Roleplaying Resources

The Normal Person

In the standard D&D 3.x rules, an average person has levels in NPC classes such as Commoner and Expert. These work reasonably well in most campaigns, but they also pose some problems. For example, let's say the best chef in the world has a +30 modifier in Profession(chef). Even with Skill Focus and an 18 wisdom, this must be a level 20 character. As such, besides being a genius with a stock pot, this character is an even match for a trained platoon of soldiers in combat.

The Normal Person (NP) class addresses this problem. It is designed for all those people who never go off adventuring, and can't hold a sword to save their lives. Normal People improve in their crafts more than an adventurer ever could, without becoming significantly better in combat.

This document is copyright 2014 The DM. It may not be modified or distributed without permission from the author, though anyone is welcome to link to it.

This is the third version of this document. If you don't like these rules, feel free to look at version 1, version 2 or version 3. This version simplifies the rules, and makes standard advancement optional.

Normal Person (NP)

Table: The Normal Person

Level Special Abilities
1 Feat, (Optional Feat for Humans), Skill Expertise, Highly Skilled
3 Optional Feat
4 Optional Ability Bonus
5 Skill Expertise
6 Feat
8 Optional Ability Bonus
9 Optional Feat
10 Skill Expertise, Mastery of the Craft
12 Feat, Optional Ability Bonus
15 Optional Feat, Skill Expertise
16 Optional Ability Bonus
18 Feat
20 Optional Ability Bonus, Skill Expertise, Mastery of the Craft


NPs advance with the same experience progression as adventurers. However, experience is gained through practice, and the advancement of their fields, rather than through killing monsters and solving puzzles.

Standard Advancement Bonuses

An NP gains a feat through advancement at level 1, and at every six levels. The remaining advancement feats, including the bonus Human feat at level one, may be bought by giving up three skill ranks that level.

In order to advance ability scores, an NP may buy a bonus by giving up three skill ranks at every fourth level.

The BaB and saves of NPs do not advance normally. At each level where an Expert would gain a bonus, an NP may trade on skill rank. If an Expert would gain multiple bonuses, the NP may trade multiple skill ranks for those bonuses.

Hit Points

In order to gain hit points through advancement, an NP must spend one skill rank at each level. This grants the NP 1d4 HP. The NP can buy a higher hit die by spending one more skill rank for each step in this list: 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, 1d12. A high constitution score only grants a bonus for levels where the NP gained a hit die.


An NP selects five class skills related to his field. Each time five ranks are gained in a Profession skill, the NP may select an additional related class skill. An NP gains 4x(6+INT) skill points at first level, and 6+INT skill points at each additional level.

Highly Skilled

For every five ranks an NP has in a class skill, he gains a +1 bonus to checks using that skill. On the other hand, an NP's first two ranks in a cross-class skill provide no benefit at all.

For example, Joe Normalson is a level 5 acrobat. He has eight ranks in Tumble, which is a class skill. Because he has five or more ranks, he has a +1 bonus to that skill, for a total of +9. Joe also has one rank in Survival and four ranks in Swim, both of which are cross-class skills. His bonus in Survival is +0, and his bonus in Swim is +2.

Skill Expertise

At level 1 and at every fifth level, an NP improves his skills. He may select one of the following:

  • A +3 bonus to any one skill in which he has at least three ranks. This bonus stacks with Skill Focus and itself.
  • A +1 bonus to any three class skills.
  • An additional class skill.

Mastery of the Craft

At level 10 and again at level 20, an NP gains one of the following special abilities, appropriate to the profession:

  • Due to fame and good advertising, the character gains a 50% bonus to the salary earned through successful Profession checks.
  • Any one bonus feat.
  • Base Attack Bonus progression is raised to that of a wizard of equal level.
  • The -2 penalty to cross-class skills is removed, and one additional class skill is gained.
  • Mundane items are crafted in 75% of the time normally required.
  • One magic item crafting feat is gained. For the pupose of this feat, the craftsman's caster level is is NP level. The craftsman may select spells known as a sorcerer of equal level, and use those spells as prerequisites for item creation, despite not being able to cast them. Only items appropriate to the NP's craft skills may be crafted.


An NP has a CR equal to one quarter his level.


Normal Person is considered a favored class for all races.

Changing fields of study

An NP may multiclass into the same class. For example, a character may be a 4th level NP specializing in Profession(chef) and an 8th level NP specializing in Profession(cobbler).

Becoming an adventurer

  • The character loses the Highly Skilled class ability.
  • Each time an adventurer level is gained, a lost hit die, BaB, save bonus, feat or ability score bonus may be gained, at the normal skill rank cost.

Becoming a Normal Person

An adventurer simply advances normally as a Normal Person.