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Kaldorei - A Race Guide
#1
All right all right...I finally got "˜round to writing this. I put it off for a while because I was pretty certain some people weren't going to bother reading past the first few sentences, instead deciding to get defensive and say "But I'm not like that, I created my Night Elf because of a, b, or c!" This is not the definitive way that everyone should be playing Kaldorei. But I have had enough people ask me about the Council, and how to actually play characters that might be able to fit into such a group, I may as well write a guide about it.

Let each take from it what they like, but don't think I wrote it to point fingers at anyone in particular. If there's something here you can use, then go for it. Of course, there are exceptions to this, as there always are, but the exceptions should NOT be the rule. So many characters played in the exact opposite direction of a racial background stops bing unique.


I am not a huge WoW fan, believe it or not. I don't know the lore back to front, but when I started exploring the idea behind Night Elves, I fell in love with them. Their background history is amazing. Their abilities and their contributions to the world they live in, how much they've sacrificed and lost...the sheer amount of roleplay material there was staggering to me. This wasn't a race people would roll to be a "joke", or be "cute", there was so much there...

Boy, was I wrong.

I hear a lot of people say how much they hate the Kaldorei race and they refuse to play them. However, I've often asked them why, and the answer was invariably due to how other people were playing Night Elves; as cute cuddy eRP fodder in completely impossible species pairings. There's also this feeling that Night elves aren't "rugged" or manly enough, somehow effeminate, and in some way this will rub off on the extremely homo-phobic male in real life. Perceptions of what Kaldorei actually ARE is rather skewed with what people think they can force the race into being, solely so they can walk around in pretty pixels.

I've actually had people approach me wanting to play Kaldorei as "old school" as possible. It's rare to find, sadly, but if you ever want to dip a foot into playing Kaldorei as more than "a human with long ears", I hope this guide will help. This doesn't so much address history, which is easy to find, but more about what makes a Kaldorei, Kaldorei...what goes on inside their heads, which is what creates a character in the first place, in my opinion.

Kaldorei - Chaotic, not Evil
"Only the Goddess can forbid me anything, Furion!"
-Tyrande Whisperwind


It is safe to say the Night Elf race is NOT lawful good. Yes, that's weird to say, but it's true...they are a chaotic alignment in the main, possibly going into neutral, but "lawful" would be stretching it a bit. To be "lawful" anything requires a strict adherence to laws and codes of the land.. Do not think for a moment that they have a complicated system of laws and codes and Tribunals to keep them in line - they are a rather feral race with a strong tribal mentality. They do not have leaders so much as "guides", and you never quite know how they are going to react under stress. Tyrande killed Califax to free Illidan from his prison, why? Because she needed a strong power to defeat Arthas, and so she dared. Illidan became the first Demon Hunter the world had ever seen. Why? Because he needed power to defeat the Burning Legion, and so he dared. It must be remembered first and foremost that this is a race that will stop at nothing to protect themselves, to keep surviving, to save their world, even to the point of sacrificing their immortality. They've done it for thousands of years, and even though they continue to lose everything they hold dear, they're still standing, still fighting, still powerful, still connected to the world and see it as theirs first and foremost. They are the mother bears, the lion pack - they will kill to eat, kill to survive, kill to protect. It would be highly unwise to expect a Kaldorei to hold off from attacking someone solely by sneering about the wisdom of Kaldorei somehow making them less prone to violence - wisdom has nothing to do with it. They are not pacifists; even though Elune herself is considered an extreme pacifist, her priestesses certainly are not. If they perceive killing someone will save their world, they would never hesitate to destroy them.

However, on the other hand, for all their potentially volatile nature, Kaldorei seem incapable of evil. There are very few records in the history of Azeroth of a Kaldorei actively killing another Kaldorei; only Maiev and Tyrande have managed to do that, and there were NO repercussions either time as in the former case it was revenge and turned out to be a worthless victory, and in the latter believed to be for the good of the Kaldorei people - there was no trial, no punishment. This is difficult for people to grasp as we tend to think of Kaldorei as just long-lived, rather tall humans; they aren't. They're a completely different species, with a completely different moral code. No matter what Illidan's crimes were, he was never just put to death (for good or ill); he was merely imprisoned. And as bad as Illidan might have been, he never actively killed his own people with his own hand. To act against one's own people is a crime which is completely impossible for the Night Elf to understand - for a Night Elf to "become evil" would essentially make them no longer a Night Elf. So, it must be remembered when writing up the rather overused "tragic past" which somehow features an evil Night Elf, this is highly unlikely; even though the Kaldorei would probably merely banish and ostracise rather than kill such an aberration, it is a rare thing for it to exist at all.

