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    Default Concerning NPC classes

    Adept, Aristocrat, Commoner, Expert, & Warrior

    I have a hard time explaining how there could be a 20th level character of one of these classes. I houseruled that an npc can only have 10 levels in these classes (though they could have 10 in one, and 10 in another).

    Can anybody explain how there could be a 20th level commoner? And why?
    Would they have 20th level gear?

    As for warriors, how many levels does it take before you just go fighter?

    Does anybody use the adept class? (not a rhetorical question, I'm genuinely curious and would like to hear from you)

    To avoid any confusion, I use aristocrats, experts, and warriors all the time in npcs the pcs go up against, and I have even used commoners as opponents in a couple 1st level adventures. I am NOT bashing these classes.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Harperfan7 View Post

    Can anybody explain how there could be a 20th level commoner? And why?
    Would they have 20th level gear?

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    Last edited by krossbow; 2009-02-26 at 10:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    NPC classes are a good idea, but not thought out well enough. Yes, 20th level commoner makes no sense. However, 20th level expert does, as it represents a true master of a craft. Warrior class is supposed to represent the less skilled combatants such as common footsoldiers, but the difference between them and fighters is blurry. Above 5th level or so, it makes more sense to just give that character fighter levels and call it a day. As an example of this confusion, in a thread devoted to designing NPCs on another forum, both I and another poster made a sergeant of the city watch. However, I gave mine 2 Fighter levels and he gave his 3 Warrior levels. As for the adept, I've always had an impression that it's in fact the most commonly used NPC class except warrior. It represents a witch doctor, an acolyte cleric or an uneducated would-be wizard. I used this class to make a priest from a poor village that couldn't afford a real cleric. As far as gear goes, I think that it only makes sense to use WBL guidelines for NPCs if those NPCs are supposed to make a balanced encounter. For example, it doesn't make much sense for a 20th level Expert to have expensive gear, but it makes sense for a wealthy aristocrat to have much more money than a PC of much higher level.
    Last edited by Morty; 2009-02-26 at 10:10 AM.
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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    I agree, Commoner isn't really a class that you can advance to 20th in. It's really sort of a placeholder so that random villagers can have stats (so the PCs/NPCs can kill them).

    The Expert, Warrior, and Adept classes are "real" professions, however, so it makes some sense for them to possibly hit 20. Warrior does make the least sense (since you're right, if you're that high level you should be a fighter).

    I used Adept to create less powerful magic-user NPCs as support caster for an army of savage, monstrous humanoids.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    I agree with M0rt about the levels. According to the DMG, the only way to get Exps. is to overcome the sort of challenges which PCs encounter, but I'd argue that everyone should get some Exps. just for going about their everyday life (unless they somehow manage to avoid experiencing any sort of challenge at all).
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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    I played an expert in a game for a while. I was the party's public relations, accounting, and HR person. I think i was around level 7 or so, while they were around level 10, mostly because I didn't engage in a whole lot of fights. It was a lot of fun actually, but I have a really hard time seeing a 20th level NPC class of warrior or commoner or aristocrat. Adept, expert I can see though.
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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    20th level NPC classes are just another instance of wild, mad gas-huffing at WOTC Command.

    As the Tome Series suggested: cut all the NPC classes off at 5th or so (anyone above that is hardcore enough to have *proper* class levels), and scrap the Commoner class above 1st level entirely. Yokel is just a binary status; you either are one and get kicked in the face regularly, or you're a real person with half-decent skills and abilities.

    No more "This Commoner goes up to 11" or "He's a 20th level blacksmith" *mouthbreathes* nonsense. That all reverts to "Encounter Critical" where it belongs. It also knocks the 'chicken-infested builds' (JOKE feat) nonsense on the head, and restores the good times of the 1E Monster Manual, back when human subcultures and social groups were totally viable opponents (complete with their own two page spread).

    Bah humbug! I'm off to find some more peasants to oppress.
    Last edited by bosssmiley; 2009-02-26 at 10:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    NPCs have different ways of gaining experience. Ad-hoc "Life Experience" counts for something.

