Elves (GH: Olvenfolk, Olves):

High Elf (FR: Sun Elf) Dark Elf Gray Elf (FR: Moon Elf) Valley Elf Wild Elf
Wood Elf (FR: Wild Elf) Qualinesti Silvanesti (DL: High Elf) Kagonesti (DL: Wild Elf) Dargonesti (DL: Sea Elf, NPC)
- - Dimernesti (DL: Sea Elf) - -

There are many sorts of elves, and descriptions of the differing types are found in AD&D, MM.
Elven PCs are always considered to be high elves, the most common sort of elf.

Permitted Class Options:
A character of elven stock can opt to be a fighter (maximum of 7th level),
a M-U (maximum of 11th level), a thief, or on assassin (maximum
of 10th level). An elven character can also be multi-classed, i.e. a
fighter/magic-user, a fighter/thief, a magic-user/thief, or a

Males (C)
Females (C)
Others (C)
Wild (D) All 
Others (D)
Males (F)
Females (F)
Gray/High (F) Valley (F) Wild (F) Wood (F) Dark 
Males (MU)
Females (MU)
Gray (MU) High (MU) Valley (MU) Wood (MU) Thief 
12 4 U 7 10 U 7 9 5 5 7 6 - - - - - - - - -
13 5 U 7 10 U 8 10 5 5 7 6 - - - - - - - - -
14 6 U 7 10 U 9 11 5 5 7 6 - - - - - - - - -
15 7 U 7 10 U 10 12 5 5 7 6 - - - - - - - - -
16 7 U 8 10 U 10 12 5 5 7 6 - - - - - - - - -
17 7 U 9 10 U 10 12 5 5 7 6 12 5 11 10 11 9 U - 6
18 7 U 10 111 U 10 12 6 6 8 7 12 5 11 10 11 9 U 10 73
18/75 - - - - - 10 12 7 6 8 8 - - - - - - - 10 94
18/90 - - - - - 10 12 8 8 10 9 - - - - - - - 10 105
18/99 - - - - - 10 12 9 9 11 10 - - - - - - - 10 105
18/00 - - - - - 10 12 10 10 12 11 - - - - - - - 117 105
19 7 U 11 121 U 10 12 11 11 13 12 13 7 12 11 12 10 U 128 126
20 7 U 12 141 U 10 12 11 13 13 14 15 9 13 12 13 11 U 128 146
21 7 U 12 172 U 10 - - - - - 18 11 15 14 15 13 U 128 -
22 - - - - - - - - - - - 18 11 18 17 15 13 - - -

1: Charisma 18 also required.
2: Charisma 19 also required.
3: Intelligence 15 && WIS 15 also required. If both of those socres are greater than 15, the character may attain 8th level.
4: Intelligence 16 && WIS 16 also required.
5: Intelligence 17 && WIS 17 also required.
6: Intelligence 18 && WIS 18 also required.
7. Intelligence 16 && WIS 19 also required.
8: Intelligence 19 or WIS 19 also required.

SA: Elven cleric/magic-users <adepts> who have attained max. level in the cleric class may be able to make some permanent magic items via the cleric class.

Multi-class Restrictions: If the character is multi-classed, the following
restrictions and strictures apply: Although able to operate freely with the
benefits of armor, weapons, and magical items available to the classes the
character is operating in, any thieving is restricted to the armor and
weaponry usable by the thief class. All earned experience is always
divided equally among the classes of the character, even though the
character is no longer able to gain levels in one or more of the classes.
(More detailed information is given in the CHARACTER CLASSES section
hereafter.) <>

Elven characters have a 90% resistance to sleep and charm spells (if these
spells are CAST upon them a percentile dice roll of 91% or better is required
to allow the magic any chance of having an effect, and even then the
saving throw against spells is allowed versus the charm spell).

Q: Are elves immune to charm effects
that aren't from spells, such as a
vampire's gaze or a harpy's song?

A: Elves and half-elves are resistant (not
immune) to all forms of sleep and charm,
including those above.

* Any pulled bow:
* Longsword and short sword:
When employing either a bow of any sort other than a crossbow, or a short
or long sword, elven characters gain a bonus of + 1 on their die rolls "to

* Languages: All elven characters are able to speak the following languages in addition
to that of their chosen alignment:
elvish, gnome, halfling, goblin, hobgoblin, orcish, gnoll, and the "common tongue" of mankind.
Elven characters of above 15 INT are able to learn one additional
language for every point of INT over 15, i.e. a character with an 18
intelligence score could learn three additional languages (q.v.).

* Infravision: Elves have the ability to see into the infra-red spectrum, so they are able to
see up to 60' in darkness, noting varying degrees of heat radiation.

