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D&D 5E What level do you typically start at for a new campaign?

What level do you typically start at for a new campaign?

  • 1. Zero to hero baby!

    Votes: 61 70.9%
  • 2. Need some added survivability

    Votes: 2 2.3%
  • 3. Start with the subclasses

    Votes: 18 20.9%
  • 4-5

    Votes: 4 4.7%
  • 6-10

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 11-15

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 16-19

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 20. End game content is for me

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters


As the title says. Four points of clarification.

1. What you typically start at. Everyone might have a one off here or there. But this is what is for the most common level your PCs in your group start at when beginning a new campaign
2. This is not for one off adventures or smaller modules, but for campaigns.
3. This does not include introducing new PCs into an existing campaign.
4. If you DM a lot, this is for what you have the other players start at. If you are mostly a player, this is for what level you typically start at for the whole group.

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Our group prefers 1st level and I don't believe I have ever started a group at a higher level except for one session adventures. For us, we play pretty quickly, and the journey from 1st to 3rd level is only 4 or 5 hours.


All of our long term campaigns have begun at level 1. Sometimes it's for practical reasons like running a published campaign that starts at level 1. But even for our homebrew campaigns we've done this and never really talked about changing it. Might be something to bring up next time we have a session 0 to spice things up.

We do occasionally play one shots where we can bring in our character from the current campaign or create a brand new character at that level. These are usually around holidays or times when we know the entire group won't be able to get together. But since you've indicated those don't count I voted for zero to hero.


Jewel of the North
I prefer to start at 1st level but others in my group don't.

Yup, my players are always ''why do you start us at 1st level, is no fun, we are so weak!''
Then I answer them ''that because, dearest friend of mine, that you have a hard time using a 1st level fighter, I'm not about to start you with a boatload of options, features, buttons and knobs if you still forget to use your second wind!'' :p

Next campaign I compromised tho: I'll start them at Con score + full HD at first level.


Typically these days when I run 5e I'm training kids to play, which means 1st level all around because easing into the rules makes the most sense.

(My long term table of experienced gamers - if we ever wanted to play 5e - would probably insist on starting at level 5. At a minimum. But also if we were switching away from 13th age back to D&D they would prefer to switch back to 4e anyway and start at level 1 there, so I'll never need to worry about it with them.)


Unless the 1st level adventure is particularly good we usually start at 3rd. Most of the published adventure paths' 1st-2nd level adventures aren't actually part of the campaign (that I've played).

1-4 is the apprentice tier. 1st and 2nd level are supposed to go by very fast, 3-5 hours. It's not a terrible idea to play through that but also not required.

Li Shenron

In 5e I always have beginners in the group so I start at 1st.

In the past, after a few years of 3e I settled for starting at 3rd level. I might do the same in 5e eventually. My motivation in 3e was more room for character build but in 5e might be more about wanting to use higher level monsters sooner.


Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
I prefer to start at first-level, so on the odd chance someone isn't set on a subclass they have a chance to see how the party is put together and how the party works together, to help with that choice. Also, I find it gives me as a DM a better feel for the characters.


If I’m playing with a new group, I’ll start at first. But if if I’m playing with my “regular crew”, it’ll be 2nd, if not 3rd level characters.


Registered Ninja
My group has played several campaigns of 5e now, so we've been skipping the early levels. This current campaign started at 7, the one before started at 5.


Usually level 1. But level 2 and 3 come extremely fast - about one game for 2nd level and two more games for 3rd level.


After trying a couple options, I've settled on 3rd as my preferred starting point. Levels 1-2 are boring and the PCs are way too fragile. Level 3 provides the longest run in the "sweet spot."

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