Iconic Evolution: Merisiel

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

STAB! That's a rogue for you, am I right? Sneaking up on unsuspecting victims and picking their pockets or poking holes in them is what they do. Just be glad today's special sneak attack was just a new Iconic Evolution video! In this weekly video series, artist Wayne Reynolds takes Paizo's publisher and chief creative officer, Erik Mona, through his creative process in updating Pathfinder's iconic characters for the game's Second Edition, coming out this August. Check out this short video of their conversation for a glimpse into the mind of Pathfinder's most iconic visual artist and the first official look at the new version of Merisiel, the iconic elf rogue!

Artist's rendering of a thin elf female with long white hair and dark eyes.

Each week, we'll take a look at a different updated iconic with Erik and Wayne, so stay tuned.

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

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Tags: Iconic Evolutions Iconics Merisiel Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Rogues Wayne Reynolds
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James Jacobs wrote:
Elves grow up/mature as quickly as humans, but then they slow down a lot. You can still play a 100 year old elf who, biologically, is akin to a 20 year old human, more or less, and it's that sort of elf who is a Forlorn elf if they grew up among humans or other races that grow old and die much more quickly.

But why would an elf who'd grown up among humans abide by the elves cultural expectations and not start adventuring in her 20s?

Contributing Artist

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Rysky wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Regarding eyes, this seems like a good time to verify for second edition. Are they entirely single color, or are they just incredibly large corneas with a bit of normal-white Sclera?
I believe it's the latter.

Yep, that's correct!

Elven eyes only have an iris and sclera (No visible pupil). The eye is predominantly one colour, except that the iris is a darker shade than the sclera.


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I find the bug-eyed alien elves disconcerting. So I approve.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Elves grow up/mature as quickly as humans, but then they slow down a lot. You can still play a 100 year old elf who, biologically, is akin to a 20 year old human, more or less, and it's that sort of elf who is a Forlorn elf if they grew up among humans or other races that grow old and die much more quickly.
But why would an elf who'd grown up among humans abide by the elves cultural expectations and not start adventuring in her 20s?

I think they do, but they do it out of teenage drives even after all the people they knew when they started adventuring are at best decrepit elders.

Note also that elves cultural expectations are that you are a teenager as early as a human one. But it lasts far longer, which is the actual truth BTW

Grand Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
Elves grow up/mature as quickly as humans, but then they slow down a lot. You can still play a 100 year old elf who, biologically, is akin to a 20 year old human, more or less, and it's that sort of elf who is a Forlorn elf if they grew up among humans or other races that grow old and die much more quickly.

If they grow up/reach maturity as quickly as humans, wouldn't they be able to understand "life and death" the same way a human does?

The whole Forlorn idea to me was that Elves weren't capable of understanding the idea of other people growing old and they staying as a child for so many years, because they wouldn't understand it anyway, they wouldn't be mature enough for that. It's like trying to explain to a child why someone dear to them passed away. They'll mourn and miss the person, but not the same way an adult would do.


Leafar Cathal wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Elves grow up/mature as quickly as humans, but then they slow down a lot. You can still play a 100 year old elf who, biologically, is akin to a 20 year old human, more or less, and it's that sort of elf who is a Forlorn elf if they grew up among humans or other races that grow old and die much more quickly.

If they grow up/reach maturity as quickly as humans, wouldn't they be able to understand "life and death" the same way a human does?

The whole Forlorn idea to me was that Elves weren't capable of understanding the idea of other people growing old and they staying as a child for so many years, because they wouldn't understand it anyway, they wouldn't be mature enough for that. It's like trying to explain to a child why someone dear to them passed away. They'll mourn and miss the person, but not the same way an adult would do.

That was my take on it as well. Combined with the trauma of even before death all your friends growing up and old while you basically stay the same. You'd never really have any age peers for more than a year or so - a blink of an eye to you.

Seems to me that any elf who lived and made friends among mayflies for long would get some of the Forlorn effect, whether they did it as a "teen" or later in life.


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I now want to run an adventure where the PCs are hired to bring home a lost elven child.
Who turns out to be a happily married, no-nonsense businesswoman in her 40s with a couple of half-elven kids with no interest in being dragged to an elven kingdom to be adopted and treated as a child for the next 50 years. :)

Or a runaway "teen" who's a hardened adventurer several levels higher than the PCs.

Grand Lodge

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thejeff wrote:

I now want to run an adventure where the PCs are hired to bring home a lost elven child.

Who turns out to be a happily married, no-nonsense businesswoman in her 40s with a couple of half-elven kids with no interest in being dragged to an elven kingdom to be adopted and treated as a child for the next 50 years. :)

Or a runaway "teen" who's a hardened adventurer several levels higher than the PCs.

I agree. If Elves mature as quickly as humans, Forlorn makes no sense to me, since nothing will stop them adventuring in their 20's.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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thejeff wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Elves grow up/mature as quickly as humans, but then they slow down a lot. You can still play a 100 year old elf who, biologically, is akin to a 20 year old human, more or less, and it's that sort of elf who is a Forlorn elf if they grew up among humans or other races that grow old and die much more quickly.
But why would an elf who'd grown up among humans abide by the elves cultural expectations and not start adventuring in her 20s?

