Fight Elven Racism.


Advice

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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Okay, I have played every core race, except elves, and haf-elves. Frankly, I hate the flavor of elves in general, I am a racist in this way. I would like to change that. Perhaps there is something I am missing that could turn me into a lover, and not a hater. Maybe a concept that would put them into a new light. If anyone has a way to move me this way, I would love to hear it.


Elves make excellent wizards and pretty decent duelists etc. Anything that benefits from both int and dex is a good candidate for an elf. However, I used to play elves alot more than I do nowadays. I find humans to be better due to the extra feat. YMMV though.

- Gauss

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Statistics are not really the issue here. It is the flavor that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.


blackbloodtroll what type of characters do you like? I'm thinking half elf as the lead in for you because it has a lot of room for elf hate in it as well as an easy access to other cultures to help bend it more inline with what you already like.


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Read Lord of the Rings.


What flavor of elves do you dislike? Knowing that might help someone point you in another direction or something different for you to focus on to overcome your dislike of elves.

Personally, I've always like all the races. Well, except for halflings. Drawing from the original source, Lord of the Rings, they're like little humans but more innocent, gentile and peaceful. Umm..how weren't they already conquered?

Granted, they've come a long way since those days, but still not crazy about them myself.


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I think I might also break my elven racism soon, by playing one AS an ignorant pompous ass, and embracing my elf hate.


Frankly, I like Pathfinder elves. They're not nearly as frippish as elves from prior editions--epsecially "classic" D&D elves or Tolkien elves. They're . . . well, alien. (Seriously, pick up Distant Worlds.)

Yes, I just made up the word "frippish". What of it?

Regarding elves in general: I didn't play them for a long time. Now, I don't mind doing so. The first step is not to feel obligated to play one as a tree-hugging navel-gazer who's too weak to wield a real weapon. No, they can run a wide range of types--it's just that those types are inevitably colored by certain traits. One of them is longevity in a world full of short-lived creatures; that will affect a person's outlook. But it doesn't have to drive them to seclusion or apathy. It could just as easily drive them to adventuring, warmongering or politics, as they have much longer to enjoy the fruits of such actions.

So, basically, if you don't like playing an elf, play a different elf. Heck, buck the system: Play an elf with a bad Scottish accent who likes mining, masonry, and ale! Or, try an elf who hates his heritage so much that he goes out of his way to make fun of other elves when they exhibit stereotypical elf behavior. This latter suggestion actually happens a lot in real life ethnic and social groups and makes for some pretty interesting RP opportunities, whether the character has self-hate or familial issues issues or is merely "transcendent".

Silver Crusade

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Try to avoid this trope and definitely stay away from this truly horrible one. But while doing that, make sure you don't fall into the trap of this trope.

Delicate balance.

Whatever you do, stay the hell away from the 2nd Edition Complete Book of Elves.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Arcanemuses wrote:
Read Lord of the Rings.

My grandfather read these to me as a child. I love them. Still dislike elves.

As for examples of characters I have played,(D&D and Pathfinder)see here:
Insane Animated Doll chosen of Mystra.
Half-fang dragon warforged pit fighter.
Horribly scarred dwarven war veteran.
Abyssal skulker ass-kissing fiend of possesion.
Gnome sensate navy officer.
Halfling "mafia" hitman.
"Dumb blond" half-orc cleric.
Devout crusader of Iomodae tiefling alchemist with odd faith habits.
Orc amazon bounty hunter.
Southern gentleman lizardfolk unarmed fighter.


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Southern gentleman lizardfolk unarmed fighter.

MADLIBS


Mikaze wrote:

Try to avoid this trope and definitely stay away from this truly horrible one. But while doing that, make sure you don't fall into the trap of this trope.

Delicate balance.

Hogwash. TropesAreNotBad. Plenty of places for any of those tropes to be reasonably used.

Quote:
Whatever you do, stay the hell away from the 2nd Edition Complete Book of Elves.

On this, we agree. (Bladedancer? Gimme a break.)


