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D&D 5E Tasha's Drow Art and the Future of Their Depictions in D&D

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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
As a sidebar, according to an article (which I sadly can't find right now) the reason drow have black skin is because the idea originated with Norse mythology. But in that mythology, their skin color wasn't specified it was their hearts that were black as coal. Supposedly Gygax just misunderstood, the artists needed some way for the hair to be visible so they went with white and here we are.
That doesn't match what's on the Wikipedia page for Dökkálfar:

In the Prose Edda, the Dökkálfar and the Ljósálfar are attested in chapter 17 of the book Gylfaginning. In the chapter, Gangleri (the king Gylfi in disguise) asks the enthroned figure of High what other "chief centres" there are in the heavens outside of the spring Urðarbrunnr. Gangleri responds that there are many fine places in heaven, including a place called Álfheimr (Old Norse 'Elf Home' or 'Elf World'). High says that the Ljósálfar live in Álfheimr, while the Dökkálfar dwell underground and look—and particularly behave—quite unlike the Ljósálfar. High describes the Ljósálfar as "fairer than the sun to look at", while the Dökkálfar are "blacker than pitch".
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic Dungeon Master
But why? Natural selection or adaptation has nothing to do with their skin color. They have been cursed with dark skin for worshiping Loth and comiting evil deeds, and their offspring inherit this curse.
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Way to snip out the context of a hypothetical where someone NOW just takes offense at their 'near whiteness'.

Gotta love forums.

Mod Note:
Folks, use of simplified hypotheticals to prosecute social issues is a losing proposition. Using them to dismiss what little movement we can make on real systemic social issues does not fly. How about we not do that again, hm? Thanks.
 

Scribe

Hero
Mod Note:
Folks, use of simplified hypotheticals to prosecute social issues is a losing proposition. Using them to dismiss what little movement we can make on real systemic social issues does not fly. How about we not do that again, hm? Thanks.
FWIW my response was poorly written, my point was that people will always take things and twist them to their own ends, regardless of original intent.

Apologies.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Especially when that curse is . . . dark skin. I honestly cannot get how some people don't see a problem with this.
"You realize that pretty much every dark skinned race in your game is evil, right? Certainly how you can see how that could be a problem and appear racist."
"Oh, it's not racist because it's not the fault of the black folk they act like that. They can't help it because of X."

🤷‍♂️

Taking a historically marginalized and attacked group, and assigning additional negative circumstances to them (like a curse), prolly isn't the best way to explain why they keep getting assigned these negative traits that have close ties to racism to begin with. Just say'n. Insult to injury.
 

delericho

Legend
I like the change. I also hope that this isn't the look for drow going forward, but rather that we'll see a variety of drow and elves. (And, actually, I prefer both to have distinctly inhuman skin tones - greys, blues, greens, or whatever...)
 



Faolyn

Hero
Considering humans have a large variety of skin tones, there's no reason why any of the demi-humans races wouldn't also. So there should be dark-skinned wood elves, and light-skinned drow elves, just like there should be snirfneblin with white skin, grey skin, dark grey skin, purplish-grey skin, etc.
Agreed. Have drow be actual-white through gray through actual-black.

My personal take is that elves pick up, and blend into, the coloration of their homeland. So wood elves have green or brown skin; sea elves would have light to dark blue or blue-green; snow elves would have white to light gray; city elves would have stone-gray or brick-red skin; and so on. And it might change, if an elf finds a different homeland. I mean, if some elves can change their sex on a biological level overnight, then skin coloration should be a snap.
 


grimslade

Doddering Old Git
I am glad drow are being depicted in varying shades. The 'black as pitch' skin was always a killer to represent in art. I do miss the giant handlebar mustaches for drow males. I just hope we can avoid the WoW Night Elf eyebrows. I can handle giant ears, but the old-school Kung Fu master eyebrows are a step too far. /s
 


dave2008

Legend
Stuff that lives in caves with no natural sunlight has less skin pigmentation, not more. That idiotic charcoal skin tone was immersion breaking and lacks verisimilitude.
I would agree with you if there was anything natural about it, but we are talking about magic here. If I lived underground, and I had the magic to do it, I would prefer to have really dark skin.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I would agree with you if there was anything natural about it, but we are talking about magic hear. If I lived underground, and I had the magic to do it, I would prefer to have really dark skin.
Well, you don't even need magic. Plenty of creatures that live primarily underground and/or avoid exposure to daylight have dark coloring.
 

Well, you don't even need magic. Plenty of creatures that live primarily underground and/or avoid exposure to daylight have dark coloring.
Its hardly a rule but the vast majority of troglobites (Exclusively cave-dwelling creatures) are pale due to the lack of any pigmentation. Pigment just, doesn't matter in the lightless caves
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Its hardly a rule but the vast majority of troglobites (Exclusively cave-dwelling creatures) are pale due to the lack of any pigmentation. Pigment just, doesn't matter in the lightless caves
For the purpose of melatonin, you're absolutely right. But for prey and predator purposes, it could exist
 

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