llamaenterhear
Username: Password:

Author Topic: Stereotype driven Ideal Elves  (Read 1830 times)

0 Members and 1 Lonely Barbarian are spying on this topic.

Offline MoonHunter

  • Waunderer
  • Emperor
  • ****
  • Posts: 3499
  • Awards Systems Guild Society Guild Locations Guild Questor Lifeforms Guild Item Guild
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« on: August 11, 2004, 12:51:22 AM »
Stereotypical elves seem boring. Tolkien and DnD had soured them for me.  However, Tolkien's Elves were based on the Shidhe, who were just "The Perfect Bronze Age People".  They were the ideal for their world, looking back upon a (perceived) better time and doing it perfect.  

In short, Elves are The Ideal.  Playing on the Tolkienesque "Elves Are Just Plain Better™" meme, they should not just be regular folks with pointy ears. They need to be close to an ideal.  Now that ideal should be different for each culture the Elves are associated with. The best shorthand for an ideal is a positive stereotype for a region or nation.  They embody all of the positive traits that are stereotypically attributed to a particular nationality/ region, whether or not those traits are accurate. To use modern Earth cultures for the examples: German elves are hard-working and industrious, Canadian elves diplomatic and polite, Russian elves the toughest bastards on the planet (and remarkably jovial about it), French elves veritable demons in the sack, and so forth.  You see how this goes.

Here is what I'd like you to do: using the above guidelines, describe what an elf would be given your own world.
MoonHunter
Sage, Gamer, Mystic, Wit
"The road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."
"The world needs dreamers to give it a soul."
"And it needs realists to keep it alive."
Authentic Strolenite ®©

Offline Maggot

  • Insectoid Horror Of Canberra
  • Strolenati
  • King
  • *
  • Posts: 945
  • Awards Society Guild Elite Society Guild Locations Guild Lifeforms Guild Item Guild Questor
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2004, 08:48:28 AM »
Well,the Elves in my world would be far from perfect. Although denouncing the killing of any sentinent being as ''evil'', elves would not hesitate to kill orcs or barbarians,seeing them as no more than animals. The elves also have sharp divisions among themselves, with city dwelling elves regarding their wood dewlling cousins as backward and foolish, and the wood dwelling elves calling their city brethean corrupt and decadent. The elves also seek to interfere in the affairs of other races,albiet indirectly,in the hope of changing things to suit their needs. The elves of course,insist that tthey merely wish too soothe the savage tendencies of other races and help them better themselves .
“I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak.” -Bill Watterson

 Authentic Strolenite®©

Offline Siren no Orakio

  • Strolenati
  • Master
  • *
  • Posts: 517
  • Awards Locations Guild Item Guild Lifeforms Guild Hall of Heroes 10 NPC Guild Master Questor
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2004, 05:06:50 PM »
An interesting point to roll with, Moon. The next question, of course, which we haven't asked is, "How do lesser races react to this breed of Ubermenschen?", and "How does this 'Superior' race treat the lesser races?"  Many things will be dictated by the degress of personal interaction, racial pity/patronizing/suppression, etc, and it can be argued that this form of interaction can be more important than the actual qualities of the  race itself.

That said, in the Kallisphere, the race appropriate to the role is known to the people at large as the 'Ancients'. Uniformly, they are tall and slender, with golden skin and silver hair, and it is the rare Ancient that is not attractive to the human eye. Rarely stronger than the human, the Ancient is however, more graceful in her actions and thought, showing a harmony of elegance through out. Exceptionally long lived, the years being exceptionally light to the body, a given Ancient will tend to be wiser than the humans or others that surround him, by sheer weight of years. Together, these attributes mean that the Ancient tends to be more capable at tapping the Gift of the Gods known as Magic. As they grow to be elders, it is not uncommon for them to truely begin to understand the Gift of the Gods, even unto the point of being able to give the Gift themselves! To give the Gift in this manner drains them horribly, for despite their perfection, they are mortal, and the Giving of the Gift requires the infinite, unending Lifespark of a God.