Glutton wrote:

Southern gentleman lizardfolk unarmed fighter.

MADLIBS

If it's going to be that kind of party, make it an awakened velociraptor who's into zen koans.


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BBT: I have a suggestion of an elf type that might break your racist hatred of them.

The wood elf eco-terrorist, survival of the fittest, "Being a carnivore is simply securing your place in the circle of life." . Have his personality be a cross between James Bowie, Allan Quartermain, Mowgli (from The Jungle Book) or Tarzan, Poison Ivy (the Batman super villainess), Ted Nugent, Kraven the Hunter, The Predator (from the movies by the same name), Wolverine. Make him a ranger, but not the typical ranger. Have his first Favored Enemy be Animals and play him as the great hunter. His animal companion needs to be an alpha predator that if it were intelligent would share the same opinions about nature as he does.

This isn't your tree hugging hippie elven ranger type. This is your wrath of nature, claw and fangs, you pissed off the bull now you got the horns type. This is the guy the tree hugging hippies hire when they don't want to get their hands dirty with all that violence. Other mercenaries might show off their own unique style. But when nature is involved, if you want someone who is knowedeable, effective and has their heart in it... this is your guy. He will see the mission through. Not just because he was hired to. Not just because its personal. Because he has something to prove: HE is the alpha predator.

Oh. And he is a racist. Its nothing personal. Other races just aren't cut out to be alpha predators. They aren't children of nature. Their blood isn't the blood of the hunters. I'd say to take the Klingon approach and outlook here but they are too much about Honor. Honor isn't part of the food chain. Well, unless your at the top. Yeah, I might reconsider that Klingon approach after all. ;)

Whatcha think?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Some of the things that bug me about elves:
The genetic disposition for pretentious.
The "superior" nature of their arms and goods.
The assumed enlightenment due to longer lives.
The pedantic nature of elvish tradition.
The common history of racist atrocities and the obvious downplay of their actions.
The extremely racially exclusive nature of feats, classes and deities.
The sexless androgynous nature of their look, feel, and behavior.
Drow, in general.
The "superior" nature of their "civilized" wars and combat tactics.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Elves are not put off as "tree-huggers", it is more that the trees will blow the elves to be in their presence.


Well are you familiar with Eberrons Elves? If I recall correctly, they are marauding raiders on horseback. Much less snobby and much more War.

Also Lune, I love your idea, thank you.

Liberty's Edge

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blackbloodtroll wrote:

Some of the things that bug me about elves:

The genetic disposition for pretentious.
The "superior" nature of their arms and goods.
The assumed enlightenment due to longer lives.
The pedantic nature of elvish tradition.
The common history of racist atrocities and the obvious downplay of their actions.
The extremely racially exclusive nature of feats, classes and deities.
The sexless androgynous nature of their look, feel, and behavior.
Drow, in general.
The "superior" nature of their "civilized" wars and combat tactics.

Here's an idea: Play one of the Forlorn, an Elf raised by humans, and have him hate all this s*$$ every bit as much as you do. Have him go on rants about it (and Elven hypocrisy in general) and punch other Elves in the face about it at least once.

Have him physically androgynous as well...and hyper-aware of it, and pissed. Making him hyper-masculine in attitude and very confrontational. Maybe go Barbarian if you really want to accentuate this.

This should be great fun, and still potentially a very Elven character in several ways.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hmmm, learning to love elves through hating them. That is interesting. Hmmm...

Liberty's Edge

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Hmmm, learning to love elves through hating them. That is interesting. Hmmm...

The thing is, the Forlorn, and their generally not getting along with Elven culture, are a big part of the world (at least in Golarion), and they make up huge percentage of adventuring Elves and indeed Elves as presented. Hell, Merisiel (the Elven Rogue Iconic) is Forlorn.

So, while the degree of hatred in question would be a bit unusual, you'd be falling well within the game world's expectations of Elven PCs and their behavior.

It really makes the concept work, IMO.

