D&D General what are the setting functions of elves?

In my grand quest to make something that can fill the role of elf without being an elf I realised that outside of being overly romanticised and if left in any environment spawning a new type with a retroactive history of ten thousand years.
I do not really grasp outside of being magic call and mystical in a vague sense what they bring to a setting and why a player might play them outside of magic being overly romanticised and being able to outlive most nations.
anyone got ideas as I am lost?
 

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Scribe

Hero
anyone got ideas as I am lost?
I'm old, and see no reason to break from what I've always seen them as.

They are elitists.
They think they are better than anyone else, besides maybe dragons, or your settings Angels.
They are magic users.
Some (many/most?) are more in tune with nature.
They are graceful, intelligent, and easy on the eyes to humans.

What is their purpose? In my setting, they are lost glory, a civilization supplanted by the younger races.

The typical stuff.
 

They are what happens when the fey goes through puberty.

They should be almost computer like in nature...really good at those few things, but a serious fish out of water out of it.

They are a species of posers that claim to be better at everything, but that might be society chauvinism to some degree. This often takes them from going from seeming celestial and otherworldly to incredibly petty when this is pointed out.

An embarressed elf is a murderous being.

They also have built a civilization based on living with nature, but in a manner that more synergizes then being one with nature. magic often acts in a manner not unlike technology in our own world (because elves really hate being stuck in a rainstorm...it ruins their image).

in short, what if a boy band took up adventuring. :p
 


MarkB

Legend
They've been around a long time, both individually and as cultures. That makes them a good source of historical information. If something happened in the last several hundred years, you can probably find an elf who lived through it. If it happened in the last ten thousand years, they probably still have records of it in their libraries' newspaper archives.
 

2008-12-27-0944-cadugans-family-woes1.jpg

This scene also comes to mind. :D
 






Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Elves are the idealised human, beautiful, youthful, idyllic, refined
They are what medieval humans long to be.

it is all illusion and deception for in truth they are soul sucking wraiths who hunger for the reality of life
 


dave2008

Legend
They are whatever my player(s) think they are. I typically let my players develop the background for their characters, So what an elf is can change from campaign to campaign.
 

They are whatever my player(s) think they are. I typically let my players develop the background for their characters, So what an elf is can change from campaign to campaign.
I am not asking for your players' opinion I am asking for yours?
They are target practice.
it is a short list of things that can't be used as target practice
Elves are the idealised human, beautiful, youthful, idyllic, refined
They are what medieval humans long to be.

it is all illusion and deception for in truth they are soul sucking wraiths who hunger for the reality of life
so they are exactly the same as all other life?

in all seriousness I think I have not phrased the question right, I was not asking what the traits of an elf is but the role they eat in the setting like the endless big tough strong peoples what is that role?
what traits of elf are the role and what is only the traits of the elf?
 

dave2008

Legend
I am not asking for your players' opinion I am asking for yours?
I guess my response wasn't clear. I don't have an opinion on what elves are. I don't think any particular race needs a particular role. Things just are sometimes.

My implied suggestion was to discuss this with your players. Their thoughts and opinion will probably serve you better than ours.
 



aco175

Legend
It is hard to change the 'core' races. It is like the topics on what classes do we need and it coming down to warrior, expert, and caster. With the new rules on race it has become less a thing to pick a race to be faster, smarter, more dexterous, etc... So all the races have lost some identity. Then it becomes a question on that race as what it typical or splitting the typical from the lone PC of that race.

So, now elves are generally more XYZ than orcs but this PC of mine is stronger than the general orc. It becomes harder to give each race a thing.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
In my grand quest to make something that can fill the role of elf without being an elf I realised that outside of being overly romanticised and if left in any environment spawning a new type with a retroactive history of ten thousand years.
I do not really grasp outside of being magic call and mystical in a vague sense what they bring to a setting and why a player might play them outside of magic being overly romanticised and being able to outlive most nations.
anyone got ideas as I am lost?
In my view, the elves are either British faerie knights or Norse alfar. Both are personifications of magic itself.

Both are superhumanly beautiful. Anthropologically, beauty turns out to be the most defining feature, crossculturally, which is how sidhe, aelf, and fae all merged together.

Both faerie and alfar use magic as weapons of war. Even the knights are more like fullcasters, using spells for armor and substituting spellcasting ability for sword attacks.

As fates, faerie and alfar relate to life events like, birth, falling in love, having kids, and time of death, as well as luck and good fortune generally.

As beings of magic, magic itself relates to how the fates decide and alter reality.

Their cultures are human cultures, at least the prestigious aspects of human cultures, again relating to good fortune. The elf is humanlike rather than alien.

Fate, magic, beauty, and mythically human. I think that is it.

Other stuff can differ significantly.
 

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