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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

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    Default Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    I've decided to hide my intro, and get right to the rules, because for some reason not everyone loves huge walls of text.
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    It can be forgiven if you're not intimately familiar with the rules for character age in D&D; they usually come up once when you write some number on your character sheet and never again. Here's a link to the official description if you are interested.

    Since campagins rarely cover an in-game span of decades, the effects of aging are themselves rarely seen. In fact, the few times that it's come up with my group has mostly been because some one wanted to roleplay as an veteran of some sort. To summarize, for every age category past Adult, you take an increasingly large hit to your physical scores (Con, Str, Dex) and recieve a flat bonus to your mental scores (Int, Wis, Cha).
    While this might be great for the standard archetype of an ancient and powerful wizard with a waist-length beard, it can throw the caster-melee imbalance even further out of whack, and makes some character-concepts nigh-impossible

    I'm sure it's debatable just what and how much your various faculties decline or improve as you age, but for the purposes of the game, we'll assume your mental abilities decrease at the same pace as your physical health. Since no one likes to see their abilty scores decrease, it would be nice if we could find a benefit to counter the penalty and increase the appeal. I've decided to link age to level, partially, and combine my suggestions with another idea I had for justifying the commonly implemented rule of starting characters at 3rd level.

    There are several benefits to starting play at level 3: casters have enough spells to last more than a single encounter, melee characters are less likely to accidentally get one-shot by an orc with an axe, everyone has more interesting abilities, etc. And in most cases, it helps you get past fighting goblins, orcs, and human-bandits to jump right into monster-mashing more quickly.


    Basic Rules
    Each time you increase your age category, you gain one class level or one racial Hit Die. (These are intended for humanoids, and possibly monstrous humanoids if you like) The age categories are: Infant, Child, Juvenile, Adolescent, Adult, Middle-Age, Elderly, and Venerable.
    When you gain a level due to aging, you keep the same amount of experience you had towards your next level. For example, if you are level 6 and have earned 1000 exp. towards level 7, you would now be level 7 with 1000 exp. towards level 8.
    Most adventurers are Adults, because fighting monsters is dangerous, and this represents the period of your life when you are in your prime physical and mental condition. All adults of a given race can start at the same age, not matter what their chosen career or profession. (this is the minimum, a player is free to make their character older if they desire)

    As a reminder, all character-concepts are still reliant on DM approval. So if you are trying to cheat planning on making your character's birthday the be the same as the campaign's start date+1, you might want to bring it up during character creation so as to avoid pissing off the entire group somewhere down the line.


    Infants: Infants are a special category of creature, they have no alignment, no class levels, all ability scores are 1, have a max of 1 HP, and are 2 or more size categories smaller than adults of their race. Under normal circumstances, infants are not useable as characters.

    Children: Children are creatures old enough to walk, talk, and get into trouble from which adventurers frequently need to rescue them. Children are one size category smaller than an adult of their race, which affects AC, carrying capacity, and other factors normally dependent on size.
    They have 1 racial Hit Die and no class levels, and recieve a -6 penalty to all ability scores, compared to adults of their race. (these changes replace other modifications to stats normally based on size) The minimum ability score for a humanoid child, including racial modifiers, is 3.
    Children are slower than adults of their race normally are (20 ft. speed becomes 15 ft; 30 becomes 20, 40 becomes 30). They also take a -30% penalty to any experience points they recieve because they are still devoping the mental traits and long-term memory needed for growth and learning.

    Juveniles: Juvelines are older than children, begining to enter the period of rapid growth that will bring them to adulthood. They replace their racial Hit Die from childhood with 1 class level, and recieve a -4 penalty to all ability scores, compared to adults of their race. Juveniles are usually the same size category as adults of their race, but they are counted as one size category smaller for determining carrying capacity. If a race normally recieves the Powerful Build feat, they instead do not gain that that feature (yet), and have a normal carrying capacity.
    The minimum ability score for a juvenile, including racial modifiers, is 4.
    They also recieve a -20% penalty to any experience points they gain.

    Adolescents: Also know in some cultures as "young adults", Adolescents have begun their final growth into maturity. They have 2 class levels, and a -2 penalty to all ability scores, compared to adults of their race. Adolescents are always the same size category as adults of their race.
    They recieve a -10% penalty to any experience points they gain.

