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Monday, September 19, 2016
Player's Choice (Elf Edition)
taken a hard look at Dungeons and Dragons and decided that it’s time to make
your first character for Dungeons & Dragons. First off, welcome to
the family. You’ve taken your first steps into a world of shared
storytelling and high adventure. We’re going to take a look at the
process for building your character and go over the options you have available
in the Player’s Handbook (we use the 5th edition, as it’s the most recent, and
we think it’s one of the most accessible systems we’ve seen in a long time.).
So grab your scratch paper, your pencil, and your character sheet as we
explore the magical world of Dungeons and Dragons.
step you should really take when building a character is to think about what
kind of a character you want to play. Before you make any decisions or
write anything down, you need to stop and think what you’re going to enjoy
playing. A secondary consideration would be what the party of adventurers
you are going to be a member of needs. You may desperately want to break
out a brand new half elf warlock, but your party desperately needs a tanky
fighter or a healing cleric. You decide what you want to play, and what
story you’re going to enjoy telling and playing. Whichever character you
decide to make, you’re going to have to make a few decisions. Let’s take
a look at the options for the first one of those decisions.
is your character?
character’s race defines a lot of the basic physical and mental
characteristics. It more than anything else will be the first thing an
observer uses to define you. How many times have you read a passage that
starts “And we saw the Dwarves standing there in their armor, beards
immaculately groomed…” In a fantasy setting Race is a defining trait that gives
other people a rough idea of what your character is, and how they can be
expected to behave. In Dungeons and Dragons, Race has a couple of other
features that we’ll discuss.
Player’s Handbook offers nine racial choices for a new player to consider for
their character. Each one is distinct, and has several subraces to choose
from. When you select a Race, the offered selections of a subrace are
offshoots of that main racial group. It may change baseline racial
features, add new options, or give different physical and mental
characteristics. The character creation process starts with choosing your
race, so let’s go through the races and see what looks like fun to us.
represent one of the elder races of most fantasy games. They are ethereal
creatures of superlative grace and agility. With their long life spans,
mastery of both the woodland and arcane realms, Elves often represent idealized
human notions of attraction and power. With their sharply pointed ears
and keen eyes, Elves notice things other people miss. With their mastery
of bow and blade, the elven peoples often keep the ancient enemies of freedom and
peace loving people everywhere at bay.
in game, the elves have the following benefits
dextrous. They gain a +2 bonus to their dexterity scores.
the slowest aging race that a player can select. They start adventuring
at around 100, and can live to be over 700 years without using magic.
the exemplar of the chaotic good alignment. With their love of freedom
and self expression, they embody chaos. They also respect the freedom of
other races and are willing to step up to protect that freedom. Dark
Elves are an anomaly in this alignment pattern and are more often wickedly
evil, than protectively friendly.
around five and a half feet tall, and often are slender than similarly sized
move 30 feet per round unless otherwise stated.
Dwarves, Elves can see in the dark. They see can see darkness as dim
light (within 60 feet) and dim light as if it were bright light.
have keen senses which give them proficiency in the Perception skill.
descended from the creatures of the feywild, and that ancestry makes them
immune to magical sleep spells and gives them advantage on charm effects.
don’t sleep the way other races do. They have a meditative period that
gives them the benefit of a full 8 hours of rest while only taking up four
hours. They also have the benefit of being awaken while in trance, so
they can still keep an eye on their surroundings.
speak their language (Elvish) and common
base elven traits, and you’ve got a mandatory choice of either High Elf, Wood
Elf, or Dark Elf. Each one has options that add to (in some cases,
replace) the elven racial traits, and each one can support a variety of
traditional (and not so traditional) fantasy themes.
Elves are intelligent and nimble. They add +1 to their intelligence
Elves are trained in the use of a variety of weapons. Specifically, every
high elf is trained in the use of the longsword, the shortsword, the shortbow,
and the longbow.
Elves are magically inclined. They know one cantrip from the wizard spell
list, and use Intelligence as their spell casting statistic.
