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ideasmith
2012-11-18, 11:37 PM
EFFECTS OF AGING, Revised

A character's ability scores do not change with age. Instead, the character gains background points and aging effects.

A young character gains background points per the table below. A middle aged character gains more background points and one aging effect. An old character gains more background points and two more aging effects. A decrepit character (see below) gains more background points and two more aging effects. These are gained upon reaching the specified age category, and chosen by the player.


Revised Aging Table

Kindred Background Points Per Age Category Decrepit Minimum Background Skill Retention
Human 4 95 30 days
Dwarf 20 455 150 days
Elf 25 555 185 days
Gnome 15 355 12 days0
Half Elf 9 185 60 days
Half Orc 3 75 25 days
Halfling 7 155 50 days




Other Kindreds
The age at which a character reaches decrepit is the age at which she reaches venerable, plus the average of the maximum age dice, rounded up to a multiple of five.
The background points per age category is the age at which the character reaches decrepit, rounded down. If the age at which the character reaches decrepit is over 200, round down to a muptiple of five.
(A character who just changed age group will have slightly fewer than 1 background point per four years. A character who lives long enough for this to become an issue has a slightly over 50% chance of dying before reaching decrepit.)
The minimum background skill retention is the age background skill points per age category, rounded to the nearest multiple of five, in days.

Timeless Body (Ex) [Revised for use with this variant]
A character with this class feature no longer takes aging effects for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such effects that she has already taken, however, remain in place. Background points still accrue, and the character still dies of old age when her time is up.



Background Points
Background points are used to purchase ranks in skills much as skill points. However, no more thanfour background points can be spent on one skill, the normal rank maximums apply, and the only skills background points can be spent on are Craft, Knowledge, Perform, and Profession. These skills always count as class skills when spending background points, whether or not they count as class skills when spending skill points.

Background Skill Deterioration

At intervals, (as determined by the minimum background skill retention), a character may 'unspend' one previously spend background point. The rank gained from the previous expenditure is lost, though it may be replaced in the future. The background point thus gained must be immediately spent on a different skill as above.


Aging Effect Descriptions
Each of the aging effects described here has a specific game effect. Some aging effects can only be taken by a character who meets a special requirement.

Feeble
You are unathletic and uncoordinated.
Effect
You take a -2 penalty on Strength-, Dexterity-, and Constitution-based ability checks and skill checks.

Frail
You are thin and weak of frame.
Effect
Subtract 1 from the number of hit points you gain at each level. This aging effect can reduce the number of hit points you gain to 0 (but not below).
Special
You must have a Constitution of 4 or higher to take this aging effect.

Inattentive
You are particularly unaware of your surroundings.
Effect
You take a -4 penalty on Listen checks and Spot checks.

Meager Fortitude
You are sickly and weak of stomach.
Effect
You take a -3 penalty on Fortitude saves.

Murky-Eyed
Your vision is obscured.
Effect
In combat, every time you attack an opponent that has concealment, roll your miss chance twice. If either or both results indicate that you miss, your attack fails.

Noncombatant
You are relatively inept at melee combat.
Effect
You take a -2 penalty on all melee attack rolls.

Pathetic
You are weaker in an attribute than you should be.
Effect
Reduce one of your ability scores by 2.
Special
You cannot take this aging effect if the total of your ability modifiers is 8 or higher.

Poor Reflexes
You often zig when you should have zagged.
Effect
You take a -3 penalty on Reflex saves.

Shaky
You are relatively poor at ranged combat.
Effect[/b]
You take a -2 penalty on all ranged attack rolls.

Slow
You move exceptionally slowly.
Effect
Your base land speed is halved (round down to the nearest 5-foot interval).
Special
You must have a base land speed of at least 20 feet to take this aging effect.

Unreactive
You are slow to react to danger.
Effect
You take a -6 penalty on initiative checks.

Vulnerable
You are not good at defending yourself.
Effect
You take a -1 penalty to Armor Class.

Weak Will
You are highly suggestible and easily duped.
Effect
You take a -3 penalty on Will saves.

CHANGE LOG

11/26/2012 Fixed error in first paragraph.

11/26/2012 Rounded decrepit (Thank you, tuggyne.)(I decided I could reverse it if it caused problems.)

11/26/2012 Added clarifications (Thank you, Ashtagon, tuggyne.)

12/16/2013 Added bolding to ease legibility.

12/16/2013 Added rules for skill deterioration

6/28/2015 Replaced tables, specified how background points interact with class skills.

Ashtagon
2012-11-19, 04:26 AM
Looks interesting. When do you pick up those ageing penalties? Do you roll for them, or are they considered Unearthed Arcana style flaws?

TuggyNE
2012-11-19, 06:57 AM
This seems cautiously intriguing, although I have two comments. The first is that the age of decrepitude is unpleasantly unrounded; for aesthetic value it'd be nicer to round to the nearest 5 or 10.

The second, and more significant, is that the scaling for racial background points is wonky. A decrepit elf will have no fewer than 25 (!) separate Craft/Knowledge/Perform/Profession skills fully invested with background points; after the 10 basic Knowledges, that still leaves an average of 5 different professions, 5 largely unrelated crafting skills, and 5 different areas of performing talent. Compare to a human's paltry 4 maxed skills: during the whole of their existence, they mastered a single profession, learned to play one type of instrument, can craft objects of a single field, and are trained in only one field of study?

