Thursday, May 29, 2008

RPGs, Black People, and the Black Elves Who Weren't

I love fantasy RPGs to death- I've attached myself to dungeon crawlers with many enchanted weapons and new spells to discover, killing everything in sight to get curiously placed loot and level up to do more neat tricks. But there are times in between my dork induced revelry where I re-realize that these games were not made for me in mind. *chuckle* Remotely.

My first experiences had me choose between a set of pre-made characters, the formula always coming down to- a balanced, good hearted adventurer presented with common "dashing" white male looks, a bullheaded slash and smasher normally given by another, bulkier and dimmer white male, a fragile magic caster via typical fey male elf, and another addition, maybe a dark elf battlemage, a hardy dwarf, or a smexy female . . .something or other, as long as she's smexy and doesn't take the classic white male character's place. I was fairly okay with this actually- I normally found myself picking up the woman for her speed or the fey elf if I was feeling magic intensive. I didn't start becoming a bit non-plussed until differing melanin contents began to show up.

My first contact was with Dark Elves. I liked them, and still do-they tend to specialize in offensive magic and aren't conplete failures with a sword, which is my favored way of playing. They were also an alternative to the pale, Tolkien-based elves that until then I had to deal with if I wanted to focus on magic. But I felt a bit put out- why were they going way out of their way to not make a dark brown elf? Those which needed special explanation on how they got blue in the first place, next to their perfectly caucasian-colored brethren. Which, by the by, is normally due to some fall of grace that damned them from be fair and blonde themselves.

I'm fond of dark elves and don't want them modified, but brown elves of some sort should be in the works.

Or not. My latest fantasy RPG craze, Oblivion, was based in the Elder Scrolls verse and went on to introduce brown men. They didn't have a suicide wish so they didn't make them stupid, but they are oxen of the men races, master of all thing physical and can run good too! Why they happily ensconced themselves in the common roles of black people (because they are representative of black people- with them having the only black male and female VOs) I don't know, but it sucked for me since I'm not a hack and slasher I couldn't get my automatic black template. And fenagling non-black people to look black (especially elves!) is quite a feat let me tell you.

Also I'm just thrilled to note that the black people there are fundamentally different from the other races of men! Different type of blood and everything. As it should be. @_@