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    Canonfire :: View topic - Those Greedy Powerhungry NPCs and what to do about them!
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Those Greedy Powerhungry NPCs and what to do about them!
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
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    From: Orlane, Gran March

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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:42 am  
    Those Greedy Powerhungry NPCs and what to do about them!

    In another thread (on the increasing magic in GH) it was noted that NPCs are getting to have more and more levels under the 3e system, and that this is problematic.

    I think it is a natural evolution of the setting. Call it the "Persistent World," effect. Of late, in games such as Never Winter Nights, there have come to exist Persistent Worlds. They are never turned off, and they have fixed areas where you adventure. Some of these have areas that reset, but others are truly persistent, in that when you change something, it stays changed. EVE Online is like this.

    What these games designers soon learned is that if the world is known, players "Game," it. They have power, and they go to where they can use it.

    In the early days of D&D (read this as Greyhawk) the village near the 5th level dungeon had a few 5th level NPCs to help the DM keep the adventurers in line and help the story along. If it was a 1st level dungeon, there was the Castellean or Burne and Rufus. Regardless, the powerlevel of the entire setting was focused around the adventurers.

    As the details get filled in ( a very relative thing considering the size of the Flaness) and more importantly, fixed, this becomes less viable. THe internet is assisting in this, with it's wide distribution of information. Now, we can incorporate all the old modules (at $4 per) Ivid the Undying, Gary's work on Keoland, Sam's timelne, and all the additional info from a site like this.

    There have been other systems and settings where this was already worked out (White Wolf comes to mind), and levels were blended. But as the world becomes mapped, it becomes less PC focused. As a matter of fact, most of us here spend our time discussing the world, not our PC's. Therefore, it becomes necessary to have a blending of levels. If the World of Greyhawk is not a bubble of reality that moves around the PCs as they adventure, changing as they make decisions; the landscape altering to their and the DM's need, then the system starts to break down if there are only adventure appropriate NPCs.

    THerefore, I have instituted a system IMC, where everyone gains NPC levels as they age. I have worked this out for each race, but the system works like this:

      Human
      Age Level
      15 1
      22 2
      29 3
      36 4
      43 5
      50 6
      57 7
      64 8
      71 9
      78 10
      85 11
      92 12
      99 13
      106 14


    This progression is for NPC classes only. But, it allows high level experts, commoners and such to greet, meet, and interact with character's as they progress through levels. THough they will not meet another 10th level fighter, they may take pause at a few 6th, several 5th, two dozen 4th and a large number of lower level warriors. It keeps them from selecting CG as their alignment and acting CE by overawing everything.

    THoughts?

    PS, I cannot get he age/levels to seperate. Sorry
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:55 am  

    There are obviously other skilled and powerful people around in the campaign. As far as non combat NPCs go, I generally don't detail them out as far as what level they are in their NPC class.

    But that's not really what I was talking about. Take a look at a the community of Diamond Lake in the Age of Worms adventure path. Its described as "the lively mountain village of Diamond Lake, a muddy smudge on the map of the hills east of the fabulous Free City". It has 32 (!) characters with adventuring classes ranging from lvl 2 to lvl 10. Ten of them are above 5th lvl. Every single one of them has several potions and all but 2 or 3 have permanent magical items. Most of them have several.

    Hommlett had Burne, Rufus, Jaroo, Elmo, Terrick, and maybe a couple others I'm not remembering. But they were generally there specifically because of high risk problems in the area, not just random denizens of the place. Other published communities like Saltmarsh and Orlane were not so heavily populated with powerful types.

    IMHO, if the PCs get into the double digits in level, they should usually be the baddest folks around. There are other guys that powerful or more so, but not generally just hanging around random towns and villages. If the PCs start playing the bully, they'll get that reputation and start attracting folks who want to put them in their place for one reason or the other. Both behaviors are quite in keeping with the literature, both myth and modern fantasy.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 2:37 pm  

    Vor,

    I agree with your overall assesment, and did not realize that you were refering to a specific instanced. That said, I do like to populate the Flaness with some higher level NPCs than early D&D offered. Of course, they did not have NPC classes (except those that were even more powerful than PC classes).

