WHY are elves so danged cool?

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Give us reasons to LOVE, elves, guys. Mary Sues ain't loveable. ;)

I like them thanks to Tolkien's portrayal of them; yes they're beautiful, graceful, ageless, good with weaponry and magic BUT they are a dying race, this isn't their world anymore. No matter how good they are, the younger races will inherit the world they cherish. It's great.


Tolkien is partly to blame -- his elves were practically demigods, without weakness (other than perhaps arrogant pride, which in gaming is "normal" not a character flaw... :p) And for those who did not read Tolkien, now we have the movies that definitely portray elves as stunningly awesome.

Elves have that "Matrix-Neo" coolness factor. They are perfect, without weakness. Fast, skilled, coolly calm, zen-like detachment, adept at melee and archery and wizardry and ranging and scholarship and crafting, immortal, beautiful, artistic, sexy-hot, rugged individualists yet noble (chaotic good). Everything humans wish they were and never quite achieve. They live in the most beautiful setting (forest) yet can be found everywhere in far more varieties than any other race.

Everything elven is superior and magical -- just because it is elvish! Their cloaks make you invisible, their boots make you silent, their houses are made of living trees... even their pets are special (cats are the coolest pets, and elven cats are winged!!)

D&D elves do have a CON penalty, but that is a concession to game balance, not from the source material. Tolkien elves should have a huge bonus to CON, as they were far more hardy than either orcs or humans.

What's not to love? :heh:


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Perky elven babes that stay perky for centuries?

I blame Tolkien as much as anything else. The elves in LOTR and Silmarillion are just plain awesome. And I don't mean the tweaked-out action hero that Legolas was in the movies. They are simultaneously light and joyful and yet have this gravitas that is alluring. They have an eternity to them that most other races don't have.

They are also just alien enough to be fun playing without being alien enough to be unattractive to players. Unlike dwarves, halflings, and gnomes, all of which have a tendency to live below ground (at varying depths), elves live in the woods, sometimes in treehouses (and who didn't want to do that as a child?). Most of us have some idea what it would be like to live and hang out in the forest, at least visually, but few of us really have a feeling for living in caverns or even comfortable hobbit holes. And so I think elves tend to be more accessible for a lot of role-players.
They also love music and dance and are attractive people. By comparison, dwarves are dour and grumpy, gnomes may be light-hearted but are short with big noses, and halflings, which people should identify with most, are rustic or childish and also very short and hairy-of-foot. They also aren't taken quite as seriously by a lot of gamers, though their characteristics should probably make them 2nd in the list of accessibility.

Lord Zardoz

I blame Tolkein for making Elves generally seem superior to humans.

Many people tend to create characters either based on idealized versions of themselves, or on idealized versions of what they wish they could be. (Assuming they are not going for pure mechanical optimization).

From a flavour standpoint, Elves have no drawbacks relative to other choices.

- Extraordinarily long life
- Generally depicted as being familiar with powerful magic
- Generally depicted as having a vibe of competence in whatever the character is meant to be good at.
- I have never heard of an ugly elf
- Being roughly the same size as a human, they are easier to relate to.
- Always depicted as intelligent

In short, they are often depicted as being generally awesome. The characters that show up as being flawed are usually flawed in attitude.

To sum it up, Elves are depicted as being what most D&D players may consider to be an idealized version of themselves. Players who like that archtype will take that, especially if they want to go with someone who is better than his opponents because he is smarter. Players who wish they were powerful and prefer magic uses also tend to gravitate towards elves. Players who wish they were powerful and prefer more physical characters will probably pick barbarians.

Yay stereotypes. Now I get to be torn apart for how my generalizations do not describe a particular poster who feels I have pigeon holed them.



Haha, yes that's normally what would happen but I agree with you 100% - I and all my friends at school used to play elves (back in Basic and 2E) because they were idealised. Now I play humans (gotta love the extra feat!)

Monkey Boy

First Post
Elves are cool because they are like humans only better and sexier, kind of like us roleplayers. :D

Edit for a question -

Would elves be so danged cool if they were all considered horrid to look upon?
Last edited:


First Post
Lord Zardoz said:
... Now I get to be torn apart for how my generalizations do not describe a particular poster who feels I have pigeonholed them.

Anyone who does so in this thread will be asked to back off. It was clearly stated in the original post.

(This does not apply to Eric Noah, who can be picked on at any time, anywhere.)

The Ubbergeek

First Post
Nah... Elves are not Mary Sues - they have a few fatal weaknesses, like a certain haughtyness, arrogance and pride. Their strange 'chaotic conservatism'. And technicaly, -1/2 TO Con is sure not so good.

Fallen elves were shown a few times, to highlight the point. And they could be wrong, deadly wrong....

Even in LOTR, Tolkien shown that they are often in the wrong.

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