D&D 5E [Homebrew] Elf

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He Mage
Elves, in D&D, started as a class/race in Basic D&D. As an elf, you could cast spells as a MU and fight as a Fighter.

I havent played Basic. I notice, the original D&D Elf race lacks Dexterity. Its high score represented by an ability score mimimum (not a bonus) is Intelligence for its spellcasting ability. By recommendation, the next important ability is Strength for its swordfighting.

It seems, when the 1e Monster Manual first came out, the assumption ot Intelligence and Strength are still in place. Only later did the 1e Players Handbook come out, which then said the 'high elf' got a bonus to Dexterity. But the other Elf cultures lacked Dexterity. Not until 1e Unearthed Arcana did some other cultures receive a Dexterity bonus as well.

It is interesting how unimportant Dexterity was for the Elf originally, and how late in the tradition it showed up. It seems a frustrating development because the physical ability as the primary bonus has since distorted the feel of the Elf as a physical - nonmagical - flavor that feels alien to the archetype of the Elf as a magical creature.

The tradition seems to remember that the Elf is supposed to be about magic, thus made its favored class be Wizard. But it then lacked mechanics to substantiate the wizardry.

In any event, the best way to represent the original D&D Elf in 5e seems to be some thing like:

Basic Elf
Intelligence score minimum 13

Or maybe even:

Basic Elf
Intelligence score minimum 13
Strength score minimum 11


He Mage
Elves come in various shapes and sizes. Consider your Constitution score when determining your height, weight, and physique.

Constitution Size Table
Use your Constitution score to determine your size and base weight. The height corresponds to a healthy physique with muscle tone and minimal fat. Compare dancers, soccer players, basketball players, and most warriors. For a physique exhibiting bulky muscles shift the height downward, and exhibiting obesity shift weight upward.
[FONT=courier new][B][I]Constitution          Weightclass          Weight        Height
Score    Size                              (Minimum)     (Approximate)
21       Large                             1000 lb       10 ft 10
[FONT=courier new]20       [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT][FONT=courier new]890 lb       10 ft 5
[FONT=courier new]20       [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT][FONT=courier new]790 lb       10 ft
[FONT=courier new]20       [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT]710 lb        9 ft 7
[FONT=courier new]20       [/FONT][FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT]630 lb        9 ft 2
[FONT=courier new]20       [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT][FONT=courier new]560 lb        8 ft 10
20       [/FONT][FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT][FONT=courier new]500 lb        8 ft 6
20       [/FONT][FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT][FONT=courier new]450 lb        8 ft 2
20       [/FONT][FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT][FONT=courier new]400 lb        7 ft 10
20       [/FONT][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT]350 lb        7 ft 5
20       [FONT=courier new]Large                              [/FONT]320 lb        7 ft 4
19       Medium                             280 lb        7 ft 1
18       Medium                             250 lb        6 ft 10
17       Medium                             220 lb        6 ft 7
16       Medium       Heavyweight           200 lb        6 ft 4
15       Medium       Cruiserweight         180 lb        6 ft 1
14       Medium       Middleweight          160 lb        5 ft 10
13       Medium       Welterweight          140 lb        5 ft 7
12       Medium       Lightweight           120 lb        5 ft 4
11       Medium       Featherweight         110 lb        5 ft 2
10       Medium       Atomweight            100 lb        5 ft
 9       Small        Tween 12-year          89 lb        4 ft 10
 9       Small        Tween 11-year          79 lb        4 ft 8
 9       Small        Tween 10-year          71 lb        4 ft 6
 9       Small        Tween 9-year           63 lb        4 ft 4
 9       Small        Child 8-year           56 lb        4 ft 2
 9       Small        Child 7-year           50 lb        4 ft
 9       Small        Child 6-year           45 lb        3 ft 9
 9       Small        Child 5-year           40 lb        3 ft 7
 9       Small        Child 4-year           35 lb        3 ft 4
 9       Small        Child 3-year           32 lb        3 ft 2
 8       [/FONT][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT]Toddler 2-year         28 lb        2 ft 11
 8       [FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT][/FONT]Toddler 20-month       25 lb        2 ft 9
 8       [/FONT][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT][/FONT]Toddler 16−month       22 lb        2 ft 7
 8       [FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT][/FONT]Toddler 1-year         20 lb        2 ft 5
 8       [/FONT][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT][/FONT]Baby 7-month           18 lb        2 ft 3
 8       [FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT][/FONT]Baby 5-month           16 lb        2 ft 2
 8       [/FONT][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT][/FONT]Baby 3-month           14 lb        2 ft 1
 8       [FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT][/FONT]Baby 2-month           12 lb        2 ft
 8       [/FONT][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT][/FONT]Baby 2-month           11 lb        1 ft 11
 8       [/FONT][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new][FONT=courier new]Small        [/FONT][/FONT]Baby 1-month           10 lb        1 ft 10

