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Renin
Learned Scribe

168 Posts

Posted - 08 Jun 2013 :  22:23:15  Show Profile Send Renin a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So, I don't play 4th, but I have ...'copies' of the 2 main FR books, and I've been doing a lot of rereading of history, and well, current events before whatever hopeful news or progress could come about with the Sundering.

So..Eladrin...this is a renaming of Elves? The actual sun and moon elves of Faerun are still the elves I've always known and loved, but they just got a jazzed up name?

Or did more elves come from Abeir, and they are the 'true' Eladrin, and their name just stuck to all the other elves already present?

If so...all I can think of...is why?

Shemmy
Senior Scribe

USA
492 Posts

Posted - 09 Jun 2013 :  02:46:42  Show Profile  Visit Shemmy's Homepage  Send Shemmy an AOL message  Send Shemmy an ICQ Message Send Shemmy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Renin

So, I don't play 4th, but I have ...'copies' of the 2 main FR books, and I've been doing a lot of rereading of history, and well, current events before whatever hopeful news or progress could come about with the Sundering.

So..Eladrin...this is a renaming of Elves? The actual sun and moon elves of Faerun are still the elves I've always known and loved, but they just got a jazzed up name?

Or did more elves come from Abeir, and they are the 'true' Eladrin, and their name just stuck to all the other elves already present?

If so...all I can think of...is why?



Only the 4e design team knows why precisely.

Prior to 4e you had eladrin as a race of outsiders, physical manifestations of benevolent chaos, CG. You also had elves, very much mortal. Some of the eladrin vaguely looked like celestial elves (of course many archons and devils look like celestial or fiendish humans, but there's no connection there, nor was there between eladrin and elves, except that the elven pantheon resided on the same plane as the eladrin). In 4e CG doesn't exist as an alignment, the outsider eladrin vanish as if they'd never existed, some types of mortal elves are all of sudden called eladrin, and what previously would have been eladrin are now fey, dwelling on a plane with very little in common to their prior home plane.

Ultimately 4e core world material was forced into the preexisting continuity with very little attempt to rationalize the contradictions it caused. It causes issues.

Shemeska the Marauder, King of the Crosstrade; voted #1 best Arcanaloth in Sigil two hundred years running by the people who know what's best for them; chant broker; prospective Sigil council member next election; and official travel agent for Chamada Holiday specials LLC.
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lordsknight185
Learned Scribe

USA
91 Posts

Posted - 09 Jun 2013 :  05:53:56  Show Profile Send lordsknight185 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"The actual sun and moon elves of Faerun are still the elves I've always known and loved, but they just got a jazzed up name?"

This is essentially how it works out in the realms, but you should never hear the word "Eladrin" in a realms novel as elves will always be elves in the realms. But as far as 4e game products are concerned Eladrin are what Moon and Sun elves are to us. Also the actual core "Elf" That is talked about in 4e game products refers to specifically Wood and Wild elves in the realms (The Neverwinter Campaign Guide actually has tips on differentiating the Eladrin and Elf sub-races). Of course Drow have their own "Base" race in the core book now as well, so while they will always be Dark Elves in the realms, in 4e game products Drow are a separate elf-like race all together.

...D&D Next cant come quick enough for me.
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3418 Posts

Posted - 09 Jun 2013 :  06:17:37  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Spellplauge brought the Feywild closer in terms of the the blending of realities between the two planes. This stronger bond to the Feywild awoke certain capabilities within the Silver and Gold elves, granting them similiar properties to that of Eladrins. The celestial creatures known as Eladrin still exist in D&D (monster manual 2, 4E) so they haven't gone anywhere either.

It's said that most people on Faerûn almost always refer to them as moon and sun elves and don.t really understand the differences between Faerûn-based Eladrin and that of their celestial outsiders from Arvandor. This is, however, one instance they had changed to FR due to the ruleset and not because of any logical extention of the actual lore. Other aspects, such as at-will/encounter magic, still would've worked with the Weave and Mystra still in charge but thats not really here nor there.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 09 Jun 2013 :  14:10:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not going to address the design philosophy of this one, but I will say it caused a lot of needless confusion.

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Xar Zarath
Senior Scribe

Malaysia
552 Posts

Posted - 10 Jun 2013 :  06:04:12  Show Profile Send Xar Zarath a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I always picture eladrins as the description in Rich Baker's Last Mythal Trilogy. I think it was the 2nd book, Farthest Reach.

The eladrin are the Royalty of the Feywild, Kings and Queens of Immortal Fey courts. The very tempest of the storm and the seasons, the wild power of nature and the sun, moon and stars made into flesh. Equal in power with many demon lords and archdevils and to meet one is to meet the very essence of nature...

