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

Yaarel

Mind Mage
No, humans evolved to live in groups. "Society" is all the extraneous, non-natural stuff people have added to make these groups work in a way not ruled by base instincts.
What you are saying disagrees with what scientists say.

Whether animal behavioralists, neuropsychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, archeologists, etcetera, all agree that the formation of a society, namely the learned group behaviors as opposed to instinct, is fundamental to the human species. Perhaps historians especially view the society and its cultural relativity as the primary mode of human identity constructs.



That is not entirely true. Ancient Greeks and Romans viewed being penetrated as being a woman's role and forbade "real men" from engaging in such activities under great societal pressure (even to the point of viewing a man performing oral sex on a woman as wrong).
Yes, penetration=femininity is a Hellenistic philosophical ideal, evident in philosophical debates. However, we likewise know from the Hellenistic comedies that many men did indeed enjoy penetration. Avoiding penetration is something like "polite" and "civil", whereas male-male penetration is "wilderness". Both happen. Likewise we know about Hellenistic transgender, intersex, and other identities.



The Aztecs, despite having a god of male homosexuality, made homosexuality a capitol offense--as I mentioned earlier, I've read it's because gay couples don't produce new taxpayers--but they also put men captured in battle but who weren't sacrificed in the same category as gay men as being "lesser."
I am less knowledgeable about Indigenous South Americans and Central Americans. But I am skeptical about that interpretation because of other traditions that I am aware of, as well as historical reports from European Christian missionaries.



In addition, in many cultures, third genders were assigned to people were intersex or who didn't fit societal roles properly, like an "effeminate man," not necessarily because they are what we would call transgender or non-binary. I'm sure many of them were transgender or nonbinary, of course, but it's doubtful all of them were.
Some cultures have thirdgender. Many cultures have two genders. The cultures that have thirdgender organize the understanding of it differently from each other.



Yes, and again, this is still because historically (and it doesn't matter if you're counting two centuries or two millennia here), people have been oppressed for being "wrong" no longer have to be ashamed of who they are.
It is accurate to emphasize how the achievement cis-hetero supremacy is recent and artificial.



If you have a fantasy race in a fantasy world that doesn't have a history of oppression, why would they be proud of their sexuality? It's completely normal. It's like being proud for having two hands when barring accidents, every member of your species has two hands.
Having a male body is different from having a female body, or an intersex body.

Consider, for many gay men, the male body of their partner is precisely what matters. For other gay men, it is the gender of their partner that is fundamental to ones attraction.

Each kind of body, each kind of gender, each kind of community is a reason to be proud of ones own identity.



It comes across as somewhat homophobic or transphobic to claim that samesex couples or trans persons are unable to feel pride in who one oneself is.



I really don't know what nationalistic jingoism has to do with anything.
Patriotism is a near-universal example of human pride in ones own identity group. Pride is intrinsic to identity. It has little or no dependency on oppression.
 
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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Patriotism is a near-universal example of human pride in ones own identity group. Pride is intrinsic to identity. It has little or no dependency on oppression.
Patriotism is the culmination of In-group Out-group identity politics.

Unless you have an out-group there is no "Pride". There is only "The people who are here".

The Out-group not being part of the In-group is the most basic starting point for biased treatment.

In a society where all sex, gender expression, and sexuality is part of the "In-group" and there is no othering or oppression or "They're not part of our group" mindset there is no need to create distinction and pride.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Patriotism is the culmination of In-group Out-group identity politics.

Unless you have an out-group there is no "Pride". There is only "The people who are here".

The Out-group not being part of the In-group is the most basic starting point for biased treatment.

In a society where all sex, gender expression, and sexuality is part of the "In-group" and there is no othering or oppression or "They're not part of our group" mindset there is no need to create distinction and pride.
I agree to some extent.

The construction of any "identity" presupposes other identities that differ.

That said, the "in group" can be complex, comprising various identities, with diverse specializations.

Structural constructs tend to default to binaries, with only one identity in power, and every other identity conflated as if interchangeable.

Nevertheless, more sophisticated and egalitarian social structures can and do exist.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I agree to some extent.

The construction of any "identity" presupposes other identities that differ.

