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But what about the pointy-ears?

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PMrk

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« on: (00:05:19/01-20-18) »
So, I noticed an interesting thing. Reading Run Faster's metatype write-ups it occured to me, that the 5e books are treating elves quite harshly. Notably this one and the core book, both descriptions seems to be focused on a very non-flattering picture, accentuating their better-than-thou attitude, snobbbishness and exclusivity. Even the good parts are coming off as "yeah, they are the pretty guys/girls and they had it easy".

Ok, those are all valid points and important, still, I re-checked the write-ups of the older editions and those were a lot more balanced, mentioning all this, but also talking about their hardships, the prejudices toward them, etc. Run Faster mentions those thing, but only passingly.

I also noticed that in 5e, there are precious few artworks through the books, whicha are picturing elf characters as central and cool. They are a few, but I had to dig. Conversely, I see a lot of orks and trolls.

So, I don't want to start some kind of pro-elf movement, but I wondered: are the 5e writers/developers just happening to not like elves very much?   :)

PiXeL01

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« Reply #1 on: (00:21:18/01-20-18) »
Its about time the elves fell to hard times. Finally its time for the Trogs to dance in the limelight!
...
Back when SR started elves were all powerful, flawless and immortal. They had powerful nations popping up out of the blue and none, even the great dragons stood a chance against their might. When i was young and naive I loved these snowflakes and always played elves in any RPG. Now however I feel it good to see it all torn down because its sickening what they had out of the blue.

I support ORK for a reason. May both Tirs and their Ancient lackeys burn in dragon fire fueled hell

PMrk

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« Reply #2 on: (00:43:55/01-20-18) »
Oh, don't get me wrong. In general, I like elves in fantasy, but I'm completely aware of their bad sides and how big a jerk they could be. It's totally okay to point out those parts in a game and setting like SR, even desirable!

However, I think a bit more balanced attitude and impartiality wouldn't have been hurt ( I didn't feel the same with any of the other metatypes). The previous editions' writeups didn't fanboyed them either, I feel, but they didn't showed them as basically what is the average elf stereotype, passionately disliked by many roleplayers. The 5e writeups feels a bit too... spiteful would be a too hars word for it, but a little biased, for sure.

« Last Edit: (00:52:57/01-20-18) by PMrk »

PiXeL01

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« Reply #3 on: (02:33:50/01-20-18) »
Orks and trolls have always been left in the slums and barrens. It wasnt until recently they had any power other than being fodder before. Always described as dim wits etc.

AJCarrington

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« Reply #4 on: (09:18:14/01-20-18) »
Bringing the elves down a notch or two is never a bad thing. I'm loving that the orks and trolls are getting more focus and am really looking forward the dwarf book when it appears (and to be honest, the elf one too ::)).

Reaver

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« Reply #5 on: (13:41:09/01-20-18) »
Well, lets really look at the history of Elves in SR... They were viewed as the "pretty" race (and they are pretty!), which allowed them to thrive where as the Dwarves were kind of shuttered off to the corner with a pat on the head. (Not much different then Hollywood today, where someone who is good looking gets all the movie deals and make millions, even if they are dumber then the kids that lick their own dirty underwear cause it looks like chocolate.
Orks and Trolls have gotten cast by the way side, abused and even murdered just because of the way they look (Night of Rage anyone?).

Next, look at the amount of political and cultural upheaval that was happening at the time with the Native Americans and the UCAS civil war that lead to the fragmenting of the UCAS into the various nation states we have now. Among all that chaos you had a group of Elves commit a coup, and establish their own nation by taking over a NAN state... and the warpath they initiated - which was only stopped by a Great Dragon in the Shasta mountain range...

Now, lets look at the system of government they set up in their captured state. It was a system of total oppression for anyone without pointy ears, as if you were not an Elf, you had no political, social or economic voice. You were either an Elf, or you were a second hand citizen. Yes, there was a few token "others" in positions of power, but by and large they were just that, tokens.


