|What could possibly go wrong?|
What Is "The Adequate Commoner"?
All right, first things first. The Adequate Commoner is a handbook for players who want to de-power their games. This is a book for parties who think NPC classes are given entirely too much power, and who really want to achieve victory through nothing more than careful planning, the right gear, and a ridiculous amount of luck. It is a book that lays out class options if you want all of your PCs to have a terrible BAB progression, nearly non-existent weapon proficiency, almost no armor use, and barely more than average hit points.
If that's your kind of jam, then keep on reading.
The stated goal of the adequate commoner is to issue your players a challenge; can you still become heroes without all of the class abilities and swagger that come with adventuring classes? Can you stare death in the face, knowing that you are not powerful adventurers who've trained their whole lives, or been gifted with strange powers? And, of course, will all of this lead to deeper roleplaying experiences, new stories, and more compelling characters?
I don't know... maybe.
Does It Work?
The Adequate Commoner is full of flavor, and it shows a lot of ways you can make commoners surprisingly effective (especially at low levels). By focusing on skills, attributes, equipment, and racial abilities (items which the book argues are often afterthoughts for more traditional adventurers), this book forces players to find alternative methods to rise to the challenge of living in a dangerous fantasy world.
However, The Adequate Commoner should be thought of as a completely separate game from traditional Pathfinder. The reason for that is because everyone at the table has to agree to play commoners, and the DM has to be able to craft an adventure that suits these characters both thematically and mechanically. Commoners are people with average, everyday jobs, and an adventure needs to provide enough of a hook to make them leave their places in society in order to combat a threat, or chase a macguffin. You know, like defending their town from a goblin incursion, or throwing a magic ring into a volcano. You also can't be out adventuring with three commoners and a wizard, otherwise three quarters of the party are going to be the sidekicks to the one adventurer's quest.
It's a functional idea, and the book lays out creative solutions players may never have thought of before. It won't appeal to everyone, though, since not all gamers want to play Pathfinder on Nightmare mode. If it sounds like your cup of tea, though, then check out The Adequate Commoner for yourself!