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Why do the elves behave like other races?

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They live hundreds of years. You would expect them to be generally wiser, more experienced, and more capable in most mind-related tasks than any other races. You would expect them to have a great knowledge of world history, whether by studying or simply by experiencing it. You would expect their wizards to be vastly superior to other races, since they had far more time to practice it. You would expect them to see any other race as some toddler who knows nothing about life and the world. Yet, ingame, they behave just like any other race. Why?

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I've always thought elves were an interesting thing in Fantasy settings because they vary so wildly. In say, Baldur's Gate (All the games.) they ranged from mystical to aloof by setting alone. You find a loner wizard in the sewards doing awful things and yet in another you find one drunk off his ass in tavern speaking like a commoner. I don't play as many games as I used to but I've seen a lot of elves being more grounded recently in things like Dragon Age or Witcher. They've lost that sort of Tolkien-esque mysticism and are well, like a lot of other folks. In the case of Dragon Age or Witcher they've become significantly more oppressed though. Speaking strictly of Pillars I think the mature nature of the narrative has given them a more grounded, less ethereal status.

 

I'd like to see the roles completely reversed at some point in an RPG. With Elves living underground and mining and putting Dwarves and Gnomes in the trees and forests.

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They live hundreds of years. You would expect them to be generally wiser, more experienced, and more capable in most mind-related tasks than any other races.

 

They're older so the only thing I expect might be different about them is they're grouchier, not wiser (not to mention ugly and stupid #TeamDwarf).

Edited by the_dog_days
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They live hundreds of years. You would expect them to be generally wiser, more experienced, and more capable in most mind-related tasks than any other races. You would expect them to have a great knowledge of world history, whether by studying or simply by experiencing it. You would expect their wizards to be vastly superior to other races, since they had far more time to practice it. You would expect them to see any other race as some toddler who knows nothing about life and the world. Yet, ingame, they behave just like any other race. Why?

 

Because  we obviously do not have enough fantasy settings with insufferably arrogant, stuck up racist elves condescending to everyone else with smug superiority.  :getlost:

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You have a point. Mind you, they haven't been very central to the story yet. Deadfire was all about the Vailians and the Aumaua. If we ever get a sequel that takes place in the Aedyr Empire, then I expect elves will play a bigger role.

Edited by Heijoushin
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I get the feeling that the creative team weren't crash hot on having elves and dwarves at all and only wanted them in there for 'brand recognition' as a spiritual successor to the infinity engine games. Avellone has been outspoken about how little he likes them on a few occasions I believe.

 

So elves and dwarves in this setting come off as rather marginalised, not in the fictional societies, but rather the creative energies put into them. They just seem like shorter or older humans rather than having anything distinct about them. Much more effort has gone into fleshing out, say, aumaua.

 

Then again, if we go to Aedyr, we would probably get way more on them.

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You can meet two old elves, Undyne and Oswald. They both fought in Defiance War (Dyrwood independence war) on opposing sides. (To talk with Undyne abour the war I had to do it before meeting her with Serafen in the party). It's kinda cool because it helps to make sense of the timeline etc and realize how relatively short Dyrwood's history is and how far elves' memory can go (relative to humans and other kith with similar lifespan). I don't necessarily think it should give elves a specific personality, cause that kinda sounds like a cliche and relying on boring stereotypes? Instead of treating each elf as an individual. I think we'd see more of the division between elves and humans perception if we explored places like Aedyr where elves make up a large chunk of the society and dominant cultures.

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They live hundreds of years. You would expect them to be generally wiser, more experienced, and more capable in most mind-related tasks than any other races.

It depends on the lore and the world.

 

Your topic, and Oswald, reminded me of elves in "Labyrinths of Echo" universe. Their lives were long, very long. But... their organisms had zero resistance vs alchool addiction.

It was enough for an elf to taste it just once (benevolently or not), and he would rapidly transform into a drunkard. Try to imagine hundred of years of hungover.

Once a wise and prideful nation has transformed into wandering and permanently innabriate alchoolics.

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I believe that since they live for so long, they do things in much more relaxed manner compared to humans who do not live for long. Simply put Elves arent as knowledgeable because they are serial procrastinators and in general lack the curiosity that humans have. That is my opinion on this matter anyway

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I agree.

 

Back in 2017 I made a thread myself about races in Pillars all being generally humans...

 

https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/93823-races-of-eora-conclusions-and-speculations/?do=findComment&comment=1937512

Yeah well, that's true of all invented beings, ever.

 

The Hanar, Buggers from "Ender's Game", Starro from the DC universe, the Angels from "Out of the Silent Planet", etc. There are quite a few non-humanoid races out there.

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I agree.

 

Back in 2017 I made a thread myself about races in Pillars all being generally humans...

 

https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/93823-races-of-eora-conclusions-and-speculations/?do=findComment&comment=1937512

Yeah well, that's true of all invented beings, ever.

 

The Hanar, Buggers from "Ender's Game", Starro from the DC universe, the Angels from "Out of the Silent Planet", etc. There are quite a few non-humanoid races out there.

 

 

I believe they're talking about mental, rather than physical characteristics. So Hanar are just very polite humans in a squid costume, Buggers are telepathic humans in bug costumes, etc.

 

EDIT: The philosopher Thomas Nagel actually wrote about this idea in his paper "What is it like to be a bat?"

Edited by illathid
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Perhaps because the elves taught everybody else how to behave in a civilized manner?

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They live hundreds of years. You would expect them to be generally wiser, more experienced, and more capable in most mind-related tasks than any other races. You would expect them to have a great knowledge of world history, whether by studying or simply by experiencing it. You would expect their wizards to be vastly superior to other races, since they had far more time to practice it. You would expect them to see any other race as some toddler who knows nothing about life and the world. Yet, ingame, they behave just like any other race. Why?

