Elven Infants


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

Sovereign Court

While this may seem an inane question, I asked myself this morning, what would it look like to raise an elven infant? Half-elves too, for that matter.

To the point of an elven infant, if they do not sleep, do they know to meditate? What kind of care do they require? When do they first walk?

It makes me ponder an elven orphan in a human orphanage, reaching childhood just as their first round of caretakers retire. How isolated would that poor child be?

It is a curious point to ponder.


To get it out of the way, elves DO need to sleep.

A half elf grows up only a little slower than a human. I want to say a 20 year old half elf is about the same as a 16 year old human, but could be off by a year.

Actual elves are much, much stranger. Elves of Golarion is annoyingly vague on how elven childhood actually works.

My own impression is that elves are physically mature by 50 or 60 (or younger), but spend a long time in a perpetual teenager state.

(Now I'm thinking of Dragonlance, where Princess Laurana was 80 going on 18ish).

But an elf raised among humans is expected to see them all die of old age before he or she finishes growing up.

We've never actually seen an elf child in a product, I think.

Hopefully Inner Sea Races will actually give us some better explanation, because elves are weird.

Fitting enough for space aliens, I suppose.

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We've danced around the subject, but my preference is that the bulk of an elf's pre-adulthood is spent in a teenager type era, and that they DON'T remain infants for decades.


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You would think after decades of acne, a cracking voice and general teen-age hormonal craziness, elves would all end up hating the world and seek its destruction.

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Zhangar wrote:

To get it out of the way, elves DO need to sleep.

A half elf grows up only a little slower than a human. I want to say a 20 year old half elf is about the same as a 16 year old human, but could be off by a year.

Actual elves are much, much stranger. Elves of Golarion is annoyingly vague on how elven childhood actually works.

My own impression is that elves are physically mature by 50 or 60 (or younger), but spend a long time in a perpetual teenager state.

(Now I'm thinking of Dragonlance, where Princess Laurana was 80 going on 18ish).

But an elf raised among humans is expected to see them all die of old age before he or she finishes growing up.

We've never actually seen an elf child in a product, I think.

Hopefully Inner Sea Races will actually give us some better explanation, because elves are weird.

Fitting enough for space aliens, I suppose.

Well, an elf has to meditate, or trance, or what have you, but that is what I wonder... what might that look like for an elven infant? Is it shorter as it is with adults?

But it makes sense as to the other points. I think a perpetual state of being a teenager speaks to the ingrained caprice and wonderment that comes naturally to elves.

Dave Justus wrote:

You would think after decades of acne, a cracking voice and general teen-age hormonal craziness, elves would all end up hating the world and seek its destruction.

*answered after an edit*

I imagine the lack of acne, body hair and prominent sexual characteristics (i.e. hips, awkward moustaches, broad shoulders, etc)... would render elves into a maturation process envied by high schoolers everywhere.

Half elves might have a rather embarrassing time of it, by comparison. Or so I would posit.


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Dave Justus wrote:

You would think after decades of acne, a cracking voice and general teen-age hormonal craziness, elves would all end up hating the world and seek its destruction.

Might I bring your attention to the Drow?

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HyperMissingno wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

You would think after decades of acne, a cracking voice and general teen-age hormonal craziness, elves would all end up hating the world and seek its destruction.

Might I bring your attention to the Drow?

A drow puberty would be a thing of horror, but for social reasons. But who is to say? Perhaps the drow anatomy has hidden surprises as well. One shudders to think.


Lorathorn wrote:
Well, an elf has to meditate, or trance, or what have you

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think Golarion elves sleep like other races do. D&D elves tranced.

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Dustin Ashe wrote:
Lorathorn wrote:
Well, an elf has to meditate, or trance, or what have you
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think Golarion elves sleep like other races do. D&D elves tranced.

I have only managed to find the Elves of Golarion book to state that they trance. It is a 3.5 supplement, but I don't know of any book after that to supplant this point. If someone has a reference, I will accede the point. I say this only for lack of knowledge. The niggling fact seems not to be in the core book or race guide, sadly.

*edit*
I also see that the APG and ARG both have an alternate racial trait named "Dreamspeaker" that somewhat substantiates the idea. Again I say, I may not be aware of other text that could refute my assertion.


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Reference, albeit not in print.

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Joana wrote:
Reference, albeit not in print.

It is noted. Would I be hated if I expressed that this could be added to errata for a future core reprint?


Mystaran elves aged as humans until they reach twenty or so, then they slow down and their 'late teen early twenties' period lasts for about 80 years. By the time elves are 100 or so they are pretty much full adults. They sleep too. I think it's only FR elves that have that meditate/reverie thing.

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Elves do sleep. The idea of "trancing" or otherwise not sleeping is something TSR/WotC used for the Forgotten Realms, and as such that's part of their intellectual property for D&D. It MAY have been itself inspired by Tolkien; I'm not sure.

In either case, we don't want to use that element for elves in Pathfinder or Golarion, because we want our elves to be OUR elves. They sleep. Theyr'e aliens from another planet. They adjust over time in appearance to take on elements of their environs. They have solid colored eyes. Etc.

