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Andoran

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So, I was looking at a variety of books involving Golarion and population figures, trying to figure out how common, say, 7th+ level characters are, and I ran into this:

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/mastery/settlements.html

Now, judging by this roughly:

1 in 10 people is a spellcaster of some sort (that sounds right).

1 in 20 is a 3rd-4th level spellcaster (...okay, that works. Normal people cleary range up to 5th level or so in Golarion)

1 in 80 is a 5th-6th level spellcaster (again, okay, that works.)

1 in 500 or so is a 7th-8th level spellcaster (Wow, big jump. Still, that sounds right.)

1 in 2,500 or so is a 9th-10th level spellcaster (And the jumps continue, this is looking good actually.)

1 in 5,000 or so is an 11th-12th level spellcaster (Interesting. A much smaller jump this time. I'm not sure how I feel about that.)

1 in 15,000 or so is a 13th-14th level spellcaster (Okay, still a fairly small jump.)

1 in 30,000 or so is a 15th-16th level spellcaster (Another fairly small jump).

Now assuming a full half of 7th level+ characters are spellcasters (maybe not a bad assumption, spellcasters are more motivated to get them some levels, and a lot of high level characters are adventurers, about half of whom are spellcasters) you can double those numbers at 7th+ and get the number of those characters around.

I'm comfortable with that for 7th-10th levels, but think it results in too many 11th+ level characters.

Now, all those numbers are based on the spellcasting available in big cities...high level spellcasters tending to congregate in big cities makes intuitive sense to me. Assume maybe a third of people (but basically all high level spellcasters) live in cities. That, again seems right. That would drop the number of high level characters to 1/3, which would result in he following:

1 in 15,000 or so is an 11th-12th level spellcaster.

1 in 45,000 or so is a 13th-14th level spellcaster.

1 in 90,000 or so is a 15th-16th level spellcaster.

So, going by the doubling, one in 45,000 people is 15th-16th level. Considering Golarion's population, that seems right-ish. It means there are 4-6 such people in Katapesh. Maybe 8 if all high level characters favor cities. And then 8-16 13th-14th levels, and 24-48 11th-12th levels, 170 or so 9th-10th levels, and 850 or so 7th-8th levels. So a bit over 1,000 mid level characters in one of the world's biggest cities. Literally 1/2% of the population. And only 70 or so high level ones. That sounds about right to me.

Just thought I'd share that little thought exercise for others, like me, who are interested in that sort of thing.

Andoran

This is addressed somewhat in the Inner Sea World Guide. There are guidelines in there for what sort of levels the general population is, though they seem slightly contradictory to other setting information.

I'd give you better references, but I lent my copy to a friend.
-Kle.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks, that's very interesting. I find these sorts of statistics very useful because then I can use them to start detailing the high-level NPCs in a region. For instance, if there are 4-6 high level casters in Katapesh, that gives me a great jumping off point for campaign design.

Andoran

Zarzulan wrote:
Thanks, that's very interesting. I find these sorts of statistics very useful because then I can use them to start detailing the high-level NPCs in a region. For instance, if there are 4-6 high level casters in Katapesh, that gives me a great jumping off point for campaign design.

The Katapesh specific stuff is all total characters, not spellcasters, just FYI. But I'm glad it looks useful to you, that was sorta what I intended it for. :)

Well, that and seeing where a particular PC group falls in at. I mean, are a group of 13th level PCs really the only ones who can stop the great evil? (Unless it's directly attacking some place huge like Katapesh, where there are 20-30 others of that level...probably yes, even a small metropolis of 25,000 is only gonna have 2 or 3 characters of that level, which might even be the PCs.) The whole idea is to aid immersion, and see how unique and impressive X level characters really are.

As for the Inner Sea World Guide, that's very interesting. The more I hear about that book, the more I need to get it. Does anyone know how those figures stack up against these? I'd be very interested to hear.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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I've always resisted nailing down exact numbers like this for NPC class levels, since I feel that it unnecessarily restricts adventure and sourcebook writing on the hobbyist and professional levels. Because once it's in print, folks tend to treat those numbers as sacrosanct; it's what happened with D&D, and as a result lots of people felt it was cheating to do something like have a super high level NPC live in a small town... which was already canon for a lot of places (such as Elminster living in Shadowdale).

The information on this topic I put into the Inner Sea World Guide is on page 253. It doesn't have MUCH to say, but it does break class levels down into four bands:

Standard (1st–5th level): This is where the vast majority of people are. It's very VERY uncommon to see NPCs with NPC class levels beyond this range.

Exceptional (6th–10th level): A significant number of national leaders and movers and shakers are of this level, along with heroes and other notables.

Powerful (11th–15th): These NPCs are quite rare; normally only a handful of such powerful characters exist in most nations, and they should be leaders or specially trained troops most often designed to serve as allies or enemies for use in high-level adventures.

Legendary (16th–20th): These are EXCEPTIONALLY rare, and when they appear they should only do so as part of a specific campaign; they all should be supported with significant histories and flavor.

Talk about percentages of the whole population never comes up in this section at al.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Well, that and seeing where a particular PC group falls in at. I mean, are a group of 13th level PCs really the only ones who can stop the great evil? (Unless it's directly attacking some place huge like Katapesh, where there are 20-30 others of that level...probably yes, even a small metropolis of 25,000 is only gonna have 2 or 3 characters of that level, which might even be the PCs.) The whole idea is to aid immersion, and see how unique and impressive X level characters really are.

Actually, that's sort of the point of the game. Once PCs get up above 13th level, they kind of ARE supposed to be the only ones who cans top the great evil. We want Golarion to be a world where the PCs are the heroes or the legends or whatever. Which means that most of the established groups of high level NPCs you'll see us create will be rivals or outright enemies, with high level good guys generally being loners or rulers of regions.

Andoran

Wow, thanks for that. I can absolutely understand not wanting to pin that sort of thing down with hard numbers as a designer, since you're entirely right about people treating the numbers as holy writ. But speaking as a GM, I like knowing that sort of thing, and this gave me a good benchmark to work from that fit with the world as designed. I mean, it seems unlikely anyone's gonna treat my numbers as gospel. :)

And that actually matches up pretty well with the numbers above, so I am now very happy.

James Jacobs wrote:


Actually, that's sort of the point of the game. Once PCs get up above 13th level, they kind of ARE supposed to be the only ones who cans top the great evil. We want Golarion to be a world where the PCs are the heroes or the legends or whatever. Which means that most of the established groups of high level NPCs you'll see us create will be rivals or outright enemies, with high level good guys generally being loners or rulers of regions.

Oh, I got that. And the numbers I've got strongly support it. Which is good, because I'd have to change them if they didn't, since you're absolutely right that that's the most important thing. I just like having numbers to back it up. :)

And since I'm planning on running published adventures (Legacy of Fire to be specific), I want those numbers to match up to Golarion as presented, so I'm trying to work out some that do.

1/2% of the populaion at 7th level+ (and the vast majority of those 7th-10th) seems to work, and is the kind of number I can sink my teeth into and use the inform the PCs of just how cool they are, without limiting NPC options (I mean, that's 1 in 200 people, they aren't unbelievably rare, just notable and impressive).


