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Commoner Role & it's Disparaging Connotations


Pathfinder Online

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Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Commoner has a BIG problem. It's name.

I understand GW has to pull from PF Roles, and make everything fit to make sense for the Brand, I get it, but Commoner is more or less an outright insult to anyone. If someone on the street used the word, your first reaction would likely be of confusion followed quickly by anger or bewilderment.

Synonyms for commoner include the following, none of which have a positive historical or personal meaning to ANYBODY I can imagine.

Huge list:

Synonyms for commoner

plebeian

bourgeois

citizen

civilian

peasant

denizen

native

serf

resident

settler

subject

taxpayer

peasant

plebe

proletarian

yeoman

servant

subordinate

We are supposed to be powerful, fun, interesting Characters in game, and recycling the name "Commoner" for a Player Character Role is just plain silly. In the TTOP nobody was EVER meant to actually play a commoner, it was made so you could stat up helpless citizenry, and give them some moderate "benefits" to being that over say a Rogue or Expert.

You have a variety of other words you can use to name the Commoner Role, and you SHOULD at least look at using one of them instead because there is simply nothing "epic" about being a Commoner when everyone else is running around as Assassins, Pathfinders, Barbarians, and Wizards.

Choosing to keep Commoner is the decision that legacy is more important to Role equality in terms of perceived power, wealth, influence, and experience. A level 20 Commoner Role PC is still, even at his height of awesomeness, relegated to equate to "just some guy who picks up stuff for a living."

Goblin Squad Member

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Sorry Carbon, I just don't see the problem. You list Citizen and Civilian in your synonyms and say it like it's a bad thing? There are many great stories involving the common person rising up to become a hero, not by gaining special powers but by using their mundane talents in new and fantastic ways.

This sounds more like an ego issue than anything else.

Grand Lodge

I think "Citizen" and "Civilian" are awful examples, in fact some of the worst on the list for describing what the Role will actually DO. The only one I can think of that goes further is Serf, as they are essentially indentured servants (Read Slave). All these phrases are integrally tied to what Commoner means. They imply that the individual is unimportant or non-valuable in anything short than the taxes they pay. This also implies that there is a social hierarchy/caste system whereby some are "lesser" than others.

Nobody wants to be "Common," the primary root of the term, we all want to be "Good" "Rare" "Special."

An ego issue, yes quite actually! You hit the nail on the head there actually, and that's part of the issue at hand in that VERY few people would ever make a decision that labels them in such a way to hurt their ego; Suggesting that Commoner will be a VERY unpopular Role unless it is outright made 100% necessary for organizations to utilize Commoners to prop up their economy.

Goblin Squad Member

I see your point and agree whole heatedly. It is a matter of ego but a very important one. At the point of character creation if given the option of being a "hero" or a "commoner" a much larger percentage will choose hero. If the option was instead "entrepreneur" or "craftsperson" a greater percentile would choose the latter than would "commoner".

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Funnily enough, I expect the commoner will actually be a very popular role no matter what it's named because gathering is generally quite lucrative for the amount of effort involved.

Laborer may be a better descriptor given commoners are supposed to be dirt poor.

I don't really care about the connotation but is going to be a bit odd to see "commoners" flashing huge sacks of coins.

Goblin Squad Member

No problem at all with the name commoner

Goblin Squad Member

6 people marked this as a favorite.

"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Settler implies some measure of self-reliance and proactive go-getter potential, to me.

Goblin Squad Member

Commoners are awesome. When you get enough of them together, you can create a railgun!

In all seriousness though, I see know problem with the name. It's a d20 staple NPC class. GW will come up with unique features that make the role viable for players. Wouldn't you want to be some Joe Schmo in a kingdom you created?

Goblin Squad Member

I'm not understanding this commoner role. In other games I've played, you were a commoner until you you picked a level of any class (cleric, fighter, etc). Some players would never take levels in any class and could still become quite powerful as commoners, but without any of the bonuses achieved through the class system. A commoner could still at any point become a hero, should they choose to (but some people remained commoners indefinitely). In PFO we have to choose commoner at the character creation screen? My idea of what a commoner is seems wrong. What am I missing? I don't have any problem with the term, but if you're locked into the role from the start, I could see a potential problem.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It could be worse, they could have used "filth", "maggot", "untouchable", etc...

Commoner just means that they are filling a common place role such as gathering.

Goblin Squad Member

I was browsing a book on 12th century peasantry in England; interestingly enough, in a second hand book-shop. What struck me was how much it was based on economic status of different people and in particular debt.

I think our characters will be commoners. There used to be such a thing as "The Commons" which then led to "The Tragedy of the Commons". Is "Commoner" an association of that then?

In human groups the larger they become the tranformation of specialized roles becomes necessary via "Division of Labour" for example the overhead of managing and organizing more people. Commoner is just the standard role I guess albeit everyone will think they should be "the chief and not the indian".

