Lurkers must sign up now to visit our additional forums. Please register today and enjoy our endless banter. Instant access as of March 2019!

Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Discuss any non D&D roleplaying topics here.

Moderators: Brightmantle, Stik

User avatar
Halaster-Blackcloak
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1459

Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#1 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:24 pm

I was thinking about this earlier today. Artificial aging in AD&D requires a system shock roll to survive the stress of the advanced aging effect. If you're hasted, if you see or are touched by a ghost, etc - you age x number of years and you must make a successful system shock roll to survive the trauma. But should this apply to elves? Elves live virtually forever. In 2E, when elves reach anywhere from 350 - 750 years, they simply feel the need to leave the world of man and retreat to elven lands (Evermeet, etc). It doesn't specify maximum age. In 1E, elves are listed with even longer life spans. The Drow clock in at up to 1,000 years, with gray elves reaching 2,000 years old. It says nothing about retreating, so to that does imply maximum age.

So let's say a ghost touches a human and ages him 40 years. That's close to half his expected lifespan. But would aging an elf - who lives to be 1,000 or 2,000 years old - by 40 years really cause enough trauma to require a system shock roll? I can see the case for ruling that they aren't harmed by aging. Now, I have had games where we did relative aging, i.e. a ghost that touches a human and ages him say 20 years would, if the ghost had touched an elf instead, age the elf maybe 200 years, since they live 10 times as long. And I've had games where the aging is absolute - 10 years to 40 years, regardless of race.

But I can see the case for elves not being affected by again. And settings play a role too. In Birthright, elves are immortal. If you can live 10,000 + years, would adding a sudden 10, 20 even 40 years even feel like anything?

User avatar
Cole
Webmaster
Webmaster
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1616
Contact:

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#2 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:32 am

I always played it that the Elves barely changed, if all all in appearance or anything else... but I still make them do a system shock roll as I feel (even though physically it's minor), they still had an unnatural aging process on their bodies and anything that would cause aging could affect internal organs, life-changing cell composition, unknown DNA anomalies etc. Highly un-likely for an Elf, but it's still possible. So make the check, barely notice and carry on. I've never had anyone fail one of these checks, so I'm not sure where I'd go with that IF it ever happens.

I might rule as an Elf and you fail that check, apply aging, roll again, apply aging, roll again, rinse and repeat.
The Borg of Dungeons & Dragons

User avatar
JadedDM
Merchant
Merchant
Posts: 460

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#3 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:36 am

I got around this by houseruling in my setting that all races have the same lifespan, that of a human.

User avatar
Cole
Webmaster
Webmaster
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1616
Contact:

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#4 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:41 am

Interesting Jaded... I've never heard of any DM even contemplating that. That is a problem solver ;)
The Borg of Dungeons & Dragons

User avatar
JadedDM
Merchant
Merchant
Posts: 460

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#5 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:05 am

I actually got the idea from Dragon Age. And it sort of got me thinking that the reason different races have different lifespans is mostly just a holdover from Tolkien. But they tend to cause more problems than anything else, mechanically speaking. And in terms of narrative, they usually don't come up (most campaigns don't last long enough for lifespans to really be taken into account).

It's also nice to not have to calculate equivalencies. If you want your elf to be the equivalent of a 25 year old human, you can just make him 25, instead of trying to do the math.

However, in my setting elves still do not appear to age after maturity. So a 60 year old elf still looks like a 20 year old. So they still have this sort of exotic, almost alien feel to them.

User avatar
RPG Dinosaur
Merchant
Merchant
Posts: 484

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#6 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:12 pm

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:So let's say a ghost touches a human and ages him 40 years. That's close to half his expected lifespan. But would aging an elf - who lives to be 1,000 or 2,000 years old - by 40 years really cause enough trauma to require a system shock roll? I can see the case for ruling that they aren't harmed by aging. Now, I have had games where we did relative aging, i.e. a ghost that touches a human and ages him say 20 years would, if the ghost had touched an elf instead, age the elf maybe 200 years, since they live 10 times as long. And I've had games where the aging is absolute - 10 years to 40 years, regardless of race.