    Adults: This age category represents when an individual is at the peak of their natural physical and mental abilities. Adults start play with 3 or more class levels, and no special changes to ability scores or experience based on age.

    Middle-age: These are adults who are passed their prime, but still capable of accomplishing many of the same tasks. At this point, their additional life experience frequently balances out their slightly less vigorous health. Someone who is middle-aged has at least 4 class levels.
    When someone becomes Middle-aged from Adult, they take a permanent -1 decrease to all ability scores. They also have become more set in their ways and are less able to learn new things. This translates into a -10% penalty for any experience they receive.

    Elderly: Most individuals at this point have retired from their jobs, or at very least seek positions where they can oversee other, more youthful persons. Someone who is eldery has at least 5 class levels.
    When someone becomes Elderly from Middle-aged, they take a permanent -2 decrease to all ability scores. Elderly individuals also receive a -20% penalty to any experience points they gain.

    Venerable: Only a few select individuals survive to be venerable, but those who do have seen and experienced much in the world. Venerable humanoids have at least 6 class levels or racial hit dice.
    When someone becomes venerable from elderly, they take a permanent -3 decrease to all ability scores, however the minimum value a score can reach from aging penalties is 3. Venerable individuals also receive a -30% penalty to any experience points they gain.
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    I think the total -6 to all ability scores nicely mimics the -6 penalty that Children get. Also, I recognize that in real life, not every old person is a doddering cripple; this is not intended to be 100% realistic. These rules are in place for mechanical purposes. Also, they will have extra class levels, meaning some of the ability penalties will effectively be countered.


    Race Child Juvenile Adolescent Adulthood Middle-aged Elderly Venerable Maximum
    Human 4 9 13 17 38 56 70 +2d20
    Dwarf 5 14 22 43 112 185 220 +4d20
    Elf 6 16 27 48 210 315 350 +1d100
    Gnome 4 11 16 35 92 150 220 +2d100
    Halfing 3 8 13 20 56 95 110 +3d20
    Orc 4 8 12 16 42 54 64 +2d10
    Goblin 3 7 11 15 40 51 65 +3d10
    *I intentionally replaced half-orcs with regular orcs and left half-elves out entirely because I don't like them.

    Additional Addendums
    The increase in level from aging does not increase your effective level for determining wealth.

    Overall ages have been tweaked slightly, and not all races spend the same percentage of their life in each age category. (elves, for example, spend a lot of time as adults and age much more rapidly at the end of their life, which is why you rarely see an old or sickley looking elf)



    Thanks to all the posters who commented with feedback and advice, particularly Kholai, who offered several other options if you don't like my system.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2016-04-01 at 03:59 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    By making adults all 3rd level, are you precluding the possibility of having 1st level adventurers?

    Also, can children be going around casting sleep, charm person and grease spells now? Seems like a bad idea. Unless you like prank wars.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by rudy View Post
    By making adults all 3rd level, are you precluding the possibility of having 1st level adventurers?
    Pretty much, unless you want to play as a race with Level Adjustment.

    Also, can children be going around casting sleep, charm person and grease spells now? Seems like a bad idea. Unless you like prank wars.
    I don't have a problem with that, really.

    If it ever became a real issue or important for some reason, I would probably rule that most children recieve NPC levels, and can trade them off for related PC levels after reaching adulthood.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-09-04 at 10:33 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    I like this system and it honestly makes sense that level one characters would not have the experience needed for adventuring. I mean if you think about the kind of encounters you have at first and second level they are minimal and mostly in my opinion designed to give a way to hook people. To me any party that has been playing a while should probably start at 3rd level because that is where you start being able to have better encounters without the fear of dying so easily.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Thanks! I was actually hoping for some feedback on the ability score-for-levels tradeoff that you get from aging. To much? To little? Etc.
    I know it doesn't come up very often, but some people are interested in it for roleplay, and there is the occasional group that sees long-term recurring characters in their games.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    The main problem that I see with it is immersion. This essentially takes a characters birthday and makes it a magical day where you suddenly learn a lot of cool stuff. Well of course only every do many years but it could deffinently ruin immersion. The other issue I see is how do you handle the experience towards the next level that.has already been accrued?
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    So I start adventuring at 74 or so as an Level 2 Elf (with mildly limited stats), rapidly catch up to my higher level partymates, then gain an extra level for free about a month later?