I quite like the medieval flavor of "Commoner". I do see the OP's point, that by today's reckoning in more developed countries that work off the basis of decreasing the size of the "lower class" as a form of continued prosperity/growth (eg education for all, social housing etc); there could be a disquiet reaction to the use of the word.

Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Personally, I love commoner. In a medieval setting, most of us will be commoners (i.e. not nobility). I, for one, tend not to have my characters be the all important hero type. I like showing the potential of the common man rising to the challenge, not born to it.

As a title for Pathfinder, I think it makes sense. The Commoner roles of harvesting and refining are the jobs that many people (commoners being the many) would do - picking herbs, mining ore, curing hides, etc. It's the common jobs that keep the economic machine rolling forward. As Ryan has stated elsewhere, most players are likely to be engaged in some form of harvesting early on - most players, again making it a common/regular/most people are doing it kind of activity.

Scarab Sages Goblinworks Executive Founder

I'm not sure how character creation will work post alpha, but I was under the impression that we wouldn't be picking clases. Everyone would essentialy start out as a nobody and as you trained feats and gained achievements you would start to train the progress toward a role. In so doing you aren't going to see take these feats to get commoner 1, you will take feats that you want to progress the playstyle you want and you might get commoner 1 in that process.

Of course, there will be external guides (and Stephen mentioned the possibility of a progression tree) but I think the role advancement is fluid enough that, like others have said, people are going to likely progress in this whether they want to or not. It is just a matter of the people who want to focus on it and if that is the gameplay they enjoy I don't think the title that shows up on their character sheet is going to make a huge amount of difference.

Goblin Squad Member

It was my impression that in (early?) EE we'd be limited to a single character? (Could be just no destiny's twin early on, though?!). Therefore, I'm expecting a lot of "dual- or triple-classing", i.e. there won't be any straight-up commoners anyway, but my cleric will by pure necessity also become proficient in gathering and refining herbs and essences("commoner") and alchemy/iconography("expert"), e.g. (or if I was leaning towards torag, mining/smelting/smithing, etc.). This will initially limit my ability to advance to the top tiers of any one role.

As time goes by and adds and dt are introduced, more characters will be around who focus on a single role, only thereby making it possible to achieve the best results. Especially high-rank commoners will be in great demand, because they are absolutely needed to mine the best starmetal and only they can ultimately refine the adamantine ingots +5 that everyone will want.

I can absolutely see people greatly enjoying this, especially those less inclined towards PvP. I don't think the name will turn anyone off, and I really don't see "the common man" or "the working man" as negative at all. There just is no better term to decribe the various activities included in that role.

Goblin Squad Member

It's probably not a big deal, and while I'm betting there are words that would work better, finding one that is succinct and doesn't imply a particular sex is often a challenge. As an example, "tradesman" is nice, for the described rolls, but to be welcoming, it would need to be "tradesperson," which is a mouthful.

Maybe a made up word could get some traction, but it might also just get terrible reviews. It's too bad that "forger" has such negative connotations in our society, as that would make a nice homage to the game design. Perhaps venturer or explorer would work, but it's a tough call.

Goblin Squad Member

If you are going to have aristocrats, you have to have commoners. Heck of a lot better name than slave or serf.

Goblin Squad Member

I like commoner. =)

Goblin Squad Member

With all the games with heroes and heroines I think it will be refreshing to be able to play a commoner.

Goblin Squad Member

KotC Carbon D. Metric wrote:
A level 20 Commoner Role PC is still, even at his height of awesomeness, relegated to equate to "just some guy who picks up stuff for a living."

That is part of the reason I'm opposed to allowing craftsmen to put signatures on items they create; it says all the people at the beginning of the crafting cycle are unimportant - the only important guy is the one who did the very last step.

In the end, I think my character will have a good amount of commoner skills, maybe more than any other role. He'll likely identify himself as "a skilled miner", "a member of the militia", or "a citizen of Brighthaven". But he won't identify himself as a commoner - that's the invisible masses of NPCs.

Goblin Squad Member

What an odd thought: commoners will be uncommon.

Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sorry, but your personal dislike of the name isn't a big deal or a reason to change. Keeping class names like Expert, Commoner, Aristocrat is one of the many small ways GW is retaining the flavor of the Pathfinder IP. Beyond that, the name is pretty unimportant. What matters is how the game allows us to play a role like a commoner: a savvy and forceful teamster, a hard-driving foreman running a lumber camp, etc.

That's where the juice is.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Barbarian is an offensive name for a role. It implies I have to be crass, savage, and uncivilized. It must be changed immediately or no one will ever play this game and it will fail so hard it echos back in time and cancels the kickstarter.

/sarcasm =P

Goblin Squad Member

I personally have nothing against having few squads of yeomen or warband of natives in my settlement. :)
Besides, commoners have higher status in RK than in the rest of Golarion - high-quality laborers are hard to find here and they have right of free people to go away at any moment. (iirc Guide to River Kingdoms)


Personally, I like that we're using the NPC classes. :)

Goblin Squad Member

While I have no issue with Commoner, I think Settler would be equally acceptable. The question is does "Settler" fit the role that "Commoner" would be performing?