I feel like Cole pegged it when stating his case for why elves should have to require a system shock roll. As far as the aging process, I have no problem with altering the scale (like 20 years=200 elf years), but I have tended to go BTB and use a blanket 10-40 years for all races. Of course there is a discrepancy in what the actual consequences are for elves and say humans, but I've in the past just chalked it up to the fact that playing each different race has different advantages and disadvantages.


Jaded DM wrote:I actually got the idea from Dragon Age. And it sort of got me thinking that the reason different races have different lifespans is mostly just a holdover from Tolkien. But they tend to cause more problems than anything else, mechanically speaking.

However, in my setting elves still do not age after maturity. So a 60 year old elf still looks like a 20 year old. So they still have this sort of exotic, almost alien feel to them.


Yeah, I've never heard of anybody using equal aging for all races either, but it does just seem to be a holdover from Tolkien. At first thought, I think I like that idea alot. The only downside I can think of right off the bat is a pretty minor one and that is that using equal aging removes a pretty big difference between humans and the other races. It kind of takes some of the flavor of out of the different races and 'homogenizes' them somewhat.
_Matt_

User avatar
JadedDM
Merchant
Merchant
Posts: 460

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#7 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:44 pm

RPG Dinosaur wrote:Yeah, I've never heard of anybody using equal aging for all races either, but it does just seem to be a holdover from Tolkien. At first thought, I think I like that idea alot. The only downside I can think of right off the bat is a pretty minor one and that is that using equal aging removes a pretty big difference between humans and the other races. It kind of takes some of the flavor of out of the different races and 'homogenizes' them somewhat.


It does homogenize them a little. But there are still quite a few differences. Stuff like infravision, stone sense, etc.

But on the other hand, it also fixes the 'problem' of explaining why elves and dwarves don't rule the world as level 20 demi-gods after living for centuries without resorting to something as crude as level limits.

User avatar
Halaster-Blackcloak
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1459

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#8 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:56 pm

Cole wrote:

I always played it that the Elves barely changed, if all all in appearance or anything else... but I still make them do a system shock roll as I feel (even though physically it's minor), they still had an unnatural aging process on their bodies and anything that would cause aging could affect internal organs, life-changing cell composition, unknown DNA anomalies etc. Highly un-likely for an Elf, but it's still possible. So make the check, barely notice and carry on. I've never had anyone fail one of these checks, so I'm not sure where I'd go with that IF it ever happens.


I've done it pretty much the same way.The elf doesn't change much because a being that can live 1,000 years probably isn't going to show much aging if he ages 10 or even 40 years. The explanation you gave for the system shock roll is pretty much my thinking on why I still use it. Granted, elves live longer so the effects won't be as noticeable, but there's still that shock to the system from such accelerated aging.

That just stirred a thought, though. Would the metabolic shock be so bad for an elf? Aging a human 40 years is like accelerating him half way through his entire lifespan. That's gotta play hell with the telomeres and all that. But with an elf living 1,000 years or more, the effect ("shock") on the cells would probably be a lot less significant. You're talking about 2% to 4% of his lifespan, not 40%, 50%, or more. Of course, there's always the counter argument that elves have lower CON scores, because they deduct 1 pt. of CON when rolled up because they're more delicate, so perhaps the aging hits them harder than it would a human, assuming the human could have a 1,000+ year lifespan.

I'm just curious as to how well the case can be made for aging not affecting elves. Especially in a setting like Birthright, where they're essentially immortal.

User avatar
Halaster-Blackcloak
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1459

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#9 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:00 pm

JadedDM wrote:

I got around this by houseruling in my setting that all races have the same lifespan, that of a human.


Interesting change to the game. Not one I'd ever make though, because it equates the races and goes away from the core roots of the game (mythology, etc).

RPG Dinosaur wrote:

Yeah, I've never heard of anybody using equal aging for all races either, but it does just seem to be a holdover from Tolkien. At first thought, I think I like that idea alot. The only downside I can think of right off the bat is a pretty minor one and that is that using equal aging removes a pretty big difference between humans and the other races. It kind of takes some of the flavor of out of the different races and 'homogenizes' them somewhat.


