D&D Beyond - Elves, Tieflings, and Magic

Head on over to the D&D Beyond website and you'll find several insightful new posts where Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford talk about the origins of Elves and Tieflings in the Dungeons & Dragons multiverse, as well as the differences between arcane and divine magic. These posts are arranged in such a way that you can either watch them as videos or read the text transcripts, so whichever way you prefer, if you like Dungeons & Dragons trivia and lore, you may want to check them out.

Here are the videos:

And here's a snippet from one of the transcripts:

Todd Kenreck: Most playable races in the D&D multiverse have often a very typical origin story when it comes to their god, but the elves in the D&D multiverse are utterly unique.

Mike Mearls: So, the elves occupy a very interesting position in the D&D multiverse. Other folk, dwarves, and orcs, and gnomes, and a lot of other, of the humanoid folk, were purposefully created by deities, who wanted to essentially create their mirrors and send them out into the world to spread their influence. Or, if someone like Moradin, he crafted the dwarves almost as a challenge to himself, could he make a folk?

That didn't happen with the elves. What people forget about the elves is while Corellon Larethian is their forbearer, he was not their creator. The elves arose when Gruumsh stabbed Corellon in battle, and Corellon bled, and where he bled, the elves arose. In some ways, the elves were created by accident. Corellon did not intend to make the elves. The elves arose. And so they have this very interesting place, that they're incredibly powerful because they are directly the children of a god, rather than the creation of a god, and that's an important thing.

Moradin is the father of the dwarves metaphorically. He created them. They say, "You are our creator. You are our father." Corellon is the forbearer of the elves. They sprang from his blood, and he's also, gender to him is just a whatever, right? It's just a label other people use depending on what form he's taking that day, or she, or him, or them, or whatever. So, to Corellon, this idea of parenthood and shepherding the elves is a little strange. That's why he's chaotic. He's chaotic but he's good. It's as if he loves the universe, he wants it to thrive because he finds it interesting, but he's also chaotic. He's not like Moradin who took his creation and then gave them, "Here's how to live, and I will help you, and I will create other deities to teach you things." Corellon just sort of set an example to them almost by accident.

And so this gives the elves a very distinct position cosmologically, that they're very powerful, very long-lived. They can master incredible magics but they've never had a D&D figure who is a parent to them, the way Moradin is to the dwarves, except for Lolth. Lolth, in some ways, you can think of Lolth as almost like the evil stepmother who ... She's evil and horrible but she, at least, gave us structure. She paid all the bills and told us what to do, and that's, to me, mythologically and cosmologically, is the root of the divide between Lolth and Corellon.