Posted by: Sean | January 16, 2009

Retrospective Theme Week Draenei: The Draenei Play File.

Call off the dogs, fair readers! It’s taken a while, but I’m finally getting around to this. The Draenei Play File is here!

So what are the draenei all about? First of all, the draenei are about purity and incorruptibility. They do not see this in a sexual sense, or even a cleanliness sense. (A religious sense comes close, however.) No, they see this in a quite pragmatic sense: They’re a race who have been beset time and time again by those corrupted by the demonic. The corruptions of Sargeras saw their finest leaders turned into their betrayers. When the Burning Legion turned the orcs, it saw the decimation of their race. Even that flight was in turn attacked by the blood elves, who were at least a little corrupted by fel forces. In short, the draenei have seen time and time again the pain and suffering that demonic corruption brings – And are likely very wary of it. They tend to trust those who have shown they have the combination of moral fortitude, disgust at the demonic and purpose that makes one resistant to this sort of corruptive presence.

The Alliance

Dwarves: And it is perhaps the dwarves who best epitomise this at every level. While the dwarves weren’t the first race that the draenei encountered (that was humanity) nor the one they have the most dealings with (the night elves by sheer virtue of proximity) the dwarves are the race that most draenei come to trust. They are worshippers of the Light (mostly) giving them a point of common reference in their thinking. In addition to this, they stand firm and hard against demonic corruption within their own people – That there are no dwarvish warlocks is a major point in their favour. Your average dwarf may booze like there’s no tomorrow, they may be aggressive and violent, but they will never betray a friend, and lying goes against their code of honour. This shines as a beacon to the draenei that the dwarves do have a tightly defined sense of right and wrong, even if their sense of right and wrong is different to that of a draenei. In short, the draenei don’t believe they’ll be hurt by the dwarves, and thus they trust them.

“By the Light, we are blessed with a true ally in this place – An ally half our size, requiring twice as much living space, and four times as much drink. But an ally without peer, none the less.”

Gnomes: By contrast, the gnomes are a dreadful race to a draenei’s mind. Oh, certainly they mean well. No draenei would question this; gnomes are such an inherently friendly, forthright group of creatures that disliking them is difficult. But they really only seem to punish warlocks in order to please the dwarves. They are religious only to the slightest of degrees and show no sense of higher purpose. Their moral compass is so damn shaky it could be better used as a clock. A very unreliable, back and forth, fail at any moment sort of a clock. So do the draenei see the gnomes: Very unreliable, back and forth, fail at any moment sort of a race. They do mean well, but they have seen that well intentioned fall time and time again.

“Listen to me, little one. You call it ‘fel science’, or ‘dimensional analysis’. You call it harmless, or a valid field of inquiry. Well, I am a scholar. I have studied magic all my life, a life many times as long as your own. I call it ‘what killed my people’. Some books should not be opened.”

Humans: What a puzzlement the humans are! On one hand, they’re the most power-hungry, short-sighted, ferocious group of creatures the draenei have seen since coming to Azeroth. They’re a race who share not a little bit in common with a race they’re very familiar with: The orcs. And yet… the humans also share an incredible sense of higher purpose. The orcs were, the draenei know, an admirable race before they were corrupted. But were they ever this capable of incredible charity and kindness? Humans have a remarkable sense of empathy, perhaps moreso than the orcs can manage. The work of the Light, perhaps? For now, the draenei watch the humans with caution and hope.

“The humans have a phrase: Tabula Rasa, an old-tongue phrase meaning ‘clean slate’. I have never seen a race describe itself so perfectly.”

Night Elves: And then there are the Night Elves, a race whose many mistakes are countered by one unbelievably noble act: They sacrificed their immortality to defeat the Legion. This is a truly incredible feat, and it is one the draenei do know of by now. It amazes them. Unlike the humans and orcs who witnessed it, the draenei are immortal. They are perhaps the one race who can comprehend exactly what an incredibly fearful and terrible thing it was they had to do – They understand the fear of death that only one who is not built to die can hold. They understand the potential that was sacrificed. That one act washes away all else – It verifies the Night Elves as a race to be trusted.