Because every elf's different and gets to make her own decisions.

And some do... but until they begin play as a PC, they don't start gaining experience points. If that's a disconnect to you, there's PLENTY of other options other than Forlorn for an elf background or option.

Shadow Lodge

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Leafar Cathal wrote:
I agree. If Elves mature as quickly as humans, Forlorn makes no sense to me, since nothing will stop them adventuring in their 20's.

Forlorn is just the melancholy an elf gains by watching everyone she cares about grow old and die while she stays the same (over and over with new loved ones), nothing more.

It doesn't really have anything to do with adventuring. An elf that starts adventuring in her 20s wouldn't start becoming Forlorn until her adventuring companions have all finished living their lives. An elf who grew up among elves wouldn't call such a person Forlorn, they'd still consider her a child.


James Jacobs wrote:
thejeff wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Elves grow up/mature as quickly as humans, but then they slow down a lot. You can still play a 100 year old elf who, biologically, is akin to a 20 year old human, more or less, and it's that sort of elf who is a Forlorn elf if they grew up among humans or other races that grow old and die much more quickly.
But why would an elf who'd grown up among humans abide by the elves cultural expectations and not start adventuring in her 20s?
Because every elf's different and gets to make her own decisions.

Okay. Obviously some might turn to adventuring later in life - like Ezren did even as a human. There would be little reason for them to abide by the elven cultural expectation though.

If they didn't adventure, they'd likely need to do something else - a mundane job or whatever. Unlikely an apparently physically and mentally mature elf would be supported for another 70 years or so - outside of elven culture where that would culturally enforced.
It's not really about "gets to make her own decisions", it's about "is physically mature and considered so culturally and is thus expected to take care of herself."

It does seem like the expectation for starting age has changed from 110+training time in PF1.


This art is very nice, but I prefered the old rapier. It had an unusual hilt that was a good protection for the hand and a form that was never seen before, it was perfect for an elven weapon.

The new rapier's hilt looks like it comes from a bad swashbucklet movie like, you know, this horrible thing called Three Musketeers. That is not really original and way too human-made ...

And why did you change the eyes ?? It fitted so much the alien-thema elves ...


Serum wrote:
Leafar Cathal wrote:
I agree. If Elves mature as quickly as humans, Forlorn makes no sense to me, since nothing will stop them adventuring in their 20's.

Forlorn is just the melancholy an elf gains by watching everyone she cares about grow old and die while she stays the same (over and over with new loved ones), nothing more.

It doesn't really have anything to do with adventuring. An elf that starts adventuring in her 20s wouldn't start becoming Forlorn until her adventuring companions have all finished living their lives. An elf who grew up among elves wouldn't call such a person Forlorn, they'd still consider her a child.

But that divorces it from being raised among humans. An elf that grew up among elves and then went out adventuring and made close friends and watched them age and die would become just as Forlorn. Or one that lived in a human town for a few human generations even without adventuring.

Shadow Lodge

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thejeff wrote:

But that divorces it from being raised among humans. An elf that grew up among elves and then went out adventuring and made close friends and watched them age and die would become just as Forlorn. Or one that lived in a human town for a few human generations even without adventuring.

What's wrong with that?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thejeff wrote:

I now want to run an adventure where the PCs are hired to bring home a lost elven child.

Who turns out to be a happily married, no-nonsense businesswoman in her 40s with a couple of half-elven kids with no interest in being dragged to an elven kingdom to be adopted and treated as a child for the next 50 years. :)

Or a runaway "teen" who's a hardened adventurer several levels higher than the PCs.

Even in her 40s, she is still emotionaly a teen. So "non-nonsense" seems rather unrealistic to me for an elf in such a tender age.


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thejeff wrote:
It does seem like the expectation for starting age has changed from 110+training time in PF1.

I'm fairly certain from the playtest rules and from Twitch streams, that they are changing the starting age of Elves to 20.

Not sure how Forlorn was dealt with in the past, but my understanding of it now isn't an age or maturity thing, but something that can happen to any Elf at any age that has contact with those outside of the Elven race, or outside of 'traditional elf society'

PF1
"Having lived outside of traditional elf society for much or all of your life, you know the world can be cruel, dangerous, and unforgiving of the weak"

PF2
"Watching your friends age and die fills you with moroseness that girds you against harmful emotions"

Additionally it's a trait that you can take at any level in PF1, and it looks like in PF2 you can take it at Level 1 or at level 5, 9, 13, or 17 as additional Ancestry feats.


Kaelizar wrote:
thejeff wrote:
It does seem like the expectation for starting age has changed from 110+training time in PF1.

I'm fairly certain from the playtest rules and from Twitch streams, that they are changing the starting age of Elves to 20.

