Elves look much like Humans. They are about six feet tall, slimly-built, and well-proportioned. All Elves are lithe and attractive, their faces thin and alert, with large eyes and full mouths. Their ears can be quite large and are often pointed. Few Elves can grow beards and hair colours are black through silver to pure white. Blonde or brownish hair is not uncommon, but red is rare. Many Elves dye their hair and the practice of using makeup has been adopted by both sexes.
There are four recognised divisions, or 'kindreds', of Elves.
More than any other kind of Elf, the High Elves allow little to interfere with their lives of pleasure. They are the core of their race, living in the cities of the Elven Kingdoms and scorning travel. To these people, working for a living is regarded as a sign of personal failure. Few High Elves ever leave the Elven Kingdoms, though a few younger, more adventurous individuals might do so as a form of vacation or for the 'experience'. These travellers cannot help but irritate the other races they encounter by their patronising and overbearing attitude. Lynchings of such individuals are not uncommon.
The Elves living around the coasts of the Elven Kingdoms have a tradition of seamanship and fighting, and lack the normal Elven disdain of physical labour. Because of this, the High Elves look down on them, thinking them rough and uncouth. They are brave warriors and tireless guardians of the seaways, and it is thanks to them that the sea routes between the Old World and Lustria remain open. Sea Elves are quite venturesome and can often be found as merchants and traders in Old World ports. Most of them speak Old Worlder as well as Elvish, and many have a smattering of the Norse language too. The Elven trading posts of the Old World are run almost exclusively by Sea Elves.
The Wood Elves represent the last vestiges of the colonies founded long ago in the Old and New Worlds. Their numbers are few and declining. They are more broad-minded and less self-preoccupied than High Elves, even going so far as to maintain relationships with Humans. They are excellent bowmen, though they make reluctant warriors, prefering hunting, singing, dancing, and merry-making. Wood Elves who return to the Elven Kingdoms find themselves dubbed 'boorish' or 'rustic'. There are a very few small communities in the forests along the eastern edges of the Worlds Edge Mountains and throughout many of the deeper forests of The Empire and Bretonnia. Wood Elves speak Elvish with a distinctive accent and can usually speak local human tongues as well.
At a time when the Elves were young, certain of the High Elves became disenchanted with their lot and many were seduced into the worship of the Gods of Chaos. In so doing, they lost all their charm and wisdom natural to their kind, becoming bitter and twisted. They were banished from the Elven Kingdoms after a bloody civil war and are now to be found mainly in the north of the New World, in the dark forests that border the collapsed, chaotic gateways. Dark Elves nurture an almost uncontrollable hatred for all other living creatures, especially other Elves. They are jealous of humanity, despise Goblins and Orcs, and regard Dwarfs as repulsive.
Elves cause fear in Goblins and Lesser Goblins who do not outnumber them by at least 2:1 (e.g., ten Elves cause fear in 1-19 Goblins).
All Elves have Night Vision to a varying degree: that of Wood and Dark Elves extends to 30 yards; for Sea and High Elves, the range is 20 yards.