 7       Tiny         Newborn                 8.9 lb
 7       Tiny         Newborn                 7.9 lb 
 7       Tiny         Newborn                 7.1 lb
 7       Tiny         Newborn                 6.3 lb

[sblock=The Constitution Size Table]
Size correlates with hit points and the Constitution score. Size correlates with breadth, namely how many squares a humanoid creature occupies on a grid. Size correlates with height, where each size category approximately doubles in height. Perhaps most importantly, size correlates with the reallife sizes of humans. The table systematizes all of these assumptions about size. The bigger a creature is, the tougher it tends to be. Constitution groups together disparate factors for overall ‘survivability’, thus here includes size too.

The Constitution Size Table establishes the weight to define size. This is the mass of an Athlete − with a lean, muscular, fit physique. The mass generally correlates with the breadth of bodyspace, the height, the length of limbs.

The Medium size category comprises most human adults.

The reallife global human average is approximately: 5 foot 4 inches height, at about 137 pounds. The average of women is about 5 foot 2, and the average of men about 5 foot 6. This size corresponds to Constitution score 12, Medium size, and Lightweight weightclass.

Among prosperous nations, the average size tends to be greater because of access to nutrition. In the US, the average is approximately: 5 foot 7 inches height, the average of US women being about 5 foot 5 and of US men about 5 foot 10. This size corresponds to Constitution score 13, Medium size, and Welterweight weightclass.

Note size corresponds to carrying capacity. Thus use the Constitution score instead of Strength for the amount of weight, and for qualifying for heavy armor and heavy weapons, and using them effectively without fatigue.

[sblock=Height of Athlete]
Joseph Benevidez 5'4 125lb.jpgTyler Jeffrey Dillashaw 5'6 135 lb.pngsaul-canelo-alvarez-the-mexican 5'9 155 lb.jpgStephen Thompson 6' 170 lb.jpgKeanu Reeves 6'1 180 lb.png
The Constitution Size Table lists weights and heights that are appropriate for an athlete. It is the size of lean and mean combatants and celebrities. It is also the healthiest weight for most individuals.

When using this table, the Constitution score determines the weight. For example, a Constitution score of 16 means a Heavyweight weightclass, and its weight is a range whose minimum is 200 pounds and whose maximum is 220 pounds. This weight is lean, with muscular definition and minimal fat.

The height approximates that of a human who has the esthetic physique of an athlete. This physique is lean, muscular, and fit.

Note, the weightclasses above Heavyweight lack names, but each listed weight is its own weightclass. In reallife, all of these are generally referred to as ‘heavyweight’ (sometimes ‘super heavyweight’), even when divided up into different weightclasses.

[sblock=Height of Bodybuilder]
Option for Strength score minimum 13.

This is a natural bodybuilder with a physique that results from weight training for bulk. It has well developed muscles with broad shoulders and v-shaped torso. To determine size, keep the weight corresponding to the Constitution score. But use the height corresponding to two weightclasses lower.

For example in reallife, Charles Atlas is about 180 pounds, thus here he is a Cruiserweight, corresponding to a Constitution score 15. But he is a Bodybuilder, so his height is two weightclasses lower, thus somewhere around 5 foot 7, and in fact, his reallife height is 5 foot 10.

