Once upon a time, I created a campaign world for Dungeons and Dragons where there were no elves; they had retreated from the world of men. Ostensibly I did this because they realized that men were not responsible enough to wield the secret magics they possessed and blah blah blah…
I really did it because I got tired of all the painfully cliched elven characters (I’m sleeping in a tree!) that were really only elves to get that sweet, sweet, +1 to Dexterity. Maybe I’m just very opinionated about elves, and how I think they should be portrayed. Maybe I’m not entirely sure how a guy who starts the game 100 years old and can live to be 1,000 should be played, but I felt particularly disappointed by the way they were played. They got wrapped up in the same petty arguments over material wealth that all the other characters did, while creating unnecessary arguments about chopping down ANY TREE ANYWHERE EVER!
I guess my problem was that the majority of people who played elves always grabbed on to the same banal tropes to define their characters as elves and never took it any further. They rarely took the long view of things, and they never eschewed wealth or power. They rarely seemed fickle when it seemed appropriate and not just convenient. They did always seem like they enjoyed that +1 to Dexterity and all those other racial benefits though.
I’d be interested in reading what some other people think about this. Feel free to leave a comment concerning your thoughts on elves and the human condition.