Once you have an easy way to track character age, there really needs to be a reason for players to care. It’s one thing for a player to say they’re playing an elderly grandfather or something, and it’s something else entirely for a player to want to play an elderly grandfather. It feels like it should be a handicap.

But there’s no reason why it should be.

You know one of the weird things about Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons? While it wasn’t necessarily the most balanced or even necessarily playable of game systems, it opened a lot of eyes. It made playable (though again, not every well) virtually every mythical creature imaginable. Everything in a Monster Manual was a player option.

For some people, that meant playing a shape-changer and taking advantage of some of the most poorly-written rules in the system, and for some that meant exploring new character concepts that weren’t possible in other game systems. Some of the most bizarre and incredible characters came out from players of Third Edition.

The original Book of Vile Darkness was released in 2002, and will be ten years old coming this October. That’s a long time in our era, and it’s difficult to imagine D&D failing to top itself in that time. Minor, miscellaneous advances in the system aside, Level Adjustment, Skill Challenges, and Monster Roles are what we got.

So, let’s talk about Generation mechanics. Heroes aging and bearing offspring. Forging a legacy and all that good stuff. To a certain extent, it’s going to call into question how characters are thought to learn and gain experience. Players will probably want to teach their children magic and swordplay. Why shouldn’t they?

Inspired by my last post about additive monster roles, I’m thinking that age categories should come with additive bonuses, intended to make different categories different, but not necessarily better or worse than one another. And that will certainly effect how magic, skills, and character classes interact within the setting.