Randy Orton stands 6 foot 4 at various weights across his career, ranging between 220 and 250 pounds, thus Constitution score 17, and likewise with his height being two weightclasses lower.

Option for Strength score minimum 15.

Muscle bulk is even more massive, yet still maintains a classically esthetic natural physique. Keep the weight of the Constitution score, but use the height corresponding to three or four weightclasses lower. Compare reallife Reg Parks standing 6 foot 1 at about 220 pounds, and compare reallife Layne Norton standing 5 foot 10 at about 220 pounds.

Bodybuilder physiques are optional. Size and strength need not correspond to bulk, and usually requires specific exercise regimens to achieve.

Note Human elders, ages 50 and up, respond well to weight training, and can achieve impressive physiques.

Note the Grugach Elf typically features a Bodybuilder physique.

[sblock=Height of Brute]

Option for Strength score minimum 17: This is an extreme bodybuilder whose physique maximizes muscle bulk. To determine size, keep the weight corresponding to the Constitution score. But use the height of five weightclasses lower. It is a physique that often corresponds to magical elixirs (hormonal and metabolic enhancers).

[sblock=Height of Powerful Build]

Option for Strength score minimum 19: A powerful build is a hulk exhibiting superhumanly muscular with a physique that is enormously broad and dense. Keep the weight corresponding to the Constitution score, But use the height corresponding to ten weightclasses lower.

Note the Mountain Dwarf and Hill Dwarf always have a powerful build regardless of Strength score. Thus they are normally Medium size according to their weight but stand the same height as a Human child. They exhibit massively broad bodies, proportionally about twice as wide as a Human. Moreover, their earth elemental origins suggest stone-like density.

Overweight is typical for prosperous cultures. This is a minor amount of fat, roughly 15 pounds over ones ideal, that hides muscle definition. Keep the Constitution score, but use the weight corresponding to one weightclass higher.

On the other hand, medical obesity can range from the weight of two to five weightclasses higher, with increasing risk to health. Treat obesity as a disease.
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He Mage
Size Magnitudes Table
The Constitution score determines the base size. Larger creatures are tougher with more hit points. Smaller creatures are more fragile with fewer hit points. The height corresponds to a Human adult who is enlarged or reduced to the given size and weight.

[I][B][FONT=courier new]Constitution             Weight            Height[/FONT]
[/B][/I][I][B][FONT=courier new]Score     Size           (Minimum)         (Approximate)
[FONT=courier new]25        Gargantuan     100,000 lb        50 foot[/FONT]
[COLOR=#d3d3d3][FONT=courier new]24        Gargantuan      32,000 lb        34 foot 2[/FONT]
[/COLOR][FONT=courier new]23        Huge            10,000 lb        23 foot 2[/FONT]
[COLOR=#d3d3d3][FONT=courier new]22        Huge             3,200 lb        15 foot 10 [/FONT]
[/COLOR][FONT=courier new]21        Large            1,000 lb        10 foot 9 [/FONT]
[COLOR=#d3d3d3][FONT=courier new]20        Large              320 lb         7 foot 4[/FONT]
[/COLOR][FONT=courier new]10-19     Medium             100 lb         5 foot[/FONT]
[COLOR=#d3d3d3][FONT=courier new]9         Small               32 lb         3 foot 5[/FONT]
[/COLOR][FONT=courier new]8         Small               10 lb         2 foot 4[/FONT]
[COLOR=#d3d3d3][FONT=courier new]7         Tiny                 3.2 lb       1 foot 7[/FONT]
[/COLOR][FONT=courier new]6         Tiny                 1.0 lb       1 foot 1[/FONT][COLOR=#d3d3d3][FONT=courier new]

Medium size is precisely from 100 pounds until 320 pounds in weight. It is approximately from 5 feet until 7½ feet in height, for a standing humanoid. A quadruped of the same weight is roughly half this height.

