The long-lived elves are children of the natural world, similar in many superficial ways to fey creatures, yet different as well. Elves value their privacy and traditions, and while they are often slow to make friends, at both the personal and national levels, once an outsider is accepted as a comrade, such alliances can last for generations. Elves have a curious attachment to their surroundings, perhaps as a result of their incredibly long lifespans or some deeper, more mystical reason. Those elves that spend their lives among the short-lived races, on the other hand, often develop a skewed perception of mortality and become morose, the result of watching wave after wave of companions age and die before their eyes.
Although generally taller than humans, elves possess a graceful, fragile physique that is accentuated by their long, pointed ears. Their eyes are wide and almond-shaped, and filled with large, vibrantly coloured pupils. While elven clothing often plays off the beauty of the natural world, those elves that live in cities tend to bedeck themselves in the latest fashion.
Many elves feel a bond with nature and strive to live in harmony with the natural world. Most, however, find manipulating earth and stone to be distasteful, and prefer instead to indulge in the finer arts, with their inborn patience making them particularly suited to wizardry.
Elves are prone to dismissing other races, writing them off as rash and impulsive, yet they are excellent judges of character. An elf might not want a dwarf neighbour, but would be the first to acknowledge that dwarf's skill at smithing. They regard halflings with a measure of pity, for these small folk seem to the elves to be adrift, without a traditional home. Elves are fascinated with humans, but as often distrustful as likely to form allegiances with them.
Elves are emotional and capricious, yet value kindness and beauty. Most elves are chaotic good.
Many elves embark on adventures out of a desire to explore the world, leaving their secluded forest realms to reclaim forgotten elven magic or search out lost kingdoms established millennia ago by their forefathers. For those raised among humans, the ephemeral and unfettered life of a hero holds natural appeal. Elves generally eschew melee because of their frailty, preferring instead to pursue classes such as wizards and rangers.
+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, –2 Constitution: Elves are nimble, both in body and mind, but their form is frail.
Medium: Elves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Elves have a base speed of 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision: Elves can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light. See Additional Rules.
Elven Immunities: Elves are immune to magic sleep effects and get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against Command spells and effects.
Elven Magic: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance. In addition, elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Spellcraft skill checks made to identify the properties of magic items.
Keen Senses: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.
Weapon Familiarity: Elves are proficient with longbows (including composite longbows), longswords, rapiers, and shortbows (including composite shortbows), and treat any weapon with the word “elven” in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: Elves begin play speaking Common and Elven. Elves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Celestial, Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.
As elves grow older, they begin to fade from the mortal world, until at last, they are intangible spirits, exerting only a mental influence on the mortal world.
Starting age for elf characters is 40 years + whatever randomised addition is listed for their first class. Other age categories are unchanged, except as listed below.
Elves are subject to double the ageing penalties listed for other races, but the same bonuses (e.g. at “Old”, an elf loses 4 points from STR, DEX and CON, in addition to the previous 2 points lost at “Middle Age”).
For each age category over “Adult”, the elf gains a +2 Age bonus to Hide and Move Silently, and a 5% Concealment miss chance for any attacks against her.
If STR, or CON drops to zero as the result of ageing, the elf becomes incorporeal. That ability score is treated as “-”, instead of “0”. Attacks by her and against her are subject to a 50% Concealment miss chance. However, if an Elf's DEX would be reduced by ageing penalties to below 1, her DEX remains at 1, and she becomes incorporeal, as described. Physical abilities reduced to zero by other effects are treated as normal.
When the elf reaches her maximum age, she “Fades” - that is, she become permanently Ethereal (as if under a permanent Ethereal Jaunt spell) and (if not already) Incorporeal. All her physical abilities are treated as “-”. She has as many wound points as her maximum vitality and wound points at the time of Fading.
The Faded elf is bound to the spirit world of the Ethereal, so that any rituals that might allow travel between planes have only half duration, area of effect, range, etc - including effects that use the Astral Plane to travel. “Permanent” durations become merely one day per caster level.
Elves that are killed before they Fade simply die. Their spirit is said to travel to the Elven afterlife to await rebirth in a later generation.
Faded elves can't become undead. They're purely spiritual and able to resist binding, rebuking, turning and the like. Until an elf Fades, he can be made undead - by a wraith or wight, for example. The elf has not yet learned the detachment of body and spirit, nor true control over the spirit to an extent where the Negative Energy effects of unlife can be fended off.
However, an elf who has become incorporeal through ageing, but has not yet Faded, may resist the transformation with a Will save (DC 10+HD of the attacking creature, or DC 10+spell level + ability modifier of caster who is attempting to make him undead). This reflects the higher spiritual control that the incorporeal elf has gained, and yet their lack of absolute understanding.