    My preferred way of explaining a high-level NPC Expert is that they've survived several encounters with adventurers. For example, an Innkeeper that houses any adventurers gains XP if his inn doesn't burn down by the end of the night. An expert craftsman would be one who's produced many fine-quality weapons; XP might be gained for this.

    Higher-level Warriors also make some amount of sense. The local guard might not have trained with swordmasters, but he's been guarding the gates from goblin hordes for ten years.

    Higher-level Commoners don't make all that much sense. Even if somebody is really good at growing turnips, then he'd probably be an Expert focused on Craft (turnip growing). That 20th-level Commoner tax collector in Faerun (I think) would be an Expert in my book.

    To me, higher-level Aristocrats make the most sense of all of the NPC classes. Aristocrats have many chances to have challenges - successfully engage in politics, raise taxes without causing a riot, start a successful business venture, get that Keep you've always wanted. A really successful Aristocrat is very worldly and experienced, but doesn't really do much adventuring on his own.

    Adepts are tricky. I'd be tempted to give them PC levels in Sorcerer or Favored Soul after about 5th. But it's possible that they're naturally talented, just not so much as an actual Sorcerer or Favored Soul. A high-level Adept might be that old fortune-teller that never had magical training, but really does have some ability to use magic. XP might be gained by avoiding witch hunts, successfully influencing weather or crop growth, bestowing or removing a curse, finding wells, successful matchmaking, warding the town from evil spirits, or fooling the rest of the town into thinking you've done any of the above. Bonus XP for each cat they're able to house.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Moradin, in Deities & Demigods, is listed as having 14 levels in the Expert NPC class.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Quote Originally Posted by overduegalaxy View Post
    I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Moradin, in Deities & Demigods, is listed as having 14 levels in the Expert NPC class.
    I think there's a 20th level commoner bartender in Faerun somehere, but I could be mistaken. It's probably the easiest challenge out there for the CR.
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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Sstoopidtallkid: You may be thinking about the 20th-level fighter bartender, Durnan of the Yawning Portal in Waterdeep.

    NPC levels represent absolutely nothing but their relative story importance and resilience. Experience points and regular advancement only exist for PCs and very specific NPCs like cohorts (who gain XP differently anyway). A commoner does not need to have fought any trolls or found any treasures to reach 20th level. He's just this farmer who happens to be naturally (almost) as tough and resilient as a 10th-level warrior (which is pretty unimpressive in itself, equivalent to maybe a 5th- or 6th-level fighter). Fantasy is full of people like that.

    [Edit] A comparison:

    A Commoner 20 has BAB +10, and maybe a STR of 16 or 18 (starting at 11 or 13, maxed out), no magic items, not much in way of feats (being proficient with only one weapon). With his club or whatever, he's got a total attack bonus of +13/+8 or +14/+9. His base saves are +6, so they're all +5 to +7 with ability score modifiers. He's got 50 to 70 hit points.

    A Warrior 10 has BAB +10, and maybe a STR of 15 (starting at 13, maxed out), a few magic items. With his martial weapon, he's got a total attack bonus of +14/+9 (Weapon Focus, a masterwork or +1 weapon) or more. His saves are +7/+3/+3, so his Fort save is probably +8 or +9, while the others are +2 to +4. He's got like 55 hit points, and armor proficiencies.

    A Fighter 6 has BAB +6, probably a STR of 18 (starting at 15, maxed out, +2 item). With his martial weapon, he's got a total attack bonus of +12/+7 (Weapon Focus, magic weapon) or more. His saves are +5/+2/+2, so they're probably at +8/+3/+3 or higher with items and bonuses. He's got 49 hit points or more.

    So a Commoner 20 is a nobody who's naturally approximately as strong a fighter as a Fighter 6 (which are pretty much captain-level soldiers).

    Unless, of course, he's got 10 ranks in Use Magic Device (CC).
    Last edited by Tsotha-lanti; 2009-02-26 at 02:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Quote Originally Posted by archmage45 View Post
    I played an expert in a game for a while. I was the party's public relations, accounting, and HR person. I think i was around level 7 or so, while they were around level 10, mostly because I didn't engage in a whole lot of fights. It was a lot of fun actually, but I have a really hard time seeing a 20th level NPC class of warrior or commoner or aristocrat. Adept, expert I can see though.
    You don't need to kill something in combat to gain XP.