    Not sure I like it, honestly. Level difference is self-correcting in D&Dverse, in any system where your characters are actually adventuring, they are ultimately facing encounters with the rest of their group and if they're a lower level, they're gaining more exp from the same encounter.

    This ultimately makes a teen character get to be a special snowflake by being the same level as the 90 year old before very long, except they're not functionally retarded (which honestly a -4 penalty to all mental stats pretty much ensures), and heck, that lower stat cap is irrelevant since you've lowered the stat cap for the elderly much harder by arbitrarily deciding they've got a -1/-2/-4 penalty to every stat, something which flies in the face of almost every Old Powerful Wizard cliché ever.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Elves reach Adulthood at 25. not 75 in 3.5
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    Elves reach Adulthood at 25. not 75 in 3.5
    True, but going by the tables given, they're technically "adolescents" until 75, which indicates that Elven teens may be even lazier than human ones, and that by being 74.9999 you can count as an Adolescent for however long it takes you to catch up with your older, less able friends.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Kholai View Post
    True, but going by the tables given, they're technically "adolescents" until 75, which indicates that Elven teens may be even lazier than human ones, and that by being 74.9999 you can count as an Adolescent for however long it takes you to catch up with your older, less able friends.
    Actually, it is said that they are fully mature at 25, they just for some reason like to sleep on the couch and eat raman noodles for 90 years before their parents kick them out
    Last edited by toapat; 2012-09-04 at 10:51 PM.
    My Homebrew: found here.
    When you Absolutely, Positively, Gotta Drop some Huge rocks, Accept NO Substitutes

    PM Me if you would like a table from my homebrew reconstructed.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Virdish View Post
    The main problem that I see with it is immersion. This essentially takes a characters birthday and makes it a magical day where you suddenly learn a lot of cool stuff.
    True, but I don't see how that's MORE immersion breaking than the current system, where the same sort of thing happens all the time. I was thinking mostly of people who just wanted to build older characters; I would be curious to find out how many players actually crossed various age barriers while playing.

    The other issue I see is how do you handle the experience towards the next level that.has already been accrued?
    I will give this some consideration and get back to you when I feel I have a workable answer.

    Edit: Updated in the basic rules section

    Quote Originally Posted by Kholai View Post
    So I start adventuring at 74 or so as an Level 2 Elf (with mildly limited stats), rapidly catch up to my higher level partymates, then gain an extra level for free about a month later?
    As with anything else, your DM would need to approve you starting pre-adulthood, and there is nothing to stop the rest of the party from doing the same.

    In fact that sounds like a great adventuring plot-hook that doesn't involve starting in a tavern!
    Village Elder: You now stand upon the cusp of adulthood! By the ancient customs of our tribe, before we accept you as a full adult, you must have an "adventure"! You can either go with your friends, or join one of the groups of near-psycotic treasure-hungry humanoids that wanders by from time to time.
    You: Uh, is that safe? Has anyone ever really thought this thr-
    Village Elder: Goodbye now! Don't forget to write!
    You: But I-
    Village Elder: GUST OF WIND!


    Not sure I like it, honestly.
    Oh god! Why doesn't anybody love me! My life is failure! *sob*


    Level difference is self-correcting in D&Dverse, in any system where your characters are actually adventuring, they are ultimately facing encounters with the rest of their group and if they're a lower level, they're gaining more exp from the same encounter.
    In all seriousness though, I had already been thinking about what to do if some one asked about playing as a non-adult character. I'm still trying to decide what a good cap on stats would look like, but I would certainly include something like this:

    Rules for PC Adolescents & Children
    Children and Adolescents are not fully developed, either mentally or physically, and so they learn less quickly than adults. For any activity which awards experience, adolescents take a 20% penalty, and children take a 50% penalty.

    (I'm sorry, what's that? This is too harsh and you no longer want to try and game the system by playing as an adolescent? Huh, funny that. )

    This ultimately makes a teen character get to be a special snowflake by being the same level as the 90 year old before very long, except they're not functionally retarded (which honestly a -4 penalty to all mental stats pretty much ensures), and heck, that lower stat cap is irrelevant since you've lowered the stat cap for the elderly much harder by arbitrarily deciding they've got a -1/-2/-4 penalty to every stat, something which flies in the face of almost every Old Powerful Wizard cliché ever.
    First of all, if a character has been an adventurer their entire life, and managed to live to be venerable, they are probably nearing max level, so you level 3 teen-elf has a long way to go. If you are comparing yourself to random 90-year old NPCs....why are you doing that?

