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Starting PC age? [poll]

Have you played new PCs at an older age? (in human terms)

  • Almost never. My PCs are almost always young adult (17-20ish)

    Votes: 21 31.8%
  • Once or twice, at middle age

    Votes: 10 15.2%
  • Once or twice, at older age (50+)

    Votes: 8 12.1%
  • Fairly often, at middle age

    Votes: 17 25.8%
  • Fairly often, at older age (50+)

    Votes: 3 4.5%
  • Special lemonade, I'll explain

    Votes: 7 10.6%

  • Total voters
    66

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Every once in a while I look at my mini collection, and notice how a lot of my minis are of older people (mostly wizards). And every time I think, "Are those just for NPCs, because almost everyone I see and know has PCs that are young."

Only twice in 35 years did I play a PC who was older at level 1. So I'm curious. Have you played PCs that were older when starting a new campaign? I'm not gonna ask "what age do you typically start at" because I already know the answer to that. Rather, I want to find out how many people have played older PCs from the start at least a few times.
 

Istbor

Explorer
I often use my own age.
I am however neither middle aged, or 17-20ish. So... I guess that top one works for me?

It is interesting to think about though. I could totally make some interesting characters that are older. Maybe I will think on it.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I often use my own age.
I am however neither middle aged, or 17-20ish. So... I guess that top one works for me?

It is interesting to think about though. I could totally make some interesting characters that are older. Maybe I will think on it.
That begs another question that I should have asked in the poll: "My own age". When I was 20, I thought people in their 40s were breaking down lol. Now I'm in my 40s, and while I have more aches and pains than in my 20s, I still feel pretty fit, so I wonder if people tend to create PCs that reflect their own age
 

mortwatcher

Explorer
I usually start them at the young age to easier explain the lack of skill they have. it would feel strange to me playing a 50+ year old wizard that only knows few cantrips and first level spells, what was he doing all this time? Then again, I am playing dwarf cleric that is 125, but that is still youngish for dwarf standards.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I usually start them at the young age to easier explain the lack of skill they have. it would feel strange to me playing a 50+ year old wizard that only knows few cantrips and first level spells, what was he doing all this time? Then again, I am playing dwarf cleric that is 125, but that is still youngish for dwarf standards.
People's interests change all the time. I'm 45 and I just started woodworking in earnest. So maybe he was a city librarian, or sage, or town "wise man" or something who finally decided to learn magic
 

Draegn

Explorer
For me it depends on the game and genre. Mostly characters are university age. If older there has to be a reason for them to stop what they were doing to then go adventuring. In the game I run, I have my players start at age five and then choose backgrounds that age them to a minimum of between 15 and 25 years of age. Few go past that.
 

TallIan

Explorer
That begs another question that I should have asked in the poll: "My own age". When I was 20, I thought people in their 40s were breaking down lol. Now I'm in my 40s, and while I have more aches and pains than in my 20s, I still feel pretty fit, so I wonder if people tend to create PCs that reflect their own age
It would be an interesting question. I tended to use my own age until my later mid twenties, then my PC started getting younger again until they stabilised around 21. I also stopped actually caring about an actual number and just had a ballpark figure in my head.

Now, unless there is a particular reason for not being late teens to early twenties, I tend to just assume my PC's are twenty something.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
While my PCs are young adults more often than not, I do play characters of a variety of ages. I suppose I’d count that as “once or twice” each for adult, middle-aged, and 50+, which adds up to playing characters who are older than young-adult “fairly often.”
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
It's kinda funny how we have most of our PCs at younger ages (even at higher levels) when we have many examples of older fantasy heroes, and not just wizards

Gandalf
Most of the dwarves were middle aged or older in the Hobbit, including Gimli (139 with a lifespan of 200 years for dwarves)
Boramir (41)
The Hound (GoT) 42 (and several other GoT characters)
Remus Lupin (38)
Adoulla Mahkslood (60)
Fflewddr fflam (50s?)
Conan the Barbarian
Thom Merrilin (50s-60s)
Harry Dresden (39 and still active)
Barak (middle aged at least)
And I'm sure many more I'm not remembering off the top of my head
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
That brings another interesting observation; a bit of a contradiction in the D&D world. When you look at D&D high level NPCs, most are middle aged or older. However, with how adventures are designed, you can get to level 15+ in less than a year by doing a single campaign. Most high level PCs are probably still young adults, while the NPCs are much older (especially humans). An interesting observation on how the mechanics of D&D don't really support the lore of D&D. No reason an NPC wouldn't get to high level as fast as a PC, so there should be a lot more young high level NPCs floating around.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
My (recent: 2006-present) characters have been all over the place.
3.5 Bard - ageless. He could appear as he pleased, so generally a 30ish human.

3.5 Wizard - human, based on the mini about 50-60. Then he became a ghost.... As a ghost he'd occasionally possess his 20-something aprentice.

PF Bard/Wizard - human. Early 20s.

4e dwarf & then Eladran - ages never specified. Cause you know, all dwarves/elf types always look the same age wise as far as art goes. So whatever age you think that is.

