About this project
You have no powers, no particular skills with arms and armor, and you’re a fragile little bag of meat in a world of horrifying magical monsters and brazen, amoral mercenaries who dismiss you as beneath their notice.
Your enemies don’t stand a chance.
Don't want pledge via Kickstarter? Missed the funding window? Email me john [at] jmperkins.com and we can figure out how you can back the project.
Wait, Play as a Commoner; Why?!?
No class is worse than the commoner. Shopkeepers, laborers and other normal folk who were never intended for adventuring and whose stats were included as an afterthought to make “real” Player Characters feel powerful. Why play a commoner? Because it will open your eyes to parts of the game you’ve taken for granted.
The wonderful(ly masochistic) thing about playing commoners is that they require you to stretch your creative muscles in ways you’ve never needed to before. Both in and out of combat, you must understand and coax new functionality out of racial abilities, feats, traits, equipment and tactics to stay alive. Are you bored with how ‘easy’ the game is with a little thought? Feel like the ‘roleplayers’ don’t take enough time to consider the game and how it works? Feel like the ‘min-maxers’ strip the game of all its wonder and have a solution to every problem pre-built into their character? Have everyone play a commoner and the game changes completely.
The point of the commoner play style is: everything about your character matters. Your minor spell-like abilities are important weapons in you arsenal. That wand that works half the time is a gift from the Gods. A slight improvement to tripping isn’t a nice thing to have, but an essential stratagem that stands between life and death.
The Adequate Commoner is about helping you do more with less.
The Adequate Commoner is the RPG book for anyone looking to step up the challenge rating of their games, are intrigued by low-magic campaign settings, or want to stop taking game mechanics for granted. Adequate Commoner will allow you to run low-powered, high-tension, tactical adventures that push players' skills to their limits. This volume will collect and highlight the best options and equipment already available to help otherwise outgunned characters take a level in badass in addition to having dozens of pages of brand new material.
The Adequate Commoner will collect, improve, expand, and creates new additions to the commoner optimization guide ‘You’re Going to Die Screaming’ - now available as a pay what you want title!
What’s Included/Proposed Table of Contents
While it's not completed, and we hope to greatly expand based on Kickstarter funding, a ton of work has been done already on The Adequate Commoner. The basic structure/contents are as follows.
Chapter 1: Getting PC Commoners in Your Game
Options for game masters and players who want to include commoners as player characters in their game. The approaches range from 'balanced' options like the 'Gear Hero' or 'Mythic Commoner' which stay true to the commoner concept while creating play balance in unique ways to drawing inspiration from historical ninja, or viewing commoners as a level 0 class to explore ways to include compelling, unbalanced commoner characters.
Chapter 2: Commoner (PC) Class and Commoner Jobs
A review of the commoner class with a simple modification as well as 'jobs' - options for customizing commoners akin to archetypes including: Servant, Mason, Shopkeeper, Militia Veteran, Temple Keeper, and more.
Chapter 3: Weapons and Armor
A look at the most effective existing arms and armors in addition to an entirely new class of weapon - the commoner weapon: modified tools like spades, pitchforks, throwing stones, cleavers, and more.
Chapter 4: Making Best Use of Stats, Skills, and Race Selection
How to do more with less, what choices can help a commoner and which can't, in addition to new and creative uses of existing options.
Chapter 5: Traits
Collection of the most important existing traits in addition to over ten new ones including:
- Know Your Place - You are well practiced in speaking to your social betters: knights, lords, government bureaucrats, and more have all been soothed by your silvered tongue.
- Rough Living - In your time, you’ve worked hard every day and often eaten food that would turn the stomach of ‘softer’ people. You are hale and hearty.
- Revolutionary - Your experience in a peasant uprising taught you how to use a commoner weapon more effectively.
Chapter 6: Feats
A break down of commoner combat 'Styles,' a collection of the most important existing feats in addition to over ten new ones including:
- Animal Breeder - Your experience working with animals has allowed you to coax more out of them.
- (Un)Common Sense - You’re not sure about all this book learning, but between what your grandpappy told you and the obvious you can suss out some basics on a variety of subjects.
- Don't Know the Meaning of the Word Fizzled - Through painstaking practice, you’ve grown incredibly skilled at coaxing extra functionality from magical devices.
Chapter 7: Consumables and Ammunition
An essential selection of existing arrows, crossbow bolts, alchemical items, and magical consumables for the commoner utility belt plus new creations like: rusting powder arrows, flashbangs, and red mist throws.
Chapter 8: Improvised Traps
A complete new class of traps and use for the Craft [traps] skill: improvised traps are things like pungi pits, deadfalls, snares and more - all assembled out of whatever material is at hand. These oftentimes low cost, low challenge traps can be made incredibly deadly by skilled trapsmiths.
Chapter 9: Wondrous Items
A collection of the most useful wondrous items (for commoners) and new creations including:
- Fidget's Balista of the Hole in the World (a weaponized bag of holding + portable hole combination)
- Feather Token (Cover)
- Alchemist's Sling
- Ten Foot Fingers.