    I like the high level NPC classes as they can add a rich mixture and can add significant skills. And some can add significant other benefits. Imagine an aged 14th level adept. While not a 14th level wizard or sorcerer, there is a significant amount of power there. I like this system.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:27 pm  

    By my calculations (p139 DMG) there are not that many higher level characters as one might expect. 86% of a metropolis' population is 1st level commoners at the lowest population (25,001). There are only 32 2nd level, 16 5th level, 8 10th level, and 4 20th level. These are assuming the 4d4+12 results in 20+ every time. I like the idea of the longer someone works at their craft he has a chance to improve. Off the top of my head I would suggest (for commoners) a 10%+5%/existing level chance to gain a level every 5 years. Adepts, aristocrats and experts would have a higher percentage chance.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 01, 2007 6:10 pm  

    To keep myself and my wife sane, I just use the "mobile bubble of reality" approach; as the adventurers level, they run into NPCs of appropriate levels. No, it's not consistent, but it's under the radar of "suspended disbelief".

    Justification: Just as in the real world, when you advance, you tend to hang out with people of your power level. In the real world, how many of us (I'm 40) hang out with high-school and college students or recent grads? It's not that there are more married, home-owning, skilled, career professionals out there, it's just that I happen to run into them more often at this point in my life. Were I an executive, and solely focused on my career, I'd be hanging out with more VPs and such.

    It's in the same ballpark as encounter difficulties that seem to scale with the party's level.

    Telas

    PS: What to do about all these NPCs? Well, this is D&D - Kill them and take their stuff!

    T
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:15 pm  

    One idea I've been toying with is to remove skill rank limits for the NPC classes. The corollary is AD&D2 0-level NPCs who have as many NWP slots devoted to their professional skills as the DM deems necessary.

    Another option is dropping the BAB progression. I think all the NPC classes may need to be dropped one step, to a minimum of poor BAB. I'm mainly concerned about the suspension of disbelief factor associated with the wizened sage the characters consult having a better BAB than the fighter as consequence of giving the character enough levels to justify his level of "sagery."

    As a rule, I have no random NPCs greater than 14th level in my campaigns. You're lucky if you can find one above 10th. I run a GH game and base this on the levels given for the various named NPCs in the setting, mainly kings and such. The end result is that the village priest is probably an expert, or even an adept if especially talented. But the village temple is not usually an armed camp with several clerics all ready to patch up the characters after a fight.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 01, 2007 11:16 pm  

    I don't play 3E, but I settled this "problem" in my campaign when I realized that there is no particular reason for NPC's to follow the same rules as PC's, and that much of the power of level comes not from experience or knowledge per se, but rather from "divine favor".

    Thus, while a PC's level must be earned through xp, his abilities function in all situations.

    An NPC that holds some office has levels that are "granted" because of the office. He has powers that can be used only in the fulfillment of the office.

    Thus, in my campaign, simply being considered a legitimite King gives you level 12 or 14 fighter, even if you actually have no experience in real combat. However, you can only use those fighter levels in kingly situations - on an honorable battlefield, for instance. If the king gets into a bar fight he is suddenly whatever fighter level he has actually earned, possibly 0.

    The bishop who heads the cathedral may be able to act as a level 8 or 10 priest when on holy ground, curing the faithful or repelling undead summoned by an evil priest. But drag Bishop Greer (who bribed his way to the position) off to the local dungeon, and he suddenly is a level 1 or 2 priest when casting spells.

    This serves the purpose of populating the world with NPC's who can challenge the PC's and force them to conform to local authority, while actually explaining WHY they need PC's around - to do the dirty adventuring jobs they are not equipped for. I don't see the communiy of Diamond Lake as needing adventurers - it seems like they can take care of themselves.
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:44 am  

    Makes sense... give them levels of "-tagonist" as needed. Pro- or an- as dictated by their association with the PCs.

    Telas
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:01 am  

    Kirt, I like your system, particularly when dealing with religous matters. It makes sense for both story and mechanics (regardless of system). However, outside of the religious setting, it works less well from story. How do you handle this (or do you).

    In my game the overall system works well becuase the players rarely need to find out what the BAB of a random NPC is. I like the system for the very reason that it discourages testing BAB, replacing some of the factors that would limit random killing in real life.

