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Trivial: Can we not have every starting character at age 21?


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In BG1, the main character needed to be young because of the plot (so elves didn't really make sense), but if the age of the character is no central to the plot, then I see no reason why not to give more freedom in choosing age. I can see how age could affect dialogue and make it more difficult, however, since NPCs might react differently to the PC depending on how old they are. They might call a 20-year old "child" but that would have to change if you're playing an older adventurer.

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If it's a medieval society that doesn't have many defenses against disease, most humans probably won't live to a ripe old age anyway: 18-30 seems like a reasonable range for adventurers. I'm not sure what the impact of that would be for the other races. Perhaps elves, dwarves, and the "God races" are not as susceptible to common diseases?

 

Possibly they could allow players to select a background that includes a preset age? Somebody with a background as a wizard's apprentice or a priestly scribe may be older than a militiaman or a pickpocket.

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I would love it if a range in the age could be implemented at least on a basic level. I don't agree with folks that say it would be odd for a 40 year old to suddenly engage in a life of adventuring. Actually with the plot twist they've mentioned already the event may be dramatic enough that it wouldn't matter what age the character was they would want to break from their quiet life and react. A major event could make someone want to become something more than what they were before. If they at least implement some choices at the start in terms of a character's background and age before the event in character creation the player would see character react to them in ways that feel honest.

 

I would love to play a 40 year old and have characters refer to me as old man or sir or whatever. It would be great to run across some young adventuring party that thinks because your a bit over the hill you should be easy to defeat only to catch them off-guard by your butt kicking abilities. It would be fun to see how possible romance characters view a relationship with someone 10+ years on them and how that might shape dialog options. There are many ways these interactions could make for fun role-playing.

 

In character creation players that are older could select attributes like; has teenage children, wife/husband, and excellent wood-carving abilities and then when the even at the start of the game begins their kids are kidnapped and their spouse killed. If something like that happened to me as a player at the start of the game I would certainly be motivated to become skilled in some form of combat and do what I could to repay those responsible.

 

Honestly, I don't think these sorts of themes with age in mind have been explored enough in RPG's. Perhaps this project will allow for some of this. A lot of us gamers are climbing into our mid to late 30's these days and would appreciate choices like this that we could relate to.

 

Its not that its odd for an older person to suddenly start adventuring, thats fine. What's odd is that someone of an advanced age wouldn't have picked up some more training and skills by then. A first level character is a novice warrior, not just a new one, you explicitly lack training and skill when you begin.

 

Furthermore as I'm sure many on here can attest, it is far easier to learn new things when you're young and spry as opposed to old and arthritic.Finally people in the middle ages didn't live that long, so if you are sixty you're literally knocking on heavens door.

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Good thing this isn't the middle ages, and is the early renaissance period. I would also hope that most people wouldn't just speak about history without any evidence to back it up - and thus create myths and untruths. As per this, http://apps.business...eexpectancy.htm the average life expectancy in the 1400's differed. If you age 21 in the 1400's, you were expected to live another 48.11 years. Life expectancy is a difficult concept to understand, mainly because infant mortality was so high, thus bringing the average age expectancy down. But ultimately, once you pass that very difficult early period, you can live fairly long.

 

So....you're all wrong. In the late middle ages, people were expected to live until they were around 69 years old. Plenty of time for adventuring.

 

As for lack of fighting skill, not everyone was a military solider and thus when they start adventuring, they could have been a baker, a blacksmith, a dock worker, or a range of other things that gave them no combat, magic, or any other sort of adventuring experience. The whole point of RPGs is so I can make my own backstory. Don't make me one for me: I'm creative enough thank you very much.

 

The final point is this: this isn't real-life and it's not history. It's a game. And a fantasy game too. I'm supposed to be a hero. Can I live longer than the average age expectancy? Sure I can - I'm the hero. Can I start adventuring later in life? Sure I can, I'm the hero. Can I not know anything earlier in life and learn combat later? Sure I can. I'm the freaking hero. I'm going to be doing some exceptional stuff here: being a little older isn't the most exceptional thing about me.

