My first D&D 5e character will be a Sun Elf. I hope he won’t die any time soon, but I would like to know what would happen to my character if he bites the dust. Or at least what he thinks would happen. I tried to google for some answers about elven afterlife, but I got contradictory results. So I turn to you guys and gals for enlightenment. I don’t know if there is an universal answer to my question for all Campaign Settings, but I would be most interested in information regarding the Forgotten Realms Setting.

I seem to recall, that there is no elven deity of death. But I am not sure if this means that one of the other death deities is responsible for elves as well. And now that I think about it, I don’t even know what happens to non-elves when they die. (Something in the Shadowfell … maybe?). I assume they are allowed entrance to the paradise of their favored deity. Or, if no deity cares about them, the are just stuck in purgatory or something. So, is there a special place for elves in the afterlife or do they go to whatever paradise belongs to Corellon Larethian? I also read something about the Feywilds or something, where all the elves originally came from. And that elves would return there after their death. But maybe that’s just some Lord of the Rings lore jumbled up in there (→ elves “going west” when they die). Then there is an island called “Evermeet”, where elves go when they know they will die? Don’t know, sounds confusing.

I would be most thankful if someone could help me sort these things out or point me to a good source, where I can read more about dead elves and such things. Thanks in advance.


2 Answers 2


You have no afterlife

Elves in the Forgotten Realms are barred from their afterlife because they betrayed their primary god Corellon by taking set forms, instead of staying flexible shapeshifters like they were intended.

Until he deems it time to forgive them, they are barred from ever entering their afterlive, and instead they reincarnate into new Elven forms after contemplating their failures for a while after death under the guidance of the other Elven gods. This is where the elven 'trance' or 'Remembrance' as they call it comes into play. During a trance, the elf relives events from their own life. But before their adulthood, and after they've reached their elder years, their trances instead allow them to relive their lives in Elven paradise. (Page 36, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes)

This, of course, creates a strong longing for the Elven paradise, which is where Evermeet comes in. Evermeet is a piece of the Elven heavens that was ripped out of their afterlife by strong elven magic and placed on Faerun. This act nearly destroyed Faerun, and only succeeded because the Elven gods intervened at the last moment to make the ritual succeed.

Evermeet, therefore, is the best next thing you have after actual heaven. Elves who are near death long to go there because it reminds them of a time when their souls were actually allowed into the Elven afterlife. But once they die, their soul is reincarnated into a new Elf.

If you want to truly learn more about Elves, I can recommend Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. It has a lot of lore about the Elves, their ancient wars and includes the information I've just described in far more detail.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You are missing out some key information in that passage, the elves do go to Arvandor when they die. They are adopted by the other elven gods (the Seldarine) and allowed too contemplate [Corellon]'s disappointment. After this period of contemplation they are reborn. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Jan 22, 2020 at 9:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ As an addition: There is also the Drow who do not dream of past lives and most probably do not reincarnate as their souls may have been fashioned by Lolth. But, what of the Drow who worship the good goddess Eilistraee? The text suggests a non committal but useful answer: "Only those entities know for certain," (MTF p. 53) Also, the Shadar-kai and the Raven Queen: "when they die, the captures their souls and returns them to Shadowfell, where they are resurrected to serve her yet again." (MTF p.60) \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    Jan 22, 2020 at 22:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is worth noting that MToF is not a Forgotten Realms-specific sourcebook, and the history of the Seldarine and Elves it provides is dramatically different to that given by FR-specific resources in prior editions. It is not a given that FR canon necessarily incorporates the details described in MToF, especially as FR has rules about what happens in the afterlife which are significantly different to the assumed default. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Jan 25, 2020 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer Considering there are also references to Evermeet, it might be Forgotten Realms specific, it has all the Elven gods from Faerun in it. But if a DM wants to use it or not is of course always optional. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Jan 25, 2020 at 15:16

In the Forgotten Realms, your afterlife is the outer planar dominion of the god you worshipped in life. The Elven pantheon, the Seldarine, mostly dwells in Arvandor, but not all Elves worship members of the Seldarine.

In addition, the False and the Faithless (i.e. those who turn against their patron or have no patron) end up in the City of Judgement. All other souls go through the City of Judgement after death, but before their patron collects them.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This answer is patently wrong for D&D 5e. Elves are barred from their afterlife. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Jan 21, 2020 at 11:44
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Theik When was that lore added? \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Jan 22, 2020 at 1:42
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It might be new lore, but you can find it in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, page 36. Elves disappointed Corellon by taking fixed forms, and as a result, they are not allowed to live their afterlives in Arvandor, instead the gods keep them there for a while to think about their mistakes and then send them right back to Faerun to be reincarnated into a new elf. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Jan 22, 2020 at 9:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also at least in the DM guide for 5e there is not punishment for faithless. They go to the Outer Plane of their alignment AFAIK. \$\endgroup\$
    – Averroes
    Jan 22, 2020 at 11:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Theik The Tome of Foes was published in 2018, about 13 months after my original answer :) I'm still happy it is accurate for older versions of lore. If it makes you happy, I could add an explanatory note about the context? \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Jan 23, 2020 at 3:26

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