Aging /Age Rolls

ottarrus

Cosmic Mongoose
Am I the only one who's looked at the Aging table and thought, 'Wait a frikkin' minute'?

With improvements in exercise, diet and environment, human lifespans could reach a solid 80+ years old. There is active discussions about raising the mandatory retirement age before pension benefits begin in several countries. Now, yes, I know that I'm speaking largely about the Middle Class [and up] of G8 nations. I'm fully aware of the real life issues about all this... feeding a world of 10 billion people, all of whom might live to 90 years old and so forth. But I'm strictly considering this in a Traveller Third Imperium sense.
Consider all the diseases that we've developed vaccines for in the last 100 years. Plagues that could and did wipe out entire regions of the world have been faced and, if not defeated, then effective treatments have been developed. For crying out loud, when HIV erupted on the scene scientists largely agreed that anti-virals were out-and-out impossible to develop. Now, 40 years later, they're not only out there but some actual cures for viral infections have been developed [Hepatitis C, for example]. And all this way down here at a mature TL8-early TL9.
Now, without getting all Altered Carbon with it and putting effective immortality in play, I imagine that high-TL health care would push the age where someone is physically capable with good healing ability to way beyond age 36 and the 'roll for decrepitude table'. I can imagine an Imperial citizen on a world of TL 9+ to have access to very good health care, and if a character does several terms in the very high TL services [Navy, Marines, Scouts] that would go up to excellent.
I also imagine that if one does choose to bump the age at which Aging Rolls are required, you'd have to raise the number of terms for retirement and probably the rate of promotions in services as well.

These are just my beginning mental rummagings on this. Anybody else think about it?
 

paltrysum

Cosmic Mongoose
The notion that modern medical science, and by extrapolation the medical science of the far future, might prevent people from suffering the effects of aging, is not new, of course. Ray Kurzweil has written a number of books on technology that posit a future in which you needn't die at all... ever. In Traveller, you'l see the idea in many stories about characters who are long-lived, some nearly 200 years old at the time of death (e.g., Duchess Delphine of Mora), some even more. In modern science fiction novels (Iain M. Banks' Culture novels and Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth saga come to mind, both of which suppose similar ideas to Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon) aging is a thing of the past as well.

Two reasons why it persists in Traveller: This game was inspired by the sci-fi of the 40s through 70s when the concepts of anti-aging were less well-developed. More importantly, it's a mechanic to make the game work. The older a character is, the more skills they have, which begins to break the mechanics if one does not mitigate it somehow. If every time you roll 2D6 plus your skill and characteristic DMs, you get a 15, when attempting to beat an 8+, then the mechanics aren't working well. Don't even get me started on augments and expert skill packages, which also throw things off. Aging effects are a device to help prevent things from getting out of whack.

The game could be designed differently, wherein you can learn a certain number of skills and eventually new skills replace older skills, giving players the choice of which ones they keep. There are many ways to incorporate the concepts of anti-aging, but Mongoose Traveller has stuck with the tradition of Classic Traveller.
 

MasterGwydion

Banded Mongoose
ottarrus said:
Am I the only one who's looked at the Aging table and thought, 'Wait a frikkin' minute'?

With improvements in exercise, diet and environment, human lifespans could reach a solid 80+ years old. There is active discussions about raising the mandatory retirement age before pension benefits begin in several countries. Now, yes, I know that I'm speaking largely about the Middle Class [and up] of G8 nations. I'm fully aware of the real life issues about all this... feeding a world of 10 billion people, all of whom might live to 90 years old and so forth. But I'm strictly considering this in a Traveller Third Imperium sense.
Consider all the diseases that we've developed vaccines for in the last 100 years. Plagues that could and did wipe out entire regions of the world have been faced and, if not defeated, then effective treatments have been developed. For crying out loud, when HIV erupted on the scene scientists largely agreed that anti-virals were out-and-out impossible to develop. Now, 40 years later, they're not only out there but some actual cures for viral infections have been developed [Hepatitis C, for example]. And all this way down here at a mature TL8-early TL9.
Now, without getting all Altered Carbon with it and putting effective immortality in play, I imagine that high-TL health care would push the age where someone is physically capable with good healing ability to way beyond age 36 and the 'roll for decrepitude table'. I can imagine an Imperial citizen on a world of TL 9+ to have access to very good health care, and if a character does several terms in the very high TL services [Navy, Marines, Scouts] that would go up to excellent.
I also imagine that if one does choose to bump the age at which Aging Rolls are required, you'd have to raise the number of terms for retirement and probably the rate of promotions in services as well.

