What was the elf doing growing up?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

101 to 150 of 208 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | next > last >>

PIXIE DUST wrote:

I have to say, the age tables are kinda screwed up... They are are designed with the idea of all races kind of having an average bell curve like thing with age...

But it completely falls apart with races like Aasimar...

Aasimars do not reach "adulthood" until 60 years of age... But the problem is, if you read Blood of Angels (aka the book on the physiology on Aasimars from PAIZO THEMSELVES), aasimars pretty much reach physical adulthood at the same time as humans. In fact, most of the traits of aasimars do not really show themselves until puberty kicks in.

So yeah... even Paizo can't keep it straight...

Just throwing that one out there...

The Aasimar aging thing has been acknowledged to be an error - or at least changed for Golarion. James has said he wants to errata that with the next printing of the ARG.


thejeff wrote:
TOZ wrote:
thejeff wrote:
And physically mature, without mental maturity seems even weirder in many ways. Are they sexually mature? But too scatterbrained to responsibly raise kids?
Well, they do tend towards Chaos...

It's actually kind of a neat idea to think that elves go through an extended pseudo-adolescence, focused on sex and raising children, while remaining very immature in other ways. Only after that time is past do they become really adult and start working on their eventual career.

Doesn't really fit with how they're usually portrayed and I'm not sure how elves raised outside elven lands would fit in, but it would be an interesting alternate take. All the PC elves would have multiple grown children and grandchildern.

I actually kinda like that angle.


I personally see aasimars as different than the non-human races. They are human with a hint of divine. They mature at the same rate, but their divine heritage lends them significant longevity over their peers.


Even Humans don't make THAT much sense. Crunchy game balance says you get yeah-many skill points, but if you want your backstory to include "I spent most of my life on trade missions learning different languages, the basics of 12 different (useless to adventuring) craft/profession skills, and all about the different nations of Tian Xia" you still only have 3 skill points and you still only get 1 language (because you can only drop 1 point into linguistics).

Meanwhile, having a cultural requirement that elves just don't get to leave home until 100 isn't that big of a deal, but the idea they are just as smart as humans but have spent 100 years NOT LEARNING anything is just weird.

And making them more alien just opens up problems on the other end. So the elven mind is plastic, it learns and forgets all sorts of things to keep headspace open and keep experiences new. That means that after a few years of adventuring you should "lose" levels of experience to your racial brain-drain. A venerable wizard is just as weak as an apprentice, unless he has some means of keeping his memories from slipping away.

Or you pick some other brand of alien intellectuality, how do you role-play that in the other direction? And how does an elf relate to humans when they're purple monkey dishwasher?

Of course the simplest answer is "let it slide," which is what we all end up doing. My elf spent 40 years wandering Tian Xia, why am I not 20th level? Because until the camera focused on me I just didn't gain XP. Likewise, my ex-boyfriend the level 1 adept is STILL a level 1 adept, despite 12 years of military service, because he is an NPC and only gets more levels if the plot calls for it. It's not like he ever wants to see me again anyway, I *did* go and break his heart.

The wise old blacksmith still only has a +7 in his craft skill, the apprentice has a +5. The saleslady has a +12 in her diplomacy, but is also a better fighter than the average town guardsman because she's level 5 to get that bonus. The Venerable Elven Wizard can take more axes to the face than the (literally) hard-headed orcish barbarian.

And maybe the elf PC really is 18, I'm 121 because I wanted a backstory involving my adoptive parent (he's a dragon, yes it's one of "those" characters) and wandering the world. My stats don't reflect the whole adventure very well but I just ignore the question why I don't have a decent Profession: trader score and only pounded 3 of my 5 precious skill points into Linguistics (Tien), Knowledge Arcana (dragons), and Disguise.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sissyl wrote:

Lots of people claim physical maturity comes as early as with humans, too. The concrete problem here is that it doesn't account for different backstories. What would you say to a player who wanted his character to have been enslaved after a raid on his elven village at age twenty. Since then, the elf has fought tooth and nail in the arena and learned to become a lvl 1 brawler.

-"Sorry, you can't play an elf who hasn't gone through the massive time waste?"
-"Sorry, that is not a possible backstory, since all elven villages are protected by spherical walls of unobtainium?"
-"Sure, you are now a level 43 brawler after eighty years in the ring?"
-"Sure, only your character has been the mascot and laughing stock in the ring for eighty years without a single win since elves can't learn until they are 100?"
-"No because ultra-powerful elven commandoes rescue you and offer you an eighty year training program of becoming a lvl 1 brawler?"

