Author Topic: Dark Elves/ Half Elves  (Read 280 times)

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Offline Fenris2k

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Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« on: February 09, 2021, 10:37:37 PM »
Are the Dark Elves in Rolemaster alike in appearance to those of most AD&D worlds, the Druchii of Warhammer Fantasy, or different from either?
As for the Half Elves, I see in the Companion that they have different bonuses by human parent, but wouldn't there be differences by the elven parent?

Online Hurin

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2021, 11:41:17 PM »
From the Master Atlas (3rd Edition):

"The Dyari (Iy: ‘Delvers’) are, despite their nickname of ‘Dark
Elves,’ no darker in skin pigmentation than their brethren; in
fact they are very fair-skinned. While most have raven hair, a few
are born with pure white locks. Their ears frequently have more
pronounced points than the other Elves; their eyes are grey, black,
or sometimes amber. Often, however, they are so similar to their
Loar cousins that it is difficult—at least for mortals—to tell the
difference.
The Dark Elves instead gained their name because of an
earned reputation for associating with the powers of darkness. It
is true that many of their kind have been seduced by the lure of
the Unlife (many of the Priests Arnak are Dyar, for instance), but
most Dyari are merely what one might call ‘mercenary.’ They embody the worst traits of the Loari but to the extreme: they are
vain and arrogant, considering all other races (including other
Elves) to be inferior. They have a lust for power: political, magical, physical, and spiritual."
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline jdale

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2021, 01:10:22 AM »
If you *want* something like classic D&D drow to use as adversaries, there are the Daedhel (shadow elves), Hodhedhel, and Thauredhel. These are not exactly types of elves, they are elf-demons and live in the Void. Daedhel are shadowy, while the other two have black skin and silver hair. But that's not a trait of all elf-demons, the Celebdel look like regular elves aside from their black eyes and twisted silver crowns, and Culraug look so much like fire they can disappear into it.
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Offline Fenris2k

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2021, 07:03:42 AM »
Thanks for the Dark Elf info; I think the edition I have some books for is 2nd.

Offline Ginger McMurray

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2021, 05:09:57 PM »
I wouldn't use the demons to replace D&D dark elves. I'd use the "Dark elves" as presented in RM2 but make them underground, dark skinned, and evil.

Then again, I wouldn't use D&D dark elves. :D
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Offline Fenris2k

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2021, 05:53:21 PM »
I wouldn't use the demons to replace D&D dark elves. I'd use the "Dark elves" as presented in RM2 but make them underground, dark skinned, and evil.

Then again, I wouldn't use D&D dark elves. :D

I was just wondering what they looked like.  It doesn't really describe them in the Companion.

Online Hurin

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2021, 06:20:28 PM »
I was just wondering what they looked like.  It doesn't really describe them in the Companion.

Yes, that's totally understandable.

One thing to note is that Dungeons & Dragons is currently going through a major debate over the role of race in its modules. The ways that some races were depicted in previous editions can look rather racist, especially when it seems it was more commonly the races with darker skin that were inherently evil. So I think it is actually a good thing that Rolemaster's 'Dark Elves' did not actually have dark skin.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline Fenris2k

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2021, 09:39:14 PM »
I was just wondering what they looked like.  It doesn't really describe them in the Companion.

Yes, that's totally understandable.

One thing to note is that Dungeons & Dragons is currently going through a major debate over the role of race in its modules. The ways that some races were depicted in previous editions can look rather racist, especially when it seems it was more commonly the races with darker skin that were inherently evil. So I think it is actually a good thing that Rolemaster's 'Dark Elves' did not actually have dark skin.

LMAO that amuses me to no end every time it comes up.
Especially the "orcs=black people" crowd.  It says more about them than it does orcs or black people.
Pandering can only go so far before it becomes ridiculous and condescending.  Condescension is as bad as overt bigotry

Offline Spectre771

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2021, 11:02:53 AM »
This is a great clarification.  Neither I nor my groups had ever considered the dark elves to be fair skinned and considered "dark" by their beliefs.  I always likened them to drow elves, but not evil.  Any player can make any character "evil" just by the actions they perform in the game.  I have an NPC "Healer" in my game who kills his patients to put them out of their misery and to end their suffering.  The PCs haven't witnessed him in actual action yet, they all assume the patient died due to injuries.  I guess technically they did, just not the injuries the players assumed were the cause.

