|“||Honor? The word does not exist in the Elven language.||”|
|— Tharak, human guard|
On Athas, elves are a nomadic race of herders, raiders, peddlers, and thieves.
The dunes and steppes of Athas are home to thousands of tribes of nomadic elves. While each tribe is very different culturally, the elves within them remain a race of long-limbed sprinters given to theft, raiding, and warfare.
An Athasian elf stands between 6 1/2 and 7 1/2 feet tall. They are slender, lean, and generally in terrific physical condition. Their features are deeply etched into their weather-toughened faces, and their skin made rugged by the windblown sands and baking sun of the wilderness. Elves typically dress to survive in the desert environment. Even when at an oases or in the cities, elves tend to prefer their native garb, designed to wrap the wearer against the brutality of the elements.
Elves are all brethren within their own tribe, but regard all outsiders as potential enemies. There is no racial unity among the elves—an elf from outside the tribe is just as much a foe as a human, halfling, or thri-kreen. Acceptance of an outsider by an individual elf can be achieved, but trust will only develop over time. Acceptance of an outsider by an entire tribe is also possible, but rare. It is usually only awarded after some great sacrifice has been made on behalf of the tribe —many outsiders have been accepted posthumously into elven desert tribes.
Individually, tribal elves are swift, sure, and selfreliant in the extreme. An elf is conditioned to run quickly over sandy and rocky terrain, sometimes for days at a time —an elf warrior can cross better than 50 miles per day. An elven war party on the move is a deadly force of endurance and maneuverability. Elves use no beasts of burden for personal transportation, though they do sometimes engage kanks and similar creatures for baggage or raw materials transport. It is dishonorable among elves to ride on an animal unless wounded and near death —even pregnant women and old elves are expected to keep up with the tribe or be left behind.
While most elven tribes make their living through herding, some have turned to commerce and others to raiding. Elven traders are rightly considered the most capable on Athas. Not only can they barter and deal with a variety of races, they can move and protect their goods across the vast wilderness.
Elven culture, while savage, is also very rich and diverse.
Elves, for the most part, are regarded slightly better than most races on Athas, though that is not saying much. Elves typically are found in nomadic tribes or within city states. Most are as fast with their talking as with their feet. Tribal elves see it as disgraceful to ride animals and instead walk/run everywhere.
Stories of Elves describe swindlers in elven bazaars and wandering bands of raiders that strip caravans of goods. Entire Elf tribes have disappeared from city-states after a single member ran afoul of the Templars.
Elves stand between 6 to 7 feet tall, with long swept back ears, straight and narrow facial features and no facial hair.
A player character elf can be from a wild, tribal background or from a city state upbringing —there are many elves that have settled in the cities as bazaar vendors, and still many more that have been dragged there in chains.
Elves are masterful warriors, naturally skilled in the use of their long bows and long swords.
A player character elf can choose from a variety of classes: Cleric, Defiler, Fighter, Gladiator, Preserver, Psionicist, Ranger, Templar, or Thief. In addition, they may select any combination of classes in accordance with the multi-class combinations table presented in Dark Sun Boxed Set.
Elves gain a bonus of + 1 to their attack rolls with these weapons, but only those of native tribal make and design. In order to qualify for this bonus, a weapon must be crafted by members of the elf's tribe —no others will do.
Elves gain a bonus to surprise opponents when in the wilderness or wastes of Athas. In desert or steppe encounters, when an elf or party of elves approaches a non-elven group, the opponents suffer a penalty of -4 to their surprise rolls. Mixed parties cannot gain this advantage.
Elves have no special knowledge of secret or concealed doors. They also have no special resistance to spells. They also add one to their initial Intelligence score. However, their intellect is not generally balanced by common sense, so elf characters subtract one from their initial Wisdom score. Finally, elven characters are especially fine-boned and have a high metabolism that tends to tire them out, forcing them to subtract two from their initial Constitution score.
With nimble fingers and incredible speed, elf characters add two to their initial Dexterity score.
Elves have no great love of creatures outside their tribe. Even when found in the company of others, an elf will keep to himself, often camping near but not directly with his companions.
When encountering outsiders, an elf will often fabricate tests of trust and friendship. For instance, an elf might leave a valuable object in the open to see if his new companions attempt to steal it. After a series of such tests, the elf will gradually learn to trust or distrust the outsiders. The severity of these tests of loyalty may take an alarmingly dangerous turn, even revolving around life-threatening situations, before an elf accepts an outsider as an equal.
Elves never ride on beasts of burden. They prefer to run everywhere they travel, even when running might prove slower or others in the elf's party will be taking animal or magical transportation.
- Kaldras. Elf trader and opportunistic slaver.