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Campaigns in D&D Next
Mike Mearls

L ast week, we went over D&D Next's approach to low-level characters. This week, we take a look at low-level play from the DM's side of the screen.


When it comes to campaigns, we see the first two levels of character advancement as the DM's chance to set the tone for the game. Just as the players have the opportunity to settle into their characters' abilities as they work toward 3rd level, DMs can use this part of the campaign to start slow and build toward bigger things. Levels 1 and 2 are your chance to experiment a bit. You can lay down the foundations and boundaries for the campaign. You can kick the tires on any optional rules you'd like to use. Those initial levels give the group as a whole a chance to play for a session or two, then talk about what's working, what they find exciting, and what might have fallen flat.

Every DM has a different style and unique ideas for a campaign, and the first two levels of that campaign give you a chance to set the ground rules for your game. For one DM, those levels might be a sort of weeding-out process, with only the luckiest or most cunning characters reaching 3rd level after many sessions of play. Another DM might see those beginning levels as a chance for the characters to become familiar with important elements of the campaign—for example, the powerful guilds that rule over a massive city standing at the confluence of a dozen major trade routes.

Character backgrounds are a key tool in campaign creation. Since backgrounds are easy to design, a DM can create a set of backgrounds customized for the campaign. For example, in the city dominated by guilds, each background the DM creates could tie into a guild, or be linked to a group that fights against the guilds' rule. Adventure hooks, connections to key NPCs, and other elements of the campaign that help drive the action forward can all be included in a character's background.

A character's traits, flaws, and bonds can also bring a campaign to life. Just as a DM can shape backgrounds to the campaign, a list of customized traits, flaws, and bonds can help players tie their characters into the action. In a game of political intrigue, the DM might ask each player to select a bond to a noble house, marking it as a friend or enemy. With that sort of element added up front, the campaign has a clear focus for everyone from the beginning.

For things like feats, backgrounds, and other character options, we'll be up front in the rulebooks about how your gaming group should talk about these options ahead of time. Many groups use the first session of play to create characters. In D&D Next, part of that session should also focus on the overall tone of the campaign and the DM's approach to the game. Is this an epic story with the adventurers as the central characters? Is it a perilous dungeon crawl where survival is its own reward? Is this a post-apocalyptic Earth where magic has returned and ancient deities have awakened?

On the other hand, you might want to just sit down and bash some monsters. Though all of these tools can prove useful to your game, we believe that the ability to ignore certain tools is just as important as the tools themselves. Our general approach is to keep the core as simple as possible, so that complexity and options come into the game only when a group is ready and eager for them. The rules are like a concierge, ready to help as much or as little as you want. There are as many styles of D&D play as there are players, and the rules should exist first and foremost as a tool for the group, not a constraint.

Feats, customized backgrounds, and other options are just that—options. Like any other tool, options can be set aside if they don't suit the style of your game. If a DM says, "I'm not using the guidelines for building encounters balanced against party level," that choice doesn't hurt the game. Rather, it tells the players to expect an exciting campaign fraught with danger, where deadly monsters lurk around every corner and fleeing might be a party's first choice of tactics. In designing elements of the game that serve as tools for the DM, we've always kept that "No, thanks" option in mind. D&D works best when the action flows and the rules serve the gaming group, rather than the other way around.


Mike Mearls
Mike Mearls is the senior manager for the D&D research and design team. He has worked on the Ravenloft board game along with a number of supplements for the D&D RPG.
Comments
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maybe default XP track is the wrong way to put it. Maybe it should be Official XP track (the one where levels 1 and 2 are over quikcly) that is used in Encounter sessions. Then you can have Classic track, where levels 1 and 2 take a while and you have to work up to level three, and the hero track, where you start out at third. Neither of these is a defult so to speak, but have a name that carries with it a legitimizing connotation.