Furthermore, the whole idea of elves "trancing" and not sleeping always kinda bothered me, since that would imply that elves wouldn't really have bedrooms like humans, which means that all those maps of elven buildings with bedrooms are wrong, etc. AKA: The concept of a near-human race doing something as INHUMAN as not sleeping is too fundamentally weird and outlandish for my personal tastes. Elves are already pushing that envelope by living for hundreds of years.

But the MAIN reason they sleep and don't trance is the one I list in the first paragraph above—we want to avoid aping another company or another creator's vision and make it something different.

(That some elements of trancing crept into our earlier 3.5 products is , in effect, an error, and one we've been in the process of trying to fix ever since.)


James Jacobs wrote:

Elves do sleep. The idea of "trancing" or otherwise not sleeping is something TSR/WotC used for the Forgotten Realms, and as such that's part of their intellectual property for D&D. It MAY have been itself inspired by Tolkien; I'm not sure.

In either case, we don't want to use that element for elves in Pathfinder or Golarion, because we want our elves to be OUR elves. They sleep. Theyr'e aliens from another planet. They adjust over time in appearance to take on elements of their environs. They have solid colored eyes. Etc.

Furthermore, the whole idea of elves "trancing" and not sleeping always kinda bothered me, since that would imply that elves wouldn't really have bedrooms like humans, which means that all those maps of elven buildings with bedrooms are wrong, etc. AKA: The concept of a near-human race doing something as INHUMAN as not sleeping is too fundamentally weird and outlandish for my personal tastes. Elves are already pushing that envelope by living for hundreds of years.

But the MAIN reason they sleep and don't trance is the one I list in the first paragraph above—we want to avoid aping another company or another creator's vision and make it something different.

(That some elements of trancing crept into our earlier 3.5 products is , in effect, an error, and one we've been in the process of trying to fix ever since.)

Wonderful, sweet, PG rated James...

There are plenty of other things to do in a bedroom. Things that elves do as well and generally require a bit of privacy.

I'm sure five decades of perpetual teenage years require quite a bit of privacy demanding activity as well.


Slower development in humans appears to be one of the main genetic factors for our increased intelligence over our primate cousins.

So elves being a bit smarter, I would think every stage of childhood is elongated, rather than a human-like progression to teenage adolescence and then a plateau of sorts.

ChainsawSam wrote:

Wonderful, sweet, PG rated James...

There are plenty of other things to do in a bedroom. Things that elves do as well and generally require a bit of privacy.

The non-sleeping version of elves still wouldn't have bedrooms just for that. Maybe a "study" that serves as a library that just so happens to have a murphy bed or some other contraptions suitable for reproductive rituals.

Thankfully, Golarion elves do sleep so we don't have to worry about it. It makes sense that they sleep since they don't have darkvision and come from a planet which has a day/night cycle (I think?).

While I'm on the subject, I think races/species with darkvision (without a subsequent light aversion) wouldn't sleep at all, or would've adapted with a dolphin-esque, half-brain on/half-brain off state.

For example, organisms at hydrothermal vents on earth don't have a diurnal cycle. So why would dwarves? Drow might because of their elven ancestry.

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I like my elves being able to curl up, sleep, and dream.

Works nicely with the Desna connection actually.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ChainsawSam wrote:

Wonderful, sweet, PG rated James...

There are plenty of other things to do in a bedroom. Things that elves do as well and generally require a bit of privacy.

Yeah...

Except that none of those things to which you allude require a bed. In point of fact a lot of them work just fine & even better on other forms of furniture, or even no furniture at all, Elves do get a racial bonus to dexterity after all.

Leaves, waggling eyebrows suggestively.


Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
ChainsawSam wrote:

Wonderful, sweet, PG rated James...

There are plenty of other things to do in a bedroom. Things that elves do as well and generally require a bit of privacy.

Yeah...

Except that none of those things to which you allude require a bed. In point of fact a lot of them work just fine & even better on other forms of furniture, or even no furniture at all, Elves do get a racial bonus to dexterity after all.

Leaves, waggling eyebrows suggestively.

Indeed, who needs furniture when you have other elves?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
We've danced around the subject, but my preference is that the bulk of an elf's pre-adulthood is spent in a teenager type era, and that they DON'T remain infants for decades.

Maybe not decades but it seems they do age slower in their pre-adolescent stages. Isn't one of the stresses of being a half-elf raised among elves, is that they grow much faster than elven children, whereas among humans they are late bloomers?


We had this come up in my campaign, which is not Golarion-based.

I determined that elven infancy is very short, a 1 year old elf is equivalent to a 3 year old human. So they're out of the icky stage very quickly.

From there, development slows. Puberty begins around 30 (elves aren't sure about this - everyone is different, and they've stopped counting by now anyway) and lasts for around 30 years.

All the upheaval caused in humans by rapid growth in adolescence is stretched out over a much longer period of time. This allows a more sedate emotional and physical development, and is less traumatic to the elven 'teen'.

From there, they enter what would be analogous to human 'college years', the late teen, early adult years where they start to really become part of the community. This lasts until they get the urge to cast aside the folly of youth and become PCs...

It's a rough guide, and there's a lot of leeway with which a GM can play, but that's how it works for my campaign.


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My biggest problem with this approach is that the "folly of youth" is exactly when I'd expect most people to go off adventuring.


thejeff wrote:
My biggest problem with this approach is that the "folly of youth" is exactly when I'd expect most people to go off adventuring.

So much this !!

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