A Commoner Class for Immergleich

LotFP/the Immergleich system is class-and-level. But the only LotFP classes are oriented towards combat and adventuring. What about the many characters who aren’t about that? Most NPCs are in that category, and we’ve established a somewhat porous boundary between “PC” and “very friendly NPC of modest stature”.

This is salient in Immergleich as we’ve used Mestival Dihafeland as a PC, and she clearly is not of an adventuring class. We ran her as zero-level, which is ok, but doesn’t allow for any progression.

Commoner class

Design goals

I want a class that

  • Lets Mestival (and characters like her) retain her established character and traits and abilities
  • Can be used for many NPCs and a few occasional-use PCs
  • Provides (or at least points at) a baseline model for levelled characters who aren’t a major combatant class
  • Is less adventuring-effective than most, but isn’t useless there

Basic features

  • Hit die is d4, with min roll of 3 at first level and 2 at later levels. And an +2 hp at first level.
  • Flat +1 attack
  • Choose two saving throws to be good at

Special abilities

Professional Experience — choose one of:

  • Two Backgrounds and claim bonuses for both
  • Take one Background twice

Either way, when both their backgrounds apply to a d20 check, they get double skill bonus.

Skilled worker — double the benefit of any downtime activity

Superstitions — 1 in 6 chance (vs normal NPC 1 in 10) of having a useful fortune-telling method they can use once per day. Player picks what stat it uses.

Untapped Potential — can become another class later:

  • On any level progression, if they’ve been acting like another class, they can take a level as “Apprentice <classname>”. Their changes for that level are then based on that class’s 1st level abilities.
  • At the next level, they can either swap back to commoner/civilian, or convert completely to the new class
    • Their new level is based on xp, not current level.
    • Recalculate everything that needs recalc
      • For rolled things like hp, they can chose to keep old total

Other special abilities I’m considering

These are lifted from http://dailyosr.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/revised-commoner-class.html:

  • Extra “common sense”/”blissful ignorance” bonus on saves vs magical mental effects esp illusions (probably +2)
  • Bonus to hide in a crowd or otherwise not be recognised (because they look and act very ordinary), enhanced further if no visible armour or weapons.

(Edit later on 23 April — moved to d4 hit die, added bonus hp at first level, to emphasise their poor combat effectiveness without making them even more vulnerable at first level)

(Edit on 14 June — removed reference to Thief progression as that’s no longer a thing. May upgrade Commoner abilities at some point to compensate for loss of this benefit.)

The War of Art


Interviewer: So, there’s trouble on the hill?

Confused woman: Oh, yeah, there’s definitely trouble.

Interviewer: On the hill?

Confused: Yeah. Over the Verdun estate, morning after Null Day. It was really scary.

Interviewer: What was?

Confused: The thousand foot high metallic-paint dragon. Terrifying.

Interviewer: This metal dragon, what did it do?

Confused: Got ripped up by the watercolour sky hands and the gouache demon-birds.

Interviewer: That was the end of it?

Confused: On no, it got much worse.



Backgrounds for Immergleich PCs



Where did you come from? What have you done? Beyond those given by your class, what are your skills? You get to choose a Background for your PC, which can be any single trade or occupation name, which captures this. When you attempt a task that your Background gives you expertise in, you get a bonus (unless you’d get a bonus anyway because of your class).

A mechanically-useful background is one that complements your class, giving you expertise (and thus a bonus on an attribute check) where your class would not.

The game assumes that level 1 characters are net broke, apart from their initial money allocation, and do not have access to significant local resources. So if you define a background that implies such (e.g. “Merchant Adventurer”) then it is implicit that you have fallen on hard times at the point you enter the game.

Examples — scholar, mercenary, blacksmith, prostitute, noble, sculptor, chef, travelling tinker, farmer, galley slave, …

Decontention — when there are too many players, and none of them are demonstrably bad

For Immergleich, I set a hard limit of four players in any one session. I find that having five players makes the game noticeably lag compared to even the four player version. In contrast, I don’t notice much subjective slowdown when moving between three and four.

This raises a problem — if more than four want to play, who gets to? First-come-first-pleased is an obvious choice, but that’s too arbitrary. Instead, I propose a ranking system, where all the players in one rank get places before any in the rank below them. However, because I am a genius, even the ranking system has ranks. First:

  1. People who had the opportunity to state their availability e.g. via a Doodle poll (and thus enabled me to arrange a session at all) and took it
  2. People who did not have such an opportunity
  3. People who had such an opportunity, and cast it to the four winds with a mocking laugh

And then, within each of the above:

  1. Wanted to play in the last session, but were bumped (or willingly dropped out to let others play)
  2. New players
  3. Wanted to play in some previous session, but were bumped/dropped out, and haven’t played since
  4. Didn’t play in the last session
  5. Played in the last session

If we end up with an excess of players at the same rank (e.g. there are two at rank 5 for the last available slot) then tiebreak is first by total sessions played ever, and then random.