Elves are renowned for their grace and mastery of magic and weapons such as the sword and bow. Becoming physically mature by the age of 25 and emotionally mature at around 125,1 they are also famously long-lived, capable of living more than half a millennium and remaining physically youthful. Possessed of innate beauty and easy gracefulness, they are viewed as both wondrous and haughty by other races; however, their natural detachment is seen by some as introversion or xenophobia.
There are numerous different subraces and subcultures of elves, including aquatic elves, dark elves (drow), deep elves (rockseer), grey elves, high elves, moon elves, snow elves, sun elves, valley elves, wild elves (grugach), wood elves and winged elves (avariel).
In several worlds, elves have their own pantheon often known as the Seldarine; this pantheon usually consists of the leader Corellon Larethian, as well as Aerdrie Faenya, Deep Sashelas, Erevan Ilesere, Fenmarel Mestarine, Hanali Celanil, Labelas Enoreth, Rillifane Rallathil, Sehanine Moonbow, and Solonor Thelandira. Other elven gods may be present in different campaign settings.
Faerûn boasts several major subraces. They differ physically from typical Dungeons & Dragons elves in that they are as tall as humans (5′9″ on average), or even taller. The exception are the Drow, who are of standard D&D elven height. In Faerûn, surface elves call themselves Tel-Quessir which means “The People” in the elven language.
The history of the elven race is marked by great empires and a gradual decline and retreat from the mainland Faerûn. The elves first came to Abeir-Toril from the plane of Faerie more than twenty-five millennia ago. The first wave of elves to arrive were the green elves, lythari, and avariel. The second wave included the dark elves, who arrived in the jungles of southern Faerûn, and the sun and moon elves, who arrived in the north. Not long after, the aquatic elves arrived in the Great Sea. After the second wave of elven immigrants arrived, the Time of Dragons ended and the period known as the First Flowering of the Fair Folk began. The elves settled into five major civilizations along the west and south of Faerûn during this period. Along the Sword Coast, the sun elves established Aryvandaar and Shantel Othreier, and the green elves established Illefarn, Miyeritar (along with the dark elves), and Keltormir. To the south, in present-day Vilhon Reach, the green elves also created the nations of Thearnytaar, Eiellûr, and Syòpiir. In the forests that once covered the Shaar, the moon elves established Orishaar, and the dark elves established Ilythiir and Miyeritar (along with the green elves). All of these realms were gradually destroyed as a result of the Crown Wars, which made way for other elven realms.
Their once expansive realms have shrunk back in territory and prestige due to the influence and expansion of the younger races, particularly humans. They remain influential, however; much of the shape of Faerûn is influenced by conflict between the various subraces of the elves.
The elven subraces of Faerûn include the following:
Aquatic Elves or Sea Elves (Alu-Tel’Quessir)
Aquatic elves are also known as sea elves. They live beneath the waves of Faerûn and can breathe water as easily as their cousins on land breathe air. They can also breathe air but for a very short period of time.
Avariel or Winged Elves (Aril-Tel’Quessir)
The avariel are very rare in Faerûn, since they have been hunted nearly to extinction by various dragons. Avariel remain in any number in only one place—the Aerie of the Snow Eagles, a secluded mountain home in the north. Avariel maintain good relationships with aarakocra, and those in the Aerie of the Snow Eagles have recently reestablished contact with their cousins in Evermeet. The avariel make their homes in open areas, and take immense joy in flying. They absolutely abhor and detest being inside, underground, or otherwise restricted from the open sky. The avariel are known for their fierce clerical tradition, as devout worshippers of the Seldarine sky goddess Aerdrie Faenya.
Once known only as dark elves, one of their greatest kingdoms was Illythiir. They were transformed into drow and banished to the Underdark when their matron goddess Lolth broke from the primary elven pantheon. Of all the elves they are the only ones that are inherently evil and hate their cousins with an undying passion. They are smaller than their cousins, both shorter and thinner. In addition, their skin resembles polished obsidian, and their hair is snow-white or silver. Their eyes are almost inevitably red, gleaming with the hatred for their surface dwelling cousins.
The lythari are a subrace of elves who can transform into wolves. Unlike most werewolves, they can transform at will and keep their minds while in wolf form. Because the lythari have changed so far from their elven roots, most Faerûnian scholars now consider them a separate race from elves.
Moon Elves or Silver Elves (Teu-Tel’Quessir)
The moon elves are the most common of all the elves in Faerûn and are also known as silver elves. They typically have fair skin and hair that runs in hues from silver-white to black or blue. While human style hair colors are rare, eye color can be remarkably similar, with colors ranging from blue to green. The majority of the half-elves in Faerûn come from parings between humans and moon elves.
