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dr.cello
2007-07-12, 06:29 AM
Like many people I have at one point found myself annoyed that there are so many elven subraces, and at elves in general--so, naturally I found myself wondering: why elves? Dwarves, as far as I'm aware, have two, and the Duergar are nowhere nearly as cool as their counterparts, the Drow. Gnomes have one or two and I'm not really aware of any for the halflings. And in most cases I've always seen the other subraces as afterthoughts, because "Oh yeah, the elves have them, too."

I have two (2) theories on this matter. Theory the first: people don't like playing races which are, essentially, midgets with special powers. Elves are essentially humans which are a little short, skinny, and pretty (and in some systems are -tall-, skinny and pretty). Halflings, dwarves, and gnomes are all midget-sized and not known for being pretty. I'd say this is a joke, but really, I can almost see their point.

Theory the second: elves are possibly the only good core species that it's really possible to take seriously, or that have any real variety in their basic archetypes. Almost without fail, you have the halfling rogue, the gnome illusionist, the dwarf fighter or cleric. And their personalities make them all good-natured tricksters or, well, cheerful, opportunistic hobbits with a wanderlust. Or dwarves. Dwarves have some variety of personality, but it's all pretty much based on a similar premise.

Elves (and this is a problem with much fantasy literature) tend to be the only races which present an interesting story. And while I know the flavor text in the PHB is meant more as a guideline, I don't want to have to break all of those guidelines to make an interesting character. (A halfling who is moody, reserved, and dedicated to protecting his homeland is basically not a halfling anymore. An articulate, refined dwarf who prefers thought before combat isn't very dwarf-like.) All of which to say: is it really so hard to make races that lend themselves to intriguing characters?

I should say that I usually play elves or humans, and dwarves aren't nearly as hard to take seriously as other races, I just don't usually like playing them. Maybe I'm just being biased.

Saph
2007-07-12, 06:34 AM
It's a good point. Funny thing is, your two theories apply exactly to how I play. Elves are the only PHB race where I'm interested in looking for subraces. If I see an elf, I'll ask whether it's a moon, sun, or wood elf (we play in FR), but if it's a dwarf or halfling, I won't pay any attention beyond that.

I dunno, it could be that I just like playing elves. Maybe the players who really like dwarves pay just as much attention to whether a dwarf's a gold dwarf or a shield dwarf.

- Saph

Fixer
2007-07-12, 06:39 AM
My current character is the first time I can recall ever playing an elf. I have played every other 'normal' PC race, and several others, but seemed to avoid elves.

Personally I think there are a few too MANY subraces of elves. There are very few core races of human and they are FAR more diverse and widespread than elves. Halflings have about 5 or 6 that I can think of. Dwaves have about 5. Gnomes about 4. Elves, I believe, around 8-10.

(I am including not including aquatic/elemental versions of these races in those numbers, as there are those as well.)

B!shop
2007-07-12, 06:44 AM
I love Dwarves and Halfling, I play almost exlusively them (or Humens, when needed). I think it's just a matter of preferences.

I started to dislike elves after a mob of players wanted to play would-be Legolas from LotR movies.

By the way, Halflings have 3 subraces, dwarves too, and Gnome i remember just 2.

What I can't understand is why humans don't have subraces.
Demihumans are usually hepitomes (ps?), stereotypes of some human behavoiur: halfling are goodhearted and childish, dwarves are stubborn, hard people, gnomes are crazy fast talking inventors, and elves are high magic sometimes arrogant oldest race. Yet they got many subraces.
And humans? They are the all-in-one race, and got no subraces.

Citizen Joe
2007-07-12, 06:52 AM
yea, dwarves have Mountain and Hill... plus Deugar
Halflings have Tallfellow, Stout and Hairfoot... plus kender
Gnomes I think just have regular and Svirfn... Deep gnomes.

So there's a lot of subraces out there for all the races. Well... just the half-orc I suppose... but that isn't really a race, its a hybrid.

mostlyharmful
2007-07-12, 06:53 AM
There's always the option of Home Brewing some varied humans or Gnomes or whatever, desert tribes, highlanders, south sea islanders. There's some fairly reliable physical characteristics that crop up in isolated groups quite rapidly, the elves have just been more isolated for longer but there's nothing to stop funny or bizarre subraces, beach bum surfing dwarves with leas and Ukalelies were one of the funniest game moments when one of my RP games got washed ashore after pirating.

Green Bean
2007-07-12, 06:55 AM
Human subraces tend to be avoided because of racism issues. It's understandable, really; I don't think that humans can be treated the same way as elves, or dwarves. Imagine if WOTC released a subrace of humans with an INT penalty.

Citizen Joe
2007-07-12, 06:55 AM
ooh... for some reason the surfing dwarves reminded me that there is some oriental dwarf version too.

Morty
2007-07-12, 06:57 AM
Could be. Personally I'd rather play dwarf or halfling rather than elf, but that's the matyter of preference.
But I dislike elven subraces anyway, especially in FR. Core subraces aren't bad, but in FR we have one elven subrace for every occasion, like god-damned pokemon. Sure, variations inside one race is good -humans are different in every part of the world- but it could really work as elven nations, not subraces.
And I've seen non-rogue halflings and non-fighter dwarves.

