Sunday, May 11, 2008

General RPGs' Elves

Wow, a rant update BEFORE an entire month has passed! Incredible, ain't it?

So, anyway. Is it just me, or are elves by and large a pretentious bunch of assholes in RPGs? I mean, if, in an RPG, the hero must visit an elven community at any time, he or she is almost guaranteed to have an unpleasant time. This is how it will usually go:

HERO: Hey, Mr. Elf, there's this super-powerful villain guy who's out to destroy the world. We'd heard that you guys could maybe help us out with stopping him.

ELF: Shut the fuck up you stupid human. We're ELVES. We live FOREVER, and that makes us so incredibly wise that we don't have to do anything but sit on our asses for all eternity in our shitty little single forest village and contemplate how GREAT we are. If you're having problems then it's YOUR fault, because as human beings, everything you do is wrong, and you're all evil jerks who ruin the world.

HERO: No, no, see, HE'S the evil jerk who wants to ruin the world. We want to save it from him. Using some kind of special knowledge or magical power or something. That's where you come in.

ELF: If he's evil then you must be, too, because all humans are exactly the same, with no possible exceptions.

HERO: But...but he's making plans to destroy your whole race right now! Don't you think we should join forces so you don't all die?

ELF: Ha! As if. Humans lie about everything, so clearly he isn't actually going to attack us. And even if he did, we have bows and arrows, and our houses are made of old wood! What threat could he possibly pose to us? Now, as a token of our appreciation for going out of your way to find our village and attempt to save our lives, please enjoy the restful accommodations of our local prison.


ELF: Your parents never loved you and your very existence is a filthy sin against nature.

I mean, it's not that elves are incapable of being decent folks in RPGs. The individual ones you find along your travels, most often the ones who join your party, are usually pretty decent. For example, Suikoden 1. What happens when you come across one elf? Kirkis (said elf) asks for your assistance and is appropriately grateful for it and cordial. What happens when you go to the village of the elves? They throw you in jail and totally refuse to listen to anything you say. So I guess the general rule of thumb to go by more often than not is that elvish dickery is directly proportional to the number of elves concentrated in one area.

Now, honestly, the whole thing doesn't make much sense to me. Why is this race of beings who live for centuries and are supposed to be wiser than just about anyone else a bunch of close-minded, isolationist racial bigots? It may just be the perspective of an ignorant non-immortal human, but personally, blind prejudice and irresponsible separation from the world is not what I think of when I think of wise cultural policies.

Not to mention that their racism is in itself illogical and foolish. They don't have a good reason for it. I mean, sure, RPGs are usually going for the whole Tolkien-esque version of elves that are in tune with nature and everything, so yes, it makes sense that elves are, more often than not, not thrilled by humans in general due to humanity's constant destruction of nature for its daily life. I get that much. What I don't get is why they'd think they have the right to hate, ridicule, and completely snub humanity for bad habits such as these when the elves never do anything about it. Seriously, think about it. When was the last time you played an RPG where you visited some completely secluded elvish hideaway and got ridiculed by an elder or random elven citizen about how humanity sucks because it destroys nature and doesn't respect magic and blah blah blah, and had any indication that the elves had ever approached human civilization and attempted to guide them to better habits and methods? If they're not going to do a damn thing about it, I don't see what right they have to complain about it.

RPG makers have really got to get out of this trend. It's silly, it's annoying, and it's even a little disturbing, when you think about it, that beings renowned for their knowledge and wisdom are stubborn bigots.