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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Ok, it's more than just elves. But the issues surrounding long-lived creatures abound--

    * If elves live 7-800 years and mature (physically and psychologically, if not socially) by ~50-100 years, why aren't they in charge everywhere? Why aren't they all experts in just about everything? After all, one of the big issues with current scientists is that by the time you reach the frontier in your field, you're already past your most innovative early years. But if you have another 600 years to go...and things like dragons are even worse.
    * If they only mature at the same relative rate as humans, then survival goes way down.

    I'm not happy with the "oh, they just don't breed fast for...raisins" explanation. Or the "they're all such perfectionists that they take forever to learn anything."

    I also, as a matter of setting, don't want to make immortality a cost-free thing. It's a major setting constraint--everything has tradeoffs. No free lunches anywhere.

    So I came up with the following explanation to resolve both things, as it turns out that immortality is just a special case of really long life spans.
    -----------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Noefran saying
    If you want something entirely new designed, hire a goblin. If you don't want it to blow up in your face when you use it, hire a human to oversee the goblin and temper his impulses. If you want it to be easy to mass produce and fool-proof to use and don't mind waiting, hire a dwarf to refine the design. And if you want it to look elegant, and don't mind waiting either, hire an elf as the artistic designer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan Thomas
    Rage against the dying of the light.
    Key Principle: The ability to change and grow, to innovate is a consequences of impending death.

    Creating, innovating, and developing are the source of all the stuff of creation (anima) in the universe. Death releases all the anima stored up in a soul over their lifespan, making it available to be turned into matter and energy. So death is a necessary part of the universal economy--birth and death drive the whole machine.

    Every soul has an inborn, roughly fixed potential to innovate and grow over their lifetimes, all drawn from the same (wide) distribution. But since some species live much shorter lives than others, they innovate at a higher rate (on average) than those of longer-lived species. So an elf who lives for 800 years may expend most of his innovation in small, incremental improvements to one project (which total to a major change, but over 800 years), while a human may produce a brand new thing during his 80 year lifetime. Now both can learn from others without limit, but their own contributions to the total knowledge/skill bank of society is rate-limited inversely by their lifespan. This includes the ability to bring forth new life, to breed--bringing forth a long-lived new soul consumes a much larger fraction of your "potential" than one with a shorter life.

    Back when the gwerin (called "high elves") lived nearly 1000 years, they changed slowly. Projects that took 2-300 years to come to fruition were considered normal--the process of creating the goroesi (the "dark elves") took several thousand years and thousands of participants. In contrast, the development of the dragonborn (a larger change) happened over about a decade with only a few hundred active researchers. There were other tradeoffs, to be sure, but the rate of innovation is much faster in these days. Even now, when the gwerin have been reduced to ~200 year lifespans by the Cataclysm, the rate of innovation and even the birthrate has increased proportionally as well (although many gwerin are loath to admit that fact and still seek their "ageless" past).

    So what about the truly deathless? That's the tradeoff. In purging yourself of your mortality, you also abandon the creative spark that lets you grow on your own. The ability to die of "natural causes" is ineradicably tied to the ability to create your own anima, to grow and change. Instead, you become dependent on the anima produced by others. You become a parasite, a consumer rather than a producer. Now some of this is necessary for the universe to work. The elementals, for instance, consume anima in order to add the elemental aspects that turn diffuse, "raw" anima into the matter we all need. Angels consume anima to carry on their eternal war against the Things from Beyond. Devils consume anima to interface between the Astral and the Mortal and to maintain Shadow. The gods (and other ascendants) consume anima to answer the prayers of mortals. Overall, the amount of anima produced is sufficient to support whole ecosystems of these symbiotic "parasites". But that doesn't make them non-parasitic.

    So if you choose to become a lich, you cap your own growth. You can learn new spells, to be sure. But you will never advance in the circles (levels) of spells you can cast. Same if you ascend to the Astral realms--your power may grow in breadth but you will never be able to develop further.

    Demons sidestep this tradeoff, instead incurring a different tradeoff. They choose to directly consume the creative spark of others, chaining it into servitude to the demon's own soul. Thus, they can grow on backs of the enslaved souls they have consumed. But in exchange, their essence becomes contrary to that of reality itself, and they are forced to live in the Abyss, where they have to continually expend energy to prevent the Oblivion Gate from consuming them. A precarious existence, to be sure.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Other hypothetical answers for why a long-lived or ageless people don't end up in charge of everything...

    • Really don't want to be, by nature and/or nurture.
    • Mistrusted and outnumbered.
    • Lacking something else, like magic or technology.
    • Doing so would draw the ire of something worse, more powerful, etc.
    • Something else takes up their time and effort.




    For your concept... I have trouble wrapping my head around the idea of "creativity" as a limited energy / resource.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Other hypothetical answers for why a long-lived or ageless people don't end up in charge of everything...

    • Really don't want to be, by nature and/or nurture.
    • Mistrusted and outnumbered.
    • Lacking something else, like magic or technology.
    • Doing so would draw the ire of something worse, more powerful, etc.
    • Something else takes up their time and effort.
    All of those are fragile--all it takes is one (or a few) exceptions and they go caput. And when you're talking about empires that spanned thousands+ years, the chances of some of those exceptions rising to the top are large.



    For your concept... I have trouble wrapping my head around the idea of "creativity" as a limited energy / resource.
    I may not have the right words for it. But a central metaphysics point of the setting is that mortals are the source of all "new" energy, ideas, etc. Non-mortals cannot create, they can only alter, shift, and consume energy (the basic building block of creation, called anima). A mortal, while he or she lives creates net anima over what's needed to keep him or her going. And the amount of anima produced is related to how much he or she learns/grows/invents/creates. So someone very dedicated or inventive will produce X_LARGE amount, while a sluggard who lives the same time but basically sleeps all the time will produce X_SMALL amount. This net anima production manifests itself, while the person is alive, as some form of invention, growth in physical, mental, magical, or other capability. Upon their death, it gets released into the universe to be re-used/etc in other forms.

