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  1. #1
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    Role Playing an Elf

    I recently just got into LOTR. I had seen the movies a few years back, but didn't develop interest in them. Then, I watched them again, and I just fell in love. Now I've got the books and I'm reading those(almost done with FOTR in 2 days), and I watch the movies frequently. The Elves interested me a lot, also. I just wanted to know more. I'm learning some Elvish now, too. I guess what I'm saying is, I know Elves are probably very complicated to RP. (I've never RP'ed before either) I'd like to give it a shot though.
    My character hails from Mirkwood. She is also a hunter, but I know the women usually don't fight. I want to make a background story for her, and who her family is, but I'm afraid I would get the lore wrong since I'm new.
    Would it be wrong to tie her to some of the characters? (Legolas, Elrond, Haldir, Galadriel, etc.)

  2. #2

    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Actually, among the Elves, little is set in stone as far as gender roles go. Usually, Elf-warriors were men, but according to Tolkien, "Indeed in dire straits or desperate defence, the nissi [women] fought valiantly, and there was less difference in strength and speed between elven-men and elven-women that had not born child than is seen among mortals."

    Also, hunting isn't the same as warfare, and there definitely were Elf-women that enjoyed hunting (we have the example of Aredhel, Fingolfin's daughter), probably even more so among the Wood-Elves of Mirkwood, who went hunting regularly according to The Hobbit.

    Healers (whether male or female) would neither hunt nor go to war, but that's because they were healers, not because they were women - Elves believed that those concerned with preserving life shouldn't take lives, sort of thing.

    As for ties to major characters such as Legolas or Galadriel - NO, please don't. Let your character stand on her own. Of course, being from Mirkwood, she might have seen Legolas every so often, him being the son of her King, but she won't (or shouldn't) be his sister/one true love/best hunting buddy.

    Regarding the Elves of Mirkwood and their lifestyle - King Thranduil dwells in subterranean halls, but many of his subjects live in tree-houses or forest-huts. As said above, they hunt and - according to The Hobbit - don't do acriculture.

    They call themselves the "Tawarwaith", meaning "people of the forest." Dwelling close to the shadow of Dol Guldur, they are wary and somewhat reclusive (cf. their reaction to the Dwarves disturbing their feasting in The Hobbit), but they do have trade relations with the outside world, especially the Men of Dale.

    Tolkien described the Tawarwaith as "more dangerous and less wise" than the High Elves, but also portrayed them as kind and compassionate like all Elves - in fact, Gollum could escape their custody because they were too kind.

    So, as for your characters background story - I would advise you to keep it simple. She could just be an ordinary forest-hunter, learned in wood-lore, who went to Eriador because... that's where your creativity comes in.

  3. #3
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Please also keep in mind that with Elves, they mate once, for life. They don't go around flirting with random people or 'casual dating' or any of that business.

    Relationships canonically between Men and Elves is /incredibly rare/. Generally a no-no if you want to follow canon. Half-elves outside of the named Peredhil family generally do not exist.

    The less special you are as a character, the more unique you are. IMO. Know Sindarin, but unless your character is a master of languages, you won't likely know Quenya. You need not be perfect at everything. Elves are /not/ perfect, but characters with strengths and weaknesses just like other races.

    Best of luck in your adventure RPing an Elf. If you roll on Landroval, feel free to hit me up.

    RIP ELENDILMIR • Jingle Jangle
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  4. #4
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Quote Originally Posted by Laire View Post
    Relationships canonically between Men and Elves is /incredibly rare/. Generally a no-no if you want to follow canon. Half-elves outside of the named Peredhil family generally do not exist.
    We can be more definite than that: there were no Half-elves (as defined as those who had the choice to be counted among either Men or Elves) beyond the known, named ones. Fate prevented other unions that might have given rise to more; one way or another, it just didn't happen because it wasn't 'meant' to happen. The Half-elves had a particular role to play in Iluvatar's grand scheme of things, and more were neither needed nor welcome.

    Children born as the result of unions between Men and 'ordinary' Elves were apparently mortal by default, they didn't even get the choice the Half-elves did. As legend had it, after Mithrellas (a Silvan Elf from Lorien) married Imrazôr the Numenorean she had two children, who it seems were both mortal, before she disappeared one night and was never seen again. If she'd stayed, then not only would she have had to watch her husband age and die in what would have seemed to her only a short time (leaving her eternally alone) but that she'd have to watch her children do the same and any children they had and so on while she remained essentially changeless. Worse still, because the souls of Men didn't go to Aman when they died she could never see any of them ever again even if she left Middle-earth. That'd have been too much for anyone to bear, it's horribly tragic.

