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  #1  
Old October 17th, 2005, 12:47 PM

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Default Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them All

There's been several posts on the addition of orcs, elves, night elves, et cetera into Dominions III. Hence, I decided to write this little essay to contribute my two cents on our buddies from Tolkien's realm.

Name ten games, board games and/or video games, with the Orcs, Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings. Good work! Now for the real challenge: You shall name five games with C’tis, Abysia, and Vanheim, the Dominions series excluded.

I trust everyone sees my point?

Our Swedish comrades in Illwinter Productions has made two games that are almost completely free of the ”Orc versus human” cliché that Lord of the Rings, Warcraft, Dungeons&Dragons, and, it seems, just about every other fantasy franchise out there makes use of. That is one of the main reasons why I love Dominions: The massive development team dared to depart from the familiar and venture into innovation - hence I get to explore a new world, rather than delve in a setting I’ve been trough in a thousand shapes and forms before.

I love the Dominions series, which, although it’s low-budget and without too much fame to speak of, nonetheless has a message board that is very much alive and an incredibly loyal fan base that keeps exploring the vast universe and all of its spells, units, nations, and possibilities. There’s a large number of war stories big and small, of players sharing tricks and tips and strategies. The suggestions thread is a vast monster of ideas and critisism, bigger than the threads for many games with more of a fan base. Sure, adding Tolkien races and elements would increase sales. I’m sure that if Dominions III was to be advertised on a fantasy forum, one screen shot of a clash of Orc and Elves alone would get more attention than twenty screen shots of showcasing the huge selection of features and creative and less-than-famous nations. But I, personally, don’t want a Tolkien game. I want a Dominions game, with Dominions’ world and characters and races.

Put short, the Orc-versus-human setting has been over-used to the extreme. As for me, I’ll go farther than saying that I don’t want a Elf or Orc nation: I want as few Tolkien units as possible. No Elves or Night Elves, no Orc nation, no Uruk-Hai, no Hobbits, and no Dwarves. Give me the mysterious Men of Abysia, Vanheim, C’tis, or Machaka any day.

My two cents.

[/b]–Øyvind[/b]
, Norway
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Old October 17th, 2005, 12:51 PM

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Default Re: Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them All

Yes, you're perfectly right : this game packs an awesome fresh mythology and background in addition to bewilderingly (sp?) excellent gameplay ! And I'm absolutely not overstating anything .
What can I say more ? ... Huuh, that eventually I'm also fond of the Orc/Elves cliché and won't mind playing a Middle-Earth mod ! <duck mode on> !!
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Old October 17th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them A

The differing fantasy setting of Dominions is definedly a part of it's charm.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them All

Quote:
SafeKeeper said:
Now for the real challenge: You shall name five games with C’tis, Abysia, and Vanheim, the Dominions series excluded.[/b]–Øyvind[/b]
, Norway
[img]/threads/images/Graemlins/Campfire.gif[/img]
You mean Lizardmen, Lava People and Elves?

I get what you are saying, but none of these ideas are unique to Dominions, and I am pretty sure you can find them in many pen and paper RPGs, if not computer versions.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 01:33 PM

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Default Re: Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them A

With respect, I know they aren't, and that Dominions draws heavily on mythology (Illwinter didn't come up with giants and dragons, to put it that way). What I'm saying when I call them "fresh" is that they're not overused like "certain other" races.

And Vanheim isn't Elven, it's a Norse-inspired kingdom (and Vikings are so original).

Øyvind
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Old October 17th, 2005, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them A

Quote:
SafeKeeper said:
And Vanheim isn't Elven, it's a Norse-inspired kingdom (and Vikings are so original).
Øyvind
The Norse had Elves, too (and I recall reading that the Norse idea of Elf inspired Tolkien.)

According to Wikipedia "Vanir" may have referred to Norse Elves as well as a race of Gods.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them A

And Dominions itself says that Vanir are a race of Elf-like beings, or something to that effect.

Still, it's nice to see something a little more original, though it draws very heavily on our own mythologies.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:07 PM
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Default Re: Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them A

I always thought that the Norse Mythos' elves were quite different from Tolkien's ones.
The only elves (Alf?) that I can imagine with Vanheim are Dwarven smithes and Svartalf (Svart Alf?)
Van seems to be some other mythic race.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them A

Quote:
Reverend Zombie said:
Quote:
SafeKeeper said:
And Vanheim isn't Elven, it's a Norse-inspired kingdom (and Vikings are so original).
Øyvind
The Norse had Elves, too (and I recall reading that the Norse idea of Elf inspired Tolkien.)

According to Wikipedia "Vanir" may have referred to Norse Elves as well as a race of Gods.
Thank you, wikipedia

Quote:

However, in the Alvíssmál ("The Sayings of All-Wise"), the elves are considered distinct from both the Vanir and the Æsir, as revealed by a series of comparative names in which Æsir, Vanir, and elves are given their own versions for various words in a reflection of their individual racial preferences.
You can read the whole story here
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Orcs, Elves, and the One Cliché to Rule Them A

The distinction between alfir, vanir, dwarves, dragons, aesir, giants and trolls is not clearly drawn. Aesir marry giants, dwarves are dragons, vanir are gods, giants are gods, giants are trolls, gods kill trolls, alfir live with vanir, dwarves are alfir and the dead are living.

All that is known is that humans are humans and the gods will die.
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