D&D (2024) Level Zero


Elder Thing
DCC popularized that, but I don't think that is why most people want 0 level characters. They want 0 level characters in order to play the "zero to hero" story that D&D used to provide out of the box.
As a longtime gamer (30-ish years) running DCC exclusively for about three years now, I have to say that your statement matches my experience. Many people love starting play with a character that's fully developed and established, but lots of us - and it isn't just old timers IME - like starting a character full of potential and seeing how it goes.

The level 0 concept, especially in DCC RAW, requires ceding a LOT of control to the dice. That approach certainly isn't for everyone, but it makes for a certain kind of story that still holds a great deal of appeal. The most common response I get from 5e players coming to my DCC campaigns is relief, in a very "oh my gods, this is so much easier" sort of vein. Not all of them feel it's worth the experience, but a lot of them do.

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Level 0 is cool when you meat grind PCs. Even better with rolled stats.
Shadow dark make a crush by reinstating level 0 meat grinding session.

For us, it has nothing to do with killing off PCs. If I want that, I can do it at any level. It's especially easy to do for the first few levels.

We want level 0 because we want to tell the story of that farmer that had never picked up a sword, but one day has to grab that ax that had only ever been used to chop trees to defend their village. Or the runaway that had just arrived in the village with dreams of something bigger but no actual skill and so on.

Play the PC for a little bit, see what you have fun with and then decide what you're going to be is what's important.


The thing about level 0 is that it does not have to mean fragility and incompetence if that isn't what you're after. it can just be more about scope. Your level 0 villagers deal with level 0 village problems, but they do so with relatively high degrees of competence because they are still the protagonists of the story. the problem with the DCC funnel method of "finding the protagonist" is that it is usually random and does not actually guarantee that the survivors of the funnel will go on to survive their first Level 1 adventure. That's fine if you like that kind of game, but doesn't solve the Zero to hero problem.


Morkus from Orkus
I'm aware. These rules aren't for everyone. They're for those folks who love playing through those "who am I, how did I get to be what I am" stories, who want every proverbial step to be a trial unto itself. I, personally, have little to no use for such things. But I absolutely will die on the hill of including them, because they would be extremely useful for a large minority group of D&D fans. (As above, I could say more, but perhaps it is better to be concise at this time.)
I agree. I'm all for including things others will use that I won't. That's why I'm for the Warlord/Marshall. I hate that kind of character, but a lot of others like it, so let's get it made for them. I just wish others were the same way about the Psion. :(

Edit: clarified that others actually like the class. :p
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Morkus from Orkus
Level Zero Character

• All Traits
• [Hit Points: Size (Medium 1d8 or 5) + Constitution]
It doesn't make sense for 0 level PCs who become wizards to lose hit points when they advance to level 1. Start them at d6 like @Horwath suggested, because that's what makes the most sense. Then at level 1 wizards and sorcerers go nowhere, fighters advance to 1d10 gaining 4 hit points, etc.

Ngl I'd love a proper 'level 0' system as an optional rule. It's great for things like character funnels and introductory sessions. Hit points could be 1d4+con mod or something.

DnD Beyond used to support it via a bug, but they 'patched' it as apparently it was unintentional.

Not sure why people are against it even existing as an optional rule. Lots of groups skip levels 1-2 anyway, so not like you couldn't ignore lvl 0 rules.


Morkus from Orkus
My current group is level 0, even more limited than the OP. They're kids attending school, establishing who their characters are really going to be when they grow up. It's pretty much 100% RP for the first session or two, even after that combat will be extremely limited for a few sessions. When I did this before the biggest fight they had in the first couple of sessions involved snowballs.

For me, level 0 is for groups that want to establish a story of who they were before they decided to be adventurers and why they decided to risk life and limb on a regular basis to become adventurers. Not for every group of course, but everyone is having a lot of fun with it. Even the person that was skeptical of the concept at the start told me after a game that they were having a lot of fun.

Having a bond of having grown up together and shared experiences that propelled you into risking life and limb on a regular basis while also establishing core concepts of why you're doing it can change the nature of the campaign. Also a fun way to introduce the campaign setting and establish a starting direction.
Me: "I want to win this snow fight. The night before I find some wet snow and make snowballs out of it. Then I leave them out overnight..." :p

DCC popularized that, but I don't think that is why most people want 0 level characters. They want 0 level characters in order to play the "zero to hero" story that D&D used to provide out of the box.
Yep this. Modern DnD doesn't really do the 'zero to hero' at all. It's more 'hero to demigod'. And even then a massive portion of the community considers starting characters far too weak.

Some of us like our 'farmboy' level of power start.


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Just as 5e gives us levels 1 and 2 without a subclass (and the 2024 rules are insuring every class gets those levels) to give players a chance to experience their class independently of a subclass, I see level 0 as a valuable option to allow players to experience their character independently of a class. And likewise, players might not want a level 0 for the same reasons they might want to start at 3rd level. It’s good to have the options available, and groups can decide to take them or leave them as suits their interests.

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