“If they hate magic, then do not use magic around them. Take their words seriously, counter with your own. Argue, argue often, because you know they are the loyal opposition.”

The Horde

Blood Elves: There’s got to be a bit of smugness going around the draenei right now, surely. The Blood Elves were ruthless about the draenei and for no real reason; their sabotage of Tempest Keep may have been motivated by greed, but they then continued to attack the draenei even after the crash landing, which seems to be motivated by little more than spite. Yet now, of course, the draenei’s actions have lead to the salvation of the Sin’dorei. That’s a pretty heavy affair, and it’s one that surely has a few egos pumped up, in spite of the draenei’s usual humility. This has probably moved the blood elves back down to #2 on the draenei’s “least well-regarded race” list, but they’re far from trusted. Your average draenei will, when confronted with a blood elf, either attack first or wait depending upon the circumstances, but they’re not going to turn their back on them for one second.

“They have their chance. This is a foundation.”

Orcs & Trolls: Then there are the orcs. While the draenei can distinguish easily between an orc and troll physically, I’ve still put these two together as they still unlikely to distinguish between the two socially. How much does a draenei know about a troll’s mindset? Very little, which is why most draenei will simply assume the trolls follow the same line as the orcs – Bloodthirsty brutes but a second away from returning to their old ways. While most draenei have heard of (and approve of) Thrall, they don’t believe that he speaks for most orcs (which is actually true) and assume most will readily descend right back into their fel-touched fury if given the chance. (Which may be true, but we don’t know yet.)

“The orcs murdered our people many years ago. They murdered the humans years ago. They will murder more now. Their nature is regrettably set.”

Tauren: The Tauren would, if the draenei knew more about them, probably have as positive a reception as the dwarves. They are strong, noble, trustworthy and incorruptible. (Well, the Grimtotem aren’t, but anyway, the draenei don’t know about them and anyway anyway, what about the Dark Iron dwarves?) But they don’t. Sadly, your average draenei is likely to think of the tauren in the only comparison they know: By way of the Horde. And they know the blood elves as a corrupted race, the orcs as a corrupted race, the undead defined by their corruption. They see the tauren in the same light. A few (maybe some involved in the Argent Dawn, perhaps?) might see them more charitably, but this is rare.

“The largest of the Horde, and therefore the most dangerous. That is all we know.”

Undead: If corruption is the great vice for the draenei, what are they to make of a race defined by being aberrations of nature?The undead are the undead, and the difference between the Scourge and the Forsaken is slight – They simply don’t have enough history with them to think differently yet. Your average draenei is unlikely to see the difference between the two as being any larger than ‘The Forsaken are smarter and more deadly’.

“The only difference between the Scourge and the Forsaken I can see is that the Forsaken are smarter and more deadly.”

