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I find the fact that elves don’t reach adulthood until they are 110 relatively straightforward to work with, since the children and parents are aging at the same rate and their cultures are built around their rate of maturity.

On the other hand, aasimar, tieflings, oreads, etc. seem trickier. Many plane-touched humans are born to two regular human parents (due to plane-touched blood further up their family tree). These children don’t reach maturity until they are 60, but their siblings are adults at 15. If their parents were 25 years old when the child was born, the parent will be 85 when their “little angel” is ready to support himself. In many families, this would mean that plane-touched children will be a terrible burden -- likely one born by two or even three generations.

Consider:

  • Our “little angel” took 4x as long to mature mentally and emotionally as his human siblings, not learning to read until his early-20s, and not safe to leave unattended until his early-30s
  • Our “little angel” took 4x as long to mature physically, crawling until he was 5 years old and staying in diapers until he was 12
  • Our “little angel” will often end up being raised by three generations, with his parents, siblings, and finally nieces or nephews each raising him for 20 years apiece before handing off the young aasimar to their own children.

I don’t have any problem with saying some plane-touched humans live like this...it's very interesting, plausible, and flavorful.

Saying all plane-touched live like this on the other hand seems counter to the flavor of the world. Frankly, this "kid" (living in a medieval world) is going to likely be seen as stupid and weak, and likely a horrible curse on his poor parents.

Flavor-wise, I’d imagine many plane-touched people are just as fast learners as their sisters and brothers; it's just that their aging slows to a crawl when they reach adulthood. (This doesn't seem to be supported by the rules saying they won't be able to reach 1st level until they are 64+ years old...but the fiction of the world just seems poorer if there aren't aasimar who are exceptional as youths...for a reason other than exceptional developmental delays.)

How do you play this? Or do you hand-waive it differently?

Has this been addressed by Paizo in any way? (In this case, I’m curious about official statements, but just as interested in how you’ve had success playing it).

Also note, if Alex the Angel has a plane-touched daughter each with Hanna the Human and Emma the Elf, both daughters will reach maturity at 60, but the one with human siblings will see her brothers mature at 15...and the one raised by elves will speed past her fellows, maturing in half their normal rate.

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IIRC, elves etc. don't take longer than humans to physically mature, just longer to be granted cultural adulthood (and possibly mentally mature to the cultural standards). If you consider that, does that shed any light on plane-touched? –  SevenSidedDie Mar 7 '14 at 4:17
    
@SevenSidedDie I think you've hit the nail on the head. The age of maturity is based on the standards of maturity (physical, social, mental, whatever) for that race. I personally as a GM choose to say that Aasimar, Sylphs, Oreads, etc. reach the same level of maturity by human standards as their human contemporaries at age 15, but take longer to reach full maturity by their race's standards. –  called2voyage Mar 12 '14 at 15:19
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It makes perfect sense to me that an aasimar raised amongst angels might not venture out into the world as a first level character until she was 60+ years old...but that one raised amongst humans would reach adulthood (and, mechanically for PCs, get her first class level) at 15+ years. –  Jeff Fry Mar 12 '14 at 18:46

3 Answers 3

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Aasimar are addressed in Blood of Angels. "Women that carry an aasimar child reoprt easy pregnancies and deliveries..." There's an entire page of info on Childhood, another on Adolescence, etc. They don't come out and say it explicitly but there's no sign of any time disparity; they are described as maturing to age 5-6 like other human kids and having some issues during puberty with their peer group. BoA says, "An aasimar might spend a good portion of her childhood thinking of herself as human." This is odd as the Advanced Race Guide indicates that the adult age of an aasimar is 60, which would seem to indicate there's some kind of slowdown between birth and there... Same situation for oreads etc.

Bastards of Golarion has nothing to say about this for the other races, it's more of a crunch book really.

I think this falls into the general category of "poorly thought out things in the D&D cosmology," which are manifold. Just like the high intelligence of many aberrations, it's an interesting note trotted out every once in a while as a plot point and then conveniently forgotten 99% of the time.

