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%

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
It can be done, sure, and many people do just that. For my part, my feeling is that characters evolve very differently when they get an advanced start. I'm not going to make someone start at 1st level when everyone else is 8th, but when I'm starting a new campaign, I always prefer to start at the beginning, at first level.
True, characters do evolve differently if they get an advanced start.

You really can't do the "veterans and experts assembled by a patron to do a quest" with level 1s.
 
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Panzeh

Explorer
Most of the reason I start with Zero is practical- i find it very difficult to meet players' expectations with challenges and things to do that befit a level 8+ character. It's just hard for me to think of things for them to do- i don't think traipsing through caves but now it's a balor or whatever at the end instead of an ogre is satisfying to me.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Zero is stretching it as there is fir bit of difference between a commononer and a first level PC - but in a campaign I run the PCs will go through a few stages. At the lowest levels (1 to 4) they are trying to surivive when there are harsh threats all around them. Between 5 and 10 they start to feel like they can survive with confidence in the crazy world around them unless they seek out great danger. Here, they're heroes. 11 to 16 are the levels in which they become champions of a region or a nation - they have a presence that matters to a lot of people. By Level 17 they become legenday figures that are known widely and for good reason. You can change the subject matter of the campaigns, but those core structures remain true from game to game.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I don't think the poll is particularly informative as people's answers seem to mostly depend on how literally they interpret "zero." 🤷

Or is it?

Baroness Von Sketch Show Cbc GIF
 

G

Guest 7034872

Guest
I'm with Quickleaf: there's an entire spectrum of possible positions between a beer & pretzels one-shot and a giant, sweeping mega-campaign epic. So I'm going to have to break the poll's rules (sorry, el-remmen) and say, "Sometimes."
 


False. I don't always start games at first level, particularly for one-shots.

Even otherwise however, a first level Wizard or Cleric for example is unusual and capable of feats that the majority of people in the setting cannot match. Thus I would consider even starting at 1st level to be more than zero.
 

In the last campaign, there were "Mana Telegnosis Devices," essentially great big text messaging or email machines. The one NPC had a tablet-sized version (think Sheikah Slate from Breath of the Wild) by the very end. I figure in a ten-year gap they should've spread to general population. I'm debating over whether or not they'd have cameras by then.

Regardless, if the PCs misuse them, they're totally getting "out of data" error messages or their devices hacked!

Call them "crystal balls" or "magic mirrors", and you are good to go.

Similar concepts include a goblet that one fills with water or wine, and then scries within the liquid surface.

Keep in mind, the viewer doesnt see tiny images of scrying inside the ball, mirror, or goblet. The surface that is partly transparent and partly reflective is a method of entering a meditative state of mind. The viewer actually experiences the scrying in a waking dream, a full-on first-person virtual reality.

There are lots of different stories you can tell with D&D in different configurations. The sky's the limit, and that's one of the things that's so great about it. I just so happen to prefer starting small and building from there.

True, characters do evolve differently if they get an advanced start.

You really can't do the "veterans and experts assembled by a patron to do a quest" with level 1s.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'll give this a "more true than not". The leveling system definitely encourages this mode of play.

But one-shots don't have this aspect. I've also run campaigns where the characters started as heroes, be it from position, starting level, or whatever.

But generally yes. As levels go up, the scope of what they deal with grows as well as the level of challenge. So even if they start off small-time heroes, they usually end up as big-time heroes.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm with Quickleaf: there's an entire spectrum of possible positions between a beer & pretzels one-shot and a giant, sweeping mega-campaign epic.
Fair point - the poll question assumes (I think) but does not state it's referring to campaigns rather than one-shots.

One-shots can, obviously, start at and be of any level.

Longer, sometimes multi-party, campaigns - I'll always start the campaign itself at 1st, but later parties or groups within that overarching campaign might start at whatever makes sense at the time.

My "True" vote is based on the overall-campaign view.
 

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