    Having a penalty to every stat doesn't seem to be much less of a problem to me than the published version; it represents a character's deteriorating health and vigor. If you used WotC aging rules, you took a -6 to Con at Venerable, which would probably kill a fair number of casters, and the rest don't even have the strength to lift thier own spellbooks anymore.
    And lots of elderly persons have diminished sense or mental capacity, or suffer from dementia; this just balances the disparity out between physical and mental stats.

    Also, assuming you started out with a high mental score, and put most of your points and item bonuses into that as an adventurer, as an old man you would still be far smarter than the average person, and probably most non-casters. If (somehow) you started out with low mental stats, what this really means is your now just an old, powerful, probably insane wizard, which isn't an uncommon archetype either (those owlbears have to come from somewhere).

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    Elves reach Adulthood at 25. not 75 in 3.5
    Huh? I'm sorry, I was going by this page which puts elvish adulthood at 110, plus a few decades depending on class. I'd be happy to further alter the limits for elves and other races as well to make them more reasonable, but where is your info coming from?
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-11-29 at 03:42 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Oh god! Why doesn't anybody love me! My life is failure! *sob*
    "Criticism is an opportunity to improve." ~ Some old guy.

    (I'm sorry, what's that? This is too harsh and you no longer want to try and game the system by playing as an adolescent? Huh, funny that. )
    Hm. Nope, still better than the age penalties to every stat, and still worth starting young - 20% penalty reaching level 3, 4 and 5 whilst an adolescent is 1,800 XP, the free level 6 is 5,000 XP. It's still worth it if you level up all the way from 2 to level 11 (and get your free level at level 12).

    I would say however that children and adolescents learning *slower* than OAPs is pretty counter-intuitive, though I'd impart about a -4 Wisdom penalty on most teenagers.

    First of all, if a character has been an adventurer their entire life, and managed to live to be venerable, they are probably nearing max level, so you level 3 teen-elf has a long way to go. If you are comparing yourself to random 90-year old NPCs....why are you doing that?
    If a new character has been adventuring their entire life, they are level 4, by your RAW, starting wealth is unchanged, so they're poorly equipped, and at -2 to everything they do.
    If an NPC Wizard has been adventuring their entire life and is actually level 21 and venerable? Well, their Intelligence, assuming they started at 15 (Elite array), added 5 from levelling, then lost 4 for being venerable.... Well they can't cast spells above level 6 their DCs are worse than they were when they were level 10 or so.

    Also note that Aging modifications are actually less severe than you make out; -6 to physical stats, +3 to mental stats is a net -9 at venerable, or a net -1.5 across all stats on average. Yours is a net -24 to all stats.

    Huh? I'm sorry, I was going by this page which puts elvish adulthood at 110, plus a few decades depending on class. I'd be happy to further alter the limits for elves and other classes as well to make them more reasonable, but where is your info coming from?
    No worries, elves are handled all sorts of stupid in D&D. This is Races of the Wild info, where they're physically and mentally mature at age 25, but apparently *never* spend any time levelling up, learning things or otherwise getting better at anything over the next eighty years.

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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Kholai View Post
    "Criticism is an opportunity to improve." ~ Some old guy.
    Yes, agreed. I was just having a little fun.

    Hm. Nope, still better than the age penalties to every stat, and still worth starting young - 20% penalty reaching level 3, 4 and 5 whilst an adolescent is 1,800 XP, the free level 6 is 5,000 XP. It's still worth it if you level up all the way from 2 to level 11 (and get your free level at level 12).
    Although I wouldn't go for it, I don't have any real objections to people playing as younger-than-average characters; so I'll probably leave the penalties where they are for now. I think there are worse ways you can mess with the game, and a 1 level difference is not that huge (especially with a higher starting point). This wouldn't be the first build that started out weaker than average but built up to something really good.
    You might want to check with your group first though, because announcing during the first session that everyone should get you a gift because your character's birthday is tomorrow might rub some people the wrong way.

    I would say however that children and adolescents learning *slower* than OAPs is pretty counter-intuitive, though I'd impart about a -4 Wisdom penalty on most teenagers.
    I'm sure we could have a whole debate about what constitutes learning versus development, but it seems like the kind of things that a child is "learning" are not the same sort of thing an adult will gain from his real-life situations. I acknowledge that if you disagree then this will be one of those times when I'm putting a rule in place mostly on the basis of "because I say so".

