Tuesday, April 23, 2019

It is Not My Birthday

Funny story.  After two deep posts published on Monday and Tuesday last week, I decided to rest on Wednesday.  Instead, I rested for six days.

I've got a thing tomorrow but in the meanwhile, I have a thought or two today.

I was mucking about with generating birthdays for new characters and sorted out a means of determining whether or not a player character was born during a leap year.  The value, naturally, is that the character could then be born on February 29th, which for no particular reason humans tend to find interesting.

My partner Tamara asked me, if her character was born on the 29th, would that mean they'd age more slowly?  It's an interesting thought, and I think some would go for it ... but I'm a bit reticent myself and I told her no.  But, it did get me thinking about what birthdays could mean for a player.

A simple and sensible option is to give the player +1 on all bonuses that day.  Reasonably, the character feels excessively good that day and therefore is emotionally in a good place.  The rule would make players look forward to their character's birthdays.  I like that a player might ask to forego making a raid a few days, "Because it will be my birthday."  That's kind of cool.

The extension of that would be, naturally, that a character whose birthday was the 29th of February wouldn't get that every year ... but on their single birthday every leap cycle, they'd get +4 to hit on all rolls that day.

I expect this isn't a new idea.  And I suppose a lot of players get this when their actual selves happen to play a game session on their birthday.  I wouldn't play it for real life birthdays, myself; only for in game birthdays and only so long as the day lasted.  If players wanted to jump five days ahead, to get from point A to point B, and a player had a birthday in between, they'd be out of luck using the bonus.

Anyway.  As the title says, it's not my birthday.  But it is someone's.  So if you're reading, and it is your birthday, what are you doing reading this blog on your birthday?  Go out and kill a dragon or something.

And Happy Birthday.


JB said...

In astrology, your "lucky month" is generally considered the time when Sun is in the same sign as your "natal Jupiter." As the sun passes through each of the twelve zodiacal signs during the year, you'd get one month of nice bonuses annually.

But I like the +4 on a Leap Year birthday thing.
: )

Martin R. Thomas said...

This is brilliant in its simplicity and ease of use during play.

Years ago for my campaign (that's still running), I spent hours researching and developing a complex astrology system for my 3rd Edition game complete with feats and effects such as free metamagic feats (without increasing spell level), and tons of other effects (increases to attacks, damage, saves, AC, etc.), all dependent on what astrological sign the characters chose, what month it was, whether other astrological phenomena were happening at the time (mysterious comets appearing, for example).

I tried to grab ideas from real world astrological practices, but I ended up doing way too much work on it and it ended up not seeing much use in play, as the characters weren't interested and would often forget about it.

Your proposed solution would have given me the benefits and flavor of what I was looking for without the complexity.