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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NovenFromTheSun's Avatar

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    Default Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Iíve gathered some RPG books over time, and because iím weird like that I have put some thought into the every day, non-PC populace. In particular their relationship with whatever entities are usually used a enemies in the game and the point when they start to need the PCs or people of similar in-universe roles (e.g. ďadventurersĒ in D&D).

    This point is usually quite early, which makes sense, what would the PCs do if the guards already handled most problems? But IMO, sometimes it gets a little extreme, like in 3e where much mirth has been made over the Commoner classí vulnerability to housecats. Itís less over the top in the earlier edition monster manuals I bought on a whim, but even combatant humans like bandits have less than a full hit die, even being an edge below goblins. While I obviously donít have every RPG book in existence, there seems to be a similar trend in those I do have.

    This isnít objectively wrong or anything (itís appropriate for supers or godlike games like Exalted), but I learned early on that itís not my preference. So here are some of my arguments for why peasant militias and guard recruits should be able to handle some low-tier enemies.

    -It helps explains why humanity hasnít been wiped out.

    -It shows where more skilled warriors got their early experience.

    -It makes the creatures or entities that really do require great heroes to bring down feel more special, seeing that the people who canít beat them are capable of something.

    -It allows more traveling by NPCs, and for things to happen to them on the road.

    -It explains why higher level/point PCs donít need to take time for mundane threats, thereís already people for that.

    -It just seems to make more sense that in worlds with monsters around, people would learn how to bite and claw back.

    -I just think itís cool, okay?

    Admittedly I may have exaggerated some of my points, but I wanted a discussion about this. So, thoughts, agreements, disagreements, counter-arguments, table session stories, declarations on a fondness for pie?
    Last edited by NovenFromTheSun; 2019-08-06 at 04:17 AM.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    I think that makes perfect sense.

    Of course you always have to look that it stays realistic in your Fantasy world.

    If you have a small Settlement in a gnoll-infested Region 20 capable archers doesn't seem to be wrong, if you have a Settlement in between two larger cities they would more likely trust that the army from there would help them in a bind instead of raising your own militia.

    But generally in every Setting People should be able to do Basic things to defend themselves, a farmer may defend himself with his rusty hoe, if you go to a space Setting someone might have a blaster or is able to jury-rig some nasty one-shot thing, even in our world, People take self-defense classes or carry around pepper spray or stunners.

    Of course the non-combattants shouldn't overshadow the Players but injecting them with a bit more fighting Spirit wouldn't hurt.

    One of the more memorable Encounters in a dark Age Vampire campaign i run was when the vampires attacked a fishing village and the fishers attacked them out of hopelessness with their fishing knife. That was the first time one of the Charakters got really badly hurt, because one of the fishers rolled good.

    I also want to add that I really enjoy pie, Basic pie, toppled with milk-Rice and blueberrys is very tasty.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by NovenFromTheSun View Post
    -It makes the creatures or entities that really do require great heroes to bring down feel more special, seeing that the people who canít beat them are capable of something.

    So, thoughts, agreements, disagreements, counter-arguments, table session stories, declarations on a fondness for pie?
    Most of your reasoning was good world-building, both for the Simulation and the Game aspects, so I'm in strong agreement. My first campaign, the party, first session (went way off the rails, and) discovered to their surprise just how competent the NPC "guards" were.

    But this one particular point spoke to me, and I wanted to address it. Despite seeing something similar from my BDH party, I had never considered this. See, my BDH party, most fights were decided before the enemy got to go. Those few fights that weren't? Those really stood out. Those enemies were so awesome, that they actually posed a threat to *these guys*.

    Same thing here. The more competent the guards, the cooler the threat is by virtue of actually challenging them, and, thus, the cooler the PCs feel, by virtue of defeating such a threat.

    Oh, and I prefer blueberry pudding pie, although some apple or cherry pie with ice cream is good, too. Does Boston Cream Pie count?

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    I think that is true. In fact I think people (those of the more normal playable races) should be spread all over "early to mid-levels" in D&D terms. If only adventurers have any significant personal strength world building gets weird really fast. Generally because society should have been overrun unless adventures are lined up shoulder to shoulder in taverns which has its own problems.

    Yeah for me it is mostly a world building issue. Some time when I have more time I might go into detail about how I have constructed settings to support wide power ranges. Especially since I was already considering making a thread on it. But for now I need to finish this up.

    For pies, anything my grandmother made. Or bought for that matter, she seemed to know the best places to get premade pies as well.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    I also agree. But, the biggest part is not to just put that in the game, But be consistent about it.

    I mostly do D&D, but some things might translate for other games.

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    I've done the "lesser PC" bit for NPCs in my games almost since I first started DM-ing in the late 80s.

    Completely helpless people (of any Race) don't survive long, even (or especially) in a Fantasy World. Sure, Heroes help, but most people don't expect to be rescued on a regular basis.

    Battles (and especially Guerrilla Warfare) between hostile Races should produce more "Experienced" veterans (sure, some might become PCs) who then train as many others to help their community (Town/City) better defend against that. Especially if it goes on for generations.

    Against larger, or more powerful threats (Giants), they band together to deal with that.

    Where truly Legendary Threats (Ancient Dragons) areva extremely rare event, and everyone in the Region (Humans, Elves, Orcs, Goblinoids, etc) will work together to defend against (not Defeat, mind) this threat.

    In my games, I figure out how common/rare a given level of each class is. I usually figure about 20% of the population can be Level One in a class: with equal chance for each D&D class.
    Getting a Subclass can be more rare (for NPCs, which allows PCs to still feel "special") so I figured maybe 10% of those that became a Class can get a Subclass.

    Now, to keep things from getting too complicated for my games, I have put a limit on the Caster Classes/Subclasses. Being about 10% of other Subclassed NPCs, or 01% of the original people that could become Classed) and then figuring that Classed people over 5th level were half that, and keep going like that for Tenth level, Fifteenth level, and Twentieth level.

    To give an example you might be familiar with, Waterdeep shouldn't have more than two Arch-casters (17+ lv Wizard/Cleric/Druid) living there at a time. Heck, there might only be four Arch-casters on the entire continent !
    (The Martials out number the Casters)

    While this does allow you to deal with Murder-Hobo players, I just believe that in a world where deadly Monsters exist, so should powerful people.


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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    In my new campaign, the more martial characters will engage in a training skirmish with both some guards (which I expect they will win) and the captain of the guards (which I expect they will lose). The purpose of this is to drive home that their characters have the potential to stand out from their fellows, but that experience plays an important role in improvement.