Please, what would you say? Perhaps one could hope for "Sure, let's ignore the fossil age table and get you a character you'd enjoy playing."

Your example becomes an anomaly. In cases like this (since I do see elves maturing in a physical sense almost as fast as humans) he could survive a bout in the ring. Perhaps consistent beatings and near death experiences creates a sense of urgency to learn. He could spend 3 years getting beaten to unconsciousness for his nightly sleep habits. In this case, since elves allot more time for things due to their age, he isn't particularly skilled with ANY of the non-physiological racial traits. If he's strictly amongst humans why can't you create this sense of urgency coming along as a need to pick up a bonus feat? Even saying it MUST be a combat feat for this to apply. If he wants the elven trainings and upbringing then tell him his backstory for being captured at 20 is ridiculous. Those rules are not hardlines that can't be altered. You're the damn GM, run the game how it best makes sense to you. Everyone has taken to solidly defending that unique circumstances never happen and ALL members of a race grow up the same way... That's idiocy. My upbringing was simple and I used it to goof off like an idiot. My friend's mother passed when he was 10 after a deadbeat dad left them. He was orphaned and had to grow the heck up or starve to death after the home dropped him on his butt at 18. Different lifestyles, different people, different experiences.


one mooooore thing,

every elf who has ever been depicted in a novel, or on the screen, has always been aloof with this heir of superiority, "I am a 147 years old, you're 20... you immature human"

But the prevailing argument here is that is NOT the case, the 147 year old elf is, physically and emotionally, 20.

So what gives in literature and movies?


Pendagast wrote:

one mooooore thing,

every elf who has ever been depicted in a novel, or on the screen, has always been aloof with this heir of superiority, "I am a 147 years old, you're 20... you immature human"

But the prevailing argument here is that is NOT the case, the 147 year old elf is, physically and emotionally, 20.

So what gives in literature and movies?

I don't think this is the case, at least not in my experience. All the elves I've read about either really are that old, or are, in fact, acknowledged as immature.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pendagast wrote:

one mooooore thing,

every elf who has ever been depicted in a novel, or on the screen, has always been aloof with this heir of superiority, "I am a 147 years old, you're 20... you immature human"

But the prevailing argument here is that is NOT the case, the 147 year old elf is, physically and emotionally, 20.

So what gives in literature and movies?

How often have we actually seen a "young adult" elf? Often they look young, but are actually much older than 147.

Of course, elves in fantasy literature don't follow D&D/PF rules. Quite often they're actually immortal.

Legolas, for example, isn't actually given a birth date or age, but he's hundreds of years at least, quite possibly more than a 1000.

Edit: Even at that and even with his moments of wonder at how young these children he's traveling with are, he still behaves younger than the other elves we meet.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

As another half-formed thought on what elves are doing all that time: What if they don't go through the same kind of rapid learning, language acquisition phase human children do? They have to learn everything the hard way, like humans learning a new language/culture as adults.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
boring7 wrote:
Even Humans don't make THAT much sense. Crunchy game balance says you get yeah-many skill points, but if you want your backstory to include "I spent most of my life on trade missions learning different languages, the basics of 12 different (useless to adventuring) craft/profession skills, and all about the different nations of Tian Xia" you still only have 3 skill points and you still only get 1 language (because you can only drop 1 point into linguistics).

Not every backstory can be represented by a standard-build 1st-level character. In this case, you could get pretty close if you're willing to invest in Intelligence or feats such as Cosmopolitan for more languages, or Skill Focus/related feats/traits for more aptitude at skills. But if you want your 1st-level character to be a level 1 omniglot by training, the system just doesn't support it.

Quote:
Meanwhile, having a cultural requirement that elves just don't get to leave home until 100 isn't that big of a deal, but the idea they are just as smart as humans but have spent 100 years NOT LEARNING anything is just weird.

It's supposed to be weird. They're elves. Since the CRB is campaign-agnostic, it's left to the GM to flesh out (or not) what elves are doing all that time.

Quote:

And making them more alien just opens up problems on the other end. So the elven mind is plastic, it learns and forgets all sorts of things to keep headspace open and keep experiences new. That means that after a few years of adventuring you should "lose" levels of experience to your racial brain-drain. A venerable wizard is just as weak as an apprentice, unless he has some means of keeping his memories from slipping away.

Or you pick some other brand of alien intellectuality, how do you role-play that in the other direction? And how does an elf relate to humans when they're purple monkey dishwasher?