We did make the elves darker skinned as a different race of elves, just as we have different races of humans in all shades from light to dark and in between.  And in some instances, we compared the dark elves as a stand out such as albinos in the human races.
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Offline jdale

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2021, 11:39:59 AM »
D&D dark elves were the only dark-skinned elves, and they were evil. Dark skinned dwarves were evil. It's not a big jump to expect that dark skinned versions of other races are also meant to be evil in that case. D&D dark elves were also D&D's most prominent matriarchy, and not only was it evil, it was also dominatrix-based. I don't think it's much of a jump to read something into that. Even the good drow were fetishized, written as literally dancing around naked. So.

In the real world, things that live underground, in darkness, tend to become pale and white, not dark. Albino cave elves.

Personally, I prefer the idea that darkness is in their hearts and not on their skin. I played an elven enchanter in a game with that kind of dark elves, the elves with the closest ties to nature could sense that difference. Others could not. I had some concern that my character had actually crossed that line (ok, he had the Mind Disease spell list, it was a valid concern), and steered clear of those kinds of elves. "Am I dark?" Interesting.

My regular elves in my campaign have a more olive complexion, they are well suited for being out in nature all the time, not pale and ethereal as Tolkien had them. I have dark dwarves, but the darkness is that the earth they work with will not respond to the earth magic of other dwarves, it is "dark" to them. There's nothing visual about it. It's not inherently evil, just separate. There are no dark elves in that sense, that is not the path of evil that elves walk down, they have their own ways....
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Offline markc

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2021, 12:03:58 PM »
Unfortunately I have seen races played as caricatures of races on Earth as far back as the first convention I went to in the 80's and have seen and heard about people still doing it today.

In general I found you need to look at each case in question and the people involved and make a case by case decision based on gathered facts and intent.

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Online Hurin

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2021, 12:12:51 PM »

In the real world, things that live underground, in darkness, tend to become pale and white, not dark.


LOL, I can't believe I never thought of that before. That's a great point.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline Fenris2k

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2021, 02:20:23 PM »
D&D dark elves were the only dark-skinned elves, and they were evil. Dark skinned dwarves were evil. It's not a big jump to expect that dark skinned versions of other races are also meant to be evil in that case. D&D dark elves were also D&D's most prominent matriarchy, and not only was it evil, it was also dominatrix-based. I don't think it's much of a jump to read something into that. Even the good drow were fetishized, written as literally dancing around naked. So.

In the real world, things that live underground, in darkness, tend to become pale and white, not dark. Albino cave elves.

Personally, I prefer the idea that darkness is in their hearts and not on their skin. I played an elven enchanter in a game with that kind of dark elves, the elves with the closest ties to nature could sense that difference. Others could not. I had some concern that my character had actually crossed that line (ok, he had the Mind Disease spell list, it was a valid concern), and steered clear of those kinds of elves. "Am I dark?" Interesting.

My regular elves in my campaign have a more olive complexion, they are well suited for being out in nature all the time, not pale and ethereal as Tolkien had them. I have dark dwarves, but the darkness is that the earth they work with will not respond to the earth magic of other dwarves, it is "dark" to them. There's nothing visual about it. It's not inherently evil, just separate. There are no dark elves in that sense, that is not the path of evil that elves walk down, they have their own ways....

It may depend on the world in question.  Some elves were dark-skinned, for instance some from the desert areas of the Forgotten Realms... which also had Gold Dwarves.
Tolkien got his elves from the Old Norse Sagas.
The Deep Gnomes were also dark grey skinned, and not evil.  The reason why drow have coal black skin is because of the curse placed on them by the Seldarine.  As for the followers of Eilistraee dancing naked, so what? A lot of followers of various deities have done the same thing in the real world.
The whole thing is really much ado about nothing.
My two-part question had nothing to do with "racism".

Online Hurin

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2021, 02:41:20 PM »
My two-part question had nothing to do with "racism".

Your question had nothing to do with racism and no one is accusing you of that. I was the one that brought up the issue of race.

