0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

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Ze Groupe
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0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by Ze Groupe » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:11 am

Hi all,

A few of us at work today were chatting about the last 2 sessions, and something that came up was the disconnect in the transition from 0 lvl to 1st lvl characters.

Basically, there are tonne of occupation to class lvl transitions that make no sense at all. Things like Dwarves and Elves suddenly gaining innate abilities, or a gravedigger suddenly becoming magic user who "has been studying for years" overnight.

Now i know some of these oddities can be hand waved, but why not do something that will bridge this gap and also give players something fun to play with. ;)

Why not let each lvl 0 character choose a "path". Basically the player decides what path the 0 lvl character will take, and each path is linked to a class. So you would have a Warrior path, a Cleric path, a Thief path, a Elf path (mandatory if you have a Elf occupation), a Dwarf path (mandatory if you have a Dwarf Occupation) and a Halfling path (mandatory if you have a Halfling occupation).

Each path grants the 0 lvl character access to 1 or 2 set additional trained weapons and one set ability. Eg. The Wizard path might grant the cantrips spell, the Cleric path a healing spell, the Warrior path might grant some basic attack bonus, and each racial path would grant them their racial abilities. Now these are all set in stone, so it wouldn't take any more time, but would accomplish the following:

-Allow for the -4 untrained penalty to be reapplied to 0 lvl characters.
-Make the transition from 0 lvl to 1st lvl a little more "realistic".
-Give players a little control of the destinies of their 0 lvl characters without making them less disposable. :twisted:
-Allow for 0 lvl adventures to be a little more involved.
-Teach the basic rules of each class to players without inundating them with options.
-Explain why these 0 lvl characters decided to go adventuring in the first place.... because they already had done some training and were now looking to find gold and glory!
-Probabky some other things that i can't think of right now. ;)

Anyway, this is just a little idea we had, maybe it isn't feasable, i don't know, but even if these ideas don't appeal to people, i definitely think something should be done to make the transition from 0 lvl to 1st lvl a little less "Boing! You are now a Wizard!". ;)

Food for thought.

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by finarvyn » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:51 am

While your ideas are good ones, they seem to add a layer of complexity that I don't think the DCC RPG really needs. To me, the point of 0-level characters is to give that quick introduction and thin out the herd so that the ones standing become the real characters. Adding lots of extra details just makes losing a 0-level character that much more painful.

Think of the 0-level part of the campaign as being a lot like the "teaser" at the start of most James Bond films. In the teaser Bond is in some sort of crisis and it gets you pumped up right away, but it has little to do with the rest of the movie.

The 0-level part of the adventure gets you started, gives you a look at what kind of a hand you are dealt, and sets the tone for the main campaign. You can always start the second adventure with "okay, six months have passed and..."
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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by Ze Groupe » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:08 am

finarvyn wrote:Adding lots of extra details just makes losing a 0-level character that much more painful.
Lots of detail? One extra 1/4 page table in a book full of tables for just about everything? ;)

The other thing with the funnel and 0 lvl characters is that i can't see groups wanting to do it more than once, maybe twice, as written, before the novelty wears off and they jump straight to lvl 1, 2 or 3 characters. Whereas by giving players a little control and a little more depth to the 0 lvl gameplay might alleviate this a little.

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by Alaxk » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:11 am

Wizard is glaring but a clever GM can make it work. They state that they've been training for years to grasp the basics of magic. How does that work with a Farmer. Some options:
  • Going from 0 to 1 might take several years.
  • The patron might take the wizard to an extraplanar space where time flows differently.
  • The wizard might free the Patron in the startin adventure and be infused with magic.
Regardless, a GM can get that Wizard ready to cast spells.

The Racial stuff just doesn't make any sense. Why would an Elf suddenly gain darkvision and become sensitive to Iron. I like racial classes, but I wouldn't force an Elf to just be a class Elf. I'll be ripping the racial features from the class and allowing a race to take any class.

I understand the goal, 0 level characters are cattle ment for slaughter. Make them fast, kill them fast.

