I would like to test 5e and have acquired the "Murder in Baldur's Gate" adventure.

Now I find that the monster statistics in the adventure are "D&D Next", the playtesting version of 5e. There are no classes for any NPC, just "Actions", "Traits" and a Level for Encounter Building.

So: How do I use such statistics with 5e? Is there a conversion tool for "D&D Next" to 5e or am I missing something critical?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related What are the major differences between the final playtest package and D&D 5e Basic? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 12:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, this is related: But my central problem is not adressed there, i.e. the lack of any classes in the NPC stats. \$\endgroup\$
    – Giorin
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 12:58
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ But as far as I know there are no classes for NPC in 5e either? I don't know what's your problem here, exactly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 13:12

1 Answer 1


NPCs don't have classes

Only PCs have classes. NPCs have a statblock that fully encompasses everything they are capable of. They may have features in common with PC classes, but they may have extra features a PC cannot replicate, or be lacking features that a similar PC possesses.

Referring to the Basic Rules for 5E (replicated in the Monster Manual) we get the following statement:

A monster's statistics, sometimes referred to as its stat block, provide the essential information that you need to run the monster.

That's it...nice and simple. There's no extra stuff you have to look up, no progression charts to refer to. You just look at their statblock, and it contains everything they are capable of.

(I get where the confusion may come from...3.5E had 'NPC classes' like the Aristocrat, Expert, Warrior, etc. No such thing is in 5E)

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ +1, with a side note that for specific purposes, like attunement, NPC may be treated as member of specific class. And they may call themselves wizards or clerics or rogues and it has nothing to do with their stat block. Inside the game world Elminster is a wizard all right, no need to have levels in Wizard player class \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 13:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, I had a quick read through the MinBG monster stats. Despite the formatting of the stat blocks being very 4e, so far as I could tell all the actual mechanics in the actions or traits still make sense within 5e's rules - though I suspect some of the NPC actions/traits are based on class features which were dropped or changed significantly in 5e proper. They should be usable in 5e without any conversion effort. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 13:53
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ As an aside here, I'd like to add that a great example of "NPCs can be things PCs can't," I'd direct you to one Ezmerelda d'Avenir from Curse of Strahd. She casts like a 7th level wizard, Multiattacks like a 5th level fighter with the Dual Wielder feat (but doesn't get the AC bonus from it), has a d8 hit die, and a skill battery to make a Bard jealous (3 of which are with Expertise). You can't replicate her with PC classes...certainly not at Level 11 (which she's roughly equivalent to with her 11 hit dice). But she's also missing a bunch of features that equivalent classes would have. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 14:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ok, I haved missed something critical with regard to 5e. So, the general idea of 5e is that the PC's are completely different from all others? That is somewhat weird. \$\endgroup\$
    – Giorin
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 15:29
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @Giorin That's pretty accurate. It may feel weird to someone used to other game systems--but it does make a DM's life easier. You don't have to look at an NPC and then look up (or memorize) the stats of an NPC Class. You don't have to go through and sort out all of the abilities that an NPC should have. It's all right there in the statblock. Makes for a lot less page-turning and book-digging when you're prepping or running content. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 16:27

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