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    I do this:

    I don't give gear to PCs that will make them invulnerable to the common militiamen
    And I stack bonuses like crazy

    That's really all it takes. Of course, at somewhat higher levels the math of the matter changes - but that's only fair.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    seems reasonable.

    One of the first things I established in the worldbuilding is the power level of the world. How many high level people (approximately) are there in the world, how many high level people can be found in a city or a nation, how many can be mustered by a powerful organization.
    the dmg has some tables for it, but it's my world, and so the numbers are bound to be a bit different.
    As a consequence, politics (as in, getting powerful allies) has become a major part of my campaign.

    but common militia is useless against high level foes. powerful nations in my world stopped using that in favor of golem armies, and even those are now getting obsolete in the face of pcs with AC above 50 capable of slaying multiple golems in a single attack round.

    Though gunpowder (with a few houserules for cannons that make them use touch attacks - or a line effect for grapeshot) is actually a threat for everyone, and it was a plot point that even the mightiest dragon in the world simply cannot attack a place with 50 cannons without being smoked right there and then.
    Last edited by King of Nowhere; 2019-08-06 at 01:48 PM.
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    Beleriphon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    To give an example you might be familiar with, Waterdeep shouldn't have more than two Arch-casters (17+ lv Wizard/Cleric/Druid) living there at a time. Heck, there might only be four Arch-casters on the entire continent !
    (The Martials out number the Casters)
    Waterdeep is probably not a good example, although the idea is sound. I mean, the current Open Lord of Waterdeep is Laerel Silverhand who is presented as a CR23 creature (casts spells as a 20th level wizard and some other stuff) in Dragon Heist, The Blackstaff is the rough equivalent of 17th level wizard, plus Elminster might be there, never mind Halaster, or any The Blackstaff's apprentices. Or the clerics of any of a number of deities.

    If you look at FR it has Elminster, the Seven Sisters (I think some of them died), Halaster, Szazz Tam (who is a lich), Larloch (also a lich), Manshoon (who might be clones at this point), Fzoul Chembryl (deceased, no Exarch of Bane) was a high level cleric of Bane, and more I'm sure.

    I'd probably use that idea for something other than Forgotten Realms, but again it makes sense. FR has other qualities that don't rely on a sensible distribution of power levels between NPCs and PCs.

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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by NovenFromTheSun View Post
    Admittedly I may have exaggerated some of my points, but I wanted a discussion about this. So, thoughts, agreements, disagreements, counter-arguments, table session stories, declarations on a fondness for pie?
    From what I can gather, you are mostly a 3e+ gamer with a smattering of pre-3e material? What about 4e and 5e?

    Anyways, from a historical (to D&D) perspective, this might be relevant:
    In original D&D, the average 'guard' was a 0th-level warrior. That sounds bad, but they were effectively about 1hp less than a 1st level fighter, and just as good at fighting*. So, at the very least, initially guards and militia could go toe-to-toe with orc and goblins and the like.
    *The major real difference was that that 1 extra hp (fighters started with 1d6+1 hp instead of 1d6) meant that a high-level fighters couldn't cut through them like butter (a high level fighter could attack one opponent per round per level, if the opponents were 1d6 hp or less).

    1) Other non-warrior non-adventurers were mostly under the guidelines of do what you see fit. Yes, bandits and the like were 0.5-1.5 HD, but that was really mostly because they were opponents you fought in low-level play.

    The thing about early D&D is that the idea that the printed rules were anything except player-facing mechanism hadn't yet been decided upon as a good gaming design goal. Humanity hasnít been wiped out because bandits having under 1HD and gnolls having 2HD were player-facing mechanics. I'm not sure where I stand on that subject, but if one is going to critique the game rules of that era (which, I should say you really haven't), one should probably recognize that no one told the designers of that time that that was a framework under which their work would be judged.

    More to the point, one thing that seems to have been lost between early D&D and modern times is the removal of the frontier aesthetic. Monsters and mayhem was that thing out there beyond the confines of civilization. Past where the influence of human armies and militias exerted influence (and if you were dealing with them, you'd use Chainmail or another wargame, not D&D). Dungeons (and hexcrawling through wilderness, which you did in mid-high levels) were those places of danger that PCs (and NPCs with class levels) went to (and other people did not) specifically because it was dangerous (and thus likely full of treasure). As the published D&D worlds expanded, they filled in all the wild places on the map, and the contradictions this invoked were never sufficiently explained away.

    2) 3e, with the house-cat vulnerable commoners, is indeed comical. It also highlights that the game has lower-boundary issues. 4 HP is what a 1st level wizard has, and thus commoners (which if they study for a long time can become 1st level wizards, and thus have to start out lower than them*) must be that or less. Half a point of damage doesn't work by the rules, thus even housecats have to do damage in units of 25% of commoner starting HP. Honestly, games like GURPS where everyone starts with at least 8-10 hp model things better for 'commoners' or the like.
    *they don't, actually, but work with me here.

    3) Re: "It makes the creatures or entities that really do require great heroes to bring down feel more special, seeing that the people who canít beat them are capable of something."
    "-It explains why higher level/point PCs donít need to take time for mundane threats, thereís already people for that."

    D&D has been really ambivalent (particularly across editions, but frankly within them too) over whether level 2-4 adventurers are the cream of the crop, or just marginally above starting. I agree that 'we beat a squad of gnolls and their ogre brute' ought to be laudable (in the 'the local guards can't do that, and they can do stuff'). And yes, the game doesn't make it clear if that is so.

    4)Re: "-It allows more traveling by NPCs, and for things to happen to them on the road."
    See point #1 above about frontiers. NPCs should be able to travel (some) roads, because the real dangers are far off from them.

    Overall, I agree with your perspective, and I think it is actually something that the game used to do better than it did more recently (although 5e is back with some really good NPC 'human warrior' entries in the MM).

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    @Beleriphon: I just used Waterdeep because it is the most well known, biggest City in D&D.

    To be fair, while I use Faerun for my games, I have actually completely redone a lot of the things in it to balance things out more. WIP.

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    Information on my Games are found in my Ancient Realms thread. Read and Comment, as you like.

    Like removing a lot of the Stupid Powerful (for no real reason other then being someone's favorite) Characters.

    Elminster was the first to go.
    The Seven Sisters were next.

    The 'friendly' competition of "Help the People" (Read "Adventuring Quests" by NPCs, where most don't come back) between the churches usually keeps the High Priest/s to around 12th level, most of the time.

    My version of the Blackstaff might be 14th level. The Apprentices never get past 10th level before being forced to "Go make a Name for yourself".

    Halaster is locked in Undermountain, and not much of a problem for me (as the DM) to deal with.

