One of the things that struck me while reading cookiemonger’s copy of The Laundry Files RPG was an “Education” ability score — determined in the same fashion as any other — in which each point corresponded roughly to one year of formal education. An average score of 10-12 is a high school graduate.

In fact, a score of 10-11 (generally considered average) would actually be a high school drop-out, or someone who otherwise failed to complete the last few years of high school. An Education of 16 would represent about four years of college.

I love this! So straightforward! So easy to remember!

Not only that, it’s easy to apply to a game like Dungeons & Dragons and the Intelligence score — where apprenticeships tend to last for seven years, a character with a 7 or higher can be assumed to have trained in a profession.

What’s the business with INT determining whether your character can read or write? Most D&D professions won’t need that — but if each point of Intelligence counted toward an apprenticeship, heck — points beyond that could go toward “journeyman,” and a character with a 16+ could be considered a master.

You know, what I’m thinking is that a character’s “starting age” could probably be determined by adding their Intelligence score to a predetermined number, like 10-11 — you might even be able to argue a 3d6 roll added to the other, but then you could wind up with a six-year-old character and that would just be weird.

Still, that would put the “average” age of most characters at 20-22, and on a bell curve no less. The child prodigies would be really exceptional. On the low end of the spectrum, you’re more likely to see thirteen-year old characters, which isn’t really so far-fetched given the time period I’m aiming for in my setting.

In fact, I might even design some material toward younger characters — I am working on a PC race of “Foundlings,” who are far more likely to be exceptionally young. What I’m imagining is a “young, dumb” Foundling Demigod character with loads more Charisma than Intellect. With high Strength, they could be Achilles.

Psh. Who needs literacy anyway? Amiright?