Playing Pregnant Characters?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I don't know if there's any mechanics out there, or if such a thing has been discussed before, but I'm wanting to figure out how to run a pregnant character in the terms of game mechanics/effects. I asked this question on a site and for a system that was way oversimplified in the terms of IGE. As a result, I cannot simply convert it. I know it's ultimately up to the GM to arbitrate, but i would like an idea as to how to mechanics it before I try anything.


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That seems like a tremendously bad idea.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
That seems like a tremendously bad idea.

It does, but if it was randomly put on the character [some GMs will roll for that sort of thing when an intimate encounter happens, despite the fade to black, then I can understand the player might be more interested in playing the character than sidelining her because she's with child.

Sure is going to suck if she loses the baby because she continues to adventure though :P

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There are alchemical potions, cheap enough for non-adventurers, to take care of that, both before and immediately after the encounter. I don't think they've ever been stated, but they made an appearance in one of the Pathfinder tales novels, specifically the one where Radovan and Count Varian Jeggare entered Kyonin.


If you worship Lamashtu, though, you're fine. In fact, even better if your baby is a monster or hybrid!


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There are mechanics out there, at least in a 3.5 D&D third party supplement called The Book of Erotic Fantasy.

From what they had, you had no modifiers the first trimester, movement reduced by one quarter and -2 to Dexterity for the second trimester and finally, for the third trimester, half movement and -4 to Dexterity, -2 to Strength.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend using these, or indeed running a pregnant character persay. While not a female, my wife tells me that in her opinion (having gone through it a few times) that adventuring doesn't sound like a lot of fun once you start waddling, your back hurts, your sense of smell goes wonky, your balance goes out and so on. Nesting instincts tend to want to make you hunker down and have the child rather than wander the countryside attacking monsters.

This isn't to say that you couldn't or wouldn't adventure, but that it might not be a big priority to a pregnant individual except under duress.

Grand Lodge

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In The Dragon's Demand, a pregnant character is mechanically represented as being permanently at medium encumbrance (Move speed reduced, max dexterity bonus to AC of +3, and -1 to all strength and dexterity checks).

I'm sure you'll hear all the concerns and issues that will crop up from adventuring whilst pregnant from others.

Though now the idea of having a quest where the PCs have to safely escort a pregnant NPC seems like it'd be a neat challenge to throw at them.


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I would not get too complicated with it, and just do something simple. Too much of a penalty, and the player might as well just ship the character back to their hometown and start a new sheet.

So how about just treating it like carrying load? 2nd trimester they are treated as having a medium load, and 3rd trimester, they are treated like a heavy load. Or maybe just medium load all around.

Now, with birth, there are actually a few interesting tidbits found in items, and they many are connected with Pharasma, obviously.

Icon of the Midwife can cast a few spells 1/day that are implied to help with birth: stabilize (incase of bleeding? kid born in a bad state?), resistance (I suppose that implies fort saves), and virtue (temporary hp).

The interesting thing there is that all of those are cantrips, and they all appropriate power- resistance and virtue only give a +1 each for 1 minute. So, this implies that any saves and damaged involved is usually very small scale (since you expect level 1-2 commoners to typically survive it).

There are also likely heal checks involved with the midwife, as seen by the midwife kit giving a +4 to heal checks (which I assume is supposed to make the heal check fairly trivial, since why have the kit otherwise?)


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If you want to have a unique playing experience I would look at pregnancy (and it's in game effects) from the effect is has on the body during the three trimesters.

1st Trimester:
* Morning Sickness: As sunrise the character gains the Nauseated condition for 1D4 hours.
* Increased Sensitivity: The character takes 1D3 non-lethal damage every time she is hit for physical damage.

