Thursday, May 28, 2009

Guide to Roleplaying a Night Elf character

Brought to you by Celegil and The Cenarion Guardians.

Night Elves, or Kaldorei, as they call themselves, are a difficult race to roleplay convincingly. Partly due to confusion with elves in other settings (Tolkien, D&D, etc.) and partly due to a slight lack of "official" information, there has been a lot of discussion about how they should be portrayed. They can seem, by turns, kind and peaceful, or racist and belligerent. Here, we have tried to distil our best ideas, to help you have more fun in playing this strange, mysterious, yet strangely compelling race.

Needless to add, this is our view, and our understanding of the lore. This guide is intended to help - if you want to do it differently, go ahead! It's your game too.

When creating your Kaldorei character, first, remember: she (or perhaps he) is not human. Gnomes and Dwarves can seem quite human-like in many ways, but Kaldorei are really different. This strangeness makes them difficult to play - difficult, but fascinating. Welcome to another world...


Chapter One: Outlook
Neutral / Identity Crisis

Chapter Two: Culture, Classes and Gender.
The Cenarion Circle
The Sisterhood of Elune
The Sentinels
Other roles

Chapter Three: Background and maturity

Chapter Four: Attitude towards other races
Other Elves

Chapter Five: Love between Night Elves

Chapter Six: History

Chapter Seven: Avoiding common mistakes

Closing remarks

1. Chapter One: Outlook



This may not seem the most obvious place to start, but with Kaldorei it's particularly important. Kaldorei society has faced enormous upheavals in the last decade; how your character has reacted and come to terms with this brave new world is fundamental to how she behaves. We can think of her outlook on a sliding scale from Traditional (1) to Adventurous (10). Your character may not fit perfectly anywhere on this scale, but it's a good place to start.


These Night Elves stay very close to their heritage. They live in Ashenvale Forest and other parts of northern Kalimdor, in close communion with nature. They are highly suspicious of all other humanoids, even friendly and respectful races such as humans.

We can think of a traditional Kaldorei as a Guardian of the Forest, who has devoted their life to defending "the Balance" - i.e., the iron law and supremacy of Nature as Kaldorei understand it. He or she will spend most of their time in the forest: Druids will spend their time communing with Nature, and perhaps healing Her wounds where they can; a Warrior, Rogue or Hunter will spend more time hunting, or creeping around on the lookout for intruders, such as Orcs. Priestesses will focus more on serving their people, and their goddess Elune. Some traditional Kaldorei see the new World Tree, Teldrassil, as a crime against nature; others, more selfishly, might hope for a return of their lost immortality. Most traditional Kaldorei can be brutally violent, and are habitually feral, as well as unswervingly loyal to their superiors.

Traditional Kaldorei will typically show open, even violent hostility to warlocks, and probably to mages too. Death Knights, in particular "Night Elf" Death Knights (from a traditional point of view these are not really Kaldorei at all), would generally be seen as a hateful and horrifying abomination; even allowing one to exist would be regarded as the most horrible kind of treason against the Balance.

The vast majority of Kaldorei probably fall near this end of the spectrum. In the aftermath of the Third War, Kaldorei are having to come to terms with whole continents and races previously unknown to their culture; in the long term this will transform their society, but the majority may not yet have fully realised the implications of these very recent events. However, most players' characters will be at least a little adventurous. If you choose to play a relatively traditional (i.e. typical) Night Elf, you will have to figure out why she started travelling so widely, and how you intend to deal with the mages, warlocks and Death Knights you meet on the road. Choose carefully! Roleplaying with a total sourpuss isn't much fun, no matter how "in-character" the unfriendliness may be.

Neutral / Identity Crisis

These Night Elves were raised in the traditional and highly conservative Kaldorei culture, but have seen the new world (the Eastern Kingdoms), and have begun to call some aspects of their heritage into question. They are not entirely traditional, but hesitate to break away from their native culture entirely. Unfortunately, traditional Kaldorei will consider them to be betrayers of their culture, while their more adventurous kin will nonetheless find them uncomfortably traditional. Typical examples are the emissaries in Stormwind and Ironforge, and Kaldorei sent to the Eastern Kingdoms by their leadership in Darnassus.

