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Old 03-02-2021, 06:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

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Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
The real question you need to answer for yourself is how does that advantage change the behavior of the race the PC? How does it alter your game? Extended life and longevity dont mean anything, unless they mean something. I mean a char with Magery0 (like they paid points for it) in a world where there is no magic, whats the point? If Extended life is just a hedge against drain life attacks then why bother just leave the advantage out and make the drain less lethal.
My interest was purely based on roleplay. I hadn't even thought about age-based attacks. Characters may relate to history and the past in a different way depending on how old they are.

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I am convinced that Extended Life is as cheap as it is, because other than informing the backstory of a PC and his society, it really doesnt alter game play much at all.
Yes, I would tend not to charge for it.
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Old 03-02-2021, 06:51 AM   #12
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

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Originally Posted by Opellulo View Post
Not DF specific but I was always fascinated by the age cycles of fantasy races. Let's go with a "vanilla high elf": if you put his old age at 650 years and then scale back all his age cycle by ten, then you have a lot of very funny scenarios:

- Baby Elf needs someone to change his/her diapers for more than 30 years... That's a nightmare scenario worst of any great horror out there.
- Child Elf will swing from seesaws for about 70 years, are there enough trees for that?
- Teenager elf is expected at sit for at least 70 years in high school (or its setting relative) and I let you sink in that nightmare.

Yeah I know that there was something like "early maturation" that was a band-aid to justify this concept, but that opens another can of worms on the feasibility of that kind of societies: your body is adult at 18 but nobody takes you seriously for another 200 years... That's a ready recipe for social disaster.

TL/DR version: fantasy species makes no sense, always blame Tolkien for that and the some more.
To be fair to Tolkien his races were heavily influenced by Faerie myths which had humans be the shorter lived beings. Heck, Gandalf may have looked human but he was actually an angel like being (Ainur) and effectively "got better" after being killed by the Belrog.

D&D took that ball and ran with it. For example, an Elf, gray wasn't considered "old" until the got to 1001 and could live up to 2000. Half-Orc were the shortest lived race back then hitting "old" at 46 while the Humans not considered "old" until 61.

In the D&D Cartoon (The Lost Children) when some alien children who look about 10 are actually in their 70s and 554 being middle aged. When Presto says "That sound's great" Epic quips "Are you kidding? They probably go to school for 360 years." At the end when told that it will take 15 years to repair their spaceship one of them asks "That soon?"

That last part shows something people often forget about long lived races. Their sense of time would be way different from that of a human.
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:19 AM   #13
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

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Originally Posted by Opellulo View Post
Yeah I know that there was something like "early maturation" that was a band-aid to justify this concept, but that opens another can of worms on the feasibility of that kind of societies: your body is adult at 18 but nobody takes you seriously for another 200 years... That's a ready recipe for social disaster.
You can have a society that works like that, but if you opt to design it that way, you have nobody to blame but yourself if you don't like it. A society that treats everyone as legally an adult at 18 (or younger - some cultures considered someone an adult once they reached puberty) is certainly possible, even if people are able to live for millennia. If the society is secure and peaceful enough that old age is fairly readily-achievable, you might not have 50 year olds that are considered master craftsmen, because those are the guys who have spent 200+ years - not a mere 40 (including apprenticeship) - perfecting their craft. Well, unless the GM decides there's something of a ceiling when it comes to how good of a craftsman one can become, in which case you may well have a master craftsman at 50 (or younger) - but the old guys may be masters of a lot of crafts. On the other hand, if it's like a lot of societies around the TL of DF, 50 year olds may well be considered wizened old men, on account of most people not making it past 35 (due to war, famine, disease, accident, murder, monster attacks, etc).

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There's a setting where no one knows the age limit of goblins because they always die from actions (often their own).
A bit of dark humor in the manga Goblin is Very Strong is when Honwasabi (the titular Very Strong Goblin) jokes about how nobody knows how old goblins can get, because they always get killed by adventurers. There's actually a fairly old goblin (who specializes in traps) that lives in her village, however, so that might not be entirely true. But, yeah, as others have said, it's rather likely that most people in DF die of things unrelated to old age, so members races who can live longer often won't live any longer than humans.
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:25 AM   #14
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
In both Roman and medieval times if you made it to early adulthood you had a decent chance of making it to old age. If you made it past child-bearing and military age, you had quite good odds of dying old.

