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Forgotten Realms - Sun Elf lifespan and family practices

   
Forgotten Realms - Sun Elf lifespan and family practices

Wasn't sure if this should go in the Gaming section or not.

Basically, I have a sun elf character in a FR game whose family history/lineage I've been going deep in fleshing out.

One thing I have a hard time figuring out is what age/age span a sun elf couple would typically have offspring. They have potentially extremely long lifespans (max from 426-1020 years!!!) but are considered adults at 120 I think, middle-aged at 210, old at 315 and venerable at 420.

So if their physiology is anything like humans, you should expect them to be able to reproduce fairly easily anytime between 120 and maybe 250 or higher.

When making a family tree, this becomes problematic because then you could easily have a huge number of generations still living, like even great-great ancestors. Narratively speaking having so many living ancestors could be a problem.

And of course this PC's family history is marked by tragedy/sacrifice etc, but having every ancestor past his grandfather having met an untimely death from battle/disease/despair, what have you, seems kind of cop-out ish.

Anyone have any thoughts or insights into this conundrum?

this is probably not the most useful answer. But almost every dnd setting and the various race books accross several editions indicate elves have very low birth rates, meaning they only have a few children across their very long life spans. An elf that lives to be over 500 will rarely if ever have more then 5 children over his or her lifetime, even if they are physiologically able to do so. It's just not part of elven culture and tradition to have very large broods unlike humans with a medieval mindset.

Unless you end up with over average life span, you get the 4th generation being born as you hit into your venerable age bracket. So, basically great grand baby elf is born when you hit the equivalent of 80. Sure, you might make it to see the 5th generation, but the odds are not in your favor.

For our Menzoberranzan game we have redone the Drow aging chart like so..

KAMales enter Melee-Magthere at the age of twenty and spend ten years training until graduation. The magically inclined enter Sorcere at twenty-five and spend thirty years learning their craft. And acolytes of Lloth enter Arach Tinilith at the age of forty and train for fifty years before graduating as Priestesses. -RA Salvatore, Homeland?

The PHB Age chart is fairly dumb when it comes to the longer lived races. The fantasy of immortality and long-lived races is not to be a child for a century and then suddenly middle aged less than a hundred years later. And considering that drow of ages 30-90 graduate in their given craft and celebrate with demon summoning and orgies, I am going to assume that the 90yr old priestesses of Lloth are not committing statutory on male children...

Drow -
Adulthood: 30 years
Middle Aged: 200 years
Old: 300 years
Venerable: 400 years
Max Age: 2d%

Drow have a very high mortality rate due to the dangers of the Underdark, including themselves.


Should it ever come up for other elf types I would use a similar chart. Being a kid/teen for 100yrs is dumb.

Elves age reach maturity more slowly than half-elves, which reach maturity more slowly than humans. IIRC, the way the Realms deals with this (rather than physically being a toddler for 10 years, kid for 40 years, and teenager for 30 years, or however it would be divided up), is that elves reach physical maturity at a slightly later age than humans and half-elves (say, 20 instead of early teens), but while humans continue maturing mentally for the better part of a decade (your brain isn't fully developed until you're 25, after all), elves continue maturing mentally until they're around 80.

Physically, there won't be much difference between a 20 year old elf and an 80 year old elf, but mentally they'd undergo the change from teenager to adult that takes humans about a decade to fully make. Elves live ~6x as long as humans, so that time period could be ~6x longer for them. (In the Return of the Archwizards series, there's a female elf who has a fling with a human soldier and winds up pregnant with a half-elven baby at the age of around 68. It's played more or less as a late-teen pregnancy, and fits the 'physically mature, not completely mentally mature yet' model.)

Alternatively, you could play it that mental "maturity" for an elf is much more advanced than a human's mental maturity, and therefore takes longer than a human to reach. Imagine living until you're 80 and then recognizing that barring any accidents or tragedies, your life is just getting started and you'll have a healthy, functioning body for centuries. 80 years of accumulated wisdom in the body of what is effectively a human 20 year old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drowbane View Post
Drow have a very high mortality rate due to the dangers of the Underdark, including themselves.
Then drow females are going to have to give birth more often (and to more offspring over a lifetime) than non-drow elf females to prevent a population crash. Could go a long way in explaining why the Realms drow (and Lolth by extension) value female drow so highly and view male drow as disposable. A drow society can lose most of its males and not put a dent in its reproductive rate, and so violence toward males can be rationalized as necessary in service to the females. If a House loses too many of its females, its days are numbered because it won't be able to build its numbers back before another House wipes it out (especially since it will have fewer priestesses too).

Makes me wonder if increased fertility is natural for drow or if drow priestesses routinely use fertility spells to boost their reproductive rates, or both.