Neutral Kaldorei are mainly observers, who try to learn more about the younger races. They are generally friendly but clumsy in cities like Stormwind and Ironforge, which they may find fascinating, but very strange and uncomfortable. They are undergoing a culture shock that might either cause them to flee back to Ashenvale, or break away from their heritage and embrace the younger races and their technology.

Neutral Kaldorei may not be sure enough of their prejudices to show open hostility to warlocks, mages or Death Knights, but will probably feel very uncomfortable in their presence, at least at first. Imagine meeting your sister's mass-murderer boyfriend at a family dinner, or picture a young white person from a very racist family at a black church.


These Kaldorei have broken with their traditional heritage. These are free spirits who act upon their own judgement rather than following the rules set by their old culture. They respect the other races and share their knowledge with anyone willing to show them respect in turn. These Kaldorei are travellers who happily explore the new world, gaining fresh insights into the combined history of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Typical examples are Kaldorei that work for the Argent Dawn and Sentinels who have gone to work for themselves.

As the saying goes, you can take the Elf out of the night, but you can't take the Night out of the Elf. However decisively they may have broken with their kin, Kaldorei are still Kaldorei. Some have accepted Human and Dwarven technology in their way of life, and even carry guns instead of bows. Most nonetheless still worship Elune, although they may not consider the religion of The Light to be significantly different from their own.

Adventurous Kaldorei offer broader possibilities for roleplaying, but should still be clearly distinguished from humans. Some may be very kind to other races, and strive for peace and harmony within the Alliance, or even beyond. Others, for whom the break with their traditional culture left a damaged or depraved psyche, may become bandits or even Twilight cultists, thirsty for gold and power to afford the new technology they have found.

Before shuddering in disgust at the Night Elf maiden dancing on the postbox in her underwear, think about this for a minute. Kaldorei culture is ancient, profound and extremely conservative; making a clean break from that background would be psychologically difficult even for the most headstrong and self-confident Night Elf. Some presumably adapt well, and become well-adjusted, non-traditional Night Elves. Others may lose their way, and fall victim to insanity, mental illness, drug addiction, or who-knows-what other Kaldorei depravities. Remember this, then shudder in disgust in-character, for the right reason.

2. Chapter Two: Culture, Classes and Gender

The Kaldorei believe they were created by their deity Elune, the Moon goddess, to defend the world from evil. Their culture is probably the oldest surviving indigenous culture in Azeroth. It was largely remade after the War of the Ancients, going from a Human-like polity, back to a more Nature-oriented culture. Kaldorei society is mainly matriarchal, with High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind leading both the Sisterhood of Elune and the Kaldorei army, the Sentinels. 

Politically, Kaldorei society is essentially a dictatorship led by Tyrande, in consultation with her surrogate daughter, General Shandris Feathermoon of the Sentinels, and the other high-ranking Sisters of Elune. The third major power is the Arch Druid, who is leader of the Cenarion Circle; while the Circle has no official place in Night Elf government, Tyrande would find it very difficult to act without their support. This was no problem while Tyrande's lover Malfurion Stormrage was Arch Druid, but with Stormrage lost in the Emerald Dream, the current Arch Druid is Fandral Staghelm, hero of the War of the Shifting Sands. Staghelm is a notorious Kaldorei supremacist, which makes relations between him and Tyrande tense at best. 

Gender seems fairly unimportant to Night Elves. Some roles are gender-biased: women tend to be warriors and priestesses, whereas men tend to be druids and crafters; but neither sex is considered "weaker" or less valuable. This attitude would probably extend to non-elves. 

The Cenarion Circle 

The Cenarion Circle is a druidic order formed by the Kaldorei disciples of the demigod Cenarius, child of Elune, who introduced the Kaldorei to the Druidic path. The leader of the Cenarion Circle is Arch-Druid Fandral Staghelm, who is rumoured to be engaged in a secret political struggle against Tyrande. Staghelm is also quietly at odds with Keeper Remulos, son of Cenarius, who recently advised accepting Tauren into the Cenarion Circle. Presently any race can enjoy friendly relations with the Circle, if they serve the natural order the Druids uphold. 

