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Author Topic: How do you handle Zero Level PCs in 5E D&D?  (Read 849 times)


  • SeƱor Wences
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Re: How do you handle Zero Level PCs in 5E D&D?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2020, 01:56:12 AM »
As a zero level funnel, a la DCC? Background only (no stats, saves, abilities, features, or quickstart gear), 1d4 Hit Die, PB +1, assume straight 8s if you must ability check. Sell 'em a Backpack or gear with their Background starting cash and go forth and play!  8)


That'll do ya.

Disclaimer: not my product, I get nothing if you buy a copy.

Nice! I'm pretty DIY, but cool! Let 'em reap the fruit of their efforts.  :)

And a zero level game can be a lot of fun. Reminds me of an awesome RPG concept someone told me years ago where you play the scrambling victims while NPC adventurers and superheroes burst into your place of work. The whole idea of playing desperate, hysterical functionaries hiding for our lives sounds like a scream! But then I'd probably love playing as the cast in a goofy disaster flick. "Gojira?! Mein gott en himmel!" /runs off arms a'flailin'
Just make your fuckin' guy and roll the dice, you pricks. Focus on what's interesting, not what gives you the biggest randomly generated virtual penis.  -- J Arcane
You know, people keep comparing non-TSR D&D to deck-building in Magic: the Gathering. But maybe it's more like Katamari Damacy. You keep sticking shit on your characters until they are big enough to be a star.
-- talysman


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Re: How do you handle Zero Level PCs in 5E D&D?
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2020, 06:56:02 PM »
I think that folks who want "level 0" in 5e are missing the point of earlier levels in 5e.

In 5e, if you have a group of experienced players, you start at level 3. Because that's the level at which classes have their full toolkit and feel reasonably complete.

1st and 2nd level are tutorial levels. You use these to represent characters who are underexperienced, or younger, or whatever; or if your players are new to the game, so that they aren't overwhelmed with mechanics.
Mechanics should reflect flavor. Always.
Running: Penumbra Rising: a combination of the Shattered Star Pathfinder AP, The Illithiad 2e adventure series, and Tear of Ioun 4e Dungeon miniseries (D&D 5e).


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Re: How do you handle Zero Level PCs in 5E D&D?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2020, 03:41:30 AM »
Level 1 & 2 5e PCs are definitely 'novice adventurers'; many level 1 PCs have fewer hit points than the weakest CR 1/8 mook combatants like bandits (hp 11), guards (hp 11), cultists (hp 9); never mind scary stuff like orcs (hp 15!). So unless you want the PCs playing actual Commoners (hp 4) it works well to scale around level 1 PCs being novices in training, level 1 PC stats could certainly represent talented adolescents.

mAcular Chaotic

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Re: How do you handle Zero Level PCs in 5E D&D?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2020, 01:10:07 PM »
Level 1 could be apprentices, but note that they all have proficiencies in various things. Even a level 1 fighter is proficient in ALL weapons and armor. That implies a lot of training and mastery.
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.