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D&D General Creating a Pride Flag for my D&D setting


Consider the gender-division of the drow Uda culture. Each D&D edition has its own version of what this drow is. Probably what makes the culture Evil (at least while Lolth oversees it) is its lack of gender fluidity. If the boundaries between the genders were less severe, the culture might be more benign. In the setting, there are fey drow who include those who never followed Lolth and those who fled from her, plus immigrants from Loren and Aeven cultures and elsewhere. Arguably the fey drow tradition looks something like the following.

Among the Uda culture in the underdark in the material plane, the martial Rogue and Dex-Fighter are probably gender-neutral, and Lolth intentionally "breeds" the material drow to select for extreme Dexterity. In other words, those individuals who happen to have high Dexterity and prove successful at the martial class, enjoy high cultural prestige.

[Edit]: I found a bit more info about the other drow cultures, Loren and Aeven. Loren are especially Druids. Aeven are especially Wizards. Both cultures come into existence after materializing to the material plane. But they split off before descending into the Underdark with Lolth. As such, they still preserve much of their preexisting fey drow culture. Evidently, the earlier fey drow culture is especially Druid and Wizard. Apparently, Lolth adapted the womanly drow druidic traditions into a clerical one that worshiped her alone as a god. The manly wizardly traditions continued on, moreorless as they always were. To these fey traditions, Lolth likewise martialized them via Dexterity to promote Fighters and Rogues. The empowerment of womanly Cleric serves herself only, at the price of severely disempowering the manly Wizard, and of the censoring of nonbinary who traditionally became adoptees of Corellon.

Fey drow
• woman: Druid (whence Lolth Cleric and Paladin)
• nonbinary: Sorcerer (often of Corellon)
• man: Wizard (whence Lolth Warlock)
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The elves of the feywild include: sun and moon, drow, and some other cultures. Each local culture has its own governmental court. There are broad cultural affinities across various courts.

Note, there are material elves who are also called "sun elves" and "moon elves" according to the Forgotten Realms setting. But these equate the high elf and the wood elf, respectively. They are specific cultures in certain regions of the material plane, and go by their alternate names, "gold elves" and "silver elves", respectively, to disambiguate from the fey cultures.

The Norsesque sun elves are manifestations of patterns of sunlight, and normally inhabit high altitudes, high above the clouds of the feywild. In the skyey places where sun courts exist, it is always daytime and the sun is always shining. Time in the feywild is regional rather than temporal. Certain places are always winter, always spring, always summer, or always autumn. Likewise, some places are always day or always night. The famous "twilight forests" of the moon elves are always twilight, an ambiguous blend of after sunset or before dawn, brightly illuminated by moonlight from an unclear source. Mechanically, the moon elves are identical with the eladrin in Mordenkainens Monsters of the Multiverse. The elves of the material plane frequently encounter the moon elves but rarely the sun elves.

The rest of this post focuses on the moon elf culture.

The fey moon elf is Celtesque.

The reallife pillars of the Celtic cultures are: knight, druid, and bard. The three institutions correspond to something like knightly governmental leader, druidic spiritual leader, and bardic scholarly shaman.

These Celtic "knights" are a term of convenience, from a Latin description calling them "equites". They lack the later horse culture, but otherwise seem analogous to the medieval knights, as military families who thereby form a government. Kings and queens can come from these knightly families.

The reallife druids are polytheistic priests of Celtic gods. Originally, their sacred spaces are demarcated clearings in forests, where the priests officiate, but later under Roman influence, they build temples. These priests come from certain sacred families who together comprise a caste system analogous to Hindu Brahmans. They head the community worship and offerings, including occasional human sacrifices for the wellbeing of a valuable leader, whose victims are normally chosen from criminals. The Celtic culture perceives a priest banning an individual from the community offerings as a worst punishment imaginable. But the druids are also the spiritual leaders of a community, such as resolving conflicts between individuals, exhorting holy behaviors, and giving useful advice. A main druidic responsibility is to interpret omens, from natural features such as the behavior of clouds in the sky. Those family members who become an official druid gain a sacred status that forbids the use of weapons, but can fight magically in war instead. After the arrival of Christianity, the outlawing of druids tended to make most druidic family traditions function more like bards. Moreover, the term "druidry" comes to mean a generic term for any and every form of "magic". So there is some confusion within Celtic evidence about later "druids".