    If you notice in Never Winter Nights (or other video games if you dont have this one), people tend to kill everything that moves if there is no risk and it gives them a copper. My gaming group is less trigger happy than many, but they will take "free money," so to speak. There are other methods for discouraging this (alignement, the law, vengeful relatives, etc.), but in a campaign about stopping a giant envasion, breaking away to roleplay the sherriff is something I dislike. I do not generally include NPC's of particularly high level, and those that use the age/progression chart are very aged when they reach high level. When I say very aged, they usually are old, gnarled, impaired (visually, physically, etc.).
    CF Admin

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    Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:09 pm  

    Anced_Math, I like your system, with the caveat that most humans don't live beyond 43 (5th level in your system) due to general longevity and the mortality rate of the Flanaess.

    While some humans certainly live to age 71 (level 9), most do not, and only the very rare (not quite "unique") individual lives for 104 years (14th level). While humans on Oerth tend to have longer venerable ages than (post)modern humans on Earth, still most of them live less than our modern standard of living affords -- around 70 years, iirc.

    Anced_Math's system deals well with my significant gripe about 3xE NPC classes -- that anyone would level up in Commoner or even Aristocrat, Adept, or Expert beyond its first couple of levels. Eventually, every Warrior should transition to Fighter because if s/he lives long enough, s/he will train at a higher level than the standard militia man or bully.

    Thanks for the table!
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:47 am  

    MTG, glad you like the system! I agree, few people live to be 104, even in our modern world. However, if I remember medieval statistics, the median age was reduced by childhood death.

    If one reached the age of 18, the average lifespan was nearly as long as it is in modern times.

    I also have adapted the progression chart to all normal PC races. Let me know if you would like it in excel.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:25 am  

    Leveling NPC classes is a pet peeve of mine. A_M's system is very similar to the systems in SKR's Theory about peasants or the Level advancement over a lifetime thread on ENWolrd which spawned the different NPC over a lifetime threads by Mavrick Weirdo. (Those are great, definately check them out !)

    In a similar vein there have been discussions on what the world would look like for commners: Common Commoner, i.e. how common is magic etc...

    And there's of course there's the incredibly useful d100 NPC thread which includes a lot of NPC classed NPCs.

    I think that the NPC classes were invented for exactly that. In 2E you had all those pesky 0-lvl humans running around who would die if you so much as looked at them and who effectively had no abilities at all. 3e takes nice care of that. A commoner will advance to level 2 or 3 at least, perhaps level 6 when he dies of old age. Age modifiers will do their part to keep some of his abilities like hps and fighting ability stagnating (or even deteriorating) between levels 3 to 6 while his life experience increases his skills and other abilities (feats). Check out the ENworld example threads above. Level 1 commmoners have to be either very young or very inexperienced IMO.


    Last edited by Thanael on Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:32 am; edited 1 time in total
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:29 am  

    from the other thread:
    Cebrion wrote:
    A 5th level Expert Sage is more skilled in battle than a trained soldier (warrior 1, or even fighter 1), as is the 5th level Expert Cobbler.


    A warrior 1 is not a trained soldier. He's a noob, a recruit or the local school bully. Not much older than 15. So let's put the "somewhat experienced warrior" at War2 and pit him against the expert sage:

    Expert Sage age 35+
    Exp5 (Str 9, Dex 10, Con 9, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 12) HD 5d6-5 (13hp) AC 9 BAB +2 Atk +2 (1d6-1 or probably 1d4-1) Walking Stick of @$$-WHOOPIN' Feats: Diligent, Skill Focus(Knowledge[History]), Skill Focus(Knowledge[Geography]).

    somewhat experienced Warrior, age 18
    War2 (Str 12, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 10) HD 2d10+2 (16hp) AC 14 (+1 light wooden shield, +3 studded leather armour) BAB +3 Atk +4 mace (1d8+1 or 1d6+1) Feats: Toughness, Weapon Focus (Mace).

    (Both are built from the same abilty spreads: 12, 12, 11, 11, 10, 10.)


    I'd put my bets on the Warrior. Granted if he was a newb (War1) the Sage would probably defeat him. Now if we quizzed them both in History guess who'd win...

    The 5th level Cobbler OTOH is another story, he'd probably be in better physical shape (higher str, dex, con) and perhaps even have leather armour. But he still wouldn't completely overpower the War2.


    Alone that you can build those NPCs is imho best argument for the 3E system. You couldn't differentiate between a master and apprentice in 1E/2E without using adventuring classes...


