In most long-lived player character races' descriptions I see comments about how fast they physically mature and when they're considered adults. What I am wondering is how fast they socially mature. This isn't explicitly mentioned. For example, in the description of elves,

Age. 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.

I ask because to me it seems obvious that probably most races in their late twenties have finished maturing socially. Sure, their personality will still change, but that's different than maturity.

I have two thoughts about quickly races would mature.

  1. In some sense your "social maturity" is an accumulation of all your life experiences. In this way all races would mature at the same speed. (As in, maybe they have more or less experiences but there is nothing special about their race that affects it.)
  2. In another way your "social maturity" has to do with how well developed your brain is. Teenagers and people in their early twenties still do not have fully developed brains so still have not reached social maturity. (It may make sense to call this "mental maturity" but I've never heard the phrase and it seems needlessly specific.) -- This would imply that races that are super intelligent might mature faster and ones that aren't might mature slower. (A problem with this view is that it tries to make a standard meaning of what maturity means,

My initial guess is that all races mature socially at the same speed but I'm curious if there are answers in the lore.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast both really. I'm trying to better understand how age plays into maturity and how to roleplay different races at different ages. As an example, an elf that is 90, sure, they're a "child" but surely having as much life experience as humans they don't act "childish." Would an elf and human who were born on the same day and raised together mature at the same rate? These are the sort of things I'm curious about. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8, 2021 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


It appears that elves reach social maturity later than humans. According to Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, an elf reaches adolescence "in their second or third decade", and an elf's passage into adulthood "typically occurs at the end of the first century of life."

Per page 38 of MToF, there are descriptions of Adolescence, Adulthood, and Elder Elves.

Adolescence is described as follows:

Most elves experience their First Reflection in their second or third decade. It marks the beginning of the period when an elf must focus on acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for the elf's role as an adult.

Adulthood is described as follows:

The Drawing of the Veil marks an elf's passage into adulthood, which typically occurs at the end of the first century of life.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess my question really begs the question "what is social maturity". I am struggling to define it here other than "Not necessarily when a race/culture considers them an adult, but when they aren't immature or childish" -- because being mature means you aren't immature. And if I don't mean "considered an adult" then of course "not childish" is the same thing. Regardless this is a good answer and really interesting, don't misunderstand me. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2021 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could say someone's head being filled with whimsical stories of a past life is childish, and indeed some human children experience "past lives" but grow out of it as well, but it happens much younger than 100 (of course). This source says they fade around 7 typically. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2021 at 19:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem is, I think, that it's unclear if they mean adulthood strictly from elven societies point of view, or from a more broad societal point of view. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2021 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RevenantBacon (and Captain Man) yes, I think it is very much a question of point of view, elves may consider it one way, while a human/other races could all very well consider it much differently. It could open up some great role-playing situations, where a young elf is considered mature by fellow human adventurers, while a fellow elf adventurer or elf NPC considers them almost a child. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weiramon
    Mar 9, 2021 at 21:07

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