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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    The real question is, why did we move away from the original depiction of orcs as pig-men?

    It's still around, but residual. That's why they now all have tusks or big teeth.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Very few orcs in World of Warcraft are actually green. They have a weird physiology that changes their skin color for some reason. That and they are an alien race. Don't forget they are aliens from another planet (maybe plane of existence).

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Masterkerfuffle View Post
    I think it probably started with the Warcraft games. I can't be certain though.
    Nah. Warcraft was ripping off Games Workshop. And those orcs are green. Also Games Workshop were an excellent source for orc minatures and that's where it got into D&D AFAIK.
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    I read it was a consequence of racism. Tolkien actually described his orcs in a letter as resembling Mongolians, whom he also said were hideous to Caucasian peoples. People of color didn't like the 'evil race' being depicted with dark skin, so people started showing them with green skin instead, since obviously there are no green humans on this planet. Same thing happened with goblins, who were originally dark brown. Note btw that goblins, though popular in European folklore, were originally creatures that appeared in hindu scripture. Remember those statues of Shiva dancing? If you look closely, you can see he's dancing on top of miniature monster of some kind (in some statues its more obvious than others). That's a hindu goblin. As for why he's dancing on top of a goblin, there's a story as to the reason for that. It mostly exists to explain the iconography associated with Shiva, such as why he wears a cobra around his neck, and why he has a tiger skin with him all the time.

    I think this may also be the reason why the races of talislanta are such a wide variety of unusual colors: it was to avoid being accused of racism. Though I don't think it really helps. Its still pretty damned obvious that the Jhangarans are based off of Africans, even though they're fairly bright in color and look like something out of star wars.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    Hey, I already said that
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by xBlackWolfx View Post
    I read it was a consequence of racism. Tolkien actually described his orcs in a letter as resembling Mongolians, whom he also said were hideous to Caucasian peoples. People of color didn't like the 'evil race' being depicted with dark skin, so people started showing them with green skin instead, since obviously there are no green humans on this planet.
    The exact wording used was 'the least lovely Mongol-types.' He wasn't saying explicitly that Mongolians were hideous; he was merely saying that the most hideous of the Mongolians did resemble Orcs; for note that beforehand he points out that he is talking specifically about 'the degraded and repulsive versions', not all 'Mongol-types.' Obviously, nowadays it sounds pretty damn insensitive by our standards.
    Many people believe that Tolkien's Orcs were in fact derived from demonic armies (in accordance with his Roman Catholicism) rather than foreign ones.

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Perhapse refering to Gog and Magog, (or Gog from Magog, the bible is not very consistent on the subject). Some kind of evil demon/ruler/goblin that lived in the east and day and night hammered out new barbarians to invade urope and the levant.

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Technetium View Post
    The exact wording used was 'the least lovely Mongol-types.' He wasn't saying explicitly that Mongolians were hideous; he was merely saying that the most hideous of the Mongolians did resemble Orcs; for note that beforehand he points out that he is talking specifically about 'the degraded and repulsive versions', not all 'Mongol-types.' Obviously, nowadays it sounds pretty damn insensitive by our standards.
    For me, 'the least lovely Mongol-types' refers to the invading horde kind and has nothing to do with physical assets. If nowadays standards find it insentitive, it's because we see racism issues everywhere.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by BootStrapTommy View Post
    It's Warhammer and Warcraft's fault.

    By the way, as said before, orcs have grey skin in D&D.
    I kind of resent that Warcraft is getting credit for something they took from Warhammer.

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    You know what bothers me more than Orcs being green? Drow being extremely dark-skinned. They live underground; if anything they should be paler than elves.
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    I've got my own pet theories there. You're assuming it's about melanin and blocking UV.
    You live in a dark, creepy underworld where everybody and their dog can see in the dark. You want to be stealthy, you have to be able to overcome that see-in-the-dark thing.

    Old-school darkvision was called infravision, and relied on heat - somewhere between infrared light detection and thermal imaging, depending on the particular author. If you want to be stealthy, you need to be room temperature. The specific pigments in Drow skin absorb more of the IR range radiation, making them look "cooler" and easier to blend in with the walls. This also gives a rationale to why they highlight blue in the art (besides the comic art standard that when you apply highlights to black objects, you use blue. This is why Batman ended up with a blue cape & cowl by the silver age). The blending in shadows better is a side benefit. The lack of melanin is why their hair is white.

