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Which fantasy 'evil' race is the most interesting one?

Discussion in 'Arts & Entertainment' started by Kyriakos, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Many of the elvish races in Magic: The Gathering are morally ambiguous, though not outright evil.
     
  2. holy king

    holy king Chieftain

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    kobolds are hardly an "evil race".
     
  3. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    Every time I hear that word I can't help but think of Bored of the Rings, written by Henry Beard and Douglas Kenney who later started National Lampoon. Instead of a balrog, it featured a ballhog which had cruel runes on his chest: Villanova. The creature made the following odious noises as it approached, dribble, dribble, bounce, shoot, dribble, dribble, bounce, shoot...

    Now taurens are an entirely different matter. I've always wanted to roll a murloc myself.
     
  4. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Intelligent spiders, like from the Hobbit.
     
  5. SKILORD

    SKILORD Insurgent

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    Shhhh.... you can't say stuff like that in public, you know Blizz is always watching. What, do you really want them to charge everyone another 50 bucks for the questionable privilege of letting them dumb down the game even more? The Murloc expansion would be a nightmare.

    Alliance Centaurs, Horde Murlocs! mount costs slashed again! every mob goes down in two hits!
     
  6. Annex

    Annex Tyranny and Mutation

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    Pre WoW Goblins were a neutral race. WoW brutalized them. :(

    Dont forget about the playable Pandarens yo
     
  7. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    It does sound interesting.

    I will probably give up on making a Vampire set anyway, so dark elves are again a possibility. Do you know of any good pics of the yurt-based Dunmer civ?
     
  8. Chukchi Husky

    Chukchi Husky Lone Wolf

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  9. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Thank you Chukchi :)
     
  10. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Dunmer aren't evil, though.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that any "evil race" is, by definition, uninteresting, because they could not have the complexity and depth needed to be interesting.
     
  11. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Arthur Machen would disagree with you :) In his short story "The White people" there is a little treatise on why a "great evil-doer" can be seen as something not only more interesting than a great saint, but moreover a lot rarer.
    And it is a very good story too :)
     
  12. holy king

    holy king Chieftain

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    being more interesting than a great saint hardly is an achievement.
     
  13. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    An evil individual may be interesting, because there is the question how he got that way, and how his evilness relates to the good elements in him. An evil race is not interesting, because they're all genetically predetermined to be that way.

    Because human beings are neither generally good nor generally evil, but a mixture (both as individuals and as a species), any human being - whether good or evil or somewhere in between - is potentially interesting because we can ask what makes them tick. If you had a race of a single alignment, where everyone is unvaryingly evil, or good, or halfway in between, then no individual of that race would be very interesting. It's not the evilness of the "evil races" that makes them dull but the fact that they're so uniform.
     
  14. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    But aren't the dark elves something which split from a previously homogeneous elven civilization? In that case they carry inside of them both good and evil, and most probably also neutrality, much like two shores of a river are united by the river itself, even without the preparation of a bridge.
     
  15. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I suppose that depends on which stories you're talking about. In the Elder Scrolls and indeed Tolkien, dark elves aren't evil at all. If you're talking about stories where dark elves are all evil, then you have one of two possibilities. Either they're individual elves who have chosen to become evil, like Dalamar from Dragonlance, in which case they're not really a race at all but individual members of a race of varying alignment, no different from humans. Or they're a distinct race that is uniformly evil, such as the Drow of other D&D settings. But if the Drow (or whatever) are really an evil race then that suggests that they have fundamentally changed at the genetic level when they split off from other elves - just as Romulans are physiologically different from Vulcans even though they come from the same stock.

    This is getting too nerdy so I'll stop. But the point is that a good character or an evil character is interesting because of their internal struggles - being good, or being evil, has to be the outcome of a narrative, not just a preset condition that goes unchallenged. If you're going to have an evil race, then it's clear that all or at least most of them are evil without having any internal struggles about it. If they did have such internal struggles, they wouldn't all (or most) be evil. Now certainly one could have individuals from that race who might rebel against these tendencies and become good instead - like virtually every Drow player character in any D&D campaign. But then it's the individual who's interesting, not the race, and the individual is interesting because they differ from the rest of the race. In short, if you're going to say that the dark elves still retain an element of goodness in their nature, then as long as that element of goodness is too weak or small to make more than a statistically negligible number of individuals actually good, it's too weak or small to be interesting. And if it's strong enough to make a significant number of individuals actually good, they're not an evil race any more.
     
  16. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Even if that is so, still this thread is primarily about architecture, and i do not see any reason why a fundamentally 'evil' architecture cannot be interesting. In fact in most cartoons the evil races had far more interesting (to me) castles and other buildings than the good or neutral races, probably because their artist tried to convey the sense of what to us, a neutral race, is bleak, negative and frightening :)
     
  17. Wolfbeckett

    Wolfbeckett Jerkin' and nonsense.

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    Hmm I would definitely agree with basing the architecture off of the Dunmer in Morrowind, although the Dunmer themselves are not evil (well, maybe most of the Telvanni could be seen that way). They are pretty much jerkasses though.
     
  18. holy king

    holy king Chieftain

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    wait, there's dark elves in lord of the rings?
     
  19. SKILORD

    SKILORD Insurgent

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    Don't get me started.

    -

    Well, the Elder Scrolls is a very well crafted canon so no, the Dunmer are not inherently evil, there are a variety of Dunmer and some are quite cooperative.

    But, the Elder Scrolls series is also based out of a clear perspective in Tamriel, obviously Skyrim comes out in three days and it is post-Imperial, but for the most part the "True Gods" of Tamriel are the Imperial Cult's Gods, the only true source of order and safety is the preservation of the Septim line for the first four games. The Dunmer oppose this "noble hegemony," worship Daedra or, at best, cling to a religion that it is the point of Morrowind for you to discredit. The Tribunal are false Gods, and the only reason it is viable to leave Vivec alive is because he swears not to keep "fronting."

    So, to the extent that there can be an "evil race" in the Elder Scrolls World it is the meanspirited and backwards Dunmer. And they have such nice architecture, someone needs to show the actual cities, not just the yurts. A Televanni tower would be awesome, but the scarab shell cities of the Redoran are quite good too. I wouldn't even overlook the Tribunal buildings like Vivec and some of the temples (not the expansion), with the gondolas under them.











    EDIT: Found some.
     
  20. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Yes or no, depending on how you define them, but there probably are in The Hobbit and certainly are in The Silmarillion. However, they are not evil races.
     

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