Deadmanwalking wrote:


1 in 10 people is a spellcaster of some sort (that sounds right).

It does? I mean, the most common class should be the Commoner followed by the Expert. I regard Adepts as much more rare and as for PC classes, they should be reserved for people with some influence (the boss of a small company and his henchman qualify)... I regard Adepts as acolytes and village wizards and if you think about how many peasants come to one of them... (I've to admit, I'm used to settings where magic is quite rare)

Without statistics I'd estimated less than 1:100 but I didn't do the math on that

Andoran

Ksorkrax wrote:

It does? I mean, the most common class should be the Commoner followed by the Expert. I regard Adepts as much more rare and as for PC classes, they should be reserved for people with some influence (the boss of a small company and his henchman qualify)... I regard Adepts as acolytes and village wizards and if you think about how many peasants come to one of them... (I've to admit, I'm used to settings where magic is quite rare)

Without statistics I'd estimated less than 1:100 but I didn't do the math on that

Y'know, at first blush it sounded wrong to me, too, but Golarion is fairly high fantasy, and there are a whole lot of PC classes with spellcasting. In fact, 11/17 PC classes have it. Would you say someone with a single level of a PC class is rarer than 1 in 10? I wouldn't. Toss on nearly 2/3 of those being spellcasters and the number of Adepts and it works out pretty well as 1 in 10.

Still, those first two numbers are a bit arbitrary, you could have them both (1 in 20 a spellcaster, 1 in 40 3rd-4th level) and the chart'd still work. Hmmm. Maybe that would be better...


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ksorkrax wrote:

It does? I mean, the most common class should be the Commoner followed by the Expert. I regard Adepts as much more rare and as for PC classes, they should be reserved for people with some influence (the boss of a small company and his henchman qualify)... I regard Adepts as acolytes and village wizards and if you think about how many peasants come to one of them... (I've to admit, I'm used to settings where magic is quite rare)

Without statistics I'd estimated less than 1:100 but I didn't do the math on that

Y'know, at first blush it sounded wrong to me, too, but Golarion is fairly high fantasy, and there are a whole lot of PC classes with spellcasting. In fact, 11/17 PC classes have it. Would you say someone with a single level of a PC class is rarer than 1 in 10? I wouldn't. Toss on nearly 2/3 of those being spellcasters and the number of Adepts and it works out pretty well as 1 in 10.

Still, those first two numbers are a bit arbitrary, you could have them both (1 in 20 a spellcaster, 1 in 40 3rd-4th level) and the chart'd still work. Hmmm. Maybe that would be better...

Well 9/17 have casting at level 1, ranger and paladin don't get casting until level 4. So you'll have to take into account the distribution of peoples between 1 and 3 and compare it to the overall distribution.

Andoran

erik542 wrote:


Well 9/17 have casting at level 1, ranger and paladin don't get casting until level 4. So you'll have to take into account the distribution of peoples between 1 and 3 and compare it to the overall distribution.

I was actually counting Paladins and Rangers in with the non-casters. Though I got my number wrong. Tired, I guess. it's actually 10/17 that can cast at 1st, 12/17 that can cast ever. I guess maybe I unintentionally counted Paladins and Rangers as half a caster each, which is sorta true...

Rogue, Fighter, Monk, Cavalier, and Barbarian are the only classes that never get spells (or the equivalent.)


Deadmanwalking wrote:
erik542 wrote:


Well 9/17 have casting at level 1, ranger and paladin don't get casting until level 4. So you'll have to take into account the distribution of peoples between 1 and 3 and compare it to the overall distribution.

I was actually counting Paladins and Rangers in with the non-casters. Though I got my number wrong. Tired, I guess. it's actually 10/17 that can cast at 1st, 12/17 that can cast ever. I guess maybe I unintentionally counted Paladins and Rangers as half a caster each, which is sorta true...

Rogue, Fighter, Monk, Cavalier, and Barbarian are the only classes that never get spells (or the equivalent.)

Yeah, I didn't actually count it myself, I just eyeballed it and 11/17 didn't seem right.

Andoran

erik542 wrote:
Yeah, I didn't actually count it myself, I just eyeballed it and 11/17 didn't seem right.

Having gotten it wrong in the first place, I can hardly complain. :)

And I think the point is still valid, regardless of my slight numerical error.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I'd be fine with saying 1 in 10 NPCs who have stat blocks that anyone would want to bother creating had some sort of spell-casting ability.

But the VAST majority of the humanoids in civilized areas should be commoners, aristocrats, warriors, or experts. Although there's a lot of magic in Golarion... I actually wouldn't call it "high magic." Folks still use lanterns and torches, not magic, to light most homes and city streets, after all.

Andoran

James Jacobs wrote:

I'd be fine with saying 1 in 10 NPCs who have stat blocks that anyone would want to bother creating had some sort of spell-casting ability.

But the VAST majority of the humanoids in civilized areas should be commoners, aristocrats, warriors, or experts. Although there's a lot of magic in Golarion... I actually wouldn't call it "high magic." Folks still use lanterns and torches, not magic, to light most homes and city streets, after all.

I'm definitely going with the 1 in 20 figure then.

That leaves PC classes as probably around that total (5%, 1 in 10 of which are 7th level or higher), and Adepts at half that. Which seems workable.


James Jacobs wrote:
Folks still use lanterns and torches, not magic, to light most homes and city streets, after all.

Probably because the average pay for a commoner is one quarter of a pittance a week. It would take an untrained laborer 1100 days to earn enough money to buy an everburning torch. It would even take a trained experts weeks to earn enough money for one.

It's a wonder everyone doesn't become adventurers.

Andoran

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Cartigan wrote:
It's a wonder everyone doesn't become adventurers.

I'm guessing the mortality rate is high enough to discourage most of them. :)

Anyway, using my revised numbers, and assuming NPCs almost never exceed 6th level, but half of 6th level or less spellcasters are Adepts I've got roughly how many PC Class characters there are at a given level. Each number is a subset of the one above it (so in a town of 260, you have 13 PC class characters, 1 at 7th-8th level, 3 at 5th-6th level, 6 at 3rd-4th level and 3 at 1st-2nd level).

1 in 20 people is of a PC class
1 in 40 is at least 3rd-4th level in a PC class
1 in 80 is at least 5th-6th level in a PC class
1 in 250 or so is at least 7th-8th level in a PC class
1 in 1,250 or so is at least 9th-10th level in a PC class
1 in 7,500 or so is at least 11th-12th level in a PC class
1 in 22,500 or so is at least 13th-14th level in a PC class
1 in 45,000 or so is at least 15th-16th level in a PC class

This definitely effects my Katapesh numbers (bearing in mind there will be, say, double the normal number of 11th+ level characters due to their flocking to cities):

9 15th-16th level characters, 10 13th-14th level characters, 37 11th-12th level characters, 142 9th-10th level characters, 580 7th-8th level characters, and a whole lot of 6th level or less PC classes. Tha's actually less than 800 people, so less than my less precise versin last time.

Korvosa would halve those numbers, and many other cities would do more than that.

