D&D 5E "When I Run D&D 5E, the Arc of the PCs' Adventures is 'Zero to Hero'." (a poll)

"When I Run D&D 5E, the arc of the PCs' adventures is 'Zero to Hero'."

  • True.

    Votes: 55 53.9%
  • False.

    Votes: 47 46.1%


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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
It is simple, and easy to remember. (Round off the 3.16... to 3.) Use as approximations of clout.

Fame

Student Tier (Apprentice)

L1: wellknown by 3 persons
L2: 10
L3: 30
L4: 100

Professional Tier (Adventurer)
L5: 300
L6: 1000
L7: 3000
L8: 10,000

Master Tier
L9: 30,000
L10: 100,000
L11: 300,000
L12: 1,000,000 − small nation or large metropolis

Arch Tier
L13: 3,000,000
L14: 10,000,000
L15: 30,000,000
L16: 100,000,000

Legend Tier
L17: 300,000,000
L18: 1,000,000,000
L19: 3,000,000,000
L20: 10,000,000,000 − planet Earth
That scales way too fast for plausibility, especially with 5e's 8 hour napynap insta-recovery & in worlds lacking in things like modern widespread internet/broadcast telecommunications(ie all of them). It starts out ok till 5ish & just fires up the rocket sled to fly off the rails from there. Players would need something like code geass/death note protagonist level fame for that kind of notoriety growth & both of those take place with tv radio & internet being a thing.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
That scales way too fast for plausibility, especially with 5e's 8 hour napynap insta-recovery & in worlds lacking in things like modern widespread internet/broadcast telecommunications(ie all of them). It starts out ok till 5ish & just fires up the rocket sled to fly off the rails from there. Players would need something like code geass/death note protagonist level fame for that kind of notoriety growth & both of those take place with tv radio & internet being a thing.
I want a scale that goes from close family to planet.

The fame is working as intended.

Also, each tier feels distinctively different. The fame comes with different kinds of challenges that affect more and more people. The Student Tier is about a school or village. The Professional Tier is about doing ones job for a town. The Master Tier is about influencing and saving a large city or small nation. The Arch Tier is about saving a continent. The Legend Tier is about saving the planet.

In my settings, using magic to communicate and travel is normal. Divination notices things. Distant nations often stay in communication with each other.
 
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I want a scale that goes from close family to planet.

The fame is working as intended.

Also, each tier feels distinctively different. The fame comes with different kinds of challenges that affect more and more people. The Student Tier is about a school or village. The Professional Tier is about doing ones job for a town. The Master Tier is about influencing and saving a large city or small nation. The Arch Tier is about saving a continent. The Legend Tier is about saving the planet.

In my settings, using magic to communicate and travel is normal. Divination notices things. Distant nations often stay in communication with each other.
What planet? 2022 earth has a little under 8billion people. in 1900 it was 2billion. 1800 was 1 billion. 1700 was a little over 600 million.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
We are including nonhumans in D&D. :)
Even still, no setting has the density of intelligent/sapient beings needed to hit those numbers without hypotheticals like starfish alien hive minds all over & it's still a stretch. There is also the fact that it's easier for a gm to dial up things than to claw things back & dial stuff down.
 

cbwjm

Legend
I put false, but I guess that its not really something I think too hard about and in general it depends on how the campaign starts. I have certainly had some games start out at level 1, but I kind of consider that as journeyman level, you've already completed the 0 level and are now established as a hero. Though I guess they do go from zero recognition to heroes of the people as they adventure and complete quests.
 

FireLance

Legend
I tend to run "competent adventurers" to "more competent adventurers".
Pretty much. As far back as I can remember, a 1st-level PC has never been an untrained, callow youth. Every PC was assumed to have received some training in their class - a 1st-level fighter was even called a "Veteran", implying that they have been involved in several battles already. (As an aside, a 4th-level fighter was called a "Hero" so technically going from Zero to Hero means the campaign should end when the fighter reaches 4th level.)

