Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

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zookeeper
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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by zookeeper » October 27th, 2016, 5:41 pm

Yeah, Garak's good.
beetlenaut wrote:The skin color issue has only been hotly contested by a couple people who have said things like (paraphrasing): "I'm not racist, but everyone agrees that white people are more attractive." I don't see any reason we should work to cater to attitudes like that. Also, I think it would be more likely to add confusion instead of clearing it up.
It does still need some kind of rationale or explanation, regardless (although not necessarily in any in-game text). The only explanation I can come up with is that elves are so connected to the environment that when the environment changes, they do too (still gradually, of course) making them physically particularly adaptable, but that pretty much contradicts how they're always presented otherwise; very set in their ways and slow to change them, sticking to one favoured environment (woodlands), and so on.

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by LordBob » October 27th, 2016, 8:50 pm

That's an explanation I can live with. After all, as far as evolution goes, skin pigmentation is a simpler change than, say, growing an extra pair of arms. Alternately, we can imagine that the true form of the Quenoth is as shown below and that their civilization is plagued by melanoma. :whistle:
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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by matsjoyce » October 27th, 2016, 8:51 pm

:shock: Sun-tan's that bad over there, eh?

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by Whiskeyjack » October 27th, 2016, 10:20 pm

To offer a different explanation idea: I´d think it would have to do with the connection to the Fae Realm in combination with the extreme circumstances after The Fall that would lead to this developement (magical influence to help the elves survive despite their low adaptability). Could still be a gradual thing and I personally would love a subtle hint of this developement in, e.g., a less pigmented Zhul picture (meaning: still reasonably dark). I don´t see how this would cater to the "white guys only" faction, but I think that´s a good story telling flavor.

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by shadowm » October 28th, 2016, 3:41 am

From Zhul’s account of post-Fall events, it’s pretty obvious that it has been at least enough generations for their own history to become somewhat muddied and imprecise, and the mainline forest elves live between 250 and 300 years on average. I’d give it at least 5 generations if I had to be that specific. Personally, I’d rather keep the exact figures unspecified.

For what it’s worth, in IftU and AtS (which as everyone knows, aren’t ever going to be canon) I’ve assumed that it’s been at least 1,000 years since the Fall and that Irdya has remained relatively unchanged in some aspects due to large-scale magical factors exclusive to the those campaigns (which, strictly speaking, could be used to handwave literally all geological and biological aspects of Irdya and its inhabitants both before and after the Fall). They also postulate that the Quenoth are the closer descendants of a group of elves that includes at least most of the surviving population of Aethenwood as it was approximately 1,950 years since the arrival of Haldric — other southern groups may have been with them or joined them after the big split, in which case it’s likely that those had at least a greater genetic predisposition for darker skin than the northern elves, at least under my original assumption that the Khalifate humans lived somewhere south of the central region of the Great Continent that’s been featured in the mainline campaigns up to this point. I believe that last part may no longer apply based on a previous conversation with zookeeper but I’m not sure. I do think that it would still make sense if south of the central area there already was a desert/tropical region and peoples better adapted for such environmental conditions even before the Fall, unless Irdya’s climate dynamics aren’t supposed to resemble our own.
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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by kurt751 » October 28th, 2016, 3:59 am

Sorry for being rational, but white-skinned people put in the sun don't turn dark-skinned, at best they tan.
Look at the populations of north Africa who have been living on the borders of the Sahara desert (or even inside) for many thousands of (human) years: They are well tanned, but of relatively white skins, those of them who emigrate to sunless countries look quite white...

Concerning elves stranded in a desert, natural selection would favor those who tan easier (the rest would die of cancer), and after some generations they would all have healthy sun tans - but they would still retain their original white skins and original hair colors.
To actually become dark skinned it takes a mutation, a change in your genetic information, which is a totally random and extremely rare thing, very unlikely to happen.

That been said, personally I don't mind the desert elves being of dark skin (even if it's a little cliché), but if they are supposed to be related to the "normal" wood elves, you'll need to find some strong reason why they have ended up being dark.
Sun has definitely nothing to do with it, you'll need to use magic, a word of god or some similar unquestionable reason.

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by Wussel » October 28th, 2016, 6:38 am

Look at the nipples. This guy is clearly not human.
Seastar nipple! Lord BoB, I am shocked! What a wicked mutation!

