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Bhaalspawn age conundrum


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#1 Nilfalasiel

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 07:24 AM

This is something I've been wondering about for a while, and I've only seen it discussed once, with no real conclusion being reached, as far as I could tell.

BG1 states that the Bhaalspawn should be either 20 or in his/her early 20s upon first leaving Candlekeep. And while that is all fine and dandy if they're human, or any other comparably-lived race, how does it work if you choose an elven PC? Given their long lifespans, wouldn't a 20-year old Bhaalspawn basically be a baby?

I've thought that maybe you could work around the issue by taking 20 as a relative age, meaning that, in actual years, an elven PC would be older, but in human years, it would equate to 20. But then, since, as far as I can tell, all Bhaalspawn were created at around the same time, it makes little sense. It also doesn't make sense in relation to Gorion: since he's human, he wouldn't have been able to find the PC as a newborn. That led me to think that, since, in the book version, the hero was human, it was just another pointer that the canon origin in BG1 should be human as well (or at least, any race that had a similar lifespan). And yet, BG2 features at least 2 elven Bhaalspawn (well, one is a drow, but it still counts), so the game at least admits the possibility of there being elven Bhaalspawn.

Of course, this all stems from the assumption that elves age relatively to humans and don't simply have a much longer phase of adulthood. But then, since I'm not very familiar with Forgotten Realms lore, I just don't know for sure how it's supposed to work.

So to sum it up, is there any plausible way to justify having an elven PC in BG, or does it simply require suspension of disbelief and a lot of hand-waving? It's not exactly a vital issue, but since I'm rather fond of elven characters, it would bother me from an RP perspective to know that, if you boil it down to basics, it's simply not possible, given the game's lore.
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#2 berelinde

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 08:18 AM

And one of the Five is an adult dragon (Abazigal) who has an adult child (Draconis). And don't forget that the Time of Troubles, when Bhaal was supposed to be walking the earth looking for playmates, occurred about 12 years before the start of BG1. The PC and all of the other NPCs would have been alive at the time. Keldorn would already have been a paladin.

It doesn't matter what race your PC is. You're going to have to suspend disbelief... from a crane. And make sure your health insurance covers carpal tunnel syndrome for all the hand-waving you'll have to do.
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#3 DavidW

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 10:15 AM

I'd always assumed that Bhaal (having, recall, "foreseen his own death"), walked the earth well before the Time of Troubles (and at a variety of times), because
(1) otherwise the age thing indeed doesn't make sense (whereas it makes perfect sense that he'd want to time things so all his children come of age within a few years of his demise)
(2) during the Time of Troubles he's actually fairly circumscribed in getting around, being forced into Avatar form and restricted to mortal magic - and even that being a little unreliable even for Avatars
(3) on my (dim) recollection of the Avatar Trilogy, Bhaal's diary during the Time of Troubles is fairly full.

I'm prepared to concede that some of the ToB conversations suggest that most or all the Bhaalspawn were children at the same time. But we already have some handwaving to do there because of the consistency tension between ToB and BG1.

#4 grogerson

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 11:38 AM

I'm prepared to concede that some of the ToB conversations suggest that most or all the Bhaalspawn were children at the same time. But we already have some handwaving to do there because of the consistency tension between ToB and BG1.

And you believe Mel and/or the Solar? Everything about CHARNAME is in question in ToB since everyone is playing to the potential new god on the block. And these two seem to have their own vested interests as stake. Mel was Bhaal's consort for a time, but is it possible the Solar was once Bhaal's minion?

It all depends on how you look at things.
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And all the time, such is the tragi-comedy of our situation, we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. . . . In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

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#5 Daulmakan

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 01:58 PM

I'd always assumed that Bhaal (having, recall, "foreseen his own death"), walked the earth well before the Time of Troubles (and at a variety of times),
I'm prepared to concede that some of the ToB conversations suggest that most or all the Bhaalspawn were children at the same time. But we already have some handwaving to do there because of the consistency tension between ToB and BG1.

Exactly my thoughts.


but is it possible the Solar was once Bhaal's minion?

Based on what?

It all depends on how you look at things.

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#6 theacefes

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 02:19 PM

I'd always assumed that Bhaal (having, recall, "foreseen his own death"), walked the earth well before the Time of Troubles (and at a variety of times)


Doesn't the prologue video in BG2 specifically say this? Something like "he walked the land before the cataclysm"
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#7 grogerson

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 06:23 PM


but is it possible the Solar was once Bhaal's minion?