    A -4 to ALL stats also seems kind of like what I was thinking about for the age-penalty for adolescents, since we're talking about the equivalent of humans mostly in the 12-15 age range.

    If a new character has been adventuring their entire life, they are level 4, by your RAW, starting wealth is unchanged, so they're poorly equipped, and at -2 to everything they do.
    If an NPC Wizard has been adventuring their entire life and is actually level 21 and venerable? Well, their Intelligence, assuming they started at 15 (Elite array), added 5 from levelling, then lost 4 for being venerable.... Well they can't cast spells above level 6 their DCs are worse than they were when they were level 10 or so.
    The rule about the WBL was mostly just to stop people from claiming they should get extra gold or magic items out of nowhere; I've always favored the model where your wealth is appropriate for your experience, station, and the challenges you face.

    Also, there are other fantasy tropes you can subscribe to besides "all wizards are ancient and powerful". There are plenty of stories about characters falling to darkness and evil to obtain or regain power, and plenty more about once-great people becoming mere shadows of their former selves.

    Also note that Aging modifications are actually less severe than you make out; -6 to physical stats, +3 to mental stats is a net -9 at venerable, or a net -1.5 across all stats on average. Yours is a net -24 to all stats.
    You have to be careful with averages; they can be tricky things.
    While the RAW aging rules are great for the SAD caster classes, they kind of screw over anyone else because not every class values every stat the same. And as much as I dislike the F-word, my version of the rules seems more fair. (I also considered random penalties, but that seemed like it would be even harder to work around). The idea was there is the same trade-off for everyone; lower attritbutes but more experience.
    If you have a different proposal, I'd be be glad to hear it.

    No worries, elves are handled all sorts of stupid in D&D. This is Races of the Wild info, where they're physically and mentally mature at age 25, but apparently *never* spend any time levelling up, learning things or otherwise getting better at anything over the next eighty years.
    I will have to get ahold of a RotW book for myself. I would have no problem setting adulthood for short lived races at 15-20 (Humans, Orcs) compared to long lived races at 40-50 (Elves, Dwarves), which most people could probably see as unusual, but not entirely ridiculous.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-09-05 at 01:22 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    A -4 to ALL stats also seems kind of like what I was thinking about for the age-penalty for adolescents, since we're talking about the equivalent of humans mostly in the 12-15 age range.
    Hyperbole aside, a -4 seems more appropriate for children, not adolescents; remember: 10 is human adult average. An average 14 year old compared to a 15 year old is not 40% weaker; it's a bit of a stretch to say they're much more than 1 point worse off.

    Also, there are other fantasy tropes you can subscribe to besides "all wizards are ancient and powerful". There are plenty of stories about characters falling to darkness and evil to obtain or regain power, and plenty more about once-great people becoming mere shadows of their former selves.
    Yes, but, to perhaps belabour the point, not mages. Great wizards are Gandalf, Elminster, Nicodemus, Merlin, Dumbledore, most wizards who aren't specifically callow youths are pushing forty.
    This mirrors reality, where Shakespeare, Einstein, Darwin and Gygax were comfortably in the Old category and doing fine, because being middle aged or old is not an inhibitor to your mental state. The human mind doesn't even finish developing into an adult brain until you're twenty-five, and it doesn't diminish, short of disease or outside interference; instead, as the original system attempts to portray, you learn more things, you grow more established and self confident, and you gain a greater perspective. This isn't "fair" to

    If you have a different proposal, I'd be be glad to hear it.
    Forget stats entirely, use traits - "Old" - You get bonuses to sense motive, diplomacy, knowledge type skill checks, you get penalties to checks which involve physical exertion; "Veteran" - +1 to Attack rolls, -2 to damage rolls on account of being skilled but not having the power you used to; "Mid-life crisis" - You have an awesome horse, you have two low level screaming cohorts you cannot control and take heavy penalties if anything happens to them. When you gain an age penalty you need to take a trait from the appropriate category, you may lose one trait from each your previous categories for an additional trait from your new category. Venerable traits tend towards more extreme penalties as your age catches up with you, whilst age-immunity means you can ignore the downside and keep the benefits. Importantly, players pick, so they can shape how their character ages (not everyone ages the same after all) and remain involved in their characters.

