Varying maturation rates in fantastical creatures is grounds for some truly bizarre social conventions. Think about it for a minute. In a cosmopolitan metropolis like Waterdeep or Absalom or Ankh-Morpork, you’re going to have racially diverse peer groups. Check out these generic “Capital City” demographics ripped straight from the Pathfinder settlement rules:

Population 18,000 (14,000 humans; 1,000 dwarves; 1,000 halflings; 500 elves; 1,500 other)

Not all of those guys are going to be sequestered away in their own little ghettos. They’re going to have inter-species friendships, inter-species romances, and (as Cleric and Wizard found out today) inter-species daycare centers. The DnD 5e Players Handbook addresses some of this aging weirdness directly, offering this handy world-building nugget:

“Elves are considered children until they declare themselves adults, some time after the hundredth birthday, and before this period they are called by child names.”

And in the dwarf section you’ve got this extremely cool bit about the long view dwarves take on relationships:

“You take the time to get to know a human, and by then the human’s on her deathbed. If you’re lucky, she’s got kin—a daughter or granddaughter, maybe—who’s got hands and heart as good as hers. That’s when you can make a human friend.”

And that’s all well and good for the adventuring-aged characters that are the meat and potatoes of these games. But when you look at this stuff from a worldbuilding perspective it’s awfully difficult to picture these kids growing up together. I mean, what would The Little Rascals look like in a fantasy world? Are dwarves members for a dozen years before they grow out of it? Do elven children become depressed and withdrawn when their human friends get too grown up for hide-and-go-seek? And just pause for a moment to consider Fighter’s mom there in today’s comic. She probably remembers a time when Wizard and Cleric were “the big kids,” but now she’s the one in charge of babysitting.

All of which has left me curious. Have you guys ever tried to address this kind of thing within your own worldbuilding? How did it go?


ARE YOU THE KIND OF DRAGON THAT HOARDS ART? Then you’ll want to check out the “Epic Hero” reward level on our Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Like the proper fire-breathing tyrant you are, you’ll get to demand a monthly offerings suited to your tastes! Submit a request, and you’ll have a personalized original art card to add to your hoard. Trust us. This is the sort of one-of-a-kind treasure suitable to a wyrm of your magnificence.