    Szazz Tam (the lich), is fine - he's a great BBEG for PCs to deal with.
    And not everyone under him 'fully supports' the system.

    Larloch (also a lich) I'm not immediately familiar with, but I only really need one Lich BBEG.

    I need another Deity (Tyranny, Fear) replacing Bane, and their High Priest is 17th level.

    I got rid of The Mad Cyric (strife and lies).
    If I need an Insane Deity, I'll pull out Tharizdun !!

    I'm really not fond of Mystra, but I really am having problems finding a "Good" Deity of Magic that I like - to replace her with. Boccob is too much of a 'bookworm' that doesn't really care about people. I already have an evil mostly Magic/Arcane + Secrets/Knowledge Deity (Vecna) so don't need Wejas

    I might keep Velsharoon as the Deity of Undeath. Not sure.

    Still working on those Deities, though.


    As for High Level NPCs, really - these should fill a Role or a Trope.
    With a good and believable reason for why they aren't out solving Problems.
    (While I don't use El for my games, I did like Ed's reasons for why El didn't do a lot of High Powered Magic. "It attracts attention, and I'm not the only one with that kind of power in the world."
    (To me, knowing when to not use your Power is as important as having it to solve problems.)

    Ruler of a Major City or Region; Leader of the local Guild/Church. Crotchety Old Hermit.
    The Wandering Hero/Benefactor.

    Meeting one of these should be as rare as meeting (insert your favorite RL Famous Person here) at the local grocery store. Like, out of the countless thousands that showed up at the gates of Graceland, how many actually met Elvis?

    Well, if you read all that, thanks.
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    PirateWench

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Elf and dwarf commoners would be quite dangerous in 5e considering they come with a pile of weapon proficiency! I'm pretty sure even human commoners are proficient with daggers.
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    The main reason things are the way they are is to give PCs a reason to go pick on kobolds and goblins. In most editions of D&D, having 1st level characters fight an orc (much less several orcs) is incredibly dangerous. A single hit is enough to kill even a full HP barbarian, never mind what a critical does. If kobolds and goblins are considered such pathetic vermin that even common farmers could kill a lone one, then why would a party of PCs ever need to bother with them? Sending the PCs to wipe out a cave full of goblins would be like sending them to kill all the rats in the grain mill.

    And so, kobolds and goblins are dangerous enough to be a threat. At least, somewhat.

    I'd say that the majority of [insert PC race here] are probably in the line of farmers, merchants, or trademen. That is, general non-combatants. And those general non-combatants are not going to perform well against even a kobold 1v1. Sure, they might come out on top, but there's a reasonable chance that they'd come out dead instead. There are certainly warriors of those races, guards and such, and those guards would be trained and armed well enough that they could take out individual goblins with little problem. But guards are not to be found everywhere. You can't put a guard on every square acre of farmland, or in every house in the kingdom. And so, while medium sized and large towns are generally safe from such troubles, the smallest towns and the fields are still in danger from such threats. And even with the average sized towns, there's still a danger of kobolds sneaking in during the night and stealing my baby.

    So the PCs still have a valid reason to go out and slay monsters that would threaten their towns. Outside a fortified town with a fully enclosed wall surrounding it, there is still a major concern if they find a goblin camp nearby. They'd have their guards, perhaps Lv.1 or even Lv.3 Fighters or whatever in town making sure all the populace stays safe. But there is good reason that a well-armed band of PCs, familiar with combat, would be sent out to clear out the goblins and ensure there are no threats that could casually sneak into town.

    Quote Originally Posted by NovenFromTheSun View Post
    -It explains why higher level/point PCs donít need to take time for mundane threats, thereís already people for that.
    The problem with this point is that, depending on the level, there will always be "mundane" threats that the PCs aren't dealing with. At 3rd level, the mundane threats are goblins. At 6th level, orcs and zombies are mundane. At 10th level, a Rust Monster or Gelatinous Cube is mundane. At some point, the party will be at a level where there ARE serious threats to the common populace but the challenge is too trivial for the party. What, some hobgoblin warlord has amassed an army of 500 and is threatening to wipe out the nearby farming town? I'm sure the Lv.17 Wizard can just pop a fly spell and drop a few dozen Fireballs on the way to the real adventure.

    That's kind of the point. It's going to be an abstraction, regardless of which level you feel like abstracting it to. There will always be a point where the PCs are ignoring challenges which would be a considerable threat to the local population, simply because the game would drag down in very boring adventures if they were still around. We handwave it and (as GMs) just phase out such encounters in favor of the more interesting challenges. It's not because the party managed to exterminate all hobgoblins within their last 50 combat encounters, but that it's just assumed some other party is taking care of it or just not bringing it up during the game.


    Also, I try to make pie but the bottom crust always ends up mushy. Maybe something is too watery, or maybe I'm not applying butter when I should. I don't know.
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I think that is true. In fact I think people (those of the more normal playable races) should be spread all over "early to mid-levels" in D&D terms. If only adventurers have any significant personal strength world building gets weird really fast. Generally because society should have been overrun unless adventures are lined up shoulder to shoulder in taverns which has its own problems.

    Yeah for me it is mostly a world building issue. Some time when I have more time I might go into detail about how I have constructed settings to support wide power ranges. Especially since I was already considering making a thread on it. But for now I need to finish this up.
    I've always been of the opinion that while the PCs should be special, they should also never be alone in being special, and that if they can "gain levels" and "take classes", so can any other character in the setting, at least potentially.
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    I never understood the problem with having competent mundane (IE not PC) people. If I am a farmer with a wife and kids I really don't want to go with 10 other people and risk our lives shooting arrows at a Manticore. We will probably kill it, but I have a decent chance of dying and then my family will starve.

    5E has the famous "500 level 1 archers vs a dragon" example, but for that to work you need 500 people willing to abandon their families to try and track it down and then be willing to die to fight it. The Soldier's Dilemma is multiplied greatly; the dragon could go burn your farms while you try to find it, or another group could raid your lands, etc.
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    I long for a game where even orcs still pose some sort of threat in the late game.
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun
    The problem with this point is that, depending on the level, there will always be "mundane" threats that the PCs aren't dealing with. At 3rd level, the mundane threats are goblins. At 6th level, orcs and zombies are mundane. At 10th level, a Rust Monster or Gelatinous Cube is mundane. At some point, the party will be at a level where there ARE serious threats to the common populace but the challenge is too trivial for the party. What, some hobgoblin warlord has amassed an army of 500 and is threatening to wipe out the nearby farming town? I'm sure the Lv.17 Wizard can just pop a fly spell and drop a few dozen Fireballs on the way to the real adventure.