These are just my beginning mental rummagings on this. Anybody else think about it?

Dammit! Now I have to go back and reread the aging rules and change them for My upcoming campaign, because I totally agree with you, but as of yet have not sat down to try and find a good balance between game rule balance and "projected pseudo-realism". It seems to Me that at TL15 aging effectively stops with artificial anagathics and then likely stops entirely at TL-17 or so with a genetic modification to make sophont bodies produce their own anagathics internally. This will likely all come with a continuing decline of the birth rate until the human race stagnates reproductively and culturally first, and scientifically last. Think immortal, ultra-conservative Vilani.

In the TLs in between TL-8 and TL-14 there would likely be incremental increases from Our current lifespans up to (as an arbitrary number) 200 years, with retirement age and aging rolls adjusted accordingly. TL-15 and TL-16 retirement age and aging rolls would be based on if your apparent age instead of your biological age. TL-17 has no retirement age, nor again rolls.

That is My 2 cents anyhow and is not based on anything in the OTU.
 

Geir

Cosmic Mongoose
The future is uncertain... I would tend to agree that lifespans will continue to increase and aging will slow down with technology, but even before the pandemic, it had plateaued in the US - yes, I know, overdoses and all that. Kim Stanley Robinson's rather pessimistic take on longevity and space travel in Aurora implies that we're attuned to Earth and that any offworld colonist will aging poorly. Probably not wrong if we do nothing to attempt to overcome it - better medicine and genetic modifications come to mind.

The Clement Sector milieu view that everyone is happy and healthy through their 80s and beyond strains the Traveller skills system pretty badly. If you're going to discount aging, then the 3 x INT + EDU limit is going to get hit - and that limit has always seemed too high to me. At some point disused skills from a previous career are going to degrade. It might be like 'riding a bike' in that they never totally go away, but they might fall to skill level 0 - for me, I used to be a rather good marksman, but I haven't fired a gun since 1997 and the odds are any positive DEX DM I might have had is degraded by bad aging rolls so 8+ to hit it is. Better spend a few actions aiming...

My rough-ass (a.k.a. simple enough for game use) totally non-OTU way to deal with aging is to look at the DMs for SOC and TL (treating TL like an attribute here, with DM+1 at TL 9, etc.) and apply those DMs to the aging roll. So a Duke at TL 15 gets DM +6, but a barbarian slave could get as low as DM -6. "Standard" Travellers - in a TL12ish world/milieu would then have DM +2 to aging.
 

MasterGwydion

Banded Mongoose
Geir said:
The future is uncertain... I would tend to agree that lifespans will continue to increase and aging will slow down with technology, but even before the pandemic, it had plateaued in the US - yes, I know, overdoses and all that. Kim Stanley Robinson's rather pessimistic take on longevity and space travel in Aurora implies that we're attuned to Earth and that any offworld colonist will aging poorly. Probably not wrong if we do nothing to attempt to overcome it - better medicine and genetic modifications come to mind.

The Clement Sector milieu view that everyone is happy and healthy through their 80s and beyond strains the Traveller skills system pretty badly. If you're going to discount aging, then the 3 x INT + EDU limit is going to get hit - and that limit has always seemed too high to me. At some point disused skills from a previous career are going to degrade. It might be like 'riding a bike' in that they never totally go away, but they might fall to skill level 0 - for me, I used to be a rather good marksman, but I haven't fired a gun since 1997 and the odds are any positive DEX DM I might have had is degraded by bad aging rolls so 8+ to hit it is. Better spend a few actions aiming...

My rough-ass (a.k.a. simple enough for game use) totally non-OTU way to deal with aging is to look at the DMs for SOC and TL (treating TL like an attribute here, with DM+1 at TL 9, etc.) and apply those DMs to the aging roll. So a Duke at TL 15 gets DM +6, but a barbarian slave could get as low as DM -6. "Standard" Travellers - in a TL12ish world/milieu would then have DM +2 to aging.

My thought would be to lower the Skill Limit to suit your playstyle and use your idea that skills from the oldest careers degrade first. Then I started thinking about why would people be forgetting skills if Our mental acuity didn't diminish with age. This would simply increase the number that is considered Average Difficulty, as more people would have higher numbers in their skills. You could also add a "study time" requirement for every skill over a certain level to maintain that high level of proficiency, as well as changing the time required to learn to skills to something resembling this. (2 weeks for L-0, 4 weeks for L-1, 8 weeks for L-3, 16 weeks for L-4, 32 weeks for L-5, 64 weeks for L-6)

Not sure if that would balance out correctly or not. I'd have to run the numbers to see, but it may be workable.