* Detect Secret Doors: Secret or concealed doors are difficult to hide from elves.
Merely passing within 10' of the latter makes an elven character 16 2/3% (1 in 6) likely to notice it.
If actively searching for such doors,
elven characters are 33 1/3% (2 in 6) likely to find a secret door and 50% likely (3 in 6) to discover a concealed portal.

As has been shown previously, elven characters add a bonus of + 1 to their
initial dexterity score. Likewise, as elves are not as sturdy as humans, they
deduct 1 from their initial constitution score.

* Surprise: If alone and not in metal armor (or if well in advance -- 90' or more -- of
a party which does not consist entirely of elves and/or halflings) an elven
character moves so silently that he or she will surprise (q.v.) monsters
66 2/3% (d6, 1 through 4) of the time unless some portal must be opened in
order to confront the monster. In the latter case the chance for surprise
drops to 33 1/3% (d6, 1-2).

Q: The PH says that
elven characters can move so silently
that they can surprise opponents
66 2/3% of the time. Do I add this
amount to an elven thief's move
silently percentage?

A: No; use the racial adjustment from the
table on page 28. The 66 2/3% refers only to
an increased ability to gain surprise (1-4
instead of 1-2 on 1d6) and is dependent on
the prevailing conditions (see the PH, page 16).

Q: Do elves get their 66 2/3% surprise
ability when wearing elfin chain

A: No; elfin chain mail and all other metallic
armors negate the surprise ability.

Question: In the PH, it is stated that elves and half-elves
are 90% and 30% resistant to sleep and charm spells. What
spells are considered charm spells?

Answer: Obviously, the only charm spells where the elves’ resistance
makes a difference are those which have a chance (even a small
one) of affecting them: The druid spell Charm Person or Mam-
mal and the magic-user incantations Charm Person, Charm
Monster, and Mass Charm. There are other charm spells, of
course (Charm Plants, for instance), which can’t affect elves or
any other humanoids or creatures.
    Certain magic items can also charm, and since most of those
magic items are described in terms that equate them to charm
spells, it’s logical and reasonable to have elves’ and half-elves’
resistance apply to the effects of these items as well, even
though the PH does specify that the resistance
is to charm spells. These items include the Potion of Human Control,
Philter of Love, Ring of Human Influence, Rod of Beguiling, Staff of Command,
Eyes of Charming, and any magic sword with the Extraordinary Power of charm person. Note
also that elves are resistant to the charming caused by a bard’s
singing and playing, which according to the PH
does not negate any immunities” to such effects.

Question: Why are elven thieves always children?

Answer: Anyone who has a relatively recent edition of the DMG will probably think this question doesn’t make sense.
The latest edition of the DMG lists 100+5d6 as the starting age for PC elven thieves (page 12).
This puts them into the “young adult” range according to the Age Categories chart (page 13) for high elves —
the only kind of elves who can be PC. However, it wasn’t always so.
Earlier editions of the DMG gave 50+5d6 as the starting age,
which would indeed mean that all elven thieves would start their
adventuring lives as “adolescents” of 55 to 80 years old. Fortu-
nately, this inaccuracy was spotted and corrected in later edi-
tions; anyone with an old book can simply make the approp-
riate change in the text.
(Correction: High elves are not the only kind of PC elves).

Elves and the Elven Nations

The Elves are one of the major races of the FR,
and ruled large sections after the time
of the Dragons and before the coming
of men. Now the majority of these long-lived
beings have retreated from the onslaught
of mankind, seeking quieter
forests, and their numbers in the Realms
are a fraction of those even a
thousand years ago.

The Elves of the
FR are human height, <note this when height is generated>
but much more slender. Their fingers
and hands are half-again as long as
men, and delicately tapered, and their
bones are light and surprisingly sturdy.
Elven faces are thinner and more
serene, and Elven ears, as ears in half a
hundred Known Worlds, are pointed.

There are five known Elven sub-races
in the FR, and four of
them live in relative harmony. Cross-breeding
is possible between the sub-races,
but in the case of the Elves, the
child will either take after the male ||
female parent's race (there are no
drow/moon Elf mongrels, and the child
of such an unlikely union would either
have all the traits of a dark Elf, or of a
moon Elf).

The sub-races are:

Gold Elves are also called sunrise
Elves or high Elves, and have bronze
skins and hair of copper, black, or
blonde. Their eyes are golden, silver, or
black. Gold Elves tend to be recognized
as the most civilized of the elven sub-races
and the most aloof from mankind.
The majority of the native Elves of Evermeet
are gold elves, though they are led
by a moon Elf royal family (see EVERMEET).

