What proportion of the population are adventurers? - Page 7
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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radaceus View Post
    In my travels, which includes living on three continents, I've toiled next to all manner of folk, and your blanket textbook assessment above is, in my humble opinion, inaccurate. Many 'skilled' people that I have had the honor of working beside had no degrees, little in the way of education; they learned their trades by application, not in a classroom. And this has been the way of the worker since time immemorial.
    I'm inclined to agree, and I dropped the expectation that the average level in a D&D game world was 1st level back in the early 90's. Exposure to the FR didn't make me admire the FR as a setting, but it did force me to question the sacredness of my cows, and Gygaxian demographics was one of the things that went away, not the least of which is that Gygax himself didn't seem to really follow his own advice.

    In my opinion, the average modern person is best modelled in D&D terms as a 2nd or 3rd level Expert. Granted, in the real world we don't have hit points, but a reasonable approximation - casual realism if you will - can still be made by assuming that average CON in the modern world is below 10 owing to our relatively sedentary lives and the fact that low CON individuals aren't winnowed out of the population with quite the frequency that they were before modern medicine.

    Similarly, I tend to use demographics that models the average mature adult as a 2nd or 3rd level NPC classed individual (usually commoners or experts) which lower ability scores, no focus on combat skills, and fewer advantages than a PC. Thus, even though the PC's are lower level starting out than most of the population, they are with respect to combat skills typically quite remarkable even so - sufficiently so that they can reasonably take on challenges that most NPCs could not. On the other hand, they tend to be less competent starting out compared to NPCs in handling ordinary day to day challenges of commerce and farming, so it's pretty natural that they are looking to something other than trade as a means of survival. This also has the nice side effect that NPC's are easily exploitable nor are they completely helpless, so the PC's have motivation to perceive "the dungeon" rather than the town as were the action and profit is, and from a simulationist perspective the loose balance between the dungeon and the town is explained - neither side can easily destroy the other without heavy losses. It's the PC's and their PC's foils - the BBEG and his minions - that upset this balance and so drive the conflict.

    As for your personal experience, I don't think you are necessarily 'multi-classed'. I just think you have several levels in some sort of NPC skill-money class like Expert, giving you ranks in a relatively large number of trade skills. Now, the guy I knew who got a PhD and then joined the Rangers to become a Combat Entomologist - he was multi-classed.
    Last edited by Celebrim; Wednesday, 29th May, 2019 at 03:49 PM.
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  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radaceus View Post
    In my case, I dropped out of highschool ( note, I did have high marks, it's a longer story..), did 8 years in the Bering Sea, got my GED in the mean time, as well as learned several aspects of the building industry on my off seasons, which I parlayed into my next chapter as a carpenter and builder...etc. and so on...
    But I digress,

    In my travels, which includes living on three continents, I've toiled next to all manner of folk, and your blanket textbook assessment above is, in my humble opinion, inaccurate. Many 'skilled' people that I have had the honor of working beside had no degrees, little in the way of education; they learned their trades by application, not in a classroom. And this has been the way of the worker since time immemorial.
    I agree with your assessment.

    But I don't feel that "experts" or "tradesmen" necessarily equal "adventurers" or leveled characters.

    TBH, the man focus of leveled capability is combat and survive-ability, so mercenaries or guards could be "leveled". Hence the prevalent backgrounds of many adventurers are ex-mil etc. Not all of course.

    But adventurers, IMO, are combat leveled/capable.