2nd Trimester:
* Quickening: The mothering instinct starts to develop, +1 Will Saves
* Early Fetal Development: Reduce speed by 10'

3rd Trimester:
* Restricted Movement: Character gains permanent Fatigued condition.
* Restricted Mobility: Character gains permanent Staggered condition.
* Labour Pain: Character gains the Grappled condition for 1 round and is dealt 1D4 non-lethal damage. False Labour can occur up any time during the 3rd Trimester, but regular labour pains start prior to birth.
* Birth: Childbirth lasts 1D20 hours, of which the mother takes 1D4 non-lethal damage per round until unconscious, then she starts taking 1D4 damage per round till end of childbirth. The mother may attempt a Fort Save (DC 10 + number of hours that have passed), to negate non-lethal damage, and half lethal damage. At the end of Childbirth both mother and child gain Dying condition (even if they have positive hit points), and must roll to stabilize or die. Mother gains Exhausted condition after childbirth.


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tbrminsanity wrote:
* Birth: Childbirth lasts 1D20 hours, of which the mother takes 1D4 non-lethal damage per round until unconscious, then she starts taking 1D4 damage per round till end of childbirth. The mother may attempt a Fort Save (DC 10 + number of hours that have passed), to negate non-lethal damage, and half lethal damage. At the end of Childbirth both mother and child gain Dying condition (even if they have positive hit points), and must roll to stabilize or die. Mother gains Exhausted condition after childbirth.

Holy Pharasma. People would be extinct if childbirf were that deadly. A commoner with 10 constitution would take an average of 750 damage in the first hour alone.

Grand Lodge

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Castilonium wrote:
tbrminsanity wrote:
* Birth: Childbirth lasts 1D20 hours, of which the mother takes 1D4 non-lethal damage per round until unconscious, then she starts taking 1D4 damage per round till end of childbirth. The mother may attempt a Fort Save (DC 10 + number of hours that have passed), to negate non-lethal damage, and half lethal damage. At the end of Childbirth both mother and child gain Dying condition (even if they have positive hit points), and must roll to stabilize or die. Mother gains Exhausted condition after childbirth.
Holy Pharasma. People would be extinct if childbirf were that deadly. A commoner with 10 constitution would take an average of 750 damage in the first hour alone.

This is why people should check their posts for errors. I have a suspicion they meant 1d4 nonlethal damage per hour.

Also, I'm sure there are some women who'd be calling for 2d20 rolls for the duration of childbirth.


... and most commoners only have about 6 HP to begin with.

Grand Lodge

True, even with the damage being per hour, the event would still be inordinately deadly.


Maybe he forgot that nonlethal damage kills in Pathfinder?

Grand Lodge

Or that the average woman in labor is very much conscious through the duration and very much yelling and screaming through much of the birthing process?

That he included the caveat that the damage becomes lethal once the mother goes unconscious from the nonlethal damage indicates he is well aware that nonlethal damage can still kill.


Closest thing I've seen to this sort of mechanic within Pathfinder is in Drakainia's entry. And that's a whole different tone of game. I assumed it was left vague in a sort of fade-to-black sense, though I suppose medium encumbrance is a good quick rule for, say, an NPC with child getting caught in a combat scenario. Actually having a PC go through the full process makes me question what kind of story is in the works here.

Praise Lamashtu!


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Side note- if you treat pregnancy like a carrying capacity problem, then maybe allow the dwarf rules for that stuff to apply.

It just feels right for a dwarf to just power on through like nothing was the matter. Time to stop and rest? There are axes to forge and ore to mine. She'll take a 5 minute break next week (mostly to have a few ales- it encourages beard growth in dwarf infants)


Indeed, even if one went with a more severe version of pregnancy penalties, those should largely be controlled by Fortitude Saves, something else Dwarven Women would excel at.


Ms. Pleiades wrote:
Castilonium wrote:
tbrminsanity wrote:
* Birth: Childbirth lasts 1D20 hours, of which the mother takes 1D4 non-lethal damage per round until unconscious, then she starts taking 1D4 damage per round till end of childbirth. The mother may attempt a Fort Save (DC 10 + number of hours that have passed), to negate non-lethal damage, and half lethal damage. At the end of Childbirth both mother and child gain Dying condition (even if they have positive hit points), and must roll to stabilize or die. Mother gains Exhausted condition after childbirth.
Holy Pharasma. People would be extinct if childbirf were that deadly. A commoner with 10 constitution would take an average of 750 damage in the first hour alone.

