Faerie Level Limits

Here is a quick justification for why elves (and perhaps other faerie demi-humans) are limited in level progression. Elves are otherworldly creatures that are not completely at home in the mundane world of humanity. Their essence (and magic) comes from a connection to their mystical home, Elf-Land (or the Feywild, or whatever you want to call it). After a time, long for a human but short for an elf, curiosity wanes and an adventuring elf must return home or be diminished.

Elf-Land could be another plane, but I prefer to think of it more in terms of mythic geography, though perhaps with some physical laws warped or changed. Like, as you go deeper into the elder forests things get weird and alien. This is closer to how people conceived magic before the great disenchantment. Somewhat related, I also love the idea in DCC RPG of elves being unable to tolerate equipment of iron (obviously also derived from folk tales). Elves begin with mithril equipment, but replacing lost equipment is difficult (a nice trade-off for their fighter/magic-user flexibility).

At the discretion of the referee, perhaps elves must periodically return to Elf-Land or start to lose magic abilities. An elf that stays to long in the world of humans will actually become mortal (in game terms, a fighter) and probably begin to forget their past existence. And maybe the opposite is true as well? Humans that stay too long in Elf-Land are also changed? Perhaps this is one source of changelings. And time, of course, also flows differently in Elf-Land.

4 thoughts on “Faerie Level Limits

  1. Gordon Cooper

    I was planning to use an aversion to iron as a limitation for elves, too. I didn’t know DCC RPG was using it. (It doesn’t mean I can’t use it, but it dulls my enthusiasm for writing about it. Oh, well.)

    1. Brendan

      This is the DCC text:

      Vulnerabilities: Elves are extremely sensitive to the touch of iron. Direct contact over prolonged periods causes a burning sensation, and exposure at close dis- tances makes them uncomfortable. An elf may not wear iron armor or bear the touch of iron weapons for extend- ed periods. Prolonged contact with iron causes 1 hp of damage per day of direct contact.

  2. faoladh

    Nice! I love seeing different ideas for elves that make them less like humans that can do both fighting and magic plus have a lot of cool abilities, and more like dream creatures of air and darkness.


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