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    Canonfire :: View topic - Elven subraces. What are the pertinent differences?
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Elven subraces. What are the pertinent differences?
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 15, 2004 11:14 pm  
    Elven subraces. What are the pertinent differences?

    Calling all artists!

    I'm sick of not having a *true* mental picture of what the elven subraces look like when compared to each other.

    You see, I like the picture of the human "subraces" in the LGG. This picture helped me visualise the human subraces when, previously, I was just going by some vague written descriptions.

    Now I'd like to see the same done for the *true* elven subraces (as opposed to FR elven subraces . . . Moon elf, Sun elf, etc.). Now the *true* GH elven subraces are all detailed in the 1E Unearthed Arcana. There is: High elf, Gray elf, Wild elf, Wood elf, Valley elf (from the Valley of the Mage), Drow elf, and Aquatic elf.

    You see, the Realms has elven subraces that were clearly modelled on the above GH subraces but, if you read the 3E FR Campaign Setting, the description of those elven subraces does not match descriptions of elven subraces as described by EGG in 1E MM and 1E UA. I know that the elves of FR have different names, but the parallel is not hard to find. For example, Moon elves would be your GH High Elf. The only problem is that the Moon elf description is not that of a GH High elf. High elfs in GH are described by EGG as having dark hair, not light hair as in FR. Also, the FR Wood elf is described as having very tan skin. In GH, the Wood elf is decribed as being even fairer than a Grey elf!!!

    So has anyone fully fleshed out the elven subraces? Appearance, dress, culture, etc?
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 11, 2001
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    Thu Sep 16, 2004 4:59 am  

    I'd really like to see that too.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: May 13, 2004
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    Fri Sep 17, 2004 8:38 am  

    Quote:
    Calling all artists!

    I'm sick of not having a *true* mental picture of what the elven subraces look like when compared to each other.


    I'd be interested as far as art. Hey, Baggins, you should give this idea of yours a go for an article submission. I'll sketch, you write. Wink
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Sep 18, 2004 12:47 am  



    left to right:

    Human (for size comparison), High Elf, Wood Elf, Grey Elf, Drow, Grugach
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Sep 18, 2004 5:07 am  

    Did you read the first post?

    The second figure is NOT a high elf. It is a gold elf, a subrace specific to the Forgottten Realms. High elves of Greyhawk are usually dark-haired and green eyed.

    None of the elven races that you have chosen to identify with this illustration match the established norms of Greyhawk. This is why the original request was made not to recycle FR information.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Sep 18, 2004 1:29 pm  

    If you dont like the picture, dont use it, and how about offering some alternative?

    No, let's just give me an attitude, probably makes you feel more manly or something, right?
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    Forum Moderator

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    Sat Sep 18, 2004 5:56 pm  

    Kill all the elves and let Corellon sort them out. Cool
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 19, 2004 6:03 am  

    Elves are about five feet tall, fully a head or more shorter than humans (except grey elves, that are "taller," and valley elves/grugach are fully 6'). They are also notably slight in build, something that FR artwork tends to ignore (IMO). In fact, I'd accuse FR sources of usually putting pointy ears on attractive humans and nothing more. Locckwood's art is better -- the faces are distinctly non-human.

    My impression is that physical differences are primarily, but not always, in coloration. High elves are dark-haired and green-eyed; grey elves are silver or golden-haired and amber or violet eyes. Wood elves are a bit darker-skinned and can have reddish hair (as I recall). Everybody knows what drow look like :)

    The descriptive blurb for grey elves in MM 3.5 is NOT GH-standard. Dark hair is wrong, and tall as a human is probably (?) an exaggeration.

    The pic is my take on a grey elf (unfinished pic for my campaign, parts 'borrowed' from various sources). It represents very well my mental image. Elves are slender, with somewhat elongated features (exotic by humans standards -- the elongated features are not explicit canon, but supported by some GH-specific artwork like Greyhawk Treasures). The point of the ears is pronounced.

    My two cents :)

    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 19, 2004 6:28 pm  

    jwb3 wrote:
    Elves are about five feet tall, fully a head or more shorter than humans (except grey elves, that are "taller," and valley elves/grugach are fully 6'). They are also notably slight in build, something that FR artwork tends to ignore (IMO). In fact, I'd accuse FR sources of usually putting pointy ears on attractive humans and nothing more. Locckwood's art is better -- the faces are distinctly non-human.


    Yes, in the 3E FR Campaign book, they distinctly say that elves of the Realms are as tall as humans.

    (Actually, it's funny. When I've mentioned to some people that elves are a head shorter than humans they are aghast. They say that elves should be tall and graceful. I try to explain that they have *fairy-folk* roots and that they are, indeed, extremely lithe and graceful. But I have run into this suprised reaction on a number of occasions. So perhaps this erroneous view of elven height is quite wide spread. So much so that the elf has now mutated to match?)

    I'm wondering if the *true* vision of elves has now mutated over the years. Now, the FR vision is the *default* vision. I mean, Dragonlance would have also contributed to the mutation of elves. Look at the Qualinesti. These elves would be termed High Elves, but they don't have dark hair. They are fair-haired like the High Elves of the Realms (called Moon Elves).