The Ancient tends towards cultivating outward harmony around himself, and members of their rare race can often be found amoung the humans will out as priests, sages, witch doctors and wizards. Often, behind the king of a prosperous land will be an Ancient sensechal, yet it is rare to find an Ancient in direct command over other races - They have learned that the differences can become the focal point for intense hatred. Again, because of that harmony, it is rare for an Ancient to be truely evil or depraved, for the Sphere itself is suffused with the gentle aura of the Mother, and they can feel her power and gentle love in the way that no human can. Still, it is not unheard of for one to be misguided, or to fall under the influence of a creature with a darker, twisted aura.

Edit: The Ancients have no society of their own, and are instead adrift as single men, women, and small families throughout the kingdoms of the other races. History taught them the twin fruits of jealousy and patronizing, and so they wield no political or military power of their own. In the deep, deep past, times immemorial, some amoung them played at being demi-gods, and so the race of Dragons resulted.

Offline Michael Jotne Slayer

  • Strolenati
  • Grand Master
  • *
  • Posts: 609
  • Retreat now? In our moment of triumph?
  • Awards Item Guild Golden Creator Elite Item Guild Hall of Heroes 10 2011 Dungeon of the Year 2010 NPC of the Year
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2004, 05:38:25 PM »
Just have to post a small detail. Tolkien`s elves were never described with pinty ears. I do not suggest that anyone said that.
Just a piece of information.
Authentic Strolenite™©®

A skeleton walks into a bar and ask the Bartender: “Do you serve skeletons here?”

Times being what they are the wily Bartender replies: “sure, we serve anyone.”

The skeleton hands the man a silver and says: “Fine, I’ll have a pitcher of beer…and a mop”

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2004, 10:03:43 PM »
Of course, Tolkien could describe thousands of different kinds of trees and plants, and yet he never once took the time to describe what orcs or elves actually looked like.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline D'hui

  • Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 23
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2004, 11:52:11 AM »
In Engle (a country) the elves are regarded as "ideal" by humans, and the elves have actively encouraged that thought, 1)To improve their status and 2)At the thought of what would happen if the humans found out that they were far from perfect (as their actions in this matter prove).
In actual fact the elves love to be in command, to rule, and yet prefer not to fight as this is very messy and they are, at heart, very neat.  Dangerously neat.
(And they do have pointy ears, because I can't think of them any other way.)
I thought therefore I was, but then YOU started thinking and that really put me off.

Offline MoonHunter

  • Waunderer
  • Emperor
  • ****
  • Posts: 3499
  • Awards Systems Guild Society Guild Locations Guild Questor Lifeforms Guild Item Guild
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2005, 10:48:17 AM »
In someways these immortal powerful creatures are "at the whim" of the mortals.  The mortals dream of their world and the Elves live it. The stereotypes are mortal creations. In some ways, the Elves would become an ideal that the mortals would aspire to... becoming a self fufilling prophecy of sorts.

So while the Elves are uberspecies, they are actually a symbiote of sorts with the Mortal Races.  

So it has been a while. Do any of you new people have a comment upon this one? (Oh heck, you older members can comment upon it too.) Or how would you impliment it in your campaign or with your GMing style?
MoonHunter
Sage, Gamer, Mystic, Wit
"The road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."
"The world needs dreamers to give it a soul."
"And it needs realists to keep it alive."
Authentic Strolenite ®©

Offline Scrasamax

  • The Rogue Scholar
  • Emperor
  • ****
  • Posts: 3420
  • 20% Cooler
  • Awards 2013 Most Submissions 2012 Most Quest Submissions Elite Systems Guild Elite Questor Gold Creator 10 Hall of Heroes 10
    • Scras' Blog
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2005, 03:22:58 PM »
I think it bears mentioning that there is a religious aspect to Tolkien's elves, indeed to all of his works. The elves were ideal, immortal and wise, tall and fair. They were also capable of great and terrible sin. Some of the bitterest, and most horrific wars fought were because of elven pride. Should anyone read the Silmarillion, it details the wars fought in ages before the Lord of the Rings.

The slaying of elf by elf was reckoned to be among the worst of their deeds. They were proud to the point of hubris (Pride before even the gods) and were often so filled with their own greatness that they would resort to using the sword indiscrimately. Entire tribes and clans of humans died fighting with the elves, for their pointy eared masters/friends.


