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interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / NPC classes

SubjectAuthor
* NPC classesKyonshi
+* Re: NPC classesSpalls Hurgenson
|+- Re: NPC classesUbiquitous
|`- Re: NPC classesKyonshi
+- Re: NPC classesUbiquitous
`- Re: NPC classesJustisaur

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NPC classes

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From: gmke...@gmail.com (Kyonshi)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: NPC classes
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2024 10:58:10 +0200
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 by: Kyonshi - Tue, 2 Apr 2024 08:58 UTC

I recently was rethinking the use of NPC classes in my (mostly
OSR-style) games. Previously I had dismissed them as unsuccessful
attempts at making overpowered PC classes. But reading them "as written"
they make much more sense as human boss monsters in a lot of cases.

I specifically mean stuff like e.g. Lew Pulsipher's Necromancer class,
which is a terrible class for players (it demands human sacrifices of
increasing specificity to advance), but does actually make more sense
when used as a maybe recurring human antagonist who keeps getting
stronger as over the course of a PCs career.

I also looked at the Witch class from Dragon magazine but find that one
oddly lacking.

What are your preferred NPC classes, if any?

Re: NPC classes

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From: spallshu...@gmail.com (Spalls Hurgenson)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: NPC classes
Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2024 10:14:23 -0400
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 by: Spalls Hurgenson - Tue, 2 Apr 2024 14:14 UTC

On Tue, 2 Apr 2024 10:58:10 +0200, Kyonshi <gmkeros@gmail.com> wrote:

>I recently was rethinking the use of NPC classes in my (mostly
>OSR-style) games. Previously I had dismissed them as unsuccessful
>attempts at making overpowered PC classes. But reading them "as written"
>they make much more sense as human boss monsters in a lot of cases.

>What are your preferred NPC classes, if any?

Generally, I don't 'class' NPCs unless I fully expect them to go up
against the players (at which point, at least in my mind, they
transition from 'NPC' to 'monster' ;-). But when I do, I stick with
RAW and limit the NPCs to the same choices as the players. It adds
consistency to the world, and makes things more fair in terms of
gameplay.

One of the problems I've found with 'classing' NPCs is that it leads
to power creep. The king has to be a level 15 warrior, the blacksmith
is 4th level rogue, etc. etc. Superficially this makes sense, except
D&D classes are largely ranked around their combat effectiveness, and
that's not the only way to achieve power. So I try to avoid giving
levels and classes to the NPCs.

Re: NPC classes

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From: web...@polaris.net (Ubiquitous)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: NPC classes
Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2024 11:36:27 -0400
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 by: Ubiquitous - Tue, 2 Apr 2024 15:36 UTC

gmkeros@gmail.com wrote:

>I recently was rethinking the use of NPC classes in my (mostly
>OSR-style) games. Previously I had dismissed them as unsuccessful
>attempts at making overpowered PC classes. But reading them "as written"
>they make much more sense as human boss monsters in a lot of cases.
>
>I specifically mean stuff like e.g. Lew Pulsipher's Necromancer class,
>which is a terrible class for players (it demands human sacrifices of
>increasing specificity to advance), but does actually make more sense
>when used as a maybe recurring human antagonist who keeps getting
>stronger as over the course of a PCs career.
>
>I also looked at the Witch class from Dragon magazine but find that one
>oddly lacking.
>
>What are your preferred NPC classes, if any?

I always liked the Death Master from Dragon Magazine. It was a bit
overpowered for a PC, plus there was that inevitable march towards Chaotic
Evil alignment, but I remember having fun making it a recurring NPC who
eventually became a foe.

Now that I mention it, I did play one as a character in a Munchkin Realms
campaign and it got interesting when he became CE during the Time of
Troubles.

--
Let's go Brandon!

Re: NPC classes

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From: web...@polaris.net (Ubiquitous)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: NPC classes
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 by: Ubiquitous - Tue, 2 Apr 2024 15:38 UTC

spallshurgenson@gmail.com wrote:

>One of the problems I've found with 'classing' NPCs is that it leads
>to power creep. The king has to be a level 15 warrior, the blacksmith
>is 4th level rogue, etc. etc. Superficially this makes sense, except
>D&D classes are largely ranked around their combat effectiveness, and
>that's not the only way to achieve power. So I try to avoid giving
>levels and classes to the NPCs.

