log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General Aging Characters

BookTenTiger

He / Him
What are your experiences with characters aging during a campaign?

We just did a 5-year time skip in the game I play in. For the dwarves in the group, this meant very little. But for the 19-year old half-drow, five years came with a lot of change and maturity!

I always liked the idea of a campaign that skips a lot of time between adventures. It would be funny to play some like an aaracokra who reaches maturity at 3 and dies by 30. After a 10-year gap, the elf wizard comes back unchanged, but the aaracokra's player would be coming in as the child of their own character!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

What are your experiences with characters aging during a campaign?

We just did a 5-year time skip in the game I play in. For the dwarves in the group, this meant very little. But for the 19-year old half-drow, five years came with a lot of change and maturity!

I always liked the idea of a campaign that skips a lot of time between adventures. It would be funny to play some like an aaracokra who reaches maturity at 3 and dies by 30. After a 10-year gap, the elf wizard comes back unchanged, but the aaracokra's player would be coming in as the child of their own character!
I stopped worrying about character ages for the most part when they removed the rules and effects on the character. If the campaign skips ahead sure we'll update PCs and if a scenario warranted Id probably default to the 2E rules. Otherwise we really dont skip much time in the campaign.
 

aco175

Legend
I would want to do more with this idea but there always seems to be some sort of action going on that it gets skipped. This is especially true with the published books from Wizards where the level 1-20 campaign takes place over 4-6 months. It makes less real the point that a teenager goes from zero to hero before spring comes, but it is kind of the way it is.

My group has used old PCs from past campaigns to bring flavor to the new campaign. There was the sons of game where the PCs were the new heroes saving the day after their parents grew too old and the game skipped 30 years ahead. Other games had the old PCs show up offering advise or knowledge the new group needed. Easy to take a new group with old humans not being able to quest anymore, but the elf in the group is still fresh as a daisy so we used a younger brother to fudge a bit.
 


J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Same. I've never been in a campaign that (actively) saw the PCs through many years. I'd love to do one like that, but every time I've pitched such to players, tey gave the thumbs down.
And to be fair, maybe it's a good thing. Dealing with my own aging has been miserable enough. ;)
 

Have done it in decades. But it is something I would talk to the players about and get agreement on even before session zero. It would be foundational to the campaign, so no surprises when you do get to session zero.
 

Esbee

Dungeon Master at large.
Certainly there was a time back in the day when we handwaived time passage... but as I got older and grumpier I found that I preferred more exact time-keeping in my games.

I adhere closely to character ages and the aging categories in my 1e game, it's not arbitrary so players don't get to select their starting ages - especially with attribute modifiers attached. The Half-orc fighter in the group, for instance, just reached maturity and got a +1 to his strength, meaning he now has an 18 and gets to roll for exceptional strength. However, half-orcs hit middle age at age 30 or so, meaning he'll feel the effects of aging sooner than the others in the group.

But 1e has these parameters laid out in detail so monitoring them is more important. As far as tracking time, I simply log the days spent in-game as it happens, but time away from the table counts as real time - so two weeks between sessions means two weeks passes in game. If that is impractical based on the given situation, then I 'bank' the time and apply it down the road when it makes more sense. This can lead to a large time-skip.

Now, where later editions don't make aging a concern as much (or at all in 5e) in terms of mechanical modifiers, I still think timekeeping is an important task for the DM. It's easy enough to find blank calendar sheets on the internet, and use them to track the days as well as make notes of specific events that happen as the campaign progresses, or mark upcoming events too.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I have a dream campaign in which the first characters retire at Level 5, the next retire at Level 8, then Level 12, 15, and finally 20. The campaign would track generations of adventurers in the same setting. Each new group of adventurers would start their story 5 - 20 years after the last, and each group of retired adventurers would become NPCs...
 

I've done some legacy campaigns before in AD&D. My issue with aging came from players gaming the system. If they knew it was going to be a legacy game, all the magic-users/mages would be human. When they aged, they gained Int & Wis at the cost of Str & Con, enhancing the character (you needed really high or low abilities to have modifiers). I stopped announcing legacy campaigns afterwards, and dropped the who thing after arguments. The one rule I've held fast on: it doesn't matter what your character's age is at creation, the age modifiers aren't applied.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I played in a consistent setting from 1992 to 2006 with each year measured as a decade of game time (140 years).I had breaks in play and used different characters - but one character Orbril the gnome I kept around and had him age up from a young wideeye gnomeling being sent to apprentice to an Alchemist through being a young explorer, to becoming a mature community leader (and Professor), right through to his would be retirement chasing pixies in the Fae realm. Then most recently (2014?) he came out of retirement as a venerable elder to help his sisters clan find a new home after their burrow was destroyed.
 

Richards

Legend
Over the course of nine years in real time, we completed a 20-level 3.5 campaign, then skipped forward 20 years and started up a new campaign with new 1st-level PCs, some of them with ties to the original PCs/NPCs of the prior campaign. And a bunch of the original PCs made the occasional appearance in this new campaign, now 20 years older than they had been when we retired the original campaign. This second campaign lasted 5 years of real time.

Now we're campaigning in an entirely different universe, where the deities are patterned after the PCs from the original campaign.

Johnathan
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top