Non-human aging thread


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Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

After checking back in on the Ultimate Campaign thread and seeing that Mr. Reynolds asked that this topic should be taken to another thread and not seeing one created yet I decided to start it and see what people think.

So for those coming into this topic for the first time apparently there is a bit of cognitive dissonance brewing after the release of Ultimate campaign and the reveal of base children ages within the pathfinder or at least the golarion universe with one of the biggest ones being that an elf doesn't start hitting biological adulthood till about age 55.

Now I know for me this doesn't bother me much at all, I feel like it adds flavor to the race and gives interesting routes for rp as well as helps play up the differences inherent between elves and most of the other races. In my mind it helps explain why most elven families and societies seem to always live so far apart from other races since forming normal relationships with non-elven races would be incredibly difficult considering that they have to realize that this friend, this wonderful amazing person they have befriended and would like to share their life with will very likely be dead by the time they have reached adulthood. To me it's like that moment when you are little and your first dog dies cranked up to 11 and that creates a really interesting societal and cultural dilemma that sounds like a very compelling narrative. I know for me it helps explain the aforementioned distance (it's easy to handle the loss of a friend if you never let yourself become too attached) and in my home games has even managed to create a unique right of passage for elves.

As for the biological aspect I've never found that to be much of an issue either, I mean we have plenty of animals that have lifespans that measure in extremes on both ends of the spectrum in comparison to our own and the trick is that they have either evolved around that lifespan or have evolved that lifespan around their lifestyle. To animals with long lifespans like whales or incredibly short lifespans like say a fly our growth rate probably looks just as odd. In other words I feel like the argument over an elves maturation time seeming absurdly long is probably about the same way flies would feel if they were to look at human life spans and compare it to their own aka "How the hell do those humans survive if they take 18 years to mature?! I mean I can't imagine being in diapers for over 24 hours."

So I've now said my piece lets hear what others think or just how they handle the age issue in their own games.


My problem with 55 year-old children is that elves are stated to have approximately the same cognitive abilities as humans. They are physically similar to us and only a little smarter. It strains suspension of disbelief to claim that elves mature 5 times slower.

The other problem comes from natural selection: If your children require 55 years to become self sufficient, your race would swiftly die out. Human children are basically useful at about age 3.

Finally: If it takes you 55 years to mature, that means you are slower at acquiring basic skills than humans. This means that either elven adults should be very stupid, or this means that their learning ability accelerates at age 55. We know that elves have +2 int, so they can't be stupid. Them suddenly becoming smarter also makes no sense since that would imply some sort of biological system that matures before the brain, and the elves have no freaky racial abilities that would necessitate 55 years of development.

In my own games, I just assume that elves mature just as fast as humans, but they spend a lot of time learning sword wielding and flower arrangement and stuff. Their society has little urgency and is stable enough that most elves don't go and become adventurers until later in life.


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Knight Magenta wrote:
The other problem comes from natural selection: If your children require 55 years to become self sufficient, your race would swiftly die out. Human children are basically useful at about age 3.

If elf 55 = human 18. Then human 3 = elf 9.1. Elves are "basically useful" by your definition around age 9.


I haven't given this issue a whole lot of thought, although I have read some interesting takes on it before. For me though, a 55 year childhood doesn't really seem like a big deal, but the next 55 years causes more cognitive dissonance.

Children are learning as they play, but children don't want to grow up and elven children don't. They can continue to play without picking up much that would drastically change their adult statistics.

Once they grow out of childhood though, they presumably begin learning actual, measurable skills. In most societies, they'd be in school, taking on an apprenticeship or otherwise helping out around the farm (for example). That they spend 5x as long in this phase without apparently gaining much over the equivalent human seems a bit odd. Not unresolvably so, but it does seem like something that needs some explaining, or at least some hand-waving.


What MagiMaster brings up is exactly the issue for me.
Although I suppose it could be partly addressed just by having Elves as a whole have more class levels than humans (etc), whether NPC or PC classes. So Elven society as a whole would be skewed to a higher CR, even though as a race they are equivalent.

Overall, I would just like to see this topic addressed more fully by Paizo. It really goes for any longlived race.
It's a major impact on the entire culture, so hand-waving it away seems like a waste.
The different long-lived races could very well have much different dynamics even with equal life-spans between them.
Things like racial/culture alignment (e.g. Chaoticness) could affect things, but there are long lived races of many alignments, and even the 'Chaotic' Elves have representatives who have taken on a predominantly Lawful culture (in Tian) so the explanation has to cover all those bases and not just depend on one.