Everything ends where it begins. Period.



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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4586 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2013 :  17:21:07  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What a can of worms this is.

As official an answer as you're likely to get, from a freelance designer (Neverwinter Campaign Setting) and author (five Realms novels, which feature elves fairly heavily):

Yes, it's basically a name change for the core D&D game. It's unclear why they did it, and I can't speak officially for WotC, but the most obvious/likely reason is to fit our two fundamentally different conceptions of elves: snooty highborn archmages and camouflaged woodland archers. Hence, WotC wanted those two kinds of elves in their game, and they didn't want to dive down the rabbit hole of subraces, which is more appropriate in a campaign setting like the Realms. For the core game, it works fine to have 3 different species of fey: eladrin, elves, drow.

In the Realms, elves are elves are elves. The term "eladrin" is very rare--a piece of sagecraft or someone trying to be *very* scientifically accurate. 95%+ of the people in the Realms call all pointy-eared fey ELVES. Eladrin are indeed a thing in the Realms universe--they are the noble, extra-planar versions of what we mortals call elves, infused with angelic power and generally far above mortal "elves." The closest analog the Realms has to the planar Eladrin are moon and sun elves, which (thanks to the increasing proximity of the Feywild post-Spellplague) more-or-less match mechanically to the concept.

Theoretically, an "eladrin" native to the Realms is just an elf until around 15th level, at which point she starts becoming the noble fey she was born to be. That's the divine evolution of fey: elves become eladrin, the way humans become demigods. Because that's what eladrin are--the equivalent of demigods in a divine system that doesn't work the same as human divinity.

But yes. You'll occasionally see the word "eladrin" in a Realms novel, particularly from the period immediately following the advent of 4e, which is primarily an editorial style. My novel Downshadow has it a couple times, and it occurs irregularly though the rest of the Shadowbane series. If you see it in a modern FR novel, it's probably referring to the sagely conversation about the exact nature of the fey, which humans don't really understand anyway.

Cheers

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Signature of Shameless Self-Promotion +6: Order my sixth novel, Shadow of the Winter King (Amazon, e-signing, Dragonmoon Press)

Also check out my Realms work, most recently Shadowbane: Eye of Justice, out now on e-readers everywhere! (Kindle, Nook)
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Gray Richardson
Master of Realmslore

USA
1287 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2013 :  19:15:56  Show Profile  Visit Gray Richardson's Homepage Send Gray Richardson a Private Message  Reply with Quote
They actually did explain this officially (out of game) way back in one of the Wizards Presents books, if I recall. Probably Races & Classes, but it could have been Worlds & Monsters. I can't locate my copies at the moment to give you the exact quote, but these books contain a lot of behind-the-scene insight into the design process of 4e.

One of the design concepts in 4e was to de-emphasize the importance of alignment. They also wanted to simplify the planar scheme. As a consequence they culled or reconceived many of the alignment-based planes and exemplars. Asmodeus became a god, the Hells became one of many Astral Dominions; while the Abyss got relocated to the Elemental Chaos. In the core cosmology, The Abyss had now always been there, corrupted by Tharizdun. In the FR cosmology, as a result of Asmodeus's ascension to godhood, the demons lost the Blood War, and Asmodeus ejected the Abyss from the Astral Plane, where it settled into the Elemental Chaos.

In the core cosmology, Eladrins had been culled. Which was problematic for the FR cosmology, because there they still existed. But the core 4e design team did not concern itself with FR continuity when designing 4e, they left the FR designers to adapt 4e FR to the core 4e concepts that had been decided on.

In one of those Wizards Presents books, I believe it was Chris Perkins (though I can't swear it) who said that since they were no longer using the terms Eladrins and Archons, they wanted to "honor" the deep well of D&D lore by appropriating these defunct terms for some new concepts in 4e. So instead of splitting elves between "sylvan elves" and "high elves" they used the terms "elves" and "eladrin." Archons were reinterpreted as elementals.

I think the FR design team was allowed to adapt the 4e lore to fit the Realms how they liked, within editorial reason. Although, the Wizards Presents books don't discuss the Realms, if I recall. The FR design team, I'm sure, faced quite a few conundrums in adapting the Realms to fit the 4e lore. Many changes were probably just glossed over and not explained.

I think it boils down to the fact that the 4e core designers did not see 4e as a continuation of what had gone before, but rather a do-over, a reboot, starting over from scratch but using the best bits from what had gone before and discarding what they didn't like, or repurposing old lore for different things.

