Pregnancy and newborns...

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Never seen it happen.

If a player ever brought up the idea in one of my games, I would allow it but I would also downplay it. I would not impose penalties of any sort and I would not use it as a narrative device to threaten the PCs, meaning that I would ignore the possibility that something bad happens to it or because of it. I know quite many people who lost a pregnancy IRL and the mere idea that this risk can be used by a DM to contribute to the game "fun" is utterly disgusting to me.

In fact, in general I also don't threaten the PCs families in the story unless it's the player who suggests it, apart from the fact that I don't normally even tell the players to specify their PCs family ties.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
In our games the PCs are free to get their consensual sexy on as much as they like; and at least one major PC getting pregnant (in all cases another PC was the father) has happened in every campaign I've run.

As such, I've long since had to come up with some rules and rulings around such, particularly when the pregnant PC continues adventuring deep into the pregnancy - which has thus far been the norm - before taking some time off.

These rules and ruling cover everything from chance of pregnancy* to odds of surviving childbirth to what potentially happens to the fetus if any of various bad things should happen to the mother e.g. poison, disease, death-revival, and so on. With the most recent one I also had to rule on how things worked regarding wildshape, as the PC was a Nature Cleric (a.k.a. Druid).

Possession is the fun one: if an expectant mother gets possessed by a demon or somesuch, there's a small chance that it's the fetus that gets possessed instead - much to the annoyance of the possessor! :)

* - including between races; along with a huge chart of what can successfully breed with what.

I've never had a PC adventure during the end stages of pregnancy (they tend to pack it in around the 6th month or equivalent) but were one to try it there would be some penalties to movement speed, full-body dexterity (e.g. dodging, climbing etc.; as opposed to picking a lock), and probably encumbrance as well. There'd be some minor benefits also, including a save bonus against anything con-related.

The strangest one I had to deal with came in my current campaign: a pregnant PC got hit with a gender change effect. Yikes! What I ruled was that the pregnancy overrode the gender change until birth, on which it took effect almost immediately: so much for nursing... (the player knew this was coming)

Childbirth tends to lead to the mother (and sometimes the father as well) more or less retiring from adventuring, but not always. And should a PC not want to become or remain pregnant, herbs and so forth exist in the game world to prevent or terminate such.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I've had this happen before in a game I ran (I was the GM) and the player brought it up. A number of factors made it, ah, interesting.

1: She had recently given birth herself (less than a year ago)
2: She decided she wanted to do it because she thought I roleplayed an interesting and suitable mate (this was not my intention)
3: Her PC and the NPC were slugmen which have wildly different biology and social mores about pregnancy than humans. (if someone really cares, I have entire blog entries on that topic). In brief, slugmen are hermaphrodites (so both parties would give birth) who lay eggs and they are a magical race - their offprings are mere slugs, which must then receive secret magical treatments during the egg phase to become slugmen. Also, they form the upper caste of yoon-suin society, so only approved of pairings are transformed into slugmen, otherwise the eggs are destroyed. The NPC was an exile (but otherwise a suitable match) so this made things complicated.

Because her PC was going on a long quest, it was decided that the NPC would hatch the eggs and have them to the PC's noble house to be treated to become slugmen, while the PC would go on their quest (the hunt for Kwalish).
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
It's been a while, but one long-running AD&D 2ed campaign had a number of pregnancies over the decade it ran. It also featured a stable of characters so that temporarily retiring one to RP-only was fine, strongholds and other homebases with hours of meaty RP around them, and a decent amount of downtime.
Just to expand out to what I said earlier. That game would do 8-12 hour sessions back when we were in HS/college, and we could spend 5 hours doing nothing my RP with each other without batting any eye. The DM had a DMPC, something I am normally quite against, simply so they weren't bored when we were doing that.

Not that we didn't do all the normal adventure things, including lots of dungeon crawls because, hey, it's AD&D 2nd and that's what you did. But we got high level* and also got involved in politics and the like.

(*High level = Over 9th. When it takes a six months of weekly 10+ hour sessions to level, that's a big deal. Though the earliest characters did get to epic (over 20).)

We played in FR, and back then you needed an Adventuring Company charter to legally adventure - something far to costly for 1st level adventurers. So we'd sponsor starting adventuring companies, give them a few minor and +1 items (AD&D 2nd and randomly rolled treasure = lots of spare low level items) and send them on their way ... which we played. And when they proved themselves, they were accepting in the main company. The reality behind it was also that we had different groups we could play depending on which players could make it. "We're down Ed, let's play group X that doesn't have him." Some high level characters also took apprentices - which would often be characters of other players. So we always had lots of characters of varying levels and amounts of interaction with each other.

Over the course of the campaign, it was either just guys or with a token girl, but we'd play (98% tastefully) various genders and to a lesser degree orientation. (This was the 80s and early 90s - things weren't as open as they are today.) One player could only do women as ice queen or promiscuous, we were all teens and cut him some slack but I don't think his female characters ever got wooed.

