Another project on the HB forum has suggested the idea of LA +1 elves, too. Here's some ideas rolling around in my head for that (and bear in mind they're not all gonna work with each other):
- Elves are spellcasters: Give 'em spellcasting as a 1st-level wizard on top of what they receive from classes (this stacks if they're a wizard, making an ECL 2 elf cast as well as a 2nd-level wizard). This has the added benefit of helping to balance out the LA downshift. Of course, it's most of a 1st-level class ability, which is arguably in and of itself worth a +1 to LA.
- Elves are guerrillas: Elves have Endurance and Run as bonus feats, and if they're not also spellcasters they don't take a penalty to Constitution.
- Elves are ninjas: Give 'em bonuses in the realm of +2 to +4 to all the movement-based skills, like Jump, Climb, Move Silently, Hide (or maybe just those skills, really). They're arboreal in fluff, let's help make 'em arboreal in fact.
- Elves are wise: They already have a bonus to Will saves, so a +2 bonus to Wisdom falls in line.
- Elves are beautiful: Bonuses to Gather Information and Diplomacy as well as a possible +2 to Charisma. Perhaps some sort of charm aura that works similar to the frightful presence mechanic; low enough save DC that PCs could ignore it, high enough that mere mortals could be bewitched by the fey.