Reading over the races again they, on the whole, seem very insular, xenophobic even among small differences in culture, and seem to fall solidly into the Pillars trend of culture weighing into them more than race (although for some the culture is entirely their own whereas others involve other, likely more bombastic, races influencing them). So my guess is that they lack the worldliness to become truly wise or experienced on the whole, likely tend to be very conservative and unwilling to accept theories or beliefs not included in their predominant culture or worldview, and just on the whole act like older people from a young age.

 

So far as great knowledge of history - it depends on if they're interested. I image some are, but my guess is that they're more interested in self-reflection and where they fit into the world at that point. Not to mention that they're long lived, its a lot of history, and there's no evidence their physical memories are significantly abnormal for a human, save maybe a slight improvement. So many may actually find themselves *forgetting* most of their lives as they age, or at least having their brains filter more and more "unimportant" information out. Humans start experiencing a perceptional shift for time, unless we really stop and think about it, pretty early on. I know I find myself experiencing time differently at 30 . Elves may last a bit longer, but there's not guarantees of that. Which may be why they are so insular or traditional - less likely to forget something if it stays the same.

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Well, in this setting elves tend to live to around the 200's.  Aloth is in his 60s. The only old elves you meet are Oswald and Udyne. Oswald is a living trainwreck regardless of his age. Udyne does act the way you're taking about. 

It's also barely addressed but most of the very powerful wizards find ways to prolong their lives. Concelhaut in the obvious way. Llengrath through sharing essence (I think?) so that "parts" of their soul lives on. 

Regarding history it's also worth remembering that the Leaden Key and the Hand Occult have been ****ing **** up for nearly 2,000 years. 

Edited by topologista
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The thing I think that's important to point out as illustrated above is that even in writing these things people are limited by their own sense of being human. We can only give them our struggles and goals and so forth. Being even more specific it's also good to point out that when designing other races for things like Sci-Fi other races are almost always humanoid. This is of course ridiculous because we evolved the way we did due to certain circumstances on this planet. A planet that had lifeforms evolve on certain circumstances could look vastly different.

 

I think it's absolutely preposterous to assume that any writer could truly create something truly foreign or alien because we simply can't comprehend outside our own experiences and the experiences in others. Hence why many races fall within certain archetypes. At some point it's going to be anthropomorphized because we're human.


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I like the way PoE handles races. But I'm a bit disappointed at Princippi/Republics having few dwarves - they are supposed to be as common in vailian people as elfs in Aedyr.

 

In general, culture > species. So Aedyr and Glanfathan elves behave differently, as glanfathan orlans are the opposite of slaved orlans, which are unlike Ixmatl and Rauatai orlans. Huana and Rauatai amauas, godlikes in deadfire and elsewhere etc.

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I always thought of the PoE fantasy races as like generic Forgotten Realms thrown into a melting pot. Culture has advanced to the point that all the normal tropes have worn off and became irrelevant.

 

It kind of goes with the whole "Age of Enlightenment" renaissance angle.

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Most video games only have token differences between races (I'm including fantasy and sci-fi). I'm unsure why this particular instance would bother someone.

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I agree.

 

Back in 2017 I made a thread myself about races in Pillars all being generally humans...

 

https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/93823-races-of-eora-conclusions-and-speculations/?do=findComment&comment=1937512

Yeah well, that's true of all invented beings, ever.

 

The Hanar, Buggers from "Ender's Game", Starro from the DC universe, the Angels from "Out of the Silent Planet", etc. There are quite a few non-humanoid races out there.

 

 

I believe they're talking about mental, rather than physical characteristics. So Hanar are just very polite humans in a squid costume, Buggers are telepathic humans in bug costumes, etc.

 

EDIT: The philosopher Thomas Nagel actually wrote about this idea in his paper "What is it like to be a bat?"

 

Then Buggers would still stand out. They are an insect Hive-mind with no concept of the individual. The Hanar work similarly, they ahd to learn how to interact with the other races. This isn't even bringing up the Great Old Ones from Lovecraft's stories.

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to be fair Pillars 1 and 2 happens in very turbulent parts of the world with little influence from elves.   So its way more easy for them to be young, impulsive and other qualitys and defects that comes with people that are colonists or adventurers. 

 
If all you do is farming no matter if you live 50 or 500 years, outside of your field you will know close to nothing, specially with villages and citys that live isolated outside of eventual caravan or two to replenish complex tools. 

 

I do expect when we go to the empire or meet a organization led by elves of the empire for them to be old with a more rigid political structure, but at same time they can´t be that ageless stone we see on Tolkien or even on some Forgotten realms kingdom simple because they share the empire with humans and must adapt to how humans behave, think and act. 

Edited by sterrius

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wisdom knowledge experience are not exactly same things

many willing to believe they have gain wisdom through the ages

but a routine life can repeat 5 or 20 years

not much different other then physical deterioration

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Most video games only have token differences between races (I'm including fantasy and sci-fi). I'm unsure why this particular instance would bother someone.

 

Not bothersome, merely food for thought. According to the wiki, elves in pillars live for about 200-310 years. That's not nearly as extreme as Tolkien elves, but you'd still think they would, on average, be more worldly and experienced than the other races. Sure, as mentioned above, some might be boring chaps that have spent the last 200 years farming, but you'd also expect to meet a couple of "been there, done that" sort of elves who've traveled the world and grown cynical. Or perhaps some master craftsman who've been perfecting what they do for 200 years.

 

Heck, if nothing else, they should have some great stories to tell with such long lifespans. 

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