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The Elves of Abeir-Toril have a long grand history of magic and might. In their golden age they dominated the lands, the seas even the skies. They colonized great parts of Faerûn and ended the Time of Dragons. Finally they founded majestic Elven realms, like Illefarn and Keltormir, which splendour far exceeds the Human realms of today. Today Elves are but a mere shadow of their glory in the days of old.

They collectively call themselves the Tel'Quessir which translated into the common tongue means "the people". All non-elves are called N'Tel'Quess which translates into "not-people".

The Tel'Quessir are famed for their grace and beauty which truly marks the Elves as a majestic people. They also take great pride in their cultural achievements and it is by no chance that Elven poetry are considered among the finest of Faerûn Many are openly awed by the mysticism of the Elves though often this awe is turned into reluctance and sometimes even downright disapproval. Especially Humans have come to see Elves as an arrogant race wishing to be aloof of all others. Most Elves, however, do not holds this belief, it is simply the Elven nature to appear withdrawn.

Racial History

The First Migration

The Elves are not native to Faerûn in truth they originate from the realm of Faerie. The first wave of migration took place about twenty-five millennia ago. The fist Elves to arrive were the Sy'Tel’Quessir(Green Elves), the Ly’Tel’Quessir (Lythari) and the Aril'Tel’Quessir(Avariel). Of these three ancient Elven races only the Sy’tel’quessir remain in significant numbers. The remnants of this Elven race are known as Wild Elves. The Avariel are close to extinction and only few remain in the realms. The Ly’Tel’Quessir are no longer regarded as a part of the Elven race. This has been agreed upon by most scholars as the Ly-Tel’Quessir have moved too far away from the path of elvenhood.

The Second Migration

The second wave of migration consisted of the Ssri’Tel'Quessir (who would later become the Drow), the Teu’Tel'Quessir (now known as the Moon Elves, and finally the Ar'Tel'Quessir (later Sun Elves. Not long after the Alu’Tel'Quessir (Aquatic Elves) appeared in the Great Sea.

The First Flowering

This is regarded as the very pinnacle of Elven glory. During this time ((approx. -24000 to -12000 in Dalereckoning) each Elven nation developed, grew and expanded in their own ways. The Ssri’Tel'Quessir who resides in the southern parts of Faerûn, formed possibly their greatest kingdom, Illythiir. The Ar'Tel'Quessir’ had their most influential kingdom Aryvandaar situated along the Sword Coast. The primary Teu’Tel'Quessir kingdom was known as Orishaar. The Sy'Tel’Quessir established a series of great realms the most notable being; Illefarn, Keltormir and Shantel Othreier. Miyeritar was formed by Sy’tel’quessir political dissidents from Aryvandaar and Ssri’Tel'Quessir colonists.

Sadly this golden age of the elves was not to last. During this period the rising level of aggression of Aryvandaar (under the guidance of the Vyshaan clan) and cruelty of Illyrthiir led to growing tension. This tension ultimately exploded in what would later be known as the Crown Wars.

The Crown Wars

The Crown Wars was a series of devastating wars that resulted in great rifts and peril for the Elven race. It is debated what exactly lead to wars but there is no doubt who took the first step. Approx. -12000 DR Aryvandaar starts attacking Miyeritar with the end goal of annexing the kingdom completely. About 200 years later Miyeritar is occupied by the Aryvandaar forces.

The second Crown War begins with Illythiir being infuriated over fate of their Ssri'Tel'Quessir brothers in Miyeritar. In response to this they launched a full-scale war campaign against all allies and trading partners of Aryvandaar. The first kingdom to fall to the onslaught was the Teu'Tel'Quessir realm Orishaar. Illythiir proceeded with attacking several other Elven kingdoms, in doing so they preformed great acts of cruelty in destroying Elven settlements. This earned the Ssri'Tel'Quessir the name dhaerow, which translates into "Traitor", after the Descend this was shortened to Drow It is also during this time that more and more Ssri'Tel'Quessir of Illythiir began to mingle with the fallen Araushnee (Lolth). She granted the people of Illythiir foul dark magic and demonic servants. They in turn used this new found power against all their Elven enemies greatly shocking both the other Elves and the Seldarine.

The third Crown War started with the Aryvandaar invading yet another kingdom, this time Shantel Othreier was the victim. The invasion was aided by one of the secret patrons of the Vyshaanti; the fallen Solar Malkizid. It is believed he taught the Ar'Tel'Quessir clan powerful spells and it indeed was Malkizid that encouraged the aggressive expansion of Aryvandaar. In the wake of the invasion of Shantel Othreier two dramatic and even more so, tragic events toke place. Miyeritar was stuck with foul storms which utterly obliterates the entire kingdom turning the once fertile lands into a barren no mans land. This is known as the Dark Disaster it is not known exactly caused it but it is suspected it was the destructive magic of the High Mages of Aryvandaar. The wasteland that once was fine Miyeritar is today known as the High Moor. The second event is regarded as the largest single battle fought during the Crown Wars. A great host of Aryvandaar and Shantel Othreier was fighting an already massive battle when a horde of Orcs suddenly poured forth and attacked. Nearly 70.000 Elves and 100.000 Orcs perished before the battle was over and the forces of Aryvandaar stood victorious. The battle has in history become known as the The Battle Of The God's Theatre.

