Elder Elves are haughty aesthetes who view dwarves as their natural foes; gnomes as degenerate dwarves; and humans, halflings, orcs, and their crossbreeds as children so far beneath elves in their intelligence and cultural development that they are dismissed as little better than animals able to follow instructions. This makes those latter races—in elven eyes— ideal slaves, to be collected, bred for traits, experimented upon with herbs, poison, magic, and surgeries, and hunted for entertainment.

— Ed Greenwood, Elminster’s Forgotten Realms

Quick Stats:

  • Ability Score Adjustment: +1 Balance, +1 Reason, -1 Fitness
  • Class Level Limits: See Racial Level Limits
  • Multi-Class Options: Mage + any one non-wizard, or Fighter/Mage/Thief
  • Height: 55 in +1d10
  • Weight: 70 lbs +3d10
  • Aging:
    • Starting: 100 + 5d20 years
    • Adult: 100 years
    • Middle/Old/Venerable: N/A1
    • Maximum: N/A1
  • Languages:
    • Bonus Languages: Espruar
    • Recommended Languages: Auld Cormanthan, Chuklian, Daraktan, Gnim, Gnoll, Faerie, Luiric
  • Movement: 12
  • Special Abilities:
    • Elven infravision enables them to discern gradients of heat within 60 feet in darkness. In addition, an elf’s keen senses allow him to purchase Detection Proficiencies for the normal cost, regardless of his class.
    • Elven characters are immune to all Sleep and Charm inducing spells. This does not apply to sleep or charm inducing poisons or monster abilities that would require a saving throw type other than a save vs. spells.
    • Elves require only half the amount of sleep compared to a human. An elf needs only four hours to gain the benefit of a full night’s sleep. This applies in terms of both natural healing, and the recovery of spells.
    • Elves, in their expansive lifetimes, tend to pick up a wider variety of skills than their mortal counterparts. An elf begins with 1 bonus weapon proficiency slot and 1 bonus non-weapon proficiency slot. These may be spent as the elf chooses.
    • An elf can gain a bonus to surprise opponents, but only if the elf is not in metal armor. Even then, the elf must either be alone, or with a party comprised only of characters with similar abilities, or 90 feet or more away from his party to gain this bonus. If he fulfills these conditions, he moves so silently that opponents suffer a -4 penalty to their surprise die rolls. If the elf must open a door or screen to attack, this penalty is reduced to -2.
    • Used to living in wild, open lands, and dressing in ridiculously inappropriate clothing and armor, Elves can withstand up to 100°F with only mild discomfort. Likewise, they can remain clad in their usual clothes to a low of the freezing point of water and be only mildly uncomfortable. Below 32°F, they suffer the same ill effects as anyone else, but until that point they feel little different. Above 100°F, they suffer as do others but exhibit no undue stress until that temperature is surpassed. They lose no body water to sweat, nor do they need to lighten their clothing.
  • Special Restrictions:
    • Unlike all other intelligent races, Elves have no souls. They cannot be Raised, Resurrected, or Reincarnated by any means short of a Wish spell.

Background: Elves tend to be somewhat shorter and slimmer than normal humans. Their features are finely chiseled and delicate, and they speak in melodic tones. Elves are androgynously feminine in appearance, and though some elves have distinct genders, non-elves invariably interpret them to be female. Although they appear fragile and weak, as a species they are quick and strong. Elves are naturally immortal, and, barring plague or violence, live forever. After a millenia or so, all elves (even debased non-Eldren) feel compelled to depart the realms of mortals, retreating to Evermeet, the immortal island of their progenitor.

Although humans often attempt to categorize elves into separate races — high elves, mountain elves, wood elves — all such distinctions are false. In truth, the genetic diversity of the elven species is extremely low. The oldest elves, usually called the Eldren (never to be confused with the Eladrin, who are powerful beings of extraplanar origins), reproduced asexually and are all genetically identical — clones of the elven god and progenitor, Corellon Larethian. Over time the influence of the demon Lolth has granted later generations of elves the ability to procreate sexually and increased the species’s gene pool, but not sufficiently to differentiate races in the way that the humans suppose.

Elves are often considered frivolous and aloof. In fact, they are not, although humans often find their personalities impossible to fathom. Elves tend toward haughtiness and arrogance, especially the Eldren, and care nothing for such concepts as free will or self-determination. They do not make friends easily, but a friend (or enemy) is never forgotten. They prefer to distance themselves from humans, have little love for dwarves, and hate all other races.

Elven humor, songs, and poetry is incomprehensible to other races. Elves eat sparingly; they drink mead and wine, with tiny, mincing sips, pinkies invariably outstretched. While they find well-wrought jewelry a pleasure to behold, they are seldom overly interested in money or gain. They find magic and swordplay (or any refined combat art) fascinating. If they have a weakness it lies in these interests.

1 Elves are immortal. It takes roughly a century for them to reach the same level of physical maturity as an eighteen-year-old human, but after that they do not change. While they may feel the passage of time, an elf will never die nor weaken from old age, though violence can still end their existence. Most venerable elves tend to withdraw from the larger world sometime around their first millenia of life — retreating into mountain aeries or hidden island nations and eschewing the affairs of men.


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