    So my thought was that this "excess anima" capacity arises out of differences at the level of the soul itself. It's not intrinsic/inborn (or at least it's not fixed, although heredity etc can set the baseline). And then as an average matter, kind of a steady-state rate, this gets parceled out over the entire lifespan. Basically an anima production "metabolic rate" (in quotes because it's production, not consumption)--a default rate at which people, on average, produce anima in excess of their needs.

    Something like AVERAGE_RATE = $TOTAL_INTEGRATED_CAPACITY/$LIFE_SPAN.
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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    All of those are fragile--all it takes is one (or a few) exceptions and they go caput. And when you're talking about empires that spanned thousands+ years, the chances of some of those exceptions rising to the top are large.



    I may not have the right words for it. But a central metaphysics point of the setting is that mortals are the source of all "new" energy, ideas, etc. Non-mortals cannot create, they can only alter, shift, and consume energy (the basic building block of creation, called anima). A mortal, while he or she lives creates net anima over what's needed to keep him or her going. And the amount of anima produced is related to how much he or she learns/grows/invents/creates. So someone very dedicated or inventive will produce X_LARGE amount, while a sluggard who lives the same time but basically sleeps all the time will produce X_SMALL amount. This net anima production manifests itself, while the person is alive, as some form of invention, growth in physical, mental, magical, or other capability. Upon their death, it gets released into the universe to be re-used/etc in other forms.

    So my thought was that this "excess anima" capacity arises out of differences at the level of the soul itself. It's not intrinsic/inborn (or at least it's not fixed, although heredity etc can set the baseline). And then as an average matter, kind of a steady-state rate, this gets parceled out over the entire lifespan. Basically an anima production "metabolic rate" (in quotes because it's production, not consumption)--a default rate at which people, on average, produce anima in excess of their needs.

    Something like AVERAGE_RATE = $TOTAL_INTEGRATED_CAPACITY/$LIFE_SPAN.

    So you could, in theory, have a very creative individual of a long-lived people?
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    A simple one, tied to their low reproductive rate (itself somewhat inherited from their folkloric forebears, the fae who needed to steal human children to reproduce)?

    It is hard for them to claim and dominate resources.

    In the time it takes an elf to be born and trained, a human conceived on the same day has grandchildren, and maybe great grandchildren. They have multiplied and developed land that the elves could never have the numbers to claim, much less defend or develop. Human land use is generally intensive in a way elven land use is not... humans grow vast fields of grains, more than they could eat, and that encourages them to have more children to develop more fields... the elves simply cannot keep up.

    So, instead, they claim a space that will somewhat resist encroachment (i.e. a forest, as clearing land takes a lot of time... unless you use fire), and defend its border. They don't develop it like humans would, partially because their lower population (tied to their lower birth rate) doesn't need that level of development... they can get what they need by less intensive land use.

    Part of why the oppose orcs (aside from philosophical and religious reasons) is orcish ways, optimized for relatively low-quality land, simply destroy their claimed areas. Orcs frequently use fire as an agricultural tool; it clears out native species which would compete with their livestock, and produces ash, which nourishes their usually poor soil. Stick them in an elven forest, trying to live that way, and they quickly destroy the wood with fire, and introduce invasive species, both plant and animal, that grow aggressively in the rich soil of elven lands.

    As for why elven magic, from their ancient elven wizards, doesn't dominate the land? Simply enough, it can't... they cannot meaningfully make up for the population deficit. Sure, the elves may have a 20th level wizard... but the humans have twelve 7th level wizards, and a score of clerics to every one the elves can field. When a human wizard hits 20th level, she might undergo apothesis... the elves don't have the numbers to regularly do that. Throw in a bit more caution than humans show, and your elves simply cannot overcome the amount of people that humans can throw at a problem, be it physical or intellectual. Elves might make a pyramid through centuries of sculpting rock... humans throw thousands of people over the course of twenty years into moving rock to where they want it, in the shape they want it.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    So, the question here is why don't elves rule over a large empire thanks to their long lifespan?

    A few possible answers:

    1) They do. A lot of fiction featuring elves has them controlling a large, prosperous land, perhaps far away from human kingdoms but still quite large.

    2) They did. Likewise, a lot of fiction, probably owing from Tolkien, depicts elves as having once ruled over the world or many great kingdoms. But that rule has come undone thanks to centuries if not millenia of war, strife and tragedy, diminishing the elven lands and population.

    3) Their long lifespan encourages a degree of conservatism and immobilism. When a queen remains in charge for centuries, she accumulates a lot of deals and oaths with other nations and rulers, crafting a finely balanced web of alliances and relations that ensure the situation remains stable until her heir steps in, unburdened by previous oaths and contracts, and decides how to change the status quo.

    4) The elves are simply uninterested in this. Perhaps elves aren't the people making tall, pristine spires of alabaster where master wizards accumulate the wisdom of ages past. They may be the people of the woods and glades, content to live in small communities dedicated exclusively to pleasantries, pranks and song.

    5) They exert soft power. Realising that going on long war of conquest against other peoples is a messy, dangerous affair, elven rulers are taught to make the shorter-lived creatures subservient to them not through military might, but by making them reliant on elven magic and craftsmanship. An elf king may officially rule only one forest, but in truth he pulls the string of all the nations bordering on the woodlands.

    6) They belong to another plane of existence or world. Elves found in human nations are merely travelers and curious youths, visiting those exotic places away from their homes in the Unseen World or in the Feywild. They see the mortal plane as an oddity, but not worth conquering when their own nations have their own power struggles, far removed from humans.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    The answer is simpler and more elegant than you imagine, but if you are young you may not get it.

