Something I’ve been working on for a bit for one of my homebrew settings. Might use the general idea of leveling species for humans, dwarves, halflings, thri-kreen, etc. Been considering a 5e variant where race, class, background, are just lists of traits that you can pick from when you level up. Also, a ranking system for language fluency.
There are three main groups of elf; court elves, sylvan elves, and free elves. The below details describe free elves, the most appropriate for PCs. Court and Sylvan elves are those who have tired of living among humans (as anyone would likely do if they were ageless) and found or been contacted by one the hidden elven communities.
Ability score increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2. Choose Dexterity, Intelligence, or Wisdom. That score increases by 1.
Age. Elves reach physical maturity in their early teens, but are ageless after their early twenties. When they get to be around 90-150 years old they generally tend to get sick of humanity’s shit however and venture off to live with other elves in seclusion. Elves cannot die of old age.
Temperament. As a natural result of some of their physical traits perhaps, young elves tend to be relatively risk-seeking and cavalier compared to most humans. They trend toward hedonism and every five to ten years they seem to drop whatever life they’ve been living to go try out something else. Court and sylvan elves refer to this period of youth as the Brook, but there are many much longer life paths that elves walk once they’ve left human lands.
Size. Elves tend to be four to six inches taller than humans on average; always with slender builds, weighing in at around 140 to 170. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Languages. You have rating 6 in one Iodian language of your choice, and rating 2 in one non-secret language of your choice.
Elven immunities. You are immune to disease, addiction, and aging. You do not scar and even burns, once healed, leave no marks.
Elven secrets. As elves see more of the world and experience new situations, they begin to develop mystical abilities via their dreams. Every level (including first), you may choose one of the below traits to gain. Some of these can be taken more than once and are noted as such.
- Meditation. Instead of sleeping for eight hours, you can meditate for at least four hours a day for the same resting effects. These don’t need to be contiguous, and rather than being fully unconscious you merely need to be relatively stationary and taking no actions.
- Language. You gain a rating level in one language of your choice. At ninth level and later, this may be a secret language. This trait can be taken multiple times.
- Fleet of foot. Your base speed improves by 10 feet. This trait can be taken multiple times, but the bonus it provides is halved each time (rounding down), to a minimum of one foot.
- Darkvision. Within 60 feet, you can see in dim light as though it were bright light, and in darkness as though it were dim light. You cannot discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
- Keen senses. You gain proficiency in the perception skill. If you are already proficient, you gain expertise in it (double proficiency bonus).
- Fey ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
- Weapon training. You gain proficiency in three weapons of your choice. They must be bows (not crossbows) or single-handed blades of some kind. You can take this trait multiple times.
- Cantrip. You learn a cantrip of your choice from the Cleric or Druid spell lists. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for it. You can take this trait multiple times.
- Mask of the wild. You can attempt to hide even when lightly obscured by natural features/phenomena like heavy rain, falling snow, mist, or foliage.
Languages use a rating system from 1 to 6. Your race provides your starting languages. If you start with languages from your background or class, you get them at rating 2. If class features, feats, or any other abilities grant you languages after you’ve started play, you may either get a new language at rating 1 or improve a language you already know by one rating. You cannot learn to write in a language without knowing how to read it.
Rating 1. You either read or speak the language, and poorly. Basic ideas are conveyed, anything more complex has potential for misunderstanding.
Rating 2. You either read and write or read and speak the language, fairly functionally. You can easily get by at this rating. More complex subjects might require some dancing around linguistically and it’s obvious you’re not fluent, but misunderstanding is very unlikely.
Rating 3-5. You read, write, and speak the language. This is non-native fluency; you may still have an accent but are able to converse at a high level easily.
Rating 6. Native fluency. You can pass as a native speaker of the language to other native speakers.