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AD&D Conversions: The Elves

by Adamantyr

After playing some particularly well done games of AD&D, I've been considering running my Mystara campaign with those rules. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the OD&D rules mind you, I like them just fine. My real trouble is I'm the only one WITH the rules in my gaming group, so they're always borrowing my rules cyclopaedia and generally are never sure what's going on with this or that rule... (Rule #1 of playing OD&D.. get lots of copies of the Rules Cyclopaedia, if you can.)

Obviously, my first concern with AD&D is preventing munchkinism or the use of characters and kits that are clearly NOT Mystaran. (Psionics for example. Frankly, I wish they weren't in D&D at all.) It's every good DM's duty to make sure the players are aware of these limitations beforehand. Obviously, if I'm going to do a lot of work in this area as well, might as well share it with everyone else. (And get feedback, of course.) Please also note I am totally ignoring that document that was on the official FTP site. (Who would classify the Meditor clan as grey elves? Weak and frail? I don't think so...)

So, I figured I'd start with elves. My first thoughts are that the traditional 'subraces' from the CHB don't precisely fit. Mystaran Elves are not quite the "First Race" they are in other campaign settings. Elves seem to have two major branches of sorts in Mystara. (Please let me know if I missed anyone. And don't bring up Hollow World ones, thank you... Not going there for awhile):

Returnists: The Elves who followed Ilsundal, either directly or indirectly, to the north from their ancient homeland of Evergrun. This is by far the largest branch. This includes the elves of the Sylvan Realm and by extension Alfheim, the Callarii and Vyalia, The Shiye-Lawr, the Belcadiz and Erewan, the Meditor and the Verdier, and the elves of the Savage Coast.

Stranded: The Elves who were stranded following the Great Rain of Fire, and the later Cataclysm in the Broken Lands. These include Wendar and the Shadowelves.

In terms of statistical adjustment and physical differences, most of these races are likely the same. It would be far too easy to overdo things in terms of this, so likely I'd want to keep it fairly simple. My gut feeling is that most elves will be standard.(high in AD&D terminology) The elves of Alfheim seem more Sylvan than others, but they're not rustic or crude, so I'd likely make no adjustment there. The Vyalia clan may qualify as grey, but I can't be sure, not owning B10. (Any feedback here?) The Shadow, Wendar, Norwold, and Meditor elves would likely have slight physical differences, the former three due to extreme physical location changes, and the last due to their devotion to the sea. Likely the remaining differences between the clans could be rounded out through different proficiencies, class and kits, and so forth.