Early warning in regards to this post: there are a lot of people who will not like this post due to the fact that I am effectively going after something that millions of people love. However, if we didn’t occasionally question what the status quo liked, we would never get anywhere. If you seriously dislike the thoughts I am providing here, feel free to envision a rum-drunk man in a lemur suit writing these words. If you do like them, you should still envision a rum-drunk man in a lemur suit writing these words… and how brilliant that is. So, without further ado, here is the reason why I hate elves (and to a degree a lot of fantasy materials in general).
Easy answer – I am built like a battleship, drink like a dwarf and think Legolas needs a severe ass beating for every time he defied gravity and ran up something that was falling. You can walk THROUGH snow like the rest of us instead of on top of it you bird-boned Spock wannabe.
More complex answer – I feel that modern written works that use elves, that are not a continuation of an existing material, are a cop-out in regards to the wide open genre of fantasy, and, inhibits people from stretching their imagination by creating something truly new.
Fantasy, as a whole, is an open and blank page that you can do ANYTHING with. However most fantasy is full of a thousand comfortable tropes the RPG and LARP community has recycled to death. Within that trope scope exists some standardized races that damn near every fantasy game has; dwarves, gnomes, elves, goblins, etcetera-ad-nausea.
The most reheated concept? The god damned elf.
With these well tested races and concepts, newer game designers often times attempt to write their own variation of these existing (and well over used) tropes in an attempt to make them seem fresh and new. Let’s use our dagger eared subject as an example. Water Elves, Sky Elves, Underground Elves, SUPER MAGICAL Elves, Demonic Elves, Fire Elves, Wild Elves, Half Elves. The list goes on and on.
By applying variations based on origin, elements, faith alignments, or other forms of modifier I feel like I am watching a cover artists reproducing another bands hits. It isn’t a creation of anything new. It lacks originality. And while every now and then someone takes a twist on the original source that no one has heard before, and it is sort of cool, the fact of the matter is that it is still a rendition of a rendition of a rendition.
And I am not saying that no games should have our dagger eared douche-bags. There are a lot of games that have been around for a long time that helped define the Elf in regards to gaming. Let THEM keep the elves. Thrive to create something new and different in the fantasy world that others have not already re-invented a thousand times over. Not only will it do amazing things for your imagination gland, but on top of it, you may find people who were not interested in the millionth reinvention of the elf who would not have considered LARP due to how overly trite it can be.
When we are building our own worlds we should not find ourselves stuck in the conventions of existing work.