    Even if you did, the DMG states that any player present - even if, for example, unconscious, should get XP for the encounter.

    So, unless you missed entire sessions, you probably should've been the same level as the others.
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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Quote Originally Posted by archmage45 View Post
    I played an expert in a game for a while. I was the party's public relations, accounting, and HR person. I think i was around level 7 or so, while they were around level 10, mostly because I didn't engage in a whole lot of fights. It was a lot of fun actually, but I have a really hard time seeing a 20th level NPC class of warrior or commoner or aristocrat. Adept, expert I can see though.
    Most kings etc. (outside of Eberron) are around level 20, and usually of PC classes. 20th-level warriors and aristocrats definitely make sense to me in worlds like Faerūn and Greyhawk - the archetypal D&D settings. They could be kings, great knights, dukes, mercenary generals, and other important people.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Giving Adepts levels in a PC class is tricky due to what the class is like. I modified the class for PC use a while back if you're interrested in using this in place of levels in an existing class, Telonius; http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...12#post5284212 (I've been testing it with my homebrew Vulpine race, but we've only got to level 3 and I've only been using it as a healer/buffer so far so I'm not sure how balanced it will be later).

    I always assumed that Adepts had to train (I see them as being like me in the sense that I learnt Reiki from a weekend course rather then being trained as well as a normal Cleric or Wizard.)
    Last edited by Tempest Fennac; 2009-02-26 at 02:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    I could very well imagine level 20 NPCs with 20 levels in NPC classes.

    The ruler of a kingdom spanning half the known world? Level 20 Aristocrat.
    A legendary blacksmith whose abilities to craft weapons and armor rival the abilities of the gods? Level 20 Commoner
    The crafty spy who can lie, sneak and steal his way to any information there ever was? Level 20 Expert
    The mighty shaman queen of a mighty tribe of barbarians from the glacier at the end of the world? level 20 adept
    The only thing I couldn't imagine was a level 20 warrior, because warriors are just people who put some training in their martial ability, but have not enough commitment to become fighters. You don't become a a level 20 character without commitment.
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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    My solution to this was to dole out noncombat XP, but have it not effect HD or BaB. Thus a 13th-level Aristocrat with extremely high Bluff, Diplomacy and other skills is possible, but he may only have the HP and attack power of a 2nd or 3rd level character (whatever I arbitrarily decide). A High-Level Commoner, I suppose, would be a village elder or one of those Free Farmers (Karls) who always have a magic sword stashed in their trunk in Norse Sagas. Then again, I do give Commoners one good save and a D6 HD, because I think it's kind of dumb the town librarian (Expert) would be tougher than the village fieldhands, even if he's better-fed.

    PC classes are a rare occurance in my settings, almost always. That cavalry commander, and the notorious highway robber? Mid-level warriors. The sly merchant who has traveled across sea and mountain to plunder the wealth of distant cultures? A low-to-mid-level expert. Anybody from a wealthy Burgess up to Counts, Dukes, or even the King? Aristocrat, with maybe some Warrior levels if they've seen action. The Pope? Expert/Aristocrat with focus on Diplomacy, Profession: Canon of Ecclesiastical Law, Knowledge: Nobility and Knowledge: Religion.

    The PCs are special individuals in my settings; maybe even singular. This lets me plausibly (in my own mind, if no one else's) have a human society fairly close to our own (at X point in history, anyway) since there are too few people with class levels to change things dramatically. Wizards swear not to take employment from any politician or at the behest of any community, else the entire magical community get swamped with requests (and who would research the far corners of the cosmos then?) Clerics are rare, blessed individuals who automatically gain tremendous social importance, but are always beholden to a Church or Temple which will give them the most dangerous and far-reaching jobs. Druids are secretive, dwelling in backwaters and wild lands. Paladins are "Called" only very, very rarely so that every few generations you get a single legendary hero and a few dozen ignoble deaths. Sorcerers get burned at the stake because they wear leather pants and everyone hates them. And so on.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    I always imagined 20th level Commoners to be leaders in their communities that don't have the money or training to be of any other class. You know, just the guy other Commoners turn to when something goes wrong. He's not an official leader, just the most experienced guy around.

