Fantasy World Demographics

For sometime I have been struggling with Class breakdown in my worlds. I split NPCs into three categories - Commoners, other NPC Classes and PC Classes - and I was never quite sure of how many of each type I should have. I work with a rule of thumb - all my stock Commoners are built with an ability array of 11,11,11,11,11,11 (after racial adjustments) it makes it nice and easy because there are no ability bonuses to skills (etc) and I get average values I can tweak by a point or two if I want to. My stock 'Other NPC' class characters have an ability array of all 12s and my 'PC Class' characters have an ability array of all 13s. So Commoners are effectively 4 point build, 'Other NPCs' are a 10 point build and NPCs with PC levels are a 15 point build. Which all works nicely as I let my my players have 20 points to build their characters. However, I never really know what the distribution of those NPC types should be.

Note: these are the stock characters I can reach for when I need them - any NPC who is important to the story has a unique character sheet. I can tell you precisely which of the Party's apprentices is best at cooking, which one will never really develop any skills and which one has the potential to train for a PC class.

Anyway - I wrote a small program - it rolls character ability arrays on 3d6 - old school hard core distribution - and then I did a calculation to work out how many build points each array would cost. Then I let it roll a few times (over 100,000 times actually) and did some maths ….

70% of rolls came out as 'Commoner'
15% came out as 'Other NPC'
15% came out as 'PC class'

(Note: The program assumes that all lower rolls are automatically raised to 7 - because that is the minimum value in points build)

I am going to tweak that slightly - on the the very weak premise that I want to hold back PC class characters for when I specifically have need of them. My head knows that I will never use that many - but my Gut says its OK :)

Which means my demographics are going to be based on

75% Commoners
15% Other NPC Classes
10% NPCs with PC classes.


And, ironically, it works fairly well for Economics based on the PC cost of living expenditure guidance. If you assume the commoners all earn/spend about 3 gp a month, while most of the others earn/spend 10gp a month - with a couple of percent moving up into the wealthy and extravagant spending brackets.

It actually makes 10gp a month the mean earn/spend per person. Which matches up nicely with the 'Average' description it gets in the write up.

UPDATE: Further research actually led me to use: NPC breakdown is roughly 6 commoners / 3 NPC Class / 1 NPC-PC per 10 NPCs. (60%/30%/10%).

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