D&D General Alien Character Mindsets: Elves should be pretty conservative about almost everything.

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Elves live so long that over the course of their lives they will see the world change and change again many times. To them trying to "conserve" society in a particular state may seem like a fool's errand.
This.

I'm lucky to spend a lot of time with a bunch of 100+ years old ladies as part of my job, and most of them arent exactly conservative...and most of them are nuns. They have mostly given up on trying to keep up to date with everything, but pick a few elements of each new generations they like and just ignore the rest. So I'd call this '' forced selective progressism when faced with the inevitability of change ''
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
You're right. It is a lot of assumption, but tight knit families are hard enough when your parents are 30 years older. I can't imagine it'd be easier if they were 200 years older.
Doesn't seem to actually be all that hard for most cultures the world over.
That said, sure. Totally plausible. But it probably wouldn't be a Kingdom with a strong class system of land ownership.
Sure
People do still write classical music, yup. Also Folk stylings and "Traditional" music based on their culture (which can range across centuries of different styles which is why I put it in scare quotes, 'cause it's all lumped together inaccurately)

Maybe. Maybe.
I don't see any posible future where it goes the other way, but i wouldn't mind being wrong about this one.
IF. POPULAR. If not? Tough luck. That's the point. The option is largely gone, even if you can find something for -some- models.
Most common models. Just like any other part for older cars.
Yeah, you can get it on some models 'cause not all the cranks are gone, but once they are, they are. Same with old style refrigerator units where the Iceman has to pop by with a chunk for you, or Bed-Cabinets they used to use. Things go away and eventually just will not come back. No matter how much someone wants them to.
There aren't a limited number of cranks. Dorman is still making new window regulators, levers, and other components, to replace older style window controls. There are easily tens of thousands of cars with manual crank windows just in California, from a nearly 100 year range of decades, and a hundred different manufacturers.
Sometimes it's because of technological advancement, sometimes it's because society no longer likes the thing, sometimes it's because of economics (Those bed-cabinets are more expensive than a good door lock and as houses got bigger the parents could have their own room with no kids hearing the thumping noises... well usually)

Sure. Call it decades. Call it Centuries. Elf's got time for it to no longer be an option.

Some stuff disappears in less than a decade, it doesn't have a hugely significant impact on how people view the world.

Ahhh, but will it fluoresce under a black light?

DfSlQnk.jpeg


And the answer is sure, maybe... But that's not really the point, either. The point is that sometimes things are lost to time and circumstance. And sometimes they're gone for good (reason).
Sure, stuff changes. I just don't think stuff changes so fundamentally all that often that people would be super alien because their dad is 600 years old.

One thing to consider is that you simply cannot have a species that matures at the same rate as humans, and then deteriorates and calcifies at the same rate, that also lives healthily into their 700's.

It's extremely unlikely that elves crystalize like humans do, and if they do, that it happens any time before their last couple centuries of natural lifespan. That, combined with the posited scenario wherein they live alongside more shortlived folk, makes a lot of the ideas in this thread extremely unlikely.
An elf born in the 60s 300 years from now, as technology and society advance to and beyond the nightmare scenario you're describing would probably be considered conservatives...

People born in the 60s are in their 60s, now. And most of them are moderates 'cause Gen X was progressive for the 70s and 80s but is moving toward being regressive compared to politics these days. But moderate -today- is gonna be conservative a long time from now. Think of moderate policies in the 60s and compare them to moderate policies today. Extrapolate 300 years.

You know what was pretty progressive in the 60s to the point of being radical? Interracial Marriage. That's not radical, today, that's not even Moderate. That's just absolutely normalized outside of racists.

