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Why the drow race bugs me as a concept.

2

Comments

  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    1. This is a lot of fun and cheers for being a respectful sparing partner on the internet :). People like you are awesome and rare!
    2. I agree with almost everything you said there. I think a lot of this conversation is a result of discussing two separate things as if they were one: individual reproductive fitness and the fitness of a species as a whole in relation to other species.

    I still disagree with

    if you regard 'life-success' as a measure of economic success, there is arguably a negative correlation between life success and reproductive success.

    because Hugh Heffner. Donald Trump. Celine Dion and Shania Twain's husbands.

    Also I think it is false to so strongly separate "intellectual fitness" from "reproductive fitness". The points you made about politics and biology being not useful when it comes to reproductive fitness may or may not be true. However, the entire back and forth of seduction/romance is indeed intellectually demanding. It is not the same as understanding evolutionary forces or natural law or forms of government, but it still involves decision making and judgement.

    PS:


    biology or politics, the two subjects I have a bit of a passion for and sometimes get carried away ranting about.

    As a med student who was a history major/econ minor and has worked on a presidential campaign I salute you as a kindred spirit! Hamsters and Rangers everywhere rejoice

    Klonoa
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited December 2013
    You folks are assuming that evolutionary forces work the same in Faerun as they do here. Not only that, you're overlooking the possibility of linked genes and their variable effects on survivorship in different environments. If you've got two traits that are closely linked (i.e. mapped to adjacent parts of the same chromosome), they're unlikely to separate by recombination. If one of those traits is survival-neutral or slightly survival-negative, the overall sequence can still be selected for if the other linked trait is survival-positive. In other words, while skin color may not mean anything at all for whether a Drow survives and/or reproduces, there may be another closely linked trait that DOES have an impact, thereby causing the skin color to remain constant over time.

    Here's a fun thought - male Drow are notoriously good arcane spellcasters. But why just the males? If they have a gene on the X chromosome that enhances that ability, it could be active only in males having a single X chromosome but be inactivated in females with two X chromosomes due to a complementary Y-linked trait (that no female would express). Now, if that same X-linked trait were encoded close to the gene that determines their darker skin pigmentation, the skin color would be selected for (because it comes along with the better arcane affinity) even though it doesn't have any intrinsic survival value.

    Note: In case you're wondering why the above example wouldn't result in females routinely having darker skin than males (because of having two X chromosomes, presumably with two copies of the pigmentation gene), there's this fun thing called 'dosage compensation' which can act to basically shut down one of the two X chromosomes, especially in cases where two copies of a given allele would be lethal.

    booinyoureyestypo_tillyEudaemoniumelminster
  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    Cyteen said:



    Here's a fun thought - male Drow are notoriously good arcane spellcasters. But why just the males? If they have a gene on the X chromosome that enhances that ability, it could be active only in males having a single X chromosome but be inactivated in females with two X chromosomes due to a complementary Y-linked trait (that no female would express). Now, if that same X-linked trait were encoded close to the gene that determines their darker skin pigmentation, the skin color would be selected for (because it comes along with the better arcane affinity) even though it doesn't have any intrinsic survival value.

    The arcane magic gene would most likely be located on the pseudoautosomal region (the area in which X and Y chromosomes overlap. In other words, the area in which they are the same)
    X-Inactivation would not affect the female in most ways, unless arcane ability was hormonal in origin or linked with the Y-Chromosome in some way. Plus this is all assuming that magic is genetic!!

    Other than that you bring up a fair point about the skin pigmentation, but I think we all already agreed that it did not have an intrinsic survival value in the case of Drow.

    Now, if the reason was because the "dark skin gene" was close to the "magic gene" (magic gene. wow... i love this convo) then there would be no reason for the drow to have different characteristics than surface elves in regards to magic, and no reason for the females to also have dark skin other than because more dark skin males reproduced/survived.

    But now this conversation is getting way out of hand, lol.

    Heindrich
  • typo_tillytypo_tilly Member Posts: 5,461


    But now this conversation is getting way out of hand, lol.

    But-but... but why are they magic resistant? :u

    booinyoureyesEudaemoniumCrevsDaak

  • But now this conversation is getting way out of hand, lol.

