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D&D General How common are adventurers?

How Common are Adventurers

  • A dime a dozen: The world is just lousy with them.

    Votes: 6 6.8%
  • Not Unheard Of: Few people choose adventuring but it is common enough to not be considered "weird."

    Votes: 47 53.4%
  • You Do What, Now?: Adventuring is a rare vocation, one possibly viewed with suspicion or at least in

    Votes: 30 34.1%
  • Special Snowflakes: The PCs are effectively the only people in the world without real jobs.

    Votes: 3 3.4%
  • Nonexsitent: Not even the PCs count as "adventurers." Nobody does that.

    Votes: 2 2.3%

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, I know all that. My point was that the thread doesn’t clarify, so it could be referencing specifically dnd PC level adventurers, or simply people who go out into the world seeking adventure.

But your definition is off. Someone with a moral obligation is still an adventurer, nor does adventuring require profit-motive.
Of course, but there's value in using simple definitions to discuss a things. I dont understand the constant tendency to want to muddy the waters with edge cases. It turns threads about 5x5 squares into acrimonious arguments over historical minutia (just by way of example).
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Of course, but there's value in using simple definitions to discuss a things. I dont understand the constant tendency to want to muddy the waters with edge cases. It turns threads about 5x5 squares into acrimonious arguments over historical minutia (just by way of example).
It just isn’t a good definition. Adventurers who don’t fit it aren’t even edge cases. They’re common dnd adventurers.

Again, the point is that I don’t know if the intention is to ask about “people who travel around seeking adventure” or “people with PC class levels”.

Edit: the answer also depends on whether people who work for an organization dedicated to keeping the roads safe, or getting dangerous artifacts before even more dangerous people can, etc, count for the purposes of the question. Are FR Harpers adventurers?
 

In my campaign that I'm DMing and in some campaigns I've been in, the party starts as members of a Guild of "Adventurers". Almost like "Witchers" or "Mercenaries", people with specialized skills that people call on to investigate odd occurrences, work as escorts for long journeys, fight monsters, etc. They get paid for those jobs, and then a cut goes to the Guild. The Guild uses their money to pay for training, information, etc. This benefits the "Adventurers" as it gives them both credibility and direction. So there are assuredly others in the same profession, but they aren't the stereotypical band of meandering adventurers that just appear to help your town that's being attacked by gnolls.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
It just isn’t a good definition. Adventurers who don’t fit it aren’t even edge cases. They’re common dnd adventurers.

I am not sure what you mean. By my definition, the Fellowship of the Ring are not Adventurers because they aren't out for fortune and glory, they are actors with a moral imperative to try and destroy the Ring.

Again, the point is that I don’t know if the intention is to ask about “people who travel around seeking adventure” or “people with PC class levels”.

I thought I was clear in my OP when I said I did not mean just anyone with class levels (and by association, NPC adventurers don't need to be statted up as PCs, but that's a different discussion).

Edit: the answer also depends on whether people who work for an organization dedicated to keeping the roads safe, or getting dangerous artifacts before even more dangerous people can, etc, count for the purposes of the question. Are FR Harpers adventurers?
If the people keeping the roads clear are hired by local authorities to patrol and protect travelers and such, I would say, No they are not adventurer's. They are effectively police. This isn't to say that the local baron might not hire adventurers to do that job, but if they are adventurers they are only going to do it for as long as it provides fame, fortune, glory or the adrenaline rush. But again, I think this kind of thinly sliced definition inhibits rather that enhances these kinds of discussions.

Also, I don't know anything about the Harpers, but I don't think an organization's motivation is important in determining whether individuals are adventurers. Many moons ago when I was a US Army Infantryman I knew lots of guys that were in the Army because they were adventurers, and lots more than were Soldiers.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Somewhere between options 2 and 3 for me. People know about adventures, but tend to view them with suspicion. A lot like how common folk view rangers in LotR. “That fellow in the back? He’s one of them adventurers. Best not to get involved with folk like that, I says.” Plus if adventurers come through your town, it likely means trouble.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
It really depends on definitions, but I went with not uncommon. People occasionally get the urge to risk life and limb for the chance at treasure. Experienced adventures, however, are quite rare since most die their first time out.
 

It depends on the setting. Most of the time adventurers are pretty rare, especially anything over about 5th level.

A setting like Waterdeep though pretty much requires that adventurers are fairly common in the mythos/community awareness, even if their aren't actually hundred of them roaming the city. But in places like Athos, they don't really exist (in my mind) as everyone is more just about trying to survive or get what they can from the world/others. (Even the PC's are usually not adventurers.)
 

IMC, the normal "adventurer" is would more accurately be called a "grave robber". (The local slang is "gleaner".) They search for treasure, sure, but avoid encounters with monsters at all costs. A PC party's more violent/heroic approach is highly atypical.

You've also got the usual assortment of mercenaries and sellswords, but, again, they don't really do what PCs do. Larger groups, more geographically tied down, and they're unlikely to take a contract that involves following a monster into its lair.

For that matter, in my particular party, the majority of PCs also have a general attitude of "Let's not go in there, it might be dangerous!" Imagine a half-orc fighter who wants to become a knight but has the instincts of a mother hen. (Entirely intentional on the player's part, I hasten to add.) It makes adventure design a little bit of a challenge sometimes, but I manage.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Well, I'm the guy that voted 'nonexistent'.