I found the comcept of "NPC classes" interesting in 3.x edition, but a lot of
time it was better to just give them a couple "real" classes to make them
more dangerous to the PCs.

I'd hate to meet a 20th level epic baker (expert), tho! :-D

--
Let's go Brandon!

Re: NPC classes

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From: gmke...@gmail.com (Kyonshi)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: NPC classes
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2024 20:02:53 +0200
Organization: Campaign Wiki
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 by: Kyonshi - Tue, 2 Apr 2024 18:02 UTC

On 4/2/2024 4:14 PM, Spalls Hurgenson wrote:
> On Tue, 2 Apr 2024 10:58:10 +0200, Kyonshi <gmkeros@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> I recently was rethinking the use of NPC classes in my (mostly
>> OSR-style) games. Previously I had dismissed them as unsuccessful
>> attempts at making overpowered PC classes. But reading them "as written"
>> they make much more sense as human boss monsters in a lot of cases.
>
>> What are your preferred NPC classes, if any?
>
> Generally, I don't 'class' NPCs unless I fully expect them to go up
> against the players (at which point, at least in my mind, they
> transition from 'NPC' to 'monster' ;-). But when I do, I stick with
> RAW and limit the NPCs to the same choices as the players. It adds
> consistency to the world, and makes things more fair in terms of
> gameplay.
>
> One of the problems I've found with 'classing' NPCs is that it leads
> to power creep. The king has to be a level 15 warrior, the blacksmith
> is 4th level rogue, etc. etc. Superficially this makes sense, except
> D&D classes are largely ranked around their combat effectiveness, and
> that's not the only way to achieve power. So I try to avoid giving
> levels and classes to the NPCs.
>
>

I was mostly thinking about using them as specific sort of monster NPCs
because they would be basically boss monsters with special powers that
just happen to be human.

And I noticed a lot of them are kind of... lame. I mean things like the
Necromancer is fine, especially with a bit of a backstory that's an
amazing character to deal with...

(Pulsipher published that one as a pdf on his website a while ago:
https://pulsiphergames.com/DandD/NECROMANCERAnAD&DCharacterClass.pdf)

....but then there's stuff like the Bandit. Ok, that's basically Robin
Hood or another named outlaw. But the Thief-Acrobat. I mean, wut? The
Scout? The Sentinel? The Jester?

Re: NPC classes

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From: justis...@yahoo.com (Justisaur)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: NPC classes
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2024 14:43:03 -0700
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 by: Justisaur - Tue, 2 Apr 2024 21:43 UTC

On 4/2/2024 1:58 AM, Kyonshi wrote:
> I recently was rethinking the use of NPC classes in my (mostly
> OSR-style) games. Previously I had dismissed them as unsuccessful
> attempts at making overpowered PC classes. But reading them "as written"
> they make much more sense as human boss monsters in a lot of cases.
>
> I specifically mean stuff like e.g. Lew Pulsipher's Necromancer class,
> which is a terrible class for players (it demands human sacrifices of
> increasing specificity to advance), but does actually make more sense
> when used as a maybe recurring human antagonist who keeps getting
> stronger as over the course of a PCs career.
>
> I also looked at the Witch class from Dragon magazine but find that one
> oddly lacking.
>
> What are your preferred NPC classes, if any?

I never used any in AD&D. Pretty much whatever's fair for the PCs is
fair for the NPCs as well and vice versa. I do think I remember letting
someone use the Archer one time, but that didn't turn out well, because
of course it was the resident rules-lawyer/power-gamer.

I only even let any of the UA classes be used one time, not so much
because Barbarian and Cavalier were overpowered, but because they were
written in such a way that they didn't work well with the normal makeup
of a party (Barbarians hating magic users and cavaliers having to Leroy
Jenkins all threats.)

The races I didn't like as they were obviously power creep.

I did use the 3e NPC classes a few times for NPCs, but it was rare and
not particularly memorable. Those NPC classes were far less dangerous
than a normal PC of the same level though.

5e NPC monsters are kind of like/hate. I like that they're easier to
handle than full characters, hate that we have to use pared down
versions of PCs because PCs are too complicated.

--
-Justisaur

ø-ø
(\_/)\
`-'\ `--.___,
¶¬'\( ,_.-'
\\
^'


interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / NPC classes

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