“You look at us and see some reflection of our troubled cousins, the Fae’lia, which some call the Grey Elves, or our woodland cousins the Forgladrin, the People of the Golden Forest, and nothing could further from the truth. For we are the Fae’hher, the Lords of the Dawn and Grandchildren of the Stars.. We are born of the blood of our forefathers, the Elvandar, shed in the First War and nurtured with tears of joy and sorrow. We built our first towers when dragons sang across the skies and the stars were being set in their patterns and stood firm when the Sh’achtar fell into shadow. Our covenant is to stand against the Dearth that our own foolishness unleased upon the Realms in Ages past and we have done so across the long years and through such depths of time so that the kingdoms of men are but ashes of a passing flame and their lives fading smoke in the breeze. We are the inheritors of magic and lore beyond what even the wisest of humans can even fathom , and we are often placed in the position of guarding the younger races from their own worst impulses. Our memories stretch across ages, and when we have tired of these Mortal Realms we Retreat to Faerie to walk by the side of our elder kin.”
– Lord KirtarcenalruchellenefirallℓElturin
The High Elves are a proud and ancient people with deep ties to their brethren and forebears in Faerie. There are only a handful of true High Elven kingdoms in the Mortal Realms any more, with Silverveil and Mistvale the most accessible to the Heartlands, though the great island refuge of Starfell is also nearby for those who know how to find it. Bastions of culture and magic, these kingdoms are havens of a culture that is steeped in tradition and mysticism and they are the quickest to label one of their kin Ach’tar or Outcast. High Elves are rare outside of these lands as anything save diplomats or the even more uncommon adventurers or wanderers. Though deeply dedicated as a race to combatting the Dearth they prefer to do it on their own terms and at their own pace, not getting caught up in the often (to their eyes) short-sighted plans and efforts of the younger races. They prefer the company of other High Elves the most, with Wood Elves a distant second. Gnomes are preferable to Grey Elves, which are in turn preferable to Dwarves of any sort. Humans are often more preferable than Dwarves, but Half-Elves are disliked intensely by the majority of High Elves as part of an ancient and deeply held prejudice as strong as their dislike of the Sh’dai, Goblinkin, or the Ithians. The Dragonborn are the closest thing that High Elves see as a racial equal, respecting them as being scions of a ancient race and traditions that compare to their own.
Statistic Bonuses: +1 Intelligence, +1 Dexterity, -2 Constitution
Languages: Faerie, High Elven, One Human Language, One Other Language
Size, Speed, and Appearance: Elves stand 4′ 7″ tall, +2d10, and Weigh 90 lbs (x1d4) lbs.. This makes them Medium in Size and they have a Speed of 30. Noble Elves are generally slender in build, and bronze in complexion. Their hair tends to golden blonds and blacks and occasional dark browns, while their eyes are often golden or silver. Red hair, as always, is very, very rare and is considered an ill-omen.
Common Dress: High Elves tend to dress in robes of blues, yellows, and whites, often with metallic threading, or made of gossamer and magical silks. Jewel-tones and pastels are favorites, and other shades of color are certainly possible, though greys and blacks are avoided, as are dark reds and crimsons. They are also just as likely to wear as little as a loincloth or nothing at all if the weather permits – it is not a body-shy culture or race. That said, comfortable and beautiful clothing is valued as a part of “good living” in and of itself, and even more practical clothing for hunting or travelling (pants, tunics, cloaks, etc.) are aesthetically pleasing and form-fitting. High Elves also have a variety of forms of jewelry that are worn that mark birthright, noble house, and rank along with various items of other clothing – rings, circlets and diadems, necklaces, and bracelets are all common and popular.
Lifespan: High Elves are young adults at age 150, considered mature adults at around age 250, and can live up to 2000 years of age. They generally begin play at 125 + 5d6 years of age.
Common Culture: High Elven culture is a series of contradictions to humans, rigidly stratified in some ways, High Elves still value personal freedom and spontaneity to a degree that would cause a human society to collapse. The level of magic available makes it an almost indolent society devoted to pursuit of pleasure both physical and intellectual while a sense of manifest destiny means that High Elves regular throw themselves into combat against both evil and the Dearth when needed. Ultimately, many High Elves are free to do what they want as long as they respond to the call of their lords in times of need, and as a result of this plus long lifespans, seem content to socialize and engage in artistic and intellectual pursuits, eating the freshest of foods and the purest of drinks.
Backgrounds: The Entertainer, Harlot, Hermit, Ordinary Person, Outcast, Noble, Sage, and Sailor Backgrounds are the most appropriate for High Elves.
Naming Conventions: Like so much else in the Faerie language, Elvish names are fluid and beautiful. High Elves have a complicated naming process, much of which is not shared with non-Elves simply because the nuances are often not understood. Given names are made up of several elements and can be quite long, nine or ten syllables is quite common. Surnames and septs are important, as is the relationship to birthright, noble house, and the Great Houses of the Elven Court. All of this is described in the following lineal taxonomy, usually presented as a single word:
<Given Name>”<Surname>ʑ(“el”)<Birth Sign>ℓ(not discernable to human ear)<Gens>
₀(“æ-“)<Sept>°(“næ-“)<Noble House>α(“gæ-“)<Great House>
With the younger races, High Elves will commonly use a shortened version of their Given Name (two or three syllables) and either the Surname or less often their Sept, Noble, or Great House. High Elves wishing for anonymity with others, Elven or otherwise, will use one of two gens, “Hhertarin” (Walker of the High Path”) or “Elturin” (Follower of the Stars), as a surname (or a loose translation or one or the two combined for non-Elvish speakers) – though it is considered as rude to not clarify ones actual name if asked as it is to ask for that clarification in the first place. Rank is denoted if needed or desired by various prefixes with varying cases to each Surname, Gens, Sept, House, and Great House.
