Age Categories

The giant is attacking. When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.

As soon as Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” And the king said, “Inquire whose son the boy is.” And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

New Age Categories

The concept of the child hero is one that is as old as storytelling itself. Yet a surprisingly few number of roleplaying games provide actual rules for playing as young characters; instead suggesting that a player, “fluff a Small-sized race as a child” or “treat the child as an adult, mechanically.” While these suggestions are all well and good, they all but defy the already in-place system for aging in both 3.5 and Pathfinder; age categories.

This section provides homebrewed rules for four new age categories, allowing characters from all phases in life to exist. While only two of these categories are considered to be character-worthy, the youngest of age groups exist in the rules so that deadly, age-altering magic can exist within the game, causing an unfortunate character to suffer a relapse of their childhood if a break enchantment scroll is not nearby.

It is important to note, however, these these rules only apply to creatures of the humanoid, monstrous humanoid, and native outsider styles; as a general rule of thumb, any creature that naturally ages in a manner similar to humans. Some creatures, such as most types of dragons, possess their own, unique monster entries for each age category they possess. Other creatures, such as many types of outsiders, do not ‘age’ as mortals know it; rather, as they increase in power, they mutate into a more powerful celestial, fiend, or other similar creature. Finally, some of the more bizarre creatures do not even age at all, such as aberrations, constructs, and undead.

When dealing with non-humanoid creatures that do not possess their own statistics for a given age category, a player (or a GM’s) best bet is to simply apply the Young template or the Advanced template, based on their desired result. This works exceptionally well for creatures of the animal, magical beast, and plant creature types, as well as some types of dragons.

Category Descriptions

Below are the descriptions for each new age category:

Youth: Despite being both physically and mentally less mature then their adult counterparts, humanoids in youth are often very driven and passionate people, and many wish to embark on adventures and quests in their young age. Although few are actually able to cope with the strains adventuring places on one’s body and mind, there are tales of exceptional youths that surpass all odds in fighting for their personal causes. At their worst, youths and reckless and impulsive, lacking the worldly wisdom and experience one gains in adulthood and beyond. Youth is one age category younger than adult, and youths are often referred as younglings, adolescents, and teenagers.

Child: Even more immature then youths, children are just reaching the point where they are autonomous enough to make their own decisions in life. Many dream of the life of adventurers, and while many blindly claim to be ready to tackle the world on their own, most children need the safety and stability of their childhood homes to continue to grow and thrive. In some rare cases, children are forced to mature quickly and embark on adventures, usually with the safety of loved ones at stake. Children rarely adventure alone, often banding with adults that are able to provide a sense of safety and stability to the child. Child is two age categories younger than adult (one category younger than youth), and children are also referred to as younglings and kids.

Toddler: Only slightly more locomotive then an infant, a toddler has some sense of individuality and consciousness. However, they are often clumsy, their age category being named after their tendency to toddle around as their muscles begin to develop. Toddlers are too young to participate in combat of any kind, as they are still completely dependent on their caregivers to meet their basic needs. In some cases, toddlers will be spared the wrath of a villain, growing up with vengeance in their hearts against the person who wronged them. Toddler is three age categories younger than adult (one category younger than child and two categories younger than youth), and toddlers are also referred to as younglings and babies.

Infant: The youngest of all humanoids are infants, lacking all but the most primitive of thoughts and motor abilities. Their bodies are completely undeveloped, and they are completely dependent on their caregivers to meet their needs. Infant is four age categories younger than adult (one category younger than toddler, two categories younger than child, and three categories younger than youth), and infants are also referred to as babies.

Generating Young Characters

While having ability scores and penalties is nice, there comes the problem of actually generating young characters. This section of the rules will aid players in generating and naturally aging younger characters, whether they are cohorts of their own flesh and blood.

Infant: An infant is by far the easiest young character to generate. All infants begin with a 1 in each ability score. The infant does not gain any dice rolls to determine their ability scores if you are rolling for your ability scores, nor do they get any points to spend in a point-buy system if you are generating your ability scores in that manner. An infant does, however, apply its racial modifiers to ability scores. An infant is two size categories smaller than its adult form (Creatures that are Medium-sized as adults are Diminutive-sized as infants, creatures that are Small-sized as adults are Fine-sized as infants, and creatures that are Large-sized are Tiny-sized as infants). An newly-generated infant cannot use skills, cannot understand any languages, and can move at a speed equal to half of its reach, as appropriate for its size; most infants cannot move a single 5-foot square with a full-round action.

