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Lord_Gareth
2009-03-26, 01:40 PM
Hey all. The title says it - I'm looking for opinions on the elves I'm using in a worldbuilding project of mine. Without further ado:

Elves

Territory - Elves, as a race, do not claim any territory.

Society - As a race, elves do not have their own society; unlike the other sentient species, they've never truly felt a need for one. Elves do, however, integrate into other societies, especially human, gnoll, nolisian, and kiritha societies (generally speaking, dwarven cities are too small to accomodate even their slight frames). You can always tell when elves are part of a community; in permanent homes, elves keep a House of Memory, presided over by the most responsible elf of the community.

Human and nolisian societies are often at a loss with regards to how to deal with their elven citizens. In many ways, elves very often make model citizens; productive, eager, willing to learn new trades and serve their country without complaint (and, more often than not, without question). However, elves tend to disturb the other citizens with their "eccentricities", and more often than not they can cause rather interesting public disturbances. Most communities end up asking more responsible - that is to say, more sane - elves to keep an eye on their kinsmen and just hope that no one gets too seriously offended.

Elves take on very physical roles in society; elves are found as watchmen, blacksmiths, chimney sweeps, foresters, and other trades that involve lots of physical activity and work. They excel at activities where they can display their natural agility and perceptiveness.

Because of their long lifespans, elves are often seen as changeless aspects of the communities they join; a human village can reasonably expect an elf citizen to live for five, six, or even seven centuries, and this vast seniority causes them to be treated like a long-standing tradition or landmark. This may or may not be helpful to the other members of the community, depending on the sanity of the elf in question.

Psychology/Physiology - The term that best describes elves as a species is energetic. Elves never stop moving or fidgiting, and throw themselves into any activity they take up with complete and total enthusiasm; an elf is just as happy roofing a house as he is juggling balls or chopping firewood. Elves enjoy visual and auditory senses much sharper than most other races, as well as an incredible innate sense of balance and coordination. Very often, these attributes make elves seem unbelievably fast and agile, when all they're doing is reacting to a slightly different perception of the world around them.

Elves live to be anywhere from five to seven centuries old, and this actually causes significant problems for them as time wears on. Elves do not have any special means of organizing or dealing with the vast amounts of memories and experiences that build up over the endless march of years. In previous times, this meant that older elves invariably went completely mad, and often had to be put down to ensure the safety of the community around them. Recently, however, an elven mage devised a formula to help them selectively forget portions of their lives. Now elves keep extensive diaries of their experiences, down to the smallest detail, and then apply the formula in the form of a tattoo somewhere on their skin, forgetting everything they deem to be unimportant. This "spring cleaning" helps them retain mental stability and means that many elves manage to remain sane through their long years, while others lose much less of their minds than was seen in previous millennia.

Still, the spontaenous and uncontrolled nature of the elven psyche means that they often do go somewhat insane. Elves commonly develop compulsions as ways of dealing with memory buildup, and dissasociative identity disorder is also a common reaction to going too long without one's formula. More rarely, an elf will forget who he or she is entirely, and be forced to start over. Generally speaking, elves appear to suffer from extreme cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but this isn't truly the case - beneath the layers of obfuscating insanity, the elven mind is sharp as a razor and quick to take in, analyze, and handle any given situation.

Elves also have a powerful need to spend their lifespans doing something. Many of them express this by becoming adrenaline junkies - these elves often die with smiles on their faces and with extremely broken bones. Others try to make a difference in their communities, and a few of the more patient ones become talented artists, musicians, or writers (there is, however, a recent cultural movement against writing; elves rely on their diaries for an accurate account of their lives, and as more and more of them move to this new system, they become uncomfortable with the idea of an elf writing untruths). Whatever the case, finding a lazy elf is nearly impossible.

Elves suffer no visible signs of aging - after puberty (anywhere from age 15 to age 28), an elf's physical aging stops and they grow no older until the day they die. Elves seem to quite literally die of old age, keeling over in the course of everyday activity with no warning or physical symptoms aside from being dead. This event is referred to as "the Calling" by most elves.