    New-school darkvision is handwavey black-and-white see-in-the-dark vision. Light amplification, sans the need of actual light. Colors fade to shades of grey, so you want to have a tone close to the... brightness? of your surrounds. Hence dark skin.

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Games Workshop gets the sole credit for the origin of green orcs. Warhammer has been published since the 80's, after all.

    First Warcraft game was published at 1994 and some of them even wanted to make it a Warhammer-game.

    It's pretty obvious which one was first.
    Signatures are so 90's.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Orcs are green so we can tell them apart from orange hobgoblins in OotS comics, of course!

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe the Rat View Post
    I've got my own pet theories there. You're assuming it's about melanin and blocking UV.
    You live in a dark, creepy underworld where everybody and their dog can see in the dark. You want to be stealthy, you have to be able to overcome that see-in-the-dark thing.

    Old-school darkvision was called infravision, and relied on heat - somewhere between infrared light detection and thermal imaging, depending on the particular author. If you want to be stealthy, you need to be room temperature. The specific pigments in Drow skin absorb more of the IR range radiation, making them look "cooler" and easier to blend in with the walls. This also gives a rationale to why they highlight blue in the art (besides the comic art standard that when you apply highlights to black objects, you use blue. This is why Batman ended up with a blue cape & cowl by the silver age). The blending in shadows better is a side benefit.
    Black objects absorb more light and thus radiate more infrared light than do white objects. If the drow's skin pigments absorbs more infrared light, they're going to become warmer and thus radiate more infrared light. There's also the problem of drow being (presumably) endothermic. People positively glow under infrared imaging.

    Black is also a bad color for camouflage, being as it appears so very rarely in nature. You'd want browns and greys if you wanted to blend in with your environment.

    Old-school infravision became low-light vision. Old-school darkvision was ultravision - the ability to see in the ultraviolet spectrum. Melanin may well act to keep something less visible when viewed by ultravision.
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
    Black objects absorb more light and thus radiate more infrared light than do white objects. If the drow's skin pigments absorbs more infrared light, they're going to become warmer and thus radiate more infrared light. There's also the problem of drow being (presumably) endothermic. People positively glow under infrared imaging.
    That would be true for a dark night, but not in the Underdark, where there is little to no sunlight in the first place. Other natural sources of light don't carry enough energy to heat up lighted objects significantly.
    What you want is a color skin with a low contrast with the environment to blend in. Wich is why the white hair/dark skin is stupid anyway.
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  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    That would be true for a dark night, but not in the Underdark, where there is little to no sunlight in the first place. Other natural sources of light don't carry enough energy to heat up lighted objects significantly.
    What you want is a color skin with a low contrast with the environment to blend in. Wich is why the white hair/dark skin is stupid anyway.
    That really only true to poorly lit environments, like shadows or night. In absolute dark contract is largely irrelevent. That's without taking into account the whole drow are elves by the gods.

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elricaltovilla View Post
    Considering the incredible variety of appearance in breeds of dogs, cats, horses and other animals, I really don't think its much of a stretch of the imaginiation to assume that there are different subspecies of homo sapiens with wildly different appearances that can still interbreed. Also... magic.
    That's my go-to explanation for the various humanoids when I need to explain it at all in a fantasy kitchen sink like D&D, a combination of divine intervention/meddling, mundane evolution, random magically induced mutation, and (un)intentional transhumanistish rituals.

    And then in D&D 3.5 it also conveniently explains why they were so freaked out by Zarus, since they'd *thought* they'd snapped up all of the proto-humans.
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
    Black objects absorb more light and thus radiate more infrared light than do white objects. If the drow's skin pigments absorbs more infrared light, they're going to become warmer and thus radiate more infrared light. There's also the problem of drow being (presumably) endothermic. People positively glow under infrared imaging.

    Black is also a bad color for camouflage, being as it appears so very rarely in nature. You'd want browns and greys if you wanted to blend in with your environment.

    Old-school infravision became low-light vision. Old-school darkvision was ultravision - the ability to see in the ultraviolet spectrum. Melanin may well act to keep something less visible when viewed by ultravision.
    So you think that they have such dark skin in order to fool ultravision? I can kind of buy that, actually. In real life cave albinism is a thing, but real life also doesn't have everyone and his mother with ultravision. (Just a few things! ) Then again, seeing into the ultraviolet spectrum isn't impossible in real life (bees do), so why hasn't that occurred in cave ecosystems?