Moreover:
This guy is not black enough! This is president black. We need first lady black!

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by skeptical_troll » October 28th, 2016, 8:57 am

Mixing with south ethnic groups sounds like the only plausible explanation to me. I don't remember if human-elvish mixing was permitted in Wesnoth, if not it must be that there were dark-skinned elves somewhere prior to the fall.
Other possibility: food. Maybe the desert elves found some particular recipe/ingredient which make them more resistant to sun and heat, which non coincidentally has the collateral effect of stimulating melanin production and makes skins dark. In this case they'd born white as their ancestors, but they change early thanks to what they are fed with.

Last idea, on a more apocalyptic side: when the third sun collapses, lot of dangerous high-energy radiation are spread and cause genetic mutations at accelerated speed. Most of them would be horrible and most would just die, but in few lucky cases they would favor adaptability to the new conditions.

EDIT: maybe it would be better to start a topic in the 'writers' section? :)

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by Whiskeyjack » October 28th, 2016, 11:54 am

Since reasoning was already brought into this:
  • As kurt751 points out, normal genetic mutation is pretty much out of the question.
  • Mixing with southern groups: I remember a thread discussing half-breeds in Wesnoth on a lengthy basis and coming to the conclusion that it would be too much of a hassle and to stay with Tolkiens style of (almost) no interracial relationships. The only mention of such a one in mainline is AFAIK the optional one of Tallin and Eryssa from NR. There is the sentence included "Together they had one son, about whom were written many legends." IIRC the conclusion of said thread was that the best way would be to interpret this as an adopted son (or some other reason for him to not be their biological child) and stay with the impossibility of interracial fertility in Wesnoth. The scarcity in mainline is for me another reason not to have elves mixing with other races. This would of course leave some as-of-now unknown southern elves but I think this argument is somewhat thin and has no (current) basis in mainline cannon.
  • I do like the idea of dangerous high-energy radiation, but you would still have the problem that it would have to mutate enough people at the same time to make it possible to survive the extreme change of circumstances and retain a healthy (=big enough) gene pool. Also: Pronounced changes to all the elves (well, at least enough to sustain a population) but non whatsoever to other races (humans, dwarves, trolls etc. still are their same old selves)? Doesn´t sound likely to me.
  • I still think the only solution not completely nuts is the easy-way-out "it´s magics" solution. It wouldn´t necessarily have to be the connection to the faerie realm though, you could also combine it with sceptical_trolls idea, only not as high-energy radiation but as arcane magic running rampant and interacting with Fae magic in an unprecedented way that resulted in the elves transformation (or anything else that comes to mind).
On the note of "no changes" to the other races: What about the humans running through the desert and still being happily-ever-after-white? Wouldn´t they constitute, that a darker skin is not necessary for survival in the post-Fall deserts? I don´t want to argue for white elves here (I like the change), but to underline this as yet another argument for a magical instead of evolutionary change. I´m not a big fan of the magic cop-out, but I don´t see another feasible solution at the moment.

On the other hand, I think the current trend of Fantasy to get ever more scientific on our-world basis and have less mystery/unsystematic magic in it loses a lot of the potential for wonder and a nebulous elusion to magic or no explanation at all could actually be a good choice.

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by kurt751 » October 28th, 2016, 12:57 pm

skeptical_troll wrote:Last idea, on a more apocalyptic side: when the third sun collapses, lot of dangerous high-energy radiation are spread and cause genetic mutations at accelerated speed. Most of them would be horrible and most would just die, but in few lucky cases they would favor adaptability to the new conditions.
About as unlikely as being bitten by a radioactive spider and mutating into a superhero with strange powers... :mrgreen:
Mutation is russian roulette with a several millions-to-one chance; The chances a big enough group just stayed "normal" but somehow gains a darker skin (Why darker? Could as well turn green or blue...) are ridiculously low. Most of them would be just sick or malformed.

Face it, making them dark is just an personal artistic choice, there is no scientific explanation to back it up: Skin color doesn't change with temperature.

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by kurt751 » October 28th, 2016, 1:17 pm

Whiskeyjack wrote:On the other hand, I think the current trend of Fantasy to get ever more scientific on our-world basis and have less mystery/unsystematic magic in it loses a lot of the potential for wonder and a nebulous elusion to magic or no explanation at all could actually be a good choice.
I agree that not giving any explanation can often be the best solution, especially if the issue isn't important for the plot - but only if the issue has some apparent logic and the reader/spectator/player can easily think of a probable cause.
If the issue is totally unexpected or surprising, it does need an explanation, lest it distracts and breaks suspension of disbelief.

Besides, while mysterious things like magic are better left unexplained (Gandalf's magic is never explained), skin color is a mundane everyday issue. Think "Avatar" (the film) - Smallish moon, reduced gravity, so all local beasts have an additional pair of sturdy limbs. Say what? That does need an explanation, as it does definitely reeks of some designer being desperate to make them look alien... Also why the local humanoids do not have those 6 limbs; Because it's difficult to look sexy with? :roll:

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by skeptical_troll » October 28th, 2016, 4:22 pm

kurt751 wrote:The chances a big enough group just stayed "normal" but somehow gains a darker skin (Why darker? Could as well turn green or blue...) are ridiculously low. Most of them would be just sick or malformed.
skeptical_troll wrote:Most of them would be horrible and most would just die, but in few lucky cases they would favor adaptability to the new conditions.
Not that this is my favorite explanation as it's quite convoluted and complex, anyway radiation would just speed up evolutionary process. Mutations will happen faster and in random directions simultaneously and environment would do the selection. You don't need to change the genes responsible for skin's color in a whole group simultaneously, it will spread from single individuals. The mutation responsible for our ability to digest milk is only 12000 years long. Although the timescale here is an order of magnitude shorter it's also smaller the number of people involved (AFAIK this portraits are only for Kaleh's tribe). So I won't believe that the chances of this happening are ridiculously low before doing the math. Why didn't the same happened to dwarves and humans? Chance! The same mutation didn't happen on them, and since they don't inter-breed there was no way for it to propagate. Maybe they have different mutations which are simply not easy to spot as the skin color.

Final note on the number of generations, as it may seems that the number shadowm estimated (5) is too low to justify the spread of genes. The relevant number is not the life expectancy of elves, but rather the age at which they become fertile and they start to give birth, which I imagine is much shorter than the 200 years of age, so we can expect a significantly higher number of generations.

That said, I still find preferable an explanation involving mixing with southern population of elves which were already dark-skinned, it's by far the most realistic and the one that requires less explanations.

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by zookeeper » October 28th, 2016, 4:58 pm

skeptical_troll wrote:That said, I still find preferable an explanation involving mixing with southern population of elves which were already dark-skinned, it's by far the most realistic and the one that requires less explanations.
Southern... or subterranean? :whistle: Maybe we finally have to have dark elves.

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by Gyra_Solune » October 29th, 2016, 12:14 am

zookeeper wrote:
skeptical_troll wrote:That said, I still find preferable an explanation involving mixing with southern population of elves which were already dark-skinned, it's by far the most realistic and the one that requires less explanations.
Southern... or subterranean? :whistle: Maybe we finally have to have dark elves.

The various XML and image data files classify the elves specifically as wood-elves, as though there's supposed to be some other kind of elves, heehee.

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Re: Lordbob's commissionned work: UtBS

Post by Sudipta » October 31st, 2016, 11:42 am

skeptical_troll wrote:That said, I still find preferable an explanation involving mixing with southern population of elves which were already dark-skinned, it's by far the most realistic and the one that requires less explanations.
I agree that this is the best explanation out of all the diffrent ideas people came up with. Since the elves in mainline wesnoth are all wood-elves, there is a window for introducing a diffrent race of elves living in the uncharted lands to the south of wesnoth ( which are supposedly deserts ) and making them all dark skinned ( which could be passed off as an adaptation to their hostile envronment ). After the fall, the group of surviving wood elves that emigrated south ( according to shadowm's IftU ) took refuge with these dark-skinned elves and the two groups bred with each other ( not immediately of course, :P ) giving rise to the Quenoth elves... who are both dark skinned and fair skiined due to having genes from both groups.

Perhaps we could increase the number of generations in between by saying that the average live expectancy of the elves decreased somewhat after the fall due to the destruction of the forests and their loss of connectionn with the faerie plane. This would also give more time and chances for the gene pool to mix.

I aint a fan of this radiation/mutation theories... bottom line.... these are crap ideas, as others have argued.
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