Appearance - Elves look like small, slender humans, standing between four feet five inches and five feet three inches. Elves have sharp, angular features and long, pointed ears. Their bodies are very slim when compared to humans (which is often disturbing to those who are used to dealing with humans on a regular basis), but elves are stronger than they look. Elves often have very fair hair paired with very dark eyes, though the reverse is true just as often. An elf born with matching hair and eye shades is often seen as lucky - good or bad luck is a bit of a toss-up, however.

GoC
2009-03-26, 02:27 PM
Very nice!
Seems similar to the way some fey are represented.

Are these elves innately magical?

Twin2
2009-03-26, 02:46 PM
Do you have any reason why the elves claim no territory/have their own society? The idea is nice, but it seems counter productive for a species to claim no territory/avoid its own society without any reason for doing so.

WalkingTarget
2009-03-26, 02:53 PM
I agree with GoC; an interesting take on things.

I particularly like the "spring cleaning" and going mad without it part.

How short are your dwarves that a slender 5' person wouldn't fit? Or do you mean that the communities simply don't have room for extra people in general?

BlueWizard
2009-03-28, 08:11 AM
Different... I like the idea that elves ARE society, and that the rest of the humanoids took it from them... but that's just this wizard's opinion.

Tensu
2009-03-28, 08:52 AM
I don't like it. nothing about it really says "elf".

Lord_Gareth
2009-03-28, 12:26 PM
Are these elves innately magical?

No; on the world these elves come from, magic is a process that exists co-currently with the (currently accepted) laws of physics. The reason magic advances faster than technology is because magic is easier to develop, even if the chance of something mind-bogglingly horrible happening to you is higher.


Do you have any reason why the elves claim no territory/have their own society? The idea is nice, but it seems counter productive for a species to claim no territory/avoid its own society without any reason for doing so.

Elves are smarter than they act, and they understand a few things the other races don't generally guess at. To an elf, why would you bother creating a racially-defined society? If you fit in at City A, they figure, then you should live there and do something.

Furthermore, they recognize that an elven society would be little more than a madhouse gone wrong on the best of days. Without more stable races nearby to encourage them to remain somewhat sane, an elven community would quickly descend into madness and implode. Furthermore, elves are much longer-lived than the other races, and they actually like the impermanence of the others - after all, you can't hold a grudge for three centuries if the man you're mad at won't even survive for one.

Because they have no society, elves don't bother claiming any territory in the name of elfdom. Why bother?


How short are your dwarves that a slender 5' person wouldn't fit? Or do you mean that the communities simply don't have room for extra people in general?

Dwarves range from 3'8" to 4'10", and build their tunnels to a maximum of five feet high. Dwarven cities are fortesses designed to repulse assaults from above or below-ground. Dwarves are quite easily the smallest humanoid race.


I don't like it. nothing about it really says "elf".

Can you get more specific, please? And what definition of 'elf' are you using - Tolkein, D&D, Nordic Alfs, Aos Sidhe, english picsties...?

Tensu
2009-03-28, 01:33 PM
To me, there are only two elves.

The elves of norse mythology

and the elves of the fae court.

these "elves" resemble neither, and therefore are not elves.

I was once like you, trying to pidginhole the same mythical creatures into a bunch of roles where they didn't really belong. It's easier, more fun, and more respectful to our ancestors to make your world from scratch.

GoC
2009-03-28, 02:25 PM
:smallannoyed:
Feel free to define elf however you like. However most people have a different idea of what elves are so don't be so arrogant as to presume your opinion will be the final say on the matter.

Piedmon_Sama
2009-03-28, 02:48 PM
Great work--these Elves seem like one of them would be really fun to play. Particularly if you want to play a somewhat humorous character who's neither a gnome nor a weird race/class combination.

kopout
2009-03-28, 05:49 PM
why is this in media discussion ? other than that it is fine . Also there are many kinds of elf, Santa's elves, tolkean's elves, Norse elves, Fae elves, Pratchett's elves (fae elves to 11), elf quest elves, Shakespearian elves, and those are of the top of my head.

chiasaur11
2009-03-28, 05:53 PM
why is this in media discussion ? other than that it is fine . Also there are many kinds of elf, Santa's elves, tolkean's elves, Norse elves, Fae elves, Pratect's elves (fae elves to 11), elf quest elves, Shakespearian elves, and those are of the top of my head. (sorry if I spelled prachet wrong)

It's Pratchett, for future reference.

