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Thread: Elves of LOTR vs Elves of AD&D

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Ok this the first thread i've started, so go easy on my ass...

But i want to throw open a debate on how in Fantasy Literature post-LOTR and especially in PnP Roleplaying games (i make specific mention of TSR's infamous AD&D), Elves are depicted variously as effete , magical but in a fey/twee way, live a very long time(but not immortal in most cases) routinely wear green tights, use only shortbows cos their not quite tall? enough, and other BlurB that kinda makes MERP/LOTR Elves seem like an entirely different concept altogether!

I hope i am not alone in this belief, but for those that wanted to roleplay the kind of elven heroes akin to fellas in the Sillmarillion, then to see them dwarfed into comic, inneffectual shadows of what you imagined!"PffffT"

So on a another level "how many AD&D elves would it take to beat one reasonably adequate LOTR Elf(Noldor)? Place your bets Now!

(Even ICE Rolemaster/MERP failed, though i concede they came closest)

Appreciate your views folks...
Angry Elf Smilie Elf Smilie Pixie Smilie Elf Rolling Eyes Smilie Elf Winking Smilie Elf With a Big Grin Smilie Elf Confused Smilie Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie Happy Elf SmilieA BIG ELF FAN!
Okay, I'm disgusted at the way LOTR's elves get thrown into the shuffle at times, finally morphing into who-knows-what-that-thing-is.

Personally, I don't think AD&D elves could make a mark on a LOTR elf. Very Evil Smilie

Hmmm....anything else I need to say in my defense? I like the short and sweet defensive posture, so if you want more, you'll have to post more. Animated Wink Smilie
Yep, you're right Aelric. AD&D Elves are slender, willowy things. Rolemaster elves have Silmarillion descriptions, but their stat bonuses still appear to make them agile rather than strong, when really they were both.

I was playing AD&D before I ever read LotR, and my first impression of Tolkien's elves was that he had got them all wrong. Elves after all, were supposed to be small and willowy, not seven feet tall. All the early fairy stories I read had small elves too. Weren't the Celtic Sidhe of a similar build too?

When I first read the Hobbit, I felt the elves were still small there, and very light hearted. They seemed to grow as the book went on, however. Maybe it was a case of my early preconceptions being broken down.

As a side note. I always found it totally unrealistic how AD&D limited the level advancement of elves to quite low levels. That was one of the first rules I scrubbed out.
Yeah, it always bugs me that if I want a high level mage I have to settle for a human one. If Elves are long lived, they should be able to learn more from all those years of living experience. And another thing in some of the AD&D computer games I've played Elves can't be resurrected while humans can; that's a double whammy against using them as pure mages; may as well make them rangers or duel them as fighter-mages.
HAHA my good fellow Rpg'ers... i recall having a reasonably potent high elf in ad&d, Multi-class fighter(7)Mage (7)thief(6), but could it live with the dual-classed half-elves or humans, or worse still, the pure level human rangers or fighters ... NOPE!

I just couldnt follow TSR's reasoning on all of the points that Val & Grondy have just raised, if it was the case that it was justified b/c non-human races started with stat bonuses @ 1st level, but had all these bizarre counter-intuitive level restrictions later on... All i know is that i played some good characters with some good mates in AD&D (Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms & Dragonlance) but none of us could bear the system. Eventually we adopted the GURPS system, but even that had its limitations.

Rolemaster has to be one of my personal faves though, and like you said Val, I think the makers of the game were themselves troubled by ill-conceived preconceptions, and were more intent on maintaining game (player) balance than accurately representing all the races properly. E.g, i remember on many occasions there being too many Elves in the PC groups, and virtually no-one had the courage to be the relatively runt-like humans.

On the point f the Sidhe, or Tuatha De Danaan, as a celt myself (Welsh/Oirish stock) the Sidhe traditionally are primaeval nature spirits, and have a variety of forms - the most common being a pixie-like, elfin creature in popular mythology. But this is also a very recent dumbing down of what they actually represented, equally they were as gigantic as they were small, as fair as they were ugly, alien and yet possessed of human traits when it suited them. In, addition to that is the close similarity between the Valar of the Undying Lands and the Tuatha de Danaan of Elysium, i'm sure JRR cited local Brythonic Celt lore and mythos as well as the much vaunted Scandinavian legends (Grendel, Beowulf, Sagas blah dee blah).
Please, someone tell me what AD&D stands for, and I'll say my views.
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons... It's Evil and so are all Rpg'ers, hehe!

Very Mad Smilie Big Laugh Smilie Very Mad Smilie
It's Evil and so are all Rpg'ers,

I don't know about evil, but I do know I sold a good proportion of my life to playing them. I was 18 when I first discovered AD&D, and I was hooked about an hour later. During my university days I was playing maybe 4 or 5 nights a week when I should have been studying etc. After that I introduced it to my friends at home and continued playing 2 or 3 nights a week until I discovered Rolemaster a few years later. I continued playing until I was 35, at which time I realised I was spending a little too much of my time living with the elves (because I was Dungeon Master, as well as playing, I'd spend hours and hours designing the following evening's game).