Adventurer is not a recognized occupation in my homebrew world. To the inhabitants of Korrel, the word 'adventurer' means something like the modern word 'Tourist', and it calls up the image of a wealthy, lazy, dilettante often of what we would consider Bohemian preferences. To the extent that they have a job at all, it might be writing a chronicle of their travels in exotic lands that they plan to publish, but more often they are just wastrels spending funds on food, women, and wine. They travel because they are so jaded by ordinary pleasures that they risk the dangers and hardships of travel for no better reason than novelty. Most goodfolk would consider them insane. The PC's are basically never 'adventurers' by this definition of the word.

In JRR Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings", the Took family is rumored to engage in these sorts of "adventures". When Bilbo Baggins actually has an adventure as we gamers would understand the word, he nonetheless frames that harrowing adventure as the sort of adventure his neighbors would be familiar with - "a hobbit holiday".

Instead, the PC's are not on an adventure - they are on a quest, and they are generally drawn from the questing classes - nobility that doesn't stand to inherit, knights errant, templars, inquisitors, gentlemen at arms, priests with divine commissions, and individuals on quests of enlightenment or attainment or even revenge, together with the guides, sages, mercenaries, servants, bodyguards, and so forth that are accompanying them and assisting in the quest.

Most often the party operates under a mercenary charter that gives them rights to go about on the highway armed. Sometimes they are operating under the auspices of a noble person, who has rights to keep armed retainers, and they carry such papers as identify them as the henchmen of that noble. Sometimes, and this particularly true later in the game, their are one or more members of the group that hold patents of nobility in their own right, and they can therefore extend their protection to the rest of the group. At least from a legal perspective, the group is then in the employ of the nobles in the party and is his or her servant, even if internally the party acts in a more democratic fashion with no recognized leader. Sometimes it is a bit of all three, as it certainly doesn't hurt to have multiple layers of legal security.

To the outside world, the PC's are not adventurers. Before the PC's have much renown, they tend to be viewed as dirty no good mercenaries, mere hired killers, greatly to be despised. But as the PC's complete deeds of heroic valor or vile infamy, then they tend to be viewed as heroes or villains or sometimes both depending on who is doing the viewing. By this point, the PC's are no longer viewed by common folk as having a job at all, and tend to - as with the aristocracy in general - be ennobled by the fact that they don't have to work for a living per se, but instead can engage in noble pursuits like slaying dragons, casting mighty spells, and saving heirs in distress. Of course, the old money in the setting will still tend to see them at this point as dirty no good mercenaries, mere hired killers, but at this point they are useful hired killers worth at least maintaining something like a cordial relationship with despite their baseborn origins.

The PC's tend to be if not exactly unique, then pretty darn close to it. One thing that tends to mark them as big darn heroes and chosen of the gods is that they tend to have very unique and diverse backgrounds. It's very rare to see people travelling together who aren't all of the same family, much less of different nations and races. People see a group of individuals from diverse races travelling together as friends, and the first thought they tend to have is, "I bet one of them is a Saint." And their second thought tends to be, "And that means trouble is coming, and I'm going to stay out of the way."

Often as not, the only group comparable to the PC's in this fashion is the antagonists - who likewise consider themselves on a quest and not adventurers. There are of course other factions out there - thieves and assassins guilds, merchant families, noble houses, secret societies, mercenary companies, and temples to name a few - and they can put together something that looks like an adventuring company to further their interests, but then they would just think of themselves as members of that organization with a job to do on behalf of that organization. There are also freelance professional duelists, monster slayers, exorcists, bounty hunters and so forth but they tend to work alone or with just an assistant or two. If the PC's are freelancers without a fixed loyalty, they may be the only freelance organization of that sort for hundreds of miles.
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
I am not sure what you mean. By my definition, the Fellowship of the Ring are not Adventurers because they aren't out for fortune and glory, they are actors with a moral imperative to try and destroy the Ring.



I thought I was clear in my OP when I said I did not mean just anyone with class levels (and by association, NPC adventurers don't need to be statted up as PCs, but that's a different discussion).


If the people keeping the roads clear are hired by local authorities to patrol and protect travelers and such, I would say, No they are not adventurer's. They are effectively police. This isn't to say that the local baron might not hire adventurers to do that job, but if they are adventurers they are only going to do it for as long as it provides fame, fortune, glory or the adrenaline rush. But again, I think this kind of thinly sliced definition inhibits rather that enhances these kinds of discussions.

Also, I don't know anything about the Harpers, but I don't think an organization's motivation is important in determining whether individuals are adventurers. Many moons ago when I was a US Army Infantryman I knew lots of guys that were in the Army because they were adventurers, and lots more than were Soldiers.

I mean, by this definition I've NEVER DMed for adventurers. Fame, fortune and glory are kind of weak motivators IMHO. Of course I run primarily in Eberron, so there are always quite a few individuals running around for that exact purpose on any given adventure, fairly often as allies, rivals or enemies (or my favorite, frenemies), but my PCs would never fit that description themselves.
 

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