The Changes With Which I Don’t Agree

2008 July 1
by Stupid Ranger

As I was working on another post outlining some of my thoughts for playing the new races, I rediscovered the one thing that upset me the first time I read through the races section of the PHB.

They changed the Elf gods!!

Corellon Larethian has historically been credited as the “Creator of the Elves.” In 4E, he is merely the “patron of the fey.” Did he get demoted? Absolutely! Why? I’m not sure, but the part of me that’s actually an elf is outraged!

Corellon was not only associated with music, magic and the arts (as he is currently described in 4E), but also with warfare when the need to protect arose. He defeated Gruumsh in battle in the beginning of the world, before he created the elves. This battle was the underlying reason elves hate orcs. Corellon also cast out Lolth after her betrayal during the aforementioned battle. This was the underlying reason Corellon despises Lolth and her followers.

Sehanine Moonbow is one of the lesser-known Elf gods, but she suddenly appears in the regular pantheon, but not as we all knew her. Before, she was a goddess of death and dreams, now she’s the goddess of trickery and illusions. In Races of the Wild, Sehanine is described as sending a “dying elf a vision of the next world to give him hope and strength during his passage.” The 4E PHB describes her as sending “shadows to cloak lovers’ trysts.” She just sounds so tawdry, so much less noble.

Races of the Wild also states that Sehanine was Corellon’s consort. 4E says she has “close ties” with him. I can overlook this little change, but it sure sounds like they are “just friends” now. Maybe she didn’t want to be in a relationship with someone who got demoted from “Creator of the Elves.” Or maybe he didn’t agree with her new career choice. Either way, they must have had one heck of a falling out to go on as “just friends.”

Now, I’m pretty forgiving in the changes they made if 4E. But to change the defined roles of the gods in the pantheon? To take away their mythology, their history? That’s just change for the sake of change without any real growth or development.

10 Responses leave one →
  1. chuz permalink
    July 2, 2008

    Well, as in reality, beliefs evolve, and so do the gods…

  2. Jer permalink
    July 2, 2008

    There isn’t an “elf” pantheon anymore – at least not in the Core game. I assume that there will still be an “elf” pantheon in Forgotten Realms and if Greyhawk rolls around there will probably be an “elf” pantheon there as well.

    The “default setting” in the core rules is like (as much as I hate to call it this) the “Ultimate” version of the D&D gameworld (in the sense of “Ultimate Marvel” and not in any real sense of the word “ultimate”). Things are there, they have the same names, sometimes they’re exactly the same and sometimes they’re very, very different.

    That said – it’s simple to change. The fluff around the gods in this edition impacts the rules so minutely that shuffling some portfolios around isn’t going to impact things.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    July 2, 2008

    I think Corellon still gets to bootycall Sehanine whenever he feels the urge so he’s cool with it.

  4. Stupid Ranger permalink
    July 2, 2008

    @chuz: That’s very true. I think it’s probably along the lines of “as elves change, so do the gods” so maybe it is just an evolution to bring the gods into alignment with the new take on elves/eladrin.

    @jer: The logical part of me knows that it’s just fluff stuff. But the indignant part of me is much louder on this subject! And you’re right, it’s very much same-name-different-job. But still, why bother changing it at all if it’s not going to impact the game mechanics?

    I guess this rant ultimately boils down the following: My elf-type characters will be following the old descriptions of the gods. To my DM’s, this is your fair warning. 🙂

  5. Stupid Ranger permalink
    July 2, 2008

    @anonymous: I almost dropped my lunch on my keyboard when I read that… hilarious!

  6. Ben Pop permalink
    July 2, 2008

    Well, I feel free to mix up gods and other fluff the way I feel. Playing a dwarf I insist on calling the gods by their closest Norse equivalents.

    I must admit that I prefer the gods as posed in 4e. Something that really annoyed me about 3.5 is there are a million gods of war, which feels very odd and not realistic at all. I think the paring down and trend towards more elemental deities is a good thing. Kord, case in point.

  7. J.Ayers permalink
    July 2, 2008

    Was it a complete change, or was it just making the god (or other gods) more general and more open to game construction? I could see it if they are trying to make it more open for sessions to interpret as needed.

    We tend to play hell on the gods and backstories in our sessions. We even made an evil god named Pezgah, who granted his followers a little statue that dispensed magic pills from the neck… You guessed it, a Pezgah dispenser.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    July 2, 2008

    Don’t forget that it changed from Goddess to Gods. Also, if you haven’t noticed, 4e is made so PCs are more or less forced to be good. Good dragons and several other good creatures were removed or turned evil, and the evil deities combined equal the description of a good deity. Anything like death or warfare in a deities portfolio makes him too evil for a PC to worship now.

  9. Kavonde permalink
    July 3, 2008

    Anonymous: I don’t think that’s true. The Raven Queen seems to be really popular…hell, she’s not even in my campaign setting, but I’ve had two players ask to be clerics of her.

    As for Corellon and Sehanine…really, who cares about the sissy elf gods? Now Moradin being separated from his beloved folk? That’s a tragedy.

  10. Stupid Ranger permalink
    July 3, 2008

    After I got over my rant, I realized that a lot of this frustration stems from the fact that because they’ve changed the elves, they have (apparently) changed the mythology of the elves. I’m a huge fan of creation myths, so I’m more than a little bummed that they took away the elf creation myth; that was always one of my favorite things about elves.

    I still don’t agree with it, but at least it’s a minor fluff thing. I’ll survive this change and live to enjoy another game.

    If you should happen to pick up my copy of the PHB, however, don’t be surprised if the descriptions of some of the gods have been changed! 😉

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