One issue I’ve struggled with when it comes to the longevity of elves is, why would human sages ever have to debate the timing of historical events (such as the fall of Netheril in FR0), when they could simply ask an elf that was alive at the time (or whose parent was). Xenaphobia. AS in: the irrational human belief that elves are (always) lying to humans, to manipulate them. This is a deeply-rooted, persistent conspiracy theory.#Realmslore
— Ed Greenwood (@TheEdVerse) October 15, 2019
What I’d like to know is why don’t sages just keep corpses on ice, embalm or mummify them (not make a magical mummy, just preserve the corpse), then have a cleric cast speak with dead whenever they want to know something that happened during that body’s lifetime. Because certain undead, and certain cults, will come for the bodies, and most sages aren't fighting types. Word long ago got around of their horrific fates, so…they're now afraid to try that.#Realmslore
— Ed Greenwood (@TheEdVerse) November 17, 2019
3 thoughts on “Why would human sages ever have to debate the timing of historical events, when they could simply ask an elf that was alive at the time?”
In a universe where magic can tell you when someone is lying, or even compel them to tell the truth, this is a pretty weak excuse.
Coming back to this, the more I think about it, the worse it gets.
Do human sages not consult with say… dwarven sages? They may only live half as long as elves, but that just means instead of asking an eye witness, you ask one of their kids or grandkids – and this in a culture that is meticulous about keeping careful records.
How about gnomes? They live even longer and are also pretty good about keeping records.
What about divination magic? What about spells that let you speak with the dead? What about compelling knowledge from extra-planar sources, such as elementals or fiends? What about consulting with long-lived beings of good or neutral alignment, such as certain types of giants, or metallic dragons?
Where do you find the elf that was paying attention?
And have you never played the telephone game? There would still be debate between two humans that saw it yesterday yet alone two elves 100 years ago.