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Old 11-03-2016, 02:05 AM   #1
Flyndaran
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Default Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

I got this idea from reading Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers.

I've got the reptilian "salamanders" as touched with Fire,
Mermaids obviously with Water,
For Wood/Plant I decided to have two, Tree-Elves and Grass-Humans. I justified it as animals naturally accepting another life element more than the others.

But how could I differentiate Earth from Metal peoples? Even after rereading and looking up mythology they still seem way too similar. Any help with separating them would be appreciated.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

Earth for Dwarves

For metal something with the quality of sharpness. Iron claws for example.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Earth for Dwarves

For metal something with the quality of sharpness. Iron claws for example.
Traditionally, Earth is the balanced, "central" element, so humans would probably be Earth, which would make dwarves metal.

But if you want completely different races for the five elements, dwarves aren't a bad idea at all for Earth.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

For Metal I used Ice Elves.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

I prefer dwarves for metal over earth. classic RPG and fantasy depictions have them in the earth a lot, but they're always looking for metal. Some more fairy-tale dwarves fit earth well though.

In that other game, warforged would be metal, gnomes could be earth.

But I do like humans in the earth slot, with dwarves in metal. Humans don't get associated with elements enough.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

Are you looking more for material connections (mermaids live in water, therefore water) or emotional connections (mermaids, being of water, tend toward generosity and resourcefulness)?
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

It sounds like you are trying to mash up western mythological creatures with Chinese elements. That's fine of course. But if I were to do it, I would look into Chinese mythological creatures.

A quick search tells me that water/wood/metal/fire correspond to turtle/dragon/tiger/phoenix. It might be interesting to make your races out of anthropomorphized versions of these creatures rather than using western, pseudo-tolkenesque ones.

In any event, humans corresponding to earth sounds like a good way to go.
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Old 11-03-2016, 06:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

I guess I am jamming European mythical creatures with Chinese mysticism, and even worse is that I started this whole line of thought with myths of humans being corn made flesh from some native American beliefs.


Going from Wikipedia's "The Azure Dragon of the East represents Wood, the Vermilion Bird of the South represents Fire, the White Tiger of the West represents Metal, and the Black Turtle (or Dark Warrior) of the North represents Water. In this system, the fifth element Earth is represented by the Yellow Dragon of the Center." is perfect for gods.
But I'm not a big fan of anthropomorphized animals unless used very sparingly. Though one could make a metaphysical point that humans are "anthropomorphized" apes.

I'm mainly trying to create fantasy races that fit Chinese elements even if I use more well known, to me at least, European names as placeholders.

It's that the Chinese descriptions of metal vs. earth don't sound different to me. Strong, sturdy resolute, etc. fit both. It's like trying to read daily horoscopes without knowing the signs. They all sound identical.
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Old 11-03-2016, 06:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

Earth is balance and a fusion of all the elements.
Metal is of course metal but also cold, hard and unyielding.
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Creating/equating races to 5 Chinese elements?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edges View Post
A quick search tells me that water/wood/metal/fire correspond to turtle/dragon/tiger/phoenix. It might be interesting to make your races out of anthropomorphized versions of these creatures rather than using western, pseudo-tolkenesque ones.
I'd go with tortoises rather than turtles. Or at least make your turtles amphibious. Otherwise, encountering or playing as the "water race" isn't going to be practical.
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