How common are adventurers?

How Common are Adventurers

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

    Votes: 6 7.0%
  • Not Unheard Of: Few people choose adventuring but it is common enough to not be considered "weird."

    Votes: 45 52.3%
  • You Do What, Now?: Adventuring is a rare vocation, one possibly viewed with suspicion or at least in

    Votes: 30 34.9%
  • Special Snowflakes: The PCs are effectively the only people in the world without real jobs.

    Votes: 3 3.5%
  • Nonexsitent: Not even the PCs count as "adventurers." Nobody does that.

    Votes: 2 2.3%

  • Total voters
    86

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
"Adventurer" is just kind of a meta designation from the get go. They could be irregulars, or militia. Heck, there are plenty of games where the PCs are explicitly endorsed by legal authorities as members of broader organizations.

There are related questions we can ask too: are Witchers "adventurers" ? Was Steve Irwin an "adventurer" ? (Hell, was Steve Irwin a Witcher?)
By an definition related to dnd that I’ve ever seen outside of this thread, Witchers and Steve Irwin are definitely adventurers.

Using the extremely narrow “fame and fortune” definition, I may have to change my vote to a much rarer option.

Using any definition that includes most PCs I’ve ever seen, my answer is probably “not unheard of”, but only because there isn’t an option between that and “a dime a dozen”.
 

Coroc

Explorer
Um...no? What are you even responding to with that?
To your eberron example, the knight only wants tournaments, the merchant is bankrupt etc. so most of your characters would prefer to live normal daily lives instead of being adventurers by virtue (which is a legit background np with that at all, it does not devalue them or so).
At least I read that out of your post. Sorry if I misunderstood something, and the joke I made offended you, that was not my intention.
 
As a corollary, how common is it for your PC group to interact with other adventurers?
I try to run a "Dynamic World" kind of campaigns where, aside from the actions of the players, I come up and simulate via abstract rolls the political schemes and other adventures that the players are not involved with or do not relate to their current activities until much later (or never). This creates the notion that the world doesn't rely on them or revolve around them. The cost they pay for this is that if they slow down or derail, they may no longer be those who make the big actions but live through the consequences of others

That kind of campaign means that they will occasionally meet with other adventurers who are pursuing a different goal, only sometimes it seems to relate to theirs. Sometimes they might even be able to win a free DMNPC entourage for a while which helps them survive a couple of deadly fights turning elementary. Still, what is more important than giving them the heroic story is that they are part of the heroic stories of others.

We often call TTRPGs the epitome of collaborative storytelling but often the stories we tell are very capsulated and lonely where the players are the only ones that matter, and the NPCs only exist to serve them. A dynamic world means they will often be dwarfed by other adventurers, and sometimes their messes will be fixed by someone better than them.
 

Ath-kethin

Explorer
In your campaigns, whether homebrew worlds or published ones, how common are adventurers in the world. i don't just mean classed NPCs, but actual adventuring groups or individuals) outside the PCs.

As a corollary, how common is it for your PC group to interact with other adventurers?
How common is voluntary homelessness and putting onesself in constant danger? Depends; how irrational are your peasants?

Outside of a few exceptionally driven folk (clerics, paladins, evangelical sorts), I expect most adventurers are criminals or others who can't expect to have a "normal" life.
 
How common is voluntary homelessness and putting onesself in constant danger? Depends; how irrational are your peasants?