Not sure how Forlorn was dealt with in the past, but my understanding of it now isn't an age or maturity thing, but something that can happen to any Elf at any age that has contact with those outside of the Elven race, or outside of 'traditional elf society'

PF1
"Having lived outside of traditional elf society for much or all of your life, you know the world can be cruel, dangerous, and unforgiving of the weak"

PF2
"Watching your friends age and die fills you with moroseness that girds you against harmful emotions"

Additionally it's a trait that you can take at any level in PF1, and it looks like in PF2 you can take it at Level 1 or at level 5, 9, 13, or 17 as additional Ancestry feats.

Yeah, the traits do phrase it more generically. There was fluff I believe that talked about "The Forlorn" as specifically those raised outside of elven society and that was reinforced by Merisiel's backstory:

Quote:
The elves have a name for elven children unfortunate enough to be born and raised in human society—the Forlorn. In a few rare cases, these foundlings or orphaned elves find loving homes with humans, although the fact that, over the course of their childhood, one-time playmates become their effective guardians and foster parents results in a strangely skewed sense of the self. Most Forlorn aren't as fortunate—they live on the streets as almost eternal urchins, watching alone as their companions age and move on to greater things.

Note that even that describes the extended childhood that apparently no longer exists.


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The Raven Black wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I now want to run an adventure where the PCs are hired to bring home a lost elven child.

Who turns out to be a happily married, no-nonsense businesswoman in her 40s with a couple of half-elven kids with no interest in being dragged to an elven kingdom to be adopted and treated as a child for the next 50 years. :)

Or a runaway "teen" who's a hardened adventurer several levels higher than the PCs.

Even in her 40s, she is still emotionaly a teen. So "non-nonsense" seems rather unrealistic to me for an elf in such a tender age.

If that's how they actually are, I suppose. It's not clear to me.

The playtest rules quote is "Elves typically reach physical adulthood around the age of 20 (though they’re considered by other elves to be fully emotionally mature at close to the end of their first century)" which isn't clear. Are the other elves correct that they're not "fully emotionally mature" or are those just cultural reasons for treating "young" elves that way?

Regardless, you can see similar things in human teens who have to fend for themselves, though it often causes them problems later in life, and an elf growing up in a human town without elven parents to keep them sheltered for decades will almost certainly follow the cultural expectations they've grown up with and go ahead with life decisions shockingly early by elven cultural standards.

Mostly though I just like the idea of hitting PCs with the assumption clash of "We need to rescue this poor kid... What?"


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PMárk wrote:
Also, I always liked the "busy-ness" of Reynolds' artworks, but these new ones are a bit too "streamlined and a bit too, I dunno, bright.

Same here. My guess is that's to make things easier for other artists who have to draw these characters.

thejeff wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
To me that reads as "elves spend 80 years as teenagers" and suddenly I understand why adult elves are renouned for their patience. :P
Also makes me wonder why most new elven adventurers aren't "teenagers" rebelling about being made to sit around like children for decades.

I always hated the idea of elves spending decades in diapers. It was just too silly. This is a welcome change, or clarification. I think now we will see more teenage elven characters now that there isn't an age chart saying elves start out around 100, which was a holdover from old D&D ideas. New players who don't have that old chart in their head will almost certainly have their elf characters start younger.

Elves really did need a lot of work. There's a lot of Early Installment Weirdness that crept in to the early books for them, causing all sorts of confusion. Like, do elves sleep? Do they mature incredibly slowly? Are they normally CG freedom lovers, or tradition-bound condescending xenophobic jerkbags? There's material supporting both sides of each question. I think the official answers are now: Yes they sleep. No they mature at roughly the same rate as humans (maybe slightly slower, but not decades long childhoods) and it's just that their culture considers them non-adults until later. And that they're supposed to be mostly CG (this one will need the most work considering how much material leans heavily on the racist jerk-elves tropes).


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
thejeff wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
To me that reads as "elves spend 80 years as teenagers" and suddenly I understand why adult elves are renouned for their patience. :P
Also makes me wonder why most new elven adventurers aren't "teenagers" rebelling about being made to sit around like children for decades.

I always hated the idea of elves spending decades in diapers. It was just too silly. This is a welcome change, or clarification. I think now we will see more teenage elven characters now that there isn't an age chart saying elves start out around 100, which was a holdover from old D&D ideas. New players who don't have that old chart in their head will almost certainly have their elf characters start younger.

Elves really did need a lot of work. There's a lot of Early Installment Weirdness that crept in to the early books for them, causing all sorts of confusion. Like, do elves sleep? Do they mature incredibly slowly? Are they normally CG freedom lovers, or tradition-bound condescending xenophobic jerkbags? There's material supporting both sides of each question. I think the official answers are now: Yes they sleep. No they mature at roughly the same rate as humans (maybe slightly slower, but not decades long childhoods) and it's just that their culture considers them non-adults until later. And that they're supposed to be mostly CG (this one will need the most work considering how much material leans heavily on the racist jerk-elves tropes).

I suspect that's what'll happen too. In some ways it makes more sense. In others: I kind of dislike the losing the base assumption that even starting PC elves are ancient by human standards. I know you can still start with an older character, but it'll be much less common.