Chapter 10: Bringing it All Together - Tactics & Ambush Examples
A write up of combat bonuses and how low level commoners or other characters can triumph over much more dangerous opponents complete with: step by step ambush examples, notes for GMs on how handle DR and Fast Healing, and advice concerning how players use the environment and props like torch sconces, paving stones, caves and more to their advantage.
Chapter 11: Leveling up Your NPCs
Too often, commoners and other NPCs are dismissed as 'inconsequential' and beneath notice to players. More to the point, they are oftentimes assumed to be virtually defenseless against adventurers and other 'super-normal' threats. While the rest of the book chronicles how (and why) to make commoner PCs more effective and interesting, Chapter 11 is all about how to make engaging, helpful, or downright terrifying commoners and other NPCs by discussing things like strategic reserves, militia tactics, community defense and development, the commoner mindset, and how they would (potentially) get comeuppance against arrogant adventurers. This chapter is all about how active, engaged 'everyman' NPCs can be a major help or hindrance to the party and potentially the most memorable part of your campaign.
Chapter 12: Commoner Sample Characters
- Rejja Ruk-Ruk - Bag O' Tricks Bounty Hunter
- Getava Omak - Big Mouthed Bully
- Josom Nightwalker - Hunter in the Shadows
- Snozgrundaheim 'Snoz' Tiykallish - Poor Man's Summoner
- Bekan of Rivenford - Grizzled Militia Veteran
Bonus: Commoner Adventure
What do we need money for?
We intend to use the money to pay for art, layout, coloring, physical printing of the book, and to incorporate even more material to make the Adequate Commoner the best it can possibly be.
You, as a potential backer, are the entire reason The Adequate Commoner exists. We want your feedback every step of the way, and we want this product to be shaped by what will be the most useful/relevant to you. More than just supporting the project financially, your insight, ideas, and enthusiasm will shape this gaming supplement from the ground up.
That’s why every backer from the CONTRIBUTOR pledge level and up will be invited to Misfit’s private forum for our second round of playtesting and your suggestions being incorporated into the final version. Moreover, we have support options to get you into the game: either in an exclusive pitch session to take a contributor role (PITCH(FORK) WIELDING pledge level and up), get you or a loved one statted out as an iconic Commoner Character (at the exclusive LEGENDARY pledge level) or even become a Deity (at the one of a kind TRANSCENDENT pledge level).
Know a reward, or seen one elsewhere, that you'd like to get from us? Feel free to ask, and we'll see if we can set you up.
Every backer over the EQUIPPED pledge level (pledges at the $40 level and higher) level will also receive a of Misfit’s Studio’s Superior Synergy and The Spellweaver supplements. Both supplements fit perfectly with The Adequate Commoner - one by looking at making better use of complementary skills and feats to draw out new bonuses, and the other providing a rework of the magic system to make it a perilous, skill based system built on hard work rather than a mystical gift limited to only a select few classes.
From their product descriptions:
Superior Synergy: Fantasy brings the concept of game mechanic synergy back into your favorite fantasy role-playing game system. The idea that some game mechanics (such as skills) are innately compatible with other game mechanics in ways that can influence the game without choosing additional elements (such as feats) to permit their use makes a comeback in a greatly expanded and revised way.
The Spellweaver presents an alternate magic system that transforms arcane magic into a matter of skill and not just level climbing. Using the new spellweaving skill, a spellweaver is able to manipulate the threads of magic that spread throughout Existence like an infinite web of arcane energy. Using this system, arcane spells of any level may be cast so long as the character is sufficiently skilled and willing to risk the hazardous repercussions of failure. Inside you will find instructions on how to integrate this new form of skill-based magic into your game setting, or how to replace the existing magic system outright. The simple rules for doing so are presented in easy-to-read tables that can be used for converting third party spells to spellweaving DCs.
ADD AN EXTRA PDF COPY - $10 For every backer at $15 and over, add $10 dollars to your pledge for an extra copy of the pdf for a friend or $35 for 4 extra pdf copies so you can get one to your whole gaming group.
ADD AN EXTRA PRINT COPY - $20 For every backer at $50 and above, add $20 dollars to your pledge for an extra print copy for a friend, or add $70 for 4 extra print copies so you can get one to your whole gaming group.
In addition to the two bonus books from Misfit Studios, if we reach our stretch goals we’ll be offering even more amazing books to expand your gaming library and create even more awesome Commoner adventures.
We put our goal at the bare minimum to get this project finished, but with your support we think we can do truly amazing things. As such, here's a plan for to take The Adequate Commoner all the way to level 20. All books from other publishers + additional supplements will be given out to all backers at the EQUIPPED pledge level and above.
$6500 Every backer at the EQUIPPED pledge level and above receives a copy of Mundane No More - Text and Tomes from Christina Stiles Presents. A literate commoner is a powerful commoner. Texts and Tomes provides characters with the ability to retrain skills, feats. class features, and more, as well as providing a unique crafting recipe system that adds depth to the any game but is especially useful for commoners.
