DCC #0 and 3.5, I'm totally confused.

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Gilvan Blight
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DCC #0 and 3.5, I'm totally confused.

Post by Gilvan Blight » Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:00 pm

I plan on starting a hack and slash oldschool style and feel D&D campaign with a group of old time gamers (were all over 30). I've been seeing the DCC stuff at my FLGS and it appears to be the perfect fit for what I am planning.

I picked up the module with the DM screen as I will be teaching myself (and 3 of 4 players) 3.5 with this campaign, and then I spotted Legends are Made and Not Born and I just had to pick it up. I always wanted to start a campaign with 0 level characters.

So now it's months later and I have finally finished all the 3.5 rulebooks and started to prep for our first session (I did mention we are all 30 something, which means it takes months to get anything done due to work and family, one of the reasons for going with ah hack and slash style game, but I digress). As part of this I read through LaMnB and notice something lacking. The definition of what 0 level means in 3.5 ed D20. I check the DMG and the Pre-gens and see that it must be for 1st level NPC classed characters.

That's all well and good but doens't going through this totally screw the characters later on?

For example once they get to 1000 xp, they all add a Heroic class, bringing them to character level 2. Now I did catch that pretty obscure rule that you ignore a level of npc class as far as CR goes for XP. So this means that my characters will get 1st level xp while playing their CR 1 characters. Which is great, but they will need 3000 xp to get to heroic level 2 aka CR2 (character level 3). This seems like a high price to pay just for having a few more skills and maybe a proficiency they wouldn't have had without the NPC level. Going the other way, they would get a second feat at their 2nd heroic level. This seems unbalanced the oposite way.

Also how unbalanced would a 1Adept/1Wizard be? A 1st level wizard that can cast cures. That seems a bit much.

Am I totally missing something here?

My first thoughts were that the module was meant to be run at a con as a one nighter with npc characters. You would play through this, then put it away and start your 'real' characters with some 1st level DCC module.

But then I check here and see that many many people launch thier campaign with this module.

So overall: I'm confused.

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Post by Jengenritz » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:03 pm

I'm not sure what DCC #0 says, but in DCC #35 it has "0-level" characters starting with -1000 XP. When they gain 1000 XP they are at 0 and gain their first level in a PC class. Progression is normal from there.

Yeah, an adept/wizard can cast cure spells, but not well since adept and wizard have different key stats...they'll get at most 2 per day. That's not so big a swing.

Besides...your 0-level PCs have to SURVIVE being 0-level, which is anything but easy. If they pull that feat off, they deserve that ever-so-slight edge.
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Post by GnomeBoy » Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:10 pm

Going from memory, you earn 1000 XP to get to 1st level and proceed normally from there, i.e. as if you had 0 xp, earning another 1000 to get to 2nd, +2000 more to get to 3rd... etc.

The NPC level is essentially a free bonus level. All 'normal' leveling is normal.

Or whatever passes for normal with your group :) !

Did that help?
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Gilvan Blight
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Post by Gilvan Blight » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:36 pm

Excellent, thanks for the prompt reply.

You guys really should toss that -1000xp thing in the Errata for that module, as I was googling all over the place before making my Int check and coming here. Even here though I did have to post before getting what I was looking for.

Oddly I got a responce on another forum that said that they thought Goodman had stated 0 = -500 xp.

Either way, thanks for the info.

EDIT: oops forgot something. So do the starting characters get a free Feat? Then just ignore the feat at first level, and only gain class skill points at lvl 1?

EDIT 2: just thought of something else. Skills. Do I give the 0 level PCs 4x the skill points at 0 level, as under the NPC classes skill progression, and then just give them normal skill points when they hit their hero class. Or do I give them non-first level skill points at 0 level and then give them 4x when they add their first hero class? I'm thinking the first option really hurts classes like Rogue or Bard with a lot of skills as they wouldn't have nearly as many points to spend. You would have a first level rogue with only 1 rank in each of the 'standard' thieving skills, instead of having 4 ranks at first level. Which makes me think the second way of thinking is better, but then that really screws the 0 level characters.

EDIT 3: HP, do you give them max as npc class, then max as pc, or random as pc?

Sorry for asking so many questions, I'm starting to think a 0 level adventure wasn't the best choice for a learn D20 3.5 module. I've spent more time flipping between books trying to figure this out then I did reading 2nd ed :D

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Post by Treebore » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:00 pm

I'm old school, so pardon my input. Just do what you think you'll be confortable with. You don't need to worry about finding what will ultimately be very minor issues.

I would go ahead and giv ehtme the max HP's at 0 and 1st, because I run tough games and the HP's are often needed. Since I actually don't like the characters dying I'm fine with giving them an extra edge, especially since they earn it through good play.

