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    Canonfire :: View topic - Human Ages in Greyhawk
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    Human Ages in Greyhawk
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:50 am  
    Human Ages in Greyhawk

    Right, so here's a topic I'd love some opinions on. The Knights of the Silver Dawn campaign is placed primarily in Furyondy for much of the beginning of it.

    So the question springs from my writing of the tale. I realize through discussion with Mystic-Scholar that my view on adulthood and age in Greyhawk greatly differs from his, and I wonder where others' views would fall.

    In 3.5 and Pathfinder (the rules I have played with most) human adulthood is listed as 15 if you look at the description section. This is in line with Medieval practice to a degree, where "Medieval law-makers tended to place the boundary between childhood and adulthood at puberty, coventionally 12 for girls and 14 for boys." (Historical Essays: Childhood in Medieval England).

    That is what I had in mind when I set Celeste Kalinstren's age as 13. She was meant to be mature young lady, not a child. With that in my mind her concerns turned to things like her future, whom she would be wed to, how best to apply her talent as a wizard in the war her country is embroiled in, and other matters. Because I viewed 13 as a young lady, I also have written her as being rather mature. Partly that is because she is exceptionally intelligent for her age, partly because she studied under Bigby for five years.

    So I guess the question is, in your minds as players and DMs, where does childhood end and where does adulthood begin? Do you draw the hard line at 15 per the rules, or perhaps even higher?

    My solution to this, by the by, is that as I rewrite the story I intend to leave Celeste's age unconfirmed, so that the reader can place her at the age they perceive her to be. I will simply make mention of the fact that she is not promised and leave the rest open.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:56 am  

    My wife just finished reading Game of Thrones and funnily we were discussing the topic of age.

    In the book girls were considered to be woman as soon as they could bare children and boys were considered to be men by the age of 16.


    Last edited by DarkHerald on Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:05 am  

    I know that's common in literature. Iressi and I were discussing Game of Thrones the other day, though we haven't finished reading it yet (we're still working on that). I was asking Iressi if I'd made Celeste too mature and he was telling me to think of how Bran acts considering he's only seven, and John Snow at the age of fourteen.

    Ultimately that's why I'm not actually changing Celeste's age, but rather leaving it unwritten. I don't want to throw readers by constantly hammering into their minds that she's a certain age if they're more comfortable with her being older, or if it just makes more sense to them that she would be. Smile
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:11 am  

    Yeah just describing her as 'young' will be enough I think. The less we rely on hard dates the better honestly, the more dates you throw around the easier it is for mistakes to crop up.

    In the middle ages and beyond even children were thought of as little adults. It took a long time for that thought to change.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:34 am  

    Iressi wrote:
    Yeah just describing her as 'young' will be enough I think. The less we rely on hard dates the better honestly, the more dates you throw around the easier it is for mistakes to crop up.

    In the middle ages and beyond even children were thought of as little adults. It took a long time for that thought to change.


    To a degree they were thought of as young adults in some respects, in other things they weren't. Remember the stories of Robin Hood, and Ivanhoe for that matter. Yes, women were thought of as adults for the purpose of marriage, if it was a match that was politically sound for the family. Lady Rowena, in Ivanhoe, written by Sir Walter Scott not long after the period in question, was a Saxon princess that, though she outranked her guardian Cedric, who was a Thane or Baron, was his his ward, and thus had to obey him in matters of marriage, and she was definitely older than 13. Marian was King Richard's ward in Robin Hood, also older than 13, and could not wed without his permission, nor did she ultimately have a choice if he rejected her choice either. Men inherited the land, not women, so the land was held in trust for her husband to be, as were the titles, though they would pass to her children from him.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:49 am  

    tigger1tom wrote:
    Lady Rowena, in Ivanhoe, written by Sir Walter Scott not long after the period in question, was a Saxon princess that, though she outranked her guardian Cedric, who was a Thane or Baron, was his his ward, and thus had to obey him in matters of marriage, and she was definitely older than 13. Marian was King Richard's ward in Robin Hood, also older than 13, and could not wed without his permission, nor did she ultimately have a choice if he rejected her choice either. Men inherited the land, not women, so the land was held in trust for her husband to be, as were the titles, though they would pass to her children from him.