There was definitely a soap opera-esqe feel to intra-party dynamic - who was wooing who, which characters were rivals, and the like. Marriages between PCs and between PCs & NPCs were not uncommon, especially as in-game years passed. We had a paladin almost needing atonement for accepting the marriage proposal of cleric of a different but allied god who was CG (this was back with LG-only paladins).

Pregnancy was one among many downtime activities to rotate the highest level characters out of active play. Not in a Machiavellian way, but we were already voluntarily having them build strongholds, teach at a bardic college, and other things that would take them out of play, so when characters started getting pregnant it just went along with those already established activities.
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
I can't see any reason not to play ...
The tendency for the baby do die, for one thing. To be.. perhaps painfully blunt, magic-strewn action-adventure and miscarriage go together rather nicely :/
As I stated, my default preference would be that will not occur. Every group has things that, although logical for the world, are just not going to appear. Most groups do not allow harm to children to be a feature of their games, and this would be natural extension.

Now if you are playing DramaSystem or Grey Ranks, it's potentially more appropriate. But in D&D? Put it in the same bin as all the other nasty realistic things that can happen to women in middle-ages societies. Only play those situations if you are very sure of your group and have their enthusiastic buy-in.
 
As I stated, my default preference would be that will not occur. Every group has things that, although logical for the world, are just not going to appear. Most groups do not allow harm to children to be a feature of their games, and this would be natural extension.

Now if you are playing DramaSystem or Grey Ranks, it's potentially more appropriate. But in D&D? Put it in the same bin as all the other nasty realistic things that can happen to women in middle-ages societies. Only play those situations if you are very sure of your group and have their enthusiastic buy-in.
I definitely get this. Not everyone wants to see the same things in their games. Dead babies are only the spice of life if you want realistic hardship. Realistic hardship is not something i would push as "fun for most". Id even recommend against 99% of groups doing the dead baby thing. Our group does it. Not all should.
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
I believe we are discussing D&D, but I believe most modern systems state that there is no rules-based difference between men and women. This is obviously not an accurate simulation, but is there because it makes the game more enjoyable and inclusive.

So if you are arguing that the simulationist aspect is so important that you must assign penalties to being pregnant, you're on a very shaky basis. The game designers have been pretty clear that differences between genders are a bad idea, so think twice about taking a known bad idea and making it more extreme.

It's pretty obvious that pregnancy has minimal effect until late in the process (for example, you can literally be the best tennis player in the world at 20 weeks in), and even within a few weeks of birth you'd need to be running a percentage system to be able to simulate the slight drop in effectiveness -- a d20 system can't easily handle those minor differences. So why bother producing an overly-penalizing model of maybe 6 weeks in the life of one character? Even for die-hard simulationists who have a group happy to have realistic gender and age penalties, it's a pretty pointless exercise.

So, if it's against the game design, hard to implement accurately, and applies to a tiny slice of time only ... it seems an excellent candidate to ignore.
 
I believe we are discussing D&D, but I believe most modern systems state that there is no rules-based difference between men and women. This is obviously not an accurate simulation, but is there because it makes the game more enjoyable and inclusive.

So if you are arguing that the simulationist aspect is so important that you must assign penalties to being pregnant, you're on a very shaky basis. The game designers have been pretty clear that differences between genders are a bad idea, so think twice about taking a known bad idea and making it more extreme.

It's pretty obvious that pregnancy has minimal effect until late in the process (for example, you can literally be the best tennis player in the world at 20 weeks in), and even within a few weeks of birth you'd need to be running a percentage system to be able to simulate the slight drop in effectiveness -- a d20 system can't easily handle those minor differences. So why bother producing an overly-penalizing model of maybe 6 weeks in the life of one character? Even for die-hard simulationists who have a group happy to have realistic gender and age penalties, it's a pretty pointless exercise.

So, if it's against the game design, hard to implement accurately, and applies to a tiny slice of time only ... it seems an excellent candidate to ignore.
It was specified a long time back so it would be understandable if you didnt know, but my group basically throws the "everyone is the same and equal" thing right into the incinerator. We know its not in the rules but we wrote rules to account for the differences. And we follow those rules as if tsr or wotc had written them. We dont really care about inclusivity. We know why its not present in the rules. We just play that way and its fine if not everyone does. So long as they dont force their politics on others. Its more fun for some people.

Plus the MAJOR difficulties of late stage pregnancy (at least the broad strokes) can actually be very easily accounted for in d&d. The model we use has been in use for years. I posted it earlier. Ill repost just so you can see how easy it is to to implement accurately. We play with a lot of doctors too. Its accurate enough to satisfy them. We arent a very politically correct group. We also dont go out of our way to be offensive. We just like verisimilitude.
 
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Always prone (disadvantage also applies to ranged attack ac whereas normally its an advantage)
Penalty to dex skills
Penalty to charisma skills (present or kot depending on percentile roll beginning of day)
Penalty to wisdom skills (like above paranthetical)
Penalty to will saves
Penalty to con saves
Penalty to initiative
Reduced movement speed
Reduced hustle
Reduced number of extra attacks per round
Modified fatigue rules

Some of this applies early some only applies late.
 
not a very long list seeing as you only need to make any of these adjustments twice. Once when they come into play and once when they stop being relevant.

