Originally created as a gift to the archfey of Sylthereth, elves have never quite lost their fey ancestry. Graced with impossibly long lives and limited reincarnated memory, elves have a unique perspective on the world that even other long-lived races like dragonborn or dwarves fail to grasp fully. In elven communities, society is slow to change, while elves in non-elven communities are regarded with a certain degree of respect, for they see change on a timescale other mortal races can't.
Beauty Granted By DivinityWhether they wanted it or not, elves were created to be extraordinarily beautiful. Concocted by Valereth and Syluru, the elves had to be attractive to appease the fey courts. It is, however, a fey beauty. With their unearthly grace and fine features, elves appear hauntingly beautiful to humans and members of many other races. They are slightly shorter than humans on average, ranging from well under 5 feet tall to just over 6 feet. They are more slender than humans, weighing only 100 to 145 pounds. Elves are particularly androgynous, with many having both masculine and feminine qualities. There is little variation in height or weight between genders. Elves’ coloration encompasses the normal human range and also includes skin in shades of gold, copper, bronze, and almost bluish-white, hair of the same colors as well as blue and light purple, and eyes like pools of liquid gold or silver. Elves have no facial and little body hair naturally, but can magically change their bodies how they see fit.
A Timeless PerspectiveElves can live well over 700 years, giving them a broad perspective on events that might trouble the shorter-lived races more deeply. They are more often amused than excited, and more likely to be curious than greedy. They tend to remain aloof and unfazed by petty happenstance. When pursuing a goal, however, whether adventuring on a mission or learning a new skill or art, elves can be focused and relentless. They are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. They reply to petty insults with disdain and to serious insults with vengeance. Like the branches of a young tree, elves are flexible in the face of danger. They trust in diplomacy and compromise to resolve differences before they escalate to violence. They have been known to retreat from intrusions into their woodland homes, confident that they can simply wait the invaders out. But when the need arises, elves reveal a stern martial side, demonstrating skill with sword, bow, and strategy.
Forced Adaptation in the Face of ExtinctionElves were created by Valereth and Syluru to be able to entertain the fey. Being the Lover's chosen, promiscuous capabilities juxtaposed with their near-millennium lifespans. So, a solution was put in place by Alindr: across all of Yophas, only three hundred elves could be born every decade. Additionally, elves would be reincarnated from a set pool of elven souls. For the entirety of the Age of Rebirth, this worked well. Elves slowly but constantly grew in number. But, like so many things, the Reckoning shattered this system. All races were pushed to the brink of extinction in the Reckoning, but many recovered quickly. Elves, on the other hand, could not. Long gone were the days of elven empires. It would take them centuries, if not millennia, to recuperate their population to that point. The only truly elven civilization remaining is Camaerith, though Eswa and Yathra Silthame have decently-sized elven populations as well.
Elven ReincarnationThough it is a known phenomenon, much about elven reincarnation is a mystery. All that is known definitively is that almost all elves are reincarnated from a pool of elven souls. How many souls there are, how long this reincarnation takes, and so much more is a complete mystery. Elves can rarely see into their past lives, though it is known to happen at certain locations of spiritual mysticism (see: The Pools of Remembrance in the Arakhor Tathra) as well as at times of great strife or struggle, when past lives will bubble up during trance to bestow wisdom or knowledge, even if it's in ways not easily discerned.
Exploration and AdventureElves take up adventuring out of wanderlust. Since they are so long-lived, they can enjoy centuries of exploration and discovery. They dislike the pace of human society, which is regimented from day to day but constantly changing over decades, so they find careers that let them travel freely and set their own pace. Elves also enjoy exercising their martial prowess or gaining greater magical power, and adventuring allows them to do so. Some might join with rebels fighting against oppression, and others might become champions of moral causes.
Elf Names and CulturesElves are considered children until they declare themselves adults and undergo some form of adulthood ritual. They usually declare their adulthood between their eightieth and hundred and twentieth year, and before this, they are called by child names. On declaring adulthood, an elf selects an adult name, although those who knew him or her as a youngster might continue to use the child name. Each elf’s adult name is a unique creation, though it might reflect the names of respected individuals or other family members. Little distinction exists between male names and female names; the groupings here reflect only general tendencies. In addition, every elf bears a family name, typically a combination of other Elvish words. Some elves traveling among humans translate their family names into Common, but others retain the Elvish version. The names given below are merely examples for inspiration or use, feel free to go above and beyond. Child Names: Ara, Bryn, Del, Eryn, Faen, Innil, Lael, Mella, Naill, Naeris, Phann, Rael, Rinn, Sai, Syllin, Thia, Vall Male Adult Names: Adran, Aelar, Aramil, Arannis, Aust, Beiro, Berrian, Carric, Enialis, Erdan, Erevan, Galinndan, Hadarai, Heian, Himo, Immeral, Ivellios, Laucian, Mindartis, Paelias, Peren, Quarion, Riardon, Rolen, Soveliss, Thamior, Tharivol, Theren, Varis Female Adult Names: Adrie, Althaea, Anastrianna, Andraste, Antinua, Bethrynna, Birel, Caelynn, Drusilia, Enna, Felosial, Ielenia, Jelenneth, Keyleth, Leshanna, Lia, Meriele, Mialee, Naivara, Quelenna, Quillathe, Sariel, Shanairra, Shava, Silaqui, Theirastra, Thia, Vadania, Valanthe, Xanaphia Family Names (Common Translations): Amakiir (Gemflower), Amastacia (Starflower), Galanodel (Moonwhisper), Holimion (Diamonddew), Ilphelkiir (Gemblossom), Liadon (Silverfrond), Meliamne (Oakenheel), Naïlo (Nightbreeze), Siannodel (Moonbrook), Xiloscient (Goldpetal) You can also have an elf who has been influenced by a certain culture and their naming conventions. If you wish to play an elf of a certain culture, you can refer to the Cultures/Ethnicities subcategory of Races. Below are the main ones that elves tend to be from/belong to.
