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Author Topic: Concerning Elves.....  (Read 4027 times)
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Wren
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« on: 30 December 2003, 10:12:00 »

Wood Elves

- What makes an Wood Elf distinctive from other Elves and other Races?
Wood Elves are the most common of the Elven types and of all the derivations of Elf, they are the easiest for Humanity to comprehend. Much Wood Elven Philosophy is shared, albeit sometimes in a corrupted or changed form, with human tribes.

But to take a wood elf as a human with pointy ears would be a mistake. Wood Elves are decended Ava's First born, the Children of the Wind. However, unlike the Light Elves, they have choosen to tie themselves to the soil and take copreal form. The price of this is Mortality. But even so they were still members of the first race, and so have be granted, by some greater grace, the gift of long life, hindsight, wisdom and great beauty until the end of their days - as it is for the Light Elves - so retaining that tie, even though the two elven lines are divided by Queprur.

Perhaps the defining qualities of Wood Elves in all they're numerous forms are defined by they're language. They think in community terms. The Elven ideal is to be part of the greater unit. Personal power and achievement means little to them. They are free of self dililusion, self image and ambition, devoted to the soil and to the natural world around them. Add to that a average life span of some 500 years, and you find that the elven way and pace of life may seem utterly frustrating to a human.


- What is the self-image of this race?
Wood Elves walk around with their eyes wide open. They do not tend to think too much in terms of the personal, so they do not suffer as humans do with self image, self worth, self esteem or disilusionment. The community and the health of their forest is they're identity and what others make of their tribe is generally unimportant.

- How do other races see this race?
Remember that of all the races, and despite they're diversity, Elves are the least numerous of the main races, though in times gone by they were the predominant race. Elves are seldom see by the majority of tribes belonging to other races -so opinion is generally governed by folklore and is just as dependant on the tribe that happens to be the nearest. For example in Santharia Quaelhoirhim elves with they're gregarious and sometimes medalsome nature shape most human perceptions of elven nature as they are most commonly seen abroad and are viewed as wise, graceful and arrogant in equal measure. But where a population is in close contact with another tribe the opinions are different. The shy Ylfferhim and Maeverhim are reguarded with a quiet reverence by they're neighbours, the Aellenrhim have an undeserved repuation and are they and they're forest are feared and avoided by humans in Voldar. The Tethinrhim with they're most accomplished warriors are reguarded with awe and the upmost respect if not a little fear.

Suffice to say then that humans have mixed feeling about they're Elven neighhbours that consiststs of awe, fear, respect, wander and contempt almost all at once.  

Elves have a great love of Halflings and for the most part the feeling is reciprocated. Dwarves have little emotions on the subject. Elves are Elves. Nature loving and really little to do with them nor they're Dwarven way of life. Orcs as a generalisation (there are some exceptions to every rule) positively hate elves and elven kind and the feeling is more than mutual!

- General appearance
This varies greatly from tribe to tribe and you should see your tribe of interest for details. In general however:

About the same height as a Human Male (2 peds)but lithe, with exception constitution and endurance.
Male and female elves are rather difficult to discern at first glance. Both sexes have a certain androgousy about them
Coulouring is usually fair and relfects nature, though check your tribe as this is a vast generalisation
Features are sharp, ears pointed, eyes large and expressive.
There is always light on the face of the elf.

Elves have exceptional senses - keener hearing and sight than those of humans - and seldom need to rest, drawing energy from nature itself. They have inate resistance to magic.

- Personality.
Peaceloving sums it up nicely. Elves usually settle in dense forests or at wooded lakes and lead quiet lives without interfering directly in other races activities and struggle for domination. They are a peaceful, nature-loving people and would never fight each other nor other races for reasons of gaining power or wealth. It is the elves conviction that they are destined to live in harmony with nature. This is also the reason why they only use their magical powers as a natural means and don't try to prevent these natural abilities to harm or even destroy something or someone.