Its also not at all commonly implemented because across all campaigning parties in my circle of rp'rs pc's being pregnant has happened a handful of times in a couple decades.

Ive said this before but ill just restate it here. This thread has made me decide ill probably intentionally play a pregnant pc sometime in the near future. Mostly because the challenge will be fun but also because it would be fun to figure creative ways to turn an advantage all the while working against the disadvantages.
 

Eltab

Adventurer
GrahamWills said:
It's pretty obvious that pregnancy has minimal effect until late in the process (for example, you can literally be the best tennis player in the world at 20 weeks in)
An adventurer woman might be in the best physical condition possible and so have the minimum difficulties with a pregnancy.

But in a realistic simulation you also get those women who have a difficult pregnancy. Bed Rest from 5 months is a big gap in your adventuring career.
 

Slit518

Explorer
Hi, my playgroup got new situation. One our party member is pregnant... So my question is - how usual is it in yours play, how did you deal with it.

we are playing DnD 5, and She is Wild Sorcerer, so she can't cast, because mutating is in game... especially in crit fails.
In 20 years of playing the game, we have had this situation happen once. It was with my first group, a character got the pixie pregnant. Unfortunately, I do not remember how we handled it at the time.
 

John Dallman

Explorer
Nearly all the D&D-family games I've played have been ones where players can have many PCs, and they can move between different DM's worlds. With that kind of structure, a PC taking time off to be pregnant isn't a problem. So quite a few PCs and NPC wives have had children, some of whom have grown up and become adventurers in their own right.

The most notable case was a plotline that one of the players had devised for her character, where bearing a child conceived in a particular place of power with the right father would be important. Arranging that was a scenario in its own right, although the parents got privacy and lack of details for the conception. The mother did some adventuring for the first 3-4 months of the pregnancy, then stayed home until she'd recovered. She was a reasonably significant noblewoman, so childcare was not a problem.

At the other end of the scale, a healer character of mine has been asked if he could terminate a pregnancy. Since the NPC in question had been rescued from the dungeons of an extremely evil temple, where she'd been subjected to the attentions of incubi, this seemed entirely reasonable.
 

the Jester

Legend
Side note on something that was said that has always been outlandish but was long supported due to horribly flawed research methodology has been corrected and the correction corroborated:
Women actually have a lower pain threshold and lower pain tolerance. Furthermore when experiencing the same pain causing injury women lose the ability to fight through it way faster. Also child birth isnt that bad. There are far more painful things a human can endure. Men deal with every single one of them better.
Cite, please.
 

the Jester

Legend
That said realstically it is absolutely mostly a handicap. As it should be. A big one. Bigger than missing a hand in most scenarios.
You do realize that people have survived pregnancies before we had civilization, right? And sometimes on their own- forced to provide for theirselves and their unborn child, gathering and maybe even hunting? That surviving without a roof over your head is difficult, yet pregnant women have done so for literally hundreds of thousands of years? Sure, many probably had a support network including non-pregnant humans, yet not all of them did. And yet, they still made it- still survived, still managed to feed themselves and their kid, and possibly other children as well.

Your list of penalties is extremely unrealistic except for maybe during labor. Sure, perhaps pregnant women can't keep up as well as they can when unhindered by a child. But the level of penalty your group(s) put on them is just ridiculous.

But, you know, if it works for your group, have fun with it.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
In response to the OP...
Only been a relevant issue in 1 Traveller campaign,
Bu it's been relevant in every pendragon campaign with female PC's I've ever run, and a background in every campaign, female PC's or not.
 

Galandris

Adventurer
An adventurer woman might be in the best physical condition possible and so have the minimum difficulties with a pregnancy.

But in a realistic simulation you also get those women who have a difficult pregnancy. Bed Rest from 5 months is a big gap in your adventuring career.
In a D&D campaign, the adventurer would realistically have ready access to a 1st level cure wounds spell, able to give back enough HP to bring back someone from near-death to full-health in the span of six seconds. The 2nd level "lesser restoration" should take care of any disease causing the difficult pregnancy.

The "born from a bag" makes me think that in a magic-rich world where you can design spells, there would be, for queens and adventuresses, Leomund's Remote Womb:

Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: A foetus within 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (a small doll)
Duration: up to 9 months

You touch the tummy of an expectant mother. a creature up to Large size. A safe extradimensional shelter is created to acccomodate the child-to-be. This extradimensional space that lasts until the spell ends.

The extradimensional space cannot be reached by common means. The space can hold as many as eight foetuses, provided they come from the same womb.

Attacks and spells can’t cross through the entrance into or out of the extradimensional space.

Anything inside the extradimensional space is properly and safely reattached to the mother when the spell ends.

The spell can be interrupted either at delivery or at the expectant mother's decision (using a bonus action) (so she can feel connected to the children during downtime).
 
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