I -think- what you were actually aiming for was people born in the 40s and 50s and became the hippies of the 60s and 70s. Flower Children and all, right? Yeah... these days we call 'em "Boomers" soooo...
I'm not sure what you're replying to with this chunk of text. Help?
The basic premise isn't "Who you are as a kid or teen is who you are as an adult" so much as "The weight of history rests on our shoulders and the older we are the more removed we are from younger generations and any people who live through fifteen or twenty generations is going to be very out of touch"
If humans lived that long, sure. Elves aren't humans. Part of why humans get that way is that it gets harder to internalize new stuff as you get older, especially if you don't make a habit of doing so regularly. Who says this is true for elves?
Most of our rules and customs -restrain- us from doing impulsive newfangled stuff until it reaches a cultural tipping point that is considered "Socially Acceptable" and then it gets adopted by society once it's been more or less proven not to be destructive to society. Except there will, of course, always be a group of people mired in the past dreaming of halcyon days that may never have been that continues to rail against it for a generation or two.
Right...and I posited that elves society might well have rules and customs that push in the opposite direction, because they have inclinations toward stagnation that are unhealthy if allowed to run rampant.
And while Elven Society would probably be fairly stagnant, only slowly opening up to new stuff... would it be disastrous for those elves? Maybe if they got into a war and staunchly refused to use those "Newfangled Firearms" but I don't think that would be a serious issue in most campaign settings.
Yes. Unambiguously. Imagine spellcraft is like computer technology. Now imagine that someone was really into difference engines back in the day, but hasn't approved of any new computer tech since WWII. Do they allow cell phones in their house? Do they know how to use a mouse and keyboard? Do they have any kind of internet connection? Did they update to the new system when analog TV went kaput? Now imagine a whole nation of people like that, in today's world. They are utterly screwed.

Not to mention that significant stagnation is bad in and of itself. It deteriorates the fabric of social orders, leads to stratification and thus to unrest, and tends to push a civilization toward collapse.
'Cause again: This is about D&D characters
I doubt anyone here is unaware of this.

Since we don't have timelines of technological and arcane advancement for Faerun, it's much easier to discuss this in terms of the real world, however.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Over the various editions, elves have lived up to 2 millennia, with the average still longer than a millennium. This is much longer than the span of most political states, so to paraphrase Black Widow: regimes fall every day; they tend not to get too upset about it. Even with 5Es radically shortened lifespan, by middle age they'd still likely see at least one of the shorter lived races governments topple.

The concepts of conservative, liberal, and progressive are not necessarily going to translate well to a fantasy race, particularly since they're going to be clouded by modern political interpretations. Elves are going to be "conservative" in the sense that they remember older times, particularly those that might have been better, but that's about it. Everything beyond that is going to be based on their individual culture.


Can confirm, as my wife bought her brand new Kia with manual windows only 3-4 years ago. Her niece and nephew thought it was a new invention, so you could roll the window up/down without the keys.
Oh yeah, I've sold them for cars as new as at least 2017. Some people still prefer them, due to having fewer points of potential failure, while others just got the cheapest version of their car available.
 

Yeah, honestly, I'm not getting the disconnect in this conversation we're having, Bill, so I'm gonna let it drop before either of us gets aggravated, or more aggravated as the case might be.

Oh, probably.

But it's not about "Conserving" society. It's about preserving their personal lifestyle the way they like it in a world that is changing around them. I used the US as an example because it's easy to see just how drastically our society has changed in the last 200 odd years. It's easy to see the disconnect between people in their 80s and people in their 20s and elves in this society would be even -more- out of touch because they'd be pushing 400 in the modern day.

But it's also meant to apply to a Campaign Setting. So Elves in, say, Forgotten Realms. How much -weight- should they give to a random assortment of adventurers begging for aid because their scrappy little kingdom that they forged out for themselves in an unoccupied portion of the Sword Coast is going to get ransacked by an orc horde sweeping the Sword Coast to specifically wreck this one kingdom that really upset them?

Now these adventurers are pretty famous. They did some adventuring up around Ten Towns and helped out in Waterdeep and maybe even fought a Dragon in Neverwinter...

But who the heck are they to an elf in Silverymoon? You're High Lord Methrammar Aerasumé, Lord of the Silver Marches spanning from Anauroch to the Evermoors, from Glimmerwood to Turlang's Wood. You have hundreds of thousands of lives in your hands every day and you have to deal with recurrent threats against your people routinely.

