Estranged Fey: An Elf Handbook

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Estranged Fey: An Elf Handbook

Your ancestors crossed the boundaries of the Feywild many ages ago. Longer than most of your race can remember. Shortly after the Making of the World, the Feywild, and the Shadowfell, the Firstborn diverged into 3 separate lineages (the Eladrin, the Elves, and the Drow). The Firstborn were able to move freely between the planes, but some felt more at home in the World than in the Feywild. Those who remained there became the Elves, and represent the first split of the Elven lineage (estranging themselves from the Eladrin in the Feywild). Your people loved this World the moment they set foot here, and cultivate their deep connection to its lands, its life forms, and its Primal Spirits to this day. Some Elves embrace the company of the other races of the World, while others prefer to keep to themselves, living in the wild lands. Most Elves have an earthy quality about them, and as one of the longer-lived races their worldview and culture differs from that of Humans and other shorter-lived races.


Rating: This guide uses the standard system on these boards.
Sky Blue : An excellent choice with amazing synergy
Blue : A very good choice with notable synergy
Black: A solid choice. It may not be the most optimal, but you won't be disappointed.
Purple: Poor. Unless you're dead set on this option you should probably skip it. If you build and play the character well you can get by.
Red: Terrible. There's just no synergy, and there aren't really any options that can make up for it. You'll be at a noticeable disadvantage.

Players Handbook = PHB
Players Handbook 2 = PHB2
Players Handbook 3 = PHB3
Martial Power = MP
Arcane Power = AP
Divine Power = DP
Primal Power = PP 
Forgotten Realms Players Guide = FRPG
Eberron Players Guide = EPG (I could use some help with this one, as I don't plan on purchasing it)

Racial Traits


Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom. Elves are quick of mind and body. These abilities are useful to a lot of different classes. Of the 23 classes, 10 of them use one of the Elf's stats as a primary, and 13 classes have a secondary that keys off of DEX or WIS. Furthermore, an impressive 5 classes have a build with a primary and a secondary ability that both line up with the Elf's ability bonuses.

Speed: 7 squares. Fastest base speed of any race in the game, making Elves extremely mobile.

Vision: low light. You can see well in dim light; nice little perk. Synergizes well with your bonus to Wisdom and Perception.

Skill bonuses: +2 Nature, +2 Perception. Your culture tends to be less "civilized" than that of other races, as your people prefer to retain their close connection to nature. Such a way of life can be more hazardous, so you're generally very aware of your surroundings.

Elven Weapon Proficiency: longbows and shortbows. Your race makes the archetypal archer, but to make the most use out of these weapons you're probably going to be a member of a class that already has proficiency with them. You can multiclass and steal some Ranger or Bard powers that use bows, but overall you're not going to gain much. One popular exception to this is the Elven Laser Cleric, which can be quite effective if some Ranger powers are taken.

Fey Origin: Ok, so your ancestors were Feywild natives. You already knew that. They may have settled on this plane long ago, but Fey blood still courses through your veins...

Group Awareness: +1 Perception to non-Elf allies within 5 squares. You're probably going to spot danger before them anyways, but just in case your dice aren't cooperating it's nice to have a backup.

[color=turquoise]Wild Step:[/color] You ignore difficult terrain when you shift. Seriously?! Remember when we talked about how quick and mobile you were? Yeah, it just got better. A lot better. For mobility-dependent classes it doesn't get any better than this. If you're a squishy character this just might save your life. If you're a defender fighting on difficult terrain you've just drastically increased your stickiness without compromising your own mobility.

Elven Accuracy: One of the better racial encounter powers. Everyone likes to hit. Have confidence when you bust out the Daily powers!

Best Class Choices by Role


The Druid and Seeker are your best choices, especially if you're a Primal Predator Druid or Bloodbond Seeker. Elves make great Invokers and Wizards as well though. Elves will likely make passable Psions but you'd be better off with one of the other controller classes.


Fighter is your best choice, but you can make a respectable Paladin or Warden. Don't try to compete with the Eladrin by going Swordmage, though.


