Elves of Mystara

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The Elves in Mystara are slightly different from the Elf race in the Pathfinder Core rules. In addition to describing the changes to the base race, this document also provides a list of the alternate racial types that are allowed and a short list of specific Racial Subtypes.

Physical Description: Generally shorter than humans, the elves possess a delicate, graceful, slender physique that is accentuated by their long, pointed ears which gives them unearthly grace and fine features. Many humans and members of other races find them hauntingly beautiful. It is a mistake, however, to consider them weak or feeble, as the thin limbs of an elf can contain surprising power. Their eyes are wide and almond-shaped, and filled with large, vibrantly colored pupils.

The coloration of elves across Mystara as a whole varies wildly, and is much more diverse than that of human populations. However their coloration often matches the traditional surroundings of their ancestors, the elves of a single racial subtype usually appear quite similar. The Alfheim Elf, which is by far the most commonly encountered across the known world, are generally fair-skinned and fair-haired; they tan lightly and never sunburn.

In general, elves prefer simple, comfortable clothes, and they enjoy simple yet elegant jewelry. While elven clothing often plays off the beauty of the natural world, those elves that live in cities tend to bedeck themselves in the latest fashions. Where city-dwelling elves encounter other urbanites, the elves are often fashion trendsetters.

Vital Statistics: The elves of Mystara are short and slim, standing about 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 feet tall and typically weighing 85 to 135 pounds, with elven men the same height as and only marginally heavier than elven women.

Elves live naturally to between 400 and 600 years old. A very few have reached 800 years old; and more have died of disease or violent deaths before their 500th birthday. They take about 20 years to grow to full size, and then have a free-spirited “adolescence” of about 80 years. It is during this time that an elf chooses whether to remain in the lands of her birth or follow the wandering path of the adventurer.

Elves mature at the same rate as humans up to the age of 6. This slows to 2/3rds of the human maturation rate until they reach their early 40’s when they are roughly as mature and as capable as any human at age 30. At this point their maturation rate slows yet again, so much, in fact, that to a casual, non-elf, observer, they do not appear to age at all for more than 300 years. Around the age of 350 years they are, in fact, similar in maturity and physical capability to humans in their early 40’s. At this point, their aging rate actually increases again, but only to 1/5th that of human maturation rates. As a result, it isn’t until roughly the age of 500 years that they become as venerable as a 70 year old human.

Although female elves can actually bear children from about the age of 17, most elves do not begin breeding until well after their mid-40’s, when their “slowing” has taken hold. They may have several children over their life, but they will rarely be closer than 20 years apart, and never less than 10 years apart. Additionally, most elf couples will usually stay together for a period of between 40 and 60 years and then agree to break off their long term relationship and take their lives in separate directions. As a result, most elves will have at least two, if not three or four significant, long term, relationships during their lives and it is not at all uncommon for a given elf to have several step-siblings and half-siblings as well as (or even instead of) full-blood siblings. Note that this practice of “mutual separation” is seen as perfectly normal behaviour among almost all elf communities, and it is often pointed out to those who chastise elves for their tendency toward “infidelity” that elves of both sexes frequently stay with each one of their many long-term partners longer than many human marriages may last.

Table 1: Random Height and Weight

Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 4 ft. 4 in. +2d6 in.
(4 ft. 6 in. – 5 ft. 4 in.)
80 lbs. +(2d8×5 lbs.)
(90 – 160 lbs.)
Female 4 ft. 4 in. +2d6 in.
(4 ft. 6 in. – 5 ft. 4 in.)
75 lbs. +(2d6×5 lbs.)
(85 – 135 lbs.)

Table 2: Random Starting Ages

Adulthood Intuitive1 Self Taught2 Trained3
20 years +1d20 years
(21 – 40 years)
+2d20 years
(22 – 60 years)
+4d20 years
(24 – 100 years)

1 This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.

2 This category includes bards, cavaliers, fighters, gunslingers, paladins, rangers, summoners, and witches.

3 This category includes alchemists, clerics, druids, inquisitors, magi, monks, and wizards.

Standard Racial Traits

All traits are the same as in the Pathfinder Core rules except as noted here.

  • Languages: Elves begin play speaking the Elvish dialect and the “Common” human language appropriate to their home region (See Languages of the Known World for details). Elves with high Intelligence scores can choose from among all human regional languages and the following: Celestial, Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.

Magical Racial Traits

Elven Magic: Elves with an Intelligence score of 10 or higher gain the following spell-like abilities: 1/day — daze, detect magic, mage hand, and prestidigitation. The caster level for these effects is equal to the elf’s level. The DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the elf’s intelligence modifier.

Alternate Racial Traits

The following alternate racial traits may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above.

