Age of characters & NPCs

Hi there!

The thread on magi turning 9 once again (great thread and story, BTW) made me wonder something….

IMS the average starting character is 22-26 years old. That goes both for magi and mundanes.

For magi, that would seem fair, since they are actually “15 year olds” according to the OoH (or even newborns). However, are we playing with decrepit mundanes? In the middle ages people were supposed to be adults earlier on in their lives (life was cheap harsh and short, most of the time), so a 20 year old should be a somewhat experienced human being not a “raw recruit” or “young maiden”. More like an “old hag” if she was not already married at the time…..

This just did strike me as odd, and wanted to check what others have in their sagas. This is what is currently happening IMS and I doubt we will change it, but the XP system seems to go along this lines, right? Sample characters et al for mundanes in officialo sources have traditionally used a “modern” age system, and not the “ a 17 year old can easily be a father/mother of 2 children” system….

Just curious to see what happens in other sagas out there :slight_smile:



Oh wow, I usually put 30 as my average starting age, and that's after I pulled back from my 4th ed habbit of going all the way to age 35. I figure if you want them to have any kind of life before hand, ages 13-16 are good for starting apprenticeship. The youngest I go is around 10, for a gauntlet age of 25.

For mundanes, I aim for the same ages. 20 is a young buck, 25 a good average age, 30 to 35 for a veteran, maybe even up into the 40's for scholars, noble mothers, and so forth.

You know, I'm never sure how exaggerated a view of medieval lifestyles we have. We all know that life expectancy was generally lower back then, but there were key people of around the 1220 start date that lived to the ripe old ages that we might expect today (Eleanor of Acquitaine, William Marshal, Doge Enrico Dandalo, etc).

Were "kids", as we might see them today, really living out there on their own with their own children in tow? Was this really the case or is this another myth like "medieval people didn't wash"?

Heh, I hear your song and recognize it. :stuck_out_tongue: In terms of ME, it seems that covenants would be populated by senile old farts instead of veterans :stuck_out_tongue:

Now, Mark's question is something I would love to see answered, having not a strong grounding on the issue myself :slight_smile:



In our saga the magi all start in their early teens or younger - as apprentices. As for grogs and companions it all very relative. Often they make people close to getting aging or even far down the track of aging (60+ years) - often the older characters have more of an edge to them and it's not that important that their time in the story becomes short if only it is remarkable.

Maybe I didn't express myself well.

What I wanted to say is that it would seem from my reading of history, that by age 16 a wannabe soldier was already training and getting into mean brawls. In Ars Magica, I rarely see wannabe combat grogs being younger than 24-26 years old when they "enter the scene". he same happens with the rest of the characters in the pñot: they tend to be older than history woulod suggest most of the time.

THAT is what I meant.

I wanted to ask if people have found the same case in their respective sagas

Clear as mud? :slight_smile:



Usually we start grogs around age 16-18 if we want them to be green recruits.

My impression is that, in the Middle Ages, to be a journeyman in one's trade and perhaps to be married was quite common by age 20 or so.

On the other hand, traditionally a man would not be knighted until age 21. Usually on his birthday, if he was noble...

And Conan was only fifteen when the Cimerians attacked Venerium. He was the first over the wall. But most of his best stories are from when he was in his 30's and 40's, even 50+.

For knights, age 7 was page, 14 for squire, and you were not an adult & full knight until age 21 (that's why many places have a 21+ drinking age and it used to be you had to be 21+ in order to vote). So 21 is a pretty standard age of adulthood throughout western civilization.

In Sparta, you were required to live in the barracks and couldn't live with your wife until age 35. In the middle ages, a successful knight retired in his mid to late 30's, and would marry a 13 year old girl!

If your turb is all green recruits, then they are teenagers. If you want seasoned experienced veteran mercenaries, they'll be in their late twenties through early 40's. Somewhere in between is average, say 21 to 27.

We definately have grogs either starting in their teens or having been somehwat fighting since that age - but they might also be people who've lived by another trade and then for one reason or other changes trade at an older age - perhaps more often than seen in the service of a local lord, as a covenant is better place to seek a haven from whatever made you leave what you've left behind....