It kind of gets weird given that elven PCs gain class levels at the same rate as their human comrades. At that rate I would expect many really high level elves to be out there, but I have yet to meet any. I've met one elf NPC who was three or four hundred years old, yet he was only level 8.

Liberty's Edge

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Lakesidefantasy wrote:
It kind of gets weird given that elven PCs gain class levels at the same rate as their human comrades. At that rate I would expect many really high level elves to be out there, but I have yet to meet any. I've met one elf NPC who was three or four hundred years old, yet he was only level 8.

I stopped asking this kind of questions about the world when my character in RotRL went from 1st-level to 10th-level in a matter of in-game months.

Also, this thread is very humanocentric. What about Goblins, Orcs, Kobolds, that age nearly twice as fast as humans ? Should they be depicted as incredibly smarter than humans ?

Or have we been slaughtering toddlers by the thousands all this time ?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Knight Magenta wrote:

My problem with 55 year-old children is that elves are stated to have approximately the same cognitive abilities as humans. They are physically similar to us and only a little smarter. It strains suspension of disbelief to claim that elves mature 5 times slower.

The other problem comes from natural selection: If your children require 55 years to become self sufficient, your race would swiftly die out. Human children are basically useful at about age 3.

Finally: If it takes you 55 years to mature, that means you are slower at acquiring basic skills than humans. This means that either elven adults should be very stupid, or this means that their learning ability accelerates at age 55. We know that elves have +2 int, so they can't be stupid. Them suddenly becoming smarter also makes no sense since that would imply some sort of biological system that matures before the brain, and the elves have no freaky racial abilities that would necessitate 55 years of development.

In my own games, I just assume that elves mature just as fast as humans, but they spend a lot of time learning sword wielding and flower arrangement and stuff. Their society has little urgency and is stable enough that most elves don't go and become adventurers until later in life.

I don't know I would argue that humans aren't really useful in any responsible manner (where you can actually trust them to do whatever you task them with effectively) till about age 5 at the earliest. That being said I think that the time they take fundamentally changes the way the educate and expose their children to new experiences. For instance I think elves have an educational doctrine more in line with a Montessori schooling where elves pick what they want to learn to start and they are taught by their parents or a member of the community versed in the craft until they are pretty well versed on the skill (assuming like a decade or so). Then after their interest wanes in that topic they begin to take up the next thing that catches their interest while their parents or community sprinkle in the teachings that are important to all elves like archery, magical understanding, and swordsmanship. It's like they might spend a decade or more studying arithmetic only to follow it up with dual education in swordsmanship and carpentry. The thing we have to remember is they have just so much time on their hands to play with and most likely have a very different brain development then humans with their brains still undergoing growth and development all the way up to that first century mark and maybe beyond. I think to an outsider it would probably look kind of lazy or like ADD acting over a century but when you consider the amount of time they have taking a long view approach and just letting their children learn as they become interested in things rather then force them into rigorous and highly formalized study makes a lot of sense.

As for Goblins I think for them it is the reverse with them just trying to absorb as much information on whatever interests them that they can before they become an adult and bored with "new learnings". Now that means that goblins have the capacity to learn and accomplish a lot in their relatively short unfortunately most of their interests just revolve around arson, squishing things, and fending off their mortal enemies dogs and horses.


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Knight Magenta wrote:


Human children are basically useful at about age 3.

I dispute the legitimacy of your post, citing the uselessnes of my 13 year old. And, in truth, the 15 year old too.


On topic though, I have assumed that elves became adult size at one age (20 something?) but mature at another. Perhaps prior to their 50s an elf cannot do anything but prance around the woods making flower necklaces. 30+ years of being a teenager.


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What was originally a really awesome idea presented in the form of an epic fantasy novel, has, in my opinion, translated poorly into our favorite game.

You can lose brain cells trying to wrap your head around an idea that, ultimately, doesn't have any impact at all on how you play.

