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Elves and their age question

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In at least few of the systems I know of the age of an adult elf is around 130 years, and that's often the age of newly created character. Is there an explanation on how does elven ranger live 130 years and have no skills whatsoever above those of 20 year old human ranger? I mean.. if you start learning your trade at your "teenage" years of say 80, that's 50 years of shooting bows and tracking animals. Then when those two ranges are in the same party they level up at the same pace meaning they can become twice as proficient in bow in the same timespan of 2 months or so. Moreover there are stats for mental abilities, so you can't say all elves are retarded, when they can have both stupid warriors and smart and powerful wizards and clerics. I just can't wrap my head around the idea of starting at age of 130 in this "tabula rasa" state. Wouldn't it be more logical lore-wise to say elves are adults at 20 and just live much longer? Why the idea of 130 year old jack of no trades?


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Elves just suck.


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Elves just suck.

I think that is actually implied in Forgotten Realms lore about Drows. They are said to be masters at the art of love but come on! They can't possibly suck day and night for 130 years... :p

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Consider this: I know 20 year olds men from Oxford, UK who would be out-thought and out-fought by 12 year old zulus from Natal, South Africa.

 

No doubt your elf is more skilled in eleven court etiquette and whatever elves do for facebook.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

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That's 8 year gap not 110... And even relatively speaking your 12 year old zulus are still 60% as old as 20 men from Oxford. Here we are talking about someone who is 6.5 times as old, that would be comparing your 12 year old to 78 year old, or 20 year old to 3 year old. This just does not compute. What about elves that are not part of court? Does their food fall from the sky or do they hunt it? 


signqev.jpg

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Lot's 'n lot's of sleep?

"Ooh, shiney butterflies, WEEE!"?

Spoiled brats of a race with very low birthrate?

 

I'm assuming you're talking about D&D and as I usually stay away from D&D games myself, I've never really thought about it.

But it could also be that they are just really sociable, spending lots of time with friends, partying and listening to stories or whatnot instead of feeling any real need to get things rolling in a hurry, afterall you've got an eternity.

 

Then again, it's a level system, they don't make much of any sence in this regard whatsoever. They're not made for that, they're made to keep the game easilly balanced, and nothing else. I've seen level adjustment used in the Warcraft RPG, wich would help alleviate things somewhat, but it still becomes stupid. I prefer the unbalanced systems where an 100 year old elf is more powerful by himself than the rest of the party, and an 5000 year old "Mist elf" is so powerful that the first thing that happens at the start of the game, is that the Emperor of Chronopia kills him before he was ever born. R.I.P Hleirathr. :(

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Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. - H.L. Mencken

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well the average lifespan of an elf is 10x that of a human, so it may be possible that their mental and/or physical growth is 10 times slower. or simply, a human has no time to lose and dedicates his time to what he does, the elf has all the time in the world so he just wastes it. so a human ranger will be out in the woods traping, tracking, hunting etc 24/7, while an elf ranger will just go out there and practice his job once a week or twice a month, when he doesnt do anything more elf like (singing or dancing in a party, contemplate the intricacy of nature while looking at ants,  hugging trees etc)

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That's 8 year gap not 110... And even relatively speaking your 12 year old zulus are still 60% as old as 20 men from Oxford. Here we are talking about someone who is 6.5 times as old, that would be comparing your 12 year old to 78 year old, or 20 year old to 3 year old. This just does not compute. What about elves that are not part of court? Does their food fall from the sky or do they hunt it? 

 

Have you never had a summer holiday that just evaporated like morning mist, leaving you with two missing months and only the memory of a single kiss to show for it?

 

My point is not to assert that it's possible to squeeze MORE into your time. My point is that it's possible to squeeze almost nothing into your time.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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So, we're agreed that it's fine, then?


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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We're talking about Dungeons & Dragons lore here? That epitome of realism and consistency. Heh, right.

Edited by rjshae

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Oops, seems like I lost connection before posting...

Well, my point was more about skills acquired than experience, but okay, I accept these answers. I still think it would be better to change this lore, as IMHO a race that spends 130 years on idle chatter with friends is not likely to give birth to any adventurous types. Yes they have 10 times as much time in life but it doesn't mean that each seconds lasts 10 times as short for them, therefore it takes very lazy person to waste THAT much time. 


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Aside from a Tolkien-influenced period back in the late 70s/early 80s when I was first playing AD&D, I never really made a lot of elven characters. Don't really understand all the hostility directed their way, either. *shrugs*


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So, we're agreed that it's fine, then?

 

Definitely agree with points you have made, just not sure it's fine - I mean, are they telling me it has taken 130 years for my elf to mature into a brain that is capable of learning these lessons at this age?  I always kind of ignored the age as it really didn't make sense unless viewed from the perspectives given here, which makes the average elf pretty vapid.

I've seen people with director in their job title with 1 year experience repeated 20 times torn to pieces by junior members of staff with a few years in the trenches, and to have any perspective of the elf I roleplay ascociated with that is frankly embarassing. ;(

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LOL@Chippy

 

I don't believe I have EVER played as an elf because _I_ associate them with munchkins. But you're right: ineffectual middle management is much more scary.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I think the main problem is that D&D was hack and slash first and roleplaying second. Age were just some numbers to give flavour, to make some npcs look important ("The elven king has seen as many years as he has subjects." "Ooooooh!" The Human king is 1/100th of the elven king in years but has gained 100 times as many subjects." "Aaaaaaah!") and possibly to affect whether you survive an aging curse or not. Player were never meant to actually "think" about it ;)


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I remember in 3rd ed, I think elves were described as "achieving majority" at age 120 -- which is different from the age at which you achieve maturity. They might be fully grown much earlier, but are not in society considered full citizens, for whatever reason, until that age.

