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 Post subject: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:05 am 
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Hello,

Can someone explain exactly what a 0-level character can do?

Can they attempt to cast a spell or pick a lock?

Thanks,

Aluvial


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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:36 pm 
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Nope, they're restricted to pitchforks and torches. But that's all they really need to fight monsters and loot ancient tombs. They have Strength to kick down doors. They have Agility to jump over pits. They have saving throws to avoid poison, darts and spells. The point is really to focus on the Ability Scores.

Remember that at first they're just a mob, dealing with Frankenstein's monster, the living dead or a werewolf. Survivors, if any, become heroes. And they become addicted to this life. They choose a class and discover skills they didn't know they had (like casting spells and picking locks,) and then they become true adventurers.

The level-0 game is a good exercise for modern gamers. It helps them develop their character, it helps them use their head when solving problems instead of looking at their character sheet. Old school guys like me are already familiar with this style of play, and lots of us really miss it.

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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:38 am 
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I see your points.

I don't know if this will be applicable in this forum then, but I am interested in a system where 0-level characters can attempt to do the things that they might get to try class abilities.

My thinking is this. I'm using this for a 3.x character generation system. I like the 0-level rules and the DCC system, but it is not quite for our group. This does not mean that I can't adapt.

So, my group wants (and needs) races. So, we are using them. I also like the funnel, a LOT! It's fun already and the group is getting into the character creation. The idea that they are peons works so well.

My thought is this. Why not allow the peon the ability to try something that may occur for a 1st level character? If one of the group is leaning towards a thief, then why not let him try to disarm the trap? I will just tie it to an ability check of some kind. To make it simple, I'll list the character's 1st level class abilities that they can try. Then I will group them in order of difficulty. Arcane spells should be hardest. I will use the same system for rolling for success that DCC uses. This will represent the difficulty of magic. Other abilities (from 3.x books) could be lower checks. For instance, rage. Anyone might have the talent to get really mad. So I might make that DC lower (a ten?). You get the idea...

What do you think?

Aluvial


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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:12 am 
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One of the ideas that ive been toying with is allowing a Zero access to one class ability. One spell (or cantrip for arcane users and heal or bless for divine) or one thief skill, etc. If youre separating class and race, also give them access to one racial ability. It should be pretty obvious which class they're going take when they level, based on ability scores or preference, and make them commit to it.

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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:24 pm 
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reverenddak wrote:
One of the ideas that ive been toying with is allowing a Zero access to one class ability. One spell (or cantrip for arcane users and heal or bless for divine) or one thief skill, etc. If youre separating class and race, also give them access to one racial ability. It should be pretty obvious which class they're going take when they level, based on ability scores or preference, and make them commit to it.

My idea is similar in scope. I want to allow the chaaracters the option of trying things out. Perhaps one success that saves others, or steals the show will be enough for them to commit to a class when they turn 1st level. I'll be using some version of this tomorrow (Wed, Feb 7th) for my game. I appreciate any advice and will report back how it went.

Aluvial


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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Well, I came up with a system, and I ruined my first attempt with the funnel. Essentially, I always knew that we would be playing a 3.x game, and I was going to use the funnel as my character creation method. So I set up the chance for each character to try out different 1st level character abilities from the 3.x system.

Here is the list.

Barbarian
Fast Movement STR 12
Rage Fail WIS 8 OR CON 15
Bard
Bardic Knowledge INT 12
Bardic Music CHR 8
Countersong CHR 15
(PF) Distraction CHR 15
Fascinate CHR 15
Inspire Courage CHR 12
Cleric
(PF) Channel Energy WIS 14
Druid
Wild Empathy CHR 11
Monk
Unarmed Strike STR 11
Flurry of Blows DEX 13
(PF) Stunning Fist STR 14
Paldin
Detect Evil WIS 15
Smite Evil WIS 15
Ranger
Track WIS 14
Wild Empathy CHR 11
Rogue
Sneak Attack DEX 14
Trapfinding DEX 13
Spells: 0-Level
Arcane INT 15
Divine WIS 15

So, essentially, any character could try one of these actions based on their ability roll. I wasn't sure about the DC's, but they started off as pretty reasonable. The issue came immediately as soon as we used Pathfinders Channel Energy roll. The group instantly started abusing the system. At first, I limited the attempts, saying one per round was reasonable... but the ship had sailed. Then I raised the DC, but the ship was gone. Essentially, I couldn't kill anyone. I had traps that hit multiple targets, and an Ogre with Cleave, but no matter, the group would use their one Channel energy attempt and bring the group out of negative HP.

So, I have to go back to the drawing board. They have the second part of the adventure to run, DCC #0, but I feel as if there are too many problems to get to character death.

I would have to fix a number of things.

1) No Channel Energy.
2) Up the Spell DC
3) Create a better negative HP system for 0-Level characters.

Next week we try again. I have 24 characters in the mob... still. One thing was interesting, the players did not really like the idea of randomly determining their characters. They wanted to "roll" the characters they wanted. Essentially making all of the decisions and leaving nothing to chance. They went with the system regardless, so I give them credit there. Still, once playing, they fought hard to keep their characters alive, often switching front line characters so that they could spread the damage. Against single foes, the mob is powerful, generally getting enough front line attacks (6 players on the front line), mid line attacks (I allowed each character to play their "front" and one "back" character action. I deemed that the rest just kept pushing the others ahead... Allowing negative HP, essentially meant not killing anyone...

