Getting the Most out of D&D Elves with Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
The Nerdarchists continue their dive into Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, this time pouring over the lore of the ancient and wise Dungeons & Dragons elves. A lot of interesting information within the Tome of Foes in regards to those weedy long ears got me thinking. So while Nerdarchists Dave and Ted delve into the text on what Wizard’s of the Coast has put in place for elven lore, I want to explore what I believe it must mean to be one of the D&D elves and how it effects the world around them.
D&D elves are timeless and weirdOne of my common complaints with non-human races is players have a huge tendency to play them as humans, just with weird ears. Often, races are nothing more than a mechanical bonus in many players’ “build.”
When talking about elves in particular, they have to be really weird. I mean, elves are so far removed they might as well be aliens to humans. Their minds and way of living would be difficult for humans to understand. They are creatures who live roughly ten times longer than humans and share memories from past lives they’ve lived. Just these two simple facts are enough to make elves a complete oddity to humans and really should share few similarities.
An elf might be in a near fugue state every now and then, the world around them blending into memories they never experienced first hand. Patient and aloof, elves would rarely ever be in a hurry for anything as time is always on their side.
Ambition among D&D elves
How has a race of never sleeping, charm immune, millennia living, multi-life-knowledge accruing beings with a natural affinity for magic not taken over the world?
On paper, elves seem impossibly powerful compared to the realm of men. Hell, there are weapons they might never have touched that they are experts in wielding due to their multiple lives. How can they possibly not rule over everything?
Ambition. The ultimate weakness of a creature that does not fear time and has so much of their lives in their collective past means it is bred into them a lack of drive. Humans’ short lived lives could allow them to accomplish more than three elf lifetimes. If time is not an ever lingering foe, and you can do anything and often, you will likely squander that time.
Elves are possibly the greatest procrastinators of all the races. But, as with all things, there are always exceptions. What happens when an elf does have motivation? Do they become an adventurer to see the world or do they have ambition for something darker? What happens when an elf desires to lead and army for dominion?
Facing an elven army would be a nightmare. Warriors trained over multiple lives spanning thousands of years, with no fear of death, magical aptitude and don’t require sleep. A terrible foe indeed.
What do you think? How do your elves live in your world? Has Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes helped bring the D&D elves to life more fully in your world? Let me know in the comments below.
Did you enjoy this post? Nerdarchy’s awesome volunteer staff of writers and editors do their best to create engaging, useful and fun content to share. If you like what you find here on our site, consider patronizing us in a good way through Patreon.
On top of reaching our goal of paying our writers, pledging gets you exclusive monthly content for your D&D game, opportunities to game with Nerdarchy, access to patron-only channels on our Discord and more.
With your generous support we’ll continue to create quality content between our YouTube channel and blog, invest in equipment to increase recording quality, and keep creating original publications and products to enhance your tabletop roleplaying and gaming experience.
Thank you for your consideration and as always, until next time stay nerdy!
[amazon_link asins=’0786966246,B008O6UHH8,0399580948′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’nerdarchy-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’95402072-6f29-11e8-bdb3-ed1af5bc52a5′]