And I honestly find the "decades in diapers" idea less silly than "they're basically adult at 20, but the other elves make them do nothing for nearly a century before even training for a career". That way it's at least biology and can't just be handwaved away by the perfectly competent 25 year old elves from outside the elven society.
What do elves do for those 80 years? What's elven extended adolescence like?


I definitely dislike this art. Actually I'm very concerned on overall new style of art for PF2. Sorry to say that but it's not good and this picture of iconic here is very good example why it's not good.

Shadow Lodge

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thejeff wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I now want to run an adventure where the PCs are hired to bring home a lost elven child.

Who turns out to be a happily married, no-nonsense businesswoman in her 40s with a couple of half-elven kids with no interest in being dragged to an elven kingdom to be adopted and treated as a child for the next 50 years. :)

Or a runaway "teen" who's a hardened adventurer several levels higher than the PCs.

Even in her 40s, she is still emotionaly a teen. So "non-nonsense" seems rather unrealistic to me for an elf in such a tender age.

If that's how they actually are, I suppose. It's not clear to me.

The playtest rules quote is "Elves typically reach physical adulthood around the age of 20 (though they’re considered by other elves to be fully emotionally mature at close to the end of their first century)" which isn't clear. Are the other elves correct that they're not "fully emotionally mature" or are those just cultural reasons for treating "young" elves that way?

Perhaps elves don't view human 20 year olds as emotionally mature either.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I find the bug-eyed alien elves disconcerting. So I approve.

Indeed, the over-sized black eyes and tapered (cone?) skull shape really bring that out.

I did have a question: AFAIK Merisiel's forehead has always been some jeweled decoration of some sort,
but I realized I couldn't tell from the new art whether it is actually a third eye set in forehead.
IMHO Elves having 3 eyes would radically drive home their insectoid-alien nature, almost more than other changes.
Obviously that would be a ret-con, but I don't believe Paizo is allergic to those, and after all,
there is a history of Wayne's art informing game-world lore (casting phenomena of "floating runes"). :-)
Maybe all those forehead decorations WERE really third eyes all along? I do think that would be good direction to go.


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Serum wrote:
thejeff wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I now want to run an adventure where the PCs are hired to bring home a lost elven child.

Who turns out to be a happily married, no-nonsense businesswoman in her 40s with a couple of half-elven kids with no interest in being dragged to an elven kingdom to be adopted and treated as a child for the next 50 years. :)

Or a runaway "teen" who's a hardened adventurer several levels higher than the PCs.

Even in her 40s, she is still emotionaly a teen. So "non-nonsense" seems rather unrealistic to me for an elf in such a tender age.

If that's how they actually are, I suppose. It's not clear to me.

The playtest rules quote is "Elves typically reach physical adulthood around the age of 20 (though they’re considered by other elves to be fully emotionally mature at close to the end of their first century)" which isn't clear. Are the other elves correct that they're not "fully emotionally mature" or are those just cultural reasons for treating "young" elves that way?

Perhaps elves don't view human 20 year olds as emotionally mature either.

I mean, *I* don't think of humans as a emotionally mature at age 20, or at least know I wasn't, and I'm not even 30 yet. And the US government won't let you buy beer yet, even though you can join the army. And you can't run for president until 35. There's enough age locked stuff in our own culture for me to buy a much longer lived species not taking anyone under 100 especially seriously. Doesn't mean they can't get a job or whatever, it just means older folks don't take you seriously yet.

Quote:
I think the official answers are now: Yes they sleep. No they mature at roughly the same rate as humans (maybe slightly slower, but not decades long childhoods) and it's just that their culture considers them non-adults until later. And that they're supposed to be mostly CG (this one will need the most work considering how much material leans heavily on the racist jerk-elves tropes).

For the record, James Jacob confirmed much of this on his recent Elves vs Demon's stream. Well, the CG bit at least. The aging thing


^ I was always inclined to view them as CN societally more than CG, but I'm not stressed on difference, either seems fine for soceital norm where Evil is expressed differently than elsewhere. But "Winter Council was only 3 years" seems bizarre given Elven life spans, even if perhaps the apex of events was during 3 specific years. I think the opportunity should be taken to more deeply assess society and ecology to coherently account for all events and history.

If Elven society is largely self supporting and doesn't have latent need to be filled by outsiders, outsiders aren't going to just en masse integrate within it's culture and that isn't going to be "hot topic" requiring "racist xenophobia" to sustain. Doesn't mean they never deal with non-Elves, they have city dedicated to that purpose, and why shouldn't that be sufficient? Why couldn't that situation in fact be ideal or preferable for non-Elves, facing society whose status progressions happen over century time spans and which assumes knowledge of century long social dynamics? If an Elven poet performance might last over 100 years, how can they honestly behave as if that culture is open to non-Elves on equal basis? Doesn't mean xenophobia or racism, just different perspectives. Being CG societally, I imagine there should be CG exemplar acts which humans etc don't generally or fully understand. Herding them back to "human comfortable norm CG" seems opposite of alien emphasis trend.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Serum wrote:
thejeff wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I now want to run an adventure where the PCs are hired to bring home a lost elven child.

