5e SRD >Races >Ancestry and Culture: An Alternative to Races >

Elf

A legend among elven communities describes how the first elves sprang from the dripping blood of their god when they were stabbed in battle, while others say that elves descended from their fey cousins.

Ancestral Traits

Your elf character has a variety of natural abilities, the result of thousands of years of elven ancestry.

Age. Although elves reach physical maturity at about the same age as humans, the elven understanding of adulthood goes beyond physical growth to encompass worldly experience. An elf typically claims adulthood and an adult name around the age of 100 and can live to be 750 years old.

Size. Elves range from under 5 to over 6 feet tall and have slender builds. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. Historically accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill, a trait that all people with elven ancestry share.

Fey Ancestry. Thanks to your fey heritage, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.

Trance. Elves don’t need to sleep. Instead, they meditate deeply, remaining semiconscious, for 4 hours a day. (The Common word for such meditation is “trance.”) While meditating, you can dream after a fashion. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefits that other humanoids do from 8 hours of sleep.

Cultural Traits

High Elf

Source Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e © 2020 Arcanist Press Author: Eugene Marshall

High elven culture is rich in traditions and history, celebrating their long legacy of scholarship, acumen, and dance. Those who grow up immersed in this culture often take on certain traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Intelligence score increases by 1.

Alignment. The elven culture values freedom, variety, and self-expression, so those who grow up in it may lean toward the gentler aspects of chaos. Elven culture tends to value and protect others’ freedom as well as their own.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Elvish. Elvish is fluid, with subtle intonations and intricate grammar. Elven literature is rich and varied, and their songs and poems are famous among other cultures. Many bards learn their language so they can add Elvish ballads to their repertoires.

Elven Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.

Cantrip. You know one cantrip of your choice from the wizard spell list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.

Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write one extra language of your choice.

Deep Elf

Source More Ancestries & Cultures, Copyright 2020, Arcanist Press LLP.

Deep elven culture differs from that of the high elves, mostly because of centuries of subterranean life.

Whereas those who live on the surface might become practiced in hunting or the use of traditional elven weapons, those who live deep in the earth adapt to their surroundings differently. Those who grow up immersed in this culture often take on certain traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and Constitution by 1.

Alignment. The deep elven culture has had to struggle to survive in the caverns deep beneath the surface, tending with unimaginable horrors and challenges. As such, they have adopted a more organized society and therefore ten somewhat toward law.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Elvish, and Undercommon. Elvish is fluid, with subtle intonations and intricate grammar. Elven literature is rich and varied, and their songs and poems are famous among other cultures. Many bards learn their language so they can add Elvish ballads to their repertoires.

Deep Elven Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the hand crossbow, the scimitar, the spear, and the whip.

Subterranean Magics. You know the minor illusion cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the color spray spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the darkness spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Sunlight Sensitivity. While in direct sunlight, you have disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Forest Elf

Source More Ancestries & Cultures, Copyright 2020, Arcanist Press LLP.

Forest elven culture differs from that of the high elves in certain ways. Whereas those who live in high elven culture each study magic and certain traditional elven martial arts, forest elven culture is freer, embracing nature as a parent. Those who grow up immersed in this culture often take on certain traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and Wisdom by 1.

Alignment. The forest elven culture values freedom, variety, and self-expression, so those who grow up in it may lean toward the gentler aspects of chaos. Forest elven culture tends to value the freedom of the wilds, as well as their own.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Elvish, and Sylvan. Elvish is fluid, with subtle intonations and intricate grammar. Elven literature is rich and varied, and their songs and poems are famous among other cultures. Many bards learn their language so they can add Elvish ballads to their repertoires.

Forest Elven Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the longbow, shortbow, rapier, and net.

Way of the Wood. You have proficiency in the Stealth and Survival skills. When you are in forest, you add double your proficiency bonus to the checks, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.