Complete Commoner Overview

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Under this system, adventurers and commoners (that is, PCs and NPCs) are two breeds of the same animal. This system makes some fundamental changes to how commoners and other NPCs work, of which I hope to describe below in detail.


Commoners gain experience by defeating challenges, just like PCs - except that commoners don't fight mighty dragons, make pacts with terrifying demons, or rescue ancient artifacts on even a semi-regular basis. Their challenges are such things as getting a harvest in before the winter, bartering for a used horse, or crafting something for a pushy adventurer. Since these challenges are much less epic and - usually - less dangerous than those faced by PCs, commoners only gain very small amounts of experience for overcoming them.

Rather than tracking the experience for every small task a commoner completes, experience for commoners is assumed to occur on a constant, gradual basis. Thus, commoners normally gain an additional level every six years, starting from birth. This means that children under 6 are level 1 Commoners, children under 12 are level 2 Commoners, and teenagers are level 3 or 4 Commoners. At third level, a Commoner picks up the Apprentice class ability, which means that they've been apprenticed to a trade. This guideline is intended to simplify determining the current level for new NPCs and tracking the development of recurring NPCs.

The DM may ignore this guideline for exceptional cases where the commoner is likely to have faced harder or more frequent challenges than normal, in the case of gifted individuals (those with the Naturally Talented, Truly Gifted, and Prodigy feats), or in the case of truly one-in-a-million marvels, and may give any NPC as many Commoner and Job class levels as needed for the plot, regardless of the NPC's age.

Gaining Levels

As stated, Commoners gain levels at a rate of one every six years. Unlike adventurers, they do not gain levels in Base Classes or Prestige Classes. Instead, they gain levels in the Commoner or Noble classes or in Job Classes. Job Classes are similar to Prestige Classes in that one must meet certain requirements to get into them. However, Job Classes have lower requirements and are designed to represent a profession instead of an ideal the way Base Classes and Prestige Classes do.

For instance, a Commoner can take levels in the Commoner class up to third level and choose Apprentice (Watchman) as his class ability. For his next level, assuming he meets the skill requirements, he can begin taking levels in the Watchman Job Class.

Not all Commoners progress into Job Classes. Some of them remain in the Commoner class. These commoners represent unskilled laborers who are not part of any guild or profession.

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