I’ve read fantasy novels by several authors, and there seems to be an accepted standard across the races, from elves to humans to orcs and dwarves.
Elves, by and large, in all the books, are nature loving, long-lived if not immortal creatures. You will never find an ugly elf. They are adept with bows, feel superior to other races, and either abhor magic or embrace only the “good” magic. Elves who practice evil or black magic are known as drow or dark elves and are expelled from elven society.
Humans…well, we’re considered hot-headed, lively, and dangerous.
Dwarfs live in or around mountains. They love gems and precious metals. The only difference I’ve come across is in one series, dwarves love to stay close to home, and in another, they love to wander. Both male and female dwarves have beards. The axe seems to be their weapon of choice.
Orcs…came from elves, or in one series, sea-faring creatures who will stick with a bargain only as long as it suits them. They can be evil creatures.
Gnomes…I’ve only stumbled across references to them in a couple of books. In one, they love to invent but hardly ever invent anything worthwhile. They are the Rube Goldbergs of the fantasy universe. Another book was rather cute, made out to be a study of gnomes. I forget the name of it.
Does anyone know how various authors across time came to agree on the standards for the races? We’re talking about imaginary creatures here, so I suppose someone could write a book about crabbed, tiny elves and stunning dwarves who are adept with bows. I’m just curious to know how such an agreement developed. Can we thank D&D for setting the standards, or Tolkein?