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Due to some wild magic fun, one of my characters is now 9 years old. To be a nice, kind DM, I decided it would not impact any of his combat stats, only affect social situations [mostly for the sake of fun, as nobody wants to have their character turned useless because of random chance, but there needed to be some impact.]

One of my other players has a potion of longevity, and noticed its wording states that you will be reduced to a minimum of 13 years of age. RAW it seems that this de-aging potion would turn a 9 year old into a 13 year old, regardless of the roll.

That doesn't seem quite right to me, but I don't want to unilaterally decide that it won't work without some thought.

How does the Potion of Longevity affect a character who, before ingesting the potion, is younger than the minimum age that the potion typically reduces a character to?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is this question advocating underage drinking? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 28 '16 at 14:00
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When you drink this potion your physical age is reduced by 1d6+6 years, to a minimum of 13 years.

You can't reduce something to a number lower than its stated minimum.

By a plain reading of the text, you could go ahead and roll a d6+6, get some number in the range [7,12], subtract that from 9, and the result of that calculation would lie in the range [-3,2]. Those are below the stated minimum, so are not the result. Logically, then, one of two things must happen:

(a) physical age is set to 13, the minimum allowed by the potion, or
(b) the potion has no effect.

If (a), then we have the contradictory reading that we've reduced your target's age to a number larger that it started with. I'd argue that one can't make something larger by reducing it, leaving (b) as the only possible reading.

The potion has no effect. (Unless, of course, this is not the first and the 10% aging clause is triggered.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Comedy option: age is reduced by a negative value \$\endgroup\$ – Blue Footed Booby Sep 28 '16 at 16:16
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This sort of corner case is exactly what the Golden Rule exists for, so I'd be inclined to say that you as DM should arbitrate the result as you see fit.

Personally, I would be inclined to say that the potion has no immediately visible effect, but that the character would be held at his current age for several years (perhaps even the result of the die roll.) So he wouldn't get any younger, and he wouldn't "reverse reduce" to age 13, but he would remain physically 9 years old for the next d6+6 years. The character and/or player would probably not be aware of this for quite some time, barring DM intervention to explain what happened, and would think that the potion had not had any effect.

I would also be inclined, in more traditional circumstances, to do something similar to a character who reached the minimum of 13 years - any excess on the die roll would become additional years he remained 13 before he begins aging again.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think "no immediately visible effect" sounds the most "realistic" (relative to potions that reverse or delay aging). Perhaps even let him age normally to age 13, and then he stays there for d6+6 years -- that's an awful long puberty to have to deal with! nitsua60's answer brings up an aging penalty for consuming multiple potions... this would also be something to consider (though whether the characters know of this is another matter) \$\endgroup\$ – Doktor J Sep 29 '16 at 19:11
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What Would Be Fun?

You have already exceeded the set boundary of the game's rules: it's not expecting to handle this edge case, either in terms of combat effectiveness (as you state, you have by fiat left combat ability as-is, even though in a simulationist sense, this would never happen) or in terms of how the potion is supposed to operate.

You indicated that the character became nine due to 'wild magic'. Several options present themselves as a result: the latent wild magic effect interacts strangely with the potion, resulting in a reversal and pushing the character towards 13. Or the character 'wraps around', kicks up to their maximum age minus 1d6, and starts aging in reverse. (No need to reduce their combat ability here, either.) Or perhaps they revert to their original age and the potion takes effect from there. Or perhaps, having nothing to act on the magic flows outward to the next one or two people there and 'steals some age' from them.

Regardless, you should try to tie the effect to what else is interesting about the character. Are they pining to be 'older'? (Then go with the first variant.) Is there some other aspect of the character and their story that can be related to the effect of age on party, quest or individual dynamic? Since you're already past the rules, these sorts of questions should guide your choice.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I really like the creative ideas of their age 'overflowing' into old age and ageing in reverse; it does match the 'wild magic' that resulted in the situation in the first place and it sounds like it would match the tone of the adventures this group is having. \$\endgroup\$ – Danikov Sep 30 '16 at 14:30

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