Who turns out to be a happily married, no-nonsense businesswoman in her 40s with a couple of half-elven kids with no interest in being dragged to an elven kingdom to be adopted and treated as a child for the next 50 years. :)

Or a runaway "teen" who's a hardened adventurer several levels higher than the PCs.

Even in her 40s, she is still emotionaly a teen. So "non-nonsense" seems rather unrealistic to me for an elf in such a tender age.

If that's how they actually are, I suppose. It's not clear to me.

The playtest rules quote is "Elves typically reach physical adulthood around the age of 20 (though they’re considered by other elves to be fully emotionally mature at close to the end of their first century)" which isn't clear. Are the other elves correct that they're not "fully emotionally mature" or are those just cultural reasons for treating "young" elves that way?

Perhaps elves don't view human 20 year olds as emotionally mature either.
I mean, *I* don't think of humans as a emotionally mature at age 20, or at least know I wasn't, and I'm not even 30 yet. And the US government won't let you buy beer yet, even though you can join the army. And you can't run for president until 35. There's enough age locked stuff in our own culture for me to buy a much longer lived species not taking anyone under 100 especially seriously. Doesn't mean they can't get a job or whatever, it just means older folks don't take you seriously yet.

Except for the elves, it seems to mean much more. In modern America we transition into adulthood, gaining various rights and responsibilities from roughly 16 to 21. In earlier societies more on a par with Golarion's level of development those ages tended to be significantly lower. Even today, by 20 you're expected to be either working independently or deep in training to do so. Well before then you can start working, join the army, etc.

Maybe I'm misreading the intent here and those elves are treated as young adults with all the rights and responsibilities except the high leadership roles that are the equivalent of our "must be 35 to run for President". In that case, I would expect most starting elven PCs to be in their early twenties, even from elven cultures with the support of those cultures. (Obviously some might start later, like some humans might start in their 30s or 40s, but that's not the common approach for either.)


James Jacobs wrote:
thejeff wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Elves grow up/mature as quickly as humans, but then they slow down a lot. You can still play a 100 year old elf who, biologically, is akin to a 20 year old human, more or less, and it's that sort of elf who is a Forlorn elf if they grew up among humans or other races that grow old and die much more quickly.
But why would an elf who'd grown up among humans abide by the elves cultural expectations and not start adventuring in her 20s?

Because every elf's different and gets to make her own decisions.

And some do... but until they begin play as a PC, they don't start gaining experience points. If that's a disconnect to you, there's PLENTY of other options other than Forlorn for an elf background or option.

Since I didn't see this addition at first: Obviously some can start later - as is true of any race. And starting later in life doesn't give any extra xp or other benefits. (Which has some realism issues, but ones I'm happy to handwave away.)

I'm just trying to get a feel for what the intent is here and may be relying too much on PF1 assumptions. Then the baseline starting age for an elf, regardless of background was, IIRC, 110+training time for the class. Now, I'm not sure whether to read it as around 100 regardless or differing by upbringing: around 100 if raised by elves and around 20 if raised outside.
Merisiel being a Forlorn elf and apparently still starting around 100 makes me think the first is the intent, but that confuses me. If she's spent much of that time as a functional adult in some relatively secure thievery role before going off adventuring, that's cool. My understanding from her old backstory is that she'd been a child most of that time and was only now ready to make her own way.

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Serum wrote:
Perhaps elves don't view human 20 year olds as emotionally mature either.

I'm reminded of the Hollow Mountain comic, where Damiel calls out Merisiel for having a "child bride" due to her relationship with Kyra.


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thejeff wrote:
Except for the elves, it seems to mean much more. In modern America we transition into adulthood, gaining various rights and responsibilities from roughly 16 to 21.

Well, you still can't rent a car until 25, and they kick you off your parent's insurance at 26. And car insurance payments go down as you get older. So in various ways "adulthood" is treated as a sliding scale by the law and commerce. Dating, too. We have norms like "half your age plus 7" because we recognize a 40 year old can potentially prey on a 21 year old's inexperience.

Quote:
In earlier societies more on a par with Golarion's level of development those ages tended to be significantly lower.

Honestly not sure if elves are closer to those earlier societies, though. Modern society has a notably longer life expectancy than early societies, and elves have notable advances over Golarion humans in magic (portal networks) and science (ruins of their home planet of Castrovel).

Quote:
Even today, by 20 you're expected to be either working independently or deep in training to do so. Well before then you can start working, join the army, etc.

I guess I don't really see the contradiction here. I don't see why elves can't begin training for a career and/or working a job to help put food on the table... they just do that for longer than humans do. Feats like Ancestral Longevity kind of imply they try a bunch of different things before they settle into a particular path. 20 year olds are often college sophomores. Legally they are treated as adults, but culturally... we still think of them as dumb kids. Which is why most adults aren't excited when a frat house forms on their street. They probably also haven't picked a major yet, given Ancestral Longevity and such.

