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    RogueGuy

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    Default The effects of aging on leveling

    I am going to be making a lot of NPCs that will be high ranking officials, officers and soldiers(so that I can kill them all off of course.)

    My question is how would their age affect their character level? The d20 SRD gives aging affects but I just need a level. I am sure you are going to say "Well, that depends on how hard your character worked, life circumstances, etc.

    Let's say leader of nation A is 50 years old. Could I reasonably expect him to have reached a few epic levels of fighter? Does your typical warrior go past level 14 if he's fought in battles for most of his adult life?
    Does a typical cleric reach the same level if he's been devout all of his life and is now the highest ranking cleric in the country?

    I'm looking for your opinion on a general rule. Something like:

    Old(not venerable) class (couch potato): Level 10
    Old class (living comfortably): Level 15
    Old class (busted his ass): Level 20

    Thanks in advance.

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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Depends on your world.


    I realize that's not quite the hard and fast answer you wanted, but really the overall expected level depends on what power level you want in your world.

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    Zeta Kai's Avatar

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Well, the game (we'll assume that you are referring to D&D 3.5) is designed in such a way that a character will gain a level after 13.33 level-appropriate encounters. Therefore, after 267 such encounters, a character will level 20. That should give you all that you need to know to determine a character's level.

    Age is irrelevant; it's combat experience (or the equivalent thereof) that counts in this game. A commoner could live to be 100, & if he never got in a fight, he'd be pretty low level (but got some serious bonus XP for roleplaying, at least at my table). But even a warrior who worked as a guard in a dangerous area would gain levels quickly, if he lived long enough. The game is designed to shoot up levels rather fast; too quickly, if you ask me.

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylarra View Post
    Depends on your world.


    I realize that's not quite the hard and fast answer you wanted, but really the overall expected level depends on what power level you want in your world.
    These aren't NPCs the characters will be fighting. They might meet one or two but that's it. They are pretty much just figureheads and the characters get to watch them fight.

    Sure leveling isn't important but my games are ALWAYS random and depend on the die roll. So I just want to see who will die.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Quote Originally Posted by Userrname View Post
    These aren't NPCs the characters will be fighting. They might meet one or two but that's it. They are pretty much just figureheads and the characters get to watch them fight.

    Sure leveling isn't important but my games are ALWAYS random and depend on the die roll. So I just want to see who will die.
    You could end up with a recipe for disaster on your hands here. Watching NPC's fight is not what players come to the table for.

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    Age is irrelevant; it's combat experience (or the equivalent thereof) that counts in this game.
    This, pretty much. And it depends on your world.

    A place like Eberron, you're doing good to get to, what, level 8? Very few people are left in that world at such a high ECL, and most of those are major rulers (Vol, various kings, etc.).

    In Forgotten Realms under 3.x, on the other hand, there're probably thousands of folks canonically higher than 8th-10th level, and heck, there're plenty of folks running around well into the epic ECLs.
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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Quote Originally Posted by Userrname View Post
    These aren't NPCs the characters will be fighting. They might meet one or two but that's it. They are pretty much just figureheads and the characters get to watch them fight.

    Sure leveling isn't important but my games are ALWAYS random and depend on the die roll. So I just want to see who will die.
    I didn't mean it in that sort of spectrum. I meant more of "what power level do you want the movers and shakers of the world to be?" Whatever you decide will determine the overall relative power level of your characters to the rest of the world.

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    erikun's Avatar

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    It really does depend on the world. Most real-world professions are supposed to mimic levels 1-5, with most experts stopping at around level 3. This obviously wouldn't work if your players want to buy a bunch of scrolls though, as shopkeepers couldn't produce any spells above 2nd level.

    Forgotten Realms regularly had NPCs as high as level 10, with a large number of unique characters at leve 20+. Some published settings can get quite rediculous with this; I recall some module set in Sigil with level 24 fishermen. (Maybe I'm misremembering, though.)

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharikov View Post
    You could end up with a recipe for disaster on your hands here. Watching NPC's fight is not what players come to the table for.
    Oh no, most of that's background for me alone. They might see a punch or a kill but it would be very quick. The bad guys might win or the good guys, but that's part of the fun.

