D&D (2024) Level Zero

Yaarel

He Mage
The playtest is evolving a nice "Level Zero".

Level Zero means, everything a character gains BEFORE gaining levels in a class.

In light of the playtest:

Level Zero Features
• Species
• Abilities
• Background

The Background includes both Ability Score Improvements and Background Feat.

If players are interested in playing a character that is a young adult, approximately age 16 to 19, the Level Zero Features are perfect.


Further considerations:

The Species grants hit points. Currently, the class grants max hit points Level 1. Alternatively, the game can have, for example, Elf grants 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution hit points, and then when gaining a level 1 in a class, Druid grants an additional 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution hit points.

Size (Species): Hit Points
Small (Gnome, Halfling, Human): 1d6 (or 4)
Medium (Dwarf, Elf, Human, Tiefling): 1d8 (or 5)
Powerful Build (Dragonborn, Dwarf?, Human?, Orc): 1d10 (or 6)
Large (Orc?): 1d12 (or 7)

Background proficiencies can grant: All Simple Weapons, One Martial Weapon, or One Cantrip.



Note, classes tend to be frontloaded, with an abundance of features all available at level 1 to flesh out a comprehensive concept. It is possible to divide level 1 into two even three levels. Nevertheless, what the Species, Abilities, and Background already supply according to the playtest, plus simple ways to grant hit points (species) and a favored combat style (background), makes a solid, playable, level zero character.
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
The background feat grants features. The species grants traits. If spending a proficiency, a cantrip is a possible choice.

These level zero characters are substantial.
They really aren't, unless you're one of those folks who looks at a first-level character and thinks "my god, how could anyone keep track of all that," in a game where other editions' 1st level has been pushed up to 3rd or even 5th level.

Perhaps a better approach here would be for you to show us, say, three (or more) examples of what you see as great "zero-level" characters. Because just the bald assertion--even with references like "background feat grants features"--falls incredibly flat for me. To my eyes, even the playtest stuff (which is better than existing 5e...not that that's a difficult bar to clear...) is to actually good zero-level rules what the Eldritch Knight is to the Wizard, a weak and not especially effective dabbling.
 

Horwath

Legend
The background feat grants features. The species grants traits. If spending a proficiency, a cantrip is a possible choice.

These level zero characters are substantial.
sure, but now every character has to be astral elf with magic initiate feat so you can have something interesting.

There is a reason that most campaigns in 5E start at 3rd level minimum.
 


Yaarel

He Mage
They really aren't, unless you're one of those folks who looks at a first-level character and thinks "my god, how could anyone keep track of all that," in a game where other editions' 1st level has been pushed up to 3rd or even 5th level.

Perhaps a better approach here would be for you to show us, say, three (or more) examples of what you see as great "zero-level" characters. Because just the bald assertion--even with references like "background feat grants features"--falls incredibly flat for me. To my eyes, even the playtest stuff (which is better than existing 5e...not that that's a difficult bar to clear...) is to actually good zero-level rules what the Eldritch Knight is to the Wizard, a weak and not especially effective dabbling.
Some players get into level zero characters. Mechanically some like the zero to hero. Narratively some like to live out the background origins, for a sense of where the character comes from.

Level zero is for players who want to opt-in.


Give me an example of level 0 character concept − maybe an adolescent with a talent for magic or a farm kid who wants to be a knight − and I will try to build you this character.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
sure, but now every character has to be astral elf with magic initiate feat so you can have something interesting.

There is a reason that most campaigns in 5E start at 3rd level minimum.
Even a normal Human has a choice of free feat. Plenty of interesting options at level zero.
 

Horwath

Legend
Note, classes tend to be frontloaded, with an abundance of features all available at level 1 to flesh out a comprehensive concept. It is possible to divide level 1 into two even three levels.
I'm soory, but 1st level really does NOT have any abundance of features,
If 1st level characters had features of 3rd or 4th level characters, I would agree with you.
But amount of 1st level features is really light.

Even if background gives 3 instead of 1 feats as it stands for 2024, it would not be too much.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
They really aren't, unless you're one of those folks who looks at a first-level character and thinks "my god, how could anyone keep track of all that," in a game where other editions' 1st level has been pushed up to 3rd or even 5th level.

Perhaps a better approach here would be for you to show us, say, three (or more) examples of what you see as great "zero-level" characters. Because just the bald assertion--even with references like "background feat grants features"--falls incredibly flat for me. To my eyes, even the playtest stuff (which is better than existing 5e...not that that's a difficult bar to clear...) is to actually good zero-level rules what the Eldritch Knight is to the Wizard, a weak and not especially effective dabbling.
The only time I have ever liked level 0 characters, and even then only rarely, is when we were roleplaying and going through training and would be 1st level in our class when the training(a session or three) was done. A bunch of RP, maybe a fist fight or grabbing the grasshopper from the master's hand, and then off to the races at level 1. Or even preferably level 3. Level 3 is the new level 1.
 

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