    Here goes:
    Change is the enemy of now.

    Let me explain. A person works a lifetime to build a perfect home, family, community, whatever. Innovation disrupts the stability he has created; when youngsters come along with new ideas the comfortable person feels insecure. Change disrupts his hard won lifestyle, and he resists it.

    He must eventually die or step aside and when he does, the youngster gets his turn to build the perfect life, but only for as long as he can keep the next generation in line.

    Rather than create the opportunity for more innovation, longer lifespans create the opportunity for those in power to stifle innovation and maintain the status quo.

    The longer the lifespan, the longer a society takes to advance, and no explanation is needed because this is exactly how it works in the real world.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2020-10-02 at 07:54 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    @MaxKilljoy: Yes. This is all a matter of distributions and averages. But a high-intensity-invention long-lived person would be more of an outlier than a high-intensity-invention goblin (at the other end of the lifespan spectrum). Only the true immortals are bereft of the ability to grow on their own.

    @everyone else
    Let me give some more background as to why those suggestions, as reasonable as they are, don't satisfy me.

    1. I strongly dislike and refuse to write mono-racial/mono-culture nations. Every race has multiple cultures (as long as it's large enough to be outside a single village). Every nation has multiple races living in it. So nothing about "kingdoms of elves" works unless it allows for mixed race, mixed-lifespan cultures. Every race should have (relative to its size) as much internal diversity as the human race of the setting (which is traditionally the most varied).

    2. Any explanation that works at the psychological or cultural (rather than physiological/soul) level requires a degree of homogeneity that I dislike. Because all it takes is a small cluster of stand-outs and the whole "stable" structure breaks down and culture changes to accommodate it. Or they all die out. Again, multi-culture races. If there's a constant over 3+ sigma of a race, it has to be biological or soul level, not psychological or cultural level.

    3. Explanations have to seamlessly account for the immortals, including those (ie many if not most of them) who once were mortals of shorter-lived races. Parsimony says I don't want different explanations for X, Y, and Z, even when Y and Z come from X (at least in part).

    4. Explanations based on decay or competition fail to account for the empires of the past.

    Spoiler: long
    Show

    4a. In the beginning (of the mortal world) there were three tyrant races and two oppressed races--Titans (giant precursors), Wyrm (dragon precursers), Leviathan (a single, multi-body entity that still exists), Proteans (goblin precursors) and Lightborn (elven precursor precursors). For the first ~15k years, Titans and Wyrm fought off and on and subjugated the proteans and lightborn, shaping them into goblins and aelves. However, they made no notable advances whatsoever until very late, and that one advance was critically flawed and empowered by rearranging power, not creating new power. They shaped, but they did not create, except to breed...very slowly. They merely re-arranged. They didn't even really build societies--each family group (such as it was) wandered around and mostly did its own thing, only stopping when they bumped up against others. Every attempt individuals made to create societies fell apart quickly.

    Leviathan doesn't (to this day) create much of anything--it has, over the millennia, but only really by nudging shorter-lived creatures. It's content to swim and watch. Its component bodies die, but the soul itself inhabits all of them, so the death of a body is just like shedding a cell--the anima gets shifted around instead of released.

    4b. As a result of the mess caused by that one advance gone horribly wrong, the titans and wyrm were broken and diminished into modern giant-kin, dwarves, and dragons. Lifespans reduced from effectively infinite to, well, shorter. Still pretty long for dragons, but much shorter for giant-kin and dwarves. At this point, they start being creative and building...except for the dragons who still don't really do the whole society thing very well, generally. And when dragons learn magic, it's mortal magic. Their own powers are in-born and not learned. Most of them ended up on the western continent, way away from all the aelves (goblins ended up on both continents).

    Aelves took over and developed organized wizardry (the first organized form of mortal magic; the titans and wyrm had their own innate powers specific to the individual). They built an empire on the eastern continent that lasted ~10k years. Unlike the previous rulers, they did build and create. But not as much as you'd expect. They diversified their races (by mixing existing race-traits together) and bred plants and animals and built cities and developed new spells, but not really what you'd expect of a race of super-powered wizards who bred for magical power.

    During this second age, the goblins were frenetically creating. Mostly new goblins--they had the opposite problem from the aelves. No stability meant that inventions never propagated beyond a tribe very far--heck, lots of them were abandoned half-complete because the goblin tribe decided to do something else on the spur of the moment.

    Dwarves (on the eastern continent) mostly hunkered down and dug, iterating on the same tools and techniques handed down from their ancestors. They got stuck in a rut. With lifespans of only ~200 years, they made lots of improvements but every time they tried to break out, the aelves smashed them down again.

    4c. At the end of the second age, the aelves had split into 3 races. Wizardry-focused gwerin, bred for arcane power. Nature-attuned ihmisi, rejects who refused arcane learning or couldn't master it and instead developed the druidic/shamanistic arts. And the engineering/art-focused goroesi, bred to be overseers and builders and artists. Only the gwerin had the extended lifespans--the other two were down around the ~100-120 year mark.

    Not liking not having power, the ihmisi used their newly developed arts to bring down one of the moons onto the center of the gwerin empire. One large remnant of the gwerin people used relics of the titans (that same invention that failed before, but diminished now) to crack off a southern continent. For several thousand years, no one ruled the north-eastern continent. Humans and orcs were created during this time by mixing goblins with various other races (mainly elven in origin, but some animal as well).

    4d. About 4k years ago, the human people developed/brought into existence divine magic (long story). Within generations they had built two empires that dominated the NE continent. Within a thousand years they had surpassed the aelvar peak, just in different directions. This was the rise of magitech, integrating all the magical disciplines. The rate of invention spiked tremendously here, while it didn't on the SE and W continents. Due to infighting they never really ventured out much before they blew themselves up about 800 years ago in a massive "nuclear" civil war.