There's also some evidence that elves just don't mentally mature as fast as humans do. "Life has been hard for Merisiel, made more so by the fact that she's always found it difficult to master skills that come easily to her companions." Merisiel obviously got the hang of skils eventually, because she's a freaking rogue. But it took her longer to cement those skills.

Honestly, just picture them as people stuck as college sophomores for 80 years. Being treated as children longer is probably from a combination of fact and cultural bias. They do genuinely develop slower. But consider how much political power older folks have-- most national leaders are older and seniors are probably the most consistent voting block. Now imagine a society where the elderly don't lose their wits and physical prowess and just continue to accrue more power and expertise. Is it hard to believe that such a society wouldn't young people that seriously?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I find the bug-eyed alien elves disconcerting. So I approve.

Indeed, the over-sized black eyes and tapered (cone?) skull shape really bring that out.

I did have a question: AFAIK Merisiel's forehead has always been some jeweled decoration of some sort,
but I realized I couldn't tell from the new art whether it is actually a third eye set in forehead.
IMHO Elves having 3 eyes would radically drive home their insectoid-alien nature, almost more than other changes.
Obviously that would be a ret-con, but I don't believe Paizo is allergic to those, and after all,
there is a history of Wayne's art informing game-world lore (casting phenomena of "floating runes"). :-)
Maybe all those forehead decorations WERE really third eyes all along? I do think that would be good direction to go.

Merisiel's forehead jewel is just a jewel that Merisiel wears on her forehead. It's just a piece of removeable jewelry, not something that all elves have (just like Kyra's face tattoos are just so she's easily identified in art, not a thing all Qadirans have)


3Doubloons wrote:
Quandary wrote:

I did have a question: AFAIK Merisiel's forehead has always been some jeweled decoration of some sort,

but I realized I couldn't tell from the new art whether it is actually a third eye set in forehead.
IMHO Elves having 3 eyes would radically drive home their insectoid-alien nature, almost more than other changes.
Obviously that would be a ret-con, but I don't believe Paizo is allergic to those, and after all,
there is a history of Wayne's art informing game-world lore (casting phenomena of "floating runes"). :-)
Maybe all those forehead decorations WERE really third eyes all along? I do think that would be good direction to go.

Merisiel's forehead jewel is just a jewel that Merisiel wears on her forehead.

It's just a piece of removeable jewelry, not something that all elves have (just like Kyra's face tattoos are just so she's easily identified in art, not a thing all Qadirans have)

Sure,

I tried to adequately acknowledge that status quo in my post, but discussing a potential ret-con by definition means diverging from status quo.


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Serum wrote:
Perhaps elves don't view human 20 year olds as emotionally mature either.

Well... the elves wouldn't be wrong...


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Captain Morgan wrote:


There's also some evidence that elves just don't mentally mature as fast as humans do. "Life has been hard for Merisiel, made more so by the fact that she's always found it difficult to master skills that come easily to her companions." Merisiel obviously got the hang of skils eventually, because she's a freaking rogue. But it took her longer to cement those skills.

I'm not sure how much of that is supposed to be elf development, and how much is that in 3.5 she started kind of dim with an INT of 8. PF1 made her smarter: INT 10, but by that point the backstory was written. The Resonance test has her INT at 12 at 5th level, not sure if she started that way or used her level 5 increase for it. She seems to get smarter with each edition.

I'm not really sure mining early material for information in this regard is really all that helpful. Because the whole point is that some early info went one direction, and there is currently a desire to go the other. So yeah, you'll find examples of slow developing elves in PF1, because that was the assumption (at least one many writers had), especially in the early days. But they're changing direction now.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


There's also some evidence that elves just don't mentally mature as fast as humans do. "Life has been hard for Merisiel, made more so by the fact that she's always found it difficult to master skills that come easily to her companions." Merisiel obviously got the hang of skils eventually, because she's a freaking rogue. But it took her longer to cement those skills.

I'm not sure how much of that is supposed to be elf development, and how much is that in 3.5 she started kind of dim with an INT of 8. PF1 made her smarter: INT 10, but by that point the backstory was written. The Resonance test has her INT at 12 at 5th level, not sure if she started that way or used her level 5 increase for it. She seems to get smarter with each edition.

I'm not really sure mining early material for information in this regard is really all that helpful. Because the whole point is that some early info went one direction, and there is currently a desire to go the other. So yeah, you'll find examples of slow developing elves in PF1, because that was the assumption (at least one many writers had), especially in the early days. But they're changing direction now.

Agreed. It's pretty clear in Merisiel's original blog post back story that elves grew up slowly, but that says nothing about how it works in PF2. Since she dates to the very early days, I wouldn't be surprised if they've been moving away from it for awhile.

I'm just curious how that change affects her backstory and more how it affects the assumptions for PC elves.

Grand Lodge

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My problem is not moving on from what we had. I do find it silly that elves takes so much time to grow up, but it made sense with the whole Forlorn thing - the idea of seeing your friends grow up, marry, have children and die at the same time the elf is still a child, physically and emotionally. I'm just trying to understand if:

1) Elves at 20's are now adults, physically and emotionally (they weren't in 1e).

