D&D General NPC farmer & merchant levels by age

How much better is experience over youth and how would that work in game?

  • No difference, all peasants are 1st level

    Votes: 7 29.2%
  • A little - the experienced peasant gets a class feature like expertise at level 2

    Votes: 7 29.2%
  • Some - the experienced peasant is level 4 and takes a feat

    Votes: 5 20.8%
  • Quite a bit - the experienced peasant is 5th level with a feat and +3 proficiency bonus

    Votes: 3 12.5%
  • They are l33t -the experienced peasant is 8th level with feats, expertise & other class features

    Votes: 2 8.3%

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
None of the options fit for me. Levels don't apply to NPCs in general.

I separate proficiency bonus from level and HD. They really shouldn't be tied together IMO and is a failure of design.

An "expert" blacksmith might be +10 (via double proficiency bonus), perhaps higher with ability modifier added in, but would have no levels and just 1 or 2 d8 for HD, if any, since HD really only matter for combat...

Otherwise, you can have a younger person with a high proficiency due to intense training, natural talent, or whatever reason. But, in general, I prefer experience (usually coming with age) to be the primary source of improvement in proficiency.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

jasper

Rotten DM
The various magic discussions have me thinking about the foundational aspects of d&d society. So, I want to ignore magic and think farmers and the fundamental artisans like millers, weavers, brewers, coopers, cobblers and smiths. These people should make up the vast majority of the populace in almost every community.

How much variability should there be in their capabilities, if any? And if so, how to express that?

If a human farmer/crafter is 1st level at around age 17, how much more skilled is a farmer/crafter pushing 40, with 20yrs of experience and not yet suffering the ravages of time and what does that look like on a character sheet?

Clarification: I want this to be how you expect the typical hale & hearty mature adult with 20yrs experience to be relative to a 1st level 17yro. This would be like 30% of your adult population.

I don't specifically care about rules for a peasant class as much as I am trying to suss out how much impact "lived experience" should be represented in the game using the most relatable possible example. This would be a way to come up with experience levels of a population that make the setting "feel right".
You appear to add PC stuff to NPC. How about this.
Farmer commoner AC 10 HP 4
Old Farmer AC 10 HP 40 Crafting +10 +4 to hit due being in the tavern the pcs destroy every year.
Old Farmer Spouse AC 10 HP 20 Crafting +14 +6 to hit with rolling pin. They stay away from the tavern and studied their Martha Steward.
An NPC should have the HP AC and other abilities as needed. Or
Monsters cheat at the rules. NPC don't need no stinking rules.
 

Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
For a long, long time (4 editions of D&D), NPCs were assumed to be built using roughly the same rules as PCs. The first two editions had the concept of the '0-level' normal human, who had some small hit die and their own extra-lousy line on hit tables in older editions, but special NPCs got character levels. 3rd ed decided monsters had six stats and skill ranks just like PCs, so you could look up the Stealth bonus for that otyugh, and there were NPC classes like commoner, noble, and adept (a sort of hedge-cleric-mage) for the 'extras' in the story. 4th ed had stats for human rabble and lackeys (which were 2nd level, interestingly enough). So there's been the assumption that NPCs are 'a different sort of PC' for a long, long time.

5e dispensed with that and just gave them statistics as necessary to the game. But it's a big change TBH.

I suspect there's a shadow of a fear that admitting that PCs are a different 'type of person' than NPCs would seem somehow racist/fascist--'these people count, these people don't' (though of course the PC/NPC split isn't really, or at least not entirely, based on ancestry, with humans being NPCs and PCs and players often wanting to play 'monsters' to the point orcs are nearly a PC race at this point). But that's just IMHO.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
For a long, long time (4 editions of D&D), NPCs were assumed to be built using roughly the same rules as PCs. The first two editions had the concept of the '0-level' normal human, who had some small hit die and their own extra-lousy line on hit tables in older editions, but special NPCs got character levels. 3rd ed decided monsters had six stats and skill ranks just like PCs, so you could look up the Stealth bonus for that otyugh, and there were NPC classes like commoner, noble, and adept (a sort of hedge-cleric-mage) for the 'extras' in the story. 4th ed had stats for human rabble and lackeys (which were 2nd level, interestingly enough). So there's been the assumption that NPCs are 'a different sort of PC' for a long, long time.

Those all feel like arguments to me that for a long time that non-adventuring NPCs were decidedly not like PCs. The zero-level and specialized hireling tables in 1e, using entirely different classes in 3.5 that were for NPCs and weaker than the PC ones, the 4e doing what needed to be done with mooks...

That monsters had stats in 3 and 4 seems just like a matter of how the mechanics worked and not like making them more like PCs.
Per se.


I suspect there's a shadow of a fear that admitting that PCs are a different 'type of person' than NPCs would seem somehow racist/fascist--'these people count, these people don't' (though of course the PC/NPC split isn't really, or at least not entirely, based on ancestry, with humans being NPCs and PCs and players often wanting to play 'monsters' to the point orcs are nearly a PC race at this point). But that's just IMHO.

I've never read anything even hinting at that... Have you read quotes or intimations by anyone thinking that's the case? The only people I've ever heard upset about them being treated differently are those who feel PCs and NPCs having the same rules is super vital to the game making sense.
 

aco175

Legend
Typically, they are just names on a sheet until they need statblocks. If they are expected to do something for the plot of the game they might have a skill or knowledge needed. Both the young and old have problems in a fight and the heroes of the campaign tend to need to help save them.
 



bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
Some have really high bonuses on a skill or two, maybe a tool or two.
The rest don't.

Less than 1% of mine are built using PC rules. Those are only the ones that appear in multiple game sessions, have a history of fighting/adventuring and who may join a combat.
 

Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
I've never read anything even hinting at that... Have you read quotes or intimations by anyone thinking that's the case? The only people I've ever heard upset about them being treated differently are those who feel PCs and NPCs having the same rules is super vital to the game making sense.
IMHO only, and I said as much. I was wondering if anyone else had that thought. Maybe not!
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top