    I agree with those sentiments, though they fall more under what I consider our perception of gender roles than the responsibility of age. I welcome opinions on this topic as well, and in fact almost titled the thread 'Human Ages and Gender Roles in Greyhawk'.

    My main curiosity, however, is where you view a 13-year-old in Greyhawk to be in terms of their own personal maturity. What sort of matters occupy their mind? What kind of reaction would they have to violence (obviously this hinges on the atmosphere of their upbringing)?

    I would also venture a guess that the perception of being an adult in regards to marriage would be enough to 'sober' a young lady or lad in a sense. There are expectations on them at an earlier age, and puberty was basically the death knell of their childhood.

    Perhaps that's just my perception though, which is why I started this thread. Smile
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:04 am  

    cystaltears wrote:


    I agree with those sentiments, though they fall more under what I consider our perception of gender roles than the responsibility of age. I welcome opinions on this topic as well, and in fact almost titled the thread 'Human Ages and Gender Roles in Greyhawk'.

    My main curiosity, however, is where you view a 13-year-old in Greyhawk to be in terms of their own personal maturity. What sort of matters occupy their mind? What kind of reaction would they have to violence (obviously this hinges on the atmosphere of their upbringing)?

    I would also venture a guess that the perception of being an adult in regards to marriage would be enough to 'sober' a young lady or lad in a sense. There are expectations on them at an earlier age, and puberty was basically the death knell of their childhood.

    Perhaps that's just my perception though, which is why I started this thread. Smile


    My opinion on 13 in Greyhawk is that it depends on where you are, and what your circumstances are. To a street kid, the next meal and a warm dry bed can be a matter of life and death, to the child of a noble, it is still childhood, but they are already learning adult lessons and responsibilities, but are still children.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:30 am  

    I think we, as players, often overlook how quickly people mature when they are in combat or things try to eat them. I suspect that in the World of Greyhawk, a child's "childhood" ends much more quickly than even our own medieval reality. I think placing adulthood at puberty makes for some very interesting confrontations. Imagine a veteran lord being ordered around by a 16yr old royal member that has survived a battle. The 16 yr old has earned his stripes, especially if facing humanoids, but the ancient 30 yr old Wink still isn't going to take kindly to it. One of the many facets of role-playing that I love. Game of Thrones = a plate of awesome with a side of awesome sauce.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:55 am  

    Hmm. I see 'Game of Thrones' referenced a lot here. Tried it -- one and a half books worth. Didn't like it, thus the 'half' of a book.

    To each his own.

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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:08 pm  

    I have kind of a love/hate thing for 'Game of Thrones'...on the one hand; I really enjoy (in my opinion) the flat-out phenomenal talent of Martin as a story-teller.....on the other hand; I get really, really, really, really sick of the waiting and the 'terrible crap happening to good characters' that is RAMPANT in these stories.

    Some deride my "naive" enjoyment of good things triumphing in the end; but at this point...other than Jon Snow and to lesser extents the surviving Snow children and poor Brienne 'the Beautiful'; I don't really give a rat's hindparts about any of the other characters...

    But I digress WILDLY from the topic....ahem....sorry about that!

    I know it's "Politically Correct".....but in my games; characters MUST start at 18 at the youngest (or the demi-human equivalents; call it late 30s for Halflings, 60s for Gnomes, Half-Elves and Dwarves and 80s or 90s for Elves)....and honestly; I prefer characters to be older than that; I am flat-out uncomfortable dealing with teenagers; but this is just me.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:51 pm  

    maxvale76 wrote:
    I know it's "Politically Correct".....but in my games; characters MUST start at 18 at the youngest (or the demi-human equivalents; call it late 30s for Halflings, 60s for Gnomes, Half-Elves and Dwarves and 80s or 90s for Elves)....and honestly; I prefer characters to be older than that; I am flat-out uncomfortable dealing with teenagers; but this is just me.