I've had this opinion for thirty seven years. And When I began running games in my own fantasy setting I explained it like this:

Dwarves and Elves live a little bit longer than humans (Elves can reach 135, and Dwarves 125,as often as a human reaches 80). This slightly longer lifespan has caused, over many generations, the perception that Elves and Dwarves live hundreds of years longer than humans, and in some isolated communities the Elves and Dwarves play up these "legends" to their advantage.


The black raven wrote:
Lakesidefantasy wrote:
It kind of gets weird given that elven PCs gain class levels at the same rate as their human comrades. At that rate I would expect many really high level elves to be out there, but I have yet to meet any. I've met one elf NPC who was three or four hundred years old, yet he was only level 8.

I stopped asking this kind of questions about the world when my character in RotRL went from 1st-level to 10th-level in a matter of in-game months.

Also, this thread is very humanocentric. What about Goblins, Orcs, Kobolds, that age nearly twice as fast as humans ? Should they be depicted as incredibly smarter than humans ?

Or have we been slaughtering toddlers by the thousands all this time ?

Actually for me the issue is the opposite. We know that the reason humans have such ridiculously long childhoods (as compared to other mammals) is that we have large and complex brains that take a long time to 'programme'. In fact the length of an animal's childhood tends to correspond to the size and complexity of their brain. With that in mind, Elves could have 55 year childhoods but they would therefore need to have absurdly high intelligence scores (probably a racial +6 or so) to explain why. Likewise, Goblins, Orcs and Kobolds would need to have big intelligence penalties to explain their extremely short childhoods.

The maximum age of a race doesn't really affect their intelligence, but it does seem like Dwarves and Elves should have lots of high level characters running around - that's why AD&D had racial maximum levels after all (to stop Elves and Dwarves from taking over the world).

The way I would run it is that all races reach maturity within a few years of each other, but Elves and Dwarves stay looking young for a very long time compared to humans


Without reading many of very long posts ahead of me I would just like to offer that biological adult hood != mental adult hood.

It is possible that the eleven minds mature at the same rate that human minds do (perhaps even faster and that's where the +2 comes from) but that their bodies lag behind. So you have a small "human" with pointy ears who also happens to be a genius. Seems a reasonable way to handle it to me.


Actually, that just makes things worse. Consider your 111 year old elven adventurer. What have they been doing with their fully developed brains for the past 100 years that's left them no better off than an 18 year old human?

Similarly, if they really did go around trying something new every 10 years during that time, you'd expect them to start with 8-10 extra skill points in random crafts, professions and knowledges. (I could just about buy that these things are just glossed over for gameplay reasons though.)

The Exchange

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Perhaps there's a moribund, bureaucratic educational system to blame: the elves adopted a system like No Child Left Behind a thousand years ago, and so their kids spend 90 years getting really, really good at taking multiple-choice tests while gaining absolutely no useful workplace skills.

So they have to fall back on adventuring instead of going into horticulture, leotard design, wine-snobbery, leafy-glade-frolic-planning or any of the other high-education elven professions.


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In my games, I just assume that all the races mature at more or less the same rate, then the long-lived ones are just adults for that much longer. I don't use the suggested guidelines for how old a given race is when they begin adventuring, obviously.

When the race is considered an adult by their fellows can differ greatly from when they biologically are mature, though. In my games races like elves and dwarves place more value on the wisdom/common sense/knowledge of the world you've gained than your age or power level. I think this offers some interesting RP opportunities without straining credibility too much.


Knight Magenta wrote:
The other problem comes from natural selection: If your children require 55 years to become self sufficient, your race would swiftly die out. Human children are basically useful at about age 3.

I play a gnome sorcerer child savant in one of my last PF games. In game he was 9 years old (he started out at 8 but then decided he wanted to have a birthday). I did the math and I believe he was around the maturation of a 3 year old human child, and he was VERY useful. ;)


Elves don't bug me. They're creepy pointy eared alien creatures.

Dhampirs are what bug me. The thing on Dhampirs says they reach adulthood at 110 years. What the hell? Aren't they just humans that are part vampire?


See, I don't like the whole weird aging thing either. Especially when there are feats like this Breadth of Experience, that give you the bonuses for all those years of wacky experimentation. The reason it bugs me, is that the only way for it to have an impact is to actually take a feat like this.

