Centuries ago, the elves lived in great, ancient forests, their elegant cities concealed deep within the sylvan woodlands. Then the Gloom came and the creeping darkness and malevolent evil that came with it drove most of the elves away from their home. Those that stayed still live among the darkened boughs and haunting towers, but they are as cruel and twisted as the world around them.
Long before their flight from the Gloom, the elves had embraced the subtle arts of lifeshaping; using transmutation and conjuration magic to create and shape new creatures and ecosystems. In response to the coming darkness, the brightest lifeshapers of their kind created the Gossamer, an island-sized creature that resembles a massive jellyfish, capable of bearing many of the elves into the clouds. The elves continue to live a symbiotic life with the Gossamer to this day as it floats across the world, staying clear of other civilizations and potential danger. Very few have seen the Gossamer personally and its mythical status makes other races suspicious of elves, especially those who have left it. Were they exiled from the secretive civilization for unknown crimes or are they spies sent by the enigmatic elves to report back on the earth-bound civilizations?
A note about lifespans: The long-lived races of this world do not live as long as they do on others. Elves still live longer than most, but here even the eldest elf rarely lives more than 200 years.
The Cloud Elves are made up of the elves who still live upon the Gossamer, the massive jellyfish-like aerial creature that drifts through the Veil. The Gossamer itself is nearly a myth; virtually no one outside a few tight-lipped elven expatriates and merchants can claim to have been there. No one can even say for certain how many cloud elves live upon the creature, though it is believed that hundreds of thousands, if not more, live in a symbiotic relationship with the Gossamer in the clouds. The cloud elves know that their continued survival partially depends on keeping the Gossamer a secret, which makes the few cloud elves who interact with non-elves even more enigmatic and aloof.
Cloud elves are equivalent to High Elves from the Players Handbook. In appearance, cloud elves are very similar to moon elves or silver elves, with fair skin, hair, and eye color.
When the Gloom came upon the world, not all of the elves escaped upon the Gossamer. Some elves fled to the fringes of the world that had not yet been touched by the creeping darkness. As time went on, these elves followed the exodus of other races up into the mountains, but while other races built cities upon or inside the peaks, these wild elves claimed hidden valleys, cloud forests, and mountainside jungles. To this day, they remain nomadic, ready to move at a moment’s notice, whether to follow food sources or to escape encroaching danger.
As rare as it is for a cloud elf to be found among a human city, it is rarer still to find a wild elf there. Cities make wild elves nervous; they feel vulnerable staying in one place so long and cannot stand the noise and proximity of so many people. Wild elves have been known to trade with other races, but do so in the wild, on their terms.
Wild elves are equivalent to the Wood Elves of the Players Handbook.
Thousands of years before the Gloom, the dark elves had been the shameful secret of the elven race. Banished to the Underdark after a massive civil war among elvenkind, the dark elves lived their corrupt, hedonistic lives far from view in the bowels of the earth. But when the Gloom came and the elves abandoned their forests and the ever-present clouds dimmed the sky, the dark elves emerged back upon the surface of the world to reclaim their ancient homes.
Today the dark elven civilization is embracing a twisted renaissance. They have taken over the forest cities of the elves, turning them into a cruel mockery of their former grace and beauty. The once-bright sylvan forests are now deep and dark, covered with vast spider webs and stretches of bizarre fungal growth. The drow have not totally abandoned their underground cities, but with each year, more and more of them return to the surface, ready to greet their hated kin should they ever return.
The Dark Elves of Cloudbreaker are identical to the Dark Elves of the Players Handbook.