Now, even with modern late-teens/young-adult death rates random bad luck will give a half-life of somewhere in the 150-200 year range (depending on the exact rate chosen), so multi-hundred year lifespans would be rare, but medieval unaging people would result in a fair number of people seeing their first century, though as they'd never leave young adulthood, death by childbirth and violence would stay high. On the other hand, unaging people would possibly be somewhat slower to resort to lethal violence.
Sure, that's basically what I meant.

There will be a few really really old people, but there will also be a fair number of young people. And who knows when 'necromantic smallpox' or whatever will tear through the grand elven city kill most of the hide-away elders and most of the survivors end up being the ones who weren't near civilization. Perhaps most of the elves are 300 or less, as a result. And the one elf who remembers how they defeated the now-resurrected 'dark lord' 1000 years ago is a paranoid crazy hermit wizard who lives alone on a mountain-top with a bunch of goats.

The caution you mentioned might also explain why a bunch of high-elf soldiers age-300 are barely better than moderately renowned human mercenaries despite being 10-times older. The elves are risk-averse and don't do dangerous exercises. Perhaps they don't even have combat skills on their character sheets, but instead default their weapon skills from a few very impressively leveled Combat-Art skills.
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:35 AM   #15
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

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Originally Posted by Opellulo View Post
Not DF specific but I was always fascinated by the age cycles of fantasy races. Let's go with a "vanilla high elf": if you put his old age at 650 years and then scale back all his age cycle by ten, then you have a lot of very funny scenarios:

- Baby Elf needs someone to change his/her diapers for more than 30 years... That's a nightmare scenario worst of any great horror out there.
- Child Elf will swing from seesaws for about 70 years, are there enough trees for that?
- Teenager elf is expected at sit for at least 70 years in high school (or its setting relative) and I let you sink in that nightmare.

Yeah I know that there was something like "early maturation" that was a band-aid to justify this concept, but that opens another can of worms on the feasibility of that kind of societies: your body is adult at 18 but nobody takes you seriously for another 200 years... That's a ready recipe for social disaster.

TL/DR version: fantasy species makes no sense, always blame Tolkien for that and the some more.
It is a very funny scenario, and I will laugh as much as anyone at some poor beleaguered elf mother changing diapers for the 27th year in a row, and looking forward to dealing with a sulky adolescent for the better part of a century.

To put the notion of 'early maturation' in the category of a band-aid is a disservice to both the comedy of the silly numbers, and the creativity of creating a fantasy race and society that is distinctly NOT human.

To the point, physical, mental, and social maturation all take place at different rates. An elf may be physically mature within a couple of decades, perhaps growing out of the little kid phase to the lanky teen-ish physicality and stall there for a while, perfectly physically capable of self-care but slight compared to a fully mature adult. That final growth spurt doesn't come at 18, but maybe 28 or 38. Mentally they may mature slower as well, staying flexible and learning far longer, or simply have an ingrained deference to their elders. They're not human, their mental faculties during maturation do not need to be human-like, they can by their nature be adapted to their pace of growth. A teenage elf doesn't have the hormone rages that a teenage human has because they don't have those hormones! They have elf hormones, maturing them at an elf pace, and that's different.

Finally, the social thing bothers me because it assumes that elf society is just like human society and hasn't adapted to having more and different social strata that deal with their nature of having long maturity levels. Think that elves haven't figured out how to deal with disaffected youth? For every freshman that has looked up to a senior classman, there's no reason that elves at the high end of their age cohort aren't looked up to, and aren't taken seriously by their near-youths. Elf society may very well be divided up into several different social and political strata where the eldest among them are the respected leaders before they age out and move to the next social strata (note, not a move up or down, simply a move) that may have a disconnected set of responsibilities and honors they enjoy. What do younger elves do? Go out and see the world! Adventure, interact, learn, and participate in other societies. Middle-aged elves, they often come home and may be the engines of the elven societies, making up the cohort that builds and protects the homes using the skills and experiences they acquired in their youth. The eldest of those then move on to other things, perhaps the politicians, perhaps they go back out into the world where their wisdom and experiences make them incredibly capable of dealing with non-elves in a diplomatic or otherwise fashion. And perhaps this is all turned upside down and as an elf ages the younger cohort explicitly pushes them aside while they relax into a contemplative retirement. What? Don't they have ambition and a desire to hold on to power? Of course not, what a human concept. Leadership and action is a job for the young, our old bones are not meant for such things.

Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine.
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:43 AM   #16
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
That last part shows something people often forget about long lived races. Their sense of time would be way different from that of a human.
True! And this opens up another Fantasy trope on how everybody knows things that happened millennia ago but technology and society meanwhile remained just about the same.

