Monday, March 18, 2013

The GURPS Middle-Earth elf


The elf of Middle-Earth is an unaging [15] creature that belongs to a civilization in decline. This makes them incurious to the affairs of men and other races  [-5] . They mature for 50 years into very handsome [16] individuals that are known to be  immune to diseases [10]. They are renowned for their accute vision 4 [8], a legendary tolerance to temperature (Temperature tolerance 1 [1]), and the most bizarre property preventing them from trampling whatever they set foot on: snow, leaves, flowers, etc (Silence 1 [5]).

Being immortal, elves are invisible to the dead [10], effectively placing them under the effect of a permanent Avoid-18 spell against wraiths (see entry about wraith soon to be published).  Elves cannot be scared (unfazeable [15]): nothing will get them to loose their cool or mess their perfectly combed hair. Furthermore, elves have chauvinistic tendencies [-1], and must express their thought in a solemn tone as if always uttering profecies (enigmatic [-5] (see below)).

Elves are living an extensive existence, filled with a lot of play time: they do not feel like they are running a race against time to achieve something. Elves can live happily and idle for centuries, for as long as there are food, friends and a bit of music. They dedicate some time to a craft. They see themselves as agents of creation: a dedication to a craft, and the achievement of a master level in it to be a religious obligation. They have an innate talent (Artificer OR Artist OR Music OR Healer OR Animal OR Green Thumb) [var], and are expected to have their core craft skill at level 18 or above by their 200th years. 

Elves receive at birth the Gift (Magery 0 [5]). They will, over the course of their daily life acquire about 10 points to place in spells (GM's determine what is available) per century for their first two centuries. Leaders will be encouraged to acquire more power to protect their domains, and may be granted higher levels of Magery.


IQ+2 [40], DX+2 [40], HT+2 [20]

Skill Profiles

Above and beyond their crafts and spells. Elves must have at least 1 point in the following skills by the time that they mature (age 50): singing, performance, writing, bow, dancing. They must have at least a level of 13 in Area Knowlege (their land), History (Arda). 

Why they are awesome

Elves are powerful individuals. They should be used sparingly in campaign, particularly as PCs. Although they tend to get great reaction rolls because of their beauty, they are a difficult bunch to get along with. People want to like them, but it is hard work to deal with them. Elves are designed to be difficult to role play. First, they are chauvinistic. Second, being a member of a race in decline, they feel detached from Middle-Earth and will have a difficulty to care about the affairs of men and other races, making them incurious to non-elf issues. GMs should particularly have fun with the enigmatic disadvantage: elves sure are smart, but they are aloof and difficult to deal with for more practical individuals. The PC is being straightforward, make him/her pass a Will or rephrase!

New Disadvantage

Being enigmatic implies that elves will answer questions, or make declarative statements using obscure references, analogies and profecies. They tend to rhyme and use the passive voice as if there was no such things as grammar. Elves talking to character of IQ 10 or less will treat their own language skills as if they were accented when someone enigmatic talk to them. Treat their own language skills as broken at IQ 8 or less. Slow people just can't grasp what elves are talking about, even when spoken in their own language. 


  1. I think you've done a nice job capturing the essence of JRRT's elves here. Elves are fine folk for singing, and if you can get them to open up, for telling a story, and when riled up, they're useful in a fight. But otherwise, I think the best word for them may be "alien" even if they were there first.

    1. My daughter has been talking in the passive voice and using the enigmatic trait during the whole breakfast. A party with a few elves would make for pretty hilarious gaming sessions.

  2. Late to the party, but you may want to check out:

    I'm not sure how active Gavynn is anymore on the forum, but he did a lot of work on LOTRs in GURPS