As late as the beginning of this century, "modern" countries had kids working in factories well before their teens. In a world where the only necessary education was "on the job", life as an adult started much earlier. The death rate only added to that - lose your parents, or just one, and "the man of the house" or "the mother of the family" got handed to the next in line, no questions asked.

With the advent of the 5th ed rules, I've seen PC magi start out older than before, and not just to meet SG requirements.

The above posts are all on the money - if the talent pool is weak, they're either teenagers or new to the occupation - farmers turned guards, for instance (tho' some might have some secondary skills, like Awareness or Carouse, that are relatively high.) The guidelines on page 31 for Age vs. Max Ability are a good reference there.

But to answer the original question*, magi vary from mid twenties to mid forties (with some rare older), companions usually a bit younger than that, and grogs younger still, 15-35. (Few non-magi start older than 33 or so, ime, for obvious reasons.)

(* and ignoring various Virtues that allow for aging without fear of repercussions, natch.)

That was just a couple of years ago :slight_smile:
Stuff like that still happens today. Heck, you can find places in the world where 14 year olds are armed (my neighborhood is one of them :wink:)

Yeah, well, let me add "as a rule" in post script. And if you want to call me a jingo because I judge child-labor countries "non-modern", I'll take it.

(And let's just ignore modern gang analogies.)

Saw it in Guatemala myself. Our land rover was stopped by a military control where a 20 year old (at most) sgt gave orders to a bunch of 12-13 year olds with M16 guns. Quite a shock for me, being a self assured first worlder that the closer that has been to a real gun himself has been watching Platoon (or equivalent movie) in the cinema. I am glad of the later, actually.



Guatemala is NOT a "modern" country, sorry! :unamused: Not in this context.

(I'll just be over here, reading Oliver Twist...)

Who said it was?


Some of Ars Magica's rules don't cover exceptions like that.
Then again... you could make a 12 year old by the rules with 5 in Single Weapon, with Warrior and Poor (120 experience for Later Life.) Throw in 3 Awareness and 2 Hunt (in addition to 2 Athletics, Survival, and Stealth gained from Childhood) and you have an Abused Child Warrior who only has -1 to his Characteristics from age and yet is practically a match in a fight for an experienced grog, who has a healthy ability spread.

:slight_smile: Kinda hard to ignore when you live there. These kids are not statistics. They are real people. And Xavi has a point too. Adolescent soldiers are not just confined to Africa and the middle east. It is all over the place south of the border over here. In Mexico, the gang situation is massive. It does no good to dismiss them because one finds it distasteful. The Vikings, Huns, and Mongols were much much worse, and I think you can find parells of adolescent soldiers in those histories. So it isn't as off topic as you might think. For one, I personally, I think it is a great mistake to think of ourselves as somehow different and more advanced than our anscestors. Second, why not look to everyday life for anthropological answers that could apply just as well today as a thousand years ago or a thousand from now.

Just because they are backwards does not make them non-modern. It just means they suck :slight_smile:

Oh, and by a few years ago, I was refering to the fact that the bbegining of this century was only eight years ago, and your phrasing made it seem you were speaking of "the beginning of this century" as they used the phrase all the way up until 1999. I'm sure you realized it, I was just being a dork :smiley:

Watch who you include in that 'we.' Mind you, just a county away in Los Angeles there are child gang members who are shooting and killing.

Me, I don't care, but I know several Guatamalans personally that would take offense to that. Let's see, they have electricity, radio, fossil fules, television, banks, cars, computers, everything I see of Guatamala indicates a modern people to me. No hunter-gatherers, maye a few fishermen and farmers...

Dude, they are modern. Your political issues are your personal beliefs, more power to you, but realize that I will debate this if you want (as I never get offended, I debate instead), but I don't think that this is the appropriate place for such a discussion. We can take it off list if you want :slight_smile:

The reason we should ignore them, why it's productive, and why it's easy to, is... (say it with me)... it has nothing to do with this topic. Which is, loosely... The age of "adults" in medieval times.

Unless you are equating Mexico to a medieval country, in which case I'll just step back and watch. :wink: