D&D 5e: Elf Rogue Guide

D&D 5e: Elf Rogue Guide

That’s right! It’s Dobby gone bad! Iconic arrogant pricks who sneak around and are coming for your coin purses!

Both the Elf race and the Rogue class can be found in the Player’s Handbook. Click here to pick up your own Player’s Handbook!

How to Make an Elf Rogue

 If you were expecting small little creatures that are overworked and underpaid, cooking up a revolution against Santa then you’re out of luck. Think more Legolas Greenleaf from Lord of the Rings except they are more pointy-eared and come in a variety of colors – sold separately. 

Although they have common traits such as grace, slenderness, mastery in magic, their arrogant attitude, slenderness, immortal souls, love of self-expression, slenderness, and did I also mention slenderness? Much of them vary in characteristics, abilities, advantages, and disadvantages depending upon their elven heritage.

In D&D 5e, there are 3 main categories of elves:

  • Eladrin (Variant)– Twilight realm Feywild elves of magic with close ties to nature. Used to be an example as a kind of custom subrace.
    • +1 in intelligence. 
  • High Elf– No it’s not a race of elves on crack, it might as well be though since these guys have no chill. These kinds of elves are clever and at very least masters of the basics of magic.
    • +1 in intelligence. 
    •  Speak,read, and write in 1 additional language.
    • There are two variations and even more kinds of each.
      • Haughty Racists Elves
Elf SubracePhysical Distinctions
Greyhawk Gray Height: Somewhat smaller than other elvesSkin tones: pale or lightly tanned. Hair: black, brown. red, but fades to grey as they age.Ears: long and pointedEyes: always a shade of grey.(based off 4e)
Valley Height: Taller than most elvesHair: changes from pale yellow during summer and rich gold during winterEyes: ice blue eyes or a shade of grey.Clothing: typically wears hues of blue and greenMentioned to have sharp slender features and.
SilvanestiNothing is written about their physical traits apart from having ‘finer’ features and an accentBelieves they are firstborn descendants of the gods and create structures of marble and goldThe most racist and secluded of the elven race 
Sun(a.k.a. Gold/sunrise elves)Skin tones: BronzeHair: copper, black, or golden blondEyes:  golden, silver, or black
  • Tolerant Respectable Chad Elves
Elf SubracePhysical Distinctions
Greyhawk high elvesMistaken for Gray elves due to the name (Gray ≠ Grey(hawk))Hair: Dark hairedEyes: green or hazel Clothing: Typically pastel and of blue or green or violet but often covered by a greenish gray cloak, and intense, deep colours when in urban settings, brown leather for hunting
QualinestiNothing is written about their physical traits but they are said to be relatives/descendants of the silvanestiLiberty and equality, respects nature, loves the trees, and is the least racist.Practically elegant hippies
Moon(a.k.a. silver/gray elves)Skin tones: Pale alabaster skin sometimes tinged with blueHair: silver-white, black, or blue, but various shades of blond, brown, and red are not uncommonEyes: blue or green and flecked with gold.Greyhawk Gray elves are not Moon gray elves
  • Wood Elf– Fast on their feet, stealthy, keen senses, strong in intuition, and one with nature. Unfortunately, looked down upon by other elves. Labeled as barbaric, treated as servants (specifically the kagonesti) by the Silvanesti , and distrustful towards non-elves. This category includes the wild elves (grugach) of Greyhawk, the Kagonesti of Dragonlance, and wood elves in Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms.
    • +1 in wisdom 

When naming your Elf, you have to think, “What would Kylie Jenner and Elon musk do?”. Elvish names sound like something created by a fanfiction writer, made to sound fancy, and given some kind of ‘insightful’ meaning when it doesn’t mean crud. What elves can’t change, though, is their last name, just as full of meaning, like: 

  • Amakiir (Gemflower)
  • Amastacia (Starflower)
  • Galanodel (Moonwhisper)
  • Holimion (Diamonddew)
  • etc.

Elves are very versatile in any position regarding subclasses as they are naturally good at magic, have dexterity, and proficient in perception. Whichever archetype you pick will be suitable for you or your elf character so long as you understand the nature of the subclass:

  • Arcane trickster: with a knack for illusion and enchantment spells, this subclass brings magic as a plus to being a Rogue.
    • Spell Casting– Not only do you get to do magic, you don’t need to go to wiznerd school to be able to do some of their spells.
      • Cantrips
      • Spell slots
      • Spells Known of 1st-Level and Higher.
      • Spellcasting Ability- You’re going to need Intelligence for this
        • Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
        • Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus +your Intelligence modifier.
    • Mage Hand Legerdemain– a.k.a magic hands!
    • Magical Ambush
    • Versatile Trickster
    • Spell Thief
  • Assassin: The edge-lord’s archetype. A subclass is mainly made up of hired hitmen, bounty hunters, spies, and even priests trained to kill their deities’ enemies.
    • Bonus Proficiencies
    • Assassinate
    • Infiltration Expertise- a.k.a mastery in catfishing and scams
    • Impostor- this doesn’t just involve a change of outfit, but you can mimic a person’s voice, writing, and behavior. If anybody gets sus, you have an advantage in charisma to fool them regardless if your disguise is just a clip-on mustache. 
    • Death Strike– when you attack or hit a creature, it can immediately die. So yes, you b**** slap someone, to death. 
  • Thief: A vanilla subclass to being a Rogue but not a bad one if your character is cunning and more on street crime.
    • Fast hands- Pickpocketing go brrr! This ability doesn’t just cover crime but also your skill in lock picking, using your tools and weapons, and disarming.
    • Second-story work- No, this does not mean you get to add more to your backstory. This refers to your climbing ability and running jump. Its name is that the ability helps you GET TO the second or upper floor of a building which is also referred to by fancy people as a story. 
    • Supreme sneak 
    • Use magic devices
    • Thief reflexes

Building your Rogue is advised to make your dexterity the highest, which shouldn’t be a problem as being an Elf comes with sweet +2. Next is Constitution which should be followed by Intelligence- for that advantage in investigations. Next Wisdom and Charisma whichever has higher points depends on your choice of skills and role in the party. Elves don’t have that charm boost as Half-elves do, but they are just as immune to being charmed or to sleep spells and dark vision. Finally, Strength.  Any other advantages or disadvantages depend upon the heritage. 

How to Play a Elf Rogue

Hit Dice: 1d8 per rogue level

Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier

Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per rogue level after 1st

Some of your class’ default features are:

  • Expertise
  • Sneak attack
  • Cunning Action
  • Roguish archetype
  • Uncanny dodge
  • Reliable Talent
  • Slippery Mind
  • Elusive
  • Stroke of Luck

((Is it OP enough for you?!) See the table in how to play)

You can choose four skills from Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth. But never mind perception since you’re already good at that.

Your Elf’s category also comes with advantages in combat:

EladrinElf Weapon Training- proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.Fey Step- You can cast the misty step spell once using this trait. You regain the ability to do so when you finish a short or long rest.
High ElfElf Weapon Training– proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.Cantrip- You know one cantrip of your choice from the wizard spell list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.
Wood ElfElf Weapon Training-  proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.Fleet of Foot- Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.Mask of the Wild- You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.

Elves are pompous haughty pricks, gracious but still pricks. Nothing like the cheery enslaved ones that work in Santa’s workshop. Nevertheless, Elves are good planners, focused when learning, and act more like moderators before being fighters. Slow to trust and to make bonds, barely surprised at what the word has become rarely petty, but to cross one would mean to face their wrath. They value and protect others’ freedom as well as their own, and they are more often good than not. The drow/dark elves are an exception, most being vicious and dangerous due to their kind’s exile. Even labeled as spawns of evil but not completely reviled due to the good Drow goddess Eilistraee as opposed to Lolth. 

How to Roleplay as a Elf Rogue

(Outside of combat – Mindset for RPing, example backstory, accents, etc.)

The thing about an Elf’s life is that the soul is recycled. That’s why the population of elves does not exceed or deplete. If there were to be an excess of Elves born, then it is taken as a bad omen. Think of it as “Why do the Seldarine (pantheon of the elves) create/need more elves? Is there something going to happen?!”. Additionally, this is the root reason why half-elves are discriminated against by Elves as it is unknown if their souls are human, a duplicate of an Elf’s, or -as they are- half-elf

Despite their attitude and low to a high level of being xenophobes, Elves are estranged from their own selves and their own kind. Living a long and recurring life, they tend to be lost in thought from time to time, as if philosophers wandering in their and the world’s enigma, when some questions may be answered if more were to connect with other races. 

 Even friendly, more-open-to-connect Elves are still unsure of building bonds as their lives are just endless cycles of watching old and new come and go then being reincarnated. Perhaps, that’s why meaner or evil elves prefer staying as they are rather than experiencing the heartaches that come with openness and liberty. After all, Elves can tap into some of their old memories and pieces of who they were in what is described as a trance.

As a rogue, it is essential to consider their background. What are their past and current ties with the law? A criminal past? What leads them to a life of being a rogue? What are their ideals? Since your race shares such a cyclical way of life, why not throw that into the mixing pot?  It doesn’t just give your character more life but also some material your DM can use to -torture you with- know your skill and proficiencies. 

Being a Rogue, you are capable of speaking Thieves cant. Can’t what?  Can’t be straightforward. It’s a kind of dialect, signs, and even symbols that hides a secret message. Like saying “I’ll do it later” actually means “I’m waiting for someone else to do it.” or a drawing of a cat on the wall means “Meeting at midnight.”. You can speak, read, and write Elvish and one additional language of your choice IF you are a high elf. 

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