1e Paladin - early 20s
1e deep gnome fighter/assassin - middle aged. Though the only other person who knew that was the DM. The other characters had no xp with deep gnomes so couldn't tell. They knew he wasn't "a kid".
1e human cleric - venerable. (80+)

5e 1/2ling Druid - middle aged.
5e Warforged - NA
5e 1/2elf Ranger - mid 20s

PF Sorcerer - he was an awakened Parrot so ???
PF Tiefling Wizard - early 20s
PF Human Chevelier - early - mid 30s

5e 1/2ling Warlock - started as a 9 year old, is now 10.5
5e 1/2ling barbarian - started at 18, now 19.5
5e human fighter (eldritch knight/warlock) - 40 something (47 to be exact)
5e human? Wizard - he was described as looking about 40ish.

And then there's been plenty of characters that don't matter. Short campaigns, one shots, so short lived.... Those characters that almost don't warrant names, let alone knowing how old they are.
 
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bedir than

Registered User
That brings another interesting observation; a bit of a contradiction in the D&D world. When you look at D&D high level NPCs, most are middle aged or older. However, with how adventures are designed, you can get to level 15+ in less than a year by doing a single campaign. Most high level PCs are probably still young adults, while the NPCs are much older (especially humans). An interesting observation on how the mechanics of D&D don't really support the lore of D&D. No reason an NPC wouldn't get to high level as fast as a PC, so there should be a lot more young high level NPCs floating around.

I think that level 15 in less than a year is often because we don't really not the passage of travel time and down time in a reasonable manner. Often in the modern game it's just a cut-scene, with no time passing at all.
 

akr71

Explorer
Hmm, given that the categories jump from 17-20 to middle aged, I voted middle aged. When I was in my 20's and early 30's I would not have considered myself middle aged. :heh:

My characters are usually in the late 20's to early 30's but my current dwarven monk is in his 50's and I'm having great fun with him. Probably cuz I'm pushing closer to 50 and more active now than I was in my 20's. I just don't bounce back as quickly when I over do it now.
 
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aco175

Explorer
They way campaigns are set up now it takes a go, go all the time pace. If you want to have a brand new 1st level PC as a wide-eyed kid setting off on an adventure, you find him a year later as a seasoned adventurer. Some campaigns have big gaps between adventures where 5 years pass or such. We had one where we gained several at first, but settled down with forts and towers at mid-levels. The next adventure was 5 years later and the next after that. It was cool to develop the town around the tower and its growth every 5-10 years until the mage was old and 15th level. It made the transition to the next campaign easier since the apprentice was now ready to adventure.

My brother was planning to play a PC with a new background called retired adventurer or something close. It is an older person who was an adventurer in his younger days and then became something else, but now needs to return for some reason. As he gains levels he is mostly remembering what he used to know. I do not remember what other benefits it had.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
Back when I played Traveller, where characters almost always start 30+, we'd always hesitate about doing another term, going from 38 to 42. "Who'd want to play an old man, so physically limited?" we would ask.

Ha ha ha. I laugh at former me.

**

Yes, I play middle-age and older D&D characters too.
 

TallIan

Explorer
It's kinda funny how we have most of our PCs at younger ages (even at higher levels) when we have many examples of older fantasy heroes, and not just wizards
Actually, that tends to be what prompts me to play older PCs.

Come to think of it I think of my PC ageing with level, even if the game time doesn’t line up. E.g. at level 1 I think of him as 19 by level 5 I think of him at 25, even though perhaps a month has passed.
 

Bacon Bits

Explorer
It's kinda funny how we have most of our PCs at younger ages (even at higher levels) when we have many examples of older fantasy heroes, and not just wizards

Gandalf
Most of the dwarves were middle aged or older in the Hobbit, including Gimli (139 with a lifespan of 200 years for dwarves)
Boramir (41)
The Hound (GoT) 42 (and several other GoT characters)
Remus Lupin (38)
Adoulla Mahkslood (60)
Fflewddr fflam (50s?)
Conan the Barbarian
Thom Merrilin (50s-60s)
Harry Dresden (39 and still active)
Barak (middle aged at least)
And I'm sure many more I'm not remembering off the top of my head
Nearly all of these characters had adventures before they join the story. None of them are level 1 at the time the story begins.

Conan the Barbarian is maybe different, but he gets a training montage that puts Rocky IV to shame. He's a boy of 10-12, and captured by slavers. They take him to the Wheel of Pain and chain him to it, where he toils for the next decade. Then he's thrown into a fighting pit. After that he's shown participating in countless battles and becoming the most prized pit fighter known across several regions. By the time his master frees him and the story moves out of the introduction, he's probably level 5.

In my experience, the majority of D&D campaigns begin at level 1.
 

MarkB

Adventurer
Most of my characters tend to be somewhere in their 30s (which is still younger than me) and I've played older characters.

Back when I played Lord of the Rings Online, my favourite character was a little old grey-haired hobbit lady called Nono Underbog, who'd been the matriarch of her little tribe until they were all wiped out by dwarven brigands. She was great fun to play.
 

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