This can also be said about a Night Elf who somehow "turns evil"; the magic abilities of Kaldorei are granted to them by either the Emerald Dream, or by Elune. There is nowhere else that such abilities come from without a tonne of rewriting. If playing a character that somehow "turns evil", is undead, or otherwise has gone so far from the typical Night Elf culture, there has to be a good reason for it; not to say it cannot be done, and done well, but any Kaldorei who veers so widely off the mark has stopped being a Night Elf in the first place, and as a result, the explanation should be more than a few scant sentences of "turning evil".

The Age Question - and playing it sensibly

"If pride gives us pause, my love, then perhaps we have lived long enough already."
-Malfurion Stormrage


Kaldorei are old; very old. So old it is difficult for people to comprehend, much less even play - especially if the players are rather young themselves. In order to play an older character, it requires being able to do more than merely be cantankerous. One must be able to look back upon their lives, the bitter, and the sweet, and feel that faint bit of "if only I'd done that instead". The elder Kaldorei are very set in their ways, and for good reason. Anyone under the age of 500 is still considered a teenager, but a teenager Kaldorei is NOT a teenager human. They are still very steeped in their ways and have been for some time. For a race as long lived as they are, 30 years are an eyeblink - in short, nowhere near enough time for a Kaldorei to go from the somewhat xenophobic secretive lot they are to a human slang-using, forest-irreverent rebel. This is the sort of thing which had to take centuries, in one way or another, or requires a pretty recent and elaborate stimulus to create so much change so quickly. Again, not to say it's impossible, but it takes work, and requires a fair bit of backstory.

Another common mistake people seem to make is by creating their very old Kaldorei who was "born in Aldrassil"; please remember Darnassus was a recently created island, only about 15 years old. It is VERY new. Most Night Elves would originally have lived in Ashenvale, Moonglade, or Winterspring, with a few pockets in other areas. It is important to understand not merely timeline, but PLACE-line when playing Kaldorei.

Being around a race so ancient, again, injects a bit more of that "foreign" feel; watching Peter Jackson's direction of elves in the Lord of the Rings can hint at this - they're eerie. They get written off as effeminate because for some reason long hair seems to translate that way, but if you watch the way these elves move, what they say, how little emotion they display...it comes across very quickly that these are NOT human. They don't think human, they don't act human, and a lot of it has to do with how many years behind them.

However, as happens with all races, the young tend to be fascinated with the new and different; they haven't seen it a thousand times before like their elders. So it is quite feasible for the young (five hundred, six hundred years young, for example), have decided to explore to see what was out there. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the Kaldorei were perfectly aware of other races...as the Tauren are also druids, it seems highly likely. However, again, keep in mind this race is very VERY old, and have made a lot of mistakes with magic and things which the younger races are only now starting to discover; and said younger races seem to think, as all generations do, that they somehow are infinitely wiser than the races who did the exact same things they're doing. History is a blueprint...and they forget that the Kaldorei ARE the history. It could be said as a result that Kaldorei xenophobia isn't a completely unreasoning racism, but more akin to a grandparent watching teenagers acting rather wild and young, wanting to tell them not to be due to their own experiences at a young age. Grandpa wasn't always Grandpa; at one point he was 22, maybe even in a gang - which were just as brutal back then - possibly worked the speakeasies, and was a fair bit of a hellraiser. In short, Gramps has been there. But the age gap prevents youth from listening, and the elders get tired of trying to get the whippersnappers to listen. As a result, the Kaldorei would rather stand in the background and watch, allowing the younger races to make their own stupid mistakes, and they'll only step in when necessary to keep them from destroying themselves or the world - much like a parent will do.

Kaldorei - about the sexes

"Long ago, I swore to protect this land, Furion. I never had the luxury of sleeping through times of great peril."
- Tyrande Whisperwind


It should be understood that recent classes and events are considerably different than how things have been for thousands of years in Night Elf history...and there hasn't been a whole lot of explanation as to why this is the case. The way Night Elf society was originally divided, male and female had equal power, and were equally dangerous in battle. However, it was the males who traditionally learned the ways of the forest and became druids, entering the Emerald Dream to sleep and learn from the Green Dragonflight. They have been required to do so for millennia. The women stayed behind and followed Elune, and also were incredible fighters in their own right, forming various groups like Sentinels and Wardens. The female Night Elf is therefore considerably military minded and has been awake through all the trials of the world, while the druids have been rather unaware of such troubles. If you can imagine the mentality of people who have been fighting for hundreds of years, alone with their husbands long gone - exactly. These women are tough, gritty, and have seen a lot of bloodshed and hardship.

