The following is an answer to Vlad Malkav's three questions in the previous post. Starting with the training of non-fighter characters.
I'll be addressing the matter from the original starting-age tables in the DMG, back from 1977. I don't know what other age tables exist or what numbers they give, but I have always felt the original numbers were well designed and rational, for the classes they were supposed to represent, at least as far as humans are concerned. I treat every races' lifespan as the same as humans, as this makes sense for history in my game. I don't need any elves around talking about their personal friendship with Julius Caesar.
A fighter starts with a minimum age of 16 (15+1d4). This suggests that there is little mental prowess that is necessary, which fits with our conception of history. Boys have always entered armies as young as 12; just look at juvenile combatants in Syria, Zaire and Afghanistan right now. The principle requirement for a medieval-concept fighter is a weapon, some experience in using it and comprehension of the battlefield through observation. A 16-year-old fighter is believable.
However, the paladin begins 1st level at a minimum of 18 years while a cleric or druid starts at 19. Again, there is a 4 year window (the paladin is 17+1d4), but the key point here is the 2-year difference between paladin and fighter. What is that two years spent doing? What slows the cleric or druid down three years?
The latter seems plain. They have to learn spells, gain an understanding of either the secular or non-secular world and in general obtain a certain clarity where it comes to their professions. With the paladin, the question is one of faith. The paladin needs to become more mature in order to comprehend how the world works (and how the paladin fits in it). This can't be gained by just more fighting. We can imagine the paladin becoming a fighter first, but then the character needs to "drop out" of the daily grind of living and acquire insight through prayer, contemplation, study, ordinary labor (to gain perspective and humility) and in all likelihood a great deal of time spent alone.
This can't be bought or taught, except in the most cursory of terms. The paladin must be the sort of person able to "see" the way clear to being a paladin. Thus the necessary wisdom and intelligence as well as strength and constitution. The high charisma is then gained because, through humility and comprehension, the paladin has gained a greater understanding of what people need and what they want to hear. The paladin is empathic.
When we roll up a character, we're seeing the result of this training, the accumulation of the stats that we're setting down. The matter is settled at the beginning of the game. We roll a 17 and slot it in under charisma without a thought for how that charisma is acquired. It simply is ~ and the tendency is to think it is a natural, born-in-the-womb trait. Actually, it is an indication that this character spent those extra years profitably. An ordinary fighter with a 14 charisma, not so much.
So to "train" a paladin would be to make a fighter the way I described in the previous post, then let go. After a few years (if we sent off a 16-year-old to be a paladin, could take as long as 5 years before the reunion occurred), we'd get the revised fighter back or we'd get a fighter that failed. It wouldn't be up to us.
Similarly, the cleric or druid would probably interrupt the fighter track before becoming a 1st level fighter (less proficiencies, a THAC0 that upgrades more slowly, very little interest in fighter-based knowledge), just enough to gain the requisite combat abilities for the class, before ditching anything more to spend years either in a seminary or in the wild. Again, both would be a matter of time, not expense. The seminary might cost a stipend, but that wouldn't make the time go by faster. The same follows for the druid, who would likely follow a teacher but the skills gained have little or nothing to do with combat.
The thief also begins at 19 (18+1d4). The thief's combat abilities are different, less trained and more streetwise in technique. But we can still assume that a greater thief could train a would-be ordinary person to obtain their first level, like Fagin in Oliver Twist. The thief track could work almost exactly like the fighter, except that a non-fighter would be the instructor. Thus I created the sage skill disciplinarianship - about which I've written nothing, until now. That's because, like the fighter, I had absolutely no idea how it would work until 1:30 AM in the morning last night.
The assassin starts with a minimum age of 21 (20+1d4). There is no disciplinarianship for assassins because I don't see an assassins' school as a concept. Murder, or killing as we like to say, is taught in the army; and with my recent change of seeing the assassin as a fighter and not a thief, we need to see the principle combat training/sage ability knowledge for that assassin coming out of the fighter instruction that we've postulated. However, like the paladin, the assassin is someone who drops out. Not to become more pious, but more likely because they don't get along with others. With a higher strength, intelligence and dexterity than ordinary fighters (again, the ability stat prerequisites), they learn more quickly, get bored, leave before they gain their necessary 1,200 experience and begin living a misanthropic lifestyle. They do mercenary jobs, pick up knowledge from thieves on the streets and gain a natural aptitude for killing more effectively and coldly. We can argue that the assassin takes less experience to get to second than a fighter does because it takes perhaps 1,700 x.p. for the assassin to gain their 1st level. I'm don't know for sure. All of this postulation needs the creation of firm guidelines for what each 100 x.p. gained produces. I don't need to do that at this time, so it can wait.
