Fantasy's been beating the same dead horse for the past 6 or so decades, so I'm not surprised that even if they reach the clean perfected form of a trope, they are trying to re-think and re-chew it. Me, I would just like to see more original races in Western fantasy. Honestly, who buys a game or book these days only because pointy eared elves and warty orcs chase each other in it? Sorry, thread derail. Just my peeves.
edited 3rd Jan '12 11:07:53 AM by Vree
World's biggest wannabe
While I agree with what you say, it should be noted that most original races would either end up looking like orcs or elves anyway (if not in appearance then in function), or are so completely alien that their inherent 'weirdness' would dominate every story they star in (or at least you'd have to devote a chapter or two to exposition on this race). So rather then trying so hard to actively avoid the trope, you might as well give in and have some fun with it.
edited 3rd Jan '12 12:45:33 PM by Kayeka
People say I have a problem with authority. I say that authority has a problem with me.
One Winged Egret
I think people just really hate the Superior Species trope nowadays.
I wrote a short story for a fiction writing class in a standard fantasy setting. I was complimented for using standard races and terminology so I didn't have to waste too much time explaining anything new.
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
it should be noted that most original races would either end up looking like orcs or elves anyway (if not in appearance then in function)Function according to whom? I've written stories in which a culture or species served as orcs to another culture or species, but that only mattered to protagonists from the second culture or species. (I'm likely to have at least one protagonist from the first group.) Edit: And while I'm at it, is it really that bad for me to write stories in which I devote a bit of exposition to the races I've created? (I seldom need an entire chapter to explain their relevant traits, especially since I never utilize a Planet of Hats.)
edited 4th Jan '12 3:31:50 AM by feotakahari
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
The justification for everything
Warhammer is indeed a World of Jerkass. The Bretonnians are jerks towards their peasantry, their "noble knights" only acting such whenever a strong enough king has them on a tight enough leash. The High Elves are jerks towards everyone because they believe they're the only ones who can properly counter Chaos. The Wood Elves are jerks towards everyone because they think they might destroy their home forest. The Dark Elves are jerks because they get off on it. The Dwarves are jerks because they've lost most of their kingdom and consider everything every other race makes complete and utter gobshite. Chaos consists of four jerk gods and all their jerk followers. Beastmen are jerks because they don't like civilization. The Skaven have "backstabbing jerk" as their racial hat. The only race that doesn't consist of complete assholes is the Empire, and even they are no saints, what with their whole cult of witch hunters. I personally prefer the delicate balance that Warhammer does have with its High Elves. Their fluff is generally spent 50-50 between being arrogant, hubristic and dickish, and being proud, decent and fair, so that they kind of balance the two things, creating a sort of "elves vary as much as people do" atmosphere that I do enjoy.
Kingtiger522: I find the vomiting rat and the dude shoving a stick through his ear significantly weirder than the cow.
Might be over now, but I feel it still
Don't forget the Lizardmen, who are less "deliberately jerkish" and more "totally indifferent to whether anyone else lives or die".
"My version of hope has calluses and dirt under its fingernails and isn't above bringing brass knuckles to a fight." - Max, Freefall
I always play that High Elves and especially Grey Elves are very superior and distainful toward humans where as Wood Elves are more like hippies but if you start to seriously cut into their forests they will get very belligerent. Dwarves I usually play as dour to humans unless they have a reason to believe the humans are worthy of the honor of a dwarven friendship. I also believe that Dwarves would get pretty jackassy if a non-dwarf asked to be taught how to create adamantine and forge it into armor and weapons. Basically I also play that dwarves will have a trade city outside their strongholds where they will interact with other races but it being a great honor if non-dwarves were actually let into their ancestral halls and holds.
The Final ECW Champion
Light elves good, dark elves bad is probably Celtic in origin, definitely not Scandinavian although that line of thinking is in some modern "pagan" movements that otherwise draw more heavily on Norse myths. The very concept of "Drow" kind of disturbs me. All the Norse elves were pale, Svart meant black hair, not black skin!(blar) The differences between light elves and dark elves were Light ones living on a world ruled by Frey and took after his appearance. They were exactly the same in behavior. Oh, and of course the age old scholarly debate on whether or not the Svartalfar and Dokkalfar were the same thing and if either group was the same thing as Dwarves. I suppose making the light elves evil is just going back to Norse myth. If the dark elves are bad the light ones have to be too. Interesting Norse myth implies that elves were more numerous than humans, since Thor was man's best friend but Frey was the most liked out of all the Aesir. Well that or that the majority of the races simply liked Frey more and together they out numbered humanity but their being basis for elves out numbering humans goes against pretty much every fantasy work I know of.
Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
Also there's discussion that the Svartalfar were actually one and the same as the dwarves. Talk about concept divergence.
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