The AGE verb gives you information about your character's aging and any age modification that is currently affecting her. Most of the options available are informational, though you may also pick between among the natural life cycles that are available for your race. Age in DragonRealms is a role-playing consideration only. None of these options will affect how your character performs on any skill or statistic contest.
- AGE: A quick readout of your character's apparent age, life cycle and age modification.
- AGE CYCLE: Information and options for selecting among the natural life cycles available for your race.
- AGE INFO: Extended information about aging in DragonRealms.
Due to the proliferation of magic and other supernatural forces on Elanthia, not every character goes through the conventional life cycle of their race. Some modifications to the life cycle are so common that they are considered natural. You may select from them here.
- EMPATHIC LONGEVITY: Many adventurers and the wealthy enjoy longer lives than the average denizen of the Five Provinces. Better living conditions play a part in this, but the greatest effect comes continual exposure to empathic healing. Characters who enjoy this advantage live approximately a hundred years longer than other members of their species.
- NORMAL: The vast majority of people in the Five Provinces cannot afford or have access to enough healing magic to affect their life cycle. Even some adventurers who do find that their bodies are resistant to its more subtle therapeutic effects. Characters who work under this life cycle live and die as the Immortals intended.
You may select a life cycle by typing AGE CYCLE [OPTION]. This is meant to be a permanent choice, but you will be allowed to change it once per calendar year. Please see AGE INFO for a more detailed discussion of aging on Elanthia.
To begin, it is important to make a distinction between how aging functions as a gameplay mechanic and how it functions in the fiction of DragonRealms as a role-playing setting.
Simply, age has no mechanical function. Senescence never hinders your character's skills and your character will not be deleted when he reaches some cut-off age. Your character can be a thousand years old and will still be available when you want to log in.
This effective immortality is a gameplay consideration only: while DragonRealms is a role-playing game, we recognize not everyone enjoys the same level of immersion in the environment. For our role-players, it's important to realize this is not reflected in the setting. Characters on Elanthia grow up, grow feeble and then eventually pass on. Magical longevity and immortality exist, but they are rare prizes to be fought for rather than a simple given.
Aging on Elanthia
For the most part, aging on Elanthia works much like you would expect it to. While many races have different life spans than Humans, none of them are exceptionally odd. Everyone grows from an infant, enters adulthood and then slowly succumbs to senescence. The following list goes into specifics about how each race differs from the Human norm.
Dwarves can live naturally up to five centuries, though to outsiders they spend much of that time looking old. They appear like a Human in their mid-50s by their 100th birthday, then their visible aging slows drastically. They are not slowed much by senescence, leaving grey-bearded Dwarves frightfully spry and sturdy.
Elotheans can live to be 350 years old. They mature at a slightly slower pace than Humans, then their visible aging slows considerably once they reach their physical prime. Unlike Dwarves or Elves, the full weight of Senescence eventually claims Elotheans, it is merely delayed.
Elves have the same lifespan as Dwarves, but appear much younger. By the end of an Elf's life, she appears no older than a Human in her mid-50s. While Elves develop in most ways at step with Humans, they are not sexually viable until their 40s. Ancient stories claim Elves "fade away" with old age, but this is an echo of old social conventions rather than biological fact an Elf who dies of complications of age leaves a corpse.
Gnomes are another long-lived race, sometimes living to 300 years. Like Elotheans, their longevity drags out senescence without substantially altering it from the Human norm.
Gor'Togs have a minor edge over Humans in longevity, sometimes living to the age of 115. They develop and succumb to senescence at a steady clip, devoid of the rapid growth spurts or periods of slow visible age common to other races.
Halflings share the Human life expectancy of up to 100 years, though they age remarkably well. A Halfling in his early 30s can still look much like a Human teenager and Halfling senescence never quite catches up. Halflings have no more years than a Human, but they're better equipped to enjoy them.
While Humans are below the average for longevity, we use the "Human norm" as the standard for development and senescence since it is the one we, as players and staff, are most familiar with. Humans on Elanthia can live naturally up to 100 years old.
Kaldar live longer and develop slightly slower than the Human norm, living up to 135 years. Other than their development being a touch slower, they develop and decline in the same pattern as Humans.
Prydaens develop and age along the Human norm, though outside observers often have trouble reading a Prydaen's age. This typically makes Prydaen appear younger than they are, though only in the sense that outsiders cannot pin-point the signs of aging until they become prominent.
The Rakash are the only playable race with a lifespan shorter than Humans, living no more than 90 years. Except for their decreased life span, they develop and suffer senescence along the Human norm.
S'kra Mur develop and age in step with the Human norm, though like the other "animal races," their age is often hard to spot.
Longevity and Immortality
With rare exceptions, everyone on Elanthia dies. Immortality is so rare and prized that it is regarded as a divine attribute: the gods of the Five Provinces are, after all, the Immortals. However, unnatural longevity that stops short of immortality is accessible to the wealthy.
The most common form of longevity is supernatural healing. Alchemical herbs, empathic powers and necromantic healing magic all combat the complications of senescence. The aches, pains and diseases that shorten the lives of most people can be avoided if you can afford it, letting anyone with the means live a full, healthy life.
When supernatural healing is employed frequently (seen among adventurers and the truly rich), this can even extend the subject's life span beyond its normal limits... but only to a point. The first axiom of Life magic is "Life cannot defeat life," referring to the inability of Life magic to disrupt the cycle of life and death on a metaphysical level. Empathic and alchemical solutions can extend a character's life for about a hundred years before the natural cycle refuses to be delayed further.
Necromancy provides powerful alternatives, unbound by this restriction. Necromantic life extension can keep someone alive for centuries and is the classic choice for magicians who decide to meet the Immortals on their own terms. However, even necromancy can only push a body so far before death is unavoidable. True agelessness is reserved for liches: powerful Necromancers who turn their talents inward and become self-animating undead. Some Necromancers speak of Transcendence, a living immortality stolen from the gods, but no one has come forward to prove that it exists.
Grimly, necromancy provides the only source of reliable and potent life extension on Elanthia. Most Necromancers start their descent into blasphemy and madness chasing the dream of eternal life.
The final option rests in the gods themselves, but it is never a sure bet. The Immortals have the ability to keep someone on Elanthia for as long as she proves useful, but the supplicant never has any say in the matter. For each tale as there are of ageless champions serving the gods through the millennia, there is one of a luckless, formerly blessed man who falls dead the moment his divinely appointed task is completed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does age have any effect on a character's performance?
- Age has no mechanical effect whatsoever. It is purely cosmetic (role-playing consideration only).
Do player-characters die of old age?
- ICly, all characters die of old age, but OOCly, PCs cannot die of old age. This is purely a OOC business decision, and as far as your character knows, he will die.