    That is not an uncommon practice at all. I've seen it on many online forums that host role playing and I've known a few DMs in real life who do the same thing. Some simply say the character should be an adult by the standards of the setting.

    Personally, I think themes should be kept appropriate to the age of the players and characters. I've seen another gamer play the kid sister of one of the party members. We brought her along and protected her and shielded her from more mature things save for what we really couldn't shield her from due to combat, etc.

    But again, I don't think your requirement is at all unusual and I think it's important each group does what makes their members the most comfortable. Smile

    tigger1tom wrote:
    My opinion on 13 in Greyhawk is that it depends on where you are, and what your circumstances are. To a street kid, the next meal and a warm dry bed can be a matter of life and death, to the child of a noble, it is still childhood, but they are already learning adult lessons and responsibilities, but are still children.


    I'm of that general opinion. Of course, I'm of that general opinion in regard to any time period. In the modern age I believe a thirteen-year-old can go through experiences that would mature them well beyond what we consider to be the norm. Or even someone much younger.

    Thanks for your thoughts. Smile

    DwarffromNyrond wrote:
    I think we, as players, often overlook how quickly people mature when they are in combat or things try to eat them. I suspect that in the World of Greyhawk, a child's "childhood" ends much more quickly than even our own medieval reality. I think placing adulthood at puberty makes for some very interesting confrontations. Imagine a veteran lord being ordered around by a 16yr old royal member that has survived a battle. The 16 yr old has earned his stripes, especially if facing humanoids, but the ancient 30 yr old Wink still isn't going to take kindly to it. One of the many facets of role-playing that I love. Game of Thrones = a plate of awesome with a side of awesome sauce.


    This is something I try not to do, take for granted how people mature in different settings. I really want to do a campaign that's entirely based on culture shock and play a young adult noble girl (or perhaps the daughter of a very wealthy and loving merchant) who's been spoiled and pampered and somehow ends up dragged into a drastically harsher culture. Think it would make for a lot of fun.



    Thanks to everyone who's responded thus far for putting your two cents in. I enjoy reading other people's perspectives and opinions and I think it will ultimately help me to learn a bit more of what others view this particular matter to be like in the Oerth that I've just begun to learn. Smile
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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:11 pm  

    I don't think I can add much to what has already been said about maturity from a philosophical persepctive, so I'll focus on game mechanics in case that helps you in writing your story.

    One problem with beginning player characters as young as 13 is that, no matter how you justify their maturity, they can't possibly have adult-equivalent stats. Dexterity and Constitution may be fully developed by that point and you may be able to justify giving such a young person a full Charisma stat based upon their current personality (though that's leaving out a lot of qualities that are supposed to be represented by that stat). However, it is not possible to imagine a 13 year old boy or girl who's Strength is fully developed at that young age. Nor can you satisfactorily justify one of such youth as having the mental capacity and raw knowlege represented by a full adult Intelligence score or the life experience represented by an adult Wisdom score.

    These consideratin need to be addressed in your writing if you intend to treat your character(s) as being that young. Such issues can also be addressed in gaming - by lowering beginning stats and adding the points back as the character ages, for example.

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    Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:38 pm  

    In the words of Inara, "A man is just a boy who is old enough to ask that question." Sorry, had to work a Firefly reference in.

    From my point of view dealing with mostly young men in high-stress situations, maturity is not always a factor of age, but of how one deals with responsibiltiy. An adult is someone who take responsibility for others, and accepts that it is a crushing load.

    I am now stepping off of my soap box.
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    Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:59 am  
    Rules regarding age

    Well ... obviously, as stated above, the philosophical points of age and maturity have been well covered.

    I would like to point out that in 3rd edition D&D and Pathfinder, the "adulthood" age is not what is considered a "playable" age.
    D&D PHB 3.5 wrote:
    Your character’s minimum starting age is the adulthood age of his or her race plus the number of dice indicated in the entry corresponding to the character’s race and class."

    PFRPG, Vital Statistics: Age, p.168 wrote:
    If you choose it, it must be at least the minimum age for the character’s race and class (see Table 7–1). Alternatively, roll the dice indicated for your class, and add the result to the minimum age of adulthood for your race to determine how old your character is.


