Udda (Desert Elves)
Long ago, the udda were once part of a single race of elves, but when a lone house relocated to the hot, dry wasteland, the desert elves were born. These reclusive elves are the guardians of the deserts where they make their home. Over many generations, these elves evolved into creatures of the desert; their skin darkened, they learned to use the desert to their advantage, to grow and hunt for food, and to tap into the regions natural magic. They took the name of udda, meaning one with the sands in the ancient tongue, and carved out a niche for themselves that allowed them to not only survive, but to thrive in one of the most inhospitable climes of the world. Typically encountered at a distance, the udda can be seen standing upon the crest of a distant sand dune, keeping a watchful eye out for possible threats and defilers of their lands. Few desert travelers have seen an udda up close, but those who become lost and have obeyed the laws of the desert often find themselves placed upon the right course again. Stories tell of wayfarers who have fainted from dehydration or over exposure to the sun in the vast wasteland, and upon awakening, found themselves refreshed with filled water skins and packs full of food, or placed at the edge of an oasis. Such acts of kindness are accredited to the reclusive udda.
Physical Qualities: Slightly taller than other elves, the udda have trim, athletic forms, stand between 6 and 6–1/2 feet tall, and weigh around 180 pounds. They possess the same grace, agility, and natural affinity to magic as their kin. Their skin is a deep brown, though it can range from light brown to dark umber. Their hair tends to be black or dark brown, though deep auburn is not unheard of. Regardless of color, udda hair is usually worn in a long elaborate braid, with certain styles denoting membership to a specific family clan. Their eyes are typically dark brown, but hazel or vibrant green have been known to occur.
Society: The udda dwell in an underground network of caverns that run throughout the desert floor. Their egalitarian society consists of huge communities separated into tribes or family units called seitches consisting of 15-30 members. These seitches often band together for the good of their tribe in times of war, famine, or tragedy. Larger communities called burghs, consisting of anywhere from 30 to 50 tribes (600 to 1,500 udda), housed in closely connected cavern complexes, serve as centers of commerce and governance over the widely spread race. These burghs are many miles apart, while seitches tend to have only a few miles separating them. Each seitch is governed over by an Un’pur, who is typically the wisest and most powerful warrior among them. The unforgiving desert has taught the udda that to cooperate and trust one another is to survive, and so they have built their society upon the virtues of sharing and equality in all things. Such a culture negates the need for theft. Thus, stealing carries the irrevocable penalty of death among the communities–hence a warning to all who might travel within the lands of these austere people.
Relations: The udda, like their other surface dwelling cousins, hold a deep animosity and hatred towards the drow. The drow are viewed as malevolent, power-hungry, and selfish–the antithesis of their culture. Although the udda are ready to defend their lands from dark elf incursions, they are on friendly terms with many desert dwelling and earth-based creatures, like deep gnomes, but foremost are the desert giants with whom they have had a long and mutually beneficial alliance. Since udda rarely encounter others of the elven race, any who are met in the desert are treated with great respect. The elf, and usually his companions receive the hospitality of the nearest seitch, given food, drink, protection, medical aid, and a place to rest. Even half-elves are treated as brothers of the elven blood, especially those of their particular subrace. Udda have virtually no contact with dwarves or halflings, so are impartial towards them. Humans are numerous throughout their desert lands and are on good terms with some of the nomadic human tribes, and hostile towards others, but due to their hatred of the orc and goblin races, half-orcs are always with contempt.
Alignment and Religion: Due to their affinity with the unforgiving desert, udda tend to be neutrally aligned. While most lawfully adhere to their cultural tenets, some udda prefer a more chaotic approach to life. As custodians of the desert wastes, the udda favor gods that uphold their edicts. Most udda venerate deities of nature who oversee all lands and terrain, some worship deities of battle or protection, while others, primarily those possessing a strong will of their own favor deities of freedom, luck, or stealth.
Adventurers: The udda are typically suspicious of all strangers, a n