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When should NPC's get PC classes

When should you give npc's levels in PC classes. If the NPC classes are for the rest of the nonadventuring world why should they ever get PC class levels.
 

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Voadam

Adventurer
Because there are NPC wizards and druids and sorcerers etc. in the game world. Nonadventuring generally in this context means non buff in combat.

PCs get better stats and wealth per level at the default. The majority of the background world are NPC classes. The major interaction characters of the world are going to have whatever classes are appropriate for the campaign story needs. The classed knight you meet could still be outnumbered 100 to 1 by the commoners who work for him who you never meet but are there in the world in the background.
 

painandgreed

First Post
I see classes as a matter of training. PC type classes are the good training that costs more money while the NPC classes are the poorer training that doesn't cost as much or require as much time or dedication. Thus the rich, powerful or simply hardcore get the PC classes while the poorer and less motivated people get the NPC classes. The noble's son who gets formal training in weapon and armor use ends up being a fighter while the farmer who just likes to fight and may train every now and then with the militia ends up being a warrior. Similarly, clerics are the product of training by other clerics, perhaps with a long tradtion while adepts are simply people who are devout and holy enough to hear the call of their god. Thieves, ....err, I mean rogues, are an odd point as not all PCs present themselves as being trained by organized thieves guilds or even another theif. These types are simply the hardcore and strong willed who really like what they do or find it come to them naturally. Same goes for sorcerors. Someone less dedicated to the lifestyle might simply end up an expert with some similar skills.

Personally, while the NPC type classes are the majority, I don't have any partiucular shortage of PC clases in my NPCs. Probably more than is presented in the DMG under the community generation system, at least for large cities and such.
 

But which moments define that an NPC is a fighter and not a warrior? Sure it's easy to say random guard is a warrior. That's fine you want him to be a nobody. Then why have his superior be a 3rd lvl fighter? If he's just there to be more of a challenge or show his experience then why not 3rd lvl warrior? Why don't detailed NPC's every have mix's of NPC classes and PC classes. If you started out as a "mugger" and then worked your way up to crime boss wouldn't you be a warrior/PC class?
 

CountPopeula

First Post
I think you're looking at it too much as a game mechanic and it's not. The 1st level NPC warrior can become a 3rd level fighter. NPCs aren't PCs, the rules for advancement don't apply to them as strictly, because of their nature. The game mechanic is a reward system and a balancing factor for players. An NPC warrior, however, could train hard to learn new skills and become a fighter, in effect trading in his warrior levels.

The level/class system is an abstract game concept. NPCs should be statted as to what is appropriate to them. The DM should really feel free to change stats, classes, and whatever as is dramatically appropriate. Like if an NPC fighter breaks his leg and spends 6 months laid up in bed reading, it would probably be appropriate to lower his physical stats and raise his mental ones. It comes down to what you feel is appropriate for the NPC, and the rules can be ignored to a certain extent.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
When they wake up in the morning.

NPCs can be just as powerful as PCs. What separates them? NPCs have a survival instinct.

-- N
 

Ibram

First Post
I never realy bother with NPC classes because they have zero survivability when it comes to combat against PCs. Anyone the PCs are going to bother dealing with are going to have PC levles themselves.
 


Slobber Monster

First Post
I don't bother to use NPC classes at all, except for 1st level warriors and commoners. If someone with no combat ability should have some sort of exceptional talent, or maybe a broad but shallow range of knowledge skills (i.e. an aristocrat) then I simply assign them the skills as required by their position. Everyone else of any importance gets PC classes as required.
 

Darkness

Hand and Eye of Piratecat [Moderator]
Slobber Monster said:
I don't bother to use NPC classes at all, except for 1st level warriors and commoners.
That's so second edition.

I handle it similarly in the FR. :)
 

Flyspeck23

First Post
Using the Eberron method myself (and in fact always have, even prior to Eberron's release): most NPCs have NPC classes (low levels), PC classes are far and between, and higher level NPCs more often than not have both NPC and PC class levels.
 

robberbaron

First Post
Pretty much all the time.
I think the only time I don't add PC class levels to NPCs is if the NPC wouldn't have served in a militia unit. For example, a "mad professor-type" in my campaign is an Expert, rather than a specialist MU - he didn't need spells, just loads of skills.

Any NPC spellslingers are PC classes, any military personnel will have Fighter levels, all clerics are Clerics, etc.
 

Jürgen Hubert

First Post
I think the PC versus NPC class distinction is mostly one of drive. Those who really push themselves in certain fields of endeavor will become members of classes like wizard, cleric, or fighter. Those who don't - people who aren't neccessarily stupid, but who merely lack the ambition to excel - become adepts, warriors, or commoners.