Edited by Hormalakh
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^^^^

Fair enough. But to implement a realistic age system in a RPG you'd normally have to use a point-based build like GURPS or Champions. That way you can balance out the decline in certain stats due to aging with an increase in skills from the greater experience. To do it in a D&D-type game you'd have to do something like transfer unused ability score points into some amount of additional skill points and higher caps on certain skills.

Edited by rjshae

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^^^^

Fair enough. But to implement a realistic age system in a RPG you'd normally have to use a point-based build like GURPS or Champions. That way you can balance out the decline in certain stats due to aging with an increase in skills from the greater experience. To do it in a D&D-type game you'd have to do something like transfer unused ability score points into some amount of additional skill points and higher caps on certain skills.

 

Then don't implement age. Either do it right or don't do it at all.

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If it doesn't affect the plot, don't put it in. I doubt anyone would care too much about this. If however, this is a come of age story or mid life crisis or a coming out of retirement story then by all means enforce a certain age restriction.

What part of character creation affects the plot? It's a role playing game, I think more customization of the PC is inherently a good thing.

 

I don't like the idea of age affecting starting stats, though. Just let me pick the age, say from 16 - 60. If I want to create a wise old man, I'll have the tools to do it. If I want to create an doddering old fool, or a super buff senior citizen, why shouldn't I be able to?

Edited by SunBroSolaire
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It is interesting that so many rpg games start off with young protaganists. Seems to be a slightly lazy/easy way of coming up with the "they are still developing, go level up!" and "not too much backstory please!" issues. Except you often meet old wizards.

 

In films though.. the "ideal" action hero actor, is middle aged. Someone who is middle aged is believable at being tough, experienced and less likely to crack under pressure. Whilst not as energetic as late teens and early 20's, that doesn't matter because they get by on experience and allround toughness. Think Russell Crowe in Gladiator vs Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven and see who you think makes the better action persona :)

 

So I would definitely like to see some middle aged characters.

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It is interesting that so many rpg games start off with young protaganists. Seems to be a slightly lazy/easy way of coming up with the "they are still developing, go level up!" and "not too much backstory please!" issues. Except you often meet old wizards.

 

In films though.. the "ideal" action hero actor, is middle aged. Someone who is middle aged is believable at being tough, experienced and less likely to crack under pressure. Whilst not as energetic as late teens and early 20's, that doesn't matter because they get by on experience and allround toughness. Think Russell Crowe in Gladiator vs Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven and see who you think makes the better action persona :)

 

So I would definitely like to see some middle aged characters.

 

If you look at the literary character of Conan the Barbarian he had some of his greatest adventures in his 30's and became the King of Aquilonia in his mid 40's. A middle age is certainly realistic. The literary characters of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins in LoTR and Hobbit were both adventuring in their middle ages as well. As I think about it more after reading the wide variety of posts and opinions on this, I would think these types of restrictions would work best for age, if it was actually implemented:

 

Strength could be maximum of 19 through age 21 or so. Max of 18 into mid 30's. Max of 17 into late 40's. Then decrease gradually after that to maybe a maximum of 15 at 60+. Rationale is that men do generally tend to be strongest while young but they could still be very strong in middle age.

 

Constitution could be maximum of 17 through age 21 or so. Max of 18 through 30. Max of 19 through 40. Then decrease gradually after that to maybe a max of 15 or 16 at 60+. Rationale is that middle age could actually increase constitution through seasoning and more world experience.

 

Intelligence could be maximum of 17 through age 21 or so. Max of 18 through 25. Max of 19/20 into middle age (50 maybe). And then max of 17/18 after that. Rationale is new scientific study on the development of the brain and that some centers of the brain don't fully mature until mid 20's.

 

Wisdom could be maximum of 16 through age 18. Max of 17 through mid 20's. Max of 18 through 30. Max of 19/20 for beyond. No deterioration with age. Rationale is same as above using brain development studies.