    I mean, just look at how the halfling has mutated in 3E. The halfling is skinny and wears shoes. Gone are all the Tolkien-esque influences: ie. the pipe o' tabacoo, the shoeless hairy feet, the love of fine food, etc. I contribute the evolution of the halfling to be both an influence from the Dragonlance kender, and a conscious effort of WotC to make D&D less like Tolkien.

    So . . . are the elves from the 3E FR Campaign Setting (kindly posted above by chatdemon) the new *default* appearance for elves? If they are, I can see where WotC is coming from because there were not many physical differences between EGG's elven subraces (descriptions were brief and some seemed very close to others). In other words, more contrast makes it easier for us to remember the various subraces . . . I think this is what WotC is trying to do with Realms elves (even if it doesn't respect tradition).
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:54 am  

    FR hasn't become the default, though it's influence may be in there. The beginning of the MM 3.5 entry for elves still has them at five feet tall (and slender).

    I think one BIG thing encouraging a different image is Tolkien -- high elves in LotR (the Noldor) often have golden hair, and are the only strain that does. LotR is a difficult precedent for many fantasy RPGers to defy (it was for me when I started playing). It also puts elves as tall or taller than men.

    As far as the reason for FR elves appearing the way they do, I always assumed Ed Greenwood simply wanted to tailor certain things to his vision -- meaning his elves look different. I have no problem with that but, being the mildly compulsive Greyhawker I am, I get twitchy when it impinges on my beloved GH.

    And BTW, gnomes and halflings will never look like the 3.5 entries so long as I'm behind the DM's screen :)
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 20, 2004 6:40 am  

    To draw a parallel, I think Jolene Blaylock makes a darn fine looking Vulcan. Cool I do not object that she is not sufficiently "vulcan" or "alien." And dog knows Jeri Ryan was a vast improvement over your typical Borg. Happy

    If elves are all little, alien looking things, I would be at some loss to explain all those elven crossbreeds. Probing or getting probed by a second cousin to a little-Grey would not be my idea of fun. Confused I would say that could account for elves low birth rate but then there are all those elven crosses running around. Nope. Something has got to be hot about those elves.

    Elves as pointy earred, vaguely exotic looking humans works for me. FR or no FR. Never cared for the "waif" look. Confused

    Besides, I have never seen a good write up on any elf that was really "alien" when compared to human descriptions. Most elves are described as pointy-earred humans.

    Now the "new" kender, I mean "halflings." That is an irritating change. Mad

    Different strokes. Smile

    GVD
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 21, 2004 6:06 am  

    I'm not sure if these comments will add anything to what has already been said but I thought I would contribute my opinion anyways. Obviously there is a strong Tolkien influence to the demi-humans - the halflings being most obvious but Tolkien's elves and dwarves were strongly influenced by Norse mythology. I think the demi-humans of Greyhawk are a cross between those Norse ideals and the kind of middle-ages world that was given a romantic make-over in literature and poem such as the works of Tennyson or Mallory.

    As for the whole FR and Greyhawk dilemma...who cares...they are totally different settings. Obviously Greyhawk was the original and the sub-races of elves have got a bit mixed around but it's not a big deal. People like to try and put their own kinda stamp on things I guess.

    So here's my opinion of what the main Greyhawk subraces look like;

    High Elves - the standard elf of the Greyhawk setting. Dark haired, fair of skin, and like all elves short and slight. I think they were originally noted as having green eyes usually. The example elf Mialee in the 3rd ed rules is a perfect example of a high elf. Actually Elrond in the Lord of the Rings film is probabaly quite High Elven in appearance (and yes I know hes not a full elf blaah blaah blaah)

    Grey Elves - a little taller than average, fair of skin, they usually have blond to silver hair and blue or violet eyes. I seem to remember reading in one source book that those Grey elves with silver hair and violet eyes were said to have fairy blood. A good example of what a Grey elf would like like is Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings or her husband.

    Wood Elves - the shortest of the sub-races, the have coppery hair ranging from coppery blond to more brown. I htink they were supposed to have green eyes and coppery tan skin too although an earlier post said that they were the palest...any comments?

    Aquatic elves and the winged elves weren't mentioned in the original World of Greyhawk book i dont htink so any opinion is fair game to be honest...

    oh as a side note - going back to Tolkien's elves - his version of the Grey Elves, the Noldor were dark haired not fair haired. Galadriel who people often assume is a Noldor isnt. I forget the exact type of elf she is but they were even more noble and mighty than the Noldor. The Silvan and Sindar elves of Middle-Earth were all mainly fair-haired.



    this is how I picture a High Elf to look
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 22, 2004 7:33 am  

    callmeAndydammit wrote:
    This is why the original request was made not to recycle FR information.


    Well since you haven't taken me up on the challenge to offer an alternative, try this one:

    100% FR free!



    Or maybe this one, although, to be honest, my sources suggest this may indeed be a leaked photo of the inner sanctum of the Elven court at Evermeet...


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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:07 am  

    ROFLMAO! I love those pictures! Laughing And I think you are right about the court at Evermeet. Isn't the big guy Ed Greenwood? I hear he likes children. His work on the realms is certainly self-indulgently juvenile.
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