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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    And sorry but whenever a lich will understand new tech just by reading a book or will need a living assistant or not have implications on the setting (it makes liches less isolated from the concerns of the living if they need a living assistant) it also makes them be or not be people who feels as if the world was becoming stranger over time if they chose to live isolated.
    Ignoring the rest, but this is working as designed. Liches and anyone else who isolates themselves should feel like the world is getting stranger. Hermits not recognizing society when they return to it is an old pattern. Isolation brings stagnation and distortion. That's the way of things.

    Fundamentally, becoming a lich in Dreams of Hope is a trap. It's self defeating and done out of fear of dying, for the most part. And while you may not die physically, your certainly die as a soul. Same for most other forms of bodily immortality. And even ascension has its tradeoffs. All that lives must die. That's the First Law.
    Dawn of Hope: a 5e setting. http://wiki.admiralbenbo.org
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  2. - Top - End - #62
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Feature, not bug. Long lived races end up advancing one funeral at a time like everyone else. They just have more dead time.
    Well, for any third party looking at this, please note that goblins are going to have many funerals for each elven funeral. So "advancing one funeral at a time," means a race with 150 year lifespans is inherently advancing slower than one with 30 year lifespans (or whatever the goblins have).

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Of course the ideal situation (and this is a sub goal) is for there to be a mix of races. The short lived ones ideate, while the longer lived ones refine based on experience. Since refinement is "cheaper" (since it's small changes to an existing idea), so the old races can still do it.
    As per the above, long lived races will be systemically wiped out as the years pass, because the elves only have time to refine existing ideas during the time your humans can invent a new tactic rendering the old one obsolete. Not exclusively, but certainly with no parity.

    Your elves may be able to train a longbowman starting from the father (rather than the grandfather). Like all longbowmen, they'll need an enemy force of mounted knights to already be in disarray before they are worth the cost. And by the time your elves have enough anima to refine lancer tactics the humans have moved on to pike squares, rendering the elves' work moot.

    So with every development on the battlefield the elves are behind, and take the brunt of each new tactic.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    In a way, this is how real life R&D works. Except by age, not by lifespan. Young people are great at coming up with ideas. And then the older people can refine based on their own experience.
    And pretty much everyone insists on refining what they take seriously. With older people typically requiring more prodding before they'll agree to start modifications within the new framework. Which stamps down on innovation by itself, even if the elders have more general knowledge in the old frameworks.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    One could posit a world in which humans as "stuck in the middle" between the fast-reproducing species, and the very-long-lived species, having neither extreme advantage and trying to leverage a blend of the two to avoid being marginalized or even competed right out of existence.
    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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  4. - Top - End - #64
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    One could posit a world in which humans as "stuck in the middle" between the fast-reproducing species, and the very-long-lived species, having neither extreme advantage and trying to leverage a blend of the two to avoid being marginalized or even competed right out of existence.
    That's actually pretty close to how I pictured it, although with some tweaks.

    Goblins, due to an ancient curse involving their creation, aren't too much of a direct threat. Specifically, goblins have a huge case of Not Invented Here syndrome. Every "tribe" (a word that only sort of works, but...) has a shared memory. But it scales with the number of goblins in the tribe logistically, plateauing at about 50-70 people. And an individual goblin has basically no long-term memory of their own--it's all stored "in the cloud". Goblins are full of ideas, but they tend to get minimal working prototypes and then on to the next idea. And since they rarely write anything down and most of the information is available "in the cloud" within a tribe, very little information gets transferred between tribal groups. And due to their restless nature, tribes don't tend to live all that long (5-6 generations at most). And when a tribe shatters, the bulk of the memory gets lost. Which means that goblin tribes have reinvented fire 57,000 times. Left to their own devices, goblins churn around at low bronze-age, high stone-age tech. There is evidence that this is (slowly) changing due to the recent Cataclysm, which shook up all sorts of things.

