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    Default Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    1. Introduction

    Remember when the other people were flipping through the PHB, oo-ing and ahh-ing at all the overpowered classes contained therein? And you just couldn't seem to get into the role of any of them for some reason?

    I have the answer. There is one class, much-maligned, which people say can never succeed. Wizards laugh at you; barbarians kick sand in your face; Monks polymorph into dragons and eat you. I am talking, of course, about the lowly commoner.

    In this essay, I intend to demonstrate the advantages and, yes, superiority of the commoner over many other classes, focusing specifically on how commoners can easily beat wizards if the wizards have no items or spells prepared as well as no feats or useful alternate class features or anything else in reserve and are also unconscious. A high bar, admittedly, but I think that it is necessary to take on such a challenge to show the world the commoner's true capabilities.

    2. Advantages

    I can hear you already. "But," you say, "the commoner has no class features!"

    This is a lie. A dirty filthy lie. The commoner has lots of class features! Why, just a single level of commoner for your first level nets you four times their usual skill points, as well as the automatic maximum on their HD roll. As you progress in the commoner class, you will gain points of BAB, bonuses to your saves, and more and more HD -- you even get to add your con to your HD at every level, easily negating any supposed disadvantage their low HD gives them (and, anyway, that's the same HD as a wizard! Nobody calls wizards weak.) And commoners even have other abilities, too, ones that every other class doesn't automatically get as well!

    First, look at their skill list. Commoners get several vital skills, allowing them to contribute as a skill-monkey when necessary. They have the ever-useful climb and jump, allowing them to hit flying creatures when there is a wall nearby or if it is only a few feet off the ground; they have ride and handle animal, which lets them ride or tame a much much stronger creature like a riding dog; they have swim, which can save your life by keeping you from drowning; they have use rope for kinky things, and they've got spot and listen, which every party needs.

    Notice that wizards don't get any of these skills. Not one. The commoner has won already; we hardly even need to continue. But that's not all -- there's more. Look a bit lower on the commoner's SRD entry, and you'll see something even better:
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency

    The commoner is proficient with one simple weapon. He is not proficient with any other weapons, nor is he proficient with any type of armor or shields.
    That's right. Any simple weapon you want. And that's not all... go look up the Incantrix, IotSV, or Planar Shephard I dare you. What weapon and armor proficiencies do you see there? That's right. None. Those are the best caster PRCs out there, and they don't give you a single weapon proficiency at all... while commoner can give you any simple weapon proficiency you want. WotC must've been asleep at the wheel when they made this one.

    Now that we've shown the commoner's superiority to casters, let's focus on the other classes. It's true, of course, that powerful classes like fighters and CW Samurai and soulknives have more BAB, while rogues have more skill points. A commoner, though, can overcome this.

    First, for the BAB problem, a Skillful weapon will effectively raise your BAB to 3/4ths -- you've already matched the Soulknife, so you're a third of the way to beating the melee classes with that one purchase!

    For the other classes, just look at the commoner's superior skillset -- commoners have Profession (which can grant unlimited gold at no risk!) They have use rope, which can disable enemies completely with a good enough roll. They have the ever-useful listen and spot, meaning that a commoner can make a better warehouse guard than a fighter. Obviously, you don't have any need for those top-tier melee classes when the commoner is around.

    Next, rogues. I shouldn't even need to point this out, but commoners have Ride and Handle Animal as class skills -- both are very powerful, and can together net you as many animal servants as you can pay for, while you ride one yourself (something that can easily have more HP than the flimsy rogue!) Clearly, the commoner beats the rogue completely.

    Ah, but the game isn't just endless match-ups -- the commoner has other unique advantages too. One of the biggest among them: The commoner gains more than any class, bar none, from being Polymorphed. This is indisputable. Once-mighty casters lose all their non-stilled, non-silenced spells (except druids with natural spell, who gain very little because, obviously, they could wild shape already.) Rogues might not be able to apply all their skills, and both rogues and fighter-types lose their weapons and equipment. Monks lose their best class feature -- it's much harder for them to UMD wands and so on in a form with no hands.

    Commoners, though! All those minor disadvantages people complain about so much when criticizing the class are completely erased. Why, a commoner polymorphed into a dragon would have no trouble beating a wizard who was baleful polymorphed into a frog, as long as the wizard has no stilled silent spells or contingencies or other useful buffs in effect and also hasn't used gate or planar binding to set up protections in advance. It's almost a guaranteed win!

