The great mass of humanity, elf-kind, the dwarven clans, and halflings, are
"0-level" (zero-level) characters. They can gain in wisdom and skill, but they do
not earn experience points for their activities. These common folk form the
backbone of every fantasy world, doing the labor, making goods, selling cargos,
sailing oceans, building ships, cutting trees, hauling lumber, tending horses,
raising crops and more. Many are quite talented in the various arts and crafts.
Some are even more proficient than player characters with the same training.
After all, 0-level characters earn their livings doing this kind of work. For
player characters such proficiencies are almost more of a hobby.
For the vast majority of 0-level NPCs you create and use in your game, all you
need to know is a name, a personality, and an occupation. When the characters
deal with the blacksmith or the innkeeper, there's no need to create ability
scores, THACO, to-hit adjustments, Armor Class, and the like. This does assume,
of course, that your player characters don't go attacking every blacksmith and
innkeeper in sight. If they do, you need to know a little more about 0-level
Ability Scores: These range from 3-18. For simplicity, don't worry about racial modifiers for
the demihuman races. Racial modifiers to combat, Armor Class, hit points, etc.,
Proficiencies: At best, a 0-level character will have one weapon proficiency, if that
character's profession reasonably allows for it. For example, a blacksmith could be
proficient with a warhammer and an innkeeper might be allowed skill with a club
(the axe handle under the bar...), but there's little chance a clerk is going to
be skilled with any type of weapon.
In nonweapon proficiencies, 0-level characters have as many as are needed (and
reasonable) given their profession and age. Thus, a blacksmith might be quite
accomplished at the forge, having spent several proficiencies on the slot.
Novices and incompetent craftsmen have the bare minimum training and skill. Typical
journeymen spend two or three slots on their main skill. Experts and brilliant
artists usually devote all their ability to a single proficiency. Masters, who
watch over the work of journeymen and apprentices, are normally no more
accomplished than journeymen but have additional proficiencies in other business
Hit Points: The majority of people have from 1-6 hit points. Dwarves and gnomes average
from 1-8 hit points. Adjustments can be made for occupation or condition as
indicated on Table 10 , below.
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