Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Elves are no mammals, goddarnit! (introducing: Prince Charming)

Elves should be immortal!

So me and my flatmate were discussing the absurd idea of Elves having schlongs to reproduce or to make little Half Elves. My flatmate is kind of a Tolkien connoisseur and starts quoting that Half Elves are very VERY rare and a gift granted only by the gods. And for making it even remotely possible to happen, an Elf has to give up immortality. Because while being immortal, there is no need to reproduce! It should be like this in D&D, too.

But how may I play an immortal being in D&D?

Obviously it's not consistend with the rules and it always bothered me that an level 1 Elf was considerably older than, say, humans but was nearly as weak and inexperienced as those half-sophisticated apes with sticks. Plus, he has level restrictions! WTF?! Without an reasonable explanation well established in an campaign you might get... 3rd Edition and special friends?

Is there an easy solution to make it all work out?

Might be. This is how I propose it in my campaign, anyway. Elves are classic Fairies, etheral and immortal beings with only one foot in reality. With all the magic forests where you might turn the wrong way and end up in Alfheim or Eldamar or something. I have The Wild Hunt with Oberon in the lead. Whatever makes THE GAME interesting. It's like in Poul Andersons novel The Broken Sword. And if a player wants to play an Elf, he may do that. BUT...

Elves as Player Characters? With level restrictions?!

There are two direct ways for the Fae to interact with the world of the living. They might steal a human child and raise it as their own (The Changeling, my substitute for the Half Elf, more on that later in this post).

Or one of them might decide to roam the world as a mortal for some time to protect the way of the Elves (protect natures beauty, you know the drill)*. It's a perfect excuse for an Adventurer. Their time as mortals needs to be restricted (by level, in game terms), because there is always a danger of contamination. After that period they may not make it back. They start so weak because they have to learn to live under those conditions and all former expierence is more in the way than helping (right there is the age difference). If they die, their corpse has to be brought back to an Elven forest or their soul might not find its way back to the Elven Court. They don't need sleep as humans do, but when they dream, they visit their homeland and may communicate with their friends (this is for possible adventure hooks, too). They get very depressive and cranky if they don't have those 4 hours.

Dark Elves, an afterthought.

A group of banished Elves, forced to live under the earth and never to feel the joy and beauty of their realm and immortality again. Made them a little bitter. How do they reproduce? I don't know, maybe they trick happy Elves to the Dark Side (they really hate those guys). They seek immortality (Lolth is one of those who made it, hence the cult, works fine with the Rules Cyclopedia) or revenge. Unpleasant folk to have around.

The Changeling (aka Prince Charming)**

It's Disneys fault!

He's your regular Knight in Shining Armour. Raised by tricky Elves (they stole him, to begin with) he comes around like a Disney incarnation of Prince Charming. Always smiling, always rescuing damsels in distress, always popular at parties. And sooner or later he disappears into the dawn, leaving behind broken hearts and the question "Where oh where did the fascination come from?!". Being a classic hedonist he loves to enjoy life and beauty, fighting evil is just a way for him to become famous (and kick ugly people). He likes Elves and knows what's good for you.

Prime Requisites: Strength and Luck (or Charisma)
Experience Bonus: 5% for STR or LUCK (CHA, respectively) higher than 12, 10% for STR and LUCK higher than 12
Hit Dice: 1d6 per level up to 9th level. Starting with 10th level, +2 hit points per level, and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.

Maximum Level: 36 (and might go for immortality like an Elve or like a god)
Armour: Any, shilds permitted
Weapon: Any
Combat Progression: like Fighter
Weapon Mastery: normal
Saves as: Thief
Special Ablities:
At level 1: Charm Person (as the spell; at will level/3 (round up) per day)
At Level 9: Charm Monster (as the spell; at will (level-7)/3 (round up) per day)
At level 18: Mass Charm (as the spell; at will (level-16)/3 (round up) per day)

Changeling Experience Table

Level         XP   Special Abilities

  1            0    Charm Person (as the spell; at will level/3 (round up) per day)
  2        2.700    
  3        5.400    
  4       10.800      
  5       21.600    
  6       45.000      
  7       90.000    
  8      180.000     
  9      360.000   Charm Monster (as the spell; at will (level-7)/3 (round up) per day)
 10      480.000    
 11      600.000   
 12      720.000   
 13      840.000   
 14      960.000   
 15    1.080.000   
 16    1.200.000   
 17    1.320.000   
 18    1.440.000    Mass Charm (as the spell; at will (level-16)/3 (round up) per day)
 19    1.560.000   
 20    1.680.000   
 21    1.800.000   
 22    1.920.000   
 23    2.040.000   
 24    2.160.000   
 25    2.280.000   
 26    2.400.000   
 27    2.520.000   
 28    2.640.000   
 29    2.760.000   
 30    2.880.000   
 31    3.000.000   
 32    3.120.000   
 33    3.240.000   
 34    3.360.000   
 35    3.480.000   
 36    3.600.000   

*Again the flatmate: Tolkien did this (sort of) with the Maiar.
**Using this.


  1. Very nice. I like the explanation of elf level caps as needing to return to Alfheim or wherever.

    See also this post if you have not already.

  2. Thanks! And thanks for the link, too! Didn't read it and I'am all over it now!

  3. I really like elves, especially as a player, and I am also very adamant that an elf is basically a god in a man suit. On the other hand, I don't take it that they're ethereal, rather, they're hyper-real; they're intelligent, hedonistic, animalistic; they're nature incarnate and as such something lesser and far superior to men. Elves are egoism incarnate, beyond good and evil.
    When I think about how I prefer to treat elves I really just don't find it appropriate to use them as PCs - for all the reasons above, even your average grab-bag elf is going to be able to drive cavaliers insane or hack down half a dozen men in full armor without making any damn noise.
    I kind of fancy that Melnibonean/Elf explanation, too - elves aren't even especially 'magical'. They're just super-intelligent and highly evolved - they're good at magic because it involves intelligence and will, for the same reason Superman with a Green Lantern ring is OP.

    1. What you are describing was exactly the dilemma I was in to justify level caps to the players. My players wanted Elves exactly like that: powerful immortal beings. I needed a compromise to make both true, so that's what I came up with (and the Bastard instead of half-elves). Elves are powerful, immortal beings and they have reasons to be in the realms of men, but it weakens them and they can't do it for long ... It worked well in our game.


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