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For the Love of Gold

Perhaps once there were elves who lived among the dwarves in the mines, so deeply did they love the glitter of gold and gems - walking in the darkest places, bringing the light of their stars to the tunnels below.

:damphyr: Tools: Photoshop CC 2018, Wacom Intuos 3
:damphyr: Date: 3/24/2018
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My fantasy campaign had an era when, with dark forces sweeping across the world, the main dwarven city gave hidden shelter to the elven royal family for centuries, and the two cultures have been close friends & allies ever since."

I love most of Tolkien's work, and I know it's unfair to judge everyone by modern cultural standards, but his racist view of "greedy Jews", which he used as his model for Dwarves, stilll pisses me off.
delightedmuse's avatar
I know, right?! I'm reading through LoTR for the first time, just recently. I saw the movies when they first came out, plus I've read a lot of contemporary fantasy that has definitely been Tolkien-inspired. But I'm so glad I'm finally reading the series.

I'm halfway through Return of the King, and while I love his writing style, the descriptions of the landscape, and the scope of the history/myth... I cringe every time the Southrons or Easterners are mentioned as servants of the Enemy. Or the reoccurring "It's in his/her blood to be brave/noble/kingly" :stinkeye:
Yeah, the whole idea of humans being a single race rather than, in effect, a bunch of different species, is a really modern thing; ditto even more for the idea that people of every nation and religion are born equally human; there are almost NO innate racial differences except group adaptations to the local sun vs. cloud percentage, available food groups, etc..

I was fascinated to find out that, for example, the adaptation that lets some humans digest (animal) milk after infancy has developed separately in at least three different continents; we can tell because they're in different parts of our genetic code, unlike what you get with a trait that was already adapted before a group of people split into separate subcultures.
I'm with you on all of those. (And I've read some good LotR fan fiction from the Southron point of view, though I can't remember the titles at the moment.) Oh, and at least one with hearthbreakingly sympathetic uruk-hai, too.

We humans do have a habit of assigning traits we hate and fear to Those Foreigners Over There. I still remember my delight in finding out that Le Guin's wizard Ged was a smallish brown guy (and a bit dumpy when not starving), rather than either black or white.

I started my fantasy gaming campaign back in 1979, long before *A*D&D started codifying everything to a single standard, and I didn't like either "All dwarves (or elves, or women, or wizards...) have similar personalities" OR "Everybody's totally equal in every way, and there's no race/species prejudice at all," so I decided on my own race/sex/etc. rules (and never regretted it): "Yes, three out of four elves like to live in nature and take the long view; three out of four dwarves like to live underground and amass treasure; three out of four men are stronger and more aggressive than three out of four women," etc. etc.," ending with "But the fourth ISN'T like that, and nobody cares much."

And I and my gamers never regretted it. ;)

delightedmuse's avatar
Haha that's great regarding your campaign :3 And I <3 Wizard of Earthsea.   I agree about the AD&D/D&D codifications feeling a bit weird. The whole "certain creatures are always innately evil aligned" just never sits right with me. And it takes the fun out of some encounters where diplomacy could be used.