What are some reasons people might start at level 1?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

251 to 285 of 285 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>

7 people marked this as a favorite.
WormysQueue wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
one of my gms was in a campaign were one of the party members rolled a 47 for diplomacy to get into a town that has closed its gates and don't normally let people in and the character just yelled "47 diplomacy" at the guards and they let them in
Doesn't sound like a game I would want to partake in.

I'd have laughed.

Besides, what's a player supposed to say? A 47 Diplomacy is beyond a real-world human level of skill.

Guard 1: "Wait, what did he say?"
Guard 2: "I think he said 'forty-seven diplomacy!'"
Guard 1: "What does that mean?"
Guard 2: "Dunno. He seemed very confident, though. Could it be a secret password?"
Guard 1: "I'm letting him in. I don't want to upset that guy."
Guard 3: "Hey, why are you opening the gate?"
Guard 1: "Forty-seven diplomacy."
Guard 3: "I... see. Well, carry on."


Sounds funny to me
I'm a big advocate of roleplaying social encounters but I can see people breaking character when they're excited as funny. I don't think saying what equates to "I think your games sounds bad" is going to be conducive to anything exceptt in thread friction.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
WormysQueue wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
one of my gms was in a campaign were one of the party members rolled a 47 for diplomacy to get into a town that has closed its gates and don't normally let people in and the character just yelled "47 diplomacy" at the guards and they let them in
Doesn't sound like a game I would want to partake in.

'Ere now! Wot's all this then?


Matthew Downie wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
one of my gms was in a campaign were one of the party members rolled a 47 for diplomacy to get into a town that has closed its gates and don't normally let people in and the character just yelled "47 diplomacy" at the guards and they let them in
Doesn't sound like a game I would want to partake in.

I'd have laughed.

Besides, what's a player supposed to say? A 47 Diplomacy is beyond a real-world human level of skill.

It does have the problem of me not being able to come up with anything that even vaguely approximates a 47 Diplomacy.

I'd hate it if all NPC interaction was reduced to just diplomacy rolls, but occasionally and for something as relatively trivial as talking a guard into opening the gate? Meh. It's cute, it's funny, it's not a big deal.


Matthew Downie wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
one of my gms was in a campaign were one of the party members rolled a 47 for diplomacy to get into a town that has closed its gates and don't normally let people in and the character just yelled "47 diplomacy" at the guards and they let them in
Doesn't sound like a game I would want to partake in.
I'd have laughed.

I did laugh when I first read it.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
It's cute, it's funny, it's not a big deal.

And it just kicks the can down the road until the rest of the town realizes the PC was let in, and it becomes MUCH more difficult to talk their way out.

I try to be careful how I use my +30 Diplomacy PCs, but on occasion I like to implore NPCs to reconsider.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Someone needs to edit a clip of Obi Wan doing the handwave thing to the Stormtroopers and overdub him saying: "47 Diplomacy."

EDIT: Or maybe a superclip of every use of Force Dominate in all of the movies, and every time: "47 Diplomacy."


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Level 1 is definitely the most vulnerable stage for a PC. This seems incontrovertible.

Stories that start from the very beginning are sometimes great and sometimes not, depending what you want to do. But it can be restrictive a lot of the time.

Level three is usually the sweet spot for starting stories; distinctive class abilities. Hard to die from sheer poor luck.

(I have no idea why people post on here to say, "the right level is the one the GM says." People have such a weird need to fetishize the GM is always right philosophy and this is one of those topics that benefits from collaboration. Getting everyone on the same page about what level to start a campaign from is great idea for any GM.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

(I have no idea why people post on here to say, "the right level is the one the GM says." People have such a weird need to fetishize the GM is always right philosophy and this is one of those topics that benefits from collaboration. Getting everyone on the same page about what level to start a campaign from is great idea for any GM.)

That isn't why we prefer low level games, at least at our table. Every level is fun but low levels are less work. Low levels have the best fun to work ratio. We rarely run high powered games because the workload for the GM is excessive.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
(I have no idea why people post on here to say, "the right level is the one the GM says." People have such a weird need to fetishize the GM is always right philosophy and this is one of those topics that benefits from collaboration. Getting everyone on the same page about what level to start a campaign from is great idea for any GM.)

I don't think I said that and I generally agree with you about the need to collaborate with the players.

This said, if I am the GM and you want me to run a game for you, there are certain things that are non-negotiable for me:

1. No game system I'm not interested in.
2. No setting I'm not interested in
3. No evil campaign (and by extension, generally no evil characters)
4. campaign start at level 1 is mandatory in most cases.

