D&D 5E What level do you like to start at?

Which level do you feel gives the best starting point for a new campaign?

  • 1

    Votes: 62 55.4%
  • 2

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • 3

    Votes: 38 33.9%
  • 4

    Votes: 3 2.7%
  • 5

    Votes: 5 4.5%
  • 6

    Votes: 2 1.8%
  • 7

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 8

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 9

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 10

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 11+

    Votes: 1 0.9%

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I generally start at 1st, but give very rapid advancement until 3rd, and then mildly rapid advancement until 5th.

Starting at 1st allow everyone to know their characters when they aren't complex, and to make choices leveling up knowing that and their party as well.

Advancing rapidly up to 3rd gives everyone single-classed their subclasses, and enough survivability to handle an unlucky roll.

5th level power bump makes them all into heroes, or have multiclasses coming online. This is the start of the sweet spot for their play.

So first bit of play does technically start at 1st, but I incorporate the advantages of 3rd level start with the rapid advancement without losing the benefits of the 1st level start.
 

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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Usually first, but in 3E I started folks at 2nd to allow multiclassers to start that way - but I also played with training rules back then and don't anymore.

Personally, I think subclass choice should be pushed back to 5th and never be before 3rd because I think the in-game events should shape the character (also why I still have a warm spot for rolling stats in order - don't make a character, discover them!)
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Actually, it's the decision I understand the most from 5e, even if I don't agree:

WotC knows from 3e that a huge number of people skipped to 3 due to a number of reasons. That's why the power floor in 4e was raised so characters were survivable and competent at level 1. But then people wanted a Level 0 to get 'starter' PCs back, so 5e's levels 1 and 2 are level 0s (relative to 4e) for that purpose. And because people complained about there being system transparency in 4e, they didn't tell us and let us discover it ourselves.
I fully understand why and how they designed the low levels in 5e. I just don't like it.

I'm in the minority and I know it, but that's fine.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Usually first, but in 3E I started folks at 2nd to allow multiclassers to start that way - but I also played with training rules back then and don't anymore.

Personally, I think subclass choice should be pushed back to 5th and never be before 3rd because I think the in-game events should shape the character (also why I still have a warm spot for rolling stats in order - don't make a character, discover them!)
The 3.0 DMG had an option for 1st level multiclass characters, and it rocked. But they removed it in 3.5.
 


Jmarso

Adventurer
I love the discomfort and squishiness of starting at 1st Level. Particularly in editions like 2E, which are far more lethal than 5E when the DM doesn't pull punches or fight his monsters 'stupid.' There is a real sense of achievement making it to about 3rd or 4th level, and that's generally the point the player can sigh (a little bit!) in relief and be assured that a fluke crit or something similar isn't going to insta-kill their character.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
I like starting at level 6. At that point single-classed characters are starting to get some of their advanced abilities, dip characters can take a level in another class without losing their important level-5 ability, and multiclass characters have enough room to start making character-defining synergies.

In other words, I see level 6 as when a character start having the full suite of mechanical abilities that complement the concept, rather than still waiting to "grow into" the concept.
 

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
Players: Hey! All the cool DMs are letting us start at level 3, or better yet 5! What level do you start at?
Me as DM: One.
Players: But at higher levels we can-
Me as DM: One.
Players: Okay, but first level characters are so-
Me as DM: One.
Players: Fine, if you want us all to be bored or die.
Me As DM: Fine. Level 0 it is. :devilish:
Players: Level 1 sounds good!
 



Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Huh. I remember not liking it. 🤷‍♂️
The problem, to my mind, is the a la carte leveling system. It makes creating a character that seems truly blended very challenging.

The option from the 3.0 DMG didn't solve this problem. But it DID allow multi-classing at 1st level, which helped a lot with the "blended character" feel.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
You talking about the gestalt PCs?
No. I'm mean 1st level multi-classing, which was an option in the 3.0 DMG. From 2nd level up, multi-classing world the same way it did otherwise, the option just allowed for an actual multiclass 1st level character instead of the normal one-then-the-other approach.
 
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Oofta

Legend
FWIW, I doubt you're in the minority.
FWIW, I don't think anyone here has a clue what's popular. If you follow standard guidelines, the first couple of levels take no time to get through. You can always start at higher levels.

It depends on what your focus is and what you want out of the game. I like how leveling works, it's worked well for campaigns I've been in.
 
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Dausuul

Legend
I prefer to start at level 3, but move the party along fairly quickly to 5. I'd also consider just starting at 5. I'm almost never going to start at level 1.

Things change so dramatically at level 5, particularly for spellcasters, that it's almost a different game at that point. I do appreciate having levels 3 and 4 as a sort of introductory period, but I don't want to linger there.
 

Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
I definitely like the level 1 starts. I just wish everyone got their subclass at that level.

I like the entire 'zero to hero' story arc. Some unremarkable people going on an adventure and growing over the course of it. I don't like starting as characters who can already wipe an entire villages worth of commoners in a few turns. Just kills the fun for me.
 



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