D&D 5E Levels 1-4 are "Training Wheels?"

Oofta

Legend
Some DMs in this thread talk about taking a year to get to 4. I don’t think this generalization is the gotcha you think it is.
I would only do that if the entire group was into it. Most of the time, the first two levels take a session each.

Just because I enjoy spending more time on lower levels doesn't mean everyone will.
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
It’s crazy you get away with telling people that they have no idea what they’re doing in such a consistent passive aggressive way. This persons suggestions did I’m no way deserve you telling them they don’t know what they’re doing.

Actually it did deserve that, since basically the only intent of the post was threadcrapping on the tune of "5e is flawed".
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
thats how you play the game. I like chilling with friend ps and getting in game rewards. Don’t demean what me and my table enjoy just because you have different tastes. Again I’m telling you to have some respect for other tables.

And I find it interesting that you say to have respect for other tables when at the same time hitting on @Oofta with "that's how you play the game" as if his way to play the game was not the right one...
 

payn

Legend
Er...wha?

There's no jackknifing - it's called balancing potential risk vs potential reward, both as a group and as individuals.

If you're going to get the reward anywa (xp, or levels) without any reference to the risk taken, there's no incentive at all to take risks. End result: the players who have their characters hang back and not take risks end up seeing those characters do better in the long run in terms of wealth and experience than those who step up and take the risks, as those who take the risks are more likely the ones who end up dead (thus missing sessions and thus missing out on xp) and-or otherwise needing expensive repairs (thus hitting them in the pocketbook).

And, as I said earlier, if nobody steps up and takes the risks the game will quickly grind to a halt.
This is still odd to me. ITs like the only way forward is through facing traps and enemies face first. I want my players to consider all their options. If they can find a workaround, diplomatic solution, or a way to pit factions against each other, why shouldnt they be rewarded for taking a smarter, albeit, safer path?
 


Oofta

Legend
thats how you play the game. I like chilling with friend ps and getting in game rewards. Don’t demean what me and my table enjoy just because you have different tastes. Again I’m telling you to have some respect for other tables.
This ... wasn't directed at you or anyone in particular at all. I personally find XP boring paperwork. I primarily play because I enjoy hanging out with friends and making new ones. I made an attempt at humor.

How is any of that demeaning or telling other people they're doing anything wrong?
 


This ... wasn't directed at you or anyone in particular at all. I personally find XP boring paperwork. I primarily play because I enjoy hanging out with friends and making new ones. I made an attempt at humor.

How is any of that demeaning or telling other people they're doing anything wrong?
Because of the implications of your words.

If two people are having a conversation wherein they discuss their issues with something, and you go into their conversation and say, with a smilie-face emoji, that you have no problem because you get SO MUCH enjoyment out of the activity that its flaws don't matter, you are being demeaning. This is demeaning because you are telling these people that their complaints don't matter because you have a lot of fun with it playing with your friends, and that so long as you can do that, you don't care about their complaints.

That is a fine position to take, but specifically telling people that is no different from saying that their opinions and experiences don't matter to you because they aren't yours, so why should they even bother saying them? That is the implication made from your words.

I don't think you, Oofta, are a malicious person by the way. I quite like you, even though we butt heads a lot in these threads, but the language + emoji with your earlier post will almost always read as passive aggressive demeaning, even if that were not your intent.

Note I'm not trying to backseat mod here. I'm just stating that responding to people by nullifying their experiences is not the way for any of us to enjoy this conversation, and saying that people's problems don't matter to you because you're getting fun out of playing with your friends so nothing else matters is a nullification of someone else's experience.
 

Actually it did deserve that, since basically the only intent of the post was threadcrapping on the tune of "5e is flawed".
So if someone says 5E is flawed, you're allowed to tell them that they are just DMing wrong and that they don't know what they're talking about? What kind of belligerent stance is that to take?
 


Lyxen

Great Old One
So if someone says 5E is flawed, you're allowed to tell them that they are just DMing wrong and that they don't know what they're talking about? What kind of belligerent stance is that to take?

If someone uses totally flimsy and inconsistent excuses just to reiterate that 5e is flawed (not even in their opinion, or for their style of play, just inherently flawed) in a thread that has nothing to do with that, it deserves a bit of teasing, that's all. And it's no more belligerent that the attitude that you are having on this thread, where you attack right and left without even touching the subject itself.

Oh, sorry, you did touch the subject, in a very interesting manner (not!), when someone said "Rather than someone writing pages of backstory knowing nothing about the other characters, instead they develop back story together. To me, it's the funnest and most creative part of the campaign.", you replied "So training wheels", that was your only contribution to the thread in how many posts ?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod note:
This thread is now becoming a discussion about how to discuss - while that may be a worthy topic, it is not what this thread was really intended to be about.

Please, folks, bring it back on track. Thanks.
 


To return back to the topic at hand, yes, levels 1-4 are training wheels. That isn't a bad thing at all, and I think a lot of people in this thread have negative connotations when using this phrase. So, a better turn of phrase would be that levels 1-4 are the "getting started" levels for D&D.