Sun Elves or Gold Elves (Ar-Tel’Quessir)
Sun elves are primarily found upon the island of Evermeet and because of this, they are less common across the rest of Faerûn. With bronze colored skin; gold, black, or green eyes; and gold, blond, black, or (rarely) red hair, they are also called gold elves. Sun elves are less physically fit, but more intellectually advanced, than their counterparts. Sun elves are the primary practitioners of elven High Magic, and are among the greatest magic-users of Toril, both arcane and divine.
Wild Elves or Green Elves (Sy-Tel’Quessir)
The most reclusive of all the elves, the wild elves pride themselves on their isolation and skill at keeping hidden. Their skin tends to be brown and they have similar colored hair which lightens with age. In 4th edition, wild elves are elves.
Wood Elves, Copper Elves, or Sylvan Elves (Or-Tel’Quessir)
Wood elves are a reclusive subrace, preferring to live in such areas as the High Forest. They place more emphasis on strength than learning. Wood elves are considered by other elven subraces (particularly the austere sun elves) to be boisterous and hedonistic. They have a zest for life and pleasure. According to Races of Faerûn wood elves are the only elven subrace that is native to Toril. They slowly formed for centuries from some of the other elven subraces after the last Crown War. They see their realms as the natural successors to past nations such as Eaerlann and Cormanthyr.
Lythari that have been separated and live in the Endless Wastes.
Once the slaves of the giants of Xen’drik, the elves of Eberron immigrated over time to the continents of Aerenal and Khorvaire, establishing nations and distinct cultures on both. Most notable are the elves of Aerenal, whose culture revolves around the veneration of the Undying Court.
force on the Palladium world for eons. They are one of the so-called archaic races that survived the Age of Chaos during the time of the Old Ones’ rulership. They grew out of the Age of Chaos to become one of two fabulous races, the other being the dwarves, that would take control over a savage world and bring to it peace and culture. Right behind them in scope, power and grandeur were the dwarves. But arrogance, greed and petty prejudice would bring the two super powers into a bloody, centuries long, war that would obliterate both races. Today, the elves and dwarves of the Palladium world have lost much in the way of magic, knowledge, power and people. The population, which once numbered nearly a hundred million, is suspected to be less than three million. There are no known elven kingdoms nor even a town that is predominately elven. Instead, the elves have taken to
wandering the world, helping, counseling to, and adventuring with the humans, whom they see as the heirs apparent of the world they once ruled. In the largest human cities one can sometimes find as many as a thousand or more elves living among them. Readers should not assume that all elves are kind or serve as benevolent mentors to humans, for many are the elven adventurers, lords and scoundrels who seek only personal glory and power. They simply find humans to be the most worthy or their presence and aid than others. This is in part, because the two races share many similarities in physical appearance, size, intellect, and capacity for cunningness and savagery. Elves genuinely like humans very much.
Attributes: The number of six-sided dice rolled is as designated: I.Q. 3D6+ 1, M.E. 3D6, M.A. 2D6, P.S. 3D6, P.P. 4D6, P.E. 3D6, P.B. 5D6, Spd 3D6
Hit Points: P.E. + 1D6 per level of experience.
S.D.C.: 10, plus those gained from O.C.C.s and physical skills.
Natural Armor Rating: None
Horror Factor: None,
Natural Abilities: Superior physical prowess and beauty, generally high intelligence. Nightvision 30 m; can see in total darkness. Natural aptitude and eons of tradition in the art of the long bow (add one extra attack per melee if the archery skill is taken) and wilderness/
ranger skills ( + 2% on all wilderness skills).
Combat: Two without any combat training, or those gained from hand to hand combat and/or boxing.
Bonuses: Only those gained from attributes, O.C.C., and skill bonuses.
Psionics: Standard, basically same as humans.
Average Life Span: 600 years
Habitat: Can be found anywhere. Considered D-Bees on Rifts Earth.
Enemies: Traditionally, dwarves, gnomes, ogres, trolls, kobolds, goblins and hob-goblins. Most elves still exhibit great animosity toward dwarves and the dwarves’ old allies, kobolds and gnomes.
Allies: Traditionally, humans, titans, and the gentler faerie folk. Wolfen long to win the elves’ favor, but are generally snubbed.
Size: Six feet (1.8 m) plus 1D6 inches tall.
Weight: 150 to 230 pounds (67.5 to 103.5 kg).
Notes: Elves tend to be impudent, arrogant, and elitist in attitude, as well as noble, valiant and spirited.