Sunday, July 31, 2016

Fletnern Elves

I have been mulling over how I was going to respond to NSD’s comment about matriarchal elves. First off, he did exactly what I hope you guys are doing - taking my examples and prompts and thinking about how it works in your world. Taking these posts and “making it your own”.

But he also got into the whole “elves live to be 1,000” thing. I’m not saying he’s wrong, or that any of you that do that are wrong! But I came at the whole world building things a bit differently. So here’s my story:

There were two books I took out of the (grade/elementary) school library religiously - well not exactly religiously but you know what I mean: The History of the Boy Scouts and Norse Mythology. We’ll ignore the first one here. So starting at age 6 or 7, my mind was first learning about myths and legends from the Norse point of view. I didn’t really understand who the Greek gods were until a couple years later and didn’t read the LotR until 8th grade. When I started building Fletnern and more importantly Legend Quest, I wrote it more from a Norse perspective than from a JRRT perspective. (Yes - I know he used similar source material, but we went in different directions!)

What do I mean? Well, dwarves and trolls are related. I still don’t fully understand where all that BS about trolls regenerating came from, I mean if you’re using JRRT as your source material, shouldn’t they turn to stone? My elves are often bad guys, or at least elites more intent on their traditions and current power than what would be considered “good” by every other race. Sure, I use orcs, but to me they are more of the stereo-type “noble savage” then slaves to the dark master(s).

There are all different kinds of dragons on Fletnern, but what differs is more than just what color they are. Also, without what I consider to be the horrible story telling of alignments, characters, especially the antagonists, can finally become more than one-dimensional characters. I even have slave traders that people like in my world; slave traders who important and vital members of the community.

Why do you care? You should care because my world is different than yours, likely even more different from yours than yours is different from some of the other peoples’ worlds. You shouldn’t change your world to match mine, any more than you should change it because some game company came out with a source book. But in knowing that my elves live normal life spans (the nobles do live to 120-150 due to all the magic, but not 1,000), you can interpret what I’m saying and then translate the bits you want to your world.

NSD was right - His elves have longer life spans. They have longer gestational periods. They have fewer children in the family. The bonds between mother and child over the course of centuries should be incredibly different than that of humans and orcs. My point was that too often we as world builders and game masters forget those differences. He hit it squarely on the head!

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