Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

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Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by Big Mac » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:05 pm

A friend of mine told me something on Faceborg, and I didn't believe it.

Because what she told me was that Colin McComb is due to make a video apology for PHBR8 Complete Book of Elves. :?

Here is the announcement:
Torment: Tides of Numenera: Updated our Journal for the 3rd Time: Video on Themes, New True Believer Tier Coming, Strategy Guide, More Stretch Goals, PayPal wrote:Colin's Apology (Part 1)

Last, but most certainly not least: Upon reaching $2.5m, we will send out a special video from Colin. Those of you familiar with Colin’s very early work may recall that he wrote the Complete Book of Elves for 2nd Edition AD&D. You AD&D players may remember how dreadful this work was, making elves so incredibly powerful and unbalanced that all of our AD&D games were henceforth ruined until 3rd Edition D&D came to save us. (This is a slight overstatement. We could just pretend the book never existed, after all. That’s what I did…) Fortunately, Colin wrote that over 20 years ago and he’s learned much since then. =) Plus he’s the creative guy on Torment and Adam and I aren’t going to let him get too close to the gameplay systems. Just kidding. (Mostly. ;) )

But we’ve always felt that he owes us for polluting our campaigns with his bizarre passion for elves. Thankfully, Colin seems to have gotten through his elf-fetish years. But his penance isn’t yet complete. He has apologized before, but somehow I find it lacking. I don't know about you, but I want to see him say it. So as part of our update celebrating this Stretch Goal, Colin will apologize publicly for this sin of his youth through a special video.
I'm baffled by this apology pledge.

Maybe the book was not perfect, but I thought it was one of the better PHBR books and it was the inspiration for my [Celenaresspace] Raiding PHBR8 to create THE elven sphere thread.

I don't think Colin has anything to apologise for. (As someone on the Goodreads page for the book said: he should "apologize for apologizing".)
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by Big Mac » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:29 pm

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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by night_druid » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:36 pm

Heh, looks like Colin has a bit of a sense of humor. :)

If it all matters, Mr. McComb, apology accepted.

Heck, my only problem with the book had more to do with the Avariel than anything else, and only because a past DM allowed her brother to abuse the hell out of that book/race (I was too young at the time to realize how much BS favoritism her campaign allowed :P ). Outside that campaign, Book of Elves wasn't any more abused than any other book in the game. :)
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by rabindranath72 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:45 am

When you design a kit that EVERYONE wants to play, there MUST be a problem somewhere *Bladesinger* **shudder**
BUT he did so well with Birthright, that all his sins will be forgiven :lol:

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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by BlackBat242 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:17 am

Aside from the fact that no DM I know ever let anyone play a Bladesinger (and most don't allow the special "Elven Archer" tricks either), my biggest problem with the book was also the Avariel!

Not for what they were, or abuse of them, or anything like that.

Its just that he took the 1E Al-Karak-Elam (Dragon Magazine #51, July 1981 & Best of Dragon #3)... who were quite logically their own race, not specifically related to Elves, Humans, or anyone else... and made them "Elves with wings, how cute and rad and gnarly and... pigeon-holed" (if you pardon the expression's ruder implications)!


To me, they belong on their own as a unique and separate race of humanoids!

In my world you will find them in the mountains bordering the desert regions, living in aeries high in the barren cliffs, and in Anasazi-like cliff settlements (and the occasional building complex atop an in-accessible rock tower*)... not hanging out in forests living in tree-tops and grooving with the Sylvan Elves hopped up on mushrooms.


Like this, less than 15 miles from my house (as the AKE flies):

Image

Or this:
Image
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by ghendar » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:20 am

An apology for a RPG book written 20 years ago? That's some funny stuff
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by Havard » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:49 pm

Pretty funny. :)


I guess Colin has been getting some heat for a few of the Kits in that book. I remember the Bladesingers being banned quite quickly from my group. "What, you wanted us to Roleplay the disadvantages of the Kit?" ;)

Overall, I agree that it was a pretty good book though, even though the "Krynn Elves are related to Forgotten Realms Elves" concept didn't appeal that much to me.

Unlike Blackbat, I love the Avariel though :)

Not as cool as Mystara's Ee'ar, but still... ;)

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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by JoshR » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:19 pm

I thought it was pretty much perfect. He poked some fun at the book, poked some fun at himself, poked some fun at the critics, and ultimately his apology was "I'm sorry I made Elves so awesome!"

