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D&D General Does anyone know what the basic sapient playable species archetypes are again? and which one do the elves belong to?

I note when people pick races they tend to be in sort of areas of concepts?

like the heavy strong kinda masculine coded ones your dwarves, works goliaths that sort of thing?

the small cute ones like halfling and gnome with some villainous ones moving into this spot these days.

which one do elves belong to again as lots of things are elf like but not elves so clearly they fit somewhere?

also aside from humans more legally not humans who normally point of view characters could there be a fourth or are we condemned to only really able to have three basic none human patterns?
 

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Remathilis

Legend
The ones I tended too are:

  • The adaptable: (human) not good at any one thing, but generically decent at everything. Common and ubiquitous.
  • The strong: (dwarf, orc) tends toward strong and tough, very martial/warlike culture.
  • The magical (elf, dragonborn) gifted in magic use, tends toward caster types, more philosophical or aloof.
  • The furry (tabaxi, lizardfolk): strong animal influences or animal hybrids. Typically strong or fast depending on the animal. Culture is an exaggerated version of the animal's behavior patterns.
  • The Small (halfling, gnome) childlike, cute, innocent. If fey, might double with the magical.
  • The Dark (tiefling, Drow) typically viewed negatively due to heritage. Outsider, but also fills the "evil without being Evil" role. Increasingly a dying trope.

Typically, I tried to include at least one race for each trope. The classic PHB fills them nicely, but even odd settings like Theros or Ravnica fill them decently.
 


Scribe

Hero
Unless I misunderstood the question.

Elves: Longest living outside of Dragons, Elitist, Aloof, Graceful, Beautiful, Magical.
 


Maybe the "long-lived, aloof, skilled, knowledgeable" archetype?
(Seems Vulcans fill a similar role in Star Trek... all the way down to the pointy ears.)
that is also dwarves so it has to be more than that.
I think Elves fit into the "outsider" trope. They are long-lived, magical, and see the world differently than humans.
all of them are outsiders I am trying to hammer home the exact area, anyone know anyone who is super into elves?
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
that is also dwarves so it has to be more than that.

all of them are outsiders I am trying to hammer home the exact area, anyone know anyone who is super into elves?
I disagree that they are all outsiders.

When we look at the "roles" of fantasy of science-fiction races, often they are drawn out on a scale from one concept to its opposite. For example, in the original Starcraft, you have:

Protoss: super technology
Terran: some technology
Zerg: little technology

For worlds with a lot of races, like Star Trek, you wind up still putting humans at the center, and then make all the other races Human + or Human -, or a combination thereof. For example, Vulcans could be defined as Human + Superlogic, or Human - Emotion.

But no matter what, you usually wind up with races being more exaggerated versions of narrative human roles. These roles, from my own experience, tend to be things like:

Warrior
Outsider
Innocent
Hedonist
Reformed
Basically a Human


And so on.

Looking at the three Starcraft Races, we have:

Protoss: Outsiders. They are physically very different than humans, and their level of technology marks them as different.
Terran: Basically a Human. Terrans provide the human perspective from which to judge the other races.
Zerg: Warriors. Zerg are the ultimate warriors, adapting and evolving to be the best at it.

Here's where I see the D&D races fitting into these tropes:

Dragonborn: Outsider trope. Dragonborn are more dragon than human, and their appearance and abilities support the idea of being very different than a human.
Dwarf: Warrior trope. Dwarves tend to focus on weapons and armor, and are known for being tough cookies.
Elf: Outsider trope. Elves have a perspective that is "greater" than a human's, being ancient and magical. Sometimes they are nature-aligned outsiders, sometimes they are magic-aligned outsiders, sometimes they are spider-aligned outsiders.
Gnome: Outsider trope. Again, gnomes are very different than humans, being small and magical.
Half-Elf: Basically a human trope. Half-Elves fit into human society, and are often used as a marker for how "other" elves can be.
Halfling: Innocent trope. Halflings are childlike, and often play into this.
Half-Orc: Warrior trope. Half-orcs, being related to the warmongering orcs of the Monster Manual, are known to be good at fighting, and have rules to support that.
Human: Basically a human.
Tiefling: Reformed trope. Tieflings are bad guys (fiends) who have reformed and can join the good guys, and their rules support this narrative.