    That's kind of the point. It's going to be an abstraction, regardless of which level you feel like abstracting it to. There will always be a point where the PCs are ignoring challenges which would be a considerable threat to the local population, simply because the game would drag down in very boring adventures if they were still around. We handwave it and (as GMs) just phase out such encounters in favor of the more interesting challenges. It's not because the party managed to exterminate all hobgoblins within their last 50 combat encounters, but that it's just assumed some other party is taking care of it or just not bringing it up during the game.
    Well, it also depends on how the DM has their World set up.
    Are "Adventurers/Heroes" ultra rare?
    Or so common that they are just another Guild of semi-nice Mercenaries?

    Yes, the majority of the populace is non-combatants. From Farmers to Royalty.
    There's a reason why Merchants make so much money, because they risk potential Death every time they leave town. (and why there are lots of - homebrew - beginning Adventures starting with Caravan Guard/Scout)

    Also, you are correct: there needs to be a reason why "Adventurers" are needed to go out and solve problems that most of the population can't deal with. (in 5e, a Goblin dealing 2d6 damage per hit is scary to someone with maybe 6 hit points!)

    There are a few of things that need to be going on behind the scenes.

    First, in my games, all of the "Evil" Sentient (Humanoid) Races also have Class levels (Subclasses only for 'special' NPCs), and can equal or exceed the Party's average ECL. In addition to what is found in the books.

    Spoiler: packs a punch!
    Show
    the CR 11 Shadar-ki Soul Monger was more then a match for the party of four 10th level PCs ! If all the players had actually shown up (total of 6) the Party might have had more luck.


    Second: what keeps the powerful non-sentient Monsters in check?
    Sure, they might have Kiju-like battles against each other, but most likely not very often.

    Third: Powerful Sentient Monsters (like Beholders) usually keep a low profile, lest they attract the attention of something at least as powerful as themselves.

    Fourth: Dragons. In my games there are some changes to these. But I won't go into details here.
    Suffice to say that the Metallic Dragons are doing their best to keep the Chromatic Dragons in check.

    Also, I try to make pie but the bottom crust always ends up mushy. Maybe something is too watery, or maybe I'm not applying butter when I should. I don't know.
    Sadly, no business near me has good pie. And trying to make pie, only ends in a mess.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-08-06 at 06:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    In my experience it is important to distinguish between competence and power. Town guards and commoner militias should be competent enough to demonstrate why they haven't been wiped out, yet their lack of actual power should be obvious enough to need someone else (aka. the adventurers) to deal with problems beyond their walls.

    How can commoner level characters be competent without being powerful? Make sure that all villages are walled and lone homesteads are manned by only the stupid or the mad. Even commoners can fare better when they have cover and height advantages in combat. I also use Damage Conversion to emphasize the importance of technology in (demi-)humanity's defense against a hostile world. Individuals will still be dropped with the same damage but no longer (usually) fatally. So long as one ally is left standing at the end then most will survive with enough armor.

    I also like using the apprentice rules from World of Prime so that defensively minded rulers can train up a semi-competent militia, while still giving fearful tyrants the option of keeping their populations weak.

    I also use the Unit template...
    Spoiler: Unit Template
    Show

    Here are some tables that will be necessary to use when creating creatures with these templates.

    Die Size Progression
    Progression 1:
    1d2, 1d3, 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 2d6, 3d6, 4d6, 6d6, 8d6, 12d6
    -or-
    Progression 2:
    1d10, 2d8, 3d8, 4d8, 6d8, 8d8, 12d8
    -or-
    Progression 3:
    1d12, 3d6, 4d6, 6d6, 8d6

    Creature Size Progressions:
    Old Size New Size Str Dex Con Nat. Armor AC/Attack
    Fine Dim Same -2 Same Same -4
    Dim Tiny +2 -2 Same Same -2
    Tiny Small +4 -2 Same Same -1
    Small Medium +4 -2 +2 Same -1
    Medium Large +8 -2 +4 +2 -1
    Large Huge +8 -2 +4 +3 -1
    Huge Garg +8 Same +4 +4 -2
    Garg Colossal +8 Same +4 +5 -4
    Repeat the adjustment if the creature moves up more than one size.



    Unit Template

    Across the bland field of grass you see a solid block of men, nearly 20 feet on a side. You marvel for just a moment at the exacting detail of their matched uniforms and equipment, and the precision of their combined movements, until you realize those movements have sent them charging across the field at you.

    The Unit Template is an Acquired template that can be applied to any creature that possesses the ability to gain ranks in profession (soldier), whether by nature, or by advancing with character classes. Use the original base creature for making this determination, ignoring other applied templates (specifically undead templates). This creature will be referred to as the base creature.

    Special: If the unit will be mounted (cavalry) then the base creature must also have at least one rank in ride.
    The Unit Template is designed to be highly adaptable. When applying this template is necessary to assign a value N, which indicates the number of sizes the unit will increase over the base creature. It is also used to determine the effectiveness of much of the creature. N may be any value from 1 to 4. N=1 represents a squad (@16 individuals) N=2 represents a light platoon (@ 36 individuals) N=3 represents a company (@ 128 individuals, using an extra spacing, doubled for each size increase beyond Colossal, as per swarms) and N=4 represents a battalion (@ 432 individuals, using 2 extra spacings, doubled for each size increase beyond Colossal, as per swarms). If there is not enough room for a creature of the Unit's new size then a Unit of that size cannot be formed.

    Special: The feats of the base creature may be discarded in exchange for unit feats, unless they are bonus feats or specific racial feats that always apply.

    By this I mean, a unit of fighters has the same number of feats as a fighter, not necessarily the same feats as a fighter. However a unit of skeletons (who all have improved initiative) cannot discard improved initiative.

    Size and Type:
    Increase the Base Creatureís size by N steps. Example, if N is 3 a medium creature becomes gargantuan.
    The Base Creature gains the Unit sub-type.

    Hit Dice and Hit Points:
    The Unit retains the Base Creatureís original hit dice. In addition the template grants N bonus hit dice. Determine the size of these bonus hit-dice using the table below. Creatures that possess more than one hit-die Type (whether racial, class, or from some other source) use the largest die size to determine bonus hit-dice. For example, a Lizardfolk fighter would have 2 racial hit-dice (d8s) and 1 class hit-die (d10) and would use the d10 to determine the size of the Bonus Hit Dice from this template. For example, a battalion (size N=4) of Warriors (1d10 HD) would gain 4 HD (N=4) with each of those HD being 6d8 hp (24d8 hp in total).