Viewing the Classes

Death Knight: One really has to wonder about draenei death knights. They’ve only been around a year and already they’ve fallen in battle. One would hope that the draenei would be forgiving and concerned about their fallen breathren (especially since, given the time frame, they’re the least likely race to have voluntarily become death knights) but considering the race’s paranoia and worry about the Broken it seems likely there may be a little body horror in seeing what the draenei have become.
Druid: There’s a great degree of respect that the draenei have for the druids – They’re naturally inclined to like any religious order that can oppose the fel forces. Given how readily they accepted shamanism and adopted it themselves, it’s not unreasonable to expect that a similar thing may well occur with the druids over time. Draenei druids? Why not?
Hunter: Draenei hunters are a hold-over from their time on Draenor, where they probably held two major roles – Food gatherer and scout. To the first, it would seem reasonable that there may actually be a slight religious element. I could definitely see a draenei hunter killing his prey in a very ritual way to cleanse the meat. The second is a result of their time being hunted. Draenei look to their hunters to be the first sign of danger.
Mage: The mage is an intensely respected person within draenei society. They are scholars but also expected to be leaders; there’s an element of technocracy in their society, it would seem. They are the ‘learned men’ of draenei society and the first people the draenei turn to when something unexplained occurs. Given the highly technological nature of their magical systems (such as the Exodar) it also seems there’s a pretty blurry line between magic and technology in their society (perhaps a nod to Arthur C. Clark) and I posit that more mages are engineers than any other class in draenei society.
Paladin: Paladins in the draenei belong to a society known as the Hand of Argus who hold the virtues of obedience, bravery, intelligence, and above all, honor. Some more introspective paladins may note that the name Argus is very similar to the word ‘argent’, meaning silver. The human paladins, of course, belong to the Silver Hand. In this, they see the subtle hand of the Naaru.
Priest: If the mage are the learned men of draenei society, then the priests are the wise men. While this is postulation only, it’s my feeling that the priests of the Holy Light amongst the draenei are less intellectually theological. Their theology is a more emotional one, attuned to the needs of their people. (The humans would be the contrast, with much of their theology discussing the nature of the Light.) Being so close to the Naaru, the mysteries of the Light are not so deep, and it is is how to use them that is more important. It seems unlikely that a draenei priest would be too dogmatic; the Light is more flexible than the humans and dwarves suppose. Pastoring is more important than preaching to them.
Rogue: The love of gold corrupts. A belief that the ends justify the means is a defence of corruption. A rogue’s method is one of sneakiness and trickery, not virtues the draenei hold to. The draenei do not, however, write them off completely. They accept that a rogue can in fact do less damage than a warrior; a rogue may kill one man to achieve the same effect a warrior would kill dozens for. This they respect. But they do not trust a rogue, and expect treachery from them.
Shaman: The shamanic traditions of the draenei are quite recent and as such they’re sort of the “respected radicals” of the society. Nobody really hopes their children will become a shaman at this point, but there’s also nothing wrong with it, and as noted before, anything that stands against the Burning Legion is worthwhile. Most look at shamans a little strangely, and socially they don’t yet have a strong role. This gives them freedom to be involved anywhere.
Warlocks: There are two types of warlock, to a draenei mind. Those who understand they serve demons, and those who believe they control them. The first are evil. The second are deluded.
Warrior: Warriors in the draenei are both needed and have had a hard life. Most of their enemies have corrupted and destroyed those they fight by their mere presence. As such, being a warrior, one of the front line troops, has been basically accepting suicide so that others might live. Draenei warriors are likely very grim, at least at heart. Some may disguise this with typical draenei joviality, but every one has had time to come to grips with the ideas of eternal exile, separation from everything they love, mutation, and death. A few may now just be beginning to realise they do not face this any more… and rejoice.


Responses

  1. Great play file as usual! :D

    Though I would say, that paladins should of been bolstered a bit more. As the draenei view them at the very least as humans do, and at the very most to an even higher (if not extreme) regard. What with the worship of light being so much more prevalent amongst the draenei than the humans or any other race for that matter.

  2. Possibly. I wanted to kind of vary it up a bit though, and play up the notion that the Draenei paladins have perhaps a more ‘encompassing’ view of their holy patrons. :)

  3. Just wanted to mention how much I enjoy reading these. Very insightful, as always. :)

  4. Not just Paladins, Alex, but Holy Priests as well would be tied very tightly to the Naaru.

    Here’s a curious question, though… how might a Draenei might respond to a Shadow Priest (no matter the race)?

  5. “Not just Paladins, Alex, but Holy Priests as well would be tied very tightly to the Naaru. ”

    Of course, but they were covered much better than paladins. So I excluded them in my comment.

    As for how they react to a shadow priest. I wager, much like they would react to warlock’s for the most part. If not worse, as while they hate demonic corruption, they probably hate the corruption of Light itself even more. As its one thing for a person to become corrupt, but to become corrupt after taking in the Light; that is much worse. Especially to heavy worshipers of the Light, like the draenei.

  6. Ohhhh, now you’ve done it.

    I’m off to create a Draenei Shadow Priest – one who is trying to justify their choice in using the Shadow to eliminate the enemies of the Light.

    Her fall into oblivion should be glorious. *evil laugh*

  7. Alex, I have to disagree.

    The ‘shadow’ of the warlock does not appear to be the ‘shadow’ of a warlock, as has been noted before. I think a shadow priest would be distrusted by the draenei, (why turn your back on the Light?) but it’s not warlock territory. And using shadow in addition to Light may well be justifiable.

