log in or register to remove this ad

 

General So what colour are your dwarfs and elfs?

Tonguez

Legend
So I was reading up on the green children of Woolpit, UK who were found in the town in the 12th Century. They were (apparently) human but green skinned, spoke a strange language and said they came from St Martins Land. Some modern speculation has suggested the story was a garbled retelling of a real event with the children suffering from chlorosis (green skin anemia) and that lead me to investigating other skin colour variations/defects like the blue skinned Fugate family of Kentucky (1820s)

Anyway with all the recent threads on race/ethnicity and colour I got thinking on how Races are depcited in games. SO when you think of dwarves and Elfs how do you see them?

DO you see them as having skin tones of Europe or do they run the gamut of human types (eg would a dwarf being described as Black skinned fit your expectations?).
DO you allow for any skin and hair variation - Green-skinned humans, Blue skinned elves, tan skinned humans with purple hair?
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

aco175

Hero
My favorite is the orange-skin Sunny D kids which caused their stock to plummet.

We never really explored skin color in my games but assume mostly real life colors with (non-drow) elves being paler and dwarves being darker or ruddy. Nobody has come and said they want to play a blue human, maybe asimar.
 

Well, an Eldarin Bladesinger NPC I have doesn't change skin color when she changes her aspect of seasons, but her hair color is constantly changing between different colors. Teal/Grey highlights during Winter, Scarlet Red during summer, etc, etc.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Elves: Generally dark-skinned, apart from drow, who are extremely pale, almost albino.

Dwarves: Generally fair-skinned, although families who have lived on the surface for multiple generations will often trend more tan.

Halflings: Same range of complexion as humans.

Dragonborn: Colored like dragons.

Gnomes: Similar to dwarves.

Orcs: Shades of green.

Tieflings: Varies wildly depending on lineage. Those with the strongest Turathi noble blood have vibrant colored skin, prominent horns, and may have other fiendish traits like goat-like legs or vestigial wings. Those further-removed from their noble heritage may have subtler features and skin tones closer to the normal human range, albeit with undertones of the colors associated with their lineage.
 

pukunui

Hero
I primarily play and run games in the Forgotten Realms, where skin tones are already well established.

Moon elves are generally pale with a blue tinge, while sun elves have more bronze skin. The wood elves, unsurprisingly, have a wooden complexion. Drow are generally depicted as either being full-on black or a shade of grey.

Gold dwarves have dark chocolate-colored skin, while shield dwarves are pasty and pale.

And so on.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
My dwarves vary from red-rust to deep brown, all the earthen colors are covered.
Elves tend more toward pale metallic: copper (tarnished or not), gold, silver. My drows are obsidian black and their skin as the same vitrified look as the stone.

All the others covers the same colors as humans.
 


Voadam

Hero
I generally go with whatever is in the PH or MM or campaign setting source I am using, though I am partial to punk rock gnome hair from Golarion. I am also very much a proponent of letting my PCs describe their characters how they want.
 


I tried to respect differences by creating a spreadsheet of all the races and ethnicities, so I can distinguish by sight a Bedine human from a Imaskari human. It went down well. I had two players deliberately choose an ethnicity different to their own. One player picked a Turami human simply because he said there weren't enough black people in the game.

Shield dwarfs are visually distinct from gold dwarfs. Same for silver elfs and gold elfs and for lightfoot and strongheart hin.
 

Bitbrain

Black Lives Matter
In the Dark Sun-in-all-but-name campaign I ran last year the Mul Bard had a brick-red skin tone and the Elf Druid had a pale gray skin tone.

There was also at least one group of dwarves with a metallic brass skin tone, and an elf tribe with bright blue skin and purple-pink hair...

EDIT
Forgot about the tribe of Halflings with dark green skin.
 

dave2008

Legend
So I was reading up on the green children of Woolpit, UK who were found in the town in the 12th Century. They were (apparently) human but green skinned, spoke a strange language and said they came from St Martins Land. Some modern speculation has suggested the story was a garbled retelling of a real event with the children suffering from chlorosis (green skin anemia) and that lead me to investigating other skin colour variations/defects like the blue skinned Fugate family of Kentucky (1820s)

Anyway with all the recent threads on race/ethnicity and colour I got thinking on how Races are depcited in games. SO when you think of dwarves and Elfs how do you see them?