As one might expect, there is a bit of a gulf between male and female Night Elves which is more than just "the lesbian angle"; the realms of experience are vastly different. No female night elf has even entered the Dream. The male druids are only awakened due to great trouble in the world, and as it stands there's plenty enough wrong in the Emerald Dream itself to warrant their attention in that regard. Wife has been separated from husband, brother from sister, daughter from father, for many many years...it's bound to cause some tensions. However, to the credit of the Kaldorei, it hasn't caused as much of a rift as one would think. This again might be due to the age of the Night Elves, in that even a thousand years isn't eternity, although it is still quite long indeed. There are hints that the druids do awaken to spend time with families, but again - this is just one in a long list of sacrifices which the Night Elves make to their world. It probably isn't a picnic to only see your husband awake once every hundred years.

As a result, I would hazard a guess that Night Elves are rather reserved in how they fall in love and form families, as they are all too aware at how little they may actually see their loved ones, and with sacrifices being as they are, it may be said loved ones fall all too soon. I cannot see Kaldorei going from one partner to the next at the drop of a hat, unless they are of the younger generations...and even then their actions are probably more to stem from desperation in the face of their mortality than anything else, and as such should be approached accordingly. Due to being separated for long periods of time, the Kaldorei seem exceedingly loyal and devoted to one another, though they do not approach marriage in conventional means; ceremonies are considered unnecessary - they know where their hearts lie. Kaldorei mate for life.

Now with recent events, there are male and female druids, warriors, hunters...the rogue faction has never been truly explained as recon work would have fallen to Outrunners and Druids of the Talon. It's difficult to understand how the Night Elves would be reacting to such changes, or even why they would have made them. There's several ways to argue it, however, and the first place to look to would be the server lore itself, and the great losses of life due to plague, as well as the activity of the Forsaken in killing druids in their sleep. It could be said due to the loss of mortality, the diminished population, the corruption of Darnassus, the Blood Elf contingent, and the opening of the portal to Outland all contributed to the training of any Night Elf willing to stand up. Fendrahl's own rather unorthodox approaches to the druidic way of life, as well as the trouble in the Emerald Dream itself, could be used to explain why there are male and female druids. In short, lore can be molded to fit, but it's worth taking certain things into context.


More than Humans with Long Ears

"Whatever I may be - whatever I may become in this world - know that I will always look out for you, Tyrande."
Illidan Stormrage



This is a very ancient race, perhaps one of the first in the world. They've seen their world nearly torn apart time and time again, and fought when no one else would. They have made so many mistakes, and lived so long that they are aware of just how easily it is to continue making them. They are not kind any more than nature is kind; they have fangs and somewhat brutish bodies, after all. While they have the experience of their years to guide them, it would be a mistake to think that "wisdom" has made them pacifists; if anything they are aware first hand of how badly things can go wrong, and as a result, they will do what they must to make things right if they are stirred to do so. It would be unwise to dismiss a Night Elf's wrath lightly. It would be unwise to assume a Kaldorei would rather save their own skin first and as a result will turn a blind eye to something they perceive is wrong. They won't; sacrifice is at the core of a Kaldorei's very being. When confronted with something they perceive must be stopped, they WILL stop it, and if it means dying in the process, then so be it...they've lived long enough.

However, it must be remembered that this is an entirely different species - not just a different race like High Elves and Blood Elves, which was a very recent splitting. We're talking hundreds of thousands of years. As a result, the idea of inter-species pairings happening within the past 30 year is preposterous. It happens with High Elves because high elves have been living with humans for so long, but it is just not possible with a race that has only surfaced to common knowledge in recent years. Surely, a Night Elf is aware of how incredibly short lived the other races are, and unlike Arwen from Lord of the Rings, they cannot choose to live only a further 40 years with a loved one. It would be difficult to imagine an entire generation of Night Elves turning their backs on their own culture to go be the husband or wife of a human. Considering how unique and strange it is considered even in our day for inter-racial relationships, even though our world has been aware of these other races for thousands of years, it stretches credibility that all this would go out the window after a mere 30 years. The sheer volume of such pairings would hint that the Kaldorei race is prone to extinction within a hundred years, being crossbred nearly out of existence. I would again stress if this is occuring due to people reading Lord of the Rings and thinking of Arwen and Aragorn, I would point out that in Middle Earth, such a pairing only happened twice in the history of the world...and it was a tragedy both times. In the first case, both died, in the second, Arwen left her children after Aragorn's death and died alone in the fading twilight of the forests. She wasn't even buried at her husband's side. So much for happy endings.