Use your imagination. Heck, read some books. It isn't like nobody's ever explored the subject in fiction.

Quote:
Of course the simplest answer is "let it slide," which is what we all end up doing. My elf spent 40 years wandering Tian Xia, why am I not 20th level? Because until the camera focused on me I just didn't gain XP. Likewise, my ex-boyfriend the level 1 adept is STILL a level 1 adept, despite 12 years of military service, because he is an NPC and only gets more levels if the plot calls for it. It's not like he ever wants to see me again anyway, I *did* go and break his heart.

Because wandering does not equal class experience, and this game is ostensibly about heroes, who have commensurately higher skill for less effort.

I mean, really, folks, is this where immersion breaks down for you? Why do wizards get more hit points for tossing color spray at kobolds for a while? That's much harder to justify, but most of us don't really worry about it. If the elf childhood thing makes it difficult to roleplay, work with your GM and figure out a justification for it in your campaign world.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Here, I'll make one up: Elves are born as something akin to shapeless nature spirits, and they don't fully coalesce into physical forms until about fifty. They then spend most of the next fifty years figuring out what it means to be a corporeal being and forgetting what it's like to be . . . whatever they were before. Much like some imagine growing from infancy to young childhood is like, or from childhood to adolescence--losing that other life forever as you adopt the new. By the time they're "adventuring age", they remember practically nothing from their former state--much as most humans remember nothing from the first year or so of their life, only more so--but they are deeply affected by it, just the same.

This is completely compatible with the CRB description and rules for elves (unless I've missed a passage somewhere, which is entirely possible), and it provides a springboard for roleplaying questions about age. It's also completely campaign-specific, leaving other campaigns to use other approaches.

(Hmm, I'm going to add this to one of my campaign worlds.... Feel free to hammer on it or add to it.)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
As another half-formed thought on what elves are doing all that time: What if they don't go through the same kind of rapid learning, language acquisition phase human children do? They have to learn everything the hard way, like humans learning a new language/culture as adults.

That's entirely plausible, and fits with the human racial description, their racial traits and abilities, and the lore of many fantasy settings. Humans are often renowned for their adaptability. Their childhood talent for learning new things quickly occurs at exactly the point in life where this would make the race most adaptable--orphans of violent cataclysms or other environment-altering events quickly adapt to the new situation where many adult humans or members of other races of any age might die out. This talent is humanity's superpower, and in Pathfinder it often makes them more powerful than most other races despite lacking obvious innate abilities such as darkvision or magic resistance.


Well , normally it doesnt matter much to me ,but if an elf starts to brag about eleven superiority to one of my human chars usually i will make remarks to this :P.

"By 15 i was getting ready to adventure , you were still using diapers!"

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
Pendagast wrote:

one mooooore thing,

every elf who has ever been depicted in a novel, or on the screen, has always been aloof with this heir of superiority, "I am a 147 years old, you're 20... you immature human"

But the prevailing argument here is that is NOT the case, the 147 year old elf is, physically and emotionally, 20.

So what gives in literature and movies?

How often have we actually seen a "young adult" elf? Often they look young, but are actually much older than 147.

Of course, elves in fantasy literature don't follow D&D/PF rules. Quite often they're actually immortal.

Legolas, for example, isn't actually given a birth date or age, but he's hundreds of years at least, quite possibly more than a 1000.

Edit: Even at that and even with his moments of wonder at how young these children he's traveling with are, he still behaves younger than the other elves we meet.

This is the best response to things I've seen yet. It's drawing on what others have already stated and creating a visual effect. Love it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Younger elves are like cats, and sleep about sixteen hours a day - a trait that goes away as they reach physical maturity and they then require less sleep.

They have less waking hours to learn in.


Dungeon Master Zack wrote:
Pendagast wrote:

one mooooore thing,

every elf who has ever been depicted in a novel, or on the screen, has always been aloof with this heir of superiority, "I am a 147 years old, you're 20... you immature human"

But the prevailing argument here is that is NOT the case, the 147 year old elf is, physically and emotionally, 20.

So what gives in literature and movies?

I don't think this is the case, at least not in my experience. All the elves I've read about either really are that old, or are, in fact, acknowledged as immature.

the elf ( a black lady) in the movie dungeons and dragons…one of the wayans was hitting on her, she was depicted that way.


Yep Legolas does come off a lot more immature in the newish Hobbit movie.

I do like the idea that the elder races don't suffer the same degradation from age to mental facilities but lack the rapid learning as children that humans have and it fits well too.


