Discussion - Rebranding of Drow


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Corrik wrote:
I'm probably thinking of Forgotten Realms, but isn't the onyx/purple skin a symbol of an evil curse? Drow which have the curse removed have different skin tones.

That is Forgotten Realms. It was a plot pont in 3.5 if I remember rightly. They’ve mostly ignored it in recent years (albeit because they ignore most lore for 5th edition).

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Corrik wrote:
I'm probably thinking of Forgotten Realms, but isn't the onyx/purple skin a symbol of an evil curse? Drow which have the curse removed have different skin tones.

That's just a Realms thing (if it is), Drow don't change their skin tone in Pathfinder.


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LizardMage wrote:
FrostFox wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:


To be fair, artist are notorious in terms of not sticking to bestiary designs. I mean thats how catfolk went from catgirls to "catgirls and khajit". And why Barbatos doesn't anymore have seven fingers specifically.

Like I'm sure there is gonna be arts of drow with multiple shades of blue

I'm more talking about JJ saying they would be lilac - I don't mind if that's the 'norm' I just hope that the ancestry or heritage lets them overlap with surface elf coloring a bit - perhaps that wasn't intended in PF1 - but it made sense to me. Frankly I'd be ok with surface elves changing to have lilac colors available also if that's the hangup - as 'space aliens' they shouldn't really need to conform to standard human hues.
If their coloring overlaps with non-evil/surface elves then why even have Drow at all? Just make them Cavern variety elves.
Because the whole point of the Drow is to have a race that was corrupted by outside forces of chaos and evil. It's not their skin tone that makes them Drow, it's their entire history and culture. This changes via settings of course, but according to the lore presented here, they are fundamentally different from their surface cousins, not just skin tone.

Except normal elves that become evil have a chance (not sure on probability) that they become 'Drow' so their history and culture doesn't factor. Ignoring the subterranean elves, there would still be 'Drow' which would know nothing of that history or culture.


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FrostFox wrote:
There is no mistaking Drow complexion for real life complexion or their bone-structure/figures.

I find that argument awfully disingenuous, because the obvious real-life parallel is blackface, which did involve people literally painted pure black.

I'm all for avoiding the unfortunate implications of dark skin = bad and light skin = good. Cave dwelling creatures should be sickly pale anyway. And as noted, Drow likely come in a variety of blue or purple shades.


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Thebazilly wrote:
FrostFox wrote:
There is no mistaking Drow complexion for real life complexion or their bone-structure/figures.

I find that argument awfully disingenuous, because the obvious real-life parallel is blackface, which did involve people literally painted pure black.

I'm all for avoiding the unfortunate implications of dark skin = bad and light skin = good. Cave dwelling creatures should be sickly pale anyway. And as noted, Drow likely come in a variety of blue or purple shades.

As has been mentioned before, cave dwelling elves are already sickly pale. They're cavern elves. Drow are separate and are marked by their evil acts. And again, it's still acceptable for Duergar to be ashen-skinned.

MaxAstro wrote:
In the gnoll thread, JJ confirmed that drow skin tone is not universal; the artwork in the Bestiary is simply the most common/iconic skin tone.

"With each new drow we illustrate, I absolutely DO expect the shades to vary. But with one illustration, or even two (as you get in this book), when they're intended to serve as baselines and references four our artists as well as the first impression for tens of thousands if not more newcomers to the game... we only get that one chance."

So the baby blue elves are going to be the Drow baseline going forward.

Rysky wrote:
Corrik wrote:
I'm probably thinking of Forgotten Realms, but isn't the onyx/purple skin a symbol of an evil curse? Drow which have the curse removed have different skin tones.
That's just a Realms thing (if it is), Drow don't change their skin tone in Pathfinder.

Drow in Forgotten Realms could be born as Szarkai (Albino Drow) believed to be favored by Lolth. Not quite changed skin tone but alternate.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Corrik wrote:
I'm probably thinking of Forgotten Realms, but isn't the onyx/purple skin a symbol of an evil curse? Drow which have the curse removed have different skin tones.
That is Forgotten Realms. It was a plot pont in 3.5 if I remember rightly. They’ve mostly ignored it in recent years (albeit because they ignore most lore for 5th edition).

Yeah looks like that was a plot in the War of the Spider-Queen and/or it's follow-up.


