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Old 01-14-2013, 12:27 AM   #11
Peter Knutsen
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Europe
Default Re: Better Aging Rules

Originally Posted by JCurwen3 View Post
The Oldness Point sounds like a pretty good idea. I believe this was inspired by Ars Magica's Decrepitude Points, no? It definitely has a usefulness when it comes to differing lifepans between races. It also sort of provides a "damage currency" for aging, akin to rads for radiation, and HP for most everything else. I like it.
I'm not sure if the OP concept itself was inspired by Ars Magica. Other aspects of the aging system (sketchy as it is, presently) certainly were, but not necessarily OP.

Originally, OPs accumulated at slightly different speeds for Humans, depending on living conditions. That part was inspired by Ars Magica living condition modifiers. But in Sagatafl living condition modifiers would instead change the OP interval, so that from a norm of 3 Years/OP it might change to 2.5 or 3.5 Years, or even to 2 Years or 4 Years. But long ago I decided to drop that and go with a constant 3 Years.

Also, yes it is very nice as a "damage currency". For some kinds of magical attacks, e.g. if the attack-touch of a Wraith causes aging, as well as for severe spellcasting or Enchanting Fumbles. In a humano-centric setting, you can achieve much the same simply by using years-of-aging as its own damage currency. In a way that would fit with GURPS, where in 4th Edition much of the reason for the high cost of the various aging-resistant Advantages is that they confer resistance or even immunity to rapidly induced aging.

That becomes a wrong dynamic if you want to have rapid aging as one of several possible consequences of a magic use Fumble, though. Then you need it to suck as bad as Elves as for Humans, at least if Fear-of-Fumbles is intended to be an in-world brake on magic usage, as it is in Sagatafl/rÄth.

As for Decreptitude Points, I might well end up using something similar to that in Sagatafl. I haven't decided yet. The Aging rules aren't a high priority, actually.

Originally Posted by JCurwen3 View Post
GURPS doesn't do that, but instead makes aging rolls more frequent once certain aging thresholds (50 years, 70, then 90) are reached. Which is another problem with GURPS aging I have... people do age before 50. Even age in ways that are granular and noticeable enough for GURPS's resolution.
Sagatafl does both. Intervals become shorter, and an RD penalty starts to accumulate.

As for when Aging Rolls start, I'm not yet sure, but I'll definitely go for something closer to Ars Magica than to GURPS. In both 4th and 5th Edition Ars Magica, Aging Rolls start at the age of 35.

Originally, Sagatafl's OP would accumulate from birth. That made sense when combined with the variable interval, e.g. 1 OP per 2.5 Years for poor living conditions. but with that gone, it would make more sense to have OP start accumulating at age 36. Or maybe even at age 30, but with an RD bonus for the first 3 or 4 rolls, so it's not until age 39 or 42 that you make unmodified rolls.

TL (or TeL in Sagatafl) can delay the onset of aging, or it can be based on a combination of access to modern medicine (again TeL-dependent, although some kinds of magic might enable medicine to function as better-than-world-TL - as I've pointed out elsewhere, that would work well in GURPS) a and quality-of-lifestyle. The poorest Westerners still live fairly good lives, compared to the average medieval nobleman or -woman, after all.

Originally Posted by JCurwen3 View Post
Again this is where I like Ars Magica's treatment, as it starts aging rolls around when humans really start aging decline, from the mid-20s to early 30s; you also get to keep track of fractional loss of attributes, which sounds like a pain and has no in-game significance until you lose a full point due to more aging but gives a nice feeling of "I'm not what I used to be" that can be roleplayed, and also keeps track of how aging is affecting your appearance (it can do so less for some more than others).
I don't think keeping track of points towards attribute loss is a huge problem. GURPS is also less coarse-grained than Ars Magica which again is very slightly less coarsegrained than Sagatafl. So you'll have less of it.

And aging only really becomes relevant in a campaign that spans a lot of in-world time. Such campaigns are rare, and players signing up for such campaigns can be expected to tolerate a bit more book-keeping, especially of mechanics that only come up once a year or so, such as Aging Rolls.

One possibility is to make decline-rolls for attributes affected by aging, so that you make a roll and if it is lower than the value of the attribute, the attribute declines. That serves to affect very high attributes faster and earlier. But it happens to be contrary to everything I know about how intelligence works, and I like being able to simulate geniuses. So the opposite kind of roll, where if you roll lower than the attribute, it doesn't decline, might work better.

Originally Posted by JCurwen3 View Post
It also introduces modifiers that help or hurt your aging roll for a given period. Things like healthy living which should realistically provide a bonus, and poverty providing a penalty. A decent set of modifiers that included penalties for unhealthy things like abusing drugs and alcohol, having certain diseases, etc, and bonuses for eating right (maybe you spend a bit more cash on the healthier options), being the guy at the bar that doesn't get blitzed each time, etc would go a long way to making even GURPS's system more realistic feeling.
Sure, but it can become overly detailed.

One thing I decided long ago was that I didn't want the use of lead water piped to have any effect on Aging Rolls, or indeed on anything else, because that would simply provoke players into metagamey anaochronistic thinking, and I don't want to do that. So I think it's better just to have a general modifier for Lifestyle rating.

Do note, though, that Ars Magica takes the peculiar point of view that medieval "science" was right. So Mythic Europe doesn't have bacteria or viruses, and lead isn't toxic. Sagatafl instead takes the realistic approach of science-is-correct, which is also what GURPS, at least most of GURPS, takes.

Originally Posted by JCurwen3 View Post
I like this idea. In your system, does that derived stat slowly go down as that Con score drops? In either case, the normalization you suggest would go a long way to making aging more realistic for characters with high HT that don't have Longevity, and might make that advantage actually feel more useful to players.
I'm not sure yet, but I'd be disinclined to have the Resist Aging stat drop with aging, because there is already the effect of aging intervals shortening, and an accumulated RD penalty after a certain number of Aging Rolls.

Furthermore, there's some esoteric system design reason why in Sagatafl a permanent penalty to Constitution doesn't necessarily also result in a permanent penalty to stats derived from Con, but I won't go into that here.
Peter Knutsen is offline   Reply With Quote

ageing, aging, house rules, houserules

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