Dark elves are a playable race.
Dark Elves are as evil as Gray Elves are beautiful. Many millennia ago they were exiled into the Underdark after a long and hateful war with the other elven sub-races. Dark Elves worship Lol'th, the evil demon queen of all spiders. During the millennia beneath the earth, they were corrupted by the dark secrets they managed to unearth. Their skin is as black as their souls. In contrast, their hair is of pure white color. Dark Elves are of very slender frame and slightly smaller than their surface-dwelling cousins. Dark Elves are hated and feared by almost everyone because of their cruelty and lack of mercy. They possess great magical talents, are very nimble and have an excellent perception in the underground. Because of their long absence from the sunlight, they are almost blind when adventuring in the daylight. Their greatest enemies are their surface cousins. Despite the general evil disposition of this race over the centuries, they have spawned some very rare individuals who have left their homelands and are eternally remembered in legends and song because of their valor, goodwill, and courage.
Alertness is an often sought after skill that cannot be wished for; players may choose either a dark elf, drakeling or mist elf to get the skill if their chosen class doesn't have it. Similarly, Find weakness is a crucial skill for PCs that rely on missile and/or melee combat a lot; players that want to make use of the skill may choose a dark elf or orc if the PC's class doesn't offer it. Stealth is also somewhat useful, whereas Climbing is guaranteed anyway.
Whilst dark elves come well prepared for some professions (particularly combat-oriented ones) with elven chain mail, dark elves of other classes such as Thief or Barbarian start with barely any armor. Dark elven Beastfighters are notably well prepared - wearing Spider shell armor.
A number of classes start with the dark elves' missile weapon of choice, a hand crossbow and dark elven quarrels. Although relatively powerful, dark elven quarrels generally see little use as they get smashed very easily.
Dark elves never carry torches, regardless of profession.
Dark elves start out at 110-160 (100 + 10d6) years old and die at 1210-1300 (1200 + 10d10) years old. Whilst they don't live as long as other elves, they still have extremely long lifespans; thus are generally safe from the aging attacks of undead creatures.
Power Point and Hit Point Regeneration Rate
Relations with Other Races
The diabolical demeanor of dark elves makes them pariahs among some of the other races in ADOM. Dark elven PCs suffer very harsh penalties from dwarven shopkeepers, and are also disliked by human and elven shopkeepers (save for fellow dark elves). This makes buying and selling particularly difficult for dark elves since they will receive terrible deals from Waldenbrook and even worse than usual prices in the Casino; which generally serve as the main store and the biggest source of valuable items, respectively, in the game.
On the other hand, other races aren't too bothered by dark elves; shopkeepers of chaotic races, i.e trolls, orcs and fellow dark elves, tend to do good deals with dark elven PCs.
Dark elves have a particularly bizarre relationship with spiders. Although dark elves worship spiders and some dark elven NPCs summon them as familiars, dark elves also love to eat them. Whilst dark elves don't share the eating habits of the other chaotic races, orcs and trolls, they are the only race that can eat spider corpses without vomiting or becoming poisoned. They are also the only race that enjoy eating spider bread (particularly cursed loaves!).
Other gameplay effects
- Spiders: Not only do dark elves like to eat spiders, but also if a dark elven PC is caught in a web and covered by "hundreds of tiny spiders", he/she won't be bitten and thus won't get poisoned (instead, the message "You welcome your spidery friends." is generated after the spiders swarm).
- Daylight penalties: In open areas (wilderness, Terinyo, bandit village, etc) dark elves get -8 penalty to perception (-4 at dawn and dusk). They also have -4 melee to-hit and -8 ranged to-hit (-2 melee to-hit and -4 ranged to-hit at dawn and dusk).
When choosing a race-class combination, dark elves have a number of points of interest: their skillset, their dexterity and their magical power.
They are natural Archers, making use of Find weakness and their excellent dexterity; however, they may want to practise with another type of missile weapon since dark elven quarrels are hard to keep. They are almost guaranteed to have very good or excellent scores in both mana and dexterity, meaning that many classes—particularly Monks or Paladins—can become effective missile users and at least semi-casters, for greater flexibility in combat. Their guaranteed knowledge of Alertness and Find weakness is very useful for classes that lack one or both of these skills, e.g. Barbarians, Beastfighters, Priests and all casting-oriented classes (though Necromancers have Find weakness, but not Alertness).
Overall, dark elves are generally a good choice for players that are not looking for tank-like melee fighters like trollish or orcish Barbarians, but PCs that perhaps have at least some potential in all three modes of combat, and lack important skills like Find weakness and/or Alertness.