D&D 5E Battlemaster and Superiority Dice are causing martials to suffer.

But the idea of "finding ones own path" because magics manifestation many times is affected by your identity is a trope in many cases.
Are NPCs with class levels a common or rare thing in your games?

I'm wondering if people who prefer a disconnect between PC and NPC mechanics also have known adventuring parties or characters with PC classes moving in the background. Or, do they prefer having PCs and NPCs with classes or class mechanics be rare?
 

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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Are NPCs with class levels a common or rare thing in your games?
Rare generally speaking although if they used to be a PC its an exception and I occasionally work up a national class NPC in PC terms but its not nailed in stone.
At base level PC rules don't necessarily work for my general story super well like I mentioned healing is normally performed ritually ie my worlds priests are not typically Clerics. The classes to me work far better as what they are heavily detailed extraordinary exceptions, other NPC extraordinary exceptions I usually want simpler because they run much better that way.

All the way back in the early 80s I concluded I didnt like ubiquitous battlefield healing. (so the game world had that part of an earlier era with incidents now akin to throwbacks.).
 
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NotAYakk

Legend
Okay, but how do you manage expectations, then? Are those just game rules that simplify things? So, yes, the monsters learn magic like PCs and have the same knowledge of healing word, et al., and we hand wave the mechanics for DM ease and speed of play? Or are the rules for magic specifically different, so that the monsters aren't doing anything recognizable but are correspondingly ignorant of PC capabilities?

Is this a Session Zero issue? A diagetic disconnect that some people find jarring and others wonder what the fuss is about?
Expectations of PCs? If PCs know things about the world, it comes from their knowledge skills.

In my case, I remap "language X" to include "knowledge of contemporary culture X". And give the player a bit of world knowledge, some of which might contain adventure hooks or the like.

The rules of magic for the world would be something a character with Arcana (or possibly Religion and Nature) skill would know; how a typical Arcane, Divine or Primal spellcaster does magic is a knowledge ability. The PC is aware of their own magical abilities.

If you don't have those skills, ya know nothing, and should expect to know nothing, about how typical NPC spellcasters work. If you do, I'll give you a blurb about this world.

I'm lazy, so I am going to poach spell effects for NPCs when needed.

In my Prelude to Armagheddon campaign I'm working on (will start it real soon now), almost all "wizards" are actually expert scroll users. They can use their energy to channel through a scroll, and on a successful check prevent it from destroying itself. The major guides have apprentices copying scrolls as part of their training. A typical wizards spellbook is basically a bundle of scrolls.

Warlocks also exist, and don't work like that; they get their power from their Patron. A Warlock is viewed as a proxy for their patron. Few patrons let Warlocks out on very long leashes.

Sorcerer is basically a pseudo-monster bloodline thing. For the most part, I see no need to match how PC sorcerers work here. An NPC dragon blood infused person is as likely to grow scales and wings and innately light their sword on fire than have a list of daily spells prepared and slots. PC sorcerers are "build a bear".

Magical music is a thing, but no, it doesn't mostly look like the bard class.

Clerics use holy relics to invoke miracles. They are kind of more like divine artificers than the PC class.

Paladins are imbued with a shard of divine power. There are orders of holy knights that produce paladins. Again, I wouldn't use the slot system for a given Paladin, nor would I suppose two Paladins have similar power sets (other than "I am lazy, and don't want to make more stats").

So the trope lining up with most PC classes exists. But the mechanics? Enough to seem similar. A magical NPC bard might give out bonuses to their allies through inspiration, or have an ability a bit like cutting words, and can play a lyre that makes people become hypnotized. They wouldn't be a level X bard, however. A PC being told this kind of thing would need both Arcana and Performance skill (either one would give limited, more incomplete, knowledge).

Are NPCs with class levels a common or rare thing in your games?
Non-existent. I mean, the Veteran and Champion NPC are sort of NPCs with fighter class levels.

Their stats are clearly inspired to have abilities similar to the PC Fighter. They are not, however, level X fighters.

They will have their own in-world justification for why they are that awesome and above the par (which is roughly the Guard monster for a soldier).
I'm wondering if people who prefer a disconnect between PC and NPC mechanics also have known adventuring parties or characters with PC classes moving in the background. Or, do they prefer having PCs and NPCs with classes or class mechanics be rare?
No, there are no adventuring parties wandering through the background.

Fantasy worlds to adventure in don't need adventuring parties, and adding them is only really useful if you want to have some kind of shared world stuff.

For example, the PCs might be hired to scout a possible trade route through some mountains. They have motivation to work together (at least on the surface), and a wide variety of PC types work. Some might be working on side projects, doing research, or whatever.

I can then stick something really interesting along that trade route for the PCs to run into, and hopefully get a reason for the PCs to start the campaign.
 

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