Now of course no two dwarves are the same, and this is not the ONE TRUE WAY to settle the D&D races into categories, but it's one way to look at it. In my view, Elves are Outsiders.
 

Maybe the "long-lived, aloof, skilled, knowledgeable" archetype?
(Seems Vulcans fill a similar role in Star Trek... all the way down to the pointy ears.)
I'd just like to note that I somehow never really made this Star Trek connection until Star Trek: Picard had some young Romulan villains who didn't have the traditional Vulcan/Romulan stupid bowl haircuts, and suddenly every time I see them I think "evil space elves".
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Why not make elves fit whatever role YOU want them to?
Also, food for thought: they're still people, which means no elf is like the other. Not all elves need to be gentle slender magical treehuggers.

I mean, let them define the culture but not the individual. Italians eat pizza and pasta and wave their hands a lot, yes. But if you're gonna make an Italian character, you're not gonna just have him eating pasta and waving their hands be their personality or story.
 

I disagree that they are all outsiders.

When we look at the "roles" of fantasy of science-fiction races, often they are drawn out on a scale from one concept to its opposite. For example, in the original Starcraft, you have:

Protoss: super technology
Terran: some technology
Zerg: little technology

For worlds with a lot of races, like Star Trek, you wind up still putting humans at the center, and then make all the other races Human + or Human -, or a combination thereof. For example, Vulcans could be defined as Human + Superlogic, or Human - Emotion.

But no matter what, you usually wind up with races being more exaggerated versions of narrative human roles. These roles, from my own experience, tend to be things like:

Warrior
Outsider
Innocent
Hedonist
Reformed
Basically a Human


And so on.

Looking at the three Starcraft Races, we have:

Protoss: Outsiders. They are physically very different than humans, and their level of technology marks them as different.
Terran: Basically a Human. Terrans provide the human perspective from which to judge the other races.
Zerg: Warriors. Zerg are the ultimate warriors, adapting and evolving to be the best at it.

Here's where I see the D&D races fitting into these tropes:

Dragonborn: Outsider trope. Dragonborn are more dragon than human, and their appearance and abilities support the idea of being very different than a human.
Dwarf: Warrior trope. Dwarves tend to focus on weapons and armor, and are known for being tough cookies.
Elf: Outsider trope. Elves have a perspective that is "greater" than a human's, being ancient and magical. Sometimes they are nature-aligned outsiders, sometimes they are magic-aligned outsiders, sometimes they are spider-aligned outsiders.
Gnome: Outsider trope. Again, gnomes are very different than humans, being small and magical.
Half-Elf: Basically a human trope. Half-Elves fit into human society, and are often used as a marker for how "other" elves can be.
Halfling: Innocent trope. Halflings are childlike, and often play into this.
Half-Orc: Warrior trope. Half-orcs, being related to the warmongering orcs of the Monster Manual, are known to be good at fighting, and have rules to support that.
Human: Basically a human.
Tiefling: Reformed trope. Tieflings are bad guys (fiends) who have reformed and can join the good guys, and their rules support this narrative.

Now of course no two dwarves are the same, and this is not the ONE TRUE WAY to settle the D&D races into categories, but it's one way to look at it. In my view, Elves are Outsiders.
outsider is too indistinct can it be broken down?
Why not make elves fit whatever role YOU want them to?
Also, food for thought: they're still people, which means no elf is like the other. Not all elves need to be gentle slender magical treehuggers.

I mean, let them define the culture but not the individual. Italians eat pizza and pasta and wave their hands a lot, yes. But if you're gonna make an Italian character, you're not gonna just have him eating pasta and waving their hands be their personality or story.
it is an already established concept thus I have to know what the expectation is if only so I know how to keep people happy besides I can also be looking to see what elves are not to know what else there can be as an option.
 

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