    Commoners also gain tons from divine power, five whole points more than a cleric or monk at level 20.

    PRCs
    ----
    When it comes to commoners, there's really only one PRC that you need to talk about: Survivor. Commoners have easier access to this PRC than any class in core; while other classes have useless saving throw bonuses that keep them out of the sweet, sweet Survivor goodness, commoners can enter as early as their second level. Of course, this means you get less levels to collect those sweet, sweet Commoner class features, so it can be a hard choice to make.

    Commoners also multiclass very well; most of their class features are, in fact, advanced by levels in any other class. This makes them extremely versatile; they basically lose nothing for multiclassing, if XP penalties aren't being used (or if you're a race with Commoner as your favored class -- need to do more research on that.) How broken is that?

    Breakpoints
    -----------
    Many people take one-level dips of commoner to get into Survivor. I recommend against this; Commoner has much more to offer than that. In general, any 3rd level is a possible breakpoint, giving you a bonus to every single save; alternate levels are good, too, for that lovely, lovely BAB bonus. Of course, Commoner 12 is literally as good as any class can possibly be in terms of BAB / save bonus -- you get +1 bab and a bonus to every single save, easily beating most levels of any other class in the game. Compare Commoner 12 to oh, say, every odd-numbered fighter level after the first, and the commoner is a clear winner. It also beats Rogue 20 -- how sad is that? The Rogue capstone, and Commoners get a better deal 8 levels earlier at level 12.

    If I could just take Commoner 12 over and over again, I would. On the other hand, taking commoner all the way for that capstone (+1 BAB ftw!) is another good choice -- it sets you up perfectly to get another attack when you advance into Epic Commoner.


    Feats
    -----
    Leadership, leadership, leadership. Nobody else gains as much from Leadership as a commoner. You can have any other class in the game doing your bidding -- how hot is that? You can have a wizard to cast spells, a cleric to buff, a monk to turn into a dragon for you to ride -- you name it. Or, if you really want to get broken, you can add another commoner.

    Yes, it's a little cheesy to take a class that's already as good as a commoner and give them Leadership, but that's the way things roll when you're a high-powered class.


    Strategy
    --------
    One of the commoner's best abilities is their knack at using WBL well -- after all, while wizards have expensive spellbooks to burn money on, and fighters have to buy all that armor for their nasty proficiencies, you can save it up and spend it as you like. Hiring other commoners to do things for you is a big plus. Paying wizards to cast spells on you works even better. At higher levels, you can even pay people to do the whole adventure for you!

    Gaining a divine rank is another way to make your commoner much more effective. With the mere addition of Alter Reality as a salient divine ability, the slender advantages that casters did retain over you instantly disappear -- and that's in addition to all the other advantages that divinity offers. Definitely ask your DM if you can advance a divine rank as soon as possible.

    Builds
    ------
    Fred, Commoner 20.
    Skill points to max listen and spot.
    Focus on Wis and Charisma.
    Take Leadership as soon as you can, and get a wizard.
    Then, you'll always be the one to take watch. When you spot or hear something, order your wizard to handle it for you.
    Use your money to hire many more commoners, who can swarm the enemy in mad lemming rushes to buy your wizard time.
    In a pinch, your wizard can Polymorph you -- or your hirelings, even.

    Any more suggestions or comments would be appreciated, especially more commoner tricks and commoner builds!
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2008-10-25 at 07:28 AM.

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    You have learned the art well, young apprentice of the forum. Keep honing your abilities, and you will go far.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    You can't take Leadership as your first feat; you have to be sixth level or higher to get it.

    Otherwise, yeah, this is friggin' hilarious.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Leadership is not available until level 6, so I suggest Fred gets some cats for protection until then.

    Otherwise solid build suggestion.

    May I suggest gauntlet as the weapon of choice. Not even the dreaded monks are proficient with those.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    I edited it to add some additional comparisons to show the awesomeness of Commoner 12 (best level ever!), to fix a few things like the above (whoops!), to fix some spelling errors and add a few other stray notes.

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    which lets them ride or tame a much much stronger creature like a riding dog
    Unless DM is banning it, I'd rather go with house-cat. Much stronger IMO.