That looks even better than my earlier numbers, at least to me.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Cartigan wrote:
It's a wonder everyone doesn't become adventurers.
I'm guessing the mortality rate is high enough to discourage most of them. :)

Are you kidding? How many adventure paths involve some unspeakable evil trying to destroy a town? It would probably be SAFER to be adventurers if you don't live in a major city!

Andoran

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Cartigan wrote:
Are you kidding? How many adventure paths involve some unspeakable evil trying to destroy a town? It would probably be SAFER to be adventurers if you don't live in a major city!

Ah, but there needs to be a local adventuring party for those to happen, so there's probably a lot of pressure to never become those guys, since it's tempting fate. And as long as you don't have such a party youre fairly safe. :)

Letting Adventurers stay too long likely results in the same, so I'd bet they put subtle pressure on those types to move on after they've stayed a few days...

No wonder Adventurers have to keep on the move. :P


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Cartigan wrote:
Are you kidding? How many adventure paths involve some unspeakable evil trying to destroy a town? It would probably be SAFER to be adventurers if you don't live in a major city!
Ah, but there needs to be a local adventuring party for those to happen, so there's probably a lot of pressure to never become those guys, since it's tempting fate. And as long as you don't have such a party youre fairly safe. :)

Batman paradox, is it?


The numbers I was using in my 3.5 campaigns:

1 out of 10 NPCs have PC classes (Fighter, Wizard, et cetera).
About 10% of NPCs with PC classes have arcane spellcasting classes (Wizard, Sorcerer, Bard)
About 20% of NPCs with PC classes are clergy (Clerics, Druids, Bards).

So about 1 out of 100 NPCs is a Wizard, Sorcerer or Bard. Bards would be the most common. This is what kept barons from employing legions of fireball-wielding wizards.

Among all NPCs (not just the ones with PC classes, but the Commoners and Experts too), I assumed that each level was half as common as the level below it. Therefore

50% of NPCs are 1st level
25% are 2nd level
1 out of 8 are 3rd level
1 out of 16 are 4th level
1 out of 128 are 7th level
1 out of 1024 are 10th level
1 out of a million are 20th level.

Putting it together, if you want to find a 9th level Cleric, you'd need a population of about 2,500. If you want a 13th level Wizard, you'd need a population of about 120,000. (1/100 are arcane casters. 1/3 arcane casters are Wizards. 1/4095 Wizards reach 13th level or higher. This is ignoring all the Wizards who multiclass, so the number might be more like 1 out of 200,000 NPCs have 13th level Wizard capability.)

Of course, it is possible that the nearest 13th level Wizard just happened to settle into your own home town.

Andoran

Utgardloki wrote:
The numbers I was using in my 3.5 campaigns:

Definitely a valid way to do it, and quite possibly closer to the classic "high level characters are really rare" fantasy world. But going by, say, Adventure Paths or area books in Pathfinder, or the Gamemastery guide NPCs characters of 3rd through 5th or 6th level in an NPC class are vastly more common than that.

Like, by an order of magnitude.

The generic town drunk is 3rd level. A standard farmer is 2nd. A shopkeep is 3rd and a Barkeep 5th. Now in fairness, the barkeep is probably an above-average member of that profession, but he's not unique or spectacular. It really looks like the average guy in Golarion is 2nd or 3rd level, with only the inexperienced or kinda pathetic at less than that (at least, unless we're talking PC classes).

And since I intend to use all that content (I mean, it's all already out there and available, and in the case of the GMG stuff, free on the PRD), I needed a set of figures that worked with them. Hence this.


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IMO 1st level (N)PCs are children or adolescents. This is supported by the starting ages for PC classes. Level 1 commmoners have to be either very young or very inexperienced IMO. A level 1 warrior is a newbie recruit or the local school bully.

NPCs gain XP too! I think that the NPC classes were invented for exactly that. In 2E you had all those 0-lvl humans running around who would die if you so much as looked at them. 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 abilities (feats). Check out the examples in the links below.

See also SKR's Theory about peasants and the great Level advancement over a lifetime, and the Common Commoner discussions on ENWorld.

Here are some threads with interesting NPCs:

MavrickWeirdo's:
NPC Commoner over a lifetime
NPC guard over lifetime
Commoner 2: Elf Farmer, over a lifetime
NPC Expert Horseman over a lifetime
Commoner vs. Expert over a lifetime
Commoners 1: Runners
Ellie May, Farmer's daugher
Goblin-a-day

Blackdirge's:
The rise and fall of an Orc Chieftain (Orc warrior NPC throughout his life)
Myrgle, Adept of Yeenoghu (Gnoll NPC adept throughout his life and beyond)
Urg the Unlikely, Half-Ogre Wizard NPC throughout a lifetime.
Grummok Gargoyle Assassin throughout a lifetime
Nithrekel, Earth Mephit Fighter NPC through 50 years of servitude
Stats from Metamorphosis - From Dretch to Demon Lord.
Suped up Monsters

Turanil's
D100 NPC thread has lots of very interesting Everyday NPCs
, among them:
Very high level basic NPCs
Toothless Joe, high level commoner
... and many many others. Send him a mail or post in the thread to get the compiled document with all 100 NPCs.

Farmer Tobias, an Epic level Commoner

Check out the excellent Commoner Campaign thread on WotC boards for an actual solo campaign log with a commoner PC. (including 3E statblocks)


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Would you say someone with a single level of a PC class is rarer than 1 in 10? I wouldn't.

I would. I mean, I'd estimate 90% of all people to be peasants and I don't see why peasants have PC class levels, I mean, to which clerical academy, school of wizadry or master of the wild do they went to become a cleric, wizard or druid? Do they have undead or draconic ancestors to be sorcerors? When the village of your campaign decides to let some local soldiers help your level 2 heroe, are the soldiers even fighters? Most time they are warriors (as far as I observed, but even if they have PC class levels, it's probably no caster class) and since they're soldiers, they should be among the best combatants in the village except for the persons that actually have a name...

See, all the PC classes are about one thing: battle.
Common people want to live in peace and stuff, when you think about it, adventurers are some kind of lunatics... while this is no reason for peasant not to learn spells, I don't see why they should be interested in acquiring the skills of a PC class (best defense against goblins is called "running" if your primary objective is called "survive")

(I'm not really interested in the discussion about how many PC classes are casters since the PC classes are not necessarily evenly distributed)

Cartigan wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Folks still use lanterns and torches, not magic, to light most homes and city streets, after all.
Probably because the average pay for a commoner is one quarter of a pittance a week. It would take an untrained laborer 1100 days to earn enough money to buy an everburning torch.

Think about cantrips. If magic was more common, why bother with everburning torches when you can memorize the light cantrip which every full caster (plus bards) has?

Cartigan wrote:


Are you kidding? How many adventure paths involve some unspeakable evil trying to destroy a town? It would probably be SAFER to be adventurers if you don't live in a major city!

Except that in order to become an adventurer, you have to gain some experience in combating (PCs are considered to have some even at first level as far as I'd interprete the situation) which you do by walking right into danger. Oh, and you need talent and some dangerous lack of fear (so you are not distracted by toughts about what those pointy sticks can do to your body)

Utgardloki wrote:


The numbers I was using in my 3.5 campaigns:

I like your numbers.