Level 3 - Use a Scroll of Enlarge Kickstarter
$8000 - Art Upgrade: All art in full color (note, printed editions may still have B&W Interior art depending on our choice of printer)
$8500 - Full integration and specialization of skills synergies into the text of The Adequate Commoner.
$9,000 - Every backer at EQUIPPED and above gets a copy of Cooks' Day Out - an original module about a group of failed commoner adventurers turned cooks who keep getting forced into new adventures.
$9,500 - Every backer at EQUIPPED and above gets a copy of The Mansion of Felix Feckle - an original module about navigating the horrendously dangerous mansion of the the most successful (and most tremendously insane paranoid) commoner adventurer ever.
$10,000 - Every backer at EQUIPPED and above gets a copy of 101 Uses for the Traveler’s Anytool & Fidget’s Advanced Anytool - a supplement reviewing and expanding functionality for the single most versatile magic item in fantasy role playing games.
$10001 - Party! All backers, of every level, will be invited to an exclusive launch party to be held in San Diego with food, drinks, and special in person rewards you can't get anywhere else.
Level 4 - 19 Locked
What are People Saying?
Take one of our favorite writers and pair him with one of the best publishers around and you get a great idea with some truly interesting gaming direction. - Robert Hemminger (Lead Designer - Avalon Games)
This is going to be amazing!!! - Mitchell (Advanced Playtester)
J.M. Perkins has created the definitive resource on the tactical use of nursemaids. If setting out to sack a city with two knaves and an eel-monger, you'd be a fool to do so without The Adequate Commoner; The Adequate Commoner is superlative. - Brett Jackson (Creator, BEDTIME FOREVER)
The idea of guerrilla warfare in a fantasy setting is very exciting - Andrew (Advanced Playtester)
I've always loved tabletop gaming, and in his new Kickstarter campaign, author J.M. Perkins is taking on a burden most honorable on a quest most memorable -- that of rehabilitating the reputation and usefulness of the legions of shopkeepers, smithys, barkeeps and other average folks who populate the streets and byways of the various landscapes of role-playing games. Me, I'm eager to see this Kickstarter succeed so fans of Pathfinder and other RPGs can play these underrated characters. – Robert J. Peterson (Owner, California Coldblood Books)
This book will help players go beyond playing a mere role and step forward into playing a character. - Matt Lemke (Editor, Through Gamer Goggles)
When John approached me with the idea, I thought it was a fun novelty. Once we got it on the table, though, I realized he had taken Pathfinder to a new and wonderful place. Parts of the game I’d taken for granted for over a decade were suddenly life-or-death important. Playing commoners increases the challenges, yes, but also the satisfaction of a game well-played in a way I didn’t think possible. - Rich Howard (Lead Designer-Mundane No More: Texts and Tomes)
J.M. Perkins - Writer: A fiction and game writer with over ten years of experience. His short fiction has appeared in dozens of anthologies, podcasts, and magazines including on Public Radio International. In addition to creating the Adequate Commoner for Misfit Studios, J.M. Perkins writes for Avalon Games and his credits include Bite Me: Player Options for Lycanthropes (Misfit Studios) and Ultimate Options: Story Feats (Rogue Genius Games).
Rich Howard - Developer: Rich Howard's obsession with gaming started 35 years ago and he's been writing and playing ever since. In the past year he's contributed to projects from Misfit Studios, Rogue Genius Games and Christina Stiles Presents, as well as become both lead designer on Misfit's Ultimate Shaman and lead developer for the upcoming storytelling boardgame, LUCID.
Steven Trustrum - Layout and Quality Control: Steven Trustrum is a freelance writer, small press publisher, owner of Misfit Studios, sometimes-graphic designer and digital colourist, and SEO warrior.
Misfit Studios - Publisher: Misfit Studios is a small press role-playing game publishing company begun in 2003; established as a third-party provider of useful products for popular game lines. Notable for its 3.5 OGL Fantasy products and OGL Barbarian supplements, Misfit Studios is also the most prolific third-party publisher for the second edition of the industry-leading super-hero RPG, Mutants and Masterminds by Green Ronin.
Misfit Studios was the publisher for the fully funded and recently delivered Bite Me: A Guide to Lycanthropes Kickstarter campaign while J.M. Perkins published his first novel CHEMO: How I Learned to Kill as a successful kickstarter campaign.
Risks and challenges
There’s always risks associated with supporting a Kickstarter campaign, but for this campaign the risks are minimal. 90% of the initial text has already been written/collected (45000+ words, 130+ pages, dozens of images, and counting) and Misfit Studios has been publishing supplements like this for over a decade and has track record for producing hundreds high quality books, art folios, monster briefs, and other resources for role playing games.
We should point out that page count is only a ROUGH ESTIMATE (subject to change given editing and formatting). We are confident that we have enough awesome material to support 130+ pages but we want to ensure that we will not be padding the book with subpar material to reach an arbitrary number.
As always, we run the risk of dragon attacks but we've upped our defensive ring of ballistas so we should be ok... probably.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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