 

Dexterity could be maximum of 18 through age 18. Max of 19/20 through late 20's. And then gradually deteriorate with age down to 15/16 range in sunset years. Rationale is that physical deterioration would probably affect this ability similar to strength.

 

Charisma could follow a similar progression to Wisdom with maybe some slight deterioration in later years. Rationale that if you are too young some people will doubt your experience to lead and too old your stamina to lead. But in the middle ranges where you have both experience and vigor you would be more of a charismatic leader.

 

You could also pick up 2-4 skills for every 10 years of age. Rationale being you get exposed to a variety of professions and training, if you live long enough ;)

 

Anyway, they won't implement age that way since it would add way too much complexity to the game. But it does make for an interesting thought experiment. Kind of a Schrodinger's Maturity Index :)

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:)

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What is the "statistical" age for the setting of the P:E Era?

 

I know that "statistical" is the wrong word~

 

What was the "generic" middle-age during the 1500's? 50's, 60's? Today some of us live to become 100 and beyond, which is considered to be "Short" life span (YOLO), back then it was even "shorter". In a Fantasy setting like P:E we are going to have different races, cultures and I fail to see this as important. An Aumaua might be able to live to be 500-600 (like Turtles).

 

There's many factors to be taken into consideration and although it would be nice in an early series Fallout way (more or less a roleplaying feature more than a "benefitial" feature). I think it should almost suffice to add "grey" hair to the character we are playing and give us a more mature story that we can shape.

 

In Baldur's Gate I feel my character can feel very childish at times with the options that are presented to me, I don't say "No" to it, but Baldur's Gate indicated throughout the game that your character is young in dialogue (but could have a manly man soundset which didn't reflect my character's choices). I'd like to see a character which has the possibility to come off as a 20 year old as much as he/she might come off as a 30ish year old guy/gal.

 

To Obsidian, something to think about (maybe?): Try not to put too much "emphasis" on our characters age I guess (or just make the character however you feel like it and we can bask in your visionary glory).

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You could always handle it like the Might and Magic series. As you got older your wisdom stat went up and you strength went down.

 

So choose to be old and have a higher base wisdom and lower base strength.

 

Not to be pedantic/geeky, but the stats that went up was Intellect and Personality.

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I dont really like age being tied to stats just because it's another complexity that doesn't bring much fun into the game. For players who want to truly be in control of their characters it only serves as a frustration.

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You could always handle it like the Might and Magic series. As you got older your wisdom stat went up and you strength went down.

 

So choose to be old and have a higher base wisdom and lower base strength.

 

that would be wrong...you have to be pretty damn old before you start losing significant strength, it would be more realistic to lose agility as your joints stiffened

 

try arm wrestling an old man who's worked all his life...you will lose

Edited by motorizer
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that would be wrong...you have to be pretty damn old before you start losing significant strength, it would be more realistic to lose agility as your joints stiffened

 

try arm wrestling an old man who's worked all his life...you will lose

 

Such comparison doesn't have a common ground for it to be valid. that very same old man would have been beaten by his 30 year old self.

 

Its a biological fact that physically, our body peak at about 25-30. After that its a decline. There's a reason why most sportsmen peak at that age range. Certain demanding sports is where you really see the effect of a person's physical capabilities and its very rare you see a sportsmen above 40 doing well in physical sports like Formula 1 or football.

 

 

Of course, with everything said, we should always remember that video game is not a simulator of real life. A video game needs to be a video game at the end of the day. Said game did not implement such feature because its trying to simulate real life. Its something that's added as additional challenge to the game mechanics. ;)

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So after awhile of thinking on this thread, I stick by my original post, in regard to P:E

 

However, if we were talking about making a new system from the ground up, I would use age difference in a mechanical sense. I would use Age to replace the usual 'difficulty' options. In my mind Age represents more than years, it represents how long you’ve been acquiring experience, as well as the potential state of your body.

