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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%


I said True, zero to hero. Because I like the "apprentice tier" to feel approximately like reallife college or its equivalent.

That said, I dislike level 1 characters that are too fragile. I welcome the recent development of the cultural background feat to beef up the survivability of the apprentice tier.

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Mind of tempest

(he/him)advocate for 5e psionics
false, as I do not run dnd I play.
Wish it was true but 5E isn't like that. Big Heroes with Big Numbers to back them up. Much prefer the zero to hero path.
since when have our fantasy heroes been without great ability since the beginning, Conan was a classic and that guy would have nuts abilities scores in dnd, no twenties but high.


It's funny, when I think about characters at the start of my campaigns, they are "zeroes" not because they're weak or incapable, but because they have limited influence in the world. They haven't made important connections with NPCs, found valuable treasure, or learned world-altering magic. It's not that they're in danger of being killed easily (though that can be true too), it's that they're newcomers to the setting or story.

I guess I think of "hero" in the Greek Mythology sense... Heroes are those who can do MORE than others. As characters in my campaign progress, they can do more: influence politics, raise armies, start towns, take down tyrants, attain powerful magic items...

To me, the Zero to Hero journey is all about gaining the power to influence the setting.
I mathematically determine how influential a character is:

fame = 10 ^ level/2

This formula approximates a 3,10,30,100,300,1000, etcetera pattern while leveling.

At level 2, a character is wellknown by about 10 people, often a sizable group of family and friends.

At level 6, a character is wellknown by about a million people, often a national hero or criminal.

At level 20, ten billion is the entirety of planet earth. Levels beyond involve the multiverse.

And so on.

This sense of progression helps determine the tone of each tier, quantifying about how recognizable and influential a character is because of their reputation.
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I want to see the characters be shaped by their struggles into something greater than what they began as.

This can be done as Heroes though.

Most of Spiderman's major struggles in all forms of media come well after he becomes a well known NYC crimefighting hero.

I think a big issue is that many don't know how to tell stories of challenge with extreme weakness in the protagonist and people aren't always willing to allow vulnerabilities in their played heroes.

The powerhouse with weaknesses is a story not told enough or told in the same way too often.

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