    I'm not at all trying to be a Rules Lawyer here ... I am making an RP point based on these descriptions. Both of these are fairly specific about added something to the "base" age. It's Race plus Class. In these examples for humans, the results add an additional 1 to 12 years. I think that something above adulthood is appropriate ... 16 to 27 years old for a new PC is a range with plenty of possibilities that players don't need to go outside of it.

    Interestingly, the meme of the child on the streets who's more mature than the aristocrat child is upheld by this. The smallest amount added to the racial base includes the rogue, and the aristocrat would be one of the highest, I believe.

    Now that's the R.A.W. ... but, there's nothing that says that we have to use that. This thread is about what we prefer and what we think is appropriate. Personally, I've had one or two PCs while I was DMing that wanted to play a kid. I allow it only in the rarest of circumstances. I think that a range between 16 and 27 is perfectly fine for 99% of all new characters. I certainly allow (and myself play) older characters a whole lot more frequently than young ones. I don't really have a hard and fast rules, anymore than I have them for going outside the racial norms for weight or height, or physical appearance. While we know there is an exception to every rule, I ask my players to not go to extremes without good reason. Playing a 13 year old - for me - would be akin to playing a Drow with raven black hair, or a dwarf that's 5'6".

    Just my two coppers.
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    Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:38 am  
    Re: Rules regarding age

    Icarus wrote:
    Playing a 13 year old - for me - would be akin to playing a Drow with raven black hair, or a dwarf that's 5'6".

    Just my two coppers.


    You mean you don't want a halfling that is 6'3"? Shocked "But daddy was a stone giant!" Happy
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    Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:52 am  
    Re: Rules regarding age

    tigger1tom wrote:
    You mean you don't want a halfling that is 6'3"? Shocked "But daddy was a stone giant!" Happy


    Hahaha.



    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tarelton, SirXaris, and Icarus.

    My curiosity has been mostly resolved at this point. I think it's safe to say varying views on age do exist in the community of canonfire, but the majority feel that a young character should not be as capable of being an adventurer as older individuals would be. That I do agree with.

    In Celeste's case the idea was to put her just on the cusp of adulthood, and for the purpose of the story I will simply write her as such.

    I'll still be following this thread if people continue posting to it, because I do feel it's an interesting topic and I enjoy reading others' views on it. Smile


    Also, SirXaris, in regards to varying statistics for the young, Pathfinder agrees with you to a degree. They have a template called 'Young' that does the following:

    www.d20pfsrd.com wrote:
    Simple Template: Young (CR –1)

    Creatures with the young template are immature specimens of the base creature. You can also use this simple template to easily create a smaller variant of a monster. This template cannot be applied to creatures that increase in power through aging or feeding (such as dragons or barghests) or creatures that are Fine-sized.

    Quick Rules: +2 to all Dex-based rolls, –2 on all other rolls, –2 hp/HD.

    Rebuild Rules: Size decrease by one category; AC reduce natural armor by –2 (minimum +0); Attacks decrease damage dice by 1 step; Ability Scores –4 Strength, –4 Con, +4 size bonus to Dex.


    They don't penalize the mental statistics of the young creature in this particular case, which is interesting as if you apply this to a human you would get a very young child (based on the size category reduction). At any rate, there is that.
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    Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:18 am  

    They need a Puberty Template. Smile
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    Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:29 pm  

    CT,

    Go with your story as is, no need to change what has worked for you so far. I prefer characters to start at older ages, but we each have our own preferences.

    I look forward to the story. Like I've told you before you have a talent for writing keep it up.

    Later

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    Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:51 am  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    They need a Puberty Template. Smile


    I can't think of anything suitably witty to say in response to this, but I do very much approve of it. Happy

    Argon wrote:
    CT,

    Go with your story as is, no need to change what has worked for you so far. I prefer characters to start at older ages, but we each have our own preferences.

    I look forward to the story. Like I've told you before you have a talent for writing keep it up.

    Later

    Argon


    *Smiles.* MS did some editing for me and I'm going to be rewriting the story's beginning a bit to address some issues he helped me see. It is coming. Promise. Smile
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    Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:20 am  

    My counsel was and remains: Separate your Story from your Game.