Also, levels one and two are not that lethal (certainly not as lethal as pre 3.0 days In fact, the only edition might be less lethal would be 4th ed). I haven't had a pc of any level die since one of the early play tests when I was running people though keep on the boarder lands. I saw far more character deaths in 4th ed's keep on the shadowfell adventure that preceded the realse of that edition than I have seen in the latest play test of level one characters in the dungeon of graves. It is not like pre 3.0 days where 0 HPs meant game over. It ... (see all)
  
Posted By: moes1980 (1/28/2014 8:12:47 PM)
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I look forward to reading the ideas for each higher level stage of play.
  
Posted By: SirAntoine (1/21/2014 5:04:20 PM)
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The problem being, of course, that you can't completely customize your Next game. (At least, you can't customize it any more than any other game, and there comes a point where house ruling games becomes unsatisfactory or pointless.) - John
  
Posted By: Seanchai (1/21/2014 11:20:18 AM)
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That was supposed to be a reply to nukunuku. This new system is awesome!!1! - John
  
Posted By: Seanchai (1/21/2014 11:21:15 AM)
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Especially in organized play like DnD Day, DnD Encounters, LFR, and convention games. Having a solid default method that is fun for a variety of people is vital to all those types of games, which in many cases are the front line of PR for new folks looking to pick up the game.
  
Posted By: JoeyLast (1/21/2014 11:23:33 AM)
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It's sort of funny how a lot of these articles are saying the same things over and over, and yet from the comments you can tell that after the fifth or tenth time of hearing it, there are still a lot of people who are still absolutely missing the core concept.

These Mike Mearls articles in particular have repeatedly been about how you can completely customize the game to suit your group's playstyle, and they are bending over backwards to make sure 5E supports any style of play you can come up with - and even if you think of something they haven't, it should still work and still be something we would all recognize as DnD. It's your game! Play it how you want! And yet the comments are constantly filled with people saying, "but this hard and fast rule you just described will never work for some people, because they will want to play a different way, and you just said that this is the only way people can play the game!" It's a loose paraphrase, but it's frankly not... (see all)
  
Posted By: nukunuku (1/21/2014 10:16:04 AM)
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Does anyone else get the impression that the people complaining about apprentice levels have not actually playtested? I've run several different playtest games starting at various levels from level 1 to level 3 to level 10. I've not had any problems at all.

I personally love levels 1-2 for new players because it's a great way to ease them into the game. They get a few options at a time while they get familiar with the system. Ability scores, backgrounds, skill choices, class, race, and equipment give you TONS of customization options, even at level 1. If you find race and class boring, then that's your problem, not the game's problem.

Don't be a slave to the rules. If you think one session each for levels 1 and 2 is too few, then adjust it. But something has to be the default. I think that DnDNext is definitely headed in the right direction.
  
Posted By: Ramzour (1/21/2014 6:58:37 AM)
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People cease to be new very quickly though. Having the game set up with training wheels as default means these levels are just time sinks or get skipped. I find both options unwanted. If they want to put training wheels on the game, make a red box. Or supply each class with premade characters with the suggestion to the GM that when they get tired of that they can remake their character.

And I know this article is about the GM, I don't think it's a good idea for the GM to not know how they will run the campaign before the start. If they are new then they should run the party through an adventure. Pre-made characters and adventures are always good for new players and gms. The simple 1st edition levels of the game should be optional, because if I wanted to play 1st edition I would. We shouldn't have to default to a higher level campaign if we want more complexity in our games.

And we aren't asking for the Champions character building section. Just give us... (see all)
  
Posted By: ZaranBlack (1/21/2014 9:04:26 AM)
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1st and 2nd levels are optional. Re-read Mikes previous article.
  