2) If they start adventuring later (90+ years), which is plausible, what do they do in their 70 years before adventuring? Do they try to learn new skills and takes longer than the other races? It just looks dumb for an elf to take years to learn how to swim, for example. If they take the same amount of time to learn new skills as the other races, it should be reflected in game statistics IMO.

3) If they're mature enough at 20's, it only makes sense to see them as children in the Elvish point-of-view. To other races, they're full grown up adults and not really different from their 110 years old counterparts.

I'm just trying to understand what's the tea with Elvish ages now and I apologize if my posts sounds sarcastic or something, it's not my intention.

Liberty's Edge

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Leafar Cathal wrote:
2) If they start adventuring later (90+ years), which is plausible, what do they do in their 70 years before adventuring? Do they try to learn new skills and takes longer than the other races? It just looks dumb for an elf to take years to learn how to swim, for example. If they take the same amount of time to learn new skills as the other races, it should be reflected in game statistics IMO.

There are two things about this:

#1: 90 year old humans aren't all 20th level and indeed, mechanically, have no more skills than 20 year old humans of the same level (and are often not any higher level, either). Age simply does not correlate strongly with power or number of skills in any version of Pathfinder. Why would it suddenly do so for elves?

#2: There's an Elf Ancestry Feat explicitly for having picked up a wide range of skills over your long life, if that's what you want to have done. Ancestral Longevity, the one that lets you pick one skill of your choice to be trained in each day as you remember half-forgotten stuff about using it once decades ago.

I believe your points 1 and 3 are substantially correct.


Since she is the only elven iconic to make it to 2.0 what is going to happen with Damiel and even our favorite magus?

Liberty's Edge

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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Since she is the only elven iconic to make it to 2.0 what is going to happen with Damiel and even our favorite magus?

Damiel is no longer an Iconic, they've said as much. Seltyiel (the Iconic Magus) is a Half Elf and always has been.

Shadow Lodge

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It could be as simple as, human culture allows someone to gain the rights and responsibilities of an adult when they turn 20, while elven culture dictates that these rights and responsibilities don't come until the person turns 30...which is 100 in human years.


This is off topic but since half breeds have come up and I started thinking about genetics (I know actual genetics don’t really matter much in fantasy and many sci-fi settings) but I guess I’ll ask and people with better setting lore may be able to answer. Since elves and orcs are apparently genetically similar enough to humans to have viable offspring what other half breeds have been in the fiction? Are there other medium humanoids that fit the bill? Are the small races compatible? I know dragons are able to breed with just about anything. I’m just curious.

Gnome-halflings (Gnomelings?) i think would be interesting.

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Raylyeh wrote:

This is off topic but since half breeds have come up and I started thinking about genetics (I know actual genetics don’t really matter much in fantasy and many sci-fi settings) but I guess I’ll ask and people with better setting lore may be able to answer. Since elves and orcs are apparently genetically similar enough to humans to have viable offspring what other half breeds have been in the fiction? Are there other medium humanoids that fit the bill? Are the small races compatible? I know dragons are able to breed with just about anything. I’m just curious.

Gnome-halflings (Gnomelings?) i think would be interesting.

Way back in Classic Monsters Revisited (i.e., so far back that I'm not sure if it still counts as canon), there was mention that orcs can breed with just about any humanoid other than elf, with the result always being a half-orc.

I don't think that stuff like a gnome/halfling hybrid is possible in Golarion canon, but doing something like that in the game itself would be very easy with the ancestry/heritage system. It could be as simple as putting a gnome heritage onto a halfling ancestry and allowing the PC to choose feats from either ancestry.

Liberty's Edge

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Raylyeh wrote:

This is off topic but since half breeds have come up and I started thinking about genetics (I know actual genetics don’t really matter much in fantasy and many sci-fi settings) but I guess I’ll ask and people with better setting lore may be able to answer. Since elves and orcs are apparently genetically similar enough to humans to have viable offspring what other half breeds have been in the fiction? Are there other medium humanoids that fit the bill? Are the small races compatible? I know dragons are able to breed with just about anything. I’m just curious.

Gnome-halflings (Gnomelings?) i think would be interesting.

To my knowledge, there are no official crossbreeds between different PC Races in PF1 except for Half Elf and Half Orc.

There are Dhampirs, which are part vampire, Half-Dragons as you mention, and also various Races and Templates showing descent from Outsiders of various sorts, Ogrekin (ie: Half Ogres...it's a template so Ogres can explcitly breed with any Medium Humanoid) but not much else in terms of crossbreeds where one half is not human (and even all of the above are most often part human).

There is a Human Feat that makes you descended distantly from any one species of your choice, though, so evidence favors it being Humans who have the ability to wind up related to most stuff rather than Elves and Orcs being special per se.