Technically this could work if you consider the extended lifespan of those ever present "Eldar Races" but once you put in a standard TL3 human in the mix the setting loses any believably: in just the time for a teenager elf to reach adulthood men should have already reached industrial revolution era.

The difference in time perception is one of the coolest aspect never exploited in fantasy. It's millennia everywhere, always middle ages! I have started to cope with this boring aspect deluding myself that fantasy worlds are set on Mercury.

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Finally, the social thing bothers me because it assumes that elf society is just like human society and hasn't adapted to having more and different social strata that deal with their nature of having long maturity levels.
I can think of some settings that tried (poorly) to expand on this topic: in WH40K the Eldar experience different lives "re-birthing" every century or in Mass Effect where the Asari have different life stages that dramatically change their behavior every couple centuries.
But designing those societies in a credible manner (especially if you want to go for a medieval fantasy) requires a lot of work and knowledge, it's always just simpler to import Tolkien's fantasy species and call it a day.
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Old 03-02-2021, 09:03 AM   #17
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

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Originally Posted by Polkageist View Post
It is a very funny scenario, and I will laugh as much as anyone at some poor beleaguered elf mother changing diapers for the 27th year in a row, and looking forward to dealing with a sulky adolescent for the better part of a century.

On the other hand, since either you have a population explosion or birthrates equal death rates, the elf mother probably has a gaggle of aunts, sisters, and friends who have only that one little elf baby to ooh and awe over, and to help raise.


EDIT: never mind, they have the kid born 15 years ago still around. The math keeps the same number of babies around.
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Old 03-02-2021, 09:20 AM   #18
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

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Originally Posted by Opellulo View Post
True! And this opens up another Fantasy trope on how everybody knows things that happened millennia ago but technology and society meanwhile remained just about the same.

Technically this could work if you consider the extended lifespan of those ever present "Eldar Races" but once you put in a standard TL3 human in the mix the setting loses any believably: in just the time for a teenager elf to reach adulthood men should have already reached industrial revolution era.

The difference in time perception is one of the coolest aspect never exploited in fantasy. It's millennia everywhere, always middle ages! I have started to cope with this boring aspect deluding myself that fantasy worlds are set on Mercury.
It's a trope that I think gets broken more often that you think, though it's a very useful and fun one to hew to when playing around in the DF world. Even then, just because technology hasn't advanced in the past 3000 years doesn't mean that humanity isn't about to start that swing, and humanity in the real world cruised along with relatively similar technology levels for quite a few thousand years compared to today. It's even modeled that between stone-age TL0 and medieval TL3, that's a delta of 4 covering several millenia, and then from the Renaissance (TL4) to today (TL8), is 5 tech levels in ~500 years, give or take.

Tolkien's ages aren't radically long, it definitely wasn't always the middle ages from the beginning, and the fourth age is ostensibly the age of men and the IR is right around the corner.
Wheel of Time has been out long enough that spoilers don't apply, and despite its flaws the story does explain that the world has been through a couple of apocalypses which have knocked back tech to the point where the world had to re-crawl the whole way back up from the stone age.
NK Jemisen's Broken Earth is another excellent one that breaks the trope.

Anyway, embrace that truth! That teenage elf, right now, IS going to see the IR take place, though they don't know it yet. But the human PC's won't, and that's fine too.

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On the other hand, since either you have a population explosion or birthrates equal death rates, the elf mother probably has a gaggle of aunts, sisters, and friends who have only that one little elf baby to ooh and awe over, and to help raise.


EDIT: never mind, they have the kid born 15 years ago still around. The math keeps the same number of babies around.
Oh, this is a bit of cool society building that can really shape how elf society could work. Say, in an elf community, that over the centuries (rather than millenia elves) out of 100 elves born only 1 or 2 makes it to the 'elder' caste for a variety of reasons. So when an elder elf does die in the community, of old age or whatever as long as it's a community thing, it has an effect on the community kind of triggers a minor baby boom. Be it the hormonal responses to grief, a hard-wired response to community size, or something else entirely (they are magical after all), the elf community self-regulates its population.

Opellulo, I also want to reinforce that I agree with you that playing with the perception of time is a GREAT storytelling tool.
Think about elves that will only have three generations. An elf may know that their father was born at the beginning of time, and their child will see the end of time. That's it, only three generations. The first, the middle, and the last. And they know it! It's part of the fabric of the universe, and these beings are tuned into that and are part of that magic.