Saph
2007-07-12, 06:59 AM
Human subraces tend to be avoided because of racism issues. It's understandable, really; I don't think that humans can be treated the same way as elves, or dwarves. Imagine if WOTC released a subrace of humans with an INT penalty.

Yup, that's the reason, all right. It's a bit silly, really, since it makes no sense that humans should have no subraces when all the other races do, but that's how it goes.

I guess that's one of the reasons I like playing elves. Go subraces. :P

- Saph

mostlyharmful
2007-07-12, 07:01 AM
Gnomish communities especially seem cut off from their fellow gnomes, a race of magically gifted tinkers with socail isolation!!!! If you can think of it it's probally out there breeding and talking very fast.:smalleek:

Elana
2007-07-12, 07:06 AM
What, are you saying elves, dwarfs,halflings and all those other bunch of humanoids aren't human subrace?

Selv
2007-07-12, 07:12 AM
Me, I hate having mechanical subraces. I don't know why. I always go down the line of "There are Elves that live in the city and elves that live in the woods: they don't much like each other and have different religions, but they both get +2 DEX/ -2 CON."

Having said that, I have gone down the logical road that leads from the existence of half-Elves, so I guess you could argue that in my setting Elves and Orcs are both human sub-races.

Indon
2007-07-12, 07:20 AM
Human subraces tend to be avoided because of racism issues. It's understandable, really; I don't think that humans can be treated the same way as elves, or dwarves. Imagine if WOTC released a subrace of humans with an INT penalty.

Humans don't even get all the environmental variant races the other races do. Pretty much your only option is an aquatic human.

Of course, bloodlines were probably pretty much made with humans in mind...

Drakron
2007-07-12, 07:22 AM
... Core subraces aren't bad, but in FR we have one elven subrace for every occasion, like god-damned pokemon.
...

Oh yes, there are the Sun, Moon, Star, Wild, Wood, Sea, Avariel, Drow and Lythari (there are also snow elves but I never seen any stats for then).

It was not bad enough 3rd ed added Wild elves when there were already Wood elves but they had to add the Star elves.

That is one of the reasons I quit FR.

Kurald Galain
2007-07-12, 07:29 AM
Most of the D&D races were in fact taken almost straight from The Lord Of The Rings - and Tolkien has an extensive family tree of many elven subraces. Also, iirc, three main races of hobbits. The dwarves in Tolkien are far less varied. Also, in a variety of mythologies and folklore, there's a wide variety of elves (especially if you include sidhe and hulder), and far less so of dwarves.

Incidentally, in LOTR, orcs are technically a subrace of elves. I've always found it silly that in D&D you can't play an orc but you get to play a half-orc, implying the latter are more common.

Drow are, of course, another story and basically a D&D-only invention. It doesn't really help that they tend to classify merfolk as "aquatic elves".

Gnomes. Actually I have no idea where D&D gnomes come from.

I suppose you couldn't give humans subraces and bonuses without being accused of racism. Nevertheless.

Dhavaer
2007-07-12, 07:36 AM
Human do get subraces; they have the Aventi (aquatic) and Vashar (evil). I'm not sure about the Aventi, though.

If it's non-elf subraces you want, check out Faerun. They have scads of different types of dwarves.


I've always found it silly that in D&D you can't play an orc but you get to play a half-orc, implying the latter are more common.

I think the implication is less that they're common and more that they're more capable of interacting with other races in a more or less civilised manner, both for their own reasons and because they're less likely to be killed as soon as they come within range of longbows.


It doesn't really help that they tend to classify merfolk as "aquatic elves".

They don't, aquatic elves are entirely different creatures than merfolk.

draca
2007-07-12, 07:39 AM
Reading this post I came up with an interesting theory.

Humans adapt to almost any situation through culture and ingenuity. Not to say that the other races lack that, but as out first poster said, demi-human races all seem to have a standard type of behavior. They do follow a pattern. They all also tend to have a longer lifespan, causing more cultural homogeny then among the ever-changing humans. Because of this they are at times forced to biologically adapt to a set of circumstances, rather then or in addition to just creating new cultural methods of adaptation.

This is especially true in the extremely long-lived and highly magical elves, who some say are related to the Fae. Now, there is no creature type with more different sub-races then the Fae. This – both the strong magic and static cultures of the elves – lend especially well to them adapting both biologically and culturally to any given environment.

However, as a counterpoint, in the Dragonlance setting, there are 5 sub-species of Dwarves, and only 3 species of elves (and 1 extinct type of opalescent elf). It depends on the world and it’s particular gods/magic/etc.

SilverClawShift
2007-07-12, 07:52 AM
There IS actually an official sub-race of human. Neanderthals, found in the Frostburn book. Among their other racial traits (big and tough and not to bright or agile), they also have the "Human Blood: For all effects related to race, are cosnidered human ect ect ect" line.

Also, in Forgotten Realms - Underdark, there's the Deep Imaskari race. It's not MECHANICALLY listed that they're considered human, but the flavor describes them as a human sub-race, so it's an extremly reasonable house rule.

Likewise, Races of Destiny lists the Sea Kin and Underfolk, who are both humanoids with the [human] subtype. I forget exactly what that means, mechanically, but again, reasonable house rule.

My group also rules that Aasimar and Tieflings are human enough to count as humans in most aspects, in addition to being native outsiders. That's less reasonable for everyone to hosuerule though.

