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 Adolescent Elves

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Gala
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PostSubject: Adolescent Elves   Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:28 pm

I am attempting to move this to a more appropriate discussion ground, in the hopes that we can discontinue our hyjack of RB's Intro.

It seems like Line and I have come to an agreement: that all Elves and Dwarves were born.
This is an understandably ambiguous discussion, but it is fairly well defined in the books. Here is what SR4 has to say about it:

UGE affected ONLY Elves and Dwarves. UGE stands for Unexpected Genetic Expression. The definition of which is (page 26, SR4-20AE): "... all around the world a percentage of children were suddenly born “deformed.” Many people called these babies mutants; others called them elves and dwarfs, for that was exactly what they resembled ..."
The key word here is "born," which tells us that Elves and Dwarves, at least during UGE, were not "changed" from human to Metahuman, they were born to their new metahuman genetic expression.

Goblinization affected ONLY Orcs and Trolls. The definition of which is (page 27, SR4-20AE): "... one in ten adults metamorphose into huge and terrifying shapes that we now call orks and trolls."
This, then, confirms that Goblinization did NOT create Elves and Dwarves

Now we can get to the interesting portion of this discussion: Adolescent Elves.

I maintain that because the Elven average lifespan is "several hundred years" in length, that a 60 year old elf would be the physical maturity equivalent of a human approximately 13 years old. Now, this may not have been clear until the "Immortal Elves" returned, but once the 6th world had actual examples of an adult Elf, how is it that it was not immediately recognized that ALL 6th world Elves are still physically adolescent (that is, only half physically mature)?
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:29 pm

Durandana, the outcome of this discussion may well lead to a new house-rule for some of the games I am playing in (table-top), and perhaps a minor suggestion email to the publishers... Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:48 am

I really don't have a clue on this one. There's a couple things I could imagine... like perhaps rare cases of sudden expression of elven/dwarvish features whereas most were born that way, or perhaps that some babies were born "mutated" early, ahead of the rest and were just taken to be abnormal but not indicative of the return of magic.

But yeah... it seems like a mistake to me. I don't know what to think. It'd be easier if people just turned into elves and dwarves later in life like orks and trolls did. But according to the book, that didn't happen. So... no idea. Neutral
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PostSubject: hey, would you be willing...   Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:54 am

Would you be willing to post the House rules that you have in mind on our other site? I would love to see them and post them. I would of corse give you credit. All runners get credit...


that is the UCAS way...

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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:05 pm

Of COURSE we would be willing to post the new House Rule, if one is settled upon, pending the outcome of this discussion.
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:19 pm

Ok, I propose 1 of two possible solutions. The first, and simplest, is this:

1) Elves and Dwarves reach physical maturity within an age range of 20 to 30 years. In terms of relative lifespan, and the Adult percentage, that would mean that an Elf and a Dwarf have a significantly longer percentage of their lifespan as an Adult than a human does.
If: Elves reach physical maturity between 20 and 30 years (say 25, for a convenient number), that means that an Elf spends 92% of their life as an Adult. Compared to humans, who spends 70% of their lives as Adults.
Pros: The SR Storyline would not need to change to accomodate this. It would simply begin to state it in the next major text release, perhaps as a side-bar, or a study, where some Humanis Group starts to complain because they had just done the very same math that I have demonstrated. As a result, perhaps anti-Elven racism increases somewhat with the radically racist humanis groups.
Cons: It doesn't fit well with the normal Human perception of aging... We don't have a tremendous problem with a race that lives longer than us, as gamers. We do have a problem with a race whose fundamental rules do not follow the same pattern as ours. In other games, those things are frequently considered either "Abominations" or "Evil" since they don't follow the rules of nature that we think we understand.

The second, and more complex, is this:
2) 6th world Elves and Dwarves are NOT yet physically mature. None of them are. However, "Immortal Elves" are a rare enough quantity, that the world is not entirely conscious of the fact that the Elven race with whom they regularly consort are still physical adolescents. The world is not aware simply because there are not enough examples of a physical Adult Elf for a conscious comparison to be regularly drawn.
Pros: This would give quite a bit of interesting advancements for Elf character enthusiasts to look forward to, since it would mean that there would still be some fairly major physical development remaining for the Elven race. Perhaps Elves become more Intuitive as their brain chemistry matures? Perhaps their reaction times increase beyond the standard? Perhaps some of them begin to express some of what we consider to be Critter Powers as a part of their inate Genetic Expressions? Who knows!
Cons: This would require a re-write of some portions of the SR Timeline, since players have been playing for decades with the assumption that the Elf they were playing was a physical Adult. It wouldn't just affect the SR Timelines, but it would also require a major re-alignment of ALL players who play Elven characters in their Character Concept. After all, the Elves, at least, DO know of Adult specimens of their race. And those Elves who paid any attention to it at all, would immediately recognise the dissimilarity. Just as an adolescent human recognizes an Adult, and can tell the difference.
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:26 pm

Who says, that all Elves have average life spans of several hundred years ?
As far as I know, they tend to age a bit slower (physically) than humans, but I'd think they'd be perfectly well suited to die of old age before reaching 100...
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PostSubject: Or another thought   Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:23 pm

A human generally reaches physical maturity by around 17-20 (full height, bone structure, etc.). Why couldn't an elf and a dwarf reach at that same time, then age much more slowly? So a 40-year old elf would have the physical maturity of a 20-year old human...
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:24 pm

How about this thought -

The immortality benefit doesnt express itself until after the dwarf or elf hits the standard human age of maturity. They look like an elf and talk like an elf but develope like a human for the first 30 odd years.

This way you dont have to worry about players playing a 20 year old elf decker who has the maturity of a 5 year old.