Moon Elf

Dark Elf

Wild Elf

<note: that is a wild elf according to 1e FR (wood, copper, sylvan, if i have that right)>
<in 3e FR, wild elf takes on a different meaning, perhaps closer to the Grugach>
<Grugach are found in one forest in the Shaar, and that they are different from the Wild Elves found to the south of the Shaar, and detailed in the Counselors & Kings trilogy>

Movement Rate:

Gary, there are several abilities granted to demi-humans in the OAD&D  Monster Manual that are not included in the Players Handbook. Specifically:

      Elves and halflings are considered invisible in vegetation (in addition to their improved chance to surprise).
      Elves have the ability to "split-fire" with their bows.
      Halflings are +3 to hit with bows and slings.
      Gnomes receive a saving throw bonus vs. poison (in addition to their bonus vs. magic).

Are these editorial oversights in the PHB (akin to the infamous falling damage debacle), or did you intend for these abilities to be restricted to NPC demi-humans only? Thanks once again for your time!

I did oindeed intend the advantages to be for NPCs, but there's no reason not to use them for PC's.

Split-fire and move means half movement, archery, then remaining movement, of course.


Asrogoth wrote:

Greetings. I have been on Dragonsfoot for quite a while now, but this is my first posting with a question directed towards you (which I've also asked of Frank Mentzer, Frnak, right?)


You are right, that's Frank who jokingly signs off as Frnak.

As to:

Virel wrote:
Cias the Noble wrote:
Keep in mind that the whole "elves-have-spirits-not-souls-and-only-creatures-with-souls-can-be-raised" thing in the DDG was simply an ad-hoc explanation for why elves cannot be raised.

The truth is, the rules said that elves couldn't be raised long before there was any type of in-game justification of this type. Personally, I believe the whole spirit vs. soul concept was invented after the fact mainly as a way to rationalize why only certain creatures can be raised. The difference between spirts and souls was invented to explain an existing rule, rather than the rule being based off this difference.

I tend to agree with you on that - but a least it provides some fluff around the rule.

Thank you in advance.

PS Here's the thread...

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... 427#174427 <>

Short answer:

In folklore elves are soulless, so it isnt merely a game device.
As a matter of fact, I would question that they have spirits.


DMPrata wrote:
Gary, here's a nice, safe, non-initiative, non-alignment question for you. :wink: In the AD&D® Players Handbook, elves and halflings are given increased chances to surprise opponents. It is explicitly stated, however, that they must be in non-metal armor, and either alone, with others of their kind, or well in advance of a mixed group. Do these same strictures apply to other PCs with enhanced surprise chances (e.g., rangers and barbarians), or does a mixed group that includes a ranger, for instance, receive the benefit of his surprise ability in most cases? Simply put, do rangers surprise 3 in 6 when with a party of non-rangers, or only when by themselves?

I'd treat a mixed group with the stealth ability implied in the rule as homogenous--all the same in that regard;)


Originally posted by Sir Edgar
Were there legal reasons for making the D&D elves different from Tolkien elves or did you just want to be different? Can you talk more about the conceptualization of elves?

I guess it's no secret that I am not a rabid fan of the "Rings Trilogy,"
so that should explain a good bit of why elves in D&D are more my conception of them than they are copies after what the Good Professor Tolkien saw them as 

My take was more of the British mythology based, with French "feys" the influence for the high elves.
All of that was measured against what the D&D environment was meant to be, of course, a human dominated one.

That cover it?


Originally Posted by Gray Mouser
Anyway, as you said above, with no level limits demi-human races based on human mythology goes the way of the Dodo, to say nothing of fantasy literature models. I can't remember off hand any author who has demi-humans in control of their fantasy world settings. Even JRRT, whose elves were fascinatingly powerful in the early ages of Middle Earth, eventually gave way to the world of men. As an aside, I think many (the majority?) of D&D players think of JRRT when they think of elves. After reading Three Hearts and Three Lions and seeing the presentation of elves, dwarves and trolls that Poul Anderson has I think I have a better understanding of what you had in mind for D&D races (at least to some extent). Any other literary works influence you in this area? (And am I even right about it in the fiorst place?)

Gray Mouser

Indeed, I do not believe that having unlimited levels for demi-humans can support a humanocentric campaign.
without humanocentrism, there are no sources availabel to the GM to create his world setting.

As for the depiction of elves, I am not one who looks to Tolkien.
D&D elves are not super beings, not taller or generally more powerful than humans.
I used myth, legend, folklore, fairy tales, and authored fantasy such as Poul Anderson's works for inspiration in regards the paramaters of elves.
Of course, the varieties develped do reflect the Professor's work.
after all, I desired to have the game to appeal to his fans.