Anyway, I finally packed my books away five years ago and concentrated on living in the world. Two years ago, however, I discovered Planet Tolkien, and now I'm back to spending a little too much time with the elves again. About a year ago the Rolemaster books were pulled out again because my son was keen to play. He's so in to it, he's just designed his own set of rules so he can play it at school.

It's powerful stuff... Be careful Very Mad Smilie
First of all, I guess no one here would ever agree that Elves are as depicted in those cartoony looking story lines. Perhaps that is why they need to be depicted that way. Elves are not small helpless creatures hidding from the Human world, making cookies inside a tree. Also, language is a disadvantage for the genre: in spanish they are called "Duendes". And you would never confuse a "Duende" with an "Elf". I guess misticism and magic is here portraying what each of us needs to have portrayed. A lot of people out there don’t know the difference (sadly), and trully don’t care. Take my mother for example. She knows I know, and if came to it, she knows she can ask me about it. She would never do it, though. Also, I’ve been wanting to learn and play AD&D for decades now. I had class 14 Master Jedi in SW RPG, but its not the same. Elf Smilie
Take Val's Advice, play a decent format, like Rolemaster, Whitewolf or GURPS, although AD&D is simple and relatively easy to pick up - it quickly reveals all of its short-comings as a system and the most of the Source content is focused toward young teenagers and hence very basic.

And btw, i was being ironic about "all RPG'ers being evil", as like you Val i have invested a great deal of time for the benefit of friends and consequently myself, in devising and creating (what i believe to be) enjoyable games and rich, involving stories. Not all of it was a waste of time, but i appreciate that sometimes the hobby can be a distraction verging on obssession when you ought to be doing something else instead (I too was a student that took refuge in RPG just to avoid doing work, fortunately i gotta girlfriend and was saved! lol)

Still love it though, cheapest form of social entertainment I know of!!!

Very Big Grin Smilie
Wow! You got a girlfriend! Congratulations! Most guys I know that are into RPGs and Magic and Legend of the Five Rings and D&D and HeroClix and... (you get the idea), still see women as the undescovered country. That really did save you, even if you laugh about it. Because it’s laughable alright.
Ha Ha Ha Smilie
I’m just glad I have social life... by the way, can I be your friend?
Alcoholic Smilie
Ah, Azadhel, you should know by now, that Lord Aelric is everyone's friend.
Where do you get these.. what you call it? .."girlfriend"? Can one get a prescription for one at the doctors?
I get seriously annoyed at all the twee elves with big, ugly noses and abnormally large eyes wearing green, e.g Elf Smilie . Elves are immortal, the firstborn, fair, wise, etcetera etcetera. They wear beautiful clothes, long and of subtle, natural colours. They are not to be made a mockery of. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
Lord Aerlic is everybody’s friend, and also has a "girlfriend". One thing is independent from the other, I suppose. Those you don’t get a doctor’s, you get a a Coven. I used to have those so called "girlfriends", but apparently I am just some kind of trophy for girls to earn, show, tell, and disposse. I compare myself, now that I think of it, as those Rings that used to come in crackers. You would buy the bag of nasty animal crackers just for that one precious and covetted ring. Just to wear it off in a couple of months.
Anywho, I never liked the way Dwarves are portrayed in say, Disney’s Snow White. With colorfull clothing, and a pickaxe to mine. 7 Dwarves? The closest I can think of is the Petty Dwarf in Nan i hin Hurin. That’s more like it. Grumpy, Sleepy, Drunky, Toasty, Hippie, Trippy, and Chuck!?!? In the words of all mighty Loni: "Sababa!"
Heeheeheehee. Haha. Azadhel doesn't have a girlfriend anymore, judging by reading between the lines. Hahahahahahahaha. You know, nice girls are harder to get these days. You should see the girls in my class at school. I go to a Girls only school, by the way. Some of them are really ew. Make that most of them.
Everybody's friend? hmmm not sure about that...and as for wimmin, well theyre a dime a dozen.(not bitter, just twisted) Very Mad Smilie

But i dont think i've upset anyone on PT just yet?

Back to the subject matter, If Elvis was an Elf, and he exited a room full of elves, would anyone say, "Elvis the King of Elveses has left the building!"?
Ha Ha Ha SmilieI
I must laugh for all of us. That was a good one!
Also, Never question a declared friendship. If they say you are loved by everyone, don’t you think that you probably are? Specially because I am sure you don’t really know Them, as I am sure you know they don’t really know you. And thus, the word on the stree... on the posts is that you are loved by them. Cool huh?

On another note, you really hadn’t to read between the lines to judge I am a happily single man. If nice girls are harder to get, so are nice boys. I’ve invested too much time, money and effort on many a nice girl. It’s time for girls to invest now. The hardest thing about not wanting a girl is that you are all undeniably beauti-full.