Andoran

Ksorkrax wrote:
I would. I mean, I'd estimate 90% of all people to be peasants and I don't see why peasants have PC class levels, I mean, to which clerical academy, school of wizadry or master of the wild do they went to become a cleric, wizard or druid? Do they have undead or draconic ancestors to be sorcerors? When the village of your campaign decides to let some local soldiers help your level 2 heroe, are the soldiers even fighters? Most time they are warriors (as far as I observed, but even if they have PC class levels, it's probably no caster class) and since they're soldiers, they should be among the best combatants in the village except for the persons that actually have a name...

Well, you actually partially convinced me already. You'll note that I dropped the number to 1 in 20, both for spellcasters and PC classes.

As for the "have a name" thing, I don't necessarily disagree, but are five named characters with PC classes in a town of 100 too much for you for some reason?

Ksorkrax wrote:
See, all the PC classes are about one thing: battle.

Huh? No they aren't. Rogues, and basically all spellcasters are in no way necessarily combat focused. PCs of those classes tend to be, but I can whip up a peaceful, friendly, non-combat Cleric in only a couple of minutes. Ditto for most of the rest (Barbarian, Monk, Fighter, Cavalier, Paladin and Ranger being the exceptions). But that's only a third of the classes, and none of the casters.

Let's look at that village of 100 people: Are an old witch who lives out of town (5th level), the local Priest (4th level Adept) and his apprentice/successor (1st level cleric), a Ranger who patrols the nearby woods (2nd level), a retired adventurer who owns the inn (4th level), and a teenager just coming into her sorcerous power (1st level) really that bad? I mean, that sounds like the typical village outline that PCs are likely to come through to me. and retired soldiers of up to third or fourth level might easily be more badass than anyone but the retired adventurer.

Ksorkrax wrote:
Common people want to live in peace and stuff, when you think about it, adventurers are some kind of lunatics... while this is no reason for peasant not to learn spells, I don't see why they should be interested in acquiring the skills of a PC class (best defense against goblins is called "running" if your primary objective is called "survive")

Well, every mugger wants him a level of Rogue, so do most burglars, and while a pickpocket could be an expert, odds favor him being trained by a Rogue, making picking up the skills quite doable.

Everyone who wants Arcane Magic or to study Alchemy seriously needs a PC class. Are such people common? No, they've got the equivalent of a rather specific advanced degree (say, in one of the hard sciences), but they certainly aren't unheard of.

And everyone trained as a Priest without other specific interests has good odds of being an Adept or Cleric. Like, really good odds.

Those seriously trained by actual swordmasters are also almost certainly Fighters. And those who hunt the woods on their own and survive are quite likely to be Rangers.

Ksorkrax wrote:
(I'm not really interested in the discussion about how many PC classes are casters since the PC classes are not necessarily evenly distributed)

This is true enough, but there are Adepts, too. Which brings the total number of casters up.

Ksorkrax wrote:
Think about cantrips. If magic was more common, why bother with everburning torches when you can memorize the light cantrip which every full caster (plus bards) has?

Well, let's look at that, I'm counting everyone who gets casting at 1st level as a 'full caster' for purposes of these statistics:

Lets say all Casters have Light (not true, but we'll go with it).

So, 5% of the population have access to Light (which they can only have one of active). A full 5% of people can avoid needing to buy torches or lanterns. Yep, that's gonna totally remove the need for everburning torches for the other 95% of people.

And I like Utgardloki's figures for a generic-ish fantasy world, too, but they don't match up with golarion, the Adventure Paths, or the Gamemastery Guide, all of which I'd prefer to use without modification, so they aren't notably useful to me.


one thing kind of odd though. given the vast majority of npc spell casters are adepts. you rarely ever actually encounter them. warriors all the time among humanoids. but not adepts.

Andoran

Mojorat wrote:
one thing kind of odd though. given the vast majority of npc spell casters are adepts. you rarely ever actually encounter them. warriors all the time among humanoids. but not adepts.

Yeah, I know. It's weird. It is now my personal mission to rectify this and include at least a few Adepts in every town, city, or tribe I create. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mojorat wrote:
one thing kind of odd though. given the vast majority of npc spell casters are adepts. you rarely ever actually encounter them. warriors all the time among humanoids. but not adepts.

My take:

The adept NPC class is kind of a waste of space. Those NPC classes are meant to be used for relatively non-important background NPCs, or in the case of aristocrat and expert, to be used as a "garnish" for other NPCs who have more levels in an actual character class.

As with any spellcasting class, the adept works terrible as a garnish. And as there's not any real world spellcasters, the idea of having a mundane spellcasting class on par with warriors and commoners is sort of silly.

All of which is why you rarely ever see us actually using the adept class in Pathfinder products. We just make them sorcerers or clerics or druids or oracles or witches or whatever. More interesting that way.


I agree with James on that. If anything, I'd replace Adepts with an alterante cleric class, with d6 HD, 1/2 BAB, wizard weapon and armor profiencies. Call them a priest, or sage or what have you so you can have temple clerics who are not good at killing things, but fine spellcasters. I wouldn't have them replace adepts, but I would make them realtively common, and proper adventurer armored clerics rare, I beleive the world kind of marches towards arcane magic over divine, but its not yet there.

Grand Lodge

GM Eoin wrote:
I agree with James on that. If anything, I'd replace Adepts with an alterante cleric class, with d6 HD, 1/2 BAB, wizard weapon and armor profiencies. Call them a priest, or sage or what have you so you can have temple clerics who are not good at killing things, but fine spellcasters. I wouldn't have them replace adepts, but I would make them realtively common, and proper adventurer armored clerics rare, I beleive the world kind of marches towards arcane magic over divine, but its not yet there.

Thats something that I really think is needed... Clerics are automatically Combat focused by mechanics with their armour/shield proficiencies and compared with Sphere bonuses side by side with Wizards a little too bad arse. Clerics as they are now with a BARDS casting progression would have rocked.

And the introduction of the 'Priest' which is a wizard mechanics but full casting (like the current cleric) would have been great.

Best I can hope for now is that a 'priest' NPC makes its way into the Magic book that will come out with the Magus and I have SMALL hope of that.


Ksorkrax wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Would you say someone with a single level of a PC class is rarer than 1 in 10? I wouldn't.
I would. I mean, I'd estimate 90% of all people to be peasants and I don't see why peasants have PC class levels

90% are peasants (with NPC levels) and 1/10 (10%) have PC classes amount to 100% in total. So, it seems you agree :)

Andoran

James Jacobs wrote:
All of which is why you rarely ever see us actually using the adept class in Pathfinder products. We just make them sorcerers or clerics or druids or oracles or witches or whatever. More interesting that way.

I actually agree with this, in large part. I mostly intend to include Adpepts as background and window dressing. All those random under-Priests in the Cathedral? Adepts. The local midwife? Adept. That kind of thing. Only in very small towns is the local Adept notable and named (since in a town of 100 the two or three Adepts are half the local spellcasters). But then, that's the kind of town where the Commoners are named.

But I do intend to have them there as that window dressing element.

Helaman wrote:
Thats something that I really think is needed... Clerics are automatically Combat focused by mechanics with their armour/shield proficiencies and compared with Sphere bonuses side by side with Wizards a little too bad arse. Clerics as they are now with a BARDS casting progression would have rocked.