The ranger also starts with a minimum age of 21, like the assassin. The high intelligence, wisdom, strength and constitution all assume this time was spent hardening the ranger to the wilderness. Less interested in how nature works and more interested in how to survive it, we can presume rangers also manage their fighter training handily before departing from the urban environment for the wilderness, where they are happy as individuals. There they accumulate another 500 x.p. surviving, getting to know specific environments, acquiring ranger sage abilities (most of which are exactly like a fighter's) until reaching an age where they accumulate the skills, hit points and hardiness to be a first level ranger.
The monk begins at age 22 (21+1d4). Like the paladin, the monk has meditated. Unlike the paladin, the combat training is wholly unique and intrinsically different from that as a fighter. More of the combat training is managed through precision and repetition, so that is must be gained like a cleric learning spells in a seminary. It can't be gained through casual combat as a non-leveled individual. It is rigorous and requires total commitment. The monk begins somewhere in their early teens and doesn't appear at all in the real world until they have become a 1st level. Therefore, one doesn't encounter a non-level monk anywhere but a dojo or a monastery ~ where, we might suppose, there are many students with partial monk abilities that could be a formidable challenge for even a high level party (a hundred "part-monks," with the skills I've recently proposed, would be strangely dangerous, even if they had few hit points). Naturally, all the monks in any particular school would be following a specific "path" in the "way" of the school's design. This school would be full of "claw"-trained monks while that school would all be "tranquility"-trained monks.
This leaves the mage and the illusionist. The mage's minimum age is 26 (24+2d8). Because a bell-curve results from the two dice used to determine age, however, only a very few mages would be that young. Most mages would start as 1st levels between 32 to 34. The illusionist's minimum age is 31 (30+1d6). A slightly worse average.
This suggests the training to accumulate cantrips and spells is exhaustive and time-consuming. In a typical campaign, therefore, training an ordinary NPC from scratch to become a mage would be impractical. Considering the response I received from the post I wrote about jumping time ahead, I don't think this plan will interest most players. Who wants to wait around for a 15-year-old to enter a magic academy to reach the unlucky age of 40 before hitting 1st level as a mage?
Okay, let's put that down for now.
Vlad asks about my civilization technology concept from 2015. In brief, for those not familiar, this is the idea that more densely populated parts of the world would have a higher tech level than parts less urbanized. The tech level measure is based on D&D equivalents to the video game Civilization by Sid Meier.
The explanation for why more people would be leveled in a higher tech region is simple: there are more teachers. A given teacher should be able to teach more than one protege: most of the time training and learning is spent in repetition and practice, meaning that a single teacher is only needed for 10-15% of a student's actual learning window. One teacher, then, can manage up to 8 students, rotating between them, getting rid of students who require too much time when the full complement is being educated. A teacher with less students can manage more time for hard-to-teach individuals.
In a dense culture, teachers are everywhere and there are plenty of would-be students. This enables the creation of mass-production schools that would be impractical in largely rural cultures (where there aren't the teachers and fewer students). This allows for the greater number of leveled persons, as the experience gained would be fruitful and not lost to an x.p. ceiling, as I proposed in the previous post.
Vlad's second question regarding tech cultures is about where does the experience come from? I rush to point out that the 30 Years' War post describes a war taking place in the highest tech areas possible for my world. Virtually everything in the heart of Europe has a tech between 15 and 18. Remember, the tech is based on population density alone. All those city states are very densely populated ~ and all of those city states (Ulm, Mulhouse, Pisa, Milan, Augsburg, Florence, Padua, Nuremberg) were rife with war, uprisings, rebellions, religious clashes in the streets and ~ like the modern era ~ excessive crime. By no means does an educated population indicate a calm, peaceful population. Given our humanity's propensity for fighting over ideas, an education actually gives us a lot more to fight about.
Therefore, a technology-rich region might shield themselves from harm on the outside, but everyone inside already has all the available tech and are more than willing to use it. As well, population density tends to fit the agricultural richness of a river valley, so if our country is well off and educated, the chances are the other country across the river will be also. Finally, we know that greater technology massively increases the potential for devastation and destruction, rather than decreasing it. The evidence of the 30 Years' War indicates this was as true in the 17th century as it is now.
True, they were using muskets and gunpowder. But they didn't have magic, and a high tech culture would have much more magic than a low-tech culture. The paradigm holds.
Thank you again, Vlad, for such good questions. For the general reader, Vlad lives in that part of the world that was knee-deep in the 30 Years' War. Without giving the exact location, he's well-acquainted with the city-states of Alsace, those of Wurttemberg and the upper valley of the Rhine. He's close enough to walk to places that I would give my i-teeth to visit.