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TheThan
2009-06-18, 06:54 PM
Everyone knows that all fantasy races that exist in dnd have stereotypes and attributes (I hate to use the word stigma here). Some of these are good, while others are not. So I was wondering, what are some of the ones you, the good folks on the internet (specifically GIP forums), thought about each of the generic fantasy races that abound. Which ones do you like? Which ones do you hate? why? Feel free to discuss such things.

Oh and since this thread is entirely based on opinion please keep it friendly.

I'll post something myself here in a bit.

Faleldir
2009-06-18, 06:56 PM
I've never heard of a Half-Human with a Human name. Why can't a Half-Orc be named Steve instead of Grukhnaksh?

woodenbandman
2009-06-18, 07:30 PM
All dwarves are Mel Gibson from braveheart.
All elves are John Lennon.
All orcs are Conan the Barbarian.

Those three are pretty annoying.

Surfing HalfOrc
2009-06-18, 07:50 PM
In defense of half-orcs, I had a character named John Foundling.

Half-orc, found on a battlefield, raised in a human run orphanage. The priests named him John because it was a good, strong human name, and Foundling since he was a found orphan. I spent a lot of time thinking what his "Orc" name should be, but never picked one I really liked. John was John... Big, greenish, tough, and a tad naive.

Of course, once I saw the title, I was thinking more of different human races and the stereotypes there... I've noticed many black characters in fantasy novels and adventures are M or N apostrophe Something. M'bunga, N'gama, M'tomo. Never understood that.

Pie Guy
2009-06-18, 07:57 PM
Of course, once I saw the title, I was thinking more of different human races and the stereotypes there... I've noticed many black characters in fantasy novels and adventures are M or N apostrophe Something. M'bunga, N'gama, M'tomo. Never understood that.

That's because they're "african" names. Just like every french person is named Pierre (Even the women!), and all mexicans are named Paco.

Riffington
2009-06-18, 08:14 PM
In defense of half-orcs,

Me too. Though mine was named Hextor.

/As a freed slave, he chose the most powerful names he knew.

Hat-Trick
2009-06-18, 08:14 PM
Elves, anything you can do, they can do better. Except take a hit.:smallamused:

And, although it's not a race, All necromancers are evil.

Magugag
2009-06-18, 08:16 PM
Goblins are weak, stupid, cowardly and always evil.

Never liked this particular stereotype, since I see a lot of potential for the goblin race in a game.

TheThan
2009-06-18, 08:30 PM
That's because they're "african" names. Just like every french person is named Pierre (Even the women!), and all mexicans are named Paco.

Actually its Jose Francisco Rodriguez, seriously.

Anyway I dislike that elves are better crafters than dwarves (yeah I know better at everything blah blah). One of the stereotypes of dwarves is that they are master crafters, yet every magic sword you find is of elfish origin. What happened to the famed dwarf rune-smiths that craft magical weapons engraved with mystic dwarven runes?

Another one that gets me is that all dwarves are drunks, sure they may know now to party, but its just too dangerous for anyone to be working while wasted. So it makes more sense that while they may be known for drinking too much, its more likely they donít really do that. Itíd be entertaining to see some dwarf that took offense to the stereotype.

V'icternus
2009-06-18, 08:31 PM
Dragons all loving treasure.

I mean, don't they realise that if that didn't have large piles of gold, people wouldn't kill them as often?

Magugag
2009-06-18, 08:39 PM
Another one that gets me is that all dwarves are drunks, sure they may know now to party, but its just too dangerous for anyone to be working while wasted. So it makes more sense that while they may be known for drinking too much, its more likely they donít really do that. Itíd be entertaining to see some dwarf that took offense to the stereotype.

A stereotype that all dwarves are heavy drinkers doesn't necessarily mean that all dwarves are drunks. After all, how much does it take to get one of those guys wasted? ;) But they're definitely master craftsmen at heart, so I can definitely see your point! A hopeless drunk probably wouldn't be very welcome in the industrious dwarven society.

I personally don't like the 'undead are evil' stereotype. Ghosts are usually malevolent and vengeful, ghouls are always cannibalistic, vampires are conniving drinkers of blood, blah blah. One of the most interesting campaigns I ever played in had the undead coexisting with the living.

Ganurath
2009-06-18, 08:45 PM
Half-orcs are strong, or at least stronger than a human of a similiar build. No matter how smart a half-orc, they'll always come across as stupid when speaking a nonsavage language like Common because they'll be tripping over their teeth. Plus, many commoners are going to have a hard time telling the difference between a half-orc and an orc. Come to think of it, that could easily apply to all halfbloods in a community where one of their parent races is common and the other is lacking.

Magicus
2009-06-18, 08:45 PM
I've always been particularly annoyed by Halfling stereotypes - usually "All Halflings are Hobbits" or "All Halflings are Kender". Why can't a Halfling be a ruthless, bloodthirsty warrior-king? :smallamused:

Sanguine
2009-06-18, 08:46 PM
I've always been particularly annoyed by Halfling stereotypes - usually "All Halflings are Hobbits" or "All Halflings are Kender". Why can't a Halfling be a ruthless, bloodthirsty warrior-king? :smallamused:

Ebberon's halflings don't follow those stereotypes:smallwink:

Hat-Trick
2009-06-18, 08:51 PM
Belkar?

Another one, All PC Drow are Drizzt. Not all Drow are rangers. Not all are CG. Not all have panthers. Not all wield two weapons.

Surfing HalfOrc
2009-06-18, 08:52 PM
Anyway I dislike that elves are better crafters than dwarves (yeah I know better at everything blah blah). One of the stereotypes of dwarves is that they are master crafters, yet every magic sword you find is of elfish origin. What happened to the famed dwarf rune-smiths that craft magical weapons engraved with mystic dwarven runes?


Of course, why are all Paladin Epic swords forged by dwarves, when all dwarves use axes or hammers themselves? I've never seen a dwarf with a sword, especially not a large sword!

Then of course, elves create Wondrous Swords, but never mine for iron ore, or have forges. Or do anything that could harm the environment in even the tiniest amount.

ZeroNumerous
2009-06-18, 09:00 PM
I've always been particularly annoyed by Halfling stereotypes - usually "All Halflings are Hobbits" or "All Halflings are Kender". Why can't a Halfling be a ruthless, bloodthirsty warrior-king? :smallamused:

Because everyone hates to have halflings around.


Then of course, elves create Wondrous Swords, but never mine for iron ore, or have forges. Or do anything that could harm the environment in even the tiniest amount.

They trade with the dwarves that elves always hate. :smallamused:

Ganurath
2009-06-18, 09:04 PM
Of course, why are all Paladin Epic swords forged by dwarves, when all dwarves use axes or hammers themselves? I've never seen a dwarf with a sword, especially not a large sword!Dwarven apprentices make swords as practice. The Epic Swords paladins use are made by experienced dwarven artisans trying to maintain their skills.

Tallis
2009-06-18, 09:06 PM
Half-orcs are strong, or at least stronger than a human of a similiar build. No matter how smart a half-orc, they'll always come across as stupid when speaking a nonsavage language like Common because they'll be tripping over their teeth. Plus, many commoners are going to have a hard time telling the difference between a half-orc and an orc. Come to think of it, that could easily apply to all halfbloods in a community where one of their parent races is common and the other is lacking.

Half-orcs are strong. They get a bonus to their strength score, so that's not really a stereotype, just a fact about them.

I'm not too fond of the stereotype that dwarves are all lawful good, strong and industrious. I like the malicious trickster dwarves from folklore. They were rarely, if ever, strong and never good.

The Gilded Duke
2009-06-18, 09:11 PM
Some that I enjoy:
Gnomes are wererats.
Kobolds are hyper-competent.
All Dwarves are from Boatmurdered.
Sahaguin are the creepiest things in existence.
Beholders are strong supporters of liberal arts education.
Half-Elves are Clint Eastwood.
Warforged are up to no good.

ZeroNumerous
2009-06-18, 09:41 PM
All Dwarves are from Boatmurdered.

I use this one as often as possible.

Ganurath
2009-06-18, 09:46 PM
Sahaguin are the creepiest things in existence.Pseudonatural Aboleths.

The Gilded Duke
2009-06-18, 10:00 PM
Oh sure giant whales with tentacles that can dissolve your skin and have a once per day truth strike are terrifying. But Sahuguin they like to stare. And you never quite know where you stand with them. Sure they are said to be friendly around Stormreach, but you hear stories.

At some point I need to put my players up against Boatmurdered as a dungeon crawl. Probably change the magma traps around so they aren't just killed instantly... maybe slowly flooding corridors of it.

Dacia Brabant
2009-06-18, 10:08 PM
Beholders are strong supporters of liberal arts education.

That got a laugh. Well done, sir. :smallbiggrin:


Just once I'd like to see elves cast as the high technologists and dwarves as the magical luddites. I mean they say dwarves are born from the earth or at least live in it so they should be the dirty hippies, while the elves live forever which should give them extreme scientific detachment.

And it's odd but I'm actually getting tired of the orcs as the honorable warrior race. Blame the effort to rehabilitate them of their savage stereotype for creating a new stereotype I guess. I'm not sure what the middle ground is between barbaric raider and wise shaman, but there has to be one somewhere.

ondonaflash
2009-06-18, 10:13 PM
Elves, anything you can do, they can do better. Except take a hit.:smallamused:

And, although it's not a race, All necromancers are evil.

Note: I'm a bit racist against elves, so I rewrote my campaign so that High Elves were corrupt, stagnant, and indolent, and Wood Elves were gypsies! (Who had their ancestral homes burnt to the ground generations ago, after trying to ransom the prince)

In fact most of my campaign races I try to subvert. Gnomes, while clever tinkerers are also sober and mournful due to a tragic history involving a ill-used device and senseless destruction. And I have started a whole thread devoted to fleshing out halfings.

golfmade
2009-06-18, 10:14 PM
Kender are up to no good.

Ganurath
2009-06-18, 10:16 PM
And it's odd but I'm actually getting tired of the orcs as the honorable warrior race. Blame the effort to rehabilitate them of their savage stereotype for creating a new stereotype I guess. I'm not sure what the middle ground is between barbaric raider and wise shaman, but there has to be one somewhere.The orc belief that they should rule the continent is based on a different sense of ownership in the race: You cannot claim something from someone unless you either inherit it or kill them for it. The ancestors of the orcs were forced to retreat from the forests by invading elves and the mountains by tunnelling dwarves, but the leaders weren't killed in most of the decisive battles. As such, by orc beliefs the land is still theirs, and the elves and dwarves inherited the theft. It's not so evil because their rationale is somewhat reasonable, but it's not so good because it still brings about endless war.

TheThan
2009-06-18, 10:17 PM
And it's odd but I'm actually getting tired of the orcs as the honorable warrior race. Blame the effort to rehabilitate them of their savage stereotype for creating a new stereotype I guess. I'm not sure what the middle ground is between barbaric raider and wise shaman, but there has to be one somewhere.

Simple:
Take a page out of American history. There are savage orc tribes; the sort of orcs that'll rip your head off and eat your children type. Then there are the tame ones that you can trade with and smoke peace pipes with. The trick is to know which ones are which.

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-18, 10:20 PM
Elves:

Capricious folks who love beauty, love life, and actually have the time to devote their lives to one or two things, while still experiencing thousands of pleasures, pains, and rarified things that the world has to offer. Any task they take on, they have the time to actually do it right, and their society works at a relaxed pace compared to that of most other races. In addition, independence is valued, and lauded, so craftspeople rarely have over-managers saying "Get it done! NAOU!"

At the same time, due to everyone being rather individual, and valuing new experiences it does not take very long for there to be a shift in how things are done when needed. Yet, due to their long memories, and lifespans, it is unlikely that there will be a major cultural shift, or a major shift in how the community acts in relation to others, without some need for it to do so. This lack of organization, however, would lead to disastrous results if war broke out, were it not for the fact that elves recognize this weakness, and many elves in the community specifically train for battle, as the object of their lifetime devotion. Some of them view this as just as much an art as the life pursuits of a bard or painter.

They are a study in apparent contradictions from the outside. They value independence, and yet also value harmony, believing that allowing each individual their head, rather than focusing on the community, leads to harmony, especially when people consume no more than they need, rather than consuming all resources that they have made available to themselves.

They value intelligently looking at a problem, but they do not neglect their emotions, and take the emotions of others into account. For those that focus on one or the other, this seems very internally inconsistent, as sometimes an elf will make a decision using cold logic to back it, while other times feelings and emotions will be the deciding factor. This also feeds into their apparent capriciousness.

They are the unfettered. They have no code, they do what seems right at the time, and from this, they draw strength.

Elves love things of beauty, and often see the most beauty in nature, either un-adorned, or guided. Most of their art seeks to incorporate that beauty, and to use the forms of nature, at once beautiful and strong, into their work.

The world is there to be experienced, to be loved, and to be allowed to grow in it's own way, with as little interference as possible. Save, here or there, guiding a forest to grow the fruit needed to sustain the community, for example.

Each expression of art, of love, of life, each work of creation, and of each expression of wonder is an affirmation of the life they live. Each song is sung is a way of showing one's love for the life they lead, or their sorrow at a tragedy, and that song, that weaves through their life, in many ways, is a prayer to Corellion.

They are associated with earth, water, and air.


Dwarves:
Dwarves are a noble people. They know their place in the world, and they cleave to it. Their community comes before all, yet it is made up of individuals, the majority of whom strive to be the best that they can be. These Dwarves think not only of the good of themselves as individuals, but the good of the clan, and perhaps that thought comes first.

As such, slackers, layabouts, and those unwilling to toe the line find themselves either explicitly ostracized, or find themselves cut off from charity that is extended to those who do not work due to disability (often suffered in service to the clan). This keeps the community strong, working in the same direction, and free from social deterus. However this also leaves little room for those who seek to contribute to the community in a way that others are un-used too, and may see some talent lost.

No community can be solid, and nose to the grindstone at all hours, however, and as hard as the dwarves work, they play just as hard. It is rather common for dwarves coming home from a day at the mine, or from the craft-room, or even from the temple, to join with co-workers, friends, family, at the local pub, and tie on one, or two, or twelve. Aw, just one more for the road. If any tension has been building, this time, when inhibitions are low, when no work needs to be done, and when friends are around to help get you out of (or into) trouble, is often when such tensions are released, before they begin to fester. This is viewed as a healthy part of dwarven society. It can, however, sometimes lead to rifts that never quite heal.

Dwarves love beauty. The way that a well-cut diamond glitters is wondrous to behold, and nothing is quite so smooth, and has quite the feel of lustrous gold. A well carved stone is a beauty that lasts, one for which a dwarven craftsman can be remembered. And even if he is not, the pleasure and respect that his creations give and gain carry with them his own little bit of immortality through the world.

This is why so many dwarven craftsmen seek to craft a perfect item... unfortunately, the needs of their society often intervene. Giants are trying to move into the area, so those axes need to be finished soon, rather than some time in the next decade. Picks and shovels wear out, as do hammers and axes that are used in every day tasks, and they often wear out before the dwarf does, despite a sturdy make. So the craftsman sighs, and places another axe on the pile, one made well, but not as well as he would have liked, not with all his love and care wrapped up in it. But he takes heart, by making 10 axes, rather than simply one, he may have just saved the life of his cousin's wife. As such he does NOT cut corners. EVER. But... neither does he get to fully express his craft with each blade. Still, each blade made, he sees just a little bit more into the nature of the steel with which he loves to work. Each hammer blow is a chance for him to refine his skill... for when the need quiets again, and he can again concentrate on advancing his craft.

Because each dwarf serves the community, because of their laws, traditions, procedures, dwarves fighting side by side know the minds of their fellows without having to speak. They already know dozens of manuvers, and deployment plans, to deal with many threats. The dwarven war leaders have planed out dozens of battles that may never occur during their life time, and they drill their soldiers hard, throwing curve balls at them to make sure that they stay adaptable as they follow the already analyzed battle plans.

For Dwarves, the community is all, and any service to the community is a devotion, every life they improve is an act of faith, following in the tenants of their church.

Rules exist to strengthen the community, to bind it together, to make sure each dwarf knows his or her place... as do the unwritten laws... Tradition. Tradition is what helps keep his balance, lets him know what is expected of him by his fellow Dwarf, and by Moradin. It is what keeps him from being as unstable as... well... a lute playing elf on a tree-branch.

They are the fettered. They have codes, and rules, and follow them, and from that, they draw strength.

They are associated with earth, metal, and fire.

MisterSaturnine
2009-06-18, 10:28 PM
And it's odd but I'm actually getting tired of the orcs as the honorable warrior race. Blame the effort to rehabilitate them of their savage stereotype for creating a new stereotype I guess. I'm not sure what the middle ground is between barbaric raider and wise shaman, but there has to be one somewhere.

I'm enjoying having them as the technologists and mastersmiths of the world. In the setting I'm working on, the wasteland they settled in turned out to house some interesting metal--adamantine ore--below the surface. Since then, the orcs have simply built up their nation as one giant fortress, producing weapons for those who trade with them while industriously working at scientific innovation.

"Hmm. Krulk!"
"Yes?"
"Machine not work right."
"What wrong with machine?"
"Leaking acid."
"Damn. Hand Krulk spanner. Was working fine yesterday."

Leon
2009-06-18, 11:03 PM
Why can't a Halfling be a ruthless, bloodthirsty warrior-king? :smallamused:

Athasian Halflings

The Metallic Dragons in the setting that im playing atm don't go for large Hoards of treasure - they run the banks and if they do have "treasure" its a select cache of powerful magic items.

The Chromatic dragons that we have seen so far still go for piles of gold as we removed most of ones collection and invested a lot of it into a our Sponsors bank

Artanis
2009-06-18, 11:41 PM
I like the Dwarf Fortress version of Elves: uptight mega-hippies who like to boss people around and order them to take up the Elf way of life...and if they don't do as they say, the Elves zerg them 500:1 and eat their corpses.

Gnorman
2009-06-19, 01:58 AM
I just really, really, really hate elves. They're oh so perfect and ethereal and mystical and beautiful and daaaaamn does that get annoying. They're smarter than you, they live longer than you, they're better than you - but come on. A concerted effort by any combined force of nations could easily destroy them and all they stand for - and there's ample provocation. Basically, to me, anyone who wants to play an elf just wants to insert their own personal Mary Sue. They're never flawed or anything, just perfect pristine crystalline statues. Seriously. They excel at everything. Their wizards are the smartest. Their rogues are the sneakiest. Their rangers are the shootiest. Their fighters are graceful and elegant. Their druids are perfectly in tune with nature. Where's the fun in playing a race that's essentially composed of nigh-immortal wish-fulfilling demigods?

I think we should start smashing elves to tiny little bits and stomping on them.

Shamanistic half-orcs are easy to do, because they're really only left with Wisdom as an unpenalized mental score. Pigeonholes them easily. But why should a half-orc raised in human lands have a lower intelligence? Blasphemy. Sure, tusks and tufts of fur may not make you the belle of the ball, but there's no reason why you can't be smart. I like smart half-orcs. I like half-orcs who buck tradition and don't wield greataxes around like they were toothpicks.

Halflings I have little to say about. They will always be sneaky, kleptomaniac, and occasionally they will ride dinosaurs.

Gnomes are mostly great and don't need any tweaking, but I grow weary of benevolent pranksters - I like evil gnomes, malicious gnomes, devious and deceitful. Gnomes who blackmail and extort and wheel and deal, rather than just pulling harmless illusionary practical jokes on bigger folk. Tiiiiiired. The whole pastoral idyllic village thing has got to go, too. Gnomes are ideal big-city dwellers. Like Zilargo gnomes! Which is one of the reasons that Eberron gets things so right on a shaking-up-the-stereotype level. Except dwarves. Dwarves are exactly the same.

But seriously. Dwarves don't need to change. They're already perfect.

Origomar
2009-06-19, 02:44 AM
I just really, really, really hate elves. They're oh so perfect and ethereal and mystical and beautiful and daaaaamn does that get annoying. They're smarter than you, they live longer than you, they're better than you - but come on. A concerted effort by any combined force of nations could easily destroy them and all they stand for - and there's ample provocation. Basically, to me, anyone who wants to play an elf just wants to insert their own personal Mary Sue. They're never flawed or anything, just perfect pristine crystalline statues. Seriously. They excel at everything. Their wizards are the smartest. Their rogues are the sneakiest. Their rangers are the shootiest. Their fighters are graceful and elegant. Their druids are perfectly in tune with nature. Where's the fun in playing a race that's essentially composed of nigh-immortal wish-fulfilling demigods?

I think we should start smashing elves to tiny little bits and stomping on them.

Shamanistic half-orcs are easy to do, because they're really only left with Wisdom as an unpenalized mental score. Pigeonholes them easily. But why should a half-orc raised in human lands have a lower intelligence? Blasphemy. Sure, tusks and tufts of fur may not make you the belle of the ball, but there's no reason why you can't be smart. I like smart half-orcs. I like half-orcs who buck tradition and don't wield greataxes around like they were toothpicks.

Halflings I have little to say about. They will always be sneaky, kleptomaniac, and occasionally they will ride dinosaurs.

Gnomes are mostly great and don't need any tweaking, but I grow weary of benevolent pranksters - I like evil gnomes, malicious gnomes, devious and deceitful. Gnomes who blackmail and extort and wheel and deal, rather than just pulling harmless illusionary practical jokes on bigger folk. Tiiiiiired. The whole pastoral idyllic village thing has got to go, too. Gnomes are ideal big-city dwellers. Like Zilargo gnomes! Which is one of the reasons that Eberron gets things so right on a shaking-up-the-stereotype level. Except dwarves. Dwarves are exactly the same.

But seriously. Dwarves don't need to change. They're already perfect.


i want to play an elf because i get a +2 bonus to my dex and to spot checks :D


Also here are some things i find annoying about classism

Ranger, OH just because im a ranger means i have to go track everything?

Wizard, maybe i dont want to cast spells, maybe i want to charge into battle with my battle staff and full plate armor


Assasin, why do people always assume im evil and want to stab people in their kidneys? maybe i was just too advanced in my heal skill and decided to perform surgery.

Coidzor
2009-06-19, 02:55 AM
Our Dwarves Are All The Same. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main.OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame) :smallbiggrin:

Philaenas
2009-06-19, 03:21 AM
I pretty much have a generic dislike for all stereotypes, but especially those of elves and dwarves. Elves, just because they are freaking annoying nancy boys reaching maturity at the age of 110, I mean, come on, what is that? It's not very viable for a species to start procreating after 110 freaking years... I guess that's not really a stereotype, but it's just one of the mean reasons for my dislike of elves. But the artsy fartsy, aloof, holier (better) than thou stereotype pretty much nails it as well...
Also, dwarves tend to be lovers of the beerkeg and talkin' with this outrageous accent, while all having dendrophobia. Yeah, annoying...
Moving on to halflings and gnomes who are moneygrubbing, happily skipping and cute to boot thieves or this huge bunch of tinkerers who keep blowing stuff up respectively (also, favored class: bard?, that HAS to be annoying). On top of that they are just the right size to give them the old boot, the one attribute I love about the little tikes.
Lastly we have the half-dudes (who already lost a huge amount of respect just for being that, half-dudes, god I dislike half-this or that beings) who are an enormous collection of outcasts, shunned by both their orc/elven kin and human kin, how sad... You guessed it, annoying. Wow, that was quite a vent, I seemed to have needed it.