Goblin Squad Member

Well, if we don't think there will be very many of them, we could rename it to Uncommoner...


Hey, guys, this is my 21,001st post, including aliases!

Just wanted to comment on that somewhere.

/productive member of community

Goblin Squad Member

You do realize there are entire threads that are just all of your aliases bickering with one another, right?


HE HAS A POINT


Shut up, you promised not to post anymore.

Goblin Squad Member

Bickering with oneself is always fun. Especially if you can hide that all the aliases or characters are one person. :P

Goblin Squad Member

Actually, our "commoner" characters will spend a lot of their time bossing NPC Common Folk at harvesting camps and refining facilities, so they should probably weigh in as at least minor gentry or some kind of supervisory role.

Overseer is probably the title that most accurately reflects what they actually do.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

I like 'yeoman' myself. Yeoman as 'a commoner who cultivates his own land' is recorded from the 15th century. In Old English, the word "man" was gender-neutral. The words 'wer' and 'wyf' were used to specify male or female where necessary.

Grand Lodge

Guurzak wrote:

Actually, our "commoner" characters will spend a lot of their time bossing NPC Common Folk at harvesting camps and refining facilities, so they should probably weigh in as at least minor gentry or some kind of supervisory role.

Overseer is probably the title that most accurately reflects what they actually do.

I was thinking "Foreman" or like Kevar suggested "yeoman."

Scarab Sages

Since it is a long-used term for NPC classes, it's unliked to be changed.

Still bored for the personality name tho...

Goblin Squad Member

Everyone wants to be the 1%.

Goblin Squad Member

I don't find the idea of being common degrading at all. That may be because of my Chestertonian leanings.

Goblin Squad Member

Being wrote:
Everyone wants to be the 1%.

Better than being part of the 47%!

Goblin Squad Member

Well... more comfortable at any rate, I hear.

Goblin Squad Member

Fnatk wrote:
Being wrote:
Everyone wants to be the 1%.
Better than being part of the 47%!

I want to be part of the 0.001%. :P

Goblin Squad Member

I admittedly did not read any of the comments. I wanted to throw my lot in with, "I agree."

Speaking to my wife about the game (she's EE, but has been watching me play Alpha), she's probably going to play some hybrid between adventurer and commoner. But both she and I do not like the "commoner" title.

"What are you playing as?"
"A commoner."
"Wait, so you don't do anything? You just stand around in town the entire time?"
"No, it's way more epic than it sounds. I pick up sticks and rocks and stuff."
"..."

Goblin Squad Member

how about Laborer? or Nodwicks?

Goblin Squad Member

Colonist, Settler, or Pioneer might have more positive connotation than Commoner, but I'm not sure that's the flavor GW is going for here. If most of our characters are from outside the River Kingdoms, those names might be perfectly appropriate. Of those, I like Settler or Pioneer, rather than Colonist which implies a foreign backer.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Shut up, you promised not to post anymore.

And your leaving my PBP game to spend more time bickering with yourself?

I am slightly insulted......you "commoner!"

Goblin Squad Member

Kitsune Aou wrote:

I admittedly did not read any of the comments. I wanted to throw my lot in with, "I agree."

Speaking to my wife about the game (she's EE, but has been watching me play Alpha), she's probably going to play some hybrid between adventurer and commoner. But both she and I do not like the "commoner" title.

"What are you playing as?"
"A commoner."
"Wait, so you don't do anything? You just stand around in town the entire time?"
"No, it's way more epic than it sounds. I pick up sticks and rocks and stuff."
"..."

Why do you WANT an epic-sounding title, when the role basically IS about picking up sticks and rocks :P

I actually like it because in a sandbox, we are more than just the heroes and adventurers. We are also the laborers, merchants and craftsmen and I LIKE that there are roles for those "mundane" tasks. I'd also point out that while someone may focus on commoner skills, they aren't limited to being "a commoner" at all - they can take more glamorous skills as they see fit. This is a situation where the lack of a true class system comes into play, for me.

Goblin Squad Member

OOH! Mundanes!!!!

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Personally, I like that we're using the NPC classes. :)

I like that we're making the NPC classes relevant.

Goblin Squad Member

I don't recall seeing a big floaty neon sign above anyone's head saying "Commoner" so I don't see the problem, or are they planning on adding that in?

We will be what we want to be and it will be up to us to show and tell people what we are, Warrior, Wizard, Druid, Cleric, Witch, Ninja, Rogue, Assassin, Monk, King, Queen, GrandPoobah, Chief Monkey Poo Slinger, Commoner, Peon, Ranger, Finger Waggler, Traitor, Thief, Spy, Bandit, Liar, Cheat, Paladin, Holy Warrior, Crusader, Vanguard, Spellsword, Artifact Retrieval Expert, Bodyguard, Bouncer, Miner, Flower Pickin Fool, Herbalist.

Stop Getting so hung up on Class labels and be what you want.

Goblin Squad Member

Where is Summoner? or Oracle? or Aristocrat? or just plain Expert?

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