The Heavyweight weightclass ranges in weight from minimum 200 pounds up to 220 pounds. A ‘heavyweight fighter’ has significant combat benefits versus a ‘98-pound weakling’. Among smaller sizes, the range of significant weight narrows, so the 10-pound difference between an Atomweight and a Featherweight is about as significant as the 20-pound difference between a Cruiserweight and a Heavyweight. Reallife sports often have even narrower divisions within each of these weightclasses, such as ‘super middleweight’ at the upper end of the Middleweight range, because mass is so significant when trying to match up a ‘fair’ fight.

In light of reallife human growth rates and adult sizes, along with the statistics of fight sports, the weightclasses increase exponentially. The weight numbers are ‘decimal magnitudes’. 10 is base 10 to the power of 1, while 32 is base 10 to the power of 1.5 rounded to the nearest two significant digits. 100 is base 10 to the power of 2, while 320 is base 10 to the power of 2.5. As the exponent increases 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, and so on, the size categories increases by multiples of 10. 10 and 32 pounds, 100 and 320 pounds, 1000 and 3200 pounds, and so on.

As a rule of thumb. As the height increases in one axis, the volume thus weight, increases in all three axes. Thus a 5 foot Human at 100 pounds who becomes Enlarged ten times bigger is now 50 foot tall at 100,000 pounds!

The magnitudes help stat the size of any creature. A Large male gorilla is about 350 pounds, a Medium female gorilla is about 180 pounds, a Huge male African elephant is about 13,000 pounds, and so on. Magnitudes of mass compare sizes more easily, but also their proportional relationships relative to each other.
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He Mage
I updated the above post concerning sizes − weight, height, and physique.

I finetuned the Constitution Size Table for better accuracy. (Medical height-weight charts fail to distinguish between weight from muscle and weight from fat, and moreover use formulas that produce incorrect values for tall people.) Remember, the chart listed here refers to a healthy physique with muscle tone and minimal fat. Adjust accordingly for a physique with bulky muscles or obesity.

Notice, the Drow Elves will tend toward lower Constitution thus be shorter in size. Similarly, Grugach Elves will tend to have a bodybuilder physique, thus be more massively broad at a shorter size. And so on. Simply use Constitution to determine the bodyshape of an Elf. Exceptional characters are possible.

I also added a new table in the post for Size Magnitudes. It is a convenient reference for how to handle the weights and heights of all the sizes from Gargantuan to Tiny.


He Mage
Reallife Elf archetypes are first and foremost Charisma. This Charisma associates with sexuality, allure, and beauty, persuasiveness and charm, fate and magic, prestige and glamor, and so on. There is also a kind of ghostlike spookiness.

Early Modern Scotland preserves earlier shamanic traditions about the ‘Sith’ Elf as an erotic spirit during magical dreams. Ballads, such as the Elven Knight, picture such an elven encounter. Here the Elf spirit falls in love with a Human. He manifests from the spirit world to have sex with her. While using his magic to charm her, he also blows a magical hunting horn. The wind from this horn stirs up winds around them to blow off all of her clothing. Thus he attempts to seduce her while the two are nude.

The elphin knight sits on yon hill.
Blaw, blaw, blaw, wind blaw.
He blaws his horn both lewd and shril.
The wind hath blown my plaid awa.

The Elf is ‘enchanting’, both persuasive and inherently magical.

In the context of his charming magic, he requires her to perform an ‘impossible task’. This is an early example of the literary tradition of impossible tasks. A recent example is the American version of the song, Scarborough Fair, by Simon and Garfunkel. Tell her to make me a cambric shirt without any seem or needlework. This tradition reaches back into early times, associating with the Scottish Elf. The idea is, if the target of the charm agrees to the condition of fulfilling an impossible task in order to become free, then the binding magic becomes impossibly strong − and impossible to escape from.

There are examples of impossible tasks in Old Norse traditions. For example, the cord that is used to bind the doomsday wolf Fenrir, is made in part out of the beard of women and the noise of cat footsteps. Creating the cord out of unlikely things makes it unlikely for Fenris to escape from, once Fenrir accepts it.