Elves have an innate sense of self also. They are not as self contradictory or as self dilusional as humans in many senses. They accept themselves as what they are, for their innate abilities and weaknesses. This is why an elf would never harm themselves intentionally by commiting suicide (away from warfare of course). They are part of nature rather than the human way of being apart from it. There isn't the pressure to achieve in elven tribes. Their history doesn't tend to involve struggles among their race for land or superiority as humans do. Achievement has little meaning to them as a result, and if it did, would be measure in vastly different terms to humans.

This isn't to say that elves aren't curious. They can, and do learn other forms of magic outside their normal fields. They do make an effort to learn other languages and gather information. But it is almost done in an academic sense. Elves aquire information to know they're world better not to master it.

And then of course there is the matter of a lifespan of, on average, 500 years. The long life-spans of elves may be accounted to one of the main reasons that elves are very calm and patient in all their actions. They also only need a few hours to rest or meditate as they sense the substance and the energy of the Dream of Avá which fills their whole life when awake. If you live this long you loose the sense of urgency to achieve something, the need to fit so much into a short life. And then add to this the fact that maybe as many as 60% of elves never leave the forest they were born in for their whole life.... there just isn't the pressure to stand out for your achievements. Elven philosophy even implies the opposite. The ideal is to be part of the unit, to serve the tribe and the dream as one part of a greater whole.

So take away ambition and power. Take away the longing to be something your not. Introduce a desire to be as one with your fellows and your world, and you have a wood elf!

- How differs the political system, is there something special elvish other races have not?
Again this varies from tribe to tribe. In the majority of cases Elves are Matriachal to some extent, with 'Ranns more common than 'Ronns! In Santharia the Eastern Elves follow a hereditary Monarchy and Heirachal system, where as the Southern and Northern derived elves do not. The unifying fact is that 'Monarch' does not have the same meaning to an elf that it does to a human. This is why 'Rann is often used rather than the Tharian pseudonym Queen, for they are not quite the same thing! Queen suggests power and regality and this simply isn't the case. A 'Rann is one who is deeply resepcted, usually known for  her great wisdom and acts as the spokeself for all her tribe. There is practically no jealousy or envy among the elves. Everything is shared and in every different field of artisanry each authority is accepted.

- How do the religious believes differ from the other races?
Much of the belief system in Santharia is derived from those of the wood elves. Each tribe may have its own little differences in practice, but essentially they believe in the same core philosophy: 'Although they worship all 12 Gods it is their highest knowledge that all the Gods emerged from Avá the Beautiful, which is present in all things on the earth, the sea and the sky as well as in the depths of the Netherworlds. Everything an elf does is related directly to nature itself and the need to maintain or to improve the beauty of it. Everything an elf does therefore is an holy act and an open worshipping of Avá's beauty'

- So this Elven Aging /Death thing.... Can you explain it please?
(wreny note - changed this question. Its easier to talk about death in terms of aging)

Sure why not. One more time for good measure. Its really not that complex.

Elves live for great periods of time. The tribes in the North may live nearly 1000 years, the average for Santharia is about 500. As a result it seems likely that Elves would be slow to develop, taking longer to reach adulthood than a Human. The reason for this is simple. If an Elf reached puberty after 14/15 leaf falls, like a human - imagine how many babies you could have in 500 years! There would be an elf population explosion!!!! So it seems logical that they're development from Elfling to adult is proportional to they're lifespan. There is a formula floating around to allow you to calculate exactly when puberty would occur in your chosen tribe if you know the total lifespan.

Once adulthood is reached, aging in the human sence ceases. It says in the tribe desciption :

'When they grow older they seldom get weaker, instead they become wiser and even more fair.'

I always saw their lack of aging during adulthood as a hang over from immortality. Light Elves are immortal, and do not age. Wood elves - I assume, though Arti and I have never reached a firm agreement on this - are decended from these first elves, but have tied themselves to the soil, accepting mortality as the price. But even so they were the first race, and so have be granted, by some greater grace the gift of long life, hindsight, wisdom and great beauty until the end of their days - as it is for the Light Elves - so retaining that tie, even though the two elven lines are divided by Qurpeur.