You won't go wrong choosing Cleric or Shaman, but stay away from Artificers, Bards, and Warlords.  You can make a passable Ardent.


Your best choice is Ranger, but you make an elite Avenger or Monk too. Rogue and Assassin are also excellent choices, and you can make a viable Sorcerer. You'll have a difficult career as a Barbarian, and any Eldritch Pact that you make will come with too high a price for what you get, so stay away from Warlocks.

Elf Racial Feats

Elven Precision (PHB - Heroic): Can't argue with more accuracy. You really like to land those Dailies, don't you?

Light Step (PHB - Heroic): Bonus to overland group speed is pretty weak. It's neat that you make the group harder to track, but overall that's way too situational to justify spending a feat on. If you know your party is going to get pursued a lot and have a feat slot to waste (haha!), you might not rule this out entirely. +1 bonus to Acrobatics and Stealth aren't terrible. Because you get so much this feat isn't red, but it sure is close.

Running Shot (PHB - Paragon): So your party has to flee, and you're the rearguard (if ranged). Makes you not suck at hitting things while using the run action (normally you get a hefty -5 penalty). Of course if you're running away, you're probably in pretty bad shape, and since you still grant Combat Advantage while running with this feat...yeah.

Wild Elf Luck (FRPG - Heroic): +1D4 bonus when you use Elven Accuracy. Has a 25% chance of being worse than Elven Precision, 25% chance of being exactly the same, and a 50% chance of being better. If you want to REALLY emphasize accuracy you can choose them both, but at that point you're devoting an awful lot of feats for an encounter power (though granted, it could very well guarantee that you land a crucial Daily...).

Wood Elf Agility (FRPG - Heroic): A 2-7 on a D20 roll for Athletics and Acrobatics is treated as an 8. If you really hate bungling jump/climb/swim/balance checks (all of these can easily equal damage), you might consider this. Not a terrible feat, but you can't take both Wild Elf Luck and Wood Elf Agility, and WEL is just plain better. Might be black if you really want this and are satisfied with Elven Precision.

Racial Paragon Paths

Twilight Guardian (PHB2)

Obviously consideration of this Paragon Path is going to depend largely on what class you are. Its "role" leans toward controller, as both the Encounter power and the Daily restrain. Therefore, it's a great choice for any controller class (and the accurate action synergizes well with controllers too). Druids will especially benefit since they can make excellent use of Twilight Walk while they're charging around in beast form. Any other class that leans toward controller as a secondary role may want to consider Twilight Guardian. Just keep in mind that the powers use Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as an attack stat. If one of those is your primary then you're golden. If you don't have any of these stats as a primary or a secondary then just keep moving...

Path Features

Elfsight: Ignore the attack penalty from concealment, increase your racial Perception bonus, as well as the Group Awareness bonus. A solid feature, but nothing too spectacular. Like most racial paragon paths, you're becoming better at what your race was already good at (in this case, accuracy and awareness).

Accurate Action: If you're burning an action point, that usually means that you really want to hit. Especially if it's a Daily. Once again, the accuracy of your race is emphasized.

Twilight Walk: To some extent this depends on your DM, but as a DM if you never incorporate difficult terrain into your encounters then ur doin' it wrong! This is a big upgrade to Wild Step, one of your already awesome racial abilities. Mobility is very important in 4th Edition.

Paragon Path Powers

Bonds of Life: This power might be blue depending on your class. The damage is nothing special and the range is upsetting, but restrained is one of the better status effects.

Twilight Stealth: Darn, this PP has a downside. Oh well. Even for a class that can reliably get concealment (I'm looking at you, Warlock), becoming invisible once per day is only so-so. For most classes, the opportunity to use this will be situational. Strictly inferior to both Camouflage Cloak (Druid Utility 6) and Illusory Erasure (Bard Utility 10), and those are Encounter powers.

