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Elven Cultures

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Griffin, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Griffin

    Griffin Minstrel

    In my world, there are multiple cultures within the Elven race. They are the major race of the world (at least in the beginning.) I was wondering if my concepts of the cultures are 1) diverse enough and 2) interesting enough. It is difficult to get rid of the stereotypical elf image.

    Here's a little snippet of the religious base. The species itself is called Eluvian. "Vian" means people and "Elu" refers to Eluna, the Old Goddess and creator of elves. Though no one actively worships her, she is still the Creator. Her husband was Dumat who saved the elves from the dragons. His formal title is Dragon Lord. Their daughter, Morri, became the moon to guide the elves during the night.

    Now the actual cultures:
    True Eluvian. They believe themselves to be the true race and look down on the others. They are very materialistic and follow a feudal system with lords and peasants. They also use humans as slaves (elves can use magic while humans cannot.) The other Eluvian races refer to them as "Ashavians," people of the stars. It's more making fun of their 'high and mighty' attitude.

    Dwarvian, people of dirt. This culture believes that they can find paradise by digging into the earth as they believe that Eluna and Dumat live deep underground. The Dwarvians live underground and have a caste system. They are very traditional and hold a great importance to honor and family. In regards to humans, they are not slaves, but they are very low in society.

    Hircine, wolf. These are nomadic people who believe that living simply puts them closer to the 'true ways.' They are wary of other races (including non-elven) and prefer the company of nature. As a tribal society, a strong emphasis of battle is implied. Everyone is a warrior regardless of gender and age. While this may seem contradicting, many creatures would love to have elf for breakfast. They do not care of humans. Other cultures make jokes about the "wood elves frolicking in a field of flowers."

    Morrivian, people of night. Still under development.

    Sorry for the info-dump. I am just curious if this seems boring/stereotypical/crazy/whatever. I could go deeper into each culture, but I imagine that would get boring quicker.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Konstanz

    Konstanz Minstrel

    Just a quick note. I would ditch "Dwarvian". It's extremely obvious it comes from "dwarves/dwarven" and they are elves. That would not only confuse your reader, I also think it's not a very catchy name. You did a better job on the other cultures.

    As for interesting enough; your races are basically a bit of a rehash of the generic subraces of elves (no offense). You have the haughty high elves and their very regal culture, the dark elves that live underground (Dwarvian/Morrivian) and of course the wood elves (Hircine). You even call the Hircine wood elves at some point, so I guess you're aware of the similarities with the D&D/Tolkien variants.

    Mind you, it's not because they are a bit of a rehash that you should get rid of them. Of course not. A lot of writers use them because... well because there isn't a lot of room for variation left. Elves are so popular that it has become almost impossible to be original with them, because they feature in 99% of the Fantasy fiction. So when you choose to use elves in your world, you immediately choose to adapt some things from others who went before you.

    There are of course a lot of things that can still make your elves interesting. The story, the important people etc.

    In a nutshell: are they interesting; to a certain point perhaps, but it's not all that original to be honest.
  3. pmkava

    pmkava Dreamer

    here is a really radical idea, don't call them elves or any other name that is remotely elf related. make up some really out there names.
    I'd also suggest taking your dwarvain elves and maybe call them mountain elves or something.
  4. Sounds very Elder Scrolls.
  5. Hans

    Hans Sage

    By Elves you mean the Tolkienesque creatures?
    In the "old times" every mythological figure was called an Alb, from which the word Elve derives. I agree with the previous posts, your elves as you describe them here have little to have them stand out of the crowd. Maybe you could add some twists from pre-Tolkien mytholgy. Or just add some details that the reader does not think "O look, the default even module. Again. This time in green."
  6. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    Dwarven elves does stand out to me too.

    Subterran Elves, Mineral elves, Excavator elves, or a word in elvish to equate the same general idea.

    Wood elves, high elves, wild elves, are basically the types, just because they are similar to other elven works does not make it wrong. Make them Griffin's elves, as opposed to Tolken or TSR elves. Give them a unique culture, show how they are as different from famous elves as they are similar. You have changed their names, now make them different in culture.

    Also make a history as to why they enslave or mistrust other races.
    Nomads tend to take what they find to survive, so they won't be the most "honest" group, but they also can have honor. Nomads trust that nature/Gods will provide for them. Also nomad

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