Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

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laserdino
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Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by laserdino »

Hi all--first-time poster.

I am running my first DCC adventure this weekend (if all goes according to plan). I will almost certainly be using Sailors on the Starless Sea for 0-level characters, but may switch to one of the other modules I have.

I am torn on whether to allow leveling-up during the funnel adventure, or waiting until after.

On this forum, I've seen references to doing it either way, and I know the game system is flexible enough to go either way...just hoping for your feedback and opinions.

(If there's a similar thread somewhere, please point me to it--haven't run across it after some searching).

As background;
Either way, I'm adding a little plot point to leveling up. The characters will level up when they meet the spirit of an adventurer who had previously thwarted the Chaos Lords in the "Sailors" adventure history; he stuck around in some magical-type way to watch over the ruins and help the next brave souls who come to thwart chaos. He will have carved off some hidden enchanted space, and lead the characters there. He will guide the characters to some kind of artifacts imbued with a small bit of the souls of the previous band of adventurers--wizards, thieves, and so on--which will impart the skills and spells the PC's get at first level.

This will help explain the "hey, I can do magic all of a sudden" jump from level 0 to level 1. Also, the players can flesh out the campaign back-story by developing their past-life influences--which could ultimately lead to future adventure hooks and plot points ("I sense that Karl the Grey's Lost Castle is around here somewhere")
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finarvyn
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by finarvyn »

As you said, it can be done either way.

The thing I might worry about most in doing a level-up mid adventure is that you might find that the adventure grinds to a halt while folks transition from zeroes to first level characters, particularly if they aren't that familar with the class options yet. In other words, if you play for a half hour and then stop for a half hour to let players figure out their options, you might totally lose the momentum of the adventure.

This tends not to be a problem with leveling up later in the campaign as most characters tweak a couple of numbers and move on, which may only take a couple of minutes. It's also not as big a deal for players who are familiar with the DCC class options because they probably could make fast choices and resume play in a hurry.

Anyway, just something to consider.
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Raven_Crowking
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Raven_Crowking »

IME, 0-level to level 1 during play hasn't caused any problems. OTOH, your players/style may vary!
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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.
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Ravenheart87
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Ravenheart87 »

Level up is strictly a "between adventures activity" at my table, but your case seems to be a bit far less mundane. If your players can handle the break during the session, then go for it!
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Raven_Crowking
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Raven_Crowking »

Ravenheart87 wrote:Level up is strictly a "between adventures activity" at my table, but your case seems to be a bit far less mundane. If your players can handle the break during the session, then go for it!
Well, obviously, use what works for you, and fear no rule!

I decided to let characters level mid-ship when running Starless Sea, and it occurred just before the final encounter area, upon the Sea itself. The players said that it felt as though the characters took stock of what just occurred, what they had survived, and suddenly realized that this was something they could do. It was fun.

But, just because it was fun at my table, it doesn't follow that it would be fun at yours.

Caveat emptor!

RC
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.
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Sir Robilar
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Sir Robilar »

I don't allow leveling during the funnel as I find that for some classes it's not realistic enough for my tastes, especially the wizard and cleric. I allowed it once but found that it emphasizes the comedic aspect of the funnel, with average Joe suddenly being able to cast multiple spells.

Leveling up, also at higher levels, is something my players can only do once they have played through a whole meaty adventure and during their down time. We play by a house rule: the down time required equals the level they want to achieve in months, e.g. it takes a level 1 warrior two months of down time to become level 2. During that time the casters study their spells, the warriors train their skills, and so on.

But I absolutely agree, it's a matter of taste.
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Raven_Crowking
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Raven_Crowking »

Sir Robilar wrote:I don't allow leveling during the funnel as I find that for some classes it's not realistic enough for my tastes, especially the wizard and cleric. I allowed it once but found that it emphasizes the comedic aspect of the funnel, with average Joe suddenly being able to cast multiple spells.
In my game, clerics gain spells because of divine election.

