Celebrate Character Birthdays (d12 Birthday Events Table)


Something I haven’t done in years is track the PCs’ birthdays.

This realization came while I was reading an old Dragon Mag yesterday.

We used to roll for character birth dates. When the calendar rolled ’round there was a celebration, even if it was a loaf of bread with torch mashed in to blow out.

And back when photographs took only 5 minutes to see once they printed out and hit sunlight, I used the astrology rules from Fantasy Wargaming by Bruce Galloway.

Does anyone still have this classic book?

We combined that with birthdays to roll on a special table that was part Wand of Wonder and part Deck of Many Things.

Sometimes players chose their PC’s birthday. And some players would make their character’s birthday the same as theirs for a double rainbow day. I advise against that unless you like running TPKs and soaking in the despondency from the extra sauce.

Truth be told, most campaigns never spanned enough in-game time to justify tracking birthdays for. We chose the age band that bequeathed the best attribute bonuses. Then we put age into a character sheet box that might as well have been written in ink.

However, I’m going to start taking up this little bit of character development again. It’s quick to do, free, and harmless.

Well, almost harmless. Once you’ve determined each PC’s birthday, you might make a random table to help celebrate:

d12 Birthday Events

  1. An NPC gives the character a cool present. A nice surprise sure to please your player!
  2. The character has (d4: 1-3 Good; 4 Bad) luck today. That might mean advantage or disadvantage on rolls, a +1 or -1 modifier, good or bad events happening, or some other luck mechanic.
  3. The character remembers a forgotten hobby or skill from their youth, giving them a new rank or bonus to one skill.
  4. An old friend shows up and needs help with a dangerous mission or predicament.
  5. A message or parcel arrives. Perhaps timed for this specific birthday (d4: 1 Family heirloom; 2 A letter from the future; 3 Mysterious seeds, herbs, or ingredients; 4 A strange map).
  6. A lavish birthday meal hosted by friendly NPCs to boost the character’s spirits, granting them a boon on their next saving throw.
  7. A bard hears of the character’s birthday and composes a song in their honor, giving them advantage on Charisma checks for one day.
  8. The character stumbles upon a market deal, purchasing an item for half its usual price.
  9. A friendly animal brings the character a small, shiny object. It could be a valuable trinket or just a pretty rock.
  10. The stars align for the PC, granting them a combat, social, or exploration boon today.
  11. An item in the character’s possession suddenly glows with a new, permanent, minor enchantment.
  12. The character has a vivid dream, revealing a clue about how to approach their current quest or challenge.

Some items on this table might not suit all campaigns, themes, or genres.

However, today’s tip is to consider making your own birthday events table or mechanics to help players enjoy their character’s special day.

There’s no downside to doing this, and it’s a fun little detail that rewards characters with something interesting, rewards players with the spotlight, and rewards us with potential hooks and interesting events.

Cheers,
Johnn
roleplayingtips.com
https://discord.gg/6MxTRAqQ76
Have more fun at every game!

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