Silver Crusade

blahpers wrote:


Hogwash. TropesAreNotBad. Plenty of places for any of those tropes to be reasonably used.

While I'd agree that most tropes can be useful if used reasonably, some really are examples of bad writing. OurElvesAreBetter and ScrewYouElves might, with some imagination and a LOT of moderation, be able to be used for something other than keeping elves stuck between a Mary Sue Race portrayal and its resulting backlash. But Can'tArgueWithElves, if played straight, is just straight up awful.

IMO and all that jazz.

Quick aside: But the Forlorn are an excellent way to sidestep all of those problem.

But yeah, Complete Book of Elves was really, really bad for elven PR.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Just to note, the suggested effeminate nature of elves does not bother me. I loved the 3.5 Spellscales, and they were fabulous by blood, like Bowie fabulous.
It sounds terrible, but I even have a hard time helping fellow players make elf characters.


a friend of mine loved that old Gray elf (back in 3.5, now they are all gray) wizard thing, dumping his charisma and being condescending to everyone (to roleplay his charisma of course). Smug bastard, I coloured his raven pink on the first encounter. We got along perfectly after that.

I get it when you hate on elves, that's why I would recommend to play an elf first, and when you feel all dirty play a down to (or under) earth dwarf who likes his beer cold, his weapons big and sharp and his women in full plate.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I really want to give it my go, and play an elf, and lessen my hate. I am just trying to figure out how to go about it, without being disgusted with myself.

Liberty's Edge

blackbloodtroll wrote:
I really want to give it my go, and play an elf, and lessen my hate. I am just trying to figure out how to go about it, without being disgusted with myself.

I have made my suggestion. And I'll bet you'd have fun with it. :)

I know I would, and I don't even dislike Elves that much.


Ok, I'd like to address a few of these:

Quote:
The genetic disposition for pretentious.

In my personal experience all races have the potential for this. I would not say that elves are predisposed to have it. In fact, if you have ever heard an arguement between the typical elf and the typical dwarf then you could basically hear them echoing eachother's racially bigitious points.

In other words, this is not a trait that is common to elves alone.

Quote:
The "superior" nature of their arms and goods.

They do make certain goods that are superior. So do dwarves. So do gnomes. Hell, even the halflings have their staves. This, again, is not something that is unique to elves.

Now, the exception here are weapons that elves typically use being of superior quality. But then, this isn't really different from the other races. Humans are really the only race that doesn't have their own superior goods. If anything I'd think you would be complaining on behalf of humans rather than against elves.

Quote:
The assumed enlightenment due to longer lives.

Actually, I have not seen this often to be true. Typically I have seen the reasoning behind them NOT being enlightened due to long lives is that elves spend much of their time squandering opportunities by being too aloof to the goings on of the world around them. This is actually talked about quiet a bit in several fictional stories.

That being said... I actually think they should be enlightened due ot their long lives with all things being considered. I mean, sure, they are aloof. But can they possibly be so aloof that they miss half of what is going on around them? Of course they are going to pick up more in their long lives than a human would in his paltry double digit span. Can you think of a good (ie. not aloofness) reason why not?!

Quote:
The pedantic nature of elvish tradition.

Cause other races don't have this? Typically regarding other topic, sure. Also, I might point out that you are being rather generalistic about elven beliefs. Just like in human cultures there are elves who worship and believe in different things. They are not all the same.

Quote:
The common history of racist atrocities and the obvious downplay of their actions.

I would ask for examples but I dont care for an exhaustive list. Rather I would like to point out that this is very setting specific. Also, would you hold the wrongs of past elves against any elf you would happen to come across? Are all elves to be held accountable for all past misdeeds of all other elves?

Quote:
The extremely racially exclusive nature of feats, classes and deities.

Oh come now. This is not something that is exclusive to elves. Other races have their own exclusive feats, classes and deities. I don't see you complaining about them. Also, this is a mechanical issue. I thought you didn't mind their mechanics?