Dhavaer
2007-07-12, 07:58 AM
Likewise, Races of Destiny lists the Sea Kin and Underfolk, who are both humanoids with the [human] subtype. I forget exactly what that means, mechanically, but again, reasonable house rule.

It means they get affected by humanbane, favoured enemy and similar as humans do.

Fixer
2007-07-12, 08:43 AM
There is also the evil subrace of humans found in Book of Vile Darkness. The Varesh or something like that.

Dhavaer
2007-07-12, 08:44 AM
There is also the evil subrace of humans found in Book of Vile Darkness. The Varesh or something like that.

The Vashar, I've mentioned them.

mostlyharmful
2007-07-12, 08:45 AM
and use human based physical traits, height weight age catagories, allergies and preferences etc. unless stated otherwise in their fluff.

Nerd-o-rama
2007-07-12, 08:48 AM
Well, I run Eberron, and just tell people "no" when they want to play a subrace. Well, most subraces. I mention the campaign setting specifically because different subraces of elves aren't written into the setting fluff like they are in Greyhawk or Faerun. Different nations of elves (possibly with different free weapon proficiencies - a Valenar elf with a scimitar makes more sense than one with a rapier), yes. Subraces other than drow, no.

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-12, 08:51 AM
Illumians are apparently also "Human".

I find it hilarious that just last week or so, we had a thread complaining that "All the elves are the same, all the dwarves are the same, etc." and now we have "Why are there so many bloody elven subraces?":smallbiggrin:

rollfrenzy
2007-07-12, 09:17 AM
I think Dr. Cello has it right on about why people play elves. I also think that because people love playing elves(for the reasons listed) When game designers want a new race or need to fit some predetermined stat mods, they first look to adding an elven sub-race.

As for elves physically adapting instead of socially adapting, I don't think it would work that way. Evolution requires generations. With the amazingly low birth rate and incredibly long lifespan of elves, they would evolve at a tremendously slow rate.

@atomic kit kat

The other thread was about people PLAYING the subraces all the same as humans, Not that weren't a variety. In my experience this is even worse when people play elves, or thier sub-races because they all tend to act like one of the two main elf archetypes(wild or high) or just like humans regardless of which of the 31 flavors the elf is.

Tormsskull
2007-07-12, 09:34 AM
That's one of the things that I really liked about the old 2nd edition Birthright campaign system. You couldn't be a "human", you had to pick one of the nationalities, which it turn gave you a stat boost/penalty and gave you a description of how the average member of each of those nationalities behaved.

Indon
2007-07-12, 10:44 AM
As for elves physically adapting instead of socially adapting, I don't think it would work that way. Evolution requires generations. With the amazingly low birth rate and incredibly long lifespan of elves, they would evolve at a tremendously slow rate.


There is only one possible answer:

Elves use Lamarckian evolution! When a community of elves moves to a new place, their children are preadapted to their new surroundings and are entirely different!

brian c
2007-07-12, 10:51 AM
yea, dwarves have Mountain and Hill... plus Deugar
Halflings have Tallfellow, Stout and Hairfoot... plus kender
Gnomes I think just have regular and Svirfn... Deep gnomes.

So there's a lot of subraces out there for all the races. Well... just the half-orc I suppose... but that isn't really a race, its a hybrid.

I think there's also a Deep Dwarf somewhere, plus Strongheart Halflings and Whisper Gnomes at the least.

There are definitely more Elf subraces than any other race, for no particular reason, but every race has 4 or 5 different varieties if you look hard enough.

Telonius
2007-07-12, 11:19 AM
There is only one possible answer:

Elves use Lamarckian evolution! When a community of elves moves to a new place, their children are preadapted to their new surroundings and are entirely different!

You know, with the appropriate Divination spells, that could actually work. :smalleek:

Tellah
2007-07-12, 11:23 AM
There is only one possible answer:

Elves use Lamarckian evolution! When a community of elves moves to a new place, their children are preadapted to their new surroundings and are entirely different!

I lol'd. I guess Gray Elves adapted to living in an environment composed entirely of min/maxers.

kpenguin
2007-07-12, 11:28 AM
I suppose the reason that elves have so many subraces is because the conceptions of what an elf is is so varied compared to the other races. I'm surprised they haven't made a arctic toymaker subrace yet.

Wraithy
2007-07-12, 11:48 AM
racism corner: elves go home! get a normal lifespan while you're at it!
I personally hate elves (you wouldn't have guessed it from my opening statement) and find that - no matter what the subrace - they are all on the highest horse among high horses, the only justified elf is the grey elf, taking aloofness so far that they sufocate from lack of oxygen *somewhere a catgirl falls off a mountain*. the real problem I have with elves is that they have a society built on being chaotic... can't really be called a society then can it?
they just live for too long, the only saving grace about elves is that there are very few of them, not really,a race that is suposed to give birth once in a few centuries seems to have a higher population than gnomes, dwarves, and orcs combined.

don't get me started on drow (so organised, but still chaotic?!?)

Moon elf I choose you!
hey! Sun elf is evolving into Charizard!
Who's that elf subrace? ... no one cares!

