Saturday, February 11, 2012

Experienced at 1st Level?

When playing Dungeon Crawl Classics it sure feels like it. Last night we sat down and did a test encounter with Gareth the woodsman turned 1st level warrior and a new character, Henrik a 1st level cleric. Both were played by my wife.

I randomly determined the opposition force and it came up 5 dark creatures of chaos. The exact same composition as what killed three 0-level characters in a single round in the previous session. Uh oh. How would it go this time with just two 1st level characters?

Turns out that Gareth's new warrior abilities are difference makers. The boost to initiative and the attack die, even though it is only 1d3, allowed him to take the fight to the enemy versus trying to manage the situation and hope for the best. You really appreciate that 1d3 because you didn't have anything like it before.

We even had our first mighty deed of arms. One of the dark creatures was disarmed by Gareth with a stroke of his blade and left to totter till it was the last one standing.

Henrik the cleric didn't do too badly either though he didn't get to cast any spells. The encounter was over in a blink! He was the only one hit on the PC side; 1 measly HP of damage.

I guess the notion that 1st level characters are exemplary in the game world and are not to be trifled with has been around for a long time. Maybe even from the beginning of the hobby but in action at the table it never really felt that way. Not for me at least. 1st level always felt quite amateur. Yeah, it's a meta-thing since that's where we first encounter the game with our player characters and it's all up from there. Dungeon Crawl Classics tweaks that perspective. You start out with a group of characters that are indeed quite amateur and by the time they've hit 1st level they're already showing a bit of grizzle.

Very cool.


  1. Thanks for introducing me to Dungeon Crawl Classics. I love the idea that you start off with lots of 0 level characters, most of them die and then your heroes become the survivors. That's a novel way of character creation and more fun than all the maths and min maxing as it involves a game in itself.

  2. Thanks for checking out the Platonic Solid blog, Stuart.

    Before I came around to liking Dungeon Crawl Classics I was intrigued by its character funnel process. After seeing the whole works in action I'm a total convert. I love that it not only was fun, gave a player character a fantastic backstory, but it also broke us out of a rut of sorts.

    My wife typically plays a rangery type of character in order to maximize in-game capability. With the funnel we had no idea what type of character she'd wind up with and that in of itself was neat to watch.

    1. Your post has inspired me to make a '0 level' character creation system for Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2.

    2. Very cool. If you put it up online be sure to post the link. I'd love to check it out.

    3. Sorry, I meant to post the link - it is here

    4. Looks excellent. I've got it bookmarked for the next time I run AFF2.

  3. Stuart, I'm going to be giving your "0 level" mod for AFF a whirl later today. It looks great.