Based on what?

He guides CHARNAME through ToB, yet will serve him/her whether good or evil. Strange behavior for what should be a "good" being. I admit it may be reaching, but it does beg the question.


It all depends on how you look at things.

No point in arguing anything, ever, then.

Within context. We must always argue, search and choose what is correct. Or what is possible.

I'd always assumed that Bhaal (having, recall, "foreseen his own death"), walked the earth well before the Time of Troubles (and at a variety of times)

Doesn't the prologue video in BG2 specifically say this? Something like "he walked the land before the cataclysm"

That was one point no one argued in the thread Nilfalasiel mentions.

Just remember CHARNAME is not the average Bhaalspawn. Most never know the power CHARNAME and his/her adversaries have. Or so the ToB opening would suggest, and even one or two of the dreams in BG1. As such the time to reach normal maturity may not apply. An elf could mature faster while a half-orc (for BGT/Tutu) could be slower.

Personally I always thought CHARNAME was around 16 to 18, considered fully mature in such a culture as FR puts forth.
It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken of as Intellectuals. This gives them the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks Intelligence. It is not so. . . . It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so.

And all the time, such is the tragi-comedy of our situation, we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. . . . In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

#8 Daulmakan

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 07:01 PM



but is it possible the Solar was once Bhaal's minion?

Based on what?

He guides CHARNAME through ToB, yet will serve him/her whether good or evil.
Strange behavior for what should be a "good" being. I admit it may be reaching, but it does beg the question.

What?

PC=GOOD: "You have fought against the taint of your father with great vigilance. It is most impressive... impressive enough that I would be willing to remain by your side."

PC=BAD:No doubt you are willing to embrace the sheer evil of Bhaal's essence. Certainly you have ambition to rival Bhaal or his priestess...and you shall assuredly meet the same folly. You disgust me. [...] You will have great power among the planes... but your evil taint will cause you to walk your path always alone, and good will ceaselessly counter your plans.

Does the second one look like servitude?
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#9 grogerson

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 08:53 PM

Does the second one look like servitude?

I stand corrected.
It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken of as Intellectuals. This gives them the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks Intelligence. It is not so. . . . It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so.

And all the time, such is the tragi-comedy of our situation, we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. . . . In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

#10 Nilfalasiel

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 03:52 AM

And one of the Five is an adult dragon (Abazigal) who has an adult child (Draconis). And don't forget that the Time of Troubles, when Bhaal was supposed to be walking the earth looking for playmates, occurred about 12 years before the start of BG1. The PC and all of the other NPCs would have been alive at the time. Keldorn would already have been a paladin.

It doesn't matter what race your PC is. You're going to have to suspend disbelief... from a crane. And make sure your health insurance covers carpal tunnel syndrome for all the hand-waving you'll have to do.


XD Fair enough. I'd forgotten about Abazigal, but you're right, that one's got even worse timeline issues. I didn't know about the 12 year gap though (or maybe simply forgot, if it was mentioned in-game), I always assumed the Time of Troubles was further in the past.

I'd always assumed that Bhaal (having, recall, "foreseen his own death"), walked the earth well before the Time of Troubles (and at a variety of times)


This makes sense. Surely, if he foresaw his death, he'd take extensive measures to prevent it while he still had the time. This would explain the existence of Abazigal, Sendai and Illasera (and any other longer-lived Bhaalspawn).

Just remember CHARNAME is not the average Bhaalspawn. Most never know the power CHARNAME and his/her adversaries have. Or so the ToB opening would suggest, and even one or two of the dreams in BG1. As such the time to reach normal maturity may not apply. An elf could mature faster while a half-orc (for BGT/Tutu) could be slower.


That's another possibility I'd thought of, but then wouldn't that create a bit of a situation in Candlekeep? I assume that few people, even there, know CHARNAME's real heritage, but you'd think that most of them (what with it being a city of scholars and all) would be aware that an elf or half-elf is not supposed to age that quickly.

I checked the FR Wiki, to see if it could shed some light on the matter, but it actually states two contradictory things: it says that elves mature at much the same rate as humans do (meaning that a 20-year-old elf would be roughly equivalent to a 20-year-old human, which would certainly simplify things), but then goes on to say that they're usually not considered past adolescence until they hit 110. So...which is correct?

Another possibility I'd considered is that an elven or half-elven Bhaalspawn wouldn't have been found as a newborn (but at an unspecified young age), then brought back to Candlekeep and had their memory somehow tampered with to erase any potential awareness of their heritage. After all, Gorion is a mage and probably not the only one in Candlekeep either. That, and he's friends with Elminster.

