View Full Version : Do heroes start out as commoners?

Vespe Ratavo
2007-02-20, 10:33 PM
Basically, my question is this. Suppose one were to make a game (or part of one) in which the character begins adventuring before they technically join their class (i.e. gain a fighters training, learn wizard stuff, etc.). Would the characters-
a- Start out in their class, and just restrict them from using certain features,
b- Have them start out as Apprentice level in their classes (as if they had multiclassed at 1st level, in effect 0.5 level, may not still be in 3.5, not sure.
c- Start as commoner (or whatever NPC class applies), "trade in" commoner level for PC level.
d- Start as NPC class, multiclass to PC level.

(On another note, how do you make a poll?)

2007-02-20, 10:36 PM
Personally, I'd do whatever's story-convenient.

If you're going to have them fighting before they reach level 1 in their classes, then I'd say make them level 1 NPC's and trade out.

However, if you're going to just run the first few combats without dice, or if they'll reach their first class levels without seeing combat, then it doesn't really matter much how you do it mechanics-wise.

2007-02-20, 10:41 PM
The only one of those that wouldn't be valid would be D, that's a bit unfair especially to the spellcasters.

A and B are basically the same option aren't they, essentially? The apprentice class rules from 3.0 would probably be a safe way to go about things.

C is something I've done before, had a LA +1 character who was going to play in a 1st level game so I let him take a level in Warrior which he would convert to a 1st level of fighter when he eventually got there.

2007-02-20, 10:48 PM
e. forget those and have them start out in their class, with all their class features. our dm tried this and it created a very sucky gaming experience.

2007-02-20, 10:52 PM
This can be fun to do, I'm in a game like that now, sort of. What we're doing is, yes, you start out with a commoner level. But you get all the "bonus first level stuff" when you take your PC level. The extra skill points, your level 1 feat, etc. Edit: as far as screwing over the casters, I'd say commoner is so very, very sucky, that you can just not count it, honestly. Just say you count as level 1, even though you're "technically" level 2. Giving all the PCs that extra 1d4 hit points, bad saves, bad BAB, etc, "for free" is not a big deal. Especially since you've made them go through a whole level of being a commoner.

2007-02-20, 10:59 PM
I'm currently playing in a group that's using variant C - we're a ragtag teeen street gang of NPC classes in a "prelude" adventure that explains how we became such good friends. Once that's done we'll jump ahead a few years as the characters, each one having gone his or her own way, reconvene again, having traded in their NPC levels for full-fledged PC classes to represent the training or schooling they got in the interim.

2007-02-20, 11:12 PM
I myself would give them 1/2 HD Humanoid(Human/Elf/whatever) and start them off at negative 500 exp or so. Once they get to 0 exp they level into 1st level PC classes. At least, that's what I'd probably do..but it kind makes it hard for spellcasters early on, as Int is rather useless to partial HD humanoids.

Black Swan
2007-02-20, 11:30 PM
If you're sure your players are cool with the idea, then why not. Options C&D sound the least frustrating, because at least then you're working towards something. But yeah, Indon's right if you're actually planning on having them, like, do stuff.

But you definitely want to make sure your players like the idea. Knowing that my char is going to be useless for awhile sets off alarm bells for me because that's not my kinda game. But that's just me, and if your players are less about the hacky-slashy-murderdeathkill than I am and wanna do that sort of thing that's cool too.

2007-02-20, 11:42 PM
While the ideas presented here are good ideas, I cannot help but encourage you to agree with Indon. NPC classe are not very good, so why not have the start out and advance as NPC's until they get the proper training, and then simply have them convert the levels? Meaning: trade in a level of warrior - fighter, adept-spellcaster (whichever applies) and etc.?

I mean, if a paladin/blackguard can do it, why not people who AREN'T failures at their chosen career? Just my two cents.

2007-02-21, 06:28 AM
I have a system for "Level 0 characters", but it is based on the VP/WP Variant (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/vitalityAndWoundPoints.htm).
At level 0, a character gets WPs equal to his constitution score and skill points equal to his intelligence. Class skills are always climb, jump, listen, spot and swim. Additional skills depend on the heritage of the character:
Lower class: Craft, gather information, handle animal, knowledge (local) and profession.
Middle class: Appraise, craft, profession, knowledge (local) and knowledge (nobility and royalty).
High class: Diplomacy, knowledge (history), Knowledge (nobility and royality), ride and speak language.
The maximum ranks that can be bought at this time is 2 per skill.
Note: Most adventurers are probably from the lower class. Middle and high class is found rarely outside cities.

The character gets no other benefits usually gained from a class (BAB and base saves are +0, etc.).

When the first level is reached (by training, study etc.), the character gains his VPs, class abilities, spells and so on. He keeps his skills and gets new ones according to his class. However, the skill points are only doubled, not quadrupled as usual.