Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Starting Levels for older editions.

Tim of Gothridge Manor has some interesting comments on why he bought a Red Box Set. He is gaming with his wife, Ivy, and they just tried Swords & Wizardry. While it is simple to learn, characters die rather easily at first level. To newer gamers trying learn older editions this may be frustrating while learning the game.

D&D 4th edition in contrast beefs up hit points and has more options for a 1st level character to do things in combat. It is smoke and mirrors as the monsters likewise are beefed up and a 1st level characters will die just as horribly. But it will take longer, and the players will feel they have done more things before dying.

If I ran into a novice player or novice players that are not having a good time starting with 1st level with older editions, I would be to start off at 3rd or 5th level. The options are still manageable and you are a lot more survivable. I would also do this for a campaign that is esstentially solo play with a referee that has a single player.

I also recommend the XP charts found in Jeff Rient's Tower of Xylartarn. I use these for new players coming into the Gold Star Anime game in Edinboro. I also like how they take into account the prime requisite bonuses.

In the end the RPGs we used are tools to play a fun and exciting campaign. These are just are few more options.

8 comments:

Geoffrey said...

Another option is to use Dave Hargrave's old hp system from his Arduin books in the 1970s. A 1st-level character has in the neighborhood of 30 hp:

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7983

StevenWarble said...

What I have done a few times is to start the player off at 1st level, but with 3 HD and the understanding that they stayed at 3 HD until 4th level or so.

In BX style D&D I will usually also allow Wizards to try 0 level style cantrips by making intelligence rolls. Nothing that causes damage, but things like lighting or extinguishing candles, causing a cold breeze, etc

Rich said...

I've thought about adding the players con score 5o their 1st level HP total which would give them a bunch more HP to work with. I think that alone would help. Also I'm going to use the death and dismemberment table which gives players a lower morttality rate after hitting less than zero HP.

Flynn said...

I personally like granting the players an extra HD at first level, which allows them to take an extra hit without overpowering the PCs in relation to the rest of the world.

With Regards,
Flynn

cyclopeatron said...

If you're interested, I posted Gygax's OD&D house rules, which start everyone off at 3rd level and generally make characters tougher: LINK HERE.

Also, I posted the Arduin HP rules, trimmed down for normal OD&D: LINK HERE.

Dan said...

I agree that at least adding extra hp at first level is great for newbies.

Herb said...

One solution a DM I played with in the early 80s used for AD&D1 was your starting wealth was 2600 gp which could be traded 1:1 for XP. Everyone could start off at 2nd level (thieves could be 3rd but broke) and fairly well equipped.

mondbuchstaben said...

My standard procedure (not only with beginning players, but at every (A)D&D campaign) is to start with regular 1st level characters, but to be easy on them in the first two sessions (letting them warm up to each other, finding their "voice" as their characters, and to get a grip of the new campaign setting), and shell out huge xp so that they level up quicker than usual.

Then the gloves come off...

With convention one shots I start at level 3~5, depending on the module.