    Fragmented nations recovered, but not quite to the peak (maybe 60% of the way back, near the peak of the aelvar, although they don't know that really due to loss of historical knowledge and over-hyping of the ancients).

    The gwerin were involved here and were known as being powerful wizards (and the ihmisi as powerful druids), but weren't in charge anymore. A buinch of other races were created in and around the civil war era, all short lived like humans.

    4e. The current set up is in recovery after an even bigger cataclysm 250 years ago that killed ~70% of the continental (and ~50% of the world) population and reshaped magic entirely. But the tech (including magic) levels are back up near the pre-Cataclysm. The Cataclysm also stripped the gwerin of their prolonged lifespans, bringing them back to about 200 years max.



    So you have this pattern of long-lived races without substantial organized competitors ruling over shorter-lived peoples for thousands of years without substantial innovation. Until they blow themselves up (usually due to the innovations they do make, ironically). And then shorter-lived ones taking over and progressing faster in direct proportion to shortness of life. Combine this with the issue of the true immortals and the pattern seems really really clear. Lifespan is intrinsically (somehow) inversely related to rate-of-progress of a society.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2020-10-02 at 09:16 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Lifespan is intrinsicly inverse to social and technological advance. The 'somehow' is explained in my previous post.

    Imagine a king who, as a young prince, imagined how he would rule. Now his parent is dead, and finally he has the opportunity to do things his way. But he lives, doing things his way, for another six hundred years.

    Now imagine that same prince with only thirty years of rule before another prince takes over.

    The shorter lived race in my example will advance twenty times as fast for no other reason than the length of a lifespan.

    Young people innovate while old people crave stability in which to enjoy the fruits of their innovation. The longer people live and remain in positions of power in a society, the greater will be the resistance to change.

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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    I don't see my explanation as being inherently at odds with yours, Phoenix, because it comes down to territory one can meaningfully control.

    Some group of elves may claim thousands of square miles, but unless they can prevent anyone from using it, they don't really control it. And unless they're constantly patrolling it, they are going to lose chunks of it to invasive humanoids, who will expand those chunks at their own speed... and, because the humans will be of different nationalities, and the internal divisions within the elves will make unified action difficult, there were will the slow expansion of human lands into elven-claimed areas.

    Let's say you have a space that is on the border of two elven nations. Because it's on the border and the border is somewhat poorly defined, most elves stay out of it to avoid problems. But humans, unaware or uncaring of the problems, move in. Some may move in as settlers; some may move in as outlaws and towns grow up around them. Before you know it, the humans are having grandbabies and paying taxes to a king, and any attempt to remove the humans results in a war the elves can ill afford... even if the elves "win", the humans are back in two or three generations (i.e. the time it takes and elf to grow up), having moved on from the last war and started looking for new places to live.

    None of this requires a monoculture on anyone's part.... humans just need to want more space, and elves just need to breed slowly enough that they can't keep up with the human ability to replace losses.
    The Cranky Gamer
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    The psycho- and socio- justifications always seem a bit strained. If you want to give them weaknesses, give them weaknesses. If you don't want them to be immortal, don't make them immortal.

    If you want to put a price on immortality, make it something dramatic and folkloric rather than a strained psychological justification. Maybe over time they fade away and turn into spirits, or turn into plants, or lose their intelligence and revert into beasts, or maybe they store all their memories in a gemstone that grows in their head and when one is full it falls out of their mouth and they begin growing a new one, reverting temporarily to a childlike state. There's a lot of options.

    Finally, remember that the idea that there has to be a cost comes from the RPG necessity of mechanical balance. If it's not a game you don't have to care, and if it is a game, you could create a race of non-immortal demi-elves or elf-like creatures for players with the true elves unplayable.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I don't see my explanation as being inherently at odds with yours, Phoenix, because it comes down to territory one can meaningfully control.

    Some group of elves may claim thousands of square miles, but unless they can prevent anyone from using it, they don't really control it. And unless they're constantly patrolling it, they are going to lose chunks of it to invasive humanoids, who will expand those chunks at their own speed... and, because the humans will be of different nationalities, and the internal divisions within the elves will make unified action difficult, there were will the slow expansion of human lands into elven-claimed areas.

    Let's say you have a space that is on the border of two elven nations. Because it's on the border and the border is somewhat poorly defined, most elves stay out of it to avoid problems. But humans, unaware or uncaring of the problems, move in. Some may move in as settlers; some may move in as outlaws and towns grow up around them. Before you know it, the humans are having grandbabies and paying taxes to a king, and any attempt to remove the humans results in a war the elves can ill afford... even if the elves "win", the humans are back in two or three generations (i.e. the time it takes and elf to grow up), having moved on from the last war and started looking for new places to live.

    None of this requires a monoculture on anyone's part.... humans just need to want more space, and elves just need to breed slowly enough that they can't keep up with the human ability to replace losses.
    But it means that "elven nations" and "human nations" are separate things. And that's something I personally dislike. All nations larger than individual tribes are multi-racial, and there are multi-racial tribes.

    It also doesn't explain why even when the aelvar were the dominant race (over one area), they still didn't advance as fast as the humans did, despite the humans being weaker, more fragile, and riven by internal struggles and having fewer resources.
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    But it means that "elven nations" and "human nations" are separate things. And that's something I personally dislike. All nations larger than individual tribes are multi-racial, and there are multi-racial tribes.
    Ahhh, I see the disconnect. I agree, most places are going to be a lot more multi-racial than they're usually presented but, unless one race is explicitly an offshoot of another, that's not how it's going to be at the outset.

    Human encroachment into elven lands, thousands of years ago, may have gone as I said, but that would be generations ago, even by elven standards. Modern humans and elves would easily live in mixed communities, with biracial families (and children, if such are possible), but when you're looking at the initial contact between the races, they would begin as far more insular groups... no aelvar knows what a human is four thousand years ago.