    These bonus hit-dice advance the BAB at 1/2 per HD. A Unitís good saves are reflexes and will, summarized below. Units have no class skills, and gain no skill points per level.

    Original Hit Dice
    N 1d4 1d6 1d8 1d10 1d12 BAB Fort Ref Will CR
    1 1d6 1d8 2d6 2d8 3d6 +0 +0 +2 +2 +1
    2 1d8 2d6 3d6 3d8 4d6 +1 +0 +3 +3 +3
    3 2d6 3d6 4d6 4d8 6d6 +1 +1 +3 +3 +6
    4 3d6 4d6 6d6 6d8 8d6 +2 +1 +4 +4 +10

    Initiative:
    The Base Creatureís initiative is adjusted for the new dexterity score, based on the size adjustment.

    Speed:
    The Base Creature's speed is adjusted with a -10' circumstance penalty. This penalty cannot reduce the unit's speed to less than half the base creatures speed.

    Armor Class:
    The Base Creatureís AC is adjusted based on size, including size adjustment and natural armor modifier.

    Base Attack/Grapple:
    The Base Creatureís base attack bonus is modified by the bonus hit-dice granted by this template; see above.
    Grapple: BAB + Unit Strength + Unit Grapple Modifier

    Attack/Full Attack:
    The templateís BAB and Strength modifier improves the Base Creatureís to-hit modifier and damage, but does not increase the die size for damage.

    Space and Reach:
    The Unit takes up space as a creature of its new size, using and extra spacing at N=3 and using 2 extra spacings at N=4, similar to swarms (so a battalion of N=4 medium creatures would take up three 30'x30' contiguous spacings). The Unitís reach is the same as the Base Creature.

    Special Attacks:
    Iterative Attack, Envelop, Swirling Melee, Coordinated Assault, Coordinated Grapple

    Special Qualities:
    Unit Traits, Law of Averages

    Base Saves:
    The Base Creatureís base saves are used, adjusted for the templateís bonus hit-dice and attribute changes.

    Abilities:
    The Base Creatureís abilities are adjusted for size increase.

    CR:
    The CR increase for this template is +1 for N=1, +3 for N=2, +6 for N=3, and +10 for N=4


    Description of Abilities

    Iterative Attack:
    For each attack, or full attack, action a Unit may make N attacks or full attacks. Full attacks must be completely allocated to a single target. Additionally a unit can make up to N attacks of Opportunity per round.

    Envelop:
    A Unit may move to surround any creature 2 sizes or more smaller than the Unit, and envelop them. This takes place as part of a normal move action, or other action that allows movement (such as charging). The unit does not have to stop to engage any target in can envelop.
    Enveloped creatures must use 2 squares of movement for each square they move within the unit. Enveloped creatures are considered threatened and flanked by the unit surrounding them.
    A Unit may initiate a grapple against an enveloped creature without provoking an attack of opportunity.

    Swirling Melee:
    As a swift action, a Unit may make one attack at their highest attack bonus against every enveloped creature.

    Coordinated Assault:
    A Unit may coordinate its efforts against a target of sufficient size. Rather than making a normal attack, a unit may make a Coordinated Attack. The target of a Coordinated Attack can be no smaller than one size less than the unit. Make an attack, or full attack, against the target, but use the damage dice associated with a creature of the Unitís increased size. Coordinated assaults are limited to melee attacks.

    Coordinated Grapple:
    When grappling, the size of the target creature may be advantageous to a Unit. A Unit uses the size modifier of the target creature when grappling, unless the target creature is smaller than the Base Creature, or Larger than the unit, in which case it uses the Base Creatureís size or the Unitís size respectively.

    Law of Averages
    A Unit may always choose to take 10 on saving throws, as well as any skill for which taking 10 is normally an option.





    Unit Traits:
    ⦁ Units gain Hit Dice based on the Base Creature
    ⦁ A Unitís good saves are Reflexes and Will
    ⦁ A Unitís BAB Progression is Ĺ per Hit Die
    ⦁ A Unit has no class skills, and gains no skill points per Hit Die.
    ⦁ A Unit is immune to sneak attack or critical damage from creatures two or more sizes smaller than the unit. This immunity extends to similar abilities such as a Scout's Skirmish damage.
    ⦁ Only other Units may flank a Unit.
    ⦁ Because of their low individual damage, Units have trouble overcoming DR and Hardness. For targets two or more sizes smaller than the unit increase the DR or Hardness by N, for all other creatures multiply by N.
    ⦁ Because of their nature, Units gain increased effect from abilities which effect HP or damage. Multiply by N any HP or damage modifier. For example, the Toughness feat would grant 3*N bonus hit points. NOTE: Sneak attack, and similar abilities, are bonus damage and not a modifier and are not increased in this fashion.
    ⦁ Because of their nature, Units gain the full effect of bardic music, marshalís auras, or similar abilities for the entire unit as long as a minimum of N squares of the unit would be affected.
    ⦁ Units are particularly vulnerable to area of effect attacks. Apply 1/4 the base damage to the unit for every square covered by the effect.
    ⦁ Because of their large number of members, Units are effectively invulnerable to individually targeted spells, spell-like abilities, or other special abilities.
    ⦁ Because they are made up of a large number of individuals, Units are affected differently than normal by feats that allow extra attacks per turn. Cleave, great cleave, whirlwind attack, combat reflexes, or other similar feats or class abilities grant 1d6 bonus damage against Units on every attack for each such feat or ability.
    ⦁ Units may make N number of uses of any special ability (spell-like ability, spell, supernatural ability, etc.) of the Base Creature, as an action of the normal type. For example, if a base creature has a gaze attack as a standard action, the Unit may make N gaze attacks per round. A Unit may forgo one or more of these attacks to gain a +2 effective heightening to the ability (see heighten spell, heighten spell like ability, etc). For example, a N3 spell caster unit may cast 3 spells, or cast 2 spells with one spell heightened by 2, or may combine all 3 spells into one spell heightened by 4.
    ⦁ Undead Units are hard to turn. They gain a morale bonus to turn resistance equal to N.
    ⦁ All Units gain a morale bonus to fear effects equal to N.
    ⦁ When a Unit is reduced to 0 or fewer hp it is disbanded into its constituent creatures. Half of those creatures are considered dead/destroyed, one quarter are disabled at 0 hp, and the final quarter is left at half hp. Fort save reduces casualties to one quarter considered dead/destroyed and half left at half hp.



    Unit Feats
    Units have access to a special category of feat, Unit Feats.

    Trained Movement
    Prerequisites: Unit Subtype, Base Creature with Profession (Soldier) 1 rank.
    Benefit: The unit ignores the circumstance modifier to speed associated with the Unit Template.
    Normal: Units suffer a -10í circumstance modifier to speed.