Posted By: FirebanDM (1/21/2014 7:09:13 PM)
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Every level is optional. Every rule is optional. Even if they're not explicitly labeled as such. Being optional doesn't necessarily help. - John
  
Posted By: Seanchai (1/22/2014 2:42:24 PM)
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So you have two almost identical characters but ability scores, skills, race, and everything else don't do anything to distinguish them? But give one of them Arcane Initiate and one of them Toughness and you suddenly have vastly different characters? Sorry, I'm not buying that. Look, if you want to give level 1 characters a feat, then go ahead. But saying that there is no customization aside from Feats is just plain 100% wrong.

And really, how much different ARE level 1 characters across the various editions? I don't have my books handy at the moment, but from what I recall, the level 1 DnDNext character has MORE customization than 1st and 2nd edition, and is at least roughly equal to 3e and 4e. Is it really ruining your game that Druids can't wild shape until level 2? Or that clerics can't channel divinity at level 1? Plus, Casters still get new spell levels at the same rate.

In fact, because the DnDNext core mechanics focus around your ability scores instead of... (see all)
  
Posted By: Ramzour (1/21/2014 10:01:57 AM)
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I'm more curious as to how whatever they decide as the "default way" will affect organized play. While my home group will do our own thing and customize to our heart's content, I'm also an Encounters DM, and having a consistent set of rules that are fun for new players is what keeps people coming into the store.
  
Posted By: JoeyLast (1/21/2014 11:20:31 AM)
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@ Ramzour, totally agree with you. Some of the first encounters had at those formative levels have been the most memorable in my group. Possibly made all the more special because we new how vulnerable the PC's were!
  
Posted By: FirebanDM (1/21/2014 7:15:32 PM)
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I also like it because, with a lack of all the rules and feats and builds getting in the way, you get to make sure that an introduction to the game gives a hefty dose of role playing and imagination. Players are more likely to make decisions based on character personality and context instead of game mechanics. Then they can get the get more mechanically complex and interesting down the road.

I also like that different levels of play feel different, it keeps a long running campaign fresh by introducing real mile stones of achievement where you can feel the play style shift as you graduate from novice adventures, to heroes, to legends.
  
Posted By: moes1980 (1/28/2014 8:16:52 PM)
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Why do these columns say stuff like characters will be starting at 1st level unless you take the "option" to start at 3rd level? Mike, are you saying those are the only two levels I can create a character at? I've created characters of many different level for many different games, and I'd hope that I can do the same in Next, but I've been reading these columns and that's not what I'm seeing. And why the special first two levels? If a DM wants to weed out characters or introduce background groups, they can do that throughout all the levels, right? Just tell us, what is so special about 3rd level? Why is it this big turning point for the characters? I thought Next was about listening to people, but we can't say much until you tell us what we would be talking about.
  
Posted By: Cobrateen (1/20/2014 10:01:12 PM)
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Of course you can start at any level you want. How can they stop you? Why would they want to?

I think the big point of emphasizing 3rd level is that now there are two *recommended* starting levels. In the past 1st level was implied "recommended starting level." Now 1st and 3rd level are two different recommended options for different experiences.

No one is taking away your ability to start whenever you want. Rather they are highlighting a couple of primary options for most people so that those new to the game will have a choice of starting experiences.
  
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (1/21/2014 12:47:19 AM)
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I don't know how or why. What got me thinking like this was a previous article about Low-Level Characters and the line “the game includes rules for creating experienced 3rd-level characters right from the start.” Why is there rules for this specifically? Maybe the article meant to say “rules for creating experienced characters of any level right from the start,” but the way it was worded got me concerned and everything after that has basically been “You can start at 1st or 3rd” without mentioning any other level. I agree with you, I don't see how they could stop people from creating characters of any level … but why only talk about third as the choice? Why not “If you want to start as another character's magical mentor you might want to be five levels higher than them” or “If you want to start as world leaders you should start at tenth.” Those are play styles too, those are campaigns people might play, so why is there a recommended starting level at all? Why would the game's designers ... (see all)
  
Posted By: Cobrateen (1/21/2014 2:34:02 AM)
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Everybody seems to be missing that the column says that "for one dm" it might be a weeding out process. It never states that the first few levels of plays will definetly be lethal for every gorup. This ties back into the modular approach: if one gorup wants that old school lethality, than they can have it.
  
