Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Am Now Officially Old

© 1977-2011, Far Future Enterprises
When I was a younger man and played Traveller regularly, my characters tended to muster out at age 38. In this way, I was influenced by two things. First, the sample character, Alexander Lascelles Jamison (pictured to the right) ended his career at age 38. Second, 38 was the first year a character could potentially begin to suffer the degradation of his physical characteristics due to aging, which I can tell you from my own experience is pretty accurate. And, if you rolled well, you'd have a pretty decent character by age 38, with a good selection of skills and mustering out benefits.

However, random rolls being what they are, you didn't always get what you wanted by age 38. Maybe you missed out on a promotion and the benefit that came with it or you kept failing to receive a level in Jack-o-T. In such cases, I'd occasionally risk another batch of aging rolls, with an eye toward getting what I needed and mustering out at age 42, but that was my limit, because, to my mind, 42 was old.

Yesterday, I turned 42.

CORRECTION: 34 is in fact the first year that a character potentially suffers physical attribute degradation due to age, not 38 as listed above. I can only assume that the reason I then fixated on age 38 was because, in my mind, if you're still in your 30s, you're still "young," whereas anything over 40 was "old."

50 comments:

  1. OTOH, 42 *is* the answer to the life, universe, and everything. So happy birthday!

    Turning 43 was a real letdown. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Around 1980, I rolled up a merchant. Ran him through 12 terms. Yes, he entered the game at the age of 66. He weathered aging fairly well, he had very poor strength and endurance, decent dexterity, and incredible intelligence and education. I decided he came from a long line of microgravity dwellers. He also had a fully-paid for Far Trader.

    Ran him for almost four years, until I left for Infantry OSUT. Best character I ever played. His name was Arameth Gridlore. He, and his family, have made it into Traveller canon.

    Speaking from the lofty age of 45, Happy Birthday, kid.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So have you yelled at any damn kids to stay off your yard yet, old man?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy birthday, then! May your Jack-O-T rolls always come up boxcars!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have my sympathies.

    At the ripe old age of 50 (about to turn 51) I can feel your pain.

    The good news is that . . . wait, wait one . . .

    Did I just say "Good news?"

    Ooops! My bad!

    Hehehehehehe

    ReplyDelete
  6. Did you make your Survival Roll or did your ref let you buy with a disadvantage or age related disability like: What's a Gaga syndrome, Banned from the GAP, inability to read a menu in dimly lit restaurant, or must eat dinner at 4PM complex.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy birthday for yesterday, and just remember that 42 is the new 32 (which makes me 28) ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Happy birthday! Surely you are aging more gracefully than poor Alexander Lascelles Jamison (who looks more like 48 than 38).

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy Birthday!

    When I was a kid I wanted to play Luke Skywalker in Traveller. Now that I'm making my aging rolls, I see a lot of appeal in playing Jamison.

    Word verification: Shomaj -- a Zhodani greeting meaning "I see what's in your mind, friend, but I like you anyway."

    ReplyDelete
  10. Whippersnapper! Happy birthday. Hope you had a good one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Happy Birthday!

    My wife turned 40 in September. So she's still 2 years younger than her Traveller character, Dame Augusta Loba, was when she began play...

    Of course the Dame kicks arse in so many different ways! "This ship/orbital facility/planet is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Eliza Shipping Company. You will surrender now." I swear that woman is a force of nature.

    She ended play as Countessa of the what were to become the Border Worlds. Recently my wife suggested I rescue the Dame from that fate worse than death. Maybe once the kidtehs have had a taste of OSR D&D...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I had been planning to snark about how there wasn't enough enthusiasm about Old School players for Classic Traveller ... and then I came here and I was happy to see that I had been wrong.

    Happy birthday, and may your discoveries of the galaxy always be shocking.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hmm...I'm older than Alexander Lascelles Jamison, too.

    At least we didn't die in chargen James!

    Happy Birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hate to be a Traveller grognard, but 34 is the first aging roll. Since my body started falling apart after 32, I think Mark Miller knew what he was talking about.

    I'm nearing my 42nd birthday in April of 2012. I'll need to get on the treadmill for some +1 Str & End rolls.

    Happy Birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy Birthday! If it's any consolation, I've noticed no real difference between 42 and 43. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hate to be a Traveller grognard, but 34 is the first aging roll.

    You're right! That just shows you how long it's been since I last played Traveller. Or maybe I've been doing it wrong all these years ... :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Happy Birthday!

    And thanks for making me feel better about being 38.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 42? Why, you're just a young adult ... in dragon years. Happy birthday yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
  19. 5 terms / 38 yrs was "special" also because it was when the character was eligible for retirement and a pension in some careers.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Happy Birthday! (I think I've failed another round of aging rolls past that, however....)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ah 42, what I wouldn't give to be 42 and young again. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I saw the title and the illustration and immediately predicted everything about this post. Because I'm the same age and in the same situation. Cheers and happy birthday, man. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thats OK. I turned 40 back on September 9 (a few days before Nathan Fillion of Firefly/Castle fame) and I was expecting to be dead by fourty. That I'm not was a frikin disapointment/surprise. It means I must suffer through decades of decline.