To an extent this is reflected in the fact that elves, if they are not wounded and killed - deside when it is time to die. They reach a realisation that their time is done, they're purpose in the dream complete. And they embrace death. And with this embracing they open the door to mortality and the years come flooding in. Death is not something an elf fears. The fact of death is interpreted by the elves as a return to nature. Unlike at the human tradition, deaths of elves are celebrated at the Feast of Return, where the ashes of the burnt dead body are sewn into the wind to bring new life somewhere else.

Most elven tribes believe in various forms of re-incarnation. The Rite of Renewal allows the elf to return to a new shape within the dream. So the elf chooses not death, but rebirth. It chooses to begin again and start over. This is the significance behind Eprhin's burial in the Lake. His return to the water - and not the Wind means that this link to the element from which he was created is severed, and a new one formed. He is associated with the water and takes the fate of mortal man, born of the water. He takes a human fate rather than the elven one - in the Realm of the dead presumably....

Does that answer the question? Is this issue happy and settled now?

- How spread is the race in general in the world of Caelereth, is the race sedentary, nomadic, aggressive, peaceful?
Where there are continents there are Wood Elves, but even so they're actual numbers are small. In the vast majority of cases Wood elves are exactly as they're name suggests: Sedentary beings tying themselves to their forest and seldom wandering beyond its bounds. Though this to is a generalisation: wood elves are known to inhabit both ice and waves, and I can think of two examples that are truely nomadic.

- What is the race's relation to magic and how important is it in every day life - how is it used and to what extent?
Creative Magics are the core of Elven society. All elves have a certain inate ability for creative magics, especially Xeua. Elves may spend long hours meditating with the intention of shifting the balance of Ahm and Soór in order to achieve a harmonizing Xeuá. It is the elves conviction that they are destined to live in harmony with nature. This is also the reason why they only use their magical powers as a natural means and don't try to prevent these natural abilities to harm or even destroy something or someone. One of these magicial abilities the elves are famous for is the Óh'mod'hál (lit. "the light at the root of the earth"), the inborn magical preceptivity of the elven race: Through the sensation of the Oh'mod'hál (a cool, circular pressure against the elf's forehead) an elf can perceive magical influences from quite a distance away and may discern if the magic has a natural or an artificial generated aura.


- What is the importance of art, of beauty in general, of trying to find ways to express one's self, are there major cultural achievements?
*Quotes from the Elf Overview*
'Elves love beautiful things and often try themselves in the arts of drawing, writing poetry and most of all singing elven mantras in the intention of shifting the balance of Ahm and Soór in order to achieve a harmonizing Xeuá.'

Think that sums it up!

I actually found that the vast majority of the answers to these questions were in the overview, so Santhros only knows why newbies ask me these questions quite so often.....

Viresse lovely.... Drow one is all yours. Anything you would like to add/change?


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Edited by: Artimidor Federkiel at: 12/30/03 21:22
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #1 on: 30 December 2003, 13:23:00 »

Very interesting, Wren, and very well done already so far... I guess we should work this into a Wood Elves entry finally:D  Elves are getting very well elaborated now - perfect time to start with the elven mythology at the timeline soon...


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« Reply #2 on: 30 December 2003, 15:17:00 »

Hmmm, very interesting entry.

One elven specific question:What are the general differences between darkelves and woodelves and to what degree can they switch from one "state" to another(aka can a woodelf turn into a darkelf  just by abandoning the path of nature or is it completely based on heritage?). So what's the origin of the dark path?

And I'm wondering wether Orcs should be the direct racial counterparts of elves or if these are the darkelves. I'd wonder where the orcs are put then mythological, mainly as they're perceived as an evil race by elves and probably as followers of Coór through and through.


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Rayne (Alýr)
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« Reply #3 on: 30 December 2003, 15:55:00 »

A very nocely-done FAQ that clears up a lot about Woodelves and elves in general..