Druids of the Circle may be very caring, like Malfurion Stormrage, or self-obsessed and supremacist, like Fandral Staghelm. All are devoted to the Balance and the service of nature. The majority still spend all their time asleep in the Emerald Dream, but after being called to fight at Mount Hyjal, more and more druids have begun to move through the waking world as well. Druids are more a part of nature than the Sentinels, who simply defend it; they heal wounded lands with their powers, helping the forests to grow and the creatures that live in them to prosper. They mostly wear leather garments made of animal skins. 

Traditionally, most Druids have been male. Blizzard's current lore stance in the Warcraft Encylopedia is that until the end of the Third War, all druids in the Cenarion Circle were men, and almost all were night elves. Women druids and druids from other races are not necessarily a recent development, but until the war, such druids were relatively rare and often had no affiliation with the Cenarion Circle. 

The Sisterhood of Elune 

The Sisterhood of Elune serve as religious leaders, administrators, healers, and teachers, all rolled into one organisation of Priestesses devoted to serving the Kaldorei people and the will of Elune. They are granted seemingly miraculous healing powers, and trained to think before acting, so they are considered wise by many. Although Elune herself is known as a peace-loving, non-violent deity, the Sisters will resort to violence when they deem it necessary; some have also received training as Sentinels. Their traditional garment is a robe showing a symbol of the Moon. The Sisterhood is led by women, and is of course overwhelmingly female, but Kaldorei men can also be admitted. 

The Sentinels 

The Sentinels are a military order, who defend Kaldorei lands and keep the peace. If your character is a Rogue, Warrior or Hunter, she is likely to be a Sentinel, or to have served as a Sentinel at some point. They are a low-tech army in comparison with Humans and Dwarves, but nonetheless highly effective, relying on the cover of night and the forest to kill their enemies. They normally carry a bow and a close-combat weapon - traditionally, a Moonglaive. They could be imagined as the unfriendly, judgemental counterparts of their more thoughtful and caring Priestess sisters. Sentinels are quick to judge, quick to act, unfriendly to outsiders, and ruthlessly hostile to those who defile the forests they guard. They are grimly determined, strong and agile, trained to survive in the forest indefinitely, and can move unseen and unheard through the forest at great speed, often leaping from tree to tree without ever touching the ground. Sentinels' clothing depends on their status; low-ranking Sentinels will wear the Sentinel Headdress combined with clothing made of feathers, leather or mail, whereas higher ranks may wear plate armor and will possess their own Nightsaber. 

In lore and in World of Warcraft, Sentinels are always portrayed as female, but in principle it may be possible for male Kaldorei to serve as Sentinels too. For example, Jarod Shadowsong could have become a Sentinel. 

Other roles 

A significant number of Kaldorei of both genders take other roles in society. Females are frequently seen in World of Warcraft as innkeepers; males are seen as home-makers, or caring for sick children; both genders can be found as traders and craftspeople. These are less obvious choices for player characters, but if your character is a Warrior, Hunter or Rogue, he or she may live as a craftsperson rather than serving as a Sentinel, and see their weapon skills as a last resort for emergencies rather than a chosen profession. This is a particularly natural choice for male Kaldorei of these classes. Priests and Druids of either gender might also have resigned or been expelled from their order, and gone on to live a relatively simple life among ordinary Kaldorei. 

More adventurous characters may not fit well into any of the categories mentioned above; they may have entirely departed from Kaldorei society, and be integrated with other races, or live freebooting lifestyles of their own devising. Nonetheless, they may have fulfilled one of these roles at some time in their lives, and their parents probably belonged to one or another of these groups. 

Night Elf Death Knights as player characters are beyond the scope of this article. Normally, the only honourable choice for a Kaldorei who finds themselves transformed into a Death Knight would be suicide. Any other decision would put them far beyond the pale of Kaldorei culture; in any case, they would no longer be regarded as Kaldorei by their former kin. As such, any "Night Elf" Death Knight would probably be depraved, or mad, or still in the service of the Lich King - or possibly, committed to "one last mission" in the service of Elune before going to their final rest.

3. Chapter Three: Background and maturity

Night Elves were once immortal, but became mortal again 5-8 years ago when Nordrassil was destroyed in the Battle of Mount Hyjal. No Kaldorei knows for sure how long they will now live, but presumably they can expect a "normal" Kaldorei lifespan. In lore, Blizzard's current official stance is that all elves are now mortal and live for "thousands of years". 

