The World After: Elves

So, elves…

Elves are the bane of the fantasy roleplaying game. To get an idea of how tired elves have gotten Talislanta has been advertising “No elves” since 1987, a date closer to the original publication of D&D than it is to to today by almost a factor of two. More recently Sirth of the Scrolls at Scrolls of Lankhmar talked about boring elves and dwarves (and complimented my sea dwarves from a game last year…thanks Sirth).

That said any game which starts from the premise “Using a virgin old school rules set, create a megadungeon and minor surroundings, add players, and then see where it goes” is going to have elves. None of my potential systems: OD&D, Holmes (with one of the fan expansions), Moldavy/Cook/Marsh (with the upcoming Companion), BECMI, RC, S&W, Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy Roleplaying, Dark Dungeons, or even Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Roleplaying lets me escape elves (maybe the last does).

So, elves…

Right now I’m looking at a handful of options to make them unique. First, to look as far from Tolkien as I can I’ve included one issue of a story set in Marvel’s Weirdworld as part of my alchemical formula. I’m tempted to add an issue of Elfquest.

Second, regardless of what rules set I will use, elves will use the OD&D convention of selecting once a day what class they will be. Yes, even in T&T (if I use it) we’re going to give this a shot.

Finally, I’m going to take up the Devil in the Details idea from Fight On! #1 (which also adds something to my canon). My tables are below. However, to encourage player input you’ll notice six entries on the first table and five entries on the second and third are “invent it”. I plan on doing this to some degree for all DitD tables to encourage player creation.

Many Elves (Roll a d20 three times)
1 Have only three fingers (plus a thumb)
2 Are about four feet tall
3 Play a musical instrument very well
4 Wear only leather clothing
5 Know how to juggle more than three items at a time
6 Wear circlets on their head or neck
7 Enjoy playing practical jokes
8 Paint a personal sigil on trees as they enter and leave a forest
9 Speak the language of brooks and trees
10 Have elaborate tattoos on their arms and/or legs
11 Worship change and chance or a deity of them
12 Collect things in fives, twenty-fives, and twenty-threes
13 Refuse to go about during a new moon
14 Eat nothing but meat
15 Invent it
16 Invent it
17 Invent it
18 Invent it
19 Invent it
20 Invent it

Some Elves (Roll a d16)
1 Have a small forest animal companion
2 Refuse to wear clothing while at home
3 Cannot swim
4 Have elaborate facial tattoos
5 Are allergic to horses
6 Will only eat meat they have hunted themselves (although they need not have killed it themselves)
7 Wear jewelry that frames their face
8 Will not use metal tools
9 Have hair below their waist when loose
10 Prefer human lovers to elven ones
11 Prefer to sleep during sunlight
12 Invent it
13 Invent it
14 Invent it
15 Invent it
16 Invent it

Common Traveling Gear for Elves (Roll a d16 1d3 times prior to spending starting gold)
1 A small musical instrument
2 Pressed leaves or flowers from their home
3 Razor sharp wooden hair sticks
4 A long, stone tipped spear
5 A bagh nakh
6 Bowl and spoon formed from wood grown bound in that form (non-magical)
7 Body Paints
8 Seeds of twenty-three flowers and herbs from their home
9 A set of several wooden dice with a die cup
10 Jerky of their own making
11 A pot with a bonsai tree
12 Invent it
13 Invent it
14 Invent it
15 Invent it
16 Invent it

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