Svartalfheim was a divine realm in Nidavellir, the third layer of Ysgard. Home to secretive but benevolent drow, it was the realm of Eilistraee under the Great Wheel cosmology[1][3] and believed by some to be also ruled by Erevan Ilesere.[4]


Like all realms in Nidavellir, Svartalfheim was a system of underground caverns. Unlike the rest of the layer, however, the realm's stone walls emitted a silvery glow, while natural springs and geysers warmed up the rivers and kept the caves at a comfortable warm temperature.[1] The entire realm emanated a feeling of peace and love that was atypical for Ysgard.[4]

The realm had wild regions covered in dark forests that thrived on the earth's warmth and required no sunlight. Some of the caverns displayed abundant deposits of quartz, mica, and pyrite, of which the drow were overly fond and employed them abundantly as decoration and jewellery.[1]

The materials that made up the cavern walls had excellent acoustic properties. Throughout the realm, sounds were richer and sweeter, so that even the echoing sound of distant miners could be mistaken for song. This trait greatly improved the magical abilities of bards and amplified the singing abilities of even the most untalented visitors. It was common for people to continue to sing even after leaving Svartalfheim, unaware that this enhancement faded as soon as they left.[1]


The realm was at constant war with the dwarves and gnomes from the neighboring realm of Nidavellir. Skirmishes and raids were common, but casualties were rare on either side of the conflict, since the main goal of the drow was to outsmart the dwarves through pranks, theft, and insults.[1]

Notable LocationsEdit

  • Dokkar, the main merchant city of the realm. It was known for its narrow and crowded streets, as well as for its merchants who never haggled.[1]
  • Yggwyrd, a large necropolis that contained shrines to all the elven deities. All drow of Svartalfheim planned to die in Yggwyrd, and all elven visitors had the ability to speak with the dead while within the city. The few living inhabitants worked as guards to the different family crypts. Non-elves were forbidden entry, and the city was guarded by a number of undead protectors, including banshees and ghosts.[1]
  • Elkhound's Gate, a gateway to the Lower planes that was constantly guarded against invading creatures. Travelers leaving Svartalfheim through the gate normally passed unchallenged, but the guards were known to assist inexperienced adventurers.[1]


The drow inhabitants of Svartalfheim were mostly interested in living their lives and being left alone. They typically hunted on upper tunnels and spent time carving ironwood sculptures and crafting exquisite gemstones, some of them magically enhanced. The realm's inhabitants were also known for making an exquisite mushroom wine.[1]

Bards living in Svartalfheim were known to sing about the joys of the moment, dance, and true love. They could be hired to sing praises about people, talking of lovers, appearances, or past achievements.[1]

The realm's inhabitants were also famous for their skill in weaving and textile work. Their cloth products were known as the best in all of Ysgard, good enough to be enchanted into magic garments. The drow frequently engaged in commerce with gnomes and other respectable visitors.[1]

Rumors & LegendsEdit

The Nidavellir dwarves believed that Svartalfheim was connected to the Demonweb Pits and to drow realms in the Underdark of the Prime Material plane. It was also believed that parts of the realm shifted between Ysgard and Pandemonium, and sometimes moved even into the Abyss.[1]




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