Before They Were One!


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There are five new Pathfinder RPG–compatible PDFs available from Super Genius!

When I heard that Super Genius Games was releasing a PDF for playing zero-level characters with the Pathfinder RPG, I was excited. One of my favorite experiments in 1st edition D&D was starting a campaign with the PCs as zero-level kids running around the backstreets of Sanctuary, from the Thieves World setting. As the PCs played around town, random encounters would set them on one path or another in their adventuring careers. (My favorite event involved a very high-level but senile wizard mistaking one of the characters as his missing apprentice wizard. The funny thing was the character in question had an 8 Intelligence and an 18 Strength!) Now, all these years later, the Genius Guide to Apprentice-Level Characters will allow me the chance to make similar memorable moments in my next campaign!

When you consider the number of things even a 1st-level Pathfinder RPG character can do, it’s pretty clear that even the lowest level characters have completed some intense training. But what do you do if you want to start an adventure before your wizards have mastered their 1st-level spells and paladins have discovered how to detect evil at will? The Genius Guide to Apprentice-Level Characters presents simple rules for creating 0-level or 1/2-level characters who have some instruction but aren’t yet fully trained members of their class.

In other Super Genius PDF news, the Genius Guide to Martial Archetypes provides material designed to give fighting classes new techniques for running their foes through, or at least flashier things to do while making the effort. It does this through the use of archetype packages—a way to replace some of a base class’s standard abilities with new powers (in this case, powers tied to martial skill). An archetype package can present new kinds of combat options a character may learn (such as the Youxia), allow him to excel in the mastery of a single weapon (such as the Blacksnake), or just give him an extra edge in any fighting situation (such as the Physical Exemplar).

The latest One Night Stand, The Warren of the Death Spider, has you investigating the disappearance of some local children. (If you have arachnophobia, this adventure isn't for you!)

Finally, there are a couple of FREE web enhancements for previously released Super Genius PDFs. (And if you don't have them, take a look at the enhancements anyway!) The Genius Guide to Hoof and Horn Racial Options contains new options for the races in The Genius Guide to Races of Hoof and Horn, giving them their own sets of alternate racial traits and favored class options. The Genius Guide to Favored Class Options does the same for the first 12 classes Super Genius released—gratis!

More Blog.
Scarab Sages

Very interesting concept, here.

The notion of 0-level PCs has rarely been done; there were rules in the 1st-Edition Greyhawk hardcover, where you were able to pick'n'mix from any class during your apprenticeship, but once a class was chosen, you had to drop any superfluous abilities unless you paid an xp tax (a foretaste of 3.0 multiclassing?).

During the '80s, I flirted with the rules from Imagine magazine (RIP), where the classes were reverse engineered, to give the abilities of a half-trained level 0 character, and further back, to the implied baseline abilities of the 0-level peasant (0LP).
Using these, I toyed with a system for what were, in hindsight, gestalt characters, though the term gestalt was never used. Every PC would be a Fritz Leiber-style, hybrid Fighter/Magic-User/Thief, xp being allocated (unequally) between the three classes by the GM according to the challenges faced. Xp to unlock Clerical abilities were at the discretion of the higher (or lower) powers, in reward for advancing their goals.

This product write-up takes me back to that.

Cool experiment. Sanctuary doesn't seem like the kind of place to favor 0s making it to 1st level. :)

Scarab Sages

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Cool experiment. Sanctuary doesn't seem like the kind of place to favor 0s making it to 1st level. :)

One option for using the 0-level rules is to allow multiclass characters at 1st level. Envision your character as having been raised on the mean streets but have a natural talent for magic? In a 1st level game you could start as a 0-rogue/0-sorcerer, becoming rogue 1/sorcerer 1 at 2nd level. Or if you are a scout for a tribe of berserkers, you can start as barbarian 0/ranger 0 at a 1st level character.

In fact I've already has a customer write me and say she *only* plans to allow multiclass characters if they start as 0/0 multiclass at 1st level. Not what I was thinking when I wrote the rules, but I'm glad they met a need for her. :D

As I recall, the 3.0 DMG had rules for this as well. Nice to see them revisited though.

As always Owen thanks for pushing the boundaries.

Scarab Sages

Chris Parker wrote:
As I recall, the 3.0 DMG had rules for this as well. Nice to see them revisited though.

Yep, it sure did! In fact my first-even non-playtest 3.0 character was a human 1/2-level fighter--1/2 level rogue with a spiked chain, named Javril. [Groucho]And why we named the chain Javril, I'll never know![/Groucho].

I strongly suspect any complaints about the spiked chain being overpowered you have ever heard can be traced back to that character. :)

Qwilion wrote:
As always Owen thanks for pushing the boundaries.

I'm not sure this really counts as pushing the boundaries, but you're welcome!

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