Not a problem, but I figured you might want to know. If not, I apologize.

Tensu
2009-03-28, 06:07 PM
:smallannoyed:
Feel free to define elf however you like. However most people have a different idea of what elves are so don't be so arrogant as to presume your opinion will be the final say on the matter.

I don't do this out of arrogance, I do it because I think it is morally reprehensible to rape mythology as so many of us often do. that came out WAY harsher than I intended, but I cannot think of a more tactful way to put it at this time. sorry

What you made is not an elf. You should take credit for it. make it your own. putting someone else's brand name on it is only insulting the creativity of both of you.

GoC
2009-03-28, 08:03 PM
I don't do this out of arrogance, I do it because I think it is morally reprehensible to rape mythology as so many of us often do.
Why?:smallconfused:


What you made is not an elf. You should take credit for it. make it your own. putting someone else's brand name on it is only insulting the creativity of both of you.

Currently elf is a generic term that means long lived, pointy-eared person. The origin of the word is irrelevant.

Tensu
2009-03-28, 08:24 PM
Why?:smallconfused:

because of comment like your next one.


Currently elf is a generic term that means long lived, pointy-eared person. The origin of the word is irrelevant.

a piece of human history has been destroyed for the convenience of tabletop gaming. explain to me how that's right.

whatever norse skald dreamed up alfheim wold be rolling over in his grave if norse culture didn't cremate their dead.

Twin2
2009-03-28, 08:53 PM
Elves are smarter than they act, and they understand a few things the other races don't generally guess at. To an elf, why would you bother creating a racially-defined society? If you fit in at City A, they figure, then you should live there and do something.

Furthermore, they recognize that an elven society would be little more than a madhouse gone wrong on the best of days. Without more stable races nearby to encourage them to remain somewhat sane, an elven community would quickly descend into madness and implode. Furthermore, elves are much longer-lived than the other races, and they actually like the impermanence of the others - after all, you can't hold a grudge for three centuries if the man you're mad at won't even survive for one.

Because they have no society, elves don't bother claiming any territory in the name of elfdom. Why bother?


I just bring this up because for a species it seems really odd to do, especially if the elves were around before any of the other races. It's a good idea, and I like it, but it seems like a reason (failed kingdom, accident that happened when too many elves were in one place) could add an aspect that could provide some work for the players.

kopout
2009-03-28, 09:14 PM
It's Pratchett, for future reference.

Not a problem, but I figured you might want to know. If not, I apologize.

I did in fact want to know, thank you.I have inherently poor spelling and any help is appreciated (ironically I'm better with the longer words because the are often phonetically spelled).

bladedSmoke
2009-03-29, 04:29 AM
Furthermore, they recognize that an elven society would be little more than a madhouse gone wrong on the best of days. Without more stable races nearby to encourage them to remain somewhat sane, an elven community would quickly descend into madness and implode.

Perhaps it would be interesting from a worldbuilding perspective for there to have been, at some point in your world's history (perhaps 4-500 years ago), an attempt by a particularly ambitious Elf to set up an 'Elf city.'

Although your Elves' compulsion to build would have led to it being huge and beautiful, Elf society would soon have descended into chaos and led to a horrific bloodbath. Now the abandoned city is not only reputed to be haunted by vengeful Elf ghosts, it is also infested by feral Elves who went mad all that time ago and now live among the ruins, killing those who dare enter in search of loot.

Not only is this interesting, it provides a more solid explanation for why there isn't an Elf society - instead of saying something abstract like "it would descend into chaos" you can say "well, they tried, but look how that turned out..."

Fri
2009-03-29, 05:12 AM
I like it. I want to see the other races.

And if tensu didn't like it for feeling that it raped mythology, don't worry too much (both of you). People's milage might vary and all that.

Lord_Gareth
2009-03-29, 08:31 AM
I don't do this out of arrogance, I do it because I think it is morally reprehensible to rape mythology as so many of us often do. that came out WAY harsher than I intended, but I cannot think of a more tactful way to put it at this time. sorry

What you made is not an elf. You should take credit for it. make it your own. putting someone else's brand name on it is only insulting the creativity of both of you.

First, I appreciate you explaining your point of view. Second, don't step into mythological debate with me, sir. That's my house.

