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The problem in Pathfinder is Paizo seems to have taken a much different view on what the commoner is. I mean, cutthroat lawyer is 9th level according to the NPC coded.
You know, in looking through NPC Codex again, it'd be amusing to generate a world based on the stats of NPCs in the codex. Like play in a campaign where the law firm down the street also happens to be one of the deadliest groups of warriors in the town. Where the Princess only needs rescuing because she wants to be rescued. Where the 2nd level city guard calls upon the local tavern for backup (barkeep and barmaids).
Truly, a crazy world.
Yeah, Paizo's NPCs seem to have little to no sense of scale. According to the gamemastering NPC gallery, your average prostitute is a heroic character. >_>
I guess my views have mostly been colored by the original D20/D&D system, and d20 commentary stuff like the Alexandrian.