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Corrik wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Corrik wrote:
I'm probably thinking of Forgotten Realms, but isn't the onyx/purple skin a symbol of an evil curse? Drow which have the curse removed have different skin tones.
That is Forgotten Realms. It was a plot pont in 3.5 if I remember rightly. They’ve mostly ignored it in recent years (albeit because they ignore most lore for 5th edition).
Yeah looks like that was a plot in the War of the Spider-Queen and/or it's follow-up.

The Lady Penitent Trilogy Spoilers:
In The Lady Penitent, the brother of that Hallistra Melarn from War of the Spider Queen (Q'arlynd Melarn) works with one of the head mages from Sshamth and together they work an Elven High Magic ritual to return a small number of Drow to being 'Dark Elves' as they originally were (tan-skinned with black hair).

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FrostFox wrote:


If their coloring overlaps with non-evil/surface elves then why even have Drow at all? Just make them Cavern variety elves.

For many reasons:


  • Because then it automatically means 'non-elves' can't look at skin color and assume something
  • Because it means that drow coloring is influenced by the underdark but not because they are 'evil'
  • Because we could not have drow as a race (and instead just be a type of elf) but we don't - because lore reasons. Honestly the way Pathfinder made elves space aliens I'd have been happier if drow were just another type of space alien instead of 'sworn to demonlords and turned to evil' - but that ship sailed long ago (alas).
  • Because Cave Elf isn't a race - it's a heritage (see pervious point).

I dunno - if it's hard to tell 'drow' apart to the surface world then it makes it easier to integrate them into the game. But this thread was about discussing the rebranding of the drow - I didn't come in here for 'DEFEND YOUR OPINION 101' - I mean you are welcome to your own and all that but even without all the above I don't expect any race to be a single mono color - ever.

As an aside - I didn't see JJ say they would be shades - I saw him say 'lavendar over lilac they can't be both' - and I think.. why not both?


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MaxAstro wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

"Some monsters are always evil and some are always good."

Until that concept gets thrown in the trash, it will always require tweaking down the line. But given how many people are up in arms about Drows changing colors or Goblins being included in Core, that's probably a long way off.

I have good news for you - Paizo does in fact appear to be throwing that concept in the trash

While they have certainly taken steps in that direction, it is certainly not entirely in the trash. Golarion is stacked with defined stereotypes for these previously "evil" creatures.

And while the "I'm not evil, I'm just drawn that way!" argument might apply to some extent, hatred for these races based on preconceived notions of them in the world itself already exist.

And maybe they should, because racism is real, so reflecting that realness in a world is fine. What's not fine to me, is that it's somehow acceptable to murder Hobgoblins because they come from some "military society".

Johnny Hobgoblin only enlisted to support his family and because of social pressure. He doesn't want to kill anyone or die, it's just the way things are. However, you still get the NE next to your name, because your only reasonable choice to be good is to basically say "No!" which isn't really an option.

Entirely in the trash would mean Red Dragons aren't default evil, demons aren't default evil, and angels aren't default good.

Don't get me wrong, what they are doing with the playable Ancestries is great, and they're definitely moving closer.

And I don't expect many to share the sentiment, but:

It won't be truly abolished until Alignment the system is gone.

Some people prefer a fantasy game where Good and Evil is obvious. And that's fine. I just feel like I have to be "fair" to even the "Evil" ones.

The types of gray morality I talk about are pretty much incompatible with PFS, since "turning evil" means handing over your character sheet.

And I am super off-topic at this point so I'll keep my ramblings off the rest of the thread.


Ckorik wrote:
As an aside - I didn't see JJ say they would be shades - I saw him say 'lavendar over lilac they can't be both' - and I think.. why not both?
James Jacobs wrote:

By "Both" in this case I was implying stripes or spots or the like, which would be interesting but not really what we wanted to go for.

With each new drow we illustrate, I absolutely DO expect the shades to vary. But with one illustration, or even two (as you get in this book), when they're intended to serve as baselines and references four our artists as well as the first impression for tens of thousands if not more newcomers to the game... we only get that one chance.

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42pbs&page=5?Niche-Request-Gnoll-Ancestry# 237


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Rysky wrote:

and goblins are green.

Not always. "Their skin ranges from green to gray to blue" PF2 CRB Page 46


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Elves turning into black elves when they become evil is straight up some Mark of Cain nonsense so I'm not surprised Paizo wouldn't want to continue that particular tradition

Though as mentioned previously in this thread Paizo has... never had black drow? The Second Darkness drow is a dark blue/purple. I'll agree that the bestiary example looks significantly less intimidating but I doubt all drow are that particular shade of blue and we've already seen some variance in depictions (the bestiary hobgoblins look terrible, the hobgoblin alchemist in the recent blog post about the ancestry and that will presumably be included in the Lost Omens Character Guide looks much better).