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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by Dave L » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:56 pm

Yeah, that was a brilliant 'apology'. :)

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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by BlackBat242 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:01 am

Havard wrote:Pretty funny. :)

Unlike Blackbat, I love the Avariel though :)

Not as cool as Mystara's Ee'ar, but still... ;)

-Havard
Oh, I love them... just NOT AS ELVES!
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by TBeholder » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:46 am

night_druid wrote:Heck, my only problem with the book had more to do with the Avariel than anything else, and
rabindranath72 wrote:When you design a kit that EVERYONE wants to play, there MUST be a problem somewhere *Bladesinger* **shudder**
Oy vey, then don't look up "Taegan Nightwind". :shock: ;)
IMO, it's mostly okay, in that there got to be more powerful creatures/classes, the only trouble is that back then there were no any "official" accepted mechanisms of adjusting competitive balance for them.
BlackBat242 wrote:Its just that he took the 1E Al-Karak-Elam (Dragon Magazine #51, July 1981 & Best of Dragon #3)... who were quite logically their own race, not specifically related to Elves, Humans, or anyone else... and made them "Elves with wings, how cute and rad and gnarly and... pigeon-holed" (if you pardon the expression's ruder implications)!
I don't know what you mean under "logically", but where's the problem? There are winged humans, and then there are winged elves. Heh, Dragonlance got winged minotaurs! ;)
Also, the same Best of Dragon had an article about elven gods, including Aerdrie Faenya. So it was a no-brainer: just connect two dots... :lol:

Besides, they tend to steer clear of those ground elves anyway. As to their place in the Multiverse, my theory is that Avariel, just like Wyverns and Aarakocra, were created on Abeir-Toril during early Time of Dragons (as magic support troops for dragon-slaying warrior creatures) or not long before that (e.g. to make elves more fun) by Aearee, via either magical merging of ground-bound elves with giant eagles or simply crossbreeding ("Aearee-elf"?). This could explain a lot. :roll:
BlackBat242 wrote:In my world you will find them in the mountains bordering the desert regions, living in aeries high in the barren cliffs, and in Anasazi-like cliff settlements (and the occasional building complex atop an in-accessible rock tower*)... not hanging out in forests living in tree-tops and grooving with the Sylvan Elves hopped up on mushrooms.
Funny, so they do in FR. In that there are a few tribes hiding from the dragons in some forests, but that's just so - they barely survive; the greatest community is Snow Eagles Aerie... the reason for which is a good part of the mountaintop being an ancient GLASSTEEL FORTRESS (apparently, one of). :twisted:
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by Blacky the Blackball » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:56 am

Big Mac wrote:I'm baffled by this apology pledge.
The story behind it is that there is a huge thread over on RPG.net where people are dissecting the book and laughing at the "racism" and how overpowered the stuff in it is.

And Colin McComb has a Kickstarter project he was trying to get funded.

So in a brilliant bit of guerilla marketing, he joined in the RPG.net thread about his book and, in good humour, offered to do the apology as a stretch goal for the Kickstarter.

Cue lots of RPG.net readers rushing off to pledge...
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by BlackBat242 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:56 am

TBeholder wrote:
BlackBat242 wrote:Its just that he took the 1E Al-Karak-Elam (Dragon Magazine #51, July 1981 & Best of Dragon #3)... who were quite logically their own race, not specifically related to Elves, Humans, or anyone else... and made them "Elves with wings, how cute and rad and gnarly and... pigeon-holed" (if you pardon the expression's ruder implications)!
I don't know what you mean under "logically", but where's the problem? There are winged humans, and then there are winged elves. Heh, Dragonlance got winged minotaurs! ;)
That's just the problem... you have the same misconception of what they were originally.

They were neither humans nor elves... they were their own race.

I can't understand why this concept is so hard to grasp that people feel compelled to run off to stick the Al-Karak-Elam into either "winged humans" or "winged elves" just so they can feel comfortable with them.

Why can't people just accept them the way so many other non-human and non-elf races are accepted?


Bringing up the mess that is DL doesn't help your case, it harms it.

Nothing written for or about that setting has any place in my game world.
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by Havard » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:43 am

Blackbat,
how would you feel about a setting that had both Avariel (ie Winged Elves) and Al-Karak-Elam as two separate races in the same setting? :)

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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by Jorkens » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:20 am

I like the book; not as much as Gnomes & Halflings and Dwarves (then again I don't like elves that much either), but there is plenty of good ideas. Them again, no one ever wanted to play a Bladesinger as the disadvantages scared them of. Always help elves in danger? Not a good one in the Realms.

And let us not forget the best thing about the book; the drow are shown as they should be, with cool 70's moustaches. That became a must for anyone wanting to play them in my game.