    Last edited by Thanael on Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:24 am; edited 1 time in total
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:01 am  

    Thanael wrote:

    Alone that you can build those NPCs is imho best argument for the 3E system. You couldn't differentiate between a master and apprentice in 1E/2E without using adventuring classes...


    I don't know anything about 3E, so I have to take your example at face value. But it does seem to me like the sage's sage levels make him a better fighter. That to me is the perverse element.

    As far as 2E, it is relatively simple to assume that NPC's gain NWP, not levels, with age. Thus, they put alot of NWP ranks into their relevant skills and become masters of their respective crafts. Without gaining things like attack bonus, hp, or saving throw.
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    Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:10 am  

    To emphasize what Kirt said, NPCs are specifically stated to have as many NWPs in their professional areas as the DM deems necessary for their supposed mastery level.

    So, you want the master smith? Fine, he's still a 0-level human with, being generous, Int 14 and he also has 9 NWPs devoted to weaponsmithing. Because the DM says so.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:39 am  

    It actually does not bother me at all that the sage can whip the fighter, as long as a 4th level fighter is not getting beaten by a 1st level sage. If you have a 10th lvl figher and a 10th level sage, the sage should only win through guile. I dont see a problem though, with the sage whose knowledge is poisons using invisibility and a debilitating poison. He cannot stand toe to toe, and the system shouldnt work that way. But HP is not and has never been solely about how much physical damage one can take.

    I dont like a world in which the Knight, becuase he is a Knight, can kill anything that is not a Knight. Zero lvl commoners are a silly convention I think, and always have. Why detail them at all?
    CF Admin

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    Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:22 pm  

    Anced_Math, will you submit your Excel file to the Downloads section?
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:12 am  

    MTG, I will be glad to submit them. However, I have no way to format them. I can send them to you in Word, PDF, or Excel. But other than that, I am pretty well stuck.

    I also have approximately 50 articles from numerous authors from the Gran March Project. However, I am not very computer savy and Yabusama (our web guru) has had to take an extended break. I have another volunteer currently reformating the Gran March webpage to begin publishing these articles. The plan is to publish to Canonfire and to GranMarch.com at the same time.

    So, how do I submit unformated data?
    CF Admin

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    Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:56 pm  

    Hey Anced_Math and everyone else. While submitting a regular CF! article involves HTML formatting, registered users should be able to submit a downloadable file. See http://www.canonfire.com/cf//modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=AddDownload.

    If it doesn't work, please email editors@canonfire.com, describing and attaching the file, and the current downloads manager should respond quickly.

    Note, I'm only recently returning to CF! after a hiatus. If the process has changed, I expect that an active CF editor will post about the new process.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:00 pm  

    callmeAndydammit wrote:
    ...Another option is dropping the BAB progression...


    -That's not neccessary, if you keep the overall levels low.

    Anced_Math wrote:
    THerefore, I have instituted a system IMC, where everyone gains NPC levels as they age. I have worked this out for each race, but the system works like this:

      Human
      Age Level
      15 1
      22 2
      29 3
      36 4
      43 5
      50 6
      57 7
      64 8
      71 9
      78 10
      85 11
      92 12
      99 13
      106 14


    This progression is for NPC classes only...


    -Hmmm. Not an awful idea, but I prefer "what's good for the goose, is good for the gander".

    BTW, Whoo-Hoo! I'm almost a Ftr5!

    Anced_Math wrote:
    ...if I remember medieval statistics, the median age was reduced by childhood death.

    If one reached the age of 18, the average lifespan was nearly as long as it is in modern times...


    -"Nearly" might be pushing it, but sort of. Besides, there are all of those "Healing" & "Cure" spells in WOG.

    Kirt wrote:
    I don't play 3E, but I settled this "problem" in my campaign when I realized that there is no particular reason for NPC's to follow the same rules as PC's, and that much of the power of level comes not from experience or knowledge per se, but rather from "divine favor"...

    The bishop who heads the cathedral may be able to act as a level 8 or 10 priest when on holy ground, curing the faithful or repelling undead summoned by an evil priest. But drag Bishop Greer (who bribed his way to the position) off to the local dungeon, and he suddenly is a level 1 or 2 priest when casting spells...