    Normally, I imagine, those harsh facts would impose a huge psychological barrier against Elves marrying Men. With casual dalliances also excluded (you can tell Tolkien thought this through carefully) that would indeed mean that relationships between Men and Elves would be vanishingly rare. Personally, I imagine that Elves just wouldn't find people attractive, as a rule, because they'd be looking for certain qualities of spirit in a would-be partner and that those would be exceedingly rare in Men.

  5. #5
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Okay, thank you everybody. This helped me a lot!
    Also, since the Men don't go to Aman, what about the Dunedain? Isn't that why Elrond wanted Arwen to sail West and not stay to watch Aragorn die? That makes me feel horrible for Arwen.

  6. #6

    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Arwen was a special case because she, like her father, had the 'choice' to be mortal or no. She did watch Aragorn die, and it felt too soon for her, and she eventually laid herself to rest as well, choosing mortality. As said earlier in this thread, only the named part-elves got such a choice, it usually would not happen that way.

  7. #7

    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Also, if you want, shameless plug for my all-elven roleplay kinship Daro a Maetho, Crickhollow server. We try to have our Elves attain as lore correct a state of being as we can, and preserve the general atmosphere of the Third Age. We are friendly, and where people are unaware of 'lore' we help them develop familiarity without shoving it down throats. We do everything from social-event RP to 'D&D style' plotlines run by a "gamemaster" and spanning months. Many members are making a study of Sindarin, some also going in for Quenya (neither required, both fun ^^). There's really no way to know if you'll be happy with us or not except to try, but I hope that you do! http://www.daroamaetho.guildlaunch.com

  8. #8
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Quote Originally Posted by Laire View Post
    Please also keep in mind that with Elves, they mate once, for life. They don't go around flirting with random people or 'casual dating' or any of that business.
    Yeah I heard that one before

  9. #9
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    I'll be sure to join if I make a character on the Crickhollow server. Thank you so much for helping me, without being rude about it!

  10. #10

    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Probably the best thing to do is to /research/ the race of Elves. Nothing I hate more than bisexual, flirty vampire elves with sorcery powers hanging out in Bree.

    They are tough to RP, at least in my view, because they are not human. They think differently and have different traits, strengths, and weaknesses due to their lifespan, nature, etc. I imagine it can be done with some effort, and it could be fun and rewarding.
    Did you really think this signature would be worth reading?

  11. #11
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    You are receiving some good advice here, and I would like to add a few points.

    It is most difficult to role-play an Elf, in my opinion, because we cannot imagine what it would be like to live such an incredibly long time, in a world where you know your kind is fading. The Elves know that their destiny is to leave, sooner or later, by mischance or by taking ship, so they love Middle-earth with a sad intensity. Tolkien wrote that their long lives allow them to acquire more control over their bodies than Men have (I can drink without becoming drunk, just "merry"!), so they survive injuries better and don't ever get sick.

    The longer the back-story, in general, the harder it is to remember all the details, filter your present, in-game experiences through that, and decide how your character would react. For someone new to role-playing an Elf, I would stress what is mentioned above, keep it simple. Make your Elf full-grown (i.e. over 100 years old) but not ancient.

    Lastly, the main failing that Elves seem subject to is pride. As the Elder Children of Ilúvatar and creators of much beauty over the millenia, they have a kind of superiority of respect, although wise Elves know that race and heritage do not guarantee goodness or sound judgment. (Elrond easily recognized these qualities in the four hobbits of the fellowship. Well, maybe not so much in Pippin.)

    Good luck!
    Mornawen "Molly" Bayberry
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  12. #12
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    While I would agree that keeping it as simple as possible (but no more so) is your best bet, this only really works with a young elf (though as Ferdinanda said, do try to make it over 100 years old so it's not a child).

    With an elf that is many hundreds (if not thousands) of years old, I find having a very detailed bio that at least places your elf within the world during major events will help you immensely in RPing (assuming you remember to study your own bio).

    Keep in mind, I am not saying you need to put yourself in the middle of world events throughout history - in fact, that is a major temptation to which anyone who has played an ancient character often fall prey, but you should at least understand where your character was and what he or she was doing during these times.

    Generally speaking, the older a character is, the more aloof and disconnected he or she may seem to be to mortals - though this may not be accurate at all. They may (and likely do) feel things as deeply or more-so than mortals, but know they can never fully explain to those who can never have a full understanding of what it means to be immortal.

  13. #13
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Quote Originally Posted by ferdinanda View Post
    The Elves know that their destiny is to leave, sooner or later, by mischance or by taking ship
    That wasn't true for all Elves. For most there was another possible fate, that of remaining in Middle-earth so long that they would eventually 'fade' and become disembodied spirits. Certainly the fate of the Noldor lay elsewhere, but the rest got a bit more choice in the matter.