Which is normally not a problem, because at home I've got a group that shares my taste and in PBP, if I suggest a game, you'll normally only apply if you're interested in what I advertize.


Beyond setting and system I'll negotiate anything with my players. Being closed off achieves nothing, you can always say no after the fact.


Matthew Downie wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
one of my gms was in a campaign were one of the party members rolled a 47 for diplomacy to get into a town that has closed its gates and don't normally let people in and the character just yelled "47 diplomacy" at the guards and they let them in
Doesn't sound like a game I would want to partake in.

I'd have laughed.

Besides, what's a player supposed to say? A 47 Diplomacy is beyond a real-world human level of skill.

Guard 1: "Wait, what did he say?"
Guard 2: "I think he said 'forty-seven diplomacy!'"
Guard 1: "What does that mean?"
Guard 2: "Dunno. He seemed very confident, though. Could it be a secret password?"
Guard 1: "I'm letting him in. I don't want to upset that guy."
Guard 3: "Hey, why are you opening the gate?"
Guard 1: "Forty-seven diplomacy."
Guard 3: "I... see. Well, carry on."

Well, it isn't just what is said but body language, confidence et al. So, say something as confident or suave as you can come up with and the roll provides the difference. Or at least describe in a general sense the thrust of what is being said. But '47 diplomacy' would not work for me.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Beyond setting and system I'll negotiate anything with my players. Being closed off achieves nothing, you can always say no after the fact.

"Being closed off" achieves that I avoid wasting my time with fruitless discussions that invariably arise when I say no after the fact. If I'm not open about it, there's no much reason to pretend to be otherwise. And if you don't like the parameters that I set for my games, it's better if you know that beforehand so that you don't waste your time to apply to a game that you'll probably have no fun playing in.

It's like when you announce a game that will start at level x>1. Then I immediately know that I won't even bother to apply. I prefer that very much over wasting my time discussiong those things, only to have to find out in the end that the game is not for me because everyone else agrees to start at level x>1.


Man That is harsh I mean probably 90% of the conversations I have with my friends is probably pointless but I still have them!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Man That is harsh I mean probably 90% of the conversations I have with my friends is probably pointless but I still have them!

But do you enjoy the conversations? Because if so, then they are not pointless.

If you don't enjoy them and you're not getting paid... well, those are the only two conditions I can think of for doing stuff.

Relevant Blackadder quote.


Oh I had forgotten about black adder its been so long.


Welp at this point I'd be happy to get in most any game :/


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Level 1 is definitely the most vulnerable stage for a PC. This seems incontrovertible.

Depends on what threats you're facing. Kobolds aren't going to take you from alive to negative Con in a single hit, even if they crit. But orcs might.

A Cyclops could, even if you're a healthy level 4.

An ambush by invisible flying vampire sorcerers - or at higher levels, a Demi-Lich or Banshee - might easily wipe out your party if it catches you off-guard.

Character level is trivial compared to the power of a killer GM.


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Level 1 is definitely the most vulnerable stage for a PC. This seems incontrovertible.

Controversion: In 15 years of GMing and playing D&D and Pathfinder, I've found that I've only lost one character at 1st level (and that was due to my own dumbness). Similar numbers hold true for the players I've GM'd for over the years. While I don't have an exhaustive survey of everyone's PC deaths, my own tend to die most often at level 3. I suspect this is because I'm just powerful enough to take on challenges that I'm not actually powerful enough to defeat.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Level 1 is definitely the most vulnerable stage for a PC. This seems incontrovertible.

Depends on what threats you're facing. Kobolds aren't going to take you from alive to negative Con in a single hit, even if they crit. But orcs might.

A Cyclops could, even if you're a healthy level 4.

An ambush by invisible flying vampire sorcerers - or at higher levels, a Demi-Lich or Banshee - might easily wipe out your party if it catches you off-guard.

Character level is trivial compared to the power of a killer GM.

About kobolds, it depends, tucker's kobolds with the right trap might take you far lower than you expect... and yeah, killer GMs are just plain dangerous.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've been in campaigns that started at many different levels from 1 to ever one Epic-level 3.5 D&D game that started at 17th level. My preference is for level 1 becase of two reasons:

1) I'm old-school; Level 1-9 is where I cut my teeth many years ago, and it just "feels right" more often than not.

