The following information describes high elves, the elven subrace from which most people on Therafim draw their stereotypes about elves. There are, however, a large number of other elven subraces, which are listed in their own, separate articles. Most of these elven subraces have the same statistics as high elves, with exceptions noted appropriately. All elven subraces can interbreed, producing offspring with the same statistics as the mother, though with an appearance that is usually somewhere between the two parents.
Among the oldest of the races, save for only a very few exceptions, high elves are the first elves, the oldest of the race, and the inheritors and originators of the grand and ancient elven culture. All other races of elf are, thus, subraces of the high elves. The great ruling families of Aelfheim are all high elves as well, and these elves make up the aristocracy of the elven people as a whole. All elves, save for drow and wildrunner elves, acknowledge the inherent right of the high elves to rule their people by dint of birthright as well as skill, and bow to that authority.
High elves are prone to dismissing other races, writing them off as rash and impulsive, yet they are excellent judges of character. An elf might not want a dwarf neighbor, for example, but would be the first to acknowledge that dwarf's skill at smithing. While many high elves are reasonably friendly, they tend to prefer not to associate with other races, who they tend to regard as younger, less stable, and less trustworthy. High elves even act this way, though to a lesser degree, towards other elves. Because of this aristocratic aloofness, most high elves often come off as haughty and cold. It is true that high elves are terribly proud of their place and traditions, and they see little reason to mingle with their lessers.
Exceptions to this general rule of aloofness are not uncommon, however. Many high elves, notably younger ones, will often find their own people's aristocratic ways to be stifling, and will seek out the company of more friendly peoples in order to mingle and tap into the sense of living that comes from being with others. These high elves sometimes come across as a little bit socially awkward, like mediocre actors, but as they grow more accustomed to dealing with other races, this awkwardness usually fades relatively quickly.
High elves that spend their lives among the short-lived races often develop a skewed perception of mortality and become morose, the result of watching wave after wave of companions age and die before their eyes.
Because of their affinity for cities, high elves are often slightly more lawful in tendency than the other elven subraces, though they remain generally good in behavior and outlook.
Although generally slightly taller than humans, by about an inch or two (there is no difference in the average heights of males or females of surface elves), high elves possess a graceful, fragile physique that is accentuated by their long, pointed ears, their additional height making them seem even more slender. High elves have perfectly smooth, hairless skin, save for the hair on their heads, which is most commonly golden blonde or stunning silver, remnants of their blood ties to draconic lines, but they may have hair of any color of dragon (copper, red, blue, black, green, etcetera). Their eyes are wide and almond-shaped with large, vibrantly colored pupils that are usually various shades of blue or grey. While elven clothing often plays off the beauty of the natural world, those elves that live in cities, as most high elves do, tend to bedeck themselves in the latest fashions.
Elves in general have a curious attachment to their surroundings, perhaps as a result of their incredibly long lifespans or some deeper, more mystical reason. Elven groups who dwell in a region for a long time find themselves physically adapting to match their surroundings, most noticeably taking on coloration reflecting the local environment. This is the reason for there being so many different subraces of elf. High elves, living mostly in the great elven cities, tend to develop smooth, alabaster skin that matches the perfect spiral minarets of their beautiful, organic-seeming stonework.
About High Elves
High elves value their privacy and traditions, and while they are often slow to make friends, at both the personal and national levels, once an outsider is accepted as a comrade, such alliances can last for generations. High elves tend to enjoy the company of gnomes and halflings, to respect dwarves, and to tolerate beastfolk and more polite humans. High elves are heirs to long traditions of adventure that has become a part of their traditions of storytelling, and many of them choose to set out into the world to forge new adventures, confident in their superior skills as true elves and eager to gain greater ability and understanding through their travels.
- +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, –2 Constitution: Elves are nimble, both in body and mind, but their form is frail.
- Medium: Elves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Normal Speed: Elves have a base speed of 30 feet.
- Low-Light Vision: Elves can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
- Elven Immunities: Elves are immune to magic sleep effects and get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.
- Keen Senses: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Spot and Search skill checks.
- Weapon Familiarity: Elves are proficient with longbows (including composite longbows), longswords, rapiers, and shortbows (including composite shortbows), and treat any weapon with the word “elven” in its name as a martial weapon.
- Languages: Elves begin play speaking Common and Sylvan. Elves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Carnivon, Celestial, Draconic, Goblin, and Wildlander.