While I agree that the idea of a Priest class is interesting and good (especially as an Adept replacement), I don't think Clerics are notably combat focused. They're slightly more so than the Expert (by virtue of Medium Armor Proficiency) but much less than the Aristocrat (who's got all weapons, heavy armor, and shields to boot). They're decent in a fight, but not inherently notable unless they focus on it.

And I disagree on a balance level as well. Clerics are cool, but Wizards have a vastly beter spell selection in almost every way (healing being the obvious and notable exception). I really don't think the casting classes are particularly out-of-balance.

Now, if you wanted to compare casters to non-casters, that'd be a different discussion, but not really one that's on topic for this thread.

Are wrote:
90% are peasants (with NPC levels) and 1/10 (10%) have PC classes amount to 100% in total. So, it seems you agree :)

In fairness, I think he was saying that 90% of people should be Commoners, and PC classes only a fraction of the remaining 10% along with Aristocrats, Warriors, Experts and Adepts. I disagree with him, but I think he does have a legitimate reason for not liking my numbers.


I have developed my own rough metric for how common PC classes and higher level characters are.


  • 1 in 40 people have PC class levels between 1 and 2, and 1 in 85 people are capable of casting 1st level spells*.
  • 1 in 45 people have PC class levels between 3 and 4, and 1 in 135 people are capable of casting 2nd level spells*.
  • 1 in 50 people have PC class levels between 5 and 6, and 1 in 225 people are capable of casting 3rd level spells*.
  • 1 in 165 people have PC class levels between 7 and 8, and 1 in 1,040 people are capable of casting 4th level spells*.
  • 1 in 590 people have PC class levels between 9 and 10, and 1 in 2,630 people are capable of casting 5th level spells*.

*Only 1 in 4 spellcasters are willing to cast spells for hire, put there are twice as many spellcasters in towns and larger settlements as there are out of them, so a settlement needs double this number to support the sale of spells of a given level.

Furthermore:


  • 1 in 3,875 people are capable of casting 6th level spells**.
  • 1 in 13,680 people are capable of casting 7th level spells**.

**Casters of this level of importance are even less likely to sell their magic, and only one in six is willing to do so, so a settlement needs to have three times as many people as the nubmer indicated to find a spellcaster for hire.

These changes have only one big result, otherwise they fit paizo's metric quite well and suit my own preference for a lowish magic world. The availablity of spellcasting is quite different. You can't really find spellcasters in villages and thorps, and you certainly can't find spellcasters for hire. Small towns will have up to 3rd level casting for sale, though there could be a caster with up to fifth level spells in residence. The available spellcasting increases by one level in both cases for a large town, and again for a small city and finally for a large city. So casting above 6th level spells is rare and must be bargained for or obtained from powerful, rare individuals. Magic item availability and purchase limits are unchanged.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Helaman wrote:
GM Eoin wrote:
I agree with James on that. If anything, I'd replace Adepts with an alterante cleric class, with d6 HD, 1/2 BAB, wizard weapon and armor profiencies. Call them a priest, or sage or what have you so you can have temple clerics who are not good at killing things, but fine spellcasters. I wouldn't have them replace adepts, but I would make them realtively common, and proper adventurer armored clerics rare, I beleive the world kind of marches towards arcane magic over divine, but its not yet there.

Thats something that I really think is needed... Clerics are automatically Combat focused by mechanics with their armour/shield proficiencies and compared with Sphere bonuses side by side with Wizards a little too bad arse. Clerics as they are now with a BARDS casting progression would have rocked.

And the introduction of the 'Priest' which is a wizard mechanics but full casting (like the current cleric) would have been great.

Best I can hope for now is that a 'priest' NPC makes its way into the Magic book that will come out with the Magus and I have SMALL hope of that.

The word "priest" is too useful for us to denote a character as a "a member of a church" without automatically associating that character with being a cleric. A priest of Desna can be a cleric, an expert, a fighter, an wizard, or whatever.


Preist is just an example word really, it is obviously too good for general use. Even sage is more useful as a non class word. Maybe neophyte or something, a pity the adept is already taken. That said I don't use adepts and don't have any interest in magic using NPC classes really, I just like the idea of a very non-combatant holy character, but truth be told thats easily done by having a cleric not wear armor or carry waepons.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

see I view it a similar but different way:

1 in 25 get a PC level of those only 1/10 survive their first adventure, and 50% of those that do survive retire adventuring after that.

I'm not a stats guy, but how would that effect your number Deadman?

Andoran

Cpt_kirstov wrote:

see I view it a similar but different way:

1 in 25 get a PC level of those only 1/10 survive their first adventure, and 50% of those that do survive retire adventuring after that.

I'm not a stats guy, but how would that effect your number Deadman?

Well, it depends. If you assume that only applies to Adventurers and don't assume everyone with a PC class is an adventurer (I certainly don't, very few of them are) it might not effect them at all, very few of the PC class people will just be "adventurers", however you define that term.

If you do assume it applies to everyone with a PC class, then it'd drop the number of actual PC class people to 1/250, only half of which (1 in 500) are going to be above 3rd or 4th level.

That's...around an order of magnitude lower in numbers. Too low for NPCs of PC classes to plausibly crop up as often as you need them. Or to accurately reflect Golarion.

Now, this brings up the interesting point of who you consider an adventurer. Is a Ranger who works as a bounty hunter an adventurer? A sergeant in a mercenary company? A Wizard who specializes in removing complex, dangerous, curses? A daring burglar? A wandering bard? Where do you draw the line? Certainly a local sherriff or an item-crafting mage, or a village priest aren't "adventurers" in any meaningful sense, though they may have PC classes.

I tend to define Adventurers as small groups of people (or occasionally individuals) who go out and "take care" of problems like entire Goblin tribes, or raid ancient tombs for treasure, or slay monsters for a reasonable fee. And while I wouldn't put the numbers on Adventurers quite as low as you do, they are most definitely not a high percentage of the PC class people out there.

I'd say they're maybe 10% or so of the PC class folks out there after casualties are accounted for (so roughly 1 in 200 people, maybe twice your figure on surviving adventurers). A bit more before the casualties are figured, but I don't count the dead in these statistics. And with a definite tendency to be higher level. I'd say about half of 9th level plus characters are or have been adventurers, just because it's the sort of profession where you wind up very good or very dead.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

I'd be fine with saying 1 in 10 NPCs who have stat blocks that anyone would want to bother creating had some sort of spell-casting ability.

But the VAST majority of the humanoids in civilized areas should be commoners, aristocrats, warriors, or experts. Although there's a lot of magic in Golarion... I actually wouldn't call it "high magic." Folks still use lanterns and torches, not magic, to light most homes and city streets, after all.

Sadly the Settlements page that Deadmanwalking liked say exactly the opposite.

A thorp with 20 or less habitants has constant access to a lest 1 spell caster capable of casting level one spells.
Similarly the part where it say that you have a 75% chance/week of finding any magic item worth 16.000 gp or less speak of a large magical economy.

