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The concepts of good versus evil, anxiety, vanity, greed, love and fear were all as prominent then as they are now. These myths carry great lessons on how to look at life because they are based on things that most of us can relate to (okay, maybe not getting your liver eaten by an eagle, but you get the point!).

 

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https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/belie

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http://comic.nodwick.com/?comic=2008-08-18

 

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Mighty Gruumsh (The Eternally Sleepless Warrior) would never befriend Corellon nor any other Seldarine.

First off, there is the little issue of eye-for-an-eye which Gruumsh (The Iron-Willed Tyrant Above All) would never forget, never forgive, never relent.

Second, Gruumsh (With His Great Spear, Yada-Yada-Yada) is a strong, hard, proud, indomitable, angry sort of god who tolerates no weakness in other races, not even in his own followers. Elves are about as unmanly as they get in the eyes of an orc, and elf-flesh is almost as tasty as roasted halfling. There aint never gonna be no friendship here.

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It IS unrealistic because originally the races were created based on myth. And the building of the races was made this way, back in the 70s, accordingly with some stereotypes. Elves were good and children of a goodly deity, orcs were monsters created by a devilish and brutal god. Humans were different exactly because of their free will, and while some were good and tender as elves others were ruthless and cruel as the worst goblinoids.

Of course, there were decades of gaming, different authors writing the game, and the way people see good, evil, and different races changed through time (see Klingons in Star Trek). It was not something that happened overnight, but it happened.

Also, as I cited before, conflict was needed to make stories interesting, even to Tolkien, if you think of the Silmarillion. But then again, if one of Tolkien's inspiration were the angels, even angels had their rebellions before falling and turning into demons (and not in the same way, but elves were also turned into orcs).

Some FR novel authors made elves more human, like Elaine Cunningham, that wrote very interesting stories with elves, but their conflicts for power and their conflicts sometimes were very human-like, even to make them interesting to us readers. Other writers, like Salvatore, kept the appearance of elves to a minimum in his novels, but most of them are truly good.

I like to portray elves in my game sessions like faeries, and sometimes like Greek heroes. They are heroic, but sometimes they are capricious (like the Greeks), and their emotions are very strong, from joy to sorrow (for they are faeries, not humans). I tend to play them more noble, though (like Tolkien).

About the destruction of some places like Jhaamdath, and even of some dark elven cities (even before they were turned into drow), I think of the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, when Lot looked for even one just person and couldn't find; only then God chose to destroy the place. Or about the corruption of Babylon. Maybe there were no innocents, for the corruption influenced the citizens since their very upbringing, just like the drow societies in Salvatore's novels. Occasionally, in centuries, maybe there would be born a good guy, but at that historic moment no one was found as just.

You can argue this is unrealistic, but once again, if you think the creatures and inspiration of the game were based on myths and fantasy, it makes (its own?) sense. Anyway, if you don't agree elves are good, say they are not in your game, or change them to make them good.

I do think elves (and I say elves in general, like most of their population, in their different levels) have a more goodly and just society, based in books like "Elves of Evermeet". And so I chose to reflect them in my game. In my games there are no elven beggars, and they are generally more generous and worried about other people, and they usually do not understand the human posture of putting material concern over the concern for others. But they are not perfect, and deal sometimes harshly to any threat to their lives and to the life of those they love. Being passionate like fey are, they are also very vindicative.

Once again, elves are fantastic creatures, created in a different social context, and based on myth. Use whatever the game offers you about them as you wish, for you are soreveign in your own game table.

