As I've have mentioned, I play a race as class Elf in our Labyrinth Lord game and leveled up this week. With my advance to 4th level I gain improved saving throws and improved to hit scores. I think these improved saves are where the mathematics of the game play a part in defining the "nature" of an elf.
For a 1st to 3rd level elf the save vs. poison target is 12 which is a pretty excellent saving throw. At 4th level all of my saves are 13 or lower, these are the stats that will eventually allow me to shed the plate mail and begin to feel like an honest elf. (My alignment is neutral so I can feel honest, in character, about nearly anything.)
I gain one second level spell at 4th level and can now use 2, 1st level and 2, 2nd level spells per day. This is all "old hat" to most of you but, I was getting by pretty well with a combination of Sleep, Charm Person and Shrink and now get to add another second level spell each day.