Friday, February 17, 2012

Uncommon Commoners

I started my reading of Dark Dungeons and something in the text struck me. It was casually stated that common soldiers or town guards may have levels as fighters. That started me thinking.

Something that has bothered me for a long time is the assumption that common folks in the game should have class levels. I do not believe that a soldier has to have levels as a Fighter (capital F). Sure, he has weapon and armor training, and discipline that the common shopkeep doesn't have, but that doesn't make him a Fighter. Likewise the village priest isn't an undead-turning pillar of virtue and the cutpurse hanging in the stocks isn't a Thief.

I'll tell you this: IF I were a soldier in a fantasy setting, and I was a 2nd level fighter, I wouldn't be a soldier. Think about it: Soldiers face most of the same dangers and deprivations as adventurers. If I'm on garrison duty when a 1st level fighter comes into town dragging a sack of loot, I'm going to say "To hell with a couple of gold a month. I'm twice the fighter that guy is. I'm heading for the nearest dungeon."

(Obviously I wouldn't speak of myself in such terms, but that's not the point.)

That is something that makes a shallower, smoother power curve more preferable for me. When "mid-level" equates to somewhere between 8-14th level, commoners have to rise to compensate. What good are 1HD commoners acting as gate guards for the city-state when a party of 4 or 5 11th level PCs come knocking? Especially if one happens to be a magic user.

Now, I'm not getting a predisposition against Dark Dungeons here. I knew what it was going in. I knew it covered 36 levels, plus 36 Immortal levels. So, this isn't an early knock against it. This is simply my thoughts that were sparked by something I read in there. And thinking about it made me realize another reason I do prefer a "gentler" power curve.

1 comment:

  1. This is why I like B/X's lvl 1-14 range. Even better would be lv1 1-10 (especially for OD&D type set up).