Stout Lagerale of the Dwarven Guild
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

Tentacle Tentacle Sanity Schmanity

Offline MoonHunter

  • Waunderer
  • Emperor
  • ****
  • Posts: 3499
  • Awards Systems Guild Society Guild Locations Guild Questor Lifeforms Guild Item Guild
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2005, 04:28:42 PM »
Confused on how this applies to Stereotype/ Archtypal Elves, other than it explains Tolkeins Elves and where we get many of our misconceptions.

Here is what I'd like you to do: using the above guidelines, describe what an elf would be given your own world.

Elves are The Ideal. Playing on the Tolkienesque "Elves Are Just Plain Betterâ„¢" meme, they should not just be regular folks with pointy ears. They need to be close to an ideal. Now that ideal should be different for each culture the Elves are associated with. The best shorthand for an ideal is a positive stereotype for a region or nation. They embody all of the positive traits that are stereotypically attributed to a particular nationality/ region, whether or not those traits are accurate. To use modern Earth cultures for the examples: German elves are hard-working and industrious, Canadian elves diplomatic and polite, Russian elves the toughest bastards on the planet (and remarkably jovial about it), French elves veritable demons in the sack, and so forth. You see how this goes.

Here is what I'd like you to do: using the above guidelines, describe what an elf would be given your own world.
MoonHunter
Sage, Gamer, Mystic, Wit
"The road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."
"The world needs dreamers to give it a soul."
"And it needs realists to keep it alive."
Authentic Strolenite ®©

Offline Scrasamax

  • The Rogue Scholar
  • Emperor
  • ****
  • Posts: 3420
  • 20% Cooler
  • Awards 2013 Most Submissions 2012 Most Quest Submissions Elite Systems Guild Elite Questor Gold Creator 10 Hall of Heroes 10
    • Scras' Blog
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2005, 09:39:00 PM »
Cut'n'Paste eh?

The ideal elf in Aterrizar generally follows the norms for elven appearance, with the pointed ears, and fair aquiline faces. Their brows are smooth and unmarred by line or wrinkle, and there is an otherworldly light in their eyes. They are unmoved by the common woes and maladies of the mortal folk. They have no death, no taxes. The only inevitability is the continuation of their massive lives.

These elves are less materia, base matter, than the mortal races. All the universe is created of a singular essence, which the elves call Wa and humans roughly translate into happiness. This essence is EVERYTHING, light, shadow, fire, steel, flesh, blood, bone, spirit, death, all is Wa. More complex things have more Wa, more enlightened things come closer to this primal stuff.

Animals are the most divorced creatures from Wa, to survive they must consume other creatures, tearing their accumulated Wa down to fuel their own existence. Plants are the least divorced as they exist by respiration with the sun and the earth, with water and air. Elves are capable of consuming food, the roasted flesh of the slaughtered game, or the fruits of the field, but it is not neccessary. The Aterrizarian elves sustain themselves by simple respiration and contact with nature.

Being of a more primal and resilient nature, these elves cannot be completely destroyed. If slain, their form, the materia aspect decomposes, while the anima is drawn back into the tapestry where it regenerates itself and will eventually remanifest in a new form. These elves exist in an intermediary point between the mortals and the modern gods, but are more ancient than both as they were created by the primordial gods who were slain, or imprisoned by the modern gods.

A side note, Wa can be manipulated and urged to do things, much like the force from Star Wars, beneficial geomancy or Feng shui is commonplace and considered essential by the rather materialistic elves. Negative creatures such as demons and devils represent snarls and snags of Wa rather than harmonious patterns. Contact with such entities eventually corrupt the mortal races, and the elves alike as their chaotic/evil nature can destroy and corrupt normal woven Wa.

This is material from both my novel and my personal game setting.


Stout Lagerale of the Dwarven Guild
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

Tentacle Tentacle Sanity Schmanity

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
Agera Elves
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2005, 09:54:58 PM »
Most Agera elves don't fit the general stereotype of "elf" so much as they fit the Celtic notion of the Tuatha de Danaan, that is, the "elder people", peerless noble warrior kings with golden armor and such.

Most Agera would imagine a archetypal creature so- a muscular warrior, bearing rich armor and a well-used sword, the total warrior, who sings as he rushes to battle, and slays his enemies with fury and glee, and is triumphant. This "elf" (if this term could even apply) is honorable, noble, strong, courageous, headstrong, and skilled; this fantasy being, however, is not necessarily the cleverest or smartest- Agera much prefer straightforwardness and boldness.