These and other things are the reasons I play humans exclusively. :smallcool:

vicente408
2009-06-19, 03:59 AM
I pretty much have a generic dislike for all stereotypes, but especially those of elves and dwarves. Elves, just because they are freaking annoying nancy boys reaching maturity at the age of 110, I mean, come on, what is that? It's not very viable for a species to start procreating after 110 freaking years... I guess that's not really a stereotype, but it's just one of the mean reasons for my dislike of elves. But the artsy fartsy, aloof, holier (better) than thou stereotype pretty much nails it as well...
Also, dwarves tend to be lovers of the beerkeg and talkin' with this outrageous accent, while all having dendrophobia. Yeah, annoying...
Moving on to halflings and gnomes who are moneygrubbing, happily skipping and cute to boot thieves or this huge bunch of tinkerers who keep blowing stuff up respectively (also, favored class: bard?, that HAS to be annoying). On top of that they are just the right size to give them the old boot, the one attribute I love about the little tikes.
Lastly we have the half-dudes (who already lost a huge amount of respect just for being that, half-dudes, god I dislike half-this or that beings) who are an enormous collection of outcasts, shunned by both their orc/elven kin and human kin, how sad... You guessed it, annoying. Wow, that was quite a vent, I seemed to have needed it.

These and other things are the reasons I play humans exclusively. :smallcool:

Human supremecist! Spew your hateful speciesism elsewhere, bigot! :smalltongue:

Kurald Galain
2009-06-19, 04:42 AM
Nice!

All dwarves have beards, including female dwarves. Okay, that happens in certain fantasy books as well, but the joke is getting old.

All dwarves drink too much, have unpronouncable names, wear pointy helmets, and scream at their enemies.
All orcs drink too much, have unpronouncable names, wear pointy helmets, and scream at their enemies.
All elves drink too much (but they drink wine and never get drunk), have unpronouncable names, wear pointy boots, and insult their enemies.
Hm, notice a pattern here? :smalltongue:

Okay, it's not a race, but all wizards are know-it-alls, and all rogues steal from party members.
Also, all halflings are rogues, and steal from party members even if they're not.

bosssmiley
2009-06-19, 05:09 AM
Humans will Borg your culture and rip off your fashions.
Dwarves are constantly planning for the inevitable next war.
The Elves are nothing but haremfodder that escaped their creators.
The Orcs have lost every war, and are totally up against it as a race.
Gnomes are the Viet Kong, with added magic and scrotum-biting badgers.
Half-Orcs are better than either parent (smarter than Orcs, tougher than Humand), but are kept down by bigotry about their origins.
The Goblinoids (Gobs, Hobs, Bugbears) are from fantasy Japan.
The Sahuagin could kick your ass anytime they like.

Races of War (http://tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=33294) - it only looks like it's taking the mick. :smallamused:

TSED
2009-06-19, 05:10 AM
I agree entirely with my own elven stereotypes. Since my opinion matters, behold!:
All elves deserve to die. ASAP.
All dwarves are friggin' dumb. [Doesn't mean they can't be awesome. I have Dwarf Fortress to blame for this stereotype.]
All halflings are cheery rays of sunshine with a lucky charm.
All gnomes are cheery rays of sunshine with an awesome quirk.



What I'd do for half-orcs:
1) Remove the int penalty entirely, but keep the cha penalty. Why? Because in either upbringing, they're getting yelled at for [being too destructive] or [not being destructive enough]. This would wear on their self esteem. Just imagine the identity issue if they're brought up in a society unrelated to their parentage? Ouch!
2) Give them either the human bonus skill point [from a human society], a bonus to survival [orc society], or a racial bonus depending on the society they grew up on (dwarf-raised could get +2 to appraise stone or metal, gnome-raised could get +2 to craft (alchemy), halfling-raised could get +2 to move silently. This could be the whole "we are trying really really really hard to bring you into our society" angle going on).

What I'd do to half-elves:
1) Throw them on the mass grave of their elven forebears.
2) On fire.
3) Start burying.

KjeldorMage
2009-06-19, 05:43 AM
Necromancers aren't all evil (CoughxfilesepisodewiththatweirdrainbowdudecoughDr .ByronsOrpheusfromventurebrotherscoughcough)
I in fact like running that most necros are neutral, like death. I have the personification of death show up as a wisecracking, completely neutral NPC. Death is not arbitrary, it is just the end of the life cycle.

When you mix the power of death with evil intention, that is when you cross a line. As such many people with "good" morals seem to find death distasteful and why you see a lot more evil necromancers with lots of power.

Kemper Boyd
2009-06-19, 06:06 AM
All dwarves have beards, including female dwarves. Okay, that happens in certain fantasy books as well, but the joke is getting old.

This isn't actually originally a joke, it came from Tolkien's writing.

Trouvere
2009-06-19, 06:18 AM
The biggest stereotype of all: "My homebrewed drow"

paddyfool
2009-06-19, 06:19 AM
I, um, still sort-of like Elves. Because elegance is sexy, recognising the importance of enjoying life should make a person fun to be around, and OK, I like nature and the wild too. Not sure I totally dig the tragic fate vibe they often have (dating back to Tolkein, where they're the best part of what will be the past with the close of the third age), nor do I like the snooty, uptight subtype, but otherwise they're fine. They've just been far too frequent a victim of lazy writing.

Farlion
2009-06-19, 07:51 AM
Most of the sterotypes here are well known and make interactions with these races somewhat dull during RPG. In my homebrew campaign, I decided to redesign most of the races to more or less fit my likeing.

Here it goes:

Elves:
The elves love to hunt, like to make music and love to party. But after 500 years, this somewhat gets dull. My elves are bored. Totally bored. They crave for something interesting, things they haven't seen before, things they have never witnessed or done. But what is left to do after all that is done? Back to boredom. The elves in my campaign are apathic, depressive and unmotivated. Most of them have become fat from doing nothing and only the younger ones (of which there are few, yes, even sex got boring) are somewhat active and fit.

Dwarves:
My Dwarves live in a huge mountain, duh! They like to make weapons out of steel (ok, so far, nothing new). But they're not hearty. They don't work in the mines themselves, they have kobold slaves to do so. The dwarves are mean, fat, cruel and lazy. Kobolds do the whole work for them, except the forging and blacksmithing. The Highking of the Dwarves is so fat, he can't move from his throne. He's just one big lump of meat (somewhat like jabba the hut, but with a helmet!) and he's the meanest dwarf around. He kills kobolds for fun and torchers them for pleasure.

Gnomes:
My gnomes have two ways of life. First theres the invisible part of the gnomisch society. They live hidden in the woods, sometimes near human villages, sometimes far away. They are never seen and humans don't know they exist. Then theres the gypsie gnomes. They travel around as impostors, sharpen knives, tell stories and give performances.

Orcs:
These I changed the least, since I like the barbaric style they posses. I even made my orcs alot more brutal. Their main currency is human teeth, their armors are decorated with bones and they use steel-reinforced stone weapons.

The rest of the races are not implemented into my campaign (yet).

Cheers,
Farlion

Kris Strife
2009-06-19, 11:14 AM
All dwarves have beards, including female dwarves. Okay, that happens in certain fantasy books as well, but the joke is getting old.

Last time I DMed, I ruled that female dwarves look like miniaturized Norwegian Supermodels (cookie for anyone who can tell me the webcomic that idea came from), but even more stuck up to give them the Cha penalty. :p

Drakyn
2009-06-19, 12:09 PM
I'd say the main reason we see a lot of stereotypes around fantasy races would be that so many of them are basically humans but pigeonholed into "species-wide personalities."

Elves are humans THAT ARE ALSO massive mary sues.

Dwarves are humans THAT ARE ALSO awesome miner blacksmith crafter axemen combo platter midgets as comic relief sources.

Add this "humans are baseline" assumption into the unconcious assumption that dwarf kingdoms or elf kingdoms and so on are monolithic blocks of DWARF and ELF and generally much rarer than human nations (and god help you if you want a diverse spectrum of gnomish gnations, or halfing republics), and you've got a nice recipe for "other species are rare and monolithic, while humans are the only ones allowed to be diverse."
On the occasion that an out-of-place culture for a nonhuman species turns up it immediately becomes a new subrace to avoid the tricky issue of inter-species diversity, to the point where you start to wonder if the reason all dwarves are the same is because the moment they stop acting dwarvish it mutates their DNA.

By the way

"Hmm. Krulk!"
"Yes?"
"Machine not work right."
"What wrong with machine?"
"Leaking acid."
"Damn. Hand Krulk spanner. Was working fine yesterday."
is pure awesome.

Duke of URL
2009-06-19, 12:57 PM
I hate the fact that most (standard) "half-" races assume a very small subset of parentage lines on one side. For example "half-orc" and "half-elf" are both "half-human"... why not a "half-halfling-half-elf" or "half-gnome-half-orc"?

And, seriously, is there anything a dragon won't ****? How many races really need draconic bloodlines?

Ganurath
2009-06-19, 01:27 PM
why not a ... "half-gnome-half-orc"?I can answer that with a question of my own: Which race is the father, and which race is the mother?

Duke of URL
2009-06-19, 01:33 PM
I can answer that with a question of my own: Which race is the father, and which race is the mother?

Shouldn't matter -- which race is the mother/father from in a "regular" half-orc?

TheThan
2009-06-19, 01:39 PM
Shouldn't matter -- which race is the mother/father from in a "regular" half-orc?

I think heís thinking about a certain problem having to do with sizeÖ

Anyway this sort of stuff is why I prefer to not have half races at all. Instead I look at each race as a species. Since most species canít interbreed without help, it makes perfect sense to me. Thatís not saying two characters of different species canít fall in love. Itís just that it doesnít happen that much. Hey, maybe magic has to get involved in order to make half races. I can picture an elf and a human who have fallen in love traveling to a wizard and asking him if he could help them copulate a child.

Ganurath
2009-06-19, 01:46 PM
Shouldn't matter -- which race is the mother/father from in a "regular" half-orc?Well, that doesn't matter, since the size difference between humans and orcs isn't anywhere near as severe: Humans are the largest of the standard player races after half-orcs.

As to your original point, it's a matter of physical and cultural compatibility. Here, have a look:

Orc-Human: Works.
Orc-Elf: Major cultural split, mutual kill-on-sight, probably genetically incompatible due to divine intervention. It's possible that Orcs, Elves, and Humans are all compatible originally, but divine intervention kicked in millenia ago when the first elven orc was born.
Orc-Dwarf: Minor physical limitations, major cultural limitations.
Orc-Gnome: Physical limitations.
Orc-Halfling: Physical limitations.
Human-Elf: Works.
Human-Dwarf: Cultural limitation here, as dwarves are slow to make friends. Humans simply don't live long enough to be lovers. The only reason the same doesn't apply to elves is due to their Chaotic nature.
Human-Gnome: Physical limitations.
Human-Halfling: Physical limitations... Which is really a pity.
Elf-Dwarf: ...No. Just... no.
Elf-Gnome: Physical limitations might be a factor here, but if not... Although it isn't as extreme, gnomes still have that internal community strength that dwarves have. Gnomes are sort of the go-between of elves and dwarves the way humans are of elves and orcs.
Elf-Halfling: If physical limitations aren't a factor, it's because of the racial secrets of the halflings keeping other races out of their bedrooms. What if the elves were to find a holy symbol of Dallah Thaun under the pillow?
Dwarf-Gnome: Isn't this how Duergar or some other dwarven subrace of evil came to be?
Dwarf-Halfling: Dallah Thaun.
Gnome-Halfling: Dallah Thaun.

Coidzor
2009-06-19, 01:48 PM
Shouldn't matter -- which race is the mother/father from in a "regular" half-orc?

...I think it's because of the bad mental images either way of Gnome on Orc on Halfling orgies.

Edit: @^: I think derro are supposed to be a bastardized (they're 3-halves so... y'know....) mixture of gnome, dwarf, and halfling...

Murdim
2009-06-19, 01:52 PM
Elf-Dwarf: ...No. Just... no.Unless it's called Urist Greenleaf. Or Legolas Koganus‚n.

DSCrankshaw
2009-06-19, 01:55 PM
I played with the idea of Elf-Dwarf mating. In my campaign world, there are elf-dwarf children around, but most people don't realize it. Male children take after their father, and female children take after their mother. Thus their children look like full-blooded members of one parent's race.

Thoughtbot360
2009-06-19, 02:10 PM
WARNING: minor religious mentions here.


All dwarves are Mel Gibson from braveheart.
They also are tough enough to stand up to crucifixion but they mothers still stare at the audience afterwards.


All elves are John Lennon.
Imagine there's no Heaven... Huh? Why is everyone crying? Ooh, riiiiight, the mortality thing.

[QUOTE[All orcs are Conan the Barbarian. [/QUOTE]
So.....all half orc barbarians are part Thief-Acrobat?

Piedmon_Sama
2009-06-19, 02:26 PM
I hate Scottish dwarves. It was a stupid joke to begin with, and it's been overplayed since Warcraft II. Why on earth would a creature that isn't considered to have reached adulthood until it's 80 years old act like a film extra from Rob Roy?

I hate Elves who are cast as upper-class British or frock-coat and cravat-wearing snots with a penchant for Byzantine politics. Look, this is a creature that's going to live a millennium. Human nations will rise and fall before this thing even sees Middle Age. Why on earth would an Elf ever scheme for worldly glory or imitate the more ridiculous human behaviors?

I hate the fact that creatures which live for centuries are even Player Races. A 100 year-old Elf who's 1st level is some kind of 'tard. I even give human commoners an extra level or three by the time they're octagenerians. It just hurts my suspension of disbelief to see demihumans that are supposed to be ancient and live in totally different environments roleplayed like they're human stereotypes with pointy ears or beards. I even avoid using Dwarves and Elves as NPCs in my games unless the PCs want to travel to their lands, it seems like such a stretch to get into the head of something like that.

I much prefer, say, Orcs. They're stronger and harder-headed than humans, but much closer in age and maturation rate, which means their mentalities probably aren't that different from ours and so they're much easier to roleplay.

Faleldir
2009-06-19, 02:28 PM
Human-Halfling: Physical limitations... Which is really a pity.
Then how do you explain Strongheart Halflings?

Tsotha-lanti
2009-06-19, 02:28 PM
So.....all half orc barbarians are part Thief-Acrobat?

Not to mention natural linguists, military geniuses, and have Cha 18+ !

TheYoungKing
2009-06-19, 02:32 PM
I dislike the stereotype that Elves are patient and wise and all that....

The elves in my campaign setting, while still long lived, are flighty and impatient. Its a seeming contradiction witheir long lifespan, and I like it.

JonestheSpy
2009-06-19, 02:33 PM
I hate Scottish dwarves. It was a stupid joke to begin with, and it's been overplayed since Warcraft II. Why on earth would a creature that isn't considered to have reached adulthood until it's 80 years old act like a film extra from Rob Roy?



I got ninja'd. Yeah, what the hell is up with the Scottish dwarf thing? Is it really just from Warcraft, or is there some other element that led to this foolishness?

Devils_Advocate
2009-06-19, 02:34 PM
Dwarves get stereotyped as drunks because they drink a lot more than humans. But that doesn't mean that they get drunker, because they have a significantly higher alcohol tolerance. (A typical dwarven Warrior (http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/35/sovelior_sage/monstersDrtoDw.html#dwarf), the most common sort of dwarf encountered outside the dwarven homeland, has a Fort save of +6 against drunkenness (because alcohol is a mild poison), which is a hell of a lot higher than a typical human Commoner's save of +0.)

While dwarves are stereotypically honorable, they also have the stereotypical vice of greed, just so that there's still a standardized personality for even their criminals and villains to adhere to.


Of course, why are all Paladin Epic swords forged by dwarves, when all dwarves use axes or hammers themselves? I've never seen a dwarf with a sword, especially not a large sword!
Because everyone knows to go to a dwarf if you want a really good sword (or other weapon, or armor) made.


And it's odd but I'm actually getting tired of the orcs as the honorable warrior race. Blame the effort to rehabilitate them of their savage stereotype for creating a new stereotype I guess. I'm not sure what the middle ground is between barbaric raider and wise shaman, but there has to be one somewhere.
The thing is, being primitive warriors is sort of their defining shtick, and there's only so many directions you can take that in. If your "orcs" aren't primitive warriors, you haven't so much revamped orcs so much as reapplied the name "orc" to something decidedly different.


[Excellent descriptions of elven and dwarven culture]
Those were some excellent descriptions of elven and dwarven culture, Josh.


They excel at everything.
That's because they've had a lot more practice than the average human. It's sort of a natural consequence of their lifespans. They don't have more natural talent at everything, just lots more time.

But go ahead and hold that against them, if you insist. To respond to any form of marked superiority with either awe or jealous resentment is a stereotypical human thingy, after all...


All dwarves have beards, including female dwarves. Okay, that happens in certain fantasy books as well, but the joke is getting old.
It's not inherently a joke. For a different species to be inhuman in a way that humans find unattractive doesn't strike me as comical so much as realistic.


The elves love to hunt, like to make music and love to party. But after 500 years, this somewhat gets dull.

ďYou do know that the elven suicide rate for the last millennium is like sixty or seventy percent?Ē she said. ďSome elves even speak at their own funerals.Ē
- Tales of MU


On the occasion that an out-of-place culture for a nonhuman species turns up it immediately becomes a new subrace to avoid the tricky issue of inter-species diversity, to the point where you start to wonder if the reason all dwarves are the same is because the moment they stop acting dwarvish it mutates their DNA.
Ugh. I hate the whole one-subrace-per-niche thing. It's way better to have one race that's at least somewhat flexible (if not so much so as humans).

horus42
2009-06-19, 02:42 PM
I try and avoid the stereotypes. Kind of. Especially with Elves. My homebrew world is basically (read: exactly the same as) Earth, but with the other races thrown in. I use the whole "fantasy counterpart culture" thing. For example, Humans are mostly only found in Southwestern Europe, so they're the French, Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. Elves are the Germanic peoples, like the Germans (obviously) the Scandinavians, the British, etc. So instead of the Patient and Wise hippie Elf, we get Viking berserker Elves.

Arachu
2009-06-19, 03:02 PM
I'm about halfway done with a D20 Modern setting where the Elves somehow worked under a dictator (the bad kind) and picked off everything else. The dragons and other humanoids ran off to other planes of existence (thank the Clerics for that) in the small numbers that survived.

Just a few of the anti-stereotypical plans I have...

-The Drow are allied with the Elves. Also, they live above ground now.
-All Elves in general have strict codes of conduct now (though the Arvore (my word for Wood Elves) are more relaxed).
-There are space Elves (Sky-Kin) due to a more-complex-than-it-sounds time travel Macguffin.

-Fiends are attacking the world, and Demons have lawful factions while Devil factions often feud.
-Evokers can animate massive armor-shells. Imps can as well.

-The Terrakind (politically correct High Elf :smalltongue:) have 'Soldier' as a favored class, banishing the notion of weakness.

-Conjuration no longer heals. An new school called Medical magic does that. The funny part is that it roots in Necromancy, and no Medical magician will admit that :smallamused:

-All dragons, including metallic ones, will behave in an 'evil' way if Elves ever infringe upon them.

-I'm planning to have technologically advanced Orcs, in some plane I have yet to make...



... And Drow have hover-tanks.

TheThan
2009-06-19, 03:07 PM
I think part of the problem with elves is that they reach physical maturity at about 20, yet they donít reach adulthood till 100. That doesnít make any sense and is just screwy.

If we just make elves actually grow and mature slower that would make sense. If it took them 10 years to grow enough to be able to learn how to walk, then we make it more credible for them to actually be 100 year old (the equivalent of say a 20 something) adventurers running around.

Alternatively we could just simply remove their ageless attribute and simply give them an extended life span. For instance say they live on average 4 times as long as humans, and we say a typical human lives to be 70. That means a typical elf would live to be around 280 years old before he succumbs to old age.

Now, we have two different elves that actually make some sort of sense within their own fluff.

scsimodem
2009-06-19, 03:16 PM
I don't mind the stereotypes so long as they're played straight and make sense. For example: In Warhammer, dwarves and elves hate each other because dark elves are physically indistinguishable from high elves and dwarves carry grudges better than anything else. This led to a war which nearly drove all elves out of the old world and left the dwarves so thinly stretched that they started falling to the greenskins (orcs and goblins). In Eragon, dwarves and elves hate each other because...well...there's some flimsy excuse involving the elves being Mary Sue vegan atheists and the dwarves being caricatures of ignorant, inbred theocrats, but mostly it's because they're elves and dwarves.

Mostly, though, the stereotypes are because fantasy races ARE stereotypes of different human groups given form. As explained in some of the Warhammer Online pre-launch videos, dwarves are working class people, greenskins are soccer hooligans, elves are arrogant aristocrats, and dark elves are arrogant aristocrats that have taken lots of drugs.

So anyway, here's how I play it when I'm playing the race in question:

Humans: Played by region, naturally. I look at my character history and that of the region, then act accordingly.
Dwarves: They live in holes in the ground, so I imagine the communities are very close-knit. Therefore, I play their alignment as from a person coming from a staunch traditionalist culture. My lawful dwarves cite clan traditions and rituals, and often brag about how their fighting style has been passed down for generations. Chaotic dwarves tend to reject tradition out of principle, since rejection of such things probably led to that alignment.
Elves: Largely depends on setting, but usually elves have some kind of cocky air to them, so elves I play usually play to the stereotype that elves are perfect not by being perfect, but by pretending to be. My elves typically use the term 'lesser races' liberally and refuse to admit mistakes, sticking to an "I meant to do that," mentality.

Well, from that, I guess you can get the picture of what I do. For me, it's not about playing stereotypes as much as it is figuring out why the stereotype exists and playing to the circumstances. Oh, and yes, my dwarves get mad when the 'drunk' stereotype comes up. The response typically comes in the form of, "Just 'cause some puny human (or whatever) can't hold his liquor doesn't mean I can't, and drinking is an end-of-the-day social activity. Not in 20 generations has a [insert clan] ever set foot on the job with booze in his blood!"

TheYoungKing
2009-06-19, 03:33 PM
Not really sure how to classify these cliches but, in my campaign setting:

-Dwarves were the wise, far off race that helped Humanity, and now they are passing away..... their young are gripped with a wanderlust which was once unknown, and the Homelands are becoming sparsely populated, and more elderly.

-The Elves are a young, impatient race of nomads who have only recently come to civilization. (In fact, a war between one of the Elvish states and a human neighbor is known as The War of The Young and Old.)

Set
2009-06-19, 03:42 PM
I don't mind the stereotypes so much as when the 'fluff' completely fails to match the 'crunch.' Most supplements detail dwarven spirits as strong, but then go on to mention some elvish wine that renders non-elves unconscious, which is kinda ludicrous, considering the racial constitution. Elves should pass out in a stupor when a dwarf burps in their face.

Elven children should die young more than any other race. Elves who live in the wilderness should be more prone to dying of exposure or opportunistic infections or insect bites or whatever 10-20% more commonly than a human in that same environment would. A disease that a dwarven community would consider an annoying winter sniffle should leave an elvish community reeling, fearing extinction.

Since I don't feel like making the fluff match the crunch there, I swap out the Con penalty for a Str penalty, and have elves be no more feeble or sickly or unable to adapt to harsh climates or meager supplies than humans.

Unless the fluff of a race includes stuff about them dying all the time, possibly even serving as a vector for disease to healthier communities of their neighbors, I generally avoid Con penalties.

Unless the fluff of a race has them of weak personality, prone to being socially bullied by more forceful and confident sorts, socially awkward, unable to work together and / or maintain any semblance of government (like, say, Goblins), I avoid giving out Charisma penalties. (So the average dwarf is more likely to have a Dex penalty.)