This implies certain rather specific things about racial fluff that may not be true in all or even most settings, and even the basic tendencies are exaggerated in my opinion.

Alaris
2012-11-19, 11:59 PM
Umm... please come up with something a little more original for the Aging Effects? You stole all of those directly from the Unearthed Arcana Flaw list...

While some of them fit, I think you could do better in making a better list.

ideasmith
2012-11-20, 12:00 AM
Looks interesting. When do you pick up those ageing penalties?

Upon reaching the specified age category.


Do you roll for them,

No, they are chosen by the player.


or are they considered Unearthed Arcana style flaws?

No they are not. They are gained differently, they serve a different purpose, and characters absolutely do not get feats in exchange for them.


This seems cautiously intriguing, although I have two comments. The first is that the age of decrepitude is unpleasantly unrounded; for aesthetic value it'd be nicer to round to the nearest 5 or 10.

I find the chance of becoming decrepit before dying of old age aesthetic as it is. This change would make it arbitrarily variable, rather than always 50%.


The second, and more significant, is that the scaling for racial background points is wonky. A decrepit elf will have no fewer than 25 (!) separate Craft/Knowledge/Perform/Profession skills fully invested with background points; after the 10 basic Knowledges, that still leaves an average of 5 different professions, 5 largely unrelated crafting skills, and 5 different areas of performing talent. Compare to a human's paltry 4 maxed skills: during the whole of their existence, they mastered a single profession, learned to play one type of instrument, can craft objects of a single field, and are trained in only one field of study?

Both the elf and the human will also have gained levels during that time.


This implies certain rather specific things about racial fluff that may not be true in all or even most settings, and even the basic tendencies are exaggerated in my opinion.

I am not sure what implications you are referring to.


Umm... please come up with something a little more original for the Aging Effects? You stole all of those directly from the Unearthed Arcana Flaw list...

While some of them fit, I think you could do better in making a better list.

I like to keep my homebrew easy-to-learn, sometimes by incorporating likely already-known rules. Which aging affects do you feel don't fit?

TuggyNE
2012-11-20, 03:13 AM
I find the chance of becoming decrepit before dying of old age aesthetic as it is. This change would make it arbitrarily variable, rather than always 50%.

It's the needless precision of the listed averages my eye is jarred by, not the means of generating them as much.


Both the elf and the human will also have gained levels during that time.

Not necessarily. Characters can age without gaining levels, and level without aging markedly unless you imply some strong things about aging that are not found in the default rules or fluff.


I am not sure what implications you are referring to.

That humans are stick-in-the-muds who adapt to new circumstances or take up new careers only with great reluctance, dwarves dabble in all manner of things and shift from one field of study or work to another unrelated one, but don't necessarily take time to fully master them, and so on.

Since the usual rank caps are enforced anyway, I would suggest allowing a higher subcap on background points, or perhaps varying it per race. A dwarf should not have to hop around between 20 different skills to use up all their points, but should be able to specialize to some extent.

Finally, consider the effect of class skill points on this. A middle-aged Dwarf Expert 5 with 9 Int will have 10 class skills (or more if you allow Craft, Profession, and Perform to be selected as a whole), 48 skill points, and 40 background points, meaning that all 10 skills can be maxed. Extra Int, or an older character, increases the surfeit of skill points.

ideasmith
2012-11-21, 12:21 AM
It's the needless precision of the listed averages my eye is jarred by, not the means of generating them as much.

Since I rounded the background point gain off (from one background point per 4 years) because the results jarred my eyes, I will consider this. However, I think I had better see if I have to undo the background point rounding before adding another one.


Not necessarily. Characters can age without gaining levels, and level without aging markedly unless you imply some strong things about aging that are not found in the default rules or fluff.

I apologize for the beside the point reply. I didn't - and still don't - see your point.

Okay, ignore levels. A 552-year-old, having been gaining background points for about six times as long as a 91-year-old, has about six times as many background points, and can therefore max out in about six times as many backgroun skills. Where is the "wonky"?


That humans are stick-in-the-muds who adapt to new circumstances or take up new careers only with great reluctance, dwarves dabble in all manner of things and shift from one field of study or work to another unrelated one, but don't necessarily take time to fully master them, and so on.

Humans gain background points at a marginally faster rate than dwarves do, due to rounding. But wouldn't the kindred that gained points faster be seen as dabbling in all manner of things and the slower seen as stick-in-the-muds? I don't see why you are assuming the other way around.


Since the usual rank caps are enforced anyway, I would suggest allowing a higher subcap on background points, or perhaps varying it per race. A dwarf should not have to hop around between 20 different skills to use up all their points, but should be able to specialize to some extent.

That would mess up prestige class prerequisites, which are built on assumptions about skill availability.


Finally, consider the effect of class skill points on this. A middle-aged Dwarf Expert 5 with 9 Int will have 10 class skills (or more if you allow Craft, Profession, and Perform to be selected as a whole), 48 skill points, and 40 background points, meaning that all 10 skills can be maxed. Extra Int, or an older character, increases the surfeit of skill points.

Since the expert needn't have background skills as class skills, and both skill points and background points can be spent on cross-class skills, I am not sure why this might be a problem.

ideasmith
2012-11-26, 06:23 PM
Variant revised.

ideasmith
2013-12-16, 07:44 PM
Variant revised. See post #1.