Why are these beings not elves when Tolkein's abominations are, for example? Tolkein combined humans, the Aos Sidhe's description, and a bunch of legends concerning the alfs (which were, for future reference, freaking gods) and spat out a race of arrogant, immortal woods-dwellers. For that matter, any number of beings could be classified as "elves" - the Aos Sidhe (Seelie and Unseelie Courts), English Trooping Faeries, the picsties, Nordic alfs, the list goes on and on. What these elves were intended to be was a deconstruction of the Tolkein model that presents elves are better-than-human versions of ourselves.


why is this in media discussion ?

Because this is to get opinions and/or help with a worldbuilding project for one or several novels that my fiancee and I are co-writing ^_^


Perhaps it would be interesting from a worldbuilding perspective for there to have been, at some point in your world's history (perhaps 4-500 years ago), an attempt by a particularly ambitious Elf to set up an 'Elf city.'

Although your Elves' compulsion to build would have led to it being huge and beautiful, Elf society would soon have descended into chaos and led to a horrific bloodbath. Now the abandoned city is not only reputed to be haunted by vengeful Elf ghosts, it is also infested by feral Elves who went mad all that time ago and now live among the ruins, killing those who dare enter in search of loot.

Not only is this interesting, it provides a more solid explanation for why there isn't an Elf society - instead of saying something abstract like "it would descend into chaos" you can say "well, they tried, but look how that turned out..."

That's an excellent idea, though we'll probably end up nixing the "feral elves" part of it (if it happened recently enough for there to be elves alive in there, it would significantly alter the 'current' part of the timeline). You, sir, have my thanks.


I like it. I want to see the other races.

You may just ^_^ The other sentient races of Shadria are Furmen, Kiritha, Nolisians, Dwarves, Humans, and the Mongrels.

bladedSmoke
2009-03-29, 09:22 AM
That's an excellent idea, though we'll probably end up nixing the "feral elves" part of it (if it happened recently enough for there to be elves alive in there, it would significantly alter the 'current' part of the timeline). You, sir, have my thanks.

:smallsmile: No problem!

Satyr
2009-03-29, 09:29 AM
Territory - Elves, as a race, do not claim any territory.

I like the idea of Elves as social entitty instead of a political one.


Society - As a race, elves do not have their own society; unlike the other sentient species, they've never truly felt a need for one. Elves do, however, integrate into other societies, especially human, gnoll, nolisian, and kiritha societies (generally speaking, dwarven cities are too small to accomodate even their slight frames). You can always tell when elves are part of a community; in permanent homes, elves keep a House of Memory, presided over by the most responsible elf of the community.

That's not how the thing with the society works - if you have people living together, you have a form of society. So, either the Elves have been a part of another society for ever (not very likely, I suppose) or they have once become assimilated into the other societies they live in nowadays. In both cases, it would help if they still have some remnants of their own which they still cultivate and which is a unifying element of Elves despite from the superordained society they live in.




Human and nolisian societies are often at a loss with regards to how to deal with their elven citizens. In many ways, elves very often make model citizens; productive, eager, willing to learn new trades and serve their country without complaint (and, more often than not, without question). However, elves tend to disturb the other citizens with their "eccentricities", and more often than not they can cause rather interesting public disturbances. Most communities end up asking more responsible - that is to say, more sane - elves to keep an eye on their kinsmen and just hope that no one gets too seriously offended.


I have no idea what Nolisians can be, but don't use something like a "human" society. That always looks kinda stpid and overtly simplified. With the model citizen part, you have the basics for a beautiful alegoration in your background, focussing on the combination of ideal members of society and a number of prejudices these face, despite their virtues, but because they are "excentric" and mostly because they are a minority. I would outline this stronger.


Elves take on very physical roles in society; elves are found as watchmen, blacksmiths, chimney sweeps, foresters, and other trades that involve lots of physical activity and work. They excel at activities where they can display their natural agility and perceptiveness.


In the real world, people who are significantly smaller and skninnier are particularly badly suited for any task that requires large amounts of physical strength; that's why the traditional blacksmith doesn't look like a jockey. So you somewhat contradict yourself with the physical description and their role in society.