Well not just a holdover from Tolkien, but from mythology and folklore as well. I'd agree that it takes a lot of the flavor out. It changes the entire personalities of the various demi-human races.

User avatar
Halaster-Blackcloak
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1459

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#10 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:12 pm

JadedDM wrote:

But on the other hand, it also fixes the 'problem' of explaining why elves and dwarves don't rule the world as level 20 demi-gods after living for centuries without resorting to something as crude as level limits.


Oh dear god. :roll:

I was hoping that argument would remain dead and buried, where I left it. It's like the issue that won't stay dead no matter how many times I kill it. Let's give it another go. I've posted on this extensively - I mean extensively! - on Dragonsfoot and elsewhere so many times I've lost count. It's a non-existent problem.

The entire 2E meme about long-lived races ruling the world is the silliest, least logical, most ridiculous topic I have ever read in all my years debating AD&D topics. It's the single most idiotic thing ever printed in a D&D or AD&D publication.

More so than even demi-human level limits, although the two are closely related. It was created in the 2E DMG and has been mindlessly repeated ever after, but rarely examined for simple logic. The arguments for a humano-centric world in the DMG are so banally stupid that it pains me to realize there's any need at all for me to refute them. In a game hailed as "Products of your imagination", the 2E writers proclaim that we're all too stupid and unimaginative to envision an alien-ish world of non-humans. It's condescending to the point of being (objectively) offensive. They actually wrote the following drivel:

"Also, if humans are weak, will the other races treat them with contempt? With pity? Will they be enslaved? All things considered, humans could have a very bad time of it."


- a stain in the 2E DMG, pg, 14 :roll:

Please. That's beyond stupid. There's no English word for how stupid it is. If that were the case, humans would be extinct. Why? Because every other demi-human race lives many times longer than humans do. It's a self-contradictory piece of illogic that goes against the very format of the game itself.

First, having a long life span does not by default imply a desire to rule the world, nor the ability to do so. If that were true, the Georgians and Okinawans would have conquered all of earth by now. :roll: Just because someone can live longer does not by default infer the desire to conquer. If anything, it's the opposite. The standard is that long lived beings recuse themselves from the world. Heirophant druids seclude themselves in the forests. Elminster is a recluse. Etc. As the powerful become older, they become more hermetic. Older people are wiser, less aggressive. I have a quote I lifted from one of my posts at DF, but not the citation for the 2E source. Trust me, it's verbatim:

"Elves often live to be over 1,200 years old although long before this they feel compelled to depart the realms of men and mortals. Where they go is uncertain, but it is an undeniable urge of their race."

Emphasis mine. Elves don't want to conquer the world! They lose their desire to have anything to do with it.

Second, elves (and most other demi-humans) are generally portrayed as a peaceful, reclusive race. Yes, they can be lethal in combat. But they're not portrayed as an aggressive race. In fact, from Tolkien to 1E to 2E, elves eventually tire of dealing with the world and retire from the world of man, retreating to Evermeet or whatever elven retreat there is in any given campaign setting. In 2E, elves retire from the world at about the same times dwarves, halflings, and gnomes die of old age. In fact, the laid-back nature of the longer-lived races is given as an excuse for why humans excel and have so much power in the world. The older races don't have the drive of the short-lived humans, who have a much more primal drive to conquer. Humans have just a short time to achieve their goals, so they're far more aggressive a race than elves or gnomes. That's the standard argument that is repeated ad nauseum.

In fact, JadedDM, your change to the game (giving the same lifespan to all races) pretty much turns the standard argument against itself and requires you to change the personalties of the demi-humans, creating the very issue you originally sought to avoid. In other words, if the argument is that the only reason the long-lived races have not conquered the planet and the only reason that humans gain so much power is because the longer-lived races are laid back while the short-lived humans have to burn as brightly at they can for their brief existence, then by giving all races equal lifespans you have now created the very situation everyone was making excuses to avoid in the first place - the elves, dwarves, gnomes, etc. will now have the same short lifespans and therefore the same time-pressured drive and aggression that the humans have due to their short life spans. You've now "fixed" something that wasn't broken and created a problem. The demi-humans will now become conquering races after all. If the explanation for why humans have conquered the world is because humans are extremely aggressive due to their short life spans while demi-humans are laid back because of their extremely long life spans, you have now (by equating their life spans) created 3 or 4 races who are suddenly not only equally as driven and aggressive as humans, but with far superior abilities. Humans in your campaigns therefore should indeed become extinct, creating the insane situation the 2E DMG originally envisioned.