Aluvial


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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:07 pm 
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We completely abandoned the system tonight. Even with the fixes we decided to dump it and go straight to 1st level guys. Oh well....


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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:47 pm 
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While you have some neat ideas, what you are overlooking is that DCC should have a high simplicity factor at the start. Part of the intent of running 0-level characters is to get a feel for the character and the game system without having all of the details of an all-out character. Your plan brings a heavy weight to character creation.

If you want to skip over 0-level and move onto 1st level characters (which is what you mentioned you did) I think this takes some of the fun out of the system but does get players "doing stuff" faster. Not a bad solution at all, if you want to avoid the funnel altogether.

I suppose you could still do a "level 1 funnel" but that would change the dynamic of the game a little. Also not a bad solution.

The key is to find what works for you and go with it. DCC is supposed to be fun and not a chore. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:24 pm 
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I can say that we had a lot of fun. I was using this for a 3.x game character creation. The idea was that they would have random characters, and those that survived would get fleshed out more and become their characters.

The biggest issues were using our old 3.5 campaigns rules on negative HP. This kept anyone from dying. The second issue was allowing them to attempt the Pathfinder channel energy ability. Creatures could not do enough damage to kill and the players could try to heal.

I missed the rule about needing a Holy Symbol (they had only three among them) and also setting the DC to low.

On the positive, the players reported that they liked being able to try different class abilities, and it really made sense that they could try to do different things in the adventure. I think a better system would be to allow each character a number of chances to try different things each day. So, in essence, you could try your total modifier score of special actions for instance. That would give each character 3 to 8 things per day to try. Since the funnel should only take one day, they would have to pick and choose when they attempted a DC roll.

I'll try it again next campagin (5 years from now) and I'll at least have the DCC book. I'm sold on the idea if only to look at the art and remember the old days...

Good game!

Aluvial

Oh, check out this link!!!! Very cool!!!

http://blogofholding.com/?series=mornard


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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:42 pm 
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Aluvial wrote:
Hello,

Can someone explain exactly what a 0-level character can do?

Can they attempt to cast a spell or pick a lock?

Thanks,

Aluvial


When I DM the funnel, I let folks do or attempt anything that their character background can suggest, for example...

    >Gongfarmer, Gambler, & Ostler are allowed to make lock pick and other thief-type checks on the grounds that their professions occasionally allow situations where such skills are needed or can be practiced.

    >Acolytes are always allowed to cast a blessing; it probably won't have much if any strength, but I figure in the eyes of their Gods, there is no difference between a 10th lvl and 0-lvl mortal...

    >A wizards apprentice or alchemist doesn't start with any spells (same for Elves) but they certainly can attempt to use any scrolls they might find. Chances are they'll end up splattered, but they are welcome to try.

    >A 0-lvl alchemist is perfectly capable of applying a little chemistry knowledge to a situation; if they have the time and can find or steal the ingredients they can make anything from black powder bombs to flasks of acid, etc.

    >Halfling Gypsy... could have any number of abilities depending on how you define the word 'Gypsy'.

    etc..
The reasoning behind this approach is that somewhere back in history someone had to figure out how to do everything from making fire to casting spells... and they didn't have the benefit of anyone to teach them how: they just experimented a lot. The casualty figures were probably horrific, but eventually someone figured out how to make fire, or cast a spell... then they could start teaching others.

---
Metaphorically speaking, there is no difference between rolling up four sets of ability scores, crossing out the three weakest and using the best set; and running a Funnel session. In both cases the peon's with the best stats are most likely going to win out, but the Funnel session is more entertaining as well as a chance to familiarize yourself with the new system. When I'm running a funnel session, it is the one time where I let the dice be brutal and I don't hesitate to kill off the little phleebs, but all that stops once the survivors claw their way to 1st level. I think this is beneficial for the game, because it means the players lose a bit of their fear about having a character die. Over the years, I noticed that some players don't handle it very well, and this could give them a chance to learn how to cope. It also lets the DM get the message across that there are consequences for ill thought out actions, which enhances later play sessions when the survivors start adding levels.


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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:43 pm 
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Tortog wrote:
...In both cases the peon's with the best stats are most likely going to win out...

Hmm. Not in my direct experience, and not often the case based on what I've read on the boards. Seems players put their best peon forward first and then lose them first fairly often... Just sayin'. :mrgreen:

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Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: 0-level actions?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:50 pm 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
Tortog wrote:
...In both cases the peon's with the best stats are most likely going to win out...

Hmm. Not in my direct experience, and not often the case based on what I've read on the boards. Seems players put their best peon forward first and then lose them first fairly often... Just sayin'. :mrgreen:


Sure... but only because they're the first ones loaded into the meat grinder. :mrgreen: But you have to admit that given any bonuses at all to STR, STAM, or AGIL; then they are more likely to survive than the poor slub with STR 7, AGIL 7, STAM 5, PER 16, INT 10, LUCK 7 (one of the ditch digger prisoners in my game) [edit: and his luck applies to missile fire weapons]

Besides... in a Funnel game session, anyone who guards the characters with good stats by leading with the weaklings is 'power-/ meta- gaming' whether they want to admit it or not... just sayin' :mrgreen:

All I was trying to point out was that 'ostler', 'gongfarmer', 'cut-purse', etc. can be more than just words on a page if we explore the possibilities.


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