Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Character Sheet Rules for Aging

In the old Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rules - maybe version 1 or possibly version 2 - there were procedures for modifying your character's "stat" scores as he or she aged.  I don't know the rules for versions 3, 3.5, or 4, because I only spent a couple of hours poring over those books rather than the days and days I spent over the older versions.

For the noncognoscenti, the statistics that defined a character's capabilities were on a 3 to 18 scale (sum of three die rolls on a 6-sided die).  Because of this, the scores tended to cluster between 9 and 12.  Anything above 12 would be above average to extraordinary, and anything below 9 would be substandard to severely handicapped.  I'm OK with that word in this context, because these are fictional characters.

The scores are assigned to six attributes, and each score influences how that person interacts with other people and the world in general.  In order to account for the average guy getting a lucky break once in a while, there is an element of randomness inserted into the game mechanics whereby the player rolls a die or dice and performs  a calculation involving the character's relevant stat score.  For example, a character of average strength may get a great roll of the dice and be able to lift up a very heavy box in order to move it up some stairs.

The six scores are:
Strength - influences feats of physical strength
Intelligence - influences use of specific knowledge, such as number of languages known
Wisdom - influences how well the character knows why things happen as opposed to how things happen
Dexterity - influences how well a person can perform feats of agility or dexterity, such as riding a horse
Constitution - influences how well a character can put up with exhausting activity
Charisma - influences how others react to the character.

As players take these characters on adventures, some groups of players will play by rules where the characters age.  Some scores will go up or down due to age.  Strength probably goes down, whereas Wisdom goes up.  Anyone who is over 40 understands this all too well.

GPop asked me to help him set up a kiosk for his bookstore the other day.  It was in the form of a 16-foot trailer to be parked in a very small parking lot near a busy college building.  While we were moving the trailer around, a college student zoomed up in her car and parked right next to the trailer we were attempting to maneuver around some obstacles to back into the designated spot.  She leaped out and ran into the building.  GPop approached the passenger and told him that perhaps parking next to a large trailer wasn't in the best interest of the car's structural integrity.  The passenger, who was very reminiscent of the character of Vincent from the SyFy show Eureka, moaned that he didn't know what to do.  GPop suggested A) moving the car, or B) finding the driver to move the car.

After some wringing of hands and indecision, the students finally realized they could move their car to the spot across the lot and still get done what they needed to get done.  GPop and I finished our trailer operations and moved on, shaking our heads at the poor dice rolls made by the students' players.

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