5e: Cavern Elves

Drow are problematic. They are portrayed as dark skinned and evil except for the few that are brooding but good. I always feel that calling an entire race or subrace evil (outside of fiends) as lazy design. So when a player in my campaign said they wanted to play a drow but had some problems with them, I decided a rewrite of them was in order. I’m not just talking, “let’s make some adjustments and we’re good” situation. I’m more thinking, “let’s scrap it all and recreate elves that live underground that are not problematic. Enter the cavern elf.

Cavern Elf

The cavern elf subrace lives underground organized into family houses. Some are friendly, open, and maintain good trade relations with their surface-dwelling kin as well as dwarves, and gnomes. Others are insular, seeking to promote their own family over all others. Their skin tones range from white as salt, to grey as granite, to black as basalt with all shades of grey in-between.

Cavern elves know the value of teamwork and cooperation since one does not survive a cave-in alone. Their deities include the chaotic goddess of tight spaces, well-practiced maneuvers, and luck, Galiena, the good goddess of community, teamwork, and underground animals, Laurenii, the lawful god of stonework, runic magic, and writing named Arrenentae, and the evil god of secrets, vengeance, and unexplored places who’s name is only known to the most faithful but is frequently called The Vengeful Explorer.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.

Cavern Magic. You know the dancing lights cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the faerie fire spell once per day. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Cavern Weapon Training. You have proficiency with rapiers, shortswords, and hand crossbows.

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