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General So what colour are your dwarfs and elfs?

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Small God of the Dozens
Yep. And that likely makes the conversation easy. But, "because it is in lore" is a lousy reason to just assume stuff.
I AM the lore!!

It depends on the Elf culture. For Sun Elf and Moon Elf, the color of the skin (and eyes and hair) can be any color seen in the sky. That almost means any color, even the emerald green of a rainbow, possibly luminous. Generally, these celestial elves range from cloud white to midnight black, including shades of gold and red, and dusky sunsets.

Wood elves are more about the colors of plants and earth tones, and the earth tones are shades of orange, much like human complexions.

Dwarves are any color of any stone, often earth tones.
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Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I like my dwarves the way I like my coffee.


Why, what did you think I was going to say?
Bitter, more palatable for most folks if you give them a bit of sugar, and generally a bit of an acquired taste?
Those are results seen in a world driven by evolutionary processes. The generic D&D world is filled with created species, not evolved ones.
Not to mention they aren’t really subterranean.


Limit Break Dancing
I let the player tell me what their character looks like, not the other way around.

My last elf was eladrin. He had skin that looked like birch bark, and hair that changed color with the season.

If the player wants something out of that range (like, say, you're playing a Spring-season Eladrin, and want a pale green skin tone) they need to speak with me first.

Now I want a world where elves have skin and hair that varies according to the season, and dwarves get darker the deeper underground they go.

"It's going to be an early spring, Ma, the elves are starting to turn green!"


Small God of the Dozens
So your dwarves are like the opposite of Transitions? Neat. They come in out of the sun and darken up. I bet they struggle at those dwarf raves though, the strobes must be murder.


Whatever color the player finds character art for.

Usually I follow this rule for general settings.
When running Known World my elves are either Green Wild Elves (the Atruaghin Clans), Pale & Blonde Light Elves (Alfheim), Purple Genalleth Elves (Wendar, think WoW night elves), & pale grey Ash Shadow Elves (Svartalfheim, think warhammer dark elves w/grey skin).
Otherwise, it never comes up unless I run Kingdoms of Kalamar for the Human backgrounds.


Varies by setting - in a Tolkienesque setting everyone might look northern European. In my Barbarian Altanis Wilderlands setting campaign most of the Altanian races had a variety of red skin tones - scarlet, copper, bronze, crimson etc. That went for humans, elves dwarves etc - something in the water!


Staff member
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?
Mostly, they‘re some kind of variation on human flesh tones.

But in truth, it depends entirely on the campaign setting. I’ve had Elves be snowy white, starless black, turquoise blue, verdant green and others. Some of my dwarves have been opalescent or metallic.

(And while we’re at it, I’ve had Orcs with translucent flesh- pretty much any race may be cosmetically altered to fit the stories to be told.)


Now I want a world where elves have skin and hair that varies according to the season, and dwarves get darker the deeper underground they go.

"It's going to be an early spring, Ma, the elves are starting to turn green!"

"Nah my kid, it was only a spoiled lembas waver at the forrest celebration yesterday."


I go with the setting lore generally.

Yeah in Faerun and Greyhawk this means that Sun/ High/ Moon/ Wood elves are generally fair skinned (to copper). Dwarves are the same.

Unless they're the evil ones (Duergar and Drow). In those cases they live underground and have dusky to black skin.

Yes I know. The implication is awful.

Im not sure how they fix it without having dark skinned sun elves, and fair skinned Drow being a thing.


He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
I’ve been thinking about this occasionally, and although I’ve never specified it as a GM, I have these certain visuals in my own mind. To me, dwarves have a metallic quality to their skin. They have genarally the skin tone varieties similar to humans but there is a glint to them as light hits them.

The elves on the other hand have a slight unnatural tint on them. There is a moonlight like shimmer on moon elves, and a golden glow of sorts to the sun elves. The moon elves are generally pale while the sun elves have skin tones from light to dark. The black of the drow is a sort of bluish black.
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