Just a thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:16 pm

Going by a strictly parallel biology, extended to gestation and growth rate, I can see how it could be assumed that all elves are adolescents in SR, if you assume a 700 yr. lifespan when compared to that of a human. This has actually been addressed in canon, however... at least to an extent.

In fiction, there are examples of elves who were born before the Awakening. These individuals would occur during high mana spikes, which would raise the magical background count-count to a sufficient level so that if an individual had the proper metagenes they would be born as a UGE. Called "spike babies" these individuals were collected by certain agencies who concealed their presence from the world prior to the Awakening.

One of the best known examples of a spike baby was a runner known as the Artful Dodger. He appears in the Secrets of Power trilogy. (A decent read if anybody's interested.) In the early 2050's, he had the physical appearance (and one can only assume, physiology) of a man in his 20's, despite having been born in the 1990's. So, this essentially gives us an age of at least 60 years for an elf to express as physically adult.

Oddly enough, the "spike baby" phenomenon express in the opposite manner as well: a child born after the Awakening, but in a low mana area, may be born as a human, despite being an elf genetically.
Steel Rain offers an example of this.

Immortal elves are certainly around. Harlequin and Aina are two examples from the canon, with their own fiction novels as well. Their age is never explicitly stated, but it is noted that they were alive during the time of Earthdawn, which is (was?) considered a canon history of pre-history Awakened Earth..

Which is from where I'm drawing my answer to this question. While SR hasn't (so far as I can remember) addressed such things as how quickly elves in the 6th world mature, Earthdawn did, and the information can be found here. Now, if Earthdawn is still considered canon (which is was last I heard, but with 4th ed this could be retconned by CG at some point), elves reach maturity in their 20s, and dwarves in their teens. Elves can expect to live for 400 or more years, and dwarves for 150 or more. The immortal elves are actually aberrations from the norm, and should not be considered in a discussion dealing with average maturation or longevity arguments.

Even outside Earthdawn argument, it may be prudent to note that SR elves and dwarves are not necessarily the same as those found in D&D and other fantasy games. In those worlds, elves may live for a couple thousand years, and dwarves for 500 or more. It's been awhile since I read my 3rd ed Player's handbook, but I seem to recall that different growth rates and ages of maturity were addressed in that material. But, as I said, D&D elves aren't necessarily the same as SR elves, and expecting them to have lifespans of similar length may be presumptuous. If I remember correctly, in D&D PHB, elven gestation periods were on the order of 2 years (sorry for the lack of citation, will add it in when/if I find my copy of the PHB), or 2 2/3 the human norm.

It is worth noting that the only remark upon the differences in growth rate and development between humans and elves (dwarves are left out) given in SR4 cannon is that elven gestation takes "just under a year" (pg. 66 SR4 corebook). For the purposes of this model, we'll assume a 12 month gestation cycle, or 1 1/3 the human norm. Given that this is our only clue into the elven growth rate, it would be prudent to extend this to the whole of elven maturation. At a growth rate of 1.33 x human norm, we can expect an elf to reach physical maturity at 28 (given that a male human being is expected to reach physical maturity [as opposed to sexual maturity] at 21 years old).

If we hold with this argument, then elves can be expected to be fully adult sometime in their late 20's, or early 30's... which is what is stated in the Earthdawn fiction. So then, should it be assumed that elven lifespans can be expected to express as 1.33 x human in all case? I would say not, and refer back to my first example of an observed elven lifespan: the Artful Dodger.

Remember, in 2050 he appeared to be in his 20's. While I do not remember his age exactly (I'll try and hunt it down, and note it here at a later date) we'll assume a birthdate of 1995 to be safe (splitting the difference for that decade.) So, in 2052 (which I recall as being the canon date for SR2), he would have been 57 years old. At 1 1/3 x human, we should have expected him to express himself physically as closer to a 43 year old human being; that is, as an individual in early middle-age. This is however, as was stated before, not the case.

Given this discrepancy, it would be best to assume, as Quicklift and Paradox stated, that elven biology "slows" in terms of the effects of physical aging when compared to human beings, after 30 years of age or so. While before 30, a 1.3 x human normal can be assumed in terms of age:age relations, afterwards the relationship cannot be observed.

Since the canon doesn't make any statements on the death ages of elves, making a more comprehensive comparison between human and elven life-cycles isn't possible at the moment. I do recall, however, that our friend the Dodger was still around in the late 2060's, given a cameo appearance that character made in one of the Talon series of books (will hunt this down too... but it's going to be awhile. I don't remember the exact book, and Talon appears in several... so, given this lack of support, this portion of my argument may be disregarded as speculation until such time as it can be given proper citation.) So, 1995 to 2069 gives an upward limit to an elf's age of at least 75 years... and Dodger was *quite* spry in his later appearance, and seemed to have weathered with the years not at all.

So... yeah. That's all I've got.
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:28 pm

Or you could just be like me and assume all pointy-eared freaks are lying. I can claim to be 1000 years old all I want on the Matrix, and in interviews; Doesn't mean I really am. Stupid Awakened World Otherkin.




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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:50 pm

You mean you're not really 110, MB?!

Shocked

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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:15 am

Of course not. I'm actually 153, but that just sounds so -old-. 110 is the 'cool' age.
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:39 pm

lol

Gotcha Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:35 pm

Wow, I thought I was knowledgeable in Shadowrun... 1 karma to T_Hawk for dredging all that up!
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:17 am

heh. While my characters have received karma in the past, I think that's the first time I as a player have had a pay-day. Wonder how I should spend it? Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:31 am

Wow, T-Hawk, I am quite impressed. I put up this post to encourage the exercise of "stretching our minds" to consider and understand the problem. I would say that you have done that. In spades.
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PostSubject: Re: Adolescent Elves   Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:43 pm

Thanks, Gala. Smile
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