Not to knock WotC, because I think it was a valiant effort, and I can appreciate a lot of the design choices they made. But it sure took a heavy toll on the Realms and I think they were a little heavy handed in imposing some of the 4e core lore concepts on the Realms designers.
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3418 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2013 :  20:03:07  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
An apt description, both Gray and Erik. That clarification is greatly appreciated.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Gray Richardson
Master of Realmslore

USA
1287 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2013 :  21:13:10  Show Profile  Visit Gray Richardson's Homepage Send Gray Richardson a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Because it was bothering me, I pulled out my books and found the exact quotes. Turns out there's some info in both Races & Classes, and also Worlds & Monsters:

Richard Baker had this to say on p.39 of Races & Classes in a section entitled All Yesterday's Subraces:
quote:
"Somewhere around twenty years ago, the D&D game started to suggest differences between varieties of dwarves and elves. . . . Different campaign worlds came up with unique and flavorful names for these varieties, and different abilities too, making even more subraces. So before we knew it, we had a game with a dozen varieties of elves and just as many dwarves—and most had different mechanical characteristics from the basic elf, turning one character race into a dozen.

For 4th Edition, we decided to take a big step back from that. We decided that most of the differences between different types of elves (drow excluded) were cultural, not physical. We could retain the notion of two elven races. The D&D game has always boasted two very strong iconic themes for elf characters: the woodland ranger and the highly cultured wizard. Therefore we narrowed the field of elf subraces down to two entries that matter: high elf and wood elf. Gray elves, sun elves, moon elves—they’re all high elves. Wild elves, wood elves, green elves—they’re all just elves.

Given the story we’d settled on for the high elves (a race of fey lords who live in castles in Faerie), it seemed that it would actually be counterproductive to also bring forward the eladrin into the new edition (a race of fey lords who live in Arborea, a plane that looks a lot like Faerie). In a sense, eladrin and high elves were competing for the same conceptual space, so we chose to combine them into a single race of fey lords and made the Feywild their home. The name “eladrin” became available to use as the name of the “high elf ” player character race. Now there are three races—not subraces—of elvenkind, and each is equally distinct from the others: Drow, Eladrin, Elf.
"

Then in Worlds & Monsters p.40, Matthew Sernett & James Wyatt explain that:
quote:
"In 3rd Edition D&D, eladrins were a kind of celestial being designed by dividing up the alignment “pie” among divine servants. The warrior archons were lawful good, the animal-headed guardinals were neutral good, and eladrins got the chaotic good slice of the pie.

We knew that we no longer wanted to design monsters according to that rubric. Good-aligned creatures can be useful, but D&D simply doesn’t need that many of them. As with the reconcepting of angels, we wanted opponents that the player characters could actually fight, not just mouthpieces of the gods or occasional allies. Also, since our cosmology no longer hinged upon the alignment-based concept of the Great Wheel, we didn't need to create planar inhabitants for every conceivable alignment combination.

Some of the existing good-aligned monsters did incorporate neat designs that we wanted to preserve and improve upon. Most of the eladrins fell into that category. As we discussed what to do with them, we noted their generally fey appearance, and this led to a natural association with the Feywild.

In 3rd Edition D&D, many fey are mischievous but intrinsically good, although they began to move away from that trend in Monster Manual III and later books. For the new edition, we discarded that notion in favor of one more in synch with the role of fairy beings in myth and literature, as well as with our design needs.

These fey can be beautiful, happy, and kind, but they are just as often capricious, vindictive, and cold, following their own mysterious codes of conduct. People of the world see fey and the Feywild as mysterious and unpredictable, and the common folk fear them as much as they do orc raiders. Dealing with the fairy folk is always a gamble.

Eladrins were already powerful magical beings in previous editions of the game. Now they have a very similar role, but as mysterious lords and ladies of the Feywild. The noble eladrins of the Monster Manual—as distinct from the race presented in the Player’s Handbook—include the ghaele of winter and the bralani of autumn winds. They are high-level monsters that present both deadly challenges and interesting interactions for paragon-level PCs venturing into the Feywild. They are also, we hope, inspiring examples of what eladrin PCs can aspire to become."

There are many more bits here and there throughout both books about the thinking that went into the 4th edition design. I think it's very instructive and they raise a ton of good points that explain where they were coming from when they made certain design choices.

I recommend these books as an interesting document into the history of 4e design.