Also, I don't like that Native Outsiders suffer the delayed aging thing too. Like, Sylphs & Aasimars, they can be born to human families... only to vastly outlive their families before reaching maturity. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Knight Magenta wrote:

My problem with 55 year-old children is that elves are stated to have approximately the same cognitive abilities as humans. They are physically similar to us and only a little smarter. It strains suspension of disbelief to claim that elves mature 5 times slower.

The other problem comes from natural selection: If your children require 55 years to become self sufficient, your race would swiftly die out. Human children are basically useful at about age 3.

1. In most worlds, elves ARE a fading race... this is one of the reasons why.

2. Natural selection pretty much gets kicked to the curb with a sentient race. Because we do things like keeping hemophiliacs from bleeding to death, so they survive to breed. Also many people think that natural selection is an automatic survival of the fittest. Frequently it's survival due to dumb luck, which is why animals like the platypus and the dodo survived for as long as they did. And sometimes very fit species that survive for eons get wiped out because of a cosmic event.

3. Most elves come from a sophisticated race that can AFFORD to have slow maturation processes as a result. They do this by staying insular and being EXTREMELY protective of their privacy. You step across the border into Kyonin as a non-elf, the warning shot is an arrow to your knee. You don't get the hint, the next one is to your throat.

4. I'm rather curious as to what form of productive labor did you assign YOUR three year old child to do?

The Exchange

I was a chimney-sweep, meself. The crackingest chimney-sweep in Limehouse!


I was thinking about the cheetah last night. When I was in high school, it was discovered that the Cheetah was apparently going to go extinct soon. And in thinking about it, I think it's because that's how it evolved. The only ones who got to mate were the ones who were fast enough to catch food, but they became too specialized, and couldn't do anything else, and couldn't compete with other big cats in the long run.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vamptastic wrote:
I was thinking about the cheetah last night. When I was in high school, it was discovered that the Cheetah was apparently going to go extinct soon. And in thinking about it, I think it's because that's how it evolved. The only ones who got to mate were the ones who were fast enough to catch food, but they became too specialized, and couldn't do anything else, and couldn't compete with other big cats in the long run.

Cheetahs are going extinct mainly due to Human activity, from outright poaching, to loss of habitat. The other big cats are also on the endangered list as well for the same reasons. We and our pets are essentially one global ecological disaster as far as biodiversity is concerned.

Contributor

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As silly as this sounds, freakishly long childhoods that are natural (and not caused by some sort of weird magic) destroys my suspension of disbelief. Most of my thoughts on the topic are already posted here, so I won't go into too much depth.

1) Elves are supposed to be smarter. When you take 55 years to become the biological equivalent of an 8 year old human, that destroys my perception that you are smarter. Regardless of how you want to fluff it, it sounds like the elf is lagging behind in every possible way.

2) Elves would basically be extinct from disease or warfare. Taking a hundred years to become a legal adult means that you would have absolutely no military. This might work in a campaign where the elven nations never fought or fight, but all fantasy stories ever class elves as amazing soldiers. If elves were concerned about their self preservation (which they should be, considering how long it takes them to mature), they should never fight. Which they clearly do.

3) Biology and Evolution doesn't work that way. Evolution predestines all creatures to grow in a way that maximizes their chance of passing on their genes. The "Elves are related to Fey" excuse doesn't really work for me because Fey are supposed to be the embodiment of the natural world. If anything, they should mature even faster than "natural" things and stay potent for an even longer time.

The Exchange

Evolution doesn't pre-destine anything. Creatures live long enough to pass on their genes - or they don't. As a general rule this encourages a very rapid maturation - but there are other forces that encourage a slow maturation rate: the principal ones are the need for learned behavior after birth (most vertebrates qualify to varying degrees), and the need to avoid overpopulation (almost any species can be subject to this pressure, but it's most common in tundra, desert and other very harsh environments.)

Sorry about the science lesson. I understand why a twenty- or sixty-year-long childhood would strain some folks' sense of belief. But bear in mind that in Golarion, most modern races weren't naturally-selected for: if I remember my lore correctly, the aboleths designed almost all the modern sentients. And since then, a lot of unnatural and supernatural selection (monsters favoring prey, gods granting powers) have pre-empted normal environmental pressures.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Elves aren't "the fey race" in Golarion; gnomes are. Elves are technically aliens from another planet. Perhaps their biology and development are just out of sync with the length of a year on their adopted planet of Golarion? :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lincoln Hills wrote:

Evolution doesn't pre-destine anything. Creatures live long enough to pass on their genes - or they don't. As a general rule this encourages a very rapid development - but there are other forces that encourage a slow maturation rate: the principal ones are species that must acquire a great deal of knowledge before they can function at full potential (such as wolves and the great apes), and species that exist in areas where starvation is a more frequent cause of death than predation (almost any species can be subject to this pressure due to overpopulation, but it's most common in tundra, desert and other very harsh environments.)

