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D&D General Drow in early D&D

Yaarel

Legend
Honestly, I actually dislike this because I feel it is just the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs, and then pretending the new rearrangement is magically better.

It reminds me of a Japanese term for replacing an old word that is now considered bad with a newer word. And then eventually the newer word is considered bad and replaced with another newer word. And so on.

Being "speciesist" isn't any better than being "racist." They're both nasty and prejudiced.

That's why I get so irritated when people complain about "race" for this and then think "species" is any better.

All that literally does is just slap a new coat of paint on the same broken wall you could say. It doesn't change anything.
But some words are more disruptive than others. Consider marketing.

Can you imagine ANY other product using the word "race"?

Seriously!
 

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lall

Explorer
In my experience, I never go the vibe that Grey Elf et al were arrogant. Mainly they were reclusive.

Maybe the Forgotten Realms made Sun Elf explicitly pretentious and arrogant, but I didnt play FR. And even for the Sun Elf, they came across as trying to reunify the Elves, and this sense were highly tolerant of the diversity.
2e Book of Elves: “The grey elves view themselves as the protectors of good in the world, but they will stir from their mountains and meadows to protect the “lesser” races only when they are faced with great evil. Grey elves act much like human knights - supercilious and condescending, full of their own importance...They are often haughty, disdaining contact with most others, including all other elves save grey elves.” It goes on to say they aren’t exactly bigoted towards other races but more concerned about the purity of the elven line.
 

wellis

Villager
Why did 2E naughty word on both knights and Grey Elves so hard?

Were a lot of stereotypes about elves and paladins created in 2E, and players kept on pushing these stereotypes even through multiple editions where these issues weren't around anymore?
 

Yaarel

Legend
2e Book of Elves: “The grey elves view themselves as the protectors of good in the world, but they will stir from their mountains and meadows to protect the “lesser” races only when they are faced with great evil. Grey elves act much like human knights - supercilious and condescending, full of their own importance...They are often haughty, disdaining contact with most others, including all other elves save grey elves.” It goes on to say they aren’t exactly bigoted towards other races but more concerned about the purity of the elven line.
"... the purity of the elven line."

LOL!

Shocking. Even more shocking, how the people of that era could think that "race purity" was somehow better than being "condescending".
 

Blue Orange

Explorer
It reminds me of a Japanese term for replacing an old word that is now considered bad with a newer word. And then eventually the newer word is considered bad and replaced with another newer word. And so on.
There is actually an English term for that: euphemism treadmill. In German apparently they're Zugketten.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
lies lies lies lies. Grey Elves are just elf folk in the retirement homes with 2d6 *10 years to live. And you still get on their lawns and don't remember during the holidays.
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Eh magic breaks rules. And it fits with many stories of folklore and myth. I would use the term species in a medieval or mythological setting. I would call them what the ancients and classical writers did, race.

this is exactly what happens. Eventually the word or term they replace it with will become the bad word.

You misunderstand. It's really difficult to make the argument for "We are humans and those are just animals" (a speciesism argument), when you can procreate amongst each other. Doesn't actually matter if they are different species or not, because they behave less like different species and more like different cultural groups in real-life.

Elrond: Humans are like animals, I'm so glad we left Middle Earth for the Westlands.
Random nice elf: Isn't your daughter married to a human? Don't they have kids?
Elrond: Yeah well that's different, he's got a little elvish blood in his family line.
Nice elf: Elrond you sound racist, not gonna lie.
 


Sithlord

Adventurer
You misunderstand. It's really difficult to make the argument for "We are humans and those are just animals" (a speciesism argument), when you can procreate amongst each other. Doesn't actually matter if they are different species or not, because they behave less like different species and more like different cultural groups in real-life.

Elrond: Humans are like animals, I'm so glad we left Middle Earth for the Westlands.
Random nice elf: Isn't your daughter married to a human? Don't they have kids?
Elrond: Yeah well that's different, he's got a little elvish blood in his family line.
Nice elf: Elrond you sound racist, not gonna lie.
I do understand. I’m just not playing science book Darwinism. You can disagree me with me and that’s cool. But i do understand the argument. I just disagree with it. This ain’t a sci-fi rpg. Animals talk. Gods make races in their image or for their desires.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I do understand. I’m just not playing science book Darwinism. You can disagree me with me and that’s cool. But i do understand the argument. I just disagree with it. This ain’t a sci-fi rpg. Animals talk. Gods make races in their image or for their desires.

