So, elves. Pretty, inhuman, graceful, wise, forest dwelling, magical.
A lot of gamers love them because they’re, well, bishie.
They’re pretty, stylish, and important in a way that plodding humans aren’t; they’re sensitive and delicate, strong and harmonious.
The Lords and Ladies have an air of refinement about them: Dragon Age made them dung-stained peasants and was, to my mind, wrong to do so.
When you write elf on your character sheet, I have no idea what it means except that “I’m special”.
This frustrates me a little. The “racial slot” seems the wrong place to make that declaration; showing up to game should do that.
I treat elves as human nobles, maybe human wizard nobles, all the time; they’re not quite fey enough for me to treat them otherwise.
I think if elves went back to being a class, that class had some baked in magic, and D&D gave more Burning Wheel-like support for playing elves, I’d get more out of them
Maybe set up a rivalry between elves and human wizards: human wizards keep spell books and try to learn spells and get wands.
Maybe elves derive some benefit from eating these things or feeding them to patron arch-fey, so they want to loot (like the other PCs) but treat the loot the way the other PCs treat treasure, a commodity to shop for powers.
Or maybe they get magical powers chosen in part by the season and their alliances to encourage them to pay attention to where and when they are, like Wild Mages in slow motion.
Maybe Elf is really just a kind of sleepless human noble with really good PR and I should stop fighting it: introduce my mechanistic morlock standins and let the elves be woodsy gentleman-farmers or Gaels or whatever.
I like Eladrin (pre 4e) — anything that says that elves grow up to be those forces of nature is A-OK worth me!