2) I have a hard time getting into a PC who sprung into existence fully-formed at a higher level. If I've played a character from level 1 to level 10 or 15 or 20, then I have a very strong handle on all his abilities, I have a combat style that contributes to the group in my own way, and I'm not forgetful of abilities I could have used in a clutch situation but didn't because I have never used those abilities at the table. If I've played from level 1, I have all his abilities known by heart; I know all the NPCs in the game because I've interacted with them for literally months of real time. Just as I know Indiana Jones because I've spent four movies with him, I know my character because we've spent a lot of time together, and I know how he thinks.

(Yes, I know Indy didn't start out in the first movie as a green rookie, but I also didn't feel as connected back then to his story, either. In fact, one could say you really didn't understand Indy until the flashback scene from the third movie, either.)

I imagine these things would change as I leveled up the character, but starting at level 1? I get to build all that history, that character knowledge, from the early days upward.


Yes, there are examples at other levels of creatures that can be quite deadly. But anecdotal evidence aside level one is really the level where a single crit (or a single hit) can easily take down a number of characters.

The risk diminishes, certain encounter types notwithstanding, at level 3 or so. I don't mind beginning from level one, but I do hate to see a character concept cut down prematurely.


depends on the campaign too... if the aim is to play the Giantscampaign in D&D, you can create 8th or 12th lvl characters straightaway and cut a couple years of gaming to reach the skinny.


OK, is anyone arguing that you design for and GM for first level characters in exactly the same way as you do for higher level characters, or vice versa?

First, I don't like starting at first level, but I recognize there are some advantages.
Things are simplified, so it is easier to get a first level party to get into the habit of working together, since they have fewer individual options.
Conversely, character abilities change so rapidly and severely from one to four, that roles become irrelevant as soon as they are formed. Individual abilities become more effective, thus it becomes harder to justify team tactics from a number cruncher viewpoint.

As to whether the GM is always right, whatever the case is, he is still the GM, and the one putting in the extra work. Downplaying this is rather dickish.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Man That is harsh I mean probably 90% of the conversations I have with my friends is probably pointless but I still have them!

didn't want to come across as such, but on the other hand, discussing preferences only leads you so far. In the end I need to have fun with what I'm doing, and while I try to be one of those GMs who care at least as much about their player's fun than about their own, if it stops being fun for me, I'll probably stop running the game, and if I already know that will happen, then I think that it might be better (and more fair to the players) not even to start the game at all.

There's an awful lot I'm willing to compromise about when it comes to RPGS, but there are also things that I've already tried and found that they destroy my fun, so why repeat doing them? (Remember that I wasn't all about absolutes in my short list of no-gos. ^^)


I suppose the investment/reward ratio could be a factor.

Creating a 1st level character doesn't take that long (minutes?). And you get 19 more levels of gaming sessions (assuming the game doesn't implode along the way).

Creating a 20th level character can take hours or even days - pick 20 feats (fighter) or all those spells (any caster). And you get 5 minutes of playing the celebration that happens when the BBEG is dead and the game is over.

Even at 10th level, it takes hours to build and you lose half the potential gaming time. Probably more than half because so few games make it to 20 or even 15.


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Yes, there are examples at other levels of creatures that can be quite deadly. But anecdotal evidence aside level one is really the level where a single crit (or a single hit) can easily take down a number of characters.

Take down, but not necessarily kill. That negative-Con buffer is pretty effective at level one (and pretty ineffective at higher levels).

I've glanced through a few adventure path obituary threads and found no particular correlation between level and death.


Yes I kind of like the level 1 negative con buffer means I can take a character out without killing them that much without magic healing they may not be the best.


Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
I've just wondered about this, cause I've always hated level 1 starts. Mostly because of how helpless you feel but also cause in a lot of context it makes no sense.

Frequently it doesn't make any sense. Often in crpgs, too. Like: mass effect. You can have a background as a "military veteran", but somehow you're still level 1 and doing some fetch quests is enough to level you up.

Being level 1 is almost inherently a contradiction. On the one hand the character is a total n00b. On the other, they already have class features which implies significant level of skill/training. How is it that spell combat is easier to learn (as in, requiring less xp) than having two ranks in the same skill?
*shrugs*
Ultimately the system is not simulationist and we must rationalise a few things that just don't make sense.

As for you: play the games you want to play. If level 1 doesn't work for you, don't play level 1. Level one sort of works if the fiction is that each character really is a total newbie. If you don't want to play a total newbie, then level one doesn't make a lot of sense.


Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
I've just wondered about this, cause I've always hated level 1 starts. Mostly because of how helpless you feel but also cause in a lot of context it makes no sense.

Frequently it doesn't make any sense. Often in crpgs, too. Like: mass effect. You can have a background as a "military veteran", but somehow you're still level 1 and doing some fetch quests is enough to level you up.

Being level 1 is almost inherently a contradiction. On the one hand the character is a total n00b. On the other, they already have class features which implies significant level of skill/training. How is it that spell combat is easier to learn (as in, requiring less xp) than having two ranks in the same skill?
*shrugs*
Ultimately the system is not simulationist and we must rationalise a few things that just don't make sense.

As for you: play the games you want to play. If level 1 doesn't work for you, don't play level 1. Level one sort of works if the fiction is that each character really is a total newbie. If you don't want to play a total newbie, then level one doesn't make a lot of sense.

Or level one isn't "total n00b", but represents some level of actual training.

I mean, even if we standardized to start at what is now level 5, they'd just change the rules so that was called level 1.


thejeff wrote:

Or level one isn't "total n00b", but represents some level of actual training.

I mean, even if we standardized to start at what is now level 5, they'd just change the rules so that was called level 1.

Maybe not... you'd probably want to be able to have NPCs of a lower level than the party.


Matthew Downie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Or level one isn't "total n00b", but represents some level of actual training.

I mean, even if we standardized to start at what is now level 5, they'd just change the rules so that was called level 1.

Maybe not... you'd probably want to be able to have NPCs of a lower level than the party.

That's what NPC classes are for.


Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
I've just wondered about this, cause I've always hated level 1 starts. Mostly because of how helpless you feel but also cause in a lot of context it makes no sense.

Frequently it doesn't make any sense. Often in crpgs, too. Like: mass effect. You can have a background as a "military veteran", but somehow you're still level 1 and doing some fetch quests is enough to level you up.

Being level 1 is almost inherently a contradiction. On the one hand the character is a total n00b. On the other, they already have class features which implies significant level of skill/training. How is it that spell combat is easier to learn (as in, requiring less xp) than having two ranks in the same skill?
*shrugs*
Ultimately the system is not simulationist and we must rationalise a few things that just don't make sense.

As for you: play the games you want to play. If level 1 doesn't work for you, don't play level 1. Level one sort of works if the fiction is that each character really is a total newbie. If you don't want to play a total newbie, then level one doesn't make a lot of sense.

Level is more like agency than skill. Most commoners are highly skilled, having spent their entire lives doing and training in their job, but they rarely need or apply agency in their lives, so they stay at a very low level.

You also need to remember that anything past lvl 5 is beyond what any natural real life human being coukd ever achieve.

Level 1 does not mean unskilled, it does not mean noob. It just means unpracticed at applying agency in their life.


TheAlicornSage wrote:
Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
I've just wondered about this, cause I've always hated level 1 starts. Mostly because of how helpless you feel but also cause in a lot of context it makes no sense.

Frequently it doesn't make any sense. Often in crpgs, too. Like: mass effect. You can have a background as a "military veteran", but somehow you're still level 1 and doing some fetch quests is enough to level you up.

Being level 1 is almost inherently a contradiction. On the one hand the character is a total n00b. On the other, they already have class features which implies significant level of skill/training. How is it that spell combat is easier to learn (as in, requiring less xp) than having two ranks in the same skill?
*shrugs*
Ultimately the system is not simulationist and we must rationalise a few things that just don't make sense.

As for you: play the games you want to play. If level 1 doesn't work for you, don't play level 1. Level one sort of works if the fiction is that each character really is a total newbie. If you don't want to play a total newbie, then level one doesn't make a lot of sense.

Level is more like agency than skill. Most commoners are highly skilled, having spent their entire lives doing and training in their job, but they rarely need or apply agency in their lives, so they stay at a very low level.

You also need to remember that anything past lvl 5 is beyond what any natural real life human being coukd ever achieve.

Level 1 does not mean unskilled, it does not mean noob. It just means unpracticed at applying agency in their life.

Well, I've got no idea what "applying agency in their life" means in this context.

I mean, I generally agree about 1st level not meaning noob, I'm just not quite sure how agency leads to superpowers or whatever.


In my current campaign we are playing ourselves, that have been sucked into the world of Golarion.
As a 32 year old male gamer who bakes for a living, I have no experience swinging a sword or casting spells.
Thus, after our arrival in Golarion, and a couple months of training in our selected classes, starting out at level one makes sense.

251 to 285 of 285 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / What are some reasons people might start at level 1? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.