Following the Shadowrun 3rd Edition priority system for creating characters the elf as well as the troll both require the C priority. The troll gets a net benefit of 8 points on physical and -4 on mental attributes while the elf gets 1 point on physical and 2 points on mental attributes. Both get enhanced vision but the troll further benefits from body armour and more reach in close combat.

Ok, elfes may live longer and are usually more accepted in the world of Shadowrun but are there other benefits I overlooked? Why are they as expensive as trolls while receiving less points (in fewer combat-relevant attributes)?

Was this "fixed" in SR4 or SR5?


3 Answers 3


SR4 has a point-based character creation, where playing an elf costs 30 BP (out of 400) and playing a troll costs 40 BP.

The Runner's Companion (for SR4) introduced a priority system, where you have to choose a priority for your heritage, which includes your metatype and give special attribute points to spend to increase your Magic / Resonance / Edge attribute.

SR5 did "fix" this, since trolls need a A or B priority (and has a 100% lifestyle increase that they didn't have before), while elves only need a D now.

As for the reason behind SR3 and SR4 choice, I suspect it has to do with the elves being the only race providing an increase of character's charisma, and a good one; charisma being impossible to increase with cyber/bio ware, it's quite an advantage.

There are numerous forums about SR optimization pointing that a Voodoo Elf breaks the game in half, precisely because of his 8 charisma (which means 8 bound spirits, at least in SR4) and high drain resistance.

They are, as you said, immortal and well accepted in the world, and have a country of their own, which doesn't matter in most SR campaign but still.

And as Kyle Willey noted in the comment, elves don't suffer any attribute loss, they're simply better than any human could be, while trolls suffer penalties on half of the attributes. Maybe they realized in SR5 that wasn't enough to balance the +4 STR and +4 BOD.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Two countries - Tir Tairngire and Tír na nÓg. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Mar 8, 2016 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Trolls also have a country of their own: the Black Forest Troll Republic. \$\endgroup\$
    – mcv
    Dec 12, 2018 at 15:52

I used to play during the days of SRII and the run up to SR3. I once participated in an AOL Chat-room where some of the designers stopped by and did an "ask us anything" style session. This issue was brought up. As I remember the response, in SRII, all metahumans were priority A. They noticed in feedback and playtesting that there were humans (priority E), or Elves/Trolls (priority A). IIRC, SR3 moved the priority for Dwarves/Orcs to Priority C to make them more appealing.

I have no experience with SR4 or 5, so I don't know if it was fixed for later versions.


In addition to the 'No Downsides' attribute-wise, from an Role-Play perspective, Elves have less prejudice against them. Certainly there is some (e.g. "Dandelion Eater" ), but Elves are generally held in higher regard than Orks and Trolls.


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