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Ckorik wrote:
FrostFox wrote:


If their coloring overlaps with non-evil/surface elves then why even have Drow at all? Just make them Cavern variety elves.

For many reasons:


  • Because then it automatically means 'non-elves' can't look at skin color and assume something
  • Because it means that drow coloring is influenced by the underdark but not because they are 'evil'
  • Because we could not have drow as a race (and instead just be a type of elf) but we don't - because lore reasons. Honestly the way Pathfinder made elves space aliens I'd have been happier if drow were just another type of space alien instead of 'sworn to demonlords and turned to evil' - but that ship sailed long ago (alas).
  • Because Cave Elf isn't a race - it's a heritage (see pervious point).

I dunno - if it's hard to tell 'drow' apart to the surface world then it makes it easier to integrate them into the game. But this thread was about discussing the rebranding of the drow - I didn't come in here for 'DEFEND YOUR OPINION 101' - I mean you are welcome to your own and all that but even without all the above I don't expect any race to be a single mono color - ever.

As an aside - I didn't see JJ say they would be shades - I saw him say 'lavendar over lilac they can't be both' - and I think.. why not both?

I would favor using correct terminology in this discussion. They are from the Darklands, and at least the Darklands influencing their coloration would be a more favorable explanation but it's not as lore establishes they are different colored because they are evil.

I also make effort not to use the word 'Race' as that's no longer a thing so I don't know what you're bringing it up. The only difference between Cavern Elves and Drow now is the source of their change (Cavern Elves changing due to environment and Drow changing due to Alignment). The fact that there are lots of Drow in the Darklands is simply due to the fact that they remained there during Earthfall, their history and culture relates to that fact more than being 'Drow'.


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Midnightoker wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

"Some monsters are always evil and some are always good."

Until that concept gets thrown in the trash, it will always require tweaking down the line. But given how many people are up in arms about Drows changing colors or Goblins being included in Core, that's probably a long way off.

I have good news for you - Paizo does in fact appear to be throwing that concept in the trash

While they have certainly taken steps in that direction, it is certainly not entirely in the trash. Golarion is stacked with defined stereotypes for these previously "evil" creatures.

And while the "I'm not evil, I'm just drawn that way!" argument might apply to some extent, hatred for these races based on preconceived notions of them in the world itself already exist.

And maybe they should, because racism is real, so reflecting that realness in a world is fine. What's not fine to me, is that it's somehow acceptable to murder Hobgoblins because they come from some "military society".

Johnny Hobgoblin only enlisted to support his family and because of social pressure. He doesn't want to kill anyone or die, it's just the way things are. However, you still get the NE next to your name, because your only reasonable choice to be good is to basically say "No!" which isn't really an option.

Entirely in the trash would mean Red Dragons aren't default evil, demons aren't default evil, and angels aren't default good.

Don't get me wrong, what they are doing with the playable Ancestries is great, and they're definitely moving closer.

And I don't expect many to share the sentiment, but:

It won't be truly abolished until Alignment the system is gone.

Some people prefer a fantasy game where Good and Evil is obvious. And that's fine. I just feel like I have to be "fair" to even the "Evil" ones.

The types of gray morality I talk about are pretty much incompatible with PFS, since "turning evil" means handing over your character sheet.

And I am super off-topic...

Your point is made best with Dragons rather than Extraplanars, as extraplanars are -made- from planar material which is strongly aligned. The only way Outsiders change alignment seems to be divine intervention.


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I honestly don't understand the "color theory" argument. Do we really want a world where you can just tell how scary something is supposed to be by its skin color? Are blue dragons somehow automatically less scary than black dragons? Are gelugon devils somehow "calming" because they happen to be blue?

Even if we're operating under the assumption that black is automatically scary (which is problematic in itself), uncertainty and subversion of expectations are big parts of what creates fear. If everything is color-coded then all this uncertainty and dissonance is removed (not to mention the damage that would be done to suspension of disbelief by such an obviously contrived world).


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Corrik wrote:
I'm probably thinking of Forgotten Realms, but isn't the onyx/purple skin a symbol of an evil curse? Drow which have the curse removed have different skin tones.
That is Forgotten Realms. It was a plot pont in 3.5 if I remember rightly. They’ve mostly ignored it in recent years (albeit because they ignore most lore for 5th edition).

