Find Out if Your Next D&D Character Should Be A High Elf
Elves in D&D 5e have a stereotype of being “greater than thou”... a people synonymous with grace and sophistication.
But while you may be hesitant to play an elitist race, they unquestionably come with some benefits and fun role playing opportunities in your Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
What Do 5e High Elves Look Like?
Depends on which D&D high elf you choose!
While D&D high elves are a subrace of elves… the original ones come from the Greyhawk campaign setting and have pale skin, dark hair, and green eyes. They are shorter than most humans, standing around 5 feet tall. However, while these are the “standard”, there are also several variants of high elves in official 5e lore, including:
Gray Elves (Greyhawk): Slender, silver haired, and reclusive, yet guardians of all that is beautiful and true.
Silvanesti (Dragonlance): Fair skinned, light haired elves living in clan or caste systems.
Sun Elves (Faerûn): Highly magical and arrogant with copper skin and golden blonde hair.
Qualinesti (Dragonlance): Tan skin, sun kissed hair with bright blue eyes who cooperate with other races.
Moon Elves (Faerûn): Frivolous elves that love hearth and home with pale skin and striking black hair.
Regardless, DnD high elves are known for their delicate, striking features. Like Galadriel, their eyes can capture a gaze and are often compared to stars: hiding ancient wisdom.
Role Playing a D&D High Elf
High elves are considered the most regal of an already ethereal race. If Dungeons and Dragons races had a red carpet, high elves would be strutting it like nobody's business.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to be a bourgeois jerk to every NPC you meet; there are three direction players tend to go when playing a high elf:
Civilized from Birth
High Elves are the “old money” of the D&D world… as a result they know their manners and act with an elevated level of decorum. They read fancy books, drink fancy drinks, and have fancy friends.
They also tend to be more lawful than the other elven races, who imitate Corelon’s spontaneity. As a result they are likely to get involved in legal, political, and military matters.
Physically, the DnD high elves are a living work of art, gliding gracefully where others would stumble. This effortless beauty translates into a love of all things beautiful: art, magic, music. But none of these are pursued haphazardly… 5e high elves do not “take up hobbies”... they dedicate themselves to the mastery of a craft. High elves approach a discipline with the highest of artisanal and functional standards. In their eyes, if it takes a century to get something right, then they will spend a full 100 years learning it!
Lofty and Ignorant
All that said… if you wanna play them as elitist jerks… go for it! These types of 5e high elves are disgusted by the lack of culture they find in other races. They’ll separate themselves from the other races as best they can.
But overall they are still GOOD people… if they see a Dwarven mithril shirt they will praise its beauty; they’ll give credit where credit is due! In general, their attitude towards other races will depend on the fantasy setting you campaign in (ex: Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk).
What Can D&D High Elves Do?
The D&D 5e high elf rounds balances out the already good elf racial features, gaining some good, albeit standard, bonuses. They are one of the few races with a +1 to Intelligence Ability Score. They can learn any cantrip from the Wizard spell list (always a good thing to have). But regardless of martial/spellcasting they’ll be able to defend themselves since they will have access to the quintessential elven weapons: the longsword and longbow.
What Are the Best High Elf Character Classes?
Like all elves, 5e high elves work great with any Dexterity based class… so Rogue, Ranger, and Monk are all a good fit. But there are a few other D&D 5e classes and subclasses that work particularly well with the high elf race.
Artificer: The 5e high elf makes a perfect Artificer, adding both Dexterity and Intelligence, as well as a Wizard cantrip to complement the Artificer’s spellcasting.
Fighter: 5e high elves lend themselves to be Dexterity based fighters, but they fit particularly well with the Mage Knight and ____ fighter subclasses. These are fighters that also take a dip into wizardly magic, which matches perfectly with the race’s free cantrip and +1 to intelligence.
Wizard: The “high elf wizard” is one of the great stereotypes of D&D… right up there with the half-orc barbarian and the dwarven cleric. And not only for the same reasons mentioned above… it just makes too much darn sense! Wizards are the APEX of spell casting and need to spend decades honing their craft. And high elves not only have a commitment to excellence but, with a 750 year life span, have a few decades to spare.
Are 5e High Elves Good?
D&D 5e high elves are probably one of the most balanced races in D&D 5e. They don’t excel at anything, but they also don’t really have any weaknesses. They are also relatively simple, making them ideal for new D&D players still getting used to the rules.
Embrace the elegance, wield the arcane, and let the legacy of High Elves infuse your tabletop experience with a touch of majestic mystique!
Eager to Play a High Elf?
Great! Now Discover What Class Is the Best Fit!
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Based out of Spokane, Riley is a freelance copywriter that combines his love of reading, writing, and people into something useful! He is thankful to be applying his passion for imaginative role-playing to help DnD related businesses communicate their value in the best way possible. He's kinda like a bard giving inspiration, except without the annoying pop covers!