Charity
2007-07-12, 11:55 AM
Interestingly Here there are a number of non elf subraces (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=697653)

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-12, 12:55 PM
Should I start a rant about how Humans are so pathetic fluff-wise, that they are apparently LA -2, and thus justified in getting a bonus Feat?:smallbiggrin:

Belteshazzar
2007-07-12, 12:58 PM
I am sure I have mentioned this inumerable times but I rejected all elven subraces but three :Wild, High, and Dark.
I also combined most fae creatures into their race because if we are going to have magical evolution (the best kind of evolution) it had better be friggen obvious like dryads, nymphs or pixies as opposed to "ooh we get an even more exotic hair/eye/skin color and that makes us have even better stat bonuses!"
I have to do some bookwork of course to make it all fit better but it helped add some uniqueness to my world. Like how my dark elves are real albinos, they just look black because black is the real color of elvish skin. Normal Elves just have milky white or slightly bluish blood to offset it. This means Dark Elves can never really train themselves to stand the light of course but then that is why mysteriously hooded robes were made.
As for the other races I made Halflings, Half-Giants, and Neanderthals into human subraces. The dwarves didn't get off so well with only gnomes as a subrace but I may add something else in there as well.

Telonius
2007-07-12, 12:58 PM
Interestingly Here there are a number of non elf subraces (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=697653)

Even more interestingly, Dwarvish subraces outnumber Elvish subraces, 21 to 20 (not counting half-elves) at LA +0.

Tiki Snakes
2007-07-12, 03:45 PM
My personal theory is that where most other race's have a real...thing, to them (he said, not looking at the woeful halflings or largely niche-less gnomes) whereas the standard vanilla elf is strangely...lacking.

So, with such an essentially unsatisfying creature, many people just can't help themselves but search out a more interesting variation, or almost as often it seems, put their own stamp on them.

"This is how they should be!"

That's my feelings, anyway, poorly explained as they are. It's kind of why I have two not-stated-but-fully-fluffed Elven societies, both very different from vanilla elves as well as each other, despite essentially despising the common pointy-eared bumsniffer. ;)

Xuincherguixe
2007-07-12, 04:43 PM
One thing I've always thought is that Orcs should have a fair number of subraces as well. They're a race associated with chaos and they breed like crazy.

I also kind of think Orcs would make more sense as following a Norse Pantheon but Gruumsh more or less IS Odin. I'm amazed I didn't figure it out right away. One eye? Favored weapon a spear? Brutal. About the only major difference is that Gruumsh is stupid, and always evil.

Still, Orcs could stand a few more Subraces.


Then again, I probably wouldn't use those either.


I mean really, are humans the only ones who can have a lot of different diversity and various nations without becoming an entirely new race? Yeesh.

Tiki Snakes
2007-07-12, 04:55 PM
One thing I've always thought is that Orcs should have a fair number of subraces as well. They're a race associated with chaos and they breed like crazy.

I also kind of think Orcs would make more sense as following a Norse Pantheon but Gruumsh more or less IS Odin. I'm amazed I didn't figure it out right away. One eye? Favored weapon a spear? Brutal. About the only major difference is that Gruumsh is stupid, and always evil.

Still, Orcs could stand a few more Subraces.


Then again, I probably wouldn't use those either.


I mean really, are humans the only ones who can have a lot of different diversity and various nations without becoming an entirely new race? Yeesh.

Yes. And by that, I mean no. :D
subraces are the mechanic that gives the lie to the "Humans are much more adaptable!" nonsense.

also, Gruumsh smuumsh. I like the norse pantheon idea, actually. I may use an orcified version of the Norse gods for my homebrew settings Orc-Pantheon. Because it really does make sense.

(I mean, seriously. Orcs = evil because they emphasize strength and martial prowess and so on, rulers using said traits to establish their primacy, etc? If you ignore the "they are also retarded, ugly and green!" nonsense, you basically do have vikings. Mmm. )

Xuincherguixe
2007-07-12, 05:03 PM
also, Gruumsh smuumsh. I like the norse pantheon idea, actually. I may use an orcified version of the Norse gods for my homebrew settings Orc-Pantheon. Because it really does make sense.

(I mean, seriously. Orcs = evil because they emphasize strength and martial prowess and so on, rulers using said traits to establish their primacy, etc? If you ignore the "they are also retarded, ugly and green!" nonsense, you basically do have vikings. Mmm. )

I actually kind of like Gruumsh, but I get the impression I may have a less fantastically stupid vision of the guy then Wizards does. But I digress :P


I've had the idea of Orcs as Vikings before. Orc Berserker hardly even needs to be said. And can't you just see a horde of them sailing up in long boats singing? Seriously, Orcs are total vikings.

Though the fact they work great in Heavy Metal doesn't count :P

Rachel Lorelei
2007-07-12, 05:09 PM
Someone listed them all in a similar thread on the Wizards boards.

It turns out that there are actually more Dwarven subraces out there!

Cryopyre
2007-07-12, 05:13 PM
Drow are, of course, another story and basically a D&D-only invention. It doesn't really help that they tend to classify merfolk as "aquatic elves".
.

Actually, dark elves is from Norse mythology, and the word Drow is from mythology as well



Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1970) states: "Drow, n., [scot.] A tiny elf which lived in caves and forged magical metal work."

TSGames
2007-07-12, 05:21 PM
All elves deserve the "fairy" subtype. No, I don't mean "fey' subtype.