    It also doesn't explain why even when the aelvar were the dominant race (over one area), they still didn't advance as fast as the humans did, despite the humans being weaker, more fragile, and riven by internal struggles and having fewer resources.
    Necessity breeds creativity.

    One of my favorite thought experiments is, if you took 500 Kryptonians, wiped their memories of everything but language, and stuck them on a world orbiting a yellow sun, would they develop technology? Would they need to? They would not need shelter. They would not need food. They would have nothing to fear from the local wildlife. Why would they develop technology, until they encountered a need they could not fulfill with their natural gifts?

    Then you look at the aelvar; they live in a place of abundant resources. They have great abilities. While they may advance, they are more likely to do so slowly, both because of the conservatism and risk-aversion that might be imputed from a long-life span, but also because they would have less need to do so. If they initially had some sort of technology that would let them deal with challenges (for example, magic), they might not come up with too much more.

    Why did the ancient humans develop three-field agriculture? Because they needed to make sure their land stayed fertile, since they used it more intensely. Why develop weapons? Because I need a club because Grog has a rock and my club will protect me from Grog's rock... but Grog will come up with a spear to protect him from my club. Why do humans develop medicine? Because they are fragile. Why do they develop divine magic? Because they view deities and natural forces differently than the elves (Steven Brust's Dragaera novels reflect some of this; the Dragaerans/elves see the Gods as beings of great skill and power, who are to be emulated; the Easterners/humans see the Gods as awesome beings worthy of worship), and that difference inspires the Gods to treat them differently... humans stumbled upon the divine exchange of worship for power, perhaps, and the gods rewarded them.

    Goblins come out of the barrel like bouncy balls... they go everywhere, and whenever they encounter an obstacle or even another bouncy ball, they careen off into a different direction. Elves don't get overly influenced by this, because the goblins can't apply much concerted pressure like that. Humans, on the other hand, get influenced by the goblins, but are better able to follow good ideas through, and being clever and creative themselves, they can make their own adjustments.

    Then you get to the modern day, where you have these populations intermixed, and you get this threefold, balanced, tendency within the society... goblins create, humans decide what is worth preserving, and elves wind up being the ones to preserve it, long term (these are generalities, of course). A goblin inventor will come up with hundreds of good ideas, and the humans will decide that a few are feasible, and the elves will keep using the ones that actually work out; doesn't mean you won't have creative elves or considerate goblins, just that they tend to follow that pattern within society.
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    My solution has been:
    -Lower birthrate (which is a cultural, not a biological factor).
    -Iron weakness (which puts resource strains above and beyond what other species experience on them).
    -Cultural stasis. I can give details, but basically the elves in one of my settings are so inward-looking that the weight of their own culture effectively prevents them from expanding. Their culture is so full of specialized references that it takes a mature elf almost 100 years to become fully capable of functioning in it. Their complex system of bonds and debts creates a system where rapid change is nearly impossible, where an elf might take a week working through the possible ramifications of visiting a relative. And their goals are largely to obtain the wealth required to pursue a form of ascension full-time and avoid constant re-birth. Once they've got the wealth/resources they require there's little reason for them to pursue any more or to permit changes that might endanger their status.

    That said, my elves do rule an enormous part of the planet and exercise soft power on much of the rest of it.

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    It looks like there's two issues being argued:

    Issue 1: How fast does innovation happen?
    Phoenix seems to be treating the answer as "N innovations, per year," in most fantasy, and then trying to come up with a reason to replace it with "N innovations per lifetime."

    Where several people have responded suggesting "N innovations per need." Longer lived races have more stable living environments, and therefore less need to innovate.

    Issue 2: where are all the long lived individuals in charge?
    If 900 humans of age [20% of human lifespan] graduate the school system with 100 eves of age [20% of elf lifespan], someone initially chosen from this year for a particular job has a 90% of being human. As these individuals raise through the ranks of their chosen field, the humans are replaced either by a younger human or an elf. Elves live so long they are only replaced at a negligible rate; elves fill roles faster than they die. So eventually the best equipt candidate for the job is an elf from a school year with no surviving humans of the same year, because that elf has been studying the subject longer than the available human candidates have been alive.

    My suggestion is shorter lived governments. Even if we're still calling the new Empire by the same name, the governing individuals were replaced. Even if the Emperor's claim to the throne can't be revoked, a Shogun can take over or a new political faction oust the old one managing things in the Emperor's name. In this manner the ruling class doesn't survive long enough for elves to take it over. Scholarly locations were often looted, either to remove a challenge for the current rulers or by another culture looking for material wealth; if the location is left in disarray, you've now got a reason for adventurers to plunder the remaining (less shiny) magic items or to search for lost tomes of knowledge. In either case this would reset the proportion of high ranking individuals to favor the shorter lived races (who makes up a larger proportion of people starting in the field).
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    It looks like there's two issues being argued:

    Issue 1: How fast does innovation happen?
    Phoenix seems to be treating the answer as "N innovations, per year," in most fantasy, and then trying to come up with a reason to replace it with "N innovations per lifetime."

    Where several people have responded suggesting "N innovations per need." Longer lived races have more stable living environments, and therefore less need to innovate.
    But why do long-lived races always have more stable living environments? What makes it be so? And it would have to be always, because it's an unstable equilibrium.

    The living environments are orthogonal and independent of the races themselves, as I see it. You need something else to say that they're linked. And I can't find anything that makes sense on a history-wide scale. Some environments are fast-changing, others aren't. And saying "they're stable because their environment is stable" is circular, as far as I can tell. Are their environments stable because they don't change them or do they not need to change because their environments are stable. I figure people are people. Saying that an entire species is just content to not change anything while others are driven to change, without something underlying that is just...unsatisfying to me.