BTB, wizards do not gain spells immediately upon levelling, but only gain the capacity to cast spells. Each spell takes at least 1 week of study to learn.

Thus, I avoid the comedic aspect you mention.

RC
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.
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Skars
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Skars »

Raven_Crowking wrote:
Ravenheart87 wrote:Level up is strictly a "between adventures activity" at my table, but your case seems to be a bit far less mundane. If your players can handle the break during the session, then go for it!
Well, obviously, use what works for you, and fear no rule!

I decided to let characters level mid-ship when running Starless Sea, and it occurred just before the final encounter area, upon the Sea itself. The players said that it felt as though the characters took stock of what just occurred, what they had survived, and suddenly realized that this was something they could do. It was fun.

But, just because it was fun at my table, it doesn't follow that it would be fun at yours.

Caveat emptor!

RC
I did the same with my campaign, they leveled right as they came upon the starless sea and didn't take more than 30 minutes and we were on to the way toward the ziggurat...You mentioned a pretty cool sounding encounter for the characters to meet up with a spirit of one of the past opponents of the chaos lords to help with continuity; you could have one of those spirits be housed in one of the glowing skulls from the module!
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Raven_Crowking »

Skars wrote:I did the same with my campaign, they leveled right as they came upon the starless sea and didn't take more than 30 minutes and we were on to the way toward the ziggurat...You mentioned a pretty cool sounding encounter for the characters to meet up with a spirit of one of the past opponents of the chaos lords to help with continuity; you could have one of those spirits be housed in one of the glowing skulls from the module!

Well, yeah. This game just drips Cool, and the only way to do it wrong is not to play.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by TheNobleDrake »

chiming in with my procedures on the matter:

I am very strict about characters only leveling up while on "down time" somewhere relatively safe (their base camp or civilization chiefly) - except for the 0 to 1st level transition, which I have happen as soon as there are only enough PCs left alive for each player to have one or less and the party is not locked in combat.

I make that distinction specifically so as to not have the players constantly grinding up all their 0-level characters, making a new batch and trudging through more funnel because I do not want to end up with more than 1 (2 if you are lucky) PCs of 1st level for each player once the funnel is officially over... and I refuse the heavy-handed approach of simply forcing the players to choose one survivor and henchman-ize or discard the rest.

Of course, I also believe that 0-level characters are not completely without training/pursuit of their eventual 1st level class when heading into the funnel, but are simply at the point in their training where the "field exam" is all that stands between them and "graduation" to 1st level.

...and like was mentioned, I don't just hand the wizards their full allotment of spells known once they gain the level - I do give them one to represent that they have been working towards it for some time and finally sorted it out, but that is all until they have time for study.
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Raven_Crowking »

Heh. I give wizards and elves the chance to learn spells "on the fly" as it were, but they usually only do so now in great duress. When I ran The Thing in the Chimney, a newly 1st-level Elf decided to learn "Magic Shield" on the fly, and ended up with a Mercurial Magic roll (01) that killed another party member instantly. For a minimum check result.

Good times.

:twisted:
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.
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Sveden
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Sveden »

Paging through Starless Sea I don't see any suggestions as to how much experience each encounter is worth.

Is it just assumed that once a zero level completes this module they reach level 1? Or should I, as a judge, go through and assign points?

I guess what I'm asking is do 16 zero level characters have a chance at defeating the BBEG in Starless Sea? Or should they level up just before meeting it?
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Bypeld: Wizard - Alchemist AL:N AC:10 HP:6 Weapon:Staff or Longsword +1 (1d4+1) 13/6/9/11/15/8(7)
Orastes: Wizard - Grave Digger AL:C AC:10 HP:6 Weapon:Shovel -2 (1d4-2) 4/12/12/10/14/10
Tonunt: Thief - Weaver AL:L AC:11 HP:6 Weapon:Dagger -2 (1d4-2) 5/13/9(11)/5/6/13
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Ravenheart87
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Ravenheart87 »

Sveden wrote:Paging through Starless Sea I don't see any suggestions as to how much experience each encounter is worth.