In those four levels, you get all the basic features needed for your fantasy experience, as well as a chance to get better in one direction or to attain a feat of choice. This is very much by design. The new player experience requires levels 1-4 to be simple, guided, and well-parsed; higher levels do not have such requirements, and the highest levels have barely received any thought in regards of features beyond what is needed to mechanically bolster what was learned in the early game.

There is really no valid argument for otherwise. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy levels 1-4, and it doesn't mean that them being the training wheels/getting started levels makes them mutually exclusive from having a very enjoyable game. As a consequence of these levels being for getting started, a lot of common stories take on new nuance when played out within this tier. Goblins and bandits provide a significant threat, which introduces a new texture to the game that is lost when your significant threats become dragons and liches later on, or even Chimera and young dragons in just the next tier.

Levels 1-2, level 3, and level 4 all provide different stages of this getting started experience. You dip your feet in the water, get to make a deeper choice, and then get to solidify your direction, and then from there on its just a treadmill of features and power increasing. So, by definition, these levels are training wheels.
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
I don't find L3-4 to be training level. L3 is a capstone for most classes where they get to choose a subclass and L4 when most characters can take a feat or ASI for the first time. L5 is more a power burst since classes usually get Extra Attack and Cantrip damage bump for the first time. So the game doesn't start there, i'd say it gets better.

Technically speaking, i don't even think L1-2 to be training levels neither. When a character starts it's adventuring carrer, training is already done and none is further required to advance in his or her class. They begin a L1 and by L2 they already start improving their abilities as they all get something.

When a character begin adventuring, training is over unless the DM say otherwise.
 

I don't find L3-4 to be training level. L3 is a capstone for most classes where they get to choose a subclass and L4 when most characters can take a feat or ASI for the first time. L5 is more a power burst since classes usually get Extra Attack and Cantrip damage bump for the first time. So the game doesn't start there, i'd say it gets better.

technically, i don't even find L1-2 to be training level. When a character starts it's adventuring carrer, training is already done and none is further necessary to advance in his or her class. They begin a L1 and by L2 they already start improving their abilities as they all get something.
I think your definition of "training level" is misaligned with the OP of the thread. I am not the OP, so I may be wrong here! But training doesn't mean, for example, "training to get better," its training at playing Dungeons & Dragons. You get a slow drip of impactful features, with each feature changing your playstyle, and designed in a way so as not to overburden the new player with knowledge.

By definition, this is training wheels.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
In addition to the fact that I don't like the condescension that the use of the words "training wheels" implies, I also don't even understand how it explains the way some people play (I'm not playing about people just playing at levels 1-5 as they are playing later, not making any special difference).

"Training Wheels" would imply that there is some sort of special mechanism in place that makes playing easier, like actually training wheels on a bike, or lateral rails in bowling, etc. It's not even the case, so it seems totally inappropriate to me.

Now, assuming that this is about technical skill (which is already debatable as being the only point of interest in D&D), one could indeed say that, just as when skiing, you go for more and more difficult pistes as your level increases, levels 1-5 could maybe be considered "green piste". But people have shown that it's not the case, actually it's harder to survive at level 1 (and maybe 2) than most levels thereafter.

And when you take into account the fact that D&D is not only a technical fighting game, but a roleplaying game where characters exist and have adventures from level 1, interact with the world, between themselves and with other NPCs as soon as the game starts, I really don't see what makes the first levels different.

So the metaphor is for me totally inappropriate.
 

Mercurius

Legend
As others have said, it really depends upon the group, but I generally prefer starting at 1st level, because it gives the players a smoother ramp into growing into their characters. I just make level advancement more rapid for the first few levels, something like:

1st level: 1 session
2nd level: 2 sessions
3rd and 4th level: 3 sessions each
5th level and up: 4 sessions each

So they tend to reach 3rd level after the 3rd session and 5th level after 9th session, and then it averages 1 level every four sessions after.
 

Al2O3

Explorer
Unless I skimmed too fast, the following has been implied but not explicitly linked to pages in the books:
In "Tiers of play", PHB p. 15, the first tier of play (levels 1-4) describes the player characters as "effectively apprentice adventurers", facing threats that "are relatively minor, usually posing a danger to local farmsteads or villages".

I might not agree with describing it as "training wheels", but I guess even the PHB is close enough.

I think the DMG was quoted early in the thread, so I'll just add that DMG (p. 37) describes the characters in level 1-4 as "local heroes", while at level 5-10 they are "heroes of the realm".

Edit: added a "not" in the first sentence.
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
I think your definition of "training level" is misaligned with the OP of the thread. I am not the OP, so I may be wrong here! But training doesn't mean, for example, "training to get better," its training at playing Dungeons & Dragons. You get a slow drip of impactful features, with each feature changing your playstyle, and designed in a way so as not to overburden the new player with knowledge.

By definition, this is training wheels.
Training is not L1-2 its L1-20 if you are not a seasoned D&D player. While the first levels are easier for inexperienced players, they learn and take experience playing it wether they play a L1 or L6 character.
 

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