Forums: Helping Hand > 5e Classes / CR

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I have been thinking... so 5th edition does not give NPCs "classes"... example, Zephyros is called a 12th level spellcaster and has wizard spells, but the source does not state he IS a mage... yes, NPCs may have fighter abilities, but each stat does not give a class... on the other hand, most (actually, maybe all) NPCs have a Challenge Rating (so does 3rd edition)... when a stat says Nth spellcaster, technically, there is no wizard or cleric attached... so, unless others disagree, 5e edition characters do not have Class Levels... thoughts? Also, can we add a Challenge Rating section to the Template:Person for 3e and 5e infobox sections?
- Darkwynters (talk) 17:46, July 27, 2017 (UTC)

Any thoughts :)
- Darkwynters (talk) 17:47, September 2, 2017 (UTC)

I was just thinking about this today, actually.

Frulam Mondath is a level 5 spellcaster. She exclusively uses cleric spells, uses wisdom as her spell modifier, and is connected to a site that contains a shrine to Tiamat. It is very clear she is intended to be a level 5 cleric of Tiamat, but 5e refuses to state that outright.

I don't have a solution to offer, but I do share your frustration.

Ir'revrykal (talk) 22:02, September 2, 2017 (UTC)

I don't know 5e, but this seems to be a question of correctness vs. practicality. In my opinion it would be fine to add a challenge rating, but if for NPCs the corresponding class is recognisable derived from the abilities, I would prefer to use the classes, even if they are not explicitely stated. It would just be much nicer to be able to compare with other editions.
Daranios (talk) 19:26, September 3, 2017 (UTC)

Cleric spells are cast by paladins, ranger, and even bards have those spells... and rangers use wisdom...
- Darkwynters (talk) 00:51, September 7, 2017 (UTC)

I think most of the "generic" spellcasting NPCs from Appendix B of the Monster Manual and Volo's Guide to Monsters probably have a more or less neat parallel with their respective classes, despite a few differences. For example, the Archmage is described as an 18th level spellcaster, with a number of wizard spells prepared. So whenever a character is specified to be an archmage, I'd say it's safe to call that character a wizard of 18th level. An Acolyte is a 1st-level cleric, and so on.

Non-spellcasting classes are trickier, and not at all obvious. For example, an Assassin deals 4d6 sneak attack damage and has evasion, which would suggest a 7th or 8th-level rogue, but also has multiattack, which would suggest a 5th-level in some other martial class. Since they have 12d8 hit points, it's probably 7th level rogue with the Assassin subclass and 5th level something that's not a fighter, monk or ranger, but gives them a second attack, crazy poison damage with their weapons and nothing else.

It gets even more complicated with the "special" NPCs that have their own stat blocks in the adventures, like Severin for example.

Moreover, the way CR is calibrated in 5th edition doesn't provide a simple solution like "multiply CR by 4 and then you get the effective level", and some NPCs are harder to draw parallels than others. Maybe the number of hit dice is a better indication of level, but the rest of the stats generally don't unequivocally determine the class (which is probably by design to provide some suspense, like legendary actions).

In summary, I don't think it is possible to have a catch-all class-equivalence algorithm for 5th edition NPCs, so a parallel with previous editions may not always be possible. I see two alternatives:

  • state the class when it's obvious (like the archmage) and keep the NPC name when it's not (like the assassin), as Daranios suggested; this provides a nice parallel, but may lead to disagreements on interpretation on trickier cases;
  • keep the NPC class in all cases and use CR instead of level in the 5e block.

I'm in favor of the second alternative, mostly because it keeps with the official content and provides a clean solution, despite sacrificing the comparison with previous editions. It would also not affect characters that have been officially released as PCs, like Minsc for example.

