lantern Bearer (probably worth deliberately cultivating darkvision when you were training to hunt drow) or the rogue who was such a night owl they got used to not being in daylight. So you don't need an elven culture that lives in darkness to be a cavern elf (though those cultures that do undoubtedly have more cavern elves), despite the term "heritage" elves don't necessarily have to inherit those traits.

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