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A Duel during Crown Wars

The fourth Crown War was in a way a duplicate of the second. The Elves of Illythiir were enraged by the complete destruction of Miyeritar and launched a new campaign against their enemies. This time they openly worshiped Lolth and other dark deities. Using the foul power they fought great battles with the forces of Arryvandaar in what had been northern Keltormir.

Through the intense praying and pleas for help from both mages and priests alike of Illefarn the Seldarine intervened. Corellon Larethian began a great spell, directed through priests and mages of the Elves. The spell was meant to deny the Ssri'Tel'Quessir of Illythiir the grace of Corellon Larethian. The spell succeeded, the people of Illythiir was cursed and forced to go underground, in earnest becoming the Drow. The spell had not been cast exactly as intended, it affected all Ssri'Tel'Quessir not just those of Illythiir. Hence all Dark Elves were cursed by the powerful spell. In the aftermath of the Descend as it is later called all Tel'Quessir was summoned to a forest which was later was named the Elven Court. Here the Seldarine wanted the differences between the Elves solved and peace restored. The verdict of the court was that the arrogant Ar'Tel'Quessir lords of Arryvandaar were to blame for the wars. They refused to accept the verdict and declared war upon all others.

The final and fifth Crown War was the war against what was now known as the Arryvandaar Empire and their mad rulers; the Vyshaan clan. The war lasted over 200 years (approx. -9000 DR) before the final verdict was carried out and the empire dissolved. Malkizid fled and the Vyshaan clan ceased to exist though their exact fate is unknown. That was the end of the Crown Wars, a bitter and sad tale for all of the Tel'Quessir. The Ar'Tel'Quessir in particular look back at it with shame. This has resulted in a general reluctance to let any non-Elf study the wars. Many are simply shameful to admit that such a tragic and brutal wars could spring from the ranks of the Ar'Tel'Quessir themselves.

Not only horrid things took place during the Crown Wars it was during this time the Ar'Tel'Quessir “discovered” the isle of Evermeet. They found the isle already inhabited by the ‘’Sy’Tel’Quessir’’ who at the time couldn’t even remember for long they had been there. The isle was claimed for Arryvandaar none the less. During the fall of Arryvandaar the Vyshaan rulers managed to send word, through high magic, of their fall to Evermeet. As a consequence the ruling class of Ar'Tel'Quessir either left the isle to aid their lords or stepped down and allowed a government council to be instituted.[1]

The Wandering Years

This is also known as the ‘’Founding Time’’ by some but most scholars have embraced the former.

The Crown Wars inflicted great wounds on the Elven races. Countless died, kingdoms in ruins and the people fleeing from conflict. An entire subrace of the Elves had been banished from light of the sun, reducing their numbers even further. The wars had without question hit the Sy’Tel’Quessir the hardest. All their great realms like Thearnytaar, Eiellúr, and Synópiir had fallen before the merciless military campaigns of Illythiir. Now the Sy’Tel’Quessir stood after devastating wars, all they had built destroyed, and they left. Left to the great forests of Faerûn and choose to keep the nomadic life style. Slowly through the grinding of time the once proud Sy’Tel’Quessir fell to savagery. They forgot high magic and many of the other things that had marked them as one of the first Elven races. Now they focused simply on survival and the skills needed for it. This them a new name, they were now called the Wild Elves because of their retreat to nature. Even today they live a tribal life of isolation far from the age of glory before the Crown Wars.

The Sy’Tel’Quessir were not the only ones to return to the great forests. Many Elves, in particular many Ar'Tel'Quessir and Teu’Tel'Quessir also took to forests to escape the horrors they had faced in the wars. These groups of refugees slowly grew into small closely knit communities. They swore never again would there be such disagreements between them they would draw arms against each other. Like the Sy’Tel’Quessir they slowly developed a close connection with nature at the expense of their ancient Elven roots. Unlike their more savage cousins they remained a civilized community but not like the old kingdoms of Elves. They became intertwined with the nature and lived with it. Often they embraced isolation as well and choose to live their lives far away from others. Though the Or-Tel’Quessir (People of the Woods), as they call themselves, eventually founded one kingdom; Eaerlann (approx. -4700 DR).[2]

//Work in progres


Most Common Subraces in the Realms

  • Drow (Bear in mind this is in only true in the Underdark, few Drow ever venture to the surface)

Uncommen, yet still seen every now and then

Incredibly rare, passing into legends

Planetouched Elves have been heard of or told of in various myths though few know exactly what kind of planetouched Elves exist.