  14. #14
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    That wasn't true for all Elves. For most there was another possible fate, that of remaining in Middle-earth so long that they would eventually 'fade' and become disembodied spirits. Certainly the fate of the Noldor lay elsewhere, but the rest got a bit more choice in the matter.
    Ah, that is true, I had forgotten about that option. And according to Tolkien's later writings, the disembodied Elf fëar could try to take over the bodies of others, even. But that wouldn't be particularly relevant in the Third Age, I think.
    Mornawen "Molly" Bayberry
    Assistant Archivist of Bree, Landroval server
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  15. #15
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Alright, so just keep it simple, but not too simple. Don't make her too young, or too old; don't flirt with everyone in Middle-earth. I think I've got it. I'm also learning Elvish to help with the RP.
    Again, thanks for the input guys!

  16. #16
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    For the Elvish (Sindarin), do NOT use Grey Company's website for that. It's not Tolkien's Sindarin or Quenya, but a bastardized combination of the both with English grammatical rules.

    Try using realelvish.net or Hisweloke's Sindarin dictionary. Ardalambion also has a good English to Sindarin dictionary.

    RIP ELENDILMIR • Jingle Jangle
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  17. #17
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Quote Originally Posted by Laire View Post
    For the Elvish (Sindarin), do NOT use Grey Company's website for that. It's not Tolkien's Sindarin or Quenya, but a bastardized combination of the both with English grammatical rules.

    Try using realelvish.net or Hisweloke's Sindarin dictionary. Ardalambion also has a good English to Sindarin dictionary.
    This. A thousand times.

  18. #18

    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Yes, Bree and Dwarf locations should for the most part be avoided. However, besides Elven locations like Eregion, Imladris, Celondim, etc., Dunedain locations like Esteldin and Tinnudir are good because the Elves have always been on good terms and associated with the Dunedain of the North and vice versa.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Quote Originally Posted by Dol_Amroth_Knight View Post
    Yes, Bree and Dwarf locations should for the most part be avoided. However, besides Elven locations like Eregion, Imladris, Celondim, etc., Dunedain locations like Esteldin and Tinnudir are good because the Elves have always been on good terms and associated with the Dunedain of the North and vice versa.
    With one exception: the Rangers and the Elves lived apart, they didn't share dwellings. The way Aragorn and his mother had lived in Rivendell had been very much the exception. Spending too much time with Elves would have a disturbing psychological effect on most Men, they'd find themselves despairing of being mortal and hopelessly wishing to be like the Elves, free of age, infirmity and sickness. That's what had made things go so horribly wrong on Numenor. Faramir went so far as to deem it 'perilous' for Men to actively seek the company of Elves.

  20. #20

    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Ah, you're right, very true. I suppose I should rephrase that to mean that an elven player can associate with the Dunedain more so than say dwarves or hobbits or bree-men.

    Of course, really it boils down to the fact that elves out of all races are the most reclusive and wary of contact due to their natures and long lifespan.
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  21. #21
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Hello!
    I don't mean to hijack this thread but I am new to lotro as well and I am very keen to rp an elf but I am finding it very difficult. I guess my major difficulty comes from the fact that they must think in a compleatly differen way to humans - I personally don't see how they could have lived so long and endured so much I would have retired to the west long ago. What keeps you characters in middle earth?

    Also I would like to know what keeps elves interested in the 'mundane' things of life. I think if any human were given eternal life they would inevitably turn info a Dorian grey type person but what keeps elves interested in music after, say, 500 years? Surely you would have heard it all by then? I am thinking of rping an elf minstrel so any tips would be appreciated.

    Again sorry for hijacking the thread!

  22. #22
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    'Art is long, and time is fleeting...' - Longfellow

    Surely an artist who is passionate for his art would wish for many lifetimes to perfect it. If mastery is obtained after 10,000 hours, imagine the genius that would be achieved after 500 years.

    'Not that hobbits would ever acquire quite the Elvish appetite for music and poetry and tales. They seem to like them as much as food, or more.' - Bilbo Baggins

    Would you get tired of eating or drinking after 500 years? Some things are as necessary as eating, or breathing.

    As for why my Elf remains in Middle Earth, well, that's a long story. Suffice it to say he has something to prove.
    Last edited by Parnard; May 02 2012 at 06:02 PM.

  23. #23
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Elves know that they are tied to Arda, not only in body, but also in spirit, and so Arda is their eternal home to be learned about, and loved.

    As a child, did you ever lie in the grass on a warm summer's day and watch the insect life up close? Or roll over on to your back, to observe the endlessly varied parade of clouds? Were you ever curious about the different kinds of trees, their names? (And now... the larch!) Did you ever try to count the waves at the shore, measuring the short, quick ones against the long, crashing ones?

