Thursday, August 1, 2013

Forgotten Realms NPC Level Comparison: 1st vs 2nd Ed.

This post follows on my post showing the statistics for the 1st edition AD&D "grey" boxed set.

I finally had time to get out my 2nd edition Forgotten Realms boxed set and type in the data on the NPC's from that edition.  Here is a quick summary of the differences between these two editions:

1st Edition (70 total NPC's):
 Class              Level                  
 Bard   : 2        Min.   : 1.0       
 Cleric : 9        1st Qu.: 6.0    
 Druid  : 3        Median : 7.5 
 Fighter:16      Mean   : 8.8                    
 Ranger : 6      3rd Qu.:11.0                    
 Thief  : 4         Max.   :27.0
 Wizard :30

 2nd Edition (51 total NPC's):
 Class              Level          
 Bard   : 2        Min.   : 2.00         
 Cleric : 5        1st Qu.: 6.50   
 Druid  : 3        Median : 9.00 
 Fighter:12      Mean   :11.12                    
 Ranger : 5      3rd Qu.:14.50                    
 Thief  : 3         Max.   :30.00                    
 Wizard :21   

The list is still dominated by wizards, in fact the overall all split between represented classes is about the same between editions.  There were about 20 less NPC's in the 2nd edition boxed set.  While the level spread is about the same between editions, the mean level increased from ~9th level, to ~11th level.  Mostly, since the same characters were represented in both editions and a bunch of time had passed in Faerun, I'm thinking Ed thought that many of his notable NPC's should have gained a few levels.

Here is a boxplot of the 2nd edition classes by levels:

Here is a comparative histogram between editions:

What I noticed from the histogram, is that they ignored low level PC's when they shrunk the list from 70 down to 51NPC's (probably to save paper).

All in all I don't think the power bloat that occurred in Forgotten Realms material occurred at the publication of the 2nd edition boxed set.  I noticed that the Under Illefarn has NPC's with much higher level that the averages for the 1st edition boxed set so the power bloat probably crept in with the supplementary materials as different writers piled on.  Also, the novels didn't help, and the splat books.  I'm guessing all hell broke loose in 3rd edition.  I mostly kept my head down and ignored all of this, I played in my own version of the realms that stayed away from "notable" NPC's and any character from any of the novels.

I don't own the third edition version of forgotten realms, but it would probably be hard to pin down characters to a certain level and class, since in 3rd edition, there were all sorts of "dual" classing, and "prestige" classes.  I never played 3rd edition D&D so I really don't know.  If somebody had the books and wanted to type up the NPC's for me, I would run this analysis on that set.

All I need is a .csv file with the following format:

Class, Level, Ed
Wizard, 6, 3rd
Fighter, 6, 3rd

and so on...

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