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Brian Stanfield

Accelerated Aging

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Is it a disadvantage for a character to suffer accelerated aging? It's not the same as the "Age" disadvantage because he's not there yet, but he's got a very high metabolism and will age faster than everyone else. It wouldn't really affect the game much, I don't think, unless it goes on for years. But it could perhaps be a psychological disadvantage because he knows his death is coming a lot sooner than his teammates.

What do you think?

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Unless expressly stated that the game will last years (and thus they'll croak unless they buy it off at some point) I'd echo what the other said - on its own not worth anything.

 

However, it could be an excuse for some mental or social complications: "What the hell, I'm dying anyways." - overconfidence, bad tempered, even criminal tendencies like kleptomania.

 

It goes the opposite way as well.  I run a game with an NPC that is a suicidal immortal.  He can't turn his powers off but rather than slapping always on to everything (because it's not *really* a limitiaton) it's reflected by a 5 point physical limitation that he can't turn his powers off.  

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Unless expressly stated that the game will last years (and thus they'll croak unless they buy it off at some point) I'd echo what the other said - on its own not worth anything.

 

However, it could be an excuse for some mental or social complications: "What the hell, I'm dying anyways." - overconfidence, bad tempered, even criminal tendencies like kleptomania.

 

It goes the opposite way as well.  I run a game with an NPC that is a suicidal immortal.  He can't turn his powers off but rather than slapping always on to everything (because it's not *really* a limitiaton) it's reflected by a 5 point physical limitation that he can't turn his powers off.  

 

I went with the psychological limitation: "depressed because I'm dying soon." No need to figure out the physical part of it, just how it impacts the character.

 

Thanks all.

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If you are aging 1 year per week, yeah, that's worth more than 5 points. If the accelerated aging is due to a curse or somesuch, then that also makes it worth more, because the character will be motivated to rid themselves of the curse.

 

Roy Batty was certainly motivated...

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You could also look at Susceptability: Time Attacks or similar if that was a possibility in the setting.

 

In other words, increased effect from powers that affect time, since they have less of it. 

 

One very good treatment of this is found in Taura, a character in some of Lois McMaster Bujold's books introduced in the short story Labyrinth. She's a genetically engineered soldier with a super metabolism (x4 or so, IIRC) and a fairly short time to live (but decades, not years). She keeps a fairly balanced view of things.

 

Mind you Taura has a LOT of variation from the norm and would have a bunch of Complications!

 

I assume the high metabolism has other complications, such as needing to eat frequently? Maybe just roll all the side effects into one Physical Complication whose cost is based on the most common ones?

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IIRC, age used to be a disadvantage in heroic games.  5 pts for 40+, 10 pts for 60+.  It would drop your Str, Dex, Con, Body maxima by +5/+10 respectively and increase your Int and Ego by -5/-10 respectively.   This would seem to indicate after age 40 you lose -1 Str, Dex, Con, and Body for each 2-4 years.

 

If I was GMing an accelerated aging character at the heroic level, I would tell the player they can take the age physical limitation at anytime so long as they do not go over their allotted Complications total.  The physical limitation will correspond to decreased characteristic maxima.  If it was in the superheroic level, I would still say the same thing, requesting the PC drop the strength by the appropriate amount, and allow the PC to reallocate the points how they deemed fit subject to GM approval.  The age complication would of course be free points. 

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Well, you can buy Life Support - Longevity to make a character with a longer life span.  Useful for fantasy elves and such.  But there's no way to buy down the "standard" lifespan.  What if there's a fantasy race that just naturally has a significantly shorter life span than humans?  Off hand, I'd say just buy the reverse of Longevity - 1 point for each halving of lifespan.

 

Max 50 years = -1 point

Max 25 years = -2 points

Max 12.5 years = -3 points (Ocompa?)

Max 6.4 years = -4 points

Max 3.2 years = -5 points

 

You might want to cap it at the -5 points level.  Just like +5 points means immortal.

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Not a bad idea.

 

To be honest, the extended life span Life Support is IMHO mostly there for background colour for characters like Wolverine or Thor. There's no actual ageing rules as in some RPGs (Traveller and Pendragon spring to mind) or expectation that you'll be playing a senior citizen unless that's how the character was designed in the first place.

 

Unless it's likely to come up during a campaign, it's really not going to matter much or be worth points. 

 

However, just as an immortal might have useful knowledge on occasion ("Aye. I remember well the last time Goomnbah the Mighty stalked these realms, some five hundred years hence!") a character who is a lot less old than their apparent age may find themselves at a disadvantage ("Sorry, Jim. I assumed you would have known that... it's hard to always remember you're only chronologically eight years old...")

 

But for a typical superhero who might have gained the increased metabolism from their power origin (i.e. the Wally West Flash, which used that a lot) a reduced future lifespan really isn't going to come up very often, if at all. It falls into background detail like left-handedness, red hair or native language; sometimes comes up but not really worth points.

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Well it might come up for NNDs or limitations.  A power that only works on species with shorter life spans, or with longer life spans.  Longevity doesn't cost much at all because it really isn't worth much in the game, and likewise a shorter life span also won't have much of a game effect, which is why it also should be worth so few points.

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Vulnerability: 1 1/2 x Effect Aging (Uncommon)-5 pts

 

Character ages 3 years for every 2 that pass, and attacks or phenomena with an aging or time based special effect are also enhanced by + 1/2

 

Vulnerability: 2 x Effect Aging (Uncommon)-10 pts

 

Character ages 2 years for every 1 that passes, and attacks or phenomena with an aging or time based special effect are doubled

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says Lucius really wants to DECellerate aging. To a stop. Then put it in reverse.

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Vulnerability: 1 1/2 x Effect Aging (Uncommon)-5 pts

 

Character ages 3 years for every 2 that pass, and attacks or phenomena with an aging or time based special effect are also enhanced by + 1/2

 

Vulnerability: 2 x Effect Aging (Uncommon)-10 pts

 

Character ages 2 years for every 1 that passes, and attacks or phenomena with an aging or time based special effect are doubled

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says Lucius really wants to DECellerate aging. To a stop. Then put it in reverse.

 

I like. It'd be a disadvantage in my campaign: the player will know that I will use it at some point, maybe even the point of the entire episode. Maybe after that, suggest the disadvantage be bought off because it can be cured due to events in the episode. If not, well then, expect to play your character as elderly for a diff episode, and so on.

 

This oddly posted. So, Lucius, did you say Lucius said etc etc.? :)

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We used to use quirks: I can not remember whether they were in an earlier edition of Hero or we stole the idea elsewhere, but you could have up to 5 points of quirks, for a point a quirk as a disadvantage (like I implied - it was a while ago).  It could be silly stuff, meaningless stuff, stuff that did not have any anticipated game impact, but sometimes character defining stuff.

 

It was good for two reasons:

1. you could add little foibles without having to sweat the build: you might not like a style of music, or you might be mildly allergic to tomatoes, you might prefer blondes or collect frog jewelry: just stuff to round out the character.

2. If the character costed out to 248 points you did not then have to stick 4 more points on COM 'just because I might as well' (no, really, it was a while ago).

 

Anyway the Psychological Complication is probably the best way to go in this instance.

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We used to use quirks: I can not remember whether they were in an earlier edition of Hero or we stole the idea elsewhere, but you could have up to 5 points of quirks, for a point a quirk as a disadvantage (like I implied - it was a while ago).  It could be silly stuff, meaningless stuff, stuff that did not have any anticipated game impact, but sometimes character defining stuff.

 

 

Stolen from GURPS. But I don't judge. I always liked that rule.

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