Outside of a few exceptionally driven folk (clerics, paladins, evangelical sorts), I expect most adventurers are criminals or others who can't expect to have a "normal" life.
Why would you presume that? Most real world adventurers come from the ranks of the idle affluent if not rich, or those with patrons among the wealthy.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I don't typically use "adventurer" as a vocation when I run D&D. The PCs are people. By circumstance and choice they do stuff and get wrapped up in things. They are probably not the only people in the world who have adventures, but there isn't a profession/class of people folks call "adventurers".
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
To your eberron example, the knight only wants tournaments, the merchant is bankrupt etc. so most of your characters would prefer to live normal daily lives instead of being adventurers by virtue (which is a legit background np with that at all, it does not devalue them or so).
At least I read that out of your post. Sorry if I misunderstood something, and the joke I made offended you, that was not my intention.
Well, no. The knight also has religious and patriotic goals, as I said. The merchant is the only one that fits of the examples I gave.
My halfling Rogue does dream or going home and raising crops and kids, but it’s a pipe dream. He’s the chosen of the god of thieves, and there is an “evil” empire to fight.
I don't typically use "adventurer" as a vocation when I run D&D. The PCs are people. By circumstance and choice they do stuff and get wrapped up in things. They are probably not the only people in the world who have adventures, but there isn't a profession/class of people folks call "adventurers".
Right. This, mostly. Though, my games certainly feature Volo types and other people who folk IRL would call adventurers. The PCs just tend not to be that. My wife is talking about making such a character soon, because no one in our group plays that sort of person. Last time it happened was my FR Bard, and that’s the only one I can’t think of within the last decade.

But people who go on jobs/quests/search for something/etc, and do things similar to the PCs, are fairly common.
 
With all the folks on here saying their PCs are not adventurers, I wonder why they bother getting into any trouble. I mean, if they aren't motivated by fortune or glory, why aren't they just town guardsmen or temple priests? Are they all a bunch of Frodo's caught up in events way out of their pay grade?
 

Cap'n Kobold

Explorer
With all the folks on here saying their PCs are not adventurers, I wonder why they bother getting into any trouble. I mean, if they aren't motivated by fortune or glory, why aren't they just town guardsmen or temple priests? Are they all a bunch of Frodo's caught up in events way out of their pay grade?
As you said earlier, moral imperative, whether from a church, lord or just sense of duty would be a reason for people to go do dangerous things, but not count as adventurers. Likewise if they're just doing their job bodyguarding a diplomat, guiding a bunch of academics through the jungle, or have been hired to retrieve an item from the sunken ruins etc.
Mercenaries might be a fuzzy case because while it is just a job, you could argue that it is also for "fortune" and so any hired swords, or equivalent risky profession might count as either, both, or simply have some who are adventurers, and some who aren't in its ranks.

Simply deciding that they want more out of life than pushing a plough, taking their father's sword off the mantelpiece and going off to seek their fortune and glory is a pretty classic PC origin story. Its just not one that any of my PCs have used however.
 
As you said earlier, moral imperative, whether from a church, lord or just sense of duty would be a reason for people to go do dangerous things, but not count as adventurers. Likewise if they're just doing their job bodyguarding a diplomat, guiding a bunch of academics through the jungle, or have been hired to retrieve an item from the sunken ruins etc.
Mercenaries might be a fuzzy case because while it is just a job, you could argue that it is also for "fortune" and so any hired swords, or equivalent risky profession might count as either, both, or simply have some who are adventurers, and some who aren't in its ranks.

Simply deciding that they want more out of life than pushing a plough, taking their father's sword off the mantelpiece and going off to seek their fortune and glory is a pretty classic PC origin story. Its just not one that any of my PCs have used however.
Yeah. I mean, I have run plenty of non-adventurer campaigns where the PCs were special agents of the crown or yokels dragged into epic quests or whatever. I do much prefer PCs that are adventurers, though, for the simple reason that they are motivated to go out and adventure.
 