    But-but... but why are they magic resistant? :u
    The higher magic resistance is an evolutionary response to the harsher environment of the Underdark. Many of the races in the Underdark have innate magical abilities, which would have put pressure on the drow to develop some sort of defense mechanism that their surface cousins don't really need (or don't need to the same extent).

    typo_tillyCrevsDaak
  • The arcane magic gene would most likely be located on the pseudoautosomal region (the area in which X and Y chromosomes overlap. In other words, the area in which they are the same)
    X-Inactivation would not affect the female in most ways, unless arcane ability was hormonal in origin or linked with the Y-Chromosome in some way. Plus this is all assuming that magic is genetic!!

    Postulating that arcane ability is genetic, it would HAVE to be sex-linked in drow. There simply is no such thing as a female drow mage. On the other hand, divine casting ability wouldn't necessarily have to be sex-linked because divine abilities are granted, and Lolth just hates men. :)

  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    Cyteen said:

    The arcane magic gene would most likely be located on the pseudoautosomal region (the area in which X and Y chromosomes overlap. In other words, the area in which they are the same)
    X-Inactivation would not affect the female in most ways, unless arcane ability was hormonal in origin or linked with the Y-Chromosome in some way. Plus this is all assuming that magic is genetic!!

    Postulating that arcane ability is genetic, it would HAVE to be sex-linked in drow. There simply is no such thing as a female drow mage. On the other hand, divine casting ability wouldn't necessarily have to be sex-linked because divine abilities are granted, and Lolth just hates men. :)
    You forgot about:
    http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Liriel_Baenre

    typo_tillylolien
  • Cyteen said:

    The arcane magic gene would most likely be located on the pseudoautosomal region (the area in which X and Y chromosomes overlap. In other words, the area in which they are the same)
    X-Inactivation would not affect the female in most ways, unless arcane ability was hormonal in origin or linked with the Y-Chromosome in some way. Plus this is all assuming that magic is genetic!!

    Postulating that arcane ability is genetic, it would HAVE to be sex-linked in drow. There simply is no such thing as a female drow mage. On the other hand, divine casting ability wouldn't necessarily have to be sex-linked because divine abilities are granted, and Lolth just hates men. :)
    You forgot about:
    http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Liriel_Baenre
    Bah, figures somebody would have had to come up with an exception. Maybe she had Klinefelter's and was just passing?

    booinyoureyestypo_tillyelminster
  • HeindrichHeindrich Member, Moderator Posts: 2,959
    edited December 2013

    1. This is a lot of fun and cheers for being a respectful sparing partner on the internet :). People like you are awesome and rare!

    Thank you. What can I say. I am. :D You're not bad too.


    Sorry, was just roleplaying a douche in a BG EE multiplayer game with a few other forumites. Need to get outta character!


    2. I agree with almost everything you said there. I think a lot of this conversation is a result of discussing two separate things as if they were one: individual reproductive fitness and the fitness of a species as a whole in relation to other species.

    The 'fitness of a species' is not really even considered an issue of evolution. Evolution, by definition, occurs within a species, as it is the change of a species over time as a result of evolutionary pressures. The health/success of a species is measured by its abundance. By that measure, humans are far more successful than any other large mammal on the planet at this moment in time, but arguably less successful than mice. Though even in this case, 'success' is very difficult to objectively quantify. Do you go by number of individuals (bacteria FTW!), biomass or impact on the planet (humans FTW!).


    I still disagree with

    if you regard 'life-success' as a measure of economic success, there is arguably a negative correlation between life success and reproductive success.

    because Hugh Heffner. Donald Trump. Celine Dion and Shania Twain's husbands.
    With all due respect. You cannot make a point with a list of individuals. :p

    1) They are individuals, with very individual circumstances. Whether they have large families or not, and whether that is related to their intelligence or not, cannot be used to extrapolate a point about wider society. My point was that statistics across many countries show that on average , richer and better educated people have fewer children, which in evolutionary terms, means they are genetically less successful.

    2) The cult of celebrity is an entirely different phenomenon. Some people are just famous for being famous, and being famous automatically increases your appeal, by virtue of you being famous. Sometimes, it is just blind luck. Like the opposite of getting struck by lightning and killed. Irrelevant to your genetic fitness or otherwise.


    Also I think it is false to so strongly separate "intellectual fitness" from "reproductive fitness". The points you made about politics and biology being not useful when it comes to reproductive fitness may or may not be true. However, the entire back and forth of seduction/romance is indeed intellectually demanding. It is not the same as understanding evolutionary forces or natural law or forms of government, but it still involves decision making and judgement.

    I probably should not have mentioned it at all...

    Yes finding a partner and persuading them to reproduce with me requires a minimum level of intellectual capacity. But in order for there to be a significant evolutionary pressure for natural selection to favour intellectual capability, the bar needs to be much higher than it is currently in human society. For example, there is no IQ test required before you are allowed to have a baby (which would be unacceptably draconian). And although some girls will reject me because I am not tall/good-looking/intelligent/charimatic/rich enough, it will not stop me from finding a partner. (Hopefully :D) And thus I will (hopefully) be able to have children one day and pass on my genes. Not that I particular care about the 'interests of my genes', we simply have mutually coincidental interests in this case.

    booinyoureyes
  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    The fitness of a species does matter in evolution when you consider organization. It mostly matters in that it makes evolutionary forces LESS significant (which it seems we agree on) and because most species share common ancestors. In terms of Drow vs Surface Elves (I can't believe I used that in a real discussion) it would be significant when you consider how they diverged.

  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,081
    I can answer the question in the title, it is because yuo've played BG2 and those 50+ MR bitching dar elves were a pain in the ass, not to mention they used Drow Bolts of Sleep in a Drow Crossbow of Speed, and they casted nasty spells, besides living in the Underdark AND helping out Irenicus...

  • HeindrichHeindrich Member, Moderator Posts: 2,959
    @CrevsDaak

    Drow warriors and equipment may seem OP compared to the humble humans of Baldur's Gate and Athklatla, but they are not so difficult for a high level party that adventures in the Underdark in BG 2. Even though I went to the Underdark relatively early in order to rescue Imoen asap, I never found Drow themselves particularly tricky. Beholders on the other hand... *shivers*.

    Eudaemonium
  • EudaemoniumEudaemonium Member Posts: 3,199
    Most of the drow I encountered exploded. This may have been because they were getting backstabbed by a F/T dual with 21 Strength and grandmastery in staves wielding the Staff of Rhynn.

    typo_tillyFredjo
  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,081
    edited December 2013
    @Heindrich1988 the thing is, that when you forgot you have the difficulty set in Insane, all the enemies area real threat (yeah, in my first BG2 run, I think I gave the Insane to battle against Amalas in the Copper Coronet, and I realized it was in Insane while in the sixth level of Watcher's Keep, after the battle had finished (there was no more battle than Thief Traps Springing :P), when I wen't to see why the hell the subtitles weren't enabled (I edited the ini in those days a lot, mainly to try to activate the CLUA, because there was a missing item, and I needed it), and found that), Beholders never caused me much trouble, I killed them hastily, so they couldn't make a rain of rays over me, also, there were plenty of Spell Turning casted, besides Spell Deflection, no, I didn't had the Shield of Cheese (Balduran) nor the Cloak of Cheese (Mirroring), so I've beaten em' in the classic way, ever, well, one time in ToB, while fooling around, I considered a lot better to just use a Spell Trigger with Skull Traps, IT WORKED VERY WELL!!! And the thing was that Keldorn had a very low AC, he had like -2, and bumped to -3 with Armor of the Hart, but, really, he was the one that died mostly, then, Jan had -2 and Haer'Dalis -1, the PC had -2 and Anomen and Mazzy had like -9 each one, those drow with xbows and Bolts of Sleep don't have a bad THAC0, they tend to hit on your party members. I had lots of XP, but I was poor through almost the whole game, we reunited a fortune with all what we've found in the Underdark, and then it only increased to reach a amazingly high number in ToB.
    In the Underdark I had like 3 Million XP for each character, Keldonr had 1 Million or even less by that time, he joined when all the others had 2 millions XP, yeah, I don't know how I got so much XP and so few GP.

  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    The real question is: Is @CrevsDaak
    a. A Female Thief/Mage Bhaalspawn
    b. A Male Chaotic Evil Argentine
    c. A person with Klinefelter's Syndrome
    or
    d. Don't ask questions better left to aged sages

    [Deleted User]KlonoaCrevsDaaklolien
  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,081
    edited December 2013
    @booinyoureyes I think all of those :)
    EDIT: Including a, of course!

    booinyoureyes
  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    Underdark radiation and the curse of vengeful elven deities are responsible for drow skin color. Thread over.

    CrevsDaaktypo_tillyArchaos
  • Underdark radiation and the curse of vengeful elven deities are responsible for drow skin color. Thread over.

    Hmm. Radiation could result in more rapid mutation...

    I kid, I kid. This was a fun discussion! :D

    CrevsDaakbooinyoureyestypo_tilly
  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162

    Underdark radiation and the curse of vengeful elven deities are responsible for drow skin color. Thread over.