I think that is backwards. Indiviual elves becoming drow (with an acompanying colour change) is a Golarion thing.

In FR, drow may or may not have changed colour at the time they were cursed (the lore is inconsistant - in some places it says that they did, but in others it says that they were already known as black elves due to their skin colour prior to the fall), but there has never been any mention of it on an individual basis.

EDIT: I had not read the novels someone mentioned upthread, but that does not really contradict anything I have said. Just one more inconsistancy for the pile.

_
glass.


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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:

I honestly don't understand the "color theory" argument. Do we really want a world where you can just tell how scary something is supposed to be by its skin color? Are blue dragons somehow automatically less scary than black dragons? Are gelugon devils somehow "calming" because they happen to be blue?

Even if we're operating under the assumption that black is automatically scary (which is problematic in itself), uncertainty and subversion of expectations are big parts of what creates fear. If everything is color-coded then all this uncertainty and dissonance is removed (not to mention the damage that would be done to suspension of disbelief by such an obviously contrived world).

Color theory is basic psychology. Humanity has expectations and emotions based on sight. And yes, by appearance Gelugons are more -calming- and less sinister because they are a pleasant ice blue compared to a Bearded Devils hellish red skin. It diminishes the effect their presence has, even if it doesn't completely negate it. Even so, you can ignore the 'Black is scary' part and look toward the 'black is regal, powerful, authoritative, and mysterious'.

Black appearances for denoting frightening or evil doesn't need to be changed elsewhere, so why were Drow chosen? Duergar are still evil and dark-skinned.

Wraiths are depicted as being shadowy, black smoke. Why not white smoke? White is equally ghostly. Stone Giants are grey-skinned, why aren't they subverting the trope? It's not like there aren't stones that are light-colored.

Huh...Look at that...Hobgoblins also have Gray, Ashen-colored skin.


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Color theory is a generalization that has been pounded into our heads so much that some people are fool enough to take it as unilateral fact

For example, yellow is supposed to represent positivity and joy, but too much yellow makes me want to kill people.


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Drow have always had varied skin tone, so that it is varied, no problem there.

That it is this pale bluish/"wasted" color, I kind of dig, it both looks "underground" and alien/weird, which I also dig.

Also makes them a bit more distinctive, which I think the setting has always striven for, especially when it comes to "typical" fantasy creatures.

Of course, nothing saying you cannot have ALL dark-skinned drow, or any other color you want.

In canon Golarion, you have various hues of skin amongst drow. Simple as that, really.


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Drow should be the color of blind cave salamanders and I will GM fiat whatever the books say anyway.


The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:

I honestly don't understand the "color theory" argument. Do we really want a world where you can just tell how scary something is supposed to be by its skin color? Are blue dragons somehow automatically less scary than black dragons? Are gelugon devils somehow "calming" because they happen to be blue?

Even if we're operating under the assumption that black is automatically scary (which is problematic in itself), uncertainty and subversion of expectations are big parts of what creates fear. If everything is color-coded then all this uncertainty and dissonance is removed (not to mention the damage that would be done to suspension of disbelief by such an obviously contrived world).

Well to the question about blue dragons being less scary? the answer is yes. This is basic psychology, blue is a less threatening colour.

Sure in real it doesn't matter what colour the wild animal is if it's trying to eat me but we are talking about designs. We design things for a purpose and so if you want your dragon to be seem more threatening it's black or red, not pink or purple.

Reminds of a story where a vampire tried to immunize himself to holy symbols but instead starting seeing them in every crack in the floor, finding problems where there is none.


Because Gelugons are blue does not make them calm and inviting...they are literally giant ice mantises with magic, strong allies, and big spear and as an infernal creature probably enjoy torturing mortals. Nothing about any of that is calming. My point is you shouldn't be hyper focused on this one characteristic that you ignore the whole thing. A Gelugon could be a rainbow of pastels, that doesn't change it from being a demon mantis with a spear.

Color theory shouldn't be being applied to these things.

Again, if you don't like the color change to Drow, don't run them that way. No one is at your table telling you how to describe things.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Drow should be the color of blind cave salamanders and I will GM fiat whatever the books say anyway.

I would be good with that.

blind cave salamander coloring: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_salamander#/media/File:Speleomantes_supr amontis02.jpg


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Arachnofiend wrote:

Color theory is a generalization that has been pounded into our heads so much that some people are fool enough to take it as unilateral fact

For example, yellow is supposed to represent positivity and joy, but too much yellow makes me want to kill people.

