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D&D 5E Dnd World Demographics Excel Tool - Rarity of Classes and Spells

Stalker0

Legend
So a question that often pops up when considering a dnd world is: How rare are adventurers? How easy it it to get access to a 4th level spell? Would casters producing 3rd level magic own the economy of this world?

DMs for the most part handwave these questions, which is fine in the vast majority of games. However, if you like to be more detailed in your world, than this Excel could be of help to you.

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What I have done is make a customizable spreadsheet that lets you tweak things to your world, to give you a rough approximation of how many of each type of class there are. Most importantly, the spellcasters will tell you the availability of spells.

How it works is that you set up your World Population, what % of people are specialists (aka not just digging in the ground to feed themselves), and how often do people "level"? A "2" setting as shown in this example means that if you have 100 1st level people, 50 of them will make it to 2nd level.... and of those 50, 25 will make it to 3rd, etc.

From there, you can set how common various classes are. If you run a nature heavy world, maybe druids are common. Maybe your world is very civilized, and barbarians are practically unheard of. You can just adjust the frequency of each class, and the sheet will handle the rest.

Now the meat are the spell slot tables. I assume that NPC classes don't contribute spell slots. For the most part they have very few, and most of them are used for their own purposes. For the rest, I provide the number of spell slots of each level based on the PC spell progression (aka 3rd level clerics contribute 3 slots to the 1st level pool, and 1 slot to the 2nd level pool.... and yes Arcane Recovery is included).

The last table is Spell "Demand". What I assumed is that 1st level spells are desired by everyone. Even your farmer could use a cure light wounds here and there. Anything higher is "desired" by specialists only. I mean sure a farmer would love a 3rd level spell, but he either doesn't have the means to get it, or doesn't know a caster that could do it for them. As a result, demand for higher level spells is defined by the number of specialists in the world. In our example, every 1st level Bard Spell is desired by 91 people.... but not every day! So its fairly easy to find access to it if your looking for it. But for a Bard 7th.... you are competing with over 30,000 specialists (aka people special just like you) for that slot..... its going to be hard to find, and its probably going to cost. This gives DMs a ballpark of how easy it is for their players to find various spells in the world.

The various values are customizable in the second tab, so you can adjust how rare "rare" actually is to your liking.


So that's the spiel. Feel free to give it a try and tell me what you think.


UPDATE: VERSION 2.1!
So a lot of people wanted to freedom to tweak things at every level. Maybe in your world even 1st level characters are rare, but at high levels you are basically expected to go to 20th, and so things at high levels get easier. Now you can do whatever combination you want. In this version, you tweak the promotion rating for every level. You no longer change the %, this is now a calculated value based on the promotion ratings you choose.... aka showing you the net result of your number. Enjoy!!

2.1 Update: I saw that a lot of people like to define their rarity as "1 in a million" or "1 in 10,000". So I have added in a orange line that will show that to you. So based on your numbers, you can see how each level is in terms of "1 in X"

Example: In the screen below, a "10" above level 1 means that 1 in every 10 people in the world are level 1. The "2" above the level 2 means there are one 2nd level person for every two 1st level people.

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Attachments

  • DND_Demographics.zip
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  • DND_Demographics v2.1.zip
    20.2 KB · Views: 42
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Quartz

Hero
For progression, I would assume a large die-off in the earlier levels but after a point it would be progressively more likely to survive to reach the next level. A 12th level mage is very likely to become an archmage if she can live long enough. But if I need an NPC to be a 13th level paladin, then a 13th level paladin she is.

Could you re-run your spreadsheet with a progression rate of 90% after 5th level?
 


The 20% of specialist seem very high for a default setting.
If you allow 33% of the population being too old, too young, 20% of specialist compare to 66% active makes around 1 of three active people as a specialist. And even 20% of active people being specialist is very high.

i just take a look at Roman empire,

Roughly 50M, at best 500 000 soldiers, that we can consider specialist in term of DnD.
 
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The 20% of specialist seem very high for a default setting.
If you allow 33% of the population being too old, too young, 20% of specialist compare to 66% active makes around 1 of three active people as a specialist. And even 20% of active people being specialist is very high.
It looks like specialists are not just PC classes. "Specialists" are mostly NPCs that aren't sustenance farmers, along with the PC classes.

So in that example table it looks like 84% of specialists are NPCs.
 


Fanaelialae

Legend
Really nice work.

The one thing I think it's lacking is a die-off rate. If an X percentage of characters go from level 1 to level 2, then some percentage of the ones who remained at level 1 did so because they died. That figure would result in a bit of attrition that I don't think your sheet takes into account, meaning that it's including dead characters in those figures.

Edit: I suppose the other way to think of it is that those percentages are for only for living characters. Which would mean that 4% of specialists being barbarians isn't actually 4%. That would just be the percentage that survive. The actual percentage would be higher before attrition. Which I guess is fine, just a little odd from my perspective.
 
