Originally Posted by Dez
Regarding Pathfinder elves:

The only thing I do not like about them is them being needlessly tall. :< The black eyes remind me of Waywatchers from Warhammer so I really liked that bit. c: As for the DoS elves - I kinda like them too! It was a unique take and while I did not find them very attractive, I did find them interesting and pretty awesome. c:

However, I agree that just adding a bit sharper features and tilted eyes is more than enough for the 5e (or in this case, BG3) eleves. No need to make them look completely alien to humans. :]

Originally Posted by Brainer
Gnomes obviously are a racial stereotype and not earth-aligned fey-kin rooted in alchemical lore. So are the dwarves, who certainly aren't an established species within the Norse mythos and are technically elves (alvar) and their typical traits come from that particular source...

Hmm, your post is not entirely correct as far as I've read/been taught (I am a huge enthusiast for fantasy and literature, as well as a student of archaeology on university level).

Gnomes do exist in norse mytholgy but the original "gnome" was not a very nice creature. They were tiny, grumpy forest folk that took care of cattle and other farm animals - as long as you treated them well by leaving them some cooked meals and blankets. Failing to treat the gnome well or even disrespecting them in any way would result in sick animals and bad harvests.

Dwarves existed as well. They were said to live underground and from most of what I've read they were supposed to be dark skinned in grey tones (like darker Duergar basically). They were excellent smiths and craftsmen in general. In fact, in norse mythology, Mjollnir (the hammer of Thor) was crafted by a dwarf in Valhalla - and so was Gungnir (the spear of Oden) along with a bunch of other legendary items. While dwarves do share some common traits with the norse mythology elves (like being called "svartalfer" which roughly translates to "black elves"), elves as described in norse mythology was more about supernatural magic and being demi-gods, while dwarves were associated with craftsmanship. As far as I can remember, dwarves generally had a better relationship with humans as elves were often indifferent or more likely to make humans ill than befriend them.

Unfortunately, the pre-Christian era of Scandinavia is very ill documented as its people did not pass down their teachings through literature and texts, but rather "mouth-to-mouth". Most of the existing documentation of norse mythology comes from the Christian people's observations/notes, and they were not very interested in the nordic culture (and I mean, they didn't really have any reason to actively attempt to document it correctly at the time). Hence, there are huge gaps in our knowledge regarding norse mythology. A lot of it is just assumptions that might be proven incorrect by tomorrow once new evidence is found.

But alas! A lot of creative people have taken a look at the "evidence" that we have access to and let their own ideas do the rest. c: Many of the results came to fit very well into the concept that we know as "fantasy" and story telling! That in itself is awesome, imo! :]
On point regarding the gnomes - I tend to resort to the Paracelsus description of them from where their alchemical/magical talent and curiosity as traits are often borrowed. I guess Pathfinder makes them more like the Norse prototype, then. Thank you for an enlightening post.