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Elf, elf, elf... goose!

Proposed Canon

First Appearance: TBFGK 21

Elf Units

An elf is a humanoid unit. Most are the same size as men, but some are significantly taller. There are many different kinds of elf, each with a unique appearance and seemingly different abilities.

Varieties of Elf

Several varieties of elves exist. They were referred to as "elf brands" by Parson in his KlogTBFGK 79a. Here we refer to them as "tribes," though it is unclear whether they each represent one actual tribe or not. Ansom refers to them specifically as "varieties."TBFGK 21

Known varieties:

Elves in the Royal Crown Coalition

Eight varieties of elves served in the Coalition, each with its own responsibilities, which Ansom made clear in his first war councilTBFGK 21TBFGK 22. The Woodsy Elves and Shady elves were called on to provide archers, the Eager elves were to be sent in first in the final assault, followed by the Luckless elves and Schlemiel elves, while the Altruist elves and Lofty elves served as healers. The Superfluous elves were to be held as a reserve force.

  • It is unknown what function the Tardy elves were to fulfill, as they were ejected from the Coalition before Ansom delivered his battle plans.
  • The Bawdy elves were never involved. It may be that they weren't any around or that tribes were more appropriate for making love and not war.

Elf Organization

Elves are not a capital side - they have no capital, no cities, no royalsTBFGK 79a. They do, however, have their own treasury (or treasuries) and can form long semipermanent alliances. It is inferred that each tribe is a separate faction, though it is not clear if they act as several independent sides, one large side, or some cross between these. What is clear is that diplomatically speaking, each can be dealt with autonomously, as Prince Ansom dissolved the alliance with the Tardy elves without affecting the alliance with other tribes.TBFGK 8

Elves will not ally with any side that has Gobwins, Hobgobwins, Witches, or Daemons as allies.LIAB Prologue 24

The leader of all elves in an alliance is called the Chief of Elves.83


Each tribe, or brand, seems to have different abilities and skills (stats), in line with their tribal personality/nature, offering a varied military force to draw from.

Woodsy Elves are referred to as "forest-capable units"TBFGK 46a (apart from Gumps they are the only such unit in Royal Crown Coalition). This allows them to attack flying units in forest hexes. It is not clear whether that gives them any bonus in forest terrain or simply allows them to move in forest terrain at all. They seem to be archers. TBFGK 57TBFGK 59

Shady Elves also seem to be competent archers.

Lofty Elves and Altruist Elves seem to have an innate healing ability. TBFGK 22 The nature of this is unclear; as all units recover lost hits as their turn begins, it must be some sort of a) defensive bonus, b) gradual, real-time healing, c) minor healing between each sides' turns, or d) croak-prevention similar to but distinct from uncroaking and regeneration

Ansom's tactics also provide insight into some of the tribe's combat usefulness. Eager Elves were used as a shock force, with Luckless and Schlemiel elves thrown in as waves of cannon fodder. Superfluous elves were a reserve and the Tardy Elves were too slow to join the battle.

The monikers of the tribes are apparently indicative of the members: the Tardy elves run lateTBFGK 8, the Eager elves are raring to goTBFGK 21, the Superfluous elves are rarely neededTBFGK 22, the Altruist elves help other units, and so on.

There are some elven-looking casters in the Magic Kingdom, like Jintao. These could either be from races that are similar to elves, like Vampires, men that share signamancy, like Prince Albert or elves that are from capital side.

Real-World References

  • Shady elves dress in "goth" outfits,
  • Superfluous elves dress like "emos".
  • Also, some make jokes on their names: when Ansom tells the Lofty and Altruist elves to heal other units, a representative of one of the groups says, "What's in it for us? ... I'm kidding!"TBFGK 22 This could be from the Lofty Elves (whose name suggests nobility and superiority) or the Altruist Elves (whose name suggests concern for the welfare of others).
  • The absurdly high number of elf varieties in Erfworld could be poking fun at the tendency of fantasy fiction to split elves into different flavors given uncreative names like "high elves", "wood elves", or "dark elves".