Psychology/Physiology - The term that best describes elves as a species is energetic. Elves never stop moving or fidgiting, and throw themselves into any activity they take up with complete and total enthusiasm; an elf is just as happy roofing a house as he is juggling balls or chopping firewood. Elves enjoy visual and auditory senses much sharper than most other races, as well as an incredible innate sense of balance and coordination. Very often, these attributes make elves seem unbelievably fast and agile, when all they're doing is reacting to a slightly different perception of the world around them.

You are very close to the "Elves are better" trap with this one; you should probably include some kind of drawback with this, or you will probably face the accusation that these Elves are a Mary Sue species.


Elves live to be anywhere from five to seven centuries old, and this actually causes significant problems for them as time wears on. Elves do not have any special means of organizing or dealing with the vast amounts of memories and experiences that build up over the endless march of years. In previous times, this meant that older elves invariably went completely mad, and often had to be put down to ensure the safety of the community around them. Recently, however, an elven mage devised a formula to help them selectively forget portions of their lives. Now elves keep extensive diaries of their experiences, down to the smallest detail, and then apply the formula in the form of a tattoo somewhere on their skin, forgetting everything they deem to be unimportant. This "spring cleaning" helps them retain mental stability and means that many elves manage to remain sane through their long years, while others lose much less of their minds than was seen in previous millennia.


That is one particular nice idea, and can be a source of a great atmosphere. Well done.


Still, the spontaenous and uncontrolled nature of the elven psyche means that they often do go somewhat insane. Elves commonly develop compulsions as ways of dealing with memory buildup, and dissasociative identity disorder is also a common reaction to going too long without one's formula. More rarely, an elf will forget who he or she is entirely, and be forced to start over. Generally speaking, elves appear to suffer from extreme cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but this isn't truly the case - beneath the layers of obfuscating insanity, the elven mind is sharp as a razor and quick to take in, analyze, and handle any given situation.

Again, be careful how close you step the Mary Sueism with this; I also find it hilariosly how close your elves are in many ways to a goblin culture I once created for a setting.



Elves suffer no visible signs of aging - after puberty (anywhere from age 15 to age 28), an elf's physical aging stops and they grow no older until the day they die. Elves seem to quite literally die of old age, keeling over in the course of everyday activity with no warning or physical symptoms aside from being dead. This event is referred to as "the Calling" by most elves.

You should probably come up with a reason for this.

Tensu
2009-03-29, 09:54 AM
No so, I guarantee you, it is indeed my house, and I am rather infamous for it.

I never said Tolkin's elves where really elves. I said I only consider the original nordic elves, and possibly the elves of english lore, (which would probably be more accurately called Shee) to be true elves.

Egiam
2009-03-29, 09:58 AM
I think you would benefit from a reading of Changeling: the Lost. It has loads of cool ideas to steal borrow.

I imagine elves serving as tutors for the royalty. One particularly intelligent elf might have served the entire dynasty. A pact to serve the line?

Traveling (cursed?) groups of gypsies looking for enlightenment?

Maybe their age came from a pact with the sands of time?

And yes, it appears to me that at one point in history a group should have at least tried to take over a part of the world.

Eldan
2009-03-29, 11:01 AM
Perhaps, building on the idea of serving royalty, Elves could try to take over society that way: not with armies, but by integrating themselves in a way that they can't be removed without society collapsing.
It would be an interesting new way for "bad guys", I think: there's a group of elves that has served in pretty much every institution, guilds, noble houses, parliaments, bureaucracy, and so on for centuries and no one even knows how to run things without them...

GoC
2009-03-30, 07:20 AM
a piece of human history has been destroyed for the convenience of tabletop gaming. explain to me how that's right.

Destroyed? No. Merely changed.
And it's not "right" it's moraly neutral.

Tensu
2009-03-30, 10:23 AM
Destroyed? No. Merely changed.
And it's not "right" it's moraly neutral.

What right do you have to just go around changing the definitions of words as you see fit?

Lord_Gareth
2009-03-30, 12:08 PM
I like the idea of Elves as social entitty instead of a political one.

Thank'ee ^_^


That's not how the thing with the society works - if you have people living together, you have a form of society. So, either the Elves have been a part of another society for ever (not very likely, I suppose) or they have once become assimilated into the other societies they live in nowadays. In both cases, it would help if they still have some remnants of their own which they still cultivate and which is a unifying element of Elves despite from the superordained society they live in.