Originally Posted by Gray Mouser
Heh, I remember reading your description of Elves in the PHB and DMG back in the day and thinking, "Hey, that's not right!"
Even by the time I was, oh, 10 or 11 JRRT's description of Elves had really influenced my take on them as a race.
The differences between JRRT's elves and D&D elves can be seen rather clearly, I think, in the instance of the Grugach!.
I don't think Tolkien would ever have described his elves like that.
As for appealing to his fans (of which I am one) I do like the HIgh Elf, Grey Elf, Wood Elf distinctions (although Wood Elves are probably my favorite in D&D).
I found the additions of Aquatic Elves and Valley Elves (which make an appearance in my homebrew world, too) to be pretty cool.

Many a participant loves elves, so adding more varieties, including the Drow, seemed a good plan.
As I was thinking of detailing the Valley of the Mage, I thought it expedient to introduce that sort to the game

Originally Posted by Storm Raven
Note the word "progression"?

All powerful elves are really good thieves? I don't buy it.

All powerful elves are not happening.
The ones not accomplished thieves are nothing but wedge-eared tree-huggers who wear tights and prance around in curley-toed shoes when not baking cookies for Keebler or making toys for Santa <stick out tongue>


Originally Posted by Storm Raven

Hence there are no powerful elven wizards with powers matching the greatest human spell slinger? Which work of literature would that be drawn from?
Where are there any elves at all in the majority of fantasy literature?

Do get a life and forget about those make-believe twinkle-toed race 



This is not touchy but rather cabbage that's been chewed more than once. Still, I'll comment here. If you wish, refer readers of the thread in question to this one.

I did indeed use names that Tolkien used in his LotR books in order to attract potential players to the D&D game. When it was being written, was published, early in the 70s the Rings Triology was surely the best known fantasy work around. That said, compare the elves of the D&D game with those that JRRT extoled. Quite a difference between the two, eh?

From where did I get my take on elves? Mainly from fairy tales such as the one in which the 12 princesses went through a secret door into Elfland every night, dancd with elven princes so as to have holes in their slippers. Also, the folklore about etering the world of elves through a secret way under a stone that depicts elves as human-like in many respects. Much authored fantasy also treats elves in like manner, including their being soul-les.

I read literally thousands of SF, fantasy, folklore, and mythology books beginning in 1950. I can not recall exact references after so many years have passed, but I can assure all that Tolkien was not the first autor to consider elves as something other than tiny little fairy folk. In point of fact, fairies in fairy tales, and the French Lutin fair folk, are usually more like JRRT's version of elves than any other sort of folklore "race" other than perhaps the Norse lysoalfar, the "light elves." Of course, as Tolkien borrowed much from Norse mythology, it is likely that both his dwarves and elves came from there. I know my dwarves surely did.


Originally Posted by ColonelHardisson
A very good example would be Lord Dunsany.


Also I believe it was MArgaret St. Claire who wrote The Secret People in which elves were very much like humans.

Of course, the early English folklore had elves akin to small humans, likely based on the Picts, and called stone arrowheads they found "elf bolts".


<Note: The novel that Gary refers to might be THE SHADOW PEOPLE>

Originally Posted by Gray Mouser
BUt wait, does this mean that you did not gain your inspiration for these Elves from JRRT? Say it isn't so! 

I determined to have elvish PCs play a regular role in the D&D game because of JRRT's writing, that's a fact.
As to the inspiration for D&D elves, no, it didn't really come from his version of elves.
although I did make them foes of orcs, and shoot bows well so as to not disapoint the fans of the rings Trilogy too much.
After all, in D&D elves are inferior to humans in all respects save longevity.

Originally Posted by rossik
hi mr gygax!

i was listen to kendermore audiobook, and theres a dwarven festival, with events like axe throwing, stone hammering, drinking, and so on...

what do you think it would be good for a elven festival?

beside skills archery 

How about archery, balladeering, fencing, poetry, and wine tasting?


Originally Posted by rossik
good ideas, gary.

do uthink they could do things like "fox hunt"?

in your vision of elven society.

btw: whats balladeering?

Somehow I can not envision elves hunting foxes. They would likely persue only dangerous and malign creatures in such manner.

Balladeering is playing a stringed instrument and singing 


Originally Posted by gideon_thorne
The singing of ballads, epic tales, bardic stories et al.

Smarty pants!


High Elf
    STRENGTH: 3/18
    WISDOM: 3/18
    DEXTERITY: 7/19
    CHARISMA: 8/18
STARTING AGE: Cleric (500+10d10), Fighter (130+5d6), Magic-User (150+5d6), Thief (100+5d6)