That said, the "in group" can be complex, comprising various identities, with diverse specializations.

Structural constructs tend to default to binaries, with only one identity in power, and every other identity conflated as if interchangeable.

Nevertheless, more sophisticated and egalitarian social structures can and do exist.
They can and do. But they aren't the reason Gay Pride exists. Nor the rainbow flag or any of the various further flags tied to this community.

Centuries of oppression and growing recognition, equality, and safety are.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
What you are saying disagrees with what scientists say.

Whether animal behavioralists, neuropsychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, archeologists, etcetera, all agree that the formation of a society, namely the learned group behaviors as opposed to instinct, is fundamental to the human species. Perhaps historians especially view the society and its cultural relativity as the primary mode of human identity constructs.
You are misunderstanding what I'm talking about. Especially since you basically just repeated what I said. Society is not the same as social behaviors.

Society has only barely affected our evolutionary path, and then only in the sense that societies that live in different parts of the world have different adaptations, such as not having lactose intolerance, or sickle cell being found most commonly in sub-Saharan Africans and people descended from them and providing resistance to malaria as a side effect. Quite frankly, humans haven't been in societies long enough to affect evolution.

Society is more complex than just a group of social animals. It involves traditions, rituals, common beliefs, and the like--including common beliefs about gender and sexuality. These things are memes, in the original, Dawkin-esque sense of the word, not genes.

Evolution, however, doesn't care about gender or sexuality. Nor does it care about traditions, rituals, beliefs, or any other sort of meme. If something is in your DNA, then the only thing evolution "cares" about is whether or it will help you or prevent you from passing that DNA on. Since humans live in groups, neither homosexuality nor being transgender prevent DNA from being passed down, since even if you don't breed, someone related to you can, and the DNA is continued.

Yes, penetration=femininity is a Hellenistic philosophical ideal, evident in philosophical debates. However, we likewise know from the Hellenistic comedies that many men did indeed enjoy penetration. Avoiding penetration is something like "polite" and "civil", whereas male-male penetration is "wilderness". Both happen. Likewise we know about Hellenistic transgender, intersex, and other identities.
And socially speaking, how accepted were these men? Were they treated seriously and with respect? Or, because these are comedies you're talking about, were they designed to be laughed at?

I am less knowledgeable about Indigenous South Americans and Central Americans. But I am skeptical about that interpretation because of other traditions that I am aware of, as well as historical reports from European Christian missionaries.
You may want to look it up. They were something of an outlier, with other Central and South American groups being more open towards homosexuality. A quick source: LGBT history in Mexico - Wikipedia

Some cultures have thirdgender. Many cultures have two genders. The cultures that have thirdgender organize the understanding of it differently from each other.
Humans are good at organizing and putting labels on things. That's different from welcoming it with open arms.

It is accurate to emphasize how the achievement cis-hetero supremacy is recent and artificial.
And you're almost there.

In your fantasy societies, has there ever been a cishet supremacy? If not, then why are people in your worlds celebrating not being cis or het?

Or to put it a different way, in the real world, while cishet supremacy was the norm and homosexuality was merely whispered about by most people, were there ever straight pride parades or hetero-flags?

Some people like to say "hey, if there's a Black History Month, why isn't there also a White History Month," and they have to be reminded that every other month is White History Month. There doesn't have to be, because, sadly, white history is still the norm.

In a alternate Earth that never oppressed Black people, then there would be no need for a Black History Month because it would be normal to teach the history and achievements of Black Americans as often as white history and achievements are taught. (I admit I have no idea if any other countries celebrate Black History Month or an equivalent with a different oppressed minority.)

Likewise, in a world where LGBT+ people were never oppressed, then there would be no reason for a Pride Event because LGBT+ people were never made to feel ashamed.

Having a male body is different from having a female body, or an intersex body.

Consider, for many gay men, the male body of their partner is precisely what matters. For other gay men, it is the gender of their partner that is fundamental to ones attraction.

Each kind of body, each kind of gender, each kind of community is a reason to be proud of ones own identity.
None of this is an answer. Plus, in your second sentence, you could rewrite it as "for many straight men, the female body of their partner is precisely what matters. For other straight men, it is the gender of their partner that is fundamental to ones attraction" and it would be equally true and equally as much of a non-answer.