I actually like that elves take so long to mature. The thing that boggles my mind about Sun Elves in particular is how long their "venerable" stage can be. Up till 420 you're not venerable, but then you can live up to 600 more years after that, being venerable the whole time.

I also just wonder at what ages most (sun) elves would typically have kids. Just because they're physically able to have kids at anytime between like 100 and 315 (I'm guessing since at old age for most species it becomes unusual to reproduce) doesn't necessarily mean that they would. For my character's bloodline so far I've settled around 200-ish for them to produce offspring if for no other reason than it doesn't *really* matter what specific age.

To reiterate, I vastly prefer the notion that elves just enjoy a vastly longer Adult life span (so long as to seem immortal to humans) than the notion of being a child / teen for nearly a century.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calrond View Post
Then drow females are going to have to give birth more often (and to more offspring over a lifetime) than non-drow elf females to prevent a population crash.

Makes me wonder if increased fertility is natural for drow or if drow priestesses routinely use fertility spells to boost their reproductive rates, or both.
The Lore would seem to contradict this. Baenre, for example is considered to have high fertility despite only having 20 children over her life time (over 2000yrs). Though over half of those were during her Venerable years. I would surmise that the only thing keeping Drow sustainable is Divine resurrection magic. As long as you don't die due to sacrifice, you have a reasonable expectation to be rezzed by one of your House females. Yet another reason females are so highly prized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by calrond
Could go a long way in explaining why the Realms drow (and Lolth by extension) value female drow so highly and view male drow as disposable. A drow society can lose most of its males and not put a dent in its reproductive rate, and so violence toward males can be rationalized as necessary in service to the females. If a House loses too many of its females, its days are numbered because it won't be able to build its numbers back before another House wipes it out (especially since it will have fewer priestesses too)
Agreed.

Drow do tend to have a higher birth rate than other elves too though. Most standard elf families have 1-3 kids while drow usually have 5+ so that they can rack up the daughters as well as fill the house with wizards and high ranking warrior. Gotta be able to fight off the other families.

@KillerK for what good it might do you in your own work and thoughts on such things, I share below some work I did to help one of my players flesh out her Faerūnian sun-elf heritage.
[This was loosely inspired by some heritage laid down by Eric L. Boyd over at Candlekeep.]


Olaria Velandra's grandfather, Lord Saevel Floshin, a younger brother of Elorfindar Floshin, was born in the Year of the Eclipsed Heart (504 DR) and raised on the Floshin estates, which date back to the ancient green-elven kingdom of Illefarn.
Saevel moved to Evermeet in the Year of Reaching Regret (716 DR), accompanying refugees from the fallen city of Myth Drannor, shortly after his first marriage, where he remains a person of influence.

Saevel’s Wives
===================

Saevel’s first marriage was to the avowed love of his life, the gold-elf Lady Vestele “Goldspells” Naelgrath. Vestele died tragically in a failed magical experiment in the Year of The Private Tears (1204 DR). Since then, Saevel has had one moon-elf lover, Aluendalee Cathdeiryn (1273 DR-1333 DR), and several half-elven lovers with whom he has had no children.


Floshin / Naelgrath Lineage
===================

Saevel and Vestele had three gold-elf children over three centuries. All are still believed to be alive.
Lady Jastra Floshin was born in the Year of the Circling Vulture (942 DR).
Lord Aravilar Floshin was born in the Year of Spreading Spring (1038 DR).
Lord Mourn Floshin was born in the Year of the Knight (1140 DR)

Lord Aravilar Floshin
=====================

Lord Aravilar “Shadewalker” Floshin is the eldest child and heir of Saevel and Vestele. A verbose, quick-witted, sort, Lord Aravilar was born in the Year of Spreading Spring (1038 DR), he is married and had two gold elf children. In the adventuring days of his youth, when he was known as Aravilar Shadewalker, he had several lovers (all half-elf and human females), but has lived with his wife for centuries on the isle of Evermeet, managing the household in his father’s old age.
An accomplished blademaster and spellmaster both, as a young adventurer, he explored many of the ruins of fallen Eaerlann and Ardeep across the North and the Sword Coast, retrieving many elven heirlooms and magic from those realms to its rightful owners.

Lord Mourn “Frostouch” Floshin
=====================

Lord Mourn “Frostouch” Floshin is the second child of Saevel and Vestele. From his earliest days, gifted in the Art. Mourn was born in the Year of the Knight (1140 DR) and spent much of his youth exploring the ruins of the North and apprenticing with various human, elf and half-elf wizards and sorcerers. During those days, he was known as Mourn Frostouch for his prolific use of spells conjuring, bolts, blades and creatures of ice. He took all manner of lovers, most of them half-elves and humans, during this time, and may well have had offspring, but knows of none. In time, he became known as a capable spellcaster in his own right.
Unburdened with the responsibilities of succession his older brother is, Mourn is rumored to have settled in some human city of the North (most commonly assumed to be Silverymoon) to purse his studies.