There is one thing that troubles me a bit, though. I take it that you haven't glanced much at the RPG Board lately to see how we've handled elven aging. This has, of course, been something that has always been a bit iffy. No one knows how to deal with it, but we had thought that we had it all figured out.

Our theories about elven aging included that elves would, for about the first 20-25 years of life, mature as humans do. Elves tend to be very wise and honorable, and it seems strange, to me, at least, that they should mature so much more slowly than humans. I would even think that, in some ways, they mature faster: they reach a point of 'enlightenment' and 'depth' far more quickly than humans do.

With this in mind, the elven aging system on the RPG boards allows that elves mature at a pace equal with humans for the first 20-25 years, then slowly begin to slow down. The quickness of the elven aging process occurs again close to death, as it is said that when an elf is ready to die, they age extremely quickly.

Of course, the implementation of this process requires a lot more complicated math-work, but I think that it seems a bit more realistic (or as realistic as one can be in a fantasy world ^^'' ) than the old system. What do you think, Wren?

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« Reply #4 on: 30 December 2003, 17:53:00 »

very informative- I enjoyed it a lot.

Uhm- is it okay of me to ask about them there Dark Elves? I lubs dem to death, and would love to whip up one of these about them- I'll hold off until an Okay is established.


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« Reply #5 on: 31 December 2003, 15:39:00 »

Ok, I changed the development icon to the work-in-progress icon to show that this information should find its way into an entry finally:)

@Viresse: I guess Wren wouldn't mind if you take care of the Dark Elves, you can start with collecting details already if you want;)

In the races entry on the elves we also find Ice Elves, Light Elves and the Shadow Elves, which shouln't be confused with the Dark Elves... Which reminds me: Quellion's picture of this ebony elf with white hair would fit very well to the Shadow Elves, see here.


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« Reply #6 on: 31 December 2003, 22:25:00 »

Oh, ice elves.
Hm. Those would be the Cyhallrhim, ya?
May want to do those too.

And shadows- does anyone know much about them? I know nothing.


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Rayne (Alýr)
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« Reply #7 on: 01 January 2004, 19:36:00 »

Shadow elves are the elves living around the fallen Fa'ava'cal'ar. They are basically the opposite of Light elves, being more etheral than corporeal, but are probably closer to Coór than to Avá.. sort of. It's hard to explain given that they're kind of the same thing. ^_^'

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« Reply #8 on: 02 January 2004, 13:36:00 »

Vary nice. Yes, I know, I usually don't come here and stay to my realms of RPG and IRC, but I had to come ask a question about the sand elves for my calculator to I did a little poking around here.

Just to clear up how the RPG is currently handling elven aging. By the math, all elves mature over 25 years, and at the age of 25 would have the equivalent appearance, skills of a 20 year old human, but be a little wiser. In adulthood they age 20 years in appearance and be able to achieve the skills of a 60 year old human tempered by all the wisdom granted in their long life. Though an elf may decide their time is over well before this point, I have imposed a hard limit at 20 years before the end of the elf's lifespan where the elf's appearance will age the remaining 40 outstanding human years.

Now as I said that is by the math, and not really how I would ideally want it set out. Ideally I would want the time it takes for the elf to mature to vary depending on the elf's maximum life span. IE the shortest lived tribe(s) would mature over 25 years, where the longest lived tribe(s) would mature over 35 years. The tribes in between would mature over a time somewhere in between relative to there maximum lifespan. As with what I explained above at the end of maturity the elf would have the approximate appearance, and skills of a 20 year old human.

The calculator script I designed, is only made as a guide, mainly because the math is not "natural". The aging is not represented a curve, but rather by a series of flat lines. I would love to have it use only a few curve formulas to work with, but I need a math genius to do that.

For those not familiar with it, it can be found here: Elf Age Calculator
There is no explanation how to use it, but the reaction so far from others the new V2 interface is more intuitive then the old interface (Where people got confued and tried to enter values in both text input boxes, which does not work as they expect.), and they figured it out easily.