Posted By: ArlimOfTheSpellguard (1/20/2014 3:55:16 PM)
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It doesn't say that the first two levels will be lethal for all groups here, no. But barring a sudden and dramatic shift in HP progressions in the final game, the first to levels will be pretty lethal. Some characters have d6 HD. Some first level monsters have d12 weapon dice. There's plenty of lethality inherent in the system, we don't need to assume that WotC is actively advising DMs to be murderous.
  
Posted By: powerroleplayer (1/20/2014 4:08:22 PM)
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Every playtest I ran in every iteration of the process had folks dying at level 1, and dominating at level 5. A lot of that may be due to the broken monster math, but none of the level 1 characters I built felt like heroes... they felt like scared folks hiding behind armor in the hopes the kobold wouldn't hit them.
  
Posted By: JoeyLast (1/21/2014 11:13:40 AM)
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If a DM put me through "many levels of play" to reach 3rd-level, I'd probably do something nasty to their DMG. I don't see how that is possible given the xp table unless the DM is given the option of awarding 1xp per monster. Every campaign I've ever run had the characters starting anywhere from 1st- to 3rd-level, and I've made sure that the adventures are as interesting as I can make them, so low level "lethality" isn't the problem some people imagine it to be.

Aside from that, Mr Mearls' column seems to be just taking up space because, after reading it, my reaction was "tell us something we don't know!". That's a shame because Mr Mearls has done better than that.
  
Posted By: Maerlius (1/20/2014 3:42:57 PM)
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Again, the huge problem with the idea of using Apprentice levels to set a tone for the campaign or test things out is that 1st level hps, is that it's also being used to emulate the old-school DnD level of random lethality. The only tone that sets is 'your character can die at any time, so don't even bother to name him.'

Similarly, the lack of PC options and Apprentice level makes the characters harder to identify with and less incorporated into the world, and sets a tone for the campaign that may or may not be what the DM is going for.

You walk around the campaign, kick the tires, and they explode. A few levels later, they'll be fine, though. How is that helpful?

Starting at 1st as 5e currently has it - and staying there a long time, for that matter - is fine if you want a campaign with random lethality and low-impact-on-the-world PCs - 'fantasy Vietnam' or a 'traditional old-school-DnD experience' or whatever.

As a starting point, th... (see all)
  
Posted By: Tony_Vargas (1/20/2014 3:07:23 PM)
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Tony, 5E level 1 is not "fantasy Vietnam" unless the DM chooses for it to be so, (which is a valid choice). 5E level 1 supports other options as well, like a low-danger, intrigue/investigation-style game. As long as the DM introduces the important parts of the game that apply to the campaign, like how ability checks supported by skills work, or how exploration works, or how combat works, or how interaction works, those low levels can be anything the campaign needs. Challenges don't have to be about "OMG, we're bein' slaughtered by hobo kobolds!"

Are you so focused on this because you like to run PCs through the meat grinder at level 1 and 2?
  
Posted By: Wyckedemus (1/20/2014 4:17:02 PM)
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While a DM could eschew combat entirely at Apprentice level, that would also get in the way of introducing new players to the game. The scale of 1st level hps to basic things like weapon damage dice, though, makes any 1st level combat potentially fatal. The later playtest packets handling of crits and dying rules /did/ help, mind you, it's not as bad as it was when I ran Against the Cult of Chaos and a character the player had spent hours creating and making backstory for was dropped in the first initiative count of the first round of the first combat, and died on the second (her turn), before anyone could help her...

Of course, and experienced DM could always tweak things to make it less lethal, (or more lethal, if the game leans the other way). The easiest and most obvious way in this case, of course, being by skipping Apprentice Levels, entirely.