So your playbook:

  • Decide if you care - it's a magical world and these are magical crossbreeds, there doesn't have to be one answer and you can be as inconsistent as you want
  • Decide if you just want to say "they mature at the same rate as anyone else" and ignore the adult age listed in the books
  • Decide if you want to let players decide based on their own concept of their PC's background
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There's no guarantee that other races, particularly ones with such long maturation times, would have developmental milestones neatly proportional to humans. For example, horses can walk within an hour of birth but don't reach adulthood until 5 years old. And, as Bobson pointed out in his comment, horses are racing well before then. Horses begin racing as young at two, and the horse races you actually hear about are probably are probably between 3 year-olds (Triple Crown).

Other humanoids would probably be more similar to us but there would still be plenty of variation. Based on mxyzplk's answer, they probably hit those early milestones comparatively quickly (This makes sense. You want children to be completely helpless for as short a time as possible.) and then slow down to allow for whatever magical, extra-planar development makes them so special. They may also hit the milestones in a different order than humans, or have completely different ones.

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Horses are a great example! Race horses are usually raced as 3 year olds (all three Triple Crown races, for example). So the fact that they aren't mature until 5 is very relevant here. Effectively, they have a very long teenage-hood. –  Bobson Jul 18 '14 at 18:28
    
As a great illustration of this concept, check out this graph of relative maturity/age of different dogs. Aasimar simply have a different "maturity curve" than humans. calculatorcat.com/dogs/dog-years-human-years-graph.gif –  heathenJesus Jul 18 '14 at 18:32
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@Bobson Hope you don't mind but I incorporated your excellent point into the answer. –  DrewS Jul 18 '14 at 18:55
    
One thing to note, being young had mechanical meaning in Pathfinder (as defined here: d20pfsrd.com/basics-ability-scores/more-character-options/… ) which means that RAW a 59 yr old Aasimar still has +2 DEX, -2 to STR, CON, & WIS due to their immaturity. –  Jeff Fry Jul 20 '14 at 0:37

Most people don't generally become adventurers the moment they become physically adult sized.

For humans, physical decay kicks in shortly after adolescence. Your muscles tend to get weaker and it takes more effort to keep them strong. Your brain gets full of knowledge, but it stops learning new things as fast or as easily (possibly because of that knowledge).

Evidence of decay is pretty solid by your 30s.

A human who becomes an adventurer other than at a young age is probably at a serious disadvantage. If a 40 year old human picks up a sword and some armor and goes out to fight goblins for the first time, you are far more likely to end up with a dead proto-hero than a 20 year old.

Humans, for the most part, have one chance to get really good at something, and it is "right after" adolescence. Only rarely do humans go and get really good at a second set of skills.

For long lived races, they have a really long window of physical maturity without decay. And possibly they have more than one window of excellence.

Suppose a plane touched becomes physically mature at 20. Maybe their brain is still adolescent in its plasticity. Still, they settle down and become a farmer. 20 years later, they still have the mental and physical aptitude of a 20 year old, and 20 years of experience farming. Maybe at that point they figure they are special and should do something else. They travel to a city, and spend 20 years there working their way up from a servant: still physically and mentally healthy.

Perhaps along the way they picked up a small smattering of magic, which they have hidden from people. (They already have problems with people thinking they are weird for not aging).

Now at 60 they finally got good at magic (via trial and error), and decide to do something less boring than farming and keeping a tavern.

A human could follow the above character arc, but at 60 they are now in serious physical and moderate cognitive decline, especially when learning new things.

In short, the ages that elves and planetouched could go off and adventure are far broader than humans, even if they physically mature up to 20 at a similar rate. The humans who feel wanderlust at 20 are the ones who become adventurers, the ones who feel it at 40 or 60 don't succeed enough to even reach 1st level.

The elves or plane touched who feel it at 60 or 80 or 100 or 120 meanwhile can and do become adventurers.

Throw in a change in the age at which they feel wanderlust, label that adulthood, and we have elves and planetouched who mature physically in their 20s or so, spend the next many decades being homebodies, and only then strike out on adventure. Maybe a few years later they tend to decide that adventuring is far too risky and much of a bother, and retire to slowing advancing their skills over their centuries-long prime rather than crawling around damp dungeons getting ambushed by Kobolds.

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