With bodies of solid stone, the Alved appear as if statues have animated and walk among the living.
Despite the timelessness associated with the mountains under which they live, the Alved are one of the most recent additions to the known races. A selfsufficient people living deep underground, the Alved surfaced only recently to begin relations with the other peoples of the world, and are still considered quite rare on the surface. Though the Ereskial have known of the Alved for much longer, the solitary nature of Alved culture has kept them at arms length for centuries.
Among the Alved, the community is king. Each Alved contributes to the whole of the culture, each filling a vital role. This communal contribution has kept the Alved civilization thriving despite their isolation for centuries, each community being able to provide for its own needs. This is not to say that no Alved ever leave their original home, but rather that those who do travel usually do so to fill a role for their collective, be it trade, research, or any of a multitude of purposes.
The Alved often speak of the duality of their existence, the spirit and the body. They claim the body belongs to the community, and that each is required to do a job for everyone’s benefit so that the community may flourish. Almost to accentuate this fact, many Alved appear to be very similar. Many family lines appear to be of the same stone, and it is not uncommon for surface dwellers to see an Alved they recognize, only to be surprised to find they are in fact meeting a wholly different individual with the same markings as their friend.
The spirit, however, is the true self and the source of individuality and expression. Hobbies, families, pets, and clothing are all aspects of the spirit, giving individuality to a people who are very similar in appearance. Most notably is the Alved habit of wearing signature items to set themselves apart, be it a fancy hat, extensive jewelry, or even something as simple as a constantly worn shirt style.
Religion among the Alved is very similar to the faiths of the surface races. Scholars debate whether Alved have always been among the faithful or whether their early contacts with the surface spread the church below the ground, and the Alved have remained quiet on the subject. What is known is that the Alved extend their racial pragmatism even to matters of faith, ensuring that each of the gods is given their due so as to ensure that a community does not incur the wrath of any of the Genesori. Many have likened Alved churches to guildhalls, pointing out that the Alved treat both with equal measures of reverence, attention, and discipline.
Though outsiders are perfectly welcome amongst the Alved, almost none ever stay for more than a few days. The cave communities of the Alved are cold and dark to most surface dwellers, and the amenities available to those not built of living stone are few. Alved do not grow crops, keep livestock, or produce any foodstuff necessary for most races to live, and the water in their communities is laden with the heavy metals and minerals of their cave walls. Often an Alved community will trade for the necessary goods to supply a resident outsider with food and comfort, extending hospitality to ensure that everyone gets that which is necessary to remain productive. As the community supports this individual with these necessities, the recipient is in turn expected to give back in whatever way they are capable. The Alved have the “Alved” Trait.