    I ran a game where my drow were a cultural offshoot of High Elves and moved underground. While they didn't develop true cave albinism, they did become much paler.
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeejimbo View Post
    So you think that they have such dark skin in order to fool ultravision? I can kind of buy that, actually. In real life cave albinism is a thing, but real life also doesn't have everyone and his mother with ultravision. (Just a few things! ) Then again, seeing into the ultraviolet spectrum isn't impossible in real life (bees do), so why hasn't that occurred in cave ecosystems?

    I ran a game where my drow were a cultural offshoot of High Elves and moved underground. While they didn't develop true cave albinism, they did become much paler.
    That's the best I can come up with trying to explain it using something approximating real-world science.

    I much prefer the "LOLth" explanation.
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
    That's the best I can come up with trying to explain it using something approximating real-world science.

    I much prefer the "LOLth" explanation.
    I'll also add that earlier editions explained drow special abilities and the impermanence of their items by extrapolating an Underdark radiation; while not visible, that could be part of what lead to the darkening of their skin.
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
    That's the best I can come up with trying to explain it using something approximating real-world science.

    I much prefer the "LOLth" explanation.
    I use a combination of Pharess(farhesze? parcheesi?), the plane of shadow tainting various parts of the underdark, LOLth, and that Drow are not actually generally pure black unless they're marked in some way, generally they're just a very, very, very dark grey.

    So they're said to be black the same way that very, very, very dark brown people are said to be black today. Except when they're actually black because of something supernatural more than the baseline about them.
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    In most universes its usually a curse from a god of some sort. I recall in Eberron (where Drow live in jungles and the Gods don't take a direct interest in things (if they exist)) Drow are elves specially bred by Giants to serve as slave-hunters. I assume the coloration was intentional to blend in with the dark foliage like a black panther.
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    My assumption is that someone eventually realized that having the Poster-Child-for-Evil race be, essentially, dark-skinned humans had some really negative connotations.
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeejimbo View Post
    ...Then again, seeing into the ultraviolet spectrum isn't impossible in real life (bees do), so why hasn't that occurred in cave ecosystems?...
    If you're asking why more cave dwellers don't develop ultravision, ultraviolet light doesn't penetrate that far into rock. There'd be no light for them to use.
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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Honestly only in DnD are Drow Black (like charcoal black) otherwise they are grey or a weird blue black, which still doesnt make a lot of sense form a scientific view, cuz you know, douchy elven gods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Honestly only in DnD are Drow Black (like charcoal black) otherwise they are grey or a weird blue black, which still doesnt make a lot of sense form a scientific view, cuz you know, douchy elven gods
    Uhh, only in D&D do Drow exist at all. Tiny variance in their skin color is sometimes found in different D&D settings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    Uhh, only in D&D do Drow exist at all. Tiny variance in their skin color is sometimes found in different D&D settings.
    What about the dunmer of the elder scrolls series? They're obviously inspired by the drow. Also there's the dark elves of warhammer.

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    LoTR Orcs seem to be based on post-classical/Early medieval descriptions of Huns. In particular, the description Jordanes provides of Attila.

    Interestingly, the parts of the novel where the Orcs are seen close-up show them to be living under a hellish industrial bureaucracy with ID numbers and barrack-style accommodation. A much more modernist (and unpleasant) idea than the savage barbarians that most game fiction turns them into.

    I honestly couldn't care less whether GW or Blizzard were responsible for making them green. But the idea of green as a colour signifying alienness is much older than 1983.

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    Default Re: Why Are Orcs Green?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    Uhh, only in D&D do Drow exist at all. Tiny variance in their skin color is sometimes found in different D&D settings.
    Ok, your technically correct, but Dark Elves (read Drow by another name) exist in many settings, such as has been mentioned TES.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xBlackWolfx View Post
    What about the dunmer of the elder scrolls series? They're obviously inspired by the drow. Also there's the dark elves of warhammer.
    Evil Elves with dark skin exist because of D&D. Different settings and derivatives change the shade slightly from black, blue, purple, grey to distinguish themselves. See! Our dark elves aren't exactly the same thing as the ones from D&D!

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