Home » Ancient Posts » Old School Design Idea: 99% of the Population are Zero Level Characters    
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Eric Diaz

I like this as a perspective of 0e, and I agree first level characters should be noticeably stronger than normal men, but I prefer to start PCS at level 3 and leave level 1 to peasant militia, etc. Your first level fighter with +3 CB and 1d6+8 HP is quite tough for first level. I like the idea of negative CB, since it allows for some granularity in lowest-level foes. In any case, I'm looking forward to see your next game.

Eric Diaz

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yora23: Perhaps the difference between a youth and a militia member will not be much. I don't expect or want there to be much between a teen and a militia commander on the PC scale of things. The point is in this system even a first level character will be a noticeable cut above a normal person: able to take more damage, dish out more damage, resist magic much better, etc.

As the entire world will be built around this, I suspect players will notice. But even if they don't if this makes the game system and worlds build for easier to handle in a consistent manner, it's worth doing.


Joseph: Unfortunately, the game as played seem to move away from this very quickly. The early Judges Guild stuff had most of their shopkeepers and innkeepers have classes and levels. Sure, the occasional retired adventurer is going to run a shop or an inn, but having most people having classes and levels changed the feel of the game.


I don't thino this kind of differentiation would make much of a difference. The nice thing about everyone being level 0 is that it removes the need to stat all these NPCs. They are mechanically all the same and you can very easily memorize the stats for all of them at once. Maybe at 1st or 2nd level there might be a small statistically observable difference between fighting youths and milita, but I am not sure if the players would even notice. And at higher levels it would really make no difference.
I go with one list of stats for everyone in my game.

Greyhawk Grognard

This is why first level fighters are called veterans. Only someone who has been through a battle or campaign has even the abilities of a first-level fighter.