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View Full Version : Thought Experiment: The 2e Elf in 3e Stats



Mark Hall
2012-07-13, 03:36 PM
So, a tangent in discussing Kender (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=248193) got me thinking about Elves, and the transition from 2e to 3e. In 2e, elves were hot ****. Arguably the most powerful of core races, they had an array of great abilities. In 3e, these abilities were scaled back, making elves an almost comically underpowered race compared to dwarves and humans. So, I decided to throw together a 3e equivalent of the 2e elf, to explain to folks only familiar with 3e what an elf looked like to a 2e player.

Feel free to comment on what I produce, but bear in mind: The goal is not to produce a balanced race, but to recreate the 2e elf (per the PH and DMG) in 3e terms.

I will blue text my rationales.

Elf:
*+2 Dexterity, -1 Constitution. In 2e, provided you were arranging your stats, a -1 penalty could be relatively easily ignored, while a +1 bonus could be very useful. This was partially due to the large "no effect" region in stats, but also due to elven racial minimums that kept your elf from getting TOO frail.

*Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

*Elf base land speed is 30 feet.

*SR 19+level against magic sleep effects and the charm subschool. This is before any listed saving throw. Not kidding. Elves had 90% resistance to these.

*Darkvision, 60'. Elves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and elves can function just fine with no light at all.

*Weapon Proficiency. Elves receive a +1 racial bonus with the Longsword, Short Sword, Longbow and Short bow (including composite versions). This may not seem like much, but recall that longsword and short swords made up 5.5% of all random magic items. If your DM picked up his dice and rolled 20 magic items, odds are that 4 would be magic weapons, and 1 would be a long or short sword... and that doesn't include special weapons.

*+1 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks. They receive a +3 racial bonus to Search checks. An elf who merely passes within 10 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check at -3 (negating their bonus) to notice it as if she were actively looking for it. An elf walking around was as good at searching for secret doors as a human working at it; if working at it, they got an additional 16.67% chance.

*Elves may, if unaccompanied by any but elves and halflings, and not in metal armor, elves receive a +6 to Move Silently and Hide Checks while in natural surroundings. If they must open a door or move something other than natural cover to attack, this is reduced to a +3. Yeah. A +40% to surprise checks. Note that this is still a little bit light, since 2e surprise was largely independent of level.

*Elves who are proficient in an armor may ignore Arcane Spell Failure chance if the armor is Masterwork and made by an elf.

Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.

Favored Class: Not cleric. An elf may freely pursue any multiclass that does not include divine spellcasting abilities.

EDIT: Followed a couple suggestions from a poster.

Quellian-dyrae
2012-07-13, 04:27 PM
I'd probably leave the Con penalty at -2. +1/-1 was pretty much the standard for 2e, and +2/-2 for 3e.

Nitpick, but wouldn't SR 19+Level be 90% resistance, against an equal-level caster?

If I recall correctly, in 2e, the chance for random surprise was a flat 3 in 10, party-wide. A party of only elves and halflings had 7 in 10. Unless changing halflings, I'd probably just say elves get +4 to Hide and +2 to Move Silently, making them equal with halflings in terms of stealth. A +4 net bonus on an opposed roll is actually roughly a 70% chance of success, so it's a reasonable analog. The armor issue is accounted for by Armor Check penalty.

I also seem to recall elves being able to make ranged attacks mid-move in 2e, so maybe add Shot on the Run as a bonus feat?

Mark Hall
2012-07-13, 04:34 PM
I'd probably leave the Con penalty at -2. +1/-1 was pretty much the standard for 2e, and +2/-2 for 3e.

I put it that way because of how easy it was to avoid major damage from a Con penalty in 2e, while a Dex bonus could very easily be significant, taking the "useless" 14 to a 15.


Nitpick, but wouldn't SR 19+Level be 90% resistance, against an equal-level caster?

True; forgot about the caster-level portion of the equation. I'll fix it.


If I recall correctly, in 2e, the chance for random surprise was a flat 3 in 10, party-wide. A party of only elves and halflings had 7 in 10. Unless changing halflings, I'd probably just say elves get +4 to Hide and +2 to Move Silently, making them equal with halflings in terms of stealth. A +4 net bonus on an opposed roll is actually roughly a 70% chance of success, so it's a reasonable analog. The armor issue is accounted for by Armor Check penalty.

Surprise was a flat 3in10, or 7in10 if against elves and halflings. I'm not making changes to halflings (or, indeed, elves), just illustrating elves in 3e terms. But I'll fiddle with the numbers a bit, down to +6/+3.


I also seem to recall elves being able to make ranged attacks mid-move in 2e, so maybe add Shot on the Run as a bonus feat?

That was, as I recall, a specific modification introduced in Meine Alfe, not an elf-specific ability from the PH.