Some time ago one of my player asked me if she can play and "elven child" (an Asrai, or Wood Elf). Something comparable to human 12 years old girl.

The more I think about elven childs/elders the less I'm sure about anything.

So there are my questions:

  • How fast elves grow up physically, mentally and socially?
  • Are they "kids" for decades, or do they physically grow up like humans and only social culture defines them as "minors"?
  • How fast do elves develop mentally? (intelligence, seriousness etc)
  • Should I let her to play 10/20/30/40 years old elf? Any mechanics for this?

Less important, but also making me curious - what if any player want to play an elf with few hundred years on his/her neck?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like the title and the question do not match. Do you want to know about Elven physical/mental/social growth or the impacts of a player having such a character? The content suggets the former but the title is about the latter. Nothing about the questions in the body seem to have anything to do with a player actually playing such a creature. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 19:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik sorry for confusion, I do want know about both. Sorry if I couldn't make it clear, english is not my native. \$\endgroup\$
    – Forien
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 20:11

2 Answers 2


There is not much documented in game canon regarding role playing elves that have not reached "maturity." Unfortunately, I think Elven maturity is an alien aspect that can only be creatively guessed at. I would start with Defenders of the Forest (DotF), a fan collaboration, as it provides a lot of guidance on Wood Elf (Asrai) personality.

Your specific questions are not directly answered in the book, save by the narrative of Asrai culture. Physical, mental, and social aspects of Asrai are covered in detail. Their mentality—still alien in context of Human adolescence—is discussed, but I don't see specifics. I believe that again some creativity is highly recommended after reading the text. Mechanically speaking, DotF provides new rules for Asrai that can be leveraged in context of your questions.

Defenders of the Forest

"[A pursuit of perfection] along with their longevity allows Wood Elves to master their emotions, which can make them seem uncaring or cold. Even the death of a Kin member will not provoke an instant reaction; instead a Wood Elf's sorrow is expressed gradually, through poetry and song, at a time of their choosing. Wood Elves also share their Ulthuan counterparts' willingness to listen and have a general "wait and see" attitude (unless of course the forest is threatened), which can lead others to perceive them as an impassive, ponderous race.

The Elves' longevity also allows them to measure success differently from more short-lived races. Crushing one's enemies and amassing riches are not considered worthwhile goals, because power and wealth are ephemeral. Instead, Wood Elves channel their efforts into art, craftsmanship, and personal enlightenment.

Literally behaving in the opposite of these aspects may provide some RP opportunities.

A young elf, possibly meeting a Human for the first time, and certainly in his or her lifetime the first human that will wax and wane before their very eyes. A relationship will build and be extinguished. There is great RP in this alone.


DotF provides details on the Asrai practice of Bran-Wa-Shin, a meditation practice that literally purges memories. For by any other word Elves are immortal. Elves of any age over 40 may have known a generation of Humans. Over 80, a generation of Dwarves and Halflings. Memories of these lives may haunt them. Bran-Wa-Shin restores a balance and often heals Elves. Young Elves may not have access to this talent (the mechanic) or the masters that teach it (the setting RP). Another RP opportunity.


If your player is seeking to play an Asrai, I highly recommend downloading DotF (it is FREE). It contains insanities that a young, as yet trained, Asrai might face leaving the forest. Details factions, talents, skills, and racial attributes not found in the core rules.


I have a house rule on this (only used for NPC characters since I have given them extra disadvantages, same as a normal human of 12 would have in comparison to an adult).

I calculate physical age at around 1.5 times that of humans, so a 12 year old looking elf is actually 18 in my games. I reduce their stats in accordance, for example -10% to all stats, an extra -5% to strength and toughness and a +5% or -5% to fellowship because they are children (depended on the situation, asking for help +5%, commanding an adult -5%). If they enter puberty (so above 12) the extra -5% to strength and toughness is sometimes left out. Wounds I also do times 0.5 (child) or 0.75 (teenager), rounded up.

You also start out with a number of skills and talents that you will have learned in your childhood, plus the skills and talents of your begin career. Some are physical but most are learned, for example I always let them have excellent vision and night vision, but coolheaded/savvy and aetheric attunement/SPW (longbow) is debatable. Normally I give them coolheaded/savvy but not aetheric attunement/SPW (longbow). Somethimes for wood elves I give them SPW (longbow) if they are known to have a talent in this. Depending on their age I give them some of their starting skills and talents, for 12 I would think between 2 and 4 skills and talents. I have no fixed rules for this, I just look at the style of the game, their careers and the party role they will have. For example I had an elf in a game that had a young sister (around 12 thus 18 elf years, kithband career) that was kidnapped and it was a long road to save her and get her back home. I gave her savvy from her race and outdoor survival, perception and scale sheer surfaces from her career. During the campaign the PC's gained a lot of xp and if I advanced her accordingly she would have grown up too fast. I gave her around 100 xp for every 300 of the party. I started with concealment and silent move (when combat started she would scream and disengage, after this she would hide). I gave her +5% to intelligence and agility since she used those most often (so she only had -5% penalty on those, instead of -10%). Then dodge blow, so she could also dodge before hiding. At the end i gave her heal so she could help the party after a battle. I made sure there was no way they could keep her on adventures (because of elven society and her overall weakness in comparison to the party). I felt she would advance too quickly for her years if I kept her with the party (she already had 7 out of 10 starting skills and talents from her career, excluding the one free advance, 4 advances learned in 1 year out of 11 learned in 16*1.5=24 years). Even if you say that you learn a career from 10 to 16, it is still 6 human years (6*1.5=9 elven years). Physically I count them as adults (and give them stats accordingly) if they are 24 (16*1.5=24), but play them as more impulsive, less composed and overall more a mix between humans and elves. As part of elven emotional maturity is done the last 6 years (starting age human is 16, elf is 30), in my games at least.

As for emotional maturity during childhood, I played her as a very wise 12 year old human child. She had the same (sometimes irrational) fears and playfulness, but looked more long-term. For example, she once screamed in her bed in an Inn, the party rushed in ready for combat and she was afraid of monsters under the bed, it turned out to be nothing. Yet she also understood, better than most children, why some decisions were made regarding her safety, this did not prevent her from sometimes sneaking off to play with some human children etc. On the other hand, one time the party was in trouble and when a PC and her found help (she was slightly wounded and in tears) I gave the PC a +20% bonus on this check. So she was not always a burden and provided great role-play opportunity.

I do not recommend having a PC with these stats, but I really liked having an NPC attached to a PC like this. I did feel that If I did not use time skips it would be even more strange how quick she progressed for her years, while it sometimes looked strange that she progressed very slowly in comparison to the PC's. With elves this is even more pronounced since they are the slowest aging race from core rulebook (starting age 30, dwarf and halfling 20, human 16). I noticed I could not do too much time skips because the humans in the party would have aged too much. With human children this is much easier.


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