So Elves, by and large have proven that their beauty is only skin deep. And under that Skin they are pretty damn ugly with all their bigotry, racism and narcissism.... And the writing is finally showing that that up front and center. 
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Fredo

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« Reply #6 on: (14:12:27/01-21-18) »
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So Elves, by and large have proven that their beauty is only skin deep. And under that Skin they are pretty damn ugly with all their bigotry, racism and narcissism.... And the writing is finally showing that that up front and center.

Ok, I would be the last to defend Shadowrun elves, but you are really wildly overgeneralizing and you are attributing to the whole race what is the attitude/responsibility of a small group of "special snowflake" elves - ie Aithne Oakforest, Alachia, Lady Brane Deigh, Jenna Ni'Fairra, Lugh Surehand, etc.  Mostly Immortal Elves and Spike Babies who really are short-sighted, selfish bigots.

Meanwhile, Harliquin has repeatedly saved the world from Horrors, with the assistance of Aina Dupree and Jane Foster.  If it hadn't been for Harliquin, Dunklezhan wouldn't have had the time to sacrificing himself because the Horrors would already be on Earth in large numbers. 

Generally, elves are just like every other metahuman - selfish assholes that think mainly about themselves and their small monkeysphere - they just are better looking and longer lived than most.

Reaver

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« Reply #7 on: (14:46:56/01-21-18) »
Am I?

The Elves have forcefully set up 2 countries on opposite sides of the earth, yet both countries are filled with bigoted, racist laws designed to keep all the other races from achieving equality.

1 is an outliner, 2 is a pattern. I would argue the exact opposite of what you are saying with following statement:
Elves are, by and large, an elitist, racist bunch at believe in their own surperiority, with a few exceptions to the rule.

And yes, I paint the whole group, because that is what you do when speaking about a Species or Race. You lump in everyone of the group. Yes their will be those of that group that get painted poorly, but they are the minority of the majority.
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Osentalka

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« Reply #8 on: (16:00:04/01-21-18) »
Am I?

The Elves have forcefully set up 2 countries on opposite sides of the earth, yet both countries are filled with bigoted, racist laws designed to keep all the other races from achieving equality.

Yes. Both countries were set up by the Fey, elves who had the huge advantage of knowing what was coming. Are they racist? Yes but they are a tiny minority. The vast majority of elves on the planet are no different than any other metahuman.

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And yes, I paint the whole group, because that is what you do when speaking about a Species or Race.

You do when you are racist yourself. This is, in itself, a racist statement.

Ghost Rigger

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« Reply #9 on: (16:31:23/01-21-18) »
Yes. Both countries were set up by the Fey, elves who had the huge advantage of knowing what was coming. Are they racist? Yes but they are a tiny minority. The vast majority of elves on the planet are no different than any other metahuman.
So, the vast majority of elves are a little bit racist, as opposed to the minority that are very racist?

PMrk

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« Reply #10 on: (21:48:06/01-21-18) »
Again, I'd like to stress that I'm not advocating a rose-colored, idealized (and idolized) picturing of the elves in SR (or in any other game). Yes, they're snobbish, yes they frequently have a superiority complex, yes they tend to be insular, bordering, or frequently going straigth into racism-land.

I know that, that the writeups shows those isn't a problem, for me, in fact I like that.

However, the corebook said only those things and the positives were only their physical characteristics in the writeup, but even those were in a contxt of the above. Like it was written by a bitter member of the other metatypes. That's okay, I'm okay with in-character stuff like that. I just think a core "race" writeup in the game's corebook should be a bit more fair. I think I liked the 3e version the most, where every metatype writeup was written by a member of that type, in character.

