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D&D General Drow in early D&D

Sithlord

Adventurer
I think they went wrong with elves when they stopped being those whimsical fairies with a sense of irony that lived in tree houses. Imho only.
 

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Yaarel

Legend
I think they went wrong with elves when they stopped being those whimsical fairies with a sense of irony that lived in tree houses. Imho only.
Those are my High Elf.

Albeit, my High Elf are probably a bit too military to be whimsical. I will try working on that, to play up the Eldritch Knights and Bladesingers go crazy when they are on leave from duty.
 

Yaarel

Legend
According to the 3e Forgotten Realms setting, both the Drow Elf and the Sun Elf are racist.

However, the Drow Elf are classified as "Evil", thus in a way have a free pass to be jerks.

The problem is, the Sun Elf are classified as "Good", thus being racist and Good at the same time makes everything weird.

There has to be a way for a culture to value their own culture, without needing to despise or be "haughty" against other cultures.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
Those are my High Elf.

Albeit, my High Elf are probably a bit too military to be whimsical. I will try working on that, to play up the Eldritch Knights and Bladesingers go crazy when they are on leave from duty.
I like my elves very faerie. They never age. And they don’t have kingdoms and cities on the map. It’s tricky getting to them if you are mortal or don’t have fae blood of some kind.
I also like race as class for nonhumans because it is easier to design them and make rules for them to be very not human. Imho

the way many elves are being written they should throw out chaotic good and make them any lawful.
 
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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
The problem is, the Sun Elf are classified as "Good", thus being racist and Good at the same time makes everything weird.
Quick sidebar: where are sun elves, specifically, classified as being good-aligned? I flipped their through entry in the FR 3E Campaign Setting, and didn't notice anything about alignment there. The 3E portion of their wiki entry (on the sidebar) said that they're LG, NG, CG, and N, but referred back to the FR3ECS and the 3.5 PHB.

(I'm not sure I saw where it described them as being "racist" either, now that I think about it.)
 

Like I suspect a lot of newer players wouldn't have really heard of Mystara's shadow elves, for example.
I love Mystara, but the Shadow Elves are basically any number of 1960s/1970s sci-fi living-underground-after-the-apocalypse races and aren't terribly interesting unless they're your only exposure to such groups.
 
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Yaarel

Legend
Quick sidebar: where are sun elves, specifically, classified as being good-aligned? I flipped their through entry in the FR 3E Campaign Setting, and didn't notice anything about alignment there. The 3E portion of their wiki entry (on the sidebar) said that they're LG, NG, CG, and N, but referred back to the FR3ECS and the 3.5 PHB.

(I'm not sure I saw where it described them as being "racist" either, now that I think about it.)
The "racist" part is the sentence quoted earlier from the 3e FR Campaign Setting:

"Sun Elves ... are seen as the most civilized and haughty elves, preferring to remain separate from humankind and other nonelven races."

The Sun Elves are literally racist separatists, and racist supremacists, elevating the "Elf race" and being "haughty" against every other race.



The being "Good" is a fair question. Generally, according to the 3e Players Handbook, all Elves are Chaotic Good, except for Drow who are Chaotic Evil.

3e PH: "Elves. Alignment. ... Elves love freedom, ... and are more often Good than not."

In FR too, "Sun Elves have all the elven racial traits listed on page 16 of the Players Handbook, except as follows. +2 Intelligence," etcetera.

Thus Sun Elves associate with the same Elf that loves freedom and is assumed to be Good.



Wow! Even the 3e Players Handbook says all Elves are "haughty". "Elves. Relations. Elves ... look on Half-Elves with some degree of pity. ... While haughty, ... they are generally pleasant."



So, according to 3e Greyhawk core and 3e Forgotten Realms, the Elf is officially a polite racist supremacist ... and is Good.

Unbelievable!

No wonder the Elf got so messed up.
 
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The differences were not that much. In fact, FR expanded a lot on what Greyhawk had already established. In Greyhawk, however, while most drows are worshipping Llolth and fear her wrath, some are just pretenders and worship the Elder Elemental Eye (aka Tharzidun) and seek to over throw her hold on drow society but not out of goodness but for their own gain.
Greyhawk drow would do very bad things to anyone calling Lolth "Lloth."
 

She's not. It's established in D3 that the Drow worship demon lords; the worship of Lolth is but one example of such. However, this has largely been tossed aside is the years that followed.
I've always wondered why we didn't see overt connections between Graz'zt and the Greyhawk drow. It would not be hard to argue that the drow were reshaped in his image, for instance. (In the real world, of course, he's the dark man of the Salem witch trials, but that's not necessarily a thing in D&D.)
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest
The "racist" part is the sentence quoted earlier from the 3e FR Campaign Setting:

"Sun Elves ... are seen as the most civilized and haughty elves, preferring to remain separate from humankind and other nonelven races."