    That's just my opinion, though.
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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystral View Post
    IA legendary blacksmith whose abilities to craft weapons and armor rival the abilities of the gods? Level 20 Commoner
    Personally I'd call that an Expert. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what might be an epic-level commoner. Somebody like John de Conquer, maybe?

    The only thing I couldn't imagine was a level 20 warrior, because warriors are just people who put some training in their martial ability, but have not enough commitment to become fighters. You don't become a a level 20 character without commitment.
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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    High level Warriors make sense to me, they lack the skill, training, rage, discipline, etc. of the heroic martial classes, instead forging ahead through sheer determination (and probably luck as well). The veteran town guardsman who's survived several gang wars, riots, coups, and other tribulations but was never tapped for special training would be a high level Warrior.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystral View Post
    I could very well imagine level 20 NPCs with 20 levels in NPC classes.

    The ruler of a kingdom spanning half the known world? Level 20 Aristocrat.
    This kingdom is probably something the ruler inherited, and he's so far into its "golden age of peace" that he's never done anything else but rule.

    A legendary blacksmith whose abilities to craft weapons and armor rival the abilities of the gods? Level 20 Commoner
    This sounds more like an expert to me.

    The crafty spy who can lie, sneak and steal his way to any information there ever was? Level 20 Expert
    Why not a rogue?

    The mighty shaman queen of a mighty tribe of barbarians from the glacier at the end of the world? level 20 adept
    Why not a cleric or druid? The mere fact that she rose to such prominence means she's a cut above the other shamans of that tribe.

    The only thing I couldn't imagine was a level 20 warrior, because warriors are just people who put some training in their martial ability, but have not enough commitment to become fighters. You don't become a a level 20 character without commitment.
    I agree, though the same could be said for the adept as well. Dedication to a profession to the extent of becoming legendary should demand at least some levels in a PC class.


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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    The ruler of a kingdom spanning half the known world? Level 20 Aristocrat.
    A legendary blacksmith whose abilities to craft weapons and armor rival the abilities of the gods? Level 20 Commoner
    The crafty spy who can lie, sneak and steal his way to any information there ever was? Level 20 Expert
    The mighty shaman queen of a mighty tribe of barbarians from the glacier at the end of the world? level 20 adept
    Your using commoners as blacksmiths? And I'd think the shaman queen would be a sorceress and the spy a rouge. Just my 2 cents.

    On a random, unrelated note, I think I fought that bartender, only he was given the paragon template too .
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    I use warriors sparingly, preferring fighters, especially at higher levels. The level that it's reasonable for someone to reach (in any class) is highly dependent on the setting.

    High-levels aristocrats and experts make sense to me.

    Commoners past 3rd level are silly to me.

    I never use adepts, because it only makes sense for them to exist at low levels to me, and they have almost no useful combat magic at low levels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olo Demonsbane View Post
    Your using commoners as blacksmiths? And I'd think the shaman queen would be a sorceress and the spy a rouge. Just my 2 cents.
    Why not commoners as Blacksmiths (or, more accurately to the original statement, Weapon/Armorsmiths)? A legendary craftsman only needs to be really good at at most two skills- Craft (whatever) and maybe the related Profession. Craft and Profession are both class skills for Commoners and they get 2 skill points/level, so that fits. This would be a figure like (to mangle an analogy beyond recognition) Masamune or Murasama, a person who makes his mark in history for being superlative in just one discipline. Experts get 6 points/level, which means they can't help but be good at many things unless you deliberately make very bizarre choices in their skills. Not really suitable for a man who just takes one thing and does the best he can at it- a level 20 Expert would be somebody like DaVinci, who is recognized for his excellence in a broad variety of subjects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harperfan7 View Post
    Can anybody explain how there could be a 20th level commoner? And why?
    Because the DM built one and included him in the game?

    In what sense does a 20th level Commoner make less sense than a 20th level Fighter? The Commoner is probably closer to actually approximating the abilities of a human being who could exist in real life.

