Name of your Nation: The Drow Confederacy/self-named People of the Darkling Womb
Type of Government: Confederacy
Demographics & Population: Approximately 5 million.
Governance & Politics: The People of the Darkling Womb, though a technical Confederacy, can barely be called a unified people. Individual tribes and clans are governed in various ways - some by force, some by gerontocracy, some of the most ‘modern’ by classical monarchy, and others by vote. The confederacy is merely a loosely formal way for these tribes and communities to cooperate, meeting in a central, neutral location; a sanctuary nestled into the Earthen Womb, the large, towering mountain range near the western edge of their homeland. Deep within this sanctuary is an enormous pillar of a highly concentrated form of what the Darklings call the 'blood of the gods' (known elsewhere as manarite), running far deeper within the ground than even the Darklings have gone, holding enormous religious significance to most tribes. It is, however, incredibly dangerous to be around to all but the most powerful mages or the most physically resilient people.
Culture & Society: Contrary to popular belief in the human nation-states, the Dark Elves (or the People of the Darkling Womb, as they commonly refer to themselves), adamantly believe that elvenkind is the 'race' which others descend from, including themselves. Their race, they argue, descends from the pale-skinned stock adapted to the underground with darkened skin to better camouflage themselves in poorly-lit places, a wild difference from the ways in which some elves adopt other drastic changes to adapt to their environments - often in ways that humans cannot.
This is not to say that they believe elves to be inherently superior, however, but rather stands as an example of how their culture, absent human influence, has developed along fundamental lines that are not generally compatible with assimilation into human society.
Another is the relatively different nature of gender roles in Darkling society. The Darkling Kin, perhaps due to the unusual environment in which their civilization emerged, developed to be highly sexually flexible due to extremely high death rates (that often were just as high at the home as they were away from it), resulting in the unusually high prevalence of offspring-viable intersex people, and the cultural expectation that anyone, regardless of their biological sex, was expected to be highly fit and capable of fighting.
Darkling mastery over magic has since reduced many of these pressures, as has the introduction of foreign agricultural techniques, but the cultural expectation of violence and flexible gender roles has not abated, remaining strong even in the presence of influence considered highly unusual to the Darkling people.
Magic, likewise, has enormous cultural influence in the Darkling people, and ability to use it, while not the sole determinant of one's status, is a major contributor. Magic has both an enormous spiritual significance to the Darkling people (due to its necessity for contacting the extraplanar beings the Darkling communicate with and occasionally work alongside, particularly daemons and the divinities they serve) and necessary practical utility. It is, after all, incredibly difficult to survive beneath the earth without access to magic, and, in many ways, the Darklings' access to magic without the use of manarite technology is what allows them to survive being fully colonized. The foreigners may be communicated with, but they are nonetheless viewed with careful caution, as a general rule.
Magic & Technology: Unlike societies that rely on the industrial exploitation of manarite for their magic, the Darklings rely on it in another way entirely - exposure. Highly resilient to manarite mutation as a result of millennia of proximity to it, the Darkling are a generally highly magically adept people, though their unwillingness to cannibalize a substance they view with such immense reverence, and their until-recently lack of access to easily proliferating agricultural crops (not to mention the simple fact that they mostly live underground) has resulted in very low levels of industrial development compared to the countries colonizing their home archipelago. Many types of livestock of beasts of burden that allowed these civilizations to proliferate mass agriculture, also, simply didn’t exist until they were introduced, and many of those that have been introduced (such as horses) are utterly unsuitable for life in massive underground caverns.
What the Darklings have, though, are several sources of potent magic, both that from within and without; that is to say, through spiritual means. This magic, in fact, has been a prime factor in keeping their lands safe from encroachment, causing casualties in conflicts with colonial powers that make their home even less desirable, though it nonetheless posesses enormous resources of lumber and valuable minerals, not to mention an extensive network of underground tunnels to expedite transport.
Military Overview: Although a warrior culture in many respects, until skirmishes and battles with the Viceroyalty of Veliký Zelená (which have since ceased), the Darkling tribes, for the most part, had nothing resembling a formal military, instead relying on loose bands of warriors to resolve conflicts when words could not. Since contact with colonizers, however, a handful of bands have seen fit to adopt relatively modern military arrangements, complete with regiments and formal officer training. Most, however, still rely on nomadic bands, forced to constantly move through the places beneath the earth to avoid threats and follow sources of food, lacking the ability to establish permanent places for training.
Additional Info: (Miscellaneous information that don't really fit in any category.)
I like it so far. Some dark elves that have... *RESOURCES*... I can see some interesting developments with your natives in the future.