The Sun Elves are literally racist separatists, and racist supremacists, elevating the "Elf race" and being "haughty" against every other race.



The being "Good" is a fair question. But there is a sense that all Elves are Chaotic Good, except for Drow who are Chaotic Evil.
I wouldn't necessarily read our history of racism into Sun Elf racism. They may be haughty and prefer separation, but do they oppress everyone (anyone?) else? Do they have racist social structures in areas where they aren't or cannot remain separate? Even in the real world, there are very different sorts of racism ranging from withdrawing into enclaves to enslaving those who are different and these are very different in moral perspectives.
 

Yaarel

Legend
I wouldn't necessarily read our history of racism into Sun Elf racism.
I wouldnt necessarily not.

I have seen FR Elves being roleplayed with (American Hollywood versions of) the accents of affected British aristocracy. (Heh, I guess mainly inspired by Monty Python.)

At the time, they were indulging the trope, having fun buying into it.

But it is a small drift from that kind of pretense, to Anti-Western stereotypes, to serving as a vehicle for racism against Europeans.
 
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Sithlord

Adventurer
The "racist" part is the sentence quoted earlier from the 3e FR Campaign Setting:

"Sun Elves ... are seen as the most civilized and haughty elves, preferring to remain separate from humankind and other nonelven races."

The Sun Elves are literally racist separatists, and racist supremacists, elevating the "Elf race" and being "haughty" against every other race.



The being "Good" is a fair question. Generally, according to the 3e Players Handbook, all Elves are Chaotic Good, except for Drow who are Chaotic Evil.

3e PH: "Elves. Alignment. ... Elves love freedom, ... and are more often Good than not."

In FR too, "Sun Elves have all the elven racial traits listed on page 16 of the Players Handbook, except as follows. +2 Intelligence," etcetera.

Thus Sun Elves associate with the same Elf that loves freedom and is assumed to be Good.



Wow! Even the 3e Players Handbook says all Elves are "haughty". "Elves. Relations. Elves ... look on Half-Elves with some degree of pity. ... While haughty, ... they are generally pleasant."



So, according to 3e Greyhawk core and 3e Forgotten Realms, the Elf is officially a polite racist supremacist ... and is Good.

Unbelievable!

No wonder the Elf got so messed up.
Being isolationist does not make one racist.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Wow! Even the 3e Players Handbook says all Elves are "haughty". "Elves. Relations. Elves ... look on Half-Elves with some degree of pity. ... While haughty, ... they are generally pleasant."
Don't forget that the 3E descriptions also attribute (typical) skin colors for each race. For elves: "They tend to be pale-skinned and dark-haired, with deep green eyes."
 
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Yaarel

Legend
@billd91

Also the 3e FR Sun Elf are factually smarter and viewed as more "civilized" than other races. How could one not read reallife European racist traditions into that worldview?
 


Blue Orange

Explorer
I'd argue that most preindustrial civilizations (ie any D&D civilization in most settings) had at least some degree of what we would consider prejudice, though they defined ingroup and outgroup differently--you had barbarians defined as 'people who didn't speak Greek', for instance; Romans talked about tribal people outside of the empire the same way, and in China again it was groups outside of the empire. (They categorized them by the cardinal directions.) A lot of history revolves around inter-ethnic conflicts, and often you have one group that sits on top of the other as a ruling class--look at the Manchu Qing dynasty in China, or Normans in England after 1066 (that's why our 'common' words sound like German and our 'fancy' words sound like French-look at 'cow' (Kuh) and 'beef' (boeuf) for instance). Ancestry's very often a big factor though.

How much of that you want to put into your game is another story. A lot of your players may have had real-life traumatic experiences with some of this stuff.
 
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Yaarel

Legend
I am happy to say, 4e backed away from this kind of "haughty" roleplay.

In the description of the Eladrin (= Sun/Moon Elf), there is no hint of racism. The flavor is they like magic and the Plane of the Feywild more than the Elf (= Wild/Wood Elf) do. The personality of the Eladrin is, their long life span gives them a long term perspective that makes it difficult for them to take any particular event in history too seriously.

5e is continuing this more empathic approach to roleplay, and is currently excising any traces of problematic tropes within the D&D legacy.

The thing is, these seemingly-innocuous but inherently-prejudiced tropes can blindside any of us when we are not looking.
 
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