 

In a homebrew world I run, I've run with that idea, and assume elves hit adulthood around age 25-30, but are not necessarily full citizens with certain legal rights until they are much older--they have to prove their worth before they can do so. They are expected to explore but also go through various rites of passage (perhaps including those which confer the resistances most elves have in D&D--which might take some time to develop), and perhaps engage in something rather esoteric which would take up a lot of time but not necessarily be reflected in a character's combat skills (perhaps memorizing some epic poem, or spending 50 years crafting the perfect wood flute--but all you're good at is making flutes). (I'd also have no trouble with someone wanting to play a "young" elf younger than 120 years old, but that's only me.)

 

I do think it's weird when it's assumed elves just take 120 years to grow to adulthood... that's a loooooong-forming brain there. I don't want to wish something like a decades-long puberty on anyone. On the other hand, if they do have a 30 year long puberty or something, that could explain their relative idiocy by the time they hit adulthood... it's the trauma. ;)

Edited by DeathQuaker

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That's 8 year gap not 110... And even relatively speaking your 12 year old zulus are still 60% as old as 20 men from Oxford. Here we are talking about someone who is 6.5 times as old, that would be comparing your 12 year old to 78 year old, or 20 year old to 3 year old. This just does not compute. What about elves that are not part of court? Does their food fall from the sky or do they hunt it? 

 

It also means that an elf baby remains a baby for like 6 years.  They're in their "terrible twos" until they're 18.

 

In other words, I imagine that compared to humans their progression is a curve to human's line; there's probably a combination of physically and culturally created factors that lead to an extended childhood period (possibly, from a practical point, just to keep the societal roles from collapsing with no position turnover for decades).

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Oops, seems like I lost connection before posting...

Well, my point was more about skills acquired than experience, but okay, I accept these answers. I still think it would be better to change this lore, as IMHO a race that spends 130 years on idle chatter with friends is not likely to give birth to any adventurous types. Yes they have 10 times as much time in life but it doesn't mean that each seconds lasts 10 times as short for them, therefore it takes very lazy person to waste THAT much time. 

 

 

See you just perfectly illustrated why Gygax and Arneson had level limits for elves, dwarves and halflings.  These are not cultures of ambition.

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I always thought that about liches too. Especially since they are supposedly doing nothing *but* seeking arcane power.

 

And your PC wizard still levels up to 20 in what in-game might even be under a year.

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Yet the wizards and clerics always seem to be 50+ after learning their first cantrips, except if they're female because then they're in their low 20's.

(the females, on the other hand, usually have their absent-mindedness directed towards forgetting to wear clothes)

 

Tolkien answer to elf dilemma would be that beginning elves are actually all 10th level. Because they are all master marksmen and super sneaky.

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I never did like the 130-year old incompetent elf concept.

 

If elves live hudnerds of years, I'd rather have an elven character start a lot younger than elves being somewhat retarded.

So elves start 20-30-ish, just like humans.

 

 

I get that they might be a bit slower, simply because of time avialable, but that impleis all evles are sloths..not a single one has a drive or necessiiy to learn fast.

Edited by TrashMan

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In at least few of the systems I know of the age of an adult elf is around 130 years, and that's often the age of newly created character. Is there an explanation on how does elven ranger live 130 years and have no skills whatsoever above those of 20 year old human ranger? I mean.. if you start learning your trade at your "teenage" years of say 80, that's 50 years of shooting bows and tracking animals. Then when those two ranges are in the same party they level up at the same pace meaning they can become twice as proficient in bow in the same timespan of 2 months or so. Moreover there are stats for mental abilities, so you can't say all elves are retarded, when they can have both stupid warriors and smart and powerful wizards and clerics. I just can't wrap my head around the idea of starting at age of 130 in this "tabula rasa" state. Wouldn't it be more logical lore-wise to say elves are adults at 20 and just live much longer? Why the idea of 130 year old jack of no trades?

I often ponder this, but first of all please allow me to introduce myself. Hello! Nice forum you got here, big fan of RPGs, been gaming with dice and beyond for 20 years. And yes I am a fan of the band Tool. 

 

Back to the topic at hand. With game mechanics that cover such a diverse racial group, and our suspensions of disbelief being so keen, we must use our imaginations to make the pieces fit. Here's my best effort.

 

Elves of all varieties, spend their childhoods and young adult lives in secret seclusion. There, they spend dozens of years in deep meditation, awakening each day for only a few hours to eat and exercise. This would help to explain their frail constitutions and strong mental fortitude. They are living vicariously on the astral plane, but are unable to carry over that wisdom to the prime material plane. At a certain age they are bound to their physical being, and then go out into the world to interact and learn. 

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Thinking about this some more, maybe Elves don't have babies, maybe they start as eggs that hatch into an "elf larva" state and squiggle around forests mindless for 80 years, make a chrysalis which they stay in for 20 years at which point the elf baby emerges from the Chrysalis ready for 20 years of education.

 

Would explain the low birthrate and affinity for nature - there has to be some nature for those elf larvae to squiggle about mindlessly in and they'd be very vulnerable to predators, disease, falling off tree limbs, etc in their larva state.

 

Half-elves skip straight to the baby state thanks to their human parent and earn resentment from elves because they didn't spend 80 years squiggling about a forest like they did.

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I bet they'd be like wichity grubs.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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