Most Kaldorei are therefore very old. Unless your character is under-age, she will be at least 110 years old, and may have lived for several thousand years. Roleplaying this is particularly difficult; the older she is, the less it will work to just pick a number. Trying to imagine how she has spent her life, what she has learned, and what joys or traumas she may have suffered, is essential to the process of discovering how she may think and behave. Above all, remember that a 110-year-old Kaldorei is not equivalent to an 18-year-old human, in any way whatsoever. 

There is virtually no information in lore about Kaldorei childhood. All we have as certain is the story of Shandris Feathermoon and her "presumed" relationship with Jarod Shadowsong at the age of sixteen. This is clear evidence that Kaldorei grow up physically at the same rate as humans, so a 20-year-old Kaldorei is physically capable of leaving home and travelling the world, in theory. However, physically mature is not the same as adult. Two different lore sources suggest that Kaldorei reach adulthood at 300, or 110 years. If they live thousands of years, both are reasonable: the difference is minimal compared to their "normal" lifespan. We can imagine, for example, that 110 years might be the age of "legal" maturity, where children could expect to leave home and live independently, and 300 may be the age of "full" maturity and acceptance in Kaldorei society as a respectable adult and professional. Or that the exact age varies, and the difference marks how long different individuals may take acquiring the knowledge and mental maturity it takes for Kaldorei to be considered adult. 

The lore takes us no further, so turning to speculation for a moment: the first 110 years of a Kaldorei life are presumably nothing like the first 18 years of a human life. We can imagine a typical young Kaldorei learning everything that is known about their history, reading practically all classical Kaldorei literature, and learning several ancient languages, just in the course of their "basic" education. On the practical side, every normal Kaldorei may have spent days watching a single plant, and weeks watching a single animal, just to understand them better; they may know every tree in their homeland from the feel of its bark, and be able to run blindfold from one edge of the forest to another without missing a step. The youngest Priestess has probably spent decades studying the wisdom of Elune, and may well know all the classical texts from memory; a Sentinel has perhaps spent three years perfecting the fourteen counter-attacks and twelve retrograde defenses to the Leaf-Brushes-Stone occluded feint; a Druid could know every large mammal and many of the birds in Ashenvale forest individually, and have spent so many years listening to the trees that he has begun to understand their language. And here's the really strange part: for Kaldorei, anyone who has not yet learned these things is still a child. Such an education may seem almost mythical to mere humans, but Kaldorei take it for granted. 

As for older Night Elves: it is impossible for us to truly imagine living for thousands of years. The older your character is, the more alien she will seem to humans like ourselves. Playing a millenia-old Kaldorei is a challenge for the truly brave (or the truly foolish) among roleplayers. For these characters, studying the lore and composing a believable personal history - even if you never explain it to anyone else - are essential. 

Regarding origins, the classic newbie mistake is to say "I'm from Darnassus." This implies being no more than eight years old! The same applies for anywhere in the Eastern Kingdoms. The "obvious" choice of homeland for Kaldorei is Ashenvale; Astranaar was the largest Kaldorei settlement until the creation of Teldrassil. Darkshore (probably Auberdine), Moonglade, and Winterspring are also possible birthplaces for relatively young Kaldorei. There are other possibilities, especially for older characters, such as Silithus, Feralas, the Azuremyst isles, Azshara and Felwood, but for these it's best to study the lore thoroughly before creating a character.

4. Chapter Four: Attitude towards other races

Night Elves mostly think they are superior to the other races; the most traditional characters will be downright racist. Neutral and adventurous types may (or may not) treat the other races with more respect. They have seen that other races are in some respects almost equal to, or even sometimes more advanced than the Kaldorei. Precise attitudes will vary depending on the race in question. 

Kaldorei consider humans to be a very promising race, but at the same time are very cautious towards this very youthful and impatient culture. The Kaldorei have seen the destruction one human can inflict on an entire kingdom. Furthermore, some Humans are very racist towards Night Elves, themselves calling them "freaky purple Elves" in the words of one human in Honor Hold. Some Kaldorei are more comfortable with humans, especially the more adventurous types; the most adventurous Kaldorei may even feel more comfortable among humans than in their own culture. Traditional Kaldorei, on the other hand, may sometimes dismiss all humans as mere infants. 