    Issue 2: where are all the long lived individuals in charge?
    If 900 humans of age [20% of human lifespan] graduate the school system with 100 eves of age [20% of elf lifespan], someone initially chosen from this year for a particular job has a 90% of being human. As these individuals raise through the ranks of their chosen field, the humans are replaced either by a younger human or an elf. Elves live so long they are only replaced at a negligible rate; elves fill roles faster than they die. So eventually the best equipt candidate for the job is an elf from a school year with no surviving humans of the same year, because that elf has been studying the subject longer than the available human candidates have been alive.

    My suggestion is shorter lived governments. Even if we're still calling the new Empire by the same name, the governing individuals were replaced. Even if the Emperor's claim to the throne can't be revoked, a Shogun can take over or a new political faction oust the old one managing things in the Emperor's name. In this manner the ruling class doesn't survive long enough for elves to take it over. Scholarly locations were often looted, either to remove a challenge for the current rulers or by another culture looking for material wealth; if the location is left in disarray, you've now got a reason for adventurers to plunder the remaining (less shiny) magic items or to search for lost tomes of knowledge. In either case this would reset the proportion of high ranking individuals to favor the shorter lived races (who makes up a larger proportion of people starting in the field).
    Long-lived governments aren't actually an issue in most of my cultures (at the present in the main area anyway). The one place with significant longer-lived people has had significant upheaval politically over the last 50 years and everything's gotten scrambled.

    I do run adventurers as "catalysts of change". Successful adventurers (PCs included) are drawn from those people who are pushing the edges of their distributions. Where others take decades to learn to cast new spells, they do it in a matter of days. And inevitably, their actions undermine stability wherever they are. They arrive in areas precariously balanced and start poking things until it all collapses into a new shape. That doesn't mean that adventurers can all grow without limit--many of them plateau after only a few months and never really grow any stronger[1]. But their growth rate is prodigious by the standards of anyone else of their race.

    There's another area where the ruling family has been static for thousands of years. Except that it's really been one person in charge for much of it. He's known as the Phoenix (or Eternal) Emperor, and he's supposed to be immortal. He isn't, really, but he's darn close. And that nation has stagnated since then, turned inward, and basically been frozen in time. Their last major innovation or growth was centuries ago. The outlying satrapies have grown and changed, but the center has an ancient trump card that keeps them from openly cutting ties. As long as the center doesn't make more than nominal demands, the outsides don't rock the boat and carry on doing what they want. That's unstable--recent changes to the magical environment will bring the Phoenix Emperor's reign to a close real soon now. And then I expect chaos.

    [1] an in-universe explanation for when PCs retire from active campaigns and become NPCs--wherever the campaign ended is retroactively declared to be their growth plateau. This means I don't have to worry about former PCs leveling up arbitrarily outside of campaigns. And the whole structure allows me to have a majority of people who never get that strong while also having PCs grow fast and grow powerful.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2020-10-03 at 06:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    But why do long-lived races always have more stable living environments? What makes it be so? And it would have to be always, because it's an unstable equilibrium.
    They don't have to have a stable living environment. The dark elves in my setting are perfectly capable of living very long lives but most, for cultural and environmental reasons, don't.

    Most people just assume that living longer makes you wiser and/or take a longer view which results in a more stable and wiser culture. For definitions of stable and wise.

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    But why do long-lived races always have more stable living environments? What makes it be so? And it would have to be always, because it's an unstable equilibrium.
    I think you have your causation backward. Long-lived race with few children find or create more stable living environments or die out. If the environment regularly kills of a large portion of the population, only the goblins bother staying there, cause they're the ones least bothered by it. Everyone longer-lived will face another round of deaths before they replace the last bunch.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Long-lived governments aren't actually an issue in most of my cultures (at the present in the main area anyway). The one place with significant longer-lived people has had significant upheaval politically over the last 50 years and everything's gotten scrambled.
    Then I don't see why the following has no elven equivalent:
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    After all, one of the big issues with current scientists is that by the time you reach the frontier in your field, you're already past your most innovative early years.

    As an elf, by the time you reach the frontier in your field, you have a few years left before you need to find a different place to do your job or else go off to farm cabbages.
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I think you have your causation backward. Long-lived race with few children find or create more stable living environments or die out. If the environment regularly kills of a large portion of the population, only the goblins bother staying there, cause they're the ones least bothered by it. Everyone longer-lived will face another round of deaths before they replace the last bunch.
    Assumes few children (which I'm generally fine with). But you could (in principle) have a long-lived race that adapts quickly to change (ie within well under a generation), and then that wouldn't be a problem. It's only a problem if you assume a priori that long-lived == slow to change. And that's circular--it's what I'm trying to show/cause, not an assumption to be made.

    As an elf, by the time you reach the frontier in your field, you have a few years left before you need to find a different place to do your job or else go off to farm cabbages.
    I guess I'm not understanding the relevance. Currently, gwerin (the longer-lived of the elven groups) in that rapidly-changing area are in a bit of a resurgence despite the rapid change. Because some of them have abandoned some of their habits and cultural traits that also impeded change (like looking down on non-gwerin and cloistering themselves in their own little areas within cities and villages). Sure, they themselves aren't very inventive. But they're good at refining skills, magics, etc created by others. And they're effective craftspeople when they want to be, within the limits of their settled traditions. Incremental improvements, not large-scale ones.

    Governments have changed, but that hasn't really affected the common people or those outside of government as much as one might think. And the gwerin, in particular, weren't in the former governments (by choice and by design)--the previous governments were almost entirely human-run, although the gwerin groups, along with the dwarves, had seats on the governing council. The area where most of these gwerin are is actually now ruled by a gwerin[1], but she's not culturally one of them and they're still figuring out the whole monarchy/aristocracy thing. So while it's theoretically a monarchy, it's much more distributed in practice.

