How to roleplay a night elf
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Night Elves are one of the most popular races available to players, for a variety of reasons. Their history, culture, and aesthetics have a broad appeal to the players, as either an ancient race of deep knowledge about the world and nature or ruthless beings with an unquenchable thirst for power. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword. It is all too easy to let a genuine, healthy admiration of the Night Elves go overboard, and by doing so disrupt the roleplaying experience for others. This guide is an attempt to point you in the right direction--remember, there are very few if any hard-and-fast rules for roleplaying.
As one would expect from their race's name of Night elves and Kaldorei, which means "Children of the Stars", Night Elves are nocturnal, generally sleeping during the daytime and waking at dusk or later. Just like with humans, there will be some Night Elves who break from this generalization--perhaps "morning dove" could mean the same thing as "night owl" does in the real world. An average night elf would be more likely to favor quieter, darker places, such as the shaded forests of Ashenvale or the tranquil glades within Teldrassil, and probably would not enjoy midday in Tanaris nor the frigid Northrend, so be sure to consider where your character happens to be located and when he or she is active.
Night Elven culture takes its association with Nature and the natural world very seriously. The two pillars that govern Night Elf society revolve around nature in one way or another: the Night Elf members of the Cenarion Circle and the Sisterhood of Elune. Officially, the Sisterhood is the government of Darnassus, but the Cenarion Circle holds a great deal of influence. Druids are deeply respected by all Darnassian Night Elves, and even many Highborne treat them with courtesy, so it is natural that they would join their sister (and recently, brother) Priests in positions of authority.
Night elves are also extremely long-lived, even without considering that they have been immortal for at least the past ten thousand years. Although it is difficult to guess at specific lifespans, a Night Elf is "middle aged" at about 2,000 years, and may be able to live to reach 20,000, and many individuals with power or authority are old enough, or nearly so, to remember the Great Sundering. The length of life among many night elves means that they frequently take a wider perspective on matters than younger, shorter-lived races. A few days spent thinking over a single decision may seem excessive for a human from Stormwind, but many Night Elves would think it perhaps too little time to truly consider all outcomes. At the same time, some, such as Archdruid Fandral Staghelm, are much less patient and are often called "rash" by their colleagues, so don't feel that every night elf must have infinite patience and prudent thinking.
Like every playable race on Azeroth, Night Elves are omnivorous. The conventional conept of elves is that they have a distaste for meat, preferring to eat purely vegetarian foods; fish and eggs are also fairly commonly eaten. This is not to say that they do not hunt--although they do not share the Tauren reverence for the Great Hunt, Night Elves are generally known for being excellent hunters. Furthermore, their reverence for nature compels them to waste as little as possible of any creature killed for food or materials. Judging from the daily cooking quest , some do enjoy the taste of meat.
Reverence of Elune is almost universal among Night Elves, partially because she has revealed herself to them on more than one occasion in living memory, but it is by no means universal. They may also hold belief in the raw forces of Nature, likely common among Druids; the Holy Light, imported after their recent contact with Stormwind humans; or the Dragon Aspects, though this would be more respect than worship. Some night elves may not even worship anything at all; they recognize the power in beings such as Elune, druid magics, and the Dragon Aspects, but might not see them as being worthy of religious belief per se. Do be aware, however, that any Night Elf that does not worship Elune may not be well-received among his or her peers: worship of Elune is by far the most common faith, to the point that the priesthood is their government, and refusing to worship Elune may be socially unacceptable. If you choose to play an 'agnostic,' 'atheist,' or any other non-traditional Night Elf, make sure to consider these points when writing and playing your character.
Class lore and Roleplay
Being adept with the wild, a night elf might choose this path to slay corrupted animals and befriend many others to seek their sacred journey to save nature. As night elves are skilled with archery, and are accustomed to tracking. Also, their affinity with nature allowed them to create bonds with beasts to aid them in battle and accompany you in your journey.
Due to the teachings of Cenarius you might have chosen a druid, wishing to protect nature and bond with nature, becoming a Savagekin or a druid of the many deities like Cenarius. You call nature to your aid, but also assist nature and probably feel pain when you see animals die or life get extinguished.
With an affinity for the shadows you chose to be a rogue. Whether you care not for nature, or wish to assist it from the dark, you tread this path unseen...unheard. From the shadows, you bring about nature's or Elune's might to your enemies. Your racial will also aid you to blend into the shadows.
As a priest you wield the great powers bestowed on you by nature or Elune. With Elune's light also comes her dark powers of 'night'. You heal nature and your allies, seeking a better way for many to see the wonders of Elune. You might preach to many others to give them an idea of her power.
In this field you might be a Highborne or one of the Night elves trained by them since the Cataclysm, your magic would likely be more superior to that of any other race. You see the true powers of the arcane and use them to any choice you wish, other elves might be wary and even spiteful of your control over the arcane which caused them suffering in the War of the Ancients.
A patient and long-lived night elf may find this path especially appealing. The pandaren have taught you how to wield chi, but it is up to you to decide how to use it, whether that be to fight on the battlefield in the name of Elune and the August Celestials, or to simply follow the philosophies of their martial arts in an effort to find inner peace.
You have learned all nature has taught you and wield feral power able to charge with the ferocity of a bear, or were trained to protect Teldrassil and other Night Elven lands, whatever the case. You bear a great strength and skill for combat and use this to your advantage, you might be viewed as a hero by many, if you dedicate your sheer skill to protect your people.
Like all sentient beings, each night elf will have a unique and individual personality. However, there are many trends that can be observed by looking at the night elves who appeared in Warcraft III, the official Warcraft novels, or while playing World of Warcraft. Night Elves, while wise, can be proud. They are often viewed by other races as haughty and supremacist. It will take a lot to anger a Night Elf, but once angered a Night Elf will hold on to a grudge for a long time. Some sources also list them as xenophobic, taking into account their limited contacts with other races until recent times.
Common personality traits, both before and after the Sundering, include:
- Intelligence – Many night elves have proven themselves adept at strategy, planning, study, and research, even when they come from the 'lower classes.' Malfurion himself was a commoner and yet considered a scholar.
- Pride – Arrogance led to the Sundering, and arrogance has made the night elves reluctant to seek help from 'lesser' races even when such help was desperately needed. At the same time, their pride is not always an evil thing, and they have many accomplishments and attributes that they should be proud to possess. Nonetheless, their arrogance and belittling of the rather shorter lived races can make relations with other races a bit strained.
- Tenacity – Time and again, the night elves have suffered terrible things, sometimes brought upon themselves and other times forced upon them, but they have always risen back up and pressed on. Even in the face of tragedy, they have persevered.
- Wildness – Having been connected to nature through their goddess, and her demigod son Cenarius, night elves treat nature with a deep reverence and respect. Although the Highborne often see nature and its creatures as tools rather than peers, they still admire the strength and knowledge that can be found in the natural world.
- Grace – Night elves infuse almost everything they do with aesthetic value. No one can deny that they work to make things both strong and beautiful, at least in their own eyes. Their bodies are also graceful and sculpted, and their long lives allow them many years to hone their physical appearance.