Creating Your CharacterAt 1st level, you choose what race your character belongs to. If you choose an elf, follow the rules found below to make your elven hero -- or villain.
Ability Score IncreasesWhen determining your character's ability scores, increase one score by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. Follow this rule regardless of the method you use to determine the scores, such as rolling or point buy. The "Quick Build" section of your character's class offers suggestions on which scores to increase. You can follow those suggestions or ignore them, but you can't raise any of your scores above 20.
LanguagesYour character can speak, read, and write Common and one other language that you can your DM agree is appropriate for the character. The Player's Handbook offers a list of languages to choose from. The DM is free to modify that list for a campaign.
Creature TypeEvery creature in D&D, including each player character, has a special tag in the rules that identifies the type of creature they are. Most player characters are of the Humanoid type. Your race tells you what your character's creature type is. Here's a list of the game's creature types in alphabetical order: Aberration, Beast, Celestial, Construct, Dragon, Elemental, Fey, Fiend, Giant, Humanoid, Monstrosity, Ooze, Plant, Undead. These types don't have rules themselves, but some rules in the game affect creatures of certain types in different ways. For example, the cure wounds spell doesn't work on a Construct or an Undead.
Elf TraitsYour elf character has a variety of natural abilities, the result of hundreds of years of elven refinement.
AgeAlthough elves reach physical maturity at about the same age as humans, the elven understanding of adulthood goes beyond physical growth to encompass worldly experience. An elf typically claims adulthood and an adult name around the age of 100 and can live to be 750 years old.
Creature TypeYou are a Humanoid.
SizeElves range from under 5 to over 6 feet tall and have slender builds. Your size is Medium.
SpeedYour base walking speed is 30 feet.
DarkvisionWith a divine heritage built to allow you versatility in the fey environs of Sylthereth, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Keen SensesYou have proficiency in the Perception skill.
Fey AncestryYou have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
TranceElves don’t need to sleep. Instead, they meditate deeply, remaining semiconscious, for 4 hours a day. (The Common word for such meditation is “trance.”) While meditating, you can dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive through years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.
SubracesElves rival humans in the sheer number of subraces and races that have risen from their ancestry. Listed below are those elven peoples that are still similar enough to be considered "normal" elves, while those like astral or obsidian elves are so different as to be considered their own races.
Dathanra (means Deep-Child; Drow)The heritage of the drow is a complex one. Initially, drow rose from those elves who settled in Xaecreotis. They sought to aid the dwarves in their defense of Yophas, so they sought to bring order to the Realms Below by way of civilization. They adapted to the harsh environs, and the first drow were born. Unlike duergar and deep gnomes, drow did not become corrupted by Xaecreotis. Instead, they raised great bastions of peace in these subterannean hells and became stewards of wide swaths of Xaecreotis. It was during the Reckoning that they became that which they sought to destroy. Narvox and Ix'kythael, seeing such important bastions of the Children of Yamma in such harsh climes, delighted in their enslavement and corruption of the drow. Some escaped to the surface of different planes, leaving small pockets of free drow across Yophas. But the lion's share became pawns of the Obsidian Lords. Even when the Reckoning ended, the drow could not escape their cruel fate. The order established by the Obsidian Lords benefited an elite caste who sought to keep their power. Most drow changed one master for another and didn't even recognize the difference. Today, drow society is even more stratified. They perform a sick parody of their ancient goals, bringing order of Xaecreotis by way of tyranny, inflicting the horrible crimes the Obsidian Lords inflicted upon them unto others. Still, some continue to manage to escape, and hope for a return to peace and order for the drow people. Sadly, the warlords of Narvox and priestesses of Ix'kythael fight tooth and nail to remain the status quo. Drow adventurers are rare. Check with your Dungeon Master to see if you can play one. Additionally, you can choose to be a surface-adapted drow or a standard drow, as reflected in your options below.
Surface-AdaptedIf you are descended from the various drow that escaped Xaecreotis during the Reckoning, then you have adapted back to living in the light of Yacrena. You have the following changes to reflect that:
- Your darkvision has a radius of 90 feet.
- You do not have Sunlight Sensitivity.
- You do not gain darkness from Drow Magic.