    What you do in the Game, doesn't have to be how it "appears" in the Story. "Play" it one way, but "say" it another. Wink

    I'm going to attempt writing an original Module specifically for Canonfire! But it is only an attempt. Why?

    Because Modules and Stories are two different things. This was the reason for the overall failure of the T. H. Lain novels. Because WotC used their Module writers to write Novels.

    The guys and gals wrote great Modules, but they sucked at Story Telling. Authors are Story Tellers minus the campfire. Believe that. Modules are not stories and you don't have to be a Story Teller to write one.

    The Game is the game. Your Story is something else entirely.

    Remember that and you will do well, my young Padawan. Wink Cool
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    Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:48 am  

    I quickly looked up the table we use;-


    Race Ref Adulthood
    Dwarf PH 109 40
    Elf PH 109 110
    Gnome PH 109 40
    Half Elf PH 109 20
    Halfling PH 109 20
    Half Orc PH 109 14
    Human PH 109 15

    Modified as follows:

    Random Starting Ages, Add to Adulthood
    Barbarian Bard, Cleric,
    Rogue, Fighter, Druid,
    Sorceror Paladin, Monk,
    Ranger Wizard
    +3d6 +5d6 +7d6
    +4d6 +6d6 +10d6
    +4d6 +6d6 +9d6
    +1d6 +2d6 +3d6
    +2d4 +3d6 +4d6
    +1d4 +1d6 +2d6
    +1d4 +1d6 +2d6

    So looks like we fall in the 15+ section.
    Most of my characters would start at 16 - 18, but I do agree the middle ages people grew up quicker as they lived shorter lives

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    Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:55 am  

    Hail and well met, AvalonAB! Happy

    Glad you joined our little community. Might I invite you to go over to the Welcome to Greyhawk forum and introduce yourself to us? Cool

    I promise that there are many here waiting to greet you. Wink
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    Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:35 pm  
    Healing and life expectancy.

    AvalonAB wrote:
    ... I do agree the middle ages people grew up quicker as they lived shorter lives.AvalonAB


    Well, I think that the lifespans given in the PHB basically equates to modern life expectancies - at least, for humans obviously. I think that the averages aren't really too much different when you look art the catagories for middle, old, and venerable ages.
    The reason that I make that analogy is that while we have modern medicine to keep us alive a lot longer, WoG has divine magic to help them live long and healthy lives. And while a peasant may not be able to afford the gold to have a cure disease or ressurection, a college student typically doesn't have health insurance, either. So ... I think that they pretty much balance out.
    I think that even in today's society, I think that we could pretty much agree that the earliest someone would be considered an adult would be around 16 or 18 ... depending on what they are being considered "adult" for. NC17 movie? Military service or voting? Age of legal consent?
    Anyway ... I think that even considering lifespans, it's still pretty much dead on.
    ... at least IMC.
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    Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:15 am  

    In Colorado, I know for a fact that you are not considered an "adult" until the age of 17. And that's only for you.

    In other words, if your parents die in a car crash and you're 17 -- good luck. But, your younger brothers and sisters? Foster Home.

    You may not legally take responsibility for another person until the age of 21.

    So, "adulthood" is conditional under "our" laws. I'm sure that there's something similar in other states. You may be an "adult" at 18, but can you adopt? Take care of your siblings?

    So many are concerned about being able to do "whatever" they want, that they forget to ask that one, i.e. -- vote at 18, no drink until 21.

    But that's Real World.
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    Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:40 am  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    So, "adulthood" is conditional under "our" laws. ...
    So many are concerned about being able to do "whatever" they want, that they forget to ask that one, i.e. -- vote at 18, no drink until 21.

    But that's Real World.