  
Posted By: Tony_Vargas (1/22/2014 4:51:33 PM)
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Of course, Dark Sun characters will start at level 3. B)
  
Posted By: Khilkhameth (1/20/2014 2:52:40 PM)
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"with only the luckiest or most cunning characters reaching 3rd level after many sessions of play."
But didn't we hear last week that your expectation is for levels 1 and 2 to only take a single session each? That seems to contradict your "many sessions" statement above.
  
Posted By: JoeyLast (1/20/2014 1:49:22 PM)
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For along time they have been saying that there will be three ways to do it, start at level three and skip the low levels, play the low levels but only for one or two sessons each, or go the slow route with several sessions in level one and two. The rules will provide the options to do it theses different ways.
  
Posted By: moes1980 (1/20/2014 3:06:14 PM)
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It's good that the rules will allow for that, and of course we can home-brew anything that seems silly. I was more concerned with where their minds were for the default way people "should" handle it. As a long-time Encounters DM, whatever they decide as the "default way" will affect our store's organized play quite a bit, so I wanted them to be clear on that.
  
Posted By: JoeyLast (1/21/2014 11:18:09 AM)
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I believe you are shooting yourselves in the foot. Level 0 has never caught on before so why force 2 levels of it? Do you honestly think that choosing a feat at first level means some player is just going to walk away? Especially when you already have a way to just replace the feat with a +1. Then you force the rest of us who don't need the training wheels to go probably 2 weeks before we can make some kind of unique combat choice for our character. There are many of us who do not believe in starting at third level. New GM? Use the default world. Use the default rules where there are no feats. You are building too much of the game for new players only when there are still many of us old players out there. You make us happy and we will bring you new players just so we can play ourselves. If you tick us off then there are other games out there we can turn to.

  
Posted By: ZaranBlack (1/20/2014 12:46:25 PM)
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Actually, 0level play is very popular for a lot of people, it is part of why dungeon crawl classics role playing game is so popular. But,t his isn't 0 level play any way, it's low level play, something that had no meaning in 4th Ed. What low level play means is that your characters are not super heros, making the game more challenging, and giving a certain feel that a lot of players like. But, it's not for every one, hence the option to start at third or play just a couple of sessions, or play several sessions. But, it is precisely because of the demand for low level play (which is usually coming from older players whoa re veterans of the hobby for decades) that are responsible for the OSR explosion. So I think this is a good move by wizards
  
Posted By: moes1980 (1/20/2014 3:11:37 PM)
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I'm glad to see that, as of the past two articles in this column, we've been honed in on the game itself. I hope to hear more about it in this column.
  
Posted By: tsf (1/20/2014 8:21:19 AM)
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Seems good. As a side note, I haven't seen the art in this article before. Is this a taste of what we can expect in the new products? If so, I heartily approve!
  
Posted By: HengeGuardian (1/20/2014 6:17:11 AM)
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Probably not, because those art pieces are from 4e. They appeared in the DMG2.
  
Posted By: Belphanior (1/20/2014 8:05:55 AM)
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Ah, the one book I didn't have, lol. Still, nice pieces.
  
Posted By: HengeGuardian (1/20/2014 4:56:50 PM)
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Customizing backgrounds sounds very helpful, provided its not to time consuming.
  
Posted By: Prom (1/20/2014 5:12:43 AM)
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I guess the most time-consuming part is designing your own "trait".

But if you duplicate an existing trait, a custom background is basically only about picking 3 skills proficiencies, plus a combination of 3 tools or languages.

I wonder however, if this basic mechanic could still be improved... for instance, fitting also weapons and armors proficiencies somewhere, since there's no way to get them except from feats (i.e. not until 4th level and then you have to take the rest of the feat benefits as well).
  