Nature's Rage: This is a great power. The blast is kind of small (close blast 3), but it only targets enemies, restrains the target(s) (save ends), and creates a zone that lasts for the rest of the encounter (no sustaining required!) that restrains (save ends) enemies that enter the zone (no questions asked, no attack roll needed!). Sky Blue if you like to abuse forced movement :D

Sylvan Archer (MP)

coming soon!

Warriors of the Wild

Elves as Martial Classes

Romantic notions of Elves living in peaceful coexistence with nature are oversimplifications: the wild hosts many dangers. It takes skill, cunning, and prowess to be at home in the wilderness, and these traits lend themselves well to Martial applications. You're good at striking hard and fast, eliminating your foes and protecting your allies. Communication is not your strong point though; when it comes to inspiring or directing others, you often fall short.

Fighter (PHB)
You don't get a bonus to your primary stat, but Wisdom and Dexterity are both useful to a Fighter, depending on build. Play to your strengths and make use of them! Heavy Blades, Light Blades, Flails, and Spears all require decent DEX. And only the WISEST Fighters can effectively use Polearms (they'll give you some added control). Elves make especially good Tempest Fighters and solid Weapon Talent Fighters. Leave the Battleraging to someone tougher.

Ranger (PHB)
Your race created, patented, and perfected the Ranger class. The Archery fighting style at least. But you make very good Two-Weapon and Beastmaster Rangers as well. You really couldn't ask for better synergy as an Archer, and the only downside to Two-Weapon fighting is that you're not the strongest of races (but your base speed, Wild Step, and Elven Accuracy make up for that).

Rogue (PHB)
Sweet, you get a bonus to your primary stat! And your Wisdom doesn't go to waste either: Artful Dodgers will find that it provides a nice boost to some very good skills, and Brutal Scoundrels and Ruthless Ruffians, while also benefiting from the skill boost, will especially appreciate the extra +1 to their Will defense. Like the Ranger (or any Striker, for that matter), your racial mobility will be a great boon to you. Time to sharpen those daggers...

Warlord (PHB)
If you want to be a Leader, there are better options to pursue. Your bonuses aren't in any relevant stats, though you'll certainly be more mobile than most Warlords. It's not a complete lost cause, but that's mostly because many of the Elf's racial traits are universally useful (from what I understand, Warlords have some pretty nice Dailies so that Elven Accuracy is looking pretty nice). Perhaps your ancestors were trying to distance themselves from their Eladrin cousins (Eladrin make spectacular TacLords).

Arcana Rediscovered

Elves as Arcane Classes

The air, water, and earth of the Feywild are infused with Arcane magic, and many Fey become proficient in harnessing and utilizing this magic. When your ancestors migrated from the Feywild to the World, they forsook this connection with the Arcane in favor of the Primal spirits of the World, the blessings of the gods, or their own, innate strength. Few Elves return to the study of Arcane magic, and many that do are unable to fully utilize its potential. However, the power of Storms or the Elemental Chaos does rarely flow in the blood of some Elves, and Elves that choose to master the Orb of Imposition may become some of the most powerful Wizards.

Artificer (EPG)
Your stats just done match up. DEX is only marginally useful since your primary stat is Intelligence, but it will still boost a few skills and your initiative. It might also come in handy if you want to play around with ranged weapons a little bit (as will your Elven Weapon Proficiency, and it's about time!). Even the WIS based build is lacking in WIS riders in the early levels, but you'd be wise (and you are!) to be patient; WIS will become a little more useful later. Thanks Anguirus23 and Kerrus, for your insight into the class (which I lack the book for).

Bard (PHB2)
I suppose if you're really set on joining the symphony you can always multiclass into several things that you're actually good at...

Sorcerer (PHB2)
Go with Chaos or Storm Magic, since they have DEX as a secondary stat.

Swordmage (FRPG)
I guess the Eladrin developed this art after you guys left the Feywild. At least your DEX can help you qualify for some Arcane Power feats, and you're a natural with heavy blades.

