- Lifespan: - 700 to 1500 years
- Typical Height: - 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 6 inches
- Typical Build: - lithe
- Distinctive Traits: pointy ears, red/orange/yellow kind of sheen to the eyes
- Where Found: Underground, mostly under Vaxia and Shi Inkahan, some aquatic settlements
Each region has their own story on what the details and reasons of a great and gruesome conflict that drove their ancestors to the underground to find solace and safety, but there are some common elements found in all. Just like elves, neth also adapt to their environment which affects their physiology and appearance. (Such abilities, like low light/dark vision, that reflect these adaptations must be reflected in an actual skill if the player wishes to make use of them on the character.)
In time the Neth adapted to living in the underground, as well as in low light conditions. Due to this they prefer to live underground in extensive cave systems and natural habitats beneath the surface of the world, and tend to be more nocturnal on the surface.
The average neth stands as tall as any common elf, taller than the average human. Nethar most commonly have skin tones that range in various shades of blacks, blues, purples, and grays which provide the best camouflage to underground and low light conditions. Reds, yellows, and oranges are the most common color of their eyes, while other colors are possible they tend to have a faint sheen of the common colors with them. The Nethar have been known to naturally have any color hair, but the most common shades are in the blacks to whites range, with purples, blues, and reds most prevalent among the remainder of the populace.
Neth culture is heavily influenced by their living in a somewhat 'closed' environment - an environment of scarcity. Survivalism and cut-throat behavior are a natural evolution and are somewhat pervasive where resources are limited.
As a result, children are considered a danger as much as a necessity. Birth rates, if unchecked, could lead to a drought in resources and thereby the deaths of many. Consequently, women acted as the gatekeepers of life, considering the larger ecosystem when deciding whether or not to give birth on a personal level. They became seen as leaders, planners, and the primary architects of society.
Men became seen as second-class citizens due to their limited influence on the life cycle. Stereotypes evolved of men as "short-sighted and selfish by nature," resulting in societal restrictions on their behavior being far tighter than those for women.
Eastern Vaxian Continent
Several prominent neth cities under the former Vaxian Empire saw a way out of their resource-scarce situation: conquering the surface, or at least portions of it. Slavery became popular, as did raiding, and a cultural attitude of supremacy and the 'rightness' of surface conquest. Even those who saw the violence as an ill-fated endeavor saw the reality: the more of their (expendable) soldiers who die in the attempt, the fewer mouths to feed back home.
The shift in focus also preserved the equilibrium of local politics to keep the cities from focusing their violent efforts on one another. Unfortunately, it also expanded negative impressions of the neth to most of the Vaxian Empire, despite the non-involvement of a substantial number of cities and nations underground.
Southern Vaxian Continent
Neth territory in the Underground beneath Kundul borders on and overlaps forsaken dwarven ruins. Dwarven reclamation and treasure-finding efforts led to tensions with the neth - the Dwarves were seen as invaders, while the dwarves saw the neth as invaders and desecrators of their ancestors' works. Despite historic periods of open conflict, tensions now largely exist in a 'cold war' state.
Many neth in this area are nomadic, solving the riddle of resource scarcity similarly to the desert dwellers above them. The neth near Kundul are the exception and operate a cluster of larger, permanent settlements near renewable resource sites; underground oases, of a sort. Unlike their northern counterparts, the southern neth are shrewd but peaceful traders, often lacking standing armies and having no interest in violent in-fighting with other wandering neth clans. Despite being traders, they are somewhat xenophobic otherwise, keeping to small, mobile groups and guarding their cultural assets rather than sharing them openly when they interact with other species.
Their interactions with surface-dwelling cultures have led to a number of appropriations, blending the culture of others into their own until the origins disappear. This is especially seen in their food and music.
Red Dragon Mountains
Local neth contend with subterranean areas of high magical concentration that warp local flora and fauna in unpredictable ways. A prominent Neth academy studies the effects regularly from all along the range. Centuries ago, a massive system of cave-ins was orchestrated to keep the warped creatures and manifest spirits from getting out except through chosen tunnels where the neth post guard and ward magically against escape. This manufactured bottleneck is maintained regularly as a 'sacred duty' by the local neth.
Oddly mirroring their human and elven counterparts on the surface, the neth of the Red Dragon Mountains place a high value on a cultural standard of honor and bravery, coming from years of a militaristic culture whose primary purpose has been combating the dangerous oddities of their area. They are isolationist purely by virtue of not being able to spare many travelers from the duty at "the breach" to become merchants or traders. However, several outposts have been established by small groups splintering away from the central cities - founded by individuals who saw that the breach could not be maintained by an army short on supplies. These outposts act as liaisons between the larger underground cities and the surface world, trading openly with humans, Mojingans dwarves and elves to secure the resources they need to supply the key cities and keep the honorable soldiers guarding the breach fed and outfitted as needed.
An expansive neth culture founded in ages past lives in tunnel systems beneath the oceans of the world. The massive networks have solved the resource scarcity issue through sheer dispersion, spreading themselves out thin enough that no one area ever exhausts the things it needs. Additionally, expansive magical and technological systems filter air and water through the bedrock, creating a sustainable cycle of resources for growing things in the heated soil nearer the crust of the planet.
A combination of explorers and settlers, the subaquatic neth live in general peace and isolation, trading with (and occasionally warring with) each other while largely ignoring the surface world. Their society focuses heavily on culture and history, and they have some of the more expansive and preserved libraries among the neth (due to the lack of traveling, infighting or chaotic magic zones), though their works often catalog only happenings under the water and ancient surface histories from before they migrated to their current homes.
Other information of interest:
Notable Organizations: Chakkatama
History Of The Baaal'ock Clan