Sorry about the science lesson. I understand why a twenty- or sixty-year-long childhood would strain some folks' sense of belief. But bear in mind that in Golarion, most modern races weren't naturally-selected for: if I remember my lore correctly, the aboleths designed almost all the modern sentients. And since then, a lot of unnatural and supernatural selection (monsters favoring prey, gods granting powers) have pre-empted the normal expections of environmental pressure.

Also keep in mind that if you look at the history of evolution, you can see the non-evidence for intelligent design. So many creatures are simply designed BADLY. And that they survive at all is more due to luck or circumstance rather than being "better fit".

Silver Crusade

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Vamptastic wrote:


Dhampirs are what bug me. The thing on Dhampirs says they reach adulthood at 110 years. What the hell? Aren't they just humans that are part vampire?

I'm pretty sure it's all but officially announced that the age-to-maturity numbers for dhampir and the various planetouched races(aasimar and tieflings in particular) given in the ARG are way off.

With elves and dwarves, longer childhoods don't bother me so much. But with tieflings and the like, it just throws all previous expectations out of whack.


Joana wrote:
Elves aren't "the fey race" in Golarion; gnomes are. Elves are technically aliens from another planet. Perhaps their biology and development are just out of sync with the length of a year on their adopted planet of Golarion? :)

Makes sense to me. Back on their home planet (if they had any knowledge of what it's like there) they might be hitting adulthood in 10 local years for all we know. It'd be like humans living on (a terraformed to be habitable) Mercury. A year there is something like a little over a month here. That number is probably wrong, but it demonstrates my point.


Knight Magenta sums up my views pretty well. A 110 year old elf and an 18 year old human (give or take a few years), as PCs, will be equally skilled 1st level characters.

For myself, long-lived races kick into adolescence at about the same time as humans, perhaps as many as 5 years later for an elf, and then once they're adults, their 'immortality factor' kicks in and their aging slows down to a crawl.

Of course, just last night I needled the elf wizard in our game, commenting that he can't do anything an 20 year old human can't ... but that's okay, I can work with people with learning disabilities.


Lakesidefantasy wrote:
It kind of gets weird given that elven PCs gain class levels at the same rate as their human comrades. At that rate I would expect many really high level elves to be out there, but I have yet to meet any. I've met one elf NPC who was three or four hundred years old, yet he was only level 8.

If most humans will stay level 1 commoners for all their lives, not due to the fact they don't live enough (since adventurers can get ten level in less than 6 months), why should it be different for elves? Leveling up is not so easy for NPC as it is for PC. That's what really bugs me.

Also i like to imagine long lived races acting and talking slower, since they have more time to spare. They would take anything slower. Studiyng... Playing... Learning... Growing up... Also getting bored much slower of watching cute kittens on a magical sphere... You could waste 6 long hours of your life watching nyan cat, when they could say "be right back, i'm going to take a shower" and be back 10 hours later and to them it would feel normal. Same reason i don't like elves sleeping only 4 ours a night.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Just so everyone knows what started this thread -- Ultimate Campaign has given us additional data points for humanoid ages. Young characters have a base age of half the adult base age (rounded up for races with an odd base age). This gives us the following equivalencies for elf and human ages:

Human 15 = Elf 110
Human 8 = Elf 55

That second set of data points shoots down some common ideas about how elf children mature. It definitely pushes the age correspondences in a more linear direction, despite the absurdities that can result.


TittoPaolo210 wrote:
Same reason i don't like elves sleeping only 4 ours a night.

Didn't they remove that from Pathfinder? IIRC there is absolutely nothing that says Elves don't have to sleep in PF, and the whole trancing thing was completely a Forgotten Realms artifact that got reflected back into core D&D.

Silver Crusade

Darth Grall wrote:
TittoPaolo210 wrote:
Same reason i don't like elves sleeping only 4 ours a night.
Didn't they remove that from Pathfinder? IIRC there is absolutely nothing that says Elves don't have to sleep in PF, and the whole trancing thing was completely a Forgotten Realms artifact that got reflected back into core D&D.