So you posit that color theory is pounded into us, and not culturally or psychologically relevant?


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Drow should be the color of blind cave salamanders and I will GM fiat whatever the books say anyway.

That would be Cavern Elves.


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LizardMage wrote:

Because Gelugons are blue does not make them calm and inviting...they are literally giant ice mantises with magic, strong allies, and big spear and as an infernal creature probably enjoy torturing mortals. Nothing about any of that is calming.

Color theory shouldn't be being applied to these things.

Again, if you don't like the color change to Drow, don't run them that way. No one is at your table telling you how to describe things.

The poster just said that but pointed out how being blue still diminishes the effect. You had a very popular artist design the xenomorphs, the design would not be as iconic if they where any other colour so yes it should be applied to design. It is ludicrous to think that colour theory shouldn't be part of art.

That last part is also really rude, may as well say go away and shut up because you don't like them disagreeing with you..


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LizardMage wrote:

Because Gelugons are blue does not make them calm and inviting...they are literally giant ice mantises with magic, strong allies, and big spear and as an infernal creature probably enjoy torturing mortals. Nothing about any of that is calming. My point is you shouldn't be hyper focused on this one characteristic that you ignore the whole thing. A Gelugon could be a rainbow of pastels, that doesn't change it from being a demon mantis with a spear.

Color theory shouldn't be being applied to these things.

Again, if you don't like the color change to Drow, don't run them that way. No one is at your table telling you how to describe things.

You're viewing in absolutes. No, being ice blue does not completely negate their demeanor, but it does impact it. Seeing Dwayne Johnson in a pink t-shirt would make him more approachable. It's subconscious. Also, Gelugon is a Devil, not a Demon. If Iomedae was represented as being a giant shadow of darkness, how would that impact the perception of her? Why did Nocticula change appearance if appearance doesn't matter?


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Ckorik wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Drow should be the color of blind cave salamanders and I will GM fiat whatever the books say anyway.

I would be good with that.

blind cave salamander coloring: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_salamander#/media/File:Speleomantes_supr amontis02.jpg

That salamander clearly has functional eyes.

You're looking for this one.

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FrostFox wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

Color theory is a generalization that has been pounded into our heads so much that some people are fool enough to take it as unilateral fact

For example, yellow is supposed to represent positivity and joy, but too much yellow makes me want to kill people.

So you posit that color theory is pounded into us, and not culturally or psychologically relevant?

Yes. Human's are varied. How the color is presented is just as important as the amount as well as surrounding colors.

Yellow highlights I like. Lots of yellow annoys me. Why I never liked Calistria.


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FrostFox wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

Color theory is a generalization that has been pounded into our heads so much that some people are fool enough to take it as unilateral fact

For example, yellow is supposed to represent positivity and joy, but too much yellow makes me want to kill people.

So you posit that color theory is pounded into us, and not culturally or psychologically relevant?

I posit that that pounding informs the culture and psychology. You are not immune to propaganda


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Arachnofiend wrote:
FrostFox wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

Color theory is a generalization that has been pounded into our heads so much that some people are fool enough to take it as unilateral fact

For example, yellow is supposed to represent positivity and joy, but too much yellow makes me want to kill people.

So you posit that color theory is pounded into us, and not culturally or psychologically relevant?
I posit that that pounding informs the culture and psychology. You are not immune to propaganda

And yet the perceptions are largely the same across worldwide cultures. Blue is comforting because the sky is blue and we are diurnal animals. The Dark is frightening because we cannot see in it. Certainly it's not locked in stone, but to say it isn't impactful itself is ignorant.


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FrostFox wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
In the gnoll thread, JJ confirmed that drow skin tone is not universal; the artwork in the Bestiary is simply the most common/iconic skin tone.

"With each new drow we illustrate, I absolutely DO expect the shades to vary. But with one illustration, or even two (as you get in this book), when they're intended to serve as baselines and references four our artists as well as the first impression for tens of thousands if not more newcomers to the game... we only get that one chance."

So the baby blue elves are going to be the Drow baseline going forward.

Are we disagreeing? That seems like we are saying the same thing.


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FrostFox wrote:
The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:

I honestly don't understand the "color theory" argument. Do we really want a world where you can just tell how scary something is supposed to be by its skin color? Are blue dragons somehow automatically less scary than black dragons? Are gelugon devils somehow "calming" because they happen to be blue?