Sirwhiteout (talk) 02:51, September 7, 2017 (UTC)

What I usually do is place the 5e "class" in the occupation section of the infobox... for example Langdedrosa Cyanwrath does not have a given PC or NPC class, but he is a warrior, so I placed that in "Occupation"... Ardred Briferhew is stated as being a "veteran" which is an NPC class (or stat) in the Monster Manual 5th edition... If we added a CR line to the Person infobox... than Cyanwrath could be under CR 4... now maybe we want to create a new category instead of Category:Creatures with a 4 challenge rating (5e)... and make it "Inhabitants with a 4 challenge rating (5e)"... which could work because 3rd edition gave some NPCs challenge ratings... thoughts?
- Darkwynters (talk) 22:49, September 11, 2017 (UTC)

Rather than add a CR line to the infobox, would you rather have an "NP class table" template that works like {{Class table}} except takes the NPC name (Assassin) and the CR (7) and produces an appropriately labeled table and automatically generates categories Category:Assassins (5e) and Category:Assassins with 7 challenge rating (5e)? Or some other variation on this theme? Would that be a good solution that fits in with the other editions?
Moviesign (talk) 23:54, September 11, 2017 (UTC)

We've had to guess at classes before, such as with 1e's umbrella classes. Is it possible for us to define broad categories like warrior, rogue, magic-user, priest? We could make notes that these are arbitrary for the sake of organization.
— BadCatMan (talk) 01:30, September 12, 2017 (UTC)

All assassins are CR 8... but that is an assassin character with the assassin NPC stat block... Basically, 5e NPCs have monster stat blocks (aka CR) or just have a CR rating... they might have spellcasting powers but do not specifically say warlock or sorcerer... they might have a rogue power, but also have a fighter power... all this makes it hard to actually use anything other than CR. For example, Bastian Thermandar has spellcasting ability and uses CHA... it does say he uses sorcerer spells... hmmm, Elizar Dryflagon states he uses druid spells... Vanifer uses sorcerer spells... hmmm, I think we might be onto something!!! Drannin Splitshield states he uses "action surge" which is a primary fighter power, his challenge rating is 7... so Drannin could be a "Category:Fighters with a 7 challenge rating (5e)". Vanifer could be "Category:Sorcerers with a 9 challenge rating (5e)" (she has a CR12 while in her lair) Thought?
- Darkwynters (talk) 23:44, September 12, 2017 (UTC)

That certainly works, and makes a lot of sense. Although I think for situations where we have to assume a class, we should make it clear to readers that it's an assumption (through something similar to {{AQ-time}})
Ir'revrykal (talk) 12:26, September 14, 2017 (UTC)

Not a bad idea, Rev :) Check out Drannin Splitshield... now Movie might have to add an auto category section to the Person infobox.
- Darkwynters (talk) 23:32, September 15, 2017 (UTC)

What exactly do you want? Are we adding a challenge5e to the {{Person}} template? Or did you like the {{NPC class table}} idea with CR instead of level, and categories as mentioned above? Or both? BTW, this Dauphal guy I'm working on has both a 3rd edition challenge rating and classes and levels, so is this a unique situation, or something for which we need to modify the template?
Moviesign (talk) 00:34, September 16, 2017 (UTC)

Maybe create the {{NPC class table}}... yeah, 5e and 3e have both CR and classes for many of the NPCs.
- Darkwynters (talk) 18:12, September 17, 2017 (UTC)

Okay, demo time. Please look at User:Moviesign/Template:Person/doc and checkout the 3e and 5e tabs for Jarlaxle, Then scroll to the bottom and see the two categories that were automatically generated. I put small headings on the columns for the NPC class table since it may be specified with a regular Class table. I can remove the headings if you think them unnecessary, or add them to the {{Class table}} for completeness. If you have a suggestion for a different way to distinguish NPC class from regular class, please speak up. Is this enough? Do we also need challenge3e and challenge5e parameters, or can we come up with some class that fits for every NPC? Or something else?
Moviesign (talk) 21:50, September 18, 2017 (UTC)

Man, see 3e has dragons with CR... we use the Person infobox with them, such as Cheleen... but she does not have a class (and she is not specifically a creature)... maybe we just go "NPCs with a 14 challenge rating (3e)" and "NPCs with a 14 challenge rating (5e)"... as for Drannin Splitshield, just make him part of "Fighters (5e)"... (he has no level)... one thing 5e does is state if someone is a 5th level spellcaster, but says nothing about the levels of warrior or rogue NPCs... seems to me we are just recording the challenge rating for 3e and 5e under the Person Infobox... this would distinguish "Creatures with a 14 challenge rating (3e) as no name 3rd edition monsters and "NPCs with a 14 challenge rating (3e) as specific persons/monsters... all this could be solved with adding NPCs to the challenge3e and challenge5e parameters... I think. Thoughts?
- Darkwynters (talk) 22:34, September 18, 2017 (UTC)

