People of the Land (大地人 daichi-jin, also called "Landers" or "People of the Earth") is the term used to describe the Non-Player Characters (NPCs, ノンプレイヤーキャラクター) in Elder Tale. They can be found in cities and safe zones and span a range of professions including aristocrats, shopkeepers, and farmers. They can be found throughout the world and are native to the world, unlike Adventurers.
People of the Land can be utilized for a number of things including the purchase of food, items, clothing, and can be spoken to for quests. What forms these types of quests take are up to assumption, but escort and monster hunting quests appear to be present.
Their history has been largely shaped by their wars against the Alvs and the monsters. Several hundred years ago the People of the Land were on the brink of annihilation at the hands of the demihuman races when the Adventurers appeared. The Adventurers pushed the demihuman races and monster back which allowed the People of the Land to recover and rebuild their civilization. This was the status quo right up until the Catastrophe.
There are powerful People of the Land like the Royal Guard and the Ancients, however. Normal People of the Land can also get stronger and level themselves up. However, the speed at which they level up is a quarter of an adventurer's, which makes their "level cap" around 60 at the highest, since they also cannot kill monsters or learn skills as easily as an Adventurer. Even the strongest of People of the Land knights are still no match against a single Level 90 Adventurer. Only by donning the Mobile Armor of the Royal Guard is a regular Lander able to defeat most high-leveled Adventurers with ease. However, due to the armor's restrictions of fighting only within a city's borders and its dependence on the city's magic circle, this is a limited advantage at best.
After the Catastrophe
Following the Catastrophe, the number of People of the Land increased by five to ten-fold, but they still remained weak compared to players, and if they chose, players could use their superior strength to take their belongings or their lives. Furthermore, instead of just being seen as NPCs, the People of the Land now have memories, feelings and even their own histories, making them far more human than before.
Landers are given fixed settings where they are unable to develop in certain areas, such as knowledge. Before the Magical Engineering revolution, they seemed to be incapable of even considering trying to create items or food without using the menu. Landers only have forty-two songs (which are very likely the forty-two tracks in the game) and cannot make any new ones; only Adventurers can. However, even though Landers are reliant on Adventurers for new developments, they are capable of learning. Upon the discovery of Overskills like Real Food Preparation and Magical Engineering, many Lander artisans, blacksmiths, chefs, and other craftsmen migrated to Akihabara in order to learn techniques from the Adventurers. A few months of learning is equivalent to a lifetime of study. In Minami, Zeldys and Jered Gan combined forces to accomplish feats beyond even Akiba's, such as creating a steel train and restarting their Intercity Transport Gate.
With the discovery of foods with flavor and the new inventions and products created by the Adventurers, the overall culture of the People of the Land has greatly changed due to these influences. Foods with actual taste have become overwhelmingly popular among the former NPCs with many domains now seeking out new methods of ingredient procurement, cooking techniques, and transport of goods. Devices previously unheard of are now sought after. New products and industrial methods are welcomed. They now see Adventurers as not only mercenaries for hire and protectors, but as new opportunities for wealth and technology advancement.
At the same time, though, some of the Landers, especially the nobles, viewed the Adventurers as a possible threat and did not trust them. Because the Landers were aware of how little they knew of Adventurers, this created a huge friction between the two sides. This became evident when the nobles at the Eastal Conference of Lords decided to keep the Izumo Knights' disappearance a secret from the Round Table Alliance representatives out of fear that the Adventurers would take advantage of the situation. Unlike the Ancients, the Adventurers were not necessarily obligated to fight for the nobility. As Shiroe noted, it was now possible to overthrow a ruling government; much like in Brigandia's case, Adventurers have full freedom to do whatever they please. In addition, People of the Land are often seen have very little information, or understanding, about the real origins of Adventurers; Landers were oblivious to the fact on how Elder Tale was once a game to the Adventurers, the kind of world that Adventurers hail from, and so forth.
Adventurers, Landers, Ancients, and Monsters have different soul colors, as seen by Coppelia. In an Lander's case, their soul would appear orange.
People of the Land can gain the abilities of the Adventurers through a magical contract. This process was created by Shiroe. It is not known if any other Adventurer has discovered and utilized this magic. So far, only Rundelhous Code has been given these abilities through a contract made by Shiroe. He keeps this fact an absolute secret as it would cause untold chaos if it were revealed. In spite of that fact, some people are still aware that he used some sort of "grand magic," and a [It kills subtlety. Just a little bit.] came out of the area where they were at.
People of the Land actually speak a different language than Adventurers. However, because of a system similar to the game's automatic translation machine, the two groups understand each other almost perfectly well. It is likely that, with the setting of Theldesia being several thousand years after real-world time, that they speak an evolution of the Adventurers' language, as the two sides seem to share a writing system; the only exception seems to be certain terminology, such as those derived from pop culture, commonly used in the modern world of the Adventurers where, likewise, Landers have their own unique terminology where "forty-two" means "music" in reference to how Landers had lived with only forty-two songs as "given to them by God." The automatic translation machine is noted imperfect and there may be errors during translation, which was shown when Serara asked a Lander store owner for fish paste but was given flour paste instead.