Liam Warner wrote:

Yep Legolas does come off a lot more immature in the newish Hobbit movie.

I do like the idea that the elder races don't suffer the same degradation from age to mental facilities but lack the rapid learning as children that humans have and it fits well too.

really, the younger (hobbit) legolas came off more aloof, bigger and more muscular in desolation of smaug than he did in earlier movies (when he's supposedly older)

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I ran a group of (all elven) characters through age 60 to age 300. It followed similarly to the earlier noted PDF. Downtime was given in decades, equipment was inherited crafted or gifted, picking up enemy weapons was distasteful. Marriages were arranged to benefit the community or cease strife. When you have several hundred years of life, even choosing when to act is as important as what to do.

The most humorous part was a first contact with humans. You find a group of beings inhabiting a river. They seem to have built a mud and brick mess which interferes with the natural flow of the water. One might say they were an evolved beaver. Party response - are the beavers hostile?


Perhaps their culture wants their children to "find themselves" by trying out everything, and once the elf has figured out what they really want to do they "magic out" all the distracting other learning so you can be the idealized version of what you want to be.

Though that idea is very similar to the screwing around for a hundred years or so until you buckle down and apply yourself.


blahpers wrote:


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Related to this is all the characters I hear about that somehow start out at only 1st Level in late middle age after having had a lot of life experience in their backstory. This includes the Iconic Wizard Ezren. How come they are so far behind others of their own race?

Life experience does not necessarily equal class experience. As for Ezren, the backstory you cited explains why he is a 1st level wizard at a late age. It also specifically calls out Ezren as an unusual exception in the category of starting age for both wizards and adventurers in general.

Yes, Ezren's life experience wouldn't necessarily equal Wizard experience, but all those years of working hard to try to clear his father's name while trying to keep the family going economically should have gotten him several levels in SOMETHING.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Righty_ wrote:

I ran a group of (all elven) characters through age 60 to age 300. It followed similarly to the earlier noted PDF. Downtime was given in decades, equipment was inherited crafted or gifted, picking up enemy weapons was distasteful. Marriages were arranged to benefit the community or cease strife. When you have several hundred years of life, even choosing when to act is as important as what to do.

The most humorous part was a first contact with humans. You find a group of beings inhabiting a river. They seem to have built a mud and brick mess which interferes with the natural flow of the water. One might say they were an evolved beaver. Party response - are the beavers hostile?

I like that

"Sir we've found the cause of the water reduction."
"What is it?"
"It appears to be some form of hairless bipedal beaver."
"Is it hostile?"
"Extremely sir."

Hmmmm I suppose if your going the elves try everything route maybe they constantly retrain 1st level. Fighter? No. Cleric? no. Ranger? No. Wizard? Hmmmm maybe.

Sovereign Court

A human wizard who goes through RotRL matures from 18 year old bumbler to super-awesome knower of all things and cosmic reality bender in less than a year.

That is so unrealistic, characters should advance no more than one or two levels per year...

Or

Adolescence is culturally defined and almost every person in the world lived and dies at level 1.

Going above level 1 makes you special.

Maybe these elf kids are level 1 commoners from 16 to the age they die.

Maybe 100 is just when they become sexually reproductive?

I know people in their 90s who are ignorant and stupid: ageing does not innately confer skill and intellect.

Sovereign Court

I put all npc elves at lv 5 by 100, 10 by 200, etc. In human terms senility is a problem, the People age more gracefully.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
blahpers wrote:


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Related to this is all the characters I hear about that somehow start out at only 1st Level in late middle age after having had a lot of life experience in their backstory. This includes the Iconic Wizard Ezren. How come they are so far behind others of their own race?

Life experience does not necessarily equal class experience. As for Ezren, the backstory you cited explains why he is a 1st level wizard at a late age. It also specifically calls out Ezren as an unusual exception in the category of starting age for both wizards and adventurers in general.

Yes, Ezren's life experience wouldn't necessarily equal Wizard experience, but all those years of working hard to try to clear his father's name while trying to keep the family going economically should have gotten him several levels in SOMETHING.

Why? Does every grandma in your campaign have several levels simply because they've lived a long time?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:

A human wizard who goes through RotRL matures from 18 year old bumbler to super-awesome knower of all things and cosmic reality bender in less than a year.

That is so unrealistic, characters should advance no more than one or two levels per year...

Wizards are unrealistic? Hah!

GeraintElberion wrote:

A human wizard who goes through RotRL matures from 18 year old bumbler to super-awesome knower of all things and cosmic reality bender in less than a year.

