View Full Version : Epic Level commoner: Not as common as all that

2011-07-25, 10:58 PM
The pages of legend speak of great deeds that move us to this day, men who hold up the sky, slay dragons and trick the gods. Men who win kingdoms, save fair damsels and defeat evil where it may be found.

But this thread is not about them. They already have their own rules, and their own ways of being represented. This is about a different sort of legend. This is about the Paul Bunyans of the world, lumberjacks able to deforrest an entire country in one night, even if the trees are twenty miles thick. This is about Rumplestiltskin, who spun straw into gold with a succesful craft check, and about all those legendary deeds that do not involve fighting or magic, but craftsmanship and hard work. Building something with sweat and a certain ability to bend the rules of reality, rather then just call it magic and leave it at that.

Now, getting back into the game, I've been wondering how to create this sort of character. Some sort of altered artificer, perhaps, would work for a legendary blacksmith or whatever, but how do you represent a farmer who can build a castle with his bare hands, or a weaver who can sew cloud into an outfit? How do we design them so that they are ballanced in their own way, but don't just ultimately become a combat class with different fluff? And what do we do in regards to XP? How do we advance that sort of character?

Any ideas as to how to structure this sort of thing would be greatly appreciated.

2011-07-25, 11:35 PM
Are you interested in something entirely within the existing rules, or new rules?

One interesting idea is to allow non-magical improvements to an item for extremely high Craft checks. For example, the Black Company rules let you do such things as make a sword that grants a nonmagical bonus to initiative in addition to whatever magic it might have, due to its lightness or whatnot.

For a moderately optimized balance point, you might allow people who specialize in crafting to non-magically emulate 1st level spells with items made with a DC 50 check, 2nd level with a DC 70, and so on. A 20th level character with some degree of optimization towards this (Item Familiar, +20 from an item, etc) might have a check of ~+75 unbuffed and unaided, and far more if they use some magic such as Fabricate to craft quickly and incorporate buff spells such as Divine Insight (+15). The pricing structure is not based on pricing a magic item (it doesn't actually use magic) but is instead based firmly in the mundane item economics (so ~100-200gp of materials). That means they can basically make a nearly unlimited number of items that emulate 3rd level or at absolute best 4th level spells, which isn't terribly unbalanced for a Lv20 character if thats most of what you do.

To keep it interesting, associate certain types of magic with certain types of crafting: you can't make a healing sword, but you could make a healing unguent.

This person can make a device that builds the walls of castles on its own (Wall of Stone), or even a wall that repairs itself when damaged by being under the right sorts of compressive stresses and made of the right materials to self-heal, much like adobe buildings in real life do (Mending or Make Whole). For an alchemist of this sort, it is trivial to make a seasoning that tastes like whatever the person who eats it wants it to (Detect Thoughts + Prestidigitation or the like).

You could extend this to Profession and allow epic uses of the Profession skill to get certain seemingly magical effects. The farmer who hits an epic Profession(Farming) check makes his plants grow overnight or in a blasted terrain (Plant Growth and the like), or ignores the effect of weather on their crops (specialized emulation of Control Weather). The cobbler who makes an epic Profession(Cobbler) check produces a hundred pairs of shoes in a night (Fabricate).

2011-07-26, 04:04 AM
Commoners don't have to be combat monsters to be awesome. Remember the story of the Brave Little Tailor? Look it up if you haven't read it. He was awesome and accomplished everything by being clever, not by having a sword that can cut through mountains in a single strike or by blowing stuff up with magic.

There are some stories where otherwise normal people are granted abilities by fey creatures (Sleeping Beauty comes to mind- princess Aurora was granted beauty, grace, etc. by fairies) or by gods. You might look more into old fairy tales for inspiration about what a normal person with this kind of superpower in one or two areas would be like.

2011-07-26, 09:35 AM
There's a certain amount of epicness you can already do, which is simply voluntarily increasing the DC by 10, which by extension increases the amount of work a craftsmen gets done in a day or week. So naturally, on simple tasks, a master craftsman will get the job done sooner than the apprentices b/c he can hit a higher DC regularly.

I've made a 30th level commoner before as part of a challenge and he came across as rather ridiculous, to be sure. His WBL is off, as I had to extrapolate it myself before the MIC came out with NPC WBL, but he farms the lands with hoe in hand, digging furrows that would make an earth elemental jealous. In fact, he has a couple on his payroll for the simple tasks that he doesn't want to bother with himself. He can shoe a town's horse population in a day, he's never ill and the orcish hordes take wide berth of his farm, for they know well that only time will put his body to rest and he's even besting that, as his six decades hasn't weighed on him as heavily as many would expect of him and he has the vigor of a man 20 to 30 years younger than him.

It's all in the way you fluff it but you can make it work within the rules. New epic feats aimed at craftsmen would still be good, as there are always stories of legendary craftsmen in remote locations who adventurers seek for the right tool or weapon. I could even see an epic crafting PrC (hopefully better than the ones that came out with the ELH, bleh) that would be right up some of these legendary figure's alleys.