I think we had a miscommunication here, so allow me to elaborate what I meant - there are no villages, cities, towns, caravans, et cetera that define themselves as "elven". Elves participate in societies, yes, but they don't possess one linked with their racial identity.

That said, elves do have some remnants of a formerly-held culture, mostly preserved through old customs and beliefs. With the introduction of the forgetting-formula and the Houses of Memory (which preserve the diaries of any given community's elves), this culture is in a state of flux as the old mingles awkwardly with the new.[/quote]


I have no idea what Nolisians can be, but don't use something like a "human" society. That always looks kinda stpid and overtly simplified. With the model citizen part, you have the basics for a beautiful alegoration in your background, focussing on the combination of ideal members of society and a number of prejudices these face, despite their virtues, but because they are "excentric" and mostly because they are a minority. I would outline this stronger.

Nolisians are...well, I'll have their creator (my co-author) explain them at a later date. As for "human" society, I'm not pushing the idea that all humans are united in the same nation/kingdom/whatever. However, there are certain commonalities in any human form of government, mostly due to human nature itself. That is why elves often have a hard time fitting in properly - they aren't human, even if there are striking similarites.


In the real world, people who are significantly smaller and skninnier are particularly badly suited for any task that requires large amounts of physical strength; that's why the traditional blacksmith doesn't look like a jockey. So you somewhat contradict yourself with the physical description and their role in society.

That's my badness; the "jobs" line will be edited later. Still, elves do things - desk jobs and the like are not careers that you'll find an (happy) elf at.


You are very close to the "Elves are better" trap with this one; you should probably include some kind of drawback with this, or you will probably face the accusation that these Elves are a Mary Sue species.

There's a reason I linked their agility and reactions with their perceptions - a blind or deaf elf is exactly as screwed as a blind or deaf human, perhaps even moreso, since they have that much more to lose. I will admit that most Elven flaws are mental rather than physical, and that an elf in the prime of his life will probably beat out a human in the prime of theirs.


That is one particular nice idea, and can be a source of a great atmosphere. Well done.

Thank'ee ^_^


Again, be careful how close you step the Mary Sueism with this; I also find it hilariosly how close your elves are in many ways to a goblin culture I once created for a setting.

Obfuscating insanity is fun times, but one thing I'm keeping in mind when I write this is that they are at least a little insane. Yeah, they're smarter than they act, but that doesn't mean they're infallible.


You should probably come up with a reason for this.

Not to sound like this is a cop-out, but this is a world where there are confirmed gods who created the various sentient races - so the reason elves live that long is because they're, well, elves. The reason the other races don't live that long is the other gods saw what happened and went, "O-kay then, rediculously long lifespans are off the list..."

It should be noted that the gods presented in this setting are not infallible or even particularly well-informed; they've been learning the whole "higher power" business as they go along. Divinity does not, after all, have a training manual.


What right do you have to just go around changing the definitions of words as you see fit?

Well, see, I'm a human being possessed of language, which is in itself a sort of social contract; we all agree that dog means a small, furry, four-legged animal with certain traits including loyalty and bad breath, so it does. If someone comes along and wants dog to mean hamburger, the only thing stopping the definition from changing is how many people he can convince to go with it.

However, I haven't changed anything. The definition of elf was changed long before I came along, and these elves are intended as a deconstruction of the newer, more modern definition. Yes, one should keep mythological origins and uses in mind (hell, I'm borrowing a lot from Edda for the dwarves), but one should not be chained to them.

GoC
2009-03-30, 12:43 PM
What right do you have to just go around changing the definitions of words as you see fit?

Huh?:smallconfused:

The english language continually evolves.

Tensu
2009-03-30, 01:31 PM
Huh?:smallconfused:

The english language continually evolves.

but you're doing more than changing a word: you're changing an idea. You are murdering the old, glorious concept to make way for your personal bastardization, meanwhile thousands of years of cultural development are destroyed, nations can no longer look back and say "This is the great story that our ancestors told!" because said story has faded into obscurity. You are doing more than ruining a time-honored work o fiction, you are ruining part of the identity of entire peoples. Few people remember these days how the old legends went, they've been so bombarded by bastardizations they think they know how they went, but they don't. Perhaps nobody really cares that this happens, but I care, and I'm not going to let it happen.

in short,

you do not retcon mythology.