Together, the knights and the druids are the main leaders of a Celtic community, something like secular and religious respectively.

The most notable aspect of the bard is as an official in each knightly court. The magic of this bard controls fate and blesses the government with success. These bards speak in poetry without music. Their poetic praise causes blessings, while their poetic satire causes curses. Celtic cultures both revere and fear bards. As court officials, bards and their family members function as scholars. Bards found universities, including famous ones still around today. The academics cover all aspects of known knowledge. Some bardic families are also known for their skills as musicians. Making a living as a pub entertainer can be a shocking juxtaposition of elite and common, causing the bardic family concern but the audience reverence and pride. Bardic family members often function as court advisors, even when not an official bard. Bardic families resemble government technocrats. Celtic myths about bards include the first bard Taliesin as well as aspects of Merlin who is actually a "bard", not a wizard. The mythic evidence makes clear the shamanic function of the Celtic bard. The magic involves fate, mind-magic, and shapeshifting. The magical repertoire of the Celtic manly bard is surprisingly similar to that of the Norse womanly vǫlva. The D&D 5e Bard class derives from the Celtic bard, including its extremely powerful spells, whence slot-9 spells, Shapechange, Foresight, and so on. The 5e Bard is excellent to represent a mythologically accurate Celtic bard.

Worth mentioning, the Celtic bard also associates a protoscience of potion making, involving convoluted ingredients and processes. To some degree, the material components of the D&D Bard class can represent this potion tradition, as well as tool expertise for crafting magic items, herbalism or alchemy generally. Differently, the Norse magic lacks material components, but can imbue ones mind into an object, including the use of runes to write a spontaneous phrase to declare ones intention and focus ones mind within that object. Recent Nordic archeologists have shown that the Viking Period "skald" is in fact the Irish bard. Norse colonies in Ireland and elsewhere in the British Isles hired Celtic bards for their own courts. Norse individuals adopted these Celtic traditions for the Norse language, whence these bardic traditions become prestigious in the Norse courts (Þing) in Scandinavia and elsewhere. Still, where the Celtic bard speaks poetry, the Norse skald sings songs, according to the Norse musical traditions of masculine magic.

In sum, the Celtic bard is a kind of scholarly shaman.

It seems, the reallife Celtic cultures are largely gender fluid or gender neutral. While the prominent leaders tend to be men, there are historically prominent women in all three pillars: knightly queens, later druidic "witches" and possibly earlier druidic priests, and prominent bards. Typically, only a male from a bardic family can officially serve on a court as the bard, but everyone in the bardic family − both girls and boys − grow up learning the bardic magic. Meanwhile the bardic females can advise a court in other capacities. Arguably, some local courts might well have a woman as its official bard.

Relating to the later concept of "fairie" and fairy, the earlier Celtic sidhe are manifestations of the minds of fertile soil. These minds are nocturnally active. The minds often project out from the soil into the form of virtual bodies of "spirits" roaming the fairy realm. Sometimes these spirit bodies materialize into the material world at night. The bodily manifestations of soil love the light of dawn, but the direct light of the sun itself is painfully bright. This aversion to sunlight is a narrative trope, evident in Shakespeare plays and elsewhere. (It isnt the mechanical feature of the drows sensitive darkvision. If for some reason it is important to be in direct sunlight, the fey moon elves can function well enough.) The sidhe, and later their appearance as fey, are fateful yet nocturnal influences.

The gateways between immateriality and materiality are those magical places that are above ground and below ground simultaneously. Such places include:

• A fairy mound whose ground of rock and soil is discretely and conspicuously above flat ground
• A cave, whose cave floor is above ground and below ground
• Airborne dust, whose "pixie dust" is a cloud of dusty soil that is thus both above ground and below ground
• Wearing a patch of cut away grassy soil as if a hat
• A lintel of stone above two posts forming an entrance, such as at Stonehenge
• By extension, being underwater, whose water is above the river bed or lake basin, but below the water surface

All of these places, where the soil is both above and below simultaneously, are a Celtic union of opposites with transcendent magical power. They are reliable places for magic that translates between the solid material plane and the immaterial fey plane.