Kaldorei have a strange love-hate relationship with Dwarves. Night Elves respect Dwarves for the fact they are the only other indigenous Alliance race that can reach an age at which Kaldorei would consider them to be properly adult. Dwarves also show great interest in studying their own history, which the Night Elves like because they do it themselves. But on the other hand, Kaldorei are likely to despise Dwarvish drink-till-you-drop tendencies. Traditional Kaldorei will rarely have any contact with Dwarves, since they are unlikely to travel to the Eastern Kingdoms. Adventurous or neutral Kaldorei will probably treat them with respect, at least when they're relatively sober. 

Night Elves generally don't like Gnomes. Only the most adventurous Kaldorei will appreciate some of their technology. Others will generally find Gnomes flighty and excitable, and regard the equipment Gnomes construct as destructive and unnatural. 

Of all the races, Night Elves have the most in common with the Draenei. While their knowledge of the Draenei is limited, the Kaldorei appreciate the peaceful and positive aspects of Draenei culture, although they may be irritated by the Draenei tendency to think the best of others. Both races were decimated by reckless use of magic calling demons onto them: the main difference is that the Draenei continue to embrace magic, and have the active protection of the Naaru, while the Kaldorei fought off the demons and renounced magic, and do not have direct personal contact with the powers that rescued them. Adventurous Night Elves are likely to find the common ground appealing. Traditionalists may respect the Draenei for the same reason, but may also disdain their failure to save themselves or their continuing use of magic, revile the Draenei for their physical similarity to the now-demonic Eredar, or simply mistrust them on principle because they are not Kaldorei. 

Other Elves 
Night Elves generally hate High Elves and Blood Elves. The Kaldorei were looked down on during the time of Queen Azshara, because the Quel’dorei (the nobility, or Highborne, ancestors of the High and Blood Elves) were considered a higher caste. From the Kaldorei's point of view, the Highborne invited demons into the world, realised they had screwed up because of their greed for magic, and yet still to this day their descendants refuse to give up magic, though magic is obviously to blame for everything bad that's happened over the last 10,000 years. Even worse, Blood Elves condone warlocks and actively subsist off demonic magic, actually celebrating their crimes.

5. Chapter Five: Love between Night Elves

This tricky topic lies firmly in the realm of speculation; there is little direct information in the lore, so these ideas are extrapolated from what is known of Kaldorei culture. 

As we know, Night Elves live for a very long time. As such, they are probably very careful in who they choose as their partner. Furthermore, many male Kaldorei are Druids, and spend a lot of time in the Emerald Dream. Most Kaldorei couples may therefore have "living apart together" relationships, only meeting once every few days, months or even years. The classic example of this is the relationship between Tyrande and Malfurion - Tyrande waited for her love for over seven thousand years. 

Of course, sooner or later couples will want to express their love, and possibly make little Kaldorei. Pregnancy is presumably rather rare, since the Kaldorei population has remained fairly small, but virginity appears to be quite unusual according to the lore. As such, we can imagine that Night Elves consider it a blessing of Elune to become pregnant, and treat lovemaking as a joyful ritual. They might approach lovemaking in a spirit of light-heartedness and fun, but would probably also take it very seriously as a moment of intimate connection between two individuals. Perhaps making love is a way for a Kaldorei couple to show their mutual love to Elune, so that she might bless the couple with a pregnancy. 

Players often suggest that if the druids are away in the Emerald Dream most of the time, the lack of men would prompt female Night Elves to commonly form intimate relationships together. The lore does not specifically state this never happens, but offers practically nothing to support this oddly popular idea. Close and deep friendships are certainly likely under conditions of hardship - Tyrande and Shandris have such a friendship. Such relationships becoming physical is a point no game rated PG-13 will ever touch on directly, so neither Blizzard nor this guide will give a final word on the matter. 

There is, however, a female Night Elf NPC in Dragonblight, who occasionally flutters her eyelashes at another female Night Elf. This suggests that though there is no evidence of same-sex lovers being common among Kaldorei, Blizzard has not deemed it impossible.

6. Chapter Six: History

A crash-course in Night Elf history, courtesy of the Cenarion Guardians. Blizzard has revised the timeline of recent events repeatedly, so all events after WarCraft 3 are inconclusively timed. For some of the variations, check WoWwiki: 

Origins. A humanoid species settled near the Well of Eternity and evolved into Elves. They built a great, caste-divided civilisation -- Queen Azshara and her amber-eyed Highbourne (Quel'dorei) aristocracy who were all users of Arcane magic, and the priestesses of Elune and the druidic diciples of Cenarius, who were not. 