It comes across as somewhat homophobic or transphobic to claim that samesex couples or trans persons are unable to feel pride in who one oneself is.
Since I said nothing like that whatsoever, I have no idea what you mean. Are you deliberately misinterpreting what I'm saying, or are you just getting what I wrote, or did I write badly, or what?

Also, I think you need to understand the difference between "being proud of something" and "being Proud of something," in the LGBT+ Pride sense of the word. In both the real world and a fantasy world, of course people can be proud of their bodies. But without outside oppression, they would have no reason to be Proud. In a fantasy world that doesn't have a history of LBGT-phobia, they never had to hide themselves in shame or fear. Just like, in the real world, straight people have never had to hide their heterosexuality.

Patriotism is a near-universal example of human pride in ones own identity group. Pride is intrinsic to identity. It has little or no dependency on oppression.
A country is also an external sense of identity, as opposed to one's sexuality, which is internal. They are also very different things.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Seems like this thread has stopped being about roleplaying. I'm heading for the exit.
Mod Note:

This observation sort of matches my own perception. We’re treading dangerously close to forbidden discussion topics.

Please, let’s all take a breather, then return to posting about RPGs.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Love is diverse.

The fey elf Revelry celebrates love. Pilgrims go there for different reasons.

Some go to start a new family. Some go to celebrate the family that they already have.

The Revelry is 15 days. It includes a womanly Mothers Day, a manly Fathers Day, and a nonbinary Parents Day. While all celebrate parenting, each does so from the perspective of their different identities. On these day, descendants likewise celebrate their ancestral parents who are still alive.

The Revelry includes people displaying their own identities. Those seeking a mate likewise communicate the identities of those who they seek. Likewise, those who already have mates, celebrate the identities of their own distinctive romances.

The Revelry is a celebration of the diversity of love.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The fey elf setting draws from several inspirations. It continues a 4e setting. An important theme from the 4e setting is, the fey cultures are strictly magical. The feywild emphasizes magical power sources, namely psionic, primal, arcane, and divine. The fey divine is nontheistic but is heavy in healing, positivity, divination, fate, and luck. Only the material plane ("mortal", "natural") exhibits the martial power source. In this setting, any fey creature who has levels in a martial class, like Fighter or Rogue, has a backstory where they somehow learned these capabilities from the material plane.

Note, the sun elf and moon elf are fey, thus distinct from high elf and wood elf that are material.

The sun elf is Norsesque. The moon elf is Celtesque.



This post describes the Norsesque sun elf.

The sun elf comprises several cultures, because each governmental "court" has its own local culture. Even so, it is possible to talk about a composite culture, where most sun elf cultures share most of its features.

The real-life Viking-Period Norse culture is traditionally (ancestrally) a democratic local government. The local parliament is called a "Thing" (Þing), every adult − woman and man − votes as a member of this parliament. They vote for two community leaders, one "Jarl" and one "Law-sayer". The job of the Lawsayer is something like a supreme court, to remind everyone what the laws are. The job of the Jarl is like a US president, in charge of the day-to-day executive decisions, but most importantly, is the commander-in-chief in charge of the army. The government is much like the US government, where the Jarl is the president, the Lawsayer is the judicial, and every local citizen is congress. But the government is local, so the Jarl is more like a "mayor" in scope − but with a local army. The Jarl is typically a man because of the military duty, but there are women who are elected to be the Jarl. Essentially, the local Thing is within walking-distance of every voter.

The political description is somewhat complex. Toward the end of the Viking Period, there are a few regional Things, whose voters are representatives from various local Things. Moreover, by the centuries after the Viking Period, the Norse cultures shift into monarchies, but even then, the monarch is more like requiring an elected Jarl to come from a certain family. It is possible, to vote out an unpopular monarch, and vote in a sibling or cousin instead. During the Viking Period, there are aspiring monarchs, but their influence is more like a patchwork of alliances, making different arrangements with different regional and local Things. In any case, it is fair to characterize the traditional Thing as a local direct democracy, enjoying the participation of each nearby citizen. Politics tends to revolve around prominent families, and there can be intrigue and family feuds.

