An adventurer or villain has reached Middle Age or higher and then somehow becomes immortal (be it by way of Lichdom, Vampirism, becoming a deity, or some other twist of fate). What happens to the bonuses/penalties from aging?
Do they remain and cease to advance, or are they removed entirely?
Does something else happen?

Especially, when something changes the base creature's type to something that doesn't normally get aging categories (such as Undead) how does aging now work?

Acceptable answers can draw from Pathfinder or D&D 3.5/3.0 for this question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Haven't VTC'd, but it may be better to limit this to one system (I know they are similarly based), and one specific circumstance. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Jun 10, 2018 at 6:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Given the lack of system specificity, this seems sort of like an idea generation question. It'd help if you specifically stated the system you're asking about, and perhaps just as important, the reason you're asking (i.e. the problem you're trying to solve). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jun 10, 2018 at 6:32
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Both systems use similar wording for these kinds of effects. And there are only a couple of variants in how it works. In reality, I could answer this question in the space of a comment, to say nothing of an entire answer. Too broad it isn’t. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 10, 2018 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan does the edit I made (+RO vote) improve the scope or make it less clear? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2018 at 18:25

3 Answers 3


Logic: Yes.

Becoming immortal stops your aging, it doesn’t reverse it. For example, the 3.5 monk class feature, timeless body, which doesn’t make you immortal, but comes pretty darn close, says:

Any such penalties that she has already taken, however, remain in place.

RAW: Yes.

You (Dorian) mentioned lichdom and vampirism, which are both templates. By RAW, you simply add the templates onto the base creature. That means that you keep your adjusted ability scores. It is possible, however, that there is another method of immortality (maybe ony involving time reversal) that reverses any changes due to aging.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It is worth noting that some forms of immortality actually do reverse age penalties; they say that in the description though. And some others eliminate penalties but let you keep the bonuses. It varies. But it should always say if it’s doing something fancy; this is the default. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 11, 2018 at 1:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ One particular method (from a Dragon Magazine) even specifies that the aging effects continue to accrue every one hundred years, so I agree with KRyan - each method specifics what it does, and doesn't do anything it doesn't specify. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Jun 11, 2018 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ This post is for 3.5 \$\endgroup\$
    – MrHiTech
    Jun 13, 2018 at 23:03

This DM would say yes, but using PathFinder RAW it varies depending upon the source.

Monk's Timeless Body indicates that already applied changes to ability scores due to ageing should remain, and bonuses continue to accrue. Pretty much what MrHiTech already said.

Wizard's Discovery "Immortality" says penalties from age are halted ("from this point forward") but also removed ("If you are already taking such penalties, they are removed at this time.") which seems an inefficient way to state it since they could have just said "all physical penalties from ageing are removed" and be done with it. Adding a conditional statement and then over-ruling it in the next sentence is just poor editing.

3rd Party Occultist's Binder Secret "Immortality" says:

You no longer accumulate aging penalties, and any aging penalties you already possess are removed. Aging bonuses still accrue normally."

Which supports the cessation of physical penalties and reversal of same, just as the Wizard Discovery does, but goes further to state that bonuses (mental) are still accrued.

Mythic Heroes have an Immortality power which mentions nothing about ageing changes to ability scores, simply that the Mythic Hero has to killed in a specific way otherwise they come back to life 24hrs later.

A Mantle of Immortality simply removes (suppresses actually) the physical penatlies to ability scores due to ageing and makes no mention of the mental ones. So this DM assumes they would progress as usual.

Leaving RAW and extrapolating with some logic...
I've always worked off a basis similar to the Monk's power and Mantle magic item in my campaigns. Be it AD&D2E, D&D3.5 or PathFinder, I've always seen ageing has having both physical and mental aspects which often have needed to be handled separately. As soon as something like a potion of youth (AD&D2E magical item) makes an appearance it makes no sense that such an item would cause mental bonuses due to ageing to be reversed! What, did the PC forget stuff? What adventurer in their right might would sacrifice hard earned levels for 1d12 years of life? (Well, unless they are nudging their death age I suppose.)

If the mental bonuses from ageing are due to the acquisition of knowledge and experience applied through a racial filter (hence the different age categories per race), then as long as the individual keeps experiencing their existence at the same rate as they did before they became immortal they should continue to get the bonuses for their race as the ageing categories specify... but that's mental age I'm talking about. Immortality should pretty much halt, but not reverse (unless specifically stated), physical age and that's always worked for me and my Players.

In the case of reversed ageing penalties, this DM would rule the Character actually physically returns to below the middle-age mark of their race in appearance and physical age.


Yes, unless your specific method of becoming immortal states otherwise.

In both D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder, the general rule only specifies what happens to ability scores as the character ages (this from the D&D 3.5 SRD):

With age, a character’s physical ability scores decrease and his or her mental ability scores increase (see Table: Aging Effects). The effects of each aging step are cumulative.

This means that unless a specific form of immortality states otherwise, an immortal character retains the accumulated effects of aging (and, technically, continues to age unless stated otherwise).

  • The Monk of the Four Winds (Pathfinder) specifically remains in their existing age category, meaning that they no longer accrue age adjustments, but do retain existing adjustments.
  • The wizard (Pathfinder) who makes the arcane discovery of immortality specifically removes all physical adjustments and becomes immune to physical penalties in future.
  • The alchemist who benefits from eternal youth (Pathfinder) has the same ability as the previously mentioned wizard.
  • The recipient of the spell kissed by the ages (D&D 3.5, Dragon #354 p54) ceases to suffer the negative physical statistics, but does not specifically lose existing penalties.

In other words, gaining immortality in D&D doesn't necessarily mean gaining eternal youth.


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