I do think that this is an issue that is being hotly discussed though, which is why I thought it might be relevant. I do find the concept of a race being 'cursed' with dark skin to be problematic. It never seems like anyone is being cursed with blonde hair and blue eyes.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline Fenris2k

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2021, 02:47:58 PM »
My two-part question had nothing to do with "racism".

Your question had nothing to do with racism and no one is accusing you of that. I was the one that brought up the issue of race.

I do think that this is an issue that is being hotly discussed though, which is why I thought it might be relevant. I do find the concept of a race being 'cursed' with dark skin to be problematic. It never seems like anyone is being cursed with blonde hair and blue eyes.

I find people reading more into something than was ever intended or considered to be problematic.
Have idiots misconstrued things over the years? Sure.
But this is all far too reminiscent of the Satanic Panic when I was a kid to be comfortable.

Offline jdale

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2021, 03:52:34 PM »
There was nothing wrong with the question. I do, however, think there is a legitimate issue with dark elves as originally construed in D&D; I was responding to your second post where you said there was not. I disagree, that's all.

D&D has gradually shifted on these points. It's true that by 3rd edition we were seeing more diversity in the elves, e.g. we have the wild elves who are dark skinned, savage, primitive, and less intelligent rather than black skinned and evil. Dark elves started getting some backstory filled in (e.g. Seldarine curse), but it was to explain the design choices made in their creation, not to change it. A line of albino drow were added. You can pick out any one feature in isolation and it doesn't mean much (e.g. even black skin by itself), but the big picture tone of what the dark elves were is dark-skinned, evil, woman-controlled, and sexually deviant, and there's not much to mitigate that.

That said, I don't think it's necessary for all races to be equally good. Good and evil are important in a fantasy setting. It's fine to have evil types of elves. I don't see a problem with the Dyari for example.
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Offline Fenris2k

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2021, 04:08:17 PM »
There was nothing wrong with the question. I do, however, think there is a legitimate issue with dark elves as originally construed in D&D; I was responding to your second post where you said there was not. I disagree, that's all.

D&D has gradually shifted on these points. It's true that by 3rd edition we were seeing more diversity in the elves, e.g. we have the wild elves who are dark skinned, savage, primitive, and less intelligent rather than black skinned and evil. Dark elves started getting some backstory filled in (e.g. Seldarine curse), but it was to explain the design choices made in their creation, not to change it. A line of albino drow were added. You can pick out any one feature in isolation and it doesn't mean much (e.g. even black skin by itself), but the big picture tone of what the dark elves were is dark-skinned, evil, woman-controlled, and sexually deviant, and there's not much to mitigate that.

That said, I don't think it's necessary for all races to be equally good. Good and evil are important in a fantasy setting. It's fine to have evil types of elves. I don't see a problem with the Dyari for example.

Wild Elves have been around since 1st edition.
I was referring to the dark-skinned elves of Zakharra, from 2nd edition, as part of the Forgotten Realms.
This is all quickly going to go into some sort of circular argument, so I regret even asking the original question

Offline mibsweden

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2021, 06:02:56 AM »
I was just wondering what they looked like.  It doesn't really describe them in the Companion.

Yes, that's totally understandable.

One thing to note is that Dungeons & Dragons is currently going through a major debate over the role of race in its modules. The ways that some races were depicted in previous editions can look rather racist, especially when it seems it was more commonly the races with darker skin that were inherently evil. So I think it is actually a good thing that Rolemaster's 'Dark Elves' did not actually have dark skin.

LMAO that amuses me to no end every time it comes up.
Especially the "orcs=black people" crowd.  It says more about them than it does orcs or black people.
Pandering can only go so far before it becomes ridiculous and condescending.  Condescension is as bad as overt bigotry

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Offline Ecthelion

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2021, 10:25:12 AM »
Are you by any chance a middle aged white man?
Probably many of us are. But does it really matter? In any case I'd prefer if we get back to the original topic instead of slowly but steadily drifting away from it.

Offline dungeonHack

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Re: Dark Elves/ Half Elves
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2021, 10:44:06 AM »
Personally, I think Hurin's original reply sufficiently answered this question.

I'm not a moderator, but perhaps locking this thread might defuse any potential scuffles around the emergent topic.
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