Yeah, it turned up in Elves of Golarion IIRC, but was soon retconned out.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
Darth Grall wrote:
TittoPaolo210 wrote:
Same reason i don't like elves sleeping only 4 ours a night.
Didn't they remove that from Pathfinder? IIRC there is absolutely nothing that says Elves don't have to sleep in PF, and the whole trancing thing was completely a Forgotten Realms artifact that got reflected back into core D&D.
Yeah, it turned up in Elves of Golarion IIRC, but was soon retconned out.

Elves in Golarion was a D+D 3.5 product, pre-Pathfinder.


LazarX wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Darth Grall wrote:
TittoPaolo210 wrote:
Same reason i don't like elves sleeping only 4 ours a night.
Didn't they remove that from Pathfinder? IIRC there is absolutely nothing that says Elves don't have to sleep in PF, and the whole trancing thing was completely a Forgotten Realms artifact that got reflected back into core D&D.
Yeah, it turned up in Elves of Golarion IIRC, but was soon retconned out.
Elves in Golarion was a D+D 3.5 product, pre-Pathfinder.

Well, that's something we've been doing wrong. *makes note*

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zhayne wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Darth Grall wrote:
TittoPaolo210 wrote:
Same reason i don't like elves sleeping only 4 ours a night.
Didn't they remove that from Pathfinder? IIRC there is absolutely nothing that says Elves don't have to sleep in PF, and the whole trancing thing was completely a Forgotten Realms artifact that got reflected back into core D&D.
Yeah, it turned up in Elves of Golarion IIRC, but was soon retconned out.
Elves in Golarion was a D+D 3.5 product, pre-Pathfinder.
Well, that's something we've been doing wrong. *makes note*

If you check, you might notice that the Queen is statted using the 3.5 Wizard with the 3.5 Archmage PrC, without any of the Pathfinder changes to the class.

For my conversion she's a straight Universalist Wizard.


You know, I like that elves are inspiring a lot of "What the hell? How does that work?" They're frickin' aliens, man. We don't have to understand them. I will agree on weirdness of the planetouched and dhampirs, though.

Dark Archive

David knott 242 wrote:

Just so everyone knows what started this thread -- Ultimate Campaign has given us additional data points for humanoid ages. Young characters have a base age of half the adult base age (rounded up for races with an odd base age). This gives us the following equivalencies for elf and human ages:

Human 15 = Elf 110
Human 8 = Elf 55

That second set of data points shoots down some common ideas about how elf children mature. It definitely pushes the age correspondences in a more linear direction, despite the absurdities that can result.

Did they mention the ages of Aasimars and Tieflings or are we still waiting on the errata for that?


Alright, so I guess the consequence here is that the 55 year old elven female is going to be sitting right next to the 8 year old human girl watching My Little Pony. Roger that.


And they will both be LOVING it!

*claps hand repeatedly*

YEY!!


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Claxon wrote:
Alright, so I guess the consequence here is that the 55 year old elven female is going to be sitting right next to the 8 year old human girl watching My Little Pony. Roger that.

And next to the 25 year old human male.

If my understanding of the demographics of MLP fans is right.


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More generally, for my money, actually growing up slowly makes more sense than growing up at the same rate as humans and then not being allowed to do anything for another 90+ years. I can't imagine a race that made no productive use of it's young population and I can't imagine a population of eternal teenagers who would stand for it.
Wouldn't they all run off and adventure in their 20s or something?

I did have an idea for a variant where they did grow up at the same rate as humans until their early 20s when they were strongly biologically & culturally driven to pair off and mate. They'd spend the next 90 years or so absorbed in having and raising children (and towards the end grand and great-grand children.) During this, they'd be supported by the community. After "maturity" at 110, they'd lose the breeding drive and move on to their adult career. Or adventuring.

Solving the aging and population growth problems in one variant. Also making elves a little more alien.
There could even be physical changes: The stereotypical elven androgyny could be a trait of the post-breeding stage.


Actually the culture you describe with a race being mentally and physically mature without being considered an adult and barred from doing anything "important" reminds me of a text where that occurs. If any of you have read the Wheel of Time series the Ogier in those book do exactly that, and their culture reminds me greatly of Elves as described in Golarion (minus the Stonwork).

