Elves are a magical people of otherworldly grace, living in the world but not entirely part of it. They live in places of ethereal beauty, in the midst of ancient forests or in silvery spires glittering with faerie light, where soft music drifts through the air and gentle fragrances waft on the breeze. Elves love nature and magic, art and artistry, music and poetry, and the good things of the world.

Slender and Graceful

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. Males and females are about the same height, and males are only marginaIly heavier than females.
Elves’ coloration encompasses the normal human range and also includes skin in shades of copper, bronze, and almost bluish-white, hair of green or blue, and eyes like pools of liquid gold or silver. Elves have no facial and little body hair. They favor elegant clothing in bright colors, and they enjoy simple yet lovely jewelry,

A Timeless Perspective

Elves can live weIl 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.

Hidden Woodland Realms

Most elves dwell in small forest villages hidden among the trees. Elves hunt game, gather food, and grow vegetables, and their skill and magic allow them to support themselves without the need for clearing and plowing land. They are talented artisans, crafting finely worked clothes and art objects. Their contact with outsiders is usually limited, though a few elves make a good living by trading crafted items for metals (which they have no interest in mining).

Elves encountered outside their own lands are commonly traveling minstrels, artists, or sages. Human nobles compete for the services of elf instructors to teach swordplay or magic to their children.

Exploration and Adventure

Elves lake 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.

Elves in Faerûn

Skilled in both magic and warfare, the _Tel’Quessir_—’the People,’ as they call themselves—came to Faerûn ages ago, building vast and powerful empires long before the rise of humans. The days of the great elven nations are now long past, and many elves have withdrawn from the world into isolated sylvan realms, or set sail across the Trackless Sea to the isle of Evermeet.

Unlike dwarves, who developed subraces in the world, elves brought their divisions with them, settling into separate kingdoms by type. Beings of immense power, the first elves explored and settled the world, bringing about a golden age of art, magic, and civilization. At the height of their power, the elves performed a High Magic ritual intended to create the ideal homeland. They succeeded, but the spell sundered the land in a terrible cataclysm at the same time that it caused the distant isle of Evermeet to rise from beneath the sea.

Then came the Crown Wars, a series of conflicts between the great elven kingdoms lasting three thousand years. These battles devastated much of the world and resulted in the dark elves’ flight into the Underdark.

Reeling from these calamities, the elven empires went into a long, slow decline, and many of their kind took part in the great Retreat to their refuge on Evermeet. As the elves increasingly withdrew from the world, other races and civilizations rose to prominence in Faerûn.

Elf Names

Elves are considered children until they declare themselves adults, some time after the hundredth birthday, and before this period 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 mlght continue to use the child name. Each elf’s adult name is a unique creation, though it might reflect the names of respected individuaIs 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.
Child Names: Ara, Bryn, Del, Eryn, Faen, Innil, Lael, Mella, Naill, Naeris, Phann, Rael, Rinn, Sai, Syllin, Thia, Vali
Male Adult Names: Adran, Aelar, Aramil, Arannis, Aust, Beiro, Berrian, Carrie, 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, lelenia, 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), IIphelkiir (Gemblossom), Liadon (Silverfrond), Meliamne (Oakenheel), Nailo (Nightbreeze), Siannodel (Moonbrook), Xiloscient (Goldpetal)

Elf Traits

Your elf character has a variety of natural abilities, the result of thousands of years of elven refinement.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
  • Age. AIthough elves reach physical maturity at about the same age as humans, the elven understanding of adulthood goes beyood 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.
  • Alignment. Elves love freedom, variety, and self-expression, so they lean strongly toward the gentler aspects of chaos. They value and protect others’ freedom as well as their own, and they are more often good than not. The drow are an exception; their exile ioto the Underdark has made them vicious and dangerous. Drow are more often evil than not.
  • Size. Elves range from under 5 to over 6 feet tall and have slender builds. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision. Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, 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, onIy shades of gray.
  • Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill.
  • Fey Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
  • Trance. Elves 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. Afler resting in this way, you gain the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Elvish. Elvish is fluid, wilh subtle intonations and intricate grammar. Elven literature is rich and varied, and their songs and poems are famous among other races. Many bards learn their language so they can add Elvish ballads to their repertoires.
    Subrace. Ancient divides among the elven people resulted in three major subraces of Faerûn: moon elves, sun elves, and dark elves, who are commonly called drow. Choose one of these sub races.