That is so difficult for me to imagine, characters should advance no more than one or two levels per year...

Fixed that for you.

What's so hard to imagine about that? Jedi and magic'd up heroes form other media sources do it all the time!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Ah, yes. Time vs. leveling. My old foe.

How many threads are going right now that amount to "Pathfinder doesn't work according to the rules of reality as I perceive them?

It isn't magic, or monsters, or the economy or class levels that I find unrealistic, though. It's a world where good triumphs over evil, and tyrants and despots are cast down by a brave few. What would the world be like if we lived in adventure paths?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think the best explanation for 'levels' is how much destiny a character has. For a Player Character, you attract destiny by overcoming challenges. For NPCs, there are a variety of other ways they attract destiny (including just being born in some cases.)

In any event, while time can provide experience points in some cases, in most cases it has nothing to do with it. For PCs, it pretty much never has anything to do with it.

As for elves, I personally think of them having a pretty standard physical development through adolescence, but a culture that focuses very differently than a human one. Elven youth probably spend a lot of time studying philosophy, wandering the woods, writing poetry or whatever. They typically don't become 1st level adventurers until quite old by human standards not because they couldn't, but because they see no need to rush and their culture frowns heavily on leaving before they have enough years under their belt. However, I see no reason to make this absolute, and a player than wanted an elf that was only 20 at first level because they were raised in human culture or captured by slavers I wouldn't have a problem with. They are abnormal, but all PCs are somewhat abnormal and the 20 year old elf doesn't seem any weirder than the guy whose grandma did the deed with an efreet.

Sovereign Court

Ravingdork wrote:
GeraintElberion wrote:

A human wizard who goes through RotRL matures from 18 year old bumbler to super-awesome knower of all things and cosmic reality bender in less than a year.

That is so unrealistic, characters should advance no more than one or two levels per year...

Wizards are unrealistic? Hah!

GeraintElberion wrote:

A human wizard who goes through RotRL matures from 18 year old bumbler to super-awesome knower of all things and cosmic reality bender in less than a year.

That is so difficult for me to imagine, characters should advance no more than one or two levels per year...

Fixed that for you.

What's so hard to imagine about that? Jedi and magic'd up heroes form other media sources do it all the time!

I need to get facebook linked up to my Paizo account so they can tag posts as satire...


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

Ah, yes. Time vs. leveling. My old foe.

How many threads are going right now that amount to "Pathfinder doesn't work according to the rules of reality as I perceive them?

It isn't magic, or monsters, or the economy or class levels that I find unrealistic, though. It's a world where good triumphs over evil, and tyrants and despots are cast down by a brave few. What would the world be like if we lived in adventure paths?

We do its just when our brave few die they can't roll up a new character of the same level better designed for the AP


GeraintElberion wrote:


A human wizard who goes through RotRL matures from 18 year old bumbler to super-awesome knower of all things and cosmic reality bender in less than a year.

That is so unrealistic, characters should advance no more than one or two levels per year...

This is probably just a concession to most gamers being unable to wait a year for their characters to level up, combined with being uncomfortable fast-forwarding large stretches of time (which is kind of hard to fit within an Adventure Path or equivalent anyway).

GeraintElberion wrote:


Or

Adolescence is culturally defined and almost every person in the world lived and dies at level 1.

Going above level 1 makes you special.

Maybe these elf kids are level 1 commoners from 16 to the age they die.

This seemed to be the implication in 1st/2nd Edition D&D, which had 0 Level people as most of the Human, Dwarf, and Halfing populations, and most of the Elf population being stuck at Level 1 (I guess they were trying to reflect Elf advantages that people mention above by having them all being at least 1st Level, although it is strange that they didn't do this for Dwarves also).

In some of the better 1st Edition D&D games I was in, we house-ruled that becoming able to advance in Levels was itself a special event for people, assumed to have already happened for PCs, but an infrequent event among the general population.

GeraintElberion wrote:


Maybe 100 is just when they become sexually reproductive?

I know people in their 90s who are ignorant and stupid: ageing does not innately confer skill and intellect.

So true, so true . . . .

blahpers wrote:


UnArcaneElection wrote:


Yes, Ezren's life experience wouldn't necessarily equal Wizard experience, but all those years of working hard to try to clear his father's name while trying to keep the family going economically should have gotten him several levels in SOMETHING.

Why? Does every grandma in your campaign have several levels simply because they've lived a long time?

Isn't that what the Commoner (and to a lesser extent, Expert and Aristocrat) Class is for?