Quote:
The sexless androgynous nature of their look, feel, and behavior.

I would hardly call female elves "sexless" or "androgynous". C'mon, they are hotties! I will assume that you are refering to the male elves. To that I would respond: would you rather they be the opposite and have the females all look male like the dwarves?

Also, elves in that respect are a lot like native americans: devoid of body and facial hair. Take it from experience as being from Italian and Native American decent... I wish I would have inherited more of my Native American heritage in that respect. I could due with a fair amount less body hair and being that I shave rather than grow facial hair I could due without that as well. Not having to shave just seems convenient.

Anyone who believes that excess body/facial hair = masculinity is foolish and deluded. Chuck Norris be damned.

Quote:
Drow, in general.

Have you read the dark elf books by RA Salvatore? If not I would highly recommend them. It may give you a new perspective on the drow.

That being said I think they are good in small doses though I tire of the endless Drizt clones and drow tropes.

Quote:
The "superior" nature of their "civilized" wars and combat tactics.

Well... were they not superior? Or do you simply tire of them pointing it out?

---------------------
In the end it appears that the issues you have with elves are all RP reasons. The biggest thing I can point out is that you are free to RP your elf however you damn well please. You don't like him acting a certain way? Don't have him act that way. Simple as that. I refer to my earlier post.

Judge not elves by the past actions of their people but the content of THEIR character. ...or sumthin like that.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

@Deadmanwalking, your idea interests me, but I fear I may take it too far. In fact, I may not be able to pull it off without being of evil alignment. Using this idea though, I am hoping to brainstorm through, to the right fit.


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My main problem with elves used to be that they take forever to get mature: I mean, how retarded you have to be to need a hundred year to get as skilled as a 18 year old human? What the hell did you do for a hundred years? So what of your +2 to int?
Then it came to me: they party and hop each other like sex-addicted bunnies for a century. Seriously, they do just that for a hundred years. THEN, after their lust has been satiated, they can start caring for other stuff. This made them a lot easier to comprehend, and a lot more interesting.
The problem for me had always been their aloofness: dwarves are always out for beer and getting drunk. Half-orcs are raunchy and lustful. Halflings and gnomes are always having fun in their own way. You play an elf and feel like you are the only one who can't do fun stuff, why? Well, bacause you have already done it all. The dwarf makes fun of you because you sip your wine instead of getting drunk? Right, you have been stoned drunk for more than a year straight for more times than you can remember. The half-orc makes fun of you because you don't hop prostitutes as soon as you see them? Of course, there is a crazy orgy far from the judging sight of all the other races that has been going on for more than a thousand years non-stop: once you went in there and came out ten years later.
You do not shun earthly pleasures because of the broomstick up in your butt, you are simply so jaded that you don't care anymore. As a side note, when your lust return you'll take off your adventurer boots, back to that crazy stuff and get wasted until you loose all of your levels. That's why elves don't take over the world.
Seriously guys, think about it: paizo can't put this stuff in a manual, but that's the truth. Now that you know it you can sip your wine and be mildly amused at the sight of a dwarf get drunk, just like Mike Tyson would while looking at a brawl between two eight-years old kids.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

@Lune, it is the combination of it all, and of course, that list is not complete. Many of these play into what is expected of an elf character, from settings, DMs, and fellow players. Even if one plays against the stereotype, it's built in there.

Grand Lodge

living for 100 years and still being young (in fact, not quite an adult) sorta slants your view on things - especially if oft in the company of humans.

If on the other hand you never leave the presence of ageless wise beings? Human society can be FUN. Play on having a good time and being one of those elves who make half elves. Live hard and fast - being around humans would be like being on meth for such as these.


I was just thinking that one reason for the elves' level/age disparity might be that they're just so lazy. Consider how often you put something off because you can do it tomorrow. They'd put it off because they can do it next year (or maybe it'll just sort itself out in a decade or two). The ones that don't would obviously be the adventuring types.

I thing I like Crysknife's suggestion more though (or some combination of the various options).