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thejeff wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Elves grow up/mature as quickly as humans, but then they slow down a lot. You can still play a 100 year old elf who, biologically, is akin to a 20 year old human, more or less, and it's that sort of elf who is a Forlorn elf if they grew up among humans or other races that grow old and die much more quickly.
But why would an elf who'd grown up among humans abide by the elves cultural expectations and not start adventuring in her 20s?

Probably because individuals do all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons.


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Serum wrote:
thejeff wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I now want to run an adventure where the PCs are hired to bring home a lost elven child.

Who turns out to be a happily married, no-nonsense businesswoman in her 40s with a couple of half-elven kids with no interest in being dragged to an elven kingdom to be adopted and treated as a child for the next 50 years. :)

Or a runaway "teen" who's a hardened adventurer several levels higher than the PCs.

Even in her 40s, she is still emotionaly a teen. So "non-nonsense" seems rather unrealistic to me for an elf in such a tender age.

If that's how they actually are, I suppose. It's not clear to me.

The playtest rules quote is "Elves typically reach physical adulthood around the age of 20 (though they’re considered by other elves to be fully emotionally mature at close to the end of their first century)" which isn't clear. Are the other elves correct that they're not "fully emotionally mature" or are those just cultural reasons for treating "young" elves that way?

Perhaps elves don't view human 20 year olds as emotionally mature either.

Maybe this is one of the key reasons so many elves go adventuring? If your Mom, Dad, and all the adults in your culture aren't going to treat you as an adult for several more decades, why wouldn't you leave home to spend time among the exciting short-lived races who do treat you as an adult?


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Quandary wrote:

I did have a question: AFAIK Merisiel's forehead has always been some jeweled decoration of some sort,

but I realized I couldn't tell from the new art whether it is actually a third eye set in forehead.
IMHO Elves having 3 eyes would radically drive home their insectoid-alien nature, almost more than other changes.
Obviously that would be a ret-con, but I don't believe Paizo is allergic to those, and after all,
there is a history of Wayne's art informing game-world lore (casting phenomena of "floating runes"). :-)
Maybe all those forehead decorations WERE really third eyes all along? I do think that would be good direction to go.

Hmmm, a triops ancestry for elves? Will it give Wes eggs-in-eyeballs nightmares?


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Serum wrote:
thejeff wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I now want to run an adventure where the PCs are hired to bring home a lost elven child.

Who turns out to be a happily married, no-nonsense businesswoman in her 40s with a couple of half-elven kids with no interest in being dragged to an elven kingdom to be adopted and treated as a child for the next 50 years. :)

Or a runaway "teen" who's a hardened adventurer several levels higher than the PCs.

Even in her 40s, she is still emotionaly a teen. So "non-nonsense" seems rather unrealistic to me for an elf in such a tender age.

If that's how they actually are, I suppose. It's not clear to me.

The playtest rules quote is "Elves typically reach physical adulthood around the age of 20 (though they’re considered by other elves to be fully emotionally mature at close to the end of their first century)" which isn't clear. Are the other elves correct that they're not "fully emotionally mature" or are those just cultural reasons for treating "young" elves that way?

Perhaps elves don't view human 20 year olds as emotionally mature either.
Maybe this is one of the key reasons so many elves go adventuring? If your Mom, Dad, and all the adults in your culture aren't going to treat you as an adult for several more decades, why wouldn't you leave home to spend time among the exciting short-lived races who do treat you as an adult?

Makes sense to me, but means that even many of the elven raised PCs would likely start young.


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I think giving a third eye on the forehead to elves would really be pushing it. I mean, sure, alien elves, yay, but let's not stray too far. There are dozens other ancestries even more alien than the core ones, let one of them have a third eye.

Just my preference, mind you. Also, ship -> sailed.

Iirc one reason elves go adventuring is also to discover new places and know new people. They pass decade upon decade in their birth community, when they're mature - and they feel ready - they go out in the world (at least some of them do, others never leave Kyonin, even less with Snowcasters or Ekujae...) and become "tourists".

Another factor I think no one has mentioned is that elves have no sense of urgency. Like at all. They also don't necessarily care about mastering a skill. Sure, it's desirable, but one could start a painting and never finish it. Then switch to some other enterprise... and again never complete it. And they can spend decades finding their vocations like this. They just don't care, they live 700 years. They play the long game.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


To my knowledge, there are no official crossbreeds between different PC Races in PF1 except for Half Elf and Half Orc.

There are Dhampirs, which are part vampire, Half-Dragons as you mention, and also various Races and Templates showing descent from Outsiders of various sorts, Ogrekin (ie: Half Ogres...it's a template so Ogres can explcitly breed with any Medium Humanoid) but not much else in terms of crossbreeds where one half is not human (and even all of the above are most often part human).

I have a feeling I read something somewhere to the effect that, except for the combinations given specific Bestiary entries, any combination of humanoids will give a Mongrelman, but I can't find a reference for it now.


Roswynn wrote:
I think giving a third eye on the forehead to elves would really be pushing it.

Joykill.

But if we are dropping the third eye, isn't it fair to also drop the eyebrows on remaining two eyes? ;-)

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