I wrote:


GeraintElberion wrote:


A human wizard who goes through RotRL matures from 18 year old bumbler to super-awesome knower of all things and cosmic reality bender in less than a year.

That is so unrealistic, characters should advance no more than one or two levels per year...

This is probably just a concession to most gamers being unable to wait a year for their characters to level up, combined with being uncomfortable fast-forwarding large stretches of time (which is kind of hard to fit within an Adventure Path or equivalent anyway).

You know, it just occurred to me that it would be a LOT easier to play this realistically if the PLAYERS were Elves . . . .


Liam Warner wrote:
What was the elf doing growing up?

Not a lot.

Apparently elves learn really slowly, despite being smarter than average. Don't ask how that works...

In fact, just don't pay any attention to it at all. If you look at things too closely sometimes you find out they're just cardboard cut-outs and papier-mache props.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I have an alternative take on it that might be interesting. Note that it has no basis in source books or anything:

Elves have been in this world for over a hundred years, yes. But they are not actually a hundred years old, nor do they take any longer to develop than anyone else - from their perspective, anyway. Elves are naturally magical, and one of the facets of that magic is time manipulation. Elves phase in and out of the linear time that everyone else experiences.

That 110 year old elf? Has lived 20 years, but has done so across 110 years of history. She will learn the same speed as you do while living through the same experiences you do, but if lose touch with her and see her again in five years, she will probably have phased out during that time, so for her it will only have been a couple of months. People say elves have long memories, but it's not really true - they just don't exist for most of their life span. They don't care about birthdays because an anniversary is meaningless when time is non-linear.

Also, phasing out means it's really hard for them to be organised as a society, or have long term relationships based on human love=ownership paradigms, or run a properly organised war. So they're a bunch of hippy anarchists.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I have a more psychological take that leads to similar places. Based loosely on the legends of mortals in faerie (or the Fellowship's time in Lorien), elves generally percieve time differently. Not that they go away or move slowly or anything, but they sort of drift through their lives most of time. One day is like another and the seasons turn in an endless whirl. You turn around and a decade has passed and you've barely noticed it go. That's their natural state and they spend most of their long lives like that, when they're living among their own kind.

They can make the effort and deal with things in the same way shorter lived races do, but it's stressful and they can only keep it up for a little while without harm. A couple of decades or so. Long enough to adventure or deal with wars and other crises or even to serve as an ambassador or even live as a merchant in human lands for awhile.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Elf children after the age of 12 are sent as apprentices to a far off land actually on a whole other plane where they work as slave labor for a degenerate fat elf who uses them to assemble toys. He keeps them in line with psychologically terrifying combination of holiday songs and making them addicted to candy canes and egg nog. After 80 or 90 years of this slavery the elves are returned to their communities where they begin a sort of occupational therapy learning ti chi like sword and bow techniques to forget their troubles.


blahpers wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
blahpers wrote:


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Related to this is all the characters I hear about that somehow start out at only 1st Level in late middle age after having had a lot of life experience in their backstory. This includes the Iconic Wizard Ezren. How come they are so far behind others of their own race?

Life experience does not necessarily equal class experience. As for Ezren, the backstory you cited explains why he is a 1st level wizard at a late age. It also specifically calls out Ezren as an unusual exception in the category of starting age for both wizards and adventurers in general.

Yes, Ezren's life experience wouldn't necessarily equal Wizard experience, but all those years of working hard to try to clear his father's name while trying to keep the family going economically should have gotten him several levels in SOMETHING.

Why? Does every grandma in your campaign have several levels simply because they've lived a long time?

In every piece of literature i have read. There has never been a simple old elf woman whose only been a mother then grandmother their whole life. Their culture has always been different than ours. That is why any elf with age is more than a simple commoner.


Spend 120 years becoming a Level 1 Ranger. Spend two weeks adventuring with a party of mixed races... Double your experience to level 2. Depending on the adventure... you could Spend 120 years "Growing up" and 1 or 2 years later your at your max level of experience (20th level). The wizard that spent 100 years learning to cast light is now creating his own Dimi-Plane a few years later. Hmmm.... Yes it doesn't make alot of sense. Also on that same adventure you have a Human who according to lore develops more quickly because of their short life span... but you just reached the same penacle as he did in the same amount of time. He has maybe 60 years left to life... you have... Hundreds of years left to live all the while being 20th level.