This archetype is slightly different for each nation-
Mysians imagine a tall, handsome warrior-poet, a philosopher who mourns his enemies (though not too much), who thinks often of remorse, but who never backs down. Their "elf" is a being of combined melancholy and might, who composes hymns to sing to while he is covered in blood. Much like Greek tragic heroes, in the end, the Mysian "elf" may fall prey to his hubris or his mortal flaws.
Carmanians see a mighty battle-priest of Amalias, who sings the praises, hymns, and prayers of the Rose God as he dashes out his enemies' brains. The Carmanian "elf" has no mercy towards heathens, but women and children he beneficently gifts with roses and golden coins. An archetypal Carmanian would be a practical superhero- a perfectly virtuous being, the high cleric of Amalias who brings holy salvation to the world.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline Kinslayer

  • The Glorious One
  • Master
  • ***
  • Posts: 527
  • Doom
    • http://Lost-Souls.co.nr
    • Awards
Stereotype driven Ideal Elves
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2005, 12:30:11 AM »
I've tried to incorporate some of these ideas very subtlely.  That is, most of the players who would want an Elf character are already so wrapped-up in the "everything Elven is superior" mindset, that I could have done just about anything I wanted to lower the value of Elves as a player-race & still wouldn't negatively affect the players' perceptions.  I certainly hosed half-Elves--they're weird looking and complete crap from a game mechanics perspective--but that doesn't stop the first words out of some players' mouths from being, "I wanna play a half-Elf."  
 
Midianite Elves are tall, thin, fair, and immortal.  They have jewel-like eyes and brightly coloured hair (green, blue, etc.).  They look rather like something out of an anime or manga.  
 
Their homeland--known only as the "Elven Homeland," even among the Elves--is unassailable.  Elven magic (which is simply normal skills with centuries of practice--idea credited to MoonHunter) has made the mountains that surround their homeland into an unclimbable sheer wall of stone.  There are only two restricted areas on Elven soil that allows non-Elves travel, with instant death for all other trespasses. The Elves do this without any hint of remorse or irony.  There are a few non-Elven Fae that live there, Faeries, Pixies, et al. which have a conditional existence & couldn't be kept out anyway, and Kobolde.  While not officially slaves, Kobolde are certainly a servitor race.  They are responsible for much of the manufactured goods that are labeled "Elven."  While few non-Elves know of the Kobolde's existence, it's not because the Elves are ashamed or afraid of what the other species would think. It's only because the Elves don't generally think much of the Koblode at all, and it simply wouldn't occur to one to bring up the subject.  
 
Midianite Elves are strange and creepy.  I've used Mori's "Uncanny Valley" theory for this.  Elves are too perfect:  too pretty, too graceful, too talented, too long-lived, to seem "normal" to a mortal Human.  Couple this with the fact that since the Elves sequestered themselves for a few centuries--until recently--and their mystique only highlights the strangeness.  While most people in Midian have never even seen an Elf, it doesn't stop them from falling into the same "everything Elven is superior" view that traps many players.  For example, Elven wine is very expensive.  It's nothing special, just regular red blends, but the perception of its value drives the price towards the ridiculous.
 
Due to the lack of contact, the lack of any embassies to or from, and general reticence, causes many Humans to foist their own idealised political views on the Elves. That is, someone who idealises freedom will see the Elves as also doing so, as would someone who idealises equality, the right of nobility to rule, rule by the people, free health care, lack of government interference, etc.  The reality is that the Elven system of government is just as messed-up and non-productive as any other, but since there is a lack of correcting knowledge, people will assign their own values and ideas.  This also holds true to the view of many towards an individual Elf, should they ever meet one.  For example, a swordsman may aspire to the speed and skill of an Elf with the blade, or a poet may compare his work to those of an Elf.  This can work in the contrary, as well, with someone who considers himself to be a great warrior seeing all Elves as weak and frail, or a clever mage who feels that no Elf could ever be as creative in spell use or as up-to-date in the study of his magical Tradition.
Midian Dark Fantasy Roleplaying Game
The Official Game of the Internet
http://Lost-Souls.co.nr
http://Lost-Souls.hk.st


Authentic Strolenite®©