In the D&D fey setting, the moon elves are Celtesque. Despite the absence of strict gender divisions in reallife Celtic cultures, I want the setting to have them for the moon elves. The gender divisions of the moon elf is less discrete than the gender divisions of Norsesque sun elves. (Compare how today one might expect a CEO to be male, but many female CEOs are known. One might expect a woman to raise young kids, but many men doing so are known.) The other identities are significant minorities within each moon elf gender institution. As all feywild classes are magical, the arcane Wizard functions in place of the "knightly military", rather than a martial Fighter. The moon elf family militias form into armies of Wizards. The nonbinary identity of these Wizards correlates with Corellon, a founder of elven arcane traditions.

While the moon elves are active at night in the material plane, their nonbinary Wizards tend to enjoy time among high elves while their womanly Druids time among wood elves. Their manly Bards tend to remain in the feywild busy at the courts and colleges.

Fey moon elf
• woman: Druid
• nonbinary: Wizard
• man: Bard
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This fey setting has been around since 4e. But only recently, am I thinking about the roles of genders that are implicit within the setting. This 5e update is still a bit of a work in progress.

Hopefully soon, we will have a clearer idea of what the mechanics for the drow will be, with its different cultures in play. So far, it seems the Uda drow will be something like the 5e Players Handbook, but updated for things like choice of ability score improvements. Meanwhile Aeven drow are especially a culture of Wizards, and the Loren drow are especially a culture of Druids (Wisdom nature magic). So it is possible to reconstruct the stats for a proto-drow culture, who never left the feywild and is still around in some smaller communities. Most drow are Uda, but not all.

The moon drow are eladrin, the same ones found in Mordenkeinens Monsters of the Multiverse.

Presumably, the Spelljammer setting will have the astral elf, that we saw in the UA. Because of its skyey themes, its radiant light, its innate spellcasting, and immortality, it might be suitable as stats for the Norsesque sun elf. We will see. If so, the astral elves exist in the wildspace, including near the sun and in its shapes of sunlight, such as the solar corona and lunar reflection. Meanwhile, these ageless elves also inhabit the feywild in its upper sky above the clouds, where children can age to physical adulthood.

I am tentatively adding a Scot-esque elf, here called a "sith", a Scottish variant of sidhe, mainly witches and fairie knights.

The cultures of these fey elves, include the following culturally assigned institutions:
Sun elfBard"Psion" (Warlock)Paladin/Cleric
Moon elfDruidWizardBard
Fey drowWarlockDruidWizard
Sith elfBladesinger (Wizard)WarlockDruid

I might continue to tinker with the cultural assignments. There is some tension between modeling closely the sources for each culture, versus having the cultures show an interesting diversity compared to each other. Important in the table, is how a culture utilizes a gender in order to organize institutions of magic. These traditional specializations are useful for cultural survival.

Consider how, a fey drow uses the Wizard class to express his manliness. Not a football player, not a military soldier, not a hunter. Wizardry is HOW a drow is masculine.

Contrast how the moon elf Wizard is nonbinary. D&D often visualizes the Wizard as androgynous, in long hair and long robes, where men lack muscularity and women (such as 3e Mialee) lack curves. Indeed, this moon elf Wizard tradition correlates well with Corellon a nonbinary patron of the arcane arts.

But not so for the fey drow. Here the Wizard is likely in manly garb, perhaps in crew cut hair, appearing more like a jock or a soldier, or a suited business man, in ways typical of mens wear to emphasize manly characteristics. This genderized institution invites DMs and players to think about the masculine ways to portray a Wizard: perhaps also aggressive, valiant, with bravado.

Similarly, the sun elf Bard is womanly, while the moon elf Bard is manly. The magic will tend to differ, as well as the appearances and styles of the mages. And so on with the genderization of other classes.

The elves are mythic, but not alien. There is always some telltale hint that they are actually some feature of nature and not really human. But they adopt human forms and human ways. They are feminine, genderqueer, and masculine, in the same ways that humans are.

Imagine what that culture is like, when the magical communities are how the culture celebrates its genders and anatomies.
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In this thread, I note three separate variables:
• community (whether one belongs to the mens group, the womens group, or an other group)
• gender (whether one is masculine, feminine, both, or neither)
• genitalia (whether ones bodily anatomy is that of a male, female, or intersex)

I came across this presentation from the US government, the Veterans Affairs military department, relating to the VA hospitals. It likewise identifies three separate variables:
• head (the psychological identity, whether one self-identifies as a man, woman, or transgender)
• expression (the sociological gender, whether one self-expresses as culturally masculine, feminine, or both [or neither])
• genitalia (the biological physiology, whether ones body is male, female, or intersex)

A main difference is, where this thread describes a "community" variable (where one belongs to the group of men, women, or others), the VA presentation describes this same variable as "psychological" "identity" (namely, where one perceives oneself to be a man, woman, or other).