On one side it is necessary, in a world where there are creatures that can be hit only by magical weapons most wealthy people will by one as "insurance", similarly merchants would be buying stuff to resist charm and suggestion or they would be constantly cheated by bards and wizards.
On the other the players taking the time and going to the "big city" to buy plenty of low cost items sometime break immersion.

Balancing the two things sometime can be a pain.

What we lack is a way to say "yes, Elister is a busybody always intervening when there is trouble but today he has other stuff to do and can't help you" without feeling a bit foolish.

The power of old adventures (especially spellcasters) don't really vane enough with age to remove them from the arena.
A 20 level paladin strength could have diminished by a large value with age, but his levels, magic items and spells will more than compensate for that when confronted to a young fifth level paladin.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ksorkrax wrote:


Cartigan wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Folks still use lanterns and torches, not magic, to light most homes and city streets, after all.
Probably because the average pay for a commoner is one quarter of a pittance a week. It would take an untrained laborer 1100 days to earn enough money to buy an everburning torch.

Think about cantrips. If magic was more common, why bother with everburning torches when you can memorize the light cantrip which every full caster (plus bards) has?

Nice work for a apprentice wizard. The lamplighter. ;D

You go around casting your unlimited number of light cantrips to illuminate the streets.

Sadly the spell last only 10 minutes and you can only have one light spell active at the time, so it don't work.
So in reality you can't substitute a light spell for torches or lamps at the corners of the streets, you can only use it for yourself.

For a big city investing in everburning torches for the plaza and some important street isn't a bad idea, especially if your buildings are mostly constructed with wood.
Your only problem will be drunk level 5 wizard playing pranks and dispelling the torches.

Andoran

James Jacobs wrote:
Helaman wrote:
GM Eoin wrote:
I agree with James on that. If anything, I'd replace Adepts with an alterante cleric class, with d6 HD, 1/2 BAB, wizard weapon and armor profiencies. Call them a priest, or sage or what have you so you can have temple clerics who are not good at killing things, but fine spellcasters. I wouldn't have them replace adepts, but I would make them realtively common, and proper adventurer armored clerics rare, I beleive the world kind of marches towards arcane magic over divine, but its not yet there.

Thats something that I really think is needed... Clerics are automatically Combat focused by mechanics with their armour/shield proficiencies and compared with Sphere bonuses side by side with Wizards a little too bad arse. Clerics as they are now with a BARDS casting progression would have rocked.

And the introduction of the 'Priest' which is a wizard mechanics but full casting (like the current cleric) would have been great.

Best I can hope for now is that a 'priest' NPC makes its way into the Magic book that will come out with the Magus and I have SMALL hope of that.

The word "priest" is too useful for us to denote a character as a "a member of a church" without automatically associating that character with being a cleric. A priest of Desna can be a cleric, an expert, a fighter, an wizard, or whatever.

Is Pathfinder using the word mystic? That could be a solution as a replacement for the adept. Some may not be all that reliable, causing a few PC headaches. (Maybe that would give some clerics, paladins and inquisitors something to check out.)

Andoran

Diego Rossi wrote:


Sadly the Settlements page that Deadmanwalking liked say exactly the opposite.
A thorp with 20 or less habitants has constant access to a lest 1 spell caster capable of casting level one spells.

Sure, but going by my stats which are, well, based on those rather directly, that still leaves over 90% (92.5%, specifically) of people as the classes Mr. Jacobs mentions. That's a vast majority right there.

Diego Rossi wrote:


Similarly the part where it say that you have a 75% chance/week of finding any magic item worth 16.000 gp or less speak of a large magical economy.

On one side it is necessary, in a world where there are creatures that can be hit only by magical weapons most wealthy people will by one as "insurance", similarly merchants would be buying stuff to resist charm and suggestion or they would be constantly cheated by bards and wizards.
On the other the players taking the time and going to the "big city" to buy plenty of low cost items sometime break immersion.

Huh? I'm really not following you here. NPC class =/= Lack of Magic Items. The two don't inherently have anything to do with each other. Magic items can be common as dirt (and most Wizards make their living creating them at a fairly rapid rate) and over 90% of people still have NPC classes. It's not quite that way in Golarion (magic items aren't as common as all that), but my point is that the two don't equate directly.

Diego Rossi wrote:


Balancing the two things sometime can be a pain.

What we lack is a way to say "yes, Elister is a busybody always intervening when there is trouble but today he has other stuff to do and can't help you" without feeling a bit foolish.

Huh? Again, look at my numbers. They give you a way to say exactly this. People that powerful are rare as all hell.

Diego Rossi wrote:

The power of old adventures (especially spellcasters) don't really vane enough with age to remove them from the arena.

A 20 level paladin strength could have diminished by a large value with age, but his levels, magic items and spells will more than compensate for that when confronted to a young fifth level paladin.

That 20th level Paladin? Literally 1 in something like 100,000. He's rare enough that the GM can casually have the PCs never meet him, or have him be too busy slapping around demigods to help the PCs even if they do meet him.

.
.
.
I'm...really not understanding your problem here.


I think if you go by those demographics you will have a "world of weaklings" that do not make sense. If most humans are commoners why are they not all dead? Killed by stray kobolds and angry housecats. Not to mention how would ALL those farmers survive in the middle of the wilderness where they only thing they have less of than copper pieces are hit points. Not to mention how is that PCs keep running into the only NPCs who have PC levels? I know it is a "story", but if stories have a basis in paradigms. If I can't buy your paradigm the story quits making sense.

If you look closely you will see that game designers don't even use that statistic. Not only do they throw it how for the sake of plot, they throw it even when they are dealing with large demographics. Take a look at Kingmaker. They have the PCs facing an army of 1000 4th Level Barbarians. This in the back drop that there is probably only 10k worth of members of the tribe in the area at the most.

I personally threw out that idea.

I use the following logic when making NPCs on the fly:
- The Aristocrat & Adept classes are gone. The Commoner and Warrior exist, but they are "gateway classes" (people take 1 level but when they level again they graduate to a real class. They are essentially Level 0). The only real NPC class is expert.
- 10% of the population are high achivers. Through a combination of hard work, dedication, and wealth they achieve levels without adventuring.
- 60% of the population are normal achiever. They live their lives and overcoming daily challenges and just living leads them an increase levels without adventuring.
- 30% of the population are slackers/destitute. Through a combination of laziness or poverty they never develop much of any skills. If they level very slowly.

Using Humans as a base this the rate of leveling I have for them (above 15):
High Achiever Level = (Age - 15) / 5 + 1 (Max of 7 at 45)
Normal Achiever Level = (Age - 15) / 10 + 1 (Max of 4 at 45)
Low Achiever Level = (Age - 15) / 15 (Max of 2 at 45)

Most of my population takes levels in Expert, Fighter, or Barbarian based on their culture (Multiclassing between the three is very common). It is possible for someone to break the above patterns but it is because they have life transforming adventures. Also this leads to population with an average of 2 or 3 levels of Expert. Thus it becomes plausible how humanity can survive all these onslaughts of kobolds and angry housecats. They are typically packing over 10 hps and can at least use a club, knife, or crossbow.

As for trying to determine number of people over level 7? I don't really bother, there are as many over level 7 as plot requires. However the rule of thumb I have is that anyone over level 7 has some sort of adventuring in life.