Devils_Advocate
2009-06-19, 03:52 PM
Regarding "half-" races... well, I have spoken on the subject of crossbreeding in D&D before. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5476213&postcount=26) Rather than repeat all of those thoughts here, I shall simply invite those interested to read the linked earlier post.

The main idea is just that you don't need to have a lot of ancestor races; you can have most races as hybrids of others. Halflings basically make sense as half-gnomes/half-elves, for example, especially if you give them slightly larger size, considerably longer lives, and low-light vision. This also gives their name a different likely origin.


A 100 year-old Elf who's 1st level is some kind of 'tard.
Don't humans mature considerably more slowly than a lot of other animals?

Anyway, demihumans should have higher percentages of high-level characters than humans do, because (a) older people will tend to have more XP than younger people, and (b) their lower populations mean that they need higher individual competence to compete with humans on a group vs. group level.


I think part of the problem with elves is that they reach physical maturity at about 20, yet they donít reach adulthood till 100. That doesnít make any sense and is just screwy.
Human cultures can have extended childhoods, though. I really think that the main reason that we're pushed to enter the workforce as soon as we are is that we only have so much time to burn. So long as their parents can support them, I can easily see elves being allowed to complete their education at their own pace, taking as much vacation as they want. Most of them taking at least a hundred years until they finish grad school doesn't seem like that much of a stretch, really. Just assume that they like frequent and lengthy breaks. Breaks so long that they have to spend significant time relearning things they've forgotten, even.

The elders -- elves who have basically outgrown casual recreation, because they've had the chance to get sick of it -- wouldn't see this as lazy and wasteful any more than humans see a child's playtime as lazy and wasteful.

One potential upshot of this is that elves never have passive retirements. An elf may stop working for pay, or never have to work for money in the first place, but he won't fall into a lifestyle of just watching plays and reading books and playing games without producing anything. That's boring kid stuff! A retired elf will design buildings, spells, or numerous other things; instruct apprentices; lead a community, or an organization; or just maybe become an adventurer...


I dislike the stereotype that Elves are patient and wise and all that....

The elves in my campaign setting, while still long lived, are flighty and impatient. Its a seeming contradiction witheir long lifespan, and I like it.
"A thousand and more turns of the seasons he has seen, each moment kept blessedly fresh... at the cost of hard lessons forgotten."
- Elfquest, on "living in The Now"


Elves are the Germanic peoples, like the Germans (obviously) the Scandinavians, the British, etc. So instead of the Patient and Wise hippie Elf, we get Viking berserker Elves.
Hmmm. Germanic dwarves would probably be more appropriate if you wanted fairly traditional dwarves: industrious, beer-loving, occasionally temperamental, etc.

Elves would probably be more akin to the Greeks, Italians, and maybe the French.


Largely depends on setting, but usually elves have some kind of cocky air to them, so elves I play usually play to the stereotype that elves are perfect not by being perfect, but by pretending to be. My elves typically use the term 'lesser races' liberally and refuse to admit mistakes, sticking to an "I meant to do that," mentality.
I sort of like the idea of elves as people who are actually justified in feeling superior... just not nearly to the extent that they do. Their competence is exceeded only by their confidence, but massively so.

You know how cartoon supergeniuses can never manage to take over the world, despite being able to invent time travel and shrink rays and stuff, because they never bother with backups and failsafes and safety precautions? Because they assume that they did everything so perfectly that they don't need to account for the possibility that some small part of their intricate plans will fail?

Just like that.

TheEmerged
2009-06-19, 04:03 PM
RE: Half-Races. I admit, this is a pet peeve of mine too. I generally create races that take the mechanical place of the "half" races. In my current 4e world for example the Varsidian (Var for short) take the place of half-elf, the Entradi take the place of the half-orc...

DSCrankshaw
2009-06-19, 04:05 PM
I don't mind the stereotypes so long as they're played straight and make sense. For example: In Warhammer, dwarves and elves hate each other because dark elves are physically indistinguishable from high elves and dwarves carry grudges better than anything else. This led to a war which nearly drove all elves out of the old world and left the dwarves so thinly stretched that they started falling to the greenskins (orcs and goblins). In Eragon, dwarves and elves hate each other because...well...there's some flimsy excuse involving the elves being Mary Sue vegan atheists and the dwarves being caricatures of ignorant, inbred theocrats, but mostly it's because they're elves and dwarves.

Heh... I also found Eragon's elves particularly annoying. It's one thing for elves to be arrogant, it's another for them to be arrogant and completely justified because they're so obviously superior. Their mockery of the dwarves was even more annoying considering that for all the claims to superior knowledge, the dwarves had been there longer, and the elves were relative newcomers to that part of the world. You'd think experience would count for something.

Say what you will about 4e, it got rid of some of the more ridiculous issues. Elves and dwarves now mature at the same rate as humans, even if they live two or three times as long. Elves are also a good bit less magical and more woodsy (the magical part of elves went to the eladrin).

ondonaflash
2009-06-19, 04:25 PM
That's because they've had a lot more practice than the average human. It's sort of a natural consequence of their lifespans. They don't have more natural talent at everything, just lots more time.

But go ahead and hold that against them, if you insist. To respond to any form of marked superiority with either awe or jealous resentment is a stereotypical human thingy, after all...



THIS! This is my problem with elves, see because humans! We have a routine, inbred, generational response to that sort of Jealousy, Awe, and Resentment! "Kill him, take his ****, **** his woman!"

A race does not climb that high on an evolutionary ladder by allowing another race to be superior to itself. If this were earth the elves would have been attacked so many times they wouldn't be able to master an skills outside of martial talents!

Even in our society we don't suffer people to act smug towards us! You see a man in a bar and he looks down on you? You break his tooth!

*Edit* Note, this is a factor in a great deal of the international issues, dating back to the crusades. *Edit

TheYoungKing
2009-06-19, 04:29 PM
I usually handwave away "half-breeds" as simply being people with a significant amount of non-Human heritage (or non-Elven, non-Orc, whatever). I liked the Muls of Dark Sun, myself.

In my setting, "Half-Elf" basically just means an Elf who lives in a city. Do many of them have human blood? Yes.

TheThan
2009-06-19, 04:39 PM
Say what you will about 4e, it got rid of some of the more ridiculous issues. Elves and dwarves now mature at the same rate as humans, even if they live two or three times as long. Elves are also a good bit less magical and more woodsy (the magical part of elves went to the eladrin).


Yeah, despite my dislike of Dragonborn and Teiflings becoming major player races (its not that they exist, its that now they are commonplace), I really like what 4E has done with the races. I think it was a step in the right direction. Heck I even like a lot of the races in the MM; no one really got the shaft like they did in 3E.

Piedmon_Sama
2009-06-19, 05:02 PM
Regarding "half-" races... well, [URL="http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5476213&postcount=26"]Don't humans mature considerably more slowly than a lot of other animals?

Uh, I fail to see the correlation between humans and elves and dogs.

It seems missing the point to me to take mythological creatures like Elves, Dwarves, Vanara or whatever and first of all classify them as a species like you would with squirrels and ducks and homo sapiens. They're not 'species' that need to make some kind of Aristotilian sense; they're spirits and magical beings. It's like turning Vampirism into a 'disease' that makes people crave blood and burn in sunlight somehow. It's just.... really forced.

Secondly giving these things detailed societies in the first place. We're never told how Alberich and his sons traded for what they needed, or what Baba Yaga does when her cottage breaks a leg. These things are meant to be strange, mysterious, threatening and aloof to human concerns. Turning them into your Vulcan buddy or sticking them in Japanese kimonos and making them get into trade wars really ruins that.

I'm not saying I won't do it any way but the one above. But I'd like to try it that way once, with a rather more mythological and rather less pulp approach to fantasy.

TheThan
2009-06-19, 05:43 PM
That would make a cool campaign world. Where the only playable races are humans. Everything else is mysterious, strange and down right alien to humans.

Worira
2009-06-19, 06:01 PM
I don't mind the stereotypes so much as when the 'fluff' completely fails to match the 'crunch.' Most supplements detail dwarven spirits as strong, but then go on to mention some elvish wine that renders non-elves unconscious, which is kinda ludicrous, considering the racial constitution. Elves should pass out in a stupor when a dwarf burps in their face.

Elven children should die young more than any other race. Elves who live in the wilderness should be more prone to dying of exposure or opportunistic infections or insect bites or whatever 10-20% more commonly than a human in that same environment would. A disease that a dwarven community would consider an annoying winter sniffle should leave an elvish community reeling, fearing extinction.

Since I don't feel like making the fluff match the crunch there, I swap out the Con penalty for a Str penalty, and have elves be no more feeble or sickly or unable to adapt to harsh climates or meager supplies than humans.

Unless the fluff of a race includes stuff about them dying all the time, possibly even serving as a vector for disease to healthier communities of their neighbors, I generally avoid Con penalties.

Unless the fluff of a race has them of weak personality, prone to being socially bullied by more forceful and confident sorts, socially awkward, unable to work together and / or maintain any semblance of government (like, say, Goblins), I avoid giving out Charisma penalties. (So the average dwarf is more likely to have a Dex penalty.)

This is a pet peeve of mine too. Once, I was reading a FR book, in which an elf was outright stated to be able to run for a longer time than a human, by virtue of elfiness. No. Elves tire faster than humans. They're slightly better sprinters, but worse distance runners.

Origomar
2009-06-19, 06:13 PM
Actually what people don't seem to figure out is that in all out war elves would lose to any race because of their inability to produce healthy mature beings fast enough. It takes 20ish years for a human to be fully mature it takes 100+ years for an elf to fully mature. Elves may be better fighters because of experience but numbers> experience

ondonaflash
2009-06-19, 06:25 PM
Actually what people don't seem to figure out is that in all out war elves would lose to any race because of their inability to produce healthy mature beings fast enough. It takes 20ish years for a human to be fully mature it takes 100+ years for an elf to fully mature. Elves may be better fighters because of experience but numbers> experience

Exactly! That'd learn the pointy eared bastards!

JonestheSpy
2009-06-19, 06:40 PM
Actually what people don't seem to figure out is that in all out war elves would lose to any race because of their inability to produce healthy mature beings fast enough. It takes 20ish years for a human to be fully mature it takes 100+ years for an elf to fully mature. Elves may be better fighters because of experience but numbers> experience

That's why in my campaign world the all elves that any non-elf will ikely encounter are pretty high level - the lowest foot soldier would be 6th or 7th level. There aren't many of them, but they take advantage of that long lifespan to learn what they're doing.

TheThan
2009-06-19, 06:45 PM
Yeah, elves would loose an outright war. But they would probably win a series of border skirmishes; weíre not talking major battles here, just the occasional orc raid or something. This is due to their ability to take time to learn how to say fight, or shoot a bow.

This brings up another question: why do elves always wield Samurai swords? I always though the katana was native to humans, specifically Japanese.

JonestheSpy
2009-06-19, 06:55 PM
This brings up another question: why do elves always wield Samurai swords? I always though the katana was native to humans, specifically Japanese.


Do they? According to whom?

Coidzor
2009-06-19, 07:00 PM
Yeah, elves would loose an outright war. But they would probably win a series of border skirmishes; weíre not talking major battles here, just the occasional orc raid or something. This is due to their ability to take time to learn how to say fight, or shoot a bow.

This brings up another question: why do elves always wield Samurai swords? I always though the katana was native to humans, specifically Japanese.

I dunno. I've seen 'em a lot with elongated, impossibly thin and narrow "longswords" which look like a rapier was stretched on a rack and put into a cross-hilt.

Altima
2009-06-19, 07:34 PM
The stereotype I hate most is, ironically, the human one.

In just about any fantasy world--and D&D in particular is awful about this--humans rule the world. It's pretty much fact in that world--there are more human nations with more human gods with more human armies. Being the 'ultimate' generalist, means that they, as a race, can do anything better than anyone. Because they're 'special'.

It's usually to the point where most of the national disputes are between human nations, whereas Elves and Dwarves are treated as dead or dying races who only inhabit (for now) the useless tracts of land that humans don't want.

Humans are to the point where they can do no wrong. Oh, evil Overlord Bob has risen and plunged the world into ruin? Well, it's okay, because humans step up to solve the problem with Sexually Deviant Knight Bill!

Just once, I'd like to see a fantasy setting--that involves other races--that sees humanity being curb-stomped up and down the planet.

ondonaflash
2009-06-19, 08:04 PM
Just once, I'd like to see a fantasy setting--that involves other races--that sees humanity being curb-stomped up and down the planet.

You're a traitor to your own kind!

Quietus
2009-06-19, 08:06 PM
You're a traitor to your own kind!

I say we all put our extra skill point into curbstompin', just for him. :smallfurious:

Altima
2009-06-19, 08:20 PM
"The greatest Imperium humanity had ever and shall ever build...

...toppled by a coalition of kobolds, gnomes, and halflings. Demons, they were!"

DSCrankshaw
2009-06-19, 08:28 PM
The stereotype I hate most is, ironically, the human one.

In just about any fantasy world--and D&D in particular is awful about this--humans rule the world. It's pretty much fact in that world--there are more human nations with more human gods with more human armies. Being the 'ultimate' generalist, means that they, as a race, can do anything better than anyone. Because they're 'special'.

It's usually to the point where most of the national disputes are between human nations, whereas Elves and Dwarves are treated as dead or dying races who only inhabit (for now) the useless tracts of land that humans don't want.

Humans are to the point where they can do no wrong. Oh, evil Overlord Bob has risen and plunged the world into ruin? Well, it's okay, because humans step up to solve the problem with Sexually Deviant Knight Bill!

Just once, I'd like to see a fantasy setting--that involves other races--that sees humanity being curb-stomped up and down the planet.

Doesn't 4e's default setting sort of do this? In the Points of Light setting, no race is dominant--they've all been beaten down. Humans had the last empire, but that was destroyed 100 years ago (by gnolls, I think). Before that, there were the Dragonborn and Tiefling empires. Now, all the races have just whatever holdouts remain--towns, villages, the occasional tiny kingdom.

It's sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy.

TSED
2009-06-19, 08:48 PM
The stereotype I hate most is, ironically, the human one.

In just about any fantasy world--and D&D in particular is awful about this--humans rule the world. It's pretty much fact in that world--there are more human nations with more human gods with more human armies. Being the 'ultimate' generalist, means that they, as a race, can do anything better than anyone. Because they're 'special'.

It's usually to the point where most of the national disputes are between human nations, whereas Elves and Dwarves are treated as dead or dying races who only inhabit (for now) the useless tracts of land that humans don't want.

Humans are to the point where they can do no wrong. Oh, evil Overlord Bob has risen and plunged the world into ruin? Well, it's okay, because humans step up to solve the problem with Sexually Deviant Knight Bill!

Just once, I'd like to see a fantasy setting--that involves other races--that sees humanity being curb-stomped up and down the planet.


Me too.


I was going to talk about how to fix this, but the whole "in MY homebrew..." thing has become so cliched in this thread that I'm now rolling my eyes.


Instead, I have a suggestion: these 'human-centric' areas are just a cause of geographical bias. Go to a different 'area' (be it section of the continent or another continent entirely or whatever) and voila, suddenly everything's a dwarven Mountainhome! Oh sure there's a few little random settlements of this or that but mostly, dwarves!

And over there? Goblinoids!

Here? Why, it's the Shire, of course.


So on and so forth.

Altima
2009-06-19, 09:08 PM
Doesn't 4e's default setting sort of do this? In the Points of Light setting, no race is dominant--they've all been beaten down. Humans had the last empire, but that was destroyed 100 years ago (by gnolls, I think). Before that, there were the Dragonborn and Tiefling empires. Now, all the races have just whatever holdouts remain--towns, villages, the occasional tiny kingdom.

It's sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy.

Well, to be honest, my favorite settings were Forgotten Realms and Planescape. Planescape didn't make the transition to 3rd edition (though I still happily played it), and Forgotten Realms also no longer exists.

And this isn't in D&D--it's in most fantasy fiction that humans are the dominant race, if there are other races. It's usually so bad that humans can fight other human factions and STILL be superior in every way to the most powerful (and singular) non-human nation.

Then I started creating my own worlds, with my own lore. Which I prefer, as it allows me to craft campaigns to allow my players to become attached and generally fond of places and people. Then I destroy said places and people, and feed off the collective suffering that it causes.

I've also given humans the dubious honor of being the only race that can breed with other races (hence all the halfsies that are, of course, always part human). It creates some very interesting tension. And unfortunate implications.

Draco Ignifer
2009-06-19, 09:12 PM
I always liked Terry Pratchett's take on why dwarves have the stereotypes of being violent drunks but also industrious miners. The industrious miner is what they usually are - they constantly work down in the dark, in a rigidly structured society, with no real leisure. The ones who leave the mines, on the other hand, are now in an environment where it's not only possible, but at times acceptable, to let up all of the stress that has been building up down there. Hence, drunken brawling. Not to mention the dwarves that people actually see are probably the ones who didn't fit in so well...

Anyway, the stereotype that I've always hated? (Insert ANY RACE HERE) are incredibly long-lived, far beyond the scope of human beings. Despite this, they accomplish absolutely nothing during their extensive lives, except perhaps crafting some fancy art or trinkets or something. A 350 year lifespan would stretch from the late Renaissance until now, and an individual with such a lifespan, even assuming slow maturity periods as well, would have been able to live as an adult through the beginning of the United States until the modern era. You have entire species of individuals like this... and yet, they're no more advanced, often less advanced, than the humans around them.

Of course it's always justified in some way or another. The humans live short lives so they make the most of them, the ancient races are rooted in tradition, they lack the spark that makes them able to do this. Whatever the reason is, it's always there, it's always arbitrary, and I'd like to see a world without it.

Olo Demonsbane
2009-06-19, 09:34 PM
Instead, I have a suggestion: these 'human-centric' areas are just a cause of geographical bias. Go to a different 'area' (be it section of the continent or another continent entirely or whatever) and voila, suddenly everything's a dwarven Mountainhome! Oh sure there's a few little random settlements of this or that but mostly, dwarves!

And over there? Goblinoids!

Here? Why, it's the Shire, of course.


So on and so forth.

Im designing a campaign world with different islands ruled by different races, or even a combination of races.

The Humans have a large island and are trying to conquer the others. Think "Roman Empire".

The Dwarves have an incredibably weak civilization, and are forced to live in the Human territory, though they have their own city.

The Elves are a warrior race. They have many different fighting styles, but most of them correspond with Wood-elves. They share an island with the Gnomes.

The Gnomes are heavily allied with the elves, and have -2 Str, +2 Int. They have lots of magical power. Think "Greeks".

The Halflings, along with some Humans and Elves, live on a seperate island, where they have a strong druidic tradition.

The Hobgoblins also have a large empire on the so called "Monster Island". They are almost as powerfull as the Humans, and are currently fighting them in a defensive battle.

TheThan
2009-06-19, 10:19 PM
Ok this is something I have to get off my chest, mostly because Iím so dang tired of it. (doesnít help the local news mentioned it).

Vampires are misunderstood tragic heroes who are in search of someone to love them.

Blagh. Iím so sick and tired of this that it makes me sick just typing it.

Vampires are not like this; they are not people they are monsters. They literally are nocturnal bloodthirsty killers that seek out the opposite sex, and then brutally kill them. They are down right frightening and there is nothing to misunderstand. They look upon us like we look upon cattle, nothing more than a food supply.
why do people find them so dang attractive? simple Interview with a vampire had Tom Cruise (before he went nuts), Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas. that's it.

Faleldir
2009-06-19, 10:41 PM
Another thing about vampires that some fantasy writers seem to forget: a species that reproduces through assimilation should have a fundamentally alien sex drive, if it can even be called that. They might be able to feel love, but I can't imagine them falling in love the same way humans do.

horus42
2009-06-19, 10:45 PM
Hmmm. Germanic dwarves would probably be more appropriate if you wanted fairly traditional dwarves: industrious, beer-loving, occasionally temperamental, etc.

Elves would probably be more akin to the Greeks, Italians, and maybe the French.

That was what I thought at first too. I ended up going with having Dwarves being Russians and other Eastern Europeans. And the whole Germanic Elves thing was meant to be a subversion of the usual stereotype. Although Elves and Dwarves both came from Germanic Paganism, I thought it would be better to have the Elves=Vikings, partially because they look more like the stereotypical Nordic race.

Gnorman
2009-06-20, 01:13 AM
That was what I thought at first too. I ended up going with having Dwarves being Russians and other Eastern Europeans. And the whole Germanic Elves thing was meant to be a subversion of the usual stereotype. Although Elves and Dwarves both came from Germanic Paganism, I thought it would be better to have the Elves=Vikings, partially because they look more like the stereotypical Nordic race.

Whaaaa?

Come on. Dwarves? With their blondish red hair and beards and horned helmets?

I mean, okay, elves are taller than dwarves, but they certainly ain't tall. And they're rarely blond or red-headed.

Dwarves are Vikings. Just short Vikings.

Arachu
2009-06-20, 01:19 AM
What stereotype is on halflings, anyway? I mean, aside from the 'always happy' and 'sneaky' attributes...

Lawless III
2009-06-20, 01:55 AM
In my current campaign, Gnomes are basically nouveau riche aristocrats. They became very rich through new settlements and trade routes, and it really pisses off a lot of the older races (i.e. Human, Dwarves, and Elves.)

I love gnomes and always feel like the get the short end of the stick (no pun inteneded.)

Shademan
2009-06-20, 04:40 AM
Whaaaa?

Come on. Dwarves? With their blondish red hair and beards and horned helmets?

I mean, okay, elves are taller than dwarves, but they certainly ain't tall. And they're rarely blond or red-headed.

Dwarves are Vikings. Just short Vikings.

you said "horned helmet". you fail!
:smallamused:
and vikings were not all blond and red-heads. they had all colour aspects (normal human colours, mind) in their hair 'cus they mixed with so many cultures. italian, middle-eastern, russian, French, english, welsh, scottish, irish, german, american. the vikings went everywhere and took all the pretty women back to scandinavia.

Severedevil
2009-06-20, 07:29 AM
Another thing about vampires that some fantasy writers seem to forget: a species that reproduces through assimilation should have a fundamentally alien sex drive, if it can even be called that. They might be able to feel love, but I can't imagine them falling in love the same way humans do.

It's reasonable, given the right model of Vampirism (a magical plague, rather than ancient-evil fang-guys). Assimilation is expensive (the vampire has to repeatedly infuse the victim with his own blood, over a period of several days) and risky. The vampire has to be very picky with his partners, and needs to feel an irrational compulsion to spread Vampirism or he won't bother at all.

So... hijack the human sex drive, as a vampire is just an adjusted human, and link it to the return of blood to a victim. Now we have seduction-vampires, which need either sex appeal or hypnotic powers. Fangirls rejoice.

Lycanthropy >> Vampirism anyway.

Arachu
2009-06-20, 07:56 AM
I'm thinking of making a Limbo-Touched template so I can have mutant, magic-hurling goblins claw into the Material Plane via planar 'wounds' that gush raw elemental power until they are either sealed or they exhaust their supply into their surroundings. So, air portals tear everything apart, water portals flood everything.

So, yeah, low-level encounter :smallamused:

DamnedIrishman
2009-06-20, 10:35 AM
Necromancers aren't all evil

I like running necromancers as either solitary scientists, or for more fun, as crazy industrialites.

The epic-level necromancer running a prosperous mining business through dependence on skeletal labour was my favourite.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 11:31 AM
All my explanations of the various types of whatever...