The VA presentation helps me get a clearer understanding of what transgenderism is.

I am surprised that being transgender is unrelated to being masculine, feminine, both, or neither. But this feels accurate to me.

Consider the contrast between the head and the genitalia. If ones genitalia is male but ones head is not always a man, then one is transgender.

It is possible for an anatomical male to comfortably self-express oneself in culturally masculine way − thus be outwardly in body and behavior a man − but internally know oneself to be a woman. I assume this permutation of the three variables often goes undetected by others, but I suspect it exists.

In any case, these three separate variables − head, expression, and genitalia − permute independently from each other. So that any combination can happen to construct the deep and complex gender of an individual person.

genderbread person.jpg
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I am somewhat critical of that VA image.

While I think the VA image you have linked is a good starting point / breakdown, putting 'transgender' as a middle option between 'boy/man' and 'girl/woman' on a scale of gender identity is inaccurate.

Few (any?) would describe their gender identity solely as 'trans' - people would describe it as being woman, a man, non-binary, bigender etc. etc. It feels to me that the scale puts being trans altogether as a separate category of gender identity which isn't representive.

This is actually an example of gender being perceived as binary or a scale between two options is unhelpful, as while most people (including most trans people) would fit into masculine or feminine, there's a whole heap of people within the trans community that don't.


I have a very simple complaint. The original post is way too long. I read two or three paragraphs, thought wow, this is a very long post, and realized scrolling down that I was about 1/20 of the way in.

If you expect your players to engage in your interesting world building idea, I think you really need to shorten it a lot. I’d never hand my players a lore snippet that’s more than a couple paragraphs long (unless it’s the campaign’s sale pitch, in which case a couple pages could be acceptable).


I am somewhat critical of that VA image.

While I think the VA image you have linked is a good starting point / breakdown, putting 'transgender' as a middle option between 'boy/man' and 'girl/woman' on a scale of gender identity is inaccurate.

Few (any?) would describe their gender identity solely as 'trans' - people would describe it as being woman, a man, non-binary, bigender etc. etc. It feels to me that the scale puts being trans altogether as a separate category of gender identity which isn't representive.

This is actually an example of gender being perceived as binary or a scale between two options is unhelpful, as while most people (including most trans people) would fit into masculine or feminine, there's a whole heap of people within the trans community that don't.
I also noticed that location of the term "transgender" in the VA presentation is off. I suspect the presentation is trying to consolidate an enormous amount of (military) research data into an easy-to-understand pamphlet that can be picked up easily. The oversimplification causes the location of the term "transgender" to be slightly off. Perhaps this location is where "nonbinary / gender-fluid" should be. Then mention that anyone who is non cisgender is transgender in some way.

Regarding "expression" (which is what I normally mean by "gender"), there is at least masculine, feminine, both (androgynous), and neither (neutral).

I also think mentioning sexual orientation as part of the "genderbread person" causes confusion and probably has its own complex of variables by itself.

For me, the part that is helpful is separating the three variables of ones gender:
• Anatomy (male, female, intersex, or undeveloped)
• Self-identity (man, woman, both, or neither)
• Self-expression (masculine, feminine, both, or neither)

Cisgender is when ones self-identity always corresponds to ones anatomy. Transgender is when the self-identity doesnt correspond.

Interestingly, anatomical intersex persons often deeply self-identify as either a man or a woman, rather than both. I have a friend who is intersex whose parents thought they were being helpful by surgically "correcting" her at birth. Unfortunately, they chose the wrong anatomy. They raised her as a boy, but by the time she hit puberty it became clear to everyone she is a woman.
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There was the David Reimer case.
My friend has a positive disposition, and seems to find enough social support regarding being intersex.

The experiences of these and other people, demonstrate how the identity that the brain processes can be independent of what the physical genitalia are.

With regard to physical anatomy, what the brain is is far more important than what the genitalia are.


With a bit clearer sense of transgender in mind, here is tentatively how the D&D Elf cultures function.


The term "soul" appears sporatically in official 5e texts. While it lacks an official definition it seems a quasi-official technical term.

