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General At what level(s) do you start your D&D campaigns?

At what level(s) do you start your D&D campaigns?

  • 1

    Votes: 80 75.5%
  • 3

    Votes: 41 38.7%
  • 5

    Votes: 7 6.6%
  • 7

    Votes: 4 3.8%
  • 9

    Votes: 2 1.9%
  • 11

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 13

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • 15

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • 17

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 19+

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other: Explain in thread

    Votes: 9 8.5%

  • Total voters
    106

Laurefindel

Adventurer
OK, now you got me baffled. In the other thread you were advocating for a more mundane lvl 1-20 campaign (with specifically less epic lvl 15-20) and now I find out you don't even start until lvl 3! You sir, are an enigma ;)
I can get behind that however. I find that D&D’d sweet-spot is between level 3 and 13. If I’m going to rush everything before and after, might as well get right into the action and finish before the enjoyment of the game degraded too much
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
OK, now you got me baffled. In the other thread you were advocating for a more mundane lvl 1-20 campaign (with specifically less epic lvl 15-20) and now I find out you don't even start until lvl 3! You sir, are an enigma ;)
😂 I’m not that confusing. I explained why I don’t like to start at level 1. That preference doesn’t interfere at all with my preference to keep the game somewhat grounded throughout the entire course of the campaign, or my desire to be able to do that with a much longer campaign than I currently can.

Levels 1 and 2 take a single session to get through. They don’t make a campaign last any longer. All they do is force the players to play the apprentice of their character concept, at best. Oftentimes, they mean playing soemthing that is actually a different concept, such as playing an Eldritch Knight Fighter, or a Melee weapon focused wizard.
 






I don't have a set level because I start the game based entirely of a level of which the story I seek to tell fits. I.e. if I intend to tell a traditional hero's journey of zeros to heroes, I'll do either level 1 or 2 (I prefer level 2 just because it gives a slight hp boost with little power gain). If I'm just wanting to run a Tier 2 story where the players start as experienced, yet still basically mortal adventurers (i.e. the non-hobbit LOTR characters), I start at level 5.

The point is that it is about matching the tone of the story I want to run. If we're setting out to tell a story about superhero-esque avengers level characters, you shouldn't start at level 1, it just pads the game and makes it boring. Not EVERY tale needs to be a hero's journey.
 

Minigiant

Legend
1, 3, 5, or 15 depending on the game system or campaign.

But usually I start at the level that characters are considered "trained and skilled" and are knowledgeable enough to be trusted to quest and advance their own training. in 5e, that's level 3.

Level 1 is a raw novice or apprentice. You wouldn't sent a wizard's apprentice, a squire, a gang tough, and a choir boy on a quest without their masters.
 

Our group normally starts at level 3, because at that point everyone has really started their character design. The only thing that anyone might be missing is a defining feat, which they can pick up in 1 level. Recently we've started at level 1 because of running APs, and we've gotten a new appreciation for it due to the increased danger levels 1-2 have.
 

Almost always at level 1. But recently for a Call of Cthulhu campaign, I started the players at level 2, so they would have a few more hitpoints.
 

FaerieGodfather

Aberrant Druid
Supporter
I prefer to start in the 1-3 range. If my idea would involve starting at much higher than 5th, I'm probably not going to try to run it in D&D.

I've had a lot of fun in games starting at higher level, though. I remember one PBP on GitP that was Level 20 Gestalt set on Earth, play as yourself, go nuts.
 

I voted for one and three. In 5E I generally start them at 1, but the longer I play 5E, the less benefit I'm seeing to this.

I used to think the 1-3 leveling in 5E might introduce people to the game well, but actually having played with new players, it seemed like it introduced more confusion as they suddenly got a lot of significant new stuff, than it solved. Whereas just starting at 3, you can explain everything once and people don't miss stuff or get confused. The only downside is people potentially taking a bit longer to select spells.

Also 5E is at it's most wonky and unbalanced from levels 1-3 (as has been kind of discussed in other threads), and that can actually set expectations for newer players that don't hold at higher levels, so I find that's not very helpful.

For older players I don't think there's any real benefit beyond tradition. If I made a new edition, I'd be very tempted to basically make what is level 3 now, level 1 (in pretty much all regards), and in the DMG offer an optional "level 0" experience, which was heartily disrecommended for new players and designed as an OSR/nostalgia-trip deal.

In 2E we just always started at L3 in all campaigns after Dark Sun. In 3E, we tried starting at level 1 like twice before deciding it was pretty pointless. 4E's level 1 was about as sturdy and functional as L3 in other editions, so we did start at L1 there.
 

Coroc

Hero
1 with full hp for vanilla campaigns or if playing with feat, 2 with full hp for hard campaigns e.g. full ravenloft, 3 with full hp for darksun
 

shesheyan

Explorer
For older players I don't think there's any real benefit beyond tradition. If I made a new edition, I'd be very tempted to basically make what is level 3 now, level 1 (in pretty much all regards), and in the DMG offer an optional "level 0" experience, which was heartily disrecommended for new players and designed as an OSR/nostalgia-trip deal.
The only time I used level 0 (2e) was to play out childhood incidents that triggered the desire to become an adventurer later in life. I made an individual session with each player and developed the background. While it was an interesting way to build a character background it was too much work for something that faded to the background (and was forgotten) very quickly once the high action hero adventure kicked in.
 


Retreater

Legend
Level 1 if I'm starting a campaign for new players or a published campaign that has a good opening that ties into the rest of the plot.
Level 3 if I'm starting a campaign for more experienced players with an original campaign.
Level 5 if I'm running most published official campaigns by WotC, because that's where they actually "start" because they assume you've played Lost Mines of Phandelver.
 

Cadence

Adventurer
Supporter
Lvl 1, unless it's starting with some particular higher level module the DM has been excited to run.
 



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