Fhaolan
2007-07-12, 05:22 PM
There is a Scottish mythological creature called a trow, probably a linguistic distortion of the Norse troll. It's not that hard to get drow from trow. It could be described as a kind of goblin-creature, but then most Scottish fey could be described as goblin-creatures. :)

And as another note, in 2nd edition the lists of subraces were insane, as each campaign setting had it's own long set of subraces for each primary race. Most of them overlapped and were functionally equivalent, but were given slightly different stats to keep them apart.

dr.cello
2007-07-12, 05:57 PM
I think humans don't have subraces because they're already basically a 'Bring Your Own Race' advantage. You get a free skill point to put in whatever, and a free feat to use on whatever. I'm sure they designed this so nobody would complain about subraces. I think the subraces are designed (with exceptions of some obvious ones like Drow) to replicate that, so you can still sort of customize the race to your desired character.

I never really viewed the species ability adjustments as necessarily a purely evolutionary/biological thing. Perhaps the base scores (+2 dex, -2 con), but anything else I saw as being a product of upbringing and such. Like the +int elves spend more time in their studies rather than just being inherently smarter, and so on.

Which might explain how you get a bunch of different subraces living in the same city--different upbringing, possibly to represent different social classes (do elves even have social classes?) or districts or simply different lifestyles. I realize there are holes in my theory, but I'm fond enough of subraces to let it slide.

Rob Knotts
2007-07-12, 07:45 PM
What I can't understand is why humans don't have subraces.Because WotC likes not having thier books yanked from store shelves:smallwink:

cupkeyk
2007-07-13, 01:50 AM
Races of destiny list a few human subraces and i can name a few outside that splatbook: Underfolk, mongrelfolk, seakin, Deep Imaskari(from the Unerdark Expansion of the FR), Extaminaard (from the Heroes of Horror)

Halflings get the shoal, stout, lightfoot, tallfellow, ghostwise, strongheart, jergal and probably others that I can't name.

The only orc subrace I know is gray from Races of Faerun which get +4 str, +2 int and -2 cha and a LA of +1, I think.

I almost always play with elves. Their corpses I mean.

BooBooSpooki
2007-07-13, 08:38 AM
Wow, according to the subrace thread (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=697653) posted earlier there are slightly more dwarven subraces than elvish. Even better is the thirteen gnomish subraces!

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-13, 11:58 AM
There is a Scottish mythological creature called a trow, probably a linguistic distortion of the Norse troll. It's not that hard to get drow from trow. It could be described as a kind of goblin-creature, but then most Scottish fey could be described as goblin-creatures. :)

That sounds familiar. Dave Morris and Jamie Thompson's Fabled Lands series has the "Trau" featured in book 2, Cities of Gold and Glory, which is supposed to be based on a "whimsical Merrie Olde Englande" and western European theme. Short, dark-skinned, metal working things.

Lolth
2007-07-13, 11:47 PM
Someone mentioned Duergar "sucking" earlier in this thread.

Running an Underdark-based game chat (go on, check it out, you know you want to!) I can say with some confidence that Duergar do not, remotely, suck.

Their special abilities, notably poison immunity (HIGHLY useful around Drow), plus the Invisibility/Enlarge combo, added to the typical Dwarf benefits, make them a power gamer's dream.

And while Grey Elves get the usual Power Gamer's stamp by most, I think Wood Elves are at least as abusable. They're like Half-Orcs with Dex bonus too.

Svirfneblin would be made of awesome, were their LA not so high. Poor little guys take forever to level.

Cryopyre
2007-07-14, 03:40 AM
That sounds familiar. Dave Morris and Jamie Thompson's Fabled Lands series has the "Trau" featured in book 2, Cities of Gold and Glory, which is supposed to be based on a "whimsical Merrie Olde Englande" and western European theme. Short, dark-skinned, metal working things.

There are also the trow in A Bard's Tale

I think I'm gonna make a trow orc subrace, but don't hold your breath waiting for it.

Talya
2007-07-14, 09:05 AM
That's one of the things that I really liked about the old 2nd edition Birthright campaign system. You couldn't be a "human", you had to pick one of the nationalities, which it turn gave you a stat boost/penalty and gave you a description of how the average member of each of those nationalities behaved.

Forgotten realms is like that, you have to pick a region, for any race you play.

Why has nobody mentioned Shield Dwarves and Gold Dwarves yet? They're staples of the Forgotten Realms...(I did see the halfling subraces listed).

Cryopyre
2007-07-14, 05:24 PM
I had fun with this guy, and I'm gonna keep working on him, here is your beautiful

Trow (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50714)

if the link doesn't work, the title is "No, not drow... [Race]"

Hallavast
2007-07-14, 05:35 PM
Let's see here... Dwarves have Hill, Mountain, Deep, Derro, and Duergar (that's 5).

Elves have High, Grey, Wood, Wild, and Dark (that's 5).

What's the problem?
:smalltongue:

Wizzardman
2007-07-14, 05:55 PM
...Wow. I've got to totally disagree with the OP on this one.

Sorry, but in my experience, halflings, gnomes, and Dwarves always have had way more personality than any elves [and most humans]. In campaigns I've run or played in, Elves often ended up as snooty and arrogant [as the stereotypes usual portray them], or bland [usually because of overuse, but the fact that they always appear so androgynous doesn't help]. I always thought the horrendous hordes of different subspecies of Elves were created to make Elves more appealing--at least in terms of statistical usefulness.