Helaman wrote:

living for 100 years and still being young (in fact, not quite an adult) sorta slants your view on things - especially if oft in the company of humans.

If on the other hand you never leave the presence of ageless wise beings? Human society can be FUN. Play on having a good time and being one of those elves who make half elves. Live hard and fast - being around humans would be like being on meth for such as these.

On the basis of a nice change of pace, I presume?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You see, I can only wrap my head around an elf going all Charlie Sheen, is because they are doing it "ironically". In fact, it is bad enough that, I cannot imagine an elf character, that is not a dick in some way.


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BBT: Expectations from whom? Do you play a character a certain way because that is what is expected of you by the DM or players? Setting might make more sense but adventurers are pretty exceptional individuals.

Anyway, I don't really care to convince you that elves are awesome if you don't want to believe it. Nothing I say I would expect to shift your opinion one way or the other. The only thing I can really try to point out that you have a very narrow close-minded opinion on what makes up an elf. Of course this exactly the same problem that any racist would have so it is no different for you. (not meant to be offensive, you admitted your racist against elves)

I would like to point out that elves can be as diverse as humans can and that you are really just over generalizing. Every single issue that you have with elves is an issue that can be pointed out in real world humans. But you don't hate an entire race of humans due to those issues do you? You don't hate the Chinese for their racially superior electronic products, right? Or the Germans and Italians for their automotive engineering feats? What about the Swedish for believing they have the most beautiful fair skinned women? These are idealogies that are not held or possessed by the entire race.

Should I point out at this time also that there are different subraces of elves? Play a wood elf. Or a wild elf. They are obviously racially superior anyway. ;)


You know what... I think I have your problem solved: play a female elf character.


Lune wrote:
You know what... I think I have your problem solved: play a female elf character.

Chaotic Good Cleric of Calistria? :D

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I suppose it's the expectations that trip me up the most. It is weird, but I noticed that expectations for elves, are pretty deeply set. This is just not from one set of fellow players, or DM, or setting. It is all over the place.


Ignore them. Fight the power.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Lune wrote:
You know what... I think I have your problem solved: play a female elf character.

Well, my last three characters have been female, and I am unsure how that is different from playing a male elf.


ELVES R PANSIES, OK? TRU DWARVES 4EVA BLUUURGHHHHHZZZLLLE


What? Your last 3 characters weren't female. Wait... was that lizardfolk gentleman actually a gentlewoman? Or was he like... asexual?

Also, playing a female elf you don't have to worry about being sexually ambiguous. Elven women are hotties. Point and case: Arwen. *drool*


Lune wrote:

What? Your last 3 characters weren't female. Wait... was that lizardfolk gentleman actually a gentlewoman? Or was he like... asexual?

Also, playing a female elf you don't have to worry about being sexually ambiguous. Elven women are hotties. Point and case: Arwen. *drool*

Lune, that Lizardfolk could have been a hermaphrodite. Don't dwell on that thought, though.

Grand Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Elves are not put off as "tree-huggers", it is more that the trees will blow the elves to be in their presence.

Oh good lord. I was eating chicken nuggets and drinking orange crush, minding my own business reading this thread, when this came at me like a spider-monkey.

Suffice it to say I "blew" chicken and crush everywhere... -feel sorry for my keyboard-

Also this line JUST got tweeted.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Some of the things that bug me about elves:

I know that I'm on thin ice with that but much of that is true for the united states af america, too.

So if you don't hate them think about why.

And about racial exclusive traits, feats and stuff:
I very much think the same about gnomes, half orcs or dwarves.

In the end I think the PC race that gets the least exclusive stuff are humans.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Some of the things that bug me about elves:

1. The genetic disposition for pretentious.
2. The "superior" nature of their arms and goods.
3. The assumed enlightenment due to longer lives.
4. The pedantic nature of elvish tradition.
5. The common history of racist atrocities and the obvious downplay of their actions.
6. The extremely racially exclusive nature of feats, classes and deities.
7. The sexless androgynous nature of their look, feel, and behavior.
8. Drow, in general.
9. The "superior" nature of their "civilized" wars and combat tactics.