Any strong language I use is not meant to be insulting, only to make you understand the extremity of my feelings on this subject.

Athaniar
2009-03-30, 01:48 PM
Regarding the "true elf" debate, remember that this is fantasy. Fantasy is (in my opinion) about unleashing one's imagination.Regardless of eventual mythilation (look, I made up a word!) taking place, I have to say that the idea is very interesting.

snoopy13a
2009-03-30, 01:59 PM
but you're doing more than changing a word: you're changing an idea. You are murdering the old, glorious concept to make way for your personal bastardization, meanwhile thousands of years of cultural development are destroyed, nations can no longer look back and say "This is the great story that our ancestors told!" because said story has faded into obscurity. You are doing more than ruining a time-honored work o fiction, you are ruining part of the identity of entire peoples. Few people remember these days how the old legends went, they've been so bombarded by bastardizations they think they know how they went, but they don't. Perhaps nobody really cares that this happens, but I care, and I'm not going to let it happen.
in short,

you do not retcon mythology.

Any strong language I use is not meant to be insulting, only to make you understand the extremity of my feelings on this subject.

Why are you getting so worked up over elves? The OP has a right to write however his pleases as long as he doesn't violate anyone else's copyright.

In my book there are only three kinds of elves:

1) Elves that make shoes
2) Elves that make cookies
3) Elves that live in the North Pole and make toys

Lord_Gareth
2009-03-30, 02:01 PM
but you're doing more than changing a word: you're changing an idea. You are murdering the old, glorious concept to make way for your personal bastardization, meanwhile thousands of years of cultural development are destroyed, nations can no longer look back and say "This is the great story that our ancestors told!" because said story has faded into obscurity. You are doing more than ruining a time-honored work o fiction, you are ruining part of the identity of entire peoples. Few people remember these days how the old legends went, they've been so bombarded by bastardizations they think they know how they went, but they don't. Perhaps nobody really cares that this happens, but I care, and I'm not going to let it happen.

in short,

you do not retcon mythology.

Any strong language I use is not meant to be insulting, only to make you understand the extremity of my feelings on this subject.

No one is retconning anything - we are instead drawing off of older ideas and adding our own twists and ideas. Furthermore, the process of "ruining" legends and mythology began a long, long time ago - hell, Beowulf was stuffed full of Christian references when it was finally recorded! Few people nowadays realize that dwarves (svartalfar) weren't short, Scottish men with drinking problems, but rather dark-skinned gods that shunned the sun and had a fear of gold, the sun's metal. Can the average person tell you the difference between the Seelie and the Unseelie? No.

But for those who care - which you clearly, passionately do - the works and ideas are recorded carefully, and they will be preserved as long as someone gives a damn about them.

If you'd like to continue this debate, please take it to PMs or create a seperate thread; this is starting to turn into spam.

Lord_Gareth
2009-03-30, 02:04 PM
Why are you getting so worked up over elves? The OP has a right to write however his pleases as long as he doesn't violate anyone else's copyright.

In my book there are only three kinds of elves:

1) Elves that make shoes
2) Elves that make cookies
3) Elves that live in the North Pole and make toys

Those first ones are most commonly known as brownies, good friend. I cannot attest if they are as delicious as the other noun designated by the same word.

chiasaur11
2009-03-30, 02:12 PM
Those first ones are most commonly known as brownies, good friend. I cannot attest if they are as delicious as the other noun designated by the same word.

Yes.

But Elves do those jobs too. Santa's fault, really, but they were better at it then the hideous abominations he used before the elves.

GoC
2009-03-30, 03:07 PM
but you're doing more than changing a word: you're changing an idea. You are murdering the old, glorious concept to make way for your personal bastardization, meanwhile thousands of years of cultural development are destroyed, nations can no longer look back and say "This is the great story that our ancestors told!" because said story has faded into obscurity. You are doing more than ruining a time-honored work o fiction, you are ruining part of the identity of entire peoples. Few people remember these days how the old legends went, they've been so bombarded by bastardizations they think they know how they went, but they don't. Perhaps nobody really cares that this happens, but I care, and I'm not going to let it happen.

Pray tell what idea or concept we are changing? You can't change concepts and ideas. You can merely create new idea and ignore the old one.