This is why people should check their posts for errors. I have a suspicion they meant 1d4 nonlethal damage per hour.

Also, I'm sure there are some women who'd be calling for 2d20 rolls for the duration of childbirth.

Here is a solution- have it onset every 1d4 hours and give 1 damage (actual damage) if she fails a fort save. That should put the numbers into the right range.

Nothing in an easy, short birth, possibly deadly in a bad, long birth (all in the dice). It averages out to 4 damage (10.5 hour long birth, nonlethal every 2.5 hours). Less than the health of the average level 1 commoner, but still takes a lot out of her (and that is if she fails the saves). In the worst case, it is 20 damage, which could be very, very bad for the average commoner.

It also leaves room for side factors. Low constitution? More likely to fail fort saves, and less health to survive the damage. And the icon of the midwife seems like it would help- bonus to saves, temporary health if condition sours, stabilize to stop the worst case scenarios.

Now, the save probably should be relatively low, but still noticeable. I think a 12-15 seems fair- for a commoner, it would be noticeable (but as stated above, would likely not come up too often). A bit of hardy constitution and some bonuses from resistance would also make it better. Maybe give a +1-+2 circumstance bonus if there is a trained midwife (or anyone that can pass the heal check), and if she has the right tools (midwife kit or general healer's kit).

Now, those numbers don't seem like much to adventurers. And they are not. But adventures have access to powerful magics (which trivializes the process), they are rather strong physically, and they have money. But looking at it in setting, it means that a rich noble will have a nice level cleric on call the entire time, while a rural commoner might have to send someone over 10 miles to rush the nearest cleric (who might be level 1-2) to their farm house. So overall, it seems like it works well enough.


Being the husband of a very pregnant wife, 3rd trimester can be very debilitating. My wife has severe back pain, fatigue and shortness of breath.

But like many other biological processes, these effects can vary. I would suggest a series of fort saves, perhaps a DC 20. The character penalties of each trimester only if they fail a fort save for that trimester. I love my wife, she has a high wisdom score (which I lack), but she dumped con.

Also, this should never be done to an unwilling player, or if anyone in the group is not comfortable. It's an area that many players might feel is not something they are interested in exploring during their gaming time. Talk to your people.

Finally, without medical care, birth (especially the first), was quite deadly. Something near half of first time mothers had (and have!) major problems in birth without modern medical care.


Lava Child wrote:
Finally, without medical care, birth (especially the first), was quite deadly. Something near half of first time mothers had (and have!) major problems in birth without modern medical care.

Of course most adventurers have or can afford medical care that we can only dream of here in the real world.

The cure series of spells, remove disease and poison, regenerate and raise dead. Sounds like better health care than we have now. :)


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Castilonium wrote:
tbrminsanity wrote:
* Birth: Childbirth lasts 1D20 hours, of which the mother takes 1D4 non-lethal damage per round until unconscious, then she starts taking 1D4 damage per round till end of childbirth. The mother may attempt a Fort Save (DC 10 + number of hours that have passed), to negate non-lethal damage, and half lethal damage. At the end of Childbirth both mother and child gain Dying condition (even if they have positive hit points), and must roll to stabilize or die. Mother gains Exhausted condition after childbirth.
Holy Pharasma. People would be extinct if childbirf were that deadly. A commoner with 10 constitution would take an average of 750 damage in the first hour alone.

minimum damage 30 pr hour if you only miss on 1 and always Roll minimum damage:) i know my whife is a hard nut, but she was in there for 6 hours and Walked up and took a shower Imediatly when it was over. Pehaps she is letting me win when we wrestle :)


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Andor the Great & Powerful wrote:
Play Prego?

I guess, but I don't know why you'd want to play as pasta sauce.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In our Kingmaker campaign, where I am the Queen Regent, we use The Book of Erotic Fantasy modifiers for conception and pregnancy.

Every month in the Edicts Phase we added a Conception Check, primarily for the Queen but also for anyone else we need to check. We've spent about 14 years of game time thus far.

