I had been struggling with whether or not elves are a race on Dezengarth and if so, how would I incorporate them. After watching an unlikely inspiration, I think I have my answer.
When “The Mandalorian” first came out and I watched episode one of the Mando and Baby Yoda show, I was was struck by an odd thought. The Imperial contact tells us the “target” is 50 years old but then we’re presented with what presents itself as an infant. Regardless of physical maturation, it still has fifty years of experiences and memories, an infant older than I am. How does that present itself? Even accounting for slowed brain development, it’s still fifty years old, it’s learned stuff. If you compared it to a human infant of similar physical development, Grogu would be significantly more intelligent. Maybe not as much as an adult human of the same age but certainly much more than a human toddler.
Going back to our favorite fantasy tropes, elves are also typically a race of long-lived people. Tolkien’s elves matured at 50 years and lived ageless for eons until the ennui of live took its toll. The lowest adventure age in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e for elves, as per the book, says that they start at a minimum of 114 years for adulthood whereas the equivalent age for humans is 16. Despite what the rules say, a 50 to 114 year old elf is going to have significantly more experience and knowledge than a 16 year old human. They will have read more books, spoken with more people, and have learned a great deal more skills. Even battling hormones, an elf would have a great deal more emotional development simply through practice and training, the alternative is that elves are actually… well… slow.
This brings me to my idea, what if halflings are actually young elves? They’re shorter than humans and “elves” due to their physical development but would know just as much as a human of similar age and maybe act like immature adults… much like a human teenager going through puberty. They might even get a kick out of humans assuming that they’re actually a different race than elves and play into it. This could be fun but I’ll have to put some thought on how to incorporate into the world.