10000 years ago -- The War of the Ancients. The Highbourne used the Well's magic with reckless abandon, drawing the attention of Sargeras and his demons. War erupted between the Quel'dorei, who in their arrogance believed the demons' promises of power, and the non-magic using factions of Kaldorei. 

10000 years ago -- Deathwing. Neltharion Earthwarder, the Black Dragon Aspect with domain over earth and deep places, was driven insane by the Old Gods. Neltharion became Deathwing, and tried to turn the world into a lava wasteland. Deathwing was eventually defeated by the other three Dragonflights and the Kaldorei, already allied with the Green Flight -- but he had already all but annihilated the Blue Flight. Both Deathwing and Malygos of the Blue Flight vanished, to sleep off defeat or grief respectively. 

10000 years ago -- The Sundering. The Highbourne's use of magic accidentally drew demons into the world and cracked the one continent into three, creating the Maelstrom in between. Azshara and her court drowned, but didn't die; instead they became naga, and would remain hidden for thousands of years to come. This effectively ended the War of the Ancients. 

9000 years ago -- The Birth of Nordrassil. The remaining three Dragonflights grew the world tree, Nordrassil, over the Well of Eternity to protect it, and named Night Elves its guardians. The dragons' blessing on Nordrassil gave the Night Elves immortality and immunity to disease. 

7300 years ago -- Exile of the Highbourne. The Highbourne are driven from Kalimdor after refusing to give up their dangerous magics. In exile on the new continent they change physically, becoming High Elves. Because they had become addicted to the Well's magical energies, they stole a vial of water from it and used it to create the Sunwell in their new kingdom Quel'thalas. There is hate and distrust between Night Elves and Highbourne descendants (Quel'dorei and Sin'dorei) because of this. 

7000 years ago -- The Long Vigil. The druids, led by Malfurion Stormrage, go into hibernation to renew their link with Nature and help the Green Dragon Aspect, Ysera, protect the Emerald Dream. Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind, leader of the Sisterhood of Elune, reforms the remaining Kaldorei armies into the Sentinels, who protect the Night Elves and the Barrow Dens where the druids sleep. 

1000 years ago -- War of the Shifting Sands. The Old God C'Thun and the Qiraji hordes try to take over Kalimdor, but are fought by Kaldorei armies under the very succesful command of Druid of the Wild Fandral Staghelm. The Qiraji capture and murder Staghelm's son, and almost succeed in breaking the Night Elves' resistance. However, as the Caverns of Time fall under threat, the Bronze Dragons calls the Dragonflights (Red, Green and Bronze) to battle and the Qiraji are driven behind the Scarab Wall. Rumor has it that Staghelm still blames the dragons for the loss of his son. 

5 - 8 years ago (WarCraft III, exact timing inconclusive) -- Rise of the Orcs. Orcs of the Warsong clan begin harvesting lumber in Ashenvale, near the Druids' resting place. Hostilities escalate and lead to the death of the demigod Cenarius at the hands of orcs, which few Night Elves are ever likely to forgive. 

5 - 8 years ago (WarCraft III, exact timing inconclusive) -- The Druids Return; Battle of Mount Hyjal. The Burning Legion attacks Night Elf lands, forcing them to reveal themselves to the younger races and join the Alliance. The Druids are called out of the Emerald Dream to fight in a final battle. On mount Hyjal, the Night Elves sacrifice Nordrassil and their immortality to defeat the Burning Legion captain Archimonde. 

~5 years ago (Before World of Warcraft, timing inconclusive) -- The Creation of Teldrassil. Shortly after the battle of Mount Hyjal, Arch Druid Malfurion Stormrage went missing. In his absence Fandral Staghelm took over as Arch Druid, and led the creation of a new World Tree, Teldrassil, where the city of Darnassus was soon built. Without the Dragons' blessing, however, Teldrassil is growing crooked and corrupt. It has not restored immortality to the Night Elves, as Staghelm hoped. 

1-2 years ago (The Burning Crusade, timing inconclusive) -- The Dark Portal opens. Old scores can at last be settled. War in Outland with the Burning Legion and its lackeys, Kael'thas Sunstrider and Illidan the Betrayer. 