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Stalker0

Legend
It looks like specialists are not just PC classes. "Specialists" are mostly NPCs that aren't sustenance farmers, along with the PC classes.

So in that example table it looks like 84% of specialists are NPCs.
This is correct, its a combination of PC + NPC classes. And keep in mind its completely customizable. If you think 20% is too high, you may lower it yourself and the excel will adjust everything that follows. If you think the NPC levels are too high, and you want more PC levels....again you can adjust the %s in the user value area.
 

I made a debunk of my previous example of Roman army.

Fantasy imperial army Roman inspired.

50M population.
500 000 troup.

5% of rookie, guard template.
20% of veteran, Veteran template.
The rest vary between 4-6 hit dice.

Support
For each 100,
1 leader, Knight template.
1 Priest, priest Template.
5000 individual of each.

For each 1000
A problem solver,
Use the Mage template or any Equivalent. 9th level caster.
450 individuals.

For each 10 000
A Hero.
Use the Warpriest, Archmage, Warlord template or any equivalent.
45 individuals.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Some people may prefer this method. In this chart, I am using the 5e XP table to determine rarity. For example, it takes 300 XP to reach 2nd, and 900 XP to reach 3rd.... so we assume 3rd level characters are 1/3 as common as 2nd level characters.

The only trick is at 1st level, as there is no XP number. So we don't know how much rarer a 2nd level character is from a 1st. Therefore, I left that as a user defined value. In this chart, you can set what % of 1st level specialists that actually advanced beyond 1st. Then the chart will handle the rest. All the other features are the same, this is just a different way to determine level rarity.

Example: If you think that 70% of your 1st level specialists stay at 1st level for their careers, then set the value to 30%.
 

Attachments

  • DND_Demographics (XP Chart).zip
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Fame increases while leveling: the approximate number of people who recognize your character.

Conversely, this correlates reasonably well to the percentage of high-level characters per population.

For example, a population of about a million will produce a level 12 character. Compare, medieval England with a population of about a million who celebrate Beowulf, who in my opinion is about a level 12 Fighter, and is one of the most powerful fighters in the region.

LEVEL PER POPULATION
L0 per 1

STUDENT
L1 per 3
L2 per 10
L3 per 30
L4 per 100

PROFESSIONAL
L5 per 300
L6 per 1000
L7 per 3000
L8 per 10,000

MASTER
L9 per 30,000
L10 per 100,000
L11 per 300,000
L12 per 1,000,000

LEADER
L13 per 3,000,000
L14 per 10,000,000
L15 per 30,000,000
L16 per 100,000,000

LEGEND
L17 per 300,000,000
L18 per 1,000,000,000
L19 per 3,000,000,000
L20 per 10,000,000,000



Note, players are always exceptions to the rule. But the above sets the feel for my campaigns.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What I have done is make a customizable spreadsheet that lets you tweak things to your world, to give you a rough approximation of how many of each type of class there are. Most importantly, the spellcasters will tell you the availability of spells.

How it works is that you set up your World Population, what % of people are specialists (aka not just digging in the ground to feed themselves), and how often do people "level"? A "2" setting as shown in this example means that if you have 100 1st level people, 50 of them will make it to 2nd level.... and of those 50, 25 will make it to 3rd, etc.
Question: is that "2" value (or whatever is selected for that spot) locked in for all level jumps once set or can it be easily tweaked level by level?

I ask because I've always seen it that - particularly in the adventuring population, which is what I'd mostly want to model with this - a relatively low percentage (25% maybe) of 1st-levels make it to 2nd but a much higher percentage of, say, 9th-levels make it to 10th (maybe 60%); with the percentage approaching a cap (70%?) as level numbers increase due to a) the greater availability and-or relative affordability of revival magic and b) a certain commitment to that career path that might not be present in low-level types.

Another factor is time, to wit: racial lifespan. An Elf with a 1000-year lifespan is pretty much guaranteed to make it to some sort of level in something during that time (and forget those skills later, then start advancing in something else!) while a Human not so much. Due to this I'd never be able to run a full-world model, only culture by culture.

EDIT to add: does this model assume that levels, once gained, are never lost due to disuse? E.g., once a 6th-level Fighter always a 6th-level Fighter even if it's 25 years since you last picked up a weapon? If yes, I'd also want to tweak for that somehow, as I see levels as being something that need to be at least somewhat maintained through practice or else they'll slowly rot away.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
That's a very good job.

My approach is quite different. My answer to "how many X are in the world?" is invariably "you don't know". If a player insists in the right to know, I suggest them to start counting.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That's a very good job.

My approach is quite different. My answer to "how many X are in the world?" is invariably "you don't know". If a player insists in the right to know, I suggest them to start counting.
I don't think this is designed to tell the player how many of X might be in the world, it's designed to tell the DM. :)
 


squibbles

Explorer
So a question that often pops up when considering a dnd world is: How rare are adventurers? How easy is it to get access to a 4th level spell? Would casters producing 3rd level magic own the economy of this world?

