Pathfinder NPCs Basic Builds

I have struggled for a long time to make the various D20 rules come together into a single, and workable economic system that includes NPCs. There have been a number of problems. The ‘unskilled workers earn 1sp a day’ rule, that doesn’t fit with any of the other earning guidelines. It was OK in 1st ed AD&D but went horribly wrong with the addition of the NPC classes and skills in 3e – especially the rules for Earning Income from skills. It took away all unskilled workers at the drop of a hat - but the 1sp per day survives into PF with the 3gp a month Cost of Living Expenses being about the same standard as the average commoner.

And when you look at any of the published modules, Joe Public is never the first level commoner who could be earning 3gp a month under those ‘Unskilled worker’ rules – instead he is a L2 Commoner or warrior, or perhaps even a L4/5 Expert. Then there is the housing guidance. The average rent for ‘Commoner’ type property In Darkmoon Vale towns is 1gp/month, in Korvosa it is about 6gp/ month and in Absolom it is about 30 gp/month. A thirty fold rent increase for the city doesn’t make sense when all commoners earn about the same rate – and means that you need something like 6/7 commoners to an average sized room (if they want to eat as well) in Absolom. I am sure that happens occasionally, but it really isn’t going to be the norm. I won’t go into the cost of buildings in the PF rules when compared to the PF Kingdom Rules, of which they are (effectively) a sub-set.

To cap it all, after saying most commoners earn 3 gp a month, and we all know the majority of people in a game world are supposed to be commoners, it says the ‘average’ cost of living is 10gp a month – implying that most people live at that standard. Then there is the WBL tables … I am going to stop there.

However, with a few rules tweaks and some judicial ‘interpretation’ , I finally worked out that things can be a lot better.

1) Commoners no longer have Craft and Profession as class skills. They represent the grunt labour of the world who do not get the training to develop that sort of skill. Nor does the average commoner have Skill Focus. Commoners WBL is (approx.) 50gp per level.
2) Unskilled Labour in now defined as having less than 5 in a craft or profession skill. Most Classes (except Commoner) can pass this threshold at L1 by spending a feat on Skill focus – even if they don’t have the appropriate ability bonus.
3) Wages, rents and building costs (etc.) will be based on Cost of Living figures, rather than values in any of the rules supplements.
4) You can’t Take 10, unless you have at least one point in the appropriate skill.
5) The base level for NPCs is Level 2, rather than L1. It represents the end of their training and that they have spent some time earning a living. Most NPCs are L2 by the time they are 20. Higher levels are more likely to be found in towns that the countryside.
6) NPC breakdown is roughly 6 commoners / 3 NPC Class / 1 NPC-PC per 10 NPCs. (60%/30%/10%).

This is developed in these pages

- Pathfinder How NPCs grow and develop
- Pathfinder Commoners
- Pathfinder Other NPC Classes
- - Pathfinder NPC Adepts
- Pathfinder NPCs with PC Classes

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