The elves of Athas are long-limbed sprinters who lead lives of thievery, raiding, trading, and warfare. They stand between 61k and 7'k feet tall, with slender yet muscular builds. They have deeply etched features, with skin that has been made rugged by the baking sun and the scouring sand. The color of their skin is as varied as that of the other races of Athas, and as affected by the rays of the sun. They grow no facial hair, but the locks atop their heads come in shades of lightest blond to darkest black. They dress in garb designed to protect them from the desert and the elements.
Elves are tireless wanderers forged in the endless desertburned dark by the sun, toughened by the swirling sand, and given strength and speed by the constant wind. There's no racial unity among them. Within a given tribe, all elves are brethren, but outsiderseven other elves are regarded as potential enemies. Outsiders can be accepted and perhaps even become friends, but trust takes time to develop and is often associated with tests and great sacrifice.
Elves are seen as lazy and deceitful, and in most ways they are. They desire to lead short, happy lives as opposed to long, sad ones. The future, to an elf, is a dark, deadly place. This compels them to strive to make every moment as full and enjoyable as possible. They call this concept of the moment "the now." Elves do work, however, and in some ways they work harder than members of other races. They won't farm, but they'll spend a lot of time and energy hunting and foraging. They detest hard labor, but they'll spend hours on end haggling and negotiating with potential customers.
Elves crave free, open spaces in which to run, so elf slaves wither in captivity if they can't escape. Travelers often see whole tribes of elves running swiftly across the sandy wastes. Only rarely will a member of this race ride an animal. To do so is dishonorable unless wounded and near death. The custom of the elves is to keep up or be left behind.
Most elf tribes make a living through herding, but merchants and raiders also ply the desert roads. Elf culture, while savage, is also rich and diverse. They have turned celebrating into an art form, and elf song and dance is some of the most beautiful and captivating in all of Athas.
When found in the company of others, elves tend to keep to themselves. They fabricate tests of trust and friendship constantly until such time as they are ready to bond with their companionsor leave them for other pastures.
Elf PCs can be of any class except druid and bard. They also have access to a variety of multi class combinations. They receive the following bonuses:
|When using long swords or long bows crafted by his or her tribe, an elf receives a +1 bonus to all attack rolls made with these specific weapons.|
|An elf character gains a surprise bonus when in the desert or steppes of Athas. Alone or in the company of other elves, the elf moves with great stealthnonelves or mixed groups suffer a -4 surprise roll penalty.|
|Elves have infravision to 60 feet.|
|Elves have a natural resistance to extreme temperatures and aren't adversely affected by the heat of the day or the chill of the night. However, this resistance doesn't extend to magical or supernatural heat and cold.|
In addition to these bonuses, elves have an inbred swiftness. The elf character receives a bonus to his base movement rate (12) according to his Dexterity score, as noted below. The fastest, most dexterous elf has a movement rate of 21.
The elf run is a state of mind that causes adrenaline to flow, inhibiting the tiring nature of the elf's weaker Constitution. When the elf run flows through an elf, he can run as many as 50 miles in a single day and keep up the grueling pace for a maximum of seven days in a row before fatigue sets in. To engage in the elf run, an elf adds his Constitution score to his base movement rate for overland travel to determine the distance he can cover in miles (or points) per day. (Note that overland travel rates are at twice the base movement rates.) Thus, in the example above, the dexterous elf has an overland travel rate of 42; if his Constitution is also the maximum at 18, he has a greater possibility of engaging in the elf run for the seven-day period without penalty.
An elf can induce an elf run with a minimum of concentration (one turn) and a successful Constitution check. The Constitution check also determines how many days the elf run lasts until fatigue sets in, as noted on TABLE X below. Once fatigue sets in, the elf suffers a -1 penalty to all attack rolls for each day (cumulative) he engages in the elf run beyond the predetermined limit. A full day's rest removes one day's penalty. Rules for mass elf runs are described in Chapter 8: DM Material.
ELF RUN Table:
|Successful Roll||Days Before Penalties Begin|
Elves live to a maximum age of 140 years. Specifically, these elves don't receive the special abilities common to elves of other campaign worlds, including the following:
|No special resistance to any types of spells.|
|No ability to find secret or concealed doors.|
|No attack or surprise bonuses beyond those described above.|
|None of the special abilities from TSR's Complete Book of Elves, including communion, manifestation, and reverie.|
In the full light of Guthay, Elves see as well as in daylight (though this "ultravision" does not allow them to perceive color.)
Each game session, Elven PCs add 1% of their next level jump xps if they role-played the elf well (test of trust), another 1% if they relied on Elven combat skills (distance, bows, and fighting by the light of Guthay), and another 1% if they effectively used Elven noncombat skills and philosophy (running, escape from entangling situations or relationships).
Elves have 45 points to start off, or *60 points if they elect to take Elven distrust. (Elves without distrust tend to be city elves; these are still distrusted by most Athasians, but city-raised find it easier to trust non-elves without "testing them". Up to 5 points can be saved for spending in the traits and disadvantages stage of character creation. The points may be spent of the following characteristics:
|10 Aim Bonus +1 to aim score.|
|10 Balance bonus: +1 to balance score.|
|5* Bow bonus: When using a composite longbow crafted by a member of his tribe, the PC gains a +1 attack bonus.|
|5* Cold resistance. Elf receives a +1 on saving throws vs. cold.|
|5* Desert Surprise bonus. An elf character gains a surprise bonus when in the desert or steppes of Athas. Alone or in the company of other elves, the elf moves with great stealthnonelves or mixed groups suffer a -4 surprise roll penalty.|
|10* Elf run. (see above)|
|5 Haggle: (automatic Bargain proficiency + 1/3 levels, up to an 18 score.|
|5* Heat resistance. Elf receives a +1 on saving throws vs. heat.|
|10 Illusion immunity. Immune to mirages and first-level illusion magics.|
|10* Inbred Swiftness. Elf receives a bonus to his base movement of 12 as noted above.|
|10* Ral vision: Elves can see up to 120 yards in the full light of Ral. Exact distance and accuracy of sight depends on Ral's phase.|
|5* Spear Bonus. When using a spear crafted by a member of his tribe, the PC gains a +1 attack bonus.|
|5* Sword bonus. When using a composite longbow crafted by a member of his tribe, the PC gains a +1 attack bonus.|
|5 Kreen enemy. Racial hatred vs. all kreen grants a +2 to hit and damage.|
|5* Resistance to extreme temperatures. Elves have a natural resistance to extreme temperatures and aren't adversely affected by the heat of the day or the chill of the night. However, this resistance doesn't extend to magical or supernatural heat and cold.|
|10 Water conservation. Elf only needs 1/2 water requirements.|