Basically, all there is to it is a % check based on the race(s) of the couple, usually 5%-15%, assuming that they are not trying to prevent anything.

Then check gestation for non-humans, the Queen is human, then...

First trimester - no game effect other than announcement.
Adventure as normal.

Second trimester - game effect- movement reduced by one quarter and -2 to DEX.
Adventure as normal, but roleplay it cranky, uncomfortable, nauseated, fatigued, whatever the mood I feel like.

Third trimester - game effect- half movement and -4 to DEX, -2 to STR.
No Adventuring - Stay at the castle prepare for birth, send cohort husband out to adventure, handle administrative Queen's Downtime stuff.

Due date - game effect - consider Queen incapacated a few days before and after, so make sure any and all contingency plans are complete. Make sure the rest of the party is immediately at hand and ready for all hell to break loose.

Our GM likes to create plot twists at these times.

After month - no game effect - Make announcement, allow other player's to roll-off to choose name from list. Spend time getting ready to adventure again while tending to needs of children, court, kingdom & whatnot.

Second month after return to normal.

She started the campaign at 24 and she's had two time interruptions. The first where we were "removed from time stream" for about 7 years, so she didn't age. The second where she got a new body that was 4 years younger, both were by GM fiat.

Currently she is 27 with the following children;
A set of triplets - all very different - GM did a bad thing. Human/Fey father(s).
A normal child - half-elf father (reincarnated).
A normal child - same.
Presently, pregnant (same) going into 8th month next game (today).


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There was this awesome PFS play report of a paladin/shadowdancer which went to adventure on the Shadowplane and somehow got pregnant there and birthed her shadow companion. Good stuff.


Thanael wrote:
There was this awesome PFS play report of a paladin/shadowdancer which went to adventure on the Shadowplane and somehow got pregnant there and birthed her shadow companion. Good stuff.

I think I can guess the paladin's deity, too. Was it...

Spoiler:
the Lord of Light?


Wow. i guess there really is more to Pathfinder than Star Wars RPG. Glad I converted. GM arbitration aside. i feel it would be easier to IGE the effects of pregnancy on adventurers. Fun Stuff.
thinking about some of these would make me think that the GM should make a constitution check at the beginning of the first trimester to determine the severity of common things as mentioned (morning sickness &c.) nat. 20 means no effect, High roll(19-14?)diminished effect(sickened instead of nauseated), average roll(13-8)normal effects, low roll(7-2)doubled duration dice, and natural 1 would mean incapacitated for the day on a failed save, triple duration dice on a success. it is harsh i know, but i (personally)know women who have been at both ends of the spectrum for their pregnancy. after that, the character can make a wisdom check to discover the true cause of their sickness (pregnancy). After a success they get to roll the CON checks/ Fort Saves for the effects of their pregnancy... i know. i'm probably putting too much thought into this, but it sometimes pays to be thorough. otherwise, since i do not possess that book (and don't plan to) would someone mind tabling the gestational periods for the non-human core races?
This discussion has helped to focus my thoughts more, as i have been unable to really concieve (NPI) of an idea as to how to work it mechanically.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
That seems like a tremendously bad idea.

it probably is... but i cannot stop it now. as was mentioned later, it would be best do have willing Players if a PC is going to be pregnant, and everyone else would have to be at least willing to go along with it. I figure it is much like having a child PC in the group. if the other players are okay with it, then it would lend some reality to the fantasy world that is being created, because life isn't always optimal in when things happen. a child should grow up to become an adventurer, but tis not always the case, additionally, a female adventurer may find that her romantic relationship has "stepped up" and she is now dealing with still being in danger, and adventuring whilst carrying a child inutero or in her arms. perhaps the GM gould have meant for it to happen as part of the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy... or something like that... the point is it is something i would like to get a good idea for before putting it to use/ proposing it to a GM.

Community Manager

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Changed thread title.
As a note, I would not proceed any further with this idea until you cover it with your GM and other players. This kind of topic is fraught with triggers and ripe for abuse by the GM (and I have walked out on games where it was handled poorly).
Proceed with caution.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you live near the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, in the medical exhibits there's a harness for simulating the weight of late stage pregnancy... it's an eye-opener. In short, it's not a trivial matter in the latter months.