    Coordinated Fire
    Prerequisites: Unit Subtype, Base Creature with Profession (Soldier) 1 ranks.
    Benefit: The Unit may make Coordinated Assault attacks using un-hurled ranged weapons (bows, crossbows, etc).
    Normal: Unit cannot make Coordinated Assault attacks with ranged weapons.

    Coordinated Hurl
    As Coordinated Fire above, but applies to hurled weapons.

    Ranged Combat Specialization
    Prerequisites: Unit Subtype
    Benefit: A Unit applies 1/2 of its strength bonus to hit and damage on all attacks, including ranged attacks. Focusing on Ranged Attacks in this manner makes the unit less effective in close combat. This is in addition to normal dexterity modifiers.
    Normal: Units normally apply their full strength bonus on melee attacks, and no strength bonus on ranged attacks.
    Special: A unit applies its full strength bonus on ranged attacks where it would normally apply (hurled weapons).

    Ranged Combat Mastery
    Prerequisites: Ranged Combat Specialization, Profession (Soldier) 2 ranks
    Benefit: The unit adds its full strength bonus on ranged attacks, and 1/2 its strength bonus for melee attacks.
    Normal: Units normally apply their full strength bonus on melee attacks, and no strength bonus on ranged attacks.

    Formation Fighting

    Prerequisites: Unit Subtype, N=2, Profession (Soldier) 2
    Benefits: The unit has learned to use the advantages of numbers and formation, granting a +5í bonus to reach. This is similar to natural reach, and does not prevent a unit from attacking adjacent targets.

    Synchronized Strike
    Prerequisites: Unit Subtype
    Benefit: The unit has learned to synchronize their attacks, to overcome some of their inability to deal with damage reduction. Reduce N by 1 before increasing or multiplying the value of DR or Hardness.
    Special: This feat may be chosen multiple times, its effects stack.

    Marshal Commander
    Prerequisites: Unit Subtype
    Benefit: The Unit is lead in battle by a Marshall. Although not individually represented on the field, the unit may benefit from one or more Marshall Auraís. The Marshallís effective level is equal to N, and his Charisma Modifier is N/2 (minimum 1). Choose Marshall Auras as appropriate for a Marshall of this level.

    Bardic Accompaniment
    Prerequisites: Unit Subtype
    Benefit: A level N bard has joined the unit. The Bardís perform skill is equal to N+3, and the bard has access to all bardic music effects for a character of this level. The unit does not benefit from the bards spell casting or other abilities.

    I copied this from another board years ago and have tweaked it a bit since then. It closely approximates the potential capabilities of a co-ordinated mass of lowbies without bogging down the game with an endless parade of readied actions/aid other checks/5' shuffles. The Unit template preserves the capabilities and distinctiveness of the base creatures (a company sized mob of commoners is vastly different from a company of 3rd level Paladins) while not artificially bloating them into an unwieldy Voltron-like ooze. Both these points are something that the Troop and Mob templates fail at.

    The above sorts of things are mechanical demonstrations of competence that would allow a commoner level population to survive, yet still be in need of higher level leaders/adventurers to deal with everything above their pay-grade. From my perspective, this creates a believable world, one that we generally all consider to be the default (commoners are weak, adventurers are strong), and is the one that I prefer to build from. Note that I also play as if XP is something special and cannot just be acquired from field plowing, rat catching, bar brawls, and the like.

    You can also go the other way, assuming that people living in a harsh world will naturally level and so grow in power. This, in my experience, leads to a lot of problems. You now have to adjust everything in your world to accommodate such a sweeping change and no DM that I have encountered has actually done so. It is usually just an excuse for the NPCs in any given encounter to be a 'challenge' for the PCs regardless of circumstance and tends to come off as arbitrary and 'game-y' (like running around in a Final Fantasy game with Chocobos in the starting area, who you were defeating at lvl 1, still hitting like a truck at lvl 100).

    Even in the best of scenarios, where the DM has run the numbers and come up with a way to level the population in a way that is logically consistent, you have now introduced innumerable inconsistencies into the average campaign setting. If the town guard are all 5-6 lvl, why the f#ck are they sending out 1st lvl adventurers to clear out the goblin nests? Who have the PCs angered so much that someone would want to see them dead? If relatively passive leveling is so effective then why can't the PCs set up a commoner fight club to power-level the village/themselves? And please, for the love of the baby jeebus, don't tell me that you leveled up someone in the actual commoner class. That level of dedicated incompetence should be reserved for the village idiot alone.

    When you choose to fill your world with a powerful/leveled populace then you have to answer why they are not handling their own problems. More importantly, why-on-earth they would ask someone less powerful than themselves to handle it for them? When a world is filled with powerful people then they must actually do something with that power. Muttered claims that they do not want to draw attention or that they are busy just come off as lazy and callused (I'm looking at you Forgotten Realms). Considerations like this are really only important from the point of worldbuilding consistency, but that seems to be where you are coming from.

    The real question here is, what do you want to get out of this? Are you looking for a fairly standard world where it makes sense that the human population hasn't been wiped out by a bag of angry housecats? I would urge you towards the competence angle at the beginning of my post. Are you looking for a way to keep the PCs 'in-check' and maintain the status-quo of your gameworld regardless of player action? Increasing the power level of the population would be more appropriate, just realize that there will probably be many, many, inconsistencies brought up at the table that you will have to deal with. I have seen many DMs attempt to do this but have yet to see any actually succeed.
    Last edited by Quarian Rex; 2019-08-06 at 07:21 PM.
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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    A lot of the problem with many fantasy games is that the setting is structured as quasi-medieval, but the society is structured as modern.

    In a modern society we are used to having the police and the army around to protect civilians from harm. As a result only very few civilians are trained and equipped for self defense. In fact outside of parts of the US (and a few exceptions like Switzerland and Israel) civilians being trained and equipped for self defense is actively discourages by the authorities.

    Yet up to 100 years ago it was the normal expectation that civilians could and should take steps for self defense. Upper class men carried heavy canes, sword canes, pocket pistols, and learned the manly art of self defense (boxing) not because they wanted to rumble with the goons, but because they wanted means to defend the selves from ruffians mugging them. Lower class men carried varied improvised weapons and knives and had brawling skills. The size and reach of the Police forces was so limited that being unable to defend yourself made you an easy target.
    In rural areas every home had at least a shotgun. Yes rifles and shotguns are useful hunting tools, but if a gang of thieves or hostile natives show up there is no point dialing 911 if the telephone hasnít been invented yet.