See my stock NPCs page for an example for how I divide a city guard into PC and NPC classes.

Of course, two NPC classes don't fit into the mold. Aristocrats are either people who were either born into their station or whom their drive is channeled into the political arena. Experts are those who have too much drive to become commoners, but whose area of expertise centers around non-adventuring profession.

In summmary, I'd say that members of PC classes are those with ambition who choose to enter an adventuring or similar dangerous profession. NPCs around them will notice them and think to themselves: "This one will go far - if he survives".

Plenty of NPC opponents in my campaigns are members of NPC classes. These are the mooks, the nameless hordes whose fate it is to die so that the PCs can show how cool and superior they are. Their leaders, on the other hand, tend to be members of a PC class - they have risen above the others, and it shows.
 

Buttercup

Princess of Florin
Dareoon Dalandrove said:
But which moments define that an NPC is a fighter and not a warrior? Sure it's easy to say random guard is a warrior. That's fine you want him to be a nobody. Then why have his superior be a 3rd lvl fighter? If he's just there to be more of a challenge or show his experience then why not 3rd lvl warrior? Why don't detailed NPC's every have mix's of NPC classes and PC classes. If you started out as a "mugger" and then worked your way up to crime boss wouldn't you be a warrior/PC class?
Mine usually are multiclassed if they're higher level. The captain of the guard is likely a 3rd level warrior as you say, unless his background needs to be fleshed out and I decide that he had access to superior training. Usually my basic thieves are 1st level experts or 1exp/1war or some such. A higher ranking thief might be a 1exp/1war/2rogue IMC. For me, it has to do solely with the requirements of the story. When I'm fleshing out a town and creating the named NPCs, I'll use any class or race that I need to get the feel I'm going for.

So bottom line, I suppose, is that it's a matter of taste.
 

Since you are the DM, you can just easily do what you like :) It's not necessary to use NPC classes or PC classes either, so just use what you prefer. IMXP those DMG NPC classes have been used only when their stats were already written on the adventure book, otherwise if I need to give an NPC some levels I always give him PHB classes because I'm more familiar with them. Often I don't stat the NPC out at all, and give them a bunch of basic numbers.
 

I've never used the NPC classes before. I've always rolled up an npc with a pc class. So i'm thinking about going with everyone gets npc levels and those that are specials threats or encounters will have levels in pc classes. I have some questions though. If you have a 5th level adept and they discover the secret to becomeing an actual wizard and take their first pc class level would they be then a cr of 5? 5 levels of adept would be a cr of 4 and one pc class level so 5 right? would summon familiar ability stack so that now they can summon an improved familiar? Comparing the straight level 5 wizard and the adept/wizard I think the latter comes out ahead. The straight wizard has a one additional 2nd level spell and a 3rd which is more fire power but the a/w has more hit points access to healing spells and possibly an improved familar.
 

Ace

Explorer
I base whether an NPC has a PC class based on a combination of game need and if the NPC had opportunity and talent

I figure that Commoners are serfs, slaves and folks who don't have many chances in life.
Aristocrats are beauracrats and the wealthy
Experts are highly skilled trades people and sometimes demi adventurers (guides and caravanseria)
Warriors are conscript troops and joe average guy with a bit of combat training
I don't use Adepts

Now PC classes are almost always exceptional and talented folks -- Imperial Courtiers, any Spell caster, Wilderness Scouts --
Fighters are the elite troops and the natural soldiers
 

Slobber Monster

First Post
Darkness said:
That's so second edition.

I handle it similarly in the FR. :)
I think it just works better. Anything that needs a CR because the PC's might wind up fighting it can get Fighter or Rogue levels or racial HD.

An example of how I usually do it:

I need a fat, greedy human merchant with an oily tongue who is looking to cheet the PC's on a fake treasure map. He should have a decent chance at getting away with lying to up to mid level PC's, but poses no combat threat at any point.

Stats = Str 10, Dex 8, Con 8, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 14. 1d4 HD, HP 2, Feats: Persuasive, Skill Focus(Bluff); Skills: Appraise +5, Knowledge(Local) +5, Intimidate +4, Bluff +11, Sense Motive +4

For higher level PC's, I think any entity with a good chance of fleecing them should be more exceptional than an everyday human merchant anyways. So they would be 1/2 fey, or have rogue levels, or a sorcerer, or whatever.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Dareoon Dalandrove said:
If the NPC classes are for the rest of the nonadventuring world why should they ever get PC class levels.
An NPC gets PC class levels when he or she fulfills a role similar to that of a PC, or that requires abilities not covered by the NPC classes. It's mostly a matter of function. An adept can be good for the back-country local spellcaster, but it doesn't work well to represent a major item-crafter in a big city.
 

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