log in or register to remove this ad

 

An Elf By Any Other Name . . .

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I've always wondered why Dwarves, being a mining race, would have axes? But then you realize that they were a Germanic myth and Germania was mostly forest. In 'reality' they would use picks amd hammers. So yeah, what you know.
Yeah, I always give them picks and hammers. Axes are for my world's Orcs (as well as spears).
 

log in or register to remove this ad

darjr

I crit!
I now want to run a game where the “elves” are actually human who have discovered immortality but are keeping it a secret. For thousands of years they’ve kept their little gem from ship sinking lips. But now the adventurers are either going to be mired in a plot about it and in a position to find out or they have and are now just trying to stay alive.
 

UngainlyTitan

Hero
Supporter
The Tuatha De Danann were almost certainly the Old Gods of Ireland written down by the monks, who did not want the old tales completely lost but were not willing to write down anything that related directly to the Old religion.
OSP does a pretty good take on it.
 


Ryujin

Legend
The Tuatha De Danann were almost certainly the Old Gods of Ireland written down by the monks, who did not want the old tales completely lost but were not willing to write down anything that related directly to the Old religion.
OSP does a pretty good take on it.
That video reminded me that a friend is doing a podcast on the mythological origins of what is currently known as the Devil, called "The Devil You Don't Know." Similar delve into how other mythologies have coloured our impression of the character along with little additions like "The Satanic Panic", for RPG player cred.
 
Last edited:

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I've always wondered why Dwarves, being a mining race, would have axes? But then you realize that they were a Germanic myth and Germania was mostly forest. In 'reality' they would use picks amd hammers. So yeah, what you know.
Wood is needed for the beams that support the mine tunnels and for general warmth. Dwarves still need axes so perhaps them give Axes prestige whereas Hammers are just tools.
 

Ryujin

Legend
Wood is needed for the beams that support the mine tunnels and for general warmth. Dwarves still need axes so perhaps them give Axes prestige whereas Hammers are just tools.
I'd like to see just how long someone could cut wood with a battleaxe. Hint: Not long.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I'd like to see just how long someone could cut wood with a battleaxe. Hint: Not long.
Yeah not all axes are Battle axes and thats rather the point - Wood axes and sledge hammers are just tools, not weapons, so there is no reason why Dwarves couldnt decide that Battle Axes were the favoured ceremonial weapon rather than War Hammers
 

Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
GRRM, Tad Williams, Raymond Feist, Julian May are all fantasy authors I have read with alternatively named elves.

Terry Pratchett's take on elves interprets them differently, rather than filing the numbers off.

I've always liked the way Robert Jordan subverted the trope:

"Huh... what if elves and ogres were memories of the same creature?"
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
I think Tolkien set the mold of elves using subdivisions from their own languages so other elves also tend to have other names that they call themselves. Like in The Elder Scrolls "elf" and "mer" are both used. The high elves/altmer, wood elves/bosmer, dark elves/dunmer (and before that chimer), snow elves/falmer. Heartland high elves though are ayleids, dwarves are dwemer, and orcs and orsimer.

Anyway I think dwarves like axes because they are a cutting weapon that have similar weighting and swing motion to hammers. Though given that they spend a lot of time in tight corridors and crevices you think maybe they should have gone for piercing weapons like shortswords and spears...
 


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I think that has a real world analogue: what if elves and ogres are memories of when humans lived along side Neanderthals?
Cool theory, but because Neanderthals went extinct around 40,000 years ago, and oral tradition typically doesn't last that long. It is technically possible, but there's not really way that we could figure out if it's accurate. (I do like the idea that myths about dragons were inspired by dinosaur bones that people found, though.)
 

Cool theory, but because Neanderthals went extinct around 40,000 years ago, and oral tradition typically doesn't last that long. It is technically possible, but there's not really way that we could figure out if it's accurate. (I do like the idea that myths about dragons were inspired by dinosaur bones that people found, though.)
There is some evidence that a small number of Neanderthals (and a couple of other near-humans) may have lingered rather longer. And all you need to survive is a memory of a memory, not an actual story.
 

TheSword

Legend
Our Elves Are Different is a very common trope in the fantasy genre, but I've lately become more aware of a subtrope of it; the need for nearly every fantasy writer that builds a world that contains elves in it to make their own fantasy name for them. There's a ton of them. Here are just a few examples that I can think of off of the top of my head:
  • Eldar from Warhammer 40k
  • Tel'Quessir from the Forgotten Realms
  • Alfar from Norse Mythology
  • Mer from The Elder Scrolls
  • Quendi from The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit (feel free to correct me if I got this wrong, any of you Tolkien-enthusiasts)
  • All of the names for the elven races in Dragonlance end with "esti" (similar to "mer" from The Elder Scrolls)
  • Älfa in the Inheritance Cycle (very similar to the Norse Alfar)
  • Possibly Vulcans from Star Trek, but they might not count.
  • Fair Folk in Fablehaven
(If anyone has any other examples, please list them in the comments below, and I might edit this post to compile them all together.)

And this leads me to ask why? Why are there so many different names for elves in the fantasy (and sci-fi) genre? Why do people feel the need to make yet another name for the elven race? I have also noticed that this applies to dwarves, giants, and other fantasy races to some extent, but none of them have it to the same extent as Elves. Any thoughts?
Are you sure you’re not over complicating it? Most of those either mean elf in various languages (elf, alfar, alfa), or are just that language’s translation for people, person or an adjective attached to such. (Tel’Quessir, Eldar, Quendi, fair folk, mer).

The question isn’t so much why there are so many different names for elves, but rather why are there so many different languages in fantasy fiction. I would have thought that was obvious,.. it’s a part of world building.
 
Last edited:

Thunderfoot

Adventurer
I now want to run a game where the “elves” are actually human who have discovered immortality but are keeping it a secret. For thousands of years they’ve kept their little gem from ship sinking lips. But now the adventurers are either going to be mired in a plot about it and in a position to find out or they have and are now just trying to stay alive.
Glad I could help. :)
 

Thunderfoot

Adventurer
Wood is needed for the beams that support the mine tunnels and for general warmth. Dwarves still need axes so perhaps them give Axes prestige whereas Hammers are just tools.
Well that'ss true, but if you study the progression of weapons of war, with the exception of the firearm (which went the other way) most weapons of war start as tools or farming implements that are altered by the population so there is a sense of 'familiarity' to ease the training of militias.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Well that'ss true, but if you study the progression of weapons of war, with the exception of the firearm (which went the other way) most weapons of war start as tools or farming implements that are altered by the population so there is a sense of 'familiarity' to ease the training of militias.
Not so sure. I meant, the spear, bow&arrow, axe and hammer kind of predate farming?

Though I'm reminded of the Corvo, the official knife of the Chilean army. It is essentially a kind of sickle that they adopted during their war with Bolivia with deadly effect.
 

Thunderfoot

Adventurer
Not so sure. I meant, the spear, bow&arrow, axe and hammer kind of predate farming?

Though I'm reminded of the Corvo, the official knife of the Chilean army. It is essentially a kind of sickle that they adopted during their war with Bolivia with deadly effect.
The spear, bow & arrow, hammer and axe were tools first. Notice I said tools and OR farming implements. They were used as war weapons after they were developed for other uses, hunting for the first two, construction for the later two.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
The spear, bow & arrow, hammer and axe were tools first. Notice I said tools and OR farming implements. They were used as war weapons after they were developed for other uses, hunting for the first two, construction for the later two.
Sorry, I read that "or" as an "of". Still, I wouldn't call the spear and bow as anything but weapons.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top