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Busting Stereotypes Part 3 – Elves That Don’t Bake Cookies

For 4th Edition readers, remove elf and insert Eladrin, since they seem to fit this stereotype better than 4e elves do.

Aloof and often arrogant, the elves are one of the most played races in most fantasy games.  Now, how do you break the monotony of your typical elf?  I’ve seen them play almost every class, and use almost every skill.  They’re the rare example of a race other than human who is good at almost everything.  However, by breaking it down to the details, we can find plenty of places to have some fun busting the stereotype.

First, elves are graceful, right?  So, why not give yourself a low DEX.  Granted, I’d do this only if I were a fighter or some other armor wearing class, if nothing else for your own survival, but it would go a long way toward breaking the stereotype.  “I fail my DEX roll.”  “But you’re an ELF!”  “Yeah, but I’m a clumsy one!”  It would be hysterical.  Almost as hysterical as an elf named Keebler 😉

Elves are also typically aloof, so why not role play him as a hothead or as someone who’s passionate about something even the human characters things is pointless, like tavern chairs.  Elves are often seen as emotionless, not because they don’t have them, but because they don’t show them.  Give them some flair and passion, make them like the artist from films who seems beauty and art in everything.  Not necessarily flighty or flaky, necessarily (though those work too), but playing a fighter like a bard in role playing situations can be extremely fun.

Elves are also typically patient, so busting this one is easy.  A tapping of the feet, a constant check on the son, the occasional question “are we there yet?” and POOF!  Instantly busted stereotype.  Elves are patient because of their long lives.  They’re OK with the idea of thinking taking a while.  But not all elves have to be that way.  After all, if your elf character has something else he wants/needs to be doing, he can and should be impatient.  That other thing could be world changing, or it could be trivial.  It doesn’t really matter, so long as he’s impatient!

So there you go, a few ways to bust the elf (or eladrin) stereotype.  I hope you try this and let me know how it goes!

September 5, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. HEY NOW! I’ll have you know that the noble Khee’bler and Sahn’ta clans have been in constant war for a very long time! Respect their ancient elven traditions of baking and toymaking.

    Also, elves with high Str or Con scores often get as many laughs as elves with low Dex scores. My favorite is playing an elf with a low Int, since many believe elves to always be intelligent as well.

    Comment by Liambic | September 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. Good call on the low INT score. That can be fun. I usually play elves with high strength scores, or CON for that matter, so I easily missed that one, but you’re right. There are a lot of people who expect X from an elf and whatever shakes things up is good as far as I’m concerned 🙂

    Comment by Tom | September 5, 2008 | Reply

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