Humans:

Humans have "genetic dominance", so to say. They can breed with anything. A human/halfling will be a human unless physically impossible (in which case it would likely abort before things got messy). Same with a human/gnome, human/dwarf, etc. Human/Elf and Human/Orc are the only ones where the non-human side has managed to keep its individuality - and even then, a human/halfelf or human/halforc will be human (and a halfelf/elf or halforc/orc will produce a half-race) They also breed like kobolds and have a nasty habit of cultural assimilation.

Elves:

Elves, despite their racial Constitution penalty, tend to be tough. Anything else dies from disease and wilderness hazards. They're also known for mental fortitude - although elven brain chemistry wards off the effects of age and boredom, it doesn't eliminate them. Consequently, Elves tend to be cleric and paladin types (and, of course, druids) rather than sneaky folk, even though that's where their racial bonuses go. They don't really have much of a centralized culture, although they have a worldwide meeting every decade or so to discuss pertinent issues.

Dwarves:

Dwarves are a seafaring folk, hailing from extremely rocky and metallic islands. What they can do with and grow from stone and metal is supernatural. They care little for the relatively alien "normal" landscapes, and are content to stay on their island fortresses and warships. To cope with their lifespans, they tend to waste a lot of time with drinking and all that. They technically have a republic, but it works out to a fractured set of competing monarchies in practice.

Orcs:

Orcs have no racial identity, except for tribal bonds. They've been manipulated by fiends the whole history of their race. Now that they're "free", they each come to terms with their outcast and mentally inept existence in their own ways. A big philosopher race, although they spend too much time fighting off enemies to really make great advances in the field.
Halflings:

Halflings are obsessive genealogists, and have the heirs to the nobility of their single, monolithic kingdom tracked down in great detail. Anybody with a decent income probably knows their place in line to any inheritances they may have. They tend to place heavy emphasis on fate and fatalism, keeping these obsessive records due to ancient prophecy; but only in private. When around other races (most of the time), they act like the laid-back scoundrels we know, with only slight cracks in this veneer to reveal the highly regimented mind underneath. They like being wizards, though in the absence of magic skill they tend to delve into mundane skill (rogues).

Gnomes:

Gnomes have suffered genocide recently, at the hands of the orcs. They were very cheerful before, living in what was practically a utopian kingdom. They're still the happiest race on earth, but their happiness has begun to decrease. Exponentially. They tend to serve as advisors and consultants, subtly manipulating events to harm the orcs.

Half-Races and other Mongrels:

Half-elves, half-orcs, and a few planetouched have gotten together and carved a little nation out of the orcish and ex-gnomish lands. They defend this little socially progressive democracy with great vigor and unity. They also happen to be almost all jerks. Even the Aasimar are neutral, pushing downward.

Drow:

Drow are emerging from the Underdark. They overstepped their bounds and tried to kill the illithids. In response, the elder brain cabals got together and killed Lolth. Some primal earth elementals working on their own agenda began to quickly fill in the underdark, and the drow fled upwards in confusion. They now inhabit a decently large jungle-type island, under the constant but unseen surveillance of the seafaring dwarves, and are trying to make some sense of their alignment and culture now that Lolth's magical evil influence is gone. The fact that they can kill anything that gets in their way means that they can conduct philosophy far more efficiently than the orcs.


Kobolds, Goblins, et cetera never got together enough to form any sort of sophisticated society. This is because most people hate them irrationally. "Monsters" are too rare to form complex cultures.

Why are humans superior? The only races that have a motive to supplant them are the orcs, the gnomes, the mongrels, and the drow. The orcs and drow have made enemies of the world, so they'll have no luck. The gnomes just got owned by the orcs. The mongrels are trying, but most of them are primarily human so it comes back to humanity in the end.

scsimodem
2009-06-20, 11:33 AM
Eh, looking at all the 'stereotypes' sprouting out of favorite characters (rebellious, double-sworded CG drow or angsty vampires looking for love) makes me feel the need to stick in 2 more cents worth.

Bucking trends is fun. There's a reason that a chaotic good drow who cuts things became one of the most popular characters in modern fantasy, but you know what, you're not bucking anything anymore.

However, what bothers me most is (and this is probably a function of both my age and appreciation of the process of creating fiction) how unnaturally some characters (or settings, or whatever) seem to flow. The backstory and character must be linked. If it doesn't flow naturally, then your character is little better than a pile of stats. Now he's a pile of stats with an arbitrary backstory. Take the drow I played once. He fled his homeland and turned his back on the ways of his people. This much is obvious if he's a PC. So why? Well, I figured he saw how self-destructive it was to design an entire society around assassination and that Llolth was all that was holding it together. So, what would he assume was the better way to do things? Well, you give people positions based on how well they can do the job, not how well they can avoid being assassinated. You keep strict order so that those whose skills aren't necessarily assassination focused can specialize in their craft. This leads him to a lawful alignment. It didn't really flow that he would start off good, though he flowed that way during the campaign with exposure to good characters. Now, who would take such an analytical approach? Well, a guy with a high int...who probably isn't that great at assassination. Wizard it is. So that's how I got Alkor, the LN drow wizard.

As far as modern vampires, I'm getting sick of it. Original vampire lore was the misinterpretation of stages of human decay. Vampires were thought to be bloated, ugly creatures that stank of death and were given power by Satan himself to continue living so long as they fed on human blood. First, we took away the ugly, making vampires capable of hiding in normal society. Ok, I can deal with that. But eventually, the curse was gone. When it flows naturally (Truebloods allows vampires to go public with the revelation that they no longer have to feed on humans), I'm a little bothered, but I tend to allow leeway. However, when you invoke the "Our Vampires Are Different" trope just to make vampires your sex fantasies (I'm looking at you, Stephanie Meyer), you've just taken it too far. The very nature of the word vampire is supposed to invoke feelings of hopelessness and accursedness.

DamnedIrishman
2009-06-20, 11:50 AM
The very nature of the word vampire is supposed to invoke feelings of hopelessness and accursedness.

Otherwise, why isn't everyone a vampire. Seriously, people should be bugging vampires to get bitten.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 11:55 AM
Half the day you're useless. You can't cross a damned river or go on any sort of water. You can't cross into "buildings". Immortality will drive you insane.

LurkerInPlayground
2009-06-20, 12:06 PM
Just once, I'd like to see a fantasy setting--that involves other races--that sees humanity being curb-stomped up and down the planet.
This actually happens in soft sci-fi a lot.

This just has a tendency of turning humans into the plucky underdogs facing-off against impossible odds.

TheThan
2009-06-20, 12:12 PM
Half the day you're useless. You can't cross a damned river or go on any sort of water. You can't cross into "buildings". Immortality will drive you insane.


I thought that was just people's homes...

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 12:15 PM
They are utterly unable to enter a home or other building unless invited in by someone with the authority to do so


That's pretty much anything with a roof and walls. Cast Wall of Stone to make something and you have vampire protection indefinitely.

Drakyn
2009-06-20, 12:20 PM
This actually happens in soft sci-fi a lot.

This just has a tendency of turning humans into the plucky underdogs facing-off against impossible odds.
Oh god, that's the only thing WORSE than omnipresent, casually-dominant humanity: the humans that exist only to prove that "more advanced" aliens (which, naturally, often got most of their tech the lazy way by ripping off artifacts from extinct, advanced species) are fundamentally inferior in many respects - stodgy, incapable of innovation, rigid-thinking, forced to rely on numbers and inefficiently applied tech. Footfall did it. Worldwar did it. Halo did it. Hell, Halo went one better and constantly implied that the "extinct advanced species" was humanity's ancestor, too.
I don't want to see a setting where humans are a crushed minority, because that's just another way of focusing on them. I want to see a story where humans are just one of many and utterly without noteworthiness.
I think the best for this was Hunter's Run - basically, humans got to the stars....and found out everyone else had gotten there before them. And that the galaxy was now a very big, very boring place with bureaucrats and everything, and that no one really gave a damn about them and would only allow them space travel by signing onto someone else's ships.

Altima
2009-06-20, 12:21 PM
This actually happens in soft sci-fi a lot.

This just has a tendency of turning humans into the plucky underdogs facing-off against impossible odds.

But many times, it sticks true in that humans are top or near-top dogs. And it usually happens REALLY quickly.

Though, on the other hand, I must admit that, in sci-fi settings, mind you, I find the concept that humans being the biggest, meanest SOBs in the galaxy appealing. Kinda makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and proud.

In one series of books, modern day humans are recruited to fight in a hyper-advance alien war. The 'good' guys are an alliance of iffy-ish aliens. Diplomats, and the like. The 'bad' guys are physically weak, but are capable of enslaving other races to do their ground fighting, except for humans mostly. So the hyper advance 'good' guys give humanity advance technology (and weapons), and humanity proceeds to lay the smack down on the bad guys so hard that they surrender. Of course, they only surrender because they know that humanity is so war-like that we'll eventually turn on the 'good' guys--with the same advance weapons they gave us to fight for 'em!

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 12:24 PM
I want to see a story where humans are just one of many and utterly without noteworthiness.

And then what? You have a day of cheer because of the sheer novelty and then grow bored of the gimmick? The status quo is the way it is for a reason, you know. Tropes and cliches are simply isolated and exaggerated parts of good writing.

Drakyn
2009-06-20, 12:30 PM
And then what? You have a day of cheer because of the sheer novelty and then grow bored of the gimmick? The status quo is the way it is for a reason, you know. Tropes and cliches are simply isolated and exaggerated parts of good writing.

Yes. Yes I want a day of cheer because of sheer novelty. I said "A story," not "Every story." That would be silly :smalltongue: Just as silly as humans always being the center of the universe in some manner. I just see so much of the latter and so little of the former that I would greatly enjoy some complete turnaround.

LurkerInPlayground
2009-06-20, 12:32 PM
That's pretty much anything with a roof and walls. Cast Wall of Stone to make something and you have vampire protection indefinitely.
Meh, part of the point of vampires is that while they're incredibly powerful, they get that power from having a number of substantial trade-offs that pretty much makes their "life" crappy. Otherwise you're just Cursed With Awesome.

Dusk to dawn may last ~8 hours. So you're inactive for two-thirds of a day. You can't cross running water. Sunlight instantaneously kills you. Your prey is automatically protected by that invitation rule and most are going to be home asleep for most of the period that you're active.

4E vampire lords are odd, since the worst problem they might have is worrying about their food supply. They don't die because of sunlight, they merely lose their impressive regenerative abilities. And they have none of the other meaningful curses that are supposed to hold vampires back.

Artanis
2009-06-20, 12:56 PM
Oh god, that's the only thing WORSE than omnipresent, casually-dominant humanity: the humans that exist only to prove that "more advanced" aliens (which, naturally, often got most of their tech the lazy way by ripping off artifacts from extinct, advanced species) are fundamentally inferior in many respects - stodgy, incapable of innovation, rigid-thinking, forced to rely on numbers and inefficiently applied tech. Footfall did it. Worldwar did it. Halo did it. Hell, Halo went one better and constantly implied that the "extinct advanced species" was humanity's ancestor, too.
I don't want to see a setting where humans are a crushed minority, because that's just another way of focusing on them. I want to see a story where humans are just one of many and utterly without noteworthiness.
I think the best for this was Hunter's Run - basically, humans got to the stars....and found out everyone else had gotten there before them. And that the galaxy was now a very big, very boring place with bureaucrats and everything, and that no one really gave a damn about them and would only allow them space travel by signing onto someone else's ships.
Star Control was pretty good about that. Humanity had some unique advantages, of course, but they weren't terribly noteworthy because pretty much everybody had their own advantages as well. Hell, humans were the ones relying on recovered technology and sheer numbers.

GrassyGnoll
2009-06-20, 12:58 PM
Actually its Jose Francisco Rodriguez, seriously.

I'd laugh if that wasn't exactly my great uncle's name.

There is a degree of truth to this. Rodriguez is the "Smith" (technically Roderick, but y'know) of the Hispanic world. Coming from Mexico Mark Deux California, I know more people with the last name Rodriguez than anything else. That and the fact that it's my grandmother's very extended family's surname means that every other Latino I run into has the last name Rodriguez. Hernandez and Cortes are also pretty popular.

The thing is, those names are European Spanish. Names like Xavier (Arabic) and Cuauhtemoc (Indigenous) are more distinctive, but don't endear themselves to NPCs.


Sahaguin are the creepiest things in existence.

I very much enjoy this stereotype. Summed up pretty nicely, here (http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=9501736&postcount=66)


The first thing to understand about the Sahuagin is that they have already won. Completely. The surface of the world is about ĺ ocean and they own almost all of it. From the standpoint of the Sahuagin, the only places on the planet that have non-Sahuagin races in them are the stale crusts that they already had the presence of mind to cut off their sandwich. All of the non-Sahuagin races are all ghettoized. Even the other aquatic races have been marginalized to the point where they only get the brackish water (Locathah), the rocky shallows (merfolk), the underground darks (Kuo-Toans), or the muddy salt marshes (Lizardfolk). The real real estate Ė the ocean and coastline Ė are pretty much the private playground of the Sahuagin.

Individually, Sahuagin will kick your ass, and collectively they will kick the ass of any nation you happen to support. The combined populations of all other sapient races on any planet are less than the population of Sahuagin on that planet. The Sahuagin are also much smarter and better organized than you are so their cities are actually more productive than yours per person in addition to the fact that they have more cities than all the other races and their cities are more populous.

The Sahuagin mutate constantly, but are not inclined to Chaos. They just all have different appearances and capabilities. But every one of them is gifted with super intelligence and thick natural armor. The Sahuagin deep seers are some of the most gifted wizards on the planet and honestly have nothing better to do than just scry on crap and tell the armies where there's some cool stuff to go loot. From time to time the Sahuagin will come onto land to beat the living crap out of people and take control of important or valuable items. Then they take the spoils of war and drag it back under water, laughing the whole time.

Against this backdrop of crushing inferiority, how do the other races maintain? Most of them are fighting for stakes so small that they haven't even noticed that the vast majority of the planet is owned and operated by brutally efficient fish men. But one race that certainly has noticed the power discrepancy is the race of elves most likely to be forgotten: the Sea Elves. They actually live in many of the same areas and have a war going with them.

Life is hard for a Sea Elf, because every one of them is born into a post-apocalyptic world where mutants run amok and hunt them for sport. But it's actually even worse than that because in addition to simply being physically and intellectually inferior to the Sahuagin like everyone else is Ė they are actually stupid and useless even contrasted with the surface races. An average Sea Elf is as much the intellectual inferior to a Sahuagin as a Griffin is to a normal human. The Sahuagin consider the Sea Elves to be little more than animals, and they aren't wrong.

The Sea Elves keep surviving at all because they see farther than Sahuagin in low-light conditions (and are thus often able to swim away from potential encounters with Sahuagin during the morning and twilight hours that Sea Elves leave their hidden nests), and also because every so often a Sahuagin gets born who looks exactly like a Sea Elf. These Sahuagin mutants, called Malenti, are a little bit worse than a normal Sahuagin in that they lack the rending claws. But they're still stronger and smarter than any Sea Elf that ever swam the 7 seas. So when these Malenti realize that they get a crap deal from Sahuagin society, they often as not run off to join the Sea Elves, where they almost immediately rise to positions of leadership. They also gain crap loads of experience very quickly because the odds are so stacked against them. In short, the reason that the Sea Elves still exist is that they actually are a splinter faction of Sahuagin that uses real sea elves as beasts of burden instead of simply hunting them like the more normal Sahuagin groups do.

And yet, despite the fact that the Sahuagin have won at everything, they still continue to fight the other races and take their children and stuff. Partly this is to feed the insatiable demands of their Baatezu masters, and partly this is because on some deep level the Sahuagin are convinced that it actually couldn't possibly be that easy. In addition to looking for bling and candy to take from the weaker races, the Deep Seers are also combing the world for the one thing that the Great Mothers are pretty sure exists somewhere: the hidden army that the other races are putting together to take the world back from the clutches of the Sahugin Empire. As far as anyone knows, it doesn't exist, but for some reason the Great Mothers keep insisting that the searching continue. Maybe they know something we don't?

TheThan
2009-06-20, 02:10 PM
I'd laugh if that wasn't exactly my great uncle's name.

There is a degree of truth to this. Rodriguez is the "Smith" (technically Roderick, but y'know) of the Hispanic world. Coming from Mexico Mark Deux California, I know more people with the last name Rodriguez than anything else. That and the fact that it's my grandmother's very extended family's surname means that every other Latino I run into has the last name Rodriguez. Hernandez and Cortes are also pretty popular.

The thing is, those names are European Spanish. Names like Xavier (Arabic) and Cuauhtemoc (Indigenous) are more distinctive, but don't endear themselves to NPCs.


Ok this really cracked me up.

Mostly because itís as true as you say. Most of the Mexicans Iíve come across (quite a few considering where I live), have either Rodriguez or Hernandez for last names (I donít think Iíve ever come across a Cortes). Of course if I lived somewhere else Iíd come across a different set of names that reflect that area.

Quietus
2009-06-20, 02:58 PM
Ok this really cracked me up.

Mostly because itís as true as you say. Most of the Mexicans Iíve come across (quite a few considering where I live), have either Rodriguez or Hernandez for last names (I donít think Iíve ever come across a Cortes). Of course if I lived somewhere else Iíd come across a different set of names that reflect that area.

There's an abundance of mexicans in the GI Joe headquarters? :smalleek:

Piedmon_Sama
2009-06-20, 03:06 PM
There's an abundance of mexicans in the GI Joe headquarters? :smalleek:


There's just one (http://www.actionfiguren-shop.com/out/oxbaseshop/html/0/dyn_images/1/vasquez0_p1.jpg), but she's more than enough for all of them! :p

TheThan
2009-06-20, 03:31 PM
There's an abundance of mexicans in the GI Joe headquarters? :smalleek:

Yeah their all vying for citizenship. :smallbiggrin:

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-06-20, 05:23 PM
Elf-Dwarf: ...No. Just... no.

...Yes. Just... yes. I've always wanted to play one of these!

Fortinbras
2009-06-20, 10:19 PM
...Yes. Just... yes. I've always wanted to play one of these!

I have to but I never got around to coming up with a backstory and stats and stuff.

Severedevil
2009-06-20, 10:38 PM
Oh god, that's the only thing WORSE than omnipresent, casually-dominant humanity: the humans that exist only to prove that "more advanced" aliens (which, naturally, often got most of their tech the lazy way by ripping off artifacts from extinct, advanced species) are fundamentally inferior in many respects - stodgy, incapable of innovation, rigid-thinking, forced to rely on numbers and inefficiently applied tech. Footfall did it. Worldwar did it. Halo did it. Hell, Halo went one better and constantly implied that the "extinct advanced species" was humanity's ancestor, too.
I don't want to see a setting where humans are a crushed minority, because that's just another way of focusing on them. I want to see a story where humans are just one of many and utterly without noteworthiness.
I think the best for this was Hunter's Run - basically, humans got to the stars....and found out everyone else had gotten there before them. And that the galaxy was now a very big, very boring place with bureaucrats and everything, and that no one really gave a damn about them and would only allow them space travel by signing onto someone else's ships.

The trouble isn't so much whether humans are dominant, or scrappy underdogs, or whatnot. The problem is that almost every character in a science fiction or fantasy setting is a human, whether or not humans are actually common or important.

Writers are lazy. It's much easier to copy and paste a pre-existing sentient life form than to construct a mind slightly different from your own. (And most readers are even lazier, so spamming humans usually sells better anyway.)

WarBrute
2009-06-20, 11:37 PM
It's funny, I hate the whole modern romantic vampire thing yet one of m favorite series is Already dead by Charlie Huston(Which happens to be about vampires in modern day New york). Maybe its because written in a very non romantic fashion or that the majority vampires see humans as cattle.

Anyway as for orcs I use to hate them being evil barbarians and enjoyed them be honorable warriors, but its just getting kinda annoying now.

I guess my likes and dislikes for stereotypes go in cycles. That's why I generally like the individuals in a race to have diverse personalities opposed to all being carbon copies

Worira
2009-06-21, 12:09 AM
One book featuring vampires which I read recently raised an interesting point: as a vampire, you'll never see another sunrise. Plenty of vampire fiction addresses what a major weakness sunlight is, but I'd never really thought about just how much it would suck to never go for a walk in a park on a sunny day again.

TheThan
2009-06-21, 01:38 PM
One book featuring vampires which I read recently raised an interesting point: as a vampire, you'll never see another sunrise. Plenty of vampire fiction addresses what a major weakness sunlight is, but I'd never really thought about just how much it would suck to never go for a walk in a park on a sunny day again.

Its not just this, most people sleep at night. So actually finding food is kind of hard (especially if you go with the whole ďneeding permission to enterĒ rule). But now with the use of the internet it should be a lot easier for vampires to attract night owls to feed on. Or better yet, those people who think themselves as vampires when in fact they are just normal people. Oh the irony of a real vampire feeding on these people, I can picture it now, the vampire would be like ď you imposters!Ē then he kills them.

WarBrute
2009-06-21, 04:38 PM
Or better yet, those people who think themselves as vampires when in fact they are just normal people. Oh the irony of a real vampire feeding on these people, I can picture it now, the vampire would be like ď you imposters!Ē then he kills them.

That would be the best moment ever in vampire literature. :smallbiggrin:

imp_fireball
2009-06-22, 01:48 AM
I've never heard of a Half-Human with a Human name. Why can't a Half-Orc be named Steve instead of Grukhnaksh?

It even says in the PHB that half-orcs have been known to take human names to be more accepted in society. :smalltongue:


Anyway as for orcs I use to hate them being evil barbarians and enjoyed them be honorable warriors, but its just getting kinda annoying now.

I'd go for them being closer to humans. Maybe use LOTR archetypes but less focus on the 'always serving BBEG' thing. They're less sophisticated, non-volatile in thought and typically string hard consonants in phonetic use as opposed to the soft verbs of races like humans and whatever the heck elves happen to do in a setting. Dwarves are sorta in-between.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I always liked Terry Pratchett's take on why dwarves have the stereotypes of being violent drunks but also industrious miners. The industrious miner is what they usually are - they constantly work down in the dark, in a rigidly structured society, with no real leisure. The ones who leave the mines, on the other hand, are now in an environment where it's not only possible, but at times acceptable, to let up all of the stress that has been building up down there. Hence, drunken brawling. Not to mention the dwarves that people actually see are probably the ones who didn't fit in so well...

So they're basically just blue-collar humans? Only the 'white-collars' are the ones you don't see because they're too lazy to go adventuring.

Set
2009-06-22, 08:22 AM
On uber-humans, it started with Greyhawk, which had a dozen human-dominant kingdoms, and 'some elves in the woods' and 'some dwarves live in this country.' The Realms wasn't any better, with humans dominating the vast majority of the map, and the biggest elven presence on the map was 'they used to live in this forest' and the biggest dwarven presence on the map 'they used to own this mountain, before orcs took it over.' Even after the Realms grew to include Evermeet (conveniently out of the way and off the main map) and the Great Rift (way down south, past four more human dominated kingdoms, and developed about the same time as the frakking *Thri-Kreen* got the plainslands!) and Llurien (added at the same time as a kingdom run by half-drow and another country run by monsters!), the humans still ran the show.

Tellene went a step forward in presenting a couple of Hobgoblin-dominated countries, Eberron has a single elven dominated land and a single dwarven dominated land, but then had them play second fiddle to five large and dominant human kingdoms, the Scarred Lands had a large Dwarven kingdom (devoted to an evil god, no less, although it wasn't on their primary continent) and a decent chunk of the map not dominated by humans, etc. but the game maps have still been dominated by six to eight different types of humans, and then 'some elves in the woods here' and 'some dwarves in these mountains,' for the most part, with Gnomes and Halflings generally getting the shortest end of the stick, shoehorned into race ghettos in human-dominated countries and cities.