I've lost track of what you disagreed with me on because you've since edited your comment, so I'll drop it.
 

Wolf72

Explorer
Helldritch said:
Their life span was almost equal to a Grey Elf so this made them incredibly long lived with a maximum of 1500 years or so ( Grey could go up to 2000...)

iirc Drow were the shortest lived of the Elf races in 1e. ... yup: 1e DMG p13 ... Venerable age is 801-1000 years. Shortest of the 5 major types. later editions probably upped this for the nobles, if they managed to survive their society that long.
 




haakon1

Adventurer
I think the closest Greyhawk ever came to pushing the envelope where PC drow were concerned
In the Shackled City Adventure Path, which is Greyhawk and first published in Dungeon, in the Flood Season adventure, there is a druid Drow NPC, who the players are meant to rescue (sole survivo of a raid) and ally with - she‘s part of a secret society of good guy surface elf spies.
 
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Orius

Adventurer
At the time drow appeared in D&D, Michael Moorcock’s Elric novels were tremendously popular. A great many players at the time would have recognized Melniboneans in Gygax’s drow - decadent, sophisticated, depraved, cruel, utterly selfish, slave-owning, demon-worshippers. At conception, drow were basically a hybrid of norse mythology and Moorcok’s Melniboneans - themselves inspired by the elves in Poul Anderson’s the Broken Sword, which was itself rooted in Norse mythology.
Yeah, I've never read Moorcock's stuff, but I suspect there's a lot of Elric in drow just from what I know of the Elric stuff. Take that stuff, mix it with Norse mythology and add a big dose of fair folk, and that's where drow come from. Possibly some of the matriarchal stuff was there as a contrast with the other typical evil races which mostly got a lot of toxically male patriarchies. Then again too, there's all the spider imagery which may lend itself to the matriarchal elements.

Gray elves and high elves were Tolkien rip-offs of course, but the characterizations got all jumbled. There's also the difference between the different flavors of elf in each of the campaign settings too. There's the generic core stuff that got made up around the late 70s or early 80s in Dragon and became more or less official. Some of that is used directly in Greyhawk, but the generic core stuff is sometimes more open ended and/or broad strokes for the DM. Ed did his own thing with the Realms, so while there's probably common sources from Tolkien and his sources, Realms elves are unique in certain ways. Dragonlance has its own thing going too, but there's less separation between the Silvanesti and Qualinesti than the standard high elf/gray elf split.

The issues with elf haughtiness and/or isolationism I would attribute to all the various different things that have been written about elves over the years. There's various interpretations from Dragon, The Complete Book of Elves, Races of the Wild and other various 3e splats plus campaign settings and whatever individual DMs want to do.

The isolationism in part isn't always due to racism by the way. There are times when it's attributed to elves' longer natural lifespan, and that they withdraw because they don't like dealing with the sorrow of seeing non-elves die more quickly and more often. The whole longer lifespan thing is where a lot of elven attitudes comes from, they live so long they don't perceive the passage of time in the same way as other races. But some players don't RP that very well and play elves as snotty humans with pointy ears.

(..Synnibarr.. Raven is still kicking as far as I know. He did write a "2nd edition" of Synnibarr, which I do NOT own and have no desire...1e Synnibarr, well, "don't mess with perfection"... ;) But if you want him to read you a bed-time story, here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjIVJNT1aLPIsMTafpb8bfA

I think that's the first time I've seen anyone use the word "perfection" in conjunction with Synnibarr.
 

The Glen

Hero
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.
The plot Point behind them is less hiding out from the apocalypse and more along the lines of living in fear based on lies. The surface world doesn't hate despite what their leadership says. Hell most of the surface world doesn't even know they exist. They stay underground because their King won't accept any compromise that doesn't give him exactly what he wants. The shadow elves can return to the surface at any time but their leadership needs them to stay afraid to maintain power
 

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