    -Keeping the "what's good for the goose, is good for the gander" principle, I'd say that being on holy (or unholy) ground might give any Cleric (or Druid, or Adept) or the proper deity and/or alignment higher levels.

    Kirt wrote:
    ...Thus, in my campaign, simply being considered a legitimite King gives you level 12 or 14 fighter, even if you actually have no experience in real combat. However, you can only use those fighter levels in kingly situations...


    -I've always thought it odd that high-ranking nobility (and royalty) have super high levels (usually higher than 9). As a partial justification, I assume that the king's kids gets all the niftiest gear, and therefore have an easier time killing their enemies, and therefore have more combat experience (XP, and therefore, levels).

    callmeAndydammit wrote:
    ... The end result is that the village priest is probably an expert, or even an adept if especially talented. But the village temple is not usually an armed camp with several clerics all ready to patch up the characters after a fight.


    -I figure most Clerics (or Druids) would be 1st-3rd level; many would be Adepts (I particualry use Adp1/Clr1s & Adp1/Clr2s), who had a lot of experience, but who didn't have a lot of formal training (at first). I reserve Experts and Aristocrats at chapels & temples for lay persons, or trainees.

    mtg wrote:
    ...Anced_Math's system deals well with my significant gripe about 3xE NPC classes -- that anyone would level up in Commoner or even Aristocrat, Adept, or Expert beyond its first couple of levels. Eventually, every Warrior should transition to Fighter because if s/he lives long enough, s/he will train at a higher level than the standard militia man or bully...


    -Bingo! How does anyone who's a strait Commoner ever make it to 20th level?

    When rolling for the inhabitants of a village, I have a complex formula, but a simplified version comes down to:

    Com2 become Com1s, who actually have their weapon proficiency;

    Com3s & Com4s become Com1s, who have at least one which puts them on the path of a charchter class (usually Ftr, Rog, or Clr);

    Com5s & Com6s become Com2s (or often Com1/PC Lvl1s- DM judgement call);

    etc...

    I do a similar thing with Experts, Aristocrats, and Warriors, only not as harshly.

    BTW, a Cleric is just a souped up Expert. The same thing is true of Bards & Experts, and of Fighters and Warriors (a Ftr1 is just a War1 with a d10 for hit points, and an extra "fighter" feat, plus the "Craft" feat IIRC). The same almost goes for Aristocrats, except the Aristocrat has all martial weapon proficiencies, and can effectively use a tower shield. Presumably, a teen-aged Ari1 who becomes a Clr1 simply loses those proficiencies (feats) when they get their clerical abilities. Adepts are pretty much the same story, with relation to Clerics & Druids. IMC, I assume that most PCs & NPCs of the "Player Classes" were "NPC Classed" when they were still going thru' training, and in most cases, started at Com1.
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    Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:57 pm  

    I had an aside about 4E NPCS here, because its germaine. But I am putting it below, so feel free to ignore that part. :D

    Now the, back to my first love in DnD systems. No 3.5 I haven't forgotten you! :D

    As I have said before AM, your idea of folks leveling by age is pure brilliance, although I might say you have a slightly slower level progression than I would use, though not by much. I would level them every 4 or 5, and I would likely alternate (19 for level 2, 24, for level 3, 28 for 4, 33 for 5, etc)

    I've got to say that Kirt has struck pure gold though. The idea of job based power is insanely cool.

    Personally, when I run 3.5, there are enough equal level NPCs around to provide support and information, be antagonists, and be a equalizing force on the PCs. Of course I also take pains to ground my PCs int he world, and make them aware of the social ramifications of being buttholes to the NPCs. It helps most of my players understand this going in. I operate under that same assumption in everyone else's game as well (it's only polite), whether they know that quirk about my running style or not.

    Of course I learned a lot of my DM/GM problem solving skills in Rifts and Shadowrun, and if the players got uppity, I showed them they are not the center of the world they THINK they are. They may be the stars of the show, but the show can get canceled or recast. :)

    It usually only took once. Heh.