Lady Jastra “Wildfire” Floshin
===================

Through her father’s political maneuverings, Jastra “Wildfire” Floshin, so named for her brief, but wild, antics among the nobles of Evermeet, was soon wed to the older retired adventuring gold-elf Nym Velandra, no doubt to curtail her embarrassing (to the family) antics. Nym, a skilled warrior and high-ranking officer among the sentinels of Evereska, moved her to Evereska with him where, at a young 177 summers, Jastra bore Nym two gold-elf children. Olaria Velandra, born in the Year of Starlight (1215 DR). Eithril Velandra was born in the Year of the Wandering Wyrm (1317 DR). In the Year of Chains (1321 DR), Jastra and Nym moved to a small estate in Waterdeep, presumably to take on a shipping business run by a family relative of the Velandra family. In the Year of Moonfall (1344 DR), the reason for Jastra and Nym’s stationing to Waterdeep became clear however, as they used their business and connections in Waterdeep to aid in The Retreat, helping many elves cross over to the isle of Evermeet.
Finally, in the Year of the Harp (1355 DR), they too left for the elven isle.

Velandra / Floshin Lineage
===================

Olaria Velandra
===================

Born in the hidden and isolated “fortress home” of the elves in western Faerun, Olaria spent her early years experiencing all the best of what the elven way of life was about. Found to have a keen intellect at a young age, she was slowly and steadily introduced to the arcane ways of the elves. Shortly after entering the young adult stage of her life, as she was developing her independence, Olaria was plucked along with her parents from the isolated valley of Evereska and dropped into the dirty, loud and distinctly unnatural environs of the largest human settlement on the Sword Coast, Waterdeep. Olaria immediately experienced some culture shock and the trauma was palpable so it did not take long for her parents to send Olaria off to live with, and study under, her distant great uncle, Lord Elorfindar Floshin at the Floshin estate near Daggerford late in the Year of Chains (1321 DR).
Though the Floshin estate is isolated, Lord Elorfinder and his household have plenty of interaction with the human and dwarf citizens of the nearby settlements and Olaria’s youth, as well as her near instant bonding with her older distant aunt. Lady Shalendra “Dare-all” Floshin made her adaptable, so she quickly grew to enjoy visits to Daggerford.

Under Elorfindar’s children, particularly the serious and silent Lord Darfin “Longwalker” Floshin, heir to Lord Elorfinder, and the tolerant and far-seeing Lord Elorshin “Highthought” Floshin, she completed her schooling in elven skills, crafts, music, languages and sword work considered fundamental to the elven way of life. When her arcane skills showed a clear inclination for focused study, Lord Darfin recommended she apprentice under Delfen Yellowknife, to whom he introduced her.
In the Year of the Bloodbird (1346 DR) Olaria moved to Daggerford. Living under Delfen’s roof, she spent several years as one of his apprentices, her apprenticeship paid for with coin from her parents, and became quite adept with the Art, setting her on the path to becoming a skilled wizard. She particularly enjoyed hearing the tales of his adventures and yearned for a bit of the excitement herself, even if many of the monsters and battles did sound rather frightening. Delfen had made it out okay, and she figured that if she studied hard then maybe, one day she could become powerful and make a name for herself too.

In the Year of the Bow (1354 DR), Olaria’s parents contacted her and invited her to join them in retreating from the mainland to the isle of Evermeet. Having developed a wonderlust, Olaria declined, but she could no longer afford to pay for Delfen’s tutoring without her parent’s coin. Shortly after this, she eagerly joined the militia, wanting to do her part to help the town that she had grown to love, as well as hone her skills.
In her time with Delfen, she had come to know her estranged half-elf uncle, whom her Floshin relatives had all but failed to mention, except for Lord Elorshin, Kelson “Darktreader” Floshin. It was to him that she turned when she left Delfen’s tower and Kelson, a huntsman under the Master of the Duke’s Hunt, welcomed her, albeit a bit reluctantly, into his home. Despite his taciturn and close-spoken nature, never using two words where one will do. Popular tales say that he that no one in Daggerford knows the Misty Forest and High Moor better than Kelson and few can match his skill with a bow, which Olaria learned firsthand as he honed her own skills after discovering she had a natural dexterity and curiosity.

Eithril “Moonstep” Velandra
=====================

Olaria doesn’t know much about her younger sister’s fate since leaving Evereska. Her sister, a petite, ephemeral beauty, fleet of foot and carefree, was left with her younger brother under the wing of the Velandra family in Everesak, deemed too young to move with her parents to Waterdeep. She joined her parents to leave for Evermeet in the Year of the Harp (1355 DR).







 

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