Loial, a secondary character in the books is a run away from his home at 90 years old because the elders wouldn't let him do what he wants, and he didn't want to get married and settle down either.

Honestly that way makes more sense to me than the "doesn't mentally or physically mature at anywhere near the same rate as humans".


I dunno. The aging rules for Elves have been that way in D&D for years now, like, since 1st or 2nd edition (never really looked at the first edition elves). In the 2nd edition elf handbook, it was pretty clear that elves didn't reach full physical maturity until around 85 years old, so 55 is even faster than normal for D&D.
I never had a problem with this. I always assumed that that was the reason for their racial abilities. Their natural predilection for spell craft shows that most elves learn quite a bit about magic in their youth, so much so that they gain a special affinity for it, regardless of the class they take.
Elves are also described as capricious and even flighty at times. This would make sense if elven children remain children for 30 or 40 years. Those kinds of traits will stick more if you're allowed to have them for decades rather than years.
It also explains, as stated above, why elf societies tend to be cut off from most other racial societies. Their long lifespans make attempting relationships an exercise in futility. Elves are used to things changing, since they live through it all a hundred times over.
It also makes the +2 Intelligence modifier for the race make sense. After all, Intelligence isn't just the ability to learn, but also what the character already knows, and the elf, even though they were in childhood at the time, has decades more to gain that knowledge.
These are the conclusions I came up with way back in 2nd edition, and a lot of it is stated as such in the many, many, MANY elf handbooks that are out there.
Mind you, that doesn't mean that ANY of that needs to be cannon in any game. That's kinda why homebrew exists. I just don't have a problem with the elf aging rules as they stand. Nor do I have a problem with the other races' aging rules. It makes sense that Kobolds, Orcs, and Goblins would breed and mature faster. Their races are designed to be a bit more violent (generally speaking) and die off faster.


thejeff wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Alright, so I guess the consequence here is that the 55 year old elven female is going to be sitting right next to the 8 year old human girl watching My Little Pony. Roger that.

And next to the 25 year old human male.

If my understanding of the demographics of MLP fans is right.

They are. After all, Friendship is Magic.


YamadaJisho wrote:
I dunno. The aging rules for Elves have been that way in D&D for years now, like, since 1st or 2nd edition (never really looked at the first edition elves). In the 2nd edition elf handbook, it was pretty clear that elves didn't reach full physical maturity until around 85 years old, so 55 is even faster than normal for D&D.

I don't think they did. I don't have the book, but there seems to be conflict between some statements in this thread.

If I'm reading correctly 55 isn't full physical maturity, it's the age at which the playing as a child rules kick in: equivalent to a human 8 year old.


First of all, elf aging doesn't make any sense. I like the idea that it's because they're aliens, and maybe their home planet has much longer years.

As far as what they spend their time doing, I like to think that elves as a race tend towards both perfectionistic and relaxed. They only spend a few hours a day actually doing things other than listening to music and poetry, and they spend years learning how to do each thing because they have to get each step just right before moving on. Adventuring elves level up at the same rate as other races because adventuring is unforgiving and doesn't allow for the same kind of perfectionism or relaxation. They learn to accept their mistakes and move on.

The reason that all adventuring elves aren't level 20 is because adventuring, like everything else, is something that elves try and then move on from. They usually go back to their previous lifestyle of lounging around and getting everything near-perfect.

Again, though, all of that is my personal explanation for something that doesn't make all that much sense.

Not sure on dhampirs, but I'd love to see an explanation for how they manage to remain children for so long. Especially since in a lot of cases, nobody wants to care for them. You would think they would have to grow up faster.


Kamaduck wrote:

First of all, elf aging doesn't make any sense. I like the idea that it's because they're aliens, and maybe their home planet has much longer years.

Castrovel actually has shorter years, but that explanation doesn't make a lot of sense anyways. However long the planet takes to go around the sun, there's still the same amount of living time in what we call a year. You still learn and experience just as much in the same amount of time, however long the units you measure it in are.


thejeff wrote:
More generally, for my money, actually growing up slowly makes more sense than growing up at the same rate as humans and then not being allowed to do anything for another 90+ years.

Well, no, the 1st level character wouldn't be 100 years old, he'd be more like 20. Just a few years older than the human base.

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