Now about the population explosion thing mentioned in the entry, if elves are so in-tuned with nature would it not stand to reason that elves like all creatures of the forest, would bare offspring in a manor that would maintain the balance to their environment by instinct? Would strike me as another way for elves to stand out from the human crowd. But hay, its not my vision.


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« Reply #9 on: 04 January 2004, 11:15:00 »

@ Rayne and Mortus:
Wasn't iffy to me. All my elves were designed to work the other way. I make reference to rites of passage and everything. As far as I was concerned Elven aging was set. And I'm a bit cross that I am going to have to change everything again. Well, if thats the way you want to play the aging thing that's fine by me. That's how I origninally wanted it to be, but changed it, because Uri and others at RP concieved that Elves should be older into maturity and came up with the carrying capacity explanation.

So fine, I will change the FAQ, and I totally understand why you felt you need to change things, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can RP not go changing fundamentals anymore?

Fundamentals for races should be decided on the dev board, and if they are too complex for RP then change them, but I don't think that it should work in reverse! Uri forgot to tell me in the first place and I had to change the biographies I'd done, and now I will need to change them again so that elves now mature at 30ish..... I have enough trouble keeping up with my own and dev driven changes. I don't need alterations from RP.

Mortus: The calculator is great by the way. I have two niggles. If physical aging greater than middle age only occurs at the end of life, then to say an elf looks 40 would be technically incorrect, but as a guide I love it, and I think the skill set idea is beautiful! Well done you! Could the Ylfferhim value be upped to 550ish as top age? Then it would be perfect!

Vir: I'm sure I said that You could do the Drow.  If you have any questions then just shout, but I'm sure your in a better position to do this for them than me. I have qaulified the main differences before at the RP board. I'll dig it up and try and do the same thing. I know a certain amount about them, but your right they're are bits that need to be clarified. That will happen with the timeline discussion.

Koldar (and Vir too I suppose?): The Drow come into existance with the first Saban, during the fall of Fav. Half of them, under Saban II wander south and become the Eopyrhim. The other half stay and become the Drow of the north. Shodow elves turn up then also, but for me that just seems wrong, but I'll get into that discussion some other time. Drow therefore are from the same mythological and genetical (i suppose) origins as Wood elves, but seperated by a couple of thousand years. So the main differences are philosophical, but they are also different in appearance in culture and apperance. I think it would be difficult for a wood elf to fit in with the drow.

Can a wood elf become a drow? Or vice versa? Errmm....kinda. A drow can't stop looking like a drow. And to some extent I guess a Drow can't stop thinking like a drow - afterall upbringing has a big effect on who you are! But I see no reason why once in a blue moon a wood elf might reject all he has been taught to take Drow philosophy. Doesn't mean the Drow would accept you as one of they're own. And it depends on the Drow tribe! The Eophyrhim are quite gentenmanly in a way. If you impressed them enough they might accept a Wood Elf. But the Diorye'oleal are vicious probably never ever would..... See where I'm coming from?

The problem is that 'Species' is defined two groupings of animal that cannot breed to produce fertile offspring. In Santharia, that rule is abolished, because elves and humans can interbreed. Drow are kinda a different breed of elf, rather than a different race. Wood elves are more similar to eachother in looks and lifestyle, it is more likely that there is interbreeding between tribes of wood elf, and the wood elven tribes are generally not divided so deeply by time as they are from the drow tribes.... Does that help? It make sense in my mind, but I'm not sure I'm communicating it well.

As for Orcs being counterparts.... Orcs are born of fire. All elves are born of wind - no matter how much they're philososophy differs. In a way I've always seen the Drow and the Shadows being the darker side of the wind gods, Being Grothar's tendancy to be destructive and mischevious, Nethor's tendancy to hold a grudge and brood....But thats just me....not fact.... But orcs: Different element. Its not nessesary for them to be direct counterparts to either Wood Elves or drow. Nor is nessesary for them to be more closely related to one than the other....Maybe I just don't understand the question?