    Humans (and derivatives, basically all the human-lifespan races) are stable enough to avoid the traps, but have neither the extreme inventiveness of the goblinoids or the innate connection to power and long lived nature of the various elven groups. They were created as disposable, fast-breeding soldiers originally, and until the War of Blood, humans and high elves fought wood elves and orcs. After the humans invented[1] the gods and divine magic as part of the way to win the War of Blood, they became ascendant by blending all the different ways of doing things. Their talent wasn't doing, it was organizing--leveraging the gifts of the various peoples and working them into a coherent whole. The advances of the empires during the 3rd age were all about this hybrid methodology. Then they reached for power they shouldn't have (soul manipulation) and started a "nuclear"[2] civil war.

    Elves have a talent for one of the other kinds of magic (arcane or natural) bred into them (literally) and live longer than humans do. Which gives them time to refine their craft. But they're less innovative and tend to get stuck in ruts. Dwarves end up similarly, except their pitfall is called "tradition". Again, both of these are starting to change due to the Cataclysm mucking around with the metaphysics.

    So goblins don't advance because they're churning too fast in random directions, elves don't advance (much) because they're less (on average) inventive and produce ideas at a slower rate. Humans have the happy medium of invention rates, but none of the natural talent. Instead they take bits and pieces from everyone and synthesize them.

    As I said upthread, one of the main goals is to encourage multi-species polities. Where any racially-pure group will end up at a disadvantage vs mixed ones. If you take the goblin's crazy ideas, let a long-life polish it, and have a human-life oversee and coordinate, you get progress.

    [1] More specifically, invoked a rule-rewriting artifact to allow faith to have power. This meant that the gods had to exist as power-granting entities, so in a way this wish invented the gods.

    [2] more like "rituals that distort space and time and give off lots of magical radiation that mutates things". Halflings are one result of that mess.
    Dawn of Hope: a 5e setting. http://wiki.admiralbenbo.org
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    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 693 MM, Volo's, and now MToF monsters: Updated!

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Think for a moment about an "average" experience of coming of age in a modern developed nation.

    You have been getting an education from the age of 5 to 22, give or take a couple years (and potentially with a gap for military service, in countries like Greece or Israel). Notice, in the middle ages, you probably would have come of age much earlier. Longer lifespans and more complex societies mean longer periods of perceived immaturity, among different human societies. Just imagine how much stronger this pressure would he for an elf. Even if they are biologically mature at 30, if they live to 800, they aren't likely to be considered full adults until decades or centuries beyond that point.

    Back to our modern day example. You are likely in some form of debt to pay for this education, so you get a job to pay off this debt. If your country has a civil/military service requirement, you may have paid off some of this debt through service; perhaps this is applicable to Ellen societies. Either way... Sure, you have a college degree, but you have no experience, beyond maybe an internship, so you start off with an entry level position.

    There are really two ways up the ladder, whether you stay in the same company or not. Either the economy is growing and creating new jobs at a higher level than yours, or someone above you retires, opening up a position that either you grab, or another higher up does, opening THAT position.

    Let us imagine a future that, in some ways, has already begun. Same scenario so far, but the setting has changed. It is now a few hundred years from now, and Earth's population has been at a stable 15 billion for over a century now. While the economy still grows, it mostly does so through increases in automation, and the number of jobs remains constant as well. You come of age after 30 years of schooling and land an entry level job. The problem is, radical life extension technology means that people are living to 300 to 500 years (and by the time someone reaches 300 years old the technology tends to improve further, buying them more time). Sure, every once in a while someone in upper management is killed in a horrible accident that destroys the brain beyond even FutureRepair, but even then there are dozens of applicants with dozens of decades of managerial experience. Besides, no way a two hundred year old is gonna listen to YOU, even if you ARE technically their manager. Come back in a century, scrub.

