|Images of dark folk|
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 53-4
Dark folk are descendants of Azlanti human survivors who fled into the Darklands following Earthfall. During the Age of Darkness they split into five morphologically distinct groups: the smaller and more numerous dark creepers, and their leaders, the dark stalkers. A third subset, the dark slayers, are ranked between the two other sub-races, although they sometimes take on leadership positions over groups of dark creepers as well. The role of the priest falls to a subset referred to as dark callers. The fifth and final subset is known as the dark dancers, which are only subservient to dark callers and dark stalkers. Sometimes, from any of these groups, may be born individuals called caligni, who resemble the dark folk's ancient ancestors.
Dark folk, although separated into distinct races, share certain characteristics. All are dirty humanoid creatures (although the dark stalkers are a good bit taller than both dark creepers and dark slayers) most often wearing grey or black clothing little better than rags. They subsist on rotting meat and fungi, supplementing their diet by being able to absorb light in small amounts and somehow convert it into nutrition. Intense light causes them to become sickened, as it overwhelms their ability to absorb it. Upon death, this stored light is released in a single blinding flash.
Dark folk are descended from the residents of Calignos, a trading outpost located in the Mindspin Mountains. Just a day before Earthfall, the seers in Calignos predicted their city's destruction and led their people into the Darklands for refuge. As Earthfall collapsed the tunnels to the surface, the citizens of Calignos were forced deeper underground.
They found the Darklands to be a terrifying and dangerous place, and relied more and more on the power of magic to help in their survival, particularly the magic found in the borders between light and darkness. Their prayers were answered by a mysterious pantheon of demigods known as the Forsaken, who bestowed upon them the Cradles of Night. These artifacts infused the citizens of Calignos with shadowy power, transforming them into a distinct race known as the dark folk.
Unknown to the dark folk, the Forsaken were planning to draw upon their power in a plan to escape the Shadow Plane. Before this plan could be put in motion, the Forsaken suffered a mysterious calamity, shattering most Cradles of Night and leaving the dark folk once again without gods. However, after only a few years, the mysterious owbs appeared and offered their aid in exchange for devotion. The dark folk switched to worshipping the owbs, who bred them into specialised sub-races. In time, tales of the Forsaken and the surface were forgotten, and their ancestral home became an object of myth and legend to the dark folk.
Dark folk live primarily in the caverns of Nar-Voth, including the city of Sverspume, famed for its slave market, and the duergar metropolis of Hagegraf. Although rarer in the deeper caverns of Sekamina, a small section of the svirfneblin city of Dwimovel is inhabited by dark folk, while others dwell in the drow city of Zirnakaynin. Even in the Vaults of Orv, the dark folk are not unknown, as they are known to inhabit the Land of Black Blood. Nearer to the surface, a sizeable population is known to exist in the Shadow Caverns beneath Nidal's Uskwood, in the abandoned dwarven Zolurket Mines in Katapesh's Barrier Wall mountains, and below the island of Antler Rock in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings.
Dark Folk in Tian Xia
Although less common than in the Inner Sea region, dark folk are also present on the caverns below the continent of Tian Xia, especially in the underground community known as Deepmarket below the sprawling metropolis of Goka.
Habitat and society
They are not known for being religious, but some worship Norgorber or Sivanah. Those whose homes lie below the surface-world nation of Nidal might follow that nation's official deity, Zon-Kuthon. All dark folk share a common language.
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