Warlock (PHB)
Fey Pact works thematically, but you've already been there and done that. You'll probably know better than to trust an entity from the Feywild that offers you power. Like the other Warlock pacts, there's simply no stat synergy there. Feylocks aren't even that desperate for your natural mobility with all the teleporting around that they do. Still tempted by the lure of an Eldritch Pact? Maybe you have some Drow blood in you...

Wizard (PHB)
Finally, an Arcane class that you can do well in! Before you get too excited though, just remember that you're going to be limited in terms of builds if you want to be good at what you do. Master the Orb of Imposition, and you're right on track to be one of the greatest Wizards of all time (at single target lockdown, of course, but you're not complaining because there's a lot of jealous talk in the Mage's Guild about how your type of Orb is almost too powerful). You can make a decent Wand Wizard too, and it synergizes nicely with your Elven Accuracy (you've got the best Dailies in the game, make sure you don't waste them!).

Faith of the Wandering Fey

Elves as Divine Classes

Yours is an ancient race, and the gods have followed your history for ages. Perhaps this has caused them to grow more attached to the Elves than to other mortals, but regardless of the reason harnessing divine power comes naturally to your people. Many Elves become enforcers or assassins for their patron deities, Blades of the Gods. Some gain their power from the gods directly, unleashing divine wrath upon their enemies. Many seek to channel divine grace to heal and aid others, or less commonly donning heavy armor to protect those in need.

Avenger (PHB2)
You better like chasing things, because as a Pursuit Avenger you have both racial stat mods in the right place. Your high base speed and Wild Step will serve you well, but you probably benefit from Elven Accuracy less than any other class (seeing as your Oath of Enmity already allows you to roll twice). It still might see some use if you get swarmed by enemies, though. You won't do quite as well as a Retribution Avenger, but you still have a boost to your primary stat so you can't complain. On the bright side, your Elven Accuracy will probably see more use than with Pursuit Avengers if you're making use of your Censure.

Cleric (PHB)
A solid career choice for an Elf. You'll want to stay away from Battle Cleric builds since they have Strength as a primary. MAD Battle Clerics will want a respectable Wisdom though, so if you want to take advantage of all of the Cleric's powers then you're not in any worse shape than most other races (I saw that smirk, Mr. Longtooth Shifter!). You're in great shape to make a multiclass Laser Cleric, and pick up some Ranger powers along the way if you really want to have fun with it!

Invoker (PHB2)
The gods must value Wisdom, because you once again get a bonus to your primary stat! A Wrathful Invoker will even appreciate the DEX bonus, making it the slightly better build choice. Controllers, possibly more than any other role, appreciate re-rolling a missed attack.

Paladin (PHB)
Your WIS bonus will be useful, but the DEX is wasted since you'll be clunking around in Plate Mail. You can still move pretty quickly despite all of that weight though. And you sure have good footing for a tin can (lure your enemies onto difficult terrain to improve your stickiness without screwing yourself over too much). As with any class, Elven Accuracy is a neat bonus.

Guardians of the Wild, Emissaries of the Spirits

Elves as Primal Classes

Elves colonized the World with the Favor of the Primal Spirits, who saw that these migrants from the Feywild truly loved this new land. Their deep connection with the land has given them access to many strange and magical powers. Some Elves develop such a kinship with the wild creatures of the World that they gain the ability to take their form, running with a pack of wolves or soaring the thermals with eagles. This affinity with nature also allows them to harness the power of storms, fire, and even the living plants. Other Elves are able to hear the call of spirits, and eventually learn to call back, forging alliances with the spirit world. Occasionally Elves become stalwart defenders of nature, gaining the ability to partially change shape, but only the strongest excel in this vocation. Rarely, an Elf may allow the Primal Spirits to imbue him with power, recklessly charging into battle, but this too takes great strength. Most prefer wiser tactics.

