Getting wise in your old age (D&D House Rules Pt.2)

Category: Games

For some reason, all player characters in D&D seem to be strapping, young lads, lasses, or constructs of indeterminate gender.

Why are adventurers always so young? It would be great fun to play as an grumpy curmudgeon (“get off my lawn, you whippersnappers!”) or a powerful elder wizard of superior puissance.

The benefits and penalties of advancing age are shown in the table below:

Age category Mental Abilities (INT, WIS, CHA) Physical Abilities (STR, DEX, CON)
Young +0 +0
Middle Age +1 -1
Old +2 -3
Venerable +3 -6

Being old is good for your mental abilities, but makes you incredibly weak and easy to kill in combat. Unless you are a venerable dragonwrought kobold (is there any other kind of kobold?) the penalties are just too severe to justify the benefits.

Therefore, I have introduced the below house rule as an incentive for people to play characters of advanced age.

In addition to normal effects, middle-aged characters gain one bonus feat, old characters gain another bonus feat (total two bonus feats) and venerable characters gain a further bonus feat (total three bonus feats.)

With this rule, an old, grumpy bastard is now a viable choice, as it grants precious feat slots. This especially helps casters, as they get both a boost to their mental abilites and a extra feat.

Since players in my game are not allowed extra feats from taking flaws (Unearthed Arcana) this is one of the few ways they can access extra feats, and being middle aged becomes an attractive trade-off.