Andoran

tlc_web tlc_web wrote:
I think if you go by those demographics you will have a "world of weaklings" that do not make sense. If most humans are commoners why are they not all dead? Killed by stray kobolds and angry housecats. Not to mention how would ALL those farmers survive in the middle of the wilderness where they only thing they have less of than copper pieces are hit points. Not to mention how is that PCs keep running into the only NPCs who have PC levels? I know it is a "story", but if stories have a basis in paradigms. If I can't buy your paradigm the story quits making sense.

Uh...Goblins and Kobolds are dangerous. If they weren't, why send Adventurers out to fight them? If everybody can casually take several goblins, why are they even a threat?

Your base assumptions are messing with the world more than mine.

Most Humans are 2nd-4th level in some combination of Commoner, Warrior, and Expert. That's more than sufficient to not 'have fewer HP than CP'.

As for why PCs meet those with PC classes? Because those are the interesting people. They're notable. They're the mayor, sherriff, professional mercenary, and brilliant performer. PCs do meet and interact with various NPC class folks, but to be honest, few of them are that interesting. It doesn't strain credibility at all that impressive, powerful, travelers would be likely to meet the leadng lights of a small community.

And in a larger one, well, it depends on where the PCs go and what they do who they meet. I mean, the Thieve's Guild or a bar frequented by mercenaries are going to contain a disproportionate number of PC class folks, and in my experience, that's where PCs go.

tlc_web tlc_web wrote:
If you look closely you will see that game designers don't even use that statistic. Not only do they throw it how for the sake of plot, they throw it even when they are dealing with large demographics. Take a look at Kingmaker. They have the PCs facing an army of 1000 4th Level Barbarians. This in the back drop that there is probably only 10k worth of members of the tribe in the area at the most.

Well, first off, I'm actually hoping to play Kingmaker, so spoilers bad. Second, 1000 characters will not be identically statted. "1000 4th level Barbarians" is an approximation. A simplification for ease of use. Would 300 Warriors, 200 Adepts, 300 Barbarians and 200 Clerics be as usable? I doubt it. Would it make a difference? Maybe, but not a huge one. Generic stats of this nature mean little.

tlc_web tlc_web wrote:
I personally threw out that idea.

Okay. Looking at your chart, aside from topping off at 7th instead of 6th (which is going too far, I think. Even 6th is pushing it, IMO, and I only included it to count Sorcerers and Oracles in the same spell progression category as Wizards and Clerics), and scrapping NPC classes, this isn't materially different from mine to a notable degree. Well, aside from being based on age, which is odd on several levels, and my chart doesn't go into for simplicity.

You're powering up people unnecessarily, and not enough to matter...except that the PCs will feel less cool. If being a PC class is rare, then even 1st level PCs can feel special. If it's universal, then your 25 year old Fighter is just either actively retarded or a slacker since he's not level 2 yet. And even when he gets to level 5, he's no more than slightly ahead of the herd Hell, even at 9 or 10, people with classes within 2 or 3 levels aren't uncommon. It just feels less like he's a hero, a protagonist, and more like he's an above average swordsman, but nobody to write home about, and where's the fun in that?


Kobolds and Goblins are dangerous to 2nd Level Experts because:
-- They attack in large numbers.
-- They attack soft targets using suprise. (A farmer has to go tend his field. A farmer has to sleep. NPCs do not live their lives behind secure walls)
-- They live in trap infested underground complexes designed for their size.

Meanwhile a 2nd Level Expert does not want to risk his life or go around killing other people. If he had wanted to to be an expert at killing he would be an adventurer instead of getting a nice, relatively safe, honest job. And suppose that that the NPC in town that hired the PCs is one of those aged high achievers who achieved level 7 and not only that it is in a class like wizard. This NPC has a mindset that adventuring is deadily and unnecessary. He will look for adventurers first, handle it personally second.

If I was running Kobold raids against a Human town that is much larger, this is how I would run it with my base assumptions:
-- Kobolds raid outlying farms and travelers. Given that the Kobolds can attack with suprise and concentrated numbers, it does not matter that the Kobolds are probably outnumbered by the community 10 to 1. The community can not cope with these tactics.
-- Faced with kobolds that they can not find and likely have a well defended base camp they put out a call for "experts" who will only be paid upon successfully ending the kobolds. Into this enters the PCs. They have the right combination of combat skills that the career orientated community members lack to find and defeat the kobolds. They are heralded as heroes for their success, and if they die then no skin of the community's noses.
-- IF the PCs never come or fail (TPK) they eventually organize posses and start combing the wilderness for these kobolds. Unfornately the 2nd level experts might have more hit points, but they lack combat skills and experience, and the kobolds set traps and false trails coupled with hit and run tactics. Posses lose members to this manner. Eventually dug-in kobold lair is found and the community remove it, again with the loss of more members of the community.

So at the end of the day it is still more efficient to try adventurers first and what they do is still heroic.

-----------------

Sorry to be spoilerish, but it is a small spoiler. After all the module is called "War of the River Kings". So there is going to be a war.

By the mass combat rules in the book it is implicitly understood that there fudging allowed. But at the end of the day if the army's typical (majority) member is not X (where X is the race/class/level/equipmemt combo used for determining the army stats), then you need do pick a new base. So they really do assume those kind of numbers.

------------------

I feel little need to make a 1st to 3rd level PC feel "special" or more powerful than NPCs. If they wanted to be "special" right out the gate they would want to play a game like Exalted. Besides in my opinion a better way to denote PCs awesomeness is their MUCH better base stats. In my games I usually make my ordinary NPCs using 10 to 15 point buy (and will put them on a level that makes the plot work) and let my PCs have 25 point. And if you look at the recommendated stats for designing NPCs, the typical are are well below what 4d6 drop 1 result in. For example I play in in game where my PC rolled stats (he used 4d6 drop 1 and reroll 1s) that were the equilivant of a 50 point buy character. That 1st level character could probably easily slaughter 4 2nd level Experts in an melee fight (I do a minimum of 12 damage when raging, +6 to hit, and 15 hit points).

If you look at the chart, only 10% of the population tops out at 7th level.

As for your agrument regarding players starting at advanced ages without levels. That was my own worry but I found it to be an unnecessary wory. 9 times out of 10 your player will realize that it does not make sense that he is level 1 at an advanced age and something impeded his leveling, and will come up with a reasonable explanation as to why he is level 1. In my game I am running someone wanted to run a dwarf in the equilivant of 30ish in dwarven years. And HE provided the explaination without prompting (lots of quite but unproductive time in a temple and lots traveling). IF your player does not do this, and then argues with you over it, he is likely a minmaxer just trying to get the age bonuses for his spellcaster.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
You're powering up people unnecessarily, and not enough to matter...except that the PCs will feel less cool. If being a PC class is rare, then even 1st level PCs can feel special. If it's universal, then your 25 year old Fighter is just either actively retarded or a slacker since he's not level 2 yet. And even when he gets to level 5, he's no more than slightly ahead of the herd Hell, even at 9 or 10, people with classes within 2 or 3 levels aren't uncommon. It just feels less like he's a hero, a protagonist, and more like he's an above average swordsman, but nobody to write home about, and where's the fun in that?