    As an aside: I will say this is one reason I have come to like 4E. NPCs have gone back to the story needs, and not statted out. If you need stats, you stat them based on their need in the story. If they are a human merchant who are no threat to PCs, they have no hit points or defenses. An informant might have a will defense (so it can be targetted by intimidate), but nothing else. Any significant attack will either kill him or have him run (i.e. he's a minion). A smuggler who is the ringleader of a group of bandits, well he'll have stats, and likely be elite. :) 4E has issues, but thankfully this is one thing they got right.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:29 am  

    Quite frankly I have never had any issue like this at all. NPC's will be as accomplished at something as I, as a DM, want them to be; regardless of game edition. There really is not much need to even quantify NPCs' abilities in most cases. The PC's only need to know that the local blacksmith can or cannot repair their armor, or that the local lord and his house troops would be able to lay a beating to most of the local nasties if they were to do so from the safety of their keep(which is why the PCs serve a function as they are going to attack those nasties on the nasties' home turf).

    I just don't see the need to stat everything to be understandable to players. One of the DM's greatest powers is the power of B.S.

    "The local lord is known to be a powerful warrior." said the innkeeper.

    Of course that local lord is "only" 5th level or so, but has spent a good deal of effort bolstering his reputation so that the local yokels never get it into their heads to question(let alone challenge) his authoritah! Happy
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    Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:51 pm  

    I must be blessed with players who take the 'goodness' of their characters seriously, because I've never had problems with them wiping out NPC's to steal their loot. Which isn't to say that I didn't have a contingency plan...

    If the party 'went evil' (and let's face it, killing random people for their stuff is EVIL) everal things would happen. First, word would spread that this group of people are bandits, theives, and murderers. Second, the local (or even not-so-local) lord would take action to deal with these lawbreakers. Even if the lord is evil, he's not going to like having these upstarts robbing his people - that's his loot they're pinching, after all! Last but not least, other parties of characters will start gunning for the group - good parties because 'it's the right thing to do,' and evil ones will do it for personal gain - including the positive boost for their reputation for taking on these 'bandits, thieves, and muderers...' Evil Grin
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    Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:22 pm  

    I am also a big fan of the "Greyhawk has very few high level npcs" rule. The reason I like it so much is the reason i hate Broken Realms (oops I mean forgotten) so much. When you work you butt off and spend years making your way to the higher levels you should feel powerful. I mean in AD&D you have to hit level 10 to become a lord as a fighter. And once you are, why would you be picking on people at some run down bar?

    Obviously there will be some higher level baddies but they will be few and far between, and likely have a bunch of low level guys with them. So as not to have the Forgotten realms scenario where its "Yay I'm finally 15th level! One day I will be as bad-**** as everyone else!"

    As for 3rd edition, Apparently you can become a 20th level farmer...I don't know if you can "great cleave" your entire field of corn in one round at that point or not, but I'd hate to be the 1st level thief who broke into his place. I guess it would serve the player right for being a law breaker lol.
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    Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:27 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:


    "The local lord is known to be a powerful warrior." said the innkeeper.

    Of course that local lord is "only" 5th level or so, but has spent a good deal of effort bolstering his reputation so that the local yokels never get it into their heads to question(let alone challenge) his authoritah! Happy


    5th level is pretty tough depending on the world he lives in. To commoners and his 1st level guards he would be every bit the legend he claims to be. He would likely be able to "teach a thing or two" to about 95% of the adventurers out there also.
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    Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:55 am  

    kwflange wrote:
    I am also a big fan of the "Greyhawk has very few high level npcs" rule.


    I never quite saw that rule. Where is it supposedly from? Greyhawk does have enough high level NPCs and I applaud many of the higher level conversions for them in 3E. Already in 1E GH had Mordenkainen as a great manipulator who pulled the strings of the PCs more than once. Also GH has several quasideities, and a land that is ruled by a demigod living in the Flanaess.

    The perceived difference between FR and GH is another one methinks.

    Quote:
    As for 3rd edition, Apparently you can become a 20th level farmer...I don't know if you can "great cleave" your entire field of corn in one round at that point or not, but I'd hate to be the 1st level thief who broke into his place. I guess it would serve the player right for being a law breaker lol.


    Check out these two and tell me they are not very cool:
    Very high level basic NPCs
    Toothless Joe, high level commoner
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    Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:51 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    There are obviously other skilled and powerful people around in the campaign. As far as non combat NPCs go, I generally don't detail them out as far as what level they are in their NPC class...


    Cebrion wrote:
    Quite frankly I have never had any issue like this at all. NPC's will be as accomplished at something as I, as a DM, want them to be... There really is not much need to even quantify NPCs' abilities in most cases...I just don't see the need to stat everything to be understandable to players. One of the DM's greatest powers is the power of B.S...