Moon Elves

Also called silver elves, or Teu’Tel’Quessir, moon elves are more tolerant and adventurous than elves of other sorts. In ancient times, the dissolution of their empires dispersed moon elves among other races, and since then they have traditionally gotten along well with their non-elf neighbors. They mingle with other people while their kin remain in hidden settlements and secluded strongholds.

Moon elves are sometimes seen as frivolous, especially by other elves. But it is the easygoing, fluid nature of their culture, philosophy, and personality that has enabled them to survive and flourish during and after tragic times in elven history. While communities of moon elves can be found in mainland Faerûn, many moon elves live in the settlements of other races, staying for a few seasons or several decades before moving on.

To a moon elf, home can be among the members of one’s family, clan, or other friends and loved ones. Moon elves who temporarily take up residence in or near sun elf communities aren’t shy about expressing the opinion that their kin need to be less serious. In turn, the sun elves pretend to be more annoyed by their moon elf neighbors than they truly are, provided that the moon elves’ whims and adventuresome urges don’t cause serious disruption. Given that the moon elves usually move on before wearing out their welcome, such unrest rarely occurs.

They have pale skin with a bluish tint. Their hair runs the gamut of human colors, and some moon elves have hair of silvery white or various shades of blue. Their eyes are blue or green and have gold flecks.

Given the race’s love of travel, exploration, and new experiences, many moon elves become adventurers, utilizing their talents for warfare, woodcraft, and wizardry in different measures.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your lntelligence score increases by 1.
  • Elf Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.
  • Cantrip. You know one cantrip of your choice from the Wizard spell list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.
  • Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write one extra language of your choice.

Sun Elves

Sun elves, also known as gold elves, or Ar’Tel’Quessir, have a reputation for being arrogant and self-important. Many of them believe they are Corellon‘s chosen people and that other races—even other elves—are subordinate to them in skill, significance, and sophistication. They claim the title of ’high elves’ with pride, and indeed their race is responsible for great, and sometimes terrible, achievements.

Recalling and emphasizing the glorious aspects of their history, sun elves subscribe to the principle of elven excellence—no matter how interesting, exceptional, heroic, or noteworthy other races’ accomplishments might be, there is an inherent superiority to all things elven. This attitude colors sun elves’ relations with other elves, whom they see as diluted or diminished representatives of elven culture. Some sun elves reject this way of thinking, but it is common enough that when most folk of Faerûn see a sun elf, they see arrogance personified. Their haughty attitude can overshadow the fact that most sun elves are also tirelessly compassionate and thoughtful champions of good.

Sun elves have bronze skin. Their eyes are black, metallic gold, or metallic silver, and their hair is black, metallic copper, or golden blond.

Sun elf culture and civilization is highly magical in nature, thanks to the race’s many accomplished wizards, sages, and crafters. Not every sun elf is a skilled practitioner of the Art, but each one has at least a bit of inherent magic. Many sun elves mix magic with other art forms, which produces the complex dance of the
bladesingers as well as the enchanting music of their bards and the meticulous craftwork of their artisans. Sun elf adventurers often bring a feeling of noblesse oblige to their profession: they venture out into the world to challenge its dangers because someone must, and who could be better suited?

  • Ability Score Increase. Your lntelligence score increases by 1.
  • Elf Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.
  • Cantrip. You know one cantrip of your choice from the Wizard spell list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.
  • Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write one extra language of your choice.

Wood Elves

Also called copper elves, or Sy’Tel’Quessir, wood elves are the most common elves remaining in Faerûn. Their ancestors left behind the strife of the Crown Wars millennia ago to found strongholds and settlements deep in the forests. Today, most wood elves stand guard over the ruins of the past, believing it their duty to preserve their fallen glory as an object lesson of the dangers of hubris.