Them's my 2 coppers. Take as you will.

2011-07-26, 11:22 PM
After considering what everyone has suggested (andd there ahve been some very good suggestions)

So there is the basic class, changed to illustrate a higher selection of skills (They don't have to focus on combat or magic, so they have more time to learn). Now I need to figure out how to give them scaleable abilities, and a few custom feats.


‘They might not be able to read or argue about the politics of the realm, but they know when to plant their crops and how to deliver a calf, how to dig a trench and build a house. Without them, the greatest wizard would be no use at all.’

There are many paths through lives, and all of them beget rewards towards the end. Commoners are unskilled average folk and comprise the bulk of most settings, the vast majority existing as peasants and laborers, unable to move beyond the crushing heel of mediocrity in a realm where dragons rule the skies, men learn to warp reality with a thought, and warriors demolish mountains with blows of their sword. However, just as most fighters are nothing spectacular and most wizards never move beyond apprentices, commoners have the capacity to be more then just a pair of hands and a strong back. And there are a lot more of them then there are any other class.

Commoners are the backbone of the society. They pay taxes and live on their own. They are the biggest social class amongst the others.

Abilities: It's strength that those without formal training and easily usable skills depend on. It determines the power of the limbs that serve as the livelihood, as well as most of your other abilities. Furthermore, inteligence allows them to master more skills, and be of more use, which is extremely important to someone who relies on them as much as they do.

Organization: Commoners are everywhere. Almost all societies are mostly made up of them, and they tend to be made up of those that have no spectacular natural talent or drive, however there are exceptions to this.

Alignment: A commoner tends to be the alignment predominant of whatever society he is born in, or lawful neutral if applicable. They tend to simply follow things.

Religion: Commoners tend to follow whichever religion they are brought up with, though rarely with particular zeal. Mostly, they pay their respects and get on with things.

Other Classes: Commoners have an almost infinite variety of experience and personality, for almost everyone without the chance in a society not based on merit will be one, no matter their intelligence or potential. Some look apon the more successful classes with awe, others disdain them as layabouts unable to do a hard days work, then turn to the side of the road to spit. Some are superstitious and easy to influence, others practical and uninterested.

Role: A commoner is not a combat class. If you need to raid a tomb, kill a lich, lift a curse or defy an evil god, look elsewhere. If you need to build a tomb without relying on magic, make a stew fit for the gods (literally) out of ordinary ingredients, or redirect a river, a commoner is your man every time.

Class Features

Hit Die: d6

Starting Gold:

Skills: Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points: 10 + int modifier (x4 at first level)

1st +0 +0 +0 +0
2nd +1 +0 +0 +0
3rd +1 +1 +1 +1
4th +2 +1 +1 +1
5th +2 +1 +1 +1
6th +3 +2 +2 +2
7th +3 +2 +2 +2
8th +4 +2 +2 +2
9th +4 +3 +3 +3
10th +5 +3 +3 +3
11th +5 +3 +3 +3
12th +6/+1 +4 +4 +4
13th +6/+1 +4 +4 +4
14th +7/+2 +4 +4 +4
15th +7/+2 +5 +5 +5
16th +8/+3 +5 +5 +5
17th +8/+3 +5 +5 +5
18th +9/+4 +6 +6 +6
19th +9/+4 +6 +6 +6
20th +10/+5 +6 +6 +6

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The commoner is proficient with one simple weapon. He is not proficient with any other weapons, nor is he proficient with any type of armor or shields. He is, however, able to improvise weapons with ease, and never takes a penalty when doing so (most of martial arts weapons have their origins as simple tools) and use equipment that no adventurer could make head nor tail of.

2011-07-27, 10:18 AM
I don't know whether Commoners really need all those skill points, as, at least from my understanding, most NPCs don't max out skills except for things related to their primary professions. Thus, they tend to dabble and spread their skill points across a wide variety of skills. Plus, with that many skill points, there'd be less peasants per area as they're able to master multiple professions and even put the Experts to shame in the areas where they're supposed to be good. I think that, if you want to raise the skill points available to them, raising it to 4+Int should be adequate, as these are the common people and don't necessarily need to have great skill mastery to be able to get their jobs done. Aid another is a great thing for this and is the primary reason you have families come together for harvests.

Also, you need a real table:

If you want to show them gaining skills in the preferred profession, I'd grant a bonus feat at 1st, 5th and every 5 after that from the choices of Skill Focus, the dual skill boosting feats and Open Minded, as well as Endurance and the save boosters (A lot of commoners have Iron Will for some reason. Gotta get those damn adventurers off your land, I guess). At 10th and 20th, give Skill Mastery in a Profession or Craft of their choice.

2011-08-06, 08:17 PM
If you're thinking making an epic commoner, than try asking around the Dicefreaks Forum; they have a human female 49th level commoner named Eliza.