D&D (2024) Level Zero

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I’d be fine with shifting the labels so that what is currently called “3rd level” becomes 1st level, and the current levels 1 and 2 become -1 and 0 respectively. In that case I’d still want a -2 with only race and background features and no class features. What number the levels have doesn’t really matter to me, though 5e does seem to prefer avoiding negative numbers.
The trouble with that is the same as calling first level something else like "level zero" or "survivor". The GM can no longer start this campaign with higher level PCs but these restrictions as a fair tradeoff when skipping the zero to hero levels fit the campaign. They can't do that because skipping them for seasoned to hero / hero to demigod or whatever is the default or level one. By contrast presenting the zero to hero campaign as punishing PCs with level zero/survivor/negative levels/etc automatically poisons the well by wrongly allowing a player to voice "I don't like that type of game" with obfuscated statements like "why do you want to nerf/punish/penalize/etc us, why should.." in a way that is impossible for the gm to even pretend that discussion was ever possible if the response is anything but a resounding and overwhelming cheer of support"
 

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Yaarel

He Mage
I see no difference between narrative exploration of background origins versus high-death multi-character "funnel".

For tables who want narrative, the challenges focus on skill challenges and "snowball" fights. For tables who want funnel, the challenges are dangerous combat.

The Level Zero stats of the player character remain the same.
 

Oofta

Legend
I see no difference between narrative exploration of background origins versus high-death multi-character "funnel".

For tables who want narrative, the challenges focus on skill challenges and "snowball" fights. For tables who want funnel, the challenges are dangerous combat.

The Level Zero stats of the player character remain the same.
Really? No difference between jumping straight into fighting for your life and heavy role play sessions where a a D20 is largely optional and there's no such thing as a death save? One where you bring multiple PCs per player because most PCs are going to die versus sessions that help fill in who the character is, not what?

Neither is inherently better but they're pretty opposite ends of the spectrum to me.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Really? No difference between jumping straight into fighting for your life and heavy role play sessions where a a D20 is largely optional and there's no such thing as a death save? One where you bring multiple PCs per player because most PCs are going to die versus sessions that help fill in who the character is, not what?

Neither is inherently better but they're pretty opposite ends of the spectrum to me.
I believe they meant that the same PC rules work for either approach. If you want an RP-heavy character introduction, fragile PCs work fine for that. If you want a meat grinder, fragile PCs work fine for that too.
 


Yaarel

He Mage
@EzekielRaiden

Here is a level 0 character. The concept is the iconic teenager whose sorcerous powers are starting to awaken.

Afli is sixteen years old. He is staying out of town as a foster with his dads sister, Helga, who is an accomplished blacksmith. His parents want him to become a blacksmith. At his aunts shop, he turns out to be pretty good at blacksmithing and her customers like him. But weird things are starting to happen around him, especially during stressful situations. It is distracting him from his fostership. He is realizing he is the cause of the weirdness, and it responds to his intentions. The other day, his mind was wandering and remembering he needed to ignite kiln, when fire flew from his hand setting the entire kiln ablaze.


AFLI
Species:
Human
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet
Age: 16 (life expectancy 80)

Hit Points: 8 (5 Size + 3 Constitution)
AC: 10 (!)

Charisma (16): +3
Constitution (16): +3
Strength (13): +1
Dexterity (10): +0
Intelligence (12): +1
Wisdom (8): −1

Human Feat: Lucky
Background Feat: Magic Initiate Arcane
(Note. He just discovered the Produce Flame cantrip. His other cantrip and the slot 1 spell havent happened yet.)

Skills: Nature, Arcana
(Note. The Nature skill handles all natural sciences, including elemental alchemy, metallurgy, structural engineering, and mathematics. The Arcana is intuitive and self-taught.)
Tool Sets: Blacksmith

Combat Training: All Simple Weapons

Equipment: Clothing, Knife, Blacksmith Set, Spear, ...
 

Reynard

Legend
@EzekielRaiden

Here is a level 0 character. The concept is the iconic teenager whose sorcerous powers are starting to awaken.

Afli is sixteen years old. He is staying out of town as a foster with his dads sister, Helga, who is an accomplished blacksmith. His parents want him to become a blacksmith. At his aunts shop, he turns out to be pretty good at blacksmithing and her customers like him. But weird things are starting to happen around him, especially during stressful situations. It is distracting him from his fostership. He is realizing he is the cause of the weirdness, and it responds to his intentions. The other day, his mind was wandering and remembering he needed to ignite kiln, when fire flew from his hand setting the entire kiln ablaze.


AFLI
Species:
Human
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet
Age: 16 (life expectancy 80)

Hit Points: 8 (5 Size + 3 Constitution)
AC: 10 (!)

Charisma (16): +3
Constitution (16): +3
Strength (13): +1
Dexterity (10): +0
Intelligence (12): +1
Wisdom (8): −1

Human Feat: Lucky
Background Feat: Magic Initiate Arcane
(Note. He just discovered the Produce Flame cantrip. His other cantrip and the slot 1 spell havent happened yet.)

Skills: Nature, Arcana
(Note. The Nature skill handles all natural sciences, including elemental alchemy, metallurgy, structural engineering, and mathematics. The Arcana is intuitive and self-taught.)
Tool Sets: Blacksmith

Combat Training: All Simple Weapons

Equipment: Clothing, Knife, Blacksmith Set, Spear, ...
So is this a "zero level sorcerer" or is this a 0 level character that can go any direction?

Also: that's a lot of detail for a character about to die in a funnel. ;)
 

Reynard

Legend
One experiment I thought was successful was starting players with blank character sheets and letting them develop their character during the first session(s) of play. When a situation comes up that calls for an ability check, background or skill, they decide on it and write it down. By the end of that "zero level adventure" they have a fleshed out character and can then pick a class and finish character generation.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
One experiment I thought was successful was starting players with blank character sheets and letting them develop their character during the first session(s) of play. When a situation comes up that calls for an ability check, background or skill, they decide on it and write it down. By the end of that "zero level adventure" they have a fleshed out character and can then pick a class and finish character generation.
Neat! This looks to the “level-0 funnel” as point buy is to 3d6 in order. Still a special prelude session to hone-in on the character you’ll be playing in the main campaign, but done in a way that emphasizes the player’s choices over randomized procedures.
 

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