In the D&D setting, the politics of each sun elf "fey court" is like a local Thing. Every elf that is 100 years or older gets to vote on any issue. The voters typically vote as a block as a family. If a family gets annoyed with a particular court, they can leave that court and instead become members of a different court.

In the Norse culture, each family has its own militia. Typically, the culture expects the adult males of each family to fight as warriors to defend the family. (Family feuds are a thing!) Young girls and boys learn warfare together, such as wrestling and handling weapons. Adult females that prove capable in war can be members of a family militia. Even so, Norse masculine values come with a kind of military machismo. Men are expected to fight, and fighting is a mans world. Women who are good at fighting become members of a masculine gender-division of labor. The culture respects these female warriors for their masculine skills. Meanwhile, men who are less good at fighting might endure insults as a "coward" (ergi) or weakling, because of shirking the duty of a male to defend ones family. Nevertheless the culture still respects any men who excel at feminine skills, such as Norse shamanism. A Norse individual can choose ones own gender. The community will respect their respective accomplishments.

The job of a Jarl is delicate, because each family has its own warriors. No family trusts the safety of ones own family members to some other family. The Jarl must be an individual that each family trusts to keep the warriors of ones family safe. The need for every family to entrust this individual with their own warriors, is mainly why the democracy exists in the first place. Each voter needs to express confidence in this individual. In this way, the Jarl becomes responsible for heading the collective shared "army" of many families.

In the D&D setting, there is no "martial power source" from the feywild. By analogy, the fey elf "warriors" are strictly mages. Each family has powerful mages who defend the family. The sun court "songster" (a spell singer) is a Jarl, an elected official who each family requires to keep the mages of ones own family safe. The court is in charge of an army mages from many families: Psions, Bards, Clerics, also Druids, Wizards, Warlocks, Sorcerers, and any other fullcasters. An army of Wizards is a terrifying power. And so on. In times of emergency, many fey courts join their armies together in common cause. Other races tend to avoid provoking the fey elves. Magic is the currency of "hard power" among the fey courts. Art is the "soft power".

In the real life Norse history, there is a kind of machismo. Courage is the ultimate masculine value. To be a warrior who fights "fair", hand to hand, face to face, is an expression of such courage. This machismo makes the feminine magic, called Seidhr (Seiðr), problematic for men. Seidhr is mind-magic, literally a magic that "plays with an others mind", causing delusions and illusions, even possessions. In D&D terms, the schools of enchantment and illusion approximate well enough the Norse Seidhr. Essentially, the mage projects ones own mind into someone elses mind to wreak havoc there. The machismo considers it "cowardly" to use this magic to assassinate an enemy from a distance, or to cause an enemy to be unable to defend oneself, or to cause an enemy to kill oneself or ally. The removal of courage is itself unmanly. This military machismo is a main reason why "men" dont do shamanism. Of course, "women" have no obligation to conform to this machismo − and have no problem magically assassinating from a distance. Norse men fear magical women, and likewise respect any men who know how to do these kinds of magic.

The Norse culture gender divides, but there is real fluidity for individuals to choose to be successful in the skills of the other gender.

Among the Norse, the magic gender-divides. The men do warrior magic, called Ljodh (ljóð), "songs". The machismo considers this kind of magic permissible, because it allows a warrior to continue fighting face-to-face. It is ok for magic to buff oneself, but it is "cowardly" for it to sabotage a foe. Generally, the warrior magic is physical and mental health, healing, reviving, resurrecting, protection, shielding, and abjuration like protection from elements, reversing harmful magic, and shutting out mental attacks.

Surprisingly, the D&D 5e Devotion Paladin is excellent for approximating the Norse masculine magic. Its focus on courageous face-to-face melee combat, its healing and abjuration spell list, its ethic of fighting "fair", even its Charisma of personal influence and social honor are all spot on. This kind of Paladin makes a "manly" oath that is specifically about courage in battle, while all of the Devotion features work well enough.

Note, all Norse magic is "psionic" sotospeak, the power of ones own mind. So all sun elf mages wield spells that have the psionic tag, and eschew any material component. The sun elf Paladin eschews a holy symbol, or any other material component. But the spells still have a verbal component that helps focus the intention of ones own mind, and also a verbal component can substitute a somatic component. Where feminine magic is typically spoken commands, the masculine magic is typically musical chants, often with few or no words.