I thought their skills were covered in the module, if not I owuld only let them have one rank in things that make sense for their character to have, but no more than two ranks besides attribute bonus'.

As for the feat, one extra feat should not kill your game, plus they earned it as far as I would be concerned.

Bottom line is do what you feel you will be comfortable with and your players will be happy with.
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Post by Gilvan Blight » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:10 pm

YEah makes sense.

The only reason I haven't just done what feels right is I am trying to learn the system. When learning a system I prefer to play by the books for the first campaign (or at least the first few games). That's the only reason I am nitpicking this so much.

Plus with 0 XP with D20, I'm going to have a hard enough time keeping things balanced.

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Post by Treebore » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:42 pm

Gilvan Blight wrote:YEah makes sense.

The only reason I haven't just done what feels right is I am trying to learn the system. When learning a system I prefer to play by the books for the first campaign (or at least the first few games). That's the only reason I am nitpicking this so much.

Plus with 0 XP with D20, I'm going to have a hard enough time keeping things balanced.
I don't know how long you've been a gamer, but in my 22 or 23 years I have found I am happiest when I make the system work for me, rather than how the system wants me to use it.

Still, I understand wanting to learn the right way to do it first, then tweak it until it screams.

I think since your thinking about these issues, and trying to figure out how to handle them, seek advice, etc... your games going to be just fine.

Just don't allow yourself to get caught up in over analyzing stuff, etc... Thats what burns DM's out. Remember goal number 1 is to have fun. Whenever your losing that feeling because your over stressing about something, realize thats when your over doing it. Back off, put a bandaid on it, work with it until something comes along to help you fully fix it.

Thats how I deal with mechanics issues. Haven't been burned out enough to quit gaming for over 17 years now.
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Post by Ogrepuppy » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:28 pm

There are actually "rules" for 0-level NPCs. I could post them here, provided I don't get in trouble with Mr. Goodman, et al. I could copy/paste them from the World of Aereth GM's Guide PDF.

For a preview, however, please read your 3.5 DMG starting at page 107 - 110: NPC classes. That's really the simplest explaination.

Ironically, I'm about to run a game in about 48 hours using 0-levels (DCC 35A, Halls of the Minotaur). What I found to be easiest was to "reverse engineer" a few of the pregen characters into a form-fillable character sheet to see how it's done.

That was the way I discovered a few minor editing mistakes--like not giving "Zak" a Feat--Mr. Stroh'd made in his pregens for Halls. :twisted:
Last edited by Ogrepuppy on Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Ogrepuppy » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:45 pm

Gilvan Blight wrote:EDIT: oops forgot something. So do the starting characters get a free Feat? Then just ignore the feat at first level, and only gain class skill points at lvl 1?
They get the same Feat opportunities that any 1st level character gets (p. 87 of your Player's HB), plus Humans get a bonus Feat (again, just as any 1st level character).
Gilvan Blight wrote:EDIT 2: just thought of something else. Skills. Do I give the 0 level PCs 4x the skill points at 0 level, as under the NPC classes skill progression, and then just give them normal skill points when they hit their hero class. Or do I give them non-first level skill points at 0 level and then give them 4x when they add their first hero class?
You give them the number of skill points as broken down by NPC "class" on pgs 107 - 100 in the DMG. When they go to 1st level, you'd apply the Multiclassing rules (minus any types of penalties) to go to Fighter, Rogue, etc.
Gilvan Blight wrote:EDIT 3: HP, do you give them max as npc class, then max as pc, or random as pc?
Max HP as NPC, then when they take their first "standard" class you can either be nice & give them max hit points again (especially if they're getting TPK'ed a lot) or randomize them as the rules suggest.
Gilvan Blight wrote:Sorry for asking so many questions, I'm starting to think a 0 level adventure wasn't the best choice for a learn D20 3.5 module. I've spent more time flipping between books trying to figure this out then I did reading 2nd ed :D
No worries. Don't get discouraged. Yeah, running a 1st level adventure would have likely been easier, but...you'll get there. Into the Wilds is a really, really good 1st level adventure. (click on link below to see)
http://www.goodman-games.com/5027preview.php

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Post by Arakor » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:58 pm

Ogrepuppy wrote:
Gilvan Blight wrote:EDIT 2: just thought of something else. Skills. Do I give the 0 level PCs 4x the skill points at 0 level, as under the NPC classes skill progression, and then just give them normal skill points when they hit their hero class. Or do I give them non-first level skill points at 0 level and then give them 4x when they add their first hero class?
You give them the number of skill points as broken down by NPC "class" on pgs 107 - 100 in the DMG. When they go to 1st level, you'd apply the Multiclassing rules (minus any types of penalties) to go to Fighter, Rogue, etc.
I will point out that Ogrepuppy is wrong on one count. DCC#35's GM Guide specifically states that any NPC class used for 0-level characters is not counted for XP in multi-classing.
In addition, DCC#35 also contains two additional versions of the Adept: Apprentice (would-be Wizard) and Mystic (would-be Sorceror).
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Post by Ogrepuppy » Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:25 am

