Warfox Age Categories

House Rule for Age Categories

Hello there! I’m Warfox, and I have to say I’ve never been satisfied with how age categories have been done in the editions of D&D I played(3.0, 3.5, 4), nor Pathfinder 1e. No doubt I can understand the idea that the body can become infirm while the mind becomes sharper. Realistically though, unless you had a totally odd-number stat line there was never a particular reason to take an age category at character creation. Taking an age category during gameplay due to timeskips feels even worse, because you often don’t plan for them, and the DM could theoretically spring one on you at a moment’s notice and ruin your character.

With this house rule the idea is that most of the time people don’t get to choose how their body will become infirm as they age, and there are many reasons for their afflictions. A bad limb could be a result of a poorly healed injury, a disease, arthritis, malnutrition in youth, or any number of factors. As such, any entry on the following tables should be considered up for interpretation. If someone has a bad heart, the player can determine why that is on their own and incorporate it into his/her character story. Rolling the same penalty more than once for different age categories stacks.

Age Category Ailments

Roll once per age category, or use the original rules.
1.Bad Back: -2 Reflex Saves and -2str to carrying capacity.
2.Bad Heart: -2 Fort Saves and -2 to saves vs Fear Effects.
3.Obesity: -1 Will & Reflex Saves. Also -1 penalty to Armor Check.
4.Hypertension: -2 Constitution and -2 Diplomacy.
5.Bad Leg: -5ft Movement Speed and -2 Acrobatics & Swim.
6.Bad Arm: -1 Melee Attack & Damage and -2 Climb Checks.
7.Frailty: -1 HP per level and -2 Intimidate.

8.Sickly: -2 on saves vs Disease & Poison.

9.Hard of Hearing: -5 to sound based Perception Checks.

10.Bad Vision: -3 to vision based Perception Checks and -1 ranged attack rolls.

11.Tremors: -1 to Dexterity based skills and -2 to Dexterity.

12.Shriveled: -1 to Strength based skills and -2 to Strength.

With the penalties come the bonuses though, and this I feel should not be random. For the most part a person can choose how they grow as they age. So for the bonuses chart, rather than being a random die roll, you simply get to choose one of the bonuses. It seems a proper way to honor the spirit of the original system, while also giving it a lot more flavor and going with the Pathfinder tradition of allowing you to tune your character in all decisions, even negative ones.

Age Category Bonuses

Pick one per age category. Must qualify for any feats taken.

1.Refined: +1 Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma
2.Studied: +2 Intelligence

3.Wise: +2 Wisdom
4.Graceful: +2 Charisma
5.Practiced: Gain 1 Skill Focus Feat
6.Team Player: Gain 1 Teamwork Feat

7.Trained: Gain 1 Style Feat

I’m of course open to new additions to either set, as well as changes. I did my best to make them thematic to the ailments, punishing but not overly so. I did not try to make all the ailments equal to each other in severity intentionally, because not everyone has as hard a time aging as others do. I think if I expanded the chart to 20 items, I might even have 1 or two of the possibility of no penalty at all.

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