I'm sorry, but Dwarves always have had a lot of potential in games I've played; they've got an interesting conflict of stereotypes going on with their race, as the 'dwarves are lawful miners and soldiers' stereotype battles the 'dwarves are laughing, drunken, fighting machines' stereotype and the 'dwarves are secretive, conniving, greedy midgets' stereotype. Gnomes have also had a lot of stereotype conflict going on for them, where everyone is confused as to whether gnomes are midget bards or explosive alchemists; also, Gnomes are just fun.

Halflings have a lot fewer stereotypes associated with them, so there's less conflict for them to build off of, but it also makes them very similar to humans in the amount of 'freedom of occupation' that they have. They're also kinda plucky, which makes them very popular as less serious characters. Finally, they're dex bonus and str penalty is better for spellcasters than a dexbonus-conpenalty combination, and they have a nice bonus to saves and AC, so they often make excpetional spellcasters. Being short also means they're less of an obvious target, and can hide from scary Fighters with significant ease; finally, being short makes one's powers of annihilation that much more amusing.

Elves, unfortunately, only have one real stereotype going for them: arrogance. Well, that's not entirely fair, they do have a bit of a hippie stereotype, but since elves are hardly optimized to be rangers [due to con penalty] or druids [they're no better than everyone else, and dwarven druids are far more amusing], they tend to just get stuck with arrogance. That's why I figured that they have so many obvious and popular subraces--to provide them a few more interesting personality options. For instance, instead of being relegated to wizard or maybe druid, you can use the other subraces to make a better druid or ranger (wood elves), a decent rogue or assassin (grey elves), or some other interesting creation.

Demented
2007-07-14, 06:13 PM
High, Gray, Wild and Wood elves are all virtually identical. Except for different ability bonuses, favored classes, and societies. And, of course, there's the drow.
"We've got haughty elves, smart elves, fast elves, strong elves and meany elves, but they're ALL elves!"

There is no mechanical difference between Hill and Mountain dwarves, and Deep dwarves are faintly more restricted to underground, a la Orcs. Derro are practically a different race.
"We've got dwarves, dwarves, squinty dwarves and moody dwarves, but they're all... yeah, they're dwarves."


If you took those Elves and made them like the Dwarves in that they have essentially the same mechanical stats regardless of their background (so you're rid of the Elven Swiss Army Knife), it'd be as follows.
Dwarves: Hill/Mountain, Deep, Duergar (3)
Elves: High/Gray/Wild/Wood, Drow (2)

Amphimir Míriel
2007-07-14, 06:27 PM
What I can't understand is why humans don't have subraces.
Demihumans are usually hepitomes (ps?), stereotypes of some human behavoiur: halfling are goodhearted and childish, dwarves are stubborn, hard people, gnomes are crazy fast talking inventors, and elves are high magic sometimes arrogant oldest race. Yet they got many subraces.
And humans? They are the all-in-one race, and got no subraces.


Human subraces tend to be avoided because of racism issues. It's understandable, really; I don't think that humans can be treated the same way as elves, or dwarves. Imagine if WOTC released a subrace of humans with an INT penalty.

You are absolutely right, political correctness is the reason

It makes perfect sense that a Dwarf, as far as we understand classic fantasy dwarves (post-Tolkien), would be more resilent, resistant and steady on their feet than a human; but slower runners and less attractive in personality.

The above is equally valid for any other fantasy races

However, when you start suggesting that Asians might be more or less dexterous, strong, intelligent, etc. than Caucasians, Inuit, Maoris or Native Americans, you start coming across as racist.

Now, while I wouldnt agree on "hard crunch" statted human subraces, it is perfectly acceptable in my opinion to restrict the choice of the extra feat and skill points for a human's first level to a certain "culturally appropiate" options...

For instance, a culture of human berseker warriors that travel in longships and raid on their neighboors would probably need to spend the bonus skill points on profession (sailor), swim, perform (epic storytelling), or maybe craft (shipbuilding).


I mean, seriously. Orcs = evil because they emphasize strength and martial prowess and so on, rulers using said traits to establish their primacy, etc? If you ignore the "they are also retarded, ugly and green!" nonsense, you basically do have vikings. Mmm.

That's nothing, please remember that the original Tolkien goblins and orcs were not green but black! Talk about political incorrectness!

TheOOB
2007-07-14, 06:36 PM
Yes elves, the only race where small cultural differences makes you a different race. High and Grey elves are less different then say, south African and east Asian humans, yet the elves get a sub race and not humans.

Elves with their long life spans would also evolve less, while humans and halfling and such would evolve quicker.

horseboy
2007-07-14, 06:47 PM
I'm sorry, but Dwarves always have had a lot of potential in games I've played; they've got an interesting conflict of stereotypes going on with their race, as the 'dwarves are lawful miners and soldiers' stereotype battles the 'dwarves are laughing, drunken, fighting machines' stereotype and the 'dwarves are secretive, conniving, greedy midgets' stereotype. Gnomes have also had a lot of stereotype conflict going on for them, where everyone is confused as to whether gnomes are midget bards or explosive alchemists; also, Gnomes are just fun.


Really now, what other race can I show up at the table with a 6 pack of Bass, bore everybody with tales of my old "ancestors" (characters) and in general bitch the whole time about how things just aren't as good as they used to be/should be and still get roleplay XP?

Gotta love the dwarfs!

Hallavast
2007-07-14, 07:19 PM
Yes elves, the only race where small cultural differences makes you a different race. High and Grey elves are less different then say, south African and east Asian humans, yet the elves get a sub race and not humans.