All 3rd-edition NPCs have Challenge Ratings. CR is a product of class, whether it's an associated or non-associated class, race, racial HD, and any templates they have. It's laid out in detail here. For a regular human, their CR is the same as their class or character level (human fighter 4, CR 4), but with templated, level-adjusted, and monstrous races, this gets complicated. A drow fighter 4 has CR 7 (their character level + 1) while a half-dragon human fighter 4 has CR 6 (their character level + 2) and an ogre fighter 4 has CR 7 (and it's not said how it's worked out) and an ogre wizard 4 should be rather less challenging. Full stat blocks for 3e NPCs give the CR, but brief "(NG human Ftr4)" lines do not.

Given this, I feel we should not cover CRs for 3e NPCs. It's too complicated to expect users to work out, except in the most trivial cases where it's not necessary. It would be a rabbit-hole of work to incorporate.

Furthermore, it's too crunchy for us. Our purpose in presenting classes and levels was for comparison or power and solving "who's the highest-level"-type questions. CRs are more about suitability as a threat in a game and should be worked out by a DM. As for comparison of monstrous creatures with class levels, one can see the classes on the character's page, the CR on the linked race's page.

That only covers 3rd & 3.5 edition, of course. I can't speak to 5th edition.
— BadCatMan (talk) 03:54, September 19, 2017 (UTC)

Totally cool with that, BadCat! As for NPCs in 5e... I suggest we just state what class "we think" the character is... so Vanifer is a "Sorcerer (5e)" and leave it at that... maybe (just a small maybe) give her the "Creatures with a 9 challenge rating (5e)"... but have nothing about her "level"... thoughts?
- Darkwynters (talk) 23:40, September 19, 2017 (UTC)

I am in favor of adding CRs to the infobox.
~ Lhynard (talk) 00:48, September 20, 2017 (UTC)

We do know Vanifer's level, though. She's level 10, and has access to the exact same amount of sorcerer spells as a level 10 PC sorcerer. I'd say we should keep levels where they are actually given (spellcasters, mostly), and ignore them where they are not (martial types).
Ir'revrykal (talk) 09:18, September 30, 2017 (UTC)

I agree with BadCatMan in the sense that we should not be computing CRs for NPCs, but if an official source gives us a CR, then we can report that, just as we do for monsters. Adding challenge3e and challenge5e parameters to the {{Person}} infobox would cover this and I think they should be put in the "Creatures with an X challenge rating (3e)" or "(5e)" category so they can be found by readers looking for a particular challenge level. We already do this with named dragons so other NPCs will fit right in.

If we know an NPC's level, and know or can easily deduce the class, then we can use the standard {{Class table}} and its automatically generated categories just as we have been. That is, I think we should scrap the {{NPC class table}} idea and not introduce a new set of categories like "Fighters with a 25 challenge rating (5e)".

If we don't know enough about an NPC to use either of these two methods, then it's probably best to use occupation.

Using Vanifer as an example, she would get Category:Sorcerers (5e), Category:Sorcerers of 10th level (5e), Category:Creatures with a 9 challenge rating (5e), and Category:Creatures with a 12 challenge rating (5e).

Is this agreeable to everyone?

Moviesign (talk) 14:29, September 30, 2017 (UTC)

That sounds good to me.
Ir'revrykal (talk) 16:24, September 30, 2017 (UTC)

- Darkwynters (talk) 17:19, September 30, 2017 (UTC)

As noted above, I am in favor of adding CRs to the {{Person}} template, but I think that the categories should be Category:Individuals with a 9 challenge rating (5e), etc.
~ Lhynard (talk) 14:22, April 21, 2018 (UTC)

Lhyn, I like your idea... how about "Inhabitants with a 9 challenge rating (5e)", that way we keep the general categories and it matches up with the "Inhabitants" cats? Check out Cressaro.
- Darkwynters (talk) 23:10, May 11, 2018 (UTC)

Keeps me happy.
~ Lhynard (talk) 00:17, May 12, 2018 (UTC)

Parameters challenge3e, challenge35, and challenge5e have been added to the Person template and will auto-generate categories of the form "Inhabitants with a 9 challenge rating (5e)". Let me know if you find any problems.
Moviesign (talk) 02:18, May 12, 2018 (UTC)
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