D&D 5E NPCs/Monsters being able to use PC classes.


I hope NPCs/Monsters will have access to not only their own stat block but I also want to be able to build them using PC classes. Some people feel it takes too long to build encounters using PC rules but I want to be able to mix it up a bit. I may want the leader of a bandit group to have levels in rogue or fighter while his members have their own quick stats.

What is your opinion on this?

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That's not only cool, it's sort of done in the Bestiary already. (Although I don't recall seeing anything other than humans with class levels.)

Making an NPC takes a lot of work, but if done in moderation it's a good idea. Now for the inevitable balance issues.

There were two big issues in 3.x that unbalanced NPCs. One was items, and the other Vancian magic. There's so little advice about magic items in 5e that discussing NPC items is pretty much pointless. In 3.x I was putting too much effort into juggling magic items on NPCs in an attempt to put them "on par" with PCs, to no avail.

As for the latter, I think those cleric cultists that I saw had fewer spell slots than equivalent PCs, so you don't have to worry about going up against a high-level caster who can just blow through their highest-level spell slots for their one encounter of the day. (That was a couple of playtests ago though, and I could be wrong, in which case it's still a serious problem.)

Li Shenron

It's very important for me, to be able to have monsters with classes, at least the humanoids and monstrous humanoids.

The good thing, is that for these it doesn't necessarily need rules. What I would like, is a sort of formula for estimating the level range or the xp value of the result, so that I don't accidentally put a too weak/strong creature in an encounter. If there aren't any "rules", you can always make up a "race" using their special features, and then create NPCs just the same way you create PCs. Only when the monster is really different from humanoids, and has a lot of features, this approach won't work.


First Post
I personally hope that monsters and npc would have to take pc levels to improve. NPC uses a cool move in battle and player is impressed and can make it his goal to learn that ability.


I hope it is not even an option.

PC class abilities should be balanced and designed with the PC's in mind and how they kill the monsters, not on monsters or npc's using those same abilities against them.

Monsters using separate rules than PC's is one of the very best things about 4e.

An npc is mostly used for just one encounter ever let alone in a day, so the fact that most PC specials are based around a day long expenditure of resources is just one of many reasons this is a bad idea.


First Post
The farther away we can get from the idea that there is some difference in some in-game mechanics because of who is controlling the character in the real world, the better.

Sound of Azure

Contemplative Soul
It wouldn't be bad as an option, though I hope that there will be some provision for simplified "templates" to apply to NPCs/monster in addition they implement this style of monster augmention. I don't think monsters should necessarily be equivalent to PC rules- though NPCs can (and maybe ought to) have abilities that use similar rules to PCs. If the PCs want to do something that an NPC can do, it may well be possible through a customised feat, ability, or spell.
With spellcasting monsters, it would be ideal for me to have some presets: the monster comes with x, y, and z abilites automatically, but can choose optional spells from list a, b or c. That kind of thing would really enthuse me a lot more about high-level D&D.

Voidrunner's Codex

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