“Here, fix this,” Estrella’s brother hands her an axe. It takes a few moments and the large chip is gone. “Done.” Others have these big powers, they can do things. Baboli can predict the weather and make flowers bloom. That’s so useful. Femmo does fun little things with fire. He helped clear a new field. It’s so handy.
She repaired a broken jar and the little ornament she blew for her Journeywork to reveal on Service Day. Chechu, her little pigeon, returns from Kirtin-in-the-Sky. The letter is simple. No exception is granted. She will serve, as all do. A common glassblower, with a messenger pigeon and the ability to mend will serve on the Keltann Slope where Azsel continues to raid. She isn’t a hero. She’s as common as can be. Simple, and ineffective at war, but she will serve.
Commoners are the foundation of the land. They aren’t adventurers and heroes. They blow glass. They tend bar. They farm. It’s not often that a GM needs a stat block for a Commoner, unless they are routine. At this point Estrella is young, with attributes that don’t seem like they should develop into a fighter, but she’s an experienced glassworker. Below you will find a rules hack to quickly throw together a Commoner who has an uncommon role within your DnD campaign.
Commoners start with the following attributes and skills.
HD: 1d4 at 1st and 2nd levels
HP at 1st: 4+CON
HP at higher levels: CON + HD if appropriate
Must have 12 in Apprentice Attribute and 11 in Journeyman
If dice roll: 3d4+3
Two simple weapons, 1 must be melee
Saving Throws: Apprentice attribute at 1st level, Journeyman at 2nd
Skills/Tools by profession and level
Estrella’s array is STR: 8, DEX
12 13, CON 9, INT 10 11, WIS 12, CHA 13 with a woeful 3 HP. Her humanness added 3 points. Estrella is a bit of a leaders and wise, for a Commoner. She knows how to use darts and a light hammer.
As a glassblower she has some skills. As most in Kin she learns some History on the Day of Glight. She knows how to use Glassblower’s Tools, because well, that’s what she does. There’s also a bonus to her DEX or INT, because those are the attributes she uses the most. Since she’s already finished her journeywork we know that she’s actually already reached that second tier as a commoner, a Journeyman. She could set up her own shop now. Her work is decent.
That has game benefits too. Glassblowers pickup Arcana as their vials and bubbles are often used by various scholars, alchemists and sages. She again gets a bonus to DEX or INT. This time it goes to INT to represent her fascination with book learning. That’s still a pretty poor array. If she continues on her path she’ll become a Master Glassworker with expertise in those tools.
She could also learn a new profession.
Obviously she could have been some other profession with other skills and familiarity with tools, but then she would not be Estrella. She’d be a different commoner. Here are a few of those.
|Professions||Apprentice Attribute||Apprentice Skill||Apprentice Tools||Journeyman Skill||Journeyman Attribute||Master Ability||Prerequisites|
|Artist||CHA||History||Artist Tools||Religion||DEX||Expertise: Artist Tools|
|Blacksmith||STR||History||Smith tools||1 other tool||CON||Any 1 weapon|
|Brewer/Vintner||INT||Arcana||Brewer’s Tools||Herbalism Kit||WIS||Cook or Herbalist|
|Butcher||STR||Animal Handling||INT||Any 1 slashing weapon|
|Carpenter||STR||History||Carpenter’s Tools||CON||Expertise: Carpenter’s Tools|
|Clerk||INT||History||Calligrapher’s Supplies||Religion||WIS||3 Languages|
A GM could throw together a list of professions or slap them together as needed. They should be skeletons of a class, not an actual class. They shouldn’t even match a background in potency, until their fourth tier as a Commoner when they possibly become heroes, or they are just extraordinary artisans, craftspeople, etc.
Here are those tiers of play. The first three can be played by PCs if a player wants to have that feeling as the farmboy that becomes something (or the glassblower).
At 1st level (Apprentice)
Plus 1 to Apprentice attribute or Journeyman attribute
Proficiency in Apprentice skill and tool (if only one can take any single skill, language, tool)
If in Kin gain Bonded Companion
If in Kin gain single Cantrip
At 1.1 (Journeyman) – 50 xp
Proficiency in Journeyman skill. If none listed or already known can take any single skill, language, or tool
Plus 1 to Apprentice attribute or Journeyman attribute
At 1.2 (Master) – 100 xp to advance
Proficiency bonus grows to +2
Plus 1 to Apprentice attribute
At 2.1 level (Expert) – 300 xp
Gain expert ability
Plus 1 to Journeyman attribute
At 2.2 (Adept) – 600 xp
Learns 1 new skill/tool/kit of choice
Can take 1 Feat
Gains +1 to any two attributes related to profession(s)
Learns proficiency in shield or leather armor and 1 additional simple weapon
MULTI PROFESSION RULES
At 3rd level rather than Master can become Journeyman in either profession. Gain those abilities at new 1st level
At 4th level can advance a tier in either profession gaining those benefits
At 5th level must advance highest tier one more tier. They would not get a feat, nor the martial profs if multi-professions.
BECOMING A HERO
At 300 or 900 xp a Commoner can become a hero and multiclass
Pick a background and gain all skills, features yet unlearned
This makes a Commoner, a bit less common. It’s a waste of time for an NPC that won’t regularly interact with characters and is most useful if that NPC is going to partake in some kind of action or encounter with the PCs. For a PC the slow start is difficult. But advancement should be rapid. During a session zero a one-on-one session could take that PC through a couple minor encounters. This type of PC doesn’t need a backstory because they play that backstory.
Don’t let your regular Commoners remain common.
We’ll dive back into Estrella’s heroic rise from glassworker to frustrated peace as she meets Teegan and Rohan in their Summer of Service.