BTW... I love your idea for SOC and TL modifiers to apply to aging rolls. That is brilliant!
 

Arkathan

Cosmic Mongoose
I like the MgT1 Sword Worlder aging mechanic, where their diet and vitamin regimens allow them to use their End mod on aging rolls.
It encourages characters to skimp on starting skills and go for physical improvement for a pay off later.
House rule to simulate others being able to stick to such a strict dietary schedule, perhaps treat it like training. Average 8+ (EDU) check to be able to use END on that Aging roll. Not available to Drifters, Prisoners or Colonists... unless you want to...
 

Arkathan

Cosmic Mongoose
Geir said:
The future is uncertain... I would tend to agree that lifespans will continue to increase and aging will slow down with technology, but even before the pandemic, it had plateaued in the US - yes, I know, overdoses and all that. Kim Stanley Robinson's rather pessimistic take on longevity and space travel in Aurora implies that we're attuned to Earth and that any offworld colonist will aging poorly. Probably not wrong if we do nothing to attempt to overcome it - better medicine and genetic modifications come to mind.

The Clement Sector milieu view that everyone is happy and healthy through their 80s and beyond strains the Traveller skills system pretty badly. If you're going to discount aging, then the 3 x INT + EDU limit is going to get hit - and that limit has always seemed too high to me. At some point disused skills from a previous career are going to degrade. It might be like 'riding a bike' in that they never totally go away, but they might fall to skill level 0 - for me, I used to be a rather good marksman, but I haven't fired a gun since 1997 and the odds are any positive DEX DM I might have had is degraded by bad aging rolls so 8+ to hit it is. Better spend a few actions aiming...

My rough-ass (a.k.a. simple enough for game use) totally non-OTU way to deal with aging is to look at the DMs for SOC and TL (treating TL like an attribute here, with DM+1 at TL 9, etc.) and apply those DMs to the aging roll. So a Duke at TL 15 gets DM +6, but a barbarian slave could get as low as DM -6. "Standard" Travellers - in a TL12ish world/milieu would then have DM +2 to aging.

I like this one as well.
 

ShawnDriscoll

Cosmic Mongoose
ottarrus said:
Am I the only one who's looked at the Aging table and thought, 'Wait a frikkin' minute'?

With improvements in exercise, diet and environment, human lifespans could reach a solid 80+ years old. There is active discussions about raising the mandatory retirement age before pension benefits begin in several countries. Now, yes, I know that I'm speaking largely about the Middle Class [and up] of G8 nations. I'm fully aware of the real life issues about all this... feeding a world of 10 billion people, all of whom might live to 90 years old and so forth. But I'm strictly considering this in a Traveller Third Imperium sense.
Consider all the diseases that we've developed vaccines for in the last 100 years. Plagues that could and did wipe out entire regions of the world have been faced and, if not defeated, then effective treatments have been developed. For crying out loud, when HIV erupted on the scene scientists largely agreed that anti-virals were out-and-out impossible to develop. Now, 40 years later, they're not only out there but some actual cures for viral infections have been developed [Hepatitis C, for example]. And all this way down here at a mature TL8-early TL9.
Now, without getting all Altered Carbon with it and putting effective immortality in play, I imagine that high-TL health care would push the age where someone is physically capable with good healing ability to way beyond age 36 and the 'roll for decrepitude table'. I can imagine an Imperial citizen on a world of TL 9+ to have access to very good health care, and if a character does several terms in the very high TL services [Navy, Marines, Scouts] that would go up to excellent.
I also imagine that if one does choose to bump the age at which Aging Rolls are required, you'd have to raise the number of terms for retirement and probably the rate of promotions in services as well.

These are just my beginning mental rummagings on this. Anybody else think about it?

Rule Zero.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
1. It's reflection of the Seventies, retirement and a need to find an outlet for all that experience and money in a deteriorating body.

2. If you think of it in GURPS terms, forced retirement caps resources available.

3. Accumulating skills and money against a depreciating body, balancing bling against bang.

4. You can always transplant the brain to a clone made from cells collected from your late adolescence, much like the military harvests sperm and cells from their soldiers, just in case.