  8. @ Pixelated Executioner

    Look what I did! :D

    But really, such a character would be great fun. As it be interesting to see how other draenei act towards her, as well as other races; who be shocked to see a draenei (of all races) doing such behavior. And it always be fun, to come up with reasons for using the Shadow.

    And I love to discuss such a topic, in private with you. ;)

    @ Sean

    The thing is, its all Shadow magic. Just because priest use it a different way than warlock’s, doesn’t change that fact.

    As for how acceptable it be to use, the truth is it wouldn’t be accepted at all by any Light devout race. Because Shadow magic, is an affront to the Light after all. So as a result, if your playing a priest and you decide such practices; your gonna have problems. And sure it might not be as bad as it is for warlock’s, who in addition consort with demons. But no matter what, as you have to hide your a warlock, you have to hide your practices with Shadow magic as a priest. Unless of course you are amongst races who accept it like the forsaken, trolls and the blood elves.

    Because ultimately, we must understand that the Shadow tree represents a discipline practiced only by a very small minority in Azeroth. That such studies are not the norm except in races like the forsaken and trolls. As most priests are followers of the Light, that only think of Shadow magic as something they fight; and never ever use.

    So if anyone is playing a priest, of a Light devout race. They’re gonna have to explain why they went down the dark path. That its not something they should be open about for the most part. And for those apart of or around races, who lean more on the extremist side in their views of practitioners of the dark arts; have a much rougher ride. And possibly have to worry about being killed, as warlocks would amongst the more extreme of the bunch.

  9. “And I love to discuss such a topic, in private with you. ;)”

    If you know what he means. Hah!

  10. I think a Draenei would have an easier time accepting a DeathKnight of any other race than his/her own.

    They saw their own people, likely their own friends and family, transformed into the Manari Eredar. And even though that was 25,00 years ago, they’ve been pursued by the Manari ever since. Horrible as it would be to be forever chased by demons, it must be even worse to wonder if the demon coming at you might once have been your friend, your brother, your lover.

    That sort of atavistic horror of changes in their own race is what we see in their reactions to the Broken. Some of them are able to see past the physical changes and understand that the Broken didn’t choose to turn away from the Light — although you meet some Broken in Outland who completely lost their way.

    So a Draenei’s initial reaction to a Draenei DK would be horror at the changes in the physical presence. Eventually the more thoughtful of them could come to accept that when the DKs were able to choose, they chose to try to return to the Light.

    Choices are a key, i think. The Draenei long ago chose not to accept the demon bargain, and their lives ever since have been defined by that choice. That the DKs chose to reject corruption will eventually count fairly heavily in their favour.

  11. @ Sagaril

    What is that suppose to mean?

    @ Samanda

    Because the draenei are such heavy worshipers of the Light. On the one hand, they can be very compassionate but on the other, can absolutely hate abominations of the Light such as the Broken, Lost Ones, demons and the undead.

    So how they react to death knights, vary. But generally speaking, its doubtful they be accepted for now. As the draenei are still trying to get used to the Broken after all. So I say, once the Broken have been fully accepted by the draenei then the death knights will have a shot at some level of acceptance. Until then, they are looked at in the same light as the forsaken for the most part.

  12. To all of you saying that the deathknights would not be accepted; the deathknights you can pick as class where actually killed defending their people and then resurrected for the lich king. As such they sacrificed themselves so taht the rest of them could live. I dont believe that the draenei would shun tehm for such an act of selflessness

    (Please excuse my spelling)

  13. Don’t mind me, Alex. Just a horrible joke, as is my forte.

  14. @ Adam

    While, most death knights were noble heroes turned into such after death. Not all were, and unless someone knew a death knight personally when they were living, most would not know just why they became a death knight. Plus, then there are the Broken. Who were draenei who stayed behind to buy the others time, but were warped by the fel energies in the proceeding battle. And despite their noble sacrifice, even they are only accepted primarily by Velen and the most noblest of draenei.

    So while yes, most death knights should be treated well as their condition is not their fault like with the Broken and forsaken. The stigma of undeath, will always be with them. And to the draenei, that stigma is even stronger. So its hard to say, if they ever be truly accepted. But as I said before, if the Broken ever became fully accepted then that is when the death knights have hope of the same treatment.

    @ Sagaril

    Oh, I knew it was a joke. I guess I shouldn’t of added that wink. As it’s amazing what the addition of a wink to something, can do to the message it gives lol.

  15. “They are the ‘learned men’ of draenei society [...] If the mage are the learned men of draenei society, then the priests are the wise men.”

    The Draenei are not organized in a patriarchy, or are they? Seeing that at least most mage and priest player characters are actually female, why do you speak of ‘men’?

  16. Purely colloquially. There’s no evidence that the draenei are a patriarchy.

  17. I’m not sure about your description of the relationship between Tauren and Draenei.

    I think they already trust each other, even though they know they are still knowing each other.

    To a normal Draenei, Taurens might be at about the same level as the Broken; they are not bad, they must be respected, but they are not warmly welcome to the family dinner. I think it’s probably the Horde race they have more relations in the present, going as far as to sometimes regard other shamans as fairly not-unfriendly – even if there are Orcs and Trolls in the Earthen Ring, Taurens are probably the only ones that Draenei regard with some respect.

    Draenei society as a whole learns really really fast. Even if they live for very long, they have learned to learn fast, unlike, I think, Night Elves. So it seems to me that they would have a notion of what to expect about Taurens, even when it hasn’t been proved to them that Tauren are as honorable as they preach to be. Expectant respect, you could call it.

  18. @ edo

    First, I would not compare the tauren and Broken. The Broken (and Lost Ones) are as close as one gets to how undead & demons be treated without actually being demons & undead. As with their bodies corrupted and twisted by Fel energy, them unable to access the Light and some of their dark practices. The draenei and other races would not look to them in a good light, and that goes double for the Lost Ones.

    So as a result, the draenei as a whole does not care much for if not hate the Broken & Lost Ones. And only the most noblest of them like Velen, show them compassion. Course that only apply to the Broken and not the Lost Ones, who have gone so far off the deep end that they practice the dark arts.

    Second, while yes the draenei should trust and like the tauren much. The problem is a lack of knowledge of tauren, as Sean expressed. So before any head way can be made between the two races relations, much will have to be learned by both sides of each other.

    And ultimately, what will help this process will be hunting and shamanism. With hunting connecting them on a basic level and shamanism connecting them on a deeper spiritual level. As just imagine draenei and tauren sharing their philosophies, techniques and love of those two things. And with tauren being able to act as teachers when it comes to shamanism and even hunting to some extent, the draenei would be even more humbled by the noble tauren.

  19. In regards to shadow priests.

    Is it possible that they view Fel-shadow (demon/warlock/burning legion-y shadow) and Priest-Shadow as different? Shadow has to exist in order to balance Light, as a sort of yin/yang of things.. but it’s possible that they see a priest’s shadow differently.

    Like, for example, a warlock curses their enemies, throwing shadow wherever they feel like it. A priest, on the other hand, could ‘suck’ the light from their enemies. Enemies of the light have no reason to have any!

    I’m not entirely sure they think of it as Shadow = Bad, Light = Good. I’d think it’s more of Fel/Demons = Bad, Light = Good, Shadow keeps Light in check. If there was no shade then Azeroth would not be livable; we would all boil.

  20. I know my question might be a bit strange, but I still have to ask it as it is something I’ve been curious about for some time.

    What would the draenei view be on the different mage specialisations?

    Somehow I constantly get the impression that the arcane spec is the purest one.
    Would there be such a thing as a preferred hierarchy in the arts of magic for draenei magi?

    My issue with this could be the result of people constantly trying to force me to play arcane while i’ve always been in love with fire – have therefore become to regard myself as a slightly stubborn rebel when it came to my choice.

    But it keeps nagging at me that this idea of a hierarchy may have no basis roleplay wise, so here I am to ask you fine folk what you think…

    *waits impatiently*

    Learned draenei WOMAN mage…


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