Then of course we have the issue of environment. Humans can settle anywhere. Elves, with their inferior Constitution, would have a harder time living in areas where the weather is more brutal. That's why in AD&D we think of them as forest beings. Good luck with gnomes or dwarves living in swampy land, or deserts. Can you picture hobbits or halflings living anywhere other than the most comfortable of environments?

Also, if we extrapolate child-bearing ages from humans to elves, elves live more than 10 times the length of humans. What logical reason would they have to raise huge families early on? An elf may choose to study or frolic or adventure for 100 years or more before settling down to have children. That's not at all an absurd assumption, given a 1,200+ year lifespan. Even if we assume a 100 year lifespan for a human, an elf at 100 years old is the equivalent of an 8 year old human, as far as life span goes. A human couple may breed, have children and grandchildren, and great grand children, long before an elf couple even mates the first time. Orcs reproduce like rabbits, humans slightly less so. Elves would logically seem to breed less often. A good DM can use any number of perfectly logical reasons why elves and demi-humans do not overpower humans in a world without demi-human level limits or in a world where demi-humans have much longer life spans.

How about levels? In your post, JadedDM, you wrote:

But on the other hand, it also fixes the 'problem' of explaining why elves and dwarves don't rule the world as level 20 demi-gods after living for centuries without resorting to something as crude as level limits.


Emphasis mine. I agree, demi-human level limits are crude (and idiotic, and nonsensical, and illogical, and...). But high levels do not equate with ruling the world. Assuming one does use the insane demi-human level limit rules, then the long life span of demi-humans isn't a problem, now is it? And assuming the DM uses common sense and ignores demi-human level limits, the long life span of elves and others is still not a problem. Especially not in 2E, with the equally goofy spell damage caps. An elf that can rise to 100th level is still not going to do any more damage than a 10th level human wizard's fireball. Both cap at 10d6. But what if we forgo damage caps? Still no problem.

See, what people always freaking forget is that all races gain levels at the same pace. In other words, it doesn't matter whether you play a human wizard, a gnome wizard, an elven wizard, etc. - you still need to earn 250,000 xp to gain 10th level. You still need to gain 3,750,000 xp to gain 20th level. Now, think of how much time it takes to gain 20th or 30th level as a character in a well run, sane campaign, in game time. Elves who want to reach 50th, 75th, 100th level will probably be old enough to want to retire themselves from the world before reaching that level. So what if there are 20 elven wizards at 100th level, and they've all retired to Evermeet? Unless you invaded Evermeet, they essentially don't exist in your campaign and certainly have no desire or reason to go conquer the world. And again, how many adventuring elves are going to survive long enough to reach those high levels?

And what about racial limits on class? Good luck to the long-lived races if they go up against humans, who have high level druids who can only be human. Being able to summon hurricanes and earthquakes is going to trump long lives, infravision, and the ability to detect slopes and passages 100% of the time. :roll:

And I can go on and on.

In over a quarter century, no one has ever been able to present to me a logical argument for why long lived demi-human races, with or without level limits, must by necessity represent a threat to a humano-centric world, or to humans at all. Never. Not once. Long-lived demi-humans conquering the world because they live so long, or because the DM allows them unlimited advancement in class - these are silly, unrealistic, unfounded, illogical, non-existent problems.

User avatar
Halaster-Blackcloak
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1459

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#11 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:17 pm

And since we got off topic anyway, I'll add this note. We argued at DF about long lived demi-humans vs. humano-centric worlds and the 2E DMG nonsense. I explained that there are dozens of logical ways a DM can keep a humano-centric world while still having long lived demi-humans, and why they haven't conquered the world...