    NO

  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    radiation caused the magic resistance obviously

    CrevsDaaktypo_tillylolien
  • iKrivetkoiKrivetko Member Posts: 934
    The are white, just covered in coal.

    CrevsDaaktypo_tillylolien
  • AcridSyphilisAcridSyphilis Member Posts: 129
    I don't think male Drow being good at wizardry is a genetic thing, at least not exclusively to males. It seems more a societal/cultural thing. There are some minor drow houses that produced female mages. Female Drow can become wizards, it's just not encouraged. All the political power lies at the hands of the Clergy in Drow society. I'd compare it to girls and math. Except way more extreme.

    EudaemoniumbooinyoureyesCrevsDaakKlonoa
  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    Also why would arcane powers not have to be hereditary in every other species? There is no link between genetics and Mystra's Weaver or whatever that I can think of.

  • karnor00karnor00 Member Posts: 662

    1) They are individuals, with very individual circumstances. Whether they have large families or not, and whether that is related to their intelligence or not, cannot be used to extrapolate a point about wider society. My point was that statistics across many countries show that on average , richer and better educated people have fewer children, which in evolutionary terms, means they are genetically less successful.

    I agree up to a point, however number of children isn't the whole story however. Having a lot of children doesn't count as genetically successful if those children don't go on to survive. What really matters is how many grand-children, great-grand-children, etc there are.

    Ultimately it raises an interesting question as to exactly what characteristics the human race is selecting for future generations. I struggle to identify exactly what those are - for example intelligence is very helpful for having a successful life, but as you point out it doesn't necessarily lead to more genetic success.

    I know a lot of people (myself included) who aren't very interested in having children and yet still live successful and fulfilled lives - but none of this will be passed onto our non-existent children. The fact that richer and better educated people are having less children makes me wonder if the human race is accidentally selecting traits of lower intelligence for future generations.

  • typo_tillytypo_tilly Member Posts: 5,461
    ... So how would we get white glowy elves like @Tresset mentioned? :3


    @karnor00 Aren't we losing our wisdom teeth? -_- Not sure why, mind, but I think we are losing them.

  • AcridSyphilisAcridSyphilis Member Posts: 129
    karnor00 said:

    The fact that richer and better educated people are having less children makes me wonder if the human race is accidentally selecting traits of lower intelligence for future generations.

    The richer and better educated have been having fewer children for ages. It's only recently that we have been measuring this, but we do have some data more than a hundred years old. Also, poor and less educated does not necessarily equate to stupid or unfit. But more poor and uneducated definitely leads to more crime which is detrimental to society. I think the problem is less that poor people have more kids, and more that societal gaps in wealth and education are so great, which does create a class divide and less social stability.

    Klonoa
  • Kaimu_NanashiKaimu_Nanashi Member Posts: 1

    Underdark radiation and the curse of vengeful elven deities are responsible for drow skin color. Thread over.

    Actually, if the surrounding stones gave off radiation similar to UVB radiation (the type that is mostly absorbed by our ozone layer, but still small amounts get through that cause sunburns and direct DNA damage), it could select for elves with darker skin in a relatively short amount of time. For instance, let's assume that the first Drow were standard surface elves, with skin tones ranging from white to light brown. As the Drow struggled to adapt to their new subterranean environment, the radiation would affect them unequally: Those with the fairest skin would notice a higher incidence of burns, which (in the short term) might discourage reproductive activities, leading to them having fewer children than their dark-skinned neighbors. However, the true devastation would occur as a result of the genetic damage. In humans, this damage often does not result in cancer until after age 50, which minimizes its impact on reproduction. While elves probably have a more conservative method of cellular reproduction than humans (which results in fewer mutations and explains why elves are able to live so long without genetic deterioration), an increase in UVB radiation beyond that of the sunlight they evolved under could result in cancer within a century or two, limiting the number of children that the adults could have and hitting the young before or during their primary reproductive years, decimating the population and causing breakdowns in society. Those with fair skin would become sick earlier and die sooner, while those with darker skin would have a better chance of surviving to have a few children. This would create an evolutionary bottleneck that would result in the population becoming homogeneously dark-skinned within a few thousand years (assuming the time it takes to reach reproductive maturity is 100 years).

    PibaroNonnahswriterCrevsDaakdemented
  • AlmateriaAlmateria Member Posts: 257
    Gygax was a huge racist and so made evil elves black. Not exactly rocket science.

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