 

I'd, quite simply, have the hardest difficulty setting be someone that chose to play as a child, very weak statistically, capable of learning a lot, and quite fast, but always weaker than a full grown adult. I'd further supplement that difficulty by forcing the game to take note of a character's age, in the form of laws and character views. A person might just let you walk into a place as an adult character, but as a child character you'd have to jump through hoops to even enter, and, of course, you wouldn't be able to walk around freely inside - you're not supposed to be there. Little things like that to make the experience more difficult and challenging, forcing you to think and find ways around, instead of meeting obstacles head on - because you are weaker, whatever your skill set.

 

Of course people would expect different things of a character based on their age, and going outside of cultural views created for different areas of the game world the game world/its people would punish you for going outside of those expectation. For example a irresponsable adult character, in a place where a lot is expected of an adult, especially where honor or responsibility are concerned, would be punished. If not in terms of actual outright punishment then in terms of people ignoring you, not telling you things, not giving you things, not helping you or actively trying to do things to make your life harder. Essentially acting outside expectations would supplement difficulty by the world and its people making your life harder the way a boss at a job would make a person's life harder for not fulfilling expectations of their work ethic or attire and so on.

 

Then, statistically, you'd have a ramp up effect, you'd start out with better statistics (more points to spend) the older you were, and start out with a larger skillset up front, though in game you'd acquire new abilities much slower the older you chose your character to be. So teenagers, young adults, adults and middle aged adults would have a statistical advantage, a growing one, and, the older you were, the more skills you'd start out with to represent the fact that you were older.

 

Hence your difficulty setting is your age. At the far end up of the spectrum you'd also have the old characters, here you'd see a new difficulty setting in the form of your statistic would start to become lower again, instead of higher, but you'd have the large skill set. However, as this is a new difficulty level, in the form of age, you'd have chances to randomly forget, and remember, bits and pieces of your skillset. Your ability to acquire new skills would be the lowest, but your starting pool, provided you could remember them in game, would be the largest. This forget/remember mechanic combined with stat numbers and how the world views the aged character would combine to make this the most difficult setting, with the child setting being the second most difficult. The adult settings being the easiest with teenager and middle aged being your middle ground.

 

I would do all this purely for the sake of the system being somewhat different than the normal forms of difficulty setting, and to build the difficulty setting directly into the game logic at a base. Would it be realistic or make absolute sense? No. Would everyone like it? Definitely not. However, this thread did inspire this random assortment of ideas that will never actually be used, and shouldn't be used for a variety of reasons, so I thought I'd share them here.

Edited by Umberlin
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Good thing this isn't the middle ages, and is the early renaissance period. I would also hope that most people wouldn't just speak about history without any evidence to back it up - and thus create myths and untruths. As per this, http://apps.business...eexpectancy.htm the average life expectancy in the 1400's differed. If you age 21 in the 1400's, you were expected to live another 48.11 years. Life expectancy is a difficult concept to understand, mainly because infant mortality was so high, thus bringing the average age expectancy down. But ultimately, once you pass that very difficult early period, you can live fairly long.

 

So....you're all wrong. In the late middle ages, people were expected to live until they were around 69 years old. Plenty of time for adventuring.

 

As for lack of fighting skill, not everyone was a military solider and thus when they start adventuring, they could have been a baker, a blacksmith, a dock worker, or a range of other things that gave them no combat, magic, or any other sort of adventuring experience. The whole point of RPGs is so I can make my own backstory. Don't make me one for me: I'm creative enough thank you very much.

 

The final point is this: this isn't real-life and it's not history. It's a game. And a fantasy game too. I'm supposed to be a hero. Can I live longer than the average age expectancy? Sure I can - I'm the hero. Can I start adventuring later in life? Sure I can, I'm the hero. Can I not know anything earlier in life and learn combat later? Sure I can. I'm the freaking hero. I'm going to be doing some exceptional stuff here: being a little older isn't the most exceptional thing about me.

 

sure you can...I'm just raising a counter argument, you can do whatever you want.

