your thoughts on High Level NPCs

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dig314
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your thoughts on High Level NPCs

Post by dig314 »

This is a general question about NPCs not related to any game / campaign world.

It seems logical to me that a leader or high ranking member of the thieves guild / stronghold would be a high level thief / fighter with YEARs of experience in the field.

On the other hand, a prince who has spent every morning sparring / jousting, but has never been in a mortal combat would be a dangerous foe. In other words, more than level 0 NPC.

What about Clerics or Magic-Users? For an NPC only:

An extremely wise wizard has spent years acquiring and studying magical tomes. He/she could be a very dangerous foe even if they never spent time "Adventuring."

Same concept for a cleric. The high priest/priestess could be very pious and be granted powers / experience levels from their deity. Every high level priest shouldn't be required to smash a 1000 goblins to be powerful.

I am trying to get away from all high-level NPCs are either a current or retired adventurer. It's cliche! Then apply that idea back down the to barkeep, the armorer, etc. - then somehow weave that into the "role-playing." IE, PCs should have to wonder how dangerous an NPC is.

-PC speaking to armorer " Have you ever adventured before?"

-armorer replies "No, been working here my whole career."

-PC smirks "good, you must be level 0 with 4 hit points. I will kill you and rob your store."

******

Please share your thoughts.

Dig

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Rhuvein
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Re: your thoughts on High Level NPCs

Post by Rhuvein »

dig314 wrote:
-PC speaking to armorer " Have you ever adventured before?"

-armorer replies "No, been working here my whole career."

-PC smirks "good, you must be level 0 with 4 hit points. I will kill you and rob your store."

Armorer quips back as he lifts a nearby sword ~ "you can try young fool. I've been testing my weapons and practice much with the local knights. Yes, I'm a master swordsmen."

And he grins wickedly as takes a few swings of the sword.

PC: "Oh I was just kidding. I'll be right back, I have to use the outhouse"

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"Enjoy a 'world' where the fantastic is fact and magic really works!" ~ Gary Gygax

"By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes:" - Macbeth

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Rhuvein
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Post by Rhuvein »

Seriously though . . . dig, I like your thoughts and tend to agree. To me, all adventurers have a certain amount of life experience that they bring to their characters as they start out.

Some may aid them or compensate for other in-experiences they have. There's no reason that a wizard can't be strong and dexterous as well as being smart (even if the dice rolls for those attributes and not high).

Fighters can be smart, etc.

Some skills can and might be acquired as adventurers continue to gain experience. The fighter teaches the illusionist some swordplay. The rogue shows other interested party members how to recognize simple traps.

So many ways, to get tough or be smarter and better.

Heh, and the SIEGE engine mechanic will make it all work nicely.

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gideon_thorne
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Re: your thoughts on High Level NPCs

Post by gideon_thorne »

dig314 wrote:
-PC speaking to armorer " Have you ever adventured before?"

-armorer replies "No, been working here my whole career."

-PC smirks "good, you must be level 0 with 4 hit points. I will kill you and rob your store."

******

Please share your thoughts.

Dig

Even an npc armorer would likely have some skill level in combat. Logically, someone who crafts weapons and armor would have some skill in the use thereof. Gary's CZ background skills cover that.
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DangerDwarf
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Post by DangerDwarf »

I don't use levels or classes for my NPC's. Stat 'em like critters and they will be exactly what you want. No need for a world of retired adventurers.

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Post by voynich »

i do not assign levels to non-player characters; i simply give them the abilities they need to have for the function they are to play in the game. if, for some odd reason, the players attack the character, i have an idea of what they're supposed to be capable of, and then wing the rest. i would rather spend the time playing than writing the backgrounds.
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Post by Treebore »

If you want to be young and truly powerful, adventure. If your old and truly powerful you likely did little to no adventuring. Plus there is nothing that says you have to leave your town or city to find adventure. There is often plenty to be had no matter where you live.

Generally I say NPC's earn one level every 5 years, so a 10th level NPC will be 60 to 70 years old. Generally. Other times I'll give them a level for every one to two years.

Like someone said earlier, I give them what I want/need them to have for the purposes I am creating them for.

Nothing says they had to go out adventuring to get where they are. Its just that if you want to be 20th level before your 30 years old you went adventuring.
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Post by Go0gleplex »

THANKS!!! Now I've got episodes of Rune Soldier running around in my head.
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Post by bulletmeat »

I use the 2e Monster Manual with added HD/Level (whatever you call it) like DD said and it works well.

A level one theif tried to rob a shop owner (5 HD merchant with a short sword), got caught, challenged the owner to a fight, and got his @$$ kicked. Now I hear comments of how the town's folk are more dangerous than the monsters.
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ThrorII
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Post by ThrorII »

I can't remember if it was the 1e DMG, or something else I read, but it talked about how a 'captain' mercenary was equivilant to a 5th level fighter. Not that he WAS a 5th level fighter, but that his skill level was EQUIVILANT to.

PC's gain experience through adventuring. NPC's 'gain' experience by doing their craft/profession. An NPC may be a retired adventurer, but not necessarily. Most NPC's are just 'the blacksmith' or 'the captain of the guard', or 'the city bishop'.

Lets say that the city bishop is stated as being a cleric 10, not because he gained 200,000 exp, but because HE'S THE BISHOP. He is the head of the church in that city, and all the surrounding countryside. He is of a position in his church and with his god that he can request miracles (spells) equivalent to a 10th level cleric. He's a 10th level cleric because of his position and because of his experience within the church.

If you want to be real basic, and say he's an NPC, so he doesn't have levels in a class, the city bishop is a 10HD academic human:

City Bishop (10HD academic human, 25 hp, BtH +3, ac 10, primes: int +1, wis +2, cha +1, turn undead and spells as a cleric 10).

This way, NPC's are even easier to stat out.

The above assumes my house rules [extrapolated from the PHB and M&T] that combat humans are d8, +1 BtH per HD, primes: physical; non-combat humans are d6, +1 BtH per 2 HD, primes physical or mental; and academic humans are d4, +1 BtH per 3 levels, primes mental.

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