    Now let's apply this analogy to elves. Maybe their educational system is one of apprenticeship. Even if we have a mixed society, an Elf Smith isn't going to take on a human apprentice and squeeze 100 years of lessons into 10; meanwhile, no human will apply to apprentice for an elf if it means three decades of learning about proper forge maintenance and how to work the bellows before ever picking up a hammer. Elven crafts would be considered vastly superior to human crafts, but while a human dominated society might still see its king wield an elven sword, they would recognize that giving the army human forged swords is good enough. Not so in an Elf dominated society.

    So let's say you are an elf coming of age in an elven society. You just mastered smiting after a century of apprenticeship. But guess what? You aren't a 'master smith' yet, not to other elves. You're an entry level smith. And your society doesn't just want elf-forged swords; they want your master's swords. Until he finally dies 500 years from now, nobody is going to listen to you talk about "innovation"; you're just an apprentice.

    It must be incredibly tempting for at least some elves in this situation to say "screw this, I'm not waiting 500 years. I'm gonna go be a master Smith among the humans!". Of course, this would make elf dominated societies look down on them, and even if they return after 500 years with all they've learned among the humans, they'd never be considered a master Smith. For the majority of elves in elf dominated societies, perhaps this taboo is just too strong -- for much the same reason a human Smith doesn't move into a goblin village to practice his craft with no equal.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    My 2 cents:

    If Elves maturate like humans, and have similar psychologies as human, then they would probably be in near constant civil war, or at least heavy civil unrest (unless they somehow manage to build an utopia with absolutely no losers).
    The peoples in power in the elvish societies would literally be centuries older than the new (and more numerous) generations, which were raised in a world vastly different from the ones their parents knew as a child, so likely vastly different moral values, and vision of what is acceptable and what is not.

    Moreover, contrary to dwarfs, their culture are more chaotic than lawful, which mean you can't simply go with "they are raised to follow exactly the same moral as their parents, with strict social pressures to follow the norm".

    Well, maybe they are not in constant civil war, as maybe the elders don't try to constrain the elvish society to follow their value, fully adopting a "live an let live" approach. In this case, the elvish kingdoms would be continuously subdividing in smaller territories as the new generations declare independence as they don't want to be ruled by peoples from the previous centuries, great unifications only happening in time where a central power is required for survival. In fact, it's not absurd to consider that the elvish territories are city-states, with no real collaboration between the different cities most of the time.

    [Additionally, in times of war, Elves' life expectancy is probably not greater than men's. Elves are not immortal in D&D, they are not even harder to kill than humans.]

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    How could elves possibly have the same psychology as humans? Our mortality is a huge part of what shapes our psychology. If we were effectively immortal, our psychology would undoubtedly be very different.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by Babale View Post
    Think for a moment about an "average" experience of coming of age in a modern developed nation.

    You have been getting an education from the age of 5 to 22, give or take a couple years (and potentially with a gap for military service, in countries like Greece or Israel). Notice, in the middle ages, you probably would have come of age much earlier. Longer lifespans and more complex societies mean longer periods of perceived immaturity, among different human societies. Just imagine how much stronger this pressure would he for an elf. Even if they are biologically mature at 30, if they live to 800, they aren't likely to be considered full adults until decades or centuries beyond that point.

    Back to our modern day example. You are likely in some form of debt to pay for this education, so you get a job to pay off this debt. If your country has a civil/military service requirement, you may have paid off some of this debt through service; perhaps this is applicable to Ellen societies. Either way... Sure, you have a college degree, but you have no experience, beyond maybe an internship, so you start off with an entry level position.

    There are really two ways up the ladder, whether you stay in the same company or not. Either the economy is growing and creating new jobs at a higher level than yours, or someone above you retires, opening up a position that either you grab, or another higher up does, opening THAT position.