Wood elves tend to be hardier than other elves, more solid and grounded than their cousins. This attitude is reflected in their culture and traditions; wood elves tend more toward physical pursuits than do other elves, and they view ancient elven history with a more critical eye. To the wood elves, the “great” elven kingdoms were responsible for many equally great mistakes. They look upon the Sundering, the Crown Wars, the descent of the drow, and other calamities as the result of acts of arrogance on the part of their ancestors. Living around and amid the reminders of this arrogance, and standing witness to the rise and fall of many elven empires, wood elves see the place of elves in the world differently than moon or sun elves do. Wood elves seek a quiet harmony, not domination, with the wider world.

Sylvan counterparts of the sun elves and moon elves, wood elves eschew the cities and strongholds of their kin in favor of living close to nature. Wood elves have not claimed a large realm of their own since the kingdom of Eaerlann was destroyed millennia ago. Instead they maintain a number of smaller settlements, the better to keep those communities hidden or pro- tected. Wood elves claim territory in the High Forest, the Great Dale, the Western Heartlands, and beyond. Some wood elves live in other elven communities and territories, where they serve as scouts, rangers, and hunters.

Despite seeing themselves as part of the world, wood elves don’t commonly emerge from their homes to encounter non-elves. Likewise, in the deep woods and forests of the world, most wood elves don’t come across members of other races. Adventurers, diplomats, couriers, and those who pursue similar professions are the exceptions, traveling far outside their sylvan domains and meeting a wide variety of folk.

Wood elves have tan or coppery skin, with hair of wood brown, golden blond, black, or a shining metallic copper, and eyes of green, brown, or hazel.

Skilled naturalists, wood elves often take up professions that allow them to remain close to the wild or to make use of their knowledge of woodcraft, wildlife, and forestry. Wood elves are more than capable in warfare, particularly archery. They are less magically inclined than their cousins, but have their fair share of practitioners of the Art, as well as clerics and many druids.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
  • Elf Weapon Training. You have proficiency with lhe longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.
  • Fleet of Foot. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.
  • Mask of the Wild. You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.

Dark Elves (Drow)

The drow are descended from the dark elves who retreated into the Underdark after the Crown Wars. They are infamous for their cruelty, evilness, and drive to dominate.

For much of history, many believed that all drow were beings of inherent and irredeemable evil. In truth, most drow do align with evil, engaging in torture, slavery, murder, and other nefarious activities in the name of their demon-goddess. Almost always, dark elves who reject the ways of their people are exiled, or executed for being rebels, heretics, and insurrectionists who have turned against drow culture and the will of Lolth. The actions of a few heroic drow have tempered some people’s opinions toward the race, although the appearance of a dark elf on the surface remains a rare event and a cause for alarm.

Many drow in Faerûn hail from Menzoberranzan, the infamous City of Spiders, or one of the other drow city-states in the Underdark, such as Jhachalkhyn or Ched Nasad. Dark elves encountered on the surface are usu- ally found near entrances to the Underdark, because they are harmed by the light of day, which weakens them and their magic. Drow who become adventurers often do so after fleeing the oppressive, cruel theocracy of the city-states. Most of these individuals live as outcasts and wanderers , though a rare few find new homes with another race or culture.

Drow characters can come from any background, though most have a history that links to one of the drow city-states of the Underdark.

Inherent magical abilities and a preference for dark places make drow naturally adept as assassins, thieves, and spies. Traditionally, male drow are warriors and wizards, and female drow occupy leadership roles as warriors or priestesses of Lolth. Drow exiles tend to follow their own path regardless of gender.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
  • Superior Darkvision. Your darkvision has a radius of 120 feet.
  • Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
  • Drow Magic. You know the dancing lights cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the faerie fire spell once per day. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the darkness spell once per day. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
  • Drow Weapon Training. You have proficiency with rapiers, shortswords, and hand crossbows.


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