Elves are an advanced, kind race who want others to reach their potential as well, so they encourage and in fact teach humans to become more advanced. Elves, being so advanced, are simply not interested in conquering others. They may spread their influence into uncharted land and expand their empire against evil races, but being good overall, they do not confront other relatively good races (humans, dwarves) and so they do not try to conquer them. Elves have suffered a curse from the gods, and as such cannot reproduce and are on the decline, therefore humans are ascending. Elves simply lack the constitution to thrive in harsh environments, which allows humans to amass huge armies and large empires which can compete with and even defeat an elven empire. Elves, enjoying such long lives, simply lack the drive and urgency to respond to ascending threats from other races. Elves are too intelligent, they over-think things before they react, thus they are often reacting instead of being proactive, and humans simply outmaneuvered them. The high elven empires are simply declining through decadence and apathy, as all great empires eventually do. They got lazy, they got content, they got conquered (or reduced to secondary status). Elves produce very slowly, being such long lived creatures. Humans simply overcome them by sheer demographic growth.

I mean, come on! I can go on all day making up logical in-game reasons why elves or dwarves are not the dominant race in a human world. All it takes is a squirt of common sense and some imagination. No one needs broken rules to do that.

User avatar
JadedDM
Merchant
Merchant
Posts: 460

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#12 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:22 pm

Calm down, Hal. It was a joke. Did you not notice that the word problem had quotation marks around it, thus indicating I don't actually believe it to be a problem at all?

User avatar
Halaster-Blackcloak
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1459

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#13 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:04 pm

AH! Well thanks for keeping it buried! :wink: :lol:

I just could never understand why 2E added that humano-centric nonsense!

User avatar
garhkal
Baronet
Baronet
Posts: 1949
Contact:

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#14 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:02 pm

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:I was thinking about this earlier today. Artificial aging in AD&D requires a system shock roll to survive the stress of the advanced aging effect. If you're hasted, if you see or are touched by a ghost, etc - you age x number of years and you must make a successful system shock roll to survive the trauma. But should this apply to elves? Elves live virtually forever. In 2E, when elves reach anywhere from 350 - 750 years, they simply feel the need to leave the world of man and retreat to elven lands (Evermeet, etc). It doesn't specify maximum age. In 1E, elves are listed with even longer life spans. The Drow clock in at up to 1,000 years, with gray elves reaching 2,000 years old. It says nothing about retreating, so to that does imply maximum age.

So let's say a ghost touches a human and ages him 40 years. That's close to half his expected lifespan. But would aging an elf - who lives to be 1,000 or 2,000 years old - by 40 years really cause enough trauma to require a system shock roll? I can see the case for ruling that they aren't harmed by aging. Now, I have had games where we did relative aging, i.e. a ghost that touches a human and ages him say 20 years would, if the ghost had touched an elf instead, age the elf maybe 200 years, since they live 10 times as long. And I've had games where the aging is absolute - 10 years to 40 years, regardless of race.

But I can see the case for elves not being affected by again. And settings play a role too. In Birthright, elves are immortal. If you can live 10,000 + years, would adding a sudden 10, 20 even 40 years even feel like anything?


I've never bought into that whole "they live to 500+, then fade into retreat' crap. To me, they still have a max age like all other races.. SO yes they SHOULD still need the SS roll.
And in fact i much prefer ALL aging attacks/effects, to be graded based on species. So what ages a human 1 year, ages a dwarf or gnome 4, and an elf say 6 years.

User avatar
Halaster-Blackcloak
Knight
Knight
Posts: 1459

Re: Should artificial aging hurt elves?

Post#15 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:28 pm

I can take it or leave it. It's a Tolkien thing. What's funny is that considering how strong the Tolkien influence was on original D&D and AD&D, it was not until 2E that the DMG or PHB mentions the elves suddenly retiring from the world, ala Tolkien. In 1E, we see a max age for elves, with Drow topping out at 1,000 years and gray elves topping out at 2,000 years. No mention in 1E (that I can recall off hand) about elves retreating from the world.

I like elves having a finite life, not the immortal stuff from Birthright.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests