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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

shesheyan

Explorer
My first 5E campaign it took us 6 months to get to 3rd level IIRC. We were doing a Harry Potter/adventurer training start to the campaign. It was a blast.
Six months and only 2 games or six months and weekly games? Makes a big difference. ;)
 

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Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
Almost all character charts start at first level, so naturally we create all our PCs at first level.

If the game was designed that players start at higher levels (hit dice, skill levels, etc) then it would have been written that way.

Sure, we had a few times a DM wanted to run a higher level game/campaign. So creating a higher starting level PC's and granting them magical items worth X. GP, we found we lost a sense of accomplishment, a sense of PC familiarity, a sense of group co-operation, etc.

Also, jumping in at higher levels a player has not yet had a chance to develop a personality for thier PC and how they want to RP it.
 


ZeshinX

Explorer
Almost always 3rd level (in 5e). My players prefer to have their character concepts fully realized at the beginning of play and dispense with the "training wheels" levels that another on this thread had mentioned (they've even used that exact phrase). I've always had players write their character histories (we refer to them as backstories) to account for levels 1 & 2 (nothing enormous, typically a couple of paragraphs).

It was typically 3rd level in previous editions as well (we skipped 4e as it just wasn't our cup of tea). For 1e/2e it was almost strictly a matter of early survivability that drove that preference. For 3.x it was pretty much the same reason as for 5e; so that their character concepts could be realized (or very close to it), but also added a layer of survivability.

When we started playing 5e, we did revisit the idea of starting at 1st level. We even came up with a houserule for 1st level HP (since we weren't sure how survivable 5e was at early levels yet...but felt it was probably just as tough after seeing spell damage potential at low-ish levels). First level HP would be their CON score + max hit die (so a Fighter with CON 16 would start with 26 hp; 16 + 10), subsequent levels were as normal. We ended up preferring having everyone be able to play their concept right away, so 3rd level it was. They could just as easily have role-played those first couple levels without their subclass being "online" (they said as much), but ultimately they all wanted at least some mechanical representation of it.

So, we start at 3rd. We even still use the houserule for 1st level HP, since everyone liked it. We haven't found it to be ridiculously strong either, it just gives everyone a little more nerve to try wild things (which translated to more fun). :)
 

the Jester

Legend
Always level 1. In fact, I run an "Everyone Starts at First Level" (ES@1) campaign, where all new characters start as, well, new characters.

For one-shots (vs. campaigns), I might start at higher levels.
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Level 1. I get people hate when they have no abilities, but you're there for usually one session if there is any fight at all. Usually getting to level 3 only takes the second session, and to level 4 another two sessions.
 


THEMNGMNT

Adventurer
Level 2 but with 0xp so you need to earn 900 to get to level 3
This.

Although in the three 5E campaigns I'm currently running, all of them started at 1st level.

Having had that experience, I find 1st level to not only be much swingier than the rest of the game, but it's often lacking in signature class abilities. It's not until 2nd level that fighters can action surge, paladins can smite, druids can wildshape, thieves can use cunning action, etc. So, for the combination of signature class abilities and overall character resilience, 2nd level is the right spot for me.

That said, I like campaigns to start "at the beginning" which is why I start with 0 XP.
 

shesheyan

Explorer
At this time : 81 votes. 66 votes for 1st level and 32 votes for level 3.

When I started this thread I wanted to know two things:

1) How many start at level 3? Consistently since the beginning the ratio as been 1 for 2. That is quite a strong showing for 3rd level. I didn't think it was that high.

2) How many start at levels 9 or higher? Very few people do unless it is for a specific project.
 

Slit518

Explorer
To be honest, it usually takes us 1 session to get from level 1 to 3.

I know the rules say not to level up more than once a session, but, F those rules. I do what I want!
 


Ath-kethin

Adventurer
We often ask at what level campaigns end but at what level do you start them? I used to start them at level 1. Now I start at level 3. I recall starting one at level 5. Highest I started was level 9 to do a specific module mini-campaign. What about you?

You can make multiple votes.
Level 1 only and always except when I'm trying to test out some higher-level mechanics.

I've tried a few times to start a full campaign at higher levels but it was such a radically different game there seemed no point. This experience held true across 2e, 3e, and 5e; I've only ever started BECMI/RC games at 1st.
 

FaerieGodfather

Aberrant Druid
Supporter
Usually 1st, unless there's a very specific story-reason to do otherwise.
I almost signed up for an online 3.5 game and I'm running into what I'd consider a very specific reason not to start at 1st level in 3.X/5 D&D. My character, by necessity, is going to be single-classed until 1,000 XP and depending on my concept might not actually be the character I'm imagining until damned near 10th.

Less of an issue in PF1 with Archetypes and possibly third-party rules... but still obnoxious.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I almost signed up for an online 3.5 game and I'm running into what I'd consider a very specific reason not to start at 1st level in 3.X/5 D&D. My character, by necessity, is going to be single-classed until 1,000 XP and depending on my concept might not actually be the character I'm imagining until damned near 10th.

Less of an issue in PF1 with Archetypes and possibly third-party rules... but still obnoxious.
I don't think I'd change the starting level of the game for one particular character concept, myself. I know you want to play a particular concept, but given that you're part of a group effort, I'd normally say that concept should be chosen to fit the campaign, not the other way around. But that's just me.
 


FaerieGodfather

Aberrant Druid
Supporter
I don't think I'd change the starting level of the game for one particular character concept, myself. I know you want to play a particular concept, but given that you're part of a group effort, I'd normally say that concept should be chosen to fit the campaign, not the other way around. But that's just me.
It isn't about any one specific character concept. It's about any character concept I'm going to come up with because the multiclassing rules are trash. I'm not asking the DM to change the starting level or the system... I'm just whining.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
I run for a couple of different groups. One group likes playing the same characters "hero to zero" and prefers to start at level 1 unless a character is joining an existing campaign. The other group prefers to play a bunch of shorter campaigns, so they like starting at a higher level--often level 6, but I've also started a game as high as level 12 for them.
 
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wingsandsword

Adventurer
I went with 3 for the poll.

It's usually 2nd or 3rd level, that way characters can start multiclassed if that's part of their concept, and starting with an ECL race like Drow or Aasimar or Tiefling isn't out of the question. That way the party could be a Dwarf Cleric 3, Human Barbarian 2/Rogue 1, a Tiefling Rogue 2 and a Drow Wizard 1 there won't be a problem.
 

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