Note: This list above is only true on Amia. In the rest of Faerûn say Drow and Snow Elves would be much more rare. The races underlined requires DM permission in order to be played as a Player Character. You can read more about requesting a special subrace here

Physical Description

Random Height and Weight
SubraceBase Male HeightBase Female HeightBase Height ModBase Male WeightBase Female WeightBase Weight Mod*
Avariel_Elf5'04'8"+2d870 lb.65 lb.[+Base Height Mod x (1d6)] lb.
Aquatic_Elf4'10"4'5"+2d10100 lb. 80 lb.[+Base Height Mod x (2d4)] lb.
Drow4'5"4'5"+2d685 lb80 lb.[+Base Height Mod x (1d6)] lb.
Moon_Elf4'10"4'5"+2d1090 lb.70 lb.[+Base Height Mod x (2d4)] lb.
Sun_Elf4'10"4'5"+2d1090 lb.70 lb.[+Base Height Mod x (2d4)] lb.
Wild_Elf4'10"4'5"+2d10100 lb.80 lb.[+Base Height Mod x (2d4)] lb.
Wood_Elf4'10"4'5"+2d10100 lb.80 lb.[+Base Height Mod x (2d4)] lb.
  • To clarrify the "Base height mod" you multiply by for weight is that of your actual previous roll for the height mod and not just one within the range of the possible height mods.

An elf achieves adulthood at about 110 years in age and can live to be over 700 years old. Elves do not sleep, as members of the other common races do. Instead they enter the state of reverie, basically elven sleep.

Given their long childhood and their First Reverie (see below), every elf knows his or her body and its rhythms, weight and structure, and its place in life intimately.

Reverie is a process similar to sleep, but distinctly elven. Where most races must shut their eyes and drift off to sleep to gain rest (both mental and physical), the elves activate their peculiar mental energy shields, and this activates their reverie. Like sleep, their mind and their physical body are partially independent, and all mental activity is internalized. Unlike sleep, an elf lies with eyes fully open, leading most humans to believe that elves never rest. While in reverie, elves mentally replay past events of that elf’s long life, since an elf might forget much of his past over the centuries without moments of reflection such as this.

A curious trait is shared all across the wide spectrum of the Elven subraces because of the Reverie. An Elven settlement never truely falls quiet. Instead it will remain at the same activity level pretty much constantly regardless of day and night.


Elves speak a fluid language of subtle intonations and intricate grammar. While Elven literature is rich and varied, it is the language’s songs and poems that are most famous. Many bards learn Elven so they can add Elven ballads to their repertoires. Others simply memorize Elven songs by sound. The Elven script, as flowing as the spoken word, also serves as the script for Sylvan, the language of dryads and pixies.

Look here for a breakdown of the Elven dialects. Likewise you can see a list of all Realms words of the Espuar language here


The names of a elf normally depens on which subrace he is a part of. Eg. there is a great difference between the Sun Elf names and the Drow ones. Candlekeep has collected a number of common names which can be used with ease, in paticular if you elf is one of the common subraces (exluding the drow)

Racial Traits

According to the Players Handbook, 3.5 Edition.

  • +2 Dexterity, –2 Constitution: Elves are graceful but frail. An elf’s grace makes her naturally better at stealth and archery.
  • Medium-size: As Medium-size creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Elven base speed is 30 feet.
  • Immunity to magic sleep spells and effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against Enchantment spells or effects.
  • Low-light Vision: Elves can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
  • Proficient with either longsword or rapier; proficient with shortbow, longbow, composite longbow, and composite shortbow. Elves esteem the arts of swordplay and archery, so all elves are familiar with these weapons.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for the door. An elf’s senses are so keen that she practically has a sixth sense about hidden portals.
  • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan. Elves commonly know the languages of their enemies and of their friends, as well as Draconic, the language commonly found in ancient tomes of secret knowledge.
  • Favored Class: Wizard. A multiclass elf’s wizard class does not count when determining whether she suffers an XP penalty for multiclassing. Wizardry comes naturally to elves (they sometimes claim to have invented it), and fighter/wizards are especially common among them.

External Links to Useful Information


[1] The Crown Wars

Extract from Lost Empires of Faerûn

Forgotten Realms Wiki

Normal Wikipedia.

Races of Faerûn page 27.

Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves page 22-23

[2] The Wandering Years

Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves page 23

Races of Faerûn page 43,45-46

Faerûn Timeline

Forgotten Wiki, Wild Elves

Forgotten Wiki, Wood Elves

Forgotten Wiki, Earlann