Elves are linguistically inclined. They are proficient with one
additional language (both written and spoken).
elves are traditionally more naturally inclined than their high elven
counterparts and spend their days roaming their forest homes.
elves are wiser than most. In addition to the elven bonus to dexterity,
Wood Elves gain a +1 bonus to their wisdom scores.
elves are also proficient with the a variety of weapons, including the longbow,
the shortbow, the longsword and the shortsword.
elves are fast on their feet. They have a natural movement rate of 35
feet per round.
elves are well known for their stealth. They can attempt to hide even
when they are only lightly obscured by natural phenomena.
Elves are underground dwelling elves who’ve basically turned their back on
being nice and helping other people. They are aggressive, sadistic
slavers who delight in the cruelty they visit on the lesser races.
elves are more willful than other races. They add +1 to their charisma
elves see even better in the dark than most creatures with darkvision.
They can see 120 feet in darkness as if it were dim light.
are sensitive to sunlight. When exposed to sunlight, they suffer
disadvantage on Perception checks, and they suffer disadvantage on attack rolls
when exposed to direct sunlight.
elves are natural spellcasters. All dark elves know the Dancing Lights
cantrip. Furthermore, when they reach third level, they can cast Faerie
Fire once per day, and when they reach fifth level, they can cast Darkness once
Elves are also trained with specific weapons. They are all proficient
with rapiers, shortswords, and hand crossbows.
take a look at some of the interesting class combinations you can put together
with the elven subraces.
Elves have a strong martial tradition and pair it with arcane proficiency.
As a result, we think the following are decent options for the High elf.
·Fighter. With an
eye towards picking up the Eldritch knight arch type, High elves excel as a
Fighter. They are more likely to use medium armor that allows them to
utilize their high dexterity scores, and more often than not will use a
combination of ranged weapons and spell before closing to melee to finish a
·Wizard. With a
natural intelligence bonus and a bonus cantrip, Wizard is a good fit for the
High Elf. Don’t expect your +2 bonus to dexterity and weapon
proficiencies to get you out of combat. Play to your strengths and cast
all the spells you can.
aiming for the Arcane Trickster arch type, the high elf can get a lot of
mileage out of his racial abilities and a free cantrip. Rogues with
access to Dancing lights can make their own distractions for guards. It
only gets better as one gets more experienced.
Elves, with their combination of woodland history and speed fall into a
slightly different category of adventurers.
Combining the wood elf’s affinity for the natural environment with
statistical bonuses that fit, the ranger is the perfect class idea for a
woodland elven warrior. Stealth, ranged combat, and generally being hard
to find are iconic to the woodland people.
·Druid. For the
player who wants a little more spellcasting in their diet, the wood elf
recommends itself to the druid class. Either arch type lets you enjoy the
splendor of the natural world while still being mysteriously elven. You
can also throw a lot of lightning.
·Monk. This one
may feel like a stretch, but it’s really not. With an eye towards
preserving and being at peace with the natural world, the monk makes an
excellent direction to go with a wood elf. The stat boosts and the
natural speed benefit are also in line with the wood elf profile, so you are
getting synergy with your race and class pairings.
elves are a little trickier, but they have some iconic villains that can be
duplicated with the right class choices.
The iconic dark elf villain is probably the vile priestess of Lolth who’s
going to feed you to her pet spiders. There are a couple of different
ways to pursue this, but a divine spellcasting class with martial power is a
good call. Which one you pick is more a matter of personal choice,
whether it’s heavy spell casting with a dash of martial hubris, or heavy smiting
and a smidge of cleric healing.
Like the dark elf cleric, the dark elf arcanist is a classic.
Traditionally those are typically wizards, but with the dark elf bonus to
Charisma, they can make incredibly potent Warlocks and Sorcerers. It’s a
matter of player taste which pact/bloodline they choose, but there are a lot of
interesting characters you can build out of this combination.
Dark elf society is a treacherous affair, and having a skilled person who
can move around unseen is a boon to any dark elf family. Combine this
with the Ranger’s preferred terrain, or the rogue’s expertise, and you can have
some extremely skilled observers and murderers.
where we’re going to break off for the day. That’s our look at the Elf
race for Dungeons and Dragons, 5th edition. Next week we’ll be back to
review the Halflings.