The Commoner is the workhorse of the D20 fantasy world – they do all the manual and most of the mundane work required to make the world go around. Most commoners do low or unskilled work, such as cleaning, laundry, carrying, digging or labouring, and take whatever work is available - it means they don't develop specialist skills in an area. L1 commoners are generally teenagers, and most get to L2 by about the age of twenty. Perhaps 15-20% will go to L3 - But that is probably when they are mid 20s and and head of a family or small business. Commoners beyond L3 are rare.

The commoner's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str). They may have up to 3+level in one skill - other skills are unlikely to exceed 4.

A Commoner is not proficient with shields or armour, and can use one weapon proficiently; this is often associated with their trade and does d4 damage. Commoners do not get Traits at first level, nor take Skill Focus as a feat. However, when they reach second level a commoner might pick up a single, experience related, trait.


Commoner average income is about 3gp per month although it can vary quite a lot between individual. It enables a very basic lifestyle, which equates to middle lower class on my Social Class Table. That needs to cover rent, taxes, food and other essentials. Commoners generally accumulate about 50gp worth of goods, tools, equipment and clothing per level (WBL).

Most commoners live in basic accommodation: Floors are plain floorboard, perhaps with packed earth covered with straw/rushes on the ground floor; internal walls have as simple finish, perhaps rough plaster or raw timber; furniture is sparse and basic; windows are small, unglazed and shuttered. Commoner homes do not, generally, have separate kitchens, bathrooms or toilets, however in towns they may have access to shared facilities.

Homes have all the basic equipment, there will be a cooking pot, kettle and perhaps a pan, wooden plates bowls and mugs and well as knives and spoons. Light comes from the fire and a single lamp in the main room, while candles provide light in secondary rooms. Beds are have blankets, although not, perhaps, sheets. However, very few commoners have their own rooms and there could be up to ten people living in a single cottage or apartment however, they are often all part of the same family that likely includes children and elders. Young singles may find themselves in a bunk house with limited storage, at the worst, they will have a mattress in a shared doss house. If commoners stay away from home they stay in poor accommodation, and eat poor meals.

Food is generally cooked at the main fireplace and is likely to consist of porridge, simple stews, eggs, bread and cheese. Main ingredients include potatoes, beans, turnips and wheat - with a bit of chicken if they are lucky. Meals may be supplemented by small quantities of nuts or local fruit. Small ale and herb teas (Nettle, mint etc.) are the every day drinks.

Older (and higher level) Commoners will have one set of working clothes (Artisan) and another set of ‘Sunday Best’ clothes (perhaps a Travelers outfit) that is only used for special occasions. Both sets of clothing are simply cut and basic. Young, or particularly poor, Commoners may just have peasant style clothes, although they will probably have a jacket and cheap shoes to go with it.

Overall, a commoner has enough to get by. Everything is fairly basic, but they only go hungry or cold in the worst circumstance. They can afford the occasional night out, but buy the cheapest tickets, ales or foods, paying in coppers rather than silver.

Some suitable Commoner Weapons are:

Job Weapon Equivalent
Housewife Rolling Pin Small Club (d4)
Farmer Field Sickle Small Sickle (d4)
Crafter Hammer Light Hammer (d4)
Countryman Wood Axe Small Handaxe (d4)
Mason Stone pick Light Pick (d4)
Cook Meat Cleaver Small Handaxe (d4)
Other Carving Knife Dagger (d4)
Watchman Truncheon Club(d6)

Some suitable Commoner Traits are:

River Rat +1 Dagger Damage and Swim+1
Bully Intimidate is a class skill and Intimidate+1
Convincing Liar Bluff is a class skill and Bluff+1
Criminal 1 Disable Device is a class skill and Disable Device +1
Criminal 2 Sleight of Hand is a class skill and Sleight of Hand +1
Life of Toil You gain a +1 trait bonus on Fortitude saves.
Poverty Stricken Survival is a class skill and Survival +1
Suspicious Sense Motive is a class skill and Sense Motive +1
Miner Appraise is a class skill and Appraise +1
River Folk Profession (sailor) +2 and on any skill checks involving ropes
Smuggler Bluff +1 and Sleight of Hand +1

New Commoner Traits

Auxiliary Profession: Soldier+1 and competent with Dagger & LXB
Watchman Profession: Soldier+1 and competent with L/Mace & Darts
Militia Profession: Soldier+1 and competent with Spear & Darts
Street Guide Knowledge Local is a class skill and Knowledge Local +1
Poacher Survival +1 and Competent with a Sling

But, most important, if I want a particular commoner to have something different, because it works better for the story at the point we are at – them I ignore my own guidelines :) After all, not everyone is average - even some commoners are exceptional.

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