Even if we're operating under the assumption that black is automatically scary (which is problematic in itself), uncertainty and subversion of expectations are big parts of what creates fear. If everything is color-coded then all this uncertainty and dissonance is removed (not to mention the damage that would be done to suspension of disbelief by such an obviously contrived world).

Color theory is basic psychology. Humanity has expectations and emotions based on sight. And yes, by appearance Gelugons are more -calming- and less sinister because they are a pleasant ice blue compared to a Bearded Devils hellish red skin. It diminishes the effect their presence has, even if it doesn't completely negate it. Even so, you can ignore the 'Black is scary' part and look toward the 'black is regal, powerful, authoritative, and mysterious'.

Black appearances for denoting frightening or evil doesn't need to be changed elsewhere, so why were Drow chosen? Duergar are still evil and dark-skinned.

Wraiths are depicted as being shadowy, black smoke. Why not white smoke? White is equally ghostly. Stone Giants are grey-skinned, why aren't they subverting the trope? It's not like there aren't stones that are light-colored.

Huh...Look at that...Hobgoblins also have Gray, Ashen-colored skin.

I'm not arguing that all color choices for monsters must be made with the intention of subverting tropes. That would be just as ridiculous as the opposite. What I do mean is that there are all kinds of different ways of making a creature or character seem threatening, and for me at least color is not a particularly effective one.

I would also question why it is necessary to make an entire species of sentient beings look evil in the first place. I mean, there are plenty of stories with human villains who manage to be effectively menacing without relying on the color of their skin to do it. Imagine if someone came out of a movie and said, "You know, the antagonist was pretty good, but he just wasn't very scary with that light skin of his. After all, everyone knows that white is traditionally associated with purity and innocence. They really should have cast someone with darker skin, so he would be really scary."

That's why it's a good idea to change drow specifically. They were literally a group of people who had lighter skin, became evil, and then got darker skin. This reinforces the dark=evil idea that has contributed to so much real-world discrimination and makes the above example so uncomfortable.

As for duergar and hobgoblins, they both have relatively light-gray skin that isn't much darker than the new drow, and as far as I'm aware they don't have the problematic history of the drow.


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MaxAstro wrote:
FrostFox wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
In the gnoll thread, JJ confirmed that drow skin tone is not universal; the artwork in the Bestiary is simply the most common/iconic skin tone.

"With each new drow we illustrate, I absolutely DO expect the shades to vary. But with one illustration, or even two (as you get in this book), when they're intended to serve as baselines and references four our artists as well as the first impression for tens of thousands if not more newcomers to the game... we only get that one chance."

So the baby blue elves are going to be the Drow baseline going forward.

Are we disagreeing? That seems like we are saying the same thing.

I am - mostly based on context of that post being about illustrations (which is a vary reasonable take - artists don't exactly chroma-match when making art) - and the bestiary saying the are a single mono color.

"their flesh adopted an unearthly lavender sheen that made the drow instantly recognizable." (PF2 Monster Manual - pg 136).

Which is fine for the monster entry - but if we are going to posit a discussion for the ancestry to come I believe it's worth noting that mono-shade is the only part I really dislike. Based on the many posters seeming to argue that 1) that's not what the monster manual means even though JJ said it was and 2) JJ was talking about other colors just not the art - when the context of that quote seems to be the opposite based on the text and previous statements it seems that many of us are in agreement with the idea - but just want to (apparently) argue that I'm wrong for suggesting they won't have shades when the ancestry is published.

To the argument about what JJ meant... whatever - if he wants to clarify his statement that's up to him - to the fact that I think they should have other colors available if they will be used as a player race - if you agree then just show support - the arguing over semantics isn't going to present a clear voice.

I mean the choice is "Lavender and/or shades of lavender perhaps" or "I really hope that the ancestry allows for more than one color - even if the art and monster entries don't".

Then of course you have "I'll do what I want so I'm going to come in and poop on this thread because I'm bored - GM FIAT RULES" also tossed in - which is very constructive in a thread about ... the changes to the drow race as feedback.

So whatever - I made my point I think.


I'd say blue being a less threatening color than black being more sociology. How we view that sort of thing is caused by social interactions with others. I don't view black as threatening.. because I wasn't taught that it was. In some societies.. other colors are more threatening. Say green.. for being associated with mold or mildew.

And interestingly.. purple.. including lilac.. is often seen as being about Ambition, Power, Nobility.. which fits Drow fine.