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    I recall some module set in Sigil with level 24 fishermen. (Maybe I'm misremembering, though.)
    Knowing Sigil, they would need to be level 24. The rats there are a spell casting hive mind, I don't think the fish are that pleasant.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    In my worlds, the vast majority of npcs that my players run into (that arn't meant to fight them) are between levels 1-10 in the NPC's classes. Ones higher then that, or the ones with a few PC classes are the higher ups, the upper eschalons, or simply other adventures. Since our groups have yet to reach epic levels, I've found no reason to bring in epic NPC's. As for aging, its never been an issue. I simply make an NPC of a certain age, thier level is irrelavent for story telling (i'm more oldschool like in 2nd edition). My players don't need to know what level or class skills the sage or king has so it's not usually important.

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    Calmar's Avatar

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Guess the NPCs get their levels from roleplaying XPs...

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    I'd argue that overcoming less dangerous obsticals should result in some Exp. being earnt (eg: I tend to have Experts and Magewights* start at level 2 because of their superiour education in my games). I'd say that polititians who had been brought up to be polititians would have several Expert or Aristocrat levels by the time they reach Old, but people who weren't brought up in that sort of environment would just have levels in whichever class(es) they had before they became leaders.
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    Kobold-Bard's Avatar

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    I tend to think of NPCs in three tiers.

    Tier 1s get 1 NPC class level per age category (the first one generally being Commoner or Aristocrat because they haven't reached maturity age yet), for a maximum of 5HD when they reach venerable. Tier 1 is where the nameless rabble of the world lives, although occasionally one may move up to Tier 2 if they are particularly spectacular.

    Tier 2s may reach anywhere from 5-20HD, but are still limited to NPC classes. These are the town guard commanders, the Hedge Wizards, he local autocracy etc. Very occasionally a Tier 2 may gain 1-2 PC Class levels, but this usually takes 15 or more NPC Levels.

    Tier 3s may use PC Classes, and their maximum level is about 10. These are the Elites, they get the Elite array, and against low level parties may be useful. These are the retired adventurers, the bulk of Mage Guild members, and generally the pinnacle of NPC Society.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    somebody has already said 1-5 range is supposed to be normal people in our world, I would like to offer an alternative model just for some food for thought.

    first you gotta figure out what kind of hardship the average person is faced with.

    someone who lives in an area that is largely sedated, and never has to do anything to sustain himself (read: develop in anyway) is going to be a very low level character.

    For say, a peasant or a common guard, imagine that this character lives in a city setting, where life is generally not too dangerous. Would you count surviving such a place over the period of a year a non-lethal CR 1 encounter? That is, a level 1 character get about 150 xp per year for just surviving in such a setting.

    Assuming that you don't start amassing XP until you're about 15+, you're looking at becoming a level 2 at the age of say, after 6-7 years, setting you at around 22. Since your XP gain doesn't adjust itself until you're past level 3, you'll continue to gain 150 xp until you hit level 3. How long does it take to hit level 3? (6000 xp) at 150 xp that's about 20 years. So, the average 35 year old will be about level 3 maybe? That sounds about right someone who has devoted his entire life to focusing on his career at a relative steady pace.

    After that, I'll have to pull out the table to run numbers again. I think last time I ran the numbers, a 70 year old who has been productive his whole in a relative stables and safe place will hit maybe level 7 after a life time.

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    blazinghand's Avatar

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    High-ranking officers/soldiers in my campaigns usually have levels in Fighter rather than warrior, and usually are hardened veterans who have lived through the endless wars in my worlds. They top out around level 8 before retiring.

    Generic muscle who works for the town guard without distinction tend to be Warriors who top out around level 4.

    Officials are very different, and their power depends on the type of civilization they're in. In a recent campaign the PCs were involved in a land war with a Goblin nation that had a Magocratic form of government. The ruler was the most powerful mage in the nation. The ranking officials all casters of some sort or another, usually adepts, though some of the higher ones were wizards.

    In another nation the ruler could be democratically elected, and actually be an expert with a high charisma score and few hit dice who appoints his friends all the cabinet positions, resulting in some very easy-to-kill administrators. Tailor the classes and class levels to your campaign setting.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    I do wonder how the retraining rules in PHB2 interacts with this sort of thing.