    But then again String Theory invalidates Time itself...You are not getting old - you are being exposed to a black hole which is expanding backward and forward through time from its singularity. Time is Continuous change in possibility.

    Now you feel old.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow - I wish I could have retired and been eligible for a pension at 38... *snort*

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks, I was trying not to think about that. I hit 42 this coming January. *sigh* On the bright side, you've motivated me to break out the Traveller books and indulge. Happy birthday, James.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Speakin' as a 40-year old youngun' -- make sure you survive your tours of duty, y'hear?

    ReplyDelete
  27. When I was a wee tyke the bigger kids played Traveller-- us yungins played basic D&D with AD&D thrown in, or Gamma World, or whatever else we could find.

    I was shocked when they started talking about their 30, 40, and 50 year old characters. That's old!

    In my mind D&D characters were/are around 17-20 years old at first level. I literally couldn't imagine playing a 50 year old ship captain.

    I turn 40 in January.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Happy 42nd!

    Tell us: Did you manage to get the D&D Basic Set you were after and/or that Lovecraft Biography you were interested in?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Remember, 42 is still "adults 12 and up."

    ReplyDelete
  30. My condolences!

    Beated you to it by a week or so. And actually, it does not seem too bad at all. First time in five years, I feel like picking up my ink pens again, and it feels great!

    Incidentally, I do remember rolling the age for my first (and longest-played) AD&D M-U, and he started adventuring at the age of 35. And somewhere along the line, he came face to face with a ghost, gaining 30 years, so I'm not there yet ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  31. <grin> Rolling up a Traveller character who is younger than you are has been my definition of "I've gotten old" ever since it happened. Admittedly it was a character that mustered out after a single term, but the implications at that very moment of realisation became frightening.

    Curiously we tended to stay in as long as possible in our standard Traveller games, and so the acquisition of black market anagathics was a thriving adjunct to the main games, which meant that we were dealing with mainly socially-orientated games rather than action adventure. I think it was the lure of mustering out benefits more than anything else. Rooms where you couldn't throw a stone without hitting an admiral and where the colonels fetched the coffee... And despite all the possibility of characteristic losses characters still always aged gracefully. Much more gracefully than any of the players have in the intervening years. [But that was something outside of our experience as teenagers.]

    For more action-adventure games we generally assumed that the individuals were still in their chosen branch of the service. Definitely gave an impetus to push people into the adventure.

    And "hippy bathday" from someone who has failed far too many aging rolls in his lifetime!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Happy birthday! So, what skills did you acquire? Are you mustering out, or taking one more term?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Happy B'day! I am turning 40 next March myself, and I can say I started to feel old when I watched the birth of my son on 9 December 2009...

    ReplyDelete
  34. It occurs to me that I tore my ACL and meniscus a month before turning 38 - which clearly shows that I suffered age related degradation to AGL.

    ReplyDelete
  35. So have you yelled at any damn kids to stay off your yard yet, old man?

    I've been doing that for years; I didn't need to turn 42.

    ReplyDelete
  36. 5 terms / 38 yrs was "special" also because it was when the character was eligible for retirement and a pension in some careers.

    You're right. That probably played a role too, since having a steady, non-larcenous source of income was very important in Traveller.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Did you manage to get the D&D Basic Set you were after and/or that Lovecraft Biography you were interested in?

    As of yet, I have neither but that's OK. It's not as if I need them.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Happy belated birthday, I'm a year ahead of you. I can remember when my gang realized we were older than our (human) AD&D characters, and when we'd reached 2000 without the Twilight War happening. The Traveller milestone was just another one.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Happy Birthday James! I truly enjoy your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Happy birthday, though I've got almost a decade on you.

    Depending on the version of Traveller played, 38 was about the age where your total number of skill ranks equaled or exceeded the INT + EDU barrier. 38-42 was about the sweet spot for character age in that game (I'm assuming that hasn't changed much with Mongoose version, which I haven't bothered purchasing).

    It was also that point at which even if your aging rolls stunk, you weren't likely to have taken too bad a hit on attributes yet.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I too am in my early 40s and you know what.... I'm glad I was part of the generation that experienced the golden age of rpgs, in the early 80s. Be honest, we may be "old" now, but would you trade those bygone innocent days of rolling up and playing, say, Traveller characters, for the eye-candy rich but lifeless computer games of the 90s and 2000s? I wouldn't.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Be honest, we may be "old" now, but would you trade those bygone innocent days of rolling up and playing, say, Traveller characters, for the eye-candy rich but lifeless computer games of the 90s and 2000s? I wouldn't.

    Nor would I. I won't be so bold as to claim that the years of my childhood were a better time to be a kid than those my own children have been given, but I have no qualms whatsoever in saying that they were very good times indeed and I'm grateful to have lived through them.

    ReplyDelete
  43. When I turned 42 I too realized that I was now the same age that the majority of my Traveller characters mustered out at. But my first thought wasn't "Now I'm old!" My first thought was "Now I can start."

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.