It's generally assumed that an alien protagonist will drive away a reader, which is why so many sci-fi / fantasy stories have a human as the main character, for the hapless reader to 'identify with,' since it's just assumed that none of us (or at least, so few of us as to not be marketable!) have the capacity to step outside of ourselves and see things from another viewpoint.

That assumption bugs me, having grown up in a world where aliens like Spock, and nonhuman intelligences like Data or Spike or Kosh have turned out to be among the most popular characters in genre fiction. It's a little sad to see that the writers of the genre haven't been able to keep up with the readers, in so many cases. We're long past ready to identify with the 'other,' as the success of 'friendly-monster' stories like Twilight or E.T. or Where The Wild Things Are or 'root for the monster' movies like Saw or Silence of the Lambs suggest (no matter how much I dislike some of those examples, it's just solid financial proof that today's generation is long past being able to identify with, and sympathize with, an alien, or even monstrous, protagonist).

David Brin kind of turned that on it's head, as so many sci-fi or fantasy tropes have humans 'not being better at any one thing, but being more versatile than anyone else.' He promptly introduced a race called the Tymbrimi, who were allied with humans (and thus present in the novels more than some others) and were not just more adaptable than humans, but were capable of physically adapting in a matter of minutes to various situations, altering their leg-bones to run farther, their hands to climb quicker, their skin to swim more efficiently, etc. He took the one thing that so many other sci-fi and fantasy authors made humanities 'thing,' and promptly created an alien race that did that better, too! (Of course, humans were still 'special' in his setting, if not 'better,' and the protagonists were still humans, so even his books towed that line.)


I'm thinking of making a Limbo-Touched template so I can have mutant, magic-hurling goblins claw into the Material Plane via planar 'wounds' that gush raw elemental power until they are either sealed or they exhaust their supply into their surroundings. So, air portals tear everything apart, water portals flood everything.

That's kind of a hot idea.

In lieu of, or perhaps, in addition to, such a template, perhaps the 'average' Goblin of this sort has 1 level in Warlock, rather than 1 level in Warrior. They might even have variant Blast Invocations that allow them to hurl elemental energy with their Eldritch Blasts (air blasts that do EB damage and trip a foe, water blasts that do EB damage and bull rush a foe, earth blasts that do EB damage and entangle a foe, fire blasts that do EB damage and then continuing Burn damage the next round, etc.).

I like!

Arachu
2009-06-22, 10:00 AM
In lieu of, or perhaps, in addition to, such a template, perhaps the 'average' Goblin of this sort has 1 level in Warlock, rather than 1 level in Warrior. They might even have variant Blast Invocations that allow them to hurl elemental energy with their Eldritch Blasts (air blasts that do EB damage and trip a foe, water blasts that do EB damage and bull rush a foe, earth blasts that do EB damage and entangle a foe, fire blasts that do EB damage and then continuing Burn damage the next round, etc.).

I agree! In fact, they could have the whole "power is dominance" concept with magic instead of muscle. Their commanders could summon and bind elementals, as well...

I wonder what hobgoblins in the Plane of Air would do...?

PairO'Dice Lost
2009-06-22, 10:35 AM
I wonder what hobgoblins in the Plane of Air would do...?

Either turn it into a goblinoid military dictatorship within months or get curb-stomped by djinn and elemental monoliths, I think.

Arachu
2009-06-22, 10:41 AM
Granted...


I'm thinking about making a clan of Dwarven Sorcerers in my medieval campaign. I oughta make their leader an unusually large Gnome :smallamused:

Cyclocone
2009-06-22, 10:45 AM
I hate the idea of dwarven women too, dwarves spring from rocks damn it!
The bearded women thing is just lazyness on part of unimaginative writers, who can't see beyond stereotypical human biology.

Why must it always be Boy Meets Girl, why not Boy Meets Crevice-In-Rock-Wall? Like i said, lazy writers.:smallannoyed:

And yes, i'm kidding! (mostly)

Stormthorn
2009-06-22, 11:23 AM
Half-orcs are strong, or at least stronger than a human of a similiar build. No matter how smart a half-orc, they'll always come across as stupid when speaking a nonsavage language like Common because they'll be tripping over their teeth. Plus, many commoners are going to have a hard time telling the difference between a half-orc and an orc. Come to think of it, that could easily apply to all halfbloods in a community where one of their parent races is common and the other is lacking.

These particular stereotypes are all clearly justified, i noticed.

Heh. I made a half-elf that was largely raised by orcs. He broke the mold i can tell you.

Set
2009-06-22, 11:26 AM
Granted...
I'm thinking about making a clan of Dwarven Sorcerers in my medieval campaign. I oughta make their leader an unusually large Gnome :smallamused:

Dwarven Sorcerers totally need to be geomancers, who get their power from the 'roots of the earth' (Dao? Earth Elementals? Who knows!). The geomancer could have an assortment of earth and stone themed spells, some already existing in game (field of caltrops, fist of stone) and others adapted from current spells (a stone sphere that acts like Flaming Sphere, but slams through people like a bowling ball, a mage armor variant that provides a natural armor bonus and turns the dwarves skin gray and cool to the touch, a 'color spray' that instead of radiance shoots minerals in a damaging spray of pointy-edged metal and crystal bits, magic missiles that do 1d6+1 bludgeoning damage, instead of force damage as they are small boulders, etc.). Plus some unique earth/stone spells;

Spells (http://www.skiltair.com/Ian/dungeons_&_dragons/DwarvenEarthSpells.htm) that a geomantic sorcerer (or dwarven rune-wizard) could use.

Of course this whole concept is playing in to the dwarven 'earth and stone' stereotype.

It would be a fun sideways tweak to have dwarves live underground because they are emulating dragons, whom they worship as gods, making them physically the dwarves of the setting, but resemble in personality the 3.5 dragon-worshipping kobolds! Why are they so good at crafts and mining? Why to provide tribute to their draconic overlords! You surely didn't think that those dragons somehow carried thousands of coins back to their lairs in those oversized claws, did you?

Perhaps, in a nod to Norse folklore, dwarves are light-sensitive and have scaly clawed feet, resembling those of crows (that provide them excellent traction in their stony homes)? That would certainly be a dramatic physical change!

Arachu
2009-06-22, 12:46 PM
:smalleek:

... Okay, pure win :xykon:

Penguintine
2009-06-22, 04:26 PM
Science can help flesh out any fantasy race. Let's pretend that you're making a new fantasy world. Let's also pretend that magic and myth are just humanoid explanations for real, material and physical causes. For example, magic might come from genetic mutations a'la X-men.

For example, take the long-lived Elves. Looking at the race from an evolutionary perspective might help us create a plausible and interesting race.

Maybe the reason why the Elves live so long is so that they can have more chances to breed over the course of their lifetime. What are the consequences of this?

1. Exceedingly complex family structures, polygamy/polyamory, an extra emphasis on liniage, title, ancestor worship.

2. Multiple careers over the lifetime of the individual; people may get bored of their trades and thus may have more diverse skill-sets.

3. Just because you live a long time doesn't mean that childhood or adolescence is extended.

4. Cognitive dissonance may result in a racial attitude of superiority; short lived races are not considered to be "people". Elves might use them as slaves/food.

5. This may result in a large, complex, amazing society.

Alternatively, maybe the reason Elves live so long is because the numbers of their race are very rare and they don't have many opportunities for mating and the longer they live, the more chances they experience, leaving the longest living elves.

1. Elves are very rare in this world.

2. Monogomy would be very important.

3. They would tend to be chaotic due to the fact their species needs to be more adaptable to survive in a number of envornments/situations. There might not be a government or other formal elvish orginization.

4. The question, "How did the Elves die out in the first place?" might lead to interesting answers.

5. Children would be extremely precious.

Now, lets look at dwarves from this perspective.

Maybe there was an enviornmental disaster or other force that encouraged migration of proto-dwaves to live in the dangerous and inhospitable areas, like the mountains or the underground. Their diet would keep them short, and predators would help make them excellent craftsmen.

1. An orderly society would be required to help defend the mines/survive the harsh conditions.

2. The family unit would become very important because of all the work needed to survive; each dwarf would depend heavily on another.

3. It might be a warrior society in which the ability to fight is prized over other skills.

4. They would be suspicious of strangers and prize loyalty highly.

5. One interesting twist on this, is that if these dwarves migrate or are planted in easier conditions they could flourish and out-compete other species. For example, lets say the mountains are full of dwarfs so they look to the valleys to colonize; they might be better organized, armed and tougher than the human farmers that live there.

Alternatively, maybe the reason why Dwarves live in mountains is because caves/undergound enviorns have a highly evolved and fertile nature. The Dwarves initially took advantage of this and became suited for this lifestyle.

1. They would have a complex, fertile and burgeoning society with people who pursue many interests.

2. They would look down on surface dwellers and be concerned with material wealth.

3. They would not be too dissimilar from modern humans; similar conflicts & issues.

4. They might be exceedingly isolationistic, at best unconcerned with the surface world or extremely prejudiced against the "poor barbaric surface dwellers".

5. They would be much more refined than normal typical Dwarves.


***

If you're currently PLAYING in a campaign, and you want a unique CHARACTER then you need to give him a reason for not being like others of his race. Two classic examples come from STAR TREK. Spock, for example, was not a typical Vulcan. His mother was human and it was a point of difference and struggle for him. Worf is another great example. He was raised by humans but is totally Klingon and is very unusual in that he works for Star Fleet. Check these out if as a reference.

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-22, 07:51 PM
Those were some excellent descriptions of elven and dwarven culture, Josh.


Thank you! When making/playing a character I try to keep the rich cultural heritage in mind. If they were born to one culture, but raised in another, I attempt to take both into account. The above feelings on Dwarves / Elves is something I have drawn on in the past, both as a player and a DM. I just rarely put it into words.

I also try to figure out why it makes sense for my characters to be adventurers, and to have some of the abilities they do. That then informs what other abilities I should take.

Two characters I am currently playing, or will be soon:

A dragonwrought kobold, with silver dragon heritage. His parents, and some of their waren-mates were carrying the egg to the temple where he was to be raised, when they came into conflict with an adventuring group. The gnome wanted to smash the egg immediately, but the human wizard intervened, claiming that the egg must be treated as group treasure, and that if the gnome received the egg, he could do what he wanted with it, but that he (the wizard) wanted the egg as well.

He was raised by the human wizard (male) and the elven ranger (female) who settled down and became lovers not long after, due to the schism this caused in the party.

He was raised by the mage partially out of charity, but also partially to advance the sum of arcane knowledge, as said wizard was curious to find out what would occur if a kobold was raised in a loving, supportive, good aligned household. He was further intrigued to find out what the draconic blood would mean for a wizard.

He loved (and still loves) his adoptive parents, but felt alien in the culture he was raised in. Especially since the multi-cultural community included gnomes, many of whom refused to accept him as anything but a monster. Eventually he left and he sought out the warren of his laying.

He found the warren, and was welcomed back, as he had been prophesied to be an important member of the community. He also unearthed and began to advance his sorcerical heritage at a surprising rate. Unfortunately, while many things about his new home felt right, many things also felt wrong and eventually he chose to leave/was cast out (it's complicated). Not even his lover came with him. He has since continued his lonely adventures, seeking ways to combine his wizardly and sorcerical talents. Eventually, he found a way.

Now, he has returned to Greyhawk city, in the wake of one of the deaths of his father's friends, unfortunately late, to pay his respects.

He's a Wizard 4 / Sorcerer 1 / Ultimate Magus 4, using Dragonwrought, and the Dragon-blooded sorcerer variant.


The other is an Elven Wizardess, nearing the end of her apprenticeship. She a scion of a minor elven house, who's duty it is to attempt to retain, strengthen, and forge relations among elven sub-cultures, and to regain ties to elves on other worlds, finding lost brethren. Each member of the family is named in a way that describes a specific lost elven people.

Many in the family choose to make this search one of records, and past memories, of collecting tails, while some few choose to seek this information out personally, to find members of those races face to face. It is expected, in her family, that the men will be the ones to adventure, while the women stay at home, to make sure that the repositories of knowledge are safe, and be present to record any whisp of news that reaches home.

My character has determined to be... more... proactive. She is the personal apprentice of her Grand-father, the elf who, due to treaty, runs the wizard's school in the nearest human village, and thus sits in a position of prominence on the town council. He does play a little bit of favorites for her, and has begun teaching her magic that is often reserved for wizards of a higher station, with more experience. She has yet to pass her trials... but once she does, and is declared a journeyman wizard, and allowed to declare her intended path in the craft, she intends to declare her choice to adventure, and personally seek knowledge of elven kin.

She has never been trained for this kind of a life, and does not know all that it entails, and thus has far less brawn than your average elf, though she does know that it will be a hard road, and she has steel in her that surprises many humans.

She's a Grey elven wizard, with precocious apprentice, and a 12 con.

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-22, 07:55 PM
One book featuring vampires which I read recently raised an interesting point: as a vampire, you'll never see another sunrise. Plenty of vampire fiction addresses what a major weakness sunlight is, but I'd never really thought about just how much it would suck to never go for a walk in a park on a sunny day again.

Yes. Yes you will. In fact, one of my characters has seen many sunrises.

She retreats to her shelter bleeding, with a scorched face every time she does, weeping. It's one of the MANY MANY MANY things about her that un-nerves other vampires. That, and the fact that... well... many of the 'rules' these vampires have, she out-right breaks. No, not social rules.

She's got stronger vamperic blood than most living vampires, and yet, is at the same time, a Catif.

:P

ResplendentFire
2009-06-23, 12:39 AM
Vampires are not like this; they are not people they are monsters. They literally are nocturnal bloodthirsty killers that seek out the opposite sex, and then brutally kill them. They are down right frightening and there is nothing to misunderstand. They look upon us like we look upon cattle, nothing more than a food supply.
why do people find them so dang attractive? simple Interview with a vampire had Tom Cruise (before he went nuts), Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas. that's it.

I'm not entirely in disagreement with you, but, er, "vampires are not like this?" What? Is there some canonical vampire that you're using as the basis for this? And they only go after 'the opposite sex?' What?

The thing about vampires is that they're monsters who were human, and their humanity is still an essential part of what they've become. Whether they're irredeemably evil bloodsucking fiends (a la Buffy) or tragically romantic monsters (a la Dracula), or pining for their lost humanity (a la Louis, and not Lestat or any other vampire Anne Rice wrote) or in love with being a monster (a la Lestat), they're still also in many ways the people they were before they were turned.



4E vampire lords are odd, since the worst problem they might have is worrying about their food supply. They don't die because of sunlight, they merely lose their impressive regenerative abilities. And they have none of the other meaningful curses that are supposed to hold vampires back.

Death by sunlight was a Hollywood invention. If you read Dracula, you'll find that Dracula is able to go out by day, but it weakens him.

Worira
2009-06-23, 01:11 AM
He's also killed with a Bowie knife and kukri, not a stake. Vampire lore has been around long before Dracula.

DSCrankshaw
2009-06-23, 02:18 AM
An idea I've been playing with, for an atypical community of elves and dwarves. It plays with several of these stereotypes, using 4e history as a baseline.

Dwarrow Vale

It is widely believed that dwarves and elves cannot interbreed. As neither race usually finds the other to be sexually attractive, this belief has seldom been tested. The world is a strange place, though, and there are exceptions to every rule. The isolated Dwarrow Vale is the exception to this one.

Dwarrow Vale is occupied by dwarves and elves, but they do not consider themselves separate people. In fact, their language, a mixture of Dwarven and Elven, has no word for dwarf or elf. Rather, the term they use for dwarf is the Dwarven word for "man," and they refer to elves by the Elven word for "woman." The valley is occupied entirely by dwarven men and elven women. The two can, and do, breed. All the male children are dwarves, while all the female children are elves.

A smattering of self-sustaining farming villages fills Dwarrow Vale, deep in the Kainin mountains. The dominant business is the family farm, where the families are made of dwarf men and elf women. These villages have had no contact with the civilized world for literally millennia. The people know nothing of the Nerath Empire, nor the empires of Arkhosia and Bael Turath.

They do remember the conflict between the gods and the primordials, but most of the shared history since then is unknown to them. They do not speak Common, but only a mixture of Elven and Dwarven.

The actual origin of this community is unknown, lost in the mists of time. For such long-lived races, this is a long time indeed. They have no memory of encountering other civilized races, although they've had clashes with monstrous races living in the mountains, such as orcs, goblins, and kobolds.

Having never met anyone from outside Dwarrow Vale, their reactions to outsiders would be varied, from simple curiosity to awe to outright hostility.

They would recognize male dwarves and female elves (and to a lesser extent, eladrin and half-elves) as civilized people. They would at least realize that halflings and humans are something different, a peculiar oddity, neither kin nor monsters. Tieflings and dragonborn are too far from the norm to be recognizable as anything other than monsters, at least at first. They'd have the most difficulty with female dwarves and male elves, eladrin, and half-elves, however. To them, pointed ears and stout bodies are considered secondary sexual characteristics. A female dwarf or a male elf would look like a bizarre mix of genders.

ResplendentFire
2009-06-23, 02:36 AM
He's also killed with a Bowie knife and kukri, not a stake. Vampire lore has been around long before Dracula.

Yes, but I question whether he was actually killed. I think the scene is ambiguous and somewhat open to interpretation. After all, Van Helsing establishes that staking, beheading, communion wafers, etc are necessary to kill a vampire, but they just stab him in the heart and cut off his head...and he turns to dust, which also happens to be one of Dracula's powers.

There also isn't really one "vampire lore" but many folktales and superstitions about walking corpses that feed on the living. And of course, people take that folklore, or take the literature that's already based on that folklore and adapt it to their own use. There's no mandate that vampires must strictly be defined by any particular reader's or viewer's preferred mythology. Having vampires that are simply weakened in daylight is faithful to Dracula (as well as Carmilla and The Vampyre).

This doesn't mean all literary incarnations of the vampire are good or worthwhile, but at the same time, I don't think it makes much sense to try to construct a singular folkloric image of the vampire, especially one based on attributes added in literature or film.

Edit: Sorry, none of this is meant to be argumentative, I just like talking about bloodsucking fiends.

Set
2009-06-23, 06:30 AM
D&D, IMO, went too far with the vampire. I prefer for Vampires to start out like 'Buffy' style critters. Somewhat stronger, tougher, faster and with keener senses than a human, but no turning to mist or controlling animals or charming gazes, or shapechanging, at least, not yet. Also, none of the lame weaknesses. They don't like sunlight, and it weakens them, and even acts like poison in some cases, sure. But not entering a home? Not crossing running water? Fear of garlic? Skip all that. The monster write-up doesn't need a page long laundry list of ways to kill them (or ways in which they would be unplayable, in a monstrous game).

Like Ghouls transitioning to Ghasts, the older vampires would gain some other abilities, starting small, with stuff like spider climb, and finally ending with the 'Lord of the Night' stuff like flying and controlling the weather. As they grow stronger, they would become more worthy foes for higher CR parties, but even a 1st level party could end up fighting a few bloodsuckers who are little more than blood-drinking ghouls, and, possibly to the surprise of their Cleric, are infected people who haven't become undead, yet, but may rise as undead vampires if not buried properly, forcing the party to fight the same foes a few days after they 'beat the vampire menace' if they don't know their lore...

Avilan the Grey
2009-06-23, 07:01 AM
I have been milling around a campaign setting for years:

Orcs: Barbaric? to a point. Warriors? Most certainly. Competent? You bet. You would not want to meet a full Orc army on the battlefield, they are the Romans. Not expanding much more; they rule some 25% of the known world. Mixed in their society are the Goblins and Hobgoblins, as well as haflings and gnomes.

Elves: Almost extinct. Think the Elder Scrolls world (where Dwarves do not exist anymore) but elves instead, and only almost. Once the whole world was ruled by a single Elven empire, that disintigrated slowly over thousands of years. The living elves are sad memories of these times and has lost almost all knowledge of their ancestors. Usually lives in human cities.

Dwarves: Extremely competent fighters, yes. And craftsmen yes. Gives the orcs a run for the money when it comes to military organization, but lacks numbers. However not a single dwarf fortress have been taken by any force since the elves empire fell.
Also, equal opportunity traders.

Humans: Humans. Runs most of the world not ruled by Orcs.

Halflings and Gnomes: Have no civilization of their own, lives in both Orc and Human societies.

Half-orcs (human): Exists on both "sides". Not distrusted as much as most girls just don't like the way they look... Teased for being ugly, at times, but not despised.

Kurald Galain
2009-06-23, 08:27 AM
The trouble isn't so much whether humans are dominant, or scrappy underdogs, or whatnot. The problem is that almost every character in a science fiction or fantasy setting is a human, whether or not humans are actually common or important.

The majority, yes. "Almost every"? Certainly not.

To cite a few counterexamples, the Krondor series includes several non-humans starting with Thomas the half-Valheru. The protagonists of Roger Zelazny's Amber decalogy really aren't human either; this is explicitly pointed out later on. Neither is the eponymous Fool from Robin Hobb's Fool Trilogy. Mercedes Lackey has written extensively about Gryphons, and Neil Gaiman about faeries and endless ones. Pretty much anything by Piers Anthony is rife with non-humans of the most exotic kinds, and then there's books like Watership Down and Farthing Wood which could be considered fantasy but are about animals. Most of the cast of ElfQuest, well, take your best guess :smalltongue: Then there's some books like The Gods Themselves which get really weird...

So broaden your horizon! Read about non-humans today!

Eurantien
2009-06-23, 10:42 AM
Originally posted by Devils Advocate
Anyway, demihumans should have higher percentages of high-level characters than humans do, because (a) older people will tend to have more XP than younger people, and (b) their lower populations mean that they need higher individual competence to compete with humans on a group vs. group level.


Hold on. Isn't the point about PCs that they're a cut above the rest? I keep encountering the idea that elves should be higher level on this thread, but most NPCs can't even GET XP. They often never level (hence why, say, a farmer is an easy kill for almost any PC). So most elves won't be high level because they'll never be the sort of people who DO level, who become adventurers. For the same reason, villains don't realise that every low-level minion they throw at the PCs makes them stronger. In-game, nobody knows about XP or levelling. So most elves could happily stick with 1 level in a NPC class.

Eurantien
2009-06-23, 11:06 AM
I dunno. I've seen 'em a lot with elongated, impossibly thin and narrow "longswords" which look like a rapier was stretched on a rack and put into a cross-hilt.

Well, the idea (I think) behind the elven/elfin longswords was that, as elves, they're awesome at everything, and so could make magically tough weapons out of metals nobody else knew about that could survive being that thin and still cut everything else to pieces. Basically, it allows elves to do "the dance" while fighting and still have their opponents fall to pieces, as opposed to taking half an hour to bleed to death.

The katana stereotype is probably a slightly more realistic attempt to do the same thing. Because of the way katanas are made (hard steel edge, mild steel blade), they can cut through many materials without shattering, as more brittle, all hard steel swords would do. (This is why you chop down a tree with an axe not a sword). A weapon that can cut people apart and still be lightweight and fancy suits the elf stereotype perfectly.

Eurantien
2009-06-23, 11:12 AM
I always liked Terry Pratchett's take on why dwarves have the stereotypes of being violent drunks but also industrious miners. The industrious miner is what they usually are - they constantly work down in the dark, in a rigidly structured society, with no real leisure. The ones who leave the mines, on the other hand, are now in an environment where it's not only possible, but at times acceptable, to let up all of the stress that has been building up down there. Hence, drunken brawling. Not to mention the dwarves that people actually see are probably the ones who didn't fit in so well...

Anyway, the stereotype that I've always hated? (Insert ANY RACE HERE) are incredibly long-lived, far beyond the scope of human beings. Despite this, they accomplish absolutely nothing during their extensive lives, except perhaps crafting some fancy art or trinkets or something. A 350 year lifespan would stretch from the late Renaissance until now, and an individual with such a lifespan, even assuming slow maturity periods as well, would have been able to live as an adult through the beginning of the United States until the modern era. You have entire species of individuals like this... and yet, they're no more advanced, often less advanced, than the humans around them.

Of course it's always justified in some way or another. The humans live short lives so they make the most of them, the ancient races are rooted in tradition, they lack the spark that makes them able to do this. Whatever the reason is, it's always there, it's always arbitrary, and I'd like to see a world without it.

Or Wolverine. (Sorry, slightly off-topic, but it's an example of the same thing.)
He's goodness-knows how old, can't EVER die, has claws, and he gets nothing done. Ever. He joins in a few wars, loses his memory and that's about it. Oh, and kills one rogue telekine/telepath.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
Ok this is something I have to get off my chest, mostly because Iím so dang tired of it. (doesnít help the local news mentioned it).

Vampires are misunderstood tragic heroes who are in search of someone to love them.

Blagh. Iím so sick and tired of this that it makes me sick just typing it.

Vampires are not like this; they are not people they are monsters. They literally are nocturnal bloodthirsty killers that seek out the opposite sex, and then brutally kill them. They are down right frightening and there is nothing to misunderstand. They look upon us like we look upon cattle, nothing more than a food supply.
why do people find them so dang attractive? simple Interview with a vampire had Tom Cruise (before he went nuts), Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas. that's it.
The problem with vampires is there're so MANY different takes on them. More modern vampires are pale, beautiful etc. Folklore vampires are bloated and ugly (they're close to zombies in actual fact). And there are a myriad of shades of grey in between, as well as more extreme extremes. But for hundreds of years they've been portrayed as evil, malevolent killers. In today's era of equality and tolerance (ahem), this gives dozens of (often poor) authors the opportunity to tap the "misunderstood" line.

Drakyn
2009-06-23, 11:48 AM
The majority, yes. "Almost every"? Certainly not.

To cite a few counterexamples, the Krondor series includes several non-humans starting with Thomas the half-Valheru. The protagonists of Roger Zelazny's Amber decalogy really aren't human either; this is explicitly pointed out later on. Neither is the eponymous Fool from Robin Hobb's Fool Trilogy. Mercedes Lackey has written extensively about Gryphons, and Neil Gaiman about faeries and endless ones. Pretty much anything by Piers Anthony is rife with non-humans of the most exotic kinds, and then there's books like Watership Down and Farthing Wood which could be considered fantasy but are about animals. Most of the cast of ElfQuest, well, take your best guess :smalltongue: Then there's some books like The Gods Themselves which get really weird...

So broaden your horizon! Read about non-humans today!
I totally agree with the message there, but feel compelled to note that the main thing that distinguishes Zelazny's Amber people from humans is that they are more awesome. Similarly, elves in quite a lot of fantasy are basically humans with pointy ears a decent amount of the time.
I think what you can look at it is that you have roughly three ways to go about nonhumans: quite a lot like humans in appearance (shorter/pointy-eared/more awesome at X) but with a different psychological/cultural outlook; looking completely different but acting very similarly; and very alien in morphology and mentality. The first two are, I think, a lot more common than the last one for obvious reasons.

Arachu
2009-06-23, 11:49 AM
On Vampires:

I can see them being remorseful, somber, what-the-boop-ever. What I can't honestly see, is them not being desensitized after the first century or so. So, I guess I can see them as quite somber, and maybe, maybe misunderstood, but after a while, I just can't picture them caring anymore.

I mean, people eat other animals. Most of us don't care, because it's just what we do. Similarly, if (nay, when) vampires start to see humans as food, they would just have less and less trouble feeding.

As for romance, I can see such feelings existing, but I can't picture it going very far on account of their new sex organs are currently their own blood vessels (or fangs, depending on the lore). So, I can maybe see an emotional attraction (mind, even that's a tad iffy after a point), but I just can't picture a physical one.

Which reminds me of the whole "mating vampire" thing. If any of the lore is to be taken seriously, it shouldn't even be possible (for reasons I probably shouldn't list).

Just saying...

Rion
2009-06-23, 12:50 PM
The katana stereotype is probably a slightly more realistic attempt to do the same thing. Because of the way katanas are made (hard steel edge, mild steel blade), they can cut through many materials without shattering, as more brittle, all hard steel swords would do. (This is why you chop down a tree with an axe not a sword). A weapon that can cut people apart and still be lightweight and fancy suits the elf stereotype perfectly.

Sorry for going off-topic, but this just bothers me. The early medieval (before the 11th century) also made their swords with steel edges welded to a softer pattern-welded core, later improvements in metallurgy meant that swords of the same quality could be made from a single piece.

Basically the Europeans used to forge swords in the same way, but they evolved beyond it.

The rest of your post I agree with though, assuming you're complaining about the elves being so perfect they can make weapons that break the rules of reality (without using magic).

Set
2009-06-23, 01:06 PM
after a while, I just can't picture them caring anymore.

I mean, people eat other animals. Most of us don't care, because it's just what we do. Similarly, if (nay, when) vampires start to see humans as food, they would just have less and less trouble feeding.

That's one option. And yet we have vegetarians here in this world, who apparently care about and empathize with animals, which, for some perplexing reason, are made out of tasty nutritious meat.

And, to go one step further, my mother wasn't a bunny rabbit. My father wasn't a strip of bacon. My siblings aren't cattle. I've got zero reason to identify with animals *on a personal level,* and yet I can still choose to be a vegetarian (which, so not gonna happen, 'cause of the whole bacon thing).

A vampire *was* a human being, raised by human parents, perhaps in love with a human spouse, perhaps parent to human children. The vampire has much more reason to identify with humans, *because he's been one,* than a vegetarian has to identify with bunny wabbits.

Heck, depending on the vampire 'society' that surrounds the new vampire, he might have no one else to talk to, no one else to relate to, if the local vampire population is sparse (or just antisocial, or too cliquish to invite the newbie to their hoighty-toighty soirees and black tie events), leaving this vampire forced to live among human society, and not exist as part of some elite 'other' society that regards humanity as cattle.

Even the D&D vampire, saddled with a half-dozen crippling weaknesses from a bunch of completely unrelated lores spread across our planet's history, doesn't have to kill people. Mechanically, he never needs to feed at all, although the flavor text states that he 'craves blood.' So he can go to the local butcher and work nights, draining cows, pigs, sheep and / or chickens that are being brought to the slaughter. Perhaps he can charm a dozen people (he can do it at will, after all) and take 1 Con worth of blood from each of them every couple of nights, so that their natural recovery rate keeps them 'topped off.' In any event, he doesn't *have* to hunt and kill people, if he doesn't want to. Since all D&D vampires turn Chaotic Evil, the standard D&D vampire would have no reason to fall under this sort of behavior, but in a game where vampires *don't* automatically wake up chaotic evil, the whole range of human behaviors could exist within the spectrum of vampire existence, including the angsty ex-Paladin who attempts to redeem herself by walking out into the sun.

And, there's the irony. In D&D, the 'racial stereotype' is 'always Chaotic Evil.' Having a more humane and nuanced vampire would actually be breaking the D&D stereotype! (Although most D&D fans are so sick to death of Lestat and Twilight and 'woe is me, alone I weep my outcast state!' vampires that they, quite understandably, knee-jerk against the idea, because of the surfeit of truly awful purple prose out there.)


As for romance, I can see such feelings existing, but I can't picture it going very far on account of their new sex organs are currently their own blood vessels (or fangs, depending on the lore). So, I can maybe see an emotional attraction (mind, even that's a tad iffy after a point), but I just can't picture a physical one.

And yet, do their blood vessels (or fangs) become their sex organs? A human with a blood-borne illness could likewise think of their blood vessels as sex organs, propogating the thing that lives within them, or a rabies victim could think of their teeth as sex organs, passing on rabies to those they bite, but it doesn't mean that these people forget an entire lifetime of sex involving other body parts, and decide, 'Oh, that's icky, I'll just inject people with my blood from now on!'

Assuming that a vampire has an innate drive to procreate itself, then yeah, fangs and blood will be involved more than dinkies and hoo-hoos, but the vast majority of sex in this world is not for making babies, and, again, a vampire has spent a lifetime being human. There's all sorts of reasons why an individual wants to get some, and, for some, becoming unable to make babies or contract disease would only be seen as terribly, terribly convenient.

If physical hunger has transcended the undead state (hunger for food being changed to hunger for blood), could not other human urges and drives also make the transition?


Which reminds me of the whole "mating vampire" thing. If any of the lore is to be taken seriously, it shouldn't even be possible (for reasons I probably shouldn't list).

No argument there. I'm fond of the dhampyr idea, but having the mother just be a survivor of a vampire bite, and her child 'changed' by the experience, is more than adequate to explain that sort of thing. Dead things enmpowered by negative energy shouldn't be able to create life (mummies and their diseases, notwithstanding, since Gygax originally had them empowered by positive energy, so that it made sense that the mummies were creating life).

Despite the contrarian tone above, I much prefer vampires like the ones in 30 Days of Night, who don't have a heap-ton of supernatural powers, don't have a plethora of whacky weaknesses and aren't terribly sophisticated Euro-trash, being more predatory beasts who walk on two legs.

But, I would also want to leave room for the *cool* terribly sophisticated Euro-trash, like Vlad Dracul or Strahd Von Zarovich, with their noble sensibilities and array of supernatural powers.

Arachu
2009-06-23, 01:14 PM
Well, to be fair, the 30 Days of Night vampires do have increased strength, endurance, and resilience... 'Course, these aren't supernatural, so good point.

... Actually, my favorite vampire might be those from the earlier accounts. Flying heads with intestines dragging behind, for example.

Now that's film-worthy :smallamused:

Eurantien
2009-06-23, 01:18 PM
Sorry for going off-topic, but this just bothers me. The early medieval (before the 11th century) also made their swords with steel edges welded to a softer pattern-welded core, later improvements in metallurgy meant that swords of the same quality could be made from a single piece.

Basically the Europeans used to forge swords in the same way, but they evolved beyond it.

The rest of your post I agree with though, assuming you're complaining about the elves being so perfect they can make weapons that break the rules of reality (without using magic).

I know the Europeans used to use the same techniques, but I was under the impression (sorry if I've got the wrong end of the stick, just working off what I've been told) that the katana, while working on the same principle, did it better? Though it was a soft steel core as opposed to an iron one. Hence why it IS possible to cut through a stone column with a katana (though you have to be very good), whereas if you tried with a broadsword it'd probably break. But it is this style of metallurgy that allows katanas to be so thin and lightweight compared to many other weapons, hence fitting into the elven/elfin stereotype. Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not an expert) or tell me to stop if the off-topic stuff irritates anyone.

Arachu
2009-06-23, 01:23 PM
Well, to be fair, this isn't that far off-topic... It relates to Elves, plus the longsword and the katana are usable weapons. :smalltongue:

Eurantien
2009-06-23, 01:35 PM
It's just mildly nosy about metallurgy. Though if you were to play DnD like real life it might apply :smalltongue:

Set
2009-06-23, 01:42 PM
that the katana, while working on the same principle, did it better? Though it was a soft steel core as opposed to an iron one.

The katana vs. everything else debate has been around for decades, and is a perennial source of breathtaking flame wars on fantasy RPG boards across the internet. (I've even heard that katana topics are banned on some sites, such as ENWorld, but I'm not sure if that's just hyperbole.)

Japan is a very iron-poor island, and a fair bit of their iron is gathered through such scary techniques as dragging a magnet through sand to attract all of the tiny iron particles and then fuse them together into a lump of metal, which they then beat into a sword. As a result, the folding techniques, also common in Spain and other places besides, in some cases even before they were in use in Japan, served to compensate for the utterly crappy quality of the iron ore being used. There were 'approved cuts' to be made with a katana in the sword-fighting style of Kenjutsu, because hitting with it the wrong way, or, heaven forfend, trying to parry with the thing, would cause it to snap.

It's a darn pretty sword, and, used properly, and made of good quality metal, it can be just as good as the best Toledo steel, but it seems that way too many people got their idea about how awesome the katana is from watching Highlander (or demonstrations of swords cutting through engine blocks, or some such nonsense). Samurai, the guys who used them professionally, didn't even learn to parry as part of their training. They learned to dodge, because parrying with a katana leads to the guy who kills you being annoying that you broke your sword and he doesn't get to take it as a trophy. All the strength of the folding technique flows along the edge (and folded blades, such as katana, do keep an edge better than many other blades), leaving the flat of the blade vulnerable.

All of this, ironically, makes the katana the perfect elven weapon. Forest dwellers, the elves would have access to poorer-quality ore than other races. Possessed of long lives, artistic natures and great patience, the thousand-fold technique would seem to be a logical development to counter the poor ore found in elven woodlands. And the basic nature of a katana, fast, but vulnerable, sounds very much like the +2 Dex, -2 Con elves themselves.

I just don't like the look. I prefer elves with longspears and bows, the sorts of weapons that a low Con, high Dex race would use to poke at and perforate from behind the cover of trees, out of the reach of axe and sword and mace.

Given the insanely low birthrates of elves, combined with their physical fragility, I would be prone to making their men famous for their defensive and highly mobile spear and bladework (so any version of Eilistraee that would exist would be patron to a mostly *male* congregation of 'bladedancers' and whatnot) and their women famous for their archery skills (making Solonor Thelandira patron to a largely *female* following). If they didn't fight smart, they'd be extinct.

Rion
2009-06-23, 01:43 PM
I know the Europeans used to use the same techniques, but I was under the impression (sorry if I've got the wrong end of the stick, just working off what I've been told) that the katana, while working on the same principle, did it better? Though it was a soft steel core as opposed to an iron one. Hence why it IS possible to cut through a stone column with a katana (though you have to be very good), whereas if you tried with a broadsword it'd probably break. But it is this style of metallurgy that allows katanas to be so thin and lightweight compared to many other weapons, hence fitting into the elven/elfin stereotype. Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not an expert) or tell me to stop if the off-topic stuff irritates anyone.

They actually used both iron and steel by forging it together. Basically they took alternate bars of iron and steel arranged in a bundle welded them together, and twisted them into spirals, the spirals where then forged to form the core of the blade.

Besides, any sword is basically a sharpened bar of iron or steel, you may get some which a better than others, but they aren't going to be so good that they have to be considered wildly different things when you talk about their properties.

This is also why I hate the elven swords, if you have a thin blade specializing in thrusting it's a rapier, you may have an especially good rapier or one made with better materials, but it's still a rapier and it's still going to behave like one.

Raz_Fox
2009-06-23, 02:39 PM
I just really, really, really hate elves. They're oh so perfect and ethereal and mystical and beautiful and daaaaamn does that get annoying. They're smarter than you, they live longer than you, they're better than you - but come on. A concerted effort by any combined force of nations could easily destroy them and all they stand for - and there's ample provocation. Basically, to me, anyone who wants to play an elf just wants to insert their own personal Mary Sue. They're never flawed or anything, just perfect pristine crystalline statues. Seriously. They excel at everything. Their wizards are the smartest. Their rogues are the sneakiest. Their rangers are the shootiest. Their fighters are graceful and elegant. Their druids are perfectly in tune with nature. Where's the fun in playing a race that's essentially composed of nigh-immortal wish-fulfilling demigods?

I think we should start smashing elves to tiny little bits and stomping on them.

That is actually closer to the "original" elf than the RotW Elf write-up; and yet, so very, very far.

Let's go back to where I get inspiration for Elven characters - Tolkien. They're nowhere near perfect - Feanor, Caranthir, Maeglin and Daeron all come to mind - and they're not ethereal or mystical - more real, perhaps, but not ethereal or mystical.

Yes, they're beautiful - that's a holdover from the original Norse Alfar. They're simply wiser because they've been around longer, and pass their knowledge down to their children - it's not an innate intelligence, it's more like owning the only encyclopedia on the block.

I will admit that if everyone ganged up on them, they'd die - but that's why Elves work together and with other races. Or should, anyway. The dumb elves get killed off. :smallwink:

Perhaps someone playing an elf doesn't want to "play his own personal Mary Sue" - a phrase which is being strangely used here, by and by - perhaps they just want to play an ancient race, and don't want to play a height-challenged miner who is always the same in every fantasy world. Perhaps they - like me - really love their Tolkien and want to play a character in the vein of Maglor or Legolas, Beleg or Finrod. Perhaps they just want that +2 Dex without being small-sized, or perhaps they really liked Races of the Wild. There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to play an elf without making a "Mary Sue."

In short, even in the original, elves are not "wish-fulfilling demigods." If you're playing the popular conception of what an elf is supposed to be, then they probably are - but if you're going off popular conceptions, then how is it better than the constantly-drunken short hairy miners or the larcenous and tricksy little people?
Feel free to tear this argument to shreds, people.


But seriously. Dwarves don't need to change. They're already perfect.

...My eyes. They burn. Dwarves are boring. At least Elves have variation in personality and physical appearance. :smallyuk:
Yes, I'm joking. Mostly.

Eurantien
2009-06-23, 03:12 PM
I agree with everything that's been said about swords (except for the bits increasing my knowledge of metallurgy etc). Katanas ARE played up, you can't block with them, really, but from what I've seen they CAN cut through quite a few things, due to the softer steel core. As for silly elven "longswords", they make a very nice fantasy picture, but are impractical in terms of actual fighting.

hamishspence
2009-06-23, 03:19 PM
Even the D&D vampire, saddled with a half-dozen crippling weaknesses from a bunch of completely unrelated lores spread across our planet's history, doesn't have to kill people. Mechanically, he never needs to feed at all, although the flavor text states that he 'craves blood.' So he can go to the local butcher and work nights, draining cows, pigs, sheep and / or chickens that are being brought to the slaughter. Perhaps he can charm a dozen people (he can do it at will, after all) and take 1 Con worth of blood from each of them every couple of nights, so that their natural recovery rate keeps them 'topped off.' In any event, he doesn't *have* to hunt and kill people, if he doesn't want to. Since all D&D vampires turn Chaotic Evil, the standard D&D vampire would have no reason to fall under this sort of behavior, but in a game where vampires *don't* automatically wake up chaotic evil, the whole range of human behaviors could exist within the spectrum of vampire existence, including the angsty ex-Paladin who attempts to redeem herself by walking out into the sun.



in Libris Mortis, vampires have to both drink blood and drain energy- and the drain energy is an "Inescapable craving" whereas drinking blood is "diet dependant"

Making them a bit more dangerous- they start going mad without it. Though, again, it is possible to feed from animals (must be at least 2HD though, or it dies)

Murdim
2009-06-23, 03:22 PM
There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to play an elf without making a "Mary Sue."Unless you play it in the Forgotten Realms setting. Then, you need either to make a very, very atypical individual, or to defile canon and add non-Sueish flaws and quirks to the entire race (i.e outside of the "so awesome it's a curse" ones), not to be screwed by your character's innate sueishness.

Set
2009-06-23, 03:31 PM
Let's go back to where I get inspiration for Elven characters - Tolkien.

And yet, the elves of D&D, per Gygax, are shorter than humans, not stronger than humans, physically frailer than humans, no smarter, or wiser or 'prettier' than humans. They are a bit more graceful, and they live longer, and they can see in the dark. That's about it. They were nothing like the elves of Tolkein, who were immortal and hypnotically beautiful, as well as being smarter, stronger, faster *and* tougher than humans. (and magically delicious!)

By the time Forgotten Realms came around, elves were growing taller again, and there were elven subraces with increased intelligence, charisma and even strength. The idea of Greyhawk elves, the 'wee folk' who had a tiny out of the way forest kingdom named Celene that hid itself under glamor and closed it's borders when war struck the Flanaess, was replaced with the militarily potent elves of Evermeet, as tall as a man, with dragons for servants and flying ships and 'High Magics' that were forbidden to mere humans.

The Complete Elves Handbook pretty much put the Mary Sue into the modern D&D concept of Elves. Elven music (for a race that wasn't allowed to even have Bards) was described as being so ethereally beautiful that the sound of their children singing a lullaby would make a human master musician deafen himself so that he never heard anything else again. It was the most egregious of purple prose, and I expected a chapter about how elven poop magically revitalized the forest and smelled like lilacs, or how an elf could burp the 1812 overture, if they ever actually burped, which, of course, they don't, because it's tacky.

Elves, in D&D, are a weak race, mechanically. Sickly, with a Favored Class choice that doesn't synergize with their attributes, and a mish-mash of racial abilities that don't give them anywhere near the mechanical benefits of a Dwarf, Halfling or Human, they come nowhere near the LA+5 critters that would represent Tolkien Elves (give an Elf the Half-Celestial template, and you'd be *close*).

The main reason to play an elf is to role-play an elf, and, in my experience, too many elf-fans role-play them as haughty superior beings full of ageless wisdom and fair to the eyes of all who behold them, which would be fine if they were playing Tolkien elves, but since they are playing D&D Elves, rattling cough, scrawny limbs, unsightly warts and all, just has the character come off as mockably self-deluded, like an entire race of Don Quixotes.

Elves are a classic case of the fluff and the crunch being at odds, and, to be fair, much of the 'fluff' assigned to the elves comes from fond memories of Legolas and Galadrial, and not from the presentation of elves in D&D.

To play off of this, swapping elves around so that they have a few cantrip level illusion SLAs, similar to a Gnome, and practice all sorts of 'faerie glamor,' reinforcing their somewhat skewed worldview with illusory scapes and magical disguises, to look as impressive and awe-inspiring as they like to believe themselves to be, could be an amusing poke at the mechanical nature of LA+0 D&D Elves, as opposed to the 'Complete Book of Elves' view of the race as some sort of ubermenschen.

hamishspence
2009-06-23, 03:31 PM
Given the sheer malevolence of some of the Faerun elves of the past, and not the drow in this case, Faerun doesn't always portray them in a good light.

You've got elves who breed with demons, elves who commit mass murder, ones who caused dragons to go into devastating Dracorages for the past 26000 years, ones who are highly racist against other subraces of elves, the list goes on.

Set
2009-06-23, 03:39 PM
in Libris Mortis, vampires have to both drink blood and drain energy- and the drain energy is an "Inescapable craving" whereas drinking blood is "diet dependant"

While a neat idea, it's not really core, and some of the numbers they use mess with the story use of these undead. Tons of modules have PCs stumble into undead in tombs or warrens that have been sealed for decades, or even centuries (if not millenia!), and yet the diet dependent rules would have some of these undead crippled and / or mad within *days* of not being able to kill something.

When an optional rule gets in the way of that many published adventures, I'm prone to leave it strictly 'optional.'

Given that many of these undead also pass on their curse, the world would be overrun with shadows, ghouls, spectres, wraiths, vampires, etc. within a matter of months, as many of them would be compelled to kill every single living thing they encountered, regardless of how intelligent some of them are! That's more of an issue with Create Spawn, though.

It's a cool idea, particularly for the undead that actually do feed (ghouls and vampires), but the mechanics behind it's execution went way overboard, IMO. It also feels very strange to invent a creature with no Constitution score, and thus no potential to ever 'starve,' and then give it a need to consume something or 'starve.' Either it's got a metabolism, and, therefore, a Con score, or it doesn't.

Eurantien
2009-06-23, 03:47 PM
So, it seems, the stereotypes aren't so stereotypical after all :smallbiggrin:

hamishspence
2009-06-23, 03:47 PM
Given that many of these undead also pass on their curse, the world would be overrun with shadows, ghouls, spectres, wraiths, vampires, etc. within a matter of months, as many of them would be compelled to kill every single living thing they encountered, regardless of how intelligent some of them are! That's more of an issue with Create Spawn, though.

It's a cool idea, particularly for the undead that actually do feed (ghouls and vampires), but the mechanics behind it's execution went way overboard, IMO. It also feels very strange to invent a creature with no Constitution score, and thus no potential to ever 'starve,' and then give it a need to consume something or 'starve.' Either it's got a metabolism, and, therefore, a Con score, or it doesn't.

Its been used in 4th ed too- Open Grave, basically, the 4th ed equivalent of Libris Mortis.

It also points out creating spawn is something an undead can choose not to do, overriding "person killed this way arises the next night as X."

And they might uses restraint. Though the ones locked away for years are harder to explain, maybe they can hibernate in some way.

Eating is explained in Open Grave as enabling some to arrest and reverse the decay process.

Murdim
2009-06-23, 03:47 PM
Given the sheer malevolence of some of the Faerun elves of the past, and not the drow in this case, Faerun doesn't always portray them in a good light.

You've got elves who breed with demons, elves who commit mass murder, ones who caused dragons to go into devastating Dracorages for the past 26000 years, ones who are highly racist against other subraces of elves, the list goes on.Well, I know that Faerunian elves are far from always being paragons of Goodness, but I also consider that sueishness is about qualities, not morals. You don't need to be Good to be a Mary Sue, just to be ridiculously "perfect", be it in goodness or in evilness, in kindness or in jerkiness.

Shademan
2009-06-23, 03:58 PM
on katana: katana? BAH! get yerself a good ol' grosse messer. It's big and beautiful and will cut trough a man like a cheese.

on elfs: THEY CAUSE CANCER!

Altima
2009-06-23, 07:39 PM
I always figured the reason elves (and dwarves, and other long-lived races) were so, erm, impressive in D&D is that they have a higher number of adventurer level individuals than other races--so, maybe 1 in 10 elves are adventurer material as opposed to maybe 1 in 100 humans. They die just as easily as any level 1 adventurer, but the ones who survive...

I've never really had a problem with elves. Maybe it's because I see that they're only put on a pedastal as a comparison to humans, who despite all their 'weaknesses' of not having that, STILL manage to outdo elves (or any other fantasy race).

Still, I'm having fun with my hobgoblin dominated world.

DamnedIrishman
2009-06-23, 07:44 PM
So, it seems, the stereotypes aren't so stereotypical after all :smallbiggrin:

No, they are. There's just contrary examples to most things. Just like real-life stereotypes.

ResplendentFire
2009-06-23, 08:12 PM
In today's era of equality and tolerance (ahem), this gives dozens of (often poor) authors the opportunity to tap the "misunderstood" line.

You know, I've seen tolerance blamed for some dodgy stuff, but this is just about the dodgiest. It gives us bad fiction?

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein taps the "misunderstood" line, btw.



And, there's the irony. In D&D, the 'racial stereotype' is 'always Chaotic Evil.' Having a more humane and nuanced vampire would actually be breaking the D&D stereotype! (Although most D&D fans are so sick to death of Lestat and Twilight and 'woe is me, alone I weep my outcast state!' vampires that they, quite understandably, knee-jerk against the idea, because of the surfeit of truly awful purple prose out there.)

I'm not a big fan of Anne Rice, but I wanted to point out that Lestat is not a "woe is me, alone I weep my outcast state" character. From the first day he's turned, he kills without remorse. In Interview With the Vampire he's shown as an abusive monster, and Louis is the regretful one who tries to cling to his humanity, frequently to Lestat's contempt. It's interesting how pervasive the notion that Anne Rice's vampires are all about angst has become that Lestat is constantly characterized as something other than a serial killer.



I've never really had a problem with elves. Maybe it's because I see that they're only put on a pedastal as a comparison to humans, who despite all their 'weaknesses' of not having that, STILL manage to outdo elves (or any other fantasy race).

Ah, people are just annoyed because elves are uppity. All the other demihuman races know their places as inferior or subordinate to humanity, or at least existing as cannon fodder for adventurers to level up on. Elves have the gall to think they're better than humans.

Okay, aside from tongue-in-cheekness, I don't really have a problem with elves. I tend to find that a lot of people who complain about elves tend to complain about some of the people who played elves in their games.

A lot of it feels fairly straw mannish to me, although I can't really deny that people do play (and write) elves like that more frequently than is probably reasonable.

Plus, yeah, giving third edition elves a con penalty made no sense. I don't think that the -2 con would make them a veritable den of plague and imminent extinction that some posters are talking about, but if you're going to have a long-lived race, at least give them their health.

Arachu
2009-06-23, 10:10 PM
EDIT: Spoilered in consideration for anyone who did not read Frankenstein.
Well, to be fair Mary Shelley changed the 'monster' to actually become a monster over time. He was misunderstood, but that changed until he became a genocidal (in regards to Frankenstein's family) maniac.

Then, at the end, he realized what he did and changed back-dramatically ("I will walk to the north pole and burn myself", you know).

So, he was misunderstood regarding what he was, but what he did (even if somewhat justified) was completely over-the-top.

Still feel sad for him though...

ResplendentFire
2009-06-23, 11:29 PM
EDIT: Spoilered in consideration for anyone who did not read Frankenstein.
Well, to be fair Mary Shelley changed the 'monster' to actually become a monster over time. He was misunderstood, but that changed until he became a genocidal (in regards to Frankenstein's family) maniac.

Then, at the end, he realized what he did and changed back-dramatically ("I will walk to the north pole and burn myself", you know).

So, he was misunderstood regarding what he was, but what he did (even if somewhat justified) was completely over-the-top.

Still feel sad for him though...

All fair points - but my point is that "misunderstood monsters" aren't just this thing that came about because of civil rights activism and laws in the past 40 years, and that was a really silly thing for anyone to say.

Arachu
2009-06-23, 11:42 PM
True enough-though it has seen considerably more use...

TheThan
2009-06-24, 12:17 AM
While people can justify vampires all they want, the fact remains that they are still bloodthirsty monsters. They have no remorse for their victims. Even Louis who started out remorseful eventually did turn to killing humans for sustenance. Why? Because that became his nature when he was turned, sure he resisted it but eventually he did give in and started feeding on humans.

I believe that when a character changes into a vampire, they donít just become immortal. They go through a change in character and nature. They cease being the person they were in life, and become something else, something, sinister, dark and truly terrifying.



As for the Elf and the sword thing, it seems to me that elves would naturally gravitate towards rapiers and similar weapons. They are fast, elegant, require a lot of dexterity and are generally very elfy in style. I think the samurai sword thing is just a manifestation of the Mary Sue angle theyíve fallen into.

Iím working on a fantasy role-playing game (hate to call it dnd really). Anyway when I started thinking about races I decided to simply give each race one ability adjustment.
Hereís what I came up with:



Dwarf: +2 constitution
Elf: +2 wisdom
Gnome: +2 intelligence
Halfing: +2 dexterity
Human: +2 any single ability score
Orc: +2 strength



Sure most of these fit into the basic stereotypes we see for each race. Except gnomes, Iíve decided that gnomes are innately magical beings, because of that they are the masters of arcane magic. They built a civilization around it, but they started to abuse their power and eventually their society collapsed. The survivors now take magic very seriously. They can be found as headmasters of universities and as the leaders of wizard guilds. They are a somewhat somber people; not the happy go lucky harmless trickster gnomes that we all know.

Elves are a long-lived species, and because of their long lives, they donít breed quickly. In fact, you could go so far to say they are somewhat impotent. Which means they have never been able to rise to dominance. They simply donít have the numbers to allow for it, especially since they compete with orcs for resources. Because of their expanded lifespans, they get a bonus to wisdom, since you know, they've been there, and done that.

Trizap
2009-06-24, 12:34 AM
to get rid of fantasy racial stereotypes:

dwarves: make them greedy thieves who sneak silently in the darkness of their tunnels, stealing from people in the dark tunnels, wearing black leather and wielding knives

Elves: make them crazy tribal warrior barbarians who completely in tune with nature who are so xenophobic they believe other races are weak because they use advanced technology also, make these elves darwinist

orcs: make them plant people who are powered by the sun, a sophisticated people who like magic a lot, but reasonable and wise with it, who like progress and civilization

gnomes: simple, make em warriors who use their smaller size and lower center of gravity plus their mind for tactics, a people who desire battle for conquest or to constantly challenge themselves against a world that thinks them small wimps to prove said world WRONG.

goblins: make them sly merchants and con-men, clever guys who use their brain first, brawn last and survive in the world by manipulating everyone against each other, making deals and money to come out on top as the clever smart masters, making sure they always profit.

that should get rid of it all.

Ravens_cry
2009-06-24, 12:52 AM
That doesn't get rid of the stereotypes, that just replaces them. Now, a clan of Dwarves who wears leather and sneaks around in the dark tunnels, creating cultural variation within the races, would be more truly bucking the stereotype, in my opinion.

Trizap
2009-06-24, 02:10 AM
That doesn't get rid of the stereotypes, that just replaces them. Now, a clan of Dwarves who wears leather and sneaks around in the dark tunnels, creating cultural variation within the races, would be more truly bucking the stereotype, in my opinion.

ok, just make some of them be like that instead of all of them.

Shademan
2009-06-24, 02:22 AM
but if you take away stereotypes don't you take away the race as well?
I mean, if you pull a "our --- is different" so hard that the race do not resemble the general view people have of said race does that not kinda ruin it?
Orcs (for example) as kind, wizards living in orderly fashion, and being little more than green humans, it would feel kinda wrong to call them orcs I think.


:smallconfused:

Avilan the Grey
2009-06-24, 02:29 AM
on katana: katana? BAH! get yerself a good ol' grosse messer. It's big and beautiful and will cut trough a man like a cheese.

on elfs: THEY CAUSE CANCER!


"Mom says Elves give you the clapper!"

ResplendentFire
2009-06-24, 02:30 AM
True enough-though it has seen considerably more use...

A lot of story tropes have seen considerably more use in the past 40 years. It might have something to do with having access to considerably more stories. More novels, more TV shows, more of just about everything.

The comment in question comes off as little more than a thinly veiled complaint about "political correctness." Like how all this "being nice to people" is just spoiling everyone's fun.


While people can justify vampires all they want, the fact remains that they are still bloodthirsty monsters. They have no remorse for their victims. Even Louis who started out remorseful eventually did turn to killing humans for sustenance. Why? Because that became his nature when he was turned, sure he resisted it but eventually he did give in and started feeding on humans.

I believe that when a character changes into a vampire, they donít just become immortal. They go through a change in character and nature. They cease being the person they were in life, and become something else, something, sinister, dark and truly terrifying.

The fact remains that vampires are from folklore and fiction, don't really exist, and don't have a set of ironclad traits that everyone must agree to use. I'm not going to argue that you should like some of the ways that they're used, and I think you have some valid critiques about how vampires have been used poorly in fiction, but it's weirding me out when you say stuff like "The fact remains..." as if there's some kind of platonic ideal of a vampire that all fictional works must aspire to. Not all vampire stories need to serve the needs of having a remorseless killer, and quite a few focus on people who are psychologically human thrust into the position of being a bloodsucking nocturnal predator - several rather good stories that simply would not exist if everyone agreed with you.

I believe that when a character changes into a vampire that what happens next is dependent upon the fictional milieu in which this happens, and the assumptions surrounding vampires. in D&D, this means they become monsters. In Buffy, they become soulless monsters. In Vampire: The Requiem, they retain their sense of humanity, even as they lose their actual humanity, because that's a central conflict that the setting assumes - how do normal humans cope with this?

Also, Louis ultimately threw himself into a bonfire.

Eurantien
2009-06-24, 04:34 AM
Originally posted by ResplendentFire
The comment in question comes off as little more than a thinly veiled complaint about "political correctness." Like how all this "being nice to people" is just spoiling everyone's fun.


It was actually more a shot at some of the authors who use and abuse these themes. Political correctness is an entirely different topic I'm not going to get into. My point was that there are quite a lot of mediocre novels out there that play off this theme, and that's their only real selling point. There's also nothing to distinguish between them. The stereotype has in fact become that all vampires are nice people, just like "all drow are chaotic good rangers". I'm more going off on a tangent about literature in general, but I'll stop now.

Set
2009-06-24, 09:00 AM
So, it seems, the stereotypes aren't so stereotypical after all.

True. Indeed, many of the 'stereotypes' and 'cliches' that we are tired of were originally examples of 'fresh' exceptions that have been dragged out well past being exceptions to become the rule.

And that seems to be something of a draw for people in general, to take a character and say, 'Oh, he's a dwarf, but he's also a bard specializing in sea-chanties, a sailor/navigator and *friendly.*' or 'Oh, he's an elf, but he's a barbarian, a bit of slob, and likes ritual scarification.' He's a drow, but good. He's a vampire, but feels really bad about it. He's a four foot tall hairy bad-smelling psycho-killer with claws who worked as a government assassin for decades, but he's also a really noble samurai-kinda guy and the chicks totally dig him! No really! Stop laughing!

It's easy to hate on Drizzt (and all the crap that came from his exception, such as entire communities of Eilistraee-worshipping 'good dark elves' dancing nekkid in the moonlight), but he was written as a one-in-a-million exception to the 'always Chaotic Evil' rule.

There's even a book about a 'good' vampire (Jan Sunstar? I dunno.) set in the Realms, but the vast, vast, vast majority of D&D vampires are as bad as they come.

Given the nature of the D&D vampire, a 'good vampire' would still be bucking the racial stereotype presented in the Monster Manual, even if we, after decades of Anne Rice and Vampire the Masquerade and True Blood and Twilight and Buffy-style 'soulless killer and rapist, but still considered a good guy' vampires, have already seen that 'racial stereotype' bucked more times than we care to remember *in other media.*

It's strange to try and talk about racial stereotypes *in D&D*, when all this extra baggage from everything else (Tolkien elves, Twilight sparkle-vampires, etc.) keeps creeping in.

I guess the most fun bucking of stereotypes would buck not only the D&D stereotype (CE monster vamps, frail wussy elves) *and* overplayed media stereotypes (sparkly nice vampires, uber-elven demigods).

Vampires that only drain energy from the living in their gaseous-looking 'astral forms,' hovering over sleeping victims and leaving them frozen to death in their beds, all of the warmth and life drained from them, would be suitably different. Having them not just drain warmth, but perhaps even drain hope, and love, leaving their repeat victims alive, but emotionally numb, or prone to acts of inexplicable violence, while the vampire, itself emotionally numb, would experience moments of bliss, recapturing sensations of life from the stolen energies of it's prey (perhaps recharging supernatural abilities in this manner, or stealing memories, thoughts and dreams, so much that the vampire ends up stalking people that the victim loves, as it has become 'infected' with the loving memories the victim had for these new soon-to-be victims...).

Elves that are unseelie pranksters, not purely malicious like drow, but not quite as harmless as gnomes, could also be a fairly non-traditional elf (or, more to the point, very, very traditional, complete with elf-shooting cattle so that they sicken and die, kidnapping people and returning them years later, having aged not a day, etc, etc.). Elves could become the 'gray aliens' of the fantasy era, scrawny big-eyed dudes who mutilate cattle and make crop circles (which power rituals that cause all sorts of unpleasantness, such as the birth of two-headed calves, or changeling children, or the spoilage of all food within a couple of miles), and sometimes abduct people to their land under the hill, people who return with strange memories, altered personalities, years missing from their lives, and strange items implanted in their bodies (items that may allow their captors to scry on them, or even influence their actions!).

Is it any wonder that the People Under the Hill are called by some the 'Gray Elves?'

Set
2009-06-24, 09:05 AM
My point was that there are quite a lot of mediocre novels out there that play off this theme, and that's their only real selling point. There's also nothing to distinguish between them. The stereotype has in fact become that all vampires are nice people, just like "all drow are chaotic good rangers". I'm more going off on a tangent about literature in general, but I'll stop now.

It's very on topic, actually. That's what this thread is all about, after all, bucking racial stereotypes. We're doing the very thing that R.A. Salvatore did when he made a 'good drow.' We're doing the very thing that the Vampire player does when he says, 'I wanna play a Brujah, who is a pacifist!' or 'I want to play a Tremere who thinks Thaumaturgy is a trap, and sticks to Dominate.'

Eventually the exceptions become the new norm, and we find ourselves backpedaling to find something that feels original, even if by 'original' we mean, like the 30 Days of Night vampires, who are more like the original conceptions than the new exceptions-become-rule.

And so, the person who wants to be 'original' is always running ahead (or looking way back) trying to find ideas that the hoi-polloi aren't using.

Telonius
2009-06-24, 09:43 AM
Racial stereotypes...

Gnomes: mad scientists. Magnificent little psychopaths. Wonderfully fun to play them like that, but it does get kind of tiresome. Gnomish society couldn't function if every other workshop really were constantly exploding from some new experiment. Why not a Gnomish Bard? I'd bet their poetry would be very regimented, almost like haiku or sonnets.

Dwarves: come in three flavors, Drunk, Scottish, and Stubborn. Try playing one as though he were a merchant. Is he really stubborn, or do they get that reputation for being so skilled at bargaining that they nearly always get what they want out of a deal?

Elves: Super-hippies or Legolas clones. Pshaw! Play one as something other than sweetness and light. Think Noldor. Craftsman, but has lost his homeland; or followed by a dark curse due to his own terrible deeds. Leave off the angst, and it could be wonderful roleplaying. Also, what stops Elves from having cities in caves? Remember Gondolin!

Halfling: lovable thieves, homebodies, or dinosaur-riders. But what would a spellcaster from Halfling culture look like? Or an oppressive knight?

Half-Orc: dumb as a rock, conflicted about his culture, and ugly, ugly, ugly. The last two aren't necessarily bad things, since they might reasonably be expected to happen. But why not play it in a non-standard way? The half-orc decides to be extremely meticulous about personal appearance. Only the best fashions, trying to reach the epitome of physical perfection and grace. Insecure all the way through, but that insecurity is directed inwards instead of outwards in hostility.

Half-Elf: good at negotiation, conflicted about his culture, and pretty, pretty, pretty. See Half-Orc. Why not try to play it as something other than a negotiator? (Yeah, mechanics, I know). You got tired of all the kids making fun of you for starting to become a spoony bard, so you went macho! Play it up with the bravado, singing is for wimps.

Set
2009-06-24, 09:53 AM
Halfling: lovable thieves, homebodies, or dinosaur-riders. But what would a spellcaster from Halfling culture look like? Or an oppressive knight?

Best thing 3.X did, IMO, was allow any class to be any race.

Dwarven geomantic sorcerers and rune-wizards? Check!

Halfling Paladins of Arvoreen, the Defender? Check!

Dissipated elven 'nobles' who combine their races focuses on martial training, arcane lore and a knack for artistic expression to be Bards? Check!

The various racial societies from 1st and 2nd edition change dramatically when Dwarves can have as many prominent arcanists as humans, and Gnomes can be Dire Badger-riding Barbarians!

Coidzor
2009-06-24, 10:49 AM
That doesn't get rid of the stereotypes, that just replaces them. Now, a clan of Dwarves who wears leather and sneaks around in the dark tunnels, creating cultural variation within the races, would be more truly bucking the stereotype, in my opinion.

...So Dwarves are roaming/roving BDSM enthusiasts who encourage other races to try new things?

Arachu
2009-06-24, 11:22 AM
The Gnome I play in my campaign has Abyssal blood. He 'learns' spells as a Cleric does, but from the Wizard list. He can cast any non-metamagic low-level spell with impunity. In the Abyss, he can cast 9th-level spells at 4th level.

But, because of the nature of the magic itself (pure energy, not negative) he can manifest positive and negative spells, despite their dark roots.


How's that for atypical? :smallamused:

Shademan
2009-06-24, 01:00 PM
do the aasimar and tiefling have any stereotypes? all times I have seen one played the player didnt put much focus on it at all.
except from my most recent game where he was the lost heir to hell... sort of.

Ravens_cry
2009-06-24, 01:24 PM
...So Dwarves are roaming/roving BDSM enthusiasts who encourage other races to try new things?
The 'creating cultural variation' wasn't exactly about the proposed leather loving dwarves, but more about how creating cultural variation among the races, and not treating each as a monolithic entity, is better for creating a rich and imaginative world then simply replacing the monolithic stereotype with something new but still monolithic.

Arachu
2009-06-24, 01:29 PM
do the aasimar and tiefling have any stereotypes? all times I have seen one played the player didnt put much focus on it at all.
except from my most recent game where he was the lost heir to hell... sort of.

It's in the descriptions. Aasimar are always attractive, and often caring.
Tieflings are less attractive, and often psychotic.

And now, I'm thinking of making a Tiefling protagonist, against an evil Aasimar.
Unoriginal, I know, but entertaining.

Eurantien
2009-06-24, 01:51 PM
do the aasimar and tiefling have any stereotypes? all times I have seen one played the player didnt put much focus on it at all.
except from my most recent game where he was the lost heir to hell... sort of.

In my 4e campaign, I have a player playing a tiefling cleric of Pelor who hides her hornsa and tail, trying to fit into society. She's a pacifist, even on the defensive, and getting her to attack anything that's not Undead or a monster is actually quite hard, but occasionally her dark nature manifests and she fights as ferciously as anyone. It's good RPing and helps to keep our oh-so-typical psychopath rogue in check.


Originally posted by Set
Vampires that only drain energy from the living in their gaseous-looking 'astral forms,' hovering over sleeping victims and leaving them frozen to death in their beds, all of the warmth and life drained from them, would be suitably different. Having them not just drain warmth, but perhaps even drain hope, and love, leaving their repeat victims alive, but emotionally numb, or prone to acts of inexplicable violence, while the vampire, itself emotionally numb, would experience moments of bliss, recapturing sensations of life from the stolen energies of it's prey (perhaps recharging supernatural abilities in this manner, or stealing memories, thoughts and dreams, so much that the vampire ends up stalking people that the victim loves, as it has become 'infected' with the loving memories the victim had for these new soon-to-be victims...).


If you've read Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere", then you'll have encountered the Lahmia who drain the warmth from their victims after seducing them, to remember fleetingly the comfort of life. They were really creepy actually.

Umael
2009-06-24, 02:47 PM
Ah, the thrill of discussing racism and stereotypes in a fantasy game.

I think that a lot of stereotypes need to be understood as not being cliche or unimaginative, but as necessary. Dragons sitting on their hoards was because they were supposed to epitomize greed. Symbolically, the dragon has been an evil creature in folklore, the greatest adversary a hero (a knight) can conquer. The dragon is also one of the forms of the Devil, apparently, and St. George definitely found his dragon on a white square (kudos for those of you who get the referrence). Likewise, vampires as bloodthirsty (literally) monsters confined to the night also touches on symbolic imagery.

Of course, you can always create a character to go against the grain, but how? With a penalty to charisma and bonus to constitution, a dwarf makes a poor sorceror, but a decent wizard and a darn good fighter. So playing a dwarf fighter is a good idea, not just a stereotype. Of course, you can just as easily to a warrior-type cleric, a barbarian, a paladin, or a ranger and do just fine as a dwarf.

(I played a dwarf fighter a few years ago - nothing special... except that he was gay... his name was Longshaft the Flamingbeard...)