I have most races developing at the same time (Late teens to early 20's). Most Elves and long lived races tend to spend more time in their community before they decide to branch out and adventure, but that isn't required. It just makes it easier for me to grasp. I understand that different races will mature at different rates, but I dont see it being a difference of a hundred years or so. A few years difference makes more sense to me.


Even though may be spending their time in their villages "growing up" they are becoming accomplished in music, art, combat... etc.


Dragonamedrake wrote:
Spend 120 years becoming a Level 1 Ranger. Spend two weeks adventuring with a party of mixed races... Double your experience to level 2. Depending on the adventure... you could Spend 120 years "Growing up" and 1 or 2 years later your at your max level of experience (20th level). The wizard that spent 100 years learning to cast light is now creating his own Dimi-Plane a few years later. Hmmm.... Yes it doesn't make alot of sense. Also on that same adventure you have a Human who according to lore develops more quickly because of their short life span... but you just reached the same penacle as he did in the same amount of time. He has maybe 60 years left to life... you have... Hundreds of years left to live all the while being 20th level.

I don't see the "And then you can reach level 20 in a year or 2" really changing the argument any. That's basically just as ridiculous for a human who spent 15 years growing up and another (average) 7 years training to be a 1st level wizard as it is for an elf. If you're adventuring regularly, the power curve is ridiculous, regardless of race.

For reasons of plot, basically. There are far too many games you can't run if you need to spread leveling over years or decades.

And the fastest way to reach first level wizard is to take an intuitive class first, then multiclass into wizard and skip all the years of formal training. Ridiculous, but anything else essentially bans multiclassing.


Rogar Stonebow wrote:
blahpers wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
blahpers wrote:


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Related to this is all the characters I hear about that somehow start out at only 1st Level in late middle age after having had a lot of life experience in their backstory. This includes the Iconic Wizard Ezren. How come they are so far behind others of their own race?

Life experience does not necessarily equal class experience. As for Ezren, the backstory you cited explains why he is a 1st level wizard at a late age. It also specifically calls out Ezren as an unusual exception in the category of starting age for both wizards and adventurers in general.

Yes, Ezren's life experience wouldn't necessarily equal Wizard experience, but all those years of working hard to try to clear his father's name while trying to keep the family going economically should have gotten him several levels in SOMETHING.

Why? Does every grandma in your campaign have several levels simply because they've lived a long time?
In every piece of literature i have read. There has never been a simple old elf woman whose only been a mother then grandmother their whole life. Their culture has always been different than ours. That is why any elf with age is more than a simple commoner.

The aforementioned question, being in the context of a discussion about Ezren, assumed average elderly humans.


Personally, I'd love to spend 100 years just screwing around. I'd solve the issue of people needing to find themselves.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rogar Stonebow wrote:
Even though may be spending their time in their villages "growing up" they are becoming accomplished in music, art, combat... etc.

This makes the most sense in game terms. Elves spend those first 120 years trying their hands at a dozen different crafts. Learning Elven lore & history. Learning how to coax trees into stairways, treehouses, bridges and what not. Learning profession (cook) and profession (fletcher) and profession (sand art) and profession (basket weaving).

Some of them have multiple past professions with real game effects, like the 147-year-old Elven wizard I spoke about earlier, who has weapon proficiency in longsword and longbow, as well as the "heroes of old" trait (+2 inti) because he spent years as a militia / scout before questioning his life and reason for being (should that be ranks in profession (philosophy)?) before beginning to spend long years in dusty tomes becoming a wizard. Must take *years* for an elf to retrain from a fighter to a wizard.

So either the age table is totally FUBARed (which is probably true in any event) or else there are intangible things that are not really handled by game mechanics, but which we can readily roleplay at the table. Like having memories of *before* Aroden died, or of the founding of Sandpoint, things the human PCs could only have heard from the tales told by their (great-) grandparents around the fireside.

Personally, I have no problem with playing a 147-year-old 1st level elf wizard (made it to 2nd last week!).

On another note, this whole argument ties in to what you consider to be the baseline "level" of the population at large, whether human, elven or whatever. I'm old school, so most of those folks should be level zero, which in Pathfinder means 1st level commoners. Those with militia experience, or similar, might have 1-3 levels of warrior under their belts, but most are at baseline. Town guards are 1st or 2nd level warriors, with 4th-level warriors (or occasionally fighters) as their sergeants and lieutenants.

Your conception of the baseline levels of the population at large in the world significantly colors the discussion of what a 147-year-old elf is like, and how he spent his first 146 years of life.

I just don't see elves being in diapers for 15 years, or 60-year-old elves being the equivalent of 8 year olds. Doesn't fly for me.