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by QuentinTheTroll » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:58 pm

Luke went from level - 0 farmhand to level - 1 cleric after a little adventure on something called Escape the Death Star. "Suddenly" all the little things he hadn't noticed while toiling on the moisture farm - his dreams of piloting, odd family stories, disturbing thoughts of his father's murder, all became clear: he'd been preparing to "become" a Jedi Acolyte for years.

I think you can use little details and memories from a 0-level character who survives to "illuminate" their path after the fact.

For example, if a farmer successfully counters some sort of magic in a "funnelling adventure" and later "becomes" a Wizard, that episode can be viewed as "foreshadowing." If he becomes a warrior, it doesn't have bearing.

A good judge can help the pc to "recall" times on the farm when he found himself distracted by the written word, or by arcane stories that were, in fact, lessons in magic.

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by jmucchiello » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:20 pm

I think the best explanation of level 0 to level 1 transition was the flash back. You run the funnel adventure and afterward everyone picks there favorite surviving character out the 1 or so they have left. :) Then you spend a few minutes on the level up, bugging the Judge about patrons and deities and whatnot.

At some point the judge says, "Five years later, you are sitting around the Old Wagon Wheel Tavern drinking a brew and raising a toast to generic elf 3 and that butcher's boy with no name (never could find more than one or two of his fingered afterward, right?)...."

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by Hamel™ » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:13 pm

Ze Groupe wrote:Basically, there are tonne of occupation to class lvl transitions that make no sense at all. Things like Dwarves and Elves suddenly gaining innate abilities, or a gravedigger suddenly becoming magic user who "has been studying for years" overnight.

About racial abilities, Joseph Goodman has already said he wants to make them available since L0 in the Final Form.

Talking about Wizard class, maybe we're all still bounded to the old Harvard's student concept.
In a book where the word Corruption is repeated over and over again, why not simply being touched by magic?


IMHO you don't need to be a chickless geek to cast a Bigby's Nosepicking Hand: if you have a Patron, he could have just granted you his powers.. in this or that form.

Obviously it shouldn't be a sudden change, but IMHO you don't need a year off-scene.

You're no hero: remember these words. :wink:

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by jeff » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:48 pm

As for the Wizard, maybe the 0 level PC had some latent magical ability that the stress of adventuring caused to blossom? Maybe the 0 level Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings already have the racial abilities?

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by meinvt » Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:42 pm

Ze Groupe wrote:a Elf path (mandatory if you have a Elf occupation), a Dwarf path (mandatory if you have a Dwarf Occupation) and a Halfling path (mandatory if you have a Halfling occupation).
This raises a question I had. By the rules as written you can choose your class after level 0 and can only take elf, dwarf, or halfling if you had that occupation. However, it doesn't say that you must take elf, dwarf or halfling. So, can a character who has all poor stats except a 16 intelligence and was a Halfling Gypsy decide to become a wizard? I'd be inclined to allow it, and it aligns to what I'm reading, but I'm not sure it is the design intent.

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by kataskicana » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:11 pm

That is not correct. All non-humans only level as their racial class. All dwarves are dwarves no dwarves are thieves or warriors or wizards or clerics.

Joseph is leaving the door open for 3rd party non-human classes, but the design captures the general feel of appendix N being mainly human-o-centric.

Of course if a DM wants a player to be able to be a dwarven wizard and that fits his world - go for it. I plan on running games without non-humans at all in more of a Hyborean setting.

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by meinvt » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:45 pm

kataskicana wrote:That is not correct. All non-humans only level as their racial class. All dwarves are dwarves no dwarves are thieves or warriors or wizards or clerics.

Joseph is leaving the door open for 3rd party non-human classes, but the design captures the general feel of appendix N being mainly human-o-centric.

Of course if a DM wants a player to be able to be a dwarven wizard and that fits his world - go for it. I plan on running games without non-humans at all in more of a Hyborean setting.
If that is true then the rulebook needs a correction. Right now all it has to say on the matter is:

"The demi-human classes of dwarf, elf and halfling may only be selected by characters whose 0-level occupation was of that race."