Where I think WotC published adventures are lacking is that high-level adventures are still almost all about the same combat experience, just using more powerful PC abilities, in more exotic locations, and with more dangerous opponents. What I'd like to see more of is interesting challenges and consequences related to the PCs joining or setting up organizations, growing and administering them, and eventually leading them.
 



GreyLord

Legend
Yes, sometimes, no, sometimes.

Since it's not always, I marked...False. It's not a true or false answer for me, really, though, because there are times I've run it zero to hero, and times I haven't.
 

So the premise is pretty straightforward:
Not really, no.

In my games, who the PC starts out as is up to the player. And that means you get professional adventurers starting out alongside hapless innocents who have adventure thrust upon them.

And the end point is up to the players too. If they want to finish as villains that path is open to them. They are not required to be heroic.

So, in the same game you might have one player who chooses to play a zero to hero arc, whilst another plays a hero to villain arc.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Yes.

I normally start playing with a new group at 1st level, but even if we start at higher level, story-wise I can still consider characters up to a few levels to still be "zeros" in story terms, just well-trained and well-prepared for adventuring but having accomplished nothing heroic of note before the game starts. That is usually the story arc in my games, even if we decide to technically start at level 3 or 5. This may help a player to be for example a top-student recently graduated from a magic academy (Wizard 5) or another be a dojo veteran black belt (Monk 5), but both not having yet had a real adventure. Conversely, I do not particularly like players who write a long background containing plenty of accomplishments. I guess my general preference is to tell the whole story of the characters at the table rather that on your character sheets.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
I voted true, because while I rarely play 5e these days, I always start campaigns at level 1. Like others, I didn't the formative levels to be most interesting when characters are at their most vulnerable.

I do feel that 5e's biggest shortcoming is having subclasses not kick in for a level or two. But given the game"s exploding popularity, I think it's safe to say my opinion is in the minority there.
 

False because I'm all over the place. Some campaigns are Zero to Hero. Others are high powered fantasy from the start. Then there's the spelljamming pirate campaigns, the one where everyone started as a ghost in the Fields of Elysium, and many more.
 

I have enough zero in real life. In my fun time I want to be at minimum a 3 or 4.
Yeah, exactly this.

Also, mildly humorous that the poll switched so hard toward "true" over the time since I voted. I had been mildly surprised to be in the larger group. My surprise is now thoroughly gone. It's pretty clear that there's a strong old-school style preference on these boards, even if there isn't a strong old-school system preference per se (such preferences absolutely are represented, but the preference for the style vastly outstrips that for the systems specifically.)
 

Somewhat misnomer of terms, but I voted yes. My preferred style is that the characters start slightly better than the average commoner, but about equal to the average militia or guard. Hero can depend on the level the campaign ends, but is generally true. My first 5E campaign was a true "zero to hero," going from lv 1-17, ending with a PC as baron over a small section of the Northern Lortmil Mountains. My second campaign never got higher than level 3, with minimal local influence, so "hero" is a questionable term.
 

How do we define zero?

Because my experience is that since 2E, you just don't normally start as "zeroes", and I feel like most of the people claiming they are doing "zero to hero" have a creative definition of "zero".

From 2E onwards, a PC likely starts with a race with serious abilities (unless human), a class which is not helpless at level 1, and on top of that a kit and skills/proficiencies that often make even a level 1 character kind of formidable.

3E, 4E, and 5E obviously continued this. A 5E PC of level 1 is probably tougher/more dangerous than most level 3 1st edition PCs, for example.

So unless we redefine zero as simply "a term for level 1", I don't believe most people who are claiming to go "zero to hero".
 

I had to vote false. I try to push my player's characters to complete that arc as much as possible, but 5E makes starting players pretty powerful so the "Zero" isn't assured, nor is getting the players to actually achieve the "Hero" part.
 

nevin

Hero
i have to admit one year into 1st edition we just stopped rolling 1st level characters. Even now we start at 3rd level. 1st and 2nd level have always seemed pointless to me in any edition. But the games either heroic or not worth doing to me. I get all my nitty gritty suckage in the real world I go to D&D to escape it.
 

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