Doompatrol wrote:
The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:

I honestly don't understand the "color theory" argument. Do we really want a world where you can just tell how scary something is supposed to be by its skin color? Are blue dragons somehow automatically less scary than black dragons? Are gelugon devils somehow "calming" because they happen to be blue?

Even if we're operating under the assumption that black is automatically scary (which is problematic in itself), uncertainty and subversion of expectations are big parts of what creates fear. If everything is color-coded then all this uncertainty and dissonance is removed (not to mention the damage that would be done to suspension of disbelief by such an obviously contrived world).

Well to the question about blue dragons being less scary? the answer is yes. This is basic psychology, blue is a less threatening colour.

Sure in real it doesn't matter what colour the wild animal is if it's trying to eat me but we are talking about designs. We design things for a purpose and so if you want your dragon to be seem more threatening it's black or red, not pink or purple.

Reminds of a story where a vampire tried to immunize himself to holy symbols but instead starting seeing them in every crack in the floor, finding problems where there is none.


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Cthulhusquatch wrote:

I'd say blue being a less threatening color than black being more sociology. How we view that sort of thing is caused by social interactions with others. I don't view black as threatening.. because I wasn't taught that it was. In some societies.. other colors are more threatening. Say green.. for being associated with mold or mildew.

And interestingly.. purple.. including lilac.. is often seen as being about Ambition, Power, Nobility.. which fits Drow fine.

The thing about Purple is that its origin as a color of Nobility comes from the exclusivity of Indigo in dye, and in either case I don't believe Lilac was as much nobility as the darker shades of purple which are stronger.

Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:

I'm not arguing that all color choices for monsters must be made with the intention of subverting tropes. That would be just as ridiculous as the opposite. What I do mean is that there are all kinds of different ways of making a creature or character seem threatening, and for me at least color is not a particularly effective one.

I would also question why it is necessary to make an entire species of sentient beings look evil in the first place. I mean, there are plenty of stories with human villains who manage to be effectively menacing without relying on the color of their skin to do it. Imagine if someone came out of a movie and said, "You know, the antagonist was pretty good, but he just wasn't very scary with that light skin of his. After all, everyone knows that white is traditionally associated with purity and innocence. They really should have cast someone with darker skin, so he would be really scary."

That's why it's a good idea to change drow specifically. They were literally a group of people who had lighter skin, became evil, and then got darker skin. This reinforces the dark=evil idea that has contributed to so much real-world discrimination and makes the above example so uncomfortable.

As for duergar and hobgoblins, they both have relatively light-gray skin that isn't much darker than the new drow, and as far as I'm aware they don't have the problematic history of the drow.

If it's not necessary then don't include it, but the decision has been made that being evil changes elves. Why would it change them so they don't look evil? What is the point of marking them out at all if it's not impactful? They can pass off as Arctic or Cavern elves. Hell, seems even easier for them to spy and raid.


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FrostFox wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
FrostFox wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

Color theory is a generalization that has been pounded into our heads so much that some people are fool enough to take it as unilateral fact

For example, yellow is supposed to represent positivity and joy, but too much yellow makes me want to kill people.

So you posit that color theory is pounded into us, and not culturally or psychologically relevant?
I posit that that pounding informs the culture and psychology. You are not immune to propaganda
And yet the perceptions are largely the same across worldwide cultures. Blue is comforting because the sky is blue and we are diurnal animals. The Dark is frightening because we cannot see in it. Certainly it's not locked in stone, but to say it isn't impactful itself is ignorant.

The concept of "blue" doesn't even exist in some worldwide cultures. Some African languages call the sky white and the rivers black. The Ancient Greeks referred to the sea as wine colored.

Color based symbolism is not as objective as you think it is.


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Thebazilly wrote:
FrostFox wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
FrostFox wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

Color theory is a generalization that has been pounded into our heads so much that some people are fool enough to take it as unilateral fact

For example, yellow is supposed to represent positivity and joy, but too much yellow makes me want to kill people.

So you posit that color theory is pounded into us, and not culturally or psychologically relevant?
I posit that that pounding informs the culture and psychology. You are not immune to propaganda
And yet the perceptions are largely the same across worldwide cultures. Blue is comforting because the sky is blue and we are diurnal animals. The Dark is frightening because we cannot see in it. Certainly it's not locked in stone, but to say it isn't impactful itself is ignorant.