Ed Greenwood has some young elves in his stories. They are impulsive to the point of stupidity, but often have eldritch powers at their command that has to peg them at least at 7th or 8th level wizard, or more. But you kjust can't balance that with 1st-level human characters starting an adventure, can you. So it's a compromise, between game balance and conceptual details like relative maturity.

<shrug>


thejeff wrote:

I have a more psychological take that leads to similar places. Based loosely on the legends of mortals in faerie (or the Fellowship's time in Lorien), elves generally percieve time differently. Not that they go away or move slowly or anything, but they sort of drift through their lives most of time. One day is like another and the seasons turn in an endless whirl. You turn around and a decade has passed and you've barely noticed it go. That's their natural state and they spend most of their long lives like that, when they're living among their own kind.

They can make the effort and deal with things in the same way shorter lived races do, but it's stressful and they can only keep it up for a little while without harm. A couple of decades or so. Long enough to adventure or deal with wars and other crises or even to serve as an ambassador or even live as a merchant in human lands for awhile.

This is fairly close to how I deal with it as well. Elves that grow up outside of an elven community tend to end up with more problems as they've had to deal with all these short lived hyper other races.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rogar Stonebow wrote:
Even though may be spending their time in their villages "growing up" they are becoming accomplished in music, art, combat... etc.

Except they dont get any extra skill points or bonuses to music, art, ect. Did they just forget 100 years worth of experience when they set out to find a job (class).


Dragonamedrake wrote:
Rogar Stonebow wrote:
Even though may be spending their time in their villages "growing up" they are becoming accomplished in music, art, combat... etc.
Except they dont get any extra skill points or bonuses to music, art, ect. Did they just forget 100 years worth of experience when they set out to find a job (class).

Quite possibly.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You see, elves are weird and pick up interesting (or rather uninteresting hobbies) that would drive a normal person insane. These include watching grass grow, watching paint dry, watching trees grow, waiting at the chariot stop, following snail migration patterns, watching the sun from dawn to dusk, etc.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Maybe the elf is spending all that time raising a single **** to give about anything that happens in the world in terms of adventuring. Like it takes 100+ years or a really traumatic event normally for an elf to overcome a species-wide inertia against going out into the world to make a major difference.

That also meshes with the fantasy literature elves who presume they're better because they're older. The elf spent so long not caring about things they presume that the 20 year old human adventurer can only be a self-interested chaotic neutral-going-on-evil dip****.


Westphalian_Musketeer wrote:
... self-interested chaotic neutral-going-on-evil dip****.

I'm actively going to try to use this in a conversation in the next week or so.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
GeraintElberion wrote:
A human wizard who goes through RotRL matures from 18 year old bumbler to super-awesome knower of all things and cosmic reality bender in less than a year.

This is why I don't worry about a 100-year-old first-level elf. Pathfinder and D&D define leveling up as adventure dependent, not age dependent.

An 1st-level human Alchemist PC bids farewell to his father, a 5th-level Expert NPC in Alchemy, to head off to the orc wars.

SON: Thanks, Pa, for the training and the potions. I will use them well.
FATHER: I wish I had more for you, but I sold my stock to the army.
SON: I love the alchemist's kit you made for me. It will never leave my side.
FATHER: Keep safe.

A year later the son returns. After hugs and tears of joy that he returned home, the son asks about the task on his father's workshop.

FATHER: A sunrod. Tricky thing, they fail half the time. How about you aid me? That improves the odds by 10%.
SON: Oh, Pa. Let me try it. We just need to check the chemical balance, tweak it a bit, where is your flask of flax oil, one drop, there, done.
FATHER: That was so effortless for you. They put you to Alchemy full time in the army?
FATHER: No. You won't believe the adventures. Our squad, just four of us, became separated from the army. We had to hide in tunnels underneath the old ruin that the orcs were using as a base. The monsters there were worse than any single orc soldier. Most of my alchemy was bombs. Make and throw, make and throw. By the time we left the tunnels my bombs were five times as powerful as before and we decided to take out the orcish high command. It is nice to be able to take my time on a sunrod.

The son in one year of adventuring gained twice the levels that father in thirty years of crafting had gained. That is how Pathfinder works. I view PCs as destined characters, who learn unnaturally fast because of that destiny.

An elf learns at only one fifth the speed of a human? That is nearly the same compared to a PC learning at sixty times the speed of an NPC.

101 to 150 of 208 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / What was the elf doing growing up? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.