Skills and the NPC classes

Just about every one of my entries about Dungeons & Dragons talks about some slight changes I would make to the existing ruleset. It’s not that I don’t like the rules — no, not by any means. In fact they’re so good, so adaptable that I can’t help but want to tweak them to maybe make the game even a little better.
So today’s targets are the primary NPC classesCommoner, Aristocrat, Expert, Warrior and Adept.
These classes help define regular, non-adventurer folks. The only problem is that they don’t really accurately reflect the skill level a person can achieve over many, many years of work.
Some might say it’s simple: Just boost up their level so they get more skill points.
In D&D terms there’s a problem with that because if you boost up their class level, you imply that they’ve earned experience points through combat and adventuring.
But, as you know, most commoners don’t fight ankhegs and bugbears. When something that tough shows up, they run the other way.
So naturally, it would make sense that a person stays at 1st level his entire life.
The problem with that is that he may not have any combat experience, but he certainly gains knowledge and skills over his lifetime.
Right now, the D&D 3.5 edition ruleset doesn’t have any rules to cover that slowly expanding knowledge and skillset.
With that in mind, I offer these two class features that could be applied to the five non-player character classes:
SKILL GROWTH: As the character transitions from one stage on the Aging Effects Table (Table 6-5, Player’s Handbook), the character earns skill points as if he had advanced a level.
Notes: Now if you look at the Player’s Handbook, there are only four listed stages on the Aging Effects Table — Middle Age, Old, Venerable and Maximum Age. These categories provide a natural point for skill growth. Originally, I was thinking that this could be for every 10 years a character ages. That would be fine for most races, but elves mess that plan up. The Aging Effects chart helps even that. Are these skill boosts too much? That’s really doubtful. It might even be too little, considering how overskilled Player Characters get over time.
FUNDAMENTAL SKILL Pick three skills. Each of these skills is a Fundamental Skill for this character. Fundamental skills are not subject to character level dependency.
Notes: This benefit allows the Non-Player Character classes an opportunity to dump all their skill points into three key skills, and not be stuck wallowing at a low skill level because of their relatively low class level. It also helps make my other benefit work to its maximum benefit.
Thoughts? Comments?


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