Toddler: Toddlers are perhaps the most challenging age category to generate, though the rules supplied here apply whether you are aging an infant into a toddler or if you are generating a new toddler character. If you are using a random rolling system to determine the toddler’s ability scores, roll 4d6 for each ability score as usual, dropping the lowest result. Next, record each of the three results in a safe place where you will not lose them; on the toddler’s character sheet works best. The lowest result of the three rolled for each ability score is used as the toddler’s base score. Apply the toddler’s racial modifiers, if any, to these newly generated ability scores.

If you are generating the toddler’s ability scores using a point-buy system, however, generate the toddler’s ability scores normally, as if they were an adult, using the normal rules provided by the point-buy system. Then, apply the toddler’s racial bonuses to their ability scores. Finally, after applying their racial bonuses, apply a -10 penalty to each ability score (minimum 2), representing the underdeveloped nature of a toddler.

While larger than infants, toddlers are still significantly smaller than their adult counterparts. A toddler is two size categories smaller than it’s adult form (creatures that are Medium-sized as adults are Tiny-sized as toddlers, creatures that are Small-sized as adults are Diminutive as toddlers, and creatures that are Large-sized as adults are Small-sized as toddlers). Toddlers are only just grasping the world around them, and as such they have access to only a small number of skills. Newly generated toddlers can only speak the default language for their race; they may only select one language, and the toddler’s racial or regional language (such as elven) is always selected before Common or other languages. Toddlers do not possess skill ranks, and they cannot make skill checks with skills that list Intelligence as their key ability score. As a full-round action, a toddler can move a number of feet equal to their reach, as appropriate for their size category.

Child: Children are significantly more developed than toddlers, and often reach this heightened state of maturity in several short years. Children are relatively easy to generate or update from childhood. When generating a child creature, generate the child as you would an adult, then apply the aging bonuses and penalties appropriate for the child category (+3 Dexterity, +3 Charisma, -3 Strength, -3 Dexterity).

When aging a child up from toddlerhood, if the child’s ability scores were generated via random rolling, reference the document where you recorded your 3d6 results for each ability score and add one of the two remaining die results to each ability score. If your ability scores were generated with the point-buy system, remove the -10 penalty to your ability scores. After updating your ability scores, apply the aging bonuses and penalties appropriate for the child category (+3 Dexterity, +3 Charisma, -3 Strength, -3 Constitution).

Children are smaller than their adult counterparts. A child creature is one size category smaller than its adult form (a creature that is Medium-sized as an adult is Small-sized as a child, a creature that is Small-sized as an adult is Tiny-sized as a child, and a creature that is Large-sized as an adult is Medium-sized as a child). Despite their smaller size, children are significantly more advanced than toddlers. A child character is able to read and write in all of their automatic languages and most of their bonus languages, as appropriate. A child character has skill ranks and gains a level in a single base class (most NPCs gain levels in Commoner, though extraordinary children may find themselves blossoming with Sorcerer’s blood or taken in as a squire). Children are not restricted in what skills they can invest their skill points into and their movement speed is equal to their adult form’s speed.

Youth: Also called adolescents and young adults, youths have all but completely grown into their adult forms. Youths differ very little from adults in terms of generating them, and updating a child into a youth is a simple process. If the youth’s ability scores were generated via random rolling, add the final, unused d6 to each of their ability scores. If the youth’s ability scores were generated through point-buy or the character is being generated as a Youth, replace the child category’s aging bonuses and penalties for the Youth’s aging bonuses and penalties (+1 Dexterity, +1 Charisma, -1 Strength, -1 Constitution). In all other ways, a youth is identical to an adult of its creature type; it is the same size category, can gain class levels like an adult can, and can purchase skill ranks in any skills. Like children, most youths gain levels in Commoner, with only the most exceptional Youths moving on to bigger and better things.

Table: Age Category Ability Modifiers
Age Category Total Bonus Total Penalty
Infant See Text See Text
Toddler See Text See Text
Child +3 Dexterity, +3 Charisma -3 Strength, -3 Constitution
Youth +1 Dexterity, +1 Charisma -1 Strength, -1 Constitution
Adult No bonuses No penalties
Middle Age +1 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom, +1 Charisma -1 Strength, -1 Dexterity, -1 Constitution
Old +3 Intelligence, +3 Wisdom, +3 Charisma -3 Strength, -3 Dexterity, -3 Constitution
Venerable +6 Intelligence, +6 Wisdom, +6 Charisma -6 Strength, -6 Dexterity, -6 Constitution

Returning to the Greener Side of Puberty

While immunity to aging effects via the ageless and timeless abilities have always existed in Pathfinder, there are only a seldom few actual aging effects in the game that makes those defenses worthwhile to have. A series of spells in the Revolution of Sigmar homebrew material section change this, but it does leave the ultimate question unanswered; how does my character change as he is subjected to effects that reduce his age?

