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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Ageing in Wolf-packs and Winter Snow

So, I'm working (slowly) on a Wolfpacks adventure where one of the key themes is going to be ageing and de-ageing people. There may be creepy babies involved.
For this, I've been scribbling up some rules on very old and very young PCs. This is what I have so far:

Random Ages
When your character's age becomes relevant, if you already know it, then that's fine. If you said your PC was 22, they're still 22. Otherwise, roll up their age at random, using the following methods.

For child PCs (probably only members of the Orphan class in WP&WS), roll a d10 and add 5, to get a number between 6 and 15. That's how old you are.

For adult PCs (most other classes), you use a slightly more complex method. For this game, we're assuming that 'adult' starts much younger than it does in modern life. Historically, kids in their mid teens were often considered adults and expected to contribute as such. Your basic age starts out at 14. Roll a d4, and add that to your age (for a number between 15 and 28). Then roll a d6. If the result on the d6 was less than the d4, you don't add any more to your age - your age is just 14+d4. If the result on the d6 was equal to or more than the d4, add the d6's result to your age and keep going.
If you added the d6, do the same thing with a d8. Roll it, and then do nothing more if it was less than the d6, or add the number and keep going if it was equal or more. Then do this with a d10, and then a d12, and then a d20 for so long as you keep on rolling equal to or better.
This result gives Most PCs an age of about 16 to 25, and older characters become less and less likely. The maximum possible age is 74, but this is really rather unlikely.

For PCs that start out immortal at level one (none in the core book, but I'm already idly considering classes for the undead, and I don't know what homebrew you might be using. Hell, maybe you want your Morlocks to never age in order to make them even elfier or something), use the same method as for adult PCs. After the d20, you roll a d100, and then keep on rolling d100s until the roll was less than the previous.

The Effects of Age
Adults (aged between 16 and 50 for humans/Neanderthals/Morlocks) work just normally.
Children (aged between 6 and 15 for humans etc) are smaller than adults, which gives them +1 to their AC, and reduces their carrying capacity by 1. This is already included in the Orphan class.
Toddlers (aged between 1 and 5) are handled in one of two ways. Mundane toddlers are fucking useless. They have d6 flesh only, can't do much to be useful, can carry maybe five things without dropping them, and primarily get in your way. An adult de-aged to being a toddler is handled slightly differently. If their hit-dice was bigger than a d6, drop it by one size. (Re-roll your flesh and grit points, or just have one less flesh/grit point per dice if you're lazy). They get +2 to their AC, and reduce their carrying capacity by 2, because they're little. Their movement speed is halved.
Like toddlers, babies (less than a year old for humans) are handled in two ways. Mundane babies have d4 flesh, and can't do much beyond cry, poop, and feed. Adults de-aged to become babies get their hit dice reduced by two sizes, down to a minimum of a d4. (Re-roll hitpoints, or just lose 2 per dice, as before). They get +3 AC and reduce their carrying capacity by 3, because they'e so small. Movement is reduced to a tenth of normal.

You will notice that adults reduced to very young ages can often still fight and act much like they would as an adult. This is the creepy kids effect. Picture a six-month-old baby that produces a stone knife from somewhere in its swaddling wraps and proceeds to attack you like a rabid animal. It's just a baby, sure, but that knife is still a knife and it's fighting far harder than normal babies do. I mean, even if you win the fight, that makes you a baby-murderer. 

Humans (and morlocks and so on) have a maximum lifespan after which they promptly die of old age. De-ageing, new bodies and so on can get around this, but normal healing can't. Creeping up on old age is always a good reason to become a lich. Most humans have a maximum lifespan of 50, plus 2d12. You only need to roll this if you're about to get a load older, and risk dying as a result.
If you roll this, and its less than the age you were already, then the good news is that you were on the verge of keeling over as it was, and had maybe a few months before old age caught up with you. Lots of elderly magicians find knowing that they're going to kick the bucket focusses their minds wonderfully.
There aren't any penalties for being Really Old, unless you want to roleplay being cantankerous and having achy joints and missing the good ol' days. 

Some new spells!
Minor Senescence 
Rank: 1
Range: 5 feet per level
Duration: instantaneous
This spell ages the subject by d12 months. For every level the magician has over 1st, the victim ages another month. You may need to check how old you'll be when you die of old age, and if you're aged above that, you die. No saves are allowed, but Remove Curse undoes the effect.

Minor Neoteny 
Rank: 1
Range: 5 feet per level
Duration: instantaneous
This spell reduces the age of the subject by d12 months. For every level the magician has over 1st, the victim is de-aged another month. If you're de-aged to before the point of birth, you become a helpless foetus, and probably die in short order unless somebody has an artificial womb to pop you in. No saves are allowed, but Remove Curse undoes the effect.

Major Senescence and Major Neoteny are rank 3, and work just the same, but use years instead of months. Overwhelming Senescence and Overwhelming Neoteny are rank 5, and likewise use decades instead of months or years.

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