Both the word may and selected in that sentence imply that there is player choice involved in what happens here.

I'll note that there are some threads saying that elves seem to be better than wizards. I observe that you need to keep in mind that, assuming demi-human races are mandatory, 70% of characters are going to have a class that is vaguely based on their ability scores. But, if you have an elf it is only 1/6 likely that intelligence is their best stat. In fact, more than half the time their best stat will be neither intelligence nor strength. While a warrior will most likely at least not have a strength penalty.
Likewise, I'm looking at a potential halfling character who is quite intelligent, but has a luck penalty.

So, when considering character balance consider that more than half the time a demi-human will be getting significantly less alignment between their ability scores and their racial capabilities. Of course, about 1 in 20 characters will be a demi-human with an aligned best ability. If they make it to first level they have the possibility to rock.

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by Stainless » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:57 am

I had noticed the issue with a level 0 character suddenly becoming a Wizard with supposedly years of background study. I felt that any character that was rolled up with a high Intelligence would likely be ear-marked as a Wizard from the start, so the DM could start priming this with some background. Alternatively, there is 'simply', but not very satisfactorily, retroengineering the character's background to conform. I also agree that a lot of becoming a Wizard will come from being essentially conscripted by the Patron; while walking through the woods, young Bob the farmer's lad hears a call for help. He follows the call deep into the woods and finally discovers the call coming from a face on a tree! The face tells him that he has been chosen, that he must not tell anyone else under pain of the most unspeakable retribution, and that he must attend 'lessons' in the woods on a regular basis. He never spoke of this, although his parents did wonder about his increasing distraction and absence from farming duties, his far away gazes, sudden jumps in his vocabulary, etc...
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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by finarvyn » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:58 am

meinvt wrote:"The demi-human classes of dwarf, elf and halfling may only be selected by characters whose 0-level occupation was of that race."

Both the word may and selected in that sentence imply that there is player choice involved in what happens here.
Humans have to be humans, and they may pick from the four main classes (fighter, thief, cleric, wizard).

Non-humans are encouraged to progress in their racial class, but are allowed the option of picking a human class instead. You really can have a halfling wizard, but then the character gains all wizard abilities and loses all halfling abilities. While this defies logic, it also maintains some sense of game balance and doesn't allow players to max out advantages from both.
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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by Tortog » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:42 am

finarvyn wrote: Humans have to be humans, and they may pick from the four main classes (fighter, thief, cleric, wizard).

Non-humans are encouraged to progress in their racial class, but are allowed the option of picking a human class instead. You really can have a halfling wizard, but then the character gains all wizard abilities and loses all halfling abilities. While this defies logic, it also maintains some sense of game balance and doesn't allow players to max out advantages from both.
I think this kind of silliness is why I dislike the idea of races as classes so much. Don't get me wrong, I think playing a {insert race of choice} without a class is great! I think the idea of a 0lvl romp as a "teaser" is fine too. Most of the transition issues can be handled with story-line. The gravedigger turned wizard is easy to explain... he was digging one day and found and old skull that whispers secrets to him in his sleep. But race is something you are born, & Class is a vocation and is a choice. You may be born a farmer, but that doesn't mean you couldn't run away to the city to be a sorcerers apprentice.

If you are other than human than you won the genetic lottery and gain access to a bunch of cool abilities, but the idea that Dwarves are only miners, blacksmiths, and herders defies believability. As a storyteller it is hard to build anything with that; and all the non-humans have to answer the same questions... Where are their Priests & who gets to be King? Only Humans have access to the occupation of Nobility or anything that leads to Clerics. If a Dwarf has to give up everything that makes him what they are to be a Cleric of Daenthar... well I don't think the other Dwarves are going to follow or be inspired by someone that can't fight properly & runs into walls in the dark. :D

I'll beta test it "as is," but my home-rule version will have race rolled separately:

Table 1 (roll d%):
1-80=Human, 81+= Non-Human roll on table 1a.