    Heck, even "Child" - Your size category is one smaller than normal for your class and you gain bonuses to skills which benefit from being small, you've not finished growing into the person you're going to be, so you have a -2 penalty to every check that applies a stat to the roll in any way.

    That way people really could be free to be any age, without messing with their stats or level, just adjectives that help describe them as a character.

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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Kholai View Post
    Hyperbole aside, a -4 seems more appropriate for children, not adolescents; remember: 10 is human adult average. An average 14 year old compared to a 15 year old is not 40% weaker; it's a bit of a stretch to say they're much more than 1 point worse off.
    Ignoring the more fantastic races for the moment, I set an "adult" human at 17 years old. This means most adolescents need to be included in the 11-15 age range. While I acknowledge that there is probably much more physical difference between a 5 year old, a 10 year old, and a 15 year old than between a 20 and 30 year old, I am trying to avoid a situation where I need seperate categories for Infant, Toddler, Child, Tween, Teenager, Adolescent, Young Adult, full Adult, etc.

    Assuming these are adventurers children (and therefore start with the elite ability array), an adolescent would end up with scores of 11, 10, 9, 8, 6, & 4. I'll say more about the "realism" aspect in a minute, but that doesn't seem unreasonable for an 12/13/14 year old sub-adult to me. If -4 is too harsh, I might drop it to -3, and -6 for children, but I probably wouldn't go much less. (I'd probably include some minimum for stats once you factor in racial changes so we don't end up with humanoids sporting animal-like intelligence or with crippling paralysis)

    I admit that I am intentionally trying to make it less attractive to play too-young characters, but if some one was able to provide a good reason or an appealing backstory, I would reconsider or make special exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

    Edit: so much for the last sentence in the first parapgraph

    Yes, but, to perhaps belabour the point, not mages. Great wizards are Gandalf, Elminster, Nicodemus, Merlin, Dumbledore, most wizards who aren't specifically callow youths are pushing forty.
    This mirrors reality, where Shakespeare, Einstein, Darwin and Gygax were comfortably in the Old category and doing fine, because being middle aged or old is not an inhibitor to your mental state. The human mind doesn't even finish developing into an adult brain until you're twenty-five, and it doesn't diminish, short of disease or outside interference; instead, as the original system attempts to portray, you learn more things, you grow more established and self confident, and you gain a greater perspective.
    I'm gonna say right up front that I don't like the "realism" argument, at all, and if you ever catch me trying to justify something with it, I want you to call me on it. There are lots of things in D&D that are unrealistic; and if I wanted to play a game anchored in realism I'd play d20 modern, not swords and sorcery. The order that of importance I judge things for my homebrew is (1)- balance, (2)- simplicity, and a distant (3)- psuedo-realism.

    D&D is our FANTASY world, and we can make whatever rules we want. If I wanted to have a version of D&D where humanoids just got bigger and stronger no matter how old they got (like dragons) I could.
    My line of thinking was basically "There are penalties for aging. I'm going to change things so everyone takes the same relative penalties. Because we don't like penalties, I'm going to implement a benefit that functions as a trade off." If you don't like my chain of logic, tell me what rules you want your fantasty world to operate under and I will see what I can do to accomadate you.

    I admit that a human suffering mental impairment at 40 is probably not very realistic, but by the same token I can point to lots of "real" examples of the elderly suffering from diminshed senses, impaired cognitive function, memory loss, etc, making the "you get smarter as you get older" version equally silly looking. I would be willing to remove the -1 penalty at middle aged under the assumptions that any slight physical detriments are effectively countered by a longer time spent practicing and honing your skills. This would make the total penalty at Venerable -3, or about the same as an adolescent.

    Forget stats entirely, use traits
    *snip*
    That way people really could be free to be any age, without messing with their stats or level, just adjectives that help describe them as a character.
    I admit that this sounds pretty appealing, but it is more complicated. I would need to come up with enough traits so that the choices where actually meaningful and the age categories where distinct. With the stats-for-levels trade off I suggested, many of the things that you lose from lessened stats can be countered with the benefits of the additional level, and you end up in much the same place as the system you suggest. You gain more skill points, a higher BAB, additional spells, and new class features.
    I will give your idea some thought over the next couple of weeks; if I can come up with anything workable I will write it up and send you the link.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-12-29 at 08:26 PM.
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    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    That XP penalty idea actually makes sense for older characters, in that it plays up to classic folklore ("You can't teach an old dog new tricks").