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquillion View Post
    Leadership, leadership, leadership. Nobody else gains as much from Leadership as a commoner. You can have any other class in the game doing your bidding -- how hot is that?
    Sounds like a character concept to me.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Aquillion, that was wonderful. I think I'm going to find a campaign for Fred to sneak into...

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Nice one...
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    How can you write a guide to commoners and not even mention profession? Fighters, Barbarians, and Aristocrats don't get profession because it's that good. I mean, who doesn't want (Ranks+wis+d20) gold a week? It only takes a little less than 7 years for a fifth level commoner with skill focus and 32 point buy to double his gold!

    They're also easy to play. You have no bonus feats to pick, no spells to choose, no spellbooks to construct. It takes so little effort to optimize a Commoner because you there's almost nothing you can do to screw them up.

    Okay, I'm done.
    Last edited by UglyPanda; 2008-05-20 at 05:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    All jokes aside, a Commoner hiring out a Wizard would be an interesting character to play (of course, you're rolling the Wizard too). Two characters for the price of one.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Silvanos View Post
    May I suggest gauntlet as the weapon of choice. Not even the dreaded monks are proficient with those.
    No, no, no. Live chickens are the best commoner weapon. The build in that thread will need considerable improvement to take full advantage of the commoner's power, but the Chicken Infested "flaw" is an excellent advantage and no other class is allowed to take it.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Max Handle Animal, spend your WBL on a herd of cows. The stampede damage gets very ridiculous, very fast.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    You, sir, have just made my night.

    Excellent read, and very, very amusing. I salute thee.

    I was maligning commoners just the other day in reference to the killer house cats, and now I see that they can be put to use serving the commoner.

    I do hope that you have more of these to pull out of your hat.

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Here's a Commoner build

    Commoner 1 (Spellfire Wielder)
    Survivor 1
    Survivor 2 (Wild Cohort)
    Survivor 3
    Survivor 4
    Survivor 5 (Leadership)
    Commoner 2
    Commoner 3
    Commoner 4 (Dragon Cohort)
    Commoner 5
    Commoner 6
    Commoner 7 (Undead Leadership)
    Commoner 8
    Commoner 9
    Commoner 10 (Improved Cohort)
    Commoner 11
    Commoner 12
    Commoner 13 (Extra Followers)
    Commoner 14
    Commoner 15

    Basically, your job is to stand there every round and ready an action to absorb spellfire, hopefully survive the battle, and let your friends do all the real work. Pick whatever race you like. Mongrelfolk works nicely for the big Con bonus.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    How could you possibly do a Commoner guide without mentioning the Commoner's most potent weapon: the Commoner Railgun?

    Of course, DMs do tend to hold that in reserve as their secret weapon of last resort. But the cat's been out of the bag for a while now, and pretty much everyone seems to know that the Commoner Railgun is the reason why the Commoner class is the most popular class choice in the game among NPCs.

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    commoners also have the very use Handle Animal skill. Abuse it to the fullest extent!
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    I want to play an Epic Commoner now. With chickens.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    where can i find the class survivor it seems too good to be true... and wow you make commoners sound really good.... hmm the ability to notice things (listen and spot) plus ride and handle animal makes the character formidable....
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by quiet1mi View Post
    where can i find the class survivor
    Savage Species.
    Last edited by JaxGaret; 2008-05-20 at 07:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    It's a class in Savage Species. It actually has three good saving throw progressions and ZERO BAB. NONE. The MONK does it better.

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlWiPig View Post
    It's a class in Savage Species. It actually has three good saving throw progressions and ZERO BAB. NONE. The MONK does it better.
    I forgot to mention that part in the guide. That's the best part about going into Survivor from Commoner: Not only do you get early entry, but it's just about the only class that Commoners actually have to give some of their Commoner progression up to join.

    Bizarrely, though, it's a good build for a leadership-commoner, given that your only job is going to be to have alert senses and not die. Actually, it makes for a good theme... picture yourself as Rincewind from Diskworld or something. (Rincewind would probably also have a few monk levels for the speed boost, though.)