Recent (Wrath of the Lich King) -- Invasion of Northrend, a new war among Dragons. An invasion by the Lich King's armies is repelled and forces the Alliance to take the war against him to Northrend. At the same time, the Blue Dragonflight's master Malygos, lord of all magic, wakes in an insane rage swearing to destroy all who use magic. All other Dragonflights, including those Black Dragons who are still sane, join forces against Malygos. For the first time since the War of the Ancients, there is war among dragons; many Kaldorei feel honour-bound to help, as they did against Deathwing.

7. Chapter Seven: Avoiding common mistakes

Most players pick up their lore as they play the game, so certain beginner mistakes in backgrounds are unavoidable. This handy list will let you avoid most of them: 

- Born in Darnassus, or elsewhere in Teldrassil. The new world tree was created by order of Archdruid Fandral Staghelm after the events of Warcraft III. This is 5-8 years ago, which is impossibly young for a RP character. The "obvious" choice of homeland for Kaldorei is Ashenvale; Astranaar was the largest Kaldorei settlement until the creation of Teldrassil. Darkshore (probably Auberdine), Moonglade, and Winterspring are also possible birthplaces for relatively young Kaldorei. There are other possibilities, especially for older characters, such as Silithus, Feralas, the Azuremyst isles, Azshara and Felwood, but for these it's best to study the lore thoroughly before creating a character. Mount Hyjal as a place of birth should be avoided - this is the Kaldorei equivalent of being born in the Vatican. 

- Raised in an orphanage/by evil step parents. Kaldorei children are raised communally, in peer groups of other children in the settlement born at the same age. The tradition of calling other elves sister/brother is because this is how most Kaldorei come to see the other children they are raised with. In this environment, an orphaned child would not lack parents willing to take them in, and systematic child abuse is extremely unlikely. 

- Being a lady/lord/other noble title. Night Elves have not had an aristocracy since the Sundering 10,000 years ago, and they are ashamed of having had one at all, as their nobility was responsible for allowing demons to find Azeroth. For that crime, the Elven nobility were either forced to give up arcane magic (the only magic Kaldorei use is druidic), or driven into exile. The exiled Highborne kept their name - Quel'dorei - and were the ancestors of the High Elves, most of whom now call themselves Blood Elves (Sin'dorei). All Night Elf titles of respect are related to the person's job, and earned personally by hard work, never inherited. 

- Half-elves. Kaldorei are notoriously xenophobic, and until recently were very unlikely to even meet other races, let alone have their kids. It's possible that a Kaldorei could have a Highborne parent, who was either exiled after the character was conceived or gave up magic and stayed with the Kaldorei. It's also possible to imagine a mix of human and Quel'dorei. However, human-Kaldorei hybrids have only become possible since the events of WarCraft III. This would make your character no more than eight years old. 

- Raised by/closely related to/mentored by Tyrande/Maiev/Shandris/Malfurion/Illidan/Remulos/Cenarius/other major lore name. This is the Kaldorei equivalent of being the daughter of Arthas or the lovechild of Jaina and Thrall - heck, some of these characters are outright gods. Using lore characters as close relatives or friends is considered presumptuous, self-important, and generally bad RP. Kaldorei live long lives, so it's quite possible that your character knows one or more of these individuals, and may even have worked with or for them. However, as a general rule of thumb, do not create relationships between your character and important NPCs that imply the NPC will be on your side in an argument with another Kaldorei. 

- Being a dragonslayer. Most Kaldorei revere dragons as aspects of nature: they are the allies and benefactors of elvenkind, and the leaders of the major five Dragonflights are almost gods in their own right. However, dragons can go mad and become enemies to the Balance - this has generally happened to any dragon you can kill in World of Warcraft. So, you can actually be a dragonslayer, you'll just have mostly fought the Black Flight, or in recent months (starting from the launch of Wrath of the Lich King), Malygos's Blue Flight.

8. Closing remarks

We hope you have enjoyed reading this guide, and that it gave you some helpful ideas! If you have suggestions for how it could be more helpful, please post them here, or edit the guide on the wiki. Happy roleplaying, and see you soon in Kalimdor! 

Celegil, Aleithia, Kestrel and friends.