Thursday, July 22, 2010

0 Level Characters Love Them or Hate Them?

Ever since I saw the Cavaliers experience table in Unearthed Arcana I wondered how well it would work in play. For the cavalier they don't just start at 0 level they have two levels to of zero to work through. I always thought it would be interesting to have the players start at 0 level. At this point they would have basic stats and skills, but they wouldn't be a class yet. A GM would run short senerios through critical parts of their training.

This is a rough idea how I would do it since I really haven't thought it through. It would be broken into three parts. The random attribute and event rolls. Everyday environment factors. And encounters.

The player would roll 2d6 for attributes or 3d6 and discard the lowest. From there the player would select a class he would like to be trained. At first it would be a few rolls by the player to determine some random events that would increase or decrease his abilities. Quick off the cuff example for a farmer boy wanting to be a fighter;

1-win village footrace, gain one charisma
2-managed to get through flu season, gain one constitution
3-broke your ankle lose one dexterity
4-got into a lot of fights with other village boys, gain one strength and a 50% of gaining onecharisma and 50% losing one charisma
5-adventurer stops in village gain a weapon proficency and 2d6sp
6-find a broken sword in the woods

The second part would be the environment this village boy is in. Being a farmer he will gain strength from the constant toiling and possible constitution if he can avoid becoming sick. The drawback is he won't gain education here and the possibility of learning a skill is greatly reduced. Again the GM would need to come up with a handful of factors that would help the player develop his character.

So a player might roll on six different tables through their 0 level time. But also during this time the GM would arrange encounters that would also form who the player would become by the choices he made. Another off the cuff simple example. This same village farming boy wishing to become a fighter encounters a single goblin in woods. The goblin rushes into attack. Another encounter may be a competition at a festival where all the village boys compete in wrestling and racing. The GM would come up with rewards or penalties depending on the outcome.

What I like about this way is the player has a lot more say in the development of his character while the GM still retains the randomness of life and its affects on a person. But would require more work for the GM.

I know when I am reading books I often find the beginning sections about how the person became the hero, often times, more interesting than when he or she becomes the hero.

So tell me your thoughts, suggestions or opinions. The more I think about this the more I like it.