    Each age category above adult imposes a -10% penalty to XP maybe? Or maybe each age category above adult adds +1 ECl for XP required to level up?

    For youths, I'm in favour of severe ability score penalties (http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewt...hp?f=70&t=8366).

    Fwiw, I absolutely hate the idea of mental ability score bonuses for ageing.
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2012-09-06 at 12:15 AM.

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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    I'm gonna say right up front that I don't like the "realism" argument, at all, and if you ever catch me trying to justify something with it, I want you to call me on it. There are lots of things in D&D that are unrealistic; and if I wanted to play a game anchored in realism I'd play d20 modern, not swords and sorcery. The order that of importance I judge things for my homebrew is (1)- balance, (2)- simplicity, and a distant (3)- psuedo-realism.
    Realism isn't a good word, true, but verisimilitude, the internal consistency of the simulation, works well enough.

    As an alternative to giving them levels in classes they already have, give them Hitdice for their racial type, and have these hitdice not count when considering how much XP is needed to level up. Being a Child is 1 HD, Adolescent is 2 HD, being Adult is 3 HD, Middle Aged is 4 HD, Old 5, Venerable 6. Replace your last HD with a class. Quadruple the skills of your first class hitdie.
    Racial Hitdie consider all skills as class skills.
    If you must, give them a -1 to physical stats per age bracket outside of Adult (Yes, only -3 to all physical stats at Venerable, I dislike penalising people for playing outside of the box, Child Soldiers and Teen Prodigies can stand alongside Grizzled Old Veterans).

    So a level 1 fighter always levels as fast as every other level 1 fighter regardless of age.
    Child: D10 HD, 8 skill ranks, 1 BAB, HD total = 1.
    Juvenile: D10 HD + 1D8, 10 skill ranks, 1 BAB, +2 Reflex Save, HD total = 2.
    Adult: D10 HD + 2D8, 12 skill ranks, 2 BAB, +3 Reflex Save, HD total = 3.
    Middle Aged: D10 HD + 3D8, 14 skill ranks, 3 BAB, +3 Reflex Save, HD total = 4.
    Old: D10 HD + 4D8, 16 skill ranks, 4 BAB, +4 Reflex Save, HD total = 5.
    Venerable: D10 HD + 5D8, 18 skill ranks, 4 BAB, +4 Reflex Save, HD total = 6.

    With this inherent benefit without making levelling slower you've basically given a Venerable level 1 guy two skills up to 8 ranks each before his first Fighter level, just for being a Venerable Level 1 guy, no bonus stats, no penalties (you can make your own Fort Save for Dementia rules if you want)

    Even spellcasters benefit from increased HP and skills and saves, which are all important, without slowing their casting progression (which is even more important), and the extra +4 Base Attack bonus for being Mr Miyagi mostly offsets the -3 penalties to Strength, Dex and Con.

    I admit that this sounds pretty appealing, but it is more complicated. I would need to come up with enough traits so that the choices where actually meaningful and the age categories where distinct. With the stats-for-levels trade off I suggested, many of the things that you lose from lessened stats can be countered with the benefits of the additional level, and you end up in much the same place as the system you suggest. You gain more skill points, a higher BAB, additional spells, and new class features.
    I will give your idea some thought over the next couple of weeks; if I can come up with anything workable I will write it up and send you the link.
    Yeah.... All my ideas are, it seems. Maybe I could crowd-source it?

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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    I imported the GURPs system. Works well enough. Although I added the possibility of dropping an advantage/taking a disadvantage once when you miss a roll rather than dropping an ability score.

    It gives a surprisingly realistic aging process.

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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    For youths, I'm in favour of severe ability score penalties (http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewt...hp?f=70&t=8366).
    Thank you for the link. In particular, I like the way it fluffed out the different ages. I will probably end up adopting some of the ideas, or at very least the language used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kholai View Post
    As an alternative to giving them levels in classes they already have, give them Hitdice for their racial type, and have these hitdice not count when considering how much XP is needed to level up.
    Another very workable and appealing alternative. If/when I swich my rules to this instead, I will give you credit in my original post.