  • Arcane Focus: Some elven families have such long traditions of producing wizards (and other arcane spellcasters) that they raise their children with the assumption each is destined to be a powerful magic-user, with little need for mundane concerns such as skill with weapons. Elves with this racial trait gain a +2 racial bonus on concentration checks made to cast arcane spells defensively, a +2 racial bonus on caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance and a +2 racial bonus on Spellcraft skill checks made to identify the properties of magic items. This racial trait replaces elven magic and weapon familiarity.
  • Darkvision: Though uncommon, some groups of elves are born with darkvision, rather than low-light vision. In many cases this is taken as a sign of a shadow elf in the elf’s ancestry, and can lead to persecution within the elf’s home community. Elves with this racial trait gain darkvision with a range of 60 feet, but also gain sensitivity to light and are dazzled in areas of bright light or within the radius of a daylight spell. This racial trait replaces low-light vision.
  • Desert Runner: Some elves thrive in the deepest deserts, forever roaming across burned and parched lands. Elves with this racial trait receive a +4 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves to avoid fatigue, exhaustion, or ill effects from running, forced marches, starvation, thirst, or hot or cold environments. This racial trait replaces elven magic.
  • Envoy: Elves often have trouble relating to neighbors of other races, especially those with much shorter lifespans. As a result, some are trained in minor magics that are particularly useful when dealing with non-elves. Elves with this racial trait and an Intelligence score of 11 or higher gain the following spell-like abilities once per day: comprehend languages, detect magic, detect poison, and read magic. The caster level for these effects is equal to the elf’s level. This racial trait replaces elven magic.
  • Fleet-Footed: While all elves are naturally lithe and agile, some also are naturally speedy and have a strong desire to rush into situations rather than worrying about looking ahead. Elves with this racial trait receive Run as a bonus feat and a +2 racial bonus on initiative checks. This racial trait replaces keen senses and weapon familiarity.
  • Ship Born: Some elves, especially those from seafaring countries, spend their youth climbing among the decks, rails and rigging of their parent’s merchant vessels, and learn to keep their feel in both foul weather and fair. These “ship born” elves are able to retain their Dex bonus to AC when making Climb or Acrobatics checks on rigging, ropes, rails, masts and similarly constructed structures or when crossing slippery surfaces. This racial trait replaces keen senses.
  • Silent Hunter: Elves are renowned for their subtlety and skill. Elves with this racial trait reduce the penalty for using Stealth while moving by 5 and can make Stealth checks while running at a –20 penalty (this number includes the penalty reduction from this racial trait). This racial trait replaces elven magic.
  • Urbanite: Elves who live in cities for more than a century can grow to know the ebb and flow of social situations just as their forest-dwelling cousins know the rules of the wild. Elves with this racial trait gain a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy checks made to gather information and Sense Motive checks made to get a hunch about a social situation. This racial trait replaces keen senses.
  • Water Child: Some elves have adapted to life in tune with the oceans or along the reedy depths of wild rivers and lakes. They gain a +4 racial bonus on Swim checks, can always take 10 while swimming, and may choose Aquan as a bonus language. This racial trait replaces elven magic.
  • Woodcraft: Elves know the deep secrets of the wild like no others, especially secrets of the forests. Elves with this racial trait gain a +1 racial bonus on Knowledge (nature) and Survival checks. In forest terrain, these bonuses improve to +2. This racial trait replaces elven magic.

Racial Subtypes

The following elf variant races are found in various places around Mystara:

  • Belcadiz Elf: The Belcadiz elves of Glantri have a distinctly different culture from most other surface elves. By many, they are considered arrogant and foppish but their honour is not to be trifled with, as they are a proud people, and many are master duellists. They have the envoy and urbanite alternate racial traits. In addition, instead of the standard weapon familiarity trait Belcadiz Elves are proficient with the elven curve blade, rapier, hand crossbow, light crossbow and heavy crossbow.
  • Graakhalia Elf: tbd (desert runner and silent hunter)
  • Shadowelf: Shadowelves have been forced to live underground for generations and through that time they have adapted to their underground environments. They have the darkvision and silent hunter alternate racial traits. In addition, instead of the keen senses trait, they have the dwarven stonecunning trait: +2 bonus on Perception checks to notice unusual stonework, such as traps and hidden doors located in stone walls or floors. They receive a check to notice such features whenever they pass within 10 feet of them, whether or not they are actively looking.
  • Shiye-Lawr: tbd (fleet-footed and silent hunter)
  • Water Elf: The seafaring elves of Clan Meditor in Minrothad are excellent ship captains, with an innate wanderlust and an avid interest in travelling the seas. They have the water child and ship born alternate racial traits. In addition, instead of the standard weapon familiarity trait Walter Elves are proficient with the belaying pin, boarding axe, boarding gaff, cutlass, gaff (hook), net, rapier, sabre and light crossbow.
  • Wood Elf: tbd (woodcraft and ??)