    Let us imagine a future that, in some ways, has already begun. Same scenario so far, but the setting has changed. It is now a few hundred years from now, and Earth's population has been at a stable 15 billion for over a century now. While the economy still grows, it mostly does so through increases in automation, and the number of jobs remains constant as well. You come of age after 30 years of schooling and land an entry level job. The problem is, radical life extension technology means that people are living to 300 to 500 years (and by the time someone reaches 300 years old the technology tends to improve further, buying them more time). Sure, every once in a while someone in upper management is killed in a horrible accident that destroys the brain beyond even FutureRepair, but even then there are dozens of applicants with dozens of decades of managerial experience. Besides, no way a two hundred year old is gonna listen to YOU, even if you ARE technically their manager. Come back in a century, scrub.
    That's one of the problems I'm trying to work out for the Zath (twilight people), who aren't just long-lived, but outright ageless. Their birth rate, however, makes even typical D&D elves seem kinda fecund.


    Quote Originally Posted by Babale View Post
    How could elves possibly have the same psychology as humans? Our mortality is a huge part of what shapes our psychology. If we were effectively immortal, our psychology would undoubtedly be very different.
    The one that gets me is the idea that the whole elven lifespan is somehow a directly proportional stretched human lifespan, with several years of pregnancy, 80+ years to reach physical adulthood, etc. Whether you go in for created or evolved elves, it just makes no damn sense what so ever, it would be entirely non-functional and impractical.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2020-10-26 at 02:56 PM.
    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.

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    The one that gets me is the idea that the whole elven lifespan is somehow a directly proportional stretched human lifespan, with several years of pregnancy, 80+ years to reach physical adulthood, etc. Whether you go in for created or evolved elves, it just makes no damn sense what so ever, it would be entirely non-functional and impractical.
    It kind of works in settings where elves are genuinely more powerful than humans are, D&D makes it not work by having elves be barely different from humans.

    I could buy an elf baby in LotR taking years longer to advance because the elves are individually powerful enough and bend reality enough compared to humans that keeping a child safe for an extended developmental stage is perfectly plausible for them. If the child is also possessed of the enhanced physical and spiritual prowess of the elves then it's not even likely to be killed by accidents or disease so infant mortality basically drops to zero. If your toddler can spin-kick a wolf to death, run over the top of snow and has inherent magical properties then it's a pretty tough toddler.

    In D&D though? An elven baby could be eaten by wolves, die of disease, have a congenital defect, freeze to death in a bad winter, die as the result of neglectful parents or any of a number of things. D&D elves aren't possessed of the kind of power or mentality to protect their kids over decades of development.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  10. - Top - End - #70
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    80+ years to reach physical adulthood, etc.
    5e description of elves says "Although elves reach physical maturity at about the same age as humans, the elven understanding of adulthood goes beyond physical growth to encompass worldly experience. An elf typically claims adulthood and an adult name around the age of 100 and can live to be 750 years old."
    Which is much more reasonable from a biological point of view.

  11. - Top - End - #71
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    5e description of elves says "Although elves reach physical maturity at about the same age as humans, the elven understanding of adulthood goes beyond physical growth to encompass worldly experience. An elf typically claims adulthood and an adult name around the age of 100 and can live to be 750 years old."
    Which is much more reasonable from a biological point of view.
    Yeah. Adulthood as social status, not physical maturity.

    Which is (to a much smaller degree) what we do with adolescent humans. They're physically mature much earlier than they're considered fully adult. I mean... Try renting a car at age 18 in the US.
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  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    They definitely improved the thing in 5e, I was just looking at the idea itself, which some gamers still do adhere to.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2020-10-26 at 11:21 PM.
    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.

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Solving the "elf superiority problem"

    The way I solved it in the past was that Elves don't live to be 100. A lucky human might live to be 75 or 80. With the assistance of magic he might even make to 100! An elf will normally make it to the 80s or 90s and Elven Mega Druids might be 150 to 200 years old, but they aren't concerned with the trees; only the forest as a whole so they still don't become ultra powerful world breakers. I usually run low-ish magic settings though so it might not work for you.

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