Ruining implies it is a negative thing. You cannot be certain this identity change is a bad thing.

Ancient works are "ruined" far more by changes of culture and context then by a change of word to make it more general.

Few people really think Disney's Sword in the Stone is a faithful replica of the original mythology. I'd say this goes for more or less everything that isn't explicitly marked as accurate. They are aware it is fiction

btw: You are welcome to try. But you will fail.

EDIT: Oops. Sorry Lord Gareth.

Dervag
2009-03-30, 10:54 PM
but you're doing more than changing a word: you're changing an idea. You are murdering the old, glorious concept to make way for your personal bastardization, meanwhile thousands of years of cultural development are destroyed, nations can no longer look back and say "This is the great story that our ancestors told!" because said story has faded into obscurity. You are doing more than ruining a time-honored work o fiction, you are ruining part of the identity of entire peoples. Few people remember these days how the old legends went, they've been so bombarded by bastardizations they think they know how they went, but they don't. Perhaps nobody really cares that this happens, but I care, and I'm not going to let it happen.

in short,

you do not retcon mythology.

Any strong language I use is not meant to be insulting, only to make you understand the extremity of my feelings on this subject.I think you are being more zealous than this topic could ever deserve. And that your zealousness is at its heart mistaken.

You think that the old portrayals of elves were "time-honored;" they were not, because they were not honored at all. While they were old, they had not aged gracefully. They were in the process of being forgotten when Tolkein, Anderson, and others gave them a new lease on life in a new form. A new form which, incidentally, helped revive interest in their old form.

You are wrong about the claim that "you do not retcon mythology." On the contrary, this happened all the time, as Lord Gareth points out. Look at what Christians did to Norse mythology, or what the Romans did to the Greek mythology. For God's sake, they took the Greek national epic and tacked on an expansion pack sequel about how a Trojan refugee ran off and founded Rome! How is that not a retcon?


because of comment like your next one.

a piece of human history has been destroyed for the convenience of tabletop gaming. explain to me how that's right.How has the history been destroyed? Has knowledge been lost? It has not. Before the modern fantasy elf came into popular culture, it wasn't that some "true" original definition of elves was widely accepted. The fact was, almost nobody knew or cared about the ancient definition except geeky students of mythology (like Tolkien).


whatever norse skald dreamed up alfheim wold be rolling over in his grave if norse culture didn't cremate their dead.I doubt it. Whatever Norse skald dreamed up Alfheim wasn't trying to create a perfect thing. He was trying to tell a story. That's the thing people forget about Homer and Hesiod, about the bards of the Celts and the Norse. We may remember them as genius creators of timeless legends, but what they really were in their own lifetimes was something very different. They were people who sat around a fireplace and spun stories out of whole cloth to entertain others for their daily bread.

Why should they resent the idea that another culture, vaguely descended from theirs, comes up with a different but vaguely related thing and sticks a similar name onto it?

WNxHasoroth
2009-03-31, 07:47 AM
Mein gotte. If you get this worked up about elves imagine what Eragon must do to you

hamishspence
2009-03-31, 03:39 PM
I like authors who take old idea, and develop it. Though I have a soft spot for the darker characterisations of elves, even with a slightly new "spin"

Terry Pratchett's Elves of Discworld
Jim Butcher's Dresden Files elves

Even the Buffyverse has had authors do Elves: Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder's Child of the Hunt where the elves are the main members of the terrifying Wild Hunt, lead by the Erl King.

Tensu
2009-03-31, 03:44 PM
Mein gotte. If you get this worked up about elves imagine what Eragon must do to you

If you guys want to argue with me about this further there's another thread for it.

as for Eragon, do you mean not being true to mythology or do you mean the movie not being true to the book?

Lord_Gareth
2009-03-31, 07:44 PM
ENOUGH!

Any further comments on Eragon, "true" elves, et cetera et cetera will be viewed as spam and treated as such. That is all.

Twin2
2009-03-31, 08:27 PM
So in terms of the elves are you planning for certain plots to be used off of them? Seems like there are quite a few opportunities in terms of people after certain memories for information stored in them, or someone trying to induce madness in them (since they seem to head to other cities a world wide event of a good amount of them going crazy could be fun to see).