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Old 03-02-2021, 09:41 AM   #19
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

My default assumption is that those races that have preexisting "canonical" examples in GURPS inherit their lifespans in Dungeon Fantasy. So Elves have the effect of Unaging, Dwarves one level of Extended Lifespan and Longevity, Gnomes Longevity but no Extended Lifespan, and Halflings merely a human-equivalent lifespan, based on their treatment in Banestorm and 3e Fantasy Folk. Given that they paid no points for any of this, it provides no protection from any potential supernatural or extraordinary aging effects, but merely gives Elves something to be smug about.
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Old 03-02-2021, 12:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: [DF] How long do the different races live?

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Originally Posted by Polkageist View Post
It is a very funny scenario, and I will laugh as much as anyone at some poor beleaguered elf mother changing diapers for the 27th year in a row, and looking forward to dealing with a sulky adolescent for the better part of a century.

To put the notion of 'early maturation' in the category of a band-aid is a disservice to both the comedy of the silly numbers, and the creativity of creating a fantasy race and society that is distinctly NOT human.

To the point, physical, mental, and social maturation all take place at different rates. An elf may be physically mature within .... maturing them at an elf pace, and that's different.

Finally, the social thing bothers me because it assumes that elf society is just like human society and hasn't adapted to having more and different social strata that deal with their nature of having long maturity levels....... What? Don't they have ambition and a desire to hold on to power? Of course not, what a human concept. Leadership and action is a job for the young, our old bones are not meant for such things.

Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine.
Im totally there with you. I would imagine that Elves would mature physically not too much slower than humans. This is normal to most species to keep the young survivable. I would say an elf should get to the 90% growth by latest 50.

Mentally they arent less intelligent than humans (on the contrary they are generally portrayed as smarter), and humans dont educate at the rate we do because of the length of our lives, it just takes that long to impart the information. Plenty of Human kids have called it quits with formal education by the time they are 14 and go off and try something else (with varying success). Maybe the elf education system just sucks (I suspect they got "Common Core" long before humans and it stunted their progression), perhaps they aren't as regimented because theres more time. or maybe they just do a basic education and then "life experience" till after puberty when they are more able to commit to regimented study.

I could see some increase in apprenticeships and learning just because they have the time to get it juuuuuuuust right. As already stated maybe a master takes 40years (maybe elves are generally lazy learners because they always have tomorrow). But its not like elves process combat slower or move slower or cast spells slower... Im not sure where that screwy idea that "they live 100 times longer cause they take 100 time more time to do things" but its just flat silly. OR better said, "thats not an advantage, thats a disadvantage".

If your elves will be the stereo typical Tolkien elves of long life and centuries of learning etc... then I suppose Birth rates are probably much more spread out by biology and culture. Births aren't "rare" just no where near the same rate as a human. If they weren't then elves would have to find something to do with all those bored and restless adolescents, which usually means an expansionist culture and conflict for resources. Elf Mongols anyone? :)

I would say that Physical maturity very loosely: a "tolkien" elf would carry children in utero for 12-14 months, diaper trained and starting to talk 1.5-2, toddlers till ~5, kindergarten ~7-10, basic school/skills ~11-25, useful to society and able to function independantly by ~25, but not considered an age of majority (finished with puberty) till mid to late 40s. After that they might continue to grow a little till they are ~80-100 when they get their final shoe size. They probably wouldn't leave home till they had already learned at least one trade. Maybe most of the elves we see are actually on their Rumspringa, and not even considered able to vote by other elves :)

Mentally I would say they mature similar to humans up to 10ish but then things start to stretch out because puberty comes later and lasts longer. I dont think an 18yr old elf would be as physically large as an 18yr old human but I also dont think they would be less educated (or capable of being educated). They might be prone to emotional outbursts and erratic behavior as they are just starting into puberty. But they are capable of taking in, retaining and using information at a very similar age to humans.

Just as we have seen in Human society, just because a person has reached the age to reproduce doesn't mean they should. I would imagine similar strictures for elves (might even go some distance to explain half-elves). You might not be considered ok to date until well into your 50s and serious relationships (if they would even bother with such an idea like marriage) would probably be something for triple digits unless you wanted to be "that couple" for the next century or so.

After 100-200 years its just the acquisition of skills and abilities, and dealing with your numerous ex's that are still harboring a grudge about the way you treated them at the solstice dance 400 years ago.

I mean this is all my own take, but it makes a lot more sense to me than the idea of a 27yr old infant in diapers. Thats just silly.
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