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Old 08-23-2013, 06:20 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Estonia
Default Characters starting at advanced age

As per basic you will start making aging rolls at age 50 which will tehn be increased at 70 and 90. The aging rolls will steadyly bring all kind of suckiness up to death to your characters.
nevertheless characters are not given any points bakc for starting their game lets say 49 years or 69 years old vs someone starting at 25 years old.!!
If I am planning acampaign that will have a lot of "downtime"(prepare your time use sheets :D) and will last tens of in game years I really think that starting near to the treshold of aging rolls is a significant disadvantage.
How would you price it?
Maybe eyeball it somehow and compare it with the short lifespan disadvantage?

Last edited by fifiste; 08-23-2013 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:34 AM   #2
Peter Knutsen
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Europe
Default Re: Characters starting at advanced age

GURPS 3rd Edition had a rule that limited characters to twice their age in CPs in Skills, thereby encouraging players to choose a higher age.

The effect wasn't very strong, though, since 3E had huge problems with players gravitating towards putting as many CPs into Attributes as possible while putting as few into Skills as they could get away with.

One thing you can try, is to add a disadvantage representig being close to the Aging Roll threshold. Like 5 CP for being age 45-49, 4 for being age 40-44, 3 for being age 35-39, and so forth.

Another thing you can do, is to give a free Technique CP for each 4 years the character is older than some threshold, say 30 or 35. That CP must be spent on a Technique, it cannot be spent on anything else. That's in order to limit it a bit. The problem with that is that some character concepts won't benefit much from CPs earmarked for Techniques only. What reasonable use could a primarily spellcasting character have for 3 or 4 Technique CP, e.g.?

I don't think either of my proposed solutions are going to accomplish much, though. If I were to create a character to play in such a campaign, then my inclination would be to make the character as young as possible. I'd much rather have a decade or two more of lifespan, than a couple of extra CP.

I don't think GURPS can resolve your issue well, due to some of its inherent design "features".
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Characters starting at advanced age

I suppose you could just give out 1 year of automatically successful aging rolls for each year over the expected starting age. E.g. if expected starting age is 35 years, and someone makes a 40-y.o. PC, you might want to forego the first 5 years of checks (or make them 5 years later). Yes, it's a brute-force solution, but at least it negates all feeling of unfairness. It doesn't fix the problem, I understand.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:48 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Yorkshire, UK
Default Re: Characters starting at advanced age

You shouldn't really get any points for creating an older character, its just a choice.

If you were to make it say a -10 point Disadvantage, the character can use those points to buy an extra level of HT (used for all Aging Rolls), and effectively extend their lifespan.

Originally Posted by Characters, page 20 (under Age & The Elderly)
You are free to pick any age the GM agrees is within the usual lifespan for your race.
If you start at an advanced age, you have no special disadvantages.
Depending upon your TL, it may not be much of an issue anyway.

A baseline contemporary character, TL8 with all Attributes at 10, rolls HT=10+5 (Modifier for TL-3), so they're only failing 4.6% of rolls, so they're going to fail 1 aging roll every 5 (or so) years, so downtime of 10 years would be an average of 2 points of lost attributes.
Fit and Very Fit also provide bonuses, and higher TL is even better.

If you're running at a lower TL it might be more of an issue, however:

For 2 points, Longevity improves Aging rolls to failure on 17, critical on 18 (regardless of HT) - or if your modified HT is 17+ (base HT 12+ at TL8), you only fail on an 18 (1 in 216, or 1 roll every 54 years on average).

If you're worried about it, allow the older character to buy Longevity, or just give everyone Longevity as a Campaign Advantage.

If you want Aging to be a character issue, then starting as an older character is a choice to play to that aspect of the campaign!

Last edited by SCAR; 08-23-2013 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:21 AM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Forest Grove, Beaverton, Oregon
Default Re: Characters starting at advanced age

If dropping dead in time frames longer than a year or so don't count as a disadvantage, then why should simply the risk of losing attribute points over longer periods of time count?
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Characters starting at advanced age

Ignore the standard rules, they make characters as usual, you have 60 years? ok, you character is equal to one of 25.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Characters starting at advanced age

Eh, maybe [-2] or [-5] for being near or within the first aging category, and double this for proceeding categories (for humans, that's 50-69 years, 70-89 years, 90+ years).

This is just my gut telling me this would be fair. Probably more than fair at [-5] per category, so I'd lean toward [-2], with being 90+ [-8].

I mean, this is sort of, kind of, a very weakened version of Terminal Illness. Aging is the terminal illness that, barring new technology, will one day kill us all by default, after all. Again, just my two cents.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Characters starting at advanced age

I have never seen a campaign where the aging rules mattered in the slightest; either the campaign didn't last enough years for aging to make a difference, or everyone was immortal anyway. I could see 5 points for being old enough to make aging rolls, as you have a meaningful chance of losing a stat point before the end of the campaign and it neatly offsets longevity.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Characters starting at advanced age

Longevity and good HT can easily negate the disadvantage no problem. If you know the exact length of the campaign (you said tens of years) you could ignore aging rolls, or even let the player get points back for attribute loss. There is also surgery/magic/plot devices that can undo aging. And they can just put points back into attributes to forsake aging.

But I'd talk with your players, see what they think of the campaign and about aging being a part of it. If someone both wants to play someone old and thinks aging is unfair, either offer that Longevity is only a point, or just make it a quirk that they are that old. Anything more is probably overkill (/free points).
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While I do not think that GURPS is perfect I do think that it is more balanced than what I am likely to create by GM fiat.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Characters starting at advanced age

In 3e it was a disadvantage and it was a huge mess. Good riddance.
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age, ageing

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