 

You correcting me on the time period in which the game is set is welcome, but you've really only served to back up my point, as you said the average life expectancy is 69 so at sixty you have less than a decade of estimated life left in you. TL;DR the life expectancy was shorter, that's not a myth, and the snippy tone that I imagine your post was meant to be read in was unnecessary.Furthermore, as anyone familiar with the military, boxing, mma or any other combat-esque occupation can attest, realistically your period of effectiveness in a combat scenario is limited, especially in a time when medical knowledge was primitive(remember obsidian said theirs little in the way of healing magic), people in these positions generally retire young. If you are constantly getting wounded and then healing after combat, chances are your going to end up more than a little brain damaged and beat up by the end of your career, just look at rocky.

 

You could start off as a blacksmith or someone with a non-combat profession, but you would still have acquired skills, they would just be non-combat skills, thus as I said you would not be a blank slate.

 

Now granted it's just a game and Obsidian doesn't have to enslave themselves to realism, but that's a question of realism in games, and an entirely different thread. I'm not saying you can't have this opinion, go ahead, I'm telling you why most games start you off young, and why I personally think that's wise.

Edited by jezz555
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that would be wrong...you have to be pretty damn old before you start losing significant strength, it would be more realistic to lose agility as your joints stiffened

 

try arm wrestling an old man who's worked all his life...you will lose

 

Such comparison doesn't have a common ground for it to be valid. that very same old man would have been beaten by his 30 year old self.

 

Its a biological fact that physically, our body peak at about 25-30. After that its a decline. There's a reason why most sportsmen peak at that age range. Certain demanding sports is where you really see the effect of a person's physical capabilities and its very rare you see a sportsmen above 40 doing well in physical sports like Formula 1 or football.

 

 

 

 

I don't disagree with that..its just that agility starts to drop off noticeably much earlier than strength, possibly as much as 20 years earlier than strength, I know plenty of ex farmers and builders etc who are (or were) still very strong in their 50s and 60s but I doubt any of them could compete in the high jump. by the time you start getting weak you're probably losing some intelligence, perception and wisdom anyway.....older people forget things eyesight goes...etc

 

this would be especially true if you've had an active life, like an adventurer for example

 

Like gender It would be better if it affected dialogue and certain situations rather than stats anyway..if implemented at all.

Edited by motorizer
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You correcting me on the time period in which the game is set is welcome, but you've really only served to back up my point, as you said the average life expectancy is 69 so at sixty you have less than a decade of estimated life left in you.

Mmm no. At the age of 60, your life expectancy would be more than nine years.

Edited by rjshae
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I liked the idea stated earlier:

No number, but selection of young, middle aged, old.

Just to have a few narrative differences, however small.

 

I made an old mage in Dragon Age Origins....his freaking voice was way too strong for the character I envisioned. And the whole mage circle thing didn't really work, what a ****ty student I must have been to take so long.

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You correcting me on the time period in which the game is set is welcome, but you've really only served to back up my point, as you said the average life expectancy is 69 so at sixty you have less than a decade of estimated life left in you.

Mmm no. At the age of 60, your life expectancy would be more than nine years.

 

not in the present day...obviously. In the time period in which the game is set e.g. renaissance period, furthermore its not my data to begin with, It was Hormalakh who said people of that time period lived until about 69, thus less than a decade.

Edited by jezz555
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You correcting me on the time period in which the game is set is welcome, but you've really only served to back up my point, as you said the average life expectancy is 69 so at sixty you have less than a decade of estimated life left in you.

Mmm no. At the age of 60, your life expectancy would be more than nine years.

 

not in the present day...obviously. In the time period in which the game is set e.g. renaissance period, furthermore its not my data to begin with, It was Hormalakh who said people of that time period lived until about 69, thus less than a decade.

Nope, that's not it. Assume the expected life span is 69 given that you made it to 20. Once you reach the age of 60, your expected life span is more than 9 years. That's because the probability distribution is different for age of death given that you are age 60 compared to the distribution for your age of death when you are, say, age 20.

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