Inspired somewhat on my post from yesterday, I want to create a system wherein characters gain what amount to status “buffs” and perhaps “debuffs” during certain stages of their life, and have them correspond roughly to the stages I suggested in my previous post (inspired by age categories from 3E D&D).

Characters will advance through roughly eight to ten stages of life, gaining benefits like “innocence” and “fast learning” at the beginning stages, and “seen it all before” or “experienced” as they advance in years. Certain events might trigger a “wise beyond their years” effect, while others provide “young at heart.”

Part of this is to level the playing field somewhat when describing characters of different ages in game terms, and also to suggest that no matter how old a character may be, they’re a character. That stands, regardless of buffs or debuffs for age.

“Younger” characters earn experience faster, but are less skilled. They also earn experience whether they succeed or fail at a task, and a well-trained character will retain that buff into adulthood. Once a character has finished the initial stages of their development, and have “matured,” they have full access to physical capabilities.

I want to make it possible for a player to control a young character with zero skills, or an older character with a number of developed skills. (Although likely with a somewhat diminished ability to change, and with a slower rate of experience accumulation.)

Another reason for the system is inspire a sense of value for characters within the game system. Oftentimes, with moral choice systems that enable you to play a “good” or “evil” character, the system is rendered pointless because life and death mean nothing. Most moral concepts are based on the significance of life and death.

Part of instilling a belief in the value of other characters is making other characters valuable to the player. It isn’t just about the blacksmith who fixes your gear, or the merchant who buys your vendor trash. It isn’t even about the guild master who hands out quests to you. There has to be value in the presence of characters.

It takes decades for a human being to grow to maturity. Human resources are among the most valuable on earth because of how much time and money must be invested in training and equipping people. “It’s hard to find good help,” is more than just a cliched expression. It’s an accurate representation of human resource management.

Part of implementing a moral choice system should be about conveying the inherent value of the people governed by said moral system. So, henchmen, companions, and minions should provide tangible benefits to the player, develop and grow more valuable with time, and leave lasting repercussions when lost or sacrificed.