Elves with their long life spans would also evolve less, while humans and halfling and such would evolve quicker.

If we had half the literature depicting Grey Elves vs. High Elves that we have on the two real life human cultures you depicted, I would expect to find a vast multitude of different variations. I think the problem is not that there are too many subraces. Rather there is not yet enough definition of the subraces to set them apart and make them unique (and, thus, not quite so superfluous).

I would encourage those who are fed up with the different Elven subraces to define and flesh them out more so that they give you fresh options pertaining to the fair folk.

Demented
2007-07-14, 07:33 PM
Revamping the elves in twenty seconds.

High Elves = Typical Human-like elves, only more skittish and skinny.
Grey Elves = Grays of UFO fame, bug-eyed critters with gray skin and long arms. Wild Elves = Erfworld's woodsy elves. Only shorter.
Wood Elves = They're MADE OF WOOD! Almost.

Too much? :p

Cryopyre
2007-07-15, 02:43 AM
The only two words ever used to describe elves are arrogant and secluded. They need to be given more flavoring.

Wild elves: Jungle/aborigine folk. Don't think hippie, think barbarian/adept race. Shamanistic, tribal. Spear toting war crying elves. Sense of honor and spiritual respect to elder deceased.

Wood elves: Live in trees, wood carving, mystical, legolas (just kidding), filled and surrounded by myth, many secrets held from other cultures

Gray elves: If you've ever played world of warcraft think of them as the Blood Elves. They reminisce upon days of old, when their great stone towers once rivaled the dwarves and their art of magic was a source of inspiration for the world. Now their old culture is destroyed and they live a lonely life comforted by each other and their libraries.

High elves: Your staple elf culture, the only real roleplaying meat here is a dwarf-elf fight, and mistrust, which isn't terribly fun. They have strongholds in nature, protected by magic.


Another thing that helps when thinking of a culture is picturing that cultures architecture, for dwarves we all imagine great halls with finely stone carved statues and awe inspiring stonemasonry.

Wild elves: Architecture is mainly huts, made of mud brick. The most amazing thing they keep are likely carved bone statues, which closely resemble African Ivory carvings and what-not

Wood elves: Architecture is floral and dotted with wood carvings. They enjoy curves, as they closely follow organic shapes. The most decorated items in this society would be tables and such, the carvings would be pseudo-organic and opulent.

Gray elves: Although woodwork is beautiful, stonework is also prominent. Think rivendell, or Asia in real-life. The curves are put to use, and city planning would be natural, following the slopes of mountains. While lacking the symmetry and geometric perfection of dwarves, the gray elves are still handy with stone. They are also likely to incorporate magic into everyday architecture, free floating flags and veils, glowing carving, and glowing gems to assist at night.

High elves: Their architecture is akin to grey elves, except they are more likely to incorporatestone, with their tendency to hide their society in natural caves. I view the high elves as being particularly picky about lighting, making sure windows dot buildings to beautify everything from their temples to palaces.

Dervag
2007-07-15, 05:53 AM
With Cryopyre's idea as a basis:

Maybe there are actually only three elven subraces (the homicidal psycho jungle wild elves, the tree-hugging wood elves, and the once-almighty gray elves). And the 'standard' elves are actually the product of interbreeding and cultural mixing between those three groups, or between the wood and gray elves with the wild elves remaining self-consciously 'pure'.


Really now, what other race can I show up at the table with a 6 pack of Bass, bore everybody with tales of my old "ancestors" (characters) and in general bitch the whole time about how things just aren't as good as they used to be/should be and still get roleplay XP?
Is that a feature, or a bug?

bosssmiley
2007-07-15, 07:18 AM
That's one of the things that I really liked about the old 2nd edition Birthright campaign system. You couldn't be a "human", you had to pick one of the nationalities, which it turn gave you a stat boost/penalty and gave you a description of how the average member of each of those nationalities behaved.

Vos ftw! Although the best thing about "Birthright" in relation to this thread: just one breed of (particularly psychotic, xenophobic and atheist) elf!
Also ninja halflings. :smallcool:

I can't remember whether it was here or the WotC boards where I saw a description of elves as the cockroches of the D&Dverse. Route to a new continent/demiplane/planet opens up; the place is - in no time at all - infested with elves who rapidly adapt to meet the foibles of the environment and form a new sub-race.

"Awww [email protected]! Someone get the Elf-b-Gone..."

CockroachTeaParty
2007-07-15, 02:36 PM
I've never been a fan of elves. If they live so long, why haven't they taken over the world by now? Oh, because they die fighting evil? Wait, I thought they spent all day brooding in the woods? So they reproduce really slow? Why? Aren't they all really attractive? If I was in the woods with hundreds of years worth of nothing to do, you'd better believe I'd be 'sowing my wild oats' with the elf maidens! My 18 year old human wizard is just as powerful as your 178 year old elf wizard. What did your character do over the past century? He must have played hooky a lot during wizard school.
Despite their tiny numbers, they have a veritable menagerie of subraces to fit every occasion. The Drow even have their own meaty sourcebook! I fail to see the attraction. Why would anyone want to play an elf? +2 DEX, -2 CON, you don't sleep, a few skill bonuses, and you live for hundreds of years. The other characters in the party will be dead before you've reached middle age. Wee.
Something about the arrogant, wishy washy, slow to act aura about elves screams 'wrong' to me. Adventure is about action! Madness! Safety is not guaranteed! Sure, an elf character would be different from the norm, but in that case they usually wind up as humans with pointy ears. Most people that like to play elves argue "I'm a human in real life, so why not be something different in fantasy?" Well, why not play a goblin? Or an orc? Or a dromite? Or a gnome? WHY DO YOU ALWAYS PLAY AN ELF RANGER!? ARRRGH! *froths*
Bah, I say! BAH! Feh! Pssh! Meh! *cough*