Do you send your legions out to help these people, or like a Movie Elf do you not bother 'cause it's not your problem? Well, y'know, unless it BECOMES your problem at which point obviously you act.

But do you preserve your way of life, or do you seek to go out into the world and do things to change the world?

Elves in most media preserve, rather than try to change. It's, like, their driving goal in most narratives to be the stodgiest sticks in the mud they can manage while the protagonists beg for help and it falls on largely deaf pointed ears forcing the protagonists to go out and do it themselves.

Even in books, even in D&D, Elves are often portrayed as the people clinging to "The Old Ways" and "The Old Traditions". Trying to preserve what once was.
It's true that elves are frequently presented as stodgy, but I think that's more a reflection that elven societies are typically presented as "in decline" rather than as a product of a racial worldview. They want to conserve because all their awesome stuff is behind them. Their best crafters and heroes are dead, cities have fallen, birth rates are down or have stopped, etc.

If you rewind the tape a little bit though, those societies had great crafters building wondrous things, heroes attempting mighty deeds, cities of magic and industry etc all run by those same, now more "conservative" elves.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You're right. It is a lot of assumption, but tight knit families are hard enough when your parents are 30 years older. I can't imagine it'd be easier if they were 200 years older.
You're again applying a human mindset here. When I was in my 20's I did many things because I had the energy and drive to do them. As I aged and my body changed, my outlook changed with it and I wanted new things. Elves are physically(and perhaps mentally) in their 20's for hundreds of years. Their parents being 150 years older might put them in the same boat with what they want out of life. They'd all go clubbing together! ;)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
@Steampunkette

My point with the window cranks and uranium glass is that we have reached a point where the knowledge of how to make things only ever expands, and detailed records of every trend in the last 30 years is kept and combed through regularly for new ways to remix and recycle something into a new thing.

The last 15+ years, especially, have no unified themes of musical movements, the only movement in film I can think of in that time is big franchises over many wholly separate works, etc.

Will we ever see a time where fantasy stories aren't being told with actors on sets for a visual medium? I don't think we will, even when they peak and then fall off. They won't go away like things used to.

late 90's and early 2000's fashion and music has had a comeback recently, but they never went away in the meantime. The Alt stations still played Nirvana and Slipknot in between whatever was new, throughout that time. People are putting songs on the radio with samples from songs older than their parents, right now.

People are buying new Kia's with manual window cranks.

The people I sell 90's Japanese import parts to every day are mostly so young they were born after I graduated high school. The older ones can drink, barely.

Things don't die, anymore, and it's just going to get worse.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I'm not sure what you're replying to with this chunk of text. Help?

If humans lived that long, sure. Elves aren't humans. Part of why humans get that way is that it gets harder to internalize new stuff as you get older, especially if you don't make a habit of doing so regularly. Who says this is true for elves?
Bill Zebub.

That post was responses to multiple people.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This.

I'm lucky to spend a lot of time with a bunch of 100+ years old ladies as part of my job, and most of them arent exactly conservative...and most of them are nuns. They have mostly given up on trying to keep up to date with everything, but pick a few elements of each new generations they like and just ignore the rest. So I'd call this '' forced selective progressism when faced with the inevitability of change ''
This, in turn.

I would add that it seems nearly impossible to imagine that elves don't stay "young" for longer than humans do, anyway. Otherwise, they'd space out thinking about old friends and next thing realize a year has passed, and that just isn't a functional model for a creature that has to eat and upkeep their physical body.

More likely, they maintain cognitive fluidity for hundreds of years, or crystalize and re-fluidify in a cycle every several decades.

Also also, why aren't we positing that elves would have strict limits to how long someone can hold a position of power? Why wouldn't elves see "for life" terms of power as inherently unjust?
 


Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Elves are in their prime for centuries, they would be constantly craving novelty.

Which is a good thing for them honestly, the (relatively) rapid mutation of food cultivars would mean nothing ever tastes the same as it used too.
 

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