And stereotypes also serve to highlight trends - which can also serve to give ideas. For example, in a world I want to run, I have three elf "species" you can play:

Tolkien - elegant, graceful, but lacking in initiative and daring (long lives, low reproduction); possesses ears only slightly pointed
Pini - short-lived, small, plucky and tough elves; possesses ears that are large and extremely pointed
Anime - strong, fast, tough, but lacking in intelligence or common sense, as well as having an insane sex drive; possesses ears that are nothing but big, huge points that stick straight out from their heads like fleshy leaf-life spikes

I say that stereotypes should be acknowledged and respected as "that's the way it is for good reason" when it is good reason. Otherwise, you can take your stereotypical emo 4.0 tieflings and let me have my perky Goth Tiefling Wizard "Mistress Brightmoon", thank you very much.

Set
2009-06-24, 02:52 PM
do the aasimar and tiefling have any stereotypes? all times I have seen one played the player didnt put much focus on it at all.

It seems to me that, in general, Aasimar and Tieflings are usually defined by their heritage. Either they are going with it (Tiefling Warlock or Assassin, Aasimar Paladin or Cleric) or they are knee-jerk reacting against it (Tiefling Paladin, Aasimar Warlock).

Playing one up as ignorant of it's parentage, and thus utterly unaware of how it is 'supposed to act,' or thoroughly disinterested in it's heritage, could make for some variation on the theme. Going a step further, and having an Aasimar or Tiefling further developing off of their outsider ancestry, perhaps as an Angel-Blooded Sorcerer (PrC from Sword & Sorcery's Players Guide to Wizards, Bards and Sorcerers) or something, but remaining strictly neutral, and being coldly and clinically interested in exploring the powers that come from their heritage, while holding their outsider parent / ancestor in contempt, could make for a different angle.

An Aasimar / Tiefling Sorcerer (Cleric, Wizard, etc.) who has the life-goal of getting enough power to be able to summon and Planar Bind / Ally their parent, to force them to make up for abandoning them on this plane, or get them back for the way they left their mom, or whatever, would also be an unusual twist. Define the character not by his heritage, but by his anger and sense of betrayal towards his specific outsider parent!

"So 'dad,' I'm sure you're really busy in Hell or whatever, so I won't keep you long. A decade or two. Give us some quality time to do a little family bonding, make up for all those birthdays you missed, all that fatherly wisdom you failed to provide. Now, now, the threats mean nothing, thanks to that magic circle. It's your fault this is happening, after all. A young man needs guidance, isn't that right?"

The ultimate in 'daddy issues' with a side-trek into Stephen King's Misery.

<strokes fist-sized ruby used for Trap the Soul, in which a figure can be seen dimly, with the faintest sound of screaming from within>

"And now you'll never leave me again."

Arachu
2009-06-24, 03:02 PM
It seems to me that, in general, Aasimar and Tieflings are usually defined by their heritage. Either they are going with it (Tiefling Warlock or Assassin, Aasimar Paladin or Cleric) or they are knee-jerk reacting against it (Tiefling Paladin, Aasimar Warlock).

Playing one up as ignorant of it's parentage, and thus utterly unaware of how it is 'supposed to act,' or thoroughly disinterested in it's heritage, could make for some variation on the theme. Going a step further, and having an Aasimar or Tiefling further developing off of their outsider ancestry, perhaps as an Angel-Blooded Sorcerer (PrC from Sword & Sorcery's Players Guide to Wizards, Bards and Sorcerers) or something, but remaining strictly neutral, and being coldly and clinically interested in exploring the powers that come from their heritage, while holding their outsider parent / ancestor in contempt, could make for a different angle.

An Aasimar / Tiefling Sorcerer (Cleric, Wizard, etc.) who has the life-goal of getting enough power to be able to summon and Planar Bind / Ally their parent, to force them to make up for abandoning them on this plane, or get them back for the way they left their mom, or whatever, would also be an unusual twist. Define the character not by his heritage, but by his anger and sense of betrayal towards his specific outsider parent!

"So 'dad,' I'm sure you're really busy in Hell or whatever, so I won't keep you long. A decade or two. Give us some quality time to do a little family bonding, make up for all those birthdays you missed, all that fatherly wisdom you failed to provide. Now, now, the threats mean nothing, thanks to that magic circle. It's your fault this is happening, after all. A young man needs guidance, isn't that right?"

The ultimate in 'daddy issues' with a side-trek into Stephen King's Misery.

<strokes fist-sized ruby used for Trap the Soul, in which a figure can be seen dimly, with the faintest sound of screaming from within>

"And now you'll never leave me again."

I got chills reading this.

You, sir, have excellent ideas :smallbiggrin:

Magicus
2009-06-24, 03:30 PM
(I played a dwarf fighter a few years ago - nothing special... except that he was gay... his name was Longshaft the Flamingbeard...)
This. My character in a campaign that recently wrapped up (City of the Spider Queen adapted to 3.5) was a gay Dwarven Warblade known as Tokor Starsmasher, an outcast from his clan seeking glory and immortality. He actually had an 18 CHA (after items and stat increases) and Leadership - which he used to recruit an entourage of Bards, Swashbucklers, and Aristocrats to sing his praises. His cohort and lover was a human Beguiler called Jin Falstaff, and they had amazing adventures together in the Underdark. One of my favorite characters.

Xenogears
2009-06-24, 03:49 PM
His cohort and lover was a human Beguiler called Jin Falstaff, and they had amazing adventures together in the Underdark

Sorry but that sounds like a really creepy innuendo...

Interesting character tho

Badgercloak
2009-06-24, 03:52 PM
I loath the default gnome fluff. I ran a game where gnomes were more like Native Americans.

Oh and Drizz't being a paradigm of drow society.

Fiery Justice
2009-06-24, 04:03 PM
As far as Aasimar go, I normally pictured them as having distinctly alien mindsets. Most mortals have distinct concerns with things like the lives of their loved ones, comfort, all kinds of petty physical things. But Aasimar transcend that kind of thinking, taking no real regard for human life except insofar as it concerns human souls. They take, in a sort of cosmically foolish way, an attitude towards mortality that is very immortal. Good actions are good, evil actions are bad, all circumstantial feelings and events (pain or comfort, happiness or sadness) are largely irrelevant.

So an Aasimar would likely freak out if, for instance, his friend stole something. He's endangering his immortal soul! How could he? It's the height of foolishness! But if the same friend died it wouldn't really disturb him. Why should it? The Aasimar knows that his friend has been carried off to his eternal reward, the lost of his flesh is no real loss at all. The Aasimar is fundamentally rooted in that world, not this one, his friend might as well have moved across the country. Sure he won't see him for awhile, but he'll be happy there.

Similarly, they are good at forging deep and abiding love but its almost always charity (selfless, unconditional compassion) instead of the relationship of lovers or friends. This means that people who long since regard Aasimar as dear or special find that the Aasimar regards them in much the same way that he regards everyone else.

This kind of attitude makes them the ideal instrument of the upper planes. They are willing to die, though not eager, they neither need nor want much besides basic physical needs and occasional conversations to stave off loneliness, their loyalty is almost always with "the heavens" as opposed to with lover, friend, or family, and they have no real place in the world so they can be sent anywhere.

Arachu
2009-06-24, 07:06 PM
Conversely, however, if one were to perceive the sheer indestructibility that evil possesses, he might take a "screw it, I don't even care" standpoint.

An Aasimar might actually be even more likely than a human to develop forms of insanity (if, as you assert, they see no point in personal relationships, one can see them becoming 'cold-blooded').

So, in the same sense that one can envisage an "embodiment of good" Aasimar, one might also imagine an emotionless, psychopathic Aasimar.

Bit of a backfire for Celestia, eh?

ResplendentFire
2009-06-24, 09:50 PM
I loath the default gnome fluff. I ran a game where gnomes were more like Native Americans.

Oh and Drizz't being a paradigm of drow society.

I don't know about directly drawing upon real world cultures like that (especially when you're drawing from such a broad and diverse category as "Native Americans") but have you seen the gnomes in Scarred Lands: Termana?


It was actually more a shot at some of the authors who use and abuse these themes. Political correctness is an entirely different topic I'm not going to get into. My point was that there are quite a lot of mediocre novels out there that play off this theme, and that's their only real selling point. There's also nothing to distinguish between them. The stereotype has in fact become that all vampires are nice people, just like "all drow are chaotic good rangers". I'm more going off on a tangent about literature in general, but I'll stop now.

"Political correctness" is a straw man used by some people to justify why they should be able to talk about and treat other people like crap without being called on it. :smallamused:

You're right that a lot of mediocre novels misuse civil rights themes, but I wouldn't argue that it's always inapplicable, and if you want to tell a story about vampires and humans coexisting, drawing on civil rights movements is a valid approach. And if you want that coexistence to be possible, you need to have vampires who can at least appear to be amicable.

Christopher Golden's Shadow Saga (http://www.christophergolden.com/shadowsaga.html) kind of covers this ground, but with everything falling apart rather violently, simply because not all vampires were nice people, and many had quite the bloodlust.

TheThan
2009-06-24, 10:53 PM
The fact remains that vampires are from folklore and fiction, don't really exist, and don't have a set of ironclad traits that everyone must agree to use. I'm not going to argue that you should like some of the ways that they're used, and I think you have some valid critiques about how vampires have been used poorly in fiction, but it's weirding me out when you say stuff like "The fact remains..." as if there's some kind of platonic ideal of a vampire that all fictional works must aspire to. Not all vampire stories need to serve the needs of having a remorseless killer, and quite a few focus on people who are psychologically human thrust into the position of being a bloodsucking nocturnal predator - several rather good stories that simply would not exist if everyone agreed with you.

I believe that when a character changes into a vampire that what happens next is dependent upon the fictional milieu in which this happens, and the assumptions surrounding vampires. in D&D, this means they become monsters. In Buffy, they become soulless monsters. In Vampire: The Requiem, they retain their sense of humanity, even as they lose their actual humanity, because that's a central conflict that the setting assumes - how do normal humans cope with this?


I did a little bit of research on the subject ala wikipedia ( yeah I know not the most accurate thing ever), and I noticed that all the folklore and mythology behind vampires all have one thing in common, they are all bloodthirsty monsters. They all attack people and kill them by draining their blood. Naturally the specifics differ by region. So my statements about what vampires ďareĒ is fairly right on, at least according to what I read (which I do admit is not the most extensive research project ever). When you change that aspect of vampires they suddenly arenít vampires anymore, now they are something else. Iím not sure what, but they are something else. Everything else is just the specific details.

A story about someone becoming a vampire that starts to slowly loose his humanity sounds interesting. But a story about a guy who suddenly lives forever, becomes super strong and resilient, but canít go out when the sun is out doesnít really sound all that interesting.

Limos
2009-06-24, 11:08 PM
All Elves are uppity bastards who never seem to accomplish anything and throw their supposed superiority in you face all the time but no one ever calls them one it.

What makes Elves so great when they have been getting curbstomped by orcs the entire campaign?

Ravens_cry
2009-06-24, 11:22 PM
All Elves are uppity bastards who never seem to accomplish anything and throw their supposed superiority in you face all the time but no one ever calls them one it.

What makes Elves so great when they have been getting curbstomped by orcs the entire campaign?

Calling out a being who could enact terrible revenge on you, your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren, your great great grandchildren, and so forth, sounds to me like a bad idea.
Or maybe that's just me.

chiasaur11
2009-06-24, 11:42 PM
Calling out a being who could enact terrible revenge on you, your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren, your great great grandchildren, and so forth, sounds to me like a bad idea.
Or maybe that's just me.

Oh, right.
They could get Elf blood all over my great grandchildren's nice new armor.

Be a shame, that.

Fortinbras
2009-06-24, 11:50 PM
According to webster a vampire is 1. The reanimated body of a dead person believed to come from the grave at night adn suck the blood of persons asleep. 2. One who lives by preying on others.

Since vampires and other fantasy creatures aren't real you can say whatever you want about them but at some point noone is going to take you even remotely seriously.

Of course Dragons could be small balls of fluf, dwarves could be strange creatures made of ink, and orcs could be really tall humans but eventually when you just completely abandon the current deffiniton of a fantasy creature you are just being really silly.

Arachu
2009-06-24, 11:55 PM
Yes, the Vampire is real.

You see, I have evidence right above this statement; the word "vampire" is real :smalltongue:

(Kapow!)

Altima
2009-06-25, 12:05 AM
To break the ultimate stereotype, you must have the thief rescue the dragon from the evil princess's subterranean obliette.



=snip=

The problem with that is that tieflings and aasimar aren't halfsies. They have fiendish and celestial blood, respectively. In some cases, the taint can last for a thousand generations. Which means mommy and/or daddy won't be a full-blood fiend and/or deva. Plus tiefies and sissies are native outsiders, so...

Though it could have some interesting conversations.

"I've found you, mumsies. Why did you abandon me?"

"I died in childbirth. With you. You're welcome."

"... Well, now you'll never leave me again!"

"Ugh, I should've listened to daddy and clothes-hangared you."

Ravens_cry
2009-06-25, 12:39 AM
Oh, right.
They could get Elf blood all over my great grandchildren's nice new armor.

Be a shame, that.
Tolkiens elves were surprisingly good at the kicking of the butts. It was a half elf who chose the path of the Eldar whose armies brought Morgoth, Saurons boss, to his knees. They also weren't perfect, many of the tragedies of that world came from poor decisions on their part, but they were immortal in the live forever unless killed sense.

Worira
2009-06-25, 12:42 AM
In DnD, however, it takes them 120 years to acquire the skills of 17 year old human.

Ravens_cry
2009-06-25, 12:47 AM
In DnD, however, it takes them 120 years to acquire the skills of 17 year old human.
And it takes a human a bit less then two years to learn how to walk badly, a feat many creatures can do from birth or at most a few hours after.
Your point?

Trizap
2009-06-25, 12:57 AM
.....you know, I think this is all sort of why my novels ain't gonna have these
races........people use them too much, there are too many arguments over whether to stick to stereotype or to deviate from it, too much trouble, really why do people keep focusing on the same ol' races? I guess its too much to ask to make their own, to me, a names just a name the words "elf" "gnome" "dwarf"
"orc" and whatever else are just names is all, I could very well call a rock an elf, or a chair a dwarf or a lamp an orc.

but then again maybe people need their stupid labels, cause for some reason in real life they can't imagine people with different nationalities without a little stereotyping in their heads, don't really surprise me that the stereotypes extend to fantasy creatures as well.

furthermore, I think its kinda weird, cause really we are all talking about fantasy racial stereotypes, but really since these races don't exist, they aren't really around, so we don't KNOW what they would say about this kind of stuff, this discussion or anything, cause they aren't here, so we don't know what they would think on the issue, trying imagine what they would say would result in more stereotyping

and notice you can't talk about fantasy racial stereotypes without mentioning that humans portrayed in the same books and such aren't stereotyped at all and are just as deep, complex and varied as we are in real life, so its kinda hypocritical since they are almost always being the best portrayed.

and notice that the protagonists that the book are centered around are human or elven, cause well humans, and elves are closest to humans, while dwarves and halfling type races? always side characters, methinks we need more halflings and dwarves as main characters.

and then there is always the goblins and orcs being portrayed as alright evil, as well as trolls, ogres, dragons............really to get rid of the racial stereotyping you gotta get rid of the biggest problem of portraying these five races as more than "monster that wants to kill you for kicks and giggles"

I suggest some campaign world where it deconstructs all the stupid stereotypes: our dwarves are the same, king-lead, beer-drinking, mining, heavy-armor wearing, traditionalist elf-hating stubborn people? turns out their government is oppressive, is military ruled and regimented, where anyone expressing an opinion goes missing, full of propaganda, facist, has slogans that encourage them to drink beer which secretly has drugs in it that keeps them from becoming more individual, slogans that also encourage hard work and use elves as scapegoats for all their problems:
"even a hardworking miner is better than an elf"
"a dwarf is good as his armor"
"get an axe! kill those blasted elven trees!"
"magic is for the elves, a dwarf fights fair!"
"For tradition, for the nation, for the king!"
"change is temptation! resist it!"

meanwhile the snobby, we-are-better-than-you elves who love nature, magic, beauty, are arrogant bastards, believing everyone else to be inferior?
sounds like a big vast empire, an imperialist one where elves rule over colonies of humans, believing haughtily that humans are inferior beings who need to be taught their lesson, ruling over the people they believe to be inferior purely through the use of magic and summoned giant beasts, who give the people they rule over no rights and enslave people who resist, all the while acting like Victorian Era Europeans overdressing to ridiculous little parties and extravagant mansions, spending money on cheap beauty and glamor while practical things and needs of common people are ignored, with a few radical elves planning for complete genocide of the "lesser races" and Nazism so that elves, the "perfect people" are the only people left in the world.

meanwhile, orcs, barbarians, berserkers, savage, tribal, thuggish and such, brutal, tough and all that.
well that is because they were driven out of their original lands by elves and humans and had to escape to harsher climates and lands where they had to adapt to the extreme conditions, become tougher, become warriors, training hard and harsh, where they forever curse humans and elves for driving them out of their land and seek revenge for the orcs that have died and want to someday take their land back, not content with just living in the harsh wilderness and seeking better lives, hating humans and elves for what they did, they are sort of rebellious barbarian types who hate the structure of human and elf society and such.

next up is goblins, cowardly, small, weak, also savage and such.
the reason for all of this is because they were also driven out of their lands, but because they are not as adaptable, their bodies are weaker, they almost always found around orcs since they help each other survive and because they share a hatred for the other races for killing a lot of their people and driving them out of their land, their cowardice is pure survival instinct since they know they are small and weak as a result, they are more likely to use their brains, and are also guys just trying to find a better life, also rebellious guys.

and how about them dragons? hmmmm........lets see.......greedy, reclusive, powerful serpents, not many around living in caves hoarding gold......
easy, once upon a time, dragons were united and had many many riches and gold and jewelry, but then one day, dwarves with their greedyness wage war to get the riches, the result is the dragons became few in number, dwarves took all their riches and gold and jewels, so the few remaining left tries to gather as much riches as they can and keep them for themselves, swearing revenge on the greedy dwarves for this atrocity,hating them with a passion

hahahhaha..........and I can't think of anymore to say..........ideas all gone.....

ResplendentFire
2009-06-25, 01:07 AM
I did a little bit of research on the subject ala wikipedia ( yeah I know not the most accurate thing ever), and I noticed that all the folklore and mythology behind vampires all have one thing in common, they are all bloodthirsty monsters. They all attack people and kill them by draining their blood. Naturally the specifics differ by region. So my statements about what vampires ďareĒ is fairly right on, at least according to what I read (which I do admit is not the most extensive research project ever). When you change that aspect of vampires they suddenly arenít vampires anymore, now they are something else. Iím not sure what, but they are something else. Everything else is just the specific details.

The problem I have with this is that of all the folkloric and mythological creatures that inspired any number of fantasy races and monsters, somehow vampires are uniquely required to be "just like the folklore, forever and always (and strictly heterosexual, too!)."

Vampires are all those stories in folklore, but they're also all kinds of stories in novels, movies, and television shows. There's no Vampire Verisimilitude Ratings Board that rates whether vampires as represented in fiction fit closely enough to the mythology to really be vampires.


A story about someone becoming a vampire that starts to slowly loose his humanity sounds interesting. But a story about a guy who suddenly lives forever, becomes super strong and resilient, but canít go out when the sun is out doesnít really sound all that interesting.

Well, of course. Part of the assumed conflict in a story from a vampire's perspective is his humanity vs. his nature, and someone who becomes a vampire who doesn't really deal with the need for blood or the change to mandatory no daylight isn't that exciting - but I'm not really arguing that such stories really need to be encouraged.

In your first post, you specified vampires were inhuman monsters with no trace of humanity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Ruthven_(vampire)) who only came out at night (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varney_the_Vampire) and only attacked members of the opposite sex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmilla).


In DnD, however, it takes them 120 years to acquire the skills of 17 year old human.

Thank god for Rule 0.

Also, 4e doing away with that garbage.

ondonaflash
2009-06-25, 02:02 AM
So since earlier the conversation drifted to Tiefling's I though I'd talk about my own Tiefling character, whose great-great-grandfather was seduced by a succubus and then sold his soul to save the spawn. Flash forward through a long brutal family history, and we've got the tiefling mother and a merchant father.

The character never even learns what he is until daddy gets 86'd by some people trying to scoop up his stock for cheap. At that point he is traumatically exposed to the realities of his existance, and it leaves him with a deeply ingrained bitterness towards the people who hate him, the devil who spawned him, and the gods, who have no place for the unholy spawn of their foes in a kind and benevolent afterlife.

This leads to a sense of existentialism, since he feels that ultimately, whatever he does, he'll still be dropped in Baator once he dies, thus to him morality is ultimately irrelevant since whether he's good or evil he is still up for grabs to whichever devils are strong enough to lay claim to his soul. It also results in him being completely neutral towards sins, all the way from pocket picking to murdering a man because he wanted the mans fancy shirt. Either way it doesn't matter to the tiefling, because it will never effect him.

He's a fun dude to roleplay.

Coidzor
2009-06-25, 02:57 AM
And it takes a human a bit less then two years to learn how to walk badly, a feat many creatures can do from birth or at most a few hours after.
Your point?

DnD asks you to turn off any notion of natural selection and fast forward to continuing issues of societies and species in conflict.

Murdim
2009-06-25, 05:42 AM
somehow vampires are uniquely required to be "just like the folklore, forever and always (and strictly heterosexual, too!)."

[...]

only attacked members of the opposite sex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmilla).

The thing is, for some mysterious reason (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MostWritersAreMale), it's only true for male vampires. Female ones, on the other hand... (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LesbianVampire)

Eurantien
2009-06-25, 09:48 AM
I don't know about directly drawing upon real world cultures like that (especially when you're drawing from such a broad and diverse category as "Native Americans") but have you seen the gnomes in Scarred Lands: Termana?



"Political correctness" is a straw man used by some people to justify why they should be able to talk about and treat other people like crap without being called on it. :smallamused:

You're right that a lot of mediocre novels misuse civil rights themes, but I wouldn't argue that it's always inapplicable, and if you want to tell a story about vampires and humans coexisting, drawing on civil rights movements is a valid approach. And if you want that coexistence to be possible, you need to have vampires who can at least appear to be amicable.

Christopher Golden's Shadow Saga (http://www.christophergolden.com/shadowsaga.html) kind of covers this ground, but with everything falling apart rather violently, simply because not all vampires were nice people, and many had quite the bloodlust.

I steer away from PC. It's silly, and complicated, and is worrying, because what it suggests is that enough people do stuff to require it. I didn't even mean civil rights themes, that could be really interesting, I just meant the general idea of, well, demolishing the stereotype XD. And, in response to something you said earlier, Frankenstein's monster wasn't even really a monster, just a strangely born person. So it was hardly bucking stereotypes. But it'd be silly to argue about this, cos I'm not explaining myself all that well.

Artanis
2009-06-25, 10:38 AM
In DnD, however, it takes them 120 years to acquire the skills of 17 year old human.
Not in 4e. In 4e, Elves age at about the same rate as Humans until they reach maturity, at which point Elves' aging slows waaaaay down compared to that of Humans.

Eurantien
2009-06-25, 11:19 AM
Also, 4e got rid of age tables, so in actual gaming terms, it's really not that important. Not that anyone I know even USED the aging rules on their characters. I can not imagine anything worse than watching your high-level spellcaster waste away and die of old age because you wanted him to START as an old guy, a la gandalf.

hamishspence
2009-06-25, 11:39 AM
3rd ed did the same in Races of the Wild- 25 year old elf = 20 year old human, maturity-wise. The starting age is only the age most elves go out into the world.