Furthermore, the utter removal of racial training in a mere 30 years is highly unlikely. A Night Elf has a deep-seated aversion to magic for obvious reasons, and a infinite hatred of the Legion. They certainly will not be pals with a Blood Elf warlock. Again, refer to the chaotic angle; it's more likely a Kaldorei is merely waiting for a reason to kill them, and they'll seize the opportunity. It is also unlikely that a Night Elf has suddenly decided they like the daytime more than night, that they don't give a toss about the forests, don't particularly care about exploitation of natural resources, and have forgiven orcs for the destruction of Cenarius or for just coming in and chopping down trees (and I've heard all the arguments about how "noble" orcs are - but a noble race would have ASKED first), nor are they about to be all friendly with Forsaken, who are responsible for the "severed druids" and poisoning of elves in Ashenvale. Whether these traits are blatant or kept inside the character's heart is up to the discretion of the player...but it is strongly suggested that they be there somewhere, or the Night Elf is no longer really a Night Elf at all. But no matter how far they deviate...there is still a small fragment of Kaldorei within. If they choose to bury it, then that's personal, NOT expected or even common.



As you might have guessed, the Kaldorei are rather a serious race to attempt to play, with a lot of facets which just don't seem to make it into rp. Instead, people seem to want to take the piss (and even the designers have done so by giving the Kaldorei the most irritating emotes ingame). However I still believe that is more to do with people's perceptions and "elf-hatin'", as it has very little to do with the Kaldorei history itself. Playing Kaldorei old-school is a rather challenging task to take on...but I'd certainly welcome more people willing to give it a go.

Ande'thoras-ethil. May your troubles be diminished.
Live your own life; you die your own death
[-] The following 6 users Like Maeven's post:
  • flammos200, raerae, McKnighter, Dilly, Beltharean, Rowgen
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#2
Great guide. Really great guide. This should really be moved to guides because it shows you put a lot of effort in. :)
[Image: Untitled-332.png]
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#3
Cheers m'dear...there's actually a tonne more than could be said here (re: genders themselves and roles thereto) but then it would make for one incredibly long guide. I'm probably going to add a bit about gender and social stuff though in a bit.
Live your own life; you die your own death
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#4
A very interesting article, especially the "Chaotic, Not Evil" part! :)
If I ever make a long-ear, i'll certainly keep these things in mind.
Hogral Coalbeard - Impulsive Explorer
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#5
Excellent guide!

Now I think I'll change personality of my Kaldorei a bit. To more chaotic. Yeah!

Keep up good work!
[Image: irontrooperx.png]
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#6
Great job on this, Maeven! Looks like you've got the race fairly nailed down in this guide. I think I'll use this in my RP despite it already being established, it's shown me some stuff I can really look at over again in my characters.
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#7
I'm glad folks are getting something out of it. I've just had the pleasure of re-reading over the Demon Hunter thread, where Nightfel paired up with Siv, the most unlikely Kal'Dorei you could ever possibly imagine. The character was so far removed from Night Elves you could barely tell what he was...but if you pushed just the right button, you could see Siv-that-Wasn't. Even in Siv, the Kal'Dorei remained.

Good times.
Live your own life; you die your own death
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#8
Even before this thread was published, I had been striving to make my RP on my night elves a bit more realistic for their being Kal'dorei, but this guide will definitely help me even more than I have been able to help myself so far, even if it just clarifies some of the things that I already know. It is quite well-written, I find.
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#9
Nice!


... Now I feel the presure...
All makt åt Tengil, vår befriare!

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#10
Yes, demmit *coughforsakenguidecough*
Live your own life; you die your own death
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#11
There's a few parts that I'd take with a grain of salt. The part about marital ways, for example. Queen Azshara told Tyrande (I forget the book, but it's one of the official stories) to "just take both brothers." This could've been out of her own eccentricity, or that Night Elves are indeed polyandrous in some instances - which still doesn't reflect slutting around as an ideal; it may have been a different setup during the caste system years. They may value some shape or form of monogamy in the non-caste years.