    As you go back in history before the advent if police forces and standing armies then the requirement for self defence grows. In city states such as in Greece or pre-imperial Rome it was a requirement for every male citizen to have weapons and armor and to undertake regular (usually monthly) military training. In these times social advancement for nobles was generally linked to their battlefield prowess, the exceptions being large empires in times of relative peace such as Heian Japan or a late period Chinese dynasty.

    Itís not just the training of men. In non feudal times, where protection was provided by the local lord in a castle, farmhouses were often fortified to some extent. For example La Haye Sainte at the battle of Waterloo was a walled farmhouse, common in Europe at the time, and yet the full French Army couldnít take it until the 400 or so defenders ran out of ammunition. Walled farmhouses not because armies might wander onto your fields, but because bands of armed brigands were a common enough menace.

    Most fantasy settings are not set in a stable empire. Most fantasy settings are are either like the American West where individuals are primarily responsible for their own self defense or a city state or feudal type setting where there are many small states constantly at war with each other.

    In a realistic fantasy setting then most commoners you encounter would have proficiency in at least one of daggers, hand to hand or clubs/staffs. A large percentage of them would be competent soldiers in addition to their ďcommonerĒ status. Most noblemen would have enough training, weaponry and armor to single handedly dispatch a first level party. Attacking a large farmhouse would require a band of 20+ bad guys.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    While Pathfinder mostly plays this straight, they stay up veterans of the WWI eastern front as capable 5th level Fighters in the adventure where you visit earth, which I thought was interesting.

    In 5e, generic "guards" are predictably weak, but knights, gladiators, Captains and Champions are all given as examples of regular people who are very competent fighters without having to have class levels, magic or be a monster. In fact, 4-5 knights or 1 Warlord NPC would make short work of the Lost Mines intro adventure.
    Last edited by NorthernPhoenix; 2019-08-06 at 07:40 PM.

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    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    A lot of the problem with many fantasy games is that the setting is structured as quasi-medieval, but the society is structured as modern.

    In a modern society we are used to having the police and the army around to protect civilians from harm. As a result only very few civilians are trained and equipped for self defense. In fact outside of parts of the US (and a few exceptions like Switzerland and Israel) civilians being trained and equipped for self defense is actively discourages by the authorities.

    Yet up to 100 years ago it was the normal expectation that civilians could and should take steps for self defense. Upper class men carried heavy canes, sword canes, pocket pistols, and learned the manly art of self defense (boxing) not because they wanted to rumble with the goons, but because they wanted means to defend the selves from ruffians mugging them. Lower class men carried varied improvised weapons and knives and had brawling skills. The size and reach of the Police forces was so limited that being unable to defend yourself made you an easy target.
    In rural areas every home had at least a shotgun. Yes rifles and shotguns are useful hunting tools, but if a gang of thieves or hostile natives show up there is no point dialing 911 if the telephone hasnít been invented yet.
    When the police are half an hour away or more, such as in vast swaths of the US, 911 is still "calling for backup"... they're never going to arrive in time to stop something, only to clean up afterwards. That's why there's a different view of self-defense in those places than some people are used to in other places.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    As you go back in history before the advent if police forces and standing armies then the requirement for self defence grows. In city states such as in Greece or pre-imperial Rome it was a requirement for every male citizen to have weapons and armor and to undertake regular (usually monthly) military training. In these times social advancement for nobles was generally linked to their battlefield prowess, the exceptions being large empires in times of relative peace such as Heian Japan or a late period Chinese dynasty.

    Itís not just the training of men. In non feudal times, where protection was provided by the local lord in a castle, farmhouses were often fortified to some extent. For example La Haye Sainte at the battle of Waterloo was a walled farmhouse, common in Europe at the time, and yet the full French Army couldnít take it until the 400 or so defenders ran out of ammunition. Walled farmhouses not because armies might wander onto your fields, but because bands of armed brigands were a common enough menace.

    Most fantasy settings are not set in a stable empire. Most fantasy settings are are either like the American West where individuals are primarily responsible for their own self defense or a city state or feudal type setting where there are many small states constantly at war with each other.

    In a realistic fantasy setting then most commoners you encounter would have proficiency in at least one of daggers, hand to hand or clubs/staffs. A large percentage of them would be competent soldiers in addition to their ďcommonerĒ status. Most noblemen would have enough training, weaponry and armor to single handedly dispatch a first level party. Attacking a large farmhouse would require a band of 20+ bad guys.
    There's a culture in one of my WIP settings that's still so traumatized by an invasion and attempted genocide 1000 years ago that even the smallest town or outpost or farmstead is surrounded by a stone wall, etc, and all the buildings are stone with a slate or tile roof, no exposed wood.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    False God's Avatar

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Try treating commoners as swarms. They become surprisingly deadly.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    This is mainly a D&D problem IMO. I consider standard human warriors to be equal to creatures like orcs, a bit better than goblins and somewhat worse than ogres.

    The main thing is that warriors like this are guarding towns and being recruited into armies.

    More fringe roles is where adventurers also come in e.g. guarding merchant caravans and protecting villages from goblin raiders.

    Straight up dungeoneering isn't what most normal warriors want to do. You have to be some kind of psycho to go into a dark underground catacomb filled with actual monsters to go get some mcguffin.
    Re: 100 Things to Beware of that Every DM Should Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    3e, with the house-cat vulnerable commoners, is indeed comical. It also highlights that the game has lower-boundary issues.
    This. The game lacks the granularity to handle anything that isn't fantastical. Normal creatures go straight from living to dead because their health has to be rounded to units designed to represent superhuman heroes. (there's also the converse problem that any NPC who's particularly good at what they do must necessarily be superhuman - even if it doesn't make sense foe them to be - due to the way class abilities, skill points, and hit dice are bundled together)

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    I'd call people out but who said what but its starting to blend together a bit. I think the most important ideas is that early D&D was built on some very particular assumptions and as the game expanded it wasn't re-built to fit that new more general space.

    I have also read a lot of D&D related books and I will that a lot of low level threats that we are talking about simply don't exist. I have never seen a kobolds... come to think of it I can't recall ever seeing a goblin. However most stories I read were set in civilized areas where you can usually go between cities safely. Any if there were problems it was usually other humans or something kind of exotic like a sand bride (desert she-demon). Although I think this has less to do with any world building and more to do with the fact that standard low-level threats are boaring.

