House-Elf (5e Race)

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House-Elf[edit]

Dobby has no master. Dobby is a free elf!
—Dobby

Physical Description[edit]

DobbyDH.jpg
Dobby the house-elf

House-elves are humanoid creatures between two to three feet tall, with spindly arms and legs and over-sized heads and large eyes. Their torsos resemble thin, underdeveloped children. They have pointed, bat-like ears on the sides of their heads and high, squeaky voices, though some sound harsher and more guttural. Most share either a large or thin pointed nose. Rather than conventional clothing, house-elves wear discarded items like pillowcases and tea-towels from the houses of their masters.

History[edit]

These incredibly intelligent and magically adept creatures have existed longer than wizardkind, alongside the other magical creatures like dwarves, merpeople, and centaurs. What made them truly exceptional was their proficiency in magic even without some sort of focus to channel. The usage of a wand was necessary for wizards, and often a point of envy for goblins. These elves could apparate with ease whereas it normally took wizards many years to master that craft. It is believed that this power led wizards to ultimately fear elves. History is a bit murky as to how this was accomplished, but all of the house elves were bought under servitude of the wizards. Thus their troubles began.

Under their new rulers, the elves worked like slaves with little reprieve. They were heavily mistreated and any welfare laws passed held no enforcement. It is unknown exactly why the elves were so obedient despite this mistreatment. Perhaps they were all struck with some genetic charm that ensured the wizards supremacy. Whatever the cause, house elves have no will to rebel under their dismal circumstances and many consider their enslavement to be the most honorable kind of life, drawing ire from true elves.

Society[edit]

House-elves are often owned by older wizarding families who live in large houses as a symbol of status and wealth. They aren't usually considered a person and are similar to a slave or a servant at best. Due to this demeaning standing, little ear is ever given to their plight. Some house elves are the subject of extreme neglect, forced to live under boilers and even drink poison at the behest of their masters. They are given so little that even the smallest act of kindness or honor is all they can cling to. There is a tale of one wizarding house which stuffed the heads of all their past servants, and this the elves considered an honor. House elves also work outside residences within governmental buildings as well as education, serving as machinists, typists, tailors, cleaners and even cooks. They share lives as the lowest caste in the wizarding world, regarded only better than brutes like giants. However, this does not mean camaraderie in any sense. Most house elves find idle hands to be the worst sin, even more so than enslavement.

Personality[edit]

House elves vary in temperament a lot. Some have become crusty curmudgeons due to mistreatment, while others resiliently retained their sense of goodwill. They can range from being die-hard obedient, breaking down at the notion of being disowned by their masters, to being quiet schemers, searching constantly for loopholes in their masters commands to exploit. House elves are bound by some sort of magical oath which prevents them from disobeying any commands from their masters. They cannot, however, be compelled to kill themselves. Due to their dim prospects in life, many have given up any hope of freedom and live now only to serve. Many cling to their masters as a reason to live, or anyone who shows them even an ounce of mercy. They look with scorn upon the "lazy" ones who are freed and earn a paying wage and vehemently reject aid of concerned groups to free them. Perhaps deep down they are just jealous and hope that their master will one day grant them their own clothes, which will ensure their freedom.

House-Elf Names[edit]

Most known house-elves are given names by their master(s). They are often odd.

Male: Dobby, Kreacher, Hooky, Pitts

Female: Winky, Hokey, Irma, Dinky

House-Elf Traits[edit]

Mistreated fey of servitude
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and your Dexterity score increases by 1.
Age. House elves live up to 200 years.
Alignment. Most house-elves are good or neutral, but some can be chaotic based on who their master is or was.
Size. Most House-elves are between 2 and 3 feet tall. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Fey Ancestry. You have advantage in saving throws against being charmed, and magic cannot put you to sleep.
Servant's Know-How. As a being of servitude, you must prove your worth through knowledge of several chores and devices of the house. You are proficient with cook's utensils and one other tool of your choice.
Innately Magical. House elves have a wide repertoire of magic skills that make them good at a little bit of everything. Starting 1st level, you know the mage hand and prestidigitation cantrips. Starting 5th level, you can cast blink as a 3rd-level spell once, without material or vocal components. You must finish a long rest to regain use of this spell. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for this spell.
Nimble Fingers. House elves not only need to do the sewing, but they also carry out unsavory commands from their masters sometimes. You are proficient in the sleight of hand skill.
Languages. House-elves speak, read and write in Common, as well as one other language of their master family, which is chosen by your DM.

Optional Trait: Obedience[edit]

Talk to your DM about making a background for your house-elf character coming from a custom background of a servant to an illustrious family. If so, then your character is bound to the orders of that family and cannot act otherwise unless they find a loophole. If they choose to disobey or fail to carry out the order, they automatically take 1d4 force damage.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

Base
Height
Height
Modifier*
Base
Weight
Weight
Modifier**
2′ 5″ +1d12 45 lb. × (1d4) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)


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