Who knows; even the creators don't know wtf.

I'd also like to stress the militaristic drive of female NE. One thing I really get edgy about are prissy female NE. I can't even see Kal'Dorei priestesses being remotely as limp wristed as some portray them. The society still has that matriarchal edge to it, and for a NE to get out there and act as innocent and naive as a human (unless she's trying to get something / trick someone, much to the sacrifice of her pride and acting crafty) is pretty silly.

I don't like to typecast roles, and people, no matter their race, have many facets, but yeah. This ain't the tiptoe through the tulips race.

Orcs are.
˜★Sketch Blog
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#12
TwilightDisciple Wrote:There's a few parts that I'd take with a grain of salt. The part about marital ways, for example. Queen Azshara told Tyrande (I forget the book, but it's one of the official stories) to "just take both brothers." This could've been out of her own eccentricity, or that Night Elves are indeed polyandrous in some instances - which still doesn't reflect slutting around as an ideal; it may have been a different setup during the caste system years. They may value some shape or form of monogamy in the non-caste years.
Azshara was Highborne however...which does make her considerably different to the "modern" Kal'Dorei, essentially a different race.

On the whole, I'm taking this from the fact that even though their men are sleeping in statis for hundreds of years, the women aren't just buggering off and finding other men. Nor are they off forming hot lesbian orgies, regardless of what people might wish to play to the contrary. That it happened to some extent, yes, agreed, but that it ALWAYS happened would mean the end of the species. Breeding has to happen sometimes, y0.

There are "grains" for everything - this is rather why I say there can be exceptions, HOWEVER, there better be a jolly good reason for them. Again, to take the example of Siv, who is so far from Kaldorei it is impossible to believe he even IS one; and yet, he has a real name, and a real history, and a real past which was nothing like the person he created himself over CENTURIES to be. It can be done...it has been done. And then, it's been done WELL. Or...not.

To my mind, when in doubt, go with the easier path until you get a bit more under the belt to stray a bit.


Quote: I'd also like to stress the militaristic drive of female NE. One thing I really get edgy about are prissy female NE. I can't even see Kal'Dorei priestesses being remotely as limp wristed as some portray them. The society still has that matriarchal edge to it, and for a NE to get out there and act as innocent and naive as a human (unless she's trying to get something / trick someone, much to the sacrifice of her pride and acting crafty) is pretty silly.

Agreed...greatly agreed. Playing a pacifist Night Elf has been done, but again, it must be understood, not even Elune's followers are pacifist; indeed, they're anything but, which might be why Elune has disappeared.
Live your own life; you die your own death
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#13
Maeven Wrote:Yes, demmit *coughforsakenguidecough*
Does this mean I have to make a guide to playing the bumbling alcoholic idiot?
[Image: desc_head_freemasons.jpg]

△Move along.△


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#14
There's no guide for that...only genius.
Live your own life; you die your own death
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#15
While I think this guide is wonderful, I would like to point out that...

Maeven Wrote:There is no record anywhere in the history of Azeroth of a Kaldorei actively killing another Kaldorei; only Maiv has managed to do that, and seems to regret it right afterward.

As you said, Tyrande did kill Califax in freeing Illidan. But, she also actively kill a good number of Wardens when she set Illidan free. While she has now expressed regret for setting him free, and presumably killing those Wardens, she didn't seem too depressed about it until after Illidan revealed his true motives.

I think this would support your assertion that Night Elves are willing to go to extreme lengths if it means the survival of their people or their world. But this should be expanded to the point of killing their own people if need be.

Maeven Wrote:And as bad as Illidan might have been, he never actively killed his own people with his own hand.

Illidan personally raided Kaldorei fishing villages on the Azshara coastline when he called upon the Naga. The WoWWiki article of Maeiv says...

WoWWiki Wrote:Finally, Maiev closed in on him in Queen Azshara's former provincial holdings, now on the coast of Kalimdor, where he had destroyed many fishing villages and left nothing but mutilated bodies and flaming footprints in his wake.

The particular level in the Night Elf Campaign in which you track Illidan down has flaming footprints in the fishing villages you find.

I don't think it's a safe conclusion to say that murdering one's own people is necessarily foreign to the Night Elves if it interferes with their own agendas or their belief in what would be the greater good for their race.

Still though, I loved your guide!
'O happy race of men
If Love who rules the sky
Could rule your hearts as well!' ~ Boethius
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