DO you see them as having skin tones of Europe or do they run the gamut of human types (eg would a dwarf being described as Black skinned fit your expectations?).
DO you allow for any skin and hair variation - Green-skinned humans, Blue skinned elves, tan skinned humans with purple hair?
It is never come up in my campaigns
 

Humans: Run the gamut from Nordic pale, Mediterrainian tan, Senegambonese brown, Nilotic black.
Dvergar: Pale to tan underground - dark under tropic sun. Morlocks are albino.
Half-Elves: Pale to tan.
Elves: All dead, the arrogant jerks.
Halflings: Reddish tan to dark tan - strong Polynesian / SE Asia theme.
Kobolds: Brown / tan and Green / beige
 

oreofox

Explorer
In my setting, humans (when they existed) had the same skin coloration as humans in the real world.
Halflings (when they existed) were the same as humans
Hill dwarves have darker complections, darker hair, though some are lighter toned (for real world comparisons, similar to people from Mexico and south). Mountain dwarves are pasty with lighter hair colors (they live in mountains where light doesn't shine). I have 2 more subraces (iron and wild), iron dwarves have metallic gray (light gray to near black) skin with firey red hair, while wild dwarves range between mountain and hill dwarves.
Moon/high elves are super pale with white or light blond hair, sun elves have dark brown to black skin with red, orange, or yellow hair. Wood elves have tan to light brown skin, drow are albino white with pitch black hair.
Gnomes are similar to humans
Orcs are black skinned with fire red hair, or some have blue skin with stark white hair.
Goblins are pale skinned to green skinned. Hobgoblins are green to gray skinned. Bugbears have brown to black fur and skin
Dragonborn and kobolds are colored like dragons, though the kobolds coloring is a bit washed out (like taking the color saturation to 50%)
I merged kenku and aarakocra together, and they can look like any bird in the world. Raven/crow, eagle, owl, blue jay, cardinal, etc. I even had a chicken NPC for an easter one-shot (he was a candy maker that became a wererabbit and ended up making monstrous candy creatures like giant living peeps with molten marshmallow breath weapon).

Tieflings, aasimar, and genasi are "template" races, in that they are distinct races of their own, but look like one of the other races, so they have no set skin color but add a few extra to the "base race". Skin color doesn't play into any sort of racism, though the humans as a whole thought of themselves as superior to everyone else because of their "race", or species or whathaveyou.
 

FXR

Explorer
In my homebrew:

Elves

Syndics of the North (elves who believe they should rule humanity* for its own sake) are blue skinned with silver or white hair.
Gardian Elves (elves who believe they should act as conseillors for humanity) are pale skinned, a bit like caucasian humans.
Wild Elves (elves who believe they shouldn't care about humanity) have a skin whose color varies with the season from white (in winter) to greenish (in summer)

* Elves see dwarves, gnomes, minotaurs and thieflings as part of humanity. They have a lot of trouble differentiating one from another.

Dwarves

Mountain Dwarves have very pale skin, because they spent centuries hiding in the depth of the earth
Hill Dwarves (dwarves who were denied the security of dwarves fortresses and had to survive outside) have a tanned skin.

Humans

All colors, from red (real red) to pale. Some have darker skins, such as the pseudo-greek Istarians, who have a very dark complexion, a bit like Senegaleses) and those of Port-Nimazawi look like Haitians.

Gnomes

Like hill dwarves.

Minotaurs

The color of their hair varies a lot. Brown is the most usual color.

Thieflings

Thieflings' skin has a reddish tint.

My homebrew does not feature dragonborn, assimars, genesi, goliaths, orcs or globinoids.
 


I primarily play and run games in the Forgotten Realms, where skin tones are already well established.

Moon elves are generally pale with a blue tinge, while sun elves have more bronze skin. The wood elves, unsurprisingly, have a wooden complexion. Drow are generally depicted as either being full-on black or a shade of grey.

Gold dwarves have dark chocolate-colored skin, while shield dwarves are pasty and pale.

And so on.
To add I believe that the 2E "complete races" series of books addressed this as well, as did most monster manuals and campaign settings. I just went by that and never gave it another thought.
 


Eltab

Hero
FR (usual campaign setting): as per lore.

Homebrew:
Dwarves were created by Moradin from rock and stone. They are any color a rock could be. Never thought about inheritability or if they would change to mirror their new environment, were they to move (consider red or yellow or brown sandstones).
Elves are creatures of the woods so I used the FR descriptions of Wood Elves, Green Elves, and Star Elves. Less arboreal elves would tend towards suntan colors. Drow are cursed-by-the-gods dark (like obsidian), not IRL human dark.
 

In a published campaign setting, as described for it.

In my own homebrew, the only change I've made that seems worthy of notice is describing drow as being really pale instead of black-skinned, as it appears to make sense for an underground folk. I usually describe surface races as mixed types, so, even if you are a high elf, there's nothing preventing you from having darker skin, which may reflect some wood elf ancestry one or two generations before you.
 

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top