Dungeons & Dragons: rules for Children Characters

This page presents rules for playing characters who are not yet adults. Four new age categories are introduced with the appropriate adjustments needed to reflect growth and development. A new concept, using magic to enlighten an infant, is introduced.

Age Categories

Just as with the categories later in life, the four young age groups have modifiers to the six ability scores. These four groups represent different stages of a person's development:

Aging Effects
RaceInfantVery Young YoungJuvenile AdulthoodMiddle AgeOld VenerableDeath
Gnoll (Uzgok)024715335066+1d12
-------------------------------------     Effects of Aging     -------------------------------------
*: If a roll would be zero or less, apply part or all of the young modifier early.

Rolling Child Characters

Common folk and those with NPC classes or no classes at all are typically rolled with six sets of 3d6. Standard playable characters and noteworthy NPCs are rolled with one of the methods discussed in the DMG, usually 4d6 six times, dropping the lowest die in each set. To roll a child, each die roll must be noted in order (except the roll that was tossed). These correlate to the dice indicated in the Effects of Aging portion of the above table. When rolling a playable/noteworthy child character, all three dice must be noted (since the discarded die isn't known until all four are rolled).

A character shunted back to childhood must approximate these rolls; for each ability, roll 1d3 plus the ability modifier plus two. If this is not within 1-6, adjust it so that it is. This is the first 1d6. Each of the remaining two 1d6 rolls is approximated by halving the rest (round down for the first and round up for the second). If you adjusted the roll, swap the first approximated die with the second. If you had a 5 and rolled a 2, your approximated rolls would be 1,2,2. If you had a 16 and rolled a 3, your approximated rolls would be 5,6,5.


Size differs by race. Humans, Elves, Half-elves, and Half-orcs are born Tiny, grow to Small in young, and become Medium at juvenile. Dwarves are born Tiny, grow to Small in young, and become Medium at adulthood. Gnomes and Halflings are born Diminutive, grow to Tiny in young, and become Small adults. Ogres are born Tiny, become Small as very youngs, Medium during juvenile, and Large adults. Uzgok Gnolls are born Diminutive, become Tiny very youngs, grow to Small during juvenile, and have the option of growing Medium and then Large before hitting middle age.


Children can walk at a rate appropriate for their size (if one size category smaller, two thirds standard movement, if two categories smaller, one third. All fractions should be rounded up). Infants can only crawl on all four legs at a half the above speed, and very youngs can walk with a balance check (DC 10).


Infants cannot speak, nor can they convey much more than "I need attention" or "I am not interested." Very Youngs have a limited ability to speak, understanding their automatic racial languages and being able to convey basic ideas in them as well, though some sounds may come more difficultly than others. Upon reaching young, a young character can fluently speak and understand all automatic racial languages and is beginning to understand half (round down) of his/her chosen bonus languages (at a level similar to a very young's native languages). At juvenile, a child has mastered that half and is working on the rest, which are learned by adulthood.

Awakened Infants

Here's an idea: a druid can cast the 5th-level spell Awaken on an infant. This spell rushes the baby's mind and body to a point of maturity that is unhealthy, aging the child to very young status. Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma jump up one age category per month for three months (after which the unadjusted score should be 3-18). The physical abilities (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution) continue to develop, but the character's size and general appearance will always be trapped just before juvenile; s/he will never grow or mature physically, though the effects of aging will come with time. This is reflected by skipping adulthood on the table above; physical stats start to decline starting at adulthood, dropping at an accumulating rate of one until losing six points per stat at old age. For the mental abilities (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma), add one point per age category past very young (thus netting an extra +3 for each score). Awakened Infants die at Old Age + Death rather than Venerable Age + Death; they are simply too stressed.

The Awaken spell grants the child one language that the caster can speak. This counts as an automatic language and the child can immediately understand it perfectly. After the three month development, the child can also speak it perfectly. If this language was not common, the awakened infant also gains common as an automatic language, though it is not mastered until young. Bonus languages (of a number equal to the character's Int modifier) are learned as normal or can be picked up for free over two levels (one for partial coverage, ie like a very young, and one more to master). Awakened infants have only one or two automatic languages; additional languages provided by race are added to the possible bonus language list.

Starting play

Technically speaking, an awakened infant can start play three months after the spell is cast, since the character has the mental capacity for it and can speak one language. However, a strength of one and a constitution of six (at best) makes for a very weak adventurer, as a very young's body should seem. Additionally, the child needs to train for a class, which takes an amount of time based on the class itself (as extracted from the "Starting Ages" table):

Training Time (in years)



Gnoll (Uzgok)11d41d62d6

Some classes allow a very young to have completed training before young. In these cases, starting as a very young is possible, though the lower physical abilities are likely to get the character killed (even with levels in Child Athlete; see below). Generally, an awakened infant character can start play as early as young, though starting at juvenile gives more appropriate physical statistics.

Child Athlete - Prestige Class

Some awakened infants push themselves very hard, enabling themselves to physically develop their bodies to a more competitive edge. This class counts as a "Racial Class" for determining training time for a class; basically, it boils down to acting as Effective Character Levels (ECLs).

LevelAttackSaveSaveSave Special
1+0+0+2+0 +1d3 Strength, +1d3 Constitution, -1 Wisdom
2+1+0+3+0 +1d3 Strength, +1d3 Constitution, -1 Charisma

Requirements: Received Awaken spell while in infancy, currently in juvenile (age 11-16 for humans).

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills:
A Child Athlete's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Disguise (Cha), Jump (Str), Ride (Dex), Swim (Str).
Skill points per level: 2 + Int modifier.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Child Athlete is proficient in one light weapon of the character's choice and no armor or shields.

Levels in this class require time to attain; the "Training Time" table above shows how much time each race needs to take before their first level in this class. At least an equal amount of time (roll again if applicable) is needed before attaining the second level in this class. The character must still be in the juvenile age class in order to attain second level.

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All content copyright © 2003-08 by Adam Katz unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Page last updated Mon Sep 08 20:00:28 2008.