Barbarian (PHB2)

You're not exceptionally strong, tough, or pretty so you're already at a disadvantage. Since Primal Power came out, DEX has become less important for Ragebloods, Thunderborns, and Thaneborns.  However, Elves are black if you want to play a Whirling Barbarian since DEX is your secondary stat.  For other builds, make sure you carry a nice, big sword and know how to use it (heavy blade opportunity, plus that +3 prof. will make up for the fact that you're not as strong as some). You like to charge, and with a base speed of 7 you can chase down most foes pretty easily. As a Striker, the mobility granted by your Wild Step won't go to waste, and you're definitely a fan of Elven Accuracy. You might want to check out the Wildrunner Paragon Path.

Druid (PHB2)

You won't find anyone else that can make a better Predator Druid than you, and you're pretty respectable as a Guardian or Swarm Druid as well. Which is good, because Elves are archetypal Druids (the first Druids were probably Elves). As a Predator, you have access to a good amount of powers that let you shift your DEX mod, which means you can cover a lot of ground over difficult terrain. You'll also have a base speed of 8, which is handy since you'll probably be charging quite a bit. An Elf Predator Druid that picks up feats/items to increase speed will be the fastest character in the game. As with any controller, Elven Accuracy extremely useful. Your skill bonuses in Nature and Perception are both important to the class; in fact, the only Elven racial trait that isn't obviously useful to a Druid is the longbow/shortbow proficiency, though you can certainly make a build that utilizes this feature (Predator Druid, take some Ranger multiclass feats).

Seeker (PHB3)

Your stat bonuses are in the right place for a Bloodbond Seeker, so you excel at this build just as much as you excel at the Predator Druid build.  Seeker might be a bit more iconic for Elves, however, since it uses the longbow, the quintessential Elven weapon.  Inevitable shot plays to the strength of the famed accuracy of the Elves, and the minor action shift from your Bloodbond is in theme with Elven mobility.  Plus, there's great synergy, since your shifts aren't affected by difficult terrain.  Easily the best racial pick for a Bloodbond, and I'm sure that they'll do pretty well in the other build as well.

Shaman (PHB2)

It really pays to get a stat bonus to one of the more common primary stats (Wisdom).  You also get a bonus to the skill that all Shamans must take (Nature). Unfortunately your mobility won't go very far since your Spirit Companion will do most of the moving around. Group Awareness fits with the role of Leader, and flavor-wise is similar to the Shaman's Spirit Speaker feat (ableit less powerful). And it goes without saying that Elven Accuracy will not go to waste. For CON based builds your DEX will be useful in boosting Reflex, and you make superb Eagle Shamans.

Warden (PHB2)

A solid choice if you learn the ways of the Wildblood Warden. Your AC will come from WIS, but you can still use that DEX bonus for Initiative and Reflex. Your defenses will be respectable overall. Polearms are a popular choice, but you may also want to consider heavy blades (or get the best of both worlds with the glaive--your stat bonuses are in the right places). Difficult terrain is your friend. It's not going to hinder your shifting, so feel free get into the best position to mark as many enemies as possible. It'll also alleviate one of the shortcomings of the Warden as a Defender, which is that they can't punish the shift + charge tactic of enemies very well (until they get Wildblood Speed in Paragon, which is also going to be enhanced by your Wild Step quite a bit). Stay away from Earthstrength builds.

Minds of the Ancient

Elves as Psionic Classes

Though rarely choosing to live in isolated monastaries, perfecting the connection between body and mind, those Elves that do excel at it. Their quick wit complements their quick reflexes, making Elves some of the most powerful Monks. It is even more rare for Elves to pursue other forms of Psionic study, perhaps because they're not quite as successful in these endeavors.

Ardent (PHB3)

Mantle of Clarity Ardents use WIS as a secondary stat, which is good news for you.  Your DEX won't go to waste either, since Ardents are fairly MAD and without the DEX bump would probably not have a modifier for Reflex at 1st level.  Of course the fact that one of the Elf's stat bumps is in a dump stat of a MAD build actually goes against it; STR and CON are more useful to Ardents (especially those that don't use polearms). 

Monk (PHB3)
Sweet, another DEX/WIS class! As a Striker you live or die by your mobility and accuracy, so the Elf has everything covered.