How common is voluntary homelessness and putting onesself in constant danger? Depends; how irrational are your peasants?
Sounds like a medieval crusade. Knights did indeed sell their lands, becoming homeless, to fund them. Peasants, and even children, also went on crusade at times. Crusades to the Middle East were frequently unsuccessful (Europe was a better bet), so it was a foolhardy venture, and yet tens of thousands did it.
Outside of a few exceptionally driven folk (clerics, paladins, evangelical sorts)
That does sound about right!
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
With all the folks on here saying their PCs are not adventurers, I wonder why they bother getting into any trouble. I mean, if they aren't motivated by fortune or glory, why aren't they just town guardsmen or temple priests?
That's how things start. You're a guardsman, or a temple priest. Then, some yutz gets eaten by a giant frog, and you get sent out to kill it, and then you find the moathouse and the sigil of an ancient evil, and then the brigands camping under the moathouse... and the undead that are just below them... And eventually you are just wrapped up in plots.
 
That's how things start. You're a guardsman, or a temple priest. Then, some yutz gets eaten by a giant frog, and you get sent out to kill it, and then you find the moathouse and the sigil of an ancient evil, and then the brigands camping under the moathouse... and the undead that are just below them... And eventually you are just wrapped up in plots.
That point where you find the moathouse and decide, yeah, I'm going in there? That's when you become an adventurer.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
With all the folks on here saying their PCs are not adventurers, I wonder why they bother getting into any trouble. I mean, if they aren't motivated by fortune or glory, why aren't they just town guardsmen or temple priests? Are they all a bunch of Frodo's caught up in events way out of their pay grade?
Because there is stuff out there folks need protecting from. My characters tend to be motivated by helping people, stopping supernatural terrors, etc.
fortune and fame is at most a fringe benefit of succeeding in that.
That point where you find the moathouse and decide, yeah, I'm going in there? That's when you become an adventurer.
Not by your own definition.

My current rogues are both non adventurers by your definition.

Finnan left home to get a job in the city and send some money back home, then he became a thief, and somewhere along the way got angrier and angrier at Netherese influence in Sembia, and started sabotaging them. Him and his mates became a shadow cell within a thieves guild dedicated to sabotaging Netheril and its Serbian collaborators. Then stuff happened and he was in a shadow Demi-plane for most of a hundred years, and now Netheril all but owns Sembia, and is expanding. Finnan has new allies, but his cause is the same, and it has nothing to do with fame or fortune.

He is much more motivated to “adventure” than someone who is just looking for fame and fortune.

Dresden actually was an adventurer under your definition. He sailed because it gave him opportunities to see new places and people. Then a necromancer killed his crew, and now he, with his companions, is on the trail of that necromancer’s cult and a criminal cabal that is helping them. They just discovered that there are dragons involved.

Both are adventurers by the normal dnd definition, but not by yours.
 
Because there is stuff out there folks need protecting from. My characters tend to be motivated by helping people, stopping supernatural terrors, etc.
fortune and fame is at most a fringe benefit of succeeding in that.


Not by your own definition.

My current rogues are both non adventurers by your definition.

Finnan left home to get a job in the city and send some money back home, then he became a thief, and somewhere along the way got angrier and angrier at Netherese influence in Sembia, and started sabotaging them. Him and his mates became a shadow cell within a thieves guild dedicated to sabotaging Netheril and its Serbian collaborators. Then stuff happened and he was in a shadow Demi-plane for most of a hundred years, and now Netheril all but owns Sembia, and is expanding. Finnan has new allies, but his cause is the same, and it has nothing to do with fame or fortune.

He is much more motivated to “adventure” than someone who is just looking for fame and fortune.

Dresden actually was an adventurer under your definition. He sailed because it gave him opportunities to see new places and people. Then a necromancer killed his crew, and now he, with his companions, is on the trail of that necromancer’s cult and a criminal cabal that is helping them. They just discovered that there are dragons involved.

Both are adventurers by the normal dnd definition, but not by yours.
Sure. I'm using a specific definition because I am interested in the answer as it relates to that definition. In a given D&D world there are going be lots of individuals and factions operating with which the PCs are likely to cross paths and have conflicts. The one I'm curious about though is other motley crews of treasure hunters going for the same rumored cache the PCs are after.

I did not mean to suggest that other motivations don't exist or are somehow inferior. I'm just asking about a specific thing.
 

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