The concept of "blue" doesn't even exist in some worldwide cultures. Some African languages call the sky white and the rivers black. The Ancient Greeks referred to the sea as wine colored.

Color based symbolism is not as objective as you think it is.

That's a separation of language and vision. Orange existed as a color before it was called orange. The sky is visible light in the 400-500nm range regardless of whether we call it 'White' or 'Blue' (depending on if it's too bright to look up and actually see visible color).


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FrostFox wrote:
Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:

I'm not arguing that all color choices for monsters must be made with the intention of subverting tropes. That would be just as ridiculous as the opposite. What I do mean is that there are all kinds of different ways of making a creature or character seem threatening, and for me at least color is not a particularly effective one.

I would also question why it is necessary to make an entire species of sentient beings look evil in the first place. I mean, there are plenty of stories with human villains who manage to be effectively menacing without relying on the color of their skin to do it. Imagine if someone came out of a movie and said, "You know, the antagonist was pretty good, but he just wasn't very scary with that light skin of his. After all, everyone knows that white is traditionally associated with purity and innocence. They really should have cast someone with darker skin, so he would be really scary."

That's why it's a good idea to change drow specifically. They were literally a group of people who had lighter skin, became evil, and then got darker skin. This reinforces the dark=evil idea that has contributed to so much real-world discrimination and makes the above example so uncomfortable.

As for duergar and hobgoblins, they both have relatively light-gray skin that isn't much darker than the new drow, and as far as I'm aware they don't have the problematic history of the drow.

If it's not necessary then don't include it, but the decision has been made that being evil changes elves. Why would it change them so they don't look evil? What is the point of marking them out at all if it's not impactful? They can pass off as Arctic or Cavern elves. Hell, seems even easier for them to spy and raid.

You're still relying on the idea that darkness is inherently evil, and therefore the new drow "don't look evil." Why is it important for the moral position of a person to be easily distinguishable by the color of their skin? To me that seems like an excuse to be prejudiced in-game while still retaining the moral high ground, which among many other problems results in much less nuanced stories.

Frankly, I would be even happier if drow weren't a separate ancestry at all, just a particular group of elves who happened to have a mostly evil society. In my opinion that would result in a significantly more interesting setting. However, changing drow skin color in order to avoid the racist implications of their existence is still a step in the right direction.


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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
FrostFox wrote:
Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:

I'm not arguing that all color choices for monsters must be made with the intention of subverting tropes. That would be just as ridiculous as the opposite. What I do mean is that there are all kinds of different ways of making a creature or character seem threatening, and for me at least color is not a particularly effective one.

I would also question why it is necessary to make an entire species of sentient beings look evil in the first place. I mean, there are plenty of stories with human villains who manage to be effectively menacing without relying on the color of their skin to do it. Imagine if someone came out of a movie and said, "You know, the antagonist was pretty good, but he just wasn't very scary with that light skin of his. After all, everyone knows that white is traditionally associated with purity and innocence. They really should have cast someone with darker skin, so he would be really scary."

That's why it's a good idea to change drow specifically. They were literally a group of people who had lighter skin, became evil, and then got darker skin. This reinforces the dark=evil idea that has contributed to so much real-world discrimination and makes the above example so uncomfortable.

As for duergar and hobgoblins, they both have relatively light-gray skin that isn't much darker than the new drow, and as far as I'm aware they don't have the problematic history of the drow.

If it's not necessary then don't include it, but the decision has been made that being evil changes elves. Why would it change them so they don't look evil? What is the point of marking them out at all if it's not impactful? They can pass off as Arctic or Cavern elves. Hell, seems even easier for them to spy and raid.
You're still relying on the idea that darkness is inherently evil, and therefore the new drow "don't look evil." Why is it important for the moral position of a person to be easily distinguishable by the color of their skin? To me that...

So then why have Evil be the trigger that changes them? I just prefer the aesthetic of darker skinned drow of more charcoal/obsidian varieties or even from PF1e (most of the choose-able Avatars for the messageboard are pretty good). It's not a personal moral position, but it's made in the setting that evil elves change, thus what they change into is likely to be recognizably evil, any assertions to the opposite are my opinion. The core is Drow were put into the game because they're popular, and now it's problematic. They're -still- changing because they're evil, and they can still theoretically be marked out because of it so I'm not sure what you're getting at.

And again, I've proposed alternatives that are more palatable. Marked by their demon-lords or deities, alternate colors, being fashionable to flesh-warp your skin, darklands emanations changing them, etc.

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