Run faster was a bit better, it talked about more things, but ultimately that was the same feeling I got: the author ultmiately has nothing positive to say about elves, to balance out the negatives. Even the things that could be positive were casted in a light that made them shallow-looking and again, the most "positive " thing was that they're pretty. Agin, it talked lengthily about how insular they are and how easy they got life in general, because they are pretty. Conversely, the3e writeup said, that they are elves not comforting to the ideal picture and they are quite miserable for it (granted, Run Faster talked about that too, but only in one or two throwawy sentences). 3e also talked about that elves are living in the barrens too, that not all of them got it easy. The miriads of demeaning little prejudices they're facing up every day. It flat-out said that yeah, we got it better than the other metatypes, but that doesn't mean that everyone's live if just rose and sunshine in elfland. Other things could have been highlighted as positives, like their general greater regard for nature.

That is the nuance I missed a bit from the 5e books. It's not that the writeups are bad, as writing, it's just I felt the writer here makes a statement about they negative view on the metatype, instead of writing a non-flattering, non-idealized, but neutral writeup about it. Combined with the relative sparsity of "cool" pictures with frontline elven characters in the books and I just got the feeling that it was at least a non-consicous choice, that in this edition, elves will get the shaft and I don't think that is a good thing, because rulebooks should portray those things without such bias, IMO. In-character material in the books in the books could be very much biased, yes and I'm aware that the Run&Gun material was written as such, but still, if it is an ICC thing and biased there should, ideally, be material to balance it out.

Make no mistake, I'd say the same about any other metatype, if this thing would have came up with them instead, or conversely, if the elf writeup would have been overly sugar-y. 

Reaver

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« Reply #11 on: (23:04:50/01-21-18) »
I think you are getting yourself a little confused about the metatypes.

Technically, all the "races" in Shadowrun are just off shoots of Humans, no matter how different they look. So while an Elf being "prettier" then the other races is an actual physical trait, things like "Environmentalism" are not physical traits, but personal outlooks (OR Belief, or ethical duty, or whatever buzz word you want to use to say "Personal Opinion"). Elves by and large are no more or less concerned about the environment than any other metatype.

All you can ever really say about a Metatype (or Race if you wish), Is their physical and mental conditions that are reflected throughout that metatype. So, the fact that a Troll is generally twice as strong, twice as big, and half as smart* as a human, and ugly to boot are Traits of that Metatype, The fact that many Trolls like origami is not.

Even my point of them being Racist Assholes isn't truly an Elf trait; its more a human (and thus Elven) trait. However, when you get a bunch of Elves into a position of power, then do everything they can to keep the other races down?? Well, you can see the appearance.

<I will use this spot to point out that, while "Elf" may be Metatype, it is NOT an ethnicity. Meaning, just like humans, and Trolls, and Orks, and Drawves, Elves come in every shade of skin color under the sun, and are found in every corner of the earth. There are Chinese, Japanese, European, African, Arabian,  Indian, Native American, and South American members of every metatype. Some Ethnic cultures even have Sub-metatypes of the Metatypes! and, NO. ORKS ARE NOT GREEN!!!*>


But, if you want a walk down memory lane, in Shadowrun 1e, it clearly stated that Elves were all Veggie eaters, hence why they are called "Dandelion Eaters". But that was changed in 2e.
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

PMrk

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« Reply #12 on: (23:40:22/01-21-18) »
I think you are getting yourself a little confused about the metatypes.

Not really, I just didn't bother every time to write "metatype", because it's longer and because from the perspective of rpgs, it's basically the same.

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Technically, all the "races" in Shadowrun are just off shoots of Humans, no matter how different they look. So while an Elf being "prettier" then the other races is an actual physical trait, things like "Environmentalism" are not physical traits, but personal outlooks (OR Belief, or ethical duty, or whatever buzz word you want to use to say "Personal Opinion"). Elves by and large are no more or less concerned about the environment than any other metatype.

All you can ever really say about a Metatype (or Race if you wish), Is their physical and mental conditions that are reflected throughout that metatype. So, the fact that a Troll is generally twice as strong, twice as big, and half as smart* as a human, and ugly to boot are Traits of that Metatype, The fact that many Trolls like origami is not.