As the Paladin is a sun elf mage, a sun elf can be a Paladin-flavor Cleric as a fullcaster version of a Paladin. These sun elf Clerics keep the Paladin oath of courage, and can use Charisma as the casting ability, instead of Wisdom. These Clerics have the psionic tag; their spells eschew a holy symbol or any other material component, but continue to utilize any verbal component, and a verbal can also substitute for any somatic. This kind of psionic Cleric, can be of the following domains: Life, Peace, Knowledge, or Light. Keep in mind the oath of courage.

Note, the Jarl of an elf court is called a "songster", Ljodhi (Ljóði). The songster is an individual who excels at warrior magic, and possibly other magics as well.

The D&D 5e Bard is spot-on for the feminine Norse shamanic magic. Its enchantment and illusion spells approximate mind-magic (seiðr). Its divination spells correspond to prescience (spá). Its teleportation magic relating to shamanic projections of mind-out-of-body, with animal shapeshift, correspond to "form travel" (hamfar). The sun elf Bard too has the psionic tag, whose spells eschew any focus, instrument, or other material component. But they maintain the verbal component, typically a forceful command, and can use a verbal component instead of a somatic one. In other words, the verbal component can count as both a verbal and a somatic if the spell requires both.

The D&D classes that best approximate Norse magic are masculine Paladin and feminine Bard. Plus Psion, because all Norse magic is the power of a mind. However, telekinesis is rare. Examples of it are more like projecting ones mind into an object to animate the object. Likewise, telekinetic flight is rare. There is a mention of elves hovering high above the clouds. But almost every example of Norse flight involves shapeshifting into a bird, such as swan, eagle, or falcon. The sun elf psionicists are mainly: prescience-clairvoyance-teleportation, shapeshift-healing, telepathy-enchantment-illusion.



This fantasy fey elf setting has a gender-dividing culture. Where Norse culture has two genders with some fluidity between them, the sun elf culture has three genders with some fluidity between them. These three genders go beyond choice of clothing and body language. The genders include culturally assigned labor, always magical. It is possible for a woman to be a great Paladin, but she is in a mans world. It is possible for a man to be a great Bard, but he is in a womans world. Likewise, a Psion is a nonbinarys world.

In sum:

• Feminine magic: Bard
• Genderqueer magic: Psion (reflavor a Warlock)
• Masculine magic: Paladin (or Paladin-like Cleric)

The sun elf court cultures revolve around these gender expectations and the prestigious kind of magic of each.



A personal note. Of course, as a DM, I need to become any gender and every gender that an adventure story requires. As a player, my own characters tend to be masculine men. If I play a Norse Psion, he will probably be an other masculine character. Even if, the trainers and contacts will be Psions who are typically genderqueer. The situation can be fun. It can also be fun to explore a genderqueer player character. The good news is, if one becomes a powerful Psion, other people will respect it, and appreciate it.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Heh, the previous post might be a "too long, didnt read". It basically touches on how the fey elf "court" cultures work.

The Norsesque ones are mainly direct democracies, with family members tending to vote as a block. The elven age of "adulthood" at age 100 is when they legally gain the right to vote in a court. Importantly, each extended family has its own army, a family militia. In the context of the fey elves, this army is strictly an army of mages. Normally, there is no martial power source among the fey elves. The army defines the culturally organized masculine values.

For the sun elves:

woman: Bard (Enchanter, Illusionist, also Shapeshifter-Healer, Teleporter-Divination; and the only official religious leader is a Bard, as a Seer)

nonbinary: Psion (reflavored Warlock; but also an Artificer, flavoring as imbuing ones own mind into objects)

man: Paladin (Devotion, but with an oath of "courage"; by extension a Paladin-like Cleric of Peace, Life, Knoweldege, or Light)

All sun elf magic traditions gain the psionic tag: eschew material components, but keep the verbal component, which can also replace the somatic component.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
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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Yaarel

Mind Mage
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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Yaarel

Mind Mage
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:
WOMANNONBINARYMAN
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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