MrNexx
2007-07-15, 03:06 PM
I've never been a fan of elves. If they live so long, why haven't they taken over the world by now? Oh, because they die fighting evil? Wait, I thought they spent all day brooding in the woods? So they reproduce really slow? Why? Aren't they all really attractive? If I was in the woods with hundreds of years worth of nothing to do, you'd better believe I'd be 'sowing my wild oats' with the elf maidens!

Doesn't mean those elf maidens are fertile.

Fax Celestis
2007-07-15, 03:15 PM
Human do get subraces; they have the Aventi (aquatic) and Vashar (evil). I'm not sure about the Aventi, though.

Don't forget Illumians from RoD! They're Humanoid (Human) too!

Fax Celestis
2007-07-15, 03:22 PM
Someone listed them all in a similar thread on the Wizards boards.

It turns out that there are actually more Dwarven subraces out there!

Do note that the listing linked earlier only has LA+0 races. There are a good many more with LA and RHD.

Matthew
2007-07-15, 03:27 PM
That's nothing, please remember that the original Tolkien goblins and orcs were not green but black! Talk about political incorrectness!

Some were, some weren't. Really, being bothered by that is taking political correctness too far. Demons are very often described as being black in Middle English as well, but there wasn't any confusion between them and 'Saracens' or what have you.
If you're really looking for racism in Tolkien, then the 'Black Numereans(sp?)' and the human servants of the 'Dark Lord' are much easier prey.

Demented
2007-07-15, 04:54 PM
Do note that the listing linked earlier only has LA+0 races. There are a good many more with LA and RHD.

True, but here's another interesting observation.
I separated the subraces into categories...
Category A has no listed differences from the Core race. (Core race is included.)
Category B have minor differences from the core race, i.e. different racial SLAs, or different Favored Class. (Also, (Su) abilities.)
Category C have different ability scores from the Core race.
Category D have major differences, specifically Size or Speed.

Dwarves have:
8 Category A (38.1%)
2 Category B (9.5%)
7 Category C (33.3%)
4 Category D (19%)
Total: 21

Gnomes have:
4 Category A (28.6%)
4 Category B (28.6%)
4 Category C (28.6%)
2 Category D (14.3%)
Total: 14

Halflings have:
7 Category A (50%)
4 Category B (28.6%)
3 Category D (21.4%)
Total: 14
(Yep, they're all -2 Str, +2 Dex)

Humans have:
4 Category A (33.3%)
2 Category B (16.7%)
4 Category C (33.3%)
2 Category D (16.7%)
Total: 12

Elves have:
3 Category A (15%)
4 Category B (20%)
12 Category C (60%)
1 Category D (5%)
Total: 20
(The Qualinesti's favored class wasn't listed, so they're in B.)

Dervag
2007-07-15, 06:04 PM
I've never been a fan of elves. If they live so long, why haven't they taken over the world by now? Oh, because they die fighting evil? Wait, I thought they spent all day brooding in the woods? So they reproduce really slow? Why? Aren't they all really attractive? If I was in the woods with hundreds of years worth of nothing to do, you'd better believe I'd be 'sowing my wild oats' with the elf maidens! My 18 year old human wizard is just as powerful as your 178 year old elf wizard. What did your character do over the past century? He must have played hooky a lot during wizard school.They're extraordinarily infertile, perhaps? Maybe an elven woman is only fertile once every several months, or even every several years.

As for the elves' tendency to spend long periods doing what a human could do faster (or, for that matter, what an elf could do faster in theory), it's one of the main ways in which they are truly different from humans. They don't feel time pressure to accomplish anything under normal circumstances; there's no inner voice of urgency driving elves to succeed.

In an emergency, when their lives are in danger, they can move at a pace comparable to that of other, more normal species. But when they don't have to, they simply aren't motivated to try, with rare exceptions.

Adventuring elves are among the exceptions, not the norm.


If you're really looking for racism in Tolkien, then the 'Black Numereans(sp?)' and the human servants of the 'Dark Lord' are much easier prey.Except, of course, that the Black Numenoreans were every bit as much descendants of the superior men of Numenor as the heroic leaders of the good human nations (such as Aragorn).

You can make a very good case that the humans Sauron managed to enlist were enlisted not because they were somehow racially inferior or intrinsically evil, but simply because Sauron was in a position to make them do his bidding as he was not in a position to do with the people who were still actively opposing him by the time the Lord of the Rings books happen.

Also, it should be pointed out that at other times in the Lord of the Rings 'history', the bad guys were as white as the good guys. Evil existed independently of swarthiness in those books.

Matthew
2007-07-15, 06:08 PM
Don't get me wrong, I don't buy into that idea. I'm just saying it's much easier to suggest racism in actual Human (or near Human) races than with the Elf/Orc or Angel/Demon dynamic.