Posted By: Domenicaccio (1/20/2014 6:41:55 AM)
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This is all well and good but why does the DM need two levels of play to set the rules and tone of the campaign. Why do the first two levels have to be some trial period and one only gets to make interesting mechanical choices for your characters arbitrarily at 3rd level. Why no not have the entire campaign have consistency?
  
Posted By: man.of.tomorrow (1/20/2014 4:50:03 AM)
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Well, the most interesting character choices are class, race and background! Change equipment also, and it's unlikely to have two too similar Fighters even at 1st level.

When you've already played characters of the same class in the same edition, then yes you'll need some more variation. Some classes have it at 1st level (e.g. spellcasters). Others not so much...

The problem is that WotC decided to change how feats work in 5e, and now granting a feat at 1st level might be too much, but I'm not sure. They have still time to change this!

The good thing of granting a feat at 1st level, is that there will be a lot more feats available to choose from than backgrounds, so the number of "different" 1st level PC becomes unlimited.
  
Posted By: Domenicaccio (1/20/2014 6:36:57 AM)
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For me, class and race are the least interesting choices. I've played or watching a million Elves been playing. I've played or watched a million Wizards being played. Backgrounds offer some customization, but the limited list will mean I will soon have played or watching a million Noble Elf Fighters being played. - John

  
Posted By: Seanchai (1/20/2014 11:17:10 AM)
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A week or two ago they mentioned that the DM would have the option to begin at third level. That would seem to give you the "start when my character gets cool powers" option you're looking for, and leave others the "start with weak characters who grow into their powers" folks like me would prefer. Win-win!
  
Posted By: greyhawk_grognard (1/20/2014 2:06:29 PM)
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If it's one session for level one and two,then that is only two sessions to work out what optional rules and style every one likes. And, of course, this dosnt have to be the approach at all with this early levels. The article is just offering one way that a session at level one and two can help improve play by allowing some experimentation with all the options. There are other benefits too, such has setting the stage and tying the players into the game world with a sort of short prolog adventure.
  
Posted By: moes1980 (1/20/2014 3:16:22 PM)
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Very good to hear that 5e actively supports the DM who wants to customize the game or create his own material. Backgrounds seem to be very easy to customize, while feats and subclasses are more tricky, but hopefully we'll get guidelines for them as well.

Of course, customization is not every DM's cup of tea, so for DMs who are not interested, just make sure that there is also plenty of additional material ready-to-use (well, at least in supplement books).

About character customization (not necessarily campaign setting-based), there is one bit missing from the current rules in my opinion, and that's related to getting additional proficiencies after 1st level (i.e. in addition to your background). The only way to get them is via feats, but what about those gaming groups who don't use feats?
  
Posted By: Domenicaccio (1/20/2014 4:11:04 AM)
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I thought level 1 and 2 were supposed to be short, by default one or two sessions each. That's not exactly a chance to "start slow".
  
Posted By: Bluenose (1/20/2014 3:58:31 AM)
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Unfortunately there is no "one size fits all". Some people don't want those weak levels, others want them over quickly, and others want to stay there for a while.

But look at the bright side: it is really a piece of cake for a DM to give more or give less XP in order to speed up or slow down progression. He just needs the courage to override what the book says.

Skipping levels is a bit more extreme, but not really a big deal. We've done that lots of times in 3e, starting at 3rd level or more just to get the extra variety at character creation, more survivability, or simply because the DM had a cool adventure that required high level PCs.

On the other hand, it's really good for me to have at least a couple of "weak levels" (which aren't that weak... try and compare them with equivalent levels in older editions). Otherwise, customizing down would be much harder for the DM.
  
Posted By: Domenicaccio (1/20/2014 4:19:46 AM)
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Or much of a chance to use the levels to explore a campaign. To be honest, that whole line of reasoning seems like flimsy after the fact justification for the choices WotC made regarding 1st and 2nd level. - John
  
Posted By: Seanchai (1/20/2014 11:21:07 AM)
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I disagree. It seems to me that it's as versatile a feature that Mearls says it is.
  