DMs for the most part handwave these questions, which is fine in the vast majority of games. However, if you like to be more detailed in your world, than this Excel could be of help to you.
That's a cool exercise and it would be really interesting to see a setting that is self-consciously built around a set of class demographic assumptions--in the way that, for example, Ptolus or the Tippyverse are self-consciously built around game mechanical assumptions.

And, notably, there are some cool details that the example that you posted pics of (btw, thanks for that; I'm always leery of downloading files). The highest level wizard (& sorc, & lock) in that simulated world is 15, which means that no one represented in the chart can cast a wish spell.

You could, of course, decide by fiat that someone does cast the wish spell, but the far more interesting exercise is to start with reasonable assumptions and then be pleasantly surprised by the idiosyncrasies they yield--maybe in that world no wish spell has ever been cast... yet.

The problem with the tool--and first principles worldbuilding in general is that we often want self-contradictory nonsense societies from our D&D, in which demographics, land area, and implied technology render medieval aesthetics sensible only in the context of capriciously feudal-chic Kirbyesque space gods. The far safer tactic for systematic worldbuilding is to start with the content one wants it to have and then reason backwards to the adventurer mortality assumptions as an exercise in intellectual curiosity.

So for example, I could change the base assumptions to the following, since it feels like it'd get me closer to the wish spell availability I want:
For progression, I would assume a large die-off in the earlier levels but after a point it would be progressively more likely to survive to reach the next level. A 12th level mage is very likely to become an archmage if she can live long enough. [...]

Could you re-run your spreadsheet with a progression rate of 90% after 5th level?

But wait that's 128 level 20 archmagi (625*(0.9^15) (...I think)), that feels like too many (esp. considering the last time that our world had a population of 100,000,000, it was 500 BCE). Let me just tinker with the numbers a little more...

Some people may prefer this method. In this chart, I am using the 5e XP table to determine rarity. For example, it takes 300 XP to reach 2nd, and 900 XP to reach 3rd.... so we assume 3rd level characters are 1/3 as common as 2nd level characters.

The only trick is at 1st level, as there is no XP number. So we don't know how much rarer a 2nd level character is from a 1st. Therefore, I left that as a user defined value. In this chart, you can set what % of 1st level specialists that actually advanced beyond 1st. Then the chart will handle the rest. All the other features are the same, this is just a different way to determine level rarity.

Example: If you think that 70% of your 1st level specialists stay at 1st level for their careers, then set the value to 30%.
Again, potentially interesting if carried to its conclusion but, at bottom, D&D rules do not simulate life. I think it would be hard to use these calculations to add texture and detail to a world without also creating a bunch of odd knock-on effects.

The fun here is in discovering the novel and very likely gobsmackingly jank-ass D&D world that would exist if those premises were fully accepted (again, see Tippyverse).

Would casters producing 3rd level magic own the economy of this world?
I feel confident that it's the casters producing 2nd level magic that would own the economy of the world.

Rockefeller started Standard Oil to meet the world demand for illuminants--the money printing machine that was late 1800s access to light.

Any business with a sufficient number of assembly-line working 3rd level wizards to cast continual flame would be a world economy spanning juggernaut--producing safe, infinitely durable, clean burning, moderate intesity light, far technologically in advance of anything that yet exists. At least until they saturated the world market with magic candles, causing a global market crash... or they used up the world supply of ruby dust.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
In order to keep the world feeling the way I want it to, I want a ratio like:

100 L 1
30 L 2
10 L 3
3 L 4
1 L 5

And that anyone above level 5 did not get there by a human mortal lifespan of "practice". To break level 5 you need a supernatural excuse. Maybe you can have a bucketload of raw talent and be level 7; but more likely you traded your ability to love to the unseelie for power.

The eldar races (dwarves snd elves) can pull it off with century+ of young, healthy bodies and minds. This will also be limited, probably to around level 11 (with elves capping out more often than dwarves).

However, cheating happens. Being blessed by divine power, magical lineage, crazy magic rituals where you suck the mojo out of other things, or the fantasy equivalent of super hero gamma ray exposure.

Monster wise, the 5e "guard" is roughly "level 1", the veteran/knight is a L5.

Higher level magic requires ancient magic items, including spell scrolls, or slow and costly ritual magic fueled by ley lines.
 

Quartz

Hero
Upthread a Roman legion was mentioned. For me, the skirmishers would be levels 1-2, the legionaries level 2-3, centurions level 4-6, and the senior centurions levels 6-8. There would, of course, be the odd exception.
 

Quartz

Hero
But wait that's 128 level 20 archmagi (625*(0.9^15) (...I think)), that feels like too many (esp. considering the last time that our world had a population of 100,000,000, it was 500 BCE).

Is one in a million (roughly) really so many? Remember that some of those will be liches and demiliches. Remember that many will be too far away, tied up in some potentate's court, exploring other planes, or otherwise inaccessible. Roman-era Britain had a population of about 3.5 million: are 3-4 archmages in that area too much?
 

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