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Pathfinder 2e - The Elf Handbook

Last Updated: September 2nd, 2020

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
  • Green: Good options.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.

Introduction

Elf Racial Traits

  • Hit Points: The least hit points of any race, plus a racial Ability Flaw in Constitution.
  • Size: Medium. Medium and small size have few functional differences in Pathfinder 2e.
  • Speed: More speed than any of the other published races.
  • Ability Boosts: A Constitution flaw is hard on top of the Elf's poor racial hit points, and Dexterity+Intelligence doesn't cater to a lot of classes. Alchemist and Wizard are obvious choices, but if you want to play anything else I recommend using the Voluntary Flaw rules.
  • Languages: Racial language plus Common is standard.
  • Senses: Low-light vision.

Elf Heritages

  • Arctic Elf: Damage resistances are always great.
  • Cavern Elf: Low-light vision and Darkvision means that you can see comfortably in anything except magical darkness.
  • Seer Elf: If you plan to use Detect Magic extensively, you'll want proficiency in Arcana. If you're trained in Arcana, you can take the Arcane Sense feat. Arcane Sense doesn't heighten the spell, but that's probably fine.
  • Whisper Elf: Detecting hidden and invisible creautes is hard.
  • Woodland Elf: Too situational.

Elf Feats

Level 1

  • Ancestral Linguistics: For a Face character this can be a great asset. In many situations you can predict a language which you can rely upon for the day without the need to resort to magic.
  • Ancestral Longevity: With the exception of Lore, you'll rarely benefit from changing a trained skill on a daily basis.
  • Elven Aloofness: Too situational.
  • Elven Lore: Trained in three skills is great for one feat.
  • Elven Weapon Familiarity: This makes the Elven Curve Blade a simple weapon, making it an option for several classes which only get access to simple weapons. However, the elven curve blade is a weird weapon that I'm not entirely certain how to put to good use. It's also the only elf weapon.
  • Forlorn: Situational.
  • Know Your Own: Too situtional, and the effect isn't nearly good enough to justify a feat.
  • Nimble Elf: More speed never hurts, but 5 feet probably isn't worth a feat.
  • Otherworldly Magic: Cantrips are great, but since this doesn't specify an ability score it's Charisma-based, which is hard for elves.
  • Unwavering Mien: Situational.

Level 5

  • Ageless Patience: Using Seek during Exploration to look for traps, secret doors, etc. is common, and you typically have plenty of time to spend Seeking.
  • Ancestral Suspicion: Situational, but effects which control you (such as Dominate) can be incredibly lethal, so if you expect to face enemies who employ such options this is worth consideration.
  • Elven Weapon Elegance: Many critical specialization effects are excellent.
  • Martial Experience: Picking up random weapons that you're not proficient with is not something that you do in Pathfinder. Proficiency Bonuses are simply too important to use weapons several steps behind your maximum weapon proficiency just becuase you found a cool pointy stick lying on the ground.

Level 9

  • Elf Step: Step is a situational option by nature, and 5 ft. is typically enough to Step out of reach if you need to do so. The most likely use case for this feat is to Step around a creature to get into position to flank. That's a great trick, but you could also use one Action to Step out of the creature's reach (in order to avoid Reactions), then spend another Action to Stride to get wherever you need to be. 10 feet frequently won't get you into Flanking position anyway, so this feat saves you one Action sometimes when you need to get into position to Flank. You can also use it to get out of reach of creatures with long reach, but that's another situational use case.
  • Expert Longevity: A combination of a skill increase and the ability to retrain a skill every day. The wording of the feat is really confusing, so make sure you read this thoroughly and discuss its effects with your GM before you take it.
  • Otherworldly Acumen: A great way to gain access to magical options from other traditions if you're already a spellcaster, or to gain a useful magical option if you're not.
  • Tree Climber: Admittedly slow, but a climb speed is still a powerful tactical option.

Level 13

  • Avenge Ally: If you're a martial character who relies on Strikes (a fighter, etc.) and you have an ally who is prone to being knocked unconscious in combat (there are builds that are good at falling unconscious and not dying), you may be able to use this with reasonable frequency. Still, that's not an ideal option because it means that one of your allies may be out of the fight.
  • Elven Weapon Expertise: Classes limited to simple weapons can really benefit from access to bows, and this allows bows to keep pace with your other weapon proficiencies.
  • Universal Longevity: Great for abusing Lore, but I don't know what else you could reliably use this for.

Level 17

  • Magic Rider: Teleportation will likely be common by this level, but the effects of this feat are simply too small to justify such a high-level feat.