Full Guide to the Sun Elf Race in Dungeons and Dragons 5e

Last Updated on May 30, 2023

What Are Sun Elves in D&D 5e?

Sun elves are a subrace of elves in Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. Unlike other subraces such as Wood Elves or Drow, they don’t have their own distinct racial traits. Well, they do, but they aren’t unique in this.

If you’re familiar with the 5e races and are feeling a bit confused, you may recognize the High Elf subrace of elves a bit more. It’s in their description that we found the first mention of Sun Elves in the Forgotten Realms.

“As a high elf, you have a keen mind and a mastery of at least the basics of magic. In many of the worlds of D&D, there are two kinds of high elves. One type (which includes the gray elves and valley elves of Greyhawk, the Silvanesti of Dragonlance, and the sun elves of the Forgotten Realms) is haughty and reclusive, believing themselves to be superior to non-elves and even other elves. The other type (including the high elves of Greyhawk, the Qualinesti of Dragonlance, and the moon elves of the Forgotten Realms) are more common and more friendly, and often encountered among humans and other races.” – Player’s Handbook, pg. 23

So yeah, Sun Elves are just a subcategory of High Elves in the Forgotten Realms. Of course, that’s not all the information we’re going to give you. Come on; this is Black Citadel RPG after all.

The Sun Elves of the Forgotten Realms

If you want to be really cool (yes, by cool, we do mean nerdy), you can refer to Sun Elves by their elvish name Ar’Tel’Quessir (pronounced AHR-tell-kes-seer). You could also go with Gold Elves, but that’s more of a sarcastic title than anything else.

Sun Elves are the stereotypical haughty elves that see themselves as far better than any other race in Faerun and beyond. They believe themselves to be the chosen people of Corellon Larethian, the patron god of all elves. That’s right, they don’t just see themselves as better than other races, they see themselves as better than other elves, even other High Elves like the Moon Elves.

Of course, their pride isn’t poorly placed. Sun Elves are among the most impressive practitioners of magic in the Forgotten Realms with all of them having at the very least an innate understanding of “the Art.” 

Naturally, this fuels a culture that is based largely on magic. If you’ve ever played a Bladesinger Wizard, you have the Sun Elves to thank for mixing powerful magic, graceful dance, and skilled swordsmanship together into a fine tradition. 

Playing a Sun Elf in 5e

Luckily, if you chose to build a High Elf character with nothing other than a basic knowledge of uptight elves, you probably managed to play a pretty apt Sun Elf. It’s their sister subrace of the Moon Elves that go against the stereotypes.

Sun Elves ascribe to a principle of “elven excellence.” They see themselves as intrinsically better than others in all aspects of life. No matter how impressive someone else’s accomplishments might be, they’ll always claim to be better. Blaming the wind on a failed dexterity check is exactly the thing a Sun Elf might do.

Of course, they aren’t all bad. Their confidence can be incredibly helpful in situations where a bit of nobility and professionalism can go a long way. While they view themselves as above all else, they still maintain the ability to appreciate the finer things in life, so they might be prone to provide a compliment (however backhanded it may be) to someone who is well off.

Growth is probably one of the most exciting things a Sun Elf can do. We know Legolas fits more of the Wood Elf vibe, but the relationship between Gimli and him is a perfect representation of how a relationship with a Sun Elf and any other character might develop. 

After all, these are people with incredibly high values. They might be hard to impress, but when they are wowed, they might truly take a liking to someone.

Final Thoughts

If you thought Sun Elves were some sort of cool elves sent from the stars, we’re sorry. However, you might want to check out the Astral Elves introduced to 5e with Spelljammer. Otherwise, we hope you learned something about how to bring Sun Elves to life at your table. As always, happy adventuring.

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