Psion (PHB3)

From what I gather, one of the builds has WIS secondary. Elves will likely be reasonable candidates for the class but I wouldn't expect anything spectacular.

Seduced by the Dark Side

Elves as Shadow Classes

DEX is your primary stat, so your natural agility will serve you well.  The Perception bonus is also a plus if you plan on scouting ahead (and since there's a feat that lets you place shrouds from hiding without the target knowing, you should consider scouting).  Even though you still get shroud damage on a miss, it's just not as satisfying as delivering a devastating hit; Elven Accuracy can help you here.  Unfortunately, difficult terrain isn't much of a problem for you since you can teleport between shadows at-will, but hey, mobility is mobility.
How is this not spam?
Oh Content, where art thou?
When people start handbooks they save a number of replies so that they can have all of their handbook together. In this case the poster saved all of their posts for different power sources. Later the poster should fill each post with their handbook info.
Ah. I guess I'm just used to handbooks having anything in them when they start out, rather then just a big [new stuff coming in 2010] sign on the front.
Oh Content, where art thou?
Elves get a boost to Wisdom, but at first glance Wisdom isn't as important for even the summoning Artificer as Constitution. Still, might as well pump that Wisdom and summon. Might seem a bit weird for elves to be followed around by clockwork assistants, but hey. The Dex is kind of a shame since you'll need to have Int, but it helps your basic ranged attack. And I must say, free longbow proficiency is actually nice to have for the artificer, though if you're investing a feat into greatbow or superior crossbow anyway it is sadly redundant.

So yeah, black at best, but certainly not red.
Elves can do artificers, but really, their eladrin cousins are better suited for the task. Artificers seem to be primarily based on Int and Con, but at later levels have access to a lot of powers with WIS riders, so wisdom is good. However, with the ability score curve, at earlier levels elves might seem a bit lackng. I'd rate them purple for artificers, black at the most.
Oh Content, where art thou?
Psion added, but from what I've gathered from reading the boards there's not really much to say about them in regards to Elves. Any DnDi subscribers feel free to offer further advice.

One of these days I'll get around to posting the feats...
You might want to consider reducing the size of the picture at the start of the thread. It makes it annoying to have to scroll back and forth to read.

It's great to see a guide for my favorite race. Thanks for putting the effort into it! I look forward to its continued growth.
You might want to consider reducing the size of the picture at the start of the thread. It makes it annoying to have to scroll back and forth to read.

It's great to see a guide for my favorite race. Thanks for putting the effort into it! I look forward to its continued growth.

I tried messing around with the picture size, but nothing seemed to work. Does anyone know how to re-size images? If it let me upload an image from my computer I could just shrink it myself, but the [IMG] tags are tied to a url. And the HTML option didn't seem to do anything.

EDIT: Did the spoiler block help? I'm not sure how wide of a picture is too wide, since my screen is wide enough that the picture was fine before, no horizontal scrolling necessary.

Well, the new forum fixed the issue with the image, but the downside is that when I try to edit a given post, the format gets REALLY screwed up.  So I've decided that the first post isn't even worth updating because it proved to be a headache, and it's already late. 

I did edit the Primal section a little bit, since Primal Power was released.

Alright, so I fixed the formatting of this guide and added the Assassin, Seeker, and Ardent. 
Very good guide thank you, I just love it when people mix the mechanics with a little fluff as you did with the power sources.
nothing about sharpshooter elves eh?

cunning sneak sharpshooter elves are down right deadly compared to other rogue builds
gives them something to keep up with half-orc scoundrels and halfling dodgers since most ranged rogue powers dont require a secondary skill
The guide hasn't been updated since 2009.
ah, somebody raised it from the dead

didnt notice 
ah, somebody raised it from the dead

didnt notice 

That would be my fault, sorry I was too quick to post.

Awesomeness, thanks for taking over the Elf handbook! All kinds of handbooks are being updated these days, what an encouraging sign about the willingness of the members of this community to be real contributors, I think it's great.

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