Arakor wrote: I will point out that Ogrepuppy is wrong on one count. DCC#35's GM Guide specifically states that any NPC class used for 0-level characters is not counted for XP in multi-classing.
That was the "minus any penalties" part. I was trying to say "don't penalize for any reason" but it came out wonky. Thanks for the assist!
Arakor wrote:In addition, DCC#35 also contains two additional versions of the Adept: Apprentice (would-be Wizard) and Mystic (would-be Sorceror).
And they rock--they add so much to alleviate the feeling of incompleteness the Adept produced in me.

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Post by Gilvan Blight » Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:39 pm

So you are all telling me I need to pick up DCC 35.

Since; not only does it have the rules for 0 level characters, but: it also has the rules for better adepts.

I should have known better then to post on a manufacuters website :D

All joking aside, thanks for the help.

I'll have to admit I'm still not quite sure how I will handle it in my game, but you all have given me confidence enough to at least get the game started so I can get to that point where I know my GM xp will take over and I will make the right decision.

Have to say; before this issue is closed: it still would have been really nice to have a definition of 0 level in DCC #0.

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Post by Jengenritz » Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:42 pm

Good luck on your game, Glivan, and I hope you enjoy running it!

If you have any other questions, feel free to post them here, and if you've got the time let us know how your game went!
So you are all telling me I need to pick up DCC 35.
Heh. Well, you should pick it up because it rules. But the only difference between an adept, apprentice, or medium is that they use Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma (respectively) to determine max spells, bonus spells, and DC and that an apprentice and medium have more arcane-y spells in their lists.

Treebore makes a good point...make the game yours and have fun.
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Post by Harley Stroh » Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:49 pm

Gilvan Blight wrote:I should have known better then to post on a manufacuters website :D
Well, if you're only looking for 0-level rules, you really don't need to be buying DCC #35. Pretty much all the important stuff has been noted here, and you can work out the rest on your own. The heart of the rules is the idea that a PC that suffers through 0-level should have a token benefit for surviving the struggle, not be punished via ELC calculations and what not.

The fun part is going to see if we can pull this off with 4E. When all PCs start with hit points equal to 3 x Max HP + Con, the approximation of "0-level" becomes a serious challenge.

Or, to the astute gamer, an really cool opportunity. :twisted:
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Post by Treebore » Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:37 pm

Gilvan Blight wrote:So you are all telling me I need to pick up DCC 35.

Since; not only does it have the rules for 0 level characters, but: it also has the rules for better adepts.

I should have known better then to post on a manufacuters website :D

All joking aside, thanks for the help.

I'll have to admit I'm still not quite sure how I will handle it in my game, but you all have given me confidence enough to at least get the game started so I can get to that point where I know my GM xp will take over and I will make the right decision.

Have to say; before this issue is closed: it still would have been really nice to have a definition of 0 level in DCC #0.
No, we are telling you to buy DCC 35 because its darn good. It may not be your favorite, but it has a lot fo good stuff to steal if you don't like it enough to use fully.

As for the rules for "0" level, as Harley says, if you read the stuff in the DMG along with what is in DCC 0, you will do fine.
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Post by Pierce Randall » Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:00 am

I'm not familiar with that module, but here's how I've arbitrated starting 1st-level NPC classes in the past:

I had the party roll 3d6 for their ability scores. After a total is arrived at, I had them roll another d6, and record in parentheses what the stat would be using the normal 4d6 drop-lowest method. Repeat 6 times, and still arrange as desired.

I let players rolling commoners roll 1d4 and add it to 14 for a single stat of their choosing. No parentheses here. I know that may seem slightly unbalancing should they survive, but I didn't really plan on making the 0-level adventure easy to survive. A common slave who survives a dungeon that slew their vile masters is special indeed!

After 500 xp, I let the players level to 1st-level characters, upgrade their stats to the numbers in parentheses, and substitute out feats if deemed appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Hit points were figured independently with their new class, either giving them the difference as though they were a 1st level character, or having their character "catch up" with their previous class (if, say, they leveled from warrior to rogue or adept to wizard, without a big bump to Con; i.e. they got to keep their 8 or 6 hp for the remainder of the level). I let the party keep their 500 xp.

I thought that made the most sense. Nobody wants to be running around with Com1/Ftr4 levels.

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Post by Eryx » Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:10 pm

I ran it perfectly well as a 1st level module. I've never quite liked the idea of 0-level characters.
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