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    Also, I try to make pie but the bottom crust always ends up mushy. Maybe something is too watery, or maybe I'm not applying butter when I should. I don't know.
    You are a step beyond me at trying to make pie. I'm not much into cooking. It is the sort of desert I would make if I did though.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew
    I'd call people out but who said what but its starting to blend together a bit. I think the most important ideas is that early D&D was built on some very particular assumptions and as the game expanded it wasn't re-built to fit that new more general space.

    I have also read a lot of D&D related books and I will that a lot of low level threats that we are talking about simply don't exist. I have never seen a kobolds... come to think of it I can't recall ever seeing a goblin.
    Right. With Gygax, and everyone since then, trying to attach numerical values to abstract Creatures.

    Like stories for everything from why miners would suddenly drop dead (mean little, mostly invisibile, spirits that chocked them do death: Kobolds) to having to fight a Huge three headed dog to return home after "dying". (Cerberus) To....
    Well, I'm sure you get the point.

    **********************

    Two armies fighting each other?
    And even two people fighting each other?

    Sure, basic numbers to maybe see how long it takes one to "kill" the other.
    Maybe attached to funny sided dice for (mostly) unpredictable results.

    But, as listed in another thread link, people have done multi sided dice for that randomness since at least Ancient Greece.

    I agree that some things shouldn't need to be attached to a Die. But, I also see why more potent Abilities need to be delayed until the Character is more Experienced. Which means, for D&D, being connected to what is attached to a Die: Class Levels.

    D&D has its flaws.
    But, I have yet to find an RPG that doesn't.

    From complicated charts on what happens on a Hit (dice for location), a Miss (a grenade "missing" is a threat to everyone near where it lands), and d100 charts for both a Critical Hit or Miss: To magic that will either instantly Kill the target, or the caster - depending on what was rolled.
    *****************
    And yes, the owners of D&D didn't really rework the system, until 3e - which broke things in new ways, and especially 4e - which a few players loved, and most everyone else hated.

    So, with 5e, it was decided to return to mildly improved Old Rules, and try again.

    Maybe people will like 6e D&D, when it comes out. IDK, when (not if) that happens, I'm most likely not going to be able to get too deep into it. Partly because I'm not able to quickly learn something new, like I used to: and Partly because I simply don't have lots of money to throw into it. Heck, that's true even for 5e. I only got: PHB, Xanathar's, Phandelver, and DotMM w/map pack, HotDQ and RoT; I might buy one more Book: Decent into Avernus.
    When my circumstances are better, I might get the DMG, MM, VgE and MtF.
    And that's most likely it.

    That's 10.5 books + Monster Cards costing about $500.

    Compaired to, like, Thirty 3x D&D books, at over $800.

    And at least $800 on AD&D 1e and 2e books.

    Plus, IDK, maybe $500 on other RPGs?

    Yeah, for around $3,000, I could have bought a used car, or something.

    But, I really do like playing, so - no regrets.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
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    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    Second: what keeps the powerful non-sentient Monsters in check?
    Sure, they might have Kiju-like battles against each other, but most likely not very often.
    Generally what keeps big powerful creatures in check is food availability.
    Consider the megalodon; it didn't go extinct because adventurers hunted it. it went extinct because it was a 15-meters shark and it needed to eat much more than regular sharks, while being less manueverable and easier to see from afar. the only animals it could hunt were whales, which were big and slow. whales, being warm-blooded, migrated to polar water, and the megalodon died off because it couldn't find enough food.

    the same should apply to any other large predator. For my world I assume that most such creatures are not even real species, incapable of breeding or surviving in the environment, but they are merely aberrations produced by mutations of common animals caused by wild magic.

    as for dragons, I established that they need their loot to survive long term (some technobabble about feeding off the natural magic field, and treasure acting as a focus for it), so the availability of loot controls the dragon population.
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post

    Also, I try to make pie but the bottom crust always ends up mushy. Maybe something is too watery, or maybe I'm not applying butter when I should. I don't know.
    Blind baking is the solution. Bake the bottom pie crust for 15 minutes or so before putting the topping and top crust on

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    I like to have the regular denizens of the world generally be more than capable of meeting the majority of threats that engage them enough to get along well without the party. In fact, it would probably get along better without the party's help.

    Then again, I also don't subscribe to the idea that my PC's are special or a cut above average. The players are adventuring, as opposed to farming, soldiering, or marrying their cousins, for a reason, and I usually interpret that as because they're more in the line of have-nots than the haves, and are trying to advance themselves in unorthodox [and frequently unsanctioned] ways.
    Last edited by LordCdrMilitant; 2019-08-07 at 05:18 PM.
    Guardsmen, hear me! Cadia may lie in ruin, but her proud people do not! For each brother and sister who gave their lives to Him as martyrs, we will reap a vengeance fiftyfold! Cadia may be no more, but will never be forgotten; our foes shall tremble in fear at the name, for their doom shall come from the barrels of Cadian guns, fired by Cadian hands! Forward, for vengeance and retribution, in His name and the names of our fallen comrades!

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    PirateWench

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    Default Re: Commoners and early game enemies: an argument for a non-helpless populace

    In the real world, people generally survive by not picking fights with creatures that are too tough for them. If there's a forest where there are wolves, well, the people tell everybody about that dangerous forest that has wolves in it and talk about how nobody should go in that forest... even if there's only, like, a 10% chance of meeting a wolf pack. Most adventurers are okay with those odds, but in the real world, people would be quite concerned about a 10% chance of death. Fortunately, in the real world, there are very few situations where ordinary people MUST fight a creature that's too powerful. If you leave elephants alone, they'll probably (but not always) leave you alone. And the few creatures that (like wolves and lions) often choose not to leave people alone are talked about as being quite scary creatures. In other words, the reason that people survive is that most creatures are relatively peaceful and you can leave them alone. Even wolves and lions have other prey to feed on that are easier to find and kill, so they don't often need to attack humans, unless the humans do dumb things.

    And in real world legends and stories, usually the powerful creatures are "out there" somewhere, not near the main civilized lands. You have to go traveling to find the scary beasts, so it's okay that normal humans can't beat them.

    Now, in a D&D world, where you can't travel for half a day without running into a potentially lethal "random encounter," things are different. Or, in a world, where a monster isn't just that one creature that one hero needs to kill, but instead the monsters make up the vast majority of the biomass of the planet, things are different. All I would suggest is that perhaps there's a strange interconnected ecosystem that we just aren't privy to. Perhaps brain moles are fed upon by intellect devourers and intellect devourers are preyed upon by catoblepases and catoblepases are fed upon by beholders, and beholders are just a nice snack to grells who are feasted upon by mimics who get swallowed up by lurkers above, etc. That would keep these creatures' numbers under control so that they don't overwhelm the humans. Otherwise, it gets a little absurd.

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