Here, the "soul" has three levels: mind, spirit, and body.

Each of these levels of the soul is autonomous, but interconnects with the other two levels.

The mind-soul is made out of thought stuff. It is the aspect of the soul that can exist in the Astral Plane, and can pass on to an Astral Dominion in the afterlife. A disembodied mind-soul who inhabits an Astral Dominion, manifests ones body-soul and spirit-soul virtually, as an information construct, to express ones identity holistically. The Astral inhabitant resembles their life in the Material Plane, albeit perhaps more ideally and more whole. The mind-soul is ones consciousness, ones true self and higher self, and the best version of oneself. An eternal self.

The body-soul is the aura of lifeforce that pervades and encompasses a living body. This aspect of the soul is also called "ki". It is sometimes called an "animal soul" and intimately connects with the material body in the Material Plane.

In between is the spirit-soul. It is ones self-expression and evolving sense of self. It is the influence that soul exerts on the multiverse. Everything from choice of clothing to political influence to artistic magic is the influence a spirit-soul. This level soul learns and grows as one becomes more authentic and more adept, by understanding oneself and others in the surrounding multiverse. The spirit-soul is a link between the Material body and the Astral mind. This influence of ones spirit-soul pervades the Ethereal Plane, including the Feywild and Shadowfell, and is the source of much magic. The ethereal Fey spirits and Shadow spirits are primarily the manifestations of spirit-souls.


In the elven understanding, each of these levels of a soul is autonomous and exhibits its own gender. For example, a male mind-soul linking a male body-soul is cisgender. A male mind-soul linking a female body-soul is transgender. A female mind-soul linking a female body-soul while self-expressing a masculine spirit-soul is a cisgender "tom boy", such as a woman member of a hunting party or a valkyria-like warrior.

There are at least four genders: male, female, both, and neither.

Because each level of the soul has its own gender, the overall gender of a soul is complex. Many permutations are possible.

Generally, the mind-soul and body-soul refer to the anatomical sex, namely: male, female, intersex, and nonbinary. The spirit-soul tends to refer to the cultural gender such as: masculine, feminine, androgynous, and agender.

Self-identifying with certain pronouns typically correlates with ones mind-soul.

The term genderfluid relates to alternating between two or more configurations of gender. A female body-soul might have a mind-soul that alternates between male and nonbinary. Or a spirit-soul that alternates between masculine and feminine. Any permutation is possible − but the flux is prominent.


Corellon is the actual ancestor of the Elf species. Corellon is an Elf, albeit is purely an Astral mind-soul made out of thought stuff. Corellon is ancient shapeshifter, alternating between many forms, and self-identifying with the pronoun "they". As a shapeshifter, they reproduced the species of Elf asexually from the blood of one of their forms. Originally, the elves existed as Astral beings who are only mind-souls, like Corellon their parent. From there, they emanated to inhabit the ethereal Feywild, gaining a spirit-soul. Within the Fey Plane, the Elves gained autonomy and a sense of self and self-expression that is independent from the mercurial identity of their ancestor Corellon. The shift from Astral to Fey is a painful memory, but made individuation possible. Some elves venture from the Feywild to inhabit other locations in the multiverse. Those who immigrated into the Material Plane create living bodies and likewise exhibit a body-soul as well as a mind-soul and spirit-soul. Shapeshifting continues to be an aspect of Elven reproduction. While an Elf can reproduce sexually between male and female, elven magic can male can shapeshift into a female to carry a child during pregnancy, or can reproduce asexually such as making an elven statue come to life. Many elves have more than two Elves who are their parentage.


The ancestor Corellon is genderfluid, shapeshifting mercurially between male diversities, female diversities, both, and neither. Among most cultures that Elves participate in, to be genderfluid is sacred. Elves generally resemble the gender configurations of Humans, including cisgender, transgender, and so on. But Elves revere those Elves who happen to be genderfluid. These symbolize both the ancestral elven past and the infinite possibilities of the elven futures. The House of Corellon are a sacred elven family, who adopt genderfluid Elves to become the family members. According to various elven customs, Corellon is the household head, the living ancestor. The House are the legal inheritors of Corellon and often represent the interests of Corellon in other planes. The Blessing is the awakening of the innate elven shapeshifting ability, especially to shift ones mind, spirit, and physical body between the various genders, whose flux expresses and embodies their loved parent.

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