In the ballad of the Elfin Knight, there are several versions. In one version, the Elfin Knight seeks to captivate the Human with charm magic, to bring her into the Elven spirit realm to be with him as his lover, forever, thus her to never be seen again by Human loved ones, family and friends. In this case, he promises (by oath) to grant her freedom if she can perform the impossible task. In other words, the bond will become inescapable. But in the ballad, the Human is clever. She promises she can and will achieve the impossible task ... but only on one condition. Curious and intrigued, the Elf Knight agrees to her condition, whatever it is. She then says she will fulfill the task, but only if he will fulfill her tasks first, and then she proceeds to give him her own list of impossible tasks. The Elf Knight is bound by oaths, he cannot fulfill the conditions, and his attempt to weave an unbreakable charm fails.

In this version, the Elf is a beautiful but dangerous creature. His Charisma is strongly persuasive. As the Human realizes the disruption to Human ways of life, there is a struggle to escape his influence.

But in other versions of the same ballad, the roles are reversed. The Human loves the Elf. The Elf is the bonny laddie that I luve best. It is the Human who seeks to compel the Elf to remain in the Human realm forever, to become an excellent husband. In this version, the Elf appears for the extraordinary sexual encounter, and only promises to marry if she fulfills an impossible task. Then the exchange of impossible tasks binds the Elf into remaining among Humans.

The Charisma, charm, and appeal of the Elf is central to the archetype.

The ballad alludes to the Elf love of magic. This charm by the Elf only fails because of the elven curiosity about magic. The Human promises to fulfill the impossible task, thereby seems aware of some kind of magic that the Elf is currently unaware of. It is difficult for the Elf to ignore this opportunity to discover new magic. Thus the Elf is willing to risk the success of his spell to see what if anything is behind this claim.

Regarding the magical hunting horn. This is probably an ivory hunting horn, whose ivory usually comes from Asia, and carved exquisitely. This elephant tusk was often called the ‘horn’ of the ‘oliphant’. Thus what is normally a kind of hunting bugle made out of a bulls horn, is here an exotic instrument that, like silk, signifies medieval royalty. The horn of a bull might associate with fertility. The oliphant exemplifies the Elf as an aristocratic ruler.

Here is an example of an aristocratic ivory hunting horn, from the Viking settlement in York, in England.
Hunting Horn of Ulf, 1000s, York, Viking Ulf Ulphus.jpg

The hunting horn is mainly a single note, and is for alarms and long distance signals, rather than music. This particular horn by a Viking aristocrat named Ulf, made this hunting horn part of the title deed to his land, so that whoever owned this horn also owned his aristocratic land. The ivory hunting horn is an aristocratic symbol that signifies power and prestige. Here literally.

The magic horn that the Elf blows signifies the aristocratic power of an elven knight. Presumably, his elven kingdom has its own faerie elephants, animistic spirits, from which the Elf obtains this magical ivory.

D&D has the Nymph, the Succubus, and the Incubus. The Elf too is this kind of charismatic, seductive, magical, spirit.

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He Mage
Heh, a horn that blows away clothing, sounds like a great D&D minor magic item.

Tho I suppose, a version of it could have combat applications as well, to blow away armor.
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He Mage
Here is Mike Mearls in a Youtube video, hosted by D&D Beyond.

He discusses the origin of the Elf race in the 5e multiverse.


The Elves ‘spring forth’ spontaneously from the blood of an immortal, Corellon. Without his intention.

Thus the Elf race lacks a creator, and is existentially independent.

The Elves are immortals, of immortal blood, having Corellon as a literal ancestor.

In other words, the Elf is nontheistic.

Lolth hates this self-directed freedom, invents a religion, and as a spider demon, seeks to be worshiped.
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He Mage
The Origin of Elves in Dungeons & Dragons

D&D Beyond
Transcription by Yaarel 2018.

Todd Kenreck:

Most playable races in the D&D multiverse have often a very typical origin story, when it comes to their god. But the Elves in the D&D multiverse are utterly unique.

