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A new member to my campaign wants to play as a teenager human character in D&D 3.5 The character is going to be a 15 year old rogue.

I'm not sure how to build this character as I would assume a 15 year old would have stat reductions of some kind. Are there any rules (home-brew or otherwise) that cover this age choice?

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up vote 27 down vote accepted

I think you're overestimating the difference between a 15 year old and an adult. Human rogues, according to Table: Random Starting Ages, could be as young as 16. That extra year shouldn't make that much difference. You could easily explain that the character is gifted enough to start his career as an adventurer a year or two early.

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I wouldn't sweat it.

A fifteen-year-old is physically mature enough to represent a first-level character; in fact, the Random Starting Age chart puts the lower bound for a rogue at 16, so it's reasonable to say that this one started early. If the character was a true child, say, 8 or 9, I might recommend the use of this Child template, adapted from d20 Modern, or the Young creature template from Pathfinder.

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Others have already mentioned that the character is only one year away from the "normal" lower bound for starting age; with a difference that small, I wouldn't be inclined to say that it makes any real difference.

If you really, really want to make the character's young age have a mechanical impact, then I could maybe see imposing a general -1 penalty on skill checks: the character hasn't quite learned enough about the world to apply learned knowledge completely just yet. But I'd only impose that penalty until he reaches Level 2, because at that point he should have enough practical experience to counteract the effects of his age. Alternatively, you could work the character's sixteenth birthday into the plot and remove the penalty then.

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Birthdays are magic! You turn 16 and suddenly get smarter! – Bobson Jan 16 '14 at 18:29
(To be fair, the real world does behave that way. You're suddenly much more mature, and thus able to handle your own affairs, on your 18th birthday than you are the day before it.) – Bobson Jan 16 '14 at 18:29
The sarcasm, it scythes ^_^ I hate arbitrarily-decided age numbers that completely redefine a person's legal existence. See also the magical ages: 90 days before birth; age 13 in many places; 21 in the US. 18 = can vote, own property, have babies... 21 = can drink alcohol. Huh? – gatherer818 Aug 3 '14 at 20:32
@gatherer818 You should have been an Australian! We're allowed to drink and drive at the same time and suddenly I see why having those things become legal at different ages is a good idea. – GMJoe Feb 13 '15 at 0:18

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