1. Humans (and other races) have that too, and they've been shown to be much worse.

2. Adamantine beats mithril. Dwarf arms beat elf arms.

3. Only those who bother working for that enlightenment achieve it.

4. At least it can be a bit more flexible that dwarven tradition.

5. I actually made an elf sub-race that calls them out on it and exile themselves from other elven settlements. In Golarion, they try to find a cure for the Drow, and in Forgotten Realms they try to establish peace between elves and drow, even though they kinda berate both sides for their failings.

6. The mechanics are a remnant of the times when Elves and Half-Elves sucked, and needed something that would pull people to playing them.

7. Artists were being lazy and/or stupid.

8. Matter of taste.

9. Humans, again. Claiming superiority and the center of attention in 95% of the campaign worlds (Golarion is kind of an exception with Aroden's death and all), going as far as inventing firearms instead of letting dwarves do that in Golarion if I recall correctly. That anything an elf/dwarf/gnome/jabberwock can do, humans just do better is not said outright, but certainly implied a lot. Hell, all outsiders and monsters want human-born babies, which is also another thing that gets on my nerves. Where are the dwarf tieflings and elf changelings?! *Continues angry rant on human "superiority" for a while*


blackbloodtroll wrote:
...Many of these play into what is expected of an elf character, from settings, DMs, and fellow players. Even if one plays against the stereotype, it's built in there.
blackbloodtroll wrote:
I suppose it's the expectations that trip me up the most. It is weird, but I noticed that expectations for elves, are pretty deeply set. This is just not from one set of fellow players, or DM, or setting. It is all over the place.

I can honestly say I've never encountered this, but then I have ASD so maybe I wouldn't even notice if it was there. When I make an elf character, or a character of any race, I make them the person I want them to be and not the person somebody else thinks they should be. If nothing else, PCs are supposed to be exceptions to the norm, not conforming to stereotypes.

Try working out the personality and nature of the character you want and then transplant that into the elf body, and imagine how being a hundred years old and still young will effect them and the people around them. Then play!

Silver Crusade

Dabbler wrote:

I can honestly say I've never encountered this, but then I have ASD so maybe I wouldn't even notice if it was there. When I make an elf character, or a character of any race, I make them the person I want them to be and not the person somebody else thinks they should be. If nothing else, PCs are supposed to be exceptions to the norm, not conforming to stereotypes.

This reminds me of /tg/'s Goldentusk. A poster there was really wanting to play an elf in a group that was half "people that always played stereotypical smug elves" and half "people that hated on elves because of the stereotype". She wanted a wanted a character that would get past the latter's hate and show the former that there was more than one way to play the race.

The resulting character from that board's advice was an elf barbarian/bard adopted and raised by CN orcs. Really well-developed character by the end of it.

IIRC, that actually wound up spinning into a whole crew of board-made characters that were pretty much elves adopted by other races(halfling, kobold, and at least one other that I can't remember), showing how their elfishness meshed with their upbringing and adoptive culture. Think they were even Sandwich Stoutaxe's* suppporting cast for a while.

*drow raised by dorfs


...why the hell did they name the Drow sandwich? I ask that because now I imagined the Heavy Weapons Guy from Team Fortress 2 with a beard as the adoptive father.

Silver Crusade

Icyshadow wrote:
...why the hell did they name the Drow sandwich? I ask that because now I imagined the Heavy Weapons Guy from Team Fortress 2 with a beard as the adoptive father.

Her adoptive father found her in a basket. He expected a sandwich. Typical dorf nature took it from there. ;)


I'll try to post the link to the story archive when I'm off work.(I honestly don't know if it's still SFW or not, and with that crowd, you don't take it for granted)


Hmmmmmm. A community of people living alone in the woods feeling superior to everyone else?

Take it too far and make a "Deliverance" elf. Be a bard. Have a banjo.

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