Only a scant few aging effects actually reduce or increase a creature’s age by a set number of years; instead, most effects function by increasing or decreasing the character’s age category. Moving a creature from venerable to youth is relatively easy; adjusting the aging bonuses and penalties and penalties of one category to the next is relatively painless, and while attitudes and outlooks may change, very little changes mechanically from age category to age category when one jumps between venerable and youth. However, characters change in additional ways when moving around the extremely young areas. In order to properly assess the changes in age at this level, one must look at the two types of age changing:

Physical progression or regression refers to the subject’s body aging or regressing, their mental facilities remaining at their true age. If a creature is physically regressed, they trade the ability bonuses and penalties to physical scores (Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution) for the physical bonuses and penalties of their new age category. For example, a youth that is physically regressed into an infant has their Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution reduced to 1 + their racial modifiers, but has their mental ability scores left unchanged. Extremely young characters may find that their speed and size category decreases dramatically as they quickly muscle mass, their skeletons shrink in size, and they lose their ability to coordinate their movement.

Mental progression or regression refers to the subject’s mind aging or regressing, their physical body remaining at their true age. If a creature is mentally regressed, they trade the ability bonuses and penalties to mental scores (Intelligent, Wisdom, and Constitution) for the mental bonuses and penalties of their new age category. For example, a toddler that is mentally progressed into middle age determines their mental ability scores normally and applies the middle age’s aging bonuses to Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, but has their physical ability scores left unchanged. Extremely young characters may find that they loose access to mental abilities, such as reading, writing, and the ability to understand languages and benefit from skill ranks as they lose their cognition.

Physical Progression and Regression

The modifications a character suffers from having its physical aged changed are as follows:

  • At Venerable, the creature ’s aging bonuses and penalties to physical ability scores are replaced with the following aging penalties: -6 Strength, -6 Constitution, -6 Dexterity.
  • At Old, the creature’s aging bonuses and penalties to physical ability scores are replaced with the following aging penalties: -3 Strength, -3 Constitution, -3 Dexterity.
  • At Middle Age, the creature’s aging bonuses to physical ability scores are replaced with the following aging penalties: -1 Strength, -1 Constitution, -1 Dexterity.
  • At Adult, the creature loses all aging bonuses and penalties.
  • At Youth, the creature’s aging bonuses and penalties to physical ability scores are replaced with the following aging bonuses and penalties: +1 Dexterity, -1 Strength, -1 Constitution.
  • At Child, the creature’s size category becomes its adult size category reduced by 1 and the creature’s aging bonuses and penalties to physical ability scores are replaced with the following aging bonuses and penalties: +3 Dexterity, -3 Strength, -3 Constitution.
  • At Toddler, the creature’s size category becomes its adult size category reduced by 2, its movement speed becomes equal to half of its natural reach, moving becomes a full-round action, and the creature’s aging bonuses and penalties to physical ability scores are replaced with the following aging penalties: -10 Strength, -10 Dexterity, -10 Constitution.
  • At Infant, the creature’s size category becomes its adult size category reduced by 3, it cannot move naturally on its own, cannot make skill checks using physical ability scores, and its physical ability scores become equal to 1 + their racial ability modifier.

Mental Progression and Regression
The modifications a character suffers from having its mental aged changed are as follows. Note that while not mechanically addressed, a character that has mentally aged or regressed will often act in accordance to their new age; adults mentally transformed into children become hyperactive and easily bored, for example.

  • At Venerable, the creature’s bonuses and penalties to mental ability scores are replaced with the following aging bonuses: +6 Intelligence, +6 Wisdom, +6 Charisma.
  • At Old*, the creature’s bonuses and penalties to mental ability scores are replaced with the following aging bonuses: +3 Intelligence, +3 Wisdom, +3 Charisma.
  • At Middle Age*, the creature’s bonuses and penalties to mental ability scores are replaced with the following aging bonuses: +1 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom, +1 Charisma
  • At Adult, the creature loses all aging bonuses and penalties.
  • At Youth*, the creature’s bonuses and penalties to mental ability scores are replaced with the following aging bonuses and penalties: +1 Charisma.
  • At Child, the creature’s bonuses and penalties to mental ability scores are replaced with the following aging bonuses and penalties: +3 Charisma.
  • At Toddler, the creature can no longer read or write, and they can only understand their automatic languages. Furthermore, the creature cannot make skill checks that list Intelligence as their key-ability score. Finally, the creature’s bonuses and penalties to mental ability scores are replaced with the following aging bonuses and penalties: -10 Intelligence, -10 Wisdom, -10 Charisma.
  • At Infant, the creature becomes infantile in line, losing its ability to speak, understand, and write in any languages. The infant cannot make skill checks of any kind, and the creature’s mental ability scores become equal to 1 + the creature’s racial modifiers.

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Age Categories

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