It is odd...what people find fun. I have to disagree with things like 'level demographics' when used to drive down the level of NPCs so that PCs can 'feel special'...or 'heroic'.

Personaly I like a world with a large cast of 'retired' adventures of high level. Where NPCs that fight demons or orcs daily actualy have the levels to reflect that. A world where NPCs villians don't have be brain dead and just wipe out the only threat to their plans, because there are other threats...etc.

Such a world actualy make me think of my PC has more special, heroic, etc. Than a world where everybody(the npcs) are handicapped so the PCs can feel 'special'.

It also produces a world and a story that is more consistent and and alot more intersting.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
John Kretzer wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
You're powering up people unnecessarily, and not enough to matter...except that the PCs will feel less cool. If being a PC class is rare, then even 1st level PCs can feel special. If it's universal, then your 25 year old Fighter is just either actively retarded or a slacker since he's not level 2 yet. And even when he gets to level 5, he's no more than slightly ahead of the herd Hell, even at 9 or 10, people with classes within 2 or 3 levels aren't uncommon. It just feels less like he's a hero, a protagonist, and more like he's an above average swordsman, but nobody to write home about, and where's the fun in that?

It is odd...what people find fun. I have to disagree with things like 'level demographics' when used to drive down the level of NPCs so that PCs can 'feel special'...or 'heroic'.

Personaly I like a world with a large cast of 'retired' adventures of high level. Where NPCs that fight demons or orcs daily actualy have the levels to reflect that. A world where NPCs villians don't have be brain dead and just wipe out the only threat to their plans, because there are other threats...etc.

Such a world actualy make me think of my PC has more special, heroic, etc. Than a world where everybody(the npcs) are handicapped so the PCs can feel 'special'.

It also produces a world and a story that is more consistent and and alot more intersting.

I find it amusing that the world you are describing is EXACTLY what Deadmanwalking is advocating. He is just providing the numbers so he can reference it. Through mid levels, there are people running arround who can deal with problems everywhere. They aren't common, but they are there. You just happen to be one of them. Once you get past 10 or so, when you are the one fighting the demons, there are relatively few people on your caliber. There are still some, but you have to go looking.

One of my biggest problems in games is when I look at the GM and go, why the f+@! are they asking us low level mooks to do something? They have an army of better qualified people. I really do not like games that have significant numbers of high level PC-classed NPCs.


I've always felt PC levels were just that: for player characters. The whole point of NPC classes is to create non-player characters. Once any person attains a level in a PC class that person has already become extraordinary. In my game worlds the PC's may in fact be the only adventurers around and are treated as such.

If an NPC, say in an AP, is not intended to be involved in combat with the PCs I typically strip them of any PC levels or abilities (mentally) and run them as NPCs.

As an example look at "Krojun Eats What He Kills" from CotCT. The PCs are not generally expected to fight him so why bother with all the barbarian levels and stats? He is a hero amongst the Shoanti for sure, but he can still be a hero if he were a 10th level Warrior. So in my campaign that's what he is. I say save all the PC stuff for the players and for their extraordinary opponents. Adepts are particularly useful for this as it allows some divine interaction for the local populace yet still leaves room for a PC cleric to be a "favored one" in the eyes of a Deity. You could have a 12th level adept that mentors a 3rd level cleric for a time but knows in his heart he could never attain the power of this "special" being.

I love the interesting backgrounds and details Paizo puts into their NPCs for the APs but I really, really, wish they would just stick to the simple NPC format for all of them. Instead of "Krojun (followed by a 1/2 page of PC like stat block)" it should be "Krojun (warrior 10)". You could (and should) still have all the personality but just use the NPC classes in the way they were intended: for the characters the players are not controlling.


I personally dislike most of the NPC classes and approach classes with a "what is good for the goose is good for the gander". If PCs can take PC classes, so can NPCs.

I can agree "cibet44" on the the whole "PC's should be special argument", but I feel that the much better way to do that is through attributes alone. To me layering on that low levels and inferior classes for NPCs feels like overkill and unrealistic. In the beginning I think PCs should derive the specialness from the fact they have more raw potential than NPCs.

I can also agree with Caineach. I hate it when NPC quest givers have poor reasons for hiring PCs. But THAT is HACK GMing, a good GM will design his campaign in such a way that his quests make sense and he is not just giving out quests to give out quests. For example if my Quest Giver had a large army I would establish that it it is busy on the border with a much larger threat and he needs the PCs to handle something OR that he is wanting to establish an elite force and the dealing with the kobolds is a test. In any game I GMing if the local authority is hiring PCs to deal with kobolds when he has an available army, then that probably means he is setting you up and when you get to the kobolds you will find out it was all a trap and the PCs are actually going to sacraficed to some demon. BUT you do not have to hamstring every NPC with low levels and terrible classes in the world to make 1st level adventures make sense, just rewrite you story.

Like for instance suppose that I came up with this idea for an awesome long term NPC and organization he runs. This 10th level rogue has established a very successful merchant company with several 4th level henchmen in his employ and has a 9th level wizard for a wife. It sounds like I am painting myself in corner. Why would this 10th level kick ass NPC hire a bunch of 1st level PCs to deal with some kobolds. First I layer explainations. A kick ass person has kick ass enemies. Currently his wife has detected lots of scrying on their warehouses and the kick ass NPC knows that the minute he leaves town his enemies will swoop in and rob his warehouses and kill his men. On top of that I lay that his wife is pregnant, she is no condition travel and he does not want to risk his beloved. So his wife can't do it. As for all those 4th level henchmen? Most of them are tied down to guarding his expensive merchandise, so if he sends them off to hunt kobolds then he leaves his merchandise underguarded. After all kobolds are weak, their suprise hit and run attacks are very effective it may be a distraction. And as for why he does not hire more 4th level henchmen and send them off? 4th level henchmen are expensive. Why pay for 4th level expertise when 1st level expertise is probably all that is required. And as for why the NPC does not contact the authorities, I could explain that the authorities are either corrupt or the raids are happening in an area outside their jurisdiction.


James Jacobs wrote:
Mojorat wrote:
one thing kind of odd though. given the vast majority of npc spell casters are adepts. you rarely ever actually encounter them. warriors all the time among humanoids. but not adepts.

My take:

The adept NPC class is kind of a waste of space. Those NPC classes are meant to be used for relatively non-important background NPCs, or in the case of aristocrat and expert, to be used as a "garnish" for other NPCs who have more levels in an actual character class.

As with any spellcasting class, the adept works terrible as a garnish. And as there's not any real world spellcasters, the idea of having a mundane spellcasting class on par with warriors and commoners is sort of silly.

All of which is why you rarely ever see us actually using the adept class in Pathfinder products. We just make them sorcerers or clerics or druids or oracles or witches or whatever. More interesting that way.

Also the adept has a really weird spell set, as well as spell levels for spells which can really bugger things up.


cibet44 wrote:
I've always felt PC levels were just that: for player characters. The whole point of NPC classes is to create non-player characters. Once any person attains a level in a PC class that person has already become extraordinary. In my game worlds the PC's may in fact be the only adventurers around and are treated as such.

Fascinating.

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