I noticed a tiny item missing from Old School Essentials: percentages of characters appearing.
And... it immediately became obvious why this was missing. The original DMG was super weird about it and since OSE has many more character types, the whole thing goes sideways quickly.
In the DMG, page 175 has a breakdown of an NPC for encounters of all dungeon levels. It lists all of the characters in almost alphabetical order and assigns a chance percentage to each. The table assigns a value of 9 for total party size and of those nine, 2-5 are classed characters. The remaining men are henchmen or men-at-arms.
So, if one makes a table of characters found in Old School Essentials, you end up with three different tables. The first table would be for the basic rules, the second table would be advanced rules with race as a character class and the third table would be paired back to just the advanced character types, where race is something else.
I love this quick table so I want one for OSE and I guess that means making one myself. I like it.
But there is a hitch. The basic rules don't match my DMG because it has races as classes. Looking at the DMG does provide some guidance. It's ordered by class with subclasses appearing next. The table clearly shows that Fighters should be the most numerous characters in a party, followed by Magic Users, Clerics, and finally Thieves. All other classes have a tiny chance of appearing, between 1 and 3% each.
But I am working with race as a class so there are no subtypes. There are a couple of ways to get a good list. If simply ballpark the numbers, a party should look like this:
4 Fighters + 2 Magic Users + less than 2 Clerics + 1 Theif. Every other type has a tiny chance of appearing. Hmm, that is rather odd, but I can make it work.
Instead of using the named class as a grouping, I am going to use my Pure, Square, and Semi models. A pure is someone who uses only uses magic to get stuff done. A Square is just like a Pure, but they use their muscle instead of skills or magic. Semis are someplace in between, using magic to supplement their skills or strength. Restating class as type, I end up with:
5 Squares + 2 Pures + 2 Semi, all classes/races appear as one of these three classifications. This is interesting because it equates Thieves and Fighters, and separates Clerics from Magic Users from them. It is different but also allows Clerics to meet the standard of a "Fighting-man" while still being magical.
Basic OSE has Cleric, Dwarf, Elf, Fighter, Halfling, Magic-User, and Thief. I would group them like this with the following breakdown:
5 Squares: Dwarf, Fighter, Halfling, and Theif,
2 Pure: Magic-User
2 Semi: Cleric, Elf.
That looks nice. I would order my list like this:
For Advanced OSE with race as class, we end up with a different list.
5 Squares: Acrobat, Assassin, Duergar, Dwarf, Fighter, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Halfling, Knight, Theif, and Svirfneblin.
2 Pure: Magic-User, Illusionist,
2 Semi: Barbian, Bard, Cleric, Drow, Druid, Elf, Gnome, Paladin, and Ranger.
Before assigning percentages, we'll create the same list with race as the class removed. It's easier to edit that way:
5 Squares: Acrobat, Assassin, Fighter, Knight, and Theif.
2 Pure: Magic-User, Illusionist,
2 Semi: Barbian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, and Ranger.
This one breaks down as:
This one honors the original DMG list, but weakens both races and healing magic. I really had to mess with the numbers and it needs to be adjusted to specific campaigns. In my campaign, Half-Elfs are the default race while Half-Orcs and Drow are exceedingly rare. Those last two are literally 1 in 10,000 for NPCs. So, could totally monkey with the specific percentages. It's a good starting point for random NPC but bad for pretty much every individual campaign world.
The second list breaks down a little nicer than the first:
And ultimately, I want the second list to generate some characters. So I roll a 2+1 for total of three characters. 77, 58, and 47
We'll meet these three new characters in my next post. In the meantime, I have put together a couple of downloadable. The documents contain the lists above, plus a blank duplicate so you may enter your own probabilities. The 8.5x11 and A4 are two-column layouts and the A5 is just a single column as a Google doc. If you prefer, I have them in PDF, 8.5x11, A4, and A5.
Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy.
PS: You can pick up a copy of Old School Essentials Characters, Magic, Monsters, and Treasures on DriveThruRPG.