5. The drugs could originate from the spinal fluids of young humans.

6. If you get rid of aging, you probably should implement a point system.
 

NOLATrav

Banded Mongoose
Geir said:
My rough-ass (a.k.a. simple enough for game use) totally non-OTU way to deal with aging is to look at the DMs for SOC and TL (treating TL like an attribute here, with DM+1 at TL 9, etc.) and apply those DMs to the aging roll. So a Duke at TL 15 gets DM +6, but a barbarian slave could get as low as DM -6. "Standard" Travellers - in a TL12ish world/milieu would then have DM +2 to aging.

I really like this, consider it yoinked.

Cheers!
 

gilthy

Banded Mongoose
Mindjammer – Transhuman Adventure in the Second Age of Space is a FATE-base RPG, but there's also a Traveller edition of the game, which uses Mongoose Traveller as its base game.

It has a higher tech cap than "Third Imperium" Traveller, peaking out at the equivalent of TL 19-21, with the standard at about TL15-18. Some common Imperial tech comes in at different tech levels, for example, gravity engines are only discovered at TL10-11, small antigravity units like suspensors and grav belts are only developed at TL12-14, and the 2-space planing engine, their first method of faster than light travel, is only developed at TL15.

But, it also has various ways of living vastly longer than current humans do. And some advise and rules on how to deal with it. Also, there are rules on how living extremely long makes you less human (it's not called Transhuman Adventure for nothing :) ).

From the Mindjammer Traveller book, p.41, How Long Should I Stay In My Career?:
Usually in Traveller, the creeping enfeeblement caused by successive ageing rolls encourages you to stop rolling for career terms for your character before he’s too old to make a difference. In Mindjammer, with its vastly extended lifespans, synthetic characters, and longevity and rejuvenation technologies, things are somewhat different. In theory, it’s possible to keep your character rolling for career terms almost indefinitely, gradually racking up skill levels and expertise; in the Commonality, there are synthetic sentiences thousands of years old, and even normal humans have lifespans measured in centuries.

In practical terms, we advise you to put a maximum age limit on your characters. Specifically, once your character hits 150 years old, we suggest you finish up with character creation and get ready to play. Practically speaking, this is really only an issue for synthetics and Commonality culture characters; Fringe Worlders, xenomorphs, Outer Worlders, and the like come from cultures where longevity isn’t yet widely available and therefore not a problem.

The feeling I get from baseline / "Third Imperium" Traveller is that anagathics / longevity treatment isn't readily available for the "common man", but can be something you can have access to as someone with influence or money (with the treatment being illegal or heavily controlled on many worlds, costing Cr20,000 per dose=month, and the synthetic version only becomes available at TL15). The Third Imperium is not a transhuman setting, it's a setting about very human characters (mainly) doing very human things, in a (somewhat) "hard" sci-fi setting. Some parts focus on part of the "cast" being older (for example, in Pirates of Drinax, King Oleb is 105 (looking mid-50), and in my game, some of the other nobles on the palace are even older, with some looking younger, some older). And having (expensive) anagathics (or maybe a "fresh" clone body or robot shell) as a reward for the adventurers, directly or indirectly through spending power, fits in with the game.

From the Traveller Wiki:
The cultural reaction to the availability of antiagathics varies widely. The general cost prohibits all but the richest from using it and allowing the elite to extend their period of dominance of government or corporations from a few decades to a century or more by forming a perpetual Gerontocracy. Some cultures view this as stability, while other reject anagathics as stagnation. Imperial society frowns on Nobles who use antiagathics, but does not otherwise ban or regulate them.

There's also the question about humans in the actual world (and thus, in Traveller settings) getting older. Average life expectancy is certainly moving up, but there always have been some people reaching a high age. It just happens more often these days, and (certainly in wealthier countries, and in those for the wealthier population) the chance of reaching a higher age at good health has been increasing. I like the (as said, simple enough for game use) idea of using DMs for SOC and TL for the aging roll, representing those of better status being less affected by getting older.
 

Rikki Tikki Traveller

Cosmic Mongoose
IMTU I let characters apply a TL DM based on their homeworld tech level:

TL0-2: -2
TL3-5: -1
TL6-8: +0
TL9-B: +1
TLC-E: +2
TLF: +3

(yes, this is the same as the characteristic table DMs...) So while you still have to make aging rolls at 34 (ask star athletes if they feel it at that age...); the higher your medical tech, the longer you can go (on average) before feeling the effects.
 
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