And what's the point? If elves can become fat why humans cannot grow naturally pointy eared? That's actually the same thing. Or why elf cannot grow horns, fat is not the only thing that is prohibited for them. Elven weight restriction is actually the same definitive trait as the daevah third eye or jayan horns. Well, actually let's discuss elven horns, because our discussion about body weight might be uncomfortable for someone.
Btw: In my personal opinion elves are not skinny nor fat, they are of "healthy" body type.
Elves already match human physiology in having body hair. Human racial groupings tend to vary how prevalent facial hair is, but all humans have some. Fat is used by all
creatures to store energy, so it is ubiquitous, as well.
Horns or a third eye are specific genetic markers that the game adds for the Jayan and Daevah. Suggesting any race could grow them based on my premises is equivalent to suggesting any race could grow wings, extra legs, or anything else. That would be far different than suggesting a race that already has body hair should be able to cultivate it like other races with body hair. Cutting your hair or shaving is far different than growing horns.
First of all, standard races are not limited to a single stereotype. They have some variety. Second, this is doubtfully reasonable. If a character want his elf to grow horns — may be he have to start from Jayan from the beginning. I he want him to be a "thousand of sea devils harrr" pirate — may be have to start from humans.
Most often ideas of "non-standard non human" comes from players who want to have nonhuman statline or from the ones who cannot invent something really unusual within race limits so they are "whoa, elf with a third eye an horns so unique!".
To clarify: I'm not considering Nephilim elves for this discussion, as they are humans with another race's soul. I consider Nephilim as humans that can sometimes exhibit physical traits of their 'soul race' due to their magical nature, but don't always. That gives a Jayan character extra height, but not always horns, while they never show the third eye. Nephilim Sylvain might exhibit pointed ears, but can also appear perfectly normal, and so have survived growing up in a human society that would otherwise hunt them.
When I suggest non-human races are limited to stereotypes, always slender elves is such a stereotype. Always short dwarves would not be, as that is a genetic specific trait, where level of body fat is based on how much a creature eats compared to how much it needs for survival energy. Dwarves tending to thick beards is a racial tendency for many games, but racial tendency is far different than a racial requirement. Dwarves could vary from their racial standard and have thin beards, or be bald, be taller or shorter than average, and still be a dwarf. Elves could vary from a standard of being a slender build to being stocky. Both could vary around a normal height, but many gamers limit them far more than most creatures are allowed to vary around their racial norms.
I'm not the fan of solipsism. I prefer peoples who use common meaning of words. Surely someone can call toad who transform to a prince after the kiss a werewolf. Just because he thinks that wolves and full moon are too mainstream. Same way the can say "April is a winter month".
You're debating with rather weak logic here. A werewolf is defined as someone who transforms from human into wolf forms, so suggesting allowing bearded elves is akin to saying a transformed frog/prince could be equally called a werewolf is foolish and does not relate as more than a ridiculous example.
Take the 'common' werewolf. Within traditional mythologies, a few examples of a werewolf are:
Someone who simply acts like an animal under the full moon
Someone who transforms from fully human to fully wolf only under a full moon
Someone who transforms from fully human to a human/wolf hybrid form only under the full moon
Someone who transforms by choice between a human, a hybrid human/wolf, and a fully wolf form only under the full moon
Those transformation can be concious, with full memory of what they do, or unconcious, with no memory of their worlf time.
Those transformations have been extended by games and movies to allow for concious changes not regulated, or only partially regulated, by the moon, or unconcious changes brought about by stress.
Who chooses what is the 'common' definition? Whichever one is currently more popular in media due to the latest blockbuster movie, or individual groups choosing what fits their game world? It would be rather difficult to have to change your gaming definition based on what new trends were in popular culture, so I'd recommend the later.
If you want to insist that the 'common' definition of a racial type is based on whatever popular culture thinks; thanks to anime and WoW, all elves have to have extremely long pointed ears rather than the shorter pointed ears many myths allow to make identifying someone as an elf difficult. Of course, WoW also allows some elven characters to have beards, and for elves to be buff, so you might have problems with that 'common' standard. As a side thought, if you include a wider audience to determine the 'common standard' for elves, they may all have to look like the Keebler elves making cookies.
I like Tolkien's elves, though I'm happy to pull out Celtic elves, and to allow for variation in body type, facial hair, level of fitness, etc, that any other creature can have around a societal norm. I noted my rationale for expecting most elves to work at being fit (as it would be a pit to live the various allowances of an extremely long to an immortal lifetime crippled due to not taking care of oneself).
The problem is that you are insisting players conform to your view of what is best for specific mythical races.
No, I'm insisting that players conform common view. Where elves have no horns.
With you choosing what is the common view based off of a limited range of what is the current expected view of an elf. Anima uses the anime standard of very long ears ears, and I don't mind using that in an anime based game, but even there I accept elves with varying body types as I've seen them in various anime I've seen through the years.
The idea of horns for elves is something I would not object to someone using for their gaming world, though it is not in any standard mythologies I have read for elves. I have seen anime characters that were not specifically defined by race with pointed ears and horns that looked quite nice, so it would be a gaming groups' decision. As I noted, if someone wants to add to the standard myths of elves, they are no worse than anime, or D&D, or Hollywood, or other game companies, or any other source, that decided to play things differently. I don't use horns on elves, but that is simply my choice based on the background material we use in our games.
What makes your view better than anyone else's? While there are more widespread views that have grown out of some books, games, and movies, those have never been the only views out there.
Because it operates on commonly accepted terms. And where there are some no commonly accepted point I clarify what is used.
That is better than to start the game and then to realise that suddenly your character have horns.
I agree fully that racial types need to be understood before players create their characters, though I don't see reason to limit what material people use as a basis for their racial types. I've had players decide not to play races when they found out how a game viewed those races. That's no different than allowing players to understand the cultures of the regions they want to be from, as some cultures might not appeal to them.
That's far different than suggesting every gaming group has to use your specific definition of a race to be playing properly, or that alternate views of what those races are must somehow be wrong simply because they do not draw on the same resources you are comfortable with.
I create elven societies that can have elvish pirates, warriors who work out to have a build to match their strength, foolish elves that suffer from centuries of drug use, aesetic elven monks, and fat foolish elves. Elvish metabolism is different than humans, but since any living creature can become overweight, drug addicted, heavily muscled, etc, I don't prevent elves from doing the same.
Key word is "the same". I see no point in elves same as humans.
Reread what I'm discussing as the 'same:' not body types, but choices. If elves can't choose to do the same things as humans, why would they be adventuring? Then reread my next point.
They might create the same range of types you might see amongst humans, but they do it for very different reasons, with a different cultural and individual background behind it.
If you ask me I think that if some player cannot play alien race without doing it the same stuff the humans do, I really doubt that he will bother making alien mindset first of all. And the words like "my reasons are very different from humans" are just an excuses.
That's my personal opinion based on years of rpg.
The reasons characters do things are an intrinsic part of what they are. Any adventuring party that includes non-humans is 'doing the same stuff humans do.' The differences in the characters is in why they are doing it, which is cultural far more than racial.
If you are playing two characters that are both humanoid, both warriors, both strong and agile to varying degrees, and both on a quest to save a princess and stop a war, the size of their ears or their beards is far less important than why they became warriors and why they are willing to risk themselves on such a quest.
An elf facing perhaps an eternal lifetime would have far different reasons for being willing to risk themselvers on a dangerous quest than a human who might be simply trying to win glory and reknown for their short life. 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,' has far less impact on someone facing even sixty years additional life lost than it would for someone facing centuries lost. To suggest the size of their ears makes more difference is rather foolish.