Age Categories – the rough notes transcribed

This is what the Age Categories modifier chart looks like in my copy of the 1st Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide:

It’s fairly concise and conveys everything needed for aging your character in the game.  However, I’ve stumbled across what I believe to be a copy of Mr. Gygax’s original notes for the Middle Aged section, which seem to start off as rules but then turn into some sort of rant, and I’ve transcribed them below.

 Middle Aged: Subtract 1 point (or half exceptional rating) of strength and 1 point of constitution; add 1 point of intelligence and 1 point of wisdom.

The strength reduction is the result of stiffness of limb and joint, the inability to flex used muscles as once possible, and the gradual mortification of the body.  The diminished constitution score reflects the Middle Aged reality of obscure muscle spasms and pulls from events as minor as improper stretching before buckling armor, or even exiting from your camp-side bedroll too quickly in the morning.  A Middle Aged character may not be able to function without coffee, and now find the sun too bright.

An increase in intelligence?  Possibly, if useless trivia that appears out of nowhere can be considered intelligence. Why do I need to remember my telephone number from when I was 12?  Why is that more important than my bank card PIN *- which I’ve had for 20 years but it’s just slipped out and won’t come back?

Wisdom, I get.  I’ve got advice, no problem.  That’s just experience.  Why am I adjusting Wisdom rather than giving XP?  You already collect XP, isn’t that covering it?  Not sure.

Possible additional rules: will develop taste for previously unappealing  food (roll 1d6): 1 – onions, 2 – garlic, 3 – curry, 4 – sweet potatoes, 5 – legumes, 6 – tomato soup.  Who knows why, possibly related to mutation of taste buds over time, probably just growing out of infantile picky eater syndrome.

What scores get adjusted for increase in nostalgia, or sentiment?  Or a decrease in avaiable free time and energy?  You delight at reconnecting with friends unseen in 10 years, but quickly realize that you have no additional time to continue communication.  What’s the point of that?

You can recover spells after only 6 hours of rest instead of 8, but you’d still prefer a solid 10 hours sleep.  However, you will awaken 1d6 hours into any sleep to use the washroom.

Your fondest memories are about activities and hobbies you had when you were 12.  Why are you still interested in the same things?  No maturation or forward progress?  My god, your oldest child is 12 now.  Will these be the times that she’s thinking of in 30 years?  How are you screwing this up?  Shouldn’t you be more involved in her world?  Why are you having more sleepless nights worrying about your child when she’s 12 than you did when she was a newborn?  Do parents ever get sleep?

Man, I’m just tired.  Even when I’ve had enough sleep, I just feel exhausted lately.  Yeah, maybe -2 constitution.  Should playtest that, if I can ever find the time…

* I am amazed, as always, at Mr. Gygax’s prescience regarding the electronic banking industry, and also impressed that he doesn’t say PIN number, as so many people do.

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