Elven Marketplace

by Stephen Kenson (Dragon #279)


Elves tend to favor Small and Medium-size melee weapons. The larger weapons used by humans and half-orcs are too unwieldy in the often close-quarters of elven woods.

Elven fighting styles favor speed and agility over physical power; the feat Weapon Finesse is common among elves, so they prefer lighter weapons that take advantage of their natural Dexterity.

For ranged combat, the ultimate elven weapon is, of course, the longbow, although elves are often proficient in the shortbow as well. Elves tend to disdain the crossbow as cumbersome compared to the elegance of a finely crafted elven bow. In addition to masterwork and magic arrows, elves have a variety of other ammunition:

Blunt Arrow: These masterwork arrows have specially crafted wooden tips. They cause subdual damage instead of normal damage.

Flight Arrow: The light shaft and special design of this masterwork arrow increases a bow's range increment by 25 feet.

Signal Arrow: This masterwork arrow is specially designed to emulate a bird's call when fired. Elven fletchers craft the arrows to make calls that will be recognized by the elves of the community. For example, a hawk's cry might be used to signal an attack. and an owl's cry used to signal a stealthy advance. A successful Survival check (DC 20) can be made to determine whether the birdcall comes from a bird or another source. The intricate carving of the arrows makes them clumsy in flight, resulting in a -2 penalty if they're used to attack.

Smoke Arrow: The arrow is essentially a smokestick in the shape of an arrow that can be ignited and fired from a bow. It trails smoke behind and creates a cloud of smoke in a 10-foot circle where it strikes, but the arrow deals no damage. The smoke dissipates normally. Smoke arrows provide excellent concealment for elven warriors, allowing them to make quick raids or retreats.

Thunder Arrow: Thunder arrows have thunderstones at their tip. A direct hit inflicts no damage but does trigger the thunderstone's sonic attack. Misses should be treated as an attack with a Grenadelike Weapon.


Elves prefer light armor since they must be able to move quickly and quietly through their forest homes. Armor that slows them down or interferes with their natural grace is frowned upon. Thus, elves rarely make or wear heavy armor, and they prefer small shields or bucklers. Elves tend to wear leather armor, chain shirts, or armor of their own design:

Leaf Armor: Elven artisans weave suits of armor from forest leaves, which are then treated by a special alchemical process that makes them as tough and flexible as leather, with considerably less weight and encumbrance. Such suits are made in both "springtime" and "autumn" styles. Springtime leaf armor is vivid green while autumn leaf armor is made up of red, orange, and yellow leaves. Cost: +750 gp.

Spell failure chances for armors made from these treated leaves are decreased by 5%, maximum Dexterity bonus is increased by one, and armor check penalties are decreased by two. Note that armors that are primarily constructed of metal are not meaningfully affected.

Wooden Armor: Similar to leaf armor, wooden armor is made of carefully cured and beautifully carved pieces of darkwood, supplemented by alchemically treated leaves.

Spell failure chances for armors made from this treated wood are decreased by 5%, maximum Dexterity bonus is increased by one, and armor check penalties are decreased by two. Most wooden armors are one category lighter than normal for purposes of movement and other limitations (for example, whether a barbarian can use her fast movement ability while wearing armor or not). Heavy armors are treated as medium, and medium armors are treated as light, but light armors are still treated as light. Note that armors that are not primarily constructed of metal are not meaningfully affected. Cost: Light Wooden Armor, +750 gp; Medium Wooden Armor, +2,250 gp; Heavy Wooden Armor +6,000 gp.


Elves have a fondness for fine clothing and they know how to weave many types of cloth from materials; elven silks are highly prized by merchants. Elves also have many techniques for dying, cutting, and stitching cloth to make fine garments. Such clothing can command high prices.

Starlight Cloth: This silken fabric of a dark color (forest green, midnight blue, and so on) is shot through with silvery threads that seems to catch and reflect light, making the cloth look as though it were dappled with hundreds of tiny silver stars. Starlight cloth seems to shimmer and glow faintly in moonlight or starlight. It's a popular material for elven cloaks and gown s for formal occasions. Cost: 100 gp. Weight: 5 lb.

Special & Superior Items

Most large elven communities are capable of making masterwork items. Some special elven items are given here as examples:

Masking Perfume: This alchemical formula helps to mask the natural scent of anyone wearing it for up to 3 hours. Creatures with the Scent quality can't detect the wearer by scent until he is within 5 feet. Masking perfume also eliminates the tracking bonus the creature normally gains to track the character (see Scent special ability). A small bottle contains five applications of masking perfume (each enough for one Medium-size character). Cost: 100 gp, weight: -.

Star Lantern: A decorative lantern made of carved wood or (less often) delicately worked metal, this lantern contains a small crystal treated to produce light that illuminates a 10-foot radius for 12 hours. Elves commonly use star lanterns for decoration or to provide soft lighting in a dark forest area sufficient for their vision. Cost: 100 gp; weight: 2 lb.

Elven Instruments: Their love of music leads elves to create some of the finest musical instruments found anywhere. Popular elven instruments are the harp, lyre, and the flute. Most elven instruments are masterwork items, granting a +2 circumstance bonus to Perform checks. Cost: 100 gp; weight 3 lb.

Forest Camouflage Kit, Masterwork: This is a special set of clothing and body paints that many elven hunters and warriors use when patrolling in their forest homes. This is the perfect tool for blending in with such environments, and the kit provides the user with a +2 circumstance bonus to Hide checks in the forest. Winter, desert, and underground versions of the camouflage kit have been created by elves for use in such settings. Cost 50 gp; weight 8 lb.

Races of Faerûn
Character Creation