    If you must, give them a -1 to physical stats per age bracket outside of Adult (Yes, only -3 to all physical stats at Venerable, I dislike penalising people for playing outside of the box, Child Soldiers and Teen Prodigies can stand alongside Grizzled Old Veterans).
    If I choose to have stat-penalties in place, it will be the same for everything. Please remember, my original goal was that all players and/or classes either benefit or suffer equally (or at least more equally) for aging.

    If you really like the idea of people playing "out of the box" then you shouldn't penalize the grizzled fighter's main stats (Str and Con) while at the same time buffing the arch-mage's (Int). Most of the attributes that you earlier mentioned as improving with age (increased knowledge, better perspective and greater confidence, etc) can be improved with skill points from a class level or hit dice.
    Your insistence that old wizards can't be anything but powerful magic-adepts was actually the inspiration for my original version that granted class levels.


    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Reader View Post
    I imported the GURPs system. Works well enough. Although I added the possibility of dropping an advantage/taking a disadvantage once when you miss a roll rather than dropping an ability score.

    It gives a surprisingly realistic aging process.
    As I said, I'm hesitant to jump on board the "realism" express, but I will look into borrowing things from GURPS as well. It will take some time though; I'm not familiar with GURPS, except for the general idea that it's exceptionally (almost obsessively) detailed.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-09-11 at 08:55 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    If you really like the idea of people playing "out of the box" then you shouldn't penalize the grizzled fighter's main stats (Str and Con) while at the same time buffing the arch-mage's (Int). Most of the attributes that you earlier mentioned as improving with age (increased knowledge, better perspective and greater confidence, etc) can be improved with skill points and a class level or hit dice.
    Your insistence that old wizards can't be anything but powerful magic-adepts was actually the inspiration for my original version that granted class levels.
    If your system introduced saving throws every year to avoid developing a mental (will) or physical (fort) condition, that would be one thing. As it is, all I have to say is it's simply odd that everyone would decay mentally - substantially so - when they age; why would you respect the village elders when your non-elite array Village Elder is at best a 10/9 and 8 in their mental scores? Why obey the king when the prince is wiser and more charismatic?

    Anyways, that's why I specifed no bonus to mental stats with the Racial HD alternative; humanoid levels benefit non-mages much, much more than mages; BAB (and potentially a fifth attack before/at level 20) helps them more, as do skillpoints (mages just render skills redundant anyway), whilst for Wizards and their D4s, Constitution makes pretty well 50% of their HP; losing 2 HP / level means your average level 20 Venerable Wizard with a starting Con of 10 would be rocking a 22.5 HP Maximum.

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    Default Re: Aging- Penalties and Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Kholai View Post
    As it is, all I have to say is it's simply odd that everyone would decay mentally - substantially so - when they age;
    What? I'm really confused about this. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different ways that people's mental faculties begin to break down as they age.
    Yes, some people have the health, the genetics, or just the luck to avoid it longer than others. My stats represent the general population, not the few rare examples that maintain some aspect of their abilities much longer than normal.
    Some one with a 16 in Intellect is still supposed to be "very smart" by D&D standards, they are just not as mentally vigorous as they where when they where younger.

    Also, some scientists apparently believe that mental degeneration begins much younger than previously thought, so even if I wanted to stick closely to realism (which I don't) then I have IRL science to back me up.

    why would you respect the village elders when your non-elite array Village Elder is at best a 10/9 and 8 in their mental scores? Why obey the king when the prince is wiser and more charismatic?
    Because of the law? That's usually how monarchies work.
    Or, because it's customary to respect your elders?
    Or, because despite having lower ability scores that have more skill points and therefor get a better bonus?
    Or just because they are more experienced (in the sense of having lived longer and seen more) and not everything within the context of the story lines up perfectly with what the meta-game knowledge would seem to dictate?

    Anyways, that's why I specifed no bonus to mental stats with the Racial HD alternative; humanoid levels benefit non-mages much, much more than mages
    Which is why I originally suggested using class levels instead.

    I've said before that it is not my intention to try and get this to perfectly mimic any one person's version of real-world aging, and that I favor balance and simplicity over claims of "realism". My original suggestions where designed with the intent of feeling that enough had changed so as to be noticeable, but the level of power would remain relatively balanced.

    Casters (particularly full casters) are already much more powerful than noncasters, so I am seeking to avoid anything that punishes the latter.


    Edit: I have updated various features and increased the details in some age categories to represent the comments from and discussion with various posters.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-09-11 at 08:57 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
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