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The world was young.
And on the shores of Cold Ocean sat the woman, and she had the size of a mountain and the shape as well. She had great hips as large as hillocks and she had a bosom of craggy buttresses. The woman had also a sharp chin and a crooked nose, and cheeks as flat as cliffs. She had eyes round and black, as are caves, and white billowing hair, like snow blow­ing off the lofty peaks.
Ulutiu, the Ocean King, knew not the woman's name, nor did he care, as long as she came often to dangle her feet in his sea. Then he liked to climb to her shoulders and come sliding back down, to twirl his sinuous body around her peaks, to slip down her stomach and glide along the cleft where her thighs pressed together, then to leap off her knees at journey's end and splash back into the freezing waters. So much did the Ocean King like this game that he would climb onto the icy shore and do it again and again, doing it for days with no thought of hunger or fatigue or any­thing but joy, temporal and fleshly.
And the woman, who was called Othea, also loved the game well. The feel of Ulutiu's slick hide slithering over her skin she craved as her lungs craved air. She liked to brace her hands against the frozen ground, lean back, close her eyes, and think only of the icy pleasures ravaging her body. Deep into torpor would she fall. She would sink into a stupor as blissful as it was cold, and at last she would collapse in utter ecstasy. Then would her body quake, rocking lands far away, ripping green meadows asunder and shaking the snow from the mountains to crash down into the valleys with a fury as great as her rapture.
All this Annam the All Father saw. Mighty was his wrath, and mightier still because it was his curse to hear their thoughts and feel their lust. He raised himself from the canyon where he had lain, and even the crashing flood waters when the river flowed again were not as fierce as his temper. The All Father spat out his disgust, and a storm of sleet raged across the gray waters of Cold Ocean.
Annam strode forward. So heavy were his steps that the creatures of the air forsook their nests and flew, geese and harpies together, eagles beside dragons; so many were there that they darkened the sky with their wings. The beasts of the land also fled, hooves and claws tearing the plants from the meadows, and also the monsters of the sea, their fins and flukes churning the ocean into a cold froth.
Then did Ulutiu know he had transgressed against a high god. He peered over Othea's knee, and his whiskers twitched and his ears lay against his head.
"Othea!" Annam's voice howled across the shore like the blustering wind, and truly there had never been a tempest so terrible. "Have I not spoken against your dalliances?"
Ulutiu's dark eyes grew wide with terror, and he disap­peared behind Othea's bulk. Annam heard a splash in Cold Ocean and was not pleased. He rushed to the sea in two quick bounds and there he knelt, and when he spied a dark figure slipping from shore he stretched out his long arm and scooped the Ocean King from the icy waters.
"Annam, harm him not!" Othea's voice rolled across the icy shore as the rumble of a fuming mountain, and it was plain that she spoke in command, not supplication. "Ulutiu bears no blame in this. He was playing, nothing more."
"I know well enough what his games beget!" The All Father rose to his exalted height and faced Othea, and the cold water that dripped from his hand fell over the land like rain. "Firbolgs, verbeegs, fomorians, ettins!"
"Nay, not the ettin," Othea corrected, and when she spoke she showed Annam no fear. "That one you sired."
"Perhaps, but that is not the matter here."
Surely, it would have pleased Annam to deny the ettin's paternity, but the All Father knew he had sired the monster, and Othea would not say it had been someone else. That she denied him even this boon made his anger greater, and he thought that her punishment would be very hard indeed.
Othea paid no heed to Annam's ire, for she was not happy to have her game interrupted. "What is the matter, Hus­band?"
"I took you as Mother Queen of the giants," Annam answered. "You are to people Toril with my progeny—true giants—not with Ulutiu's bastard races!"
"Toril is as empty as it is young," Othea responded. "There is room enough for giant-kin."
"Did you not claim the same defense after your dance with rat-faced Vaprak?" Annam demanded. "And now ogres over­run Ostoria. Everywhere, they plague the empire of my children, gnawing at its seams like vermin."
"Perhaps your children are weak and Vaprak's are strong."
"I should have drowned the ogre when first you bore it!" Annam stormed, and a blizzard swept across the shore on roaring winds. "I should have crushed Vaprak's skull for dar­ing to cuckold me. I shall not make the mistake twice."
The All Father made tight his grip. Though the shriek that rose from the Ocean King's throat was long and loud, it was a mere gust against the tempest of Annam's anger. Ulutiu saw he would soon die, so he pulled with hands that were like flippers and he kicked with feet that were like flukes. But Annam was the strongest of the strong, and nothing could escape his grip.

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