    And as a note, the current gwerin aren't really super-long-lived (only 150-200 years instead of their previous 800-1k year lifespans). And they mature only slightly slower (physically, if not culturally) than humans--mature by 25 or 30. And they've encoded "have children early" as part of their (local) culture and are in conscious control of their fertility due to prior racial self-engineering. So childbearing isn't a super-huge problem. They have kids...when they want to. But for centuries, they really haven't wanted to beyond replacement.

    -----------
    I guess a lot of my struggle here is that I am retroactively explaining things that are already set in stone. It's a long-running campaign world where each campaign influences following ones (living world-style). So lots of things have already happened, but weren't planned out in advance at the time. THey just simply...happened that way. And now I'm between campaigns and trying to build the theoretical foundations under these events.
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    If I have a kinda-mono-culture species / people in my setting, it's for specific reasons, and not simply because of a race=culture fallacy.

    One of my settings had two ageless Peoples "historically".

    The Sun People DID rule the world, or at least most of it. They were ageless and able to work great magics at will because they were directly connected to and steeped in the same luminous life/magic energy as the creator gods and all their divine children. They were created to rule. But that connection also destroyed them -- when the two creator/solar gods were destroyed in the trap of their own hubris, their attempt to cling to existence drew massive amounts of the luminous energy back into them for a moment, and the souls were ripped right out of the Sun People (or at least most of them, but that's another story).

    The Twilight People are still around, but... they don't have magic as such, their reproduction rate is slow, and they are by nature and nurture deeply skeptical of power and hierarchy. They're grossly outnumbered, and about half the world hates them with burning religious fervor. It's only because so many of them have so much experience, and because they are the "technologists" of the setting, by cultivating a reputation through the centuries as a dire and gloaming race, masters of "alchemy, artifice, and shadow", never to be trifled with, that they manage to hold on to the territory they have.
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Assumes few children (which I'm generally fine with). But you could (in principle) have a long-lived race that adapts quickly to change (ie within well under a generation), and then that wouldn't be a problem.
    It would reduce the issue, sure, but the race would still face greater risk and the underlying principle would be the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    It's only a problem if you assume a priori that long-lived == slow to change. And that's circular--it's what I'm trying to show/cause, not an assumption to be made.
    I'm assuming the following:
    • lifespan positively correlates to generation time
    • higher need for change correlates to a higher percentage of population dead per year
    • higher need for change causes a higher rate of innovation ("necessity is the mother of invention")

    The rest of my argument is derived from these axioms. If the long-lived races want to maintain their numbers, they forcibly have to keep their "need for change," lower, or they will fail to keep recovery level numbers. They can come up with a solution the fastest of the all the races if you like (thereby lowing their need for change going forward), but needing to adapt so in the first place is a much bigger risk for long-lived races than short-lived ones (tipping the cost benefit assessment toward reducing the number of times they need to do it).

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I guess I'm not understanding the relevance. Currently, gwerin (the longer-lived of the elven groups) in that rapidly-changing area are in a bit of a resurgence despite the rapid change.
    ...
    And as a note, the current gwerin aren't really super-long-lived (only 150-200 years instead of their previous 800-1k year lifespans). And they mature only slightly slower (physically, if not culturally) than humans--mature by 25 or 30. And they've encoded "have children early" as part of their (local) culture and are in conscious control of their fertility due to prior racial self-engineering. So childbearing isn't a super-huge problem. They have kids...when they want to. But for centuries, they really haven't wanted to beyond replacement.
    Contrast your initial comment here:
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    * If elves live 7-800 years and mature (physically and psychologically, if not socially) by ~50-100 years, why aren't they in charge everywhere? Why aren't they all experts in just about everything? After all, one of the big issues with current scientists is that by the time you reach the frontier in your field, you're already past your most innovative early years. But if you have another 600 years to go...and things like dragons are even worse.
    Apologies for missing the clarification later though. Still, the effect would be severely diminished for the gwerin rather than gone entirely.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Because some of them have abandoned some of their habits and cultural traits that also impeded change (like looking down on non-gwerin and cloistering themselves in their own little areas within cities and villages). Sure, they themselves aren't very inventive. But they're good at refining skills, magics, etc created by others. And they're effective craftspeople when they want to be, within the limits of their settled traditions. Incremental improvements, not large-scale ones.
    Presumably then they will still develop new habits, partially in their new kingdom and partially on an individual level (at least for a the next several generations).

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Governments have changed, but that hasn't really affected the common people or those outside of government as much as one might think.
    Particularly if they're adjusting to a different government type, there should be some distinct changes. Generally, the least changes happens by feudal states to poor for organized administration where the lords need everyone else to get resources from and neither want to mess with things nor can on a large scale. But in most cases there should be some distinct changes, on par with the amount of the change in governance.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I guess a lot of my struggle here is that I am retroactively explaining things that are already set in stone. It's a long-running campaign world where each campaign influences following ones (living world-style). So lots of things have already happened, but weren't planned out in advance at the time. THey just simply...happened that way. And now I'm between campaigns and trying to build the theoretical foundations under these events.
    Then this will likely be my last comment on the general rather than your case specifically, but I do think your explanation needs to account for general trends and want the one I'm looking at to be clear.
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    The reason your system is wrong is that it will unfairly disadvantage elves in an adventuring party.
    Most of dungeon diving is innovating or having tons of random ideas or thinking in completely unpredictable ways.
    Elves doing that would be an absurdity due to the decision you took to limit their idea rate.
    So the gm using your rules would constantly need to tell "you already had an idea in this given time span so you can not have one other until later" which would be extremely frustrating for the player.
    So do not limit idea rate ever in playable races it is just bad and poorly thought out game design.
    Last edited by noob; 2020-10-06 at 07:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    I make my elves fair folk-y and give them weird psychologies. Different ones in each world, but I like playing around with that.

