0-level Adventures


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Scarab Sages

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One of the coolest gaming experiences I ever had was when some friends and I tried out the DnD 2nd Ed optional rules for playing 0-level adventures. It made our characters come alive in a way they hadn't before and we felt like we were 5th level when we finally got to 1st level. We launched into a long campaign and then sort of drifted apart on our separate lives after that, so we never got to re-do it to see if it was just an amazing game moment or there was something to it.

When I tried it out again recently, it seems to be that it was just as cool, if very different even in the new 3.5/PF rulesets.

So:

1) Does anyone else ever do 0-level adventures?
2) If so, what rules do you use for your players?
3) One of the weird rules for 0-levels in 2nd ed was to let a 0-level character try to do anything ANY type of 1st level character could do, with a dice roll as a chance. That included turn undead, casting a spell, picking a lock, etc. Does anyone use this type of open-ended adaption anymore?

Just curious... :)


What are the rules for 0 level characters?


There are no pathfinder rules for zero level characters that I am aware of.

Scarab Sages

No, there aren't any rules for 0-level PF play, and I seriously doubt there were any for 3.5 either. I had to make up my own rules for using PF for 0-level characters.

There were way too many rules to list in a post for 2nd ed, but basically you started at like -1500xp, and had to level up to 1st level before starting your regular game. It was another step that you could use if you wanted to get from normal commoner to 1st level adventurer without handwaving. Personally, I don't think I could do it that way again, but I have used it for my own groups to let them participate in a compex backstory rather than just dryly narrating or trying to paint an accurate picture with rumors from NPCs.

Just wondered if anyone else had ever used that technique...


There are two "apprentice-level" (i.e., level 0) 3rd party books out:

Learning Curve, and
The Genius Guide to Apprentice-level Characters.

Both have good reviews (I own the latter one).

The Exchange

Not for Pathfinder, but back during my days of running Beyond The SuperNatural (BTSN) I often started out with a 'victims' game, and the surviving characters then got to go on to pick regular classes.

It usually worked really well - starting out of 'normal' folks then, after fighting off a zombie horde with nothing but the contents of your kitchen and garden shed, taking the fight to the 'bad guys' as regular classed characters. Of course, the turnover rate for victim characters was shocking... but the clue for why that was is in the name of the character type... ;)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Both of these products are pretty great for 0-level or "Apprentice Level" characters. I was going to use them for my Curse of the Crimson Throne prologue. Just a matter of deciding which.

Learning Curve by Tricky Owlbear

and

The Genius Guide to Apprentice Level Characters by Super Genius Games

Anyway I've always wanted to run a campaign where the PCs start as children and it takes them all the way through to their retirement :-)

Edit: Ninja'd by Jeff de luna. I suspect he's an apprentice level ninja.

Liberty's Edge

I did do such a game in PF once. I had them all start out as level 1 commoners and had them RP their way towards a class. I was moving it faster than I would've like and they had their real class level after only about 2-3 sessions. For becoming their real class I basically had them replace the commoner level with the class level. Since commoner has all low saves and no class abilities, this turns out to be nothing but increase for everyone (except possibly druids, monks or wizards who get oddly specific weapons).

If I had to re-do it I'd probably only change what those first few sessions contained. I would probably change it to be that they are RPing who they were before becoming adventurers (picking their class ahead of time, still), and have them know each-other by some coincidence (like frequenting the same bar). After a session or two of this I'd probably have some minor adventure-hook type thing happen, and if they bite they upgrade to adventurers and start the real game.

My Idea:
Step 1: Create level 1 commoner characters, but with a class you're going to take in mind (allow taking first level feat(s) as though they had that class, but leave it inactive if they don't meet pre-reqs yet).

Step 2: Some odd rumors are going around the area where the characters are. Have them react and possibly investigate.

Step 3: After a couple of sessions of the above, have them encounter something minor that solidifies the "There be some s!$% going down" for them.

Step 4: As a result of the above encounter (whether actually a monster or just a monologuing villain or even some solid evidence of foul play), have them transform that commoner level into a class level.

Note: The characters should have worked together to make the discovery that starts the adventure, and do so while mostly going about their (now former) daily lives.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Both of these products are pretty great for 0-level or "Apprentice Level" characters. I was going to use them for my Curse of the Crimson Throne prologue. Just a matter of deciding which.

Learning Curve by Tricky Owlbear

and

The Genius Guide to Apprentice Level Characters by Super Genius Games

Anyway I've always wanted to run a campaign where the PCs start as children and it takes them all the way through to their retirement :-)

Edit: Ninja'd by Jeff de luna. I suspect he's an apprentice level ninja.

Sadly, there aren't any apprentice-level rules for Ninja in the book I have, because they post-date (in the rules) that book.

But I had to laugh, because my Dex is at best an 8. And I'm wearing plaid pants.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jeff de luna wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Both of these products are pretty great for 0-level or "Apprentice Level" characters. I was going to use them for my Curse of the Crimson Throne prologue. Just a matter of deciding which.

Learning Curve by Tricky Owlbear

and

The Genius Guide to Apprentice Level Characters by Super Genius Games

Anyway I've always wanted to run a campaign where the PCs start as children and it takes them all the way through to their retirement :-)

Edit: Ninja'd by Jeff de luna. I suspect he's an apprentice level ninja.

Sadly, there aren't any apprentice-level rules for Ninja in the book I have, because they post-date (in the rules) that book.

But I had to laugh, because my Dex is at best an 8. And I'm wearing plaid pants.

The deadliest clan of Ninja are the Satori Caber Tossers. They are the silent wind of doom that comes in the night and drops a tree on your house.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alternatively you can use the above "apprentice" level rules in conjunction with the child-level rules I plan on using in my prologue game.

Child Level
After placing ability scores and adding racial modifiers apply the Young template to the character.
(+4 Dexterity, -4 Strength, -4 Constitution)

Racial Abilities: Child level characters gain all abilities except weapon proficiencies.

HP: 1 + 1/2 Con Mod (Minimum 1)

Skill Points: 1/2 Int mod. Humans gain their racial skill point. Child Level characters have no class skills.

Armour/Weapon Proficiencies: Club and Sling. Any kid knows how to swing a stick or use a sling :)

Feats: You do not gain any feats, even racial bonus feats.

Special Abilities: None.

Spells: None.

_______________________________________________________________________

These rules make for EXTREMELY weak and fragile characters. When designing the first adventure it should focus more on role-playing and shenanigans rather than combat or skill challenges.
Such challenges should take into account the high degree of failure (except possibly for things such as stealth and escape artist. Tiny halflings will be amazing at getting into places they shouldn't.)

If you are using experience points. Assume a child level character has -50 xp.

I recommend instead only having one "child-level" session before you fast-forward to the character's apprentice level.

Liberty's Edge

Jeff de luna wrote:

Both of these products are pretty great for 0-level or "Apprentice Level" characters. I was going to use them for my Curse of the Crimson Throne prologue. Just a matter of deciding which.

Learning Curve by Tricky Owlbear

Sadly, there aren't any apprentice-level rules for Ninja in the book I have, because they post-date (in the rules) that book.

Hi all!

Glad you like Learning Curve by Tricky Owlbear!

I've actually been thinking recently about that very thing. Since Learning Curve came out, we have a few new classes (and alternate classes) including the Magus, Samurai, Ninja and Gunslinger.

Maybe I should get with the good folks at Tricky Owlbear and talk about doing an updated version which includes these new classes ...

Liberty's Edge

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Alternatively you can use the above "apprentice" level rules in conjunction with the child-level rules I plan on using in my prologue game.

...

I recommend instead only having one "child-level" session before you fast-forward to the character's apprentice level.

Dude. That is an awesome idea.

My next campaign is going to be Kingmaker, but when I'm done running that I plan on doing a campaign I've always wanted to run about a band of adventurers who all grew up in the same town.

But I never thought of having the first session take place when they're all children. That's just brilliant.


I've seen a similar thing done with NPC classes. One GM I played with once had everyone begin as a warrior, expert, or adept, and play through an adventure. After reaching a certain point, the party members would become 1st level characters in a class of their choosing.

This is also an amazingly good way to give characters a few more options and possibly toughening them up without making them much stronger, assuming you allow them to keep the NPC level without it counting towards their progression (so you might be warrior 1 / fighter 1 at 1st, or adept 1 / barbarian, or warrior 1 / sorcerer 1, etc).

On a mildly related note, I recently began a game where everyone is playing using 3 point buy and NPC classes, with the addition of gaining a bonus feat every level. I expanded adepts to be able to begin with 4 0-level spells and 2 1st level spells, gain +2 spells each level, and may select spells from any spell list (sor/wiz, cleric, druid, bard, paladin, ranger, etc).

So far the game has been something of a blast. It's something of a doom to the world scenario where plague zombies are spreading throughout civilization, and they are essentially trying to find the source, save the world, and survive long enough to do it.

On a side note, a bunch of plague-zombie bats and ravens are really scary. :P

Scarab Sages

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The reason I started this thread is because a friend of mine who GMs asked me about it, as did someone on the boards here. I wrote up a very short doc about how I went about running a 0-level session, but I realized I have very few mechanics to go with it. I plan to check out the two 3rd party rules though, they sound interesting.

If anyone is interested, here are the guidelines I use with my group, including links of my session details for RotRL and KM:

0-level adventures


I scaled the 'Into the Haunted Forest' module down and ran it as a 0-level game.
Players ranked their ability scores 0-5 in order of increasing importance to them. then I just added 10 to get their scores to 10-15.
they could be a warrior or expert and got the opportunity to take a rank in a skill if they tried to use that skill. warriors got +1 BAB, but fewer potential skill ranks.

I altered the magic items in the module to allow characters to try out class abilities: a renewing potion of healing or holy water, a cooperative magic wand, a stealth device, and a magic weapon.

There was actually an 1st or 2nd edition DnD module for 0-level adventurers- N4 Treasure Hunt

Liberty's Edge

redcelt32 wrote:

The reason I started this thread is because a friend of mine who GMs asked me about it, as did someone on the boards here. I wrote up a very short doc about how I went about running a 0-level session, but I realized I have very few mechanics to go with it. I plan to check out the two 3rd party rules though, they sound interesting.

If anyone is interested, here are the guidelines I use with my group, including links of my session details for RotRL and KM:

0-level adventures

Cool stuff, redcelt. Saved that for later.

The Exchange

If you run a 'child level' adventure in Pathfinder you can end up doing some interesting things thanks to the different ways the various races interact with the age categories.

For example, you could have one or two PCs as full level 1 adventurers from one of the longer-lived races - like a veteran dwarven Fighter, or a scholarly elven Wizard, or whatever - and the human, half-human, and halfling characters starting out as kids. Then, after the child-level adventure which brings them all together for the first time you skip 10 years - the kids are all now grown into level 1 characters... and the longer-lived races are still level 1 characters too, emphasizing the differences in how longer-lived races tend to view the passage of time.

Obviously one for more role-play focused groups (who won't abuse the initial differences in power between the characters)... but then again the whole 'level 0' concept tends to be anyway I'd imagine.


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We did 0-level adventures sometimes. I just told my players to create a teenager-character. I used no system.

I just let them write a background and roleplay. If checks were not to avoid, I just let them flip a coin (success or no).

And then, at the end of the first adventure (could be a prologue to the first adventure too) all other players build your character based on your character description and you roleplaying.

It was really amazing, because in our group everyone has his favorite classes and that way, everyone got to try something new.

Scarab Sages

ProfPotts wrote:

If you run a 'child level' adventure in Pathfinder you can end up doing some interesting things thanks to the different ways the various races interact with the age categories.

For example, you could have one or two PCs as full level 1 adventurers from one of the longer-lived races - like a veteran dwarven Fighter, or a scholarly elven Wizard, or whatever - and the human, half-human, and halfling characters starting out as kids. Then, after the child-level adventure which brings them all together for the first time you skip 10 years - the kids are all now grown into level 1 characters... and the longer-lived races are still level 1 characters too, emphasizing the differences in how longer-lived races tend to view the passage of time.

Obviously one for more role-play focused groups (who won't abuse the initial differences in power between the characters)... but then again the whole 'level 0' concept tends to be anyway I'd imagine.

I agree completely Prof. You always see elves and dwarves for example in movies as the sage voices of experience and the humans as young people learning as they go, but that never seems to translate into the game. If you were to start like you said, that just naturally seems to be emphasized and gets factored in much more clearly than if everyone just rolled up 1st levels and started the game.


there are 1/2 lvl characters in pathfinder


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I did a game like this once. They started out with nothing but their racial bonuses, their choice of three skills to put 1D4 of points into, and the tools of whatever trade they worked in. Future casters were allowed three cantrips/orisons a day to represent their arcane or divine training, and future martial characters could pick 1 simple weapon and use padded armor. Everyone got 1D4 hit points and rolled up three characters. There were just under twenty level 0 characters by the time they were ready to start the adventure. Then the mob of peasants, townsfolk, acolytes, squires, and half-trained apprentices gathered their courage and marched into the dungeon.

It was a bloodbath.

But when the six survivors dragged themselves out of the dungeon, bruised, bloodied, and in serious need of both medical attention and a strong drink, we had our party. At the end of our 0 level adventure everyone felt like they had a better backstory and deeper bond than a group of strangers who met in a tavern one night.

Liberty's Edge

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Wow!
Always fun to see a 7-year old thread back from the dead ...


john mclaughlin 11 wrote:
there are 1/2 lvl characters in pathfinder

?


Matthew Downie wrote:
john mclaughlin 11 wrote:
there are 1/2 lvl characters in pathfinder
?

I'll check here, I think it's in unchained. It's for slower character growth, not all at once. You basically get the stat upgrades and then the class features so it's 'smoother' growth curve.

... I can't find it, too many things about +1/2 your level to this and that, not anything specific linking to it on d20pfsrd that I see, and I don't have the books on hand. My apologies, but I know it exists. More detailed, from memory, it's something like...

BaB, saves, one class ability at x.5 level
Hit dice, skill points, ability score bonus if applicable, other class abilities at x.0 level

So every half level you get part of what you would otherwise have, and feel less like you got stronger overnight. If everyone follows the same rules in your game it should be fine to divide the level up however you like (saves this session, Bab next session, an ability each session till done for all it matters, slice it nice and thin if you want).


You're probably thinking of Staggered Advancement. But even there, characters are supposed to start at level 1 and proceed to level 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, etc.


Matthew Downie wrote:
You're probably thinking of Staggered Advancement. But even there, characters are supposed to start at level 1 and proceed to level 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, etc.

That is exactly what I was thinking of, and presumably what John was thinking of as well, though I can't speak for him or be sure.


I remember the 2e rules but we never got the chance to try out that option. I'd love to do something like this; I wish I'd started my new campaign out the same way.


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I did games like these back in my 1e/2e days, but since the advent of Feats I haven't. Still I've always liked the concept as yes, as others have said it always seemed to bond my players together a bit more. It also gave a much more solid lead-in to the first main plot.

I remember there was Saltmarsh game I was going to do years ago. The players made up Commoner PCs from around the town and we actually started the game with the PCs uniting to gather rumors and lore about the evil mansion on the far side of town. They had to press contacts, which meant they needed silver, which in turn meant they needed to smuggle some weapons into town.

If anyone knows the adventures they know smugglers are part of the 3-module set. Later on this contact played into the plot. My buddies liked that I invented an NPC that got them on the road to adventure and as things progressed remained relevant to their journey.

As far as actual adventures in PF, there aren't any that I know of but then I've never really gone searching. Still it couldn't be too hard to make them for 0-level PCs. Consider: the Urban Environment section of the Core Book describes how challenging it is to use Diplomacy or Intimidate to manipulate a crowd. Just that; guiding a mob away from some danger on the street, could itself be a major encounter.

Then again, what would 0-level PCs look like? There's been lots of suggestions in this thread but I'll pitch one more: 15 pt buy.

PFS came along and standardized the 20 pt buy. Some of us still allow for rolled stats which get kinda crazy. A good optimizer playing a simpler martial build can start with ludicrous stats where needed. I would point out however that the CRB and the assumptions it made on monster averages by CR are based on a 15 pt buy.

So maybe start your players with 1 level in Commoner, a couple cantrips/orisons if spellcasters, and a simple 15 pt buy. Then put these folks against 3 dire rats. Suddenly these monsters, who even level 1 PCs flat out laugh at, stand a very real chance of murdering a character before they even become a hero.

A final thing I'd do with my 0-level encounters? Use environment rules. ALL of them. Oh, you're a level 1 commoner with a penchant for sneakiness and a dagger? Wonder what two hours in the forest on a snowy day will do to you. Hope you're fully stocked on chicken soup for the next few days...


This was a thing in 1E ADnD

Treasure Hunt was a module where (I'm recalling here) you started out at -500 XP. How you behaved had a tendency to predict what you became at 0XP.

Also an old Dungeon adventure called (I think) Beyond Vulture Point.


MistaRyte wrote:

This was a thing in 1E ADnD

Treasure Hunt was a module where (I'm recalling here) you started out at -500 XP. How you behaved had a tendency to predict what you became at 0XP.

Also an old Dungeon adventure called (I think) Beyond Vulture Point.

I was not on the boards when this thread was hot in the past, but I have used this adventure may times to great effect as a basis for a campaign. It is (or was) a free download from WOTC along with just about everything else first and second edition. I would basically give every PC a flat number of HP, their stats (I always generate randomly, but point buy should be fine if you are into that) and some craft or profession skills based on their limited background and cut feats out altogether. In the days of third edition, I would allow characters to advance as paragons of their race before the end. The premise of the adventure is that you are press ganged onto a slave ship that crashes on and island (so no startup gear necessary). The rest you can probably figure out, but I do not want to put too much out there so future players can still enjoy the adventure. I have now expanded it to include more content and have a subsystem for "buying" character generation enhancements throughout the adventure prior to level 1 which is limited to the amount of XP gained along the way. This portion is ready for play testing, but I do not have enough local gamers yet to do so. I cannot say enough good things about this module. It emphasizes roleplay and gently integrate rollplay. It is a great way to introduce the harshness of environments if it is something you have overlooked previously and skills take more of a front row over combat, but for this part the DM will have to put in a little homework ahead of time to establish the challenges. Good stuff, wish PF tried something similar as I would like to see their take.


I'll add in here, just cause it's fun to add to a 7 year old thread :D
We started a PF game as 1st level commoners, which is pretty close to 0. Had a fight against Kobolds (I believe) in a bar to start off the adventure, they abducted a few townspeople and we had to retrieve them. Then we went off adventuring, got to level 4 before half the party was killed in an alchemist-related friendly fire accident. Retired the 2 surviving members and hoping to place them as NPCs in the new campaign to have some reminiscing.


I did something similar with Ironfang Invasion. I started the characters out as commoners with the young template. We did short mini-quest that lead them down different NPC class routes and served to develop relations with the town. The actual adventure started when they were level 2 (warrior, expert, or adept with special boons to mimic their eventual adventurer levels).

The intention was that surviving the first part of the adventure would ‘harden’ them, allowing them to retrain their NPC levels into adventurer class levels. It made the initial gameplay more gritty and realistic.


Make sure all your players buy in to the idea.
I revisited this not too long ago (with commoner only start - close enough) and it reminded me of all the reasons I hated it.


I clicked on this thread because of the topic, but it turns out the OP is a former GM of mine.

I don't think he's on the Paizo forums anymore, but overall he was a great GM. He definitely knows how to get players cheesed at NPC opponents. :)

The Exchange

PCs, in exploring an old ruin, encounter some goblins, then some undead (zombies) - and do what PCs always do. Later, deeper into the ruin they encounter more undead and tangle with a Necromancer who actually gets away (his escape being covered by more undead and minions).

Later, in town, the players are going over loot and having a beer at the local tavern/Inn when a messenger arrives with a note from the Necromancer above which contains both a letter and an itemized bill for damages...
- 4 Zombies @ 100 gp each, 300* gp (* discounted 25% for age depreciation).
- 4 suits leather armor @ 10 gp each, 20* gp (*50% resale value)
- 4 greatclubs @ 5 gp each, 10* gp (*50% resale value)

etc.

the "bill" goes on to give a discount for providing "raw materials" which the players later figure out was the goblins they killed...

The letter is not the usual mixture of threats and taunts you would expect from a villain, but to instead be a complaint about the PCs not posting their intent to adventure in this area so that the necromancer could avoid "adventurer overlap"... and would they PLEASE try to do better next time.


nosig wrote:

PCs, in exploring an old ruin, encounter some goblins, then some undead (zombies) - and do what PCs always do. Later, deeper into the ruin they encounter more undead and tangle with a Necromancer who actually gets away (his escape being covered by more undead and minions).

Later, in town, the players are going over loot and having a beer at the local tavern/Inn when a messenger arrives with a note from the Necromancer above which contains both a letter and an itemized bill for damages...
- 4 Zombies @ 100 gp each, 300* gp (* discounted 25% for age depreciation).
- 4 suits leather armor @ 10 gp each, 20* gp (*50% resale value)
- 4 greatclubs @ 5 gp each, 10* gp (*50% resale value)

etc.

the "bill" goes on to give a discount for providing "raw materials" which the players later figure out was the goblins they killed...

The letter is not the usual mixture of threats and taunts you would expect from a villain, but to instead be a complaint about the PCs not posting their intent to adventure in this area so that the necromancer could avoid "adventurer overlap"... and would they PLEASE try to do better next time.

I feel like this post was done in the wrong thread...

The Exchange

Kiesman wrote:
nosig wrote:

PCs, in exploring an old ruin, encounter some goblins, then some undead (zombies) - and do what PCs always do. Later, deeper into the ruin they encounter more undead and tangle with a Necromancer who actually gets away (his escape being covered by more undead and minions).

Later, in town, the players are going over loot and having a beer at the local tavern/Inn when a messenger arrives with a note from the Necromancer above which contains both a letter and an itemized bill for damages...
- 4 Zombies @ 100 gp each, 300* gp (* discounted 25% for age depreciation).
- 4 suits leather armor @ 10 gp each, 20* gp (*50% resale value)
- 4 greatclubs @ 5 gp each, 10* gp (*50% resale value)

etc.

the "bill" goes on to give a discount for providing "raw materials" which the players later figure out was the goblins they killed...

The letter is not the usual mixture of threats and taunts you would expect from a villain, but to instead be a complaint about the PCs not posting their intent to adventure in this area so that the necromancer could avoid "adventurer overlap"... and would they PLEASE try to do better next time.

I feel like this post was done in the wrong thread...

yeap - and by the time I noticed it, it was to late to put it in the correct one.

(blush)

comes from having more than one thread open at once... when I decide to comment on something I've been reading and type in the wrong thread.

Sorry!


How would some of you feel about a '0th level' adventure with young characters and NPC rules, and then flashing forward to 5th level?

It's an idea percolating in my head that I thought might be interesting. PCs meet as kids, and then later as badasses they get to work. Kind've like It) I suppose.


I personally wouldn't be too thrilled with that. I much prefer to work my way through the levels, rather than skip ahead.

And running a kid-scaled adventure can be a little tricky, for a lot of reasons.


I think 0 level adventures would be fun and informative, but I'm a level 1 campaign starter type. So far I've been blessed with players mostly of the same mindset, though I've had a couple folks that wanted to jump to level 3 at the outset.

The Exchange

I actually ran a "pre-adventure" once - everyone started with an "extra" level of an NPC class. The Campaign actually only ran a few months, but it was sort of fun. The "Level 0" level everyone had actually added a bit to "flavor" and gave a slight buffer of HP and a different selection of class skills (had a warrior, 2 experts {a shop keeper and a Ventnor} and an aristocrat... and an NPC Adapt to give some limited healing...). I think we played 2 or 3 meetings when everyone was their Zero levels - then they added actual PC levels on top of that. (I think the Warrior became a Barbarian, the Shopkeeper a Rogue, the Ventnor a druid and the Aristocrat a Wizard... maybe?).

It was fun for a short run campaign (and stayed low level).

The Exchange

I think 0-Level adventures is a missed opportunity for many game tables. It truly is an origin building mechanism that would greatly enhance any game. The idea of it could be taken as "old starting hit points" where you can get slain much easier. Perhaps you can run an adventure for the fighter. Have him in a war and let the party play five soldiers, with the last man standing becoming the future Fighter of the party, except everyone knows it could have gone many directions depending who survived.

It really is endless and oddly not explored.


FWIW, there are rules for 0 level characters in Goodman Games old 3.5 Edition books. Specifically, The Aereth Boxed Set and two DCC modules (DCC0- Legends are made, not born and DCC35a- Halls of the Minotaur).

In a nutshell you use NPC classes as stated in other posts (Commoner, Warrior, Expert, Adept etc. later they even added a "Guard" class iirc.), and start XP at -2000. When you level back up to 0 XP you choose the class you were originally intending to take.

I split the Adept class myself because it uses both divine and arcane spells. Essentially, it became two classes depending on what class was to be chosen later: Adept (divine) and Apprentice (arcane).


in the game I'm currently running, I had them start out at 0th(?) level. To the players they were playing D20 Modern Urban Arcana, while it actually is a crazy Gestalt-Pathfinder-D20 Modern-Mythic mashup. Everybody made basic characters from D20 Modern with typical fantasy races available during Session 0. I then took those characters, and made them into children, with custom kid character sheets and handed them to the players during the first actual session.

Ran them through some general kid hijinks, before introducing the larger thread elements of the actual adventure. Basically a Hag comes to town every 10 years to feed and make sacrifices for her dark gods, along with her very venerable Ogre companion and army of Mites. Some of the kids' friend go missing and in investigating they discover the existence of the Ogre and the Mites.

My plan was to have their Pathfinder Gestalted side decided by the choices they made as children, one of those being that once they actually got into the adventure, I let them loot their "toy box" before going on the adventure, with each getting to choose 3 items from about 25 different toys and equipment I had made into little cards, things like; bicycle, hockey pads, the swatter, slingshot, a juice box, animal crackers, comic book collection, rubix cube, etc...Depending on what they choose, I gave them "points" towards various classes, along with additional points for some choices they made, some checks they passed or failed and for general roleplaying. So for instance, one character, an Orc, chose a baseball bat, hockey pads and a juice box and later on grabbed a hub cap that acted as a shield; so mace, armor, shield, healing potion that he later even gave to another child, thus he became a Cleric. Another character took some fireworks, matches, and the Rubix cube, failed nearly every physical check that was called upon, but generally used his wits and explosions to get past the dangers, becoming a Wizard, and so on and so on.

Anyways, to wrap all that up, everyone had a blast and most were actually kind of sorry to have to play their adult versions, but I promised them I'd do "flashback" scenarios where they could play as the kids again. Also, awaiting for another player to join so I can run a flashback where the new kid moved into the neighborhood for awhile but then left...

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