Edited by - Gray Richardson on 20 Jul 2013 21:36:32
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1489 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2013 :  18:46:24  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Renin

So..Eladrin...this is a renaming of Elves? The actual sun and moon elves of Faerun are still the elves I've always known and loved, but they just got a jazzed up name?
What did you expect from the marketing droids? "The word sounds kewl, let's stick it... <blindly pokes a finger at the paper>".

quote:
Originally posted by Gray Richardson

Then in Worlds & Monsters p.40, Matthew Sernett & James Wyatt explain that:
quote:
"In 3rd Edition D&D, eladrins were a kind of celestial being designed by dividing up the alignment “pie” among divine servants. The warrior archons were lawful good, the animal-headed guardinals were neutral good, and eladrins got the chaotic good slice of the pie.

"In 3rd Edition"? Oh, right.
quote:
Originally posted by Gray Richardson

There are many more bits here and there throughout both books about the thinking that went into the 4th edition design. I think it's very instructive and they raise a ton of good points that explain where they were coming from when they made certain design choices.
I think, if they need to explain in the first place, it's too late for count as "good points". Also, it's hindsight.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 22 Jul 2013 15:32:46
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Gray Richardson
Master of Realmslore

USA
1287 Posts

Posted - 22 Jul 2013 :  06:51:05  Show Profile  Visit Gray Richardson's Homepage Send Gray Richardson a Private Message  Reply with Quote
These books came out in advance of 4th edition. They were printed in December 2007 & January 2008. Not sure if that counts as hindsight on their part, even though we're talking about the books now over 5 years later, that was before the 4e Players Handbook was released a few months later . I was just drawing attention to the fact that they had released a couple of books with some explanation and some insight into their design process and the reasons for the choices they made.

One may or may not agree with the choices they made, but I think they do raise some good points about what motivated them to make the changes in the first place. Whether you might have addressed those points in a different fashion or not is beside the point. I, personally, always like reading background, behind-the-scenes info about the design process. And I appreciate, at least, that these books document some of that process for historical purposes.

Also, I should point out that Richard Baker, Matt Sernett & James Wyatt are not marketing droids. They all have respectable designing chops. Richard Baker, especially, was very knowledgeable about the setting, tried to stay in touch with the Realms fanbase, answer questions on the forums and get feedback about the setting. I was sad to see him go.
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1489 Posts

Posted - 22 Jul 2013 :  16:04:23  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gray Richardson

These books came out in advance of 4th edition. They were printed in December 2007 & January 2008. Not sure if that counts as hindsight on their part, even though we're talking about the books now over 5 years later, that was before the 4e Players Handbook was released a few months later .
I was just drawing attention to the fact that they had released a couple of books with some explanation
The format is still "explaination" - as you repeatedly pointed out yourself. That they felt the need to give an explaination even before players had a chance to ask for one also says a lot.
Hence they theory that D&D4 was nebulously outlined by some corporate busybody from Hasbro who didn't know about xD&D anything other than "it's one more line of weird ads for our miniatures" and only then given a shape by the designers proper. All my observations so far fit it - which includes this explaining and D&D4 looking like it was slapped together from at least 2 entirely different systems. If you have a more plausible one, please share it.
quote:
and some insight into their design process and the reasons for the choices they made.
One may or may not agree with the choices they made, but I think they do raise some good points about what motivated them to make the changes in the first place.
It would be so. However, "reasons" and "explainations" are not only not the same, they approach a subject from the opposite ends.
quote:
Whether you might have addressed those points in a different fashion or not is beside the point.
Indeed it is. So why you brought this up?
quote:
Also, I should point out that Richard Baker, Matt Sernett & James Wyatt are not marketing droids.
Oh my. An implicit substitution of notions? I never have seen that one before 3.5th ed, either, this must be a new invention.
quote:
They all have respectable designing chops.
See, that's subjective too. Some of us e.g. don't see "Tome of Battle" as a good idea in general, let alone as a "respectable" implementation of "good points". You didn't know?
quote:
Richard Baker, especially, was very knowledgeable about the setting
...ended up leaving the premises.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 23 Jul 2013 :  06:26:32  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gray Richardson

I, personally, always like reading background, behind-the-scenes info about the design process. And I appreciate, at least, that these books document some of that process for historical purposes.
Me too.

The behind the scenes information WotC released online for the 3E Realms was as much of interest to me as the new (at the time) Realms. I appreciated that WotC released the two books you mentioned and I (of course) bought them as soon as I could get my hands on them.

Gray, I appreciate you drawing on an extant source of information to help the OP along. Also, I appreciate that you're willing to share that information without being judgemental, which is to say you share what you know and let others make up their own minds without trying to use the information as a means to influence readers in a negative way.

On the other hand, I'd appreciate it if those who are interested in turning the conversation towards a negative view of 4th Edition would please stop. That crap is off topic and it pretty much ruins the reading experience for those of us who'd prefer to lurk.

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).

Edited by - Jeremy Grenemyer on 23 Jul 2013 09:27:46
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