    For example, I once had high elves who had the problem that they had limited memory. After hundreds of years, they could basically only learn new things by forgetting old things. And a lot of their mind was full of things like treasured old family memory or just beautiful natural phenomena they had seen.

    It's the reason they meditate instead of sleeping: they develop mind palaces and mental storage systems and so on, so while meditating, they sort through their old memories and decide what to keep. Or which memories to retrieve from deep storage. (I made a few feats and other rules to play around with that: elven wizards above a certain age could retrieve spells known from memory when meditating, every so often.)
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    The reason your system is wrong is that it will unfairly disadvantage elves in an adventuring party.
    Most of dungeon diving is innovating or having tons of random ideas or thinking in completely unpredictable ways.
    Elves doing that would be an absurdity due to the decision you took to limit their idea rate.
    So the gm using your rules would constantly need to tell "you already had an idea in this given time span so you can not have one other until later" which would be extremely frustrating for the player.
    So do not limit idea rate ever in playable races it is just bad and poorly thought out game design.
    I think PP's concept here is more about solving the worldbuilding conundrum that can fairly be perceived in long-lived and ageless at the level of cultures, societies, and politics -- not so much about limited individual PCs.
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I think PP's concept here is more about solving the worldbuilding conundrum that can fairly be perceived in long-lived and ageless at the level of cultures, societies, and politics -- not so much about limited individual PCs.
    But then saying "elves are rare and player character elves that can find new ideas faster are double rare snowflakes and those with high stats in addition are triple rare" might displease the player who wants to play an elf but not be recognised by other elves during their childhood as being the exceptionally fit elf that had ten ideas in a single week while most elves have one idea per week and being renowned for that.
    Also how do you explain that those elves were supposed to be rare after your tenth elf player character fighter that got killed?
    Last edited by noob; 2020-10-06 at 09:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    But then saying "elves are rare and player character elves that can find new ideas faster are double rare snowflakes" might displease the player who wants to play an elf but not be recognised by other elves during their childhood as being the elf that had ten ideas in a single week while most elves have one idea per week and being renowned for that.
    Also how do you explain that those elves were supposed to be rare after your tenth elf player character fighter that got killed?
    Which is a fundamental disconnect in many RPG setting/system combos.

    "Why hasn't magic changed the societies of this world?"
    "Because it's like super-rare and super-dangerous to learn, and stuff."
    "Then why does almost every PC party have a mage with reliable, safe to use magic?"
    "Uh..."


    If I were to turn the "shadow and soul" setting (the one with the Sun People, Storm People, Moon People, etc) into an RPG setting instead of just a setting for fiction, I'd have to split it into two "tiers" of gameplay -- one for campaigns featuring vaguely normal but heroic characters, and one for campaigns featuring outright "fantasy superhumans", and actual true magi and masters of the secret arts would go in the latter tier.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2020-10-06 at 09:58 AM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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  27. - Top - End - #27
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Which is a fundamental disconnect in many RPG setting/system combos.

    "Why hasn't magic changed the societies of this world?"
    "Because it's like super-rare and super-dangerous to learn, and stuff."
    "Then why does almost every PC party have a mage with reliable, safe to use magic?"
    "Uh..."


    If I were to turn the "shadow and soul" setting (the one with the Sun People, Storm People, Moon People, etc) into an RPG setting instead of just a setting for fiction, I'd have to split it into two "tiers" of gameplay -- one for campaigns featuring vaguely normal but heroic characters, and one for campaigns featuring outright "fantasy superhumans", and actual true magi and masters of the secret arts would go in the latter tier.
    in war-hammer 40k using magic is actually dangerous for the adventurers and yet magic have an huge influence on the varied societies (ex: in the imperium of mankind navigators are massively used for making warp travel less lethal) but that probably comes from a complete lack of care for individual lives.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    But it means that "elven nations" and "human nations" are separate things. And that's something I personally dislike. All nations larger than individual tribes are multi-racial, and there are multi-racial tribes.

    It also doesn't explain why even when the aelvar were the dominant race (over one area), they still didn't advance as fast as the humans did, despite the humans being weaker, more fragile, and riven by internal struggles and having fewer resources.
    Sure it does, it's just averages. In any given population less then 1% of people contribute new ideas, the best way to advance is to have a large population with access to opportunities. Elves don't have a large population, their opportunity to have geniuses is lower.

    It's like how people with innate athleticism are rare, but there are now so many of us and we pay athletes so much we scoop them all up. Lebron James would probably have died in childhood once upon a yesteryear, if he did live to adulthood we would have myths about him (think of Gilgamesh and Achilles.) He's exceptional now, in a smaller population if he made it to adulthood he would be like a demigod. How many people have to learn to read and write before one becomes Issac Newton? It's a numbers game, and Elves don't have the numbers.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I make my elves fair folk-y and give them weird psychologies. Different ones in each world, but I like playing around with that.

    For example, I once had high elves who had the problem that they had limited memory. After hundreds of years, they could basically only learn new things by forgetting old things. And a lot of their mind was full of things like treasured old family memory or just beautiful natural phenomena they had seen.

    It's the reason they meditate instead of sleeping: they develop mind palaces and mental storage systems and so on, so while meditating, they sort through their old memories and decide what to keep. Or which memories to retrieve from deep storage. (I made a few feats and other rules to play around with that: elven wizards above a certain age could retrieve spells known from memory when meditating, every so often.)
    Okay, that's some very cool lore.

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    in war-hammer 40k using magic is actually dangerous for the adventurers and yet magic have an huge influence on the varied societies (ex: in the imperium of mankind navigators are massively used for making warp travel less lethal) but that probably comes from a complete lack of care for individual lives.
    WH40K is as grimderp as it gets... isn't the beacon the navigators use powered by the deaths of countless psychics every day?
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

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