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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by BlackBat242 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:41 am

Havard wrote:Blackbat,
how would you feel about a setting that had both Avariel (ie Winged Elves) and Al-Karak-Elam as two separate races in the same setting? :)

-Havard
I'd ignore the Avariel... at most say they were "half-elf/half-Al-Karak-Elam".

Maybe I'm just being reactionary (counter-actionary?)... I just don't see why there is a "need" to make them fit into one of the established larger racial categories, and am resisting the action itself.
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by Big Mac » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:38 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I'm baffled by this apology pledge.
The story behind it is that there is a huge thread over on RPG.net where people are dissecting the book and laughing at the "racism" and how overpowered the stuff in it is.

And Colin McComb has a Kickstarter project he was trying to get funded.

So in a brilliant bit of guerilla marketing, he joined in the RPG.net thread about his book and, in good humour, offered to do the apology as a stretch goal for the Kickstarter.

Cue lots of RPG.net readers rushing off to pledge...
LMAO! That is a guerilla marketing triumph!

Personally, I might have been tempted to throw some Kickstarter cash at Colin McComb if he did something like a Web Enhancement for Complete Book of Elves (or another old product he did) as a stretch goal. A "buy new stuff - get old stuff free" deal would be something I'd be quite interested in.
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by Big Mac » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:54 pm

I didn't really see any problem with Avarials. If there are a ton of humanoid races, there should be a number of flying races too. And I thought they were supposed to have fragile bones or somesuch.

Same with the Bladesinger (at least as a concept).

I'm not sure the tree with elves on different D&D worlds works, but as someone who plays Spelljammer I admire the attempt to line up the races on different worlds. However the generic elf-tree was pretty awesome. I think I would try to start with that and recreate the multi-world tree concept, as something that the Elven Navy use to try to tie-in every groundling elven race to their "grand plan".
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by TBeholder » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:23 pm

Well, there were snow elves, Athasian elves... there got to be lots of variants, just like with everything else.
BlackBat242 wrote:
TBeholder wrote:There are winged humans, and then there are winged elves. Heh, Dragonlance got winged minotaurs! ;)
That's just the problem... you have the same misconception of what they were originally.
They were neither humans nor elves... they were their own race.
Word games. Enduks can be presented as "their own race, not minotaurs!" too. But this would more likely enhance than diminish any possible confusion about them, too. :roll:
BlackBat242 wrote:I can't understand why this concept is so hard to grasp that people feel compelled to run off to stick the Al-Karak-Elam into either "winged humans" or "winged elves" just so they can feel comfortable with them.
Why can't people just accept them the way so many other non-human and non-elf races are accepted?
(looks up) oh, right - winged half-elves. This makes everything completely different. :lol:
Why? Because they are just this - that's from what they were derived and that's how they are best described. How much there is to them that does not fit into "half-elf with wings"? Avariel can be described as "elf, with wings, big eyes and bird-like hollow bones" - which is somewhat better in terms of mental effort put into actually making sense.
Likewise, the completely new race of sharks with frikkin lasers mounted on their heads are... just "sharks with frikkin lasers on their heads" and that's it, really. The inventiveness level is low-end. Once we have frikkin lasers and sharks (and duct tape or something), there's nothing breathtakingly different and new about attaching one to the other. :D The centaurs were more "new" - accordingly, it takes more words to explain what exactly they are. But the derivatives are just so: "X-on-Y centauroid", the end. For example, observe how driders became something more attention-worthy because they are a "magically copyrighted" cursed form rather than a reproducing species - and that's exactly why attempts to convert them into "one more" centauroid race inevitably fail to induce mass gasps: there's more than enough of centaur copycats already. Some are well-done, some are yawn-inducing, but the inventiveness level is still flatlining.
BlackBat242 wrote: Bringing up the mess that is DL doesn't help your case, it harms it.
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Oh, right. Correction: winged minotaurs (Enduks) are from Mystara. Memoria fractalia est and all that.
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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by rabindranath72 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:05 am

TBeholder wrote:[ I don't know what you mean under "logically", but where's the problem? There are winged humans, and then there are winged elves. Heh, Dragonlance got winged minotaurs! ;)
Where did you get that? :?

EDIT: just saw your Mystara post.

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Re: Colin McComb to issue apology for Complete Book of Elves

Post by TBeholder » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:49 am

Speaking of which, the Avariel, of course, are adapted from Mystara's Ee’aar - those special rules for wings, claustrophobia and "no bulky weapons" are copied with little to no changes.
And their love of glassteel - they even make glassteel golems. Which is cool, though maybe not quite as impressive as the whole glassteel fortress city (Snow Eagles Aerie in FR).
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