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Forum:Tiered NPC levels

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Forums: Grand Lodge > Tiered NPC levels

We haven't really come across this much, though it has appeared a few places, but I thought it best to discuss it before it causes us problems. Sometimes the same NPC is presented with multiple levels to scale them with an adventure. While this is most prevalent in PFS scenarios, it also happens sometimes in APs (like Aldern Foxglove). Should we make a guideline about which set of stats to use on the wiki? Should we always use the highest level and assume the others are scaled down, or always use the lowers and consider the higher tiers scaled up? If it's a 3 tier scenario, do we use the middle one since it's the average? What about BBEGs who undergo transformations (like Aldern or Ileosa)? I don't think we need to make a set decision now, but it is something I think we should address, especially since I'd love to add the NPCs I created for my PFS scenario(s) once they're officially canon. ;-)
My feeling is that if there is a discrepancy in level we simply leave it out and just list them by their class. After all, this place serves as a resource for fluff material and is not designed to work as a serious crunch resource. If people want crunch they should buy the publication. Yes, we have included a certain amount of crunch already, but some of those are vestiges from an earlier idea of what this wiki would be.

In addition, by leaving out stats for the adversaries and creatures we describe it makes them MORE applicable for people's home games. Any GM worth his or her salt will tailor his NPCs to the party in any case, so listing a level really is not very useful. I think there is more than enough work for all of us to not seriously touch on crunch material. Let other wikis and websites worry about that. We're a fluff site and should focus on that.

While I agree that we're a non-crunch site, it's hardly extra work for us to list character levels next to classes if we're already doing that, and it is very useful for GMs. I am fine with leaving them out if there's a discrepancy, but I don't think we should eliminate class/character level from our database altogether. We're not detailing their class abilities, but knowing that NPC X is an Aristocrat 5 while NPC Y is an Aristocrat 12 is going to help a GM gather their respective power levels. I guess it makes sense to list tiered NPCs just as their class to save on confusion. But when there's only one class/level for a given NPC, I see no reason to omit that information
From my perspective, only character in PFS scenarios are really a problem. Characters that evolve over the course of an adventure path or otherwise should simply be written up from the perspective of the most current source. After all, every character has existed in a multitude of previous states, but we write them up only from the resent perspective.

PFS scenarios are more of a problem though. And the problem extends to more than just characters. For example, when I wrote the article on the King Xeros, and it came time to describe its armament, I ran into trouble. As it turned out, the deck-mounted defense systems changed in number depending on tier. After wrestling with it for a while, I decided to get on with it and just didn't list numbers.

As I've been been writing this, I'm coming to think that maybe we should just go with the highest tier. That represents the most information, and we since strive to find and catalogue every scrap of information, there's no need to ignore good info.

What about situations in which an NPC's race changes? I can't think of any concrete examples, but sometimes in advancing monsters to accommodate higher tiers they change from being one creature to another within the same vein (like a bearded devil becoming a barbed devil). Race changes aside, I actually prefer we include none of the level information for characters with tiered stats. It's not likely that their alignment, class, race, etc. will change and in the big scheme of things, whether they're a cleric 4 or cleric 9 doesn't really matter. There are tons of NPCs for whom we lack alignments, race, and class, so seeing class level missing for a few NPCs isn't going to be a huge loss.

Regardless of what we decide, I think we should bear in mind that PFS scenarios are the lowest tier of our canon hierarchy, and as such should not be the primary source for anything which appears somewhere else. A villain may appear as a cleric of various levels in a scenario, and this is one of the primary reasons PFS scenarios aren't in the same canon category of other official Golarion content.

Hmm, I hadn't considered that. I'm ok with not putting in level I suppose. Anything else, we can just use our best judgment.
Holy thread resurrection, Blackjack! So I was just about to post a new thread in the forum when I decided to do a bit of searching first, and voila! This topic already exists and I had forgotten I had even contributed a post (3.5 years ago, mind you). So it seems we never reached a real consensus on this topic, but I think that most folks thought we should not post levels for tiered NPCs. Is this something that we still agree with? What about the folks who have joined us since this was last discussed, how do you feel? Is this something we can create an official policy for?
Blackjack wouldn't really fit as a tiered character, as he's not presented at more than one level at a single point in time. Rather, he levels up over the course of a long time, and his true identity changes as new people fill the role. I think his true identities should each have a character article with a fully detailed infobox, while the main Blackjack article should talk more about him as a legend and provide a list of known Blackjacks rather than the biography and class/level information of any individual person.