    I guess what I am saying is that while it's not a "real" world, it is a "realistic" one. all over the world, legal ages range from 14 to 21 for various things (in countries where they have an age requirement at all). Even within the US, it varies widely, depending on what type of thing a person is doing. Guns and liquor? 21. living emancipated on one's own? 14, in most places. ...
    I'm just saying that the majority of those places, and for these types of thing, I think that 16 to 18 isn't so far off base.
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    Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:32 am  

    Happy

    I was agreeing with you, not disagreeing. Wink
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    Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:08 am  

    I consider the most appropriate starting age to be around the point of physical maturity, as in full size has been reached. There is a big difference between a 13 year old and a 16-18 year old, in all stats, in most cases. Playing a character of such a young age should entail a regression in stats- a reversed age modifier system basically. I can't recall if I have ever seen such thing for youngsters, but there might be one out there. The idea of a 13 year old character is an interesting notion though, as a younger sibling or ward could be drawn into the adventurer's life due to circumstances beyond their control, or for a reason somewhat in their control.
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    GreySage

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    Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:41 am  

    Agreed. Physical maturity has to be considered.

    A "non" weight lifting young man in his late teens and early twenties is not as strong as a man in his early thirties -- full, physical growth. So you would have to cut back on their stats -- as is being suggested.
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    Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:36 am  
    Youth, again ... and a young adventurer

    Cebrion wrote:
    ... Playing a character of such a young age should entail a regression in stats- a reversed age modifier system basically. I can't recall if I have ever seen such thing for youngsters, but there might be one out there.

    Cebrion ... just a bit upthread, CrystalTears, I believe, was sharing a "Young" template as it appears in the Pathfinder system (which we all know is 3rd Edition D&D done well) that could be applied to humans. And I personally have used the old 3rd Edition rules to make younger creatures, like a age catagory progression for wyverns, but, I've never done it for humans.
    Cebrion wrote:
    The idea of a 13 year old character is an interesting notion though, as a younger sibling or ward could be drawn into the adventurer's life due to circumstances beyond their control, or for a reason somewhat in their control.
    In fact, I can't help but think of Arya Stark. ... and that says it all.
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    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    From: So. Cal

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    Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:36 am  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Agreed. Physical maturity has to be considered.


    Mental maturity must be considered too. You aren't going to have the 13 year old running around with an 18 wisdom, or an 18 intelligence either(unless they have been reincarnated and remember their former life or some such freakish occurrence). Charisma? A youngster could be enchanting enough, but an adult has more experience and confidence) in interacting with others, and so gets the bonus there too.

    This reminds me of High School a bit. The first day of Senior year, I was walking around the campus with some friends, and there were all of these younger kids there. For a moment I thought that the Jr. High School was having some sort of field trip to visit the campus. Then I realized that it was just the new Freshman class. Laughing The point being, that is just a three year difference in age, notably from 14 to 17. There is a big difference in mental and physical capabilities in that age range.

    As to the Pathfinder Young Template, the Str and Con makes sense(see below though), as dos the size bonus to AC, but children having +4 Dex? I tutor plenty of 13 year olds, so, um, no. Razz And no negative non-physical modifiers? No again. What I think would make the most sense would not have one level of advancement for Young, but split it into two levels of advancement- Child and Youth.

    Child(Age 5-9)0: -6 Str, -6 Con, -4 Dex, -6 Int, -6 Wisdom, -4 Cha, +2 AC.

    Children are not strong, are easily hurt, usually(if forget the number, but it is something like 90% or more) develop "strong muscle control" before they do "fine muscle control" (i.e Dex), etc.

    Youth(Age 10-14): -2 Str, -2 Con, -2 Int, -2 Wis, -2 Cha.

    Somewhat lesser modifiers for the age just before full physical/mental maturity. At this age, Youths are still developing physically, and well as developing their judgement(Wis), absorbing knowledge(Int), and becoming more socially sure of themselves(Cha).

    The modifiers would be very steep for younger characters because, going forward, children develop physically and mentally very quickly, as opposed to teenagers/adults who taper off in that development. That would tone down most of the freakish stats for characters of such young ages. The DM could of course further modify those stats, such that the the 5 year old with Str 18-6=12 is further modified(by -4, or more, making it Str 8 or even slightly less) so as not to be stronger than an average human(Str 10-11), as would be sensible. Still a strong child, so perhaps they are "big for their age".

    That's just my take on things. Tweak as needed.
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