Liz, thanks for changing the title, good call.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't know about playing pregnant characters outside of the Kingmaker AP, which may be uniquely suited for raising families, as the PCs have a home and a single game session could encompass several years of game time.

Knowing that my character would be the ruler and that there would be numerous female fey in the AP (as well as other possible sources for bastard children), was the primary reason I choose to play a female character.

Plus it keeps the GM from muddling with the line of succession.

I acquired a cohort specifically to be the husband/father AND to take her place adventuring when it would be inappropriate for her to do so.

Just doing all that adds enough roleplaying to cover what needs covering and provides a huge variety of possible "bloodlines" for playing her descendants someday.

There's no real need to get into the nitty-gritty of playing a pregnant PC, or a PC bringing small children along while adventuring.

Yes, thanks to Liz for changing the thread title.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Pregnant PC gets to sit cross legged on flying carpet during last trimester... Firing wands at people if she can't already cast spells. Boom. Problem solved.


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Puts on some Berry white and hands out tribbles to everyone.

Sovereign Court

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"Fargo" shows a pregnant chief of police who is still doing chief of police things including, towards the end, blowing away a suspect. Watching this movie might be a good way to get into the mindset of RPing this sort of situation.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Fargo is a great example. Please note however that she's not going into melee, she's in a position of authority, and her ranged weapon is of the one shot one kill type.

In Pathfinder i think this level of safety can be best described as flying carpet (police cruiser, shock absorption) and disintegrate (handgun that kills on impact i.e. gritty Fargo mode); failing that, wands. ;)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

... and Taldan pastries. ;)

Sovereign Court

More generally, if you are running the sort of campaign where sex and pregnancy occur, there will probably be things to do other than dungeon crawling and other activities counter-indicated for pregnant ladies.


Ms. Pleiades wrote:
Castilonium wrote:
tbrminsanity wrote:
* Birth: Childbirth lasts 1D20 hours, of which the mother takes 1D4 non-lethal damage per round until unconscious, then she starts taking 1D4 damage per round till end of childbirth. The mother may attempt a Fort Save (DC 10 + number of hours that have passed), to negate non-lethal damage, and half lethal damage. At the end of Childbirth both mother and child gain Dying condition (even if they have positive hit points), and must roll to stabilize or die. Mother gains Exhausted condition after childbirth.
Holy Pharasma. People would be extinct if childbirf were that deadly. A commoner with 10 constitution would take an average of 750 damage in the first hour alone.

This is why people should check their posts for errors. I have a suspicion they meant 1d4 nonlethal damage per hour.

Also, I'm sure there are some women who'd be calling for 2d20 rolls for the duration of childbirth.

Actually I did mean 1D4 non-lethal per round. I was brainstorming.


I played in a PFS game with a Level 1 witch character named Griselda who came onto the spaceship in the scenario VERY pregnant. She shot off ranged attacks from the back of the group while suffering from the Exhausted condition.

Of course, Griselda being a witch, her pregnancy was not of the normal variety. She eventually died after saving the group from certain death, but in her death throes she gave birth to my 2nd PFS character: a fully-grown halfling adult male bard. He was still slick from childbirth, but he came fully equipped with his adventuring gear.

The GM was none too pleased. He disallowed me from playing the halfling. (Heh, I probably would've done the same.)


The Rot Grub wrote:

I played in a PFS game with a Level 1 witch character named Griselda who came onto the spaceship in the scenario VERY pregnant. She shot off ranged attacks from the back of the group while suffering from the Exhausted condition.

Of course, Griselda being a witch, her pregnancy was not of the normal variety. She eventually died after saving the group from certain death, but in her death throes she gave birth to my 2nd PFS character: a fully-grown halfling adult male bard. He was still slick from childbirth, but he came fully equipped with his adventuring gear.

The GM was none too pleased. He disallowed me from playing the halfling. (Heh, I probably would've done the same.)

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