Common Alignments: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, uncommonly Lawful Evil – rarely Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Evil.
Common Religions: High Elves follow the philosophical path or personal spirituality known as Liavikor or “Ruling Passion” combined with a healthy appreciation of their living ancestors, the Elvandar. That said, there are those High Elves , the ‘Elin, that are closer in spirit to the Elvandar, the forebears of the Elves, and have the skills and abilities of Clerics (commonly of the domains of Knowledge, Life, or Light) and Paladins (of the Oath of the Ancients).
Common Character Classes: Preferred — Bard (Lore), Fighter (Eldritch Knight), Wizard; Common –Cleric (E’lin), Paladin (Ancients), Ranger; Uncommon — Monk, Rogue (Arcane Trickster), Warlock (Archfey); Rare — Druid (Moon), Sorcerer (Elven Scion); Very Rare — Barbarian.
Common Professions: High Elven culture is one of indolence and luxury, one does not have a “profession” one merely has pursuits that you enjoy and are skilled at and the position in society that you were born in to. Most High Elves have at least one or two artificer skills that they know, plus skill in many games that they have developed over the years.
Darkvision: Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, Elves have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. Under the light of the stars, they can see perfectly normally, in other conditions they can see in dim light up to 60 feet as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it was dim light. They cannot discern color in darkness though, only shades of grey.
Keen Senses: Proficiency in the Perception Skill.
Gift Economy: Classic Elven culture has no concept nor any need for money, working off of a combination of mutual gifting, barter, and simply need-based distribution of goods and services. As a result, High Elves have little concept of currency (seeing coins instead as small, poorly-made, highly repetitive , and derivative works of “art”) and also have Disadvantage when attempting to engage in any form of trade outside of their own culture.
Contemplative Artisans: High Elves are also artisans that can rival the best of any other race save in one aspect, they are contemplative by nature and producing work takes them five times as long (and often longer, it is not unheard of for a elven fletcher to take a year or more to create a single arrow, working on it “as inspired”) and it also takes them five times the cost. Similarly, it takes them five times as long and cost to learn new tool sets, instruments, etc.
The Dream of Faerie: Elves have Advantage against being charmed and magic cannot put them asleep. Instead of sleep Elves meditate deeply, remaining semi-conscious, for four hours a day. While in this Trance, Elves dream after a fashion, such dreams are mental exercises that have become reflexive after years of practice. After resting this way Elves gain the same benefit as Humans does from 8 hours of sleep.
Loremasters: High Elves are granted proficiency in either the History or the Arcana skill.
Elven Birthright: High Elves are all born under one of nine birthsigns, each of which gives a boon of a different Cantrip which may be used at will as any other Cantrip. Some elves are known to have different boons, but these are the most common for the various birthsigns.
- Istaria (Spirit) – Guidance – These elves are known to be insightful.
- Firia (Fire) – Produce Flame – These elves are known for being passionate.
- Teria (Earth) – Blade Ward – These elves are known for being dependable.
- Avaria (Air) – Mage Hand – These elves are known for their curiosity.
- Isharia (Water) – Mending – These elves are known for their patience.
- Liaria (Light) – Spare the Dying – These elves are known for their compassion.
- Varia (Darkness) – Chill Touch – These elves are known for their perseverance.
- Lia (Order) – Message – These elves are known for their honor.
- Rania (Chaos) – Resistance – These elves are known for their spontaneity.
Fae Magic: High Elves are the most deeply magical of all the races. They all have three Cantrips, Prestidigitation, Minor Illusion, and one other of their choice (from the Wizard list). At 3rd level they may cast Unseen Servant once per day and at 5th level they may cast Magic Weapon once per day as well. For spellcasters these spells are also always considered memorized and may also be cast using regular spell slots – and are always cast as if at the highest level of effect that the spellcaster can produce.
Born of Faerie: They are so imbued with the magic of Faerie, the High Elves need no components or focus for their Arcane magic. They may also wear Ultra Light, Light, and Medium non-metallic armors and cast spells, or enchanted metallic armors.
Faerie Mien: So strong is the magic of Faerie within the Elves that unless it is consciously banked and cloaked, it radiates outward in a visible nimbus of soft light that dimly illuminates a five foot radius around the Elf. If this mien is banked and cloaked, the Elf has no access to their inborn Fae Magic (including Birthright) and must use a focus of some sort for any other magic that they use.
Elven Weapon Training: High Elves are all trained in the use of Longknife.
Special Vulnerabilities: High Elves suffer from the usual stigma and fears of the Faerie Folk and are often the first target in any hostilities. Due to their ties to Faerie, High Elves are Vulnerable to Cold Iron. Wounds made by Cold-Iron are considered Poisoned and cannot be easily healed. If bound or chained, or otherwise constrained by Cold Iron they are unable to take a Long Rest, and are considered Poisoned.
Psionics: Rapport with creatures of Faerie, and all those with Elven blood (including most Sh’dai, much to their disgust.).
Death: Upon death, the spirit of a Elf goes deeply into the Realm of Faerie where they wait to be reincarnated. They may not be Raised or Resurrected, only True Resurrection (and Revivify) works. If Reincarnated they invariably come back as an Elf.