    "My favorite part of DMing is making whatever interests the characters important. Or at least seem important." - James Wyatt

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  3. #63
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    5e as a base doesn’t assume npcs follow pc rules. So you can have a 1st level npc thst is plenty competent at their trade but doesn’t have any extra survivability, and certainly would not want to do any adventuring.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hriston View Post
    If you compare the distribution of a 4d6 drop lowest roll with something like the normal distribution of scores you'd expect to find in a given population, less than 2/10ths of a percent would have an adventurer's distribution, so out of 2 million, there are at most around 3,800, or about 1 in 531.
    This is the best answer.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Similarly, I tend to use demographics that models the average mature adult as a 2nd or 3rd level NPC classed individual (usually commoners or experts) which lower ability scores, no focus on combat skills, and fewer advantages than a PC.
    How does this actually accomplish your goal, though? Skill-wise, there's no difference between level 0 and level 3. You have the same proficiency bonus and no ASIs.

    To properly represent a high level of skill - the difference between a person who's never used the skill before and a person who's spent their life doing so, assuming equal native talent - requires that the experienced person should be able to reliably do things that the newbie can't even attempt. That implies a difference in skill of +10 or more (and some form of "take 10" ability like the rogue's Reliable Talent).

    Using PC rules, to increase your bonus in a skill by +10 over your starting point, you need to be, not 2nd or 3rd level, but 9th level* or more. A world where everyone is 2nd- to 3rd-level is conceivable; a world where most folks are 9th level or higher is the Forgotten Realms absurd. It makes far more sense to just accept that the PC rules are designed to model adventuring heroes whose main skill sets are combat-oriented, and NPCs should not be bound by them. You can have an NPC with single-digit hit points, a +6 proficiency bonus, and Expertise in half a dozen skills. It doesn't break anything.

    *+4 proficiency bonus, +4 Expertise, +2 from ASIs.
    Last edited by Dausuul; Wednesday, 29th May, 2019 at 05:55 PM.
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  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    How does this actually accomplish your goal, though? Skill-wise, there's no difference between level 0 and level 3. You have the same proficiency bonus and no ASIs.
    By not playing 5e, a game that has basically no interest in demographics or areas of life that exist outside of the adventure?

    The 5e answer is that NPC's don't use the same rules as PC's.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parmandur View Post
    This is the best answer.
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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    By not playing 5e, a game that has basically no interest in demographics or areas of life that exist outside of the adventure?

    The 5e answer is that NPC's don't use the same rules as PC's.
    Agreed.

    Ultimately to me the far more important question is...how many true “spellcasters” exist in the world?

    All said and done on a world scale, the commonality of certain spells has a much larger impact on things than some extra fighters or rogues.

    If you assume that most wizards aren’t PCs but npcs...then how many spells can they cast and at what levels? This helps answers the key question of: if someone was looking for spell x, how reasonable would it be to find someone to cast it?

    In a kingdom of 5 million people, is it reasonable to expect a few 9th level spells to be thrown around outside of the PCs, etc

  9. #69
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    Honestly, if you're looking for a static percentage or whatever, you're chaing your tail. How many will vary by setting and by DM—regardless of what half-baked demographics are put into a rulebook or the comparison of normal distributions to 4d6, or what not. There is no right answer other than what you want it to be? Do you want PCs to be special—then say that only PCs and important NPCs have levels. Do you want PCs to be run of the mill, then make class levels super common. Or find a middle ground or whatever.

  10. #70
    How many are out there in the world doesn't really matter - how many the PCs are exposed to is what matters. If they're all out there in the nebulous "somewhere" out of view of the party, then there may as well be zero. If they're regularly interacting with the party, it may seem like half of the population. Both are totally valid depending on the nature of the campaign.

    It might make sense for adventurers to be out in the wilds beyond where others are unwilling to go, and thus be constantly alone. It might also make sense for the few people willing to go out there to constantly be bumping into one another since they're all after the same thing.


    In a recent campaign I ran, the players encountered a lot of characters who could be called adventurers. Some were friends. Some were rivals. Some were retired quest givers. This doesn't mean they all had PC stat blocks - In fact, none of them did, because I find the game works better when NPCs are just NPCs statistically, even if their jobs are (or were) PC-like. The NPC stat blocks in Volo's for PC-like characters are great templates for these types of characters.

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