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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%


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.
So you're saying your Eberron campaign is rife with adventurers, but it so happens your PCs are not adventurers?

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In a world of monsters I think being an adventurer would be a real job! So not unheard of.
I think it depends on the tone you want the setting to have. If adventuring is a normal job, in the sense of animal control for manticores and whatnot, that implies a much more mundane relationship between society and manticores than if slaying manticores is the domain of great heroes and regular mortals can only cower in fear.


I agree with those who have stated it depends on the campaign.

I have a slightly different angle. I love mass combat, big armies, war machines, all the fun! Some of it happens in the campaign world background, and occasionally, the PCs get involved. However, D&D magic makes that a little tougher.

Having adventurers, particularly spell casters, remaining somewhat rare keeps mass combat as a little more viable option. Artillery (mages and the like) should be coveted, expensive, and desperately protected by an army. Castles still matter, even if they are not flying, magical edifices.

I cling to the anachronistic, pseudo-medieval, Euro-centered D&D of my youth. ;)


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So you're saying your Eberron campaign is rife with adventurers, but it so happens your PCs are not adventurers?
I’d say that of my Eberron campaign. Well, no, I wouldn’t, because I don’t buy that definition.

But by that definition, absolutely. There are adventurers in the world, and newspapers talk about their exploits, but the party is made up of an Sharn based Inquisitive who can barely manage his own life, a Blood of Vol Paladin from a noble family who has religious and patriotic goals that she is pursuing and who only cares about glory when she’s jousting and has no need of more money, a wizard seeking information on the murderer of his mentor, a firbolg married couple (Bards) who are somewhat seeking fame as performers but who are much mores motivated by other stuff that’s complicated, and recently a Bugbear failed merchant who is basically there because the Inquisitive is his friend.

None of them are going out into the world just to find fame and fortune at great personal risk.

And that’s the most adventuresome party in my group, by your definition.

My buddy’s homebrew game we are all trying to stop a conspiracy between a necromantic cult and a diabolical criminal organization.

So, again, the numbers are very different depending on the definition.


A suffusion of yellow
I treat my adventuring parties as mercenary companies, small elite groups who hire there services out to deal with the many many dangers that threaten the scattered settlements of DnD. Most of the mercenary companies either dont survive the dangers or get hired to do real jobs (temple guard, minions of a dark scorcerer etc) but a few go on to become high level and renowned.

I also tend to give the PCs an employer which changes them from just being freelance adventurers to being legit ‘agents of” eg Agents of the Church sent to recover holy relics, or Agents of the Lord Protector of Highhold sent to the marches to investigate cattle mutilations etc


Most of my settings would be at the You Do What, Now? level I think. But in some like Wilderlands adventurers are 'Not Unheard of' while in my Forgotten Realms games where the PCs are expected to Save the World, or at least Save Elsir Vale, it tends more to the 'Special Snowflake' level. Certainly in my Red Hand of Doom game I make a point of emphasising that the PCs are the Heroes of the Vale, and there is probably no one else to save it if they fail.


As the survey proves most of the people think they are more or less rare, but there are others.

Having them crawling around in every corner is as unpractical as having them being one of their kinds.
To many of them make certain economic impacts, them being ultra rare derives the DM of these tools:
"You encounter the remains of a previous party"
"The rival party was faster than you the treasure chest has already been emptied"


Possibly a Idiot.
My current campaign is set in what is basically the Age of Sail, so it's overran with nearly every definition of the word "adventurer." Especially those not-too-flattering ones.

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