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquillion View Post
    Bizarrely, though, it's a good build for a leadership-commoner, given that your only job is going to be to have alert senses and not die.
    Yep
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Silvanos View Post
    May I suggest gauntlet as the weapon of choice. Not even the dreaded monks are proficient with those.
    And, moneywise, at first level, the monk gets 5d4 gp. Whereas the commoner gets 5d4x10, that's 10 times the monks standard WBL, and that's only at first level!
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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoD View Post
    And, moneywise, at first level, the monk gets 5d4 gp. Whereas the commoner gets 5d4x10, that's 10 times the monks standard WBL, and that's only at first level!
    Very true. That's only first level.

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    No, no, no. Live chickens are the best commoner weapon. The build in that thread will need considerable improvement to take full advantage of the commoner's power, but the Chicken Infested "flaw" is an excellent advantage and no other class is allowed to take it.
    Oh, my. I can't believe I didn't know about that flaw... it really should be in the guide.

    For those who don't want to bother reading that thread, it's a Dragon Magazine flaw, available to commoners only, that works as follows:
    Chicken Infested: Whenever you draw a weapon or pull an item out of a countainer, you have a 50% chance of drawing a live chicken instead. No, we don't know where the chickens come from; it's your character.
    Now, open up the SRD and note the following. First, preparing spell materials -- which would involve drawing them from a spell component pouch -- is a free action:
    Unless these materials are elaborate preparing these materials is a free action. For material components and focuses whose costs are not listed, you can assume that you have them if you have your spell component pouch.
    And spell component pouches never run out of components. You don't actually need to be a caster; you can buy one cheap, even with your starting gold. Oh, and dropping an item is also a free action.

    You can see where this is going. A chicken-infested commoner with a spell component pouch can, therefore, produce an arbitrary number of chickens as a free action. Yeah, sure, unlimited gold by selling them, impressive party tricks... who cares.

    Now imagine your party is standing outside a dungeon, worried about what's inside. Before anyone can react, you've produced enough chickens to fill it to the bursting, until there's not enough room for anyone in there to breathe. Party being chased? Block off a hallway with chickens. Need battlefield alteration? Meet the new 'spell' my commoner can produce as a free action, which I call 'Wall of Chickens'.

    Need to cross a ravine or pit? Fill it with chickens. Need to check for traps? There aren't very many traps that won't go off when ten thousand chickens are stampeded over them.

    Team up with your wizard. The wizard uses Disintegrate to drop the BBEG in a pit, and you... bury them in chickens. Instantly.

    Set up a Teleportation Circle into the BBEG's base. Stand over it. Produce chickens until their base literally explodes.

    If you're ever in a situation where you can't survive, go for the broke and fill all of creation with chickens. Just imagine the reaction of people halfway around the world when every square inch of space in their world is suddenly and completely full of chickens.

    It hardly needs to be said, but your party never needs to worry about starving again.
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2008-05-21 at 01:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    Very true. That's only first level.
    It sounds better with an explanation mark. And this thread seems to be taking the bad stuff, and, by clever use of puncuation and stuff like that, make it sound like it's good.

    Edit: Oh, the chicken infested flaw reminds me of some other commoner-only flaws my friends were talking about once. I'm not sure if they made them up, or if they came from the same episode as chicken infested, but here they are:

    Pig-Carrier: You carry a pig. The pig is exactly equal to your maximum heavy load. If your strength increases, the pig gets heavier. If your strength decreases, you better get a nice little cart. If the pig dies, or is moved more than 10 feet away from you, or is on the ground for more than 10 rounds a day, a pit fiend appears and destroys you. In exchange for this, you get an extra feat.
    Smooth-Hat: You are wearing a hat. If you ever take your hat off, for any reason, or if it leaves your head, through your will or against it, a pit feind comes and drags your pitiful body down to the depths of hell. In exchange for this, you get an extra feat.
    Not-Feeling-Well: You are dead, but hey! You get another feat!
    Last edited by SoD; 2008-05-21 at 02:21 AM.
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    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    You win the internets. Several of them. I'll have commoners deliver them to your house (I got them through Leadership, and they're so cheesy).
    I use black for sarcasm.


    Call me Rose, or The Rose Dragon. Rose Dragon is someone else entirely.

    If you need me for something, please PM me about it. I am having difficulty keeping track of all my obligations.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Novi Sad (Serbia)
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Being nobody: Aquillion's guide to Commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rose Dragon View Post
    I got them through Leadership, and they're so cheesy.
    Did you also have them take the Leadership?

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