Other than that, I`ll have to say that even in Elvenstone, the comic, Elves are very small and bigheaded. And if you could grant a mix up of some kind between cultural styles, imagine a Comic Book with Japanim’ narrative of the Lord of the Rings. Man, that would be the bestest!
I remember from my Roleplaying days when quite young, about 16, and perusing thru a sourcebook from MERP/Rolemaster - i think it was called Heroes of Middle Earth. But just glancing thru it and seeing Fingolfin, Feanor, Finwe, and even Gil-Galad as being in excess of 125th Level - Now that was an eye-opener at no mistake!

Gandalf the White, as offering something of perspective, was a mere 75 - 80 level. Now i appreciate this was only an opinion of a band of game developers but it did offer some notion of how it was conceivable for the great Elven heroes to battle and defeat Balrogs, Dragons and challenge Morgoth & the like. I think this impression stuck with me, and was why i was always reticent and disappointed with other game systems "dumbing down" of the Elven races.

Super Wow Smilie
Those Role Playing Games Suck! I remember when I (finally) got Hero Quest. No expansion pack ever came near this country (Guatemala). And even after years, I found one in Barcelona in a shop that, the next time I passed by, wasn’t even there. Those European streets can be confusing as hell (is hell really confusing?). Those RPG were pioneers for their time. I guess that is why they didn’t survive. They were also quite limited on the Hero’s actions. There is no denying that Elves from Middle-Earth are quite different from elves from all other universes, even different from the ones in people’s head when they haven’t read deep into Epic Mythology. I love this game! Don’t you feel like suddenly there is no more to say about one topic? Odd, for this topic should not only be interesting, but on going and exaustive.
Im just a small AD&D player and i still like the RPG.But it seems that youv all had bad expiriences with your RPG playing days and now you just lost intrest.
Oh and i know that ther are a lot of setbacks with playing them in AD&D but thats nothing you cant solve with a good and cooperativ DM.
I think the only bad experience I had with RPG's is that I spent a bit too much time playing them. For me, particularly with being mainly a Dungeon Master (Gamesmaster, whatever you like to call them), I spent a huge amount of time in another world. This was fine as far as my mates were concerned, as they were playing too, but as far as girlfriends, and later my ex-wife were concerned, I was never around. After a lot of years, I also found we had got to the stage where we had explored most angles and the games were beginning to grow stale. Now that my son wants to play, I actually find it hard motivating myself.

I'd like to play one of the big online games like Everquest etc, but I fear if I even glanced in, that would be it, I'd never come out. Things have come on a long way from the early days of graph paper and dice.
I have to agree. We liked them so much that they absorved a big chunk of us. I regret it not, but I am not as enthusiast as I was known to be. I like them, I’ve never stopped liking them. The only bad experience that I had about my Mastering age was when all my spells were lost and the defeat of the orcs was clear and present. Don’t underestimate the power of being single, as well.
i definatley go for lotr Elves since i am a huge lotr fan the whole concept of short ugly elves is just weird
since i am a huge lotr fan

Everyone here is a huge lotr fan, that goes for everyone!

I agree. The Elves in TLOTR are better than short, ugly little creatures.
Actually, the reason every PC AD&D game I've played won't let you resurrect Elves is simple: AD&D 2nd Ed. wouldn't let you, though I never could figure out why. Some wierd attempt at game balance, I guess, though as others have noted they had already crippled the Elves more than enough. And, at least in Frealms, Elves ARE immortal, but 'long about 1200 they seek their version of the Grey Havens whose name I forget. Never had a problem with not being able to use longbows. Granted, the only Elf I played extensively in P&P form was a thief, but BG let me do it on the PC all the time (of course, it also let me set up for Multi-Player and import "mules" with tomes and other stuff until the characters I actually wanted had straight 25 stats and a pair of the scimitars I lifted from Drizzt for each; hey, PCs are MEANT to be munchkined, and I never play that way in "real life.")

Ya'll had just about reawakened my attraction to MERP, and then Aelric comes along. Let's play GURPS now! It's still the most realistic system I've ever seen, and I won't say I'm having trouble finding a game, but I live in Austin and I'm still stuck with "All In a Nights Work" or nothing. Let's face it, Max the Guard was NOT designed to take on mages (hehe.) All we need now is a GM willing to take on the complex minutiae of GURPS, but it's still more logical than the alternative complexities of Chartmaster. And, of course, with GURPS, if we wanna play in Middle Earth, we just do it, and if Capt. Kirk, Han Solo, and Sherlock Holmes wanna come along, they can.(though they oughtta have to pay for literacy, tech level or no, since it would likely be a skill in Middle Earth, especially in the Elder Days.) Silmarils: the Ultimate Powerstones, and the only quirks were in Feanor. Besides, the Basic Set examples of delusions still contains one of my all time favorite quotes: "Ice cream makes machines work better, especially computers. Spoon it right in."