As for setting up an official policy, it might be worth discussing. If that's something you'd like to spearhead, we should really start a new discussion in the context of creating such and follow the site's guidelines for how we propose and approve policies and guidelines.

OK, I'll start something. Also, Blackjack was just used as a Golarion-specific Batman substitute, see! I wasn't trying to bring him into this particular discussion :)

I won't say too much here as there'll be a formal policy process, but my initial reaction is we should document the tiered levels and page reference and categorize them appropriately. In a way this is similar to the pages where we have ferret, dire ferret and legendary ferret - another area we haven't really concluded a policy - but where we are now collating (in some fashion) all the information on one page.

Casting thread True Resurrection! After a few more years of thinking about this, I've come around to the opinion that we should list all the various incarnations in multiple infoboxes in a similar format that we already use for creatures (e.g. Bear or Wolf as Yoda had already mentioned in the previous post). Alternately, we could simply follow the format used for Nessian, but that would work better when only the person's level is the variable. I'm also wondering whether we should create a category for these types of individuals, and what we might call them. Tiered individuals? Multi-statted individuals? Is such a category even necessary?
While not the same, this thought is similar enough for me to bring it up. Should the infoboxes for people include an optional field for which product a full stat block can be found in? Yes, we have the source field, but that often only includes the first source that lists the level. (IE if Inner Sea Magic has a level in the table of magic users, and 3 years later a stat block is included, the source in the infobox will most likely still say Inner Sea Magic. If we do the multiple infoboxes for each tier, this would be a time to start that as well.
That's not a bad idea, Cpt kirstov. An entry that cites where one could find a full stat block would be very helpful and informative, imo. Do you have an opinion on the multi-tier debate?
My biggest concern is how it looks on tablets/phones. I know when looking at the Bear page on my Ipad that you posted above the infoboxes go to reference number 8, and the lines with the bullet points are only 7-9 words wide. That short distance between line breaks is hard to read. The same page from my phone I need to scroll down 4 full screens before I get to any text that isn't in an infobox. This is semi-concerning when you think about how hard we work to eliminate lists on the project to prevent the need to scroll this way. That is my only concern. Are we able to modify the location of the additional infoboxes so that they appear in the area of the page where we are talking about that bear, or that part of the person's history? (sorry, infoboxes aren't an area that I play with often, i even often forget to add them when I should)

> Are we able to modify the location of the additional infoboxes so that they appear in the area of the page where we are talking about that bear, or that part of the person's history?

The infobox shows up wherever the infobox code is placed in the article, which can be anywhere in the article. On desktop, the infoboxes would likely stack as they currently do anyway unless there's a large amount of text between infoboxes. On mobile, the infoboxes would show up in the relevant place.

It's possible to tweak infobox appearance on mobile, or even make them collapsible. Just a matter of time.

Personally, I'm not fond of multiple infoboxes when only a few points of data are different, and I don't think a separate infobox template parameter for the stat block location is necessary when we already have the source parameter, and can already use <ref> tags to cite that information to a stat block if it differs. (I'm for splitting creature articles up, too. If animal breeds warrant multiple infoboxes, they also warrant multiple articles IMO.)

As a general rule, we write about the current state of the campaign setting as it progresses in real time alongside product releases. If a character has multiple stat blocks due to the passage of time, we should list the current one in the infobox, add reference tags to the parts of the infobox that change over time, cite each stat block, and explain in the references why the character's class or level changes across sources.

If a character has multiple stat blocks because they can change form or state, or if the stat block itself would be a spoiler (Barzillai Thrune, looking at you on both counts), we should follow the canon policy and provide the version that would be most widely relevant and understood on Golarion, add reference tags to the relevant mutable parts of the stat block, and explain the differences there. Additional infoboxes aren't necessary.

I'm also especially for having better-defined guidelines for the source parameter in infoboxes. I tend to set them to the source and page of a character's stat block and description if they have one. It makes little sense to cite an older source simply because it's older, when a newer source provides more relevant context.