    Imagine if you had the time to devote to satisfying every impulse of curiosity you ever felt about the world.

    And that's only the start: what about other sentient beings, in their marvelous uniqueness? The way they act and interact with each other... that is a study that could keep one occupied... forever.

    As for staying in Ennorath, rather than heading into the West, well, each has his or her own reason. But I would think that some are fond of the land they were born in, some like to be one of the "superior" race amongst others (pride is a danger for the Firstborn), some have a mission they hope to accomplish, and some want to make a difference-- which would be harder in the West, since the Valar have ordered all to their liking there.
    Last edited by ferdinanda; May 03 2012 at 02:27 AM.
    Mornawen "Molly" Bayberry
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  24. #24
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    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Quote Originally Posted by Heno08 View Post
    Hello!
    What keeps you characters in middle earth?
    One thing to remember is that the Elves are not all the same. There are many different Elven cultures across the world. In the books (The Sil and LOTR as well as the supplementary material in HOME) we almost entirely see a Noldor and Sindarin perspective. Now the Noldor are all Elves who went to Valinor or are descended from Elves who went to Valinor. The Sindar are a people who were ruled by a King who went to Valinor and who in later years had much contact with the Noldor. These are all Elves who experienced the benefits of the Blessed Realm either first hand or second hand. And as such they are drawn to return to it, to live once again under the blessings of the Undying Realm. Silvan Elves who have lived under Sindarin leadership (in Lorien and Mirkwood) probably also feel this compulsion.

    However, there are a good number of Elves in the world who have not experienced this. Avari who stayed beside Cuivienen and various strains of Teleri Elves who stopped along the journey long before getting to any of the western lands where the Sindarin cultures later dwelt. These Elves would likely not feel drawn to Valinor. They would wish to stay in Middle-earth forever.

    Not all Elves left. Many Elves simply faded away into their forests and wilderness homes, becoming what humans later believed to be fairies. So you need not come up with some extraordinary reason for your Elf to stay, unless they are a High Elf. For lesser Elves, it would be normal to remain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heno08 View Post
    Also I would like to know what keeps elves interested in the 'mundane' things of life. I think if any human were given eternal life they would inevitably turn info a Dorian grey type person but what keeps elves interested in music after, say, 500 years? Surely you would have heard it all by then? I am thinking of rping an elf minstrel so any tips would be appreciated.

    Again sorry for hijacking the thread!
    As others pointed out, the nature of Elves is such that they are a natural part of Arda, their bodies and spirits are tied to it, never to leave. Unlike humans, whose spirits leave Arda after they are dead. As such it is normal for humans to grow tired with mundane things, but it is natural for Elves to always love Arda because it is their home forever and ever, world without end. So you don't need to contemplate how they manage to stay interested, it is simply a part of what it means to be an Elf that your heart and spirit are always at home in Arda.

  25. #25

    Re: Role Playing an Elf

    Lots of great advice posted here! For my part, I do think elves are the hardest of our races to RP really well, but also some of the most rewarding. There's something about their nobility, their near-eternality, and their undercurrent of tragedy that attracts many of us on a deep level. When done sloppily, elves are the most likely to be boring, silly, or flat-out ridiculous. When written with love and care, they can be fantastic. You get what you give to them.

    For a first elf, I would very much advise picking a youngster, one who hasn't seen everything and been everywhere already. There are two reasons for this - the first is strictly practical. As an older elf, your character will be expected to KNOW all the history and the battles and the names of all those pesky kings and queens and their nephews and their second cousins. If your character knows a lot more than you, you may run into trouble pretty quick if the conversation turns historical!

    The second reason is a bit more artsy-fartsy character-oriented. Realistic flaws must be a part of every 3D character and it's hard to develop a realistically flawed elf. So to summarize what I just posted in another topic, by playing an elf, you are already eliminating all of the obvious possibilities for weaknesses that you might have as a mortal. That'll force you to go deeper into mental or spiritual weaknesses. But the older the elf, the more time they have had to 'figure out' the world and their place in it, so many many more possible flaws go out the window. For that reason alone, young elves are far less susceptible to Perfect Character Syndrome. Perfect characters are never good ones.

    As others have pointed out, the road to originality lies in the mundane! We've seen way too many half-elves, elves in love with men, elves related to famous elves, and elves whose father was Elrond's long-lost third twin. That kind of stuff seems at first the most obvious way to spice up an uninteresting character, but don't be tempted! Besides the lore issues, off-the-wall backgrounds are often newer writers' ways to attempt to make their character more interesting. I know from experience that you are much better off starting with a very ordinary background and building a really three-dimensional character to live in it.

 

 
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