Mike Mearls:

So the Elves occupy a very interesting position in the D&D multiverse. Other folk − Dwarves, Orcs, and Gnomes, and alot of other of the humanoid folk − were purposefully created by deities, who wanted to essentially created their mirrors and sent them out into the world to spread their influence. Or if someone like Moradin, he crafted the Dwarves almost as a challenge to himself. Could he make a folk? That didnt happen with the Elves. What people forget about the Elves is, while Corellon Larethian is their forebear, he was not their creator.

The Elves arose when Gruumsh stabbed Corellon in battle. And Corellon bled. And where he bled, the Elves arose. In some ways the Elves were created by accident. Corellon did not intend to make the Elves.

The Elves arose. And so they have this very interesting place. That they are incredibly powerful because they are directly the children of a god, rather than the creation of god. And that is an important thing. Moradin is the father of the Dwarves metaphorically. He created them. They say, you are our creator, you are our father. Corellon is the forebear of the Elves. They sprang from his blood. And he also − I mean, he doesnt − gender to him is just a − whatever, right? − it is just a label that other people use depending on what form he has taken that day. Or she. Or him, or them, or whatever. So to Corellon, this idea of parenthood and shepherding the Elves is a little strange. That is why he is Chaotic. He is Chaotic Good. He is Good. For he loves the universe. He wants it to thrive because he finds it interesting. But he is also Chaotic. He is not like Moradin who took his creation, and gave them his, here's how to live. I will help you. And I will create other deities to teach you things. Corellon just sorta set an example to them almost by accident.

And so this gives the Elves a very distinct position cosmologically. That they are very powerful. Very longlived. They can master incredible magics. But they have never had a deity figure, who is a parent to them, the way that Moradin is to the Dwarves.

Except for Lolth. Lolth. In some ways you can think of Lolth as almost like an evil stepmother, who is evil and horrible. But at least she gave us structure. She paid all the bills and told us what to do. And that is to me − mythologically and cosmologically − is the root of the divide between Lolth and Corellon. Corellon telling the Elves, go forth and do whatever you want. You can come back and tell me about it, I guess, if you feel like it and I feel like listening. And Lolth saying, no. There is a way. Like, this is what you do. This is the order. Lolth being Chaotic but still imposing this brutal order, horrible order on them. And in the ancient days, many elves wanting that because if you're an Elf and you saw the Dwarves, and they had Moradin teaching them the way of the forge, and Clangadin teaching them way of war. And there was a right and a wrong, and there was a pattern to it. The Elves didnt have that. The Elves had to make up everything on their own. And so Lolth spinning her web provides structure and provides purpose. And to some Elves that was very appealing.

So Lolth being a very powerful entity amongst the Elves, being an Elf, very early on − it is hard to say exactly why she is now a demon queen. But the suspicion is, she thought that, frankly, Corellon was a terrible example, forebear. He was a terrible parent. He abandoned his people. The Elves in her mind are the most powerful of all the folk. They live the longest. They command the most powerful magic. If they set their mind to it, they can become the best warriors. Why do they let Humans run around and dominate. Why are the Dwarves allowed to mine all the riches of the world and make them their own. The Elves should rule because the Elves are the best. The greatest, the mightiest, the longest lived, the most blessed, they are the literal children of gods. So why not weave a web that entraps all the other folk and puts the Elves on top? Why be so passive? Why hide in your forest and while your time away writing poetry and crafting items from wood, and worrying so much about these forests, when you could rule the cosmos? And to her, that Corellon was just a weakling. You know, he was the one holding the Elves back. And Lolth had a path forward.

And so they fought. The Elves would tell you that Lolth and the Drow tried to kill Corellon. And if they killed Corellon, that would have been awful, the end of the Elves. That Lolth is a traitor and she has only the doom of the Elves and her own power in mind. The Drow tho would tell you a different story. They might tell you that Corellon was the one who struck first. That Corellon seeing Lolth, and seeing her power, and seeing what she could become, was afraid. That was the first time he felt fear as an entity. And that he struck her first. And the Drow struck back only to defend themselves and to save their queen.

Todd Kenreck:

Thank you, Mike Mearls for being on D&D Beyond. And spending some time with us to talk about the origin of the Elves in the D&D multiverse. I am Todd Kenreck, and thank you for watching.
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