Posted By: JayStripes (2/13/2014 8:48:57 PM)
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It would be excellent if WotC made optional rule checklists that could be marked to show which rules are being used at a glance and have a short area for notes on rules that altered. A sort of 'House Rules Checklist'
  
Posted By: OskarOisinson (1/20/2014 12:55:30 AM)
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I really enjoy low level play too. I enjoyed the article.
  
Posted By: Ashrym (1/20/2014 12:49:40 AM)
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@Alter_Boy, Mike has mentioned traits, flaws & bonds 3 times before, plus they are inherent to the Legendary Black Dragon he introduced on http://wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20130617. The most thorough treatment of them was by Rodney (for once), in http://wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dndqa/20131024. This harebrained approach to implementing personality saddles DMs with a mandate for monsters to react on a hair-trigger to offensive or desirable stimuli, as well as gerrymandering their social connections. It is apparently intended to provide some guidance on how monsters behave when they aren't actively trying to kill the characters. I can only imagine the misunderstandings which will occur, and arguments bound to erupt, as awkward DMs and hidebound players interpret the effects of what should be intuitive interactions differently!
  
Posted By: RadperT (1/26/2014 4:49:16 PM)
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What's this talk about "traits, flaw, and bonds"? Mike explains what a bond is, but not trait or flaw. Hopefully, it's not some kind of min-maxing tool where you take flaws to get traits.
  
Posted By: Alter_Boy (1/20/2014 12:43:22 AM)
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"For one DM, those levels might be a sort of weeding-out process, with only the luckiest or most cunning characters reaching 3rd level after many sessions of play."
"a perilous dungeon crawl where survival is its own reward"
"not using the guidelines for building encounters balanced against party level...to expect an exciting campaign fraught with danger, where deadly monsters lurk around every corner and fleeing might be a party's first choice of tactics."

I like this sort of campaign, so I'm glad to see it offered as an example.
  
Posted By: G_X (1/20/2014 12:43:12 AM)
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I like that sort of high-lethality game too, at least sometimes!

Although honestly, when I want to play such game, I don't want that to stop at level 3, but rather continue lethally into high levels.

But that said, in my opinion lethality (which is maybe THE most important campaign decision, and the DM should definitely decide together with the players about it BEFORE starting the game!) depends more on adventure design and the *relative* power of PC vs the monsters.

Absolute level is not necessarily a lethality indicator. In fact, some people believe that low-level should be more lethal, while others believe the opposite. It's probably best to design a game so that lethality is about the same at all levels, then give the DM tools to increase or decrease lethality.

Obvious tools are number of encounters per day, number of monsters in an encounter, level difference between monsters and PCs. WotC better make sure to give good guidelines there!... (see all)
  
Posted By: Domenicaccio (1/20/2014 4:34:08 AM)
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All true, but a high-lethality campaign also works best with quick, simple character generation with low investment for the first few levels, and options increasing over the character's lifespan. You don't want someone to have to take a whole weekend to build a new character. Technically you could do a high-lethality game in 4e, but why would you want to?
  
Posted By: G_X (1/20/2014 2:35:29 PM)
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I liked the optional level 0 play better when it was an Optional. Level. Zero.
  
Posted By: Gizmoduck_5000 (1/20/2014 12:26:17 AM)
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Except that those first two levels(and probably more) are going to be skipped because low level play sucks(characters are boring and too fragile).
  
Posted By: thecasualoblivion (1/20/2014 12:11:54 AM)
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lol what? No, I disagree entirely. Low-level play is when everything is new sparkly and dangerous. I would agree it is the best part.
  
Posted By: patch101 (1/20/2014 12:18:00 AM)
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Me too. I've been playing and DMing for over 30 years and I love low level. It is a critical part of the game.
  
Posted By: Rhenny (1/20/2014 12:23:10 AM)
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