    Conceptually, NPCs get suckier classes than PCs (and Commoners get a suckier class than other NPCs) because they don't have the same sophisticated training or natural talent. Maybe the way this works is a little silly, but the whole level-based system is so absurd in the first place that I don't see why people find this aspect in particular to be puzzling or poorly designed.
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    Don't forget Shojo the awesome 15th 14th level aristocrat. Or a 20th level commoner is a unlucky wizard who used mordekain's disjunction on an artifact.

    Not everyone in the world has to be a powerful combatant, even though the PCs do. NPC classes are for those that lack the training or interest to pursue PC classes. I could see someone without any training at all fighting or leveling as a commoner. But this is highly unlikely because such a person would probably seek training at some point, at least as a warrior or expert. Unless he was a rebellious slave or something, constantly lashing out at the guards and being put down, never given the time nor implements to train.

    IMO a house rule allowing creatures with NPC classes to retrain their NPC levels once they find proper training would be reasonable.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2009-02-27 at 06:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Don't forget Shojo the awesome 15th level aristocrat. Or a 20th level commoner is a unlucky wizard who used mordekain's disjunction on an artificat.

    Not everyone in the world has to be a powerful combatant, even though the PCs do. NPC classes are for those that lack the training or interest to pursue PC classes. I could see someone without any training at all fighting or leveling as a commoner. But this is highly unlikely because such a person would probably seek training at some point, at least as a warrior or expert. Unless he was a rebellious slave or something, constantly lashing out at the guards and being put down, never given the time nor implements to train.

    IMO a house rule allowing creatures with NPC classes to retrain their NPC levels once they find proper training would be reasonable.
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    NPC classes represent people who aren't as quick to learn things as those with PC classes, but who still get the physical improvements associated with gaining levels. For example, imagine a city guard who's been around for a few years. He can fight pretty well, but he never got the knack for figuring out different fighting technique. I'd put all his levels into Warrior - his base attack and saves are equivalent to a fighter of the same level, but he's a bit slow on learning feats, and his HP is just a smidge lower (maybe the cushy life of a guard means he doesn't get beat on as much).
    As for Commoner, it's a matter of representing the yokel who knows just a bit about combat, and has been beat up enough times that he can take a few good hits before going down. He hasn't learned anything particularly special about fighting, but perhaps he's defended his farm before and knows how to swing a hoe a little better than the others.
    It's all about gaining the generic benefits of being high level (better HP, a few extra feats and ability points, better BAB) while not getting any useful class features, to represent their slow-witted and/or untrained nature.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Harperfan7 View Post
    Adept, Aristocrat, Commoner, Expert, & Warrior

    I have a hard time explaining how there could be a 20th level character of one of these classes. I houseruled that an npc can only have 10 levels in these classes (though they could have 10 in one, and 10 in another).

    Can anybody explain how there could be a 20th level commoner? And why?
    Would they have 20th level gear?
    20th level NPC gear: not PC levels. So the maximum the Commoner has is 220K (which is about 1/3rd what PCs would have)

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck_II View Post
    20th level NPC gear: not PC levels. So the maximum the Commoner has is 220K (which is about 1/3rd what PCs would have)
    I don't see why a commoner would have any gear besides his clothes and tools. The example first-level warriors in the MM don't have NPC gear - NPC gear is meant for NPCs with PC class levels. (Confused yet?) NPCs with only NPC class levels shouldn't have anywhere near that much. It's just common sense.

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    Default Re: Concerning NPC classes

    I've always figured that NPC classes were there as a sort of generic filling for the character pastry.

    For instance, if you are storming the castle of an epic level villain, you could probably justify him having guards posted around that are around 20th level. But generating dozens of Fighters, and picking feats for each of them is tedious.

    Far better to give them say 5 levels of Fighter for a bit of customization (some can be archers, other might be pikemen etc), and then filling in the difference with levels of Warrior. They'll still get a good attack bonus and fort saves, but will be easier to generate and run, and their somewhat lower hit points mean that the players can plow through them like the mook army they are.

    Experts and Aristocrats have their uses as well. Can't see the point of epic level Adepts and Commoners.
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