So I’ve started up a regular campaign for my homebrew setting again (http://calithi.obsidianportal.com). I’ve been running this world for just over two decades now and it’s gone through a couple of “editions”, for lack of a better word. This is the third edition of my world and before the game began I rethought a lot of little things, and one of those things is the nature of elves.
Elves bug me. There’s the part of me that digs the legendary and larger-than-life LOTR thing, but I think too much about the everyday life of characters for that to really work for me. The way they’re presented, I have a hard time imagining Elrond Half-Elven fucking, shitting, or changing a diaper. I have a hard time imagining them being infants. And having them just spawn out of nowhere, birthed by nature as these wise, strong, and perfect beings or something is bullshit. Also, playing a first-level character doesn’t make any sense whatsoever if you’re going for that vibe.
I figure, the reason elves are so over-the-top mary-sue awesome is because they live so damn long. And if humans lived forever, they’d get to be pretty great too. So PCs play as “young” elves, comparable in age to human characters. Considered to be children by their own people, much like humans would be as well. When elves get to be 100+ years old, they tend to start getting sick of humanity’s bullshit and they go looking for their own people, secluded away in their hidden cities. See, I think maybe elves are born among humans… the faerie courts don’t really give a shit about taking care of stinky, squealing little bags of fat, so while they do still procreate, they have their offspring show up in mortal realms rather than deal with the inconvenience themselves. Once they return to the hidden cities, they’re seen as peers by their people and welcomed back warmly. I imagine that moment is the “real” birth to the older elves, since they can’t help but feel some measure of contempt for those in the mortal realm. “Ah, welcome child. Please, come and partake of these delights. We’re sure you have many stories to tell.”
Elves in my world are probably relatively reckless when they’re young; namely being ageless and being immune to disease would likely have some effects on your lifestyle.