Character Age, Aging, Disease, and Death
Age Categories
Unnatural Aging
Young Adult
Middle Aged

In order to establish the overall effects of age,
it is necessary to establish a number of standard age brackets for each race of characters.
When age category is established,
modify ability scores accordingly,
making each change progressively from young adulthood,
all additions and subtractions being cumulative.

The only ability which may exceed 18 due to age effects (unless age restricts this) is wisdom.

Most adjustments are in whole numbers, so that 18 strength drops to 17, even if it is from 18/00, as exceptional strength is not considered.

Age Categories:
Race Young Adult Mature Middle Aged Old Venerable
dwarf 35-50 51-150 151-250 251-350 351-450
dwarf, mountain 40-60 61-175 176-275 276-400 401-525
elf, aquatic 75-150 151-450 451-700 701-1000 1001-1200
elf, Drow 50-100 101-400 401-600 601-800 801-1000
elf, gray 150-250 251-650 651-1000 1001-1500 1501-2000
elf, high 100-175 176-550 551-875 876-1200 1201-1600
elf, wood 75-150 151-500 501-800 901-1100 1101-1350
gnome 50-90 91-300 301-450 451-600 601-750
half-elf 24-40 41-100 101-175 176-250 251-325
halfling 22-33 34-68 69-101 102-144 145-199
human 14-20 21-40 41-60 61-90 91-120

Young Adult: Subtract 1 point of wisdom, add 1 point of constitution.
<START: -1 WIS, -1 CON>

Mature: Add 1 point of strength, add 1 point of wisdom.
<START: +1 STR, +1 WIS>

Q: A 20-year-old human fighter has a
strength of 18/01. When he reaches
the age of 21 (mature), he gains one
point of strength. What is the fighter
?s new strength score?

A: The character?s new strength score is
18/11. The additional point of strength
equals 10% on the exceptional rating.

Middle Aged: Subtract 1 point (or half exceptional rating) of strength and 1 point of constitution;
add 1 point of intelligence and 1 point of wisdom.
<START: +1 INT, +1 WIS>


Subtract 2 points of STR, 2 points of DEX, and 1 point of CON; add 1 point of WIS.
<START: -2 STR, +1 INT, +2 WIS, -2 DEX, -1 CON>

Myrkul (god of old age)

Venerable: Subtract 1 point of strength, 1 point of dexterity, and 1 point of constitution;
add 1 point of intelligence and 1 point of wisdom.
<START: -3 STR, +2 INT, +3 WIS, -3 DEX, -2 CON>

It is important to remember that adjustments cannot exceed racial maximums nor can they be used if they cause abilities to exceed stated maximums.
Likewise, any adjustments cannot lower any ability below racial or class minimums.

Q: Page 13 of the DMG says that
adjustments due to aging will lower
an ability score a full point, so that a
– 1 will reduce an 18/00 strength to
17. Yet under “Middle Aged,” it says:
“Subtract 1 point (or half exception-
17. Yet under “Middle Aged,” it says:
al rating) of strength.” Please resolve
this contradiction.
A: The text has been changed in a later
printing of the DMG. When going from
“Mature” to “Middle Aged,“ a character
loses one point of strength or half the
exceptional rating. Thereafter, any loss
lowers strength a full point. A percentage-
rated 18 strength at middle age drops
to 16 with the two-point loss at “Old.”

<add COM modifiers to the START lines>

Unnatural Aging:

Certain creatures will cause unnatural aging, and in addition various magical factors can do so.
The following magic causes loss of life span, aging the practitioner as indicated.
See also DISEASE for other unnatural aging causes.
(longevity potions and possibly other magical means will offset such aging to some extent.)

    Magical Aging Causes:
    casting alter reality spell    3 years
    casting gate spell    5 years
    casting limited wish spell    1 year
    casting restoration spell    2 years
    casting resurrection spell    3 years
    casting wish spell    3 years
    imbibing a speed potion    1 year
    under a haste spell    1 year

Note: Reading one of the above spells from a scroll (or using the power from a ring or other device) does not cause unnatural aging,
but placing such a spell upon the scroll in the first place will do so!

(Cf. Death Due to Age subsection of DEATH.)

phasedoor wrote:

Does your ADandD 1st edit. Greyhawk campaign allow me to be a human male PC who is 5feet and 5inches tall at the age of 45 years?

sure, why not?

I'd likely have taken one poit from Dexterity due to age and added one to Wisdom, but that's about all I'd have required in regards that PC.


Handy Haversack wrote:
Hi Gary,

Another incredibly picayune AD&D question for you: do you think that if age raises a fighter's STR to 18 he should then get to roll for exceptional STR?

The fate of nations hangs on your answer! Well, OK, the fate of one half-orc we made at a bar last night. But maybe I'll make the player name him Nations!



Actually, following my stats for Conan, I'd have to say yes, there is a need to roll, but the table will need to be adjusted.

Initial roll under 51 = 18/xx Str comes in d2 years
Initial roll 51-75 = 18/50 Str, and 18/xx comes in d2 years
Initial roll 76-90 = 18/50 Str, 18/75 comes in d2, 18/xx in d2 more


Salut HH:)

right, the initial rll determines the character's potential greatest Str.

The growing strength as the fighter matures subsumes active physical exercise to build the greater prowess.


Originally Posted by Tuzenbach
I was curious about something. What are your views regarding magical aging, both in 1E and how the rules currently work in 3E? IMHO, today's rules governing magical aging are nothing more than the RPG version of "Affirmative Action" for all races who's lifespan neither meets nor exceeds 160 years.

Back in 1E, I liked the idea that if the party met with a ghost, it was OK for the humans, half-orcs, and halflings to immediately run from it and have the elves and dwarves deal with the foe. That circumstance made ghosts more frightening and gave long-lived races a certain kind of "specialness". Granted, 1E held that dwarves and elves could advance no further than 10th or 14th level respectively, but that's neither here nor there.

I don't care to make comparisons between OAD&D and new D&D. I will say, though, that I concur with your evaluation of the aging effects in the original game, and that human and non-long-lived PCs were meant to flee opponents who could age them, that being more fearsome even than level loss!

As for level limits for demi-humans, there was none on the thief aspect, and in my estimation, and such PC that hit the maximum levels possible was either playing for a very long time or in a Monty Haul campaign. It took me five years to work my dwarf fighter, Zigby, to his level limit. He didn't go on all that many adventures as my single PC, but he was there getting half experience on many a big-time foray with Mordenkainen and/or Bigby and the rest.

Originally Posted by mistere29
Somwhere in the DMG is a chart that has age modifers for demi-humans. The gist of it is that magical aging assumes a human life span. If a race lives twice as long as humans, for example, then all aging effects are doubled.

Plus there is always the system shock roll.

Considering the lifespan gor humans subsumed in the game, even an adjusted loss of longevity for use of speed potion is minimal.
As for use of system shock, I never employed that foe the consumption of potions.
In a magical milieu, only a misbrewed potion would be likely to have ill effects on the one quaffing it


Originally Posted by rossik
hi gary!

what do you think of characters and age?
i mean, isnt odd a 1st lvl M-U old, bald, with long beard?

i always try to make young 1st lvl characters....whats your thoghts about this?

I am in agreement with you, although a fledgling m-u will likely be a good deal older than a 1st level fighter.
So for beginning PCs I suggest age 18 or so for a fighter or thief, age 21 or so for a cleric, and age 25 or thereabouts for a magic-user.