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 Elves and You: Changing Colors

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C4
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PostSubject: Elves and You: Changing Colors   Thu May 15, 2014 4:36 pm

The following is a stream of recent thought I've been having. Please comment, contradict, or agree as you wish.

For my 4e clonebreaker, I've been thinking of tweaking drow and eladrin. (Or rather, their non-IP-infringing analogues.) I've never made much of D&D's evil elves being black while its good elves are white, but recently I've been thinking it'd nevertheless be refreshing if 'shadow elves' were very pale skinned (possibly albino), while high elves are black (possibly drow-black). I don't intend to do any heavy-handed politicizing -- I like my high elves somewhat morally ambiguous, and my shadow elves not quite as cartoonishly evil as the drow.

One might wonder why albino shadow elves would get a bonus to Stealth checks -- which my shadow elves do -- but then, bone-white hair doesn't seem to make drow any more noticeable than sprite ninjas. In the dark, everything is black right? And then there are tigers, who manage to be natural ninjas despite being both very big and bright friggin' orange! And hey, pale human skin evolved in the real world to compensate for environments of limited sunlight, if one cares about such things.

It's a break with D&D tradition, but it's a tradition I'm not personally married to myself. This tweak might press some gamers' "Doesn't feel like 4e/D&D" button, though who knows how many? It's hard to tell how much default fluff is important to a gamer community.
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PostSubject: Re: Elves and You: Changing Colors   Fri May 16, 2014 8:15 am

I too have always been bothered by black/white:evil/good elves. I much prefer the drow of Eberron to the traditional underdark drow. Sure it makes a great evil group for PC's to fight, but also almost forces any good drow PC's to be a bit... Drizz't. yak.
So here's how a see it with 4E elven races. Eladrin and Drow are both typical in the Feywild. The eladrin are the winter/gray elves occupying temperate and colder regions. They often build cities with large towers and structured social hierarchy large comunnities. The drow (or drey) inhabit wilder, warmer jungle and desert regions. They are nomadic/hunters/tribal using the shadows and the night to pursue prey and hide from predators. They have some permanent communities, often build within cave structures. The elves are the descendents of eladrin and drow that migrated to the natural world many millenia ago. They can come in all shades from cream white and grey of eladrin to olive to brown to nearly the black of drow (much like humans). And the darker hair shades and pupiled eyes show that their fey blood was mixed with human and possibly orc along the way. Eladrin and Drow are not adversarial societies, just vastly different. They do exchange of knowledge and goods from time to time but mostly stay separate.
If you need underdark drow - they can be a tribe or tribes of drow that were exiled from the feywild for whatever reason makes sense to you.

How's that? That's how it is in my home variant of the Nentir Vale that I'm running. I would allow a player to take the mechanical bits from eladrin, elf, or drow and flavor it as either of the other 2. I'm easy and I want the player to get creative and be able to play exactly what they want to play, how they want to play it.

TjD
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PostSubject: Re: Elves and You: Changing Colors   Fri May 16, 2014 11:53 pm

In WoW and The Elderscrolls Series the Darker skinned elvish types are arguably the more benign seeming but actually have a fair degree of morale ambiguity...

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: Elves and You: Changing Colors   Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:30 pm

C4 wrote:


One might wonder why albino shadow elves would get a bonus to Stealth checks -- which my shadow elves do -- but then, bone-white hair doesn't seem to make drow any more noticeable than sprite ninjas. In the dark, everything is black right?

Yeah, I think the Stealth bonus is ( or should be) more representative of a skill set than a color scheme. As the example of tigers, which evolved their distinctive pattern to fit in with the high grasses where they often hunt, shows, the success of a camouflage depends 100% on the environment, which is not represented well by a blanket Stealth bonus.

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PostSubject: Re: Elves and You: Changing Colors   Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:45 pm

I know I'm commenting on an ancient thread, but I like the idea of albino drow. To contrast it, I'd probably have elves and eladrin represent the spectrum of human skin tones.
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PostSubject: Re: Elves and You: Changing Colors   Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:38 pm

After reading the replies here and elsewhere I've decided that I like elfmeat skin the way it is, though I may get contrarian with dwarven/duergar skin color...

Thanks for the replies!
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