Table 1a (roll 1d6):
1= Elf, 2= Dwarf, 3= Halfling, 4= Gnome, 5= Half-Ork, 6= Half-Elf]

Then everyone rolls on an expanded Occupation Tables. Non-humans get all racial abilities at 0lvl [including hit die, & special rules] and can have any class they want, but pay a 30% EXP penalty even for 1st level.

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by finarvyn » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:13 am

Tortog wrote:I think this kind of silliness is why I dislike the idea of races as classes so much.
Well, the advantage of race=class is that it's not as easy to max out characters. How many times have you seen players who want to be an elf just because elves have cool stuff they can do, instead of simply wanting to be an elf because they like them. I look at my 4E campaign and see Elderan, Dragonborn, Tiefllings, Drow -- all kinds of cool races. Just no humans.

Most RPGs try to balance things by making XP needed higher or giving extra stuff to humans. (C&C gives humans an extra "prime" stat, for example.) All to encourage folks to pick human as a race because otherwise no one would want to be one. DCC makes you pick. You can be an elf because you want, or be an elf to get the cool powers. If you pick the elf to get the cool powers you can't also pick a class to give you even more cool powers.

Maybe DCC should be a "humans only" game. Make all elves, dwarves, halflings into NPC's. (Well, not really because many players would hate it, but at least the game would feel more like Appendix N.) Then players couldn't power game so much.

Just my two coppers.
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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by Tortog » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:53 am

finarvyn wrote:Well, the advantage of race=class is that it's not as easy to max out characters. How many times have you seen players who want to be an elf just because elves have cool stuff they can do, instead of simply wanting to be an elf because they like them. I look at my 4E campaign and see Elderan, Dragonborn, Tiefllings, Drow -- all kinds of cool races. Just no humans.

Most RPGs try to balance things by making XP needed higher or giving extra stuff to humans. (C&C gives humans an extra "prime" stat, for example.) All to encourage folks to pick human as a race because otherwise no one would want to be one. DCC makes you pick. You can be an elf because you want, or be an elf to get the cool powers. If you pick the elf to get the cool powers you can't also pick a class to give you even more cool powers.

Maybe DCC should be a "humans only" game. Make all elves, dwarves, halflings into NPC's. (Well, not really because many players would hate it, but at least the game would feel more like Appendix N.) Then players couldn't power game so much.

Just my two coppers.

I just don't understand the bias against the so called "min/maxers." In the real world, people capitalize on their strengths and play down their weaknesses. Hell, that's what "survival of the fittest" is all about; so why should it be any different in a fantasy gaming environment?

If I'm going to go to the trouble of playing a fantasy game, why bother being Human? I get to be Human every day.

It has been my experience that just because players are willing to suspend their belief in the "real world" to take part in an interactive fantasy setting doesn't mean that they will defy common sense. A Dwarf who surrenders all his racial abilities to become a cleric to his racially preferred Deity would be incapable of finding his way around in the tunnels... it makes no sense. How could such a Dwarf serve his community?

With my house rule there is plenty of incentive to be Human, not the least of which is the fact that my table 1-1 would be the only table that is Mandatory for all players. [making 80% Human]

1. most equipment is made for Humans. Not just swords & armor, but beds, doors counter-tops, etc.
Heck, I love that fact that Gandalf can battle demons, but can't navigate his way through a Hobbit warren without cracking his head on the rafters... makes me laugh every time :lol:

2. Non-Humans are the ones that need more EXP to advance outside their racial preferences.
3. Humans are more numerous, so, you know... that whole safety in packs thing... :)

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Re: 0 lvl to lvl 1 Transition/Options - Thoughts?

Post by Ogrepuppy » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:19 pm

Tortog wrote:If I'm going to go to the trouble of playing a fantasy game, why bother being Human? I get to be Human every day.
Oddly, I generally ONLY play humans in all fantasy RPGs. I just like them better. YMMV!

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