    -I agree that you generally don't have to detail NPCs, but I like to iot:

    1) Fulfill my curiosity (BSing the PCs might be one thing, I don't like to BS me Razz );

    2) Get some background on the NPC, when trying to charachterize him (back stories, etc);

    3) Just in case you need the exact stat's, for some reason...


    How could NPCs (or anyone) get XPs without lethal combat?

    1) MissionGoals/Story points (a leftover from the AD&D 2e DMG, and mentioned in the 3.5e DMG pp. 40-41); helping to accomplish a dangerous task gets XP. If the sage provides information, or a blacksmith provide repairs, that contribute to others gaining 10000 XP, they get a tiny share of that (maybe 5 XP each). Over time, it adds up;

    2) Force-on force training provides partial (very low) XPs i.e., instead of getting 150XP for a "kill", you get 30XP for non-lethal combat when killing is not the stated intent , but serious injury is possible (e.g. boxing, wrestling, fencing with blunt swords, etc);

    This is particulalry appropriate for soldiers, constabularies, monks, and even some postulants and apprentices;

    3) The 3.5e DMG recommends CR values for violent weather conditions. If a greater dust storm is CR3, a forest fire is CR6, an avalanche is CR7, and a a tornado is CR10, then why wouldn't the following work out for those in unprotected situations:

    Greater hailstorm: CR 1/10;
    Lightning storm: CR 1/10;
    Flood: CR 1/10 - CR 1/2;
    Storm (51-74mph): CR 1/10;
    Hurricane (75mph+): CR 1/2;
    Cold/Hot: CR 1/10;
    Severe Cold/Hot: CR 1/3;
    Extreme Cold/Hot: CR 1.

    This could work for anyone surving blizzards, heatwaves, earthquakes, floods, etc. The storms & hurricanes would really add up for saltwater sailors...

    The above fit into this:

    Thanael wrote:
    Leveling NPC classes is a pet peeve of mine. A_M's system is very similar to the systems in SKR's Theory about peasants or the Level advancement over a lifetime thread on ENWolrd which spawned the different NPC over a lifetime threads by Mavrick Weirdo. (Those are great, definately check them out !).


    ...and then, of course, there are those lethal situations:

    Thanael wrote:
    ...Check out these two and tell me they are not very cool:
    Very high level basic NPCs
    Toothless Joe, high level commoner


    ...although I don't thing everything old Toothless Joe went thru' would quite get him to 12th level...


    For a while, I toyed with the idea that 1 GP of pay = 1 XP on the OD&D/AD&D 1e theory that 1GP of treasure = 1XP, but realized that it could get silly, so I dropped it. Somewhere in this thread (I can't find it), someone mentioned an idea of 1 day of life = 1XP. So, if you take my old pay = XP theory, but at a maximum of 1GP/day, that might work, but I'll stick with "Mission Goals", with pay occassionally being part of that...

    Cebrion wrote:
    "The local lord is known to be a powerful warrior." said the innkeeper.
    Of course that local lord is "only" 5th level or so...


    -Despite all of the above, I still operate on the OD&D and AD&D 1e theory that a 4th level charachter is a "hero"; IMC, 4th level charachters are very rare, and 5th level is even rarer (most guys who live to be 60 won't even make it to 2nd level). So, that Ftr5 is very dangerous...


    Just added this after finding a point of mine on another thread:

    callmeAndydammit wrote:
    ...So, you want the master smith? Fine, he's still a 0-level human with, being generous, Int 14 and he also has 9 NWPs devoted to weaponsmithing. Because the DM says so.


    -Again, I'd say that's not even neccessary (since I don't like to BS Me...)

    jamesdglick wrote:
    ... Consider a very talented Exp1:

    Skill ranks= +4;

    Stat' of 18= +4;

    Skill Focus= +3;

    "Mercantile/Craft/Professional Background" (from one of the Dragons which had the GH feats)= +2 (assuming daddy was a skilled whatever)...