Finally, a marginally related issue. Gorion can't have adopted Imoen by accident, he must have known that she was also a Bhaalspawn. But then, why didn't he ask her to leave at the same time as CHARNAME? Surely, relying on the fact that Sarevok wasn't aware of her identity yet was a huge risk to take. Ultimately, of course, it doesn't matter, since she tags along anyway, but what was Gorion thinking?

Edited by Nilfalasiel, 13 January 2012 - 03:54 AM.

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#11 DavidW

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 04:32 AM

I checked the FR Wiki, to see if it could shed some light on the matter, but it actually states two contradictory things: it says that elves mature at much the same rate as humans do (meaning that a 20-year-old elf would be roughly equivalent to a 20-year-old human, which would certainly simplify things), but then goes on to say that they're usually not considered past adolescence until they hit 110. So...which is correct?

Let's just say that any teenagers who are fed up with their parents still treating them like children should be thankful that they're not elven...

Finally, a marginally related issue. Gorion can't have adopted Imoen by accident, he must have known that she was also a Bhaalspawn. But then, why didn't he ask her to leave at the same time as CHARNAME? Surely, relying on the fact that Sarevok wasn't aware of her identity yet was a huge risk to take. Ultimately, of course, it doesn't matter, since she tags along anyway, but what was Gorion thinking?

Well, if he took her with him, he'd have made it pretty obvious that she was a Bhaalspawn. If Gorion thought that taking CHARNAME away from Candlekeep was still highly risky (as, indeed, it was) he might have thought that leaving Imoen hidden was on balance a safer bet.

#12 Linde Lou

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:05 AM

This is something I've been wondering about for a while, and I've only seen it discussed once, with no real conclusion being reached, as far as I could tell.
BG1 states that the Bhaalspawn should be either 20 or in his/her early 20s upon first leaving Candlekeep. And while that is all fine and dandy if they're human, or any other comparably-lived race, how does it work if you choose an elven PC? Given their long lifespans, wouldn't a 20-year old Bhaalspawn basically be a baby?


Personally, I always thought that elven maturity issue ( 110 old of adolescence? gosh...) was more of a cultural than physical matter. Like, learning language, arts, history and such takes time, and lot of time at that. I remember Drizzt pondering over his relations with Cattie-brie in "Starless Night" and him stating how he's still a child for drow standards- but then, he appeared to be quite an adult on the surface, and a match to a twenty-something years old human woman, yes?
Taking as elven/half-elven CHARNAME was raised by human father, he/she might be then subjected to a human cultural maturity measure?... I don't know.
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#13 Aion

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 04:06 AM

I checked the FR Wiki, to see if it could shed some light on the matter, but it actually states two contradictory things: it says that elves mature at much the same rate as humans do (meaning that a 20-year-old elf would be roughly equivalent to a 20-year-old human, which would certainly simplify things), but then goes on to say that they're usually not considered past adolescence until they hit 110. So...which is correct?


It means their physical/mental maturity is developing at roughly the same rate as humans, however in elven society they aren't considered adults until they're 110 years old. It's like how in human society you aren't considered an adult until you're past 18/21 (whichever applies to your country/culture), regardless of your development.

Edited by Aion, 27 March 2012 - 04:07 AM.

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#14 Nilfalasiel

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:13 AM

It means their physical/mental maturity is developing at roughly the same rate as humans, however in elven society they aren't considered adults until they're 110 years old. It's like how in human society you aren't considered an adult until you're past 18/21 (whichever applies to your country/culture), regardless of your development.


That makes sense, but the problem here is that the elven and half-elven characters in the party still consider an elven protagonist as "having come of age": a very young adult, maybe, but still an adult. Coming from Coran, it may not be particularly indicative, since he's been living in human society for a while, but coming from Xan, who's freshly out of Evereska, it's a different matter. Now, some of that dialogue is part of BG1 NPC, but it was still written by people who know their lore, and if they didn't make a distinction for an elven protagonist, my conclusion is that they're in the same boat as other races. Meaning that they'd be over 9000 110 years old.

Edited by Nilfalasiel, 28 March 2012 - 03:14 AM.

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#15 ericp07

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 06:39 AM

It might be relevant to note that elves take many years studying various skills and lore as they grow up, devoting about a score of years to a given interest, and their interests are many and varied, so starting age should account for time spent on these pursuits.
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