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    Imp

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    The way I do it is that the "normals" of NPC's are 1st level (mixed between commoner, expert, aristocrat, warrior, adept, etc). These are found everywhere and make up the bulk of most populations.
    "Elders" and "veterans" are 2nd level (often 1 npc class and 1 pc (corresponding) class). There is usually 1 or 2 elders per "clan" or "tribe", which is around 20-50 people, villages with 50-500 people usually have a council of elders and veterans. 500-5000 pop. towns usually have have even more of these and sometimes a "master" or two.
    "Elder veterans" and "Masters" are 3rd levels (only pc classes at this point). Master is just a genetic title for someone who is considered an authority of some field. A fighter "master" might be a "swords master" who has earned a lot of respect from being extremely skilled.
    "Grand Masters" are 4th level. They're the masters that other masters fear.
    At 5th level your considered "legendary". Songs are sung of these people a 1000 years after they're dead.
    6th level characters (be it npc or pc) are seen as near demi-godlike.

    Mind you, I go by E6 system. So perhaps multiply these numbers by 3 and you 6 tiers with 1-18 levels, you can continue the last tier indefinitely. Though I don't see the charm in being at levels where the game breaks down when playing at low levels is perfectly viable imo.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Rob Conley (of Points of Light I & II fame) talked about having years of experience in a given field as a levelling mechanism for non-adventuring NPCs. The table tops out at 11th level, which seems reasonable for people who don't risk life and limb on a regular basis.

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    Well, the game (we'll assume that you are referring to D&D 3.5) is designed in such a way that a character will gain a level after 13.33 level-appropriate encounters. Therefore, after 267 such encounters, a character will level 20. That should give you all that you need to know to determine a character's level.

    Age is irrelevant; it's combat experience (or the equivalent thereof) that counts in this game. A commoner could live to be 100, & if he never got in a fight, he'd be pretty low level (but got some serious bonus XP for roleplaying, at least at my table). But even a warrior who worked as a guard in a dangerous area would gain levels quickly, if he lived long enough. The game is designed to shoot up levels rather fast; too quickly, if you ask me.
    Assuming 4 encounters/day, any given character can go from 1 to 20 within about 2 months. This is assuming they are level grinding like masters.

    Spread out, I'd say they could get from 1-20 within a couple of years without needing that many encounters. Of course, I didn't count high CR encounters (as I normally throw CR+4 at a party every chance I get). Those reduce the time quite a bit.

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    For my settings, I usually figure that if the PCs are superhuman for 3/4 of their career, the majority of the population would be around the top heights of real-world human ability. Thus, most NPCs are level 4-5, with younger or less active NPCs being 2-3. I don't use NPC classes, so most of the population are rogues and fighters, with a few innate casters thrown into the mix. Exceptional people like kings and generals and such are generally in the 7-10 range. Retired adventurers (who are few and far between) might make it up to 13th at most--after 13th, you're basically in it for the long haul. The PCs and the top tier of baddies can get all the way to 20th, and in almost every campaign they do.
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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Ulterior motive time - what does the precedent in various established settings say? We know of a bunch of high-level NPCs in FR and Eberron - do we know how long it took them from beginning their careers to reaching levels X, Y and Z? I know many have "special circumstances" (like being the Chosen of Mystra or the Speaker for the Silver Flame) complicating things, but surely some are just adventurers who started kicking monsters' asses and didn't stop until they were extremely dangerous individuals?

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Generally in my world the leaders are usually aristocrats, ranging from medium to high level. The older the leader is, the more experience he's gained in politics and ruling. Thus, he gains more XP. Usually I reward XP for NPCs that do what their classes do what there meant to do. For example, and expert who's a blacksmith would gain XP for creating a sword that would be pretty hard for a regular blacksmith to make. Stuff like that.

    NPCs don't gain XP as fast as PCs, but they still get it.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: The effects of aging on leveling

    Why does their age even matter? Make them whatever level you think will be good for the game. Sure a 50 year old could have epic levels. He could also be level 1. He's whatever level you need him to be.
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