    ...and you end up with a modifier of +13. If they "take 10", then there are few tasks in their specialty they couldn't handle as trained teenagers. Add in benefits in INT or WIS for age, plus take them to Exp3 (more ranks, SF in a related field), or Exp4 (more ranks, plus increase the basic stat'), and they can handle almost anything in their specialty.
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    Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:19 am  

    4e dispenses with the need for level parity. An elderly sage will die in one hit and so for combat purposes can be a level one minion with 1hp but he can still have History +25 if you want. Technically, rituals can only be used by someone of appropriate level but there is no reason why you have to enforce that rule on npcs.

    I think I'd go for the guidance in hte settlement building section. It advises on maximum suggested level limits for people in the town. Use that as a basis for deciding on maximum skill ranks and if you really want to you can adjust by giving them bonus feats. In 4e edition special skills can be represented by giving them 'powers' e.g. roll history checks twice, or background bonuses e.g. +2 on checks relating to the Yatil Mountains etc.

    I'm very much in favour of dissassociating level and skill bonuses. Rary's brother was a 0-level human in 2e but in 3e he'd have to be about a 16th level expert with loads of hp and decent attack rolls despite being an aged alcoholic.
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    Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:18 am  

    Kirt wrote:

    I don't know anything about 3E, so I have to take your example at face value. But it does seem to me like the sage's sage levels make him a better fighter. That to me is the perverse element.

    Do you find it perverse too that the wizard's wizard levels make him a better fighter ? Or the bard's bard levels ?
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    Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:28 am  

    Kirt wrote:

    As far as 2E, it is relatively simple to assume that NPC's gain NWP, not levels, with age. Thus, they put alot of NWP ranks into their relevant skills and become masters of their respective crafts. Without gaining things like attack bonus, hp, or saving throw.


    Yes that always irked me in 2E. Why do the NPCs use different rules than the PCs? It felt like cheating. Should not the elf or venerable human PC then get more NWPs too due to old age?
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    Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:30 am  

    Also did you ever run into the problem of the important non-adventuring NPC who had not enough hp? (i.e the PCs decide to waste the king/sage/whoever)

    PCs are (even more) superheroes in this system, able to kill whole taverns or towns and almost unkillable by normal persons.


    Last edited by Thanael on Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:21 pm  

    IMC, I also advance NPCs by age, but not at one level every 7 years for humans.

    My philosophy is that NPC can earn experience points for non-adventuring activities related to their field, be it combat training (fighters, rangers, paladins, monks, & warriors), researching (wizards & some experts), criminal activity (rogues), playing "gigs" (bards & some experts), administering to the faithful (clerics & paladins), crafting items (some experts) etc.

    I figure this kind of activity can earn an NPC one xp per day, provided it's related to their field. I rounded this down to 300 xp earned per year (for humans), discounting at least one day per week off, plus any holidays, illnesses, etc.

    Implementing this system in 3.5 rules, a 1st level warrior entering the military, who sees no comabt during his tenure, will take a little over 3 years to earn the 1000 xp needed for 2nd level. If he makes it 10 years without combat, he's still only 3rd level.

    I also like to multiply the advancement rate by the most relevant ability score modifier (INT of some experts, DEX for rogues, CHA for bards, etc) to reflect the fact that a blacksmith with an INT of 18 will go farther in 10 years than one with an INT of 10, and one with a score of 9 or less just doesn't have the talent to make it past 1st level. Even then, a score of 18 will only get you so far.
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    Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:34 pm  

    This is very similar to SKR's system (1xp per day) and the one Mavrick Weirdo used on the ENWorld threads I linked to in the post upthread.
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    Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:24 pm  

    Just for fun, I decided to map out my method over the NPC's lifetime. What follows is the level advancement for a human with a relevant ability score of 10, starting at age 18 (ability score adjustments due to age and level not factored in):

    Age: level
    18-20: 1
    21-28: 2
    29-38: 3
    39-51: 4
    52-68: 5
    69-88: 6
    89-111: 7

    Generally speaking, using this method, few human non-adventurers will make it past 6th level over their lifetimes.
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    Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:08 pm  

    My logic for what levels NPC's have (and this is very few of them) is that life in the Flanaess sucks. There are monsters everywhere. You cannot take a dump without stumbling over a wolfpack.

    I think by the time you reach adulthood (if you even do) you should have a couple levels of fighter under your belt just through the necessities of travel, hunting, farming (sentient plants, giant gophers?), etc.

    I still like to entertain the fact that a mid-level PC should have reservations about taking on a peasant mob.
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