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« Reply #10 on: 04 January 2004, 11:44:00 »

I thought it cool that Elves might have the taint of their mind and spirit reflect in their appearance which made the drow change considerably, well at least all drow are darkhaird, whiteskinned with a tendecy to get black eyes while all others are just the opposite in many ways. Well, much like the Dark Jedi effect in Star wars, all dark jedis tend to get pale the more they fall to the darkside. Anyway so drow are a different branch of elf. But the explanation that the northern Tribes are generally Drow or more drowish and Woodelves come from Santharia works just fine.

Maybe I should put my orc questions elsewhere but it's mainly that Orcs are always seen as servants of Coór. Evil, barbaric, destructive. As such they're right the opposite of the Elves who are "following" Avá. It kind of strange where the orcs got all their bad reputation from as followers of Coór when they never did anything (that) evil. It's more of a mythological question but throughout history it's told that elves and orcs don't do well with each other. When there's some general hostility between them I'd figure it'd good to find its reason.


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« Reply #11 on: 04 January 2004, 12:21:00 »

Right. Now I follow you.

In that case Orcs are the equal and opposite of Wood Elves. Wood Elves worship Ava, Orcs Co'or......

The Race entry says that Drow are intrinsically Ava worshipping. They worship Ava by destroying what has been created, afterall destruction is natural also - Volcanoes make new land, forest fires rejuvinate forests. Landsides and waves shape the land. So the Drow take life and destroy what has been. This is why the drow would follow the Moch'ronn, but not Co'or Melor, who was served only by the children of the flame (orcs, demons, shadow elves probably). And probably how Saban managed to imprison the very incarnation of destruction.

And so this is the difference between Drow and Shadow elves. Well apart from the fact that Shadow elves do not take physical form. Drow worship Ava, albeit in an odd sort of way. Shadow elves actually worship Co'or, but tend toward neutrality.


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« Reply #12 on: 05 January 2004, 01:03:00 »

Well frist of all I did not mean to infer that elven aging should change in terms Development side or the site. I only intended to clarify how we were currently handling it in the RPG side. If the Dev side decides to use it, then that is fine by me. I have no intention of coming here telling you how things should be.

Take from my post what you will. If you wish me to alter the mathimatical operation of the EAC in any way to maintain consistancy between the Development and the RPG, let me know, and we can figure out how without creating a huge impact on both side.


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« Reply #13 on: 28 January 2004, 02:21:00 »

OK Wren, I did some adjustments to the EAC, it is now out of Beta at V2.0.0, with a small interface tweek, added the sand elves as they are on site now, and upped the lifespan value of the Ylfferhim to 550 as you asked.

OK, but one of you "niggles" I don't understand. You said "If physical aging greater than middle age only occurs at the end of life, then to say an elf looks 40 would be technically incorrect, ..." How so? If you could explain this enough that I get a clear enough idea how it should be working, I may be able to alter it.

Basicly an elf 1 to 25, and a human 1 to 20 would be concidered as childen in the EAC, and as such would appear 1 to 20 years old. Once an elf passes 20 their aging slows only aging 10 to 20 years, the EAC uses 20 and so by the time an elf is 20 - (minus) their lifespan they will look about 40.

Is this in error, and if so how should it be changed. Try to keep it simple as I may be good with math, but nowhere near as good as I would need to make if work exactly as I would theoretically want it. If there is a math genious in the crowd that would like to help, then by all means let me know, and we can work on it.

Another limiting factor in not being able to display all the info I would ideal want on the output is my knowlage levele of Javascript, but this will improve with time and effort and you will see additional information displayed. I will endever to get all the elf developers together at times where I want to deal with adding additional fundiment information to the output.

Anyway, Wren, or any other Elf developers, if you have a problem, want to make a comment or give input on my Elven Age Calculator, dont be afraid to contact me. I am open to what you have to say, and will do my best to improve the EAC, and make it as usefull as it can be, even if only for the RPers.


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Wren
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« Reply #14 on: 01 February 2004, 10:30:00 »

With the maths explained Terra, I am happy with that system. It seems that I did my maths wrong. Thanks for the niggle fix :)  


Anodd yw dwyn dyn oddiar ei dylwyth

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