Well, the books are talking about physical, mental and cultural characteristics with every metatype, so, I think it's fair to point out the bias, when everyone got a fairly balanced writeup, excluding one. I just don't think they couldn't or shouldn't get a more balanced portrayal, especially since they could in earlier editions. I prefer portrayals with positive, negative and neutral characteristics and I felt that elves in 5e are just got an overwhelmingly negative lookout. A new player, after reading the writeups should think "why would I want to play one of those?" and come up with answers other than stat boosts, while also being aware to the shortcomings of the metatype. They should see every metatype as sympathetic but also deeply flawed on their own way. They shouldn't get told, IMO, by the writer that "okay, one of those are just the jerky, pretty, cool kids and racist on top of that and they play life on easy mode, but hey, you get stat boosts!". I'm just sayin, tell that, yes, because it's important and a part of the picture, but also tell their good sides, their hardships, etc.

About environmentalism, the fact that the Tirs are quite big on that and that, as you mentioned, it was stated that a lot of elves are vegetarians (which isn't the same thing at all, but still) gave me the impression that elve, in general, or elven society in general is just more environment-friendly. It could be a natural inclination, maybe the evolutional  result of their long lifespans (that's my general theory about "tree-hugger" elves, aside mystical reasons, in any kind of fantasy - that they are more aware of nature, because they must, because they can't exploit it on the expense of future generations and forget about it), could be their high regard for magic (nd in the Tirs, the high number of elves born with it) and the manasphere's connection to nature in Shadowrun's world.

Rosa

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« Reply #13 on: (06:03:01/01-22-18) »
I 100% agree that there's an anti elven bias in SR and it's always been there,  I also agree that Run faster took it way farther than it's been done in earlier editions. The write-up in Run faster would perhaps have been ok if it had been clearly stated that this was how the other metatypes saw elves but it was delivered in a much more this is how it is kind of way. There's of course a lot of reasons for why this is,  but I agree wholeheartedly that when the purpose was to give more detail about a potential race choice for a player character it was executed very poorly.

Btw not a big fan of the dwarf write-up either.

PMrk

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« Reply #14 on: (19:50:35/01-22-18) »
I 100% agree that there's an anti elven bias in SR and it's always been there,

Thing is, I'm okay with that. Calling them "dandelion eaters" and "never trust an elf" being a thing. That is not worse and not different than the prejudices, justified or not, regarding the other races. I just think it should be an in-world thing in those cases, while the writeups, targeted to players, should be more unbiased, taling about the metatype's goond and bad sides both, spiced up by in-character stuff, or presented as written by multiple characters, featuring Jackpoint posts. I just don't like to feel I'm getting spoon-fed the writer's personal bias, positive or negative.

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  I also agree that Run faster took it way farther than it's been done in earlier editions.

Honestly, the corebook was even worse, IMO. I especially anticipated Run Faster, because of that. Like, okay, the corebook showed the most stereotypical stereotypes on those one paragraph write ups, from an in-character perspective (aka, how the world in general see the different metatypes), now, there's the chance to elaborate and give them nuance. And mostly, i felt the books succeeded, just not in the case of elves. Yes, it was informative, it did add depth to them, but failed to do it in a way that would make at least parts of them simpathetic. Even their love for art, for example, I felt being written condenscendingly.

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The write-up in Run faster would perhaps have been ok if it had been clearly stated that this was how the other metatypes saw elves but it was delivered in a much more this is how it is kind of way. There's of course a lot of reasons for why this is,  but I agree wholeheartedly that when the purpose was to give more detail about a potential race choice for a player character it was executed very poorly. 

Exactly. Well, the writin wasn't bad, IMO, just one-sided.

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Btw not a big fan of the dwarf write-up either.

Didn't like the strong conformist angle?

I'll be very curious about the dwarf/elf book, if that will be a thing in the future. If it would be even a thing.