Is it just assumed that once a zero level completes this module they reach level 1? Or should I, as a judge, go through and assign points?

I guess what I'm asking is do 16 zero level characters have a chance at defeating the BBEG in Starless Sea? Or should they level up just before meeting it?
I let players advance to first level after funnel adventure. If you want to bother with XP in the funnel adventure, then read what the Judge's section says about awarding XP. You'll see why there are no fix pre-calculated XP awards for encounters: how much the PCs get depends how much problem they had with the encounter, which might vary greatly. One of my groups survived the first encounter with one death, the other lost third of the party.
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Skars
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Skars »

But to answer you directly, each encounter is worth 0-4 XP. (Re)gaining Luck is generally reserved for encounters that relate directly to luck or the end of the Adventure/in between sessions. So far for my sessions it has been at the end of the module. Check the Judge's Section of the rulebook for basic guidelines.
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by laserdino »

Thanks for all the responses--lots to think about! I still haven't made up my mind yet, but I'm sure I'll be happy with the results either way. Plus, I think I will have the level-up event happen in the ethereal plane, just to add an extra-planar twist.
finarvyn wrote: The thing I might worry about most in doing a level-up mid adventure is that you might find that the adventure grinds to a halt while folks transition from zeroes to first level characters, particularly if they aren't that familiar with the class options yet.
I had wondered about that. If I end up doing it mid-funnel, I may try to time it so the level-up happens at the end of the session--so the administrative work takes place then and at the beginning of the next session. And possibly in-between, too.
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by cjoepar »

Finarvyn makes a good point. But I have found that this is usually a very exciting moment for the players, so in the two funnels I have run (very limited experience, I know) everyone was very excited about stopping the adventure to do it. Also, in both cases for me, the groups were kind of "trying out" the game, so this gave them the chance to experienced levelled play during the first gaming session as well, so they could get a better idea of how the whole game plays.
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by Ravenheart87 »

cjoepar wrote:Also, in both cases for me, the groups were kind of "trying out" the game, so this gave them the chance to experienced levelled play during the first gaming session as well, so they could get a better idea of how the whole game plays.
Makes sense. Hard to run a single adventure of DCC to show what the game gets. In D&D you run a 3rd level adventure and you get a good picturea about what the game has to offer. In DCC RPG a zero or first level adventure shows only the tip of the iceberg.
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by laserdino »

Well, after all that, 2 of the 4 players had to bail this weekend. So I got Attack of the Frawgs real quick-like, and played that with the remaining 2 players--it looked shorter and more amenable to having fewer players. It worked fine, but there was clearly no opportunity for a level-up in the midst of it, so we held off until after.

(Incidentally, each player rolled up 6 players...each lost 3 along the way, mostly near the end when I kept rolling critical hits for the monsters)
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Re: Allowing level-up during funnel adventure?

Post by ThickSkullAdv »

laserdino wrote:Well, after all that, 2 of the 4 players had to bail this weekend. So I got Attack of the Frawgs real quick-like, and played that with the remaining 2 players--it looked shorter and more amenable to having fewer players. It worked fine, but there was clearly no opportunity for a level-up in the midst of it, so we held off until after.
Glad you had fun playing the adventure! I took my hockey team through the adventure again a few weeks ago (6 players, with 2 PCs each). I ran them through my "house rule funnel" which is 1d4 +2 